The Poker Gods had some fun at the World Poker Tour Main Event in Thunder Valley as David Larson turns financial despair into joy, and an unbelievable fold prevents a world champion from glory.
You’re headbutting the wall, blood sticking to your lashes. Mother puts the palm of her head in the way and pulls you into her breasts to comfort you like she did when you were a baby. You’re 35.
It sucks balls.
And then you fall in love again, have a baby you never imagined you would have, and life couldn’t be any more brilliant. There must be a God. Or the kid with the joystick likes your avatar.
You need one player to fill your sticker book. You spend all of your dinner money on packs of stickers. Ribs begin to stick out of your school shirt. Then one day, you find it in your pack when trading doublers.
Shit happens in the strangest ways, just like the shenanigans at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event at Rolling Thunder this weekend.
It’s December. Christmas time. David Larson doesn’t care about all that Santa nonsense. He puts his hand into his pocket and pays $2,500 to play in the WPTDeepStacks Main Event in the Thunder Valley Casino. It was a punt of the highest magnitude because it was the most money he had spent to play in a game of poker. It worked out; he min-cashed.
Two months later, and he doesn’t want to do it again. So, he plays in a $400 satellite. Fails. Fuck. Another $400. Fails. Double fuck. Another $400. Fails. Triple fuck. Another $400. Fails. He goes to the ATM pulls out $3,500 and buys-in to the WPT Thunder Valley Main Event. Like swallowing a walrus, this is new territory.
He beats a casino record 440-entrants to win the whole Goddam thing despite arriving at the final table 6/6 in chips, and will now feature in the $15,000 Tournament of Champions.
Who would have believed it?
How is Joe McKeehen Not The Champion?
But Larson shouldn’t have won this competition.
With the blinds at 30k/60k with 10k ante, the action folded to the chip leader, Ian Steinman in the small blind who looked down to see KK. A raise of 160k entered the pot. McKeehen looked down at QTo in the big blind and made the call.
Steinman bet 150k, McKeehen called.
Steinman checked, McKeehen bet 370k, and the man with the kings called.
Oh dear! McKeehen made a Broadway straight, and Steinman made a set of kings at the same time. Steinman bet 800k. There was 2.2 million in the middle of the table, and McKeehen moved all-in for 2.9m.
Snap call, right?
To the astonishment of the commentary team on the live stream, Steinman tanked for so long he used seven extended time bank chips before folding.
McKeehen won a decent pot but was left rueing 2.9m more that should have been sitting in front of him. And what would the former champion of the world have done with those chips? The decent money says he would have won it.
But he didn’t because life is never as straightforward as it seems.
McKeehen finished third for $131,081, Steinman took second for $201,428, and Larson picked up the winning check for $295,128.
And, as my Dad often reminded me as a kid, kids are starving in Africa, so I doubt none of the three is complaining much this morning.
Here is that fantastic hand.
Final Table Results
1. David Larson – $295,128*
2. Ian Steinman – $201,428
3. Joe McKeehen – $131,081
4. Ping Liu – $97,510
5. Rayo Kniep – $69,650
6. DJ Alexander – $56,417
*Includes a $15,000 Tournament of Champions seat
A few other top dogs who barked quite loudly in this one were Pat Lyons (9th), Sam Panzica (10th) and Ari Engel (21st).