Ironman of Poker


History of the Ironman of Poker

The Ironman of Poker (IMOP) is an annual poker outing/competition for a group of Midwestern degenerates. IMOP was created in 2006 by a “gentleman” known by most as “Santa Claus” both for his posts under that moniker at All Vegas Poker, and his habit of distributing poker chips to all good little girls and boys. Most of the Ironmen play in the same poker home game as Santa in the Greater Metropolitan Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, widely reputed as both the toughest and the fishiest game in the tri-state area (pick any three states, and it’s true). IMOP occurs annually in March, to coincide with college basketball “investing” and to permit the winter-weary Ironmen a chance to thaw out before spring break.

The competition portion of IMOP includes a number of prop bets and side games, which earn points for the Ironmen. The lineup of points-earning events varies from year to year based on how fiendish Santa’s mood is when he makes final arrangements. However, a representative sampling of points-earning events includes:

• Fewest hours of sleep

• Largest pot won (cash game)

• Most cocktails consumed

• Worst bad beat given/received

• Giving high fives (loses points)

• Signature hand wins (Ironmen get points for winning pots with a particular “junk” hand, e.g. 7-3; the hand must be tabled to get points)

• Tournament wins/cashes

• Felting players in cash games (bonus if another Ironman)

• Sports investment and pit game wins/losses

• College basketball pick ‘em challenge

• Ironman prop bets pick ‘em challenge (e.g., “Which Ironman will have the most tournament cashes?”, “Over/under on Bonnie’s total drinks”, “Over/under on different nationalities to be tilted by Barbie”, and “Will JBDIA straddle?”).

The Ironmen also have one formal dinner as a group, held at one of the finer steakhouses or other manly restaurants on the Strip; host restaurants have included Delmonico at Venetian, and Samba at Mirage. Beginning with IMOP-II, the dinner became the “Ugly Jacket Dinner” at which each Ironman attempts to wear the ugliest sportcoat or suit jacket. To date, Grange is the undefeated and three-time defending champion of the Ugly Jacket contest. Examples of his winning jackets:


Grange models his IMOP-III winning jacket.

Grange goes psychedelic for IMOP-IV.


The overall total point winner receives a small cash prize, a trophy (recycled from a junior high basketball trophy), and a blingy Paul Jardin watch, with playing cards on the face. The trophy and watch are traveling awards kept by the reigning Ironman champion:


The trophy figure is now kept on with duct tape,
and the year is updated with pen.  Classy.


Wooden carrying case, stainless steel band,
and garish colors.  Again, classy.


Classier than a WSOP bracelet.


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Ironman Resources


Official trip reports for all IMOP events are hosted on All Vegas Poker.  Links to specific trip reports can be found in the IMOP Trip Summaries, below.

Meet the Ironmen (Ironman biographies).

Follow the Ironmen on Twitter.  (Or follow recent Twitter posts at the bottom of this blog.)


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IMOP Trip Summaries


IMOP-I: Positively Tilt Street

Home Field:  Wynn

Participants:  Santa Claus, Lucky, Sahara, Jonesy

Champion:  Lucky

Worst-Dressed Winner*:  Santa, with his "Pediatric Unabomber" outfit

Foreigners Tilted:  Canadians

Great Ironman Tilts:  Lucky after Iowa lost in first round of the NCAA tournament.

Trip Report:  Publicly available for the first time HERE.  (Note:  Lucky is "Dan", Sahara is "Doug").

* There was no official Jacket Dinner on IMOP-I.


IMOP-II:  Prop Bet Boogaloo

Home Field:  Venetian

Participants:  Santa Claus, Lucky, Sahara, Grange (R), JBDIA (R)

Champion:  Grange

Jacket Dinner Champion:  Grange

Jacket Dinner Restaurant:  Delmonico (Venetian)

Foreigners Tilted:  Kiwis

Great Ironman Tilts:  Santa after tipping a maid for extra towels, for the wrong room.

Lucky after walking the Strip dressed in all black.

Great Tilts Inflicted:  Santa cracking the Sherminator's Kings.

Hilarious Hijinks:  JBDIA gets "finger-raped" at the Fashion Mall.

Trip Report:  Google Docs; All Vegas Poker, Part I & Part II.


IMOP-III: Poker Learnings of Vegas for Make Benefit Glorious State of Iowa

Home Field:  Venetian

Participants:  Santa Claus, Lucky, Grange, JBDIA, Barbie (R), Bonnie (R)

Champion:  Grange

Jacket Dinner Champion:  Grange

Jacket Dinner Restaurant:  Delmonico (Venetian)

Foreigners Tilted:  English, Canadians

Great Ironman Tilts:  Bonnie, after having his AA cracked by Lucky's KK.

Bonnie again, running into "tight" sheets in the Venetian suite.

Great Tilts Inflicted:  Barbie winning a monster pot in the "Big Purple Button" incident.

Hilarious Hijinks:  The Beatdown at Bally's (wherein Grange is tackled by a drunk Englishman).

Lucky having water dumped in his crotch at Jacket Dinner.

Trip Report:  Google Docs; All Vegas Poker, Part I, Part II, & Part III


IMOP-IV:  Make it Four!

Home Field:  Bellagio

Participants:  Santa Claus, Lucky, Sahara, Grange, JBDIA, Barbie

Champion:  Santa Claus

Jacket Dinner Champion:  Grange

Jacket Dinner Restaurant:  Samba (Mirage)

Foreigners Tilted:  Swedes, Russians, Ukrainians

Great Ironman Tilts:  Surprisingly, no epic Ironman tilts.

Great Tilts Inflicted:  Barbie showing a big bluff at Caesars Palace, and later tilting a "Russian Nazi".

Grange snapping off Aces and Kings at Bellagio and Planet Hollywood with "nontraditional" starting hands.

Hilarious Hijinks:  Barbie pulling off the "Meat Tank" prop bet.

JBDIA straddling, then raising his straddle.

Trip Report:  Google Docs; All Vegas Poker, Part I & Part II


IMOP Tournament of Champions I

Home Field:  Venetian / Wynn

Participants:  Santa Claus, Lucky, Grange

Champion:  Lucky

Group Dinner:  Stack (Mirage) (with condescending staff and celebrity sightings)

Hilarious Hijinks:  Walking to Ellis Island for steak dinner with drunk spousal units.

Mullet hunt and big booty hunt (both won by Mrs. Lucky).

Great Ironman Tilts:  Santa, after being slowrolled by Grange.

Great Tilts Inflicted:  Too many to mention, as Grange cracked Aces and Kings with seeming impunity.

Trip Report:  Hosted on All Vegas Poker HERE.


IMOP-V:  The Hangover

Home Field:  Venetian

Participants:  Santa Claus, Lucky, Sahara, Grange, JBDIA, Barbie, Bonnie, Colt, River Joe, Fat Jesus, Baby Carlos, Mr. Chow

Champion:  Barbie

Concert T-Shirt Champion:  Sahara (with a Michael Bolton shirt from hell)

Jacket Dinner Champion:  Barbie (2nd—Baby Carlos, 3rd—Grange)

Jacket Dinner Restaurant:  Rum Jungle (Mandalay Bay)

Foreigners Tilted:  Brits

Great Ironman Tilts:  Sahara, after Grange knocked him out of the Aria tournament with 52o.

Great Tilts Inflicted:  Bonnie against various Brits at Planet Hollywood.

Hilarious Hijinks:  Colt nearly being arrested for sneaking booze onto the plane.

JBDIA shouting, "Damn you, Erik Seidel!" during taping of the championship match between Annie Duke and Erik Seidel during the Heads Up Poker Tournament at Caesars Palace.

Colt mistaking a ladies' picture/card protector, thinking her grandson was her daughter.

Trip Report:  Google Docs; All Vegas Poker, Part I & Part II

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