Third Time Not A Charm

by john on July 1, 2006

At 5:00 on Friday I wrapped up a tough, long week at work. Having already been looking at the calendar for the WSOP and our own summer vacation schedule I knew the only event I would be able to play in this year was Event #6, the $2000 NLHE event on Saturday. I guess the 9 days in Italy we just spent loosened Amy up a bit because she gave me the OK to hop on a plane that night and get over here in time for today’s event. I got a reasonable last minute fare on America West, got a cheap room at Harrah’s last night and I’m using points at a Hilton property tonight so other than the event itself this wasn’t too expensive despite the last minute nature of it.

The last two years I have warmed up before my event playing craps next to T.J. Cloutier. I made a decision this year to not play craps, especially not right before the start. Instead I used the time to try gain some focus.

I managed to last about 5 hours, into the 100/200+25 round, and throughout that entire time my stack didn’t vary outside of the 1300-3100 range. I took a hit early in the 25/25 round when I had Q::h7::d in the BB. 1 limper and the small blind completed. Flop came K::hQ::s3::d. Checked around. Turn was the Q::d, giving me 3 queens. SB checked, I bet and he called. River came a blank but then he bet into me. I was pretty sure I was beat to another Q with a better kicker but the bet size was one that I had to call. Turned out he had pocket threes for the full-house. That was about my low point until I got knocked out.

I rarely got suited connectors, I had KK once and I don’t remember any other pocket pairs but 7s and 4s, the latter being how I went out. In late position with about 14BBs I put in a 4BB raise and the BB pushed. I was confident I was looking at a coin flip and even though I could have folded and still had about 10BBs I decided now was the time to get a stack so I called. He had A::sK::d, a K came on the flop and I was done.

Never had a name pro at my table, although I did have them all around me on adjacent tables – Evelyn Ng, Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harman, John Hennigan, John D’Agistono and Cyndy Violette are the ones I remember. In a salute to Pauly I’ll point out I took a piss next to Howard Lederer.

This year the WSOP is fully commercialized with many sponsors, high end suites sponsored by the various poker rooms, and a general feel of luxury that hasn’t been there before. The crazy thing is that despite all of this there is no money added to the prize pool and even worse they continue to take 9-10% out of the prize pool. So the players are all playing for their own money, or some portion of it anyway. I suppose most of the pros get their entries subsidized by the sites they shill for, but even still it must be pretty irritating. I’ve heard pro golfers bring up the fact that they have to pay their own travel expenses, but hell poker players have to do that and they have to provide their own prize pool too.

So third time not a charm – better luck next year.

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