Join Bridge Winners
Mitch Towner: Poker and Bridge Winner on Same Day

Text Exchange With Mitch

That's a text exchange I had with Mitch Towner, whose name you probably know from his stint on the US Junior team. Mitch was supposed to fly in to Los Angeles, where I live, this past Monday afternoon so we could practice for the upcoming DC Nationals at the regional in Long Beach. I didn't really know Mitch was into the game enough to play in a World Series Of Poker event with a $1500 buy-in, but it didn't surprise me; he's a great theorist and strategist who's also battle-tested not just in bridge but in the cutthroat world of Magic: The Gathering, in which he pulled in a full year's college tuition by winning a national championship. This is great, I figured; even if Mitch is tired, he'll be on a high from doing so well, and he'll have some extra money to throw around, no mean consideration for a first-year college professor. I didn't give much thought to Mitch surviving to the final day – only 26 people would out of an initial 6,927 entrants – but I did keep an eye on the results, continually updated on the WSOP site.

At the end of Day 3, Mitch was lying sixth.

I couldn't believe it, but in my defense, I was hardly the only one. At that time, the photostream on the WSOP site didn't feature one photo of Mitch, because no one knew him. The commentators were baffled as they tried to look up his past results and couldn't find any; they also couldn't resist pointing out that he didn't even have a rail (gallery of friends and well-wishers, for the poker uninitiates). Meanwhile, my four-handed team for the first two-day KO in Long Beach was suddenly down to three, but luckily and heroically, Phil Clayton was looking for a day of bridge and thankfully joined me, Alex Kolesnik, and Bob Etter. While we played and survived our first two matches, I kept checking my phone at the breaks to see how my partner was doing. He more or less held his position for some time, but in the later afternoon he got short-stacked and limped into the final table in only seventh of nine. But maybe that was a lucky number to ride in, as the next time I checked my phone, thinking he'd be out, he'd managed to reach THIRD. And then second. And by the time we finished our evening Swiss session, this was the result:

 

Final WSOP Reaults

 

Shock. Awe. A life-changing moment for Mitch no one could have seen coming. With all the excitement, of course he'd be forgiven for ducking out on bridge, right? Not Mitch; he was on a flight at 6:30 AM after a night of no sleep, ready to give it his best in his understandably slightly dazed state.

 

Mitch Dazed

 

And despite a couple of times it seemed to me he was having trouble remaining on his chair or remembering the order of numbers, we won the event; not only that, we added a second two-day KO title (this time with Bruce Horiguchi as well as Alex and Bob) on Thursday and Friday. A pretty charmed week, and before I took Mitch to the airport, we celebrated with dinner and drinks. (If you're interested, you can check out a webcast of the final table here; the hand that won it for Mitch was an A-7, hence the pose below.)

 

Bridge And Poker Hand

 

Check And Bracelet

And yeah, before you ask, Mitch paid.

93 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top