My First WSOP Cash...
Monday night I was in my room and in bed at around 11 wanting to get a good night's sleep for the next day's marathon. I slept like a baby and after a quick good luck chat with the wife in the morning on Tuesday, I headed over to the Rio. I stayed across the street at the Gold Coast so it only took me about 10 minutes to get there.
I was early enough to be able to sit in a $175 satellite just to get things kicked off. I end up chopping heads-up with the chip leader (he had about 70% of the chips in play) for 1 $500 chip and $120 cash. I sold my $500 chip and I was up about $450 for the day. During my stay I played $125s and $175s and while I didn't much care for the 1000 chips you start out with, the tables were pretty soft. I never finished worse than 5th and only did that once. Anyways...
The satellite got over about an hour before the WSOP Event started and I headed over to pick up some goodies from the various poker room areas where they offer tournament players snacks and drinks. My favorite one by far has been Full Tilt where they run happy hour every day for 4 hours or so. Want a drink?? Head to the Full Tilt room.
The tournament started fairly promptly at noon and I can't describe to you what it looked like in there. It was kind of eerie seeing about 210 dealers all across the room with empty seats and hard to imagine at the end of the day there would only be about 120 some odd people remaining from a field of 2126.
Once they announced players could enter the area I found Table 133, Seat 1 and got settled in for the start. We started with 1500 chips and 60 minute levels. Blinds began at 25/25. Breaks occurred every 2 levels with dinner break after level 6.
1500 starting stack
Things got kicked off and started horribly for me. First hand in middle position I get AsKs and raise to 100. The big blind calls and we see a flop of 478 rainbow. He checks and I bet 100. He calls. Turn comes A and he checks to me again. Now I feel like he has hit the 7 or the 8 and I now have top pair top kicker I just throw another small bet of 100 out there since this is the first hand. He calls again.
Now I feel certain my read of a 7 or 8 is correct because he would've already reraised me with something bigger, right?? The river comes a Q and he checks again. Since I still am wondering what he has I feel content checking to see his hand instead of betting and him possibly mucking. I want to gain some info here and he shows the best hand with AQ. He played it funny and I really think he could've extracted more from me here. I vomit in my mouth when I see his cards and look down at my stack which is now a piddly 1200 after the first hand. I just lost 20% of my stack.
I regroup and tell myself over and over again that it doesn't matter and to just play how I know to play. After angling and angling for the next 2 hours I make it to the end of level 2 and 25/50 play back to my original starting stack. We go on break and I am content with my stack at my table since the largest stack looks to be about 3000 or so.
1500 stack at the end of level 2, 25/50
Level 3 starts at 50/100 and I continue to be card dead and have to shuck and jive and angle and dodge and such to keep my stack above water. I have to admit that psychologically for me it was daunting. I began feeling unsure of myself and worrying about taking this trip and it being for naught.
There was a part of me that didn't want to come to Las Vegas and play in this event. I had all of these things in my head as to how it looked me leaving the family to go and play poker. The $1500 that I won in the blogger's tournament is a significant amount of money to me and since my family is a single income one (wife works her @$$ off at home with 2 toddlers ages 3 1/2 and 2) that money can be used for more important things. You understand if you have a wife and kids at home and especially if you are the only bread winner. Needless to say I felt a little bit selfish and a little bit irresponsible and alot guilty leaving my wife by herself with those two jihadist toddlers of mine.
Obviously, I did decide to make the trip considering the fact that I really enjoy playing and that I believe my wife has confidence in my abilities and actually supported my going. I just knew I would regret it so off I went. I began having a good feeling about this right after I jumped off the cliff and wired my money to the Rio about 2 weeks before the event. Sorry for the tangent. Back to poker...
I fight through my thoughts and my tablemates and survive levels 3 and 4 and make it to the 2nd break without any cards. I caught a couple nice hands but got no callers both times. I have now been playing for 4 hours. Suprisingly I don't feel tired and have become focused and determined and have overcome the psychological setback I was having earlier. I really think I know when this moment occurred.
Halfway through level 3 Erick Lindgren comes and sits across from me in seat 5. He has an average stack and is probably about 5th in chips at my table. I don't know but I told myself to buckle down and quit being a baby as everyone else proceeded to give their chips to Erick. I think him sitting just really fired me up to play well for some reason.
The only bad thing about this was that by the end of level 4 our table had donked off enough chips to Erick to make him the table chip leader. I couldn't do anything mind you since I got absolutely nothing to play. If I caught aces and kings as many times as I caught 47o and 58o I would've been chip leader and have made it to the final table. So now the strongest player at the table has the biggest stack. It did make me alot more focused however and this is a good thing. I am heading into level 5 at 100/200 with the antes kicking in at 25 with 2400 in chips.
2400 stack at the end of level 4, 100/200
Erick's stack at the end of level 4. Table leader.
Level 5 starts and I start getting some hands and playing them aggressively. I reraised a few times preflop with good hands and won some chips. Levels 5 and 6 is where I started doing well. I had a good tight aggressive table image and even Erick was showing a brother respect. I played exactly one hand with him the whole time he was at my table and he folded to my postflop continuation bet after calling my UTG raise. Erick busted out against a perceived blind stealer when his 77 got busted by 66 when a 6 came on the flop.
I make it through levels 5 and 6 and am still shortstacked but I am building it slowly and I have a great table image. If you can outplay a table with a shortstack I was doing it and I am not known for being very adept with one. I tend to get a bit too antsy and impatient with no chips and push with subpar hands.
4250 stack at the end of level 6, 150/300 Antes 25
Level 7 began and unbeknownst to me at the time Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy came and sat in seat 6 sometime during this level. I don't remember. He was shortstacked like me and I actually had the pleasure of doubling him up when his K7 held up against my AK halfway through level 8 once I had a mound of chips. He is one of the strongest NLHE online tournament players and obviously all around as well. He was a genuine nice guy who was fun to play with.
During level 7 and throughout level 8 I caught on fire. My good hands were holding up, I was making great reads, even greater laydowns, and great calls. I had been playing the last 2 levels against some of the best in the game and they were respecting my play which did wonders for my confidence. I rode this until the end of level 8 where I had accumulated to around 30k which at the time was probably top 20 or 30.
My chips during the $25 chip buy off
After the $25 buy off and the beginning of level 9
At the end of level 8 when they raced off the 25 chips our table broke which ended up being my downfall. I got moved to a table with who I believe was the chip leader at the time. Some young internet supposed phenom. I can't remember his name but let me tell you he is one of the things that is wrong with poker in my opinion. He was brash, disrespectful to both players and dealer alike with not only his actions but his mouth.
Anyways, I started getting no cards again and had little to no information about the table. I was probably the 3rd largest stack at the table and I was just folding, folding, folding, looking for spots but finding none. Everytime I saw a hand I might try a steal with it would get raised up in front and sometimes raise, reraised. I ended up realizing this was a very active table where I could get into trouble.
The couple of times that I did get a big hand I only won blinds and antes. Things had simply just slowed down for me but I was content with that and looking forward to bagging the chips for the day and get buckled down for the next day when the hand which can nevermore be spoken of occurred.
I was in the big blind and it folded around to the small blind who had me covered in chips probably 2:1 and he limps. I look down and find KsQs and decided to see a flop with him. Pot is 4400 because we are in level 10 which is 600/1200 with antes of 200. The flop comes Kc6s9s giving me top pair with a good kicker and 2nd nut flush draw.
Small blind checks and I bet out 2400 feeling like I have a strangle hold on the hand and he quickly calls. The turn brought the Kd. I almost jump out of my seat. I have trips with a 2nd nut flush draw AND I have a redraw to make quads or a full. He checks again. I bet out about half the pot again with 5000. He calls. I still feel like I am way ahead and wouldn't mind getting all the chips in the pot. River comes 2s which makes my 2nd nut flush hand but this time small blind bets out 16000. HUH?????
I go into the tank wondering if I have been snookered but I just didn't think so. I think he is representing the flush seeing as I believe he probably thinks I might have a K and can lay trips down with a flush on the board. I thought he might've even made his flush. His actions reeked of a drawing hand. I figure if I win this hand I would easily be top 20 or 15. I call and he shows 66 for the full house to take the pot. He played the hand sneaky and got paid off. It could've really been disatrous for him though but he was fortunate the K fell on the turn to give me a monster hand and a monster redraw as well. He simply was fortunate I didn't turn Kings full on him.
I was crippled and eventually got all my chips in with KJ only to have the small blind wake up with AK and since no J fell, I was out in 144.
I had a spectacular time not only in the tournament but playing satellites as well and am really looking forward to more of these soon. There is nothing like live MTTs. Online doesn't even come close. I am alot more focused, determined, and observant in live play and I really feel like this tournament showed that.
I will be heading out to the WSOP Circuit Event in Tunica this Sept/Oct so drop me a line if you are going to be there.
Thanks for all of those that rooted me on and I hope I can do even better for you next time.