At the end of my rope almost out of both spit and prayers. Yet again I find myself pitted against the odds clawing my way to victory. As luck would have it I received an invitation to a $250,000 winner take all free roll blackjack tournament. It’s a field of roughly 200 people, so definitely a long shot. Many years ago it was a lucky $2500 cash in an obscure blackjack tournament at Harrah’s Atlantic City that kept me afloat.
I don’t have enough money for a rebuy, or mulligan cards or even a respectable buyin at the regular tables. Using Jetblue points and some jive talking I get to the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino for free, even a limo pickup from the airport since this is a high roller event. I’m so broke at this loin that tipping the driver was painful. Utilizing freebie compounded upon freebie I manage to feed myself until the tournament starts.
Round 1, top 2 from each table advance. I make it by the skin of my teeth.
Round 2 the quarter finals. I finish 1st and advance again.
Semifinals, 1 person from this table will advance to the final 6 and guaranteed at least $30,000 for their trouble.
15 rounds of blackjack stand between me and a desperately needed payday.
Down to round 15. I am in 2nd place with 63,750. It is a must win situation. The chip lead is an old chinese lady who won a wild card drawing post elimination to get into the semifinal round she has 92,000.
I push 20,000 tournament chips into the betting circle praying for a blackjack.
She bets 10,000. Not the optimal play, but good for me.
I am dealt a 9.
Then a 2.
She has A,5.
The dealer’s up card is a 6.
Game time for me. I double down.
As long as I win this hand she cannot catch me.
Victory is near.
I get a 6. FUCK.
Luckily I have a mulligan card.
Another card flips slowly.
It’s a 7 of spades….Not the friggin MONKEY I craved.
She ends ups standing on a 17.
There’s no margin for error now.
The dealer flips over a beautiful J to make 16.
She draws the card that will make me a winner. Any A, 6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K will seal the deal.
Game over. My $250,000 fantasies are crushed into quantum dust.
Every opportunity, all of the stars aligned, poised for total victory.
After a short amount of tilt and some steam, I was able to anchor myself in gratitude and a handful of valuable lessons learned. Can’t seem to articulate them now.