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Winding Up the Series

A brief recap

by Todd Brunson |  Published: Aug 20, 2010


This year’s World Series of Poker seemed like it was going to be a good one. I drew blood straightaway in the first event I played, $1,500 Omaha eight-or-better. It was only a $4,300 cash, but it was a nice way to get things going. Little did I know that it was going to be a long, uphill battle. I wouldn’t cash again for more than three weeks!

Daniel NegreanuI did have a mini unofficial cash in the meantime. It was no big deal, but it was kind of interesting to those who believe in ESP. You see, I woke up early on the day of the no-limit hold’em shootout. Daniel Negreanu had picked me in one of his pools, and I had missed the money by fewer than five spots in two events in a row.

I was texting with Daniel about how close I had come and the bad beats that had stopped me from cashing. He actually had heard about them through the grapevine. Anyway, after we were done, I was just kind of daydreaming, and I had this “vision,” or “waking dream,” or whatever you wanna call it.

In it, Daniel and I were at the same table of the shootout and got heads up, at which point we swapped a percentage of each other. That’s where it ended. So, I showed up at the event, and lo and behold, “Kid Poker” was at my table.

I busted Joe Cada right away with a bad beat, 6-5 suited against his pocket aces. I limped in from up front, and was followed by the field. He made a big raise from the big blind, and it looked like he was just trying to pick up all of the dead money. I called, and flopped an open-ender and a backdoor-flush draw. He bet, I shoved, he called, I hit, and he reported to the rail.

Chris MooreFrom there, it got down to Daniel, Chris Moore, and me. I suggested a swap, and they agreed. Chris won our table and went on to cash for $16,600. So, I guess all of that daydreaming in class paid off, Ms. Hanford, so stfu!

As I said, the rest of the tournament was pretty slow up until the end, but I did experience a bit of excitement one night. I had been out with some friends for dinner and drinks. Afterward, we destroyed a new multiplayer blackjack machine that the Rio had installed. In fact, we did so well during the month that the Rio actually changed the payout for blackjack from 3-2 (the same as live blackjack) to 6-5.

As the night turned to day, my buddies started dropping like flies, and I soon found myself alone. I’d had enough of blackjack, so I decided to check out the hooker bar (otherwise known as the Shutter Bar) to see if any of my friends were having a late nightcap. Sure enough, I found an old friend with a couple of English gentlemen.

Richard AshbyOne of the Brits was introduced to me as Richard Ashby, and he had just won his first bracelet. His group had been out celebrating and was starting to get a bit silly. Richard started throwing his bracelet at girls’ feet who were passing by and asking them if they dropped it. Keep in mind that with the price of gold nowadays, these things must be worth $5,000.

I wasn’t too worried about the girls, but when Richard started leaving the bracelet like 10 feet away to see what would happen, I started to become a bit concerned. It kind of reminded me of couch fishing with Beavis and Butthead, and we all remember what happened there. Well, maybe we don’t, but it couldn’t be good.

I positioned myself about 10 feet away in preparation for a runner. After Richard played his trick on a few unsuspecting ladies, I looked in the other direction and spotted his antagonist quickly approaching. He was a gruff-looking dude, and he lunged for the bracelet as soon as he spotted it.

I lunged, too, but he was ahead of me and got to it first. I managed to grab his hand, and everyone started to try to explain to him that it was Richard’s. He didn’t believe anyone, or didn’t want to, anyway, and said that he was gonna keep it.

I informed him that he wasn’t, and told him to let go of it if he didn’t want to get hit in the head, and not just once. After a few more minutes of arguing, Richard actually told the guy, “If you really want it that bad …” That’s as far as he got, as I told him to shut up, and I told the other guy that this was his last warning before I hit him.

I was actually winding up to lay this idiot out when one of the more sober people present realized that the bracelet was already engraved with Richard’s name on it. That ended the argument, and saved the idiot from an ass beatin’ and me from a possible 86 from the Rio. I guess all’s well that ends well.

After this, I cashed two more times: 18th in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event and 10th in the $2,500 mixed event. I had a total of three cashes with no bracelet and no final table — sigh! At least the greatest event of the year is coming up.

The Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge is just around the corner. This year, the WPT Boot Camp is holding a camp right before my main event, so we’re expecting a good crowd. Allegiant Airlines flies into Kalispell for $89.99 Mondays and Fridays from Vegas. The two-day boot camp is only $1,500, and the tournament is only $333 with two optional rebuys, so this can be an inexpensive poker excursion. Hope to see ya there!

Go to ToddBrunsonMontanaPoker for more info. Spade Suit

Todd Brunson has been a professional poker player for more than 20 years. While primarily a cash-game player, he still has managed to win 18 major tournaments, for more than $3.5 million. He has won one bracelet and cashed 25 times at the World Series of Poker. You can play with Todd online at or live at his tournament, The Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge, in Bigfork, Montana. Check his website,, for details.