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Double Dipping

by Scott Fischman |  Published: Mar 22, 2005


With the recent growth of tournament poker, many events take more than one day to conclude and determine a winner. Most commonly, a tournament will be played on the first day until it gets down to the final table, and then the remaining players will return the next day to finish up. Most of the time, final-table play is scheduled for a later starting time than the other daily tournaments, so if you reach a final table, theoretically, you can still enter that day's tournament, give yourself time to build some chips up, and then get blinded off for a bit while you play the final table later that night. I don't really recommend doing this, because it may affect your play in a negative way. However, there are certain circumstances that come up that may make it necessary for a person to play two tournaments in one day. Recently, at the L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino, I ended up having to do just that – double dip!

Here is how it happened: It was Monday afternoon and I awoke just in time to register for the $1,000 buy-in seven-card stud eight-or-better tournament. After getting situated at my table, I became very confident about my chances of doing well in this tournament, as I had just come off a second-place finish in the same event in Tunica.

I zigzagged all the way through a very long night of split pots and scoops. As we were reaching the end of the long tunnel, I began to think about the next day. I was scheduled to play the Professional Poker Tour freeroll tournament at noon. When I realized that my chances of making the final table of the stud eight-or-better event were close to 100 percent, I started to worry about the conflict of the next day. Even though I wouldn't be buying into the PPT tournament, it was an honor to be included in the event and not a tournament that I would take lightly. I asked the tournament director if there was any way that something could be done to help. There was no way that they would let us finish the tournament that night; however, they did change the starting time of the final table for the following day. Originally, it was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., and with the PPT event starting at noon, the blinds would be very high by the time I would have to sit out and play the final table. I suggested that we begin the final table at around the time of the dinner break of the PPT, so that I could save an hour of being blinded off. Thankfully, the staff and the other players who made the final table were very accommodating to both me and Paul Darden, who had the same conflict.

The next day rolled around and I was looking forward to a very exciting day. It would be my second consecutive final table for stud eight-or-better and my first appearance in a PPT event. I made sure that I got plenty of rest and was very prepared for my full day of poker.

My strategy for the early rounds of the PPT was to play a little more loosely and aggressively than usual, so that I could build up enough chips for when I would have to leave to play the final table and get blinded off. Everything was working perfectly, and my stack was going up, up, up. We started with $10,000 in chips and I was exceeding my expectations, amassing nearly $18,000 by the first break. I kept up my aggressive style for the next couple of hours, and when it was time for the dinner break and the start of the final table, I had about $25,000, which was plenty to keep my mind at ease while playing the stud eight-or-better tourney, as I didn't have to worry about being blinded off.

As the dinner break began and the tourney director was announcing the final eight players in the stud eight-or-better tourney, I took my seat with tons of confidence as he announced me as the chip leader. Maybe I was just a little overconfident, as I didn't fully gear down from the aggressive mode that I was in for the PPT tournament. Right away, I got involved in a couple of pots and lost both of them. After the first full hour of play at the final table, I hadn't won a hand, but we were down to the final five players. I couldn't get anything going and watched my lead slip away right into the hands of Paul Darden. We lost one more player and then I lost another huge pot to Paul. It didn't take much longer for Paul to get the remainder of my stack and send me back over to the PPT tournament.

As I returned to my seat in the PPT, I was very disappointed about my fourth-place finish, but it was crucial not to let it affect my play. I had to block out my emotions and concentrate on this tournament now. The caliber of players at my table helped me stay focused and gave me a lot of incentive to play my "A" game. As day one of the PPT tournament ended, I was still alive, but my stack was dangerously close to dead. There were 38 players remaining and I was trailing by quite a bit in chip count. The tournament director announced that we would resume play at noon the next day, and I went straight to bed.

By the time the cards were in the air the next day, I was feeling refreshed and was looking forward to my uphill battle. I survived for the first hour, slowly building my stack, when I picked up pocket aces. The cameras were rolling and I was praying not to get snapped off. Thankfully, my aces held up and the dealer pushed me the pot, momentarily overwhelming me with joy. Now, I was on the hunt! Before I was finished stacking my chips, I glanced down to see my next hand, A-K. Without much hesitation or thought, my right hand fired a raise into the pot. I got reraised all in by a player holding pocket eights, and I quickly called. If I could win this coin toss, I would be among the leaders with only about 28 players left. When the smoke cleared, I was walking out the door with mixed emotions. Luck was not on my side for that one. I was very disappointed about not making the final table of this very prestigious tournament, but then again, I was excited about all I had learned from getting a chance to play with all the best players in the world. I had a chance to get some good table time in against a couple of top pros with whom I had never played before. I think I put on a good showing, and finished close to the top. I was on my way back to my room when I passed by the registration desk for that day's tournament, and I just couldn't help myself: "Sign me up!" That would be two days in a row of playing more than one tournament in a day. I love poker! spades

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