Another WSOP has come and gone. Annually, the WSOP brings happiness, heartbreak, and an abundance of edge of your seat excitement to the Rio in Las Vegas. This year was certainly no exception. I went into this series with an eye towards playing mostly tournaments, while still playing at least 50 hours of juicy cash game action. I knew this was going to be an ambitious goal since I had already committed to 6 tournaments.
The series began with its share of heartbreaks. The first tournament I played was the Millionaire maker which drew over 6000 players, making it the largest event outside of the Main Event in WSOP history. I fought through Day 1 well and played the first half of Day 2. Right around the 800th position, I found myself stupidly calling off my stack pre-flop with AK against my opponents AA. Ouch!! The money paid out around 650th place, so needless to say, the tournament series started out in the ‘rough’. My second tournament had a different ending, but with the same result. This time my opponent, and WSOP bracelet winner Carlos Mortenson and WPT Champion, hit a two outer on the last hand of Day 1 to put me out just shy of the money. As they say, the show must go on!! I had to keep my head up as I had lots of poker left to play in the series.
Finally, the poker gods decided to give me a break in the form of WSOP Event 28. What an event it was!! The $1500 event drew 2114 entrants and fell on Fathers Day. My dad and my first poker teacher decided to play this event, as this was his first year playing bracelet events. Low and behold, we both fought through the masses of Day 1 to find ourselves with seats and chips on Day 2. Just before Day 1 ended I was in the bathroom and who do you know comes to the bathroom sink next to me? The renowned actor James Woods. He started incessantly splashing water on his face readying himself for the last two levels of the night. I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by, so I said, “Hey man, do you think we are going to make it to the money tonight or have to come back tomorrow to bust the bubble”? Little did I know, he would go on for about 5 minutes, in what was an awkward conversation for me, but what seemed like a normal bathroom interaction for him. We went back to play at our different tables, and ended up advancing and bagging our chips to leave for the night. My dad and I are waiting at the valet, when guess who comes up to me and my dad and starts talking to us like he has known us for years, James Woods!! Crazy ending for a Fathers Day with my dad at the WSOP.
Day 2 was no less exciting. My dad and I both found ourselves making it to the money after playing about 2 hours. This represented my dads first WSOP bracelet event cash which was very cool. For some odd reason, my table broke and I was randomly seated at my dad’s table (1 in 20 shot). He was seated next to Joe Cada, WSOP Main Event Champion in 2009. After about 30 minutes, my dad found himself in a hand all-in with Cada and my dad took him out. That drew lots of attention to our table and to my dad who was obviously elated. Unfortunately, he was eliminated a little while later by an opponents unlucky draw. I played the rest of Day 2 well and made it to the Final 18 and last two tables at the end of the night. I had a tough table and was two seats to the left of T.J Cloutier, one of the winningest tournament players in history. We bagged our chips on Day 2, and I found myself making my first WSOP Day 3 ever.
Day 3 was very exciting, yet unfortunately very short. We were seated in the main spectator viewing section so everyone’s family, friends, and spectators could cheer them on. My beautiful wife, who we just found out is pregnant with our first child, and my dad were there to support their favorite player (not TJ Cloutier). Sadly, the good guy died at the end of this movie. I went all-in with AQ and my opponent, Jason Duval of Canada, called me in the big blind with 9-2. The nine of course came on the river, knocking me out in 16th place. TJ Cloutier reached over to shake my hand and said in his somewhat hoarse Texas accent, “you fight hard boy, you fight real hard”. Duval went on to win the tournament and $521,202. Though I was upset at getting knocked out so close to the final table, I was happy with a high cash and my best WSOP finish ever. As my wife told me as I walked away from the table, there will be many more chances to come. A bracelet is in my future!!
As far as cash games go, I clocked a total of 42 hours, only 8 hours shy of my 50 hour goal. The games were juicy, as they are every year, and I had a higher hourly rate than I had anticipated. My hours were cut slightly short due to mental exhaustion from so many hours of tournaments.
All in all, this was my best series to date and I look forward to my next major tournament series, which is the Hard Rock Open in Florida August 8-28th. Stay tuned to the Poker Politico for updates on this series as well as other happenings in the poker world.