Part 3: So close and yet so far. Our heros make a valiant effort but fall short of their World Series of Ecuhre dreams of glory.
Saturday, Sept. 16th:
10:00 am EST: There was a much rowdier bunch on Saturday. Drinks were flowing early, but I had made a previous agreement with my partner, that I wouldn't touch a drop of alchohol until we were eliminated, or preferably, until we had won the entire tournament.
It became obvious to me that most of the players in the WSOE all knew each other by playing online in Hardwood. I noticed this in Cleveland in 2005, but this year it seemed to be an overwhelming majority, as opposed to about half. Some players we spoke to actually believed that Hardwood was running the World Series and that you had to be a member in order to enter. When we introduced ourselves to our opponents, they usually asked; "what's your names on Hardwood?", and we usually replied; "we don't have any.
Note: I have joined Hardwood since returning home, if for no other reason, so that I will have a name on Hardwood next year.
In our first match of the day, nothing clicked. The cards were terrible for us. The opponents slowly chopped us down and beat us both games. During a brief break afterward, Michael said; "You might as well have a beer Harvey. As soon as we lose another game, we're out of it". I declined on the beer, insisting that we remain positive about our chances. Although I enjoy drinking beer while playing euchre, it dulls the senses and makes it easier to make mistakes. I couldn't afford mistakes at this point in the venture.
Upon returning to the tournament area, we noticed that there were some empty tables. Some of the teams had left after they were eliminated, so Scott Zagol restructured the roadmap to keep 2 teams on each table. This was when Scott announced that "the top 25 percentile was going to make it into the playoffs", giving hope to teams who might finish with 9 or 10 wins.
On that note, the cards began falling into place. We won 6 out of the next 8 games. We found ourselves building up momentum and heading into the final two games with 8 wins, on a pace to finish with 10 wins overall and a possible playoff entry. Joe Andrews then made a heartbreaking announcement before the 9th and final round; only teams with 11 wins were being accepted into the playoffs. Although everyone there knew that you needed 11 wins to get to the playoffs before they started playing, any hope that was offered by Scott earlier to teams with 9 or 10 wins, was suddenly crushed.
Joe's statement eliminated our entire table in fact, so we all took a trip to the bar before the 9th round and bought a round of beers. We played two half-hearted games even though Michael and I scored four loners. I also reneged once and pitched a card off the table, but it didn't really matter. The cards were on fire, but we were eliminated.
Shortly after that, the playoffs began. 16 teams with 11 wins or better played a best-out-of-three, double-elimination tournament to decide who the winners of the WSOE would be.
Michael and I were out of contention, so we sort of hovered around for a while. Word began circulating about a No-Limit Texas Hold-em tournament that was going to take place in the ballroom. My partner Michael might not be the most experienced euchre player in the world, but he plays Texas Hold-em several times a week in Las Vegas with some serious sharks. I didn't want to play poker, as I am burned-out on the game personally, however Michael did. While this game was being organized, and the initial rounds of the play-offs were taking place, Michael went upstairs to the room for a nap and it became "beer:30" for me. Why not? I was on vacation. I'm a mostly a "home-body" back in Vegas believe it or not.
At the bar, I spoke to all sorts of interesting people, including a gentleman from New Zealand who helped me out with a euchre-related project that I have been working on for some time now. I also played some pool with Sammy D. and his wife, a very cool couple I met that lived near Lansing.Unfortunately, word had gotten out about the poker game and hotel security had shut it down before it started, but I found Michael another game that was taking place in one of the rooms. I woke him up and staked half of his roll, and he went up there and easily won everyone's money. Cool beans for us. We got our euchre buy-ins and part of the plane fare back, plus had fun doing it.