LAPT San Jose: Introducing Larry Hinden

Late yesterday, as the players and supporters got to know one another at the welcome party, several of us got to know Larry Hinden, a PokerStars qualifier from the United States. Just to fix an image in your mind, this is Larry, making a few acquaintances of his own:


Twenty-odd hours later, I just shared five minutes with Larry in the bar, during the dinner break on day one. There were a few things he told me last night that I just wanted to confirm were true, and to fully grasp the chronology of all this. Let's put it this way, Larry has a story to match that of any player here in Costa Rica, and I only wish we could get him to relate it himself.

Take it from me, he's quite the raconteur.

Larry's journey to San Jose began with a bad beat. And it was a shocker.

Having gone fairly deep in a multi-table tournament on PokerStars, he was dealt pocket aces and got it all in pre-flop against an ace-king. The flop was ace-king-rag, and Larry was looking good. Even the king on the turn wasn't too threatening, since it filled his boat. But when the case king floated down the river, that was the final straw for Larry.

To say he went crazy would be an understatement and even the recreation of the ensuing events, related for the first time at the welcome party last night, had plenty running for cover, tears of laughter dappling their cheeks.

The first targets for Larry's ire were his two airedale terriers, Dodi and Chai, who bounded off a nearby couch and went seeking shelter. Recalling images of Scooby Doo cowering in the arms of Shaggy, one of the dogs accosted Larry's wife, Denice, who was reclining on the floor nearby.

"So we've got this 75 pound dog on my wife's chest," Larry said. "My wife is about 110 pounds."

With the dogs gone, and crushing Larry's wife, the insensed player went searching for another target and alighted on his PokerStars baseball cap, earned by cashing in some FPPs. Bearing the site's logo, it was perfect for his destructive purposes. He tore it off his head and bashed it off the table. Then when that failed to destroy it, he tried to rip it.

"I figured that I could tear it with my bare hands, now that I was in hulk mode," he explained.

But even after it wouldn't give, Larry refused to be outdone. So he reached for a letter opener on his desk and hacked and hacked at his headwear before at last something had paid for his beat. The ruined cap sat on Larry's head as he decided once and for all that he was done with PokerStars. He now shamefully admits that he withdrew all his remaining funds and deposited them elsewhere, surely to bring him better luck.

"But after about six hands there, I realised the place sucked and I took the funds out again," he said.

Good decision.

A week or so later, and still, by his own admission, on tilt from the injustice of it all, he redeposited a small amount at PokerStars and entered a satellite for the LAPT Costa Rica. There was just one seat on offer and Larry wasn't too confident.

"I'm on a string of bad beats. Who's going to win a tournament with one prize?" he said.

Well, with shredded baseball cap in place, Larry Hinden is the answer to his own question. He cruised through the field, took it down, and here he is in San Jose.

"PokerStars and me are friends again," he said. "The dogs and the wife might need some medical attention, but I've renewed my subscription to 'Anger Management Magazine'. You can quote me on that."


Thankfully, Denice recovered from the beat and is here in Costa Rica, along with Larry's daughter, Amber, who (according to her father) was partying last night with Julien Nuijten, much to Larry's amusement.

"Two weeks ago, I'm looking on the blog and seeing pictures of this young guy who just won a quarter of a million, and now here I am watching my daughter go drinking all night with him. The chronology of this is crazy."

And as for Larry's tournament, well, he's hanging in there. He was up to 24,000 at one point, then lost a chunk with queens against kings. Then he ground it back up to 11,000 and has rejoined the action after the dinner break. "I could play conservative, but conservative doesn't win these things," he said.

Don't worry, Larry. With quotes like this one -- "Please colour this so that normal people thing I'm normal rather than a psychopath" -- "conservative" is one of the last words we will use to describe you.

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Tournament update:

Two PokerStars qualifiers have silently made their way to the top of the tree here in Costa Rica. Andre Wagner, from Munster, Germany, is close to 90,000, while Joe Ebanks is snapping at his heels, on about 75,000 at time of writing.

Meanwhile, Team PokerStars Pro's Isabelle Mercier is bossing her table and building a sizeable stack. She just took out Gualter Salles. Salles had A-Q and had made top two pair by the time the river was out. Not good enough, Mercier flopped a set of sevens and Salles is out the door.