Posted: Monday July 11, 2005 3:00PM; Updated: Monday July 11, 2005 3:00PM
"That's never happened to me in a tournament before," said 31-year-old Patatanyan, who survived another day. Most likely, with the field standing at 567 players when the chips were bagged at the end of the night, Patatanyan will be one of the fortunate 561 who at the very least earns his buy-in back.
Eighty-year-old William McKinney of Princeton, W.Va., who earlier this week became the oldest person ever to win a WSOP bracelet, made a spectacular comeback in the final three hours Sunday night. At about 9:30 p.m. McKinney, who won the Seniors No-Limit Hold 'Em event (and $202,725) last Monday, called against an all in with A-K. His opponent who went all in held K-K.
The community cards were rags, and McKinney was down to his final $2,400.
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However, by the end of the night the man with 11 grandchildren (and three great grandchildren) had built his stack back up to $97,300. McKinney has been entering WSOP events since he was 73, but he's been playing poker since he was 7 years old. When last night's session was through, he told a story that every one here in Las Vegas could appreciate.
McKinney served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, aboard the USS Barnes, an aircraft carrier. When he arrived in San Francisco, where the Barnes was docked, McKinney immediately noticed something. "They played poker so badly," he says. "But I only had six dollars on me. So I sent a letter home to my parents that basically said, 'Sell the cow. Send me $50.'"
Properly staked (or is that steaked?) by his family, McKinney played poker in earnest during the Barnes' six-day cruise from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor. By the time the carrier docked in Hawaii, he had earned more than $1,800. The captain of the Barnes told the still-in-his-teens ensign, "You're the only man on this ship who earns more than I do. Are you cheating?"
"No," McKinney says he replied, "I don't need to."
A few weeks later, McKinney's parents back home in West Virginia received a letter from their son. Inside was their $50 investment, plus $1,000. And their son had written them a short note: "Here's the interest on your investment. Buy the cow back."
Stinking up the joint
Sweating a table (verb, trans.): "A person sitting behind a player or watching a player from the rail is said to be "sweating the player" if he/she is rooting for them."
Last night Barry Pritchard of the United Kingdom lent a second definition to the above term. In his first two days Pritchard, with his Frank Zappa locks and his incredibly colorful retro fashion sense -- red Chuck Taylors, powder-blue corduroy pants and a David Beckham jersey -- was easy to spot.
Playing in his first live tournament, Pritchard, a wiry 40-something who never kept still, played to the crowd and amused his fellow players.
Pritchard was impossible not to notice. Alas, the visual sense was not the only one the Brit piqued. The olfactory senses also got a workout. In short, Pritchard reeked.
At 9:36 p.m. WSOP tournament director Johnny Grooms approached Pritchard. "Sir, after you're done with this hand, I gotta speak with you a bit."
Grooms and Pritchard went over to a corner. A few moments later Pritchard was applying Degree deodorant, which Grooms had given him, to his pits. When he returned to the table he was no longer the jovial character he'd been throughout the tourney.