Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You can keep your Liv Boerees

The trick in these WSOP side events seems to be to recognise in time that you're going to have to take a race. For those of us who are used to thinking of a 10k starting stack in a live event as ridiculously short and even 15k as "a bit of a pinch", that's a bit of an adjustment.

I got off to my usual good start in the latest 1k. Then card death and lack of spots saw me drift back towards starting stack as the antes started to bite. I had 4k and had just moved to a table where a good ol' boy had about 100k. He didn't get those by not playing every hand. His playbook was pretty simple: raise big with your big hands, bigger with your rag aces and kings, limp the rest. Cbet every flop, several times the pot. So when he limped utg at 150/300 with a 25 ante and I found AT just behind, it seemed like a decent spot to shove 4k into 1k where I fold out a lot of better hands behind (they were mostly terrified of the Louisiana chipmonster: talking about how they were folding big hands because he was just "too lucky") and get called by whatever garbage he might have this time. Unfortunately, the one player behind capable of calling lightish, a South American Stars Team Pro tanked for an age in the SB and eventually called (with just 1k behind). The good ol boy reshoved and I was afraid I was less than 20% against a bigger ace and a medium pair, or maybe even less than 10% against a bigger ace and tens plus. Actually it couldn't have been better for me: I was getting 9/4 on a 6/4 shot. The Team pro had 77 and the good ol boy 33. The ace obligingly popped up.

From there I coasted to 30k as the end of day and bubble approached. The field gradually winnowed down to more better online players and I got moved to a table with a few superstars who weren't going to let me smallball my way to riches without a hand. I ended with an acceptable 21k, relieved more than anything else to finally have a WSOP cash. I ran into Andy Grimasson at the break before the bubble burst, and he told me he'd now played 35 or 36 bracelet events in his life without a cash. Andy's a top notch tourney player so it proves no matter how good you are, variance is massive in these yokes. So I was happy to have that duck off my back before I hit the teens.

I came back for day 2 reasonably confident. With just over 20 bbs I was confident I knew what to do at least, but with that stack it's mostly about run good. 30 minutes in, I ran queens into kings and aces. It's probably the closest I'll ever come to folding queens pre with 20 bbs. A lady opened, another guy reraised and I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach but after some thought decided I couldn't be folding queens with this stack. I had no specific reads as my first table had just broke. I did notice the lady had a lot of small denomination chips, a sign perhaps that she wasn't a stereotypical female rock just playing big hands. The other lad looked like the type who'd play any pair for any amount to any action so even though it didn't work out for me, I'm happy enough with the shove here. Once the lady reshoved, I was pretty sure my goose was cooked though, and it was. Her aces held.

The payout process was pretty tilting (think A&E room) and I was still pretty distraught from my exit when I ran into Card Player's Rebecca McAdam in the corridor on my way back for a cry in the room. I only get that way after deep runs in Irish Opens, EPTs and WSOPs, everything else is easier to shrug off. But you're only going to get so many chances at the big ones in your life and that reality hits just after an exit. Rebecca's always good for a hug, and a Rebecca hug is always welcome, but particularly when you've just busted and have a month to go in the desert surrounded for the most part by ugly sweaty men in shorts.

This Vegas campaign has a very different feel to it. In the aftermath to the FBI's crackdown on Stars, Tilt and Ultimate Bet, the absence of logos has been very striking. Most of the time my Team Irish Eyes polo is the only logo at the table. The big sites have no lounges here this year, and no lavish parties. People are also approaching the poker much more seriously: less drinking and socialising, more early nights. I did score an invite to one of the few big parties here this year: Bill Chen's pool party next week. Bill wrote one of my favourite books on poker, "The Mathematics of Poker".

I've run into more Irish in the last 2 days than in the week before so I guess our numbers are swelling as the main looms. Wd to my fellow Wexfordman Nick Newport for cashing in his first ever WSOP event. I went to dinner with him and his roommate Daragh "Other Dara" Davey and heard how they did their own version of the Doke homeless trial. Only they waited til they got to Vegas: arriving on a Saturday to find the office of the place they were staying shut for the weekend and most hotels booked out. Wp lads. Also caught a glimpse of Seamus Cahill in what looked like the sickest 50/100 PLO cash game, and ran into Nick Heather, Reesy, Andy, Dave Callaghan and Barry Donovan. Andy Black came over to wish me luck before the 1k so maybe he deserves the credit for breaking my WSOP run bad. My Irish Eyes teammate Paul Lucey gets in tomorrow: epic times predicted.

Also ran into honorary Irishman Neil Channing a few times. I got a message from him Sunday inviting me to meet him for a coffee in the Rio. This made a pleasant change from the Black Belt spam I usually get from him :) (Only joking Neil: I'm the last man with a leg to stand on as far as Facebook spamming goes). Now Neil wouldn't be everyone's favourite poker date, there's a few superficial types who might prefer Liv Boeree, but I'm not one of them. As I've pointed out before, he's basically my hero in poker. There was something endearing about the fact that he immediately launched into a bad beat whine. Normally I barely tolerate a BBW but what can you say to a guy who has won all Neil's won and still gets tilted after some guy plays bad but gets lucky against him in a 1k event? I prefer passion to jadedness any day.

After I'd had some ice cream and a cry, I was back playing the nightly turbo. After that, I finished with a couple of stts, and chopped the last one. The important thing in this game and this town is to keep bouncing back and stay optimistic. As I was walking to Starbucks to meet Neil at the first break in the 1k, I passed an American about my age complaining into his cellphone "The best hand I've seen in 2 hours of poker preflop is just one pair". Now that's someone who knows the meaning of optimism, fully expecting to be dealt two pairs or better preflop any moment now.



Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More