"Hey, he's gone very quiet!".
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.
Someone recently asked me why I play the UK circuit less and less now. I far prefer playing over in the US. That doesn't mean I won't play the UK if the situation warrants it, but I find the fields there smaller, tougher, more miserable and less receptive to table-talk and humour, and often run much worse and with less overall value. I'm sure there are some great festivals and events still, but for me Las Vegas will always be my primary choice of venue.
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.
WSOP main event day 2 at noon. Not much else to say yet. Watch this space.
We're off and running. Called a small raise first hand with a nice holding but it got instantly re popped to 4k by a big stack so I decided to choose my battles after the original raiser folded, and went away. I won't be doing that too often but first hand of the day it felt right.
Right now this is where we are. Blinds are 250/500/50. I've some pretty big (100k) stacks on my table, so right now I'll just see what happens and not try to get too creative too early. It's not a super talkative table (despite my routine eliciting a few laughs and smiles in the first few minutes), but everyone seems fairly friendly. We shall see I guess.
Made a small raise against a few limpers with AKs and got called. Fired the turn after missing everything and got raised so that was that. Back to the grind again.
2 pocket pairs, 2 missed flops. Stack gets lower. Not loving it.
Without going into graphic detail, some of the play I've witnessed so far today on this table has been pretty shocking, some of it for pots over 50k. There are at least two good double up spots at the table, but I will have to hold tight and push hard most likely. I don't have the chips right now to exercise any flair at all, so it's simply down to having the best hand hold up.
Yay. Just won my first pot of the day. Unfortunately it was a tiny one and was just the blinds and antes. Still not in a good spot.
Just lost another one blind vs blind. I flopped bottom pair but he made a backdoor straight, and my hand was so bad and chips so low I really couldn't do much in the hand. Still not good. Not what you want to hear I know guys, but it's not where I want to be either.
30 mins to go till the end of the first level, and it's not been a good one. Missed every flop, won one pot. Hopefully happier times to come.
Well I found my spot.
Went down to around 9k and raised with 99. Got reraised by an Australian guy with AK, and I shoved. He called and luckily I flopped a set. Back up to 20ish.
Almost immediately afterwards I find QQ and lose 6 of it back again on the worst board you've ever seen. I then find aces and win the blinds. Marvellous.
Coming up to the first break. I'm on a still alive but not ideal 14k. We come back at 300/600/75 so certainly not out of the woods yet.
We're back, and nothing to say so far. That is all.
30 mins in and still grinding. Obviously if I get to play a pot anytime soon one for all the marbles for a full double up would be preferred. I don't have enough wiggle room right now and I'd normally see a lot more flops than I currently am due to stack size. It is what it is.
Back up to around 20k with a dazzling display of willpower, and also having the best hand stand up.
Nice Aussie guy two to my right is stealing more than his share of a few pots and gently increasing his stack. He'll likely be the guy I 4-bet shove on at the key points.
He's reading my updates so I just thought I'd share that with him for comedy value :o)
The pot that was going to get me back into this show just bit me in the ass and halved my stack. Or saved me depending on how you look at the way I played it.
With a bit if action preflop and me holding Ad9d, I flopped AK3 with two diamonds. Something didn't feel right, and I check-called right to the river which didn't bring the flush. My genial opponent had AK and wasn't folding the flop or turn obviously, so I'm back to 12k but would have been eliminated had I opted to shove on the flop.
The Empire Strikes Back.
We're now at the high spot of my day chip wise, and I'm up to 26k. I've made a few moves but normally with the best hand or the best draw. I like the table a lot. No one is particularly miserable. People are playing OK but there's certainly a few spots to make some money. I'll keep going as I am at present. In 10 mins we end level 7 and take a 20 minute break.
I flop top pair and a big combo draw. My big stack opponent bets flop, turn and river and I miss everything. Now back on 12k at end of the level. A lot of the cool kids would simply have said just get it in on the flop, however most of those cool kids are already out, or didn't play the main event to begin with. It's a blow but I'm still going.
Frame of mind in these things is of course very important. Most a of the staff try very hard and do a great job. My mood just plummeted due to a floor guy and his "procedure" combined with a complete failure to listen to a single word I just said to him.
I have all the green chips so since this break is the colour up, I'm still at the table. Also due to the fact that this will represent around 50% of my stack(about 6k in green 25s) I asked if the floor man could change me up before he walks in the opposite direction to colour up another 5 tables first. His initial response:
"You have to leave, you're not allowed to be in this area during the colour up".
I explain I'm aware of the way it works. I'm just asking if he can colour up my table now before he does the other(all empty) tables, so I can leave and have a small amount of the break left. His new response:
"No I can't. I have a procedure".
"OK. Thanks for not actually paying any attention at all to what I just said".
I will likely now come back from the break to find myself with two orange 5k chips and some change. Because "that's the way he'll do it". Maybe the explanation I've given doesn' t properly explain the situation or my frustration(it basically means I'll have about 5 chips when I come back meaning I'm either a target or I'm getting called when I shove much more easily). I most certainly don't expect super special treatment from anyone at all, however I do expect courtesy, a degree of common sense, and the ability to listen to what a customer actually is trying to say. I got none of that, so am a bit frustrated with what I consider extremely poor people skills. It's not the end if the world. I'll certainly rise above it and continue, but in the event of a cash or the time to come to tipping staff, I'd certainly make it known why this guy cost everyone with his extremely offhand manner.
This is what I meant. It may seem trivial but I assure you it's not. Anyway.
Raised the first pot I played and won a small pot. Back to 15k and my magic has given me a healthier looking stack now.
My investors and casual observers will be delighted to hear that after the unfortunate floor incident earlier my composure didn't go spinning out of the building. I dug in and after a few nice hands combined with some Jedi mind tricks, and we now look like this:
Back to 30k. My AK ran into A3. He flopped a three and stayed around to river an ace for good measure. Ho hum.
And another hit. This is certainly proving to be an up and down day, losing more with my big hands than my crappy ones. Back down to 21k.
Yet more pain, down to 15k after we both flopped a straight draw and missed, but he fired first on the river out of a healthy stack, and I didn't feel like calling for my tournament with five high.
Back to the grind.
And just like that, I'm out of the main event 5 minutes before the Day 2 dinner break after 6 hours of play. In typically painful WSOP fashion naturally.
My table was a very good one with a mix of both strong and weak players, but all pretty fun to play with. I've got myself back to around 12-13k and raise to 2200 with AK. The woman on my left who smashed another guys KK to pieces earlier with Q10 and pretty much hadn't lost a single pot she's played reraises me to 5k. I politely inform her she's most likely about to lose her first pot of the day, and I push all in.
She calls, tabling AQ. Great stuff.
Unfortunately after a blank flop, she now turns a queen and the river is then a blank. Just like that, after playing what I felt was pretty well for the last two days, I'm gone, courtesy of three outs.
It's upsetting of course, especially when you know where you are in a hand and get the money in as a very comfortable favourite. However nothing with change what's just happened, so there's no point in getting upset or saying anything derogatory. Well played, good luck everyone etc, and leave. I guess I'm supposed to win the main in 2015 and not 2014 after all. Time will tell.
I'll write more later on, but right now despite not being a dick about busting I'm obviously not overjoyed. Thanks for the texts and messages of support. Without getting dewey-eyed they are a big help, and at least show me that people have some faith in my abilities, even when on this trip things haven't gone my way when I needed them to.
I'll write another update tomorrow or later on if I can or maybe do a short video. Right now I'm off to eat, and accept that for me this is simply a dinner break, and not a WSOP dinner break any more.
Time and again I've often seen many a familiar face shambling around the grounds of the Rio or the Venetian looking downcast. "I'm skint and I don't go home for a week. There's nothing for me to do here".
I beg to differ.
A lot of the UK guys have asked me for advice for stuff to do in Las Vegas. Restaurants, shows etc. not because I'm the oracle(maybe the orifice) but because I've been doing this a pretty long time now. I have some juice in the town after all this time, and some very good friends and know the right people, so as long as I can help the nice ones out, I'll always try. In fact years ago when I was young and green it was Simon Galloway who marked my card and showed me the ropes over here. Now I like to think we help each other. Las Vegas is a place of discovery. You have to try things for yourself and see what works for you and what doesn't. Some guys roll into town with one change of clothes and a schedule to play and that's their entire trip. A shame in my opinion, because they're missing out, and would feel better and play smarter if they took a look at what Nevada has to offer besides poker rooms, strip clubs, and gaming tables.
Finding some other stuff to do here on your poker down-time is a lesson that a lot of players never bother to learn. It may not win you the next tournament, but it certainly won't do you any harm.
OK, I turned an ankle whilst hiking today, so maybe it can do you some harm, but you get the general idea. Just don't be clumsy and you'll probably be fine.
My good friend Mark went to play the Aria WPT $1 million event today. My buddy Joe Vigurs and a host of others were playing 1C in the WSOP. I went hiking away from Las Vegas.
Mount Charleston is about 30 min outside Las Vegas. At the point I was visiting it's maybe 9000 feet higher and 20 degrees cooler than down on ground level (ie-the strip). Today I decided on a trail called Mary Jane Falls, possibly named after a pothead who took a wrong turn on the mountain one night and met a very nasty end, but more likely because after a very steep hike of around an hour, you end up at a mini-waterfall, and if you're lucky, not with a gaggle of howling rugrats trying to kill chipmunks with rocks and carve their names into the stone of the mountain.
I was lucky and unlucky. When I made it up there, it was like a day trip from Circus Circus with kids screeching and bumping into everything and everyone. Didn't help with the tranquility/downtime angle but hey, we all want different stuff. The iPod, headphones and James Newton Howard's score to Michael clayton (an excellent film also) took care of them, and when they finally buggered off to look for a McDonalds I was left just with a very nice couple. She from Canada, he from the US, and their boxer dog Rufus. We chatted for 20 mins or so about all manner of weirdness and wonderment, and then parted ways all happier for the experience of just talking and laughing about stupid stuff, and watching Rufus try an off again on again romance with my backpack.
Steady descent, stopping briefly to almost break my ankle due to being too clever for my own good, and I got back to the car and stopped off at a mountain lodge for some grub and made my way home. Not a busy day but most certainly not a wasted one.
Tomorrow of course is in the lap of the gods. I'd like more chips, but I guess I'll just have to try and earn them the old fashioned way...
The hits on the site today are even higher than yesterday, which is nice to see. I've had messages or comments from the US, the UK, Cyprus,Australia, Israel,among others so I'm glad that it seems to be a mildly interesting read, and thanks again for the kind words. Tomorrow I'll try to make it yet more interesting still with some good things to say on my WSOP day two. See you then, and if you go hiking, wear proper hiking boots. Unlike me.
Or at least it used to be.
Waking up at 9am, with a cup of Sainsburys red label tea, and a couple of digestive biscuits. Normally this would be happening in the sedate world of West Norwood, and I'd be contemplating the rest of my day. However, today it's happening in the suberb of Summerlin, Las Vegas, and I've dragged all this crap 5000 miles across the Atlantic because I'm an eccentric creature of habit and I like my morning time.
It's also the first day of the WSOP main event for me, kicking off in a few hours. Time for a swim, and to put my party face on.
Off and running. A friendly face on my right in the form of consummate pro Mel Judah. Other than that it's generally light and talkative with only one exception, who I'll try to bust in a few levels if he doesn't revise his table manner.
About an hour in, and my 30,000 now looks a lot like 29,500. Starting to panic now and obviously looking for a spot to get it in.
Just snapped off a river bluff. Something I'd rather not be doing on level one, but there it is. Up to 31,500.
A small amount of momentum has been gathered. Up to 32,500 with 25 minutes to go before first break.
Mission accomplished so far. First break 32k.
Obviously I have to be careful what I write. The website isn't exactly a covert outfit what with my "Kevinolearypoker.com" patches on display, and the curious will of course visit the site, which is fine. Just means I need to be careful what I sometimes say. However the first table isn't a bad draw all things considered even though noones doing anything overly stupid right now. A few guys were betting quite big considering it was only 50/100, but I'd say generally people are playing it pretty cautious and ABC, with the odd bluff thrown in for variety.
Just found a fairly quiet spot outside on the break. Some socially inept looking kid with an electric toothbrush was enjoying a 20 min grooming session, whilst another is on the phone, possibly to his backer, using the word "fuck" every 7th word, and is telling the guy how his entire table is so bad, and that he'll hit 100k by the end of the day with no problems. Good luck with that son.
40 minutes approximately into level two at 100/200, and this post is to report that there's nothing to report. Lost two small pots, and then check-raised another to get the loot back. Still around 32k.Chatting to my lovely wife via Whatsapp as she supports me from the UK whilst also drifting off to sleep. Poker still isn't much of a spectator sport really in my opinion, but I appreciate the love nonetheless.
A bitoif action on my table at last, thanks to the only young kid who's really shown some loose bluffing tendencies. Both Mel Judah and myself have taken a bite, and my 32k is now around the 39k mark. Onward and upward.
Coming up to break number two, and some truly dazzling footwork, combined with fortunate flopping probably has me up around 46k now. Happy with the unfolding of events thus far today,and back in 20 min at 150/300. Off outside to get some sunshine.
Horses for courses.
Maybe not the ideal time for me to write it, but walking the halls of the Rio on the break, I am reminded day and day out how truly different I am from the majority of the players in this building. That's not to say different is better or worse, it's just to say I'm different. Personal hygiene habits aside(I've just seen 25 guys use the bathroom and not wash their hands afterwards) it's more apparent with each passing year that I think and play poker in a TOTALLY different way to most of the herd. Of course I have some good friends in the game, and some great players whose game I respect, but past discussions have shown that whilst others are watching poker training videos, and have almost all moved over to the online mentality of min-bet,don't miss value, put someone on a range etc, I simply don't think that way at all. I just don't. And I never will. The maths and the mechanics are fine of course, but to me it always has been and always will be primarily a people game. The more I walk through listening to guys tell flop stories, and explain why it was just impossible for them to fold(once they've busted out), the more I vastly prefer the way that I choose to play results or no results on this trip. Walking past all the displays where video screens are telling you how they can teach you how to "crush live poker" (for a fee obviously) or how to "beat any game" with the correct brainwashing just reminds me that I'm happy I still haven't bought into this play by formula approach that is now almost the norm with so many of today's players. It certainly never hurts to know what the up to date kids are doing nowadays, in fact that's positively advantageous, but I'll never be one of them. Obviously I'm never going to be a kid again anyway. That ship has most certainly sailed. I don't miss pimples and awkwardness around the opposite sex anyway.
So too unfortunately has my 46k. A few 3-bets and missed flops and my 46 now looks more like 41. Back into my shell for a bit.
Back again up to the magical number of 47k. A few guys have got slightly frisky on my big blind and so I've opened up a bit. Once I had it, twice I didn't but decided that I wanted the pot anyway so I took it. Dinner break shortly and I'll be leaving the building a few minutes early to avoid the great unwashed as they jam out of the exits like a cork trying to escape from a bottle of cheap wine.
Back from the break and I lost my blinds, but picked them up straight afterward in a small pot.We just lost Mel Judah, which surprised me as I thought he had a reasonable stack. I found out that in the 10 minutes I wasn't there before the dinner break he lost a big pot against aces, so was pretty crippled.
Oh how it changes, oh how ugly the game can be...
My 47k is now 25k thanks to two hands in succession which really couldn't be avoided. A short stack shoves for 5k on my big blind and I wake up with two red 10's. I call and he flips over AK offsuit. He proceeds to hit both of his cards and doubled up.
The immediate hand after that I get raised and call with Kd10d, I turn the 2nd nut flush(Qd on the board). The raiser has the nut flush. Sigh. Keep it going.
Played some small-ball pots and ran it back up to 30k. Not feeling the pressure at all but felt a tad unlucky to lose two such big pots in a row. Shrug it off and keep going. We're currently nearing the end of level 4. More fun and pain, against the short stack I doubled up earlier. This time my AhQh couldn't beat his KK allin preflop for his last 5k again. This time he flopped quads. Down to 25k again.
Now bounced down to 21k after losing two more pots where decent holdings ran into suited garbage. No complaints. I'd rather have had my hands than theirs, it's just the way they happened to run out.
20 min break now then last level of the day.
My bad. It's 200/400/50. Pretty sure I did that the other day as well. You got the idea.
Back from the break and a few players have changed gears a bit and started putting in bigger raises and 3-bets pre-flop. No big deal, just knowing how to react to it is key. My stack is the same.
Another aside from the small matter of getting violated in this tournament. A quick check of the stats for my website whilst writing shows that on this day, in this event, during this very update, kevinolearypoker.com has hit it's highest ever website traffic for one 24 hour period.
So to you 12 people.... I say thank you.
No. On a serious note I don't think Google has too much to panic about. However I'm creeping towards 400 unique hits just for today, which means(unless I somehow drastically oversold for the series to 400 people) that around 383 of you are also interested observers to the ups and downs of my tournament life. Like I said,I doubt it'll break too many website records, but for one schmuck with an idea and the limited brain capacity to turn it into something resembling a professional looking website format to sell action I suppose you could say I'm immensely proud that it's been a success, even if my poker in the last few months hasn't. Once I win something I expect traffic to go mental. The fact my principles prohibit me from spamming this site on Facebook and Twitter to my friends and that's it's still a hit does make me glow a little.
Anyway, enough of that, I'm not accepting an academy award. Just a note of thanks to my shareholders, my friends who like a sweat and to read the sarcastic crap that I write, my mum, Alina my beautiful wife, Doyle my 11 year old dog, God, Allah,Buddah,etc,etc.
Back to it and I just found KK. I got zero action and picked up the blinds and antes. Marvellous.
Had a few small ups and downs, but just got lucky and crept back up to 23k. We have 45 mins left before bagging up for the end if day one. I'd not be overjoyed to end the day on 20k or less, but at the same time I'm not about to spazz out if I see a suited ace. We'll see what happens.
Back up to 25k. I'm going to keep the updates short and sweet because my iPad is threatening to die on battery fumes. A good sign I guess if I've been updating for 12 hours straight.
Looks like people are still watching my ramblings late into the night. I'd guess a lot of you are UK based, so that actually means you're eating cornflakes and wiping the crud from your eyes after enjoying a wonderful nights sleep. In about 21 minutes hopefully I can get some too.
Nothing to report in the interim. The floor called last 5 hands before close of play for the day, and I've seen nothing to get into any mischief with so barring the holy grail appearing I'll settle for bagging up and calling it a day. Total to follow unless the next post is to inform you of a catastrophe.
Two hands from the end, and I'm out. QQ vs AK, he turned a king. Sigh. Why am I so cursed?
Yes, I know, I'm an asshole. Someone just texted me to that very effect. Sorry. Even after the gruelling day I'm still mischievous...
I'm utterly exhausted. Will write more later. Off to bed and I have a day off until I play day 2 on Tuesday. Thanks for all the love everyone xxx
Clearly I like my song titles when it comes to update posts. Richard Burton in my opinion probably had THE greatest and most powerful spoken voice for such things. I just discovered they've done a rejig of War Of the Worlds with Liam Neeson in the Burton role. Please, I truly implore you to forget this ever happened and go with the original and best.
But the Eve of the War it is. And after the paper trail of the last few weeks(see above), at noon tomorrow I'll get back into it with all the hopefuls of the WSOP main event, many coming into town with nothing but one change of clothes and a dream. I'll be updating whenever I can, but will be more intent on the flow of the table than ever, because with the best structure you can possibly get, you really don't want to miss a thing, and though people say poker's getting tougher, there's plenty of people still making mistakes in this event, and I intend not only to not be the one making them, but also to be the one capitalising on them from others whenever possible.
I'm not overawed by the main event at all. This is my 7th or 8th main in about 9 years, and it really is business as usual, though of course the WSOP main is special. It's a very long day, and whilst some online whizz kids will be trying to hit 400k by level 3, I often feel it's really more about ploughing through the chaff and getting through day one with reasonable chips and just seeing how it unfolds. I think I've made day 2 four times before, and that's kind of where this event actually starts proper For me. Day one is more about making sure some spanner with zero chance of winnings anything himself ruins your chances along the way, because he couldn't fold a pair of 5's. We shall see.
Anyway. Today and yesterday have been about rest, food with good and supportive friends, some hiking in the desert, and clearing the mind ready for the upcoming onslaught.
I'm pretty sure most people keep an eye on the updates because they like the semi-live sweat aspect of things, so I'll do the best I can, both with playing the tournament, and keeping the audience happy with bits of table side journalism when possible. For now it's sleep, and then a morning swim and something not deep-fried and covered in butter to get me going. Next post- the WSOP main event.
Curious title, but that's just where we are right now. I've bought in for the WSOP main event, today is July 4th, and I have a window of doing nothing at all for a few days until it all kicks off on Sunday 6th for me. I've got some bits to ramble on about, so I'll just type and let it come out as it does haphazardly. Come on, you all know you love it really...
First off. A small thank you (again). People have been hugely supportive of both the website in general, and also of my bonehead style of writing and posting little videos, or things that either I find funny, or I think the reader might. I've made new contacts who wanted shares or just to give views who have never met me, but just saw and liked the site and what I'm saying. Curiously enough, this was never intended as any kind of journal or blog(shudder, yes I know I hate that word). It just unfolded the way it did. I'm not a fan of baring my soul about stuff in print generally. If you think some of the things I mention here are off the wall, you should hear some of the stuff I leave out. It's not peer pressure,but I do think the site needs content. I know some people who invest are sitting at home refreshing a page when I play, and I think "level 1-4675, level 2-4450" etc isn't really giving anyone much of a sweat, so I do what I can to make it more readable. For the most part it seems like I've succeeded because it seems popular,so irrespective of any big scores that's got to be a good thing.
OK, now the results bit.
I'm around 20 grand from winning a million dollars playing live events. In actual fact I passed this point a long time back but in the dusty old days before poker databases a lot of results were never recorded. I'm a bit of a rarity, in that I really don't care much about the trinkets and milestones you collect along the way playing poker. To me it's mainly about playing well and being profitable, and anything else is a happy accident if it happens to go well. That not withstanding, actually still not passing the million dollar live cashes mark is irking me a bit now, because it's feeling a bit like fate doesn't actually want me to do it just yet. I was going to write a mock piece about how unlucky I'm feeling, and how life is conspiring against me when I keep getting horribly runner-runnered at key points and that these idiots alway get so lucky when I deserve a big result,but the truth(and those who know me will bear this out)is that I just feel it's a part of the big picture and if I'm playing well I just have to dig in and keep playing well until the turning point comes. Someone told me a long time ago"if you're going to play tournaments, then get used to getting outdrawn because it's going to happen A LOT". That still holds true to this day,and it puzzles me a great deal why some players,even very good players,have some air of entitlement about them. Like because they had the best starting hand,they deserve to win,and that if they lose the opponent deserves to be ripped a new one for daring to be in the pot to begin with. It makes little sense. It's a game of chances,trap doors,picking your moments,and very occasionally getting it in as a favourite and being fortunate enough to get out at the other end unscathed. There are plenty of people who just don't "get" this at all, and are just petulant children when someone who can do whatever they like with their own chips takes their toys away with a carefully planned 3 outer. It still befuddles me, but poker is still trying to become standardised, with the pretty people telling the rest of the world how it's supposed to be, and how a hand is supposed to be played,so I guess I'll remain part of the befuddled minority.
It's a nice segway into a moment talking about the winner of the One Drop Event here,a 23 year old kid who bagged a cool $15 million after beating Negreanu heads-up. He reluctantly posed for a few pictures, clearly miffed at being obligated to do so, and then left with his loot. No interviews,no product endorsements,no ugly celebrations(see last years One Drop for plenty of that). The media largely tried to pillory him, and called him a multitude of things, saying he basically "owed" the poker industry a quota of interviews and happy snaps, and that he wasn't acting in the way a champion of anything was deemed to properly behave after such a huge result.
The community and industry were divided, but I'm firmly on the side of the winner here. As he pointed out, he doesn't "owe" poker a single thing. It's a means to an end, the end being to make money. Whilst a few friends think I'm possibly jaded or bitter about some such things, the reverse couldn't be more true. I'm just realistic and experienced. When big businesses get involved in anything, they promote it, glorify it, distort it, suck the life out of it, and when they're done with it and it has no market value left, they throw it aside and look for the next fad to make a buck from. I have some wonderful friends in poker. Some very insightful and clever people with tons of passion for the game,integrity and a strong moral compass. However I'm under no illusion as to what the casinos and poker sites really care about. It isn't individuals. It isn't "the good of the game". It most certainly isn't fairness and integrity. It's making money, plain and simple. Over the years I've seen them quite callously throw aside people with real talent and passion, and go on a single minded mission to make stars out of some truly loathesome people who might just get more sign ups because of how they look in a bikini or because they're currently the new fad. Of course, this is just business. What I don't like is when the business isn't honest. I've always had a real problem with anyone or anything that tries to feather their own nest, or suck the life out of poker whilst simultaneously pretending to actually be one of its saviours. They assume that the public are stupid enough to blindly eat whatever is spoon-fed to them by the PR department, and sadly, they're often correct. The players themselves get treated pretty crappily at the WSOP(unless they're a big star, in which case the rules don't apply and there's plenty of fawning). From poor conditions to scheduling mismanagement, to meagre food comps, to overpriced everything. Of course, no one has to play, and I must also say that running the WSOP is a truly huge task logistically, and though I thnk a lot of stuff is bad, on the other foot they sometimes do a great job considering the size of the task at hand. But make no mistake, they get paid well for it, and they get paid well by us the players. It still needs a hell of a lot of improvement, and maybe someone like this kid making a stand and showing the industry to not be as lip-glossy and paved with gold as the media would have you believe, is just what is actually needed. I for one agree with what he said, whatever his motives.
OK. That looked a bit like a rant, even to me. Screw it. It's what I think so there it is in print anyway.
Here's a snap of some paperwork that'll never be taken to the payout window.
Without specifically picking stuff to bits, I'd estimate on the trip I've probably had about 20% of bad exits(I played it bad or got it in bad), 30% where it was just a standard thing and it didn't go my way, and the other 50% was real poker pain where I'm either right near the loot making the right move to win the hand, or I've played the big pot for all the marbles in great shape and it's gone horribly wrong when that one victory gets me into cruising position with healthy chips. No whining, just observation. It's all part and parcel but I like to have an idea of what's gone on. If you get complacent and just think you're always just the best player who always simply gets unlucky, then a decline may be imminent, so being critical of what's happened is always good in my book.
Regrets, I've had a few...
I think if I can draw something from this trip to date, it's that I feel I made an error restricting myself to the WSOP and not simply incorporating other casinos events into the schedule and trimming down my WSOP schedule a bit to keep the money about the same. This was the first time I've done this(played solely at the WSOP) but even though I talk about the events being good and the structures being great, I think next year I'd play maybe half as many WSOP sides, and incorporate some Wynn, Venetian or other events into the calendar. I think it's good to mix it up a bit, and though it's not the big score someone with 3% wants, maybe shooting at a $25k win somewhere with 260 players and a 20k start stack is easier than always trying for $400k with 2740 players and a 4500 start stack over 3 days. You get the idea. Nothing set in stone, and obviously if you cash big early that's great, but just saying maybe next WSOP I'll have a rethink. As always any opinions welcome.
Today is a celebration of the day that the USA hacked us to pieces and threw us out of the country in order to govern themselves. I'm pretty sure they were right to do it, though I question the refusal to do the metric system to this day. You can still buy drugs in kilogrammes guys, and I'm told a kilo of weed is more fun anyway, so get with it. Best wishes to all my lovely American friends, and in particular the Las Vegas ones who constantly give me shit about destroying their language. I love you all x
Well this was a ramble. More to come in due course... maybe even a video if you're really good to me.
Just a quick break from my scheduled stuff to write a paragraph about Chad Brown, who sadly died earlier following a prolonged battle with a very rare form of cancer.
I didn't know him. I'd played a few tournaments in the past and exchanged a few words over the table. He was very likeable, a talented player, very engaging, and fun to have at the table. These things are missing more and more from poker nowadays. Not blaming it all on kids, because older people can be miserable emotionless robotic jerks also. The reason I got into and enjoyed the game at the start was at least partially because I loved the social aspect. People talked, bluffed, needled, laughed, and battled. And it was fun. It's becoming less fun with each passing year as rude, impassive, obnoxious, analytic little know it alls try to squeeze any remaining social element out of the game, and make it more like playing online. Guys, if you like it so much, then go and PLAY online, and leave us to play the game in the spirit in which it was designed. My tables are normally fun. I get people talking. Sure some people don't want to talk all day, that's quite ok. But when I sit at a table of clones I really wonder why they are doing this at all. It's no life if you just sit there wearing headphones for 9 hours and never say a word, really it isn't. Go find a girlfriend. Talk to people, get a life. Live it.
Chads life was cut short, and I'm sorry for his friends and family. If more people were like he was, and less people were like the norm nowadays, the game would be 100 times more fun for everyone. I guarantee it.
Not the most inspiring of titles but it's all I've got right now.
Of course, it's not the last hurrah. It's the last hurrah before the big hurrah. A sort of pre-hurrah if you will. Sod it. You get the idea.
Off we go in Brasilia, and I'm feeling as good as yesterday if not better. I've actually experienced such tournament pain over the years, that I'm quite literally immune to getting upset any more. If I could teach anyone in poker something, it'd likely be that. To not be an asshole in front if people when you win or lose a hand. I guess it's all relative
This of course has yet again been displayed on level one on my new table, when with 55 on a flop of K5K I've just lost 2000 versus pocket 10's, that doesn't go away and catches one of his other 10's to make a bigger boat. I don't go broke and a few people are amazed I haven't. I'm getting used to it.
I'll save the recurring theme platitudes. It doesn't change anything. Just dig in and carry in, and don't let it affect my natural game.
It's starting to feel like "can I get past level one" in these things. There have been 2 allins on my table already(not from me) and I'm missing flops for fun. Try to not bleed chips and wait it out. 10 mins before the giddy height of level two.
Well, we've hit level 2 on 1900. I feel like I've won the event.
Find a pair, miss the flop. Find a big suited ace, miss the flop. I'm tempted to just use the remaining chips aggressively and try to either win the pot there and then or take a flip. Either way I'll be the one shoving, not calling.
And that's the way it went.
I have 9s8s in the bb with 1300 left. A serial raiser on my blind again makes it 175. I can shove but may be in a bad spot so let's take a flop.
I check, he bets 225, I jam.
He calls and tables K7. Well played.
It bricks out for me and that's that. Good luck everyone.
I'll write a post later today. Not one of apology or whining about beats. Like I said, that simply isn't professional. I'll give some thoughts on the last few weeks and mindset in general. I think getting the big hand early and doubling up is great in these events, because it gives you chips to work with. I just also think getting the shaft early every time sucks. But what are you going to do. What I'm going to do is leave the Rio now, and focus on winning the one that matters in under a week.
A nod to Ozzy and the boys, and an underrated album containing at least 4 crackers. It was this or Iron Maidens "die with your boots on". Either way you get the idea.
I threw out the question of what to do when playing good and running bad, and probably had around 30 responses, so thank you. They covered all bases from "rest up and recharge and enjoy the down time", to "keep your head down and play through" it, right onto "go to the Rhino or Sapphires, that fixes most things!"
All suggestions were carefully weighed up and balloted, they were run through and algorithm,and a panel of judges discussed them. They said they'd get back to me on 16th June with the results, so that was a sodding waste of admin.
I decided I'm playing fine and my head's fine so I'm going to see the schedule out.
If I thought I was making bad decisions constantly I'd back off and just take the main shot, but I'm feeling fine. Part of doing this all the time is that you're not supposed to be fazed by bad runs or horrible outdraws. I'm not, so it's business as usual.
I'd look to most likely play the main on 1b (Sunday), so plenty of rest time anyway. If I go deep in one of the last two events instead then it's less rest time, but also a nice problem to have.
Off for a quick swim before getting into the Rio. Updates to follow :o0
Off we trot. Nice active start table with most of the occupants seemingly in a good mood and happy to chat. I'm playing small pots and just feeling things out a bit right now.
This table was great, everyone laughing and having fun. It just broke and I've been moved to a table full of robots. I've spoken for 3 minutes and so far no one has said a single word.
They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Personally I'm amazed I'm not stone dead by now this series, so in theory I'm as strong as a lion right?
I've just played my first hand on my new table, and my last hand of this tournament. Fate or the gods of poker have a stupidly sick sense of humour.
I've just been dealt QcQh in the big blind. It's level one and a few limpers call round to me. I make it 250 to play, one caller, and now the guy at the back makes it 775 to play. I then call, as does one other.
Flop: 10 Q K two diamonds.
I'm happy to check raise here as I'm pretty sure I'm ahead. We both check to the original raiser who bets 1500. I don't give him AJ, maybe KK if I'm really unlucky and he's flopped perfect, so I get it in which is about another 2k on top. The guy in the middle folds, and the villain now calls and tables the monster....
J9 offsuit for a flopped straight.
Obviously I can't pair up on turn or river. For good measure his 9 makes a runner runner flush to compound the agony.
I'm out. Now everyone wants to talk amongst themselves about how clever they are.
Little to say here except to congratulate the winner and just leave. That's pretty much the fastest exit from a WSOP event I've ever had. I won't even try to figure out what goes through some peoples heads when they pony up $1500.
I've headed to the Wynn to blow off a little steam and jump in their one day $300 event. I'm not happy about the WSOP exit but as previously said, there's literally no point in getting bent out of shape about it. It doesn't change what just happened, and being any degree of a dick about it just isn't professional,plain and simple. So I'll just stay level headed and keep doing my thing.
I decided to play the Wynn daily, but there were so many players it took me over an hour to get seated. I'm now in the game, and have outlasted nearly half the field already simply by virtue of sitting down late. The drawback is with 12k chips and blinds at 300/600/75 the average open is about 2500. Some of the play so far I've seen is pretty terrible, but if course you still need to win a hand now and then.
The Wynn was a mistake. In actual fact the tournament is excellent, and normally on a schedule I'd play a few of these events. Coming in late was a mistake is what I actually mean. They normally hold this in the Encore which is wonderful, but due to space restrictions or a slots event or suchlike, they currently have to hold some events in the poker room along with cash games, so as a result have far fewer tables and it takes longer to seat late entries. I didn't get a seat for a good while, and once I did I basically had two hands in me that I had to win to have a chance. I lost both, so it lasted about an hour. If you come in for this event at the start it's superb, if you're 104 on the alternates, it's not so hot. C'est la vie.
DSE FALL 2016
Trials and Tribulations