2008 World Series: From zero to hero?

Chris Dyer started in good spirits. It was reasonable to think he’d be in a foul mood this morning considering he had just 2,600. Yes, the PokerStars qualifier returned today as the short stack, the man at the back of 1308 names, who everyone expected to stick around for about two and half minutes, before disappearing forever, or for a year at least. Chris knew this too and didn’t even take his coat off or remove the bag he had slung over his shoulder. He was also wearing running shoes.

The situation looked bleak but as with others who find themselves in this position, Chris had adopted a basic plan of enjoying himself and having a go at spinning his loose change into something big. Or, go out in an heroic blaze of glory. He’d seen me lurking, like the angel of death, and was ready to play.

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PokerStars qualifier Chris Dyer

“You’re going to be here a while...” he joked. “I’m just going to blind it all off!”

With blinds at 800/1,600 and a 200 ante, and with the button two to his left, that gave Chris about five hands to do something. He let the first one go by as the dealer on a table alongside announced ‘all-in call’. If Chris had wanted to move in first someone had beaten him to it.

“Hey, you’re not the first all-in!” joked one player, but on the second hand Chris made his move.
He showed Q7 against the player with T3 trying his luck.

“I had a ten!” yelled the six seat player helpfully as the board paired the queen on the flop and made Chris set on the turn.

“Who’s the greatest?” asked Chris, with a shovel full of irony, being no stranger to pushing this week. “That’s all in number ten.”

“What you got now... 6,000?” asked John D’Agostino.

“It’s so much it’s hard to keep track.” replied Chris. Now everyone was starting to enjoy this.

Two hands later, another all-in. This must be the end of the adventure. No, wait. It gets back to him uncontested, good for blinds and antes.

“You’ve tripled up in like five minutes!” said D’Agostino.

“What can I tell you, it’s all skill.”

All in again two hands later. Nine-seven this time for the new hero of the hour, up against K-Q. Not so fast. A nine on the flop was enough. Another double-up.

“It’s already stopped being funny...”

Twenty-three minutes into the level and Chris was no longer the short stack. That honour rested with the seat six player Lee Morgan who lost a coin flip to slip down the rankings. It brought to light whether it’s easier mentally to play the short stack having started with very little, or play it when you’ve just lost the towers your previously tower of chips.

The question was soon answered, with Morgan busting out a few minutes later as Chris found himself in the unusual position of having enough chips to limp. But only once. On the next hand he was all-in again with no takers, good for more blinds and antes.

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“Uh oh... Things have gotten serious.” Chris was now less of a novelty, more a threat.

Serious enough for me to leave him to it. A pat on the back and a ‘see you later’.

“No stay!

“I was card dead yesterday, I had no cards for two hours” said Chris, who lives in Tennessee and sells insurance for a living in Nashville. “I had two of the chip leaders to my left so I couldn’t make any moves. I didn’t see an ace for three hours. It’s funny though, when I won my seat on PokerStars I was the short stack at the table. I came back from that and won my seat.

“Actually, I started playing online after Chris Moneymaker won in 2003. That year I lived about a mile from where he lived.”

I left Chris to it as the first break approached. It had been one hour 45 minutes before he took his bag off. He’d seen me leave and come back to check up on him.

“You can leave if you want to” he said in a scene reminiscent of visiting someone in hospital who’s been on the critical list and is now showing signs of recovery. He didn’t want to be a burden. This was no problem, I explained. If he went on to win the whole thing from here I’d miss the story of the century.

“I’d like that story very much...”