Thursday, June 03, 2010

Fully Wallowed

Well, I ended up doing much the same thing on Wednesday night as I did after my first-night debacle last year at the cash tables at the MGM -- I essentially spent the few hours immediately following my bustout from the WSOP yesterday ratholed in my room, reflecting. More like wallowing, actually. I know Tom was asking in my comments yesterday, but it's hard for me to put a finger on exactly why I was so bummed about how things went in my first WSOP event in nearly two years. I think it's a lot of things, really. First and foremost, it's the result. I don't mind busting out far from the money in any poker tournament, WSOP or otherwise, and I know all too well how big of a role luck plays (in all its different forms in poker tournaments) in any tournament, especially no-limit and double-especially in a donkament like this that is chock full of players who are not going to be playing optimally in many cases or even close to it. It's one thing to be a poker pro, or to have a lifestyle that allows you to travel around the world, to spend weeks at a time in Vegas during World Series time, etc. If that were me, I guarantee you that busting out so badly on Wednesday would not have bothered me nearly so much. But for a guy like me, this is basically my once a year chance at making a big score, and wen you are as Type-A as I am, I tend to build this up as a result, which is just a horrible thing to do with the relatively little ability of anyone to overcome the luck factor in any one individual event.

So the result is the major thing that has me feeling so down about my performance in WSOP #8. But it's more than that. It's not just that I did not cash. My bigger issue is that I was never even a factor. I fell below the starting stack early on pretty much a bullshit play against the idiot to my left when I called his short-stack allin with my AQo and of course this time he had pocket Queens for the second out of three hands even though he had been allin with anything several times before that. The only time I was even ever able to get back above the starting stack was when I raised allin on the turn and my opponent folded at very long odds on the turn, and even that did not last long. It was just one of those days when ultimately my timing was completely and totally off. Just about every single time I got involved in a pot, I ended up getting pushed out by someone because ultimately my hand was not strong enough for the action I was putting in with it. On a couple of those occasions, I made things worse for myself by c-betting on a flop that was not great for my hand and probably was ok for my opponent. In one hand I raised on the flop when I flopped middle pair plus a flush draw -- getting probably a third of my stack in the pot on the process -- a third player very confidently pushed allin for a huge stack, and yet again I had to fold after correctly putting him on bottom set. I don't know that any of these were "bad plays" by me per se, but the end result after several hours of me betting into pots either preflop or post but then folding to action, I am left with the clear impression that my own aggression shortened my time in this event, pretty much dramatically. I don't feel like I pushed too hard in the individual poker decisions I was making, but in the aggregate that is exactly the feeling I am left with. I know that my game is an aggressive one, that I have had success with that strategy, and frankly that there is no other way to really win big mtt's without such an approach, but for whatever reason the way I implemented that strategy on Wednesday totally did not work.

Anyways, after a night of self-pity I do feel a bit better here on Thursday morning, and I'm already setting my sights on my next poker tournament. And it's a good one. I'm thinking that in a few hours I may head over to the Venetian today to play in the Deep Stack Extravaganza. Obviously I have not stepped foot in the Venetian since my big win last summer there, so it would be fun to go back for that reason, not to mention how much I love the poker room there in general as a place to hang and play this game that I love for the day. Thursday's event is a $340 buyin no-limit tournament, a bit less than my score last year in a $540 buyin tournament, but the same general idea and of course the same game in no-limit holdem. I guess I am not 100% sure on this yet, but when I looked at the DSE schedule late yesterday, this tournament immediately jumped out at me. All things equal, I would much rather play a series event like this, and one with the $340 buyin, than instead playing one of the $80 or $100 regularly daily tournaments that most of the casinos in town run. So, these plans could change, but right now I am liking the sound of returning to the scene of the crime of my biggest ever poker tournament win and trying to regain some of the good karma that flowed all over me almost a year ago in the Venetian poker room.

More updates as I have anything to report this week. I am at the MGM now and hoping to meet up with Columbo who is also staying here sometime today, and with CK as well who I was too busy wallowing to find yesterday in the cash games at the Pavillion at the Rio.

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