Two good stories

John Gale makes ESPN Final Table in $5000 Pot-Limit Hold'em Event

I was in a hurry. A phonecall to the wife was due, the dinner break was on, and, quite frankly, I'd had quite a bit of Diet Coke and needed to hit the john. But, when John Gale stepped in stride beside me, I had to slow down. I had to know what he'd laid down just before the dinner break.

"I had pocket queens," he said, his English accent now familiar enough to me that I understood immediately. And I understood why he'd laid it down. He'd been fighting the man he'd dubbed the table maniac. Once again they were heads up and once again the maniac had the best of it. When a king came on board, Gale had to lay down his queens.

It was a day of such story-telling promise. PokerStars own' Terrence Chan had made it into day and seemed to be ready to make a run for the money. Two intestine-wrenching confrontations (AK vs. AA and QQ vs. KK) sent Chan to the rail, none the richer, but with the utmost confidence he can compete at this level.

It left me to sweat John Gale, who at one point hit a highwater mark of more than 100,000 in chips before falling into a running battle with his nemesis.

When we hit eighteen players, I caught Gale where I expected to find him: sidled up next to an ashtray, sucking down a quick smoke before the beginning of play.

"I'm not going to play tight for just another couple thousand dollars," he said through the smoke.

The implication was vodka-clear. He was in it to make the final table or move on to the next tournament. A few thousand bucks means nothing to a guy who has made in the neighborhood of a million dollars playing cards so far this year.

In what could've been the best PokerStars story so far this series, there was a chance John Gale would face his former opponent from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Alex Balandin, at the final table. But Balandin's AQ ran into Cyndy Violette's AK.

Gale wanted nothing more than to make the final table in good chip position. But while other people turned into card racks, Gale went card dead. Dead dead.

So, on Wednesday at 2pm, Gale goes to the final table with a below-average stack, but with his eyes on the bracelet.

We'll have live reports right here.

Another good...make that great story

This is not my story. But it is one off the best stories of the World Series of Poker so far. Two fellow bloggers and poker players, Pauly and Felicia, have been on a campaign to make a dying friend of poker blogging community's last days happy ones. It has been a touching success, culminating in a story yesterday that makes you believe in people. You can read it here.


That's it for Tuesday. Wednesday will host a $1500 NL Hold'em Event and the final table of the $5K PL Hold'em event.
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker