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Phil Laak On Showing Up Late To $111,111 Buy-In Poker Tournament: 'It Felt Like Burning' $13,000

Poker Pro Lets 50-Big Blind Stack Bleed Away For 30 Mintues


It may be one of the most expensive tournaments ever in the history of poker and have a $4.8 million first-place prize, but poker player Phil Laak still couldn’t show up on time.

Laak arrived 30 minutes late on the second day of the $111,111 buy-in One Drop at the 2013 World Series of Poker, a mistake that he said cost him thousands in equity. He lost a number of chips thanks to the mistake, and so he fully admits it was a bonehead move.

“I did the math, and it probably cost me $13,000, from the amount of blinds I missed,” a disappointed Laak said. “The grind away of my stack felt like burning money.”

He entered the second day of action with less than 50 big blinds.

“The dealer…I know who it was, but I would never…the accountability is on me,” Laak said. “But I asked this dealer when we started the next day and he said so confidently two o’clock. I know the onus is on me to check everything, but that’s the mind of Phil. Sometimes I don’t check things and wind up in bad spots like this. Accidents happen, though.”

“I still feel great that I am here,” he added. “If my phone ringer wasn’t on, when Antonio [Esfandiari] called me, I would have shown up at 2 [p.m.], which is what I was scheduled for.”

While Laak was scrambling to make his way to the Rio, speeding in his Range Rover, Esfandiari and his table-mates were considering prop bets on whether or not Laak would shower or brush his teeth before arriving to play. “I had done all that,” Laak saying while laughing. “I was having cereal when he called and was like, ‘What!’”

His situation was perplexing, but it probably pales in comparison to last year during the main event, when a player on day five decided to skip the action for religious reasons.

Despite the late start, Laak was able to rebound. He was still alive with 60 left at around 6:30 p.m. local time in Las Vegas on Thursday. The event is scheduled to finish Friday.