Well I'm in Vegas. Sorry for the lack of updates yesterday but it took until tonight at the Bellagio to even get my pc hooked up. I ended up getting a fatty suite at the Rio, one of the nicest I've ever stayed in, but apparently only some of their rooms have working internet access, which tells you just about all you need to know about the Rio IMO. But anyways, so here I am.
So it was a difficult Day 1 for me at the WSOP, with only a very few highlights. Fellow bloggers LJ
joined me in running the 2k WSOP event on Thursday at noon local time, and while I was separately suggesting some kind of a last-longer bet to some of that group, turns out the others were already suggesting the same thing, so we met prior to the event to agree on the amount. I expressed that I would be willing to do anything up to $500, such that the winner of our last longer bet would win back his or her buyin to the WSOP, but the group decided that was a bit steep which makes sense to me. So I suggested $200, and we all readily agreed. So with the $200 last longer bet in tact, I went to go sit at my first table, which was Table #5 in the Green area, Seat 1.
I hate Seat 1. You're usually being crowded by the dealer and/or their tip jar. And what's worse, I have no fucking clue what is happening over at Seats 9 and 10 since I can't see them because of the dealer. So, I'm constantly having to wait until the dealer prompts me to take my turn. It sucks, and my first table at the WSOP this year was no different.
Nonetheless, I managed to double up from the starting stack of 4000 chips within the first 20 minutes or so against a woman who looked (and played) like she was an experienced player. She really knew how to handle her poker chips and she had won several pots with aggressive betting and raising, both before and after the flop. I effed this chick good too in what turned out to be some very nice luck for me. I raised preflop with AQs, my first playable hand of the day, and got two callers including this chica. The flop comes down A63 with two diamonds (I have no diamonds). I bet out about two-thirds the pot (400 into the 550-chip pot or so), the chick very deliberately smooth calls, setting off some vague warning bells in my head, while the third player in folded to the bet and call. Then the turn brought an offsuit Queen, making the board A63Q and giving me top two pair. This time, I went for the check, assuming from her previous aggressive play that my opponent would try to bet me out, and I figured I would check-raise in this spot in what was already growing to be quite a large pot. She did in fact bet out, but with the pot at 1350 and each of us having only about 2000 behind at this point, she very confidently pushed out one yellow chip, a 1000-chip bet. This left her only about a grand behind, obviously committing her to this pot, and suddenly there went my spidey senses again. It was a bit too early in the tournament for me to really have formed a trustable opinion of her though, so I could not find a fold with the top two pairs on the board. I thought AK was a possible holding for her, in addition to A6 or A3, plus of course the trips possibilities. I didn't see her calling off with just the flush draw given her seemingly good play to that point.
Anyways I opted to go for just the smooth call of her 1k turn bet, knowing I myself was close to committed to the pot at that point (I had about 1500 behind or so as I recall) since something didn't seem quite right. Long story short, the river brought a beautiful Queen of diamonds, giving me Queens full of Aces in a very lucky turn-river combination. Even better, the river also filled the flush draw on the board since the flop. Thinking she had something strong all along, I figured the best move was for me to insta-push, either pretending I had the flush in the hopes that the pair on the river also made her a boat, or just pretending I was strong on the river in the hopes she would call down with whatever she had been betting to that point. She considered for maybe 7 or 8 seconds, and pushed in the rest of her chips. She flipped up pocket 3s for the flopped set and rivered boat. She had to call on the end there, especially with the flush filling. I made a very lucky river boat to top her own boat, and I was up over 8k early on.
Some of the bloggers insist this was a "suckout", but of course they are wrong. It was lucky as balls of course, but she deliberately only called my flop bet, and I deliberately only called her turn bet, so when we both acted deliberately to not get all the money into the pot on previous streets, and then the money did not go in until I was ahead, clearly it's not a suckout. It was in fact a good play that I made based on a very good read, and then hitting just the right cards which I played to perfection to get the call I needed at the end. But man was it a lucky pull on the turn and river. If the chick simply raises me with her flopped set on the flop, I lay down AQ on the A63 board for sho that early into the tournament. No way I'm getting stacked like I watched so many people get stacked in the first couple hours with just one pair. Not even with top kicker! No way Jose.
Sadly, this proved to be one of only two double-ups in total I recorded on the day, the second one of which basically only got me back up to this same level (around 8200 chips) that I had 20 minutes in. But I'm getting to that. Around the end of the first hour, I saw a 5-way limped pot with pocket 2s, and flopped AK2. I figured I was gonna be ripe for some action on this one, as it's always the best thing when you flop a set on a flop with an Ace on it (and even better with a King as well), but sadly I bet 2/3 the pot from middle position and got no callers. Otherwise, I stole a few pots where I could, and near the end of second hour of the tournament, I was finally moved into the Orange section, Table 41 Seat 2, where all three of my blogger cohorts were in action.
At 2:02pm local time, we played the last hand before the first break, and I watched Vinnay push his short stack all in from late position with J9s, and unfortunately get called by AKs, in the same sdam suit he had. A few seconds and a couple of Kings on the board later, Vinnay was shaking hands and heading out of the tournament. This was also the first time I saw the cigarettes n candy chick that Pauly has been writing about in his WSOP coverage. Pauly' right, that chick is hot. Even the later-day cigs n candy chick was hot too. I recognize a lot of the same masseuses there from last year as well, and a few of them are fucking hot as well. There is so much hotness in Vegas whenever I'm out here, I really don't know how people can live here without just constantly fucking hot chicks. I guess that is what some of our Vegas friends do, come to think of it. Good for them, there is definitely no shortage of opportunities out here, that is for sure.
So at the first break, I was sitting on 8125 chips, with the average chip stack being 5387 at the time. During the break they stopped allowing late alternates to enter the tournament and they put up the official numbers -- 1344 runners, 998 left after the first two hours. The total prize pool was $2,446,000, with the top 99 finishers being paid. The first casher would win $4402, and the tournment winner was looking at $507,613 of cold hard cashish. I had had no premium hands whatsoever (no AA, KK, QQ, JJ (is Jacks even a premium hand?), AK), and had 99 once and AQ twice over the first two-hour session.
The third hour was not a good one for me. Although I started with about 60% more than average chips, three times in the first half-hour or so saw me laying down on the flop or turn when I was dealt middle Aces in unopened pots in middle position, felt I had to riase, got called and then whiffed the flop entirely. In one spot I c-bet, got called and had to lay down to turn aggresion with nothing but A8-high, and in the other I didn't even c-bet a terrible flop for me of TJQ with two suits, and laid down to a pot-sized bet on the flop. By 3:15pm, almost to the end of Hour 3, I was all the way down to 4175 chips after two more such laydowns, one with A7 and one with A8. These are not the kinds of hands I want to play of course, but receiving exactly zero premium hands -- I did not even see AK one time
in the entire day which surprises me quite a bit -- and with the blinds jumping quickly over the first few hours from 25-50 to 50-100 to 100-200, there just isn't much choice. No way I'm folding A8s from the cutoff when the pot has not been opened and it's pretty much the best hand I've seen in two hours. I tried raising once with KQo as well from late position, and once again the flop brought an Ace (natch) and with two callers behind me of my preflop raise, when one bet and the other called on the flop, obviously I was out there as well. Suffice it to say, Hour 3 saw me lose half my chips without playing a big pot. I raised I think a total of 4 times in the hour, each time probably for around 3x the big blind or 600 chips, and each time I had to fold, only once or twice after also c-betting the flop. Hour 3 sucked.
At 3:20pm, however, I had a bit of good news - bad news. Bad news was that cmitch came over to tell me he had just busted. I knew he was short at the first break as it was -- down to 1300 I believe he had said when we chatted after Hour 2 -- but I was bummed to see a fellow blogger not have survived further while I was desperately trying to hold on for dear life. Cmitch mentioned to me that I just won $600, and I was like Huh? LJ had been a bit above the starting stack, around 4300 chips or so as I recall, at the break, btu cmitch told me she had busted as well. Later LJ would explain she ran into a set of Aces with her own top pair on the flop. I saw lots of sets of Aces on the day, I have to say, including big pots lost to it by both Vinnay and LJ on the day. In any event, that came as a surprise, and even though I would have much rather had all four of us -- or just the three of them, if that's how it had turned out -- it was nice to learn at least that I had won the last longer bet. I thought that $600 would feel nice for me while I continued my own downward slide to nothing in this tournament. Still not a single premium pair or AK now through 3 1/2 hours of play. Blech.
At 3:25pm, there were 750 of 1344 runners left as Hour 4 began with me wishing for a reversal of fortune in my cards situation. About halfway through the hour, I see pocket 9s, which believe me looked like quad Aces when I saw that hand, and I ended up reraising an active preflop raiser for about half my stack, knowing I was committed if he called given my short situation. He did not call. He reraised, putting me allin. There was like 5k in the pot at this point, and I had about 1400 chips left in my stack. I made the split second decision that, while I knew my 99 was probably 80% likely to be dominated and 20% to be up against AK, I just did not want to sit and play this tournament with 100-200 blinds and 25-chip antes starting this hour with just 1400 chips remaining. I cursed my luck and called, and of course he flipped up QQ. Fucking Queens. What a hateable hand, isn't it? Anyways I stood up and gathered my things, and then the 9 came out on the flop. Now that one was a suckout, and a bad one. And one I knew was behind when I made the call as it was. But that my friends would be my last double-up on the day. I was back "up" to 8075 chips, with 700 runners remaining and an average chip stack of 7168 after my first time being all in in the tournament.
At some point during Hour 4, the two dorkshits across the table from me started one
of the most annoying conversations I have ever been forced to listen to. You know these guys if you play big live tournaments like the WSOP -- the guys who are young little shits for the most part, and they're bragging loudly enough to make sure the whole table can hear them about how they play online poker all the time, they won a WSOP circut event but left the ring at home, that sort of thing. You can just feel their penises growing by millimeters while they do it, it's so funny and yet so annoying at the same time, yknow? These two shits were consistently trying to one-up each other in shitheadedness. The first guy is like "yeah I ran $200 up to $18,000 on Interpoker, but then they closed it down." Then the other guy "Oh totally, I started off playing 1-2 on full tilt but then before I knew it I was playing 100-200 and making a killing." This is a grungy-looking 25 year old kid probably. Then it was how he had a bad end of 2007, losing over 200 grand on full tilt in November and December alone. Uh huh. Gold Jerry, gold.
In the midst of all this, I was dealt pocket Aces at 4:02pm, my one and only premium hand of the day. Tighty UTG had already raised the 200 blind up to 600 and it had folded around to me. I debated smooth calling, but that's just not how I play and with how tight the UTG player was, I didn't see making much from him after the flop unless I was going to lose, so I went for the reraise right there to 2000 chips. I wanted him to call obv., but he folded. I don't regret that decision, though for a few minutes I cursed myself under my breath. Those of you who have played a lot of live tournaments will know just what I mean about so desperately wanting to make the best of your one premium hand when you've sat around for 4 hours and seen nothing but garbage. But I was not about to get my Aces sucked out on because I slow-played them in this spot.
Dorkshit across from me: "Oh yeah, so and so from Cardrunners asked me to do a video for them. He begged
me actually. But I turned him down. Why would I want to educate all the high-stakes players, right?"
As the second break came at 4:25pm, I was sitting on 7200 chips, right around where I was most of the day, and with 570 players remaining of the 1344 who started four hours earlier. Average chips were 9430, leaving me around 75% or so of average, which I could not complain about given the complete dearth of starting cards I was experiencing. It was the one AA, two AQs and a pocket 9s so far, those were my 4 best hands. Strangely, I didn't see AK or AJ the entire day, nor any pocket pair between Queens and Tens. At the time I felt sure this was the worst card death I had ever experienced, and it certainly was right up there, but I'm not quite ready to say that it's the literal worst. Figuratively, it was the worst. And the string of middle Aces in middle position in unopened pots that bled away half my stack during the third and fourth hours, that was just plain old brutal.
The fifth hour of play begain promptly like the rest of the tournament had been at 4:50pm. I was sitting on 24 big blinds here, so I had a little bit of room to play, but not all that much when you get a preflop raise in there and maybe one reasonable small bet after the flop.
Donk across the table: "My friend won the 10k mixed WSOP event the other day, and my roommate just won the O8 tournament!" Uh huh. People you wish you knew don't count as your friends I guess.
Thankfully, just as Mr. Donk was explaining to his friend how the red FTP pros are now officially afraid to play sitngos with him anymore, he busted from the tournament. Pushing Q8o allin preflop, might I add. Guess that is just a complicated 100-200 nl move from Interpoker, who knew.
While I failed to play a single hand in the first half hour of Hour 5, David Sklansky did get moved to my table with a decent stack size at 5:20pm. While my stack dwindled down from 7000 to 6000 and eventually into the 5's with no playable hands and no opportunities to steal because the big stacks at the other end of the table kept raising before the action got me in late position, I saw on the big screen that the chip leader in my tournament was sitting at 51,000 chips. 51k. A good ten times my own stack size. What a bad feeling to know that is going on, yknow? Last year in the shorthanded nlh event, I
was that guy. I had 30k in chips about 3 hours in to a tournament that started I think with 3k. This time I was destined to be the shorty all day and to have to just stare longingly at the leaderboard and wish I could pick up a flucking hand to save my life. I could only manage to steal one or two pots all during Hour 5, as my card death continued. Sickeningly, I saw 11 hands during Hour 5 that contained a 2 in them. Imagine how suck that was. There was just nothing I could do but just sit around and wait. Even picking up one big hand in the blinds -- something I did not get literally one time through the entire day -- would have been huge because I mentioned there were two big stacks at the other end of the table who were raising every single time the pot came to them unopened, and I could have reraised from the blinds and basically added 50% to my chipstack at any time. But no way I was going to do that with 42o and so few chips. The big stacks would have called me in an instant for 15% of their chips.
As Hour 5 ended, I was still floundering, sitting on 5825 chips while the average stack size had swelled to over 12,200. My time was rapidly running out in this thing. We were, however, down to 440 players remaining out of the 1344 who started, so I was slowly but surely outlasting a good portion of the field. But of course in the end that is only good for the ego if there isn't any money to go with it, something I was all too aware of especially after cashing last year in the WSOP.
Just a few minutes in to Hour 6, I looked down to find pocket 3s in early position. This time the hand looked like quint Aces after the shit I had been laying down for the past hour and really all day, so I put in a standard 3x raise. Of course I got two callers from the big stacks, and when the flop came J64 with two clubs, I put in a large c-bet that (purposely) clearly committed me to the pot, and both big stack players folded begrudingly to my action. This was my third big pot of the day, weak though it was, as it left me right around 10k in chips and at my high for the entire tournament. I guess that's what happens when you get so little cards and have such a small stack -- even a simple c-bet after two people call a preflop raise was enough at this point to nearly double me up.
At 6:25pm, joining David Sklansky at my table two seats to my left was a red FTP pro. He was such a no-name that he had to crow very loudly about being an FTP pro just so people would even look at him. Turns out his name is Roy Winston, someone whose name I've seen on full tilt a few times, but who I don't recognize because, I'm betting, he sucks and has never done much of anything poker-wise. I love some of the donks FTP makes "pros" these days. But Roy seemed nice enough to be honest, from nyc originally but nowadays has the look and the sound of a southerner. We did not get mixed up in any hands (nor did I with Sklansky, sadly, though people made him fold to preflop reraises on at least three occasions, pissing him off increasingly each time).
At 6:43pm, just 8 minutes before the 90-minute dinner break was scheduled, my table was broken up, which was fine with me given the big stacks across the way raising every single pot they could. Unfortunately, I was moved to a new table in the Blue area this time, Blue 14, Seat 5. I say unfortunately because at table Blue 14, Seat 6 (immediately to my left) was the most monstrous stack I had seen yet on the day from anyone. The chip counter guys were all up on this guy's jock counting him up every 15 minutes, so I know he was one of the leaders. I think our table saw two hands before the dinner break happened, and I left to head back to Bellagio to meet up with my brother for the first time.
I returned to the Rio just in time for the restart at 8:20pm. The big screen showed Barry Greenstein, whom I had watched finish third at the final table of the Deuce to Seven single-draw WSOP tournament won by Mike Matusow the night I arrived in Vegas, was the chipleader in my event, sitting on over 53,000 chips as Hour 7 began. There were 321 players remaining out of the 1344 who started, and I was sitting on just over 8500 chips. Unfortunately, the average at this point was 16,748 chips, and the blinds would start this round at 300-600 with a 75-chip ante. This left me with 14 big blinds heading into post-dinner play. Plus, the blinds hit me on the second hand back from dinner, dropping me down to 12 big blinds almost immediately. If you play a lot of tournaments you know that 12 big blinds is what we call nearly desperate. I knew I would have to push something within the next one or maybe two orbits no matter what, or I would basically be in true desperation mode and not even worth trying to double up with. And the bigger problem was this huge, sickly massive stack on my immediate left. So, when the action amazingly folded around to me on the button a couple of hands later, I looked down to find the veritable monster known as 42o. I was about to put in a raise, and then I remember the big stack on my left. He had already called down another short earlier at the table with his KTo, and he was going to call my tiny stack push as well. It was obvious. So I folded the 42o and figured I must be able to find a better spot than that. It sucks when you have the massive stack playing bully poker on your left, because it can completely eliminate your ability to steal if he or she plays it correctly. Sucks to be that guy, but as I've mentioned several times this just seemed to be my fate in WSOP #23 this year, just to be the constant short stack always under pressure from the blinds to push hands I don't want to push, and never getting a big hand when I really needed one. I must have seen AK or AA flipped up 25 times in those first 7 hours of play, but sadly only the one time for me when I got no callers of my preflop reraise.
Anyways, just minutes before 9pm, I am in middle-late position and the action folds around to me. I turn up the corners of my cards and spy A7o. Best hand I've seen in literally 2 1/2 hours. I push my entire stack in, at that point almost exactly ten big blinds. The monster on my left folds, which was great, but unfortunately the big blind, himself also fairly short (but bigger than me still) asks how much it is, and he eventually counts the chips out and calls. We are heads-up and we flip up, with me knowing my A7o is cooked. No it wasn't a higher Ace somehow, but he did show pocket Kings. He had exactly what I had been longing for all day but was totaly unable to get -- a big hand in the blinds. I did not hit my Ace, and IGH.
They weren't giving out individual bustout updates at this point with stil close to 300 players remaining, but given what I saw at my table and the last update I had seen on the big screen, it looks like I busted in around 290th place of 1344 runners. That number sounds pretty strong to me all things considered, and I am certainly proud to have run as deep as I did, but I'm also aware of a few big negatives from my performance overall.
First and foremost, I recorded just two double-ups on the day. That is simply insufficient if I want to succeed on poker's largest stage over nearly eight hours of play. But what's worse, it is not lost on me that both of those double-ups were in situations where I got pretty fucking lucky as it was. In the first hour I had that awesome run of Queen-Queen on the turn and river to make me a higher boat against someone who was slow-playing no-paying a flopped set. As I said that was not a suckout but actually some good play by me to get all her chips, but I still got lucky as phuck to even still be alive after that hand. Like I said, I am quite positive that I fold AQ to a significant reraise on the A63 flop just 20 minutes in to a tournament like this. But if she had bet me allin on the turn once the board was A63Q, do I fold top two pairs for all my chips? Even though I sort of had that "set" vibe from her, the answer in that spot with like half my stack in the pot is probably not. So I got lucky as balls to be in that situation and live to talk about it let alone to double through my opponent. And then of course my other double up was me sucking out 99 vs QQ allin preflop.
So I doubled up twice in the entire tournament, and both doubles were pretty lucky (or very lucky) for me. That is not something you want to be able to say about your play if you can help it. So unlike last year, I didn't have a single hand this year that I played particularly well in this thing. Now sure, I got no good cards at all. I would love to know the odds of playing for 8 hours and receiving AA once, no KK, no QQ, no JJ, no TT and no AK. I don't know how many hands an hour we were seeing, but it felt like sick card death to me, especially given the cards everyone else seemed to be showing all the time, so all that didn't help. But the bottom line is, I played tournament nlh for eight hours and could not find a single situation to use my poker skill to double up. That's not good.
But what's worse, and this is really the bigger lesson I take from my WSOP experience this time around, is that at some point during the 6th or 7th hour it became obvious to me that I simply was not playing nearly as aggressively as I need to in order to really make it to the next level in the WSOP. Frankly, this same thing was true last year as well as I look back on it, but with me cashing and all I didn't focus on that aspect of things too much. But think back to my WSOP cash last year. When I got moved at 9pm to that table with chip leader JC Tran at it and we started that marathon 3-hour bubble time, I had a short stack. This year by after the dinner break I once again came back to a short stack. I'm sure many of you out there can relate, as I hear and read people all the time in blogs complaining about making a few final tables but never having the big stack when they get there. It's a very common thing that I see all the time from other people, but the thing is, it's not usually my problem. Not in the least. I'm the guy who, like I did a couple of times in the Bodonkey tournament this year, comes to the final table holding a third of the total chips in play. I know how to get my aggro on at least as well as most other people, and I practice what I preach all the time as a rule.
But I was not playing anywhere near
as many pots as the more successful people at my table, that's just a fact. Now surely, some of that is due to them amassing big stacks, which enables anyone to see a lot more flops, to call a lot more preflop raises if you want, etc. But in the end, they got those big stacks by playing a lot more hands than I did. Somehow, in both of my last two WSOPs, I did not see enough flops or play enough pots in the middle hours of Day 1 to get me where I needed to be. Now I know I got shitfucky cards all through the event on Thursday this year. I was there, I lived it, and my cards sucked balls. But you know what? Do I think the Swedish guy on my left who looked like he hadn't combed his hair since the Reagan years really had that
many good starting cards to raise as much as he did and to call as many preflop and even flop bets as he did? Highly unlikely. That guy was out there taking some gambles, and risking some chips early in pots to try to take the shit down later. And he had amassed a huge stack doing that by the time I was moved away from his table just before the dinner break.
So I think I played too tight. Not the "I folded AQ from early position for no reason" kind of tight. But rather the "I won't go for the steal with this 75o hand because I know I'll get reraised again" kind of tight. I needed to bluff more, period. And even though that might very well have led to me busting out of the WSOP earlier than the 8th hour like I did, it would pretty much definitely have given me a better chance of amassing some chips to do some kind of damage with. As it is, I played solid, patient poker and basically got blinded out into pushing with A7o on a short stack 8 hours later. If you know me and play poker with me over time, then you know how much that is not
my game. I tend to laugh at the people whose game that is, in fact. Well, playing live for the big bucks of the WSOP I guess does that to me. Last year I got off to a huge early stack, but all I know is, when it came down to bubble time, I was short. Not the shortest guy in the tournament, but short enough to know I was short. This is the thing I take the most from my WSOP experience this time around. I needed to get in there and mix it up more earlier, I needed to find some spots and just go for it even with shitty cards. I didn't flop even top pair all day long (not even once, literally), but by playing the way I did this year, I forced myself into a situation where I was basically one pushing hand away from busto for basically the last 4 or 5 hours of this tournament.
Oh well. At least the $600 from the last longer helps cushion the blow a little bit. Hopefully this update finds everyone well. I have a few more days in Vegas and really don't know what my plans are, but I'm looking forward to having lots of pokery good times before heading back on Sunday morning. I've already gotten to meet in person some really good people from our group, so in that sense the weekend is already a big success. And hey, I got to skip being fucked out of the Mookie
for one week, so that can't be all bad right there.
Not sure how much more I will post from Vegas now that the WSOP is over :(, but I do have my laptop up and running in the room here so anything is possible. I am planning a good post upon my return as well so you can look forward to that coming in a few days at the latest. Have a great weekend everyone
Labels: Bloggers in the WSOP, Bloggers in Vegas, WSOP