2005 WSOP Trip Report

by john on June 24, 2005

Well I’m back from a few days in Vegas and sorry to say I won’t be on ESPN yet again this year, although I did make one of the Cardplayer.com videos I had mentioned previously. I make my appearance in this video at about the 44 second mark. That’s me in the black shirt and black hat. Yeah, I know that’s pretty lame but what the heck better than nothing!

In event #22 the $1,500 NLHE I was seated with 9 strangers, closest I got to playing with a pro was seeing Mike Sexton at the table next to me. First hand of the tourney a young guy gets into it with an older guy who goes all-in after the turn with a Q on board. Young guy calls with A::hQ::s for TPTK and doubles up on the first hand. Old guy was on a total bluff steal with A-rag, no doubt assuming the young guy didn’t want to go out on the first hand and would fold anything but a monster. No such luck.

I made one good lay down early with TPTK that had my stack down to about T800 when the following hand came up:

EP player with a PokerSchool hat raises to T75 (still in 1st level blinds were T25-T25), all fold to me in the small blind and I decide to see a flop for an extra T50 with T::d6::d. BB mucks. Flop comes T::cT::s5::h. I check my trips, and with only T175 in the pot EP puts out a T500 bet. Of course I hated my kicker but I was 99.999% confident he doesn’t make that play with a Ten in his hand so I am sure I have the winner and since I only had a couple hundred more I pushed all in and he called. Since he had A::dA::h he was not too happy with my play or the result which was that he didn’t hit his Ace on the turn or the flop and I was back up over starting chips. I hate the 3xBB raise in the 1st level, very unlikely to get some crap hands out. And I have no idea what he was thinking with the huge overbet. He busted out a short time later.

Unfortunately my end came soon after in the middle of the 2nd level. Terrible play on my part for a number of reasons. I’m in the SB with A::c7::h. All fold to me. I have a pretty aggressive kid on my left in the BB. Mistake #1 – I just call. He makes a small raise and again I call. Flop comes A::s4::d5::h. I check, he bets, I check-raise and he calls. Frankly other than not raising pre-flop I don’t mind my play here. But when he calls my good sized check raise that should give me all the info I need. He either has an A with a better kicker, two pair or a set. Why I did not see that at the time I do not know, but after a blank came on the river I (mistake #3, although in this case it wouldn’t have mattered) checked, he made a big bet that would put me all-in and I (mistake #4) called. He showed 4::c4::s for the flopped set and I bust out before the first break. Terrible poker on my part.

One of the many leaks in my game is I think too often that someone is trying to bully me off a pot and I stand up to them. That’s what happened here and it killed me. I need to plug that leak and soon if I’m going to be playing at this level. His call of my check-raise on the flop should have given me all the info I needed to get the heck away from the hand, where I would still have had a decent stack, though well below average. NLHE is all about preserving chips and not making that one stupid mistake and I did neither. Argh.

I played in a few satellites, winning one. I felt really bad about that win though. When we were three handed the short stack, who had about 10% of the chips, suggested a 3-way chop (this was a $175 so payout was 3 $500 tourney chips and $120 in cash). Of course I said I wasn’t interested. After she busted out a few hands later she expressed her anger to me for not taking the deal but it was a terrible deal and why she thought anyone would go for it I do not know.

Starting heads-up I had a slight lead on the kid and was pretty confident I would beat him but I did offer a $120 save. At first he didn’t want to take that because he didn’t have any cash but once informed that was part of the prize pool he agreed to it. After we played for awhile I offered a 2-1 chop on the tourney chips but he didn’t want to chop because he needed to win the satellite to enter the $1,500 NLHE tourney that was to start in a couple of hours. So I said “I’m already registered so clearly all the pressure is on you” and we continued play with no deal but the save.

I played much tighter than I usually would heads-up and twice he had me outchipped about 90%-10% and both times when all-in I made a straight or a flush with weaker starting cards. A couple of times I folded my SB when I only had 3xBB total in chips, but I was being very careful and cautious and in the end it paid off when I managed to come back and win, finally taking all his money when I for one at the best hand preflop and it held u I really felt kind of bad for the guy (but not so bad). To add insult to injury for him after I took $60 from the cash payout and gave to the dealer as a tip I started to walk away and he had to beg for his save money. Whoops.

Just like last year I played a little craps prior to the start of the tournament and just like then I had TJ Cloutier to my left. I said hello, congratulated him on this bracelet win and we then proceeded to focus on the craps. He told me he was already stuck for $20,000 and in the 5 minutes or so we played together he dropped another $5,000 or so. TJ is all gamble.

All in all a good trip despite my poor showing in the tourney, and I’m hoping to be back again next year.

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