Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Odds and ends

Above: The final table of Event No. 17 of the 2014 World Series of Poker.

The three days of the Seniors Event are becoming a blur and I wanted to blog about some of it, before I forget.

There were 4425 players who entered ranging from bracelet winners to rank beginners. The oldest was a 93-year-old guy. He lasted five hours. I'm doing this from texts and tweets, so should be accurate. At the end of the day, there were 490 runners left with 468 to be paid. I was around 225th with 22,000 chippies (we started with 3000).

The second day ended with 32 of us left. My stack was about 220,000. I was 25th. Notice, I haven't had a big stack the whole tournament, but rather just hanging around. Survive and advance, I called one of my blog posts.

My next tweet was after two hours play on Sunday and says I suddenly have 665.000 chips. Oddly, I don't remember how I got them. I remember players were busting out with hands I wouldn't have played. I'm not sure if aggression is the natural style of some of these people, or if they were nervous and playing fast and loose.

The same thing happened at the final table. Player on my right raised, and I three-bet him with A K. The villain went all in, I made the call and he turned over A 6! You have to be kidding me?? He bricked and my stack received a nice boost as he was eliminated, and I moved up the pay ladder. Moving up was not my goal, that was something that just happened.

Another guy had 19 big blinds and moved all in from under the gun. Another player called and it was on me on the button where I had 8-8. The commentators were slightly surprised I folded, but that was the easiest fold I've ever made. What can I beat? According to the odds calculator, With the actual hands, I would have been the favorite, but still only 43% to win the hand. If either of them had a pair, it rated to be above mine and I would have been crushed. I trust my play enough to wait for a better spot.

The original shover had K-Q. To shove with that with 19 bigs is not recommended. Just make a normal raise, and if you get three-bet, you can get away from it and still have 16.5 big blinds. He made a questionable play and was punished. Now the next guy had A-K. Do you flat call with that and let somebody else (like me with a pair) come along? No, you shove to isolate. Another questionable play, imo, but he won a big pot so what can I say?

Another guy busted out with A-9 (might have been suited, hearts). He raised, was three-bet, and went all in. Really? All in with A-9 when you've been raised? (Unless you are short stacked.) The other player had 10-10 and his pair held to eliminate the A-9.

I just sat there and smiled. If players want to eliminate themselves (and move me up the pay scale), that works for me.

When we were three-handed, I opened up my game. I moved up to about 4 million winning hands with 2-4 (twice), 10-x and 9 6. Then I went card dead. I watched a replay and I had a steady diet of 5-3 off-suit, 10-2 off, and so forth. It was brutal to sit there and fold hand after hand, but I did. The commentators noticed and commented, but (as my friend Kate says) they didn't look at the data. Was I folding playable hands, no just staying out of trouble.

My stack drifted down to 2.6 million when busto came. Maas limped, Hiemiller called from the small blind. I looked down to see A-10 off and shoved, expecting to win the pot right there. Instead, Hiemiller called after a long thought and turned over pocket 4s. The odds calculator says he is actually a 52.75% favorite to my 46.78% with a .46% chance of a tie. If only an ace or 10 had come, I would have been back in the ballgame and going for big things. If only two pair had come on the board counterfeiting him. I wasn't unhappy when he called, actually.

What was it like at the final table? No drinks or cell phones on the table. If you wanted to text, you were supposed to go to the rail. My phone was charging, so I didn't text at all.

The cards were thicker than normal and felt funny to touch. The reason is there was a microchip inside. When we got our cards, we had to move them to two marks on the table. Underneath, there was an RFD reader that read the cards and transmitted them to the production booth. The dealer had an earpiece, and when one of us forgot to place the cards there, the booth would ask her to relay to us to put their cards in the proper location. The cards also had large suit symbols and rank symbols. I assume that was so they would be easier to see on television (actually live streaming) and for the spectators to see when relayed to a TV monitor.

Was I nervous? Surprisingly, no I felt calm. When I watched it on the archive of the live stream, it confirmed my feeling. Why relaxed? I was playing with house money, no reason to be nervous. At least, that was my thought at the time. I've been exposed to pressure time and again in my bridge career, so that probably helped.

Did I have a posse or fans railing me? No, only the guy I came out here with, Sim. The online rail, however, was awesome. Players were texting me, tweeting me, retweeting my tweets, and leaving comments on my blog. I could feel the support. I honestly believe it helped me play better. Everybody likes to think people are rooting for them, and I thank each of you. My friend Kate texted me that I played with class. Not sure what she meant exactly, but I take it as a high compliment.

What's next? I've been asked am I playing in the Main Event. Before coming out, I had won about four grand in recent tournaments. I decided that if I won another $6000 or close to it, I would play the Main. Well, I surpassed that obviously and playing the Main Event can be crossed off my bucket list. I'm coming out for the Hollywood Poker Open late this month and will stick around for the Main. My starting day is Saturday, July 5.

You can see all the results here.

If you have any questions, fire away and I'll try and answer them.

Above: Another view of the Rio, venue for the WSOP.

Images taken with my point-and-shoot.


  1. That sums it up well. Just shows that you don't need sunglasses and headphones to be a tournament beast.

  2. Great report, I appreciate all the behind the scenes details. You sure didn't look nervous, you looked as relaxed as can be. And it must have been a weird experience watching the replay and seeing yourself and hearing the commentary. Did you see any hands on the replay that you realized you might have/should have played differently?

    Glad to hear you're playing in the ME....since you didn't win the Seniors, you might as well take down the Main, right? Now that would be a story!

    I look forward to seeing you end of month. I will be in town for both the HPO tourney and the early days of the Main. See you then.

    1. OK, I'll be a little self serving here and give a link to my own reaction on watching your great run at the Final Table, in case some of your pals just can't get enough of hearing about this!

      Here it is:


  3. Holy shit, Dave! I'm not even going to bother changing my log-in. Congrats, my friend! Now, I'll have to find the game online. Man, I'm so happy for you!

  4. Wait..., you were in a poker tournament??? ;) MUCH, MUCH smaller scale, but I'll never forget a poker tournament I played in at the Sahara with my brother, and my short stack managed to finish 4th because people COULD NOT HELP but to knock each other off. OH, and I LOVE how you said that you had 2-4 twice, AND THEN you went card dead... :P Congratulations again Dave!

  5. Love that shot of the final table! And congrats. I don't know much about any of this, but I'm glad that you had a good time and won some money! You can now take your broken dolls to Deland. Heh, heh!

  6. What's the deal about no drinks at the table? Are they afraid the electronics could get wet?

  7. Oh yeah congratulations!! GOOD job

  8. The reporting by PokerNews was very incomplete. I saw the Maas-Smith reporting that left you with <2BB. A short time later the chip count showed you with 910K chips. That would seem an interesting story.

  9. What a great run MOJO! Congratulations!

    Old Guys Rule!

  10. Congrats on your WSOP big cash & 3rd place finish. You should be ranked pretty high on the MS tournament ranking list on the Hendon Mob website after this cash is updated. I hope your Main Event experience turns out better than mine. Lost KK < AA AIPF in the middle of day 2 a few years ago.

    My question, did you see any big name pros while you were at the Rio? If so, who were they?


  11. So this is what the Poker folks wonder when they read one of your bridge posts :) I'm very happy for you. Congrats!

  12. @ohcowbow12go - There are big name pros walking around, although I admit I can't remember who other than Greg Raymer (who has different sunglasses on than when he won the Main a few years ago).

  13. @norm: thanks for your question. I'm not 100% sure, but I am guessing your are right about spilling it would mess up the card reader. Also, I believe they don't want the poker table cluttered, so no cell phones. I had water, but they brought up a side-table that I used to place it on.

  14. Did you see any hands on the replay that you realized you might have/should have played differently?

    @Rob: I saw one that I played too passively -- think the villain raised with junk and I folded a king which was better than what he had. I tried to stay out of trouble when out of position (which is everybody knows to do, but they forget).

  15. Good luck in the main event Mojo. The wife and I kept following along online and it was terrific to see you keep moving up.

  16. Congrats Mojo - can't wait to sweat your main event entry!!!

  17. Me again. Is it true you're looking to buy a new and bigger house on the ocean in Palm Beach? :) And yes, many manatees are killed every year by negligent or drunken boaters. Sad.

  18. Congrats MOJO!
    I'd been sick so hadn't caught up with the blog. That's a big hit! No more $10 online tourneys for you! Will you be on TV?

  19. Congrats on the top 3 money. What a run...I hope that you can make a similar run in the ME. There will probably be 3000 more players but if anybody can do it i'm sure you can. It's fun to watch somebody find their tournament mojo!

  20. @Pretender - Don't know about TV, but would guess not. I play the low-buy-in online tournaments for fun, so don't plan to change that. It's getting harder and harder to get money out from online sites, so don't want to invest much there. The last time, it was on a foreign bank, and my bank charged me $15 and the issuing bank charged me $60!

  21. Totally understand not wanting to invest there. But the main event is certainly a good investment! You can probably write it off against the taxes they'll be pulling off your winnings. Given your love of sports as well, have you thought of investing in daily fantasy leagues? There's a lot of money flowing in those now it seems.

  22. @grrouchie: thanks for the comment and I hope being newly married is treating you well.

  23. So glad you could feel the online rail love! And thrilled to hear you're playing the Main! GO MOJO!

  24. Congrats on Seniors finish. Sorry I couldn't rail you online but medical conditions make computer access tough. Make a good run in ME so I can see you on TV