IT WAS THE GREATEST OF GAMES.
IT WAS THE WORSTEST OF GAMES
By Sammy Vaughn
Sammy Vaughn is a long-time successful tournament player, who finished first and won a million dollars in a Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament. In his column, Sammy writes about anything he damn well wants to write about.
The great game ... Stardust old style. It was $600.00 live money, 60 hands, with standard good playing rules and $5.00 to $300.00 betting limits. There were no gimmicks or carnival tricks. Players had liberal time limits to make their bet. Usually, good dealers dealt in the tournament. The only thing that was missing was the surrender rule.
The great players in this event had various styles and strengths but they had one thing in common: winning major tournaments.
I was a spectator in this tournament. In seat one was Jan Swanson, a financial adviser from the twin cities. I first met him when he won a Stardust tournament for $100,000 in the mid 90's.
Although I don’t remember ever playing against Jan heads up, I watched him play many times. The last time was painful. Here’s why.
Several years ago in Tunica, he was at the final table against the great Rockwell from "Norlins." Rocky was the money leader and sitting on a pair of paints on the last hand and he was last to bet. The next four players played their hands but were no threat to Rocky. The only thing between the Rock and $550,000 (I had 5% piece of that due to being on Rockwell’s semi-final table) was the most conservative player of all time. Yep, Jan Swanson. I was thrilled because Jan had a hard 18. You guessed it ... Mr. Swanson doubled his bet and drew a Trey to his 18 for a 21 (gulp).
Now there was talk of a $1,000 offer to Rocky to not split the tens, but none of the other players screamed, so who am I to judge. Besides Rock says he could have dropped three places if the dealers 10 upcard beat his split 10s (no split). Rockwell still got $22,000 and he gave me $1100. Not bad.
The next two guys need no introduction to anyone that reads anything about BJ...
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