Thursday, July 17, 2014

WSOP Main Event: a look back

Above: This is just a small section of one of the three big rooms where 6683 poker players vied for $62,820,200 in prize money. (Click to enlarge.)

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 geezer player at the table. Even an unobservant player couldn't help notice my low percentage of deals played.

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.

Above: The Rio was the venue for the 2014 World Series of Poker.

Images taken why my Canon point-and-shoot.


  1. Thanks for this Dave... It is very informative/instructive.... What do you mean by "abusing" on the money bubble?

    Thanks Again


    1. Hi Collins, how are things in Raleigh?

      When it's close to cashing or not, some players go conservative, just trying to cash which is, after all, $18,000. Other players see this and start raising on a bluff to pick up the blinds and antes in an uncontested pot.

  2. Great post! Congratulations again on your WSOP success.

    P.S. Hope you stuck Lightning with the bill last week!

    1. Stick lightning with the bill? You don't really know him, do you?

    2. That would have been your greatest Vegas feat of the summer!

    3. I've never dined with Lightning, but IMMEDIATELY had a hard time believing that Lightning paid the bill when Pete commented... :P

    4. lightning isnt CHEAP.he is thrifty

  3. Excellent summary MOJO - Congratulations again!

  4. What Coach said, great summary and congrats!

  5. MOJO : Will you be entering again (ME)?
    Thanks for the updates, good read.

  6. Excellent post MOJO. Good luck in all future tournaments.


  7. great read, thanks for the write up

  8. Great write up and again, congrats. The jumps in the pay scale are rather dramatic, aren't they. I think that affects the action somewhat. Glad you were able to ignore that.

  9. Good writeup Mojo. Congrats on a great summer of poker. Hope we can sit around a poker table sometime soon

  10. @Neophyte -- I'm in FL now. Which is better for tournaments? Derby Lane or Hard Rock?

    @norm -- thx for the comment. Yes, I plan to play again. Enjoyed the experience.

  11. Yes, Dave, by all means check out Olivia's. It's a cool place with good food. I think you'd enjoy it and Eustis is a nice town to spend time in.

  12. Great writeup. One more question.
    So how did the TV production affect things vs a regular tournament?

    I'm surprised you didn't just stay in LV all the way to the Summer NABC

  13. Enjoy following you in your adventures. Keep doing well.

  14. @pretender: The TV crew was mostly filming the two featured tables. It only showed up at ours when I had my all-in moment. I have mixed feelings about playing at a TV table. Players might do abnormal things which randomizes results, I would think.

  15. Thanks for the nice comment, Dave. If you ever get the chance, head up to Amelia's quite nice and lots of fun!