Today the World Series of Poker (WSOP) launches Event #1, the Casino Employee No Limit Hold’em event at the Rio All Suites Hotel in Las Vegas. As is always true at this time of year, Twitter is abuzz with members announcing their WSOP plans and with early predictions for various events. The WSOP action actually started yesterday, with the first of the WSOP Deepstack games, which will continue throughout the series.
Headliner events this year include The Colossus III, starting on Friday June 2nd. Last year, this $656 No Limit Hold’em event drew 21,613 entries, making it the second largest live poker tournament ever (second only to the Colossus I the year before). The winner of this event last year, Benjamin Keeline, brought home a cool million dollars for his troubles.
The cornerstone event in the series is, of course, the $10,000 buy in Main Event which begins on July 8th. In a change from recent years, the Final Table will be held in July, rather than delaying it until November. Last year’s Main Event, of course, was won by Qui Nguyen, with a boost from our very own Steve Blay, who shared his WSOP story on this blog last year.
The WSOP closes out the year with the Little One for One Drop, a tournament which donates part of its proceeds to the One Drop Foundation, which ensures access to clean water for those who might otherwise go thirsty.
As always, the WSOP should be exciting. Good luck to any who are playing over the next two months. For the rest of us, let’s hope for some great stories and exciting televised action.
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Bucket list event: Vacation in Vegas and play a WSOP tournament,
At and after 10 tears of wishful thinking I finally made it out to the WSOP.
I kept waiting for real money poker to come back but it never will, not in KY and if it does, well, it’s already too late for me, I really don’t care anymore.
Over the last 10 years since I started playing holdem, I played maybe a handful of low buying live tournaments, moneyed in two of them but just a little over $300 in each one. This spring I started playing live 1 or 2 times a month and until I went to Vegas I was even for the year. Moneyed in 2 of 10 at one casino. First in one of them, 5th in the other use the profit to play in larger buy-in that I lost.
I had to get use to playing live before going to WSOP (still need a lot more practice). Anyway, now I like live much more than online.
So, back to the trip.
My original plan was to go on Thursday, June 1st and play a Deep stake that day, a little ring or small house tournament Friday then the 333 online on the 3rd. This got set aside due to illness, son and my wife Sandra, Since she was going with me we put it off until Monday, (this also saved a lot of Money on flights and room. I did get to play some online, pretty lame, there were never more that two or three ring games. The biggest tournaments were $30 to $50 buy-ins with 80 or so players. So much for the return of online poker. These were interesting but I couldn’t take them serious and it showed,
An aside, Debbie downer warning:
I did actually try to stay “in the game” mentally the last night I was there but when I was in the final 26, paid 15, My wife started reading the news to me, the RIO, where we were staying, had two cases of Legionnaires disease, a pneumonia that kills 10 to 30% of people who get it, It was in the water, they were sterilization this the 9th, 10th and maybe more. But we’d already been there 4 days.. The game took back seat, I donked out and started reading. Still waiting two weeks to see if we get sick.
Now back to the fun stuff.
When we got there Monday, we knew it would be too late and I’d be too tired to play poker. My wife is a big Walking Dead Fan, so we watched a show called Zombie Burlesques, It was funny, and yes a lot of body part and nutritional value jokes.
When we got back to the room, I played ring until 5 am, bad thing sleep was screwed up, groggy all day Tuesday., was only up a few dollars, I was only playing .25/.50. Even at this level they are better than play money players, even the ones at the top of he play money ladders.
Over the 6 days we were there, I eventually lost the money I put into the online account. FYI, if you play online and win, you can cash out at the cage at the RIO, maybe others, not sure.
Tuesday at 2 PM I signed up for a $235 deep stake, I was doing OK first couple levels, had what I figured was an average or slightly above average chip stack, The field was over 1300. Then the 169 rule kicked-in, (a new Hugoism for either a good run or bad run of cards, as there are 169 starting starting hand ranks. And you will see them all, and sometimes they will be from the top of the list, some tines more random, and sometimes, this time, mostly form the middle and bottom of the rank, I was running very cold. I did get a playable hands about ever two to three rounds but not great hands, eg. Limp in middle position and one after and I have KQs in BB, I make a pot sized bet, button folds then first limper goes all-in, next player folds , I fold. A few if more these plus the blind, not too bad yet, we were down to 900, it was 6:30 I was down to about 1/3 of starting stack.
Finally got ACEs first hand after a break, I push and get one caller, who had me covered calls with AK0, and yes, he flopped an ace. ( with more chips I would not have pushed). I was out of my first and only WSOP event. It was OK, I had fun, I had played the cards I got well, I saw I could do it, if I planned better (see below). The buy-in was cheap, We were there on vacation and to have fun, I played a couple games for live experience.
I played 4 tournaments total, two turbos, because that was what was going on when we got done with the day and I was able to play. We were only there 6 days, I’m not good enough and don’t have the stamina to play the 3 day grinds. See my video, part about Vigor. Link below.
The turbos were fun, I hate them, but the players were very pleasant. And after a few rounds, I was ahead in chips both games until the blinds got to 10% of our stacks. Then is was LOTTO poker.
In of there turbos, I was able to get my 12 bb in with the best of it, but had to call an all-in, I knew she played a wide range so I called, I had A9s and she had 86s, we both had spades. I was looking pretty good until an 8 came on the turn, , She had 2 bb more than I did, game over. I did get one bounty out of it, so I played for 4 to 5 hours for $75, entertainment value. And it was fun.
Next game was at the Orleans, it was posted as a $135 freeze out with 30min binds, my kind of game, but when I got there it had been changed to a 135 turbo, No bounties this time, had it been I’d have at least played for free. There were 102 in the game, I made it to 26th before the lottery started. Never did get strong playable hole cares, Finally with only 6 bb , I called with Q7s, vs Kxoff and lost. It paid 15. so was close but no cigar. From 20 bb to 6 bb I never saw an ace or pp, and when I did have two face cards, I followed two all ins, do I folded, may I should have call with QJoff (would have lost – bad board)
I played a little ring at Binion’s,due to the history. It is the birth place of the WSOP, it’s in the old part of town, on Fremont Street a destintion in on of itself. I played about an hour, was up 30 then down 50 then up a little and quit while down 30 to go catch up with my wife, we were there to visit Fremont Street, check it out. Worth the bus fair. While there checked out the Golden Nugget, just across the street from Binion’s, When back at the Rio I lot online to look for a good house game, why house instead of WSOP? TIME. The deep stacks run 14 to 15 hours, The house games 8 to 9 hours. And with 100 to 200 players the luck factor it less, The odds of winning without having to dodge so many all-ins are better.
So Wednesday night I played a little ring, got schooled but still had fun, These were mostly locals, and these boys and girls know poker. They talk poker. I can talk poker 4 or 5 moves ahead but usually only play it at 2 or 3 moves ahead, That is usually about all you have to do to win play money. But these guys talked the talk and walked the walked, about 6 moves ahead. They are not only putting their opponent on a range but frequently called the holding exactly based on position and betting patterns and what the other player had done before, They were not only thinking what does he have, but what does he think I have, and what does he think I’m trying to make make him think I have and is he trying to make a move and have me thinks he’s bluffing when he really does have the nuts, Of course most of this chat was about prior tournaments and games they’d been in but some was live and verbalized between the two after the hand. It was worth every dollar I lost.
So, Thursday comes, we get out and eat breakfast, she is going to ride the bus from one end of he strip to the other to see some things she read about. I went to the Nugget and but down my $200.
I got there a few minutes late. Very first had, I raise with pocket Tens and get one caller. He looks very pleased with his call. I’m thinking didn’t reraise so no AA. AK or KK or QQ, may pp or Axs or Ajoff.
flop comes 10, 7, x, I can’t recall it. Or the turn, there was no flush or straight draws so bet ¾ pot (with draws on board I’d push). The caller re-raises all in, I didn’t have to think about this one, I called, he has a set of 7s, the river is another 10.
I did not even touch my cards after that until it was my turn to act, instead I just practiced reads, body not hand, I just focused on the 4 players to my right, I got to were I could tell before they bet, if hey liked what they saw and was going to bet , if they REALLY, liked it or if they hated it, Micro-expression, are a real thing. However I could not get read on a little lady two seats to my right, it did not matter what her cards were, she always had a fixed mean scowl when she was in a hands, it never changed, She was a local and she has a real poker face. She eventually got busted out, but not by me.
Before the first break, I doubled up my first double up, then busted 2 more, with solid hands and varying my better so as to conceal the power of my hands as best as I could. The 169 rule was in my favor.
Then the tournament manager stared talking about flights and how if someone wins two, they can sell 0ne back for 1500 dollars and 10% of each flight will play Sunday and will be ITM. Then one guy at our tables asked the dealer, Do we get anything if we just win THIS flight? SREEEEEECH!!!, Not again? Yes the schedule had been changed again, the 200 dollar daily’s were canceled and I had bought into a 2 day event, with last day on SUNDAY, my flight was Saturday, I have to work Monday, no exceptions. So here I set, with 4 times the average chip stack and cannot play Sunday, I could change my flight to Sunday play till I had to leave but but it would only pay like $400, not worth it.
By now there are only three originals at my table, I had busted 4 and someone else busts the little lady.
What do I do?
I hated it, I really hate that I took away 4 peoples shot, but if I hadn’t someone else may have,
I finally took a few minutes to think about it, then asked the dealer to pause between hands, and told them I could not finish the game, be fair and share the I had to leave on the table. I saw no reason to bust out anyone else, and I would not ever consider dumping, so I just left. They were happy with my choice.
Pretty sure the chips stayed in play until I bleed out, Who knows, I may have been in or very close to the cut off just by setting out.
So what did I learn from my vacation/poker school trip.
If you really want to play poker, go play poker, don’t try to mix business and pleasure it will wear you out.
Plan ahead, be sure you know what games you are going to play, when and where and CALL and ask if they’ve changed anything, especially any of their regular daily games ( suspect will have).
The Bellagio canceled all of it’s tournaments for the two months of the WSOP, again, I found this out when I went to sign up. That is how I ended up in the first turbo, bounty.
Unless you’re really really good stay away from ring, ie cash games or just play to learn and expect to lose. And keep it cheap. Ring is a grinders game, you have winning days and losing day, even the best, In cash games, you win slow and steady over time, one week even two weeks or two months, is not long enough. Bad runs can last weeks to months. And when you do decide to play ring, be sure you have at least 20 buy-ins that you can afford to lose without touching dedicated money, eg savings and retirement funds, kids tuition money, etc. For 1 / 2 you need 4k.
My advise, win your bankroll in tournaments then use that for ring when you think you’re good enough, I’m not that good, most never will be good enough..
Don’t play if distracted, sick or just not into it.
Don’t play if tired, Try to eat healthy, exercise and sleep as much as you need to be to very alert for 10 to 15 hours. Play some low buy-in games that run this long before moving up (the low buy in game should cost enough and pay enough to keep your attention but not break the bank or even touch it.
RE: Vigor, again, see my video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoyK5zxfL_c&t=15s I made it to clarify my thoughts and shared it with tournament and ring players as a now defunct play money sight but even pros may find something they like.
Even though I only played one WSOP game, not even a bracelet game, and was more on the fringes, attending the WSOP was a blast. This was not only by first WSOP ever, it was my first trip to Vegas or any multi-casino city.
I was exhausted most of the time. At 64 you don’t bounce back like the young bucks do. But it’s never too late to have a great time.
One thing off the bucket list, but I may visit this bucket again.
Have a great life and never stop playing.
ps. My lovely, supportive wife, usually decides where we go on vacation, it usually involves a cabin, a theme park or a beach and 8 to 16 or so family and extended family and friends. And always great food and a lot of fun and sun. I never have reason to complain.
Oh my goodness. What a great story. I am glad you had such an experience on your first trip out to Vegas. Paul and I like to go out in March or April when the weather is nicer and it is a little quieter. We find there are some good low stakes tournaments at the Venetian and Aria which are fun to play. Fingers crossed that you stay clear of Legionnaire’s Disease!