Monday, June 21, 2010

There's no crying in baseball (or poker either)

Above: The sign at the airport says it all.

Event #34 at the WSOP was the same event (Seniors, aged 50 or older) I played in last year. I did lousy the first time, and was determined to do better this time. There were 3142 runners.

Gadzooks came by and gave me a hug for good luck and railed me for a while -- thanks! Four of us limped to see a flop: 10-5-5. Two players checked and I made a pot-sized bet and everyone folded. Zooks gave a "Woot" as I took my first pot -- my hand: 3 3.

It wasn't long before a player busted out. He took it well: "Rebuy!" he yelled across the room, and everyone laughed. We laughed, but T3000 in chips isn't very much, even if the blinds do start at 25/25.

We played one hour per level. After each two hours, we had a 20 minute break (and the bathroom lines were l-o-o-o-n-g). I tweeted this joke: Reg players play 2 hours and get a 20 min break. Seniors play 2 hours and get a 20 min nap. So, maybe it wasn't so funny. Don't worry - I'm keeping my day job.

I found there was a big disparity in skill level. Many of the seniors were bad players who had no clue. Some were medium players who had a slight clue (some of those were aggressive and some passive). And then there were a few who knew how to play. Because of this, it was very important to figure out early which players were of which type. I call it profiling, lol, and I think I did a good job of this.

Here's a deal that was fun. I limped in with Q 10 and only the two blinds stayed in. The flop was Q-6-2. The small blind bet 300, the big blind folded and SB turned over Q 3. The dealer said "Whoa, there's another player left." I could see I had him beat (better kicker), but wasn't sure how to procede. Finally, I raised another 300 to 600 and he called. The turn was a rag, and the SB bet 300 and I raised to 600 - he called. The river was another rag and the SB again bet 300, and I raised to 600 -- he folded. That was strange, but I guess he could tell my raise was a suck bet. If I wanted to bluff him out of the hand, I would make a bigger raise.

I continued to mostly fold, but won pots when I played and worked my stack up to around 11,600. It was near the end of Level 6, and the blinds were 200/400 with a 25 ante. (The next day, I thought it was something different, but I checked my tweets to verify that this is correct.) There were 1450 players left, so the average stack size was around 6515. That figure is the mean, but the median size is less because of the so-called "big stack factor." The Poker Grump has blogged about this, but I don't remember exactly where. Maybe if he reads this, he'll leave a comment.

From middle position, I raised to 1200 with 9 9 and two players called. The first caller was a loose, terrible player and the other was new at the table, so I had no profile on him.

The flop was delicious: Q 9 4 and the pot had 4400 (counting the bets and the blinds and antes). There are different ways to play a set, but because I was the original raiser, I decided to lead out for 2200 and hope it looked like a weak continuation bet.

The first limper called, but the second re-raised to 6800, leaving him 2100 behind. I called and the first limper folded. The pot was now 19,300, if my math is correct. At this point, neither of us are folding. The turn was a 10, making the board Q-10-9-4. Yes, K-J would make a straight, but we both knew from the betting that neither of us had that. In fact, the villain has A-A and had gotten cute pre-flop (by not re-raising). When I called his huge re-raise, I guess he got scared and when I checked the turn, he checked, too.

The river was the A, giving him set over set. He hit his two-outer to win this giant pot. He bet his last 2100 and I made a crying call, as it were. By now, I was pretty sure he had three aces, but I couldn't find the fold button.

That left me with 1500 in chips and I busted out shortly after that -- GG me.

Yes, I could have put him all in on the flop or fourth street, but that wouldn't have changed anything. I guarantee he would have called, so the end result would have been the same.

I checked here, and the winner took home $487,994. What is it they say? Wait 'til next year!

Odds and Ends:
Lightning36 arranged a breakfast for bloggers to meet. It was set for 9:30 a.m. Apparently that's too early for degernerate poker bloggers as only three of us showed up. Nevertheless, it was great to see lightning again and to meet Shabazz Jenkins who turned out to be a very cool guy.

The latest "thing" for poker bloggers seems to be to come during the WSOP, but not play in the WSOP. Instead, they play cash games, and take the $1000 or $1500 or whatever they had budgeted for tournament play and play in maybe three $350-type tournaments. The Venetian seemed to be the most popular tournament venue. That makes sense, I suppose, but it's still hard for me not to take one shot at a bracelet. I can get lucky with the best of them, and if lightning strikes, I want to be there.

My trip included pickup from and return to the airport. The shuttle driver asked for the booking number for all the passengers. The guy to my left whipped out his iPad, tapped it twice and handed it to the driver for him to copy the number. That was pretty cool, and gave me a case of gadget envy. Do any of you have an iPad and how do you like it.

I did some high tech of my own. Instead of printing out my boarding pass (that is so 2000), I had it sent to my phone. When you board the plane, you stick the phone face up and the scanner reads it. Save a tree and all that.

There were no doubt others, but I saw two bridge players: Bob White of Raleigh NC and Rob Crawford of Henderson NV. Crawford cashed 154th.

Players in Event #34 with me who I had heard of: Barry Shulman, David Sklansky, Dewey Tomko, Surindar Sunar, Tom McEvoy, TJ Cloutier, Al Krux, Barry Johnston, Sam Grizzle, Tom Schneider, Daniel Shak, Chau Giang.

The WSOP was held at the Rio, shown above.

Above: my $1000 souvenir.

The two photos are by me, MOJO, and taken with my iPhone camera.


  1. Better luck next year. Hopefully, I'll be able to convince wife that she should venture out to Vegas with me & I too can play in a WSOP event.

  2. I tried to find you in the chip counts but failed. I think I should have too. Maybe I blew it.

    Did you know there are other Smiths?

  3. @KenP: I did a search on the entrants and saw I was the only David Smith, which surprised me.

  4. @PokerMeister: You should go for sure. It's an experience.

  5. Mojo, sorry you didn't do better but sometimes that's just how the cards fall. Great post and you'll get'm next year!!!

    Do you know what place you made?

  6. Good trip report. I still haven't made it out for the WSoP but I trust next year I will make it to Vegas in the summer (I, too, will stick to cash games and maybe play one or two smaller donkaments). Oh, iPads are indeed awesome and you should get one.


  7. Too bad you didn't cash and lost to the 2 outer. You should be used to that playing in blogger games. Also looked for your name but every time I try to open up the entrants list on the WSOP update site I get a corrupted file message. As for chip counts they are never right untill the end.

    As for the mathmatical discussion they always give out average or mean which is basically all the chips divided by all the players and totally worthless as 5 guys could have 50% of the chips and you would never know it. Median would be a better statistic as it tells you the amount of chips where half the field has more, half has less but don't think it would be easy to calculate at least for live games. And there you have what I remember from my college statistics class.

  8. Breakfast at 9:30 am on a Sunday morning - not do-able in Vegas. That's why they invented brunch.

    Well, there's always next year.

  9. Wow.. Set over set. I have felt your pain. So glad you got to play though. Maybe next year work won't get in the way and I too can join you. I was thinking all along that the field would be just as you described. +3k entrants though is higher than I thought would be there.

    Seniors napping.. Now that was funny. Who can sleep with all that adrenalin running? Not me, that is for sure.

  10. Arghhhh - set over set - brutal.
    Sorry to hear you did not win, Mojo. We were all pulling for you.

  11. Well, it appears that you had a good time anyway. I haven't been to Las Vegas since the late 40s. Things have probably changed a little bit.

    Like the joke. But the reality is, seniors need a 20 minute break (peeing takes a long time when you're old) AND a 20 minute nap.

    I speak from experience. :-)

    Nice photos. What's an IPhone? Is that like one that I dial?

  12. Hey Mojo,

    Hope the WSOP experience was fun. Next time I'd just shove over the top of his check raise once the flop comes out.

    Not only is the pot getting very large but once you just call his bet and see the Turn you have no fold equity in the hand because you don't have enough chips behind to produce a fold.

    Not that you'd necessarily want to here but you still want all the money in the middle on the flop. He's announcing a good hand or a draw so you don't want this happening:

    1. A scare card for him comes on the Turn and causes you to lose chips. He could have a weakish queen or even a medium pair so some cards may make him slow down and pot control to get a cheap showdown.

    2. A scare card that completes a draw comes on the turn and makes you afraid to bet again and you either lose the chance to double up or he ends up being able to outdraw you (slim, but possible)

    Anyways, he's not folding Aces on this flop ever so the result ends up being the same but at least you're maxmizing your equity and playing optimally by jamming.

  13. So sorry I didn't get a chance to see you :-(

  14. Great finish Memphis. I managed to get through to day 2 but had only 5200 in chips and busted out in around 399th or so about 70 places off the money. Fun experience. Sorry we didn't get to meet but as you know it was crazy there.

  15. MOJO, the thing is, you can easily play at this level. You have what it takes. Proud of you.

  16. @Shrike: We'll look forward to seeing you there next year.

    @Wolfie: Thx for your comments about determining what an "average" stack is.

    @Coop: nice showing!!

    To others who said they were pulling for me, BIG thanks.

  17. Wish I had known you were in town--would have at least tried to make arrangements to say hello.

    The post you referenced is here:

  18. @Rakewell: Thanks for the link, that was exactly what I was looking for.

    Next time I'll give a heads up and maybe we can get together, thanks.

  19. Nice recap. Wife and I will be there in a couple of weeks but unfortunately no WSOP events left to play except for the main event when we land. Perhaps as you mentioned, might try the Deep Stacks tournament. I like the idea of playing the senior event; in a few more years I'll qualify. As you stated, your last hand played itself, would have ended the same way. Some day I'll like to play in a WSOP event.