After 7 years of dreaming, wishing, and planning my â€œBucket Listâ€ to the World Series of Poker, the stars (as well as the constellations) all aligned and 2013 is the year for me to play. My goal: the $1000 Seniorâ€™s NLH event.
13 JUN: I depart Honolulu at 8:00 (where I was on a business trip) for Las Vegas. At 7:15 PM, I can hear Elvis singing Viva Las Vegas as we land at McCarran Field. Shortly after checking into the Gold Coast Casino, I make the quarter-mile trek to the Rio and register for my event by 9:00 PM. I was too tired to play a cash game and opted for a nice Italian meal at Steve Martoranoâ€™s.
6:30 AM: Skipped breakfast and made it to the Rio at 0800. Played a half-hour of a 1-3 NL Cash Game and came out ahead 60 bucks. As this is my first live action in almost a year, I felt good.
10:00 AM: Iâ€™m settled in the Brasilia Room, Red Section, Table 83, Seat 8. After a lengthy intro, Shuffle up and deal occurs at 10:10 AM. A total of 4404 seniors are entered, making it the 2nd largest single-day event in WSOP history.
Level 1: Blinds 25/25/Starting Stack 3000 chips. Hands played were:
Preflop: +2(right of Button) From Button- I get AJo and it is folded to me, I raise to 75 chips, 3 callers.
Flop: A A X (Rainbow). This is a pretty good flop for me. It is checked to me. While I was inclined to check, I did want to draw first blood and made a conservative bet of half the pot (150). As expected, everyone quickly folded. I win my first hand played. Letâ€™s keep this up.
Preflop: SB Tc3c. With 2 limpers, I check my option although I have no confidence in such a crappy hand.
Flop: I am initially excited when the flop is all black, but when I focus, 2 cards are spades and only one is a club. I check and fold.
Preflop: Button with Th8d. Not a hand I typically play, but we again have 2 limpers, and 5-to-1 makes my call for the quarter worthwhile. Four to the flop.
Flop: Itâ€™s a complete whiff and I fold.
Preflop: UTG + with AKo. Good hand. I make the raise to 75 chips and get 3 callers.
Flop: 2 3 5 (Rainbow). No pair and a risky wheel draw. Two check in front of me and I choose to check as well. Button also checks.
Turn: K. Now I have Top Pair Top Kicker. Itâ€™s checked to me and I bet 200 (Actually the Israeli guy to the right of me was in the hand and dithering when I splashed my bet. He ended up checking). The Button, a gray-haired elderly bookish-looking dude who I nicknamed â€œThe Accountantâ€ has accumulated a big stack already by calling a lot and having the deck hit him on the head, makes the lone call.
River: 8. I value-bet 300. The Accountant calls. He shows K5 for two pair. I lose an 800-chip pot and I go down to below-starting-stack (2400 chips). Who calls raises with K5?
Preflop: SB K6. I get a free play with junk.
Flop: No Pair, no draw. I simply muck my hand when it comes to me.
Preflop: At the Button, I get QJo. Itâ€™s limped to me and I gladly call a hand that is very playable. But a stiff 10X/250-chip raise by one of the blinds means business. The table folds.
Preflop: I get Q7 at the small blind and see another flop.
Flop: K K 6. Iâ€™m out.
Preflop: B+1. Kd9d. I like my suited 3-gapper. To keep out the riff-raff, I raise to 100 and The Accountant calls.
Flop: 5c Js 2h. Not much. The Accountant checks and I check.
Turn: A. Accountant checks. I bet 250 and The Accountant folds. I guess I would have just as easy been able to take down the flop.
Preflop: B+2. ATo. Itâ€™s folded to me and I make an easy steal.
Level 2: Blinds 25/50 / Stack 2500 chips. I am falling behind on chip count. Already, I have seen several bustouts; but our table is intact. The Accountant and the Accountant-looking dude next to him have double starting stack or better and are the table captains. Hands played were:
Preflop: BB QQ. Three have called by the time it gets to me. I raise to 150 and 2 stay in the pot.
Flop: K 2 2. The over is of concern, but I strike first with a 250-chip bet. Everyone folds.
Preflop: At UTG+3, I get pocket Queens again. I act first and raise to 150, I get 2 callers.
Flop: K J Rag. I bet the pot (500) and get everyone to fold. That gets me back to starting stack (Actually 3050).
Preflop: B+2, I get Ks7s. I raise to 150 and get a caller.
Flop: 7d Ts 4s. I bet 150 and pick up another pot.
Preflop : SB A8o. One limper. I, along with BB make the call.
Flop: A 4 7. Acting first, I throw out some chips and the Ace scares everyone away.
Preflop: I am in the mid-position with Pocket Eights. The Accountant limped in, along with another. I raise to 150. Both call.
Flop: Jd Td 6c. Itâ€™s checked to me and I bet 400. The Accountant calls. I am not too happy with my flop.
Turn: 4d. Check. Check. Knowing The Accountant, he has the flush. I am pretty much done with the hand.
River: Rag. I check. The Accountant goes All-In. Kind of a dooshy move as I was unlikely to call anything other than a min-bet, let alone my tournament life. The Israeli dude next to me whispers that he bluffed me. I said, â€œNo way. That dude doesnâ€™t bluff.â€ Fortunately, The Accountant showed his cards to his neighbor and was obligated to show his hand. He had Ad7s for the Nuts. Another costly hand lost to The Accountant.
Preflop: At the button, I get 9d7d. There are a bunch of callers, and I canâ€™t resist playing the 1-gapper.
Flop: Tc6d7h. Ummm, possibilities â€“ 2nd pair, a gut buster, and runner-runner flush. I bet 300 and the four callers all muck.
End of Level 2. Weâ€™ve already had a couple of bustouts at our table. I am still hovering at starting stack (2875). I need to trend upward or else. I am happy to take my 30-minute break.
Level 3: Blinds 50/100/ Stack 2875 chips. I am rarinâ€™ to play, but I am cold-decked. Until:
Preflop. Iâ€™m near the button with KT-off. The Accountant has a mountain of chips and raises to 300. I know, KT-offsuit is a trap hand. But I have to exact some vengeance on The Accountant.
Flop: Q T Rag. The Accountant bets 200 and I call.
Turn: 8. The Accountant bets 200 and I call.
Turn: 6. The Accountant bets 500 and I fold. Another pot lost to that damn Accountant. If I had some semblance of stack, I might have called him down to the river. But I was fairly certain I had next-best hand and calling the river would have put me below 2000 chips, which would have been troublesome.
Preflop: BB with JhTd. I call a 300-chip raise with a hand my gut is telling me is hopelessly behind.
Flop: 5 9 9. I check fold.
Preflop: Button with AdTd. The round is near a close and I have like 1700 chips or something. I decided, that this was going to be a hand to the death regardless of the flop. The Accountant and my Israeli friend call, and I make a 500 chip raise. Of course, just The Accountant calls.
Flop: Ac Qd Rag. The Accountant checks and I shove. Accountant calls with KQ. I am a 4.8-to-1 Favorite. I get 5d for a flush draw and an innocuous card lands on the river. This doubles me up to 3700 chips, which is as of now, my highwater mark.
Level 4: Blinds 75/150/ Stack 3700 chips. Weâ€™ve had about five bustouts. Seat 10 is gone and replaced by a new player. Heâ€™s a mustached dude who looks quite unfriendly (Iâ€™m hating the face). First hand, â€œHate the Face Guyâ€ raises and takes the pot. Next hand, â€œHate the Face Guyâ€ raises and takes the pot. Meanwhile, I am getting absolutely nothing playable. Still, I refuse to deviate from my game plan and will wait for dominant starting hands. Near the end of the Level, I get:
Preflop: UTG + 1, I KQ, I raise to 500. â€œHate the Face Guyâ€ thinks but folds. Everyone else folds and at last I pick up some chips.
At the BB, I check my option with T8o along with 3 others. Itâ€™s checked around at the flop (J 2 3), then I called a 150-chip bet at the turn with a 7 for a gut-buster. No 9 on the river and I check-lose.
As we head to the break, we have played 4 levels and I have Starting Stack (actually 2950) in chips. Whatâ€™s wrong with this picture? As I head outside into the scorching 110-degree desert air, I am fairly confident that the next Level will determine my fate in this tournament.
Level 5: Blinds 100/200/ Stack 2950 chips. Second hand of the Level, I am under the gun when I get:
Preflop: UTG with 99. I raise to 600. Hate the Face Guy, the SB, and the Israeli guy in the big blind calls. I donâ€™t like taking three callers with a middlinâ€™-pair. Iâ€™m not liking this.
Flop: T 8 5. Damn Overcard has really got me in a knot. But the blinds check. Knowing them, they will certainly fold to any bet. I bet 1000 and pray Hate the Face missed. No such luck, HTF scowls his mean face at me and announces a raise to 2000. I only have like 1350 behind me; less than 7 Big Blinds. I went in the tank on what to do. I am fairly certain Hate the Face has a Ten. But who knows, he could have the 8 or even be on a draw. I was coming into the Big Blind with full expectation that I would be going All-In with an inferior or dominated hand. In the heat of the moment, I incorrectly deduced I had a straight draw, (thatâ€™s a 5, not a 6 dummy) which influenced my decision. Final Decision: I was behind everyone in chips and am pot-committed. I need the 7200-chip pot, otherwise the tournament will end maybe a few hands later if I fold. I shove, Hate the Face calls. Heâ€™s got the Ten. I am a fairly doomed 11.6-to-1 dog. The Turn is another 5. There goes my runner-runner straight. The River, I donâ€™t even know. I do know, I got up and left the Brasilia Room in quick fashion without saying a word to anybody.
That evening, I couldnâ€™t get into any of the Rio or WSOP â€œloserâ€ tournaments and waited an hour for an S&G that never happened. I walked across Flamingo Ave. to The Palms. Their meager poker room had a 2-4 Limit Cash Game going and all I remember was losing 30 bucks and folding pre-flop to a raise with pocket Fives and seeing 5 5 T on the flop.