Sorry. Adjusting to UK time is never fun, even for someone whose body clock is pretty much destroyed.
My 2014 WSOP is well and truly over, and for (I think) the first time in 7 years, I've managed to go the whole summer without cashing once in a tournament. I'm terribly proud. It's not every day that I manage to break records like that.
This is of course,gallows humour. It's disappointing, but it is what it is.
I certainly learnt some new stuff from this trip. I'm a big believer that you never stop learning, ever, most especially in poker. And this trip has taught me several things by experience:
I feel I made some mistakes with regards to event selection. We'll get back to that one in a minute.
This website was most definitely a good idea.
The overwhelming majority of its readers are kind-hearted, supportive souls, who understand poker, aren't afraid to say what they think, and generally make me very glad I bothered to get this project going, and bother to do the updates.
My decision to play more tournaments in the USA than the UK in coming years was 100% right.
Variance is a bitch.
Let's look at a few of those...
I now think $27k on WSOP events schedule for the site was an error. That's not to say $27k of tournaments was a bad idea at all, just that having them all at the Rio possibly was. In fact 14 tournaments over a 5 week period isn't such a lot at all. I've easily played triple that amount of events in the same time-frame in previous years.
Don't get me wrong. The WSOP such as it is, is great. Big prize pools, great structures (yes,really), loose action, and the allure of a very large player field composed primarily of people who don't fully know what they're doing in tournaments. Obviously both live and online pros will also turn up to play, but so will the recreational players who flock to the Rio in their droves hoping for that elusive WSOP bracelet win, and maybe a shot at fame and fortune.
94% of them are sadly misguided and under equipped for the job of course. That's why we still have a poker economy. Luckily no one's told them that yet, and they'll be back next year to either donate in the name of entertainment or get lucky.
This isn't supposed to sound bitter, and I hope it doesn't come across as such. I'm one of the few who really believes that people can pay their money and then do whatever they like with their chips when they sit down. Really. On this trip I got the shaft being at the wrong end of variance on plenty of crucial occasions, but that doesn't mean I'd not do it all over again or that I didn't welcome some of the spots I got the chips in. Sometimes playing the big pot for all the money and then getting destroyed is just what's going to happen, and I made peace with this truth a very long time ago. I had a considerable number of people approach me during the World Series and say either they really enjoyed playing with me at the table, or just enquiring about the website, both of which reassure me that I'm in the right place and largely still doing the right thing.
When I say the schedule was a mistake, of course again that's subjective. If you cash for six figures in the very first event that you play then suddenly you feel pretty smart about things. If you don't you question yourself. I decided on WSOP events only this trip because I wanted to give myself and the investors the very best shot at a big return, and also for the ease of maths all freeze outs in one place was easier to read on a schedule sheet. If I started including Venetian/Wynn/M/Aria events as well, factoring in possible re-entries, it would make the investing figures considerably more complex to get to, and I wanted the budget to be very simple and upfront. I normally come out here for a specific poker series, be it WSOP, Venetian DSE, Wynn Classic etc so again I did this for the summer trip. My feeling now is that maybe a similar overall budget, but with a few less WSOP events, and maybe some Wynn and Venetian festival events thrown in with lower buy ins and more starting chips might have been more prudent. I think I'm feeling that although the WSOP structures are great, in the Wynn and Venetian where you start with 12k-15k chips, I most certainly could have splashed around a lot more in early pots and tried to build a bigger stack, which past results show is when I shine the most. As I say, hindsight is 20/20. It's just how I'm feeling right now. As always, opinions are always welcome.
I felt that in the majority of events I played, I got to the key moment (regardless of win or loss) in good shape. I felt I misplayed a hand a few times sure, in particular the PLO exit, but of course sometimes it's situational and no-ones infallible. In the past I've been sponsored by poker sites, and although it's a shift with my website, I essentially still consider myself to be a sponsored player and to have a responsibility to play well and set a good example when doing so. While some people asked me if this adds an element of extra pressure, I feel in a way it actually improves things for me and allows me to focus more on the job. Knowing that people are reading updates or following my progress can be like a safety catch before making what might be a rash move. I've never been widely known as someone to turn up at an event and just stack off for the sake of it anyway, although of course if the situations right, then in go the chips.
I'm now back in the UK. Battered and bruised, and back to semi-normal life for a little bit.
My next poker trip will most likely be the Wynn Fall Classic, in Las Vegas around October 2014. The schedule will be up as soon as they send it through to me. For now I'd again like to thank everyone who took a punt on me in this WSOP, the readers and contributors to the website via the update comments, and the new and old friends I've made since taking this path with my poker.