Toronto Rock owner Jamie Dawick, the 2013 NLL Executive of the Year, is competing in the World Series of Poker Main Event. (Photo: Toronto Rock)
The drama and the grind of the World Series of Poker Main Event was front and centre for Toronto Rock owner and president Jamie Dawick as he began play in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday. The 2013 NLL Executive of the Year and WSOP veteran survived a 12.5 hour day and a number of ups and downs.
After watching his starting stack of 30,000 chips shrink to as low as 15,000 very late in the day, Dawick got on a run and ended up with 45,225 chips to finish Day 1B and advance to play on Day 2B. Play will resume for Dawick on Tuesday at 3pm ET.
“It was a tough day,” remarked an exhausted Dawick. “Until you sit in that chair you don’t know what that grind is like. I took a couple bad beats early on so I was battling all day. When I finally did get on a run it felt great. There were points in the day where I was struggling but I played almost mistake-free poker and there are not a lot of things I would change. I feel pretty good about the way I finished, reaching my high point with about 15 minutes left in the day.”
Dawick also had another celebrity encounter at this year’s Main Event playing for over 6 hours with television actor Ray Romano of "Everybody Loves Raymond" fame. The celebrity experience included a bust out moment with his former TV co-star Brad Garrett.
“Just a great guy,” said Dawick when asked about Romano. “When Brad was sent to the rail in the tournament, it was quite a funny exchange. He yelled out across the poker room floor looking for Ray and Brad came over to our table. Fans at home will probably see that one on TV at some point.”
While rubbing elbows with a well known actor was something special, Dawick also had to deal with 2-time WSOP bracelet winner John Monnette sitting at his table for much of the day. Monnette has already cashed in three 2013 WSOP events.
“He was pretty quiet,” said Dawick. “I had to respect him as he was on my left. He wasn’t a loose cannon and he knows what he’s doing. I always had to be aware of him.”
Notables not moving on to Day 2B after being eliminated on Sunday include past champions Scotty Nguyen and Greg Raymer as well as UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
More coverage to come as Dawick continues to pursue poker’s most prestigious prize on Tuesday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dawick’s trips to the WSOP have been up and down over the past couple of attempts at winning poker’s biggest event. Last year, Dawick made his way to the end of Day 2 before being eliminated.
“Those are some long days,” remarked Dawick about the grind of the WSOP Main Event. “It’s a mental game you play with yourself as well as everyone at your table. You have to catch cards and get a bit of luck, just being a part of such a big event is a real rush.”
In 2007, Dawick posted his best finish in the Main Event by finishing in 363rd place and winning $34,664. American Jerry Yang won the Main Event in ’07 and took home $8.25 million. At the 2012 tournament, American Greg Merson survived the field of 6,598 players to claim the Main Event bracelet and $8,527,982.
Shortly after buying the Toronto Rock in 2009, Dawick made his way to one of the featured tables and appeared on ESPN’s coverage of the tournament. Seated at the Rock Owner’s table were 2004 Main Event Winner Greg Raymer and actor Jason Alexander of "Seinfeld" television fame.
As an owner of a professional sports team, this event also gives him the unique opportunity to promote the Toronto Rock to a new audience.
“Wherever I go wearing Rock gear, I always seem to run into someone familiar with the team and the sport or get a lot of questions about what I’m wearing,” said Dawick. “The logo and brand is getting more and more recognizable and a deep run at an event like this would bring some real recognition to the Toronto Rock to a whole new audience.”
Dawick will keep Rock fans posted on his progress at the WSOP Main Event through Twitter. To keep track of his journey at the WSOP, follow @JDawick on Twitter.
“I want to try and keep everyone as informed as possible throughout the event,” explained Dawick about his social media presence at the WSOP. “I really appreciate the support from our fans.”
DAY 3 UPDATE:
A late day double-up pushed Toronto Rock Owner and President Jamie Dawick’s chip stack to 85,600 to close out Day 2B at the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event. The entire field will come together on Thursday for Day 3 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After steadily building his chip stack throughout Day 2B at the WSOP Main Event on Tuesday, Dawick saw his chip total shrink to around 40,000. His chip count was as high as 115,000 at the dinner break.
Coming out of the 90-minute breather, Dawick found himself seated at a table with poker pro Tuan Le, a winner of a pair of World Poker Tour events earning over $4.4 million in the two wins.
“After dinner I knew I was changing tables,” said Dawick of the game of musical chairs that ensued after grabbing a bite to eat. “I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as the table I had at the beginning of the day. Everyone had at least 100,000 worth of chips. I was card dead and it was tough to play against good players with a stack.”
With his chips dwindling and advancing to Day 3 becoming less of a slam dunk than it was just a couple of hours earlier, Dawick finally caught the starting hand he had waited almost two days to find it’s way to him.
“They announced there would be 4 hands left to play for the night,” Dawick explained. “On the second last hand, there was a raise and a couple calls. I said out loud ‘Please just wake up with a hand’, I looked down and I had pocket aces. I made a big raise, got re-raised all-in by the original raiser and fortunately my Aces held up and I went from 40,000 to 88,000 chips. I lost a few chips with pocket 8’s on the very last hand.”
Nick Schwarmann leads the tournament with 413,00 chips and has already cashed twice at this year’s WSOP. On the 10th anniversary of his now historic Main Event win, former champion Chris Moneymaker was eliminated on Day 2B on the first level of play.
More coverage to come as Dawick continues to pursue poker’s most prestigious prize on Thursday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
DAY 4 UPDATE:
Dawick saw his Main Event come to an end on Friday afternoon after starting the day with 170,500 chips. Finishing in 428th spot, he earned $28,063, making it his second-best finish at the WSOP Main Event. Dawick’s best finish was in 2007 when he finished 363rd and collected $34,664.
About an hour into Day 4, the money bubble burst and the field was reduced to 648 players meaning everyone still alive in the tournament was going to cash, which is viewed as a major accomplishment in the poker world.
“I went into the day knowing I was likely going to cash,” said Dawick. “I picked up a big hand early and maybe I could have got more chips out of the hand if we weren’t so close to the bubble. The bubble burst quickly, but the unfortunate part was that after the bubble burst, I really went card dead.”
With the antes and blinds increasing and Dawick’s chip stack shrinking it was time to make a move, unfortunately it would be his last stand at the 2013 Main Event.
“I got my last ten big blinds in with Ace-2 of hearts and about 80,00 chips,” explained Dawick. “I ran into a big stack that had Ace-Jack and there was no help on the board and I was out in 428th place.”
Friday’s action started with 666 players fighting for the Main Event title and by the end Day 4, there were just 239 players left in the field. American Jon Lane of Menasha, Wisconsin sits atop the leaderboard with 2,839,000 chips and a lead of just over 350,000 over second place Sami Rustom, also from the United States.
Dawick now returns home and looks forward to playing in some other larger poker events in the months to come. As always, the focus for him remains on returning the Rock to the top of the NLL mountain and bringing the Champion’s Cup back to Toronto.