I last until the very, very, end of Day 1, Level 8, when blinds were at 500/1000. No fatal hand especially, just a matter of not growing your chip stack relative to the blinds, which soon leads to picking a spot with which to double up, which soon leads to gimme a hand I can shove with, no matter how speculative.

Some key hands of the tournament:

Omaha This was early, and I probably made the right play but it annoyed me for about an orbit. The first family pot at the the table, and I’m BB so I’m stuck with playing 8-8-T-Q with two — total garbage. Of course I flop the joint, rainbow no less. I bet, middle position raises, cutoff calls, I reraise. The turn pairs the 9. Fuck. Check, check, bet. Now what. I shut down, middle calls. River brings a third heart, 9JK-9-6 . They check it down, and split with the same straight I had. Steam.

Razz Not much to say about this one, but since it was the first hand that took a chunk out of my highwater mark of about 10,000 in chips I’ll mention it: took seventy-six to the river against seventy-five, and I pretty much knew he had it, but we both made on fifth street so I had to pay him off. Fucking razz.

Stud I don’t lose all of these. Was able to limp into a four-way with split 5s. Fourth street brings a third five. I make it two bets. One caller. Continue to bet out, villain raises me one time, and on seventh street puts me all in, which is great because I just filled up, pairing my fifth street 4. He had kings up the whole time so I was always ahead.

Stud8 rolled up 5s — something about 5s this tournament — which is beautiful because a shortish stack takes a shot since he’s thinks he’s pretty good for hi with KKx, and it sure looks I’m betting the low. we flip on fifth street and he sees the bad news.

Hold ’em I can’t remember any hold’em hands of mine worth discussing — I think I squeezed kings once, but got no action. Kid Poker — I got moved to his table around 2AM to watch him play about five hands — made a good hold’em read, even in defeat: on a K 6 3 two board, he doesnt put opponent on the King, so he thinks at worst he has overs. turns out opp was on a flush draw and KP was actually ahead, but the flush came.

Here’s the hand I when down in flames with — pretty ordinary omaha-wise.

Me: A A♣ 6 Q
Him: A♠ 2 T♠ 5

Board Q♠ 7♣ 4♠ – T – 3♠

Frankly I never saw the flush, I was too focused on my AA holding up for a split.

So, a 220th finish out of 770 runners. Winnings, nil. Not an overwhelming experience though. Can’t wait for another chance.  ♠♥♦


I went from 6400 to 9500 to 2500 to 5700 at the break. Going to war with your hand at this point costs you half your stack when you lose. Uncomfortable. Cyndy Violette and Jean-Robert Bellande now at my table. Say what you want about HORSE, there’s a lot of star power here, not donk-on-donk violence a la NLHE.

The retiree to my right who is pretty good has about 22k now. He also crippled me in a hand of razz. Bet call bet call bet call and suddenly you’re down to 2500.

But then stud to the rescue. Split 5s and I get to see 4th street cheap. Its another 5 and everyone leaves except one donkish player who proceeds to call every street. helpful.

Something about me and 5s tonight.blinds are gonna be 200 400 next. Half the field busted out 400 of 770 left.

6400 going into dinner break, ill totally take it considering where I was 2 hours ago. Having rolled up 5s in studE against the short stack all-in didn’t hurt.

Out of 4500 in starting chips and I have 3200ish which is pretty much the short stack for a table. The next 2 hours will start sweeping some players aside, including me if I’m not careful. If it wasn’t for razz of all things I could be toast already.

Hello.  You may know me from some home game instructional Dvds such as as “Don’t be a Pussy” and “Will Puts Me On Tilt, So I’m Glad He Lives in Russia Now.”  Tonight, I’ll be entering Event 31 of the 2009 WSOP, $1500 HORSE.  For those of you (all of you, apparently) who only play No Limit, here’s a brief rundown of the structure of these LIMIT games.

H – Hold’em. Probably the first game you learned, before you found out that NL was the cool game.

O – Omaha High-Low. a “split-pot” game, meaning there’s a high hand and a low hand pot each hand.  Win both and you scoop.  You get counterfeited a lot in this one.

R – Razz.  Stud backwards.  The “lowest” hand wins the pot.  A2345 is the best possible hand.  Only drifters from St Louis like this game.

S – 7 card Stud. 2 down, 4 up, 1 down. Used to be popular, now it’s only played within 50 miles of Boston.

E – Stud H/L. The “E” stands for eight-or-better, meaning you need at least an eight low to win the low pot (as in Omaha H/L.)  Like the “O” game, except with the stud structure.

The tournament starts at the ungodly hour of 8pm Eastern/5 Pacific.  No idea why.

At some point I’ll clue you in on my poker shenanigans over the past year — they are few and far between.

I played my first WSOP event last week, the $1500 NL event, where the
field was split into two halves, for approximately 2000 runners each
day. Russell and Becker already signed up for day 1a, Saturday, so as
they took their seats I went to the cage to see what was what. The
lines were short so I didn’t mind queuing for 5 minutes to get info.
Turns out there were only 200 spots left for day 1b. Thankfully I just
won back some $600 at the $5 craps table at Gold Coast, but I was still
short a few hundred. So I visited the ACM, and prayed for skif-skaf,
since I wasn’t sure with the time change whether I could make another
withdrawal that morning. It rained Benjamins and 3 minutes
later a had a receipt for Event 2 day 1b.

[Russell/Becker bustouts redacted]

Took my seat Sunday, and during the first orbit it became increasingly clear that I had lost my card cover. Great, I’m already beat and I haven’t even played 1 hand. I improvise with my Italia pin but I’m still unhappy. Took my first hand with A♣ Q♣, no one called so I took the blinds. about an orbit later I’m heads up with the button, holding 6♣ 6♠. Flop is A K 6. My first 2/3rds size bet gets called. Turn is a brick and my second fire (600) takes it down.

Then about half hour of nothing until an UTG raises to 250 and gets 4
callers including me on the button with 5♣ 6♣. Flop is
Q 3 5♠ and I figure I can’t hang so I’ve mentally
checked out. Somehow it gets checked around and I get my 6 on the turn.
UTG bets 1000 and its all folded to me. I’ve put him on a big pair,
maybe TT that he thinks is safe now, or a set, which means I lose my
last longer bet and we’re three schmucks who dont get past level 1. I
shove, he calls, and shows AQ. He’s left with about 150, I’ve got about

A couple more people bust out and the table is broken, and I get moved.
The new lot doesn’t seem terribly different except for an LA Asian try
to table captain. Random bobbing and weaving for another 45 minutes.
the guy to my left is short stacked, and from the small blind shoves the
rest of his 1600 into a limped pot to try to take it down.. Pay
attention kids, this is my downfall.
1000 in antes and dead money, everyone folds to me (I’m the button
again) and I’ve got 4 4♠. 2600 more chips gets me north of
8K, which is close to the big stack at that point. 1600 to win 2600 and
I’m sure he’s on random paint and hopes to hold up against A-x. I say,
“OK, let’s see which overcards you have.” We flip and he’s showing KJ.
Dealer flops and since I’m in seat 9 I can’t see the bad news until the
dealer removes his hand, all-in flopped two two and holds up.

I’m not tilted, but i think i was a little too eager to make myself
whole asap, and make a few ill-advised raises from early position to try
to take some blinds. This is the point in the tournament where players
started getting more aggressive, and I ended up having to lay down 66 to
a reraise, and folded another hand that in retrospect shouldn’t have
limped in from early. I’m down to 2K and make two all ins to take
blinds plus antes — once with TT — but got no traction. Right after 4
oclock break I get AJ UTG and shove. KK calls and I can’t pull off a
70/30 chance.

So that’s how I spent $1500. Don’t weep for me, I got it back and more
over the rest of the trip. I was surprised — and I guess pleased —
that I wasn’t buckling under the pressure of a Big Tournament. I made
the same moves I would have made at Rounders or that dump near port
Authority. A little more thought probably went into everything, and
that’s all good too. I think I learned a lot from it.