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Mike Sexton, team partypokerI was honored at the start of the WSOP Tournament of Champions (TOC) and was asked to give the customary “Shuffle Up & Deal”.

The ESPN camera’s were rolling when WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel introduced me as the greatest “Ambassador for Poker”, the creator of the original Tournament of Champions, the defending champion of this event, and the latest inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame. It was very flattering.

On behalf of all the players, I thanked Harrah’s and the WSOP for bringing back the WSOP TOC. I said we were all honored and thrilled to participate in this prestigious event. I wished all the players “Good Luck” and then gave the “Shuffle UP and Deal”.

It was bad play on my part

From there, my WSOP TOC went downhill. I survived Day 1 with 21 other players but only had $18k out of my starting $30k. Day 2 didn’t go any better for me. I could complain about ‘bad luck’ on one hand, but in truth, it was bad play on my part.

With antes of $50 and blinds at $200/400, everyone folded to Allen Cunningham on the button and he opened for $1200. I had two Kings in the SB and re-raised to $4200. Phil Hellmuth folded the BB and Allen made the call. The flop was A-5-2. (Doesn’t an Ace always come up when you’ve got Kings?) I checked, fearful that he might have an Ace-Queen or suited Ace. He checked behind me.

A ten came on the turn and we checked again. I also checked when a nine came on the river and Allen then bet $4500. I made the call and he showed me three nine’s. Although I was unlucky he hit the two-outer, I blame nobody but myself for losing this pot. I should have bet on the flop or certainly on the turn. I’m really upset with myself for mis-playing this hand so bad. It put me down to about $8k in chips.

Hopefully, the former WSOP TOC champions will continue to get invited

I built my chips back up to about $14k, and with antes at $75 and blinds at $300/600, I watched Scotty Nguyen make it $2200 to go and Mike Matesow re-raise to $6600. I looked down at A-K in the BB and decided to move all-in with it. Well, Scotty re-raised me (with two Kings) and Matesow folded.

He was just making a move at the pot and had Scotty not had Aces or Kings, I would have won the pot. An Ace didn’t appear and the WSOP TOC was over for me this year. Hopefully, the former WSOP TOC champions will continue to get invited back and I’ll get to try again next year.

It’s a great event with terrific players and my guess is that the final table of this event (decided on July 4th) will be the strongest final table ever assembled in the history of poker. I only wish I was there to compete for the title and the $500k that goes with it!


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