WSOP Main Event: Fast and Loose

by C.J. Hoyt

Update at 6:17pm: You may want to read the rest of this post for some background, but I had to add this story...

As I approached Dmitri's table, I saw a 11,000 bet in front of him. The board held 5hQdKd. The player in the 7 Seat (to Dmitri's right) had checked and was now considering a call. Eventually, he called, putting about a quarter of his stack in the middle.

The turn was the Kh. The 7 Seat thought for a moment and said, "All in."

Without hesitation, Dmitri said, "Call!" At that point, I assumed he had the King and was just waiting for his opponent to push.

"Ah... I was bluffing," Seat 7 told the table.

"That's okay, I'm on a draw," Dmitri replied, shocking just about anyone watching.

The 7 Seat flipped over As9s and Dmitri showed his Td9D. He was on the gutshot straight flush draw, a 2-to-1 underdog. There was about 80,000 in the pot. The dealer rapped the table and peeled the river off the deck. I almost couldn't watch.

The 6 of diamonds.

"Yes!" Dmitri shouted, "I knew I was okay, my boy was here."

Apparently I was still good luck.


Dmitri Nobels must believe I'm his own personal good luck charm. It wouldn't be the first time someone believed my mere presence might benefit their play. Where my esteemed colleague Wil Wheaton may cause a player to lose to back-to-back one-outers, I tend to see my fair share of good fortune at the poker table. When one of our players makes the final table, I believe PokerStars plans to have me within three feet of them for the entire day.

On Sunday, I stopped by Dmitri's table when he was holding about 28,000. It was a good stack, but nothing spectacular. Three hands later, he found himself up over 60,000.

First he got himself all-in with pocket Q's against Big Slick. His hand obviously held up. The next hand he plays A9 and completely misses the board. That didn't stop him from winning the pot. And the third hand he looks down at AQ and catches his Ace on the river. It was a mini-rush, but one that Dmitri apparently attributed to me.

"Don't leave me," he said, reaching out and grabbing my arm.

I did, but it didn't stop him for running his first day chip count up to 79,450.

Today, Dmitri is sporting his PokerStars visor upside down, because that's just how he rolls. The important folks here made him fill out an information sheet meaning there's a good chance a camera will be stopping by at some point.

When I stopped by the table today, the first thing he said was, "Don't go anywhere."

I stuck around to see Dmitri squeeze 7h5h. A hand I would throw away, but of course Dmitri raised it up to 1600. The flop came down 528, and middle pair is more than enough for a big bet here. The 2 Seat called him. The turn was an Ace, a card that slows down even Dmitri, who checks. The 2 Seat throws out a bet about a third of the pot and Dmitri calls. The river is a Queen, giving Dmitri nothing better than 4th pair. But like a flash, he throws out a 10,000 bet. The 2 Seat thinks and thinks, before mucking. Dmitri shows his monster. And looks at me with a smile.

"I slept good, but I'm nervous," he tells me. I certainly couldn't tell. The next hand he plays AJ to a pre-flop raise, gets action on an 864 flop, checks the 7 on the turn and throws a big bet out when he catches his Ace on the river. Suddenly, Dmitri has his stack up over 100,000. It was a good start to the day.

"I have to go, Dmitri," I tell him, "You're on your own now."

"That's okay, just make sure you stop back."

I assured him I will, after all, anything I can do to help.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker