Not All Coins Are Lucky In Vegas


Each satellite comes down to one critical hand you have to win. You try to get your chips in with the best hand and hope to not get unlucky. I didn't.

After busting out of the satellite I bumped into Adam, one of my poker friends from home who plays in my monthly game. He is a world class expert on Tibetan coins, and has the leading collection of ancient Tibetan (and other) exotic coins.

It was Adam who had given me the Tibetan coin (a thangka) that I used as a card protector in the tournament I won in March, and which was in the backpack I left on the plane. When I told him that I blamed the loss of my lucky coin on not having my lucky thangka, he reached into his bag, pulled out another one and gave it to me.

That boosted my confidence and I decided to try one more satellite before going to bed. Since it was only 10:00 Vegas time, Adam decided he would play too. We were quickly seated in a $525 satellite ($5,120 to the winner). I had my new thangka covering my cards and Adam had a rare "srang" on his (a heavy silver Tibetan coin, from the first series of coins ordered by the 13th Dalai-Lama in a move to modernize Tibet's currency in 1909 – very rare.) Early in the first round I raised in late position with a king and jack in my hand. Adam called. Thangka vs. srang. My thangka proved to have superior power and I won the pot. Later, however the thangka's magic was not strong enough for me to win -- or the ancient monks of the Ga-Den monastery where the coin was hand pressed in 1912 did not want me to win, for reasons that are beyond me. Discouraged, I trooped back to my hotel next door and went to bed.

Wednesday, I spent the morning taking care of business, and figuring out how to get a replacement set of car keys sent to me. I reviewed my strategy notes and headed over to the tournament hotel to get mentally prepared for the $1500 No Limit Hold'em tournament that started at noon.

As expected, more than 2,000 players put up the entry fee (or won a seat online) –- an unheard-of number in previous years. All the other players at my table looked line online players –- all in their twenties, with PokerStars hats and sunglasses.