Well, it's that time of year again. Like everything else in life that is annual, it seems to come around faster every year, and in a sense it actually does. The older you get, the smaller a fraction of your life a year is. When you're five, a year represents 20% of your life. By the time you get to 50, it's shrivelled to 2%.
I've been on a bad run live since UKIPT Dublin, at least in terms of results. I feel like I'm playing as well as ever, and maybe even slightly better. I've put a lot of work into preparing for this year's WSOP on a number of fronts, essentially training for it like I used to for races. I've continued to work hard in the so called lab on the technical side of the game (and I feel this has paid off for me online at least where i do feel I'm playing better than ever), I have done a lot of specific preparation for live, and physically I've got myself into peak condition. Maybe none of that will help if I continue to run bad in Vegas but at least I feel I've given myself the best chance to do well.
I'm using a similar blueprint as last year, breaking up two twelve day periods in Vegas with a few days rest recovery and relaxation in my favourite city (New York). My last live outing before Vegas was the Unibet Open in Malta. The trip was mainly a holiday with a few days in Mrs Doke's favourite city (Rome) before we headed to an impromptu Firm reunion in Malta (David and Daragh live there now, and Jason made the trip over).
There's not much of interest to report about my Unibet campaign. I was pretty card dead at a table where light opens and threebets were getting punished more often than not, so I just hung in there until I got a double up with ace king v ace queen. Another double up late in the day would have given me a good stack to take into day 2 but it wasn't to be. I took a high variance line I would often not take in a slower structured event. But in a very fast structure with big antes I felt it was better to push in one spot. I did get it in aheadish, 55/45, but found myself in one of the four out of nine universes where I lose.
No regrets though, and at least I was freed up to do some sightseeing with my long suffering poker widow Mrs Doke. Highlight was a trip to the old city Mdina.
I also got in a couple of online grinds, alongside Lappin and Irish Open champ Ian Simpson. Lappin pointed out that we were as disparate a trio as you could imagine in terms of our natural optimism levels. Ian's one of the most genuinely enthusiastic people I know, there's something very endearing about his almost childlike optimism and delight in most of what life throws at him I'm very much in the stoic comme ci comme ca que sera sera camp with muted reactions to both victories and defeats, while Lappin is a very entertaining pessimist (alternating between screaming and swearing at the screen and wondering aloud "how I'll get done in this one"). So two poles to entertain the stoic in the middle as I clicked buttons for 14 hours.
Stoic or not though, I really am looking forward to Vegas!