That's what Lee Dryer from Franklin, Tenn., was able to do Friday afternoon when he beat eight other bubble finishers to win the bubble playoff put on by Milwaukee's Best Light. Not only does Dryer get a seat into the 2008 world championship, he also gets a year's supply of beer - specifically four cases of Milwaukee's Best Light - delivered to his house every month for the next year.
The players were seated at Table 204, just across the walkway from the Bluff featured table featuring Humberto Brenes. They were given 3,000 chips with blinds that started at 25/50 and increased every 30 minutes.
Two of the Milwaukee's Best Light girls offered each player a can of the beverage prior to the start of the tournament. All of the players seemed to be in good moods at receiving this second chance.
About half the field was gone by the time the players took a break after the third level. Ron Toledo from Edmonton, Canada, who finished 625th in the main event, was the chip leader with 8,500 chips in the playoff. He busted in the main event when he pushed his last 8,000 into the pot from the cutoff and Carl Olsen called dark and flipped over A-2. A deuce spiked on the flop and Toledo was out.
He cashed in the main event in 2006 and would have again in 2007 had he played it safe and folded around until the money line was reached.
Toledo said he appreciated being invited to participate in the tournament. "It feels good," he said. "We're freerolling here. We can only win, we can't lose."
Tim Duckworth from Melbourne, Australia, finished even closer to the bubble in 623rd place. He had 35,000 and decided to push with queens, but ran into aces. "I was a bit pissed off because I could have folded into the money," he said.
He was the short stack in the playoff as play resumed. "I'm not looking good now, but I was happy to get a second chance."
Immediately on the next hand, Duckworth got it all in with K-K. His opponent's hand? Pocket rockets. "Not again!" he shouted. Duckworth started banging another table with his hand in mock disgust, but he took the beat in stride. Maybe he can make it back next year.
Deron Nardo, a spokesman for Miller Brewing Co., said that the first bubble playoff held in 2006 got a really positive response so the company decided to bring it back this year.
"These guys played their asses off for four days with nothing to show for it," he said. "We thought this would give them something to look forward to for next year."
Noa Nguyen, who won the playoff last year, made into Day 2 of this year's main event before faltering.