Jennifer’s Fantasy Poker Tour, Part I

by Jennifer on June 9, 2008

You probably all know by now that poker is my game. I started learning it when my dad’s side of the family would get together, and I played it very, very badly for years. In fact, up until about 10 years ago, I needed the rank of hands (what beats what) scribbled on a little piece of paper next to me at the table.

I’ve come a long way since then, at least in my confidence about the game, though I still don’t play as well as I wish.

Some of the most fun I’ve ever had at the table was when, upon winning an online tournament that paid for my seat, I got to play in the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event.

I know that some of you play poker and will know the structure of that event, but for those of you who don’t play or haven’t watched endless hours of poker on TV, here’s the rundown: That year, there were 5619 entrants, and we were divided into three groups. Each group had a Day 1 of the event, separate from the others. Everyone starts with $10,000 in tournament chips. At the end of those three days, the number of remaining players had whittled down to somewhere between 1500 and 2000.

On my Day 1 (Day 1B), I had an excellent run of cards and managed to knock out 11 people. After playing for about 15 hours, I finished the day with $85,350 in chips, which placed me at 14th in chips out of the 560 remaining players from our group. That run of great cards helped me to last longer that day than Oliver Hudson (who famously lost his whole stack to Sammy Farha on the first hand), Tobey McGuire (yes, he’s cute in person, too), Mimi Rogers (story to follow), Cindy Violette (ditto), Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Annie Duke, Erick Lindgren, and Phil Gordon.

When the survivors of the three groups convened for the official Day 2, and all the counts were in, I started the day 39th in chips overall. I was feeling pretty damn good, if exhausted.

And then it all went to hell. Slowly, but that day was a long, steady decline. The run of cards I had enjoyed a couple of days earlier had moved on to some other lucky bastard. The good hands I did have didn’t hold up so well. But I managed to last until the end of the day, until 10:00 or 11:00, and finished in around 700th place.

As it is sometimes in life, the mistake I made that cost me my chance to continue happened about a half an hour before my final hand. I didn’t play a hand that would have tripled my stack (although it was probably the smart decision in the moment), and then later I pushed on a pair of 10s that ran up against pocket kings.

I was tired and disappointed to the point of tears (which I held in until we got at least to the car, and maybe to the hotel…there’s no crying in poker!), but I knew also that the whole experience was one for the books.

Though I finished just 140 spots out of the money (I didn’t need that stinking $18K anyway, maybe more…bah), I had a hell of a good time.

During the entire two days I played, I was never seated with a name pro, though Gus Hansen came over to my table to say hello to a friend, and I saw just about every pro there, both close up and from a distance.

But. I promised you a story about Mimi Rogers and Cindy Violette (a poker pro)…

I didn’t play with either one of them, but I did find myself in the ladies room with them somewhere around the middle of Day 1. They came in together. When Mimi (I can call her Mimi, right?) walked up to the sink, she smiled and said hi, and I asked her “How’s it going in there?” Because we poker chicks are, like, cool that way.

And then she’s all, “Oh pretty well. How’s it going for you?”

And I’m all, “Oh, all right. I’ve got about $35,000 right now.”

“Wow! That’s great. You’re ahead of me.”

I didn’t ask her what it was like to get it on with be married to Tom Cruise. I also didn’t ask how she stays so skinny (she was, very). And, goodgodno, I didn’t ask for an autograph. We wished each other good luck and went on. I mentioned that we poker chicks are cool like that, right?

Anyway, over the years, I’ve kept a running list of people with whom I would love to play poker sometime. And now, just for all of you, I’ve transformed the top of that list into Jennifer’s Fantasy Poker Tour.

It’s a good table.

But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to check it out. See you then!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

flutter June 9, 2008 at 9:19 pm

You, me, vegas.

flutters last blog post..Life doesn’t stop

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JCK June 9, 2008 at 11:28 pm

Oh, you big sexy tease! I was going to kill you if you didn’t dish about Mimi. I don’t even care about stuff like that normally, but Mimi…well, she’s a good celebrity sighting. Did you ever see that film, “The Rapture”? It was pretty amazing and troubling.

Jennifer, I can so picture you at the poker table. And, “there’s no crying in poker” HILARIOUS!

Oh, and why am I always in the actual process of leaving a comment on your blog and your comment comes in on mine. We are synchronicity sisters! And…chatty.

JCKs last blog post..Yes, Hillary, we are so proud

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Madge June 10, 2008 at 5:10 am

i saw her on ESPN!!! so there, all you Thursday Drive junkies!!!!

Madges last blog post..A Birthday Poem

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Daryl June 10, 2008 at 5:54 am

Husband plays poker every Thursday evening with the same crew for the last 30 yrs ….

And my godson, Jack, was at one point an actor, he’s now in college and a talented musician, he played Will Robinson in the remake of Lost In Space .. and Mimi Rogers played his mother … Jack’s mother tells me that Mimi is an extremely nice person ….

Daryls last blog post..tuesday toons

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Gwen June 10, 2008 at 6:09 am

Again, I bow before you and your poker prowess.

Gwens last blog post..Bon Chance

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brenda June 10, 2008 at 6:23 am

Is that like not crying when you get stopped for speeding? (I always cry after I get home. Unless, of course, I DON’T get a ticket–because….. never mind–then I just shake after the officer leaves the car.)

What an experience. Definitely one for the books.

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HRH June 10, 2008 at 6:23 am

You rock.

Totally rock and I am trying not to beat my computer keyboard out of jealousy.

Did ya see Doyle?

HRHs last blog post..Come visit me…

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Jenn @ Juggling Life June 10, 2008 at 6:25 am

Definitely an adventure for the books (or blog)!

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Are They Trying To Tell Me Something?

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we_be_toys June 10, 2008 at 6:54 am

Ah you poker shark, you!

I’m thinking I should stick to penny poker and crazy games like 7 Card No Peek – they would eat me alive at a real poker game.

But I can’t wait to hear all the celebrity dirt from my favorite insider!

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Lisa Milton June 10, 2008 at 7:09 am

I’ve watched the tournament with my hubby; it’s so intense.

I bow to your prowess and utter cool.

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liv June 10, 2008 at 7:24 am

goodness, gracious! you are so tough!

livs last blog post..

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Sandy (Momisodes) June 10, 2008 at 9:48 am

You are one cool cat ;) That is awesome you made it to the world series! Can’t wait to read that list.

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..Delirium

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Jennifer Harvey June 10, 2008 at 9:49 am

Holly–Yes, Doyle was there. Jim was invited to a private tournament he was hosting, too. I was playing, so I couldn’t go, but I did see him several times.

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Ann June 10, 2008 at 9:51 am

My hubby loves poker and will sometimes watch it on TV – I cannot watch it for the life of me. I may as well remove my fingernails one-by-one instead – but I bet it’s a blast to play.

As for “getting it on” w/ Tom? I think Mimi said years back in interviews that he liked to “preserve the instrument”, if you know what I mean….

Anns last blog post..Dear Chocolate, It’s Me

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Akelamalu June 10, 2008 at 10:39 am

I can just about play SNAP!

My brother plays poker a lot though. :)

Akelamalus last blog post..Military Ranks…..

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TX Poppet June 10, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Ooo! I can’t wait!

TX Poppets last blog post..Moving Day

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tysdaddy June 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm

This is a side of you I never would have guessed in a million years.

I have never been a card player, aside from some late night Euchre while working at a boy scout camp. Those that play well amaze me.

tysdaddys last blog post..Categorical Nonsense?

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natalie June 10, 2008 at 1:17 pm

my husband was addicted to the world series of poker when we were in the states for 7 months. it seemed like there was always some poker something on tv. he’s never known anyone actually in it. you are his new hero!

natalies last blog post..And we have a winner…

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Milena June 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Don’t know a THING about poker. All your technical speak went right over the noggin but I was riveted nonetheless. I so wanted you to win Jennifer. This was too exciting for my ticker I’ll have you know. Dry mouth, sitting on the edge of my seat and of course, the coolness factor to root for since I could tell you’d be SO with it in front of Tom Cruise’s ex. When is the next bout, I mean tournament? I’ll start watching poker on tv (so that I can know what the hell is going on) even though it bothers me that players wear eyeglasses to the table and that they all look so impassive. I’m sure you are much more expressive than that. Also, I will KNOW that vs. those other people, YOU SMELL GOOD girlfriend.

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SteveCinNM June 10, 2008 at 3:00 pm

I can’t wait to see who is at your fantasy table. Sort of like “people you’d like to have dinner with,” only without the annoying talking-with-food-in-the-mouth. And, wouldn’t it be cool to say you took Winston Churchill (someone I’d like to play cards with) to the cleaners?

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catnip June 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm

I’ve only played poker *gasp* once, just a couple months ago, but I loved it! Good for you for getting so far in the tournament!

catnips last blog post..it’s kinda like, hot out

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Dave June 10, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Cool story….my poker skills never made it beyond playing in high school with my buddies, lol!

Daves last blog post..Green Fingerprints #2 – Highway 53 Revisited

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slouching mom June 10, 2008 at 8:42 pm

man, you are cooler than cool.

slouching moms last blog post..It’s Tuesday Short Time!

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apathy lounge June 10, 2008 at 8:59 pm

I suck at poker, but maybe that’s because I can’t even bear to try to learn by watching it on tv.

apathy lounges last blog post..Edging Closer to the Empty Nester Hat Trick

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Razor Family Farms June 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Could I just say that I adore your header? Actually, i love the entire site. It’s a joy to read your posts and just gaze upon all this creativity!

It’s super stuff!

Guess who finally posted?? Moi!

Blessings!
Lacy

Razor Family Farmss last blog post..Channeling Barbara Gordon

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