Six months ago, Niall Farrell finally slew the dragon and won his first World Series of Poker bracelet, beating out a tough field in the €25,000 High Roller at WSOP Europe. Now, the Scottish poker pro is in Las Vegas for the 2018 World Series of Poker hoping to add another bracelet to his collection. Over the course of the 2018 WSOP, 50 Days & 50 Nights chronicles Farrell’s summer; the highs and the lows and all the stuff that happens in between.
A quick glance at Niall Farrel’s WSOP results so far this summer and something immediately jumps out. There’s not a lot of them. He managed to find a min-cash in the $1,000 Double Stack event last weekend though.
“I haven’t gotten it yet. It’s been a fairly annoying week or so or whatever, but it’s alright. Just kind of showing up every day, losing very quickly and going home,” said Farrell.
“You start seeing monsters under the bed. You play a hand and then someone shoves the river and you’re like, ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake. They have it again.’ Whereas you have to try and take each hand on an individual basis rather than, ‘Well, they’ve had it all summer. So I guess they have it again’,” said Farrell.
While it might seem like Farrell is down on himself, he’s not. The 2017 WSOP Europe High Roller champion understands that it’s all part and parcel of being a pro – and his response to a cold streak is part of what will get him through it.
“I know poker players, obviously they run bad, but I am running dreadfully this summer. But it’s like 20 tournaments. It’s very easy for that to happen, so you just keep showing up and, you know, it’s the old cliche it only takes one and then you’re up for the summer,” said Farrell.
Throughout the cold streak, Farrell has relied on roommates Michael Gagliano and Daniel Strelitz to keep him focused. He also understands that playing well doesn’t always translate to immediate results.
“I put hands in the (group) chat and I’m still playing fine. Just some of the hands are pretty ridiculous. But you know, it’s poker,” said Farrell. “It’s maybe more of a juxtaposition when you’ve been running as well as I have for the last three years. That’s a little shock to the system, but I’ve seen it before and I’m sure I’ll see it again. So it’s not super upsetting, but obviously, I’d prefer to be making some runs and stuff and having some fun.”
Farrell isn’t the only one in the house having a rough go through the first half of the WSOP. The group has combined for just nine WSOP cashes between them.
“I think everyone’s down money this summer, which if it stays that way, it will be the first time since 2011 that we’ve all bricked off, which is pretty absurd actually if you think about it,” said Farrell. “Over the years we’ve all had like a major score or something every single year. I think Gags got tenth in the $5K. It’s the closest we’ve come. I mean it’s just, we’re all long time professionals. We’re all pretty lucky enough that if we all brick this summer, it’s not gonna be the end of the world.”
That’s not to say Farrell hasn’t found ways to keep his spirits up and keep himself entertained. He’s stepped away from the WSOP a few times to check out Deadpool and Solo, but he’s also managed to have some fun in other events at the Rio.
One day, after busting yet another bracelet event, Farrell
“We were in the $1K PLO and I busted pretty quickly and Gagliano and Strelitz were still in, so I waited for five minutes because Strelitz had 12 bigs or something and he kept playing like a massive nit and I was like, ‘I’m going to go play the daily deep stack and have a beer. If you bust, just let me know and I’ll just like get up and leave’. I just wanted something to do while I was waiting.”
He ended up cashing in it for a whopping $414. He wasn’t done there though. He ended up in another shortly after, but this one came with more of a challenge, just to keep things interesting.
“I actually played another one where I bought some more action off of Gags at 1.5, but the provision was I didn’t get to look at my cards. So I had to play it without looking at my cards, which lead to some kind of interesting showdowns at the river.”
Despite this, Farrell doesn’t think anybody at the table caught on to what he was doing. He had a basic strategy that saw him folding every time from UTG but when he was in a pot, he followed a pretty simple rule.
“Basically, my strategy was to just c-bet 100%, which is what everyone does out here anyway, and if the turn card is higher than the top pair on the board just to triple off, but if it’s lower just to give up,” said Farrell. “So, I ended up having to show down [ad][qd] on like 10-3-2-8, three diamonds. And the river paired the board, so at least I didn’t get a penalty. But I had to check the river and I turned over [ad][qd] and I just burst out laughing.”
Some quick-thinking saved Farrell from having to explain what he was doing the table.
“I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I thought I had hearts, not diamonds. God, I’m so silly.’ But no one knew, no one has any idea, you make it if look like you’re playing. Like, if I know I’m going to fold, I’ll look at my cards very obviously, so it looks like I’m still looking.”
When he’s not mixing it up with the tourists in the DDS, Farrell has managed to sneak in some World Cup action as well, but with his native Scotland at home watching again, he’s had to adopt a couple of countries to cheer for just based on who his friends are. He found himself cheering on the Germans over the weekend with Marvin Rettenmaier and some other Germans at the brauhaus in Vegas.
He also purchased a Panama 2018 kit. It wasn’t so much that he was cheering for Panama as he was cheering against England. Things there didn’t quite work out for him either, as the English side went on to win 6-1 – but Farrell made some new friends along the way.