I had some down time before the tournament, so I headed down to the ballroom an hour early with the Gutermuth clan to set up and relax before the crowd got there. On our way, we were reminiscing about how we started the Can't Stop tourney 11 years ago. We were hoping for 16 players and got over 100. It has been triple digits ever since in the late night shot. Could Las Vegas be another "Late Night Hit”? Maybe …
No sooner did I set up the kiosk, when a few people asked If they could enter. Just like that first year of Can't Stop, we feared there would be a shortage of games, so we had people start even though the game was not scheduled to begin for another hour.
As feared, there weren't nearly enough games. As this was my first time ever GMing a C event, it was surprising to me how many players didn't know how to play. It only takes a few minutes to learn, so I lent out my few games and got people started. And it's a good thing we started early, because with the huge shortage of games, people played and then had to wait for other games to finish and then lend out those games again. Luckily, the game only takes about 30 minutes to play!
It being single elimination event, no runner-ups were accepted for advancement. The number of players created a bracket that only allowed four players to advance to the Final. Even though it is a 5-player game, the number of winners were not conducive to five finalists.
After Round 1 of the Final, Michael Wojtaszczyk led with 180, followed by Gary Schaefer 110, Bryan Collars 60 and poor Debbie Gutermuth with a goose egg. Bryan had selected Las Vegas for his team game so I suspected a fox was in the henhouse. Just by making the Final he had already scored team points.
Round 2 brought Michael back to earth with a 30-point round. His strange strategy of going for the same number no matter what, didn't quite work out in the long run. Gary remained consistent with another 120 points. Debbie joined the game with 110 and Bryan improved slightly with an 80 score for the round.
Round 3 found sand bagger Debbie getting the hang of it with a 150-point session and suddenly wasn't looking so weak. Michael collected an egg of his own as he continued his downward trajectory. Gary remained a model of consistency with another 110 points. Bryan still couldn't crack 100, settling for 70 and putting his team strategy at risk.
Debbie and Gary appeared to be the runaway favorites entering the last round. On her penultimate roll, Debbie could clinch the win if she doesn't take a 5. But fatigue had set in and Debbie saw she could take points out of Gary's score. What she didn't see was that Gary would get less points and she would get more if she didn't take the 5. And that ended up costing her bigtime.
Michael scored 70 on his go round for a total of 280. Bryan scored his high for the night with a disappointing 90 for a total of 300. Debbie’s less than optimal 140 gave her a total of 400, but Gary secured the win with his low score of the night - 80 - for a total of 420 points.
Everyone seemed to have a good time playing, and the finalists were no different. They had each other laughing throughout. Bryan had the quote of the game. "It really doesn't matter what you roll … sort of.” Well, yeah, if you’re happy with being third.
Gary won the "lazy player" award for only going for casinos that he didn't have to reach for. But hey, whatever wins.
Thanks to everyone who played, my helpers and especially those who lent their games out after they finished - prolonging their own bedtimes. So was Las Vegas a hit? Not by WBC standards, it wasn’t. With 95 entrants it earned the distinction of being the biggest event not to qualify for the Century and an automatic return. Only the top 25 drawing events earn automatic returns regardless of player hours lest WBC become overrun with quick and simple at the expense of meatier fare. So Las Vegas will need voter love or a sponsor to return in 2017 as a continuing Trial event.
|The usual CABS suspects fleece
Mary Ellen Powers and Jim Garvey
|Marty Sample, Mark Mitchell,
Danny Lewis and Bryan Collars