WSOP 2016: Flying high with FrenchDawg but the party will have to wait
With two minutes left on the countdown to Day 4 of the World Series of Poker Main Event, the tournament director told dealers that if a player had not arrived yet to their table, they were to "open the bags, put the receipt on top of the chips and the bag on the back of the chair".
On Table 448, the dealer puffed out his cheeks and contemplated the task at hand. One of the unopened bags at his table belonged to Marc-Andre Ladouceur and it contained 1.3 million chips. The puff of the cheeks said nothing so much as: "If this TD wants me to stack all those before the start of play, he can kiss my etc., etc."
Yesterday, Ladouceur enjoyed one of those days at the WSOP that poker players only dream of. He was already a big stack when he arrived, with around 400,000 chips, but his upward movement started immediately and only picked up speed.
"I couldn't ask for more," he said. "In the first orbit of the day I got up to 650 and had a lot of chips on the bubble. I busted David Yan with kings versus ace-king, right before the bubble, so I was able to have some fun there for an hour and a half while people were trying to squeeze into the money."
Ladouceur finished the day 11th of the remaining 800 players and in a perfect position to push on as prizes increase steadily towards the $8 million champion's cheque.
"It's such a marathon," he said. "There's four more days before we try to make a final table, so we'll take it one day at a time. Even as exciting as Day 7 is, we're still a long time away from that."
This is not the first time that the Team PokerStars Online member has thrived at the WSOP Main Event. In 2011, Ladouceur finished 63rd. In 2012, he made it to 13th, an agonising four spots from the November Nine. It's why the memories now of these "successes" are tinged with regret, and where the wisdom comes from.
"The Main Event has been a good tournament for me," he said. "It's my fourth cash in six years, but there have been some big disappointments over the years too."
Away from the tables, Ladouceur owns a nightclub and it renowned as one of the best party hosts on the circuit, particularly in his native Quebec. But after many of his friends were eliminated from the Main Event, they headed north out of Vegas, leaving only a handful of potential revellers in town. Even that suits the more focused Ladouceur, who is keeping a profile far lower than his mountains of chips.
"If there's one thing I've learned from those years it's that I go straight back to my hotel room after the day is over and hang out there and relax there, and don't get into too much social stuff," he said. "There are still some people from Quebec here, but it doesn't have the same vibe as it does all summer, which again could be a good thing because there are a lot fewer distractions."
But, after a glance at the bulging bag still sat on the table in front of him, Ladouceur admitted the possibility of a party in a few days time. "There will be plenty of time for that afterwards," he said.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.