3:45 AM: my phone rings at the exact same time as my alarm clock goes off. I haven't slept a wink. I am about to embark on a trip of a lifetime. My buddy Jason Mercier is on the phone. "Hey man, get up! Our plane leaves in less than three hours!" I stumble out of bed and hit the shower. The cold shower brings clarity to the situation. I am heading to the WPT LA Classic, and I am going with my favorite player of all time!
Our plane lands in sunny Los Angeles. That all too familiar smell of jet fumes, smog, and the salty breeze from the coast awakens my senses. Jason and I head off for a bite to eat and to discuss strategy. Like a sponge I absorb everything I can from this magician of the felt.
As we enter the Commerce Casino, the sound of slot machines and chatter is all I hear. I have never felt better. Maybe it’s the confidence of having an elite pro to my left, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m basically free rolling this $10,000 buy in thanks to a huge win I scored on Bovada a few months ago. Either way, I feel great.
Thankfully, Jason and I are seated at different tables. I take one last sip of my Red Bull, and the very first hand I look down at is pocket kings! At this moment, I start to get a little nervous but still have an incredible sense of invincibility. My run of luck and good cards continues well into the night, as well as the following day as we play down into the money. Finally, the inevitable happens. Jason shows up at my table with an equally huge stack of chips.
I have a top three chip stack as we get to final table, which is televised. I play as tightly as I can letting everyone else inflict damage upon one another. Then, I look down at pocket jacks! My heart races. I raise three times the blind, only to be raised by Mercier with a sheepish grin on his tired face. I make the call. The flop is QJA. I check, expecting him to do the same. Instead, Jason shoves his entire stack in the middle. What does he have? Set of aces? Set of queens? A straight? After several minutes of tanking, I reluctantly make the call for three quarters of my stack. I show the set of jacks, and Jason slams down K10 for the flopped broadway straight. Just as quickly as my heart melted to the floor, it jumps right back into my chest as a Q hits the turn! The nuts! No card can beat me. I know this, and Jason knows this. Euphoria encompasses my body. I win the huge pot and take a huge chip lead, and eventually coast into a first place win.
I wake to sun hitting my exhausted face the next morning. Last night feels like a dream. Jason and I partied well into the night making this my single best night ever. At least from what I remember about it.
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