WSOP Main Event

Finally got to sit down and put together a write up of my very first WSOP Main Event.

This year they increased the starting stack to 50,000 chips from 30,000 during previous years and levels to 2 hours from 1 hour 50 minutes. I really like it as I tend to play better with a deep stack – there are more opportunities to actually play poker with a deep stack. You can both sit and wait for the hand, or you can try a few maneuvers, none of which, if unsuccessful, will be a death blow, with plenty of time to recover.

Towards the dinner break on Day 1 I built up my stack to about 55k, all without any kind of premium hand, just picking up small pots here and there. As I was relatively card dead the entire time, I expanded my range to play ace-rag. One of such hands cost me dearly. I got A4 offsuit in position and called a small raise preflop from an aggressive guy. The flop came 234. It wasn’t a bad flop for me so I decided to float the guy. He bets on the flop, I call. Turn is a 7 – a rather innocuous card. He bets again, I call. River is a K. Here he makes a large bet that could be interpreted as just going for the pot. I think that while it’s possible for him to have K (he raised preflop), his raising range is much wider than AK, KK, besides if he did have AK or any K, he would’ve probably checked the turn. So I thought my A4 was good. I call and he turns over K4 for two pair. So I was right about my A4 being good, just until the river. My stack was down to low 30s after that hand. I bagged 29,000 at the end of Day 1.

On Day 2, at a new table, I was the shortest stack. Again card dead I decided to try a few raises in position, but it’s hard to scare anybody with a short stack. After raising and missing the flop a few times my stack got down to about 15K, when they broke our table and moved us to different tables.

With blinds going up I was under pressure to do something fast, but also to balance my shoving range. Although many books will recommend shoving with any two face cards I decided to wait for some really premium hand; thus KQ twice went into the muck and so did pocket 22. Finally, when down to 11k, I peek into my cards and see KK. A raise in front of me makes my decision easy. I shove, the guy snap calls and turns over QQ. My kings stand and I double up to high 20s.

Then the fateful hand. I’m in the big blind with J8 of hearts. Now, looking back at it I missed a huge warning sign – no raises preflop. Now, at this kind of game, there are almost no unraised pots preflop. I’m pretty sure that during my entire 2-day run this was the very first pot that went unraised. So the action went very suspiciously, but I failed to give it too much thought. So I’m in a big blind and there are 3 other limpers. So I get to see the flop for free. The flop comes 567 two hearts – an excellent flop for me with a straight and a flush draws. I’m first to act, I bet about a third, utg min-raises, probably just to see where he stands, mid-position calls, button folds and I call. The turn is a 10 of hearts, I got my flush. I bet again, the utg folds and the mid-position calls. River is a black A. At this point I go all in and the mid-position snap calls and turns over AK of hearts for a bigger flush. It took me a few moments to realize I was dead and out.

So that was my run. I can’t say I got super unlucky. I’ve heard so many stories of set over set and some sick suck outs on the river that to lose with a made flush doesn’t seem like a reason to complain.

But still, poker is a cruel, sick game.

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