Saturday, May 30, 2015

WSOP 2015 Event #5A -$565 Colossus - Recap

I'm back! I rolled into the Rio at about 8:00 on Thursday night after a long day. My first order of business was to pick up my seat card. I'd registered and wire transferred my buy in a few weeks prior in the hopes of avoiding a huge registration line. FAIL!


What's hard to see in that picture is the 250 other people in front of me wrapping around the corner. The people were moving only slightly faster than pictured. I was thinking I might have 2+ hours of waiting in my future, but after an hour I made it to the front where a dozen WSOP employees were   scurrying around like busy little beavers making copies of driver's licences and getting us all to sign waivers


After I got my seat I headed to the cash game area where everything from standard no limit hold em to $10 a point Open Faced Pineapple Chinese Poker to Big O (omaha where you get 5 cards instead of 4) was in action. I wanted to play a little just to be comfortable in the room before I had to put it on the line in the tournament.

I jumped into a $2/$5 game and was surprised to find that most of the table was sitting on stacks of $1,000-$2,500! I bought in for $500 and quickly discovered that this was the weakest $5 big blind no limit game I'd ever seen. It was total amateur hour. There was a lot of drinking going on and so much talking during the hands! Most players don't say shit when they're in a hand because unless you're Daniel Negranu you're likely to give away information about your hand.

Sadly I didn't make much happen. After 2 hours I was even when my one big hand came up. I got dealt JJ and a dude who thought he was a real hot shot opened for $20. I three bet to $60 and got called by a drunk dude and the hot shot. The flop came Q 4 2 and hot shot bet $60. This clearly seemed like a weak tester bet to me and mr drunk looked like he was ready to fold so I made it $160. I felt like he either had a hand like KQ or a pair 55-TT and would put me on AQ, KK or AA if I raised. He thought for about 30 seconds and called. The turn was small and we both checked. The river was another blank, he bet $200 and I folded.

I made two big mistakes on this hand - 1) I didn't make it enough to get the job done on the flop 2) I didn't shove the turn. In the end I think he did have a Q, and I think I could have gotten him off of it, but I pussed out.

I lost $208 on the session.

The next morning I rolled into the Rio ready for the Colossus! They had tables crammed in everywhere. Notice the slot machines in the background near these tables. They just plopped some down right in the middle of the casino!

 Here are some more outside of Buzios seafood restaurant.


The tournament started at 10 am sharp and my table was maybe a little tougher than I expected but it was pretty tight and everyone kept the pots small. 

We started with 5,000 in chips and blinds of 25/50. My first big hand came up when I raised with JT of spades, got one caller and the flop came down Q T 7 with two spades. I bet and got called. The turn was another ten! With trips and a flush draw for backup I fired again, but my opponent folded.

A little while later with blinds of 50/100 I called a preflop raise of 250 with AQ and we took the flop 5 way. The flop was AQ4 making me two pair. The preflop raiser checked, I bet 700 and got one caller. The turn was a blank and I checked hoping to induce a bluff or otherwise convince my opponent he was good if he had an ace. Like clockwork he bet 1,300 and I shoved for about 3,500. He folded and I took down a nice pot.

By the first break I was up to 8,700. 

The villain in both of those hands was the same guy and I got involved with him again a little later. With blinds of 100/200 the under the gun short stack to my right made it 600 to go. I three bet him with 1,500 with TT, and the villain went all in for 3,200. The short stack called for about 2,500 total and I called as well. The short stack had AQ and the villain had KQ off! His shove was a terrible play in my opinion. I was 44% to win, but a king showed up on the flop and that was it. If the villain had folded I would have beaten the AQ. Grrrr!

Shortly after that everyone left in the Brazilia room (about 200 of us) put our chips in reglular zip lock bags and marched as a group across the hall to the larger Pavilion room where they handed us each a seat card as we walked in. This took about 10 minutes and a few players bitched about how we were missing that time and that the tournament should be paused. But as one floor man said, it doesn't make sense to pause 480 tables while 20 move. I can't imagine the logistical nightmare of running a tournament with so many players spread all over the casino.

Moving to a new table sucks. It takes a while to get to know the new players and all the knowledge you've gathered thus far goes up in smoke.

But I made nice progress at my new table. I stole a couple of pots. I won with a shitty top pair of aces at showdown. I made a loose call on a Q 2 2 flop with 55, hit a 5 on the turn and induced a bluff (I would have won with a bet on the turn as it turns out if I missed, but I checked the turn and my opponent bluffed the river). All of sudden I was up to 12,000 chips.

A little later I met my demise. With blinds of 150/300 with a 50 ante I made it 900 to  got with KQ. The small blind made it 1,900 to go and I called. 

I just had a long conversation with one of my poker friends about how three bets from the small blind are almost always JJ-AA, AK or AQ when you're deep enough and the initial raise doesn't come from a steal position. So that's what I was likely up against. I could make an argument for folding pre-flop, but I didn't.

The flop came down Q high and my opponent bet 2,000. At this point I'm hoping he has JJ to AK or made a loose pre-flop 3 bet. I called and he bet 3,500 on the turn. This is when alarm bells should have gone off. But I didn't hear those bells and shoved for 7,000. I got quickly called by AA and did not improve.

There still isn't an official count of the number of entries from yesterday, but over 10,000 people entered between flight 5A and 5B which went off at 7 pm. About 1,500 made it through to day 2.

At 2:30 or so when I went broke I headed to the cage to sign up for flight 5C starting Saturday at 10 am, It was sold out and so was the 7 pm flight 5D! I was surprised. As I waited in line a few people shouted out "colossus is done yall!" after talking to a cashier. But when I made it to the front I was able to get a late wave start for the 7 pm flight.

Basically I'll be starting at 9:30 when the tournament is on level 4 (100/200 25 ante), but with a full 5,000 chip stack. I'm not thrilled about this. Part of me is wishing I'd registered for multiple flights early, but to do that you have to pay in advance and I didn't want to wait in what is sure to be an ungodly line for refunds on Sunday. 

If I can get off to good start anything is possible.

Later in the day I made my way to the Aria. When I got there the lists for $1/$3 and $2/$5 no limit were 100 players long! But I put my name up anyway and played a little pai gow while I waited. After an hour and 45 minutes they called my name and I sat down a $2/$5. I got off to a cold start and dropped $300 on a A T X X X board with AQ vs AT and was down $500 at one point. But $100 at a time I clawed my way back and made a $76 profit on the  2 hour session.

More news to come as it happens!





Thursday, May 28, 2015

Back to the WSOP after 5 years!

I'm hanging out at LAX after a short work trip to LA and just about to fly to Vegas. I used to go to Vegas 3 or 4 times a year and twice spent a full 3 weeks at the WSOP taking my shot at the big time. Now it's been 3 years since I was there for 1 days in 2012 and 5 years since I was more than just stopping in.

It's also been 4+ years since I stopped playing poker professionally. I took 18 months away from the tables and then in 2013 I put in about 250 hours. In 2014 it was more like 100. I made some money, but it was about what I'd make in a good month in 2007 over the course of 2011-2014.

This year I've gotten back into it more seriously. I've been paying $2/$3/$5 (with a $10 straddle that seems to be in play about 25% of the time) no limit hold'em cash games almost exclusively. Every Friday night I'm at the tables and in my last 25 sessions I've booked 20 wins.

So unlike past summers where I've yearned to return to the Rio, but totally unwilling to take the risk I have a little bit of a bankroll to work with and will be back after a 5 year absence albeit in a limited capacity.

I'm going to play the $565 buy in Colossus tournament which is going to be the largest in person poker tournament of all time. It has 4 starting flights over 2 days and if you go broke in one you can re-enter. I'm prepared to fire all 4 bullets if I need to. The first flight is tomorrow at 10 am (5/29/15) and I'm hoping that will be the only one I need to get to Day 2. The people in the know are predicting 20,000 entries (probably from about 10K unique entrants).

I'm also going to be playing at least a few more tournaments and cash games over the 4 days I'll be in Vegas.

I've never been in better shape physically (I ran a marathon in March after running 3 half marathons and 6 obstacles races of 4-15 miles in the past 18 months) and I think my judgement is a little different at 35 than at 25.

Hopefully I'll have a good story to tell. Let's do this!