Gary Clark sat in the big blind, the $525 satellite down to four players. Two hands before, the 3s had doubled up from a short stack. All four men had roughly the same number of chips, and the blinds were at 400/800. The 3s asked the table if everyone wanted to chop. His buddy in the 2s was all for chopping up the $5000 in lammers, and Gary had no problems getting a 150% return on his investment. The 7s pushed back, and play continued.
"Be sure you don't regret that," said the 3s and the words rang in the ears of the 7s. Gary smiled, because he knew that the 7s would regret not chopping up the prize. Now the button was in front of Gary, the 3s pushed all-in, slightly covering the 7s. Gary snuck a peek at his cards, and the pocket 8's looked very good to him as he had both players on overcards. "We can still chop," said the 3s. The 7s was perplexed as his cards looked very good. "I've got you beat," the 3s said. Like that, the one-table satellite was over as the 7s relented and agreed to a chop. They flipped over their cards: the 3s had , the 7s had . The dealer ran out the flop, and the was the window of the flop.
After Gary had sold two of the $500 lammers so each player could receive $250, we sat down at the table where he'd just finished the satellite. "What do you think of these?" he asked. "I think the blinds go up way too fast. The last one I played was a lot tougher. We had six people left, and the blinds had reached $2k/4k."
Gary has been playing poker literally his entire life. "My grandmother taught me to play in Baton Rouge, and I've been playing ever since," he said. He now lives in Byram, halfway between Crystal Springs and the state capital of Jackson. He owns a concession company that serves the Mississippi State Fair. Like many states, the State Fair attracts citizens from all over the state to see a woman turn into a gorilla, ride a Ferris wheel, or munch on pralines after a catfish dinner.
"I've come to the World Series of Poker since 2003," Gary said. "I also play in Tunica, New Orleans, and Biloxi. The casinos are still nice on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans, and the players have returned. It's just the city that is still broken." Gary cashed in the 2005 $1k Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo (15th $3,790). He placed 11th in the 2006 WSOP Tunica $2k Shortanded NLH event ($3,875). Kyle Bowker finished second in that event then went on sevens months later to finish 37th at the WSOP Main Event, taking home $247,399.
Gary's top cashes came this year in the WSOP Circuit $5k Main Event at Harrah's New Orleans. He finished 23rd for $10,003 and made a final table at a $500 NLH event four days earlier, taking $11,262. The winner of that event took home $58,183, and you could tell Gary ached for the big score.
This trip to the WSOP hasn't seen the big score, just a big sore. "I haven't been running so great," he said. "I've played in five tourneys but haven't cashed yet. The NLH fields are so big in the smaller buy-in events that you have to catch cards. In the 3k-5k events, the fields are smaller but you have to play much more solidly." Gary will be here through next week, his departure depending on when his luck kicks in or when he decides it's time to catch a plane.