Saturday, August 13, 2011

At The World Series of Poker: The Rest Of The Story

Lady GaGaImage by ama_lia via FlickrAt The World Series of Poker: The Rest Of The Story

I thought I would share some interesting notes and observations from the WSOP.

1. How players were selected for the featured tables.
I am not sure what was done the first few days, but everything was random for the Day 5 and Day 6 seats. At the end of the day, each table would high card for the button and the floorman would deal out table assignments for the next day.

It may be that when someone got knocked out at one of these featured tables, the floor would pick a poker celebrity or a big stack to move to the feature table. I was never selected--which was fine by me.

2. Women poker players.
It was funny how many women wore tops that revealed cleavage. It was even funnier when one of these ladies would wear sunglasses--like any guy at the table was checking out the color of their eyes.

Frankly, women poker players should have a big edge at the WSOP since they are such a rarity at the main event. I believe only 5%. But I guess they don't fully understand the mind of poker males. A friend of mine told me to start a school for women poker players.

3. Behind the scenes with ESPN.
It is interesting what happens at the WSOP to accommodate TV. When two or more players are all-in, the dealer stops dealing and he shouts "all-in at table number ..." One of the ESPN staff quickly decides if he wants this all-in recorded.

If not, the dealer continues the hand. If he does, the ESPN guy calls one of the camera crews to come to the table. The crew includes guys with a mike and two cameras.

After the crew is ready, the ESPN guy taps the dealer on the shoulder to deal the flop. The flop is done and the cameras focus on any player reaction. When ready, the ESPN guy gives the okay to the dealer for the turn, etc.

ESPN does a super job to make sure the crew arrives quickly so it does not slow the game down. Although, the reality is that there is more drama when the cards are dealt so deliberately.

4. ESPN and me.
I may appear on the Day 6 showing of the Main Event. Since I did not curse or go nuts when that Ace on the turn knocked me out, it is a long shot.

5. Mega satellite into the Main Event.
I went to Vegas with enough money to enter the three $550 mega satellites--one on each day. Frankly, I had a feeling that I was going to win a seat and get to the final table.

Day 1: I was very unlucky and got knocked out of the first satellite.
Day 2: I was very unlucky and got knocked out of the second satellite.
Day 3: This was my last shot at winning a seat. When we went to the first break, I was very unlucky and as a result, I only had enough chips to cover the small blind and 2 antes.

The first hand after the break, I was UTG+3. I was dealt 8-6 offsuit and folded. The flop was 8-8-6! Damn! I thought I blew my one chance.

The second hand UTG+2, I was dealt J-5 offsuit and went all-in. Enough to cover the small blind. I won when a 5 hit the flop and the other two players had Ace high.

After this hand, I got hot. It was incredible! "Never give up, never surrender!"

6. I was in Vegas for 14 Days!
I have never been in Vegas that long before. After the three days of satellite play, I played the next day in the WSOP Main Event. After I survived that day, I had to wait 3 days to play again.
And there was a wait after Day 2, and a day off after another day of play.

I made about three trips to a nearby laundromat. I went to see the Rat Pack at the Rio (don't waste your time). And, I went to a forgettable movie at the Palms.

Since I am very superstitious, I ate the same things every day. I am not going to have another Western omelette at the Rio or Ultimate Salad at TGIF again! Oh, well not until next year :-0

7. The competition in the Main Event.
Frankly, there was a very wide range of poker talent. The table composition was the most important factor in my performance.

The first days I was fortunate in that the competition at my tables were typical; meaning, the styles were consistent with what I've experienced in the Bay Area.

A lot of the players in the early days, though, seem to implode by Day 3 or Day 4. Perhaps it was the pressure. Perhaps it was the level of the competition, as the later days had a higher percentage of strong players.

Frankly, I felt the pressure the first two hours on Day 5, and frankly, all of Day 6.

8. What surprised me the most.
I was most surprised by the fact that the pros and internet kids were so bad at reading hands. It got to be so bad, I was laughing inside.

On Day 6, players who had to make a big decision would sometimes take one minute or more contemplating what to do. And after all that time, these players would make the wrong decision. It was funny, until...

My opponent made a terrible decision after studying my 3 bet pre-flop for a long time. He went all-in with A-T, thinking, I guess, that I would fold. But, I held pocket Kings and I was committed to the pot with almost 33% of my chips invested.

9. Can you win at the WSOP?
Yes. I believe anyone can win a WSOP bracelet. The thing is that most players continue to play in their comfort zone--without experimenting in order to get better. Get out of your comfort zone. Learn how the poker pros play. Learn how the internet kids play. Try these styles, and how to play against them.

Admittedly, I was not ready for the internet poker players who liked to 3 bet pre-flop with a wide range of hands. It took me until the dinner break to figure out how to play against them.

You can win it all. And, if you fail like me, you can still walk away with over $100,000.

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