Saturday, June 15, 2013


Played in the $1K bracelet event today, but didn't even make to the second break four hours in. Ugh. Next to the Millionaire Maker event a few weeks ago, this was the largest single starting day event in WSOP history, with over 4,300 runners entered. It was huge. No, make that HUGE. Here's the rundown of how it, well, ran down for moi:
  • Found my table and took my seat. The middle aged guy already there on my left turned to me and started talking. And talking. And talking. Even after "Shuffle up and deal" was announced, this guy kept going on and on and on. It could have been really annoying, except the subject he liked to talk about the most was his own poker strategy, his cards, why he was betting the way he was, what he was putting other players on, and so on. In less than thirty minutes, I knew exactly how to play against this nimrod. He overvalued Ax hands and would min-raise them. He loved suited connectors, and would limp with them. He 3x'd his big hands. It was almost like I could see his cards with x-ray vision.
  • The other players at my table were a mixed bag. Some so-so, some truly, truly, truly awful, and two were decent players. Lots of open limping, which I took advantage of  mercilessly, raising biggish cards or limping behind with bust'em type hands in position. I saw lots of limp-folding preflop, which I also took advantage of. For example, I was dealt 76s on the button. Four limpers ahead of me. I make is 5x and they all fold. Within 45 minutes, I went from T3K to T4K. Easy table. Well, that was going to change in a little while. We'll get to that, but first the run good period:
  • About fifteen hands in I pick up red queens in MP. I 2.5x raise an open limper and get the no-fold'em small blind to call, too. Original limper unfortunately folds to my raise, but the SB is in the hand and is an open book and I have position. He seems to not leave the hand if he hits any part of it, otherwise he's done. Flop comes KQ3 with two club, giving me middle set. I lead big, as he's either coming along or he's not and I want value. He calls and I'm happy. Turn is another three, boating me up. I lead pot again, villain calls again. River is a Ac, bringing in the front door clubs and a possible straight. I bet pot again, but this time the villain tanks. After a few minutes, someone calls the clock. He uses his whole minute, gets the count-down, and then folds, showing a red Ace to the table. Damn. He told me that if I'd bet a little less he would have called, but he didn't want to go out before the first break. Damn. Damn. Damn.
  • Next hand I watched two guys get it all in preflop blind v. blind by way of a 6bet all-in. One turned over A7o, the other turned over 44. Holy cow. Then they chopped when the board five flushed. Insanely bad poker, plus insanely crazy result.
  • Picked up TT in EP. Open raised to 3x and get five (!) cold callers. Geezus. Board is J-6-4, which is about as dry as you can hope for with a big under pair like mine, but against these numbskulls, anyone of them could have a random jack. I actually lead small as a probe bet (something I usually shun) and get all five to call. Geeeezus. Holy crap are these people bad. I shut it down. Guy with J4 ends up winning hand. Geeeeeeeeeezus.
  • I pick up three small pairs in a row (44, 66, 77) and call each on button, CO, and HJ, respectively, when EP raisers open. Don't hit any sets and have to shut it down each time.
  • Open raise with AQs from MP and get a huge overbet reraise from button. As he'd been doing nothing but limping previously, I decided to fold, as I didn't want to play a hand OOP not knowing where I stood. He was kind enough to show me the pair of kings when I mucked.
  • We're then into the second level, and I've got about fifty bigs. The wheels start to come off slowly at this point. My AKo gets 4-bet preflop all-in by the same normally passive player and another limp-master after I open raise. I'm not happy, but I decide to fold. The two players turn over KK vs. QQ. Still not sure if this was the right play to fold AKo, but it felt really early in the tourney to gamble with big slick, especially 3-way. Probably a good fold, but dunno.
  • I limp KJs on the button behind an EP min-open raise and two cold-callers. Flop comes J-T-8, monotone, giving me top pair top kicker, but the wrong suit for my hand. Action checks to me, I fire a bet with my pair to price out draws, but I get check-raised all-in. I quickly fold. Guy turns over 33 without the right suit for the board. WTF? Yes, I was bluffed, but I'm not sure what he was thinking he was doing at this stage of the tourney. He's only going to get called by better. I look at him again, and realize he's got two beers in front of him, both empty. Okay... need to pay better attention to the drinks in front of the players.
  • A few hands later, a Hungarian UTG player looks at his cards and then quickly look away from them. His eyes and eyebrows are sky high. Read: strength. He makes it 5x to go. Read: big strength. I have implied odds, so I call with 88 on button looking for a set, but no dice. All flop cards are under cards to my eights, but I'm not biting. He checks, but I check behind, as I"m sure he has a big over pair. He leads when the board pairs on turn and I fold. He shows QQ.
  • For some reason, I seemed to lose focus for the next fifteen minutes or so at this point. I got a call on my phone, which I ignored of course, but then was suddenly off my game. I wasn't focusing, and I found myself mucking around with songs on my music player, checking my email, etc. I reverted into level-1 poker, too. I literally didn't even notice a dealer change. I went through about ten hands this way, which was really odd for me. Then I started yawning, and I realized I hadn't eaten anything in about five hours. I'm borderline hypoglycemic, so I quickly munched on some almonds and macademias I had in my backpack, drank some water, and about five minutes later began to feel normal again. Bizarre. Note to self: keep snacking and hydrating through the event.
  • It's the end of level two now and we take a 20 minute break that actually was changed to 30 on the count down clock, I think to accommodate the huge field of prostrate-challenged old men lined up at the bathrooms. I decided to bypass everyone and go all the way back out to the casino proper to use the facilities there. This avoided a huge line. The Rio does a lot of things right at the WSOP, but the bathroom situation in the tournament poker area isn't one of them. The ratio of men to women is probably 50:1, but they don't have proportionally more men's bathrooms available.
  • And speaking of doing things right, the dealers were for the most part very, very good. Quick shuffles, no misdeals, very speedy dealing and counting and stacking, even with multiple side pots and chip changing. I saw/heard a couple of issues arise at nearby tables, and in each case the dealer immediately called the floor person over and the problems were resolved quickly. I was impressed.
  • We come back from break and blinds are now 50/100. I've got about T3500, or 35 bigs. All the limping has now seemed to stop and everyone is in raise, re-raise, or fold mode. It's like a switch has been thrown. Okay, I can play that game, too. Or so I think.
  • I fold 55 in the SB to a raise and RR in front of me. I wasn't getting either the implied or direct pot odds to set mine. Flop of course comes 5-5-J. Of course. Of course!
  • I chip up.
  • I chip down.
  • I chip up.
  • The talking head to my left busts out and another fellow moves into his seat. The new guy's face looks like tanned leather from way too much sun. He's also wearing $200 blue shark wrap-around sunglasses, starts riffling a huge stack of chips with ease, and quickly becomes my nemesis. Almost every pot I enter from here on out involves leather face. Everytime I iso raise, he re-iso raises me. In fact, he's involved in almost every hand that I play. Hell, he's involved in almost every hand played at the table. He limps, he raises, he reraises, he 4bets. He check raises. He isos. He 5bets at one point. He 3bet open-shoves. He's running over the table, and because he's on my left with a huge stack there's very little I can do about. Unfortunately, it takes me a while to figure out his MO, and I lose quite a chunk of my stack bet/folding to him with marginal hands.
  • Blinds go up again, and now I'm at down to about 30 bigs. Nothing is working right, but I've still got a healthy stack. I'm making good reads, but unfortunately most of those reads are telling me to fold or stay out of pots. Meanwhile the blinds go 'round and 'round.
  • I get blinded down. I think my fundamental mistake was not taking a stand with leather face earlier when I was getting playable hands, but I figured he'd bust out long before that with his reckless play. I was wrong.
  • And so it goes. Blinds are eating me up each time they pass, but then I find a way to chip up again. My lesson from the previous day's deep stack event is to get busy when I drop into the twenties, so I force myself to try something each time, especially in position. It's mostly working. I'm mostly treading water. But then... alas...
  • My second to last hand comes with me in the big blind with TT. Okay, this may be it, I say to myself. Leather face is UTG and open raises to 3x. It folds to me. I smooth call, which in hindsight is probably a mistake. My stack size is far too big for 3bet reshipping, but against this guy it might actually have been the right play. Oh well. Flop is QJ9 monotone clubs. I have an up and down straight draw, but I don't have a club. I check to the raiser. Leather face bets half pot. I raise full pot and villain just calls.. Turn is another nine. I lead 3/4 pot and leather face tanks and then calls. River brings a third nine. I"m about to lead again with my boat when I notice him turning bright red. He's practically hyperventilating behind his blue shark shades. Then I see his hands are trembling like a rock tumbler. Am I beat? I have a freaking full house! I can't be beat, right? After a long tank, I decide to check, and leather face is looking hard away from the table when he says with his voice cracking, "I'm all in."  I tank for a loooong time now. He could have a bigger boat than me quite easily I finally resolve. I really, really, really want to call, but this little voice of reason inside my head is screaming at me to fold. Calling each street is a huge clue, bug. His shaking hands are a big clue, bug. His looking away from the table is a big clue, bug. This guy has strength, bug. Bug, are you listening? I finally get the clock called on me. I decide to fold my boat. I really want to show my huge laydown, but I quietly slide the cards into the muck. Leather face slams his fist down and says loudly, "SHIT!" and turns over J9 for quads. Holy. Freaking. Crap.
  • Holy crap, again. I'm now down to 18 big blinds with JTs in the SB. A limp and two callers in front of me. Leather face has slowing down with all the re-raising he did in the last hour, but with this guy you never know. I decide I'm going to complete the small blind, but fold to a squeeze if he bumps it up. I toss the other half bet into the pot, and leather face frowns but then knuckles the felt. We see the flop five way, and it's a thing of beauty. J-T-3, giving me top two pair. Leather face isn't doing anything funny, but the original limper is fidgeting with her chips as if she's going to bet, which I've seen her do with a big draw on an earlier hand. She semi-bluffed that hand. I check, leather face checks, and the lady bets about three quarters of the pot. The two field players fold, and action is back to me. I put the lady on over cards, a draw, or maybe something like KJ. I do not put her on a set, because I think she'd play it more "trappy" than betting out like this. I want to price her out of a draw, so I check raise pot.... and leather face then check-re-raises me all-in. WTF? I play through the possible hands in my head and come up with a lot of big blind specials that he could have that I beat (straight draws, Jx, Tx, J3, T3, etc..) and only one that I don't (33). I'm basically pot committed, so I reluctantly call. Leather face turns over the damn set of threes. I miss my four outer to improve on turn and river, and just like that I'm on the rail of the World Series of Poker. Crap.
  • Crap.
  • Crap.
  • Crap.
  • Sigh
  • Sigh.
  • Crap.
  • Sigh.
  • Hmmmm.
  • I question myself: did I play well and make good decisions. Answer: yes.
  • Question: did I play with heart? Answer: yes.
  • Question: did I have fun? Answer: well, yes, actually. Except for that last hand, of course.
  • Question: what did I say my three big goals were for this WSOP? Answer: make good decisions, play with heart, and have fun.
  • Question: did I do these things. Answer: Yes, but crap.
  • Sigh.
  • I go for a walk. I listen to music for a while as I wander aimlessly around. Then I take off my headphones. There are literally hundreds of other poker players on the rail with me, walking around, regaling each other with bad beats and suckouts and poker plays that went wrong. All are totally unhappy.
  • I get a text message from Memphis MOJO that he busted at about the same time I did. I suggest we get a beer together, but he's already left the Rio to go his own hotel. He writes, "I'm bummed."
  • Crap.
  • I walk through a huge room where the $1500 NL event is playing, but it doesn't interest me. I keep walking and find myself in the ESPN area where the O8 event is on. I see Bart Hanson and move to the rail directly behind him to watch. Two to his left, and literally four feet from me is Phil Freaking Hellmuth. Huck Seed is beside him. Two to Seed's left is Matt Glantz. Two to his left is Erik Seidel. Mike Matusow is at the next table. And at the next table is Todd Brunson and Barry Greenstein. And there's Andy Bloch. I realize I'm not frowning. While they weren't actually seated at my individual table in my own event, I recall that Tom McEvoy, Johnny Chan, Chad Brown, Marcel Luske and Dennis Phillip all played in my WSOP event, and at least two of these guys are also on the rail with me at this point.
  • I slowly come to the realization that I freaking played in the freaking WSOP. Holy freaking crap.
  • I smile. Life could be a helluva lot worse than it is.
  • Tomorrow maybe I'll play some cash games, I tell myself. Maybe another deep stack. Maybe just rail some of the action again. Who knows? I'm at the World Series of Poker. Anything can happen here.

1 comment:

  1. Nice recap. Sorry you went out when you did. Sounds like you played well and that's all you can do.