Since my last post I played 3 WSOP events: $1,500 HORSE, $2,000 NLH, and $1,500 NLH.
Going into the HORSE I had high hopes. I'd played so well in the $3,000 HORSE against maybe the second toughest field I've ever faced (the toughest was the $5,000 NLH event in 2006 - at one point I was maybe the worst player at my table which is something that had never happened to me before or since) and I was hoping for more of the same.
I started off well, ran my starting stack of 4,500 up to about 14,000, but when the limits got bigger I had a two hour stretch where I didn't win a pot. I went broke sometime in the 7th hour of play.
In the $2,000 no limit I slept in and signed up about a half an hour late (there is no penalty for signing up late and you can do so until 2 hours into the tournament) since this one had a noon start time and I'd played until after one am the night before. I got stuck at a table with a bunch of other people who signed up late and guess what? They could all play! This is not a surprise since the players who are only playing one event or who are sweating the money would never in a million years sign up late and miss the start of the tournament.
This tournament sucked! All day it was tough decision after tough decision. I kept flopping top pair with no kicker and getting raised or finding myself with pocket 8s on a ten high board or whatever. I was also short stacked for seemingly the entire tournament.
I did survive one pot in the 6th hour of play where I was about as far behind as you can be. We started with 6,000 chips, I had about 3,000 left and since we'd lost at least half the field I had about a quarter of average. The blinds were 150/300 with a 25 chip ante and I was in the cutoff. I peaked down at my first card which was an ace and since that was plenty good enough to move all in no matter what my second card was I didn't even look at my other one and pushed all my chips into the pot. Instantly I got called by the player in the small blind and the player in the big blind folded pocket sixes face up. The small blind turned over AJ of spades and I when I flipped over my hand it turned out my other card was a six! ACK!
So now I'm looking for the last six in the deck. When the flop comes out its Q J 7 with two spades! I'm totally dead here right? Well amazingly the turn comes a queen, the river comes an ace and we both make aces and queens with a jack kicker and split the pot!
After the flop I was 1.66% to get half the pot and 0% to get it all. Even after the turn I'm less than 5% to chop.
After that I staged an amazing comeback. I ran my stack all the way up to 20,000 and I was thinking that I'd have such a great story surviving that hand and going on to make the money. It's been long enough now that I've forgotten the exact details of my demise, but I finished about 400th of 1,550.
The next day at noon I played the $1,500 no limit hold'em event and got off to a great start. I was at a table full of very weak players to start and even though I was getting no cards I ran some strong bluffs and won a few nice pots.
In level two with blinds of 50/100 a player in early position raised to 300 and got called by three players. I was in the big blind with T8 and thought it was worth 200 to see a flop with all that money already in the pot. The flop came down KK2, I checked as did everyone else. The turn was a four and I figured I'd try to steal one. Almost no one will cold fire into four opponents like that (fearlessness is a big advantage), but I was all but sure that everyone had missed the flop and the four didn't look like it helped anyone. I bet out 800 and after some hemming and hawing the button called me. The river was another 4. I looked over at my opponents stack and saw that he only had about 1,900 left (we started with 4,500) so I threw two $1,000 yellow chips into the pot.
After about 5 seconds he said "I think my pocket jacks are good and you're just trying to bully me." SHIT! I wasn't sure what he had when he called me on the flop, by jacks was no where close to the range of hands I had him on. I couldn't believe anyone would just call a raise preflop on the button with jacks, but sure enough after a minute or so he folded them face up. Of course instead of showing my T8 I kindly informed him that I had a four and he'd made a good fold. Putting someone to a decision for all of their remaining chips is a powerful tool.
I was up to 9,300 by the first break, and up to 16,000 sometime in the 4th hour. But then I stalled. The five or six weak players at my starting table all went broke and were replaced by much tougher players. I got no cards for what felt like forever and eventually one of my big bluffs got caught. I wasn't able to recover once I was short stacked and went out in about 800th of 2,100.
I played 7 tournaments with buy ins totalling $14,500 and had a net loss of -$8,051. If you look back, you'll notice that I at least tripled my starting chips in 6 of the 7 tournaments I played (I doubled my starting stack in the other). I think that's a sign of how well I played and how I matched up against my competition.
When the blinds got big and the stakes got high I just never got the cards I needed or found myself in good situations to bluff. If you'd told me I'd triple my starting stack in 6 of 7 tournaments I would expect at least 3 cashes so I'm a little disappointed in that regard.
The good news is the main even is right around the corner (Day 1 for me will be either June 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th)! Until I get my last hand of the main event the 2009 WSOP isn't over!
I'll put up another post soon with a few more short stories about the various characters and more general reflections on my time in Vegas.
For now it's back to the online game. I expect to play a mix of tournaments and cash games in the two weeks I have before heading back to Vegas and I'll try to put up at least one or two posts in the near future.