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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WSOP Baby!

I flew to Vegas last week to play in my first WSOP, event #54, NLHE with a $1000 buy-in.

Also on my agenda was a lunch date with Jonathan Little and a few of the coaches from the website, which was providing my buy-in and three nights at the Rio.


Ms. Lucki Duck and I enjoyed meeting and discussing poker with the FTT crew. In addition to Jonathan (who would Final Table a WSOP limit hold 'em tournament the next day, cashing for $73,000+) were JOhnDaytOn, JasonKobe, and HotJenny.

(L to R: Lucki Duck, Jon Little, JOhnDaytOn, JasonKobe, HotJenny and husband Collin)

JOhnDaytOn specializes in NLHE, 16 tabling the $55 sit and goes on Pokerstars. HotJenny's forte' is the Super Turbos on Full Tilt, also 16 tabling at the $50-60 level. JasonKobe plays the $50 and $100 Double or Nothing Tourneys on Pokerstars, juggling an incredible 30-35 tables at a time! All of them are in their mid 20s, living the high life and making a living at poker. Fun times and I learned a lot from each of them!

As a bonus, Johnny Chan was eating a couple tables over from us.

I signed up a day early for my event and once my seat was assigned, I went to find my table so I wouldn't have to look for it on the day of the tourney. While there I saw Phil Ivey and Vanessa Russo playing. Too cool!

Event #54 began at noon last Thursday. It was a four day tournament, with two day ones (A and B). The plan was to play down to 15% of the field on the first day, with day two on Saturday, and wrapping up the event on Sunday.

My goals were:
1) Win a hand.
2) Make the first break (two hours in).
3) Make the dinner break (six hours in).
4) Make the second day.
5) Cash.
6) Make the final table.
7) Win a bracelet!

The starting stack size was 3,000 chips, with the blinds at 25-25, and one hour levels. Lots of time to play some poker! Of the almost 3,900 players in the tourney, 3,100+ were playing on this day 1A.

I reached my first goal on the third hand, checking my BB with QT offsuit. The flop gave me a gutter straight draw, which hit on the turn. I bet and the villian folded.

I lost a fair amount of chips when I raised from middle position with pocket nines and was called by the BB. I c-bet a Q-4-Q flop after the BB checked, but was then check-raised. I folded. I know it sounds nitty, but I didn't want to go down with this hand and decided to wait for a better situation.

Our table broke just before the first break and I was moved to this guy's table!

I knew right away that this was gonna be an interesting table!

Just a few hands in we hit the break and I had accomplished my second goal, limping in with 2,400 chips.

During the break, there were two bracelets awarded from previous events. One went to Mike Lee and a second to Chance Hornung. The best part was the playing of the National Anthem, as both winners were from the states.

Blinds were up to 50-100 at level three. I was still playing tight aggressive poker, picking up a few pots, but not gaining any traction. The guy to my left was extremely tight, playing only three hands in the 2+ hours we played together. His hands were JJ, QQ, and KK, hitting sets on the flop all three times. Amazingly, he just check-called the hand every time, winning the minimum amount possible.

As the blinds eroded my stack, I pushed from late position for 12 BB with JJ and was called by the big blind's 66. Thankfully, the jacks held and I hit the second break shortly after with 2,200 chips.

About a half hour into level five our table broke and I was moved again. With blinds at 100-200 and a 25 chip ante, I was card dead and getting short, waiting for an opportunity to push and double up. I was the BB when the button open raised 10x the big blind, screaming of a steal attempt. The first card I saw in my hand was an ace and I knew I would push this hand, but I was hoping my kicker would be good, just in case the villian had a hand. I slowly squeezed out the second card, another ace... sah-weet! I pushed and was called by the BB's K4 offsuit. He hit his four on the flop, and the turn was an ugly K, giving him two pair.

Did I mention that the flop also had two eights, thus giving me aces-up and the double up!


Now at level six (100-200, 50 ante), the short-stack raised 3X. I looked down at AJ and pushed my 3,200 chip stack. The blinds folded and the raiser insta-called. "Uh-Oh," I thought to myself, but he tabled AT and my hand held, putting me above 6,000 chips for the first time in the tournament.

I reached my third goal when I went on the dinner break with 5,400 chips. The field had dwindled from 3,100+ down to 630 at the break.

Apparently, the dealer removed all the face cards from the deck while I was at dinner, because I didn't see one for the next hour. With the blinds climbing, I was able to steal a few pots, but my stack continued to shrink. Shortly after moving into level eight, two players with HUGE stacks were moved to my table and sitting to my left, so the stealing portion of my game was over.

My final hand was an open shove with QT offsuit for seven BB from the cutoff. One of the big stacks called with A6 offsuit. I didn't improve on the flop, but the villian had a straight draw which he hit on the turn and my World Series was over.

As I was leaving the room, the dealers were instructed to start racking chips, because day 1A was over. As Maxwell Smart might say, "Missed day 2 by THIS much!"

My final tally was 450th out of 3,138 day 1A players. Not too bad for my first try.

Known players in event #54 were Chris Ferguson, Layne Flack, Maria Ho, Jeff Madson (former WSOP Player of the Year), Scott Montgomery, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Dennis Phillips, Gavin Smith, Jennifer Tilly, and Jerry Yang. Unfortunately, none were at my tables, so I didn't get the opportunity to play against them.

Overall, a great trip that will not be soon forgotten!


  1. Wow, great post and great run dude! Sounds like an AWESOME time.

    And it's great to see a pic of Lucky Duck! hubba hubba

  2. Nice run for your first WSOP tourney -- much better than most people.