I don’t know about you, but I measure the passing of days at a major poker tournament with reference to my underwear draw. One by one, the clean items dwindle, and when the drawer is more fresh air than linen, we’re getting to the end.
I’m not a risk taker. There are spares in there. (We don’t want another Budapest experience.) But there’s no avoiding the fact that clean shorts in the top drawer are significantly outnumbered by the despicable contents in the bottom, and why on earth am I talking about underwear on Day 5 of the World Series Main Event? Somebody please stop me.
Even by more conventional measures, it’s fair to say the 2017 WSOP is drawing to its crescendo. We started with 7,221 players and we have only 297 left. They all started with a negative balance of -$10,000 for their tournament buy-in, but are now at least $25,267 in the positive.
Once another nine players are knocked out, the payout increases to $40,181 (or a $30K profit). Soon we’ll be getting into annual household income territory.
One man who is hoping, nay expecting, a much deeper run here this week is Team PokerStars Online’s Randy “nanonoko” Lew. “I really think I’m going to make Day 6,” Lew says, before event taking his seat for Day 5.
“I don’t have any excuses. I’m playing my best, my A-game. I’m making good reads,” he says. He adds that he feels the gravity of the situation, that this is a career-defining moment for him.
“This is it, right now,” Lew says.
This is Lew’s first WSOP Main Event cash in 10 attempts, but said he is feeling similar vibes to those he felt during his standout live tournament success: first place at the APPT Macau Main Event in November 2011.
Yesterday, he got lucky to double up with pocket jacks against aces, but said he was confident of the outcome even before the dealer obliged. “I didn’t get up from my seat, I knew the jack was coming,” Lew says.
Back in Macau that time, Lew got his chips in with pocket queens against aces and hit a queen. He said the feeling this week is familiar.
“I really mean it,” Lew says. “It seems superstitious, but I was, like, I’m going to get the queen. It’s the same feeling.”
Pondering for a second more, he adds, “I hope it’s not just some bullshit I made up.”
BS or no BS, Lew is projecting an extraordinary calm at such a critical time in any poker player’s career. With a few notable exceptions, deep runs at the WSOP Main Event don’t come around all that often and players can often panic, ruining their chance to cash in. But Lew is in the middle of a world tour, enjoying an extended period away from poker tables for perhaps the first time in his adult life.
The trip back to the grind is like a holiday within a holiday. And who doesn’t want to extend a holiday a few days more? So long as one has the underwear.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.