A $16,000 dealer mistake
I had a pretty good March. I final tabled an LAPT event in Chile and a tournament in Panama, and I won an FTOPS event on Full Tilt Poker. All told I cleared $250,000 in tournament winnings.
It started with LAPT6 Chile. This was the first LAPT event that used a re-entry system. I love the new system. If you're a qualifier playing one bullet, you just play tight in the first four levels during the re-entries. It's very hard to bust in the first four levels with the LAPT structure. You don't have to go crazy with your hands.
On the other hand, players like me can go crazy (maybe a little too crazy). I was playing super loose at the start of the Chile tournament, trying to get my chips into the pot in spots that I would never look for in normal freezeout tournaments. I was gambling way more than I should. That gives the qualifiers a much easier chance to double up.
I made it to the final table 2nd in chips and I was playing really solid poker. The final table had some very good players. Luckily I won a coin flip at the beginning that took one of the good players out on my left. Then 3-handed the cards didn't go in my favor in a big pot. At that stage of the tournament it's always the same - you lose that one big hand and that's it.
Even despite winning $78,000, I was super disappointed. Winning my third LAPT title in Chile would have been insane. Nobody else has ever won two. It would be almost impossible for anyone to win three. I was so close.
After Chile I went to Panama for a $500k guarantee event. I was crushing that tournament. I was chip leader after Day 1 and made it all the way down to 10 players left in the tournament on Day 2. We needed one last elimination to end the day when a weird situation happened.
LAPT5 Grand Final champion Jordan Scott opened from early position. A player from Venezuela jammed from the small blind with queens. Jordan, who had the Venezuelan guy covered, called with ace-king. The dealer brought out a flop of J-K-2. The second flop card was a king but someone noticed the dealer forgot to burn a card. Everybody knew the second card was a king, so Jordan would have been ahead even if she remembered to burn. A floor was called to the table. He ruled that the flop had to picked back up, shuffled into the stub, and a new board had to come out.
The guy with queens won the next run-out and we were still 10-handed. Everybody got very frustrated with the dealer. It was late and we were all so tired. We wanted to finish up and come back fresh. If the Venezuelan would have busted, the rest of us would have come back on Sunday to play the 9-handed final table.
Instead, I got a weird feeling when he doubled up. I was 4th in chips, but 4th in chips was only 20 blinds. I thought, "Oh my god, I'm gonna bust next." Two hands later, the under-the-gun player jammed for about 4 big blinds. I re-jammed with queens. A third guy showed up with aces. He busted both of us.
First prize in the Panama tournament was $150,000. I got $8,500 for finishing in 9th place. You can imagine how disappointed I was.
Instead of playing the 2pm final table for the Panama event on Sunday, I woke up at 10:30am and decided to grind the Sunday tournaments online. I went over to Bolivar Palacios' place with a couple of guys, including Matias Gabrenja, one of the best cash game players in Argentina. Bolivar won the Super Size Sunday for $58,000, Matias won the $162 6-max for $30,000, and I won FTOPS XXII Event 20 (a $322 re-entry event) for $166,000!
If the dealer hadn't forgotten to burn a card Saturday night, I would have had to come back to play the final table of the Panama event on Sunday for $150,000. Instead I ended up winning the FTOPS for $166,000. I won an extra $16,000 - and for me, an online tournament that may have been more important than winning the Panama event - just because the dealer made a mistake.
Why can't all dealer mistakes be that profitable?
Jose Barbero is a member of Team PokerStars Pro