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When the Bubble is not the Bubble

Four Queens Poker Classic, Las Vegas
$300 Limit 7 Card Stud
Report by Joe on Thursday, 25 September 2003 at 7:33 pm

Today’s event was $300 Limit Seven Card Stud. Stud is my least favourite form of poker and limit is my least favourite form of stud. I have only ever played two limit stud events before and they were both at the Masterclassics in Amsterdam, both without much success.

I was up early today at about 6am, my body clock has still not adjusted properly. After spending two hours catching up on e-mails it was up to the Golden Nugget spa and gym for the fourth morning in a row followed by a trip down to the pool for an hour or so before the noon start.

I was drawn next to Jack McClelland, tournament director at the Bellagio, a great guy and one of the best tournament directors around. I don’t ever recall seeing Jack play poker before but he assured me that he had played once or twice. Peter ‘The Poet’ Costa was at the other end of the table and it was Peter who took the photo when Ram walked over to say hello to Jack.


There were 95 players and it was a freeze out. We all started with $800 in chips and the first level saw the button (only) post $15. This was a new format to me. The levels were 40mins and the second level was more routine with a running $5 blind and $25 / $50 bets. I played fairly solid (surprisingly) and managed to get my stack up to about 1200. At the halfway stage with half the field gone all four mobsters were still in it and Barny was going particularly well. Ross went out in about 40th place. I got drawn to Barny’s table. I saw Barny lose a few big pots. Every draw he missed and every draw against him hit until I clashed in a three way pot with him. My three queens won a very nice pot and Barny’s aces went into the muck. The third player had Jacks up. I had eliminated Barny in about 35th spot and now had $3,000 in chips, above average and the highest I had been to date. Looking across at Ram on the table next to me I saw that he was down to one chip and in a bit of trouble but as I watched he managed to bust someone else’s aces making a straight on the down and then double up again shortly after. Ram was back in business as well.

Aces can be cruel as well as kind and just as Barny went out with aces I nearly did too when a grey haired American from Phoenix , “where it’s always 100 degrees and why was I wearing a jacket in doors”, nearly bust me with his fives and sixes. Soon after I was out in 25th and Ram was the only surviving mobster. Ram’s stack went down to a single chip again and then up to a sizeable stack until the rollercoaster ride he was on saw him out just before they broke to two tables.

Bonnie Damiano, the Four Queens tournament producer, has instigated a very nice idea for those players that finish on the bubble; The Bubble Tournament. For those of you who don’t know ‘The Bubble’ is the spot in a tournament one before the money. So if 9 places are paid the bubble would be 10th spot. All together at the Four Queens there are a total of 40 tournaments if you include the smaller ‘twilight’ ones. This means that a maximum of 40 players will battle out the Bubble Championship on October 5th. Bonnie will be throwing in some $$’s as well as some free champagne (bubbly) for all the players. I am also informed that there will be a bubble machine blowing bubbles. I don’t know whether my West Ham season ticket gets me in though.

On Tuesday 23rd September, when I finished 7th in the Omaha event that Barny won, they paid five places. Had I finished 6th I would have made the Bubble Tournament so does that mean that I really did finish on the bubble?

Result of the $300 Limit Stud Freezeout 95 Entries
1 Johnny Donaldson $11,060
Monticello, AR
2 Anthony Markese $6,360
Chino Hills, CA
3 Gus Weiss $3,315
Boulder City, NV
4 Mike Rabinowitz $1,935
Las Vegas, NV
5 Bob Gammon $1,660
Bloomington, IN
6 Pat Nixon $1,380
Las Vegas, NV
7 Artie Cobb $1,105
Las Vegas, NV
8 Walt Baronick $830
Phoenix, AZ

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