Dazed and Done
Well. Wish I could at least say it was fun. But it wasn't. I sat down at table 78, seat 6, and my initial impressions were that nobody at the table scared me much. Some of the guys started off pretty aggressive, but nothing crazy. I watched one guy call an allin preflop in the first few minutes holding just AQ (he lost to pocket Kings), but otherwise the play was pretty ordinary. I was starting to feel good, and really didn't view any of the other players at my table with much concern. I was happy too because the spot immediately to my right was empty at first, so I had plenty of room to spread out, and had some free blinds to munch on right from the get-go.
Then, 15 minutes into the event, the guy whose spot had been empty came in, and everything changed. It was none other than...
That's right. The guy who outlasted 5700 entrants to the Main Event last year and ended up taking home $7.5 million for his efforts. Yes, that Joe Hachem. Immediately to my right. I wasn't fazed, and actually thought it was really cool. There were tons of railbirds around my table suddenly, and that's when things started falling apart for me.
First things first. In the WSOP, I never saw a hand better than AJo. I also had A9o (which I folded to a raise and a reraise behind me preflop), but otherwise, that AJo was it for me in terms of cards. Sure I stole a few blinds, but even my AJ hand I had to lay down when a flugging straight flush fell on the turn. But otherwise, things went basically just like they have been going for me lately online. Let me explain.
My first big hand occurred about 40 minutes into the tournament. I limped in from the BB with A2o. 4 other callers saw a flop with a single ace. I checked it, not wanting to commit anything with just top pair worst possible kicker. It was checked around. On the turn, another rag, I led out small, about 2/3 the size of the pot. Just the guy two to my left called. He was a professional who I've seen on tv before, but not someone whose name I know. I felt I had a good read on him that he did not have an Ace. I was committed not to go crazy with my basically crappy hand, but I did believe I was ahead. Then the 2 of clubs came on the river, giving me a very well-hidden 2 pairs. I bet out, again about 2/3 of the now almost sizeable pot, and this time Mr. Unknown Professional raises me 500. I figured maybe he did have an Ace after all, but with the 4 rags on the board along with that Ace, I had no reason to believe he had me beat, so I felt compelled to call. He flips, and shows a runner-runner straight that had filled on -- you guessed it -- the river. Fuck me. That was a third of my stack on a hand that I really don't think I would have played any differently even if I had wanted to.
Over the next 40 minutes or so, I would raise preflop with A9o and A8o, only to later fold when I made nothing on the board. I attempted a few blind steals with 100-chip (4x) bets that did not work. Long story short, there I am sitting with just 900 chips remaining out of the starting stack of 2500 chips, about an hour and 45 minutes into the tournament, when it's folded around to Joe Hachem in the SB. He raises the 25 blind to 75. I look down to find A6o. No way I'm putting Mr. Millionaire on a better hand than mine from his steal-position SB, so I reraise his 75 chip bet up to 200, hoping actually for a call or a reraise since I was sure I had the best hand. He thinks for a while and then calls.
The flop comes 9s6c2s. I'm figuring my A6 has got to be good here. Joe checks to me, and I bet out another 200. Again hoping for a call. After thinking for a while, Joe raised me allin.
Actually, he didn't raise me allin. That mofo hoyed me! I'm serious, he reraised me to 600 or wwhatever, leaving me with just 1 $25 chip if I called his reraise. I didn't give him the pleasure, and moved in my last 25, which Joe of course called. And he flips...pocket 4s. He was figuring I must have had 2 high cards, missed the raggy flop, and his 4s were still good. Wrong, Joe. So, with 2 cards to come, I'm about to double back up off of last year's Main Event champion, at least sending my chip stack back to the level of almost-respectability.
Now, you're probably thinking this guy hit his 2-outer with another 4 on the turn or river, and knocked me out. To be honest, that's really the way things have been happening for me lately in my play. I get in on the flop with a huge lead, my opponent hits a 2- or 3-outer, and I'm done just like that. Only this time, Joe didn't pull a miracle 4 to beat me.
Instead, he hits runner-runner spades on the turn and the river, to go along with his measly 4 of spades, and IGH. Just like that. It's disgusting, but it's the truth and there ain't nothing I can do about it. So in all, my first foray into the World Series of Poker lasted me all of one hour and 45 minutes. Not even to the first break. Just sickening. I'm still kinda in a daze about the whole thing. Two disgusting river beats to take away about 90% of the chips I lost on the day. River beats, river beats. It's becoming my mantra. And I don't know what I can do to overcome it.
OK so that's the story. No WSOP bracelet for me this year. No $750,000 first prize. No three days full of update posts from me about all the people I eliminated. No hoying Hellmuth, Matusow or any other big name guys. Today, I was the one who got hoyed, and it was the big name guy eliminating me instead of the other way around.
Oh well. At least I can say I got busted by the guy who won the Main Event last year. Who was a really nice and gracious guy btw, except at very first when the dealer insisted on seeing his picture ID and even tried to suggest that she couldn't accept the foreign ID he flashed at her. The whole table was laughing at the dealer until finally the floorman came over and told her he would vouch for Joe Hachem being who he said he was. Other than that, he was very gentlemanly, and shook my hand with a shake of the head when his runner runner bullshit 4 of spades flush sent me to the rail. Ugh. I'll write more later I'm sure, but right now I'm still trying to take it all in and just move on. Blech.