Thursday, July 30, 2009

Smashing the 8-game

It's been a while since my last post (didn't proofread this one so sorry about the typos). I've been on sort of an inpromptu vacation. Partly because I've been doing lots of fun stuff, but also because I was credited 100,000 VPPs for "winning" my WSOP main event seat through pokerstars and that counted towards the monthly 50,000 I need to keep my supernova elite status. This has been the first time in a year and half that I haven't been thinking about how many points I need to earn so I've been taking advantage.

Sorry that I left you hanging on the Omaha hand I mentioned in my last post. Thanks to those of you who posted comments. I have especially been keeping in mind the part of the comment left by the anonymous poster who said "no one ever folds in PLO." I repeat that in my head when I want to three barrel bluff like I'm used to doing in other games and instead look for situations where I can make value bets instead.

I'll try to briefly wrap up discussion on that hand before moving on (you might need to look back at the last post for the details of the hand - I know I did).

My friend Bombay Jack responded via phone call not e-mail so I'll have to paraphrase his comments. First of all he said he like reraising preflop, but preferred $90-$100 instead of $130. A double suited connected hand like the one I had is a premium hand and even though it's a "drawing" hand if you do the math it's a favorite over most of the hands in my opponents' range.

He also said that my opponents preflop calls were very thin at best, but once the flop came out the money was bound to go all in. After following Jack's recommendation that I use on odds calculator (like the one on cardplayer.com) to see where I stood in the hand at various points I saw that we were about 50/50 on the flop. Since we were both getting about 2 to 1 on our money given the dollars already in the pot we both did the right thing on the flop.

The good news is I have played a few thousand hands of 8-game since my last post and I have been totally killing my opponents. I've won $3,500 in the past two days playing a mix of $10/$20 and $20/$40 over the span of 1,000 hands and I had similar results over the preceding 1,000 hands which was a little more spread out.

Amazingly most of my profits seem to have come in the PLO! Whatever discomfort I have playing that game is nothing compared to the complete moronitude (who cares if it's not a real word - you know what I mean!) that my opponents have displayed at times.

Here is an example! Yesterday I was playing $20/$40 four handed and go dealt AA94 with the A4 of hearts. With about $1,300 in my stack I was first to act and made it $35 to go. The player to my left raised the pot and made it $120 to go. Since I had AA in my hand, which (with a few very specific exceptions) is a favorite over any hand the doesn't contain AA, I reraised the pot making it $370 to go.

My opponent instantly called and the flop came down 2 3 J with two clubs. All I had was my pair of aces which isn't exactly the nuts in PLO, but there wasn't much going on on that flop and I decided to go for it. I bet the pot which was about $750 and my opponent put in his whole stack which was about $650. ACK!

Now there was $2,000 in the pot and unlike a tournament where the cards get turned over when someone is all in I had no idea what my opponent had while I watched the turn and river come out. I was in a mild state of shock and since there wasn't much that could improve my hand and I couldn't compute all of the ways I could lose this hand I had no idea what I wanted to come on the turn or the river.

After the longest 2 seconds I can remember, the turn and river were out - the 6 and 8 of diamonds - which put three diamonds on board. In the second it took for my opponents hand to turn over I know I thought "If this guy has two diamonds in his hand I am going to fucking freak out!"

Guess what he had? T 9 7 5 with the T7 of clubs! WHAT! This hand is probably in the bottom 15% of PLO hands if not worse. Remember, he reraised me preflop, and then called a pot sized 4 bet! That is pure madness. I hope he thought "how the hell did I just blow off a grand with T 9 7 5?" when the hand was over.

The only downside with the 8-game mix is there is usually only one or two games going at $10/$20 and the $20/$40 is only going about half the time (amazingly the $400/$800 is almost always going sometimes with 3 games), but given my results I think I have to make it a priority.

In other good news pokerstars is running what they are calling "extreme" satellites to the WCOOP. Between August 4th and 16th they are running 28 satellites with buy ins ranging from $7.50 to $215 and are adding a total of $1,000,000 (that's not a typo) combined to the prize pools of these satellites. For example the first one is a $7.50 satellite that gives away $109 seats and pokerstars is adding 100 seats (or $10,900) to the normal prize pool. More significantly there are two where they are adding 50 $1,050 seats to $215 buy in satellites and one where they are adding an astounding 50 $5,200 main event seats (or $260,000) to the normal pool!
Here is a link to the schedule if you want to check out the specifics.

This is all going down in parallel to the FTOPS so since I expect to be working all of those days anyway, I plan on playing every single one of the 28 tournaments. In addition to the added value the fields are going to be packed with players of all skill levels (most of whom will be weak) taking advantage of the overlay. On top of that it means more weak players playing in the actuall WCOOP tournaments. I'm getting fired up!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Other Sites and 8-Game Mixed

Since my last post I've been working a little on my 50,000 hands of $15/$30 and $10/$20, but have only played 10,000 hands. The main reason is I was in Iowa for 5 days for a friends wedding and wasn't playing at all. Also when I have been playing I've been in the mood to branch out and try a few new things. The good news is I'm making about 50 cents a hand for the last 10,000 hands which is an insane amount and not something I expect to be able to keep up.

I've also been investigating a few other sites and their rakeback deals. On absolute poker I can get 30% of my rake (the fees the website takes from the players) back plus some kind of points. There aren't as many games going, but the players seem worse. They also have levels of status like pokertars, and while I can easily figure out the value of the rakeback (which is substatial, but not as good as supernova elite benefits by a wide margin), I need to play a little more and do some more complicated math to figure out the value of their VIP club benefits.

There are also a few microscopic websites that will give you 90%-100% of your rake back if you commit to playing a certain amount per week and always leave a game if it's full. It's essentailly online propping, but you can play whatever games and stakes you want.

The main problem is lack of games. I don't mean good games, I mean any games. The two sites that I've signed up with to do this have about 200 players on at a given time (Pokerstars often has over 200,000) and most of them are playing stuff like 10 cent/ 25 cent no limit hold'em.

It's also a major pain in the ass to get money in there. I have to get a cashier's check and then mail it to Costa Rica (don't worry, it's not a scam - yes I'm sure). But once I jump through the hoops my plan is to just sit down in a $15/$30 game and a $10/$20 game and see if anyone wants to play me. I'll just park it there all day while I'm playing on pokerstars and if someone sits down I'll probably be head and shoulders above them in terms of skill and won't be paying any rake. If a few players join I'll be in buisness.

So on top of many hours of running numbers, creating accounts and working on getting money into other sites I've been playing mixed games cash games on pokerstars. Specifically I've been playing what they call "8-game." It is a mix of 2-7 triple draw, limit hold'em, limit Omaha-8, razz, stud, stud-8, no limit hold 'em and pot limit Omaha. The games is played 6 handed, each game is played for six hands and then you switch to the next game in the order that I've listed them. I've been playing $10/$20 and $20/$40 (the blinds for the NL and PL part of the mix are $2.50/$5 for the $10/$20 and $5/$10 for the $20/$40).

The scariest part of the mix for me is the pot limit Omaha. Even though I won $33,000 for finishing 2nd of 1,100 in a PLO FTOPS tournament I don't have a ton of experience with PLO. It's a game of draws and especailly playing short handed it's very easy to get all of your money in the pot.

I had an interesting hand come up before I left for vacation playing $20/$40 8-game in the PLO. I worte to my friend Bombay Jack who is probably one of the top 20 PLO players in the world to ask him about the hand. Here is what I said:

Hey Jack.

I was playing 8-game mixed games on pokerstars yesterday and I had a hand in the PLO that I wanted to ask you about (I don't know a lot about PLO and you're the only person I know who plays regularly).

We are playing 4 handed and the blinds are $5/$10. I started the hand with about $700 and everyone at the table had me covered. UTG makes it $30 to go and gets called by the button. I have QJ98 with the Q9 of diamonds and the J8 of spades, I raise to $130 and they both call.

Is this a reraising hand in this spot or is a call better? Do you like raising the pot or would $90 or $100 be better?

The flop is Kd Td 8h giving me bottom pair, wrap straight draw and #2 flush draw. I bet the pot which is about $400 and get called by the button. It turns out he has AK55 with the A5 of diamonds.

Do you like his call preflop? Do you like his call on the flop? Should I have played the flop differently?

The turn was the 2 of clubs and I only had $165 left so I bet it and got called. Do you think there is any value in checking and trying to save that 165 if I miss? It seemed clear to me that he was on a draw also and I thought there was some non zero chance the 8 might be good.

The river was the 3 of diamonds and I lost to the nuts.

If you get a chance I'd love to hear a few brief comments about this hand. Thanks in advance.


Before I get into what he said, I'd be interested if anyone else wants to comment on this hand. I know I don't have a ton of readers and most of you are hold'em players, but if anyone in blog land knows anything at all about PLO or even if you are just giving the 2 cents of a hold'em player please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Good Day Back in the Saddle

I have a new medium length goal. My plan is to play 50,000 hands of $10/$20 and $15/$30 without playing any higher with the goal of winning $5,000 (not including points).

After 9 years of keeping perfect records of every dollar I won and lost for some reason at the start of this year I totally bailed on keeping strong records. I sitll have a plus minus for every day, but now how it happened. I'd like to see just how much I'm making per hand and while 50,000 hands isn't a huge sample size it should give me a fair idea of what I can expect to make long term.

The problem is I want to play $50/$100 or even higher all day, every day. But even if I can win at that level, I'm not sure it's worth it to face the massive fluctuations. I'd much rather win $2,000 one day and lose $1,000 the next to show $500 a day profit, than win $6,000 one day and lose $5,000 the next. It's much more stressful. Of couse it's also much more exciting, which is why I need to make a concrete goal to keep myself in line.

Before I left for Vegas I played about 25 hands of $200/$400. That is the biggest I have ever played and I realized I'm clearly not ready to mentally handle those stakes. The reason I jumped in was first of all I was WAY up for the month and second of all there was a player in the game who I knew from $30/$60 who is a regular but weak. Along with him and three other sort of regular players there was also a bronze star (who turned out to be a pretty good player). It looked like one of the better games I've seen at those stakes so I figured why not give it a go.

To give you an idea of how big those stakes are let me tell you about a hand I played. I had AK and three bet and early position raiser who just called my reraise. The flop came down K T 3 and my opponent check raised me. I decided to just call and go for a raise on the turn. When the turn came out it was a blank and my opponent bet just like I knew he would. But when I raised he three bet me! ACK! Now I wasn't sure I had the best hand. I called his reraise on the turn and his bet on the river. He showed AK and we split the pot.

No big deal right? Well I put $2,600 into that one pot! That's a months rent, utilities, phone, internet, and cable. In one pot! It wasn't even a huge pot and that's just what I put into it! We split the blinds and I still made $150 on the hand! That's just nuts.

So my plan is to stick to the smaller games for at least a month or so, bang out some steady wins and avoid the massive fluctuations. After the next FTOPS in August and the WCOOP in September if I don't get spanked I'll revist the bigger games.

I got off to a good start today. The exact start I had in mind when I came up with the plan. I played about 2,000 hands and won $950 plus about $250 in FPPs. I didn't run into super weak competion, didn't get expecially great cards, and wasn't exactly making sick reads all day. I feel like I should be able to have results like this almost every day.

48,000 hands left!

Also briefly for Luis and any others who didn't know what I meant when I said I have good "bounce back," I mean that I'm able to put my losses behind me very quickly. Once the money is gone, it's gone and I'm very good about not thinking about those losses once they've happened. If you look at Tiger Woods he gets super pissed when he makes a bad shot or misses a key put. But by the time he needs to hit his next shot you'd never know he was upset a moment before. You should never be happy about losing a pot or a session, but it's important to realize that there is nothing you can do about it and just forget it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

WSOP Main Event Details

The Main Event has much more of an exciting atmosphere than the earlier events. There is large circular room as you enter the convention center in the Rio coming from the casino. Normally this area is deserted. But when I walked through there this time there was loud music with heavy beats, a guy building a huge house of cards (he was on a ladder working on it that's how big it was), tourists taking pictures by huge WSOP signs and (I swear I am not making this up) two go go dancers on platforms! It just felt like something big was going on.

When play was about to get underway U.S. congressman Barney Frank (who is the author of several pro online poker bills) addressed the players. He talked about how the government shouldn't have any right to tell us what we can and can't do with our money. He also asked us all to write our Representatives and tell them that they are a bunch of spineless, turtle humping, shit for brains, weasels if they don't get on board with supporting online poker!

I was a little surprised that once we started playing I wasn't nervous at all! Years ago after I'd started playing poker, but hadn't been to the WSOP, I felt like playing the main event was what I would choose if I had a terminal illness and could choose one thing to do before I died. Now, for the most part it felt like just another tournament.

It makes me sad to realize that. My friend Matt (who is also a poker pro) and I were talking about this recently. When we first started playing, poker was such a rush. If I could relive any ten days of my life the first day I played poker in a casino would easily make that list (the day my son was born, my wedding day, days 2-4 of my honeymoon, Christmas day when I was 8, 9, and 10, and a few days involving unmentionables are some others that would be on there).

I have as good a life as anyone could reasonably hope for. My wife and I have been together for more than 10 years and I still love her to death. My son is all I ever dreamed he would be at this age. I have enough money to buy the things I want, a job that I enjoy, and wonderful friends and family. But I still miss that thrill that I got when I first started playing. It was all I wanted to do and I don't really have anything like that in my life now.

In college I'd sit in class listening to my professors talking about forces or integrals or metal fatigue and I'd be sitting there thinking about hands I'd played the night before. Going over and over them again and again.

On spring break when I was 21, Jen was at her parents house for 5 days. I went to the Oaks club 8 times in those 5 days (I won 7 of the 8 sessions!). Twice I played for however many hours drove home, realized I already wanted to play more and drove right back!

So I wasn't feeling the thrill, but it was still tied for the most important poker tournament I'd ever played and I was focused on playing my best.

I got a tough table draw with 1998 world champ Scotty Ngyuen to my right and Lee Watkinson to his right. The rest of my table was a mix of fair players and only one or two of them seemed really nervous. Since Scotty (who is a great player and usually good for an interesting sound bite) was at my table the ESPN cameras were practically parked there.

We started with 30,000 chips and blinds of 50/100 so there wasn't much drama early on, but I won a few small pots and my stack crept up to 32,000.

Now on to the hand I played like a moron that I mentioned in my text update! Watkinson was playing a lot of hands. If he was the first one in he was raising maybe 50% of the pots. Five or six times the action had been folded around to him on the button (when I was in the big blind) and he'd raised every time. I'd gotten garbage every time and folded every time.

I had a fairly tight table image and I decided I should play back at him. So the 7th time he raised my big blind I called with J8 suited hoping to hit, but planning on going for a bluff otherwise. The flop came down T 6 4 rainbow and I checked. Watkinson bet out 400 and I just called planning on check raising the turn or betting the river if he checked behind me on the turn.

The turn was a 3, I checked he bet 1,000 and after 15 seconds or so I slid three yellow $1,000 chips into the pot. He thought for about ten seconds and called.

The river was a 5 making the board 3 4 5 6 T. I should have given up here. In order for a bluff to be a good one it has to make sense. If I didn't have a straight it was very unlikely that I'd bet here. But there was no way for me to reasonably represent a straight since there are very few hands that I would call preflop that contained a 2 or a 7 and none of them would have been anything worth check raising on the turn. Also since he called the check raise on the turn he had to have something. It turned out that something was AT and he quickly called my $5,000 river bet. ACK!

So now I was down to 23,000 or so. But I made two pair twice and stole a few other pots and got myself all the way back to 30,000.

The hand that really did me in happened about 3 and a half hours into the tournament. The blinds were 100/200 and I had about 28,000 chips. A player in early position made it 600 to go and got called by Watkinson. I was in the small blind with AQ and I made it 2,500 to go. I was expecting to win right there, but to my surprise both players called.

The flop looked great - Q 8 5 with two diamonds (I had the A of diamonds). I bet out 5,000 into the 7,700 chip pot, the original raiser made it 10,000, the other player folded and now it was back to me. Looking back I should have folded rather than put almost all of my chips at risk. My opponent had about 10,000 chips behind so it was unlikely he'd fold and if I'd folded I'd still have 20,000 or so chips left.

More importantly I didn't have a good feel for what he had. It was a possibility that he had AQ, KQ, QJ, AA, KK, JJ, TT, 99, 88 a flush draw, or was on a total bluff. That is a pretty wide range.

At the time I chose to use this line of logic "He knows it's likely I'd bet the flop here with just about any hand and he's probably raising to take me off a hand that missed this flop. I'll move all in and win right here or get called by a strong draw" The line of logic I should have used was "He made the minimum raise. I don't know what he has, but it's got to be good. If he was trying to take me off my hand he'd have moved all in."

When I moved all in he looked like he was about to puke. At that point I felt like he also had AQ. But after 60 seconds or so he called and turned over AA. The turn and river were both bricks and I was down to 4,500.

On the next hand two players limped in, I moved all in with AJ and won a small pot.

On the hand after that a player in early position made it 600 and got two callers. I looked down at 77 and moved all in for 5,000. The last of the callers was Scotty Ngyuen who after some thought called me with T9 suited. A 9 came on the flop and that was it.

I didn't feel that bad at the time. I only had about half my action so I'd only personally lost about $5,000 and also at the time I was feeling like I couldn't have played the hand much differently. I've had a dozen days (maybe even 20) in my career where I've lost that kind of money and I did have a strong hand. But as the minutes and hours rolled by I started to feel worse and worse.

I made the long ten minute loser's walk out of the convention area back to the casino and I still felt ok. I talked to my wife about coming home that night or the next day and for the moment I felt just fine. I made plans to meet Matt (who was still playing) for dinner.

Then I made my way to the Casino tables. And I started drinking. A lot. The mopes at my table were even more mopish than usual. The dealers seemed even more than usual like they just couldn't wait to get out of there. The reality of my spectacular failure in one of the biggest tournaments of my life began to sink in.

Sometimes when you look at Vegas it looks like pure excitement. Beautiful women walking around everywhere, people laughing with drinks flowing and money flying. Other times it looks like total despair. Unhealthy people who look ten years older than they are, smoking constantly, and angrily betting their last dollars with long odds and no hope. It definitely looked like despair to me this time.

I was winning, but it brought me no joy. I sure as hell wasn't going to win $10,000 playing $25 a hand anything, but I'm no where near self destructive enough to try to get that kind of money back playing table games. And since I was still wearing my pokerstars shirt and the Rio was swarmed with poker players everyone kept asking me if I was playing the main event. "Yes God Dammit! I played already and I went broke in three fucking hours! It couldn't have gone any worse! Can't we talk about something else?" I honestly can't remember the last time I was so depressed. It's been years.

I had an enormous BBQ dinner with Matt which sobered me up quite a bit and I started feeling a little better. Matt got eliminated a few hours later and we did a little more gambling. I ended up in my room by midnight, watched a movie and went to sleep.

The next afternoon I flew home and my wife and son Peyton met me at the airport. When Peyton saw me coming down the escalator from a distance he got a really excited look on his face and pointed to me as if to say "Look Mama! There he is!" When I got to the bottom he ran up and wrapped his arms around my legs giving me a big hug. Now that is a moment that was pure joy.

So how do I feel now? I feel just fine. In fact I feel good and hopeful about the future. I've always said that one of my strengths as a poker player is bounce back. Losses don't stick with me. I'm more upset about the end of the $3,000 HORSE tournament (even though I made the money) and a key hand I folded in the 2006 main event (and probably 20 other results) than I am about the 2009 main event!

I have a week before I'm off to Iowa for 5 days for a friend's wedding. I plan on doing my normal cash game thing and playing a few tournaments. I'll let you know if anything interesting happens.

There's always next year!

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Little About Failure

I'm back in California now. This past trip to Vegas was the worst one I can remember. My performance in the main event was abysmal.

One of the characteristics of solid winning players is they talk about their losses. It's only the really marginal ones or losing players that seem to only mention their wins. I'm not afraid to talk about losing and how it makes me feel. It's part of what I do.

So in the next day or two I'll put up a post with more details about what happened in the main event and how I felt about it. But for now I'm just happy to be back home with my family.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bad News

Disaster! I'm out. AQ vs AA on Q85 flop left me with 5k. Then I went all in with 77 vs 9T. 9 on the flop.

Break #1

At 2:20, during the first break, Dave says:

26k left. Played one hand like a moron and it cost me 9k. Scotty Nguyen is on my right. ESPN cameras parked at my table

WSOP Update

We're about to get underway. I have 30k in chips to start. This place is a zoo!

(This is Jen, I'm going to post the texts Dave sends me as I get them)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

In Vegas and a Little Richer

I made my way to Vegas today. The Oakland airport was almost totally empty as was my flight. As per usual we hit some pretty bad turbulence coming over the mountains into Vegas. I don't often get airsick, but I have unloaded into a few airsickness bags on special occasions. This time I managed to keep my breakfast down...barely. Landing was like the classic movie moment when the hero cuts the blue wire with 2 seconds left on the timer and saving the flight crew and passengers on a mostly empty July 4th flight to Vegas from a bomb made of eggs, sausage and pancakes.

Once I got into town my good friend Matt Lessinger who is also here for the main event picked me up from the airport. After a quick stop at the Rio (which was buzzing with poker players) to register for the tournament it was off to the Palms to meet up with the folks from pokerstars.

Part of the deal with the package pokerstars has given me is wearing a pokerstars logo at the table while I'm playing the main event. So I had to go pick up a bag full of pokerstars hats, shirts, a jacket and other swag. Also since they transfered most but not all of the money I have coming to me into my account (they're holding $1,000 hostage until I play) I had to show them my tournament ticket to prove I was actually playing the tournament.

On top of this business there was also a free poker tournament for everyone who got their entry through pokerstars. At six pm today I got to play a 6 handed no limit single table tournament (in person) that paid six spots! That's right it was free money! 6th-3rd place paid $100, 2nd place paid $300 and first was $500 plus an entry into a tournament with an $800,0000 prize pool that will be taking place online in 3 weeks.

The tournament was designed to last about an hour or maybe 90 minutes (with each player getting 2,000 chips the blinds started at 25/50 and doubled every 15 minutes). The players at my table were all pretty weak, but after 30 minutes it was go time. I moved all in with 66 and got called by 99! ACK! But, I flopped a 6 and doubled up to about 4,000 chips.

I took out another player when I got dealt AQ and my opponent moved all in with A9. Now I had a commanding stack with 6,000+ chips. After a little back and forth another player ended up with the other 6,000 chips at the table and we were heads up.

Interestingly enough this guy had on a plain black T-shirt that had four names on it in 2 inch high white letters. Another player asked him what was up with the names and he said they were characters from Gossip Girl. "What the hell is Gossip Girl?" the guy asked as I snickered. Black T-shirt informed him that it was a TV show and he wore the shirt because it often sparked conversation with girls. Clearly he didn't take himself too seriously and we all gave him shit about his shirt like we were old friend for the next half hour. "Maybe I could get pocket aces if I wore a god damn gossip girl shirt! Was your The Hills shirt dirty today?"

After we got down to heads up we played a few hands and my opponent got the better of me. I was under 4,000 chips and he had over 8,000 and I knew I'd need to get lucky to win given the structure. When we started heads up play he said he give me all the money if he could have the online tournament entry. I declined, but now that I was in bad shape I asked him if the offer was still on the table. He thought for a minute and then agreed.

So I got $800 and he got the entry. This might have been a good deal, an OK deal or the worst deal I've ever made. I know the prize pool for the online tournament, but I don't know how many entrants there are going to be. If it's 300 players I screwed myself to some degree. If it's 600 or 700 I made a fair deal and if it's 1,000+ I made a great deal. We'll have to wait and see. The good news is I got $800 that seemed like money falling from the sky. It seemed like this was a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush situation.

After a nice buffet dinner with Matt, his Mom and two of his friends it was off to the Flamingo. Which is where I am now. It ain't the Bellagio, but it's alright.

Tomorrow the action starts at noon. I'll put up a detailed post either tomorrow night or Monday morning and Jen will be putting up the text updates that I'll be sending every 2 hours when I'm on break.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Good Luck, Daddy!

Off to Vegas Tomorrow

The $10,000 buy in main event of the World Series of Poker is already underway and today 1,116 players forked over ten grand for their shot at poker's world championship. Over the next three days somewhere around 5,000 other players (including me) will do the same. We'll be playing in split groups and not playing everyday until the 10th when everyone who is left will be in one absurdly large room.

Some of these players will lose all of their chips and be out of the tournament in a matter of minutes. Their $10,000 gone. One bad hand can derail even the best players. In fact 90% of the players that enter will lose their $10,000. For a fortunate few the tournament will last until July 15th.

Finishing in the top 10% will earn you a $10,000 profit. Finish in the top 1% and you're looking at $100,000+. Of course it only gets better from there. The final 9 players will all earn at least a million dollars for their efforts and (depending on the number of entrants) the winner will win close to ten million dollars and will be this years world champion!

I'd say I'm about 20-25% to make the money, have a 1 in 300 shot of making the final table and a 1 in 3,000 shot of winning. Those might sound like long odds and they are, but they're much better than the average entrant. 1 in 300 is close to the odds of drawing an ace and a king of the same suit (any suit) from a standard deck of cards. 1 in 3,000 is close to the odds of pulling two specific cards from the deck in order (ie pull the ten of clubs and then the 3 of hearts from that deck and we'll give you $10,000,000 - doesn't sound quite as impossible does it!).

I'll be blogging from Vegas with details and recaps and while the tournament is going on I'll be texting updates to my wife Jen who will then post them on this blog. If you want to check out broader covereage of the event check out pokernews.com, pokerpages.com or cardplayer.com.

My next post will be from Vegas. Maybe this is the year something crazy is going to happen!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Plans for the Near Future

After coming back from Vegas I had to work 12 out of the last 13 days of June to earn the points I needed to keep my Supernova Elite status on pokerstars. I won 10 of those 12 days (and won big) so it wasn't too tough to wake up and play everyday.

These first few days of July feel like a period of limbo for me. My latest crusade for points is over, the first leg of the WSOP is a few weeks behind me and the main event is just ahead. I'm leaving for Vegas on Saturday the 4th with the plan of playing my Day 1 of the main event on the 5th.

For those of you who don't know how it works the first day of the WSOP main event actually takes place over four days (Day 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D - Day 1A is tomorrow, July 3rd). They do this because they don't have the space or the staff to handle the 7,000+ players they expect all at one time. In fact there is a hard cap at 3,000 players for each day 1, although it's very unlikely that they'll hit that on any given day.

The players who make it through days 1A and 1B will come back for day 2A which will be on July 7th. Likewise the players who make it through days 1C and 1D will come back for day 2B on July 8th. July 9th is an off day for everyone and when we (hopefully!) come back for "Day 3" (a week after the tournament actually started) on July 10th everyone who is left will be playing at the same time. The players who make it to the end of day 3 should be in the money. Days 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 then take place on consecutive days.

By the end of day 8 there will be 9 players left. These players will all win at least $1,000,000 and won't resume play until November 7th. This is the second year that they've done this major break and they do it so ESPN can show however many weeks of tournament coverage without everyone knowing who the winner is. The final table will play out and then ESPN will air a special program the next day.

You might think since this is a $10,000 event that it would be a very tough field. WRONG! Sure all of the best players in the world will be there, but so will thousands of amateurs. The good players will be totally diluted by the weak ones. Just about every casino in the country and online that offers poker runs at least a few satellite tournaments to the main event. All of these qualifiers will come to Vegas with champagne wishes and caviar dreams and most of them will leave with nothing but a story. I suspect with the possible exceptions of the $1,500 7-card stud event (which was just ridiculous) and the 2006 main event, the 2009 main event will be the softest field I've ever faced at the WSOP.

Since all of my usual hotels are booked solid, I'll be staying at the Flamingo which I found a little depressing the last time I stayed there (I'm spoiled after all my time at Bellagio). But it was free so it's hard to complain too much. I'm booked through the 7th so if I make it past day 1 I'll have to make more hotel plans on the fly. Also there is a $1,500 tournament at Bellagio on the 6th which I might play. If I make it through day 1 I'll have two days to kill before play resumes for me and hopefully the town will be buzzing with soft poker players looking to hit it big.

In other news I saw that the FTOPS XIII schedule came out recently. Fulltiltpoker.com will once again be offering a slate of 25 online tournaments with buy ins ranging from $130 to $1,060 plus one $2,500 event. Action gets underway in the first week of August and with a few minor changes the list of events looks just like that of past FTOPS. I suspect I'll be doing my standard $10,000 bankroll looking to make at least one final table. More on that later.

I might put up one more post before I leave for Vegas, but if not wish me luck!