WSOP November Nine: Jason Senti's courtship of Lady Luck

wsop2010_thn.jpgJason Senti knew a long time ago that he was going to need a little luck to crawl out of the cellar. He knew it when he finished playing last summer. He knew it last week when we interviewed him. He knew it when he walked in today. He just didn't know if the fates would actually cooperate.

Entering today as the shortest stack, he made his strategy clear. He wasn't going to sit and wait for somebody to bust out. His was a game of open-pushing, three-bet pushing, and simply pushing the edge of every potential vulnerability he spotted in his opponent. It riled up his fans and inspired them to a four-syllable chant, "Ja-son Sen-ti! Ja-son Sen-ti!"

Even they knew, however, they were rooting for the underdog. One ill-timed push could've ended his day no matter how hard his fans cheered.

And so it came that Senti pushed in his stack again. This time it came in response to Soi Nguyen's open shove for 7.6 million. Senti had Nguyen covered, but losing the hand would have turned his stack into the equivalent of promotional beef jerky--a serviceable snack, but not much of a meal.

It was the November Nine's first called all-in an the theater erupted when they saw the flip. It was Q♦Q♠ for Senti, A♦K♣ for Nguyen. It was lost on no one that all nine of these players got their ninth-place money last summer. Whoever busted first today was going to get nothing. All it was going to take was an ace or king to send Senti back to Minnesota with no more than he had when he flew out to Las Vegas this week.

The first card out of the dealer's hand was a picture, and the prettiest Senti has seen in a long time. The Q♥ gave him his set. His rail exploded. It was over.

But it wasn't, because the flop also held the T♣. Now Nguyen had four jacks in the deck that could send Senti into a lifetime of what-could-have-been regret.

jason_senti_all_in.jpg

With the queen and ten, Senti looked at once jubilant and sick to his stomach. His put his hand to his chest and palpitated his pounding heart. His hand moved so quickly and involuntarily that even if he'd fallen into cardiac arrest, he might have saved himself from death.

The turn was the 9♠. Safe. For now.

And then the river. Oh God.

It was another picture. A jack? God, is it a jack? It would be one of those horrible, unwatchable moments that television producers love.

It was the K♠.

Jason Senti knew he needed a little luck, and he got it just when it needed it. Suddenly, the man form Minnesota had a chance. He could actually win this thing. He bounded from his seat, high-fived Annette Obrestad, and shook hands with Scott Montgomery.

And then, as everyone else disappeared from the table for the 20-minute break Senti sat back in his seat doing the only two things that seemed reasonable...relishing the moment and counting more than 17,000,000 in chips.

Again, his fans rose up.

"Ja-son Sen-ti! Ja-son Sen-ti!"

In the grand scheme of this final table, that hand may end up not meaning much. For now, though, it means everything, especially for the man in the one-seat.

***

Here are the chip counts as we return from break

Jason Senti 17,500,000
Joseph Cheong 29,675,000
John Dolan 39,525,000
Jonathan Duhamel 65,525,000
Michael Mizrachi 18,050,000
Matt Jarvis 10,125,000
John Racener 24,175,000
Fillipo Candio 15,050,000

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker