March 30th, 2019, the hottest day of the year to date. The Dodgers had just opened the season by blasting 8 home runs and were playing just around the corner, the NCAA tournament was in the Elite 8 stage, and the rising temps drove the masses to the cool respite of Echo Park Lake. But the hottest ticket in town was a seat in the LA5 “Stay Alive” Poker Tournament. Twenty-three players, mostly LA5 royalty, descended on Trencher LA, the hottest sandwich shop this side of the mighty Mississippi, for a good ol’ fashioned Texas Hold ‘em grudge match for the ages. Co-owner and fellow LA5 Rotarian, Harlan Gleason, closed shop early so we could use his digs, drawing down the shades while keeping one eye out for the man on the beat.
When the clock struck 5, the cards flew. Players double checked their hands and made strategic decisions on whether it was best to call, fold, or raise. As play progressed the blind levels rose, forcing players to make more desperate decisions. Do I call? Do I go all in and risk everything? Should I fold and live to play another hand? Some decisions were right, some….were not. As the stakes rose, so did players heading to the registration desk for a “re-buy”, a.k.a. a second chance at glory. Some went back for third and fourth chances, doing all they could to keep that faint hope alive.
Cash rushed the coffers, chips went into the pot, aces were cracked, draws went unfilled, houses were filled, bounties were busted…….all in the name of charity. As the dust settled and tabs were paid, the players dwindled, one by one. Eventually, there were but five talented (lucky) players left. The top four would leave with prizes, the 5 place finisher would be the bubble, the loser. Soon, the bubble burst, and new Rotarian Rob Menz went down with it. Next in 4th place went Balthazar, then in 3rd place Steve, then in 2nd place Rotarian Extraordinaire Adam Weiss, and in 1st place, Richard.
In addition to a very fun, exciting night, the event raised over $1,100 for the LA5 Foundation. Pretty cool. Big thanks all of our players, to Trencher LA for hosting, and to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3shades design, and RJM Financial Group for sponsoring and running the event. Keep an eye out for LA5 Poker 2020.