There’s nothing quite like playing in the World Series of Poker for the ultimate poker buzz and excitement.
This is far from my first trip to Vegas for the showpiece event of the poker year, but it still brings with it a shower of anticipation and nerves as you enter the Rio hotel, home of the WSOP for the past 10 years.
Proudly sporting my Grosvenor badge, I sat down for my first event of this summer, event 19′ a $1500 nlhe affair.
These weekend events draw a huge number of recreational players in town for a few days and are full of value, but with only 4500 starting chips, there’s not much room for manoeuvre. I reckon you can afford to lose one significant pot, but if you do, you can’t afford to lose a second.
I therefore proceeded with caution. My starting table featured the usual array of cowboy hats, headphones and foreign accents, and I quickly summarised that the only guy who seemed a decent player was the young kid in my direct left.
I didn’t much want to play many pots with him, but it turned out I played two pretty chunky ones before our table broke just after the first break.
In the first I called a cut-off raise in the small blind with KQ of clubs, and peeled his big blind three bet. The board ran out queen high and I check-called to victory.
The other was a much bigger pot, and possibly could and should have been all-in, but with these stacks that’s hard to do.
Again I called a raise in the small blind, this time with pocket 10s. The kid again three-bet, this time the raiser passed and I peeled. The flop came 10-high and I check-raised his c-bet and bet turn and river.
He obviously had an overpair given his reaction, but whatever; I was up over 10k and flying
I moved to a new table, from the freezer of the cash game room to the relative warmth of the still cold Brasilia room.
Straight away I picked up two eights on the button, raised and called the big blind’s all-in. He had AK but my hand held and I was flying.
This table was tougher, with some good young online players, but I kept up the aggression, four-betting pocket fives from the cut-off after the button’s three-bet, he folded and showed me two sevens.
All seemed to be going well, with players dropping like flies, but my next table move proved to be my last
I’d got up to over 24k, well above average, but my new table featured a number of big stacks, and I just couldn’t win a pot.
John ‘World’ Hennigan was running the show with a 50k stack (he went on to finish second for $320k) but he wasn’t really the problem, I just kept getting half decent hands and not improving.
I’d raise with pocket sixes, c-bet and either fold to a raise or shut down after being called. I’d raise with big suited aces and see low flops, and raise with suited connectors and find the broadway cards.
Every time I cbet I got called and couldn’t proceeded, it was so frustrating. After the 90 minute dinner break I tried to start afresh but to no avail. I lost two races to short stacks and by level eight I was down to 10bb.
A guy who had been shoving a lot moved all-in after I had raised with KQ suited, I called and saw it was the expected race, and I couldn’t beat two fours.
What a frustrating start to the summer!
However, the great thing about Vegas is there’s always another tournament, poker is available all day every day, so it was time to lick my wounds and go back into battle for round two!