Holdem with Holloway: River Card Sees Me Fall One Spot Shy of a WSOP Main Event Seat

Holdem with Holloway: River Card Sees Me Fall One Spot Shy of a WSOP Main Event Seat

At the beginning of December, I had the opportunity to attend a Celebrity Charity Tournament in Santa Monica, California that was headlined by Hollywood actors Ted Danson, Cheryl Hines and Andy Buckley. The winner was set to receive a $10,000 seat into the 2024 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

The $1,200 buy-in event with $500 re-buys had approximately 100 players and was hosted by Jerry Greenberg, Bruce Stern, Eliott Kessas and Jacob Zalewski. Proceeds went to the One Step Closer Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of those who suffer from cerebral palsy and other disabilities, and Geffen Playhouse, a nonprofit theater in Los Angeles.

Danson and Hines are familiar faces in the charity tournament streets. Earlier this year, the Cheers and Curb Your Enthusiasm stars All In for CP Charity Event inside the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.

I have a nephew who has Cerebral Palsy, hes been in a wheelchair since he was born, and I know what a challenge that is, not only for the individual but for all the loved ones that support them," Hines told PokerNews in a previous event.

I attended the event which also included poker pros Justin Boosted J Smith, Jesse Martin, and Dan Shak with my friend Chris ONeill, and while he wound up bowing out early, I managed to make a deep run thanks to some big hands.

Playing w/ David Wallace!

While I didnt get the opportunity to play at the same table as Danson given he busted relatively early, I did play with Buckley, and as a diehard fan of The Office, that was a real treat. For those who dont know, Buckley portrayed Dunder Mifflin corporate boss David Wallace in the hit show.

While he was far from a poker professional, he seemed to have a basic understanding of the game and was certainly much more proficient than many celebrities Ive seen try to play poker. Unfortunately for him, his run came to an end about halfway into the tournament.

That is when Buckley, who also played Don Beaman in The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, got his short stack all in preflop holding the KJ and found himself at risk against a player holding the QQ.

According to a poker odds calculator (you can find one for free here on PokerNews.com), Buckley was a nearly 3:1 underdog. He had a 28.46% chance of winning the hand while his opponent was a 71.21% favorite.

Unfortunately for everyones favorite Dunder Mifflin corporate boss, the flop fell Q4J to give his opponent a set of queens, which became a 96.36% favorite. Buckley needed to catch running cards to win, which had a mere 3.64% chance of happening.

Well, the A on the turn kept his hopes alive as he picked up a gutshot straight draw a ten would give him a Broadway straight (AKA the 10-J-Q-K-A straight) and his chances of survival jumped to 9.09%.

There were four tens left in the deck and Buckley had one pull at it, but it wasnt in the cards as instead the A paired the board on the river to improve his opponent to a full house queens full of aces.

In true The Office fashion, Buckley starred at the board with a slight grin on his face, the same look fans saw him shoot Michael Scott a hundred times before. The sort of grin that says, Well, I just dont know what to say.

Eventually, Buckley took his leave from the tournament and left those of us remaining a great memory, along with all the other celebrities who took time out of their day to play some poker!

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Coming Up One Spot Short

I was able to use my experience to amass a decent stack and make it down to the final three tables. However, by that point, the blinds and antes had become so large that everyone was sitting on a short stack.

As a result, there were a lot of all-in situations, and everyone needed a little luck to survive. Case in point a big hand I played when a player in early position moved all in with the JJ, another player moved all in holding the 33 in the small blind, and I looked down at the AQ in the big. Even though I was short, I had the biggest stack of all three of us and quickly called.

I had the worst hand technically, but I did hold two over cards. In fact, a poker odds calculator gave me a 35.45% chance of winning the hand, while the jacks were a 46.44% favorite and the threes had a 17.71% chance of coming out on top.

Unfortunately, the 8K6 flop was no help to me and my odds dropped to 24.47%, and additionally, to 14.29% when the K bricked on the turn. I needed either an ace or queen on the river to stay alive, and much to my delight I got it when the dealer put down the Q!

Winning that hand gave me the chips to make a run all the way to the final table, and it was there I found myself as one of the final two players alongside Eliott Kessas, who I had played with earlier and shown himself to be a strong player.

By that point, we were close to even in chips, but the blinds were huge and we were just looking for a spot to get it in. Eventually, it came when he shoved holding the J8 and I called off with the K4. I was a slight 56.43% favorite, essentially making it a coinflip.

I held through both the flop and turn, but then a jack spiked on the river to give him a pair and the win. Thats how I came one card away from winning a seat in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event!


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