Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The worst day of the year

They say that if you're a poker player, the day you bust the WSOP main event is the worst day of the year. This blog is being written two hours after today became the worst day of my year.

I had a pretty uneventful day 1. The best hand I got all day was either 88 or aq depending on how you view these things. I lost both times with aq but won a decent pot with the eights so I guess the eights shade it. My table was a mix of a couple of really good players and more than a couple truly terrible ones. In situations like that when you're card dead it's not unusual to win all your chips from the better players. These are the ones who notice how tight you are apparently playing and will give you credit when you do show some strength. The three biggest pots I won all day were bluff catchers, and the rest were all bluffs. In the circumstances, surviving the day having increased my stack to just over 34k felt like an acceptable result.

Day 2 put me beside my friend and roommate Daragh Davey. Daragh seemed a lot more concerned about having me to his right, but actually won almost all the pots we ended up in together. Apart from one misstep with jacks though I don't think I made any real mistakes though: Daragh simply kept making the better hand and apart from the aforementioned jacks in the bb versus his kings in the sb I think I lost the minimum.

Those jacks were the best hand I'd seen all tourney until I picked up aces. I flatted a raise from Daragh as I felt a 3 bet was in danger of getting too much respect given how tight I appeared to be playing. There was a reshove stack behind and a guy who overrated hands, two other reasons to flat I felt. I bet a ten high flop when checked to me and took it down. Next hand I pick up aces again! This time I open when to 1275 it gets to me, my standard open at 300/600. Button calls and the guy who overrates hands threebet huge from the small blind, to 6900. There hadn't been a lot of 3 betting at the table, so feeling he had a hand I clicked it back to 12925, trying to induce a 5 bet. He obliged, making it 26k at which point I shove for 40k. After a little thought he called. I was expecting to see kings but hoping to see AK. He actually had queens. We both missed the flop, but the queen arrived on the turn to the exuberant cheers of his friends on the rail. I left the scene in a daze, trying to come to terms with the fact that for the second year running, I'd hung tough through a day of card death only to been done in a massive pot with aces versus an underpair. Obviously I'm aware of variance and that you're supposed to lose at least 18% of those: it just hurts a lot more when it's in the biggest tournament of the year for about $30k in equity. But that's poker as they say, and there's no point in complaining. My "job" as a professional player is to get the money in good. After that, it's out of my hands.

As I wandered the halls of the Rio in my post bust-out daze, I was consoled by a number of players who had heard of my demise. Neil Channing just looked at me, looked down, and announced simply "Sad face". That got a smile, at least. In a world where we're basically trying to deceive each other for money, it's touching when peers show a softer side and commiserate. I'm also very grateful for all the messages of support from people back home. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to send them. At times like these, you find out who the good people are.

Although I still have an interest in a number of players still in running, most notably Daragh Davey, my bust out today effectively marks the end of this year's Vegas campaign for me. To be honest, I'm looking forward to getting back home, and getting back to my daily online grind. For the past five years, I've come to Vegas, I've seen it, but I've failed to conquer it. At the moment I'm feeling pretty defeated, but I read recently that defeat is not the worst form of failure: not trying is. So I'll go home, lick my wounds for a while, try to identify areas where I need to improve, and begin a year long preparation for next year. And then I'll be back again next year, same time, same place, trying for the sixth time to conquer it.


Felt bad for you reading that, very honest account. Chin up Dara, maybe next year :)

Is there any way you could have got away from that hand ? Surely he should at worst have put you on 2 overcards !! Don Ryan

I couldn't have got away, but there are certainly players (including some at that table) who would have folded queens at some point given the preflop action. It was my first 4 bet all day, and the first 6 bet of anyone on the table, so a few players at the table said they were certain I had either kings or aces and therefore they would have folded queens.

So Sick, definitely a 30k bad beat! Times like those you just want to be at home with friends and family and never have heard of the game "poker".

Really sucks when this varience thingy strikes at the biggest tournament of the year for a poker player and indeed the supporting tournaments around it. But if anyone understands that it you dara. Please God when you return there next year some positive varience will follow you there and youll get some of the deep runs you deserve. Chin up and safe home.


Thanks Connie. Indeed we can't decide when to run well unfortunately


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