The Realms / Stacked Deck Final Table
The beginning of the year in The Realms should always be the start of new things. But at the Castle on January 4th was actually the end of the poker playing season. Throughout the year, Duke Tao of Clontarf kept track of the top 4 places in each poker tournament. Players earned points that would go towards the final table. I also collected gold from each tournament for the final pot.
Tao tallied up all the points and invited the following players to the badly named final table (because there were actually two tables): Here is the list of top 16 players in the order of most points earned to least.
Last year's champion Sir Avendar of Voranis; Sir Sagart of Voranis; Sir Jayce of Neden; Sir Phoenix of Folkestone, Sir Zatarra of Invictus champion of season 1017; Baledor of Chimmeron; Sir Rillan of Voranis; Belle of Blackwood; Luc-Dubois who is independent; Runaris of Invictus; Sir Mathies of Blackwood champion of 1015 season; Nova of Blackwood; Jean Baptise of Neden; Evie of Voranis; Karmha who is independent, and Jack of Grimloch.
Because Duke Tao was organizing and running the tournament for the last few years, he did not play in the final. After winning the 1016 season, Tao semi-retired. (more on this later)
Tao does not remember exactly when most of the players were eliminated but here are some details of a few that stand out in my mind.
Sir Avendar, last year's champion, appeared to be a clear favorite to win in the side betting. So, when he was the first to fall it definitely changed the expected outcome of the tournament.
Sir Zatarra was eliminated a little over halfway through the tournament, leaving only Sir Mathias as the remaining former champion on the tables. He lasted all the way to 5th. Once the tables had been combined Sir Mathias had one of the largest chip stacks. But alas, luck was not with him. He could not find any hands to play for many hours and ended up having to go all-in and loosing when there were, but 5 players left.
Hoping to bribe, er, entice everyone to bring Duke Tao food, he had announced that he would be asking people to bring things in pots, for luck, and he would judge who was the best in many categories. Low and behold the people of Realms answered his request for food with fantastic entries. He was so overwhelmed by all the quality cuisine, everyone who brought something got first place prizes for the food.
The tournament was starting to wind down when Belle of Blackwood, someone who only started playing a scant few years ago, came out 4th. She was the first to earn any of the prize pool and walked away with 145 gold.
Third place went to Rillian, but really this was the hand that pretty much decided the tournament. The three remaining players and decent stacks, no one had a lot more then another. This was the kind of hand that no one wants, because there is no getting away from it. No raise preflop, just the blinds played. The board came: six, six, six. Rilan checked, Runaris checked, the turn came: eight. Bet-raise-all in-call, Rilan showed he had the eight for a full house, but Runaris had the 4th six. Quads won the hand and Rillan came out third (and collated 430 gold).
When Runaris took out Rillan he acquired quite a chip stack and, in these situations, it is usually just a matter of time. Jayce held out, made some moves, and survived for quite a while, but eventually they both found hands they thought had a chance of winning. But Runaris's Ace high was the winner when Jayces draw hand did not get there. Jayce earned 860 gold. And Runaris earned the title of champion and a very special (magic) item.
This will be my last year running and hosting the tournament for a few years. "This coming season I will be playing and earning points, hopefully. I have enjoyed doing this, but I also enjoy playing in this kind of tournament. Good luck to Sir Zatarra who will be hosting next year's game, and Sir Aeston for keeping track of points." - Sir Tao Ya Kang, Duke of Clontarf Providence, Blackwood.