Single page view By Jay Lovinger
Page 2

LAS VEGAS – Are you superstitious?

Me neither. The reason I burned all the clothes I'd been wearing during my 0-9 streak over the first six days of the WSOP was strictly a matter of wardrobe modification, an extremely important consideration for anyone hoping to become a serious poker pro.

While the offending garments were being reduced to ashes in the dryer – my suite doesn't have a fireplace – I went to the fridge to check on the condition of my lucky bowl of fruit salad.

I know, I know. First I claim not to be superstitious, and the very next minute I'm talking about a "lucky" bowl of fruit. All I can say is: Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. And history tells us that deteriorating pieces of fruit and poker – I'm sure I don't have to remind you about Johnny Chan and his lucky orange, do I? – are a most felicitous combination. While an orange is more than enough help to a player as skilled as Chan, I figure I need more … a lot more.

Other than a coating of some white fuzzy stuff that looked – and smelled – a lot like athlete's foot, my lucky fruit seemed to be in pretty good shape.

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When I left the room later, backwards, with the fruit bowl, as always, tucked under my left arm, I felt sure things would begin to change for the better. (Leaving the room backwards and always carrying the fruit bowl under my left arm has nothing to do with superstition, by the way. It's just that, by walking backwards, it's a lot easier to tell if someone is following me. Then, if someone is, by keeping my more powerful right hand free, it's a lot easier for me to protect myself.)

Sadly, my luck did not improve – at least, not right away. This may have had something do to with my leaving the fruit bowl in the back seat of a cab on the way over to the Rio Tuesday afternoon. Note to employees of the Yellow-Checker-Star cab company: If any of you finds what appears to be a furry bowl of fruit in one of your cabs, please do not throw it out. I'm offering a large reward – a year as a wait-person at the Times Square ESPN Zone – for its safe return.

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In fact, right off the bat, I suffered the worst beat – mathematically – of my short poker career. There were four of us left in a one-table step-up satellite (the last two players standing get seats in a super-satellite), and three of us were all-in. The guy who made the bet that put us all-in turned over K-10 unsuited, the small blind showed 10-10 and I had A-3 suited (clubs) in the big blind. I was sitting on a smaller stack than the other two, and I was getting 5-1 pot odds on my last $600, so the call was pretty much automatic. All things considered, I couldn't have been in much better shape – an ace would give me a stranglehold on the hand, barring some kind of freak flop, like K-K-x, since all the 10s pretty much canceled each other out.


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