The Beagle Bulletin
my first ever wsop event
Yesterday, I played in my first ever World Series’ Event – the $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em Freezout. With just $1,500 in chips, these Events aren’t renowned for having the best structure (the more shrewd players tend to wander down to the Bellagio or Wynn instead), but it’s still a WSOP event, and I wanted to make sure I had one to my name.
My preparation for the comp wasn’t tip top. For some unknown reason, I decided to play cash until 5.30am, proverbially doing my mutt’s nuts in the process, and then slept on The Tank’s floor due to losing my key card. Doh!
As a joke, I recall saying to Tank, “I have a little twinge in my back, how about I take your bed and you kip on the floor?” (Please bare in mind that I would never consider stealing Tank’s bed.) Well, our Scottish friend thought I was being serious and started making the bed for me! Crikey, guess it just proves what a top bloke he is.
With a crooked back and a body odour that could wake small children out of comas, I trundled back to my room for a most welcome shower and a fresh set of clothes. I’d only slept for five hours and so felt a little crappy.
Armed with a bottle of water and a bowl of fruit, Jen and I marched into the Rio, fully braced for our first ever WSOP event. I felt a little sick, predominantly due to my piss poor preparation rather than nerves, but I was simultaneously excited about playing. I just thought “One double up and I’m away”.
As we neared the cardroom, we noticed a long snake like queue protruding from the cashier desk. Blimey, how many people were in this?! Well, in the end, I think there were an incredible 2800 runners, including several hundred alternates. Wow!
I quickly found my seat on Table 78 and greeted the other players. No stars, but that was to my benefit. I didn’t want someone to be raising every pot, I much preferred to be seeing cheap flops in order to catch a monster. I’d thought long and hard about my strategy, and I’d come to the conclusion that, in the early stages, it really is a case of ‘there are no good hands, just good flops’.
I wanted to see flops with my pocket pairs, suited connectors and so on. In fact, I’ll call with almost anything if I don’t fear a raise. The table was pretty capable, but ultimately very passive, and I knew that if I kept pots small, I could nick the odd one, yet still go into milky milky mode if I actually caught something.
I decided that I wasn’t going to raise too many hands preflop and once or twice just flat called with A-Q and A-J. I couldn’t see these hands making too much money, but believed they could potentially lose me a decent proportion of my stack if I were to be outdrawn. Also, with just 1,500, the continuation bet on a missed flop could prove a costly one.
Overall, my table was pretty bizarre. There was a guy who suddenly decided to wear a lucky hat (he went out the very next hand), a chatty fellow named Walt in a Hawaiian shirt, an old fellow who played text book poker and grumbled under his breath at anyone who didn’t, a young shaky hand American lad who looked like he was on drugs, and a nerdy 20 year old who literally only played Aces and Kings. For once, I felt like the normal one!
For the first couple of levels, I reckon I played near faultless poker. I didn’t feel as tired as I expected and my ipod was keeping me fully focused. My first WSOP hand wasn’t a biggie. I called from the cut-off with T-5 of hearts, the flop came Ace high with two hearts, checked around, I bet the raggy turn and won. Cash me in!
There was an interesting hand with Mr Grumpy, who was amusingly donning a comedy jester hand – clearly compensating for his distinct lack of personality.
I limped with 4-5, flop comes A-3-7 (2 clubs). He bets 300, I call. Turn brings a 4, he bets 500 into a 1000 pot, I call (13 outs and a chance of a value bet if I hit). River comes a 2, but it’s a club. He bets 1,000. I dwell it up for while, I’d previously put him on an Ace, but now this bet didn’t make too much sense. I really didn’t think he had the flush draw though, especially with the Ace of clubs on the flop, so I called, and he turned over A-5 for the straight. Chop, chop. Phew. He moaned at my call for ages, but I thought it was a good one, especially because it would have left me with peanuts if I’d been wrong.
Talking about Mr Grumpy, he made a dumb move on his neighbour by re-reraising all-in with A-K on a raggy flop, only to run into an obvious overpair, J-J. Turn = K, River = J… to the relief of the table. Mr Grumpy had done his stack in unnecessarily and was virtually out. A valet then passed and commented innocently, “Lucky hat?” Mr Grumpy, like a spoilt kid, replied, “Not anymore!” and promptly removed the hat from his head and threw it to the ground. He was a big guy, so I had to refrain from laughing, but it wasn’t easy. I mean, come on, a grown man in a jester hat throwing a tantrum, sheesh.
Anyway, from here on in, I really didn’t get many cards to play with. As bigger stacks joined the table, opportunities were few and far between and seeing a flop was quite the rarity. I made a good call with bottom pair and managed to pull off a bluff with 3 high, but these were relatively small pots. I moved all-in a few times with marginal hands, but, fortunately, received no callers – although at some point or another, I really needed a double up to stay in touch.
There was one moment where I received the seemingly monstrous Pocket Ladies, but I, to the immense surprise of Mad Yank, opted for a fold. The rock in Seat 1, who had been smooth calling A-K, raised, and the even rockier rock in Seat 9 moved all-in. Seat 9 had only raised twice the whole competition, and both times he’d shown Aces, so I was slightly concerned about his first reraise. Also, he’d just doubled through, and I really couldn’t see him wanting to get too antsy in his pantsy without a mighty big hand. Everyone at the table reckoned he had Kings, which was my first guess, so I folded. Of course, you never know, he may have held J-J or A-K, but after sitting with him for a few hours, I really didn’t think so, and therefore decided to bide my time instead.
But alas, it wasn’t to be. I probably should have made the move a round earlier, but I’m not used to adding the antes to my calculations, and so felt I was a little short when it came to my final swan song.
With several big stacks on the table, and a guy who called each hand preflop (not to mention shouting ‘Ship it!’ after every victory), I was truly buggered and found myself praying for a hand that never came.
Instead, I was forced to wait til Ron Rose, one of the few players who I knew could fold, was in the big blind. Unfortunately, Scandieboy called my J-2 with K-J in the small blind and that was me done - 6 hours of WSOP play, and I was looking for a fork.
Speaking of Ron Rose (right), whenever I’ve watched him on TV, he’s been deadly quiet and conservative. Well, he thought he was ‘The Man’ at this table (way more gobby than expected) and there was a definite case of ‘I’m the star here’. I wonder if this happens with all the ‘name’ players.
With my good self gone, it wasn’t long before Jen joined me on the loser’s bench. I was biting dust just before din-dins, and she exited just after when she ran her Pocket Snowmen into Bullets. She was down to just 1,500 at the time so had to make a move, it’s just a shame that when she actually finds a hand, someone else is sitting with the nuts. Bah!
I’m not bitter though, $1,500 is not peanuts but, possibly due to it being a foreign currency, it really didn’t pain me to part with it and I never felt uncomfortable at the table as a result. Also, I had an absolute blast, even though I never really rose above 3.5k. To be honest, I was just grateful to have lasted 6 hours and gained a decent level of WSOP experience. Although I wasn’t scared to depart early, I really didn’t want to wave goodbye in Level 1 without winning a hand, making a bluff, or enduring the excitement of a raggy all-in.
If you haven’t yet played one, and you can afford to put up the dosh, then I’d fully recommend that you give it a crack. Yes, it’s not the best structure, and yes, your chances of winning are slim to none, but that’s not why I played. I had an absolute hoot and it was just nice to be seated at the table instead of behind the lappie.
I just wish I was in the Main Event rather than updating it. I truly envy you guys, so make good use of those 10,000 chips.
Ta ta for now