Second place nets Law a poker payday

Derrick Law’s moonlighting gig just became profitable, in a big way. The Whitehorse cardsharp is $290,000 richer after finishing as the…

Derrick Law’s moonlighting gig just became profitable, in a big way.

The Whitehorse cardsharp is $290,000 richer after finishing as the runner-up at last weekend’s BC Poker Championships, in the No-Limit Texas Hold’em Tournament.

“I really had my heart set on winning it, and I was poised to do so,” said Law from Vancouver yesterday, before catching a plane home. “Second is hard to complain about, but there’s that saying that ‘second is the first loser.’”

Modesty aside, after two 12-hour days in the River Rock Casino in Richmond, Law made it to the final table of 10 players, sitting seventh in chips — after 784 people coughed up the dough to enter the tournament, at $2,700 each.

During the eight-hour final table, under the TV lights, Law played his way into the lead. “It was long, it was hot,” said Law. “Those lights are warm; they had six big cameras on us, and the hold-card cameras.”

The game is scheduled to be shown on TSN Sportsnet in March.

It came down to two players, Law and Abbotsford’s David Ross White. “We had 7.84 million chips between us, which is a pretty huge stack,” said Law. “It was pretty impressive to be making half-million dollar bets.”

Up 5 million to White’s 3 million at the second-last hand, Law met some bad luck.

“I had two sevens, and he had a queen-10 of diamonds.”

With the pair, Law forced White to go all in: “Queen-10 is kind of a marginal hand to call your tournament life on, but he did.”

White caught a queen in the community cards, “which kind of crippled me,” said Law.

“The last hand — I pushed all in with an ace-two, he had pocket eights, and the board bricked out. I think I ended up pairing up my two, but it wasn’t enough.”

White walked away with the $600,000 first-place prize.

“There’s a great feeling in doing so well, outlasting 782 other players, but I really wanted to win,” said Law.

There were a dozen Yukon players at the tournament, and Law estimated that at least half made it to the second day of play. He was thankful to all the Yukoners who stuck around for the final.

“Whenever I’d rake a pot in, they’d hoot and holler. They were fantastic, without their support I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have done what I did.”

Despite the big payout, Law doesn’t plan to abandon his day job with the Yukon government for a life on the professional poker circuit.

“I’m not willing to make that move yet, to give up the security of a regular paycheque at this point. If I do well in another tournament like this, I think that’s going to be the writing on the wall — to pull the pin on a regular job and go pro.”

Law points to ‘Yukon’ Brad Booth, and James Lopushinsky as other territorial players who are currently making names for themselves in the poker world.

More details about the Yukon’s players, and their results can be found at www.yukon poker.com.

“Yukon has produced a number of great poker players,” said Law.

“Booth’s a high-limit, cash game professional, and his protégé, Lopushinsky, is the Canadian Heads-Up Champion.

“Between the three of us, in this calendar year, we’ve pulled in nearly a million dollars. That’s a pretty decent achievement, and I think people are starting to take notice of the Yukon.”

In the meantime, he plans to put his winnings to good use.

“I’m going to pay off my mortgage, and a couple other bills I need to take care of. Some friends are getting married in Costa Rica, and I wasn’t going to go, because of financial constraints. Now I think I’ll probably go.”

I won’t be all sun and sand for Law, however: “There just happens to be a casino at the resort there, maybe it’ll be a working vacation,” he said with a laugh.

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