I didn't know what to expect playing the ME. I had heard all kinds of stories about how there are tons of really bad players, how the structure is amazing, etc. I didn't know what to believe, so just decided to play my game and see what would happen. Yes, the structure was quite friendly for my style of play. Yes, there were bad players, although tons of great ones, too. If you are a serious poker player, it is a dream come true to participate.
Here are some of the questions/comments that readers left about the ME and my responses.
ohcowboy12go: "Did you raise a lot of your premium/decent hands for value pre-flop on Day 1 & 2? Negreanu and Todd Brunson . . . limped all day and called it small ball."
MOJO: No, I made regular raises, either 2.5 or 3 times the big blind. Those guys splash around in lots of pots. Small ball is their game. Negreanu talks constantly (according to a guy I sat next to who has played at his table), and is a master at getting his opponents talking as well and figuring out what they have by their body language and what they say. That's not my game. Because I play fewer pots than most, I want to get full value for the ones I enter. Later in the tournament, when blinds escalate, I then began to raise 2.2 times, etc. similar to the younger players.
ohcowboy12go: "Did you notice a big difference between Day 1, 2, 3 & 4?"
MOJO: Absolutely. It got tougher and tougher as the tournament advanced. There was still some dead money on Day 2, but none on Day 3.
ohcowboy12go: "Did you have a lot of post-flop play after Day 2, or was it a lot of shoving or calling short stack shoves.
MOJO: There was surprisingly little shoving. Mostly it was just business as usual. I thought that might change on the money bubble. In fact, I expected some player or players to begin the abuse. I had decided beforehand, that my goal wasn't to min-cash. If anybody got out of line (on the money bubble), I had promised myself that I would play with them, and, in fact, might do some abusing myself, something they wouldn't expect from a player my age. If that had caused me to bust, so be it.
The Pretender: "How aggressive were players once they made the money? How much bullying was occurring on the (money) bubble?"
MOJO: About the bubble, see previous response. After the bubble burst, it was constant "Seat open on table xx" as players who were just trying to hang on began shoving to try and double up. The guy on my right, was an older guy from the Tulsa OK area. He won his seat by playing in a local league, so was there on the cheap. He kept folding and folding. We chatted and he admitted that it was a big deal to win the $18,000 since he had minimal investment. I believe he moved up to about $20,000 payout when another player came in for a min-raise and he shoved with ♠10 ♣10. The other guy called with ♦A ♦7 and caught an ace. The problem with waiting like that is that the villain was getting fairly good pot odds because the guy's stack was so short. You need to shove while you have more than 10 big blinds (like I did, but you see how that worked out).
ohcowboy12go: "Are you willing to post some interesting hands from your tournament on what you felt you did well with . . .?"
MOJO: I had fairly good cards on Day 1 and Day 3. Day 2 and Day 4 were a different story. Bug has posted that players complain too much about being card dead, but my style means I have to catch something because I don't enter pots or call raises with hands that others might, at least when out of position. Having said that, however, I was quite aware of my image. I was mostly the oldest
On Day 2, twice I got A-K to lay down their hands. On one, I four-bet all in and the villain folded face up after tanking forever. On another, I entered with a raise, was called and c-bet on a queen high flop (and later I overheard him tell his neighbor that he had big slick). Both times, I also had A-K.
On Day 4, a player entered for a raise, I three-bet him a full three times his bet. It was the last hand before one of the breaks, and he thought forever. He tried to quiz me, said he didn't see how he could fold such a good hand, etc. and finally went away and showed me A-Q. I also had A-Q. Another time, I made a random three-bet with absolute air. I'm sure the table would have been shocked to see my hand (I don't even remember now what I had). You have to win some pots that you don't deserve now and then, and I'm not talking just about stealing blinds and antes -- everybody does that.
Rob: "If you had busted out just a minute or two earlier, you would have won a few thousand less."
MOJO: Yes, the guy in front of me in the payout line was No. 478, a nice guy who said he was from Corning NY. He complained that I won $3,078 more than he had. He wanted to know how soon after he busted, did I go busto. I didn't really notice. If you pay too much attention to stuff like that, it can distract you from your game.
Jim Munday: "you had a monster (99) compared to what some were busting out with."
MOJO: I had about 80,000 chips as I recall where the big blind was 6000. I was quite happy to get a hand this strong in late position while I still had enough chips to sting another player if they called me. Didn't work out, but that doesn't mean it was the wrong play. For readers who don't know, Jim is one of the best bridge players in the world.
Rio was the venue for the 2014 World Series of Poker.
Images taken why my Canon point-and-shoot.