Friday, June 30, 2006

Event # 6 preview

Event #6 is a straight forward $2,000 buy in No limit hold 'em event. Last year there were two events of this type and size. The first was event #9 last year and had 1,403 entrants with first place of $611,795, 9th was $51,630 and 140th paid $2,325. Event #29 was a little smaller at around 1100 entrants (I actually played in #29 last year). I've been playing really well and look forward to taking another shot tomorrow.

On another note a few people have mentioned that they can't find me on or updates. The reason why is these updates are submitted by about a half dozen little men who are running around the torunament area making notes of who has how many chips. They know that for the most part the people reading their updates only care about the big name players so that's who they focus on. Once you get into the money they include more names and let you know when everyone is eliminated, but before that you won't see anything about me.

Event #5 recap

I decided to play Event #5 ($2,500 buy-in No Limit with 6 handed tables) today even though I'd considered skipping it. After getting less than 2 hours of sleep the night before Jen crapped out at 9 p.m. and soon after I joined her. I found myself wide awake at 1 a.m. but managed to get back to sleep around 4 so when I got up at 11 a.m. I was well rested and after a quick shower headed to the tournament area.

We started with 824 players seated 6 to a table and right away I got involved in a significant hand. On hand #2 of the tournament with blinds of 25/25 I open raised to 75 with Ad 7c (note that the little d means it's the ace of diamonds and the little c means its the 7 of clubs). The button called as did the big blind and flop came down A 3 4 all clubs. Right away the big blind went for his chips and tossed 150 into the pot. I didn't like to see him bet into me, but I figured he probably didn't have an ace AND a club so I was either drawing live or had the best hand. I decided to just call and do some further analysis on the turn. To my surprise the player on the button also called and the turn was an offsuit 10. Now the big blind checked. Well what the hell is going on here? I was pretty sure the guy behind me was on a flush draw and now that the first guy checked I hoped that they both were. I decided to stay aggressive and bet out 500 into the 700 chip pot. After some careful thought by both players they each slid a pink 500 chip into the pot. At this point I figured I was in big trouble and barring a 7 showing up on the river I was done with this hand. The river was a K of clubs and as I was trying to decide if I'd call even a small bet with my small flush the first player checked, I checked and the last player said "I really screwed myself, I check." The first player turned up A 10 for top two pair and the second player showed 44 for three of a kind and my baby flush took down a nice pot.

Right away I was up to 4000 (after starting with 2500) which was a huge advantage because it meant the most I could lose in a pot was 2500, which would still leave me with a decent sized stack. Immediately I got aggressive raising with lots of hands and betting flops whether I had anything or not. The rest of the table was pretty passive and for the most part the other players let me grind them down. When one of the short stacks finally did take a stand against me with 10 10, I had AK and called his all in bet. I flopped a K and sent him packing. Shortly after, I open raised with 88 and had another short stack move all in with 77. Nothing dramatic happened and I sent him to the rail also.

I was up to 6900 when I had a bit of a hiccup. In round 2 with the blinds at 25/50 two players limped in for 50, the small blind put in another $25 chip and I took a free flop with 5h 4h. The flop came down 8h 5s 4s and the small blind checked. I'd flopped two pair which was almost certainly the best hand right now, but it was very vulnerable so I decided to make a strong bet. I fired out 3 $100 black chips into a 200 chip pot, two of the players quickly folded and the small blind moved all in for 1300. I made an easy call and he showed me 10s 8c. I was 69% to win the hand at this point but after an A came on the turn and another A came on the river I lost to a bigger two pair. This was a minor blow and I went on break with 5500 chips.

When I came back with the blinds at 50/100 I got involved in a major pot right away. I had Js 9s which is a marginal holding at best but after the player to my right limped in for 100 I decided to gamble a little and called behind him. The blinds both called and the flop came down As Ks 5h giving me a flush draw. Everyone checked to me and I bet out 300. I didn't have anything yet but even if I got called I'd still make my flush 1 time in 3 and there was a chance I'd pick up the pot right there. The player who'd been in the big blind who'd been very aggressive moving all in into small pots (and was the only one who had more chips than me) rattled his chips and I thought I might be facing a huge bet. Happily he only made it 500 more and I decided to do some acting. I knew I was going to call, but instead of calling right away I took my time. I took all of my $500 chips from the bottom of my stack and made it look like I was about to reraise him another $2000 while I stared at him as if looking for a reaction. I figured that if he thought I was thinking of reraising he might check to me on the turn and I could see the river card for free if I missed my flush (and if I made it he probably wouldn't put me on a flush). After about 30 seconds I called and the turn brought the 7 of spades competing my flush. He checked as I figured he would and I did even more acting. I knew exactly what I had, but I looked back at my cards as if I was checking to see if I had a spade. It's easy to remember what rank your cards are, but unless they are the same suit, after 75 hands it's easy to forget what suits they are. Often times people have too look back and I've used this move many times in the past to mislead my opponents. I knew I was going to bet but took my time and after about 10 seconds I bet 1000 into the 2000 chip pot. To my delight, he immediately moved all in. I had the second best possible hand and when he turned over Ah 8d I saw that he was drawing totally dead. If not for my acting he may have been able to get away from the hand or at least lose fewer chips.

I had 10,000 chips which was a huge stack, but it was all down hill from there. Shortly before we went on break a player from a broken table sat down on my left with a good sized stack of chips. He turned out to be my nemesis. About 20 minutes after I won that big pot he raised to 300 from first position and I called from the big blind with Ad Jh. The flop came down Jd 7d 4d which was a great flop for me. I wasn't going anywhere with top pair and a flush draw and I decided to go for a check raise. Unfortunately he checked behind me and the turn came 4c. I figured this wasn't a bad card and bet out 500. He quickly raised it to 1500 and I figured he either had AA, KK or QQ and was slowplaying (checking a strong hand to convince your opponent you are weak) on the flop or he thought I was bluffing and was playing back at me. Regardless, I still had 11 cards of the remaining 46 (9 diamonds and 2 jacks) that would almost certainly make me the best hand no matter what he had so I called. The river was a black Q which was about the worst card in the world for me, but I still paid off his 1500 chip bet on the end. He turned over Ah 4h and I let out a big sigh as the dealer pushed him the pot. I think I played the pot OK but I certainly could have done it differently. I could have bet the flop forcing him to fold or I could have reraised before the flop which would have forced me to bet the flop if the hand even made it that far. Also I maybe could have folded on the end saving 1500 chips. Or of course a card other than a 4 could have come off on the turn (I was 94% to win the pot on the flop), but I try not to focus on the part that's out of my control.

I was down to just over 6000 chips and this guy kept giving me problems. It wasn't like he was in every pot, but EVERY time I raised or called he would call behind me. If I bet the flop he would either call or raise. If I checked the flop he'd bet behind me. Normally this would be fine and I kept thinking that eventually I'd connect with a flop and take a big chunk of his chips, but I kept missing and he really ground me down. When I was down to about 3,500 with the blinds at 100/200 I picked up AA in the small blind and made it 500 to go. I thought "great I'll really stick it to this guy now!" Even though he only had to call another 300 with 800 already in the pot he folded what seemed like a millisecond after he looked at his cards. I couldn't believe it. 10 hands in a row he's cold calling my raises and now he folds? This is bullshit! It seemed like maybe he had a great read on me but he also seemed like a real idiot. I was really frustrated but vowed not to let it affect my play. More time passed and I found myself back at 2500 right where I started. Then I picked up QQ in first position and open raised to 600. An instant later my nemesis shoved his entire stack (well over 10,000 chips) into the pot and after about 25 seconds of thought the small blind put his stack of about 3,000 into the middle also. No way was I folding and when the hands got turned over I saw my nemesis had Ad Qd and the other player had two black tens. At this point I was 54% (29% for the AQ and 17% for the tens) to win the pot and triple up, but an A on the turn eliminated me from the tournament.

For those of you keeping track at home, in my three tournaments I've been eliminated with AA, KK and QQ. If I go down with JJ tomorrow I'm going to jump out the window.

Break #1

They've been playing for about 2 hours and Dave is still going strong. They started with 2500 chips and he's built his stack up to around 5500. That should be well above average, but they haven't posted any official numbers yet about number of players, prize money, etc. estimated that just under 800 players started.

Event #5

Hi, Jen here!

Dave decided he would play today's event, the $2500 Short handed No-Limit Hold'em event. Last year only 548 players played, so this will probably be a smaller field than the other tournaments Dave plays in. I'll talk to him at his first break, around 2:00, and let you know if anything exciting happens!

This year vs last

First of all I'd like to apologize for some wacky typos that appeared in my last post. I don't know where they came from, but I have destroyed them! I wanted to give a little lip service to the fine people running the WSOP who have made a few key improvements this year. Smartly, they convened a council of six of the top players (Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Scotty Nguyen, Jennifer Harman, Robert Williamson III, and Daniel Negranu, between them 17 WSOP bracelets) to make improvements of all types to the tournaments and venue. One of the big problems last year was going to the bathroom. When break time came you might have as many as 2,000 people almost all of whom haven't gone to the bathroom in 2 hours who know they won't be able to go again for another 2 hours all rushing to the same 2 bathrooms. If you weren't a woman you were waiting in a long line (The hand full of lady players seemed to enjoy the roll reversal). Also the available facilities were far away (it might take you 3 or 4 minutes to walk there) and they had tons of cocktail waiters running around dishing out free redbulls, coffees and waters which only compounded the problem. In my first event last year after firing down about 3 of each I found myself in a state where if I wasn't currently peeing, I felt the need to. If I couldn't hold it I'd wait until it looked like a few people were going to be involved in a hand (which would make it take longer) and then I'd take off. I'd do my fastest, dorkiest walk ignoring all social graces, dodging flusies left and right who were desperate to sell me customized poker chips and sign me up for credit cards. The tournament organizers hated to see me this way and this year they've added a few large trailers (which are actually pretty nice complete with running water) that are loaded with scores of toilets and nearer to the tables. They've also instituted staggered breaks in the larger events where half the field goes on break while the other half continues play.

As far as poker improvements go they've made several. In the past (and in just about every poker tournament everywhere) when the players were approaching the money (ie if there are 52 players left in a tournament that pays 50 places) the tournament would be played hand for hand. This means that every table deals one hand and then waits until all other tables are finished. This process prevents stalling by players short on chips and eager to make the money and also makes it clear who went out in what place (If two people are eliminated on the same hand they split the prize money of the higher place). Although this process is fair it's also really slow and it leads to players leaving their table and running from game to game to watch anytime someone goes all in. This year they've instituted round for round play during which each table plays and entire round and any players that are eliminated during that round are all awarded the same place and split the prize money accordingly. For example, let's say you have an event that pays 100 spots, places 90th through 100th all pay $2,000 and round for round play starts with 105 players left. If every table plays a round and fewer than 5 people have been eliminated then everyone plays another round. But if 9 people were eliminated during that round (seems like a lot, but the blinds are big and it's just an example people, calm down) they would split the $8,000 that would have been awarded to places 97-100 and each get paid $888.88. In practice this seemed to really speed things up and it keeps everyone in their seats.

One thing I've noticed that may have happened last year, but I've really noticed this year is the tournament organizers listening to the players and accommodating them. At the start of day 2 of event #3 the blinds were set to start at 1000/2000, but were switched to 1000/1500 on the fly after some of the big name players pointed out that the jump from 600/1200 blinds to 1000/2000 blinds was too severe. In addition to providing good service and ensuring fair play, I'm sure they want to keep the big names happy so they don't get slammed in articles and interviews for the next 10 months.

On another note I find it interesting that it seems like all of the top 50 players in the world seem to know each other personally and are friends. It's like a big clique in high school except they are all millionaires. Hopefully I'll be part of the cool crowd soon.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day 2 recap

I had what could be classified as a massive collapse on day 2 of event #3. We returned to the tables at 2 p.m. and when I sat down I noticed Michael Mizrachi (who is third in money won in 2006 with over $2,000,000 in earnings) one seat to my left. We started with 70 players and I knew if I made it to 63rd or better I'd pick up an additional $750 (chump change compared to what was at stake, but still $750) A few hands into the session with blinds at 1000/1500 (originally they had planned on 1000/2000 blinds at the start of day 2, but after massive lobbying from the players they agreed to a smaller blind structure) I had 19,500 chips and picked up KQ two off the buttion. This is another one of those trouble hands. If anyone reraised me I would be in a tough spot as they would almost certainly have me beat with and A or pair of some kind. After spending 12 hours at one table yesterday I was suddenly up against 8 new opponents and the last thing I wanted to do was show weakness by just calling. I raised to 4,500 and the small blind quickly moved all in for 7,500. I figured I was beat, but I was forced to call by the 4 to 1 odds the pot was offering. My opponent gingerly turned over A 10. An A showed up on the flop all but killing my chances of winning the pot and I lost a big chunk of my chips. A few more hands passed and after stealing the blinds once I found myself in the small blind with 13,000 chips. The button open raised to 5,500 chips and I looked down at KK, the second best possible starting hand. The raiser only had about another 2,500 chips left and I thought about just calling in a effort to lure Mizrachi, the big blind, into the pot. After about 15 seconds of thought I decided not to mess around and put all of my remaining chips in. Mizrachi practically beat me into the pot, quickly putting 12,500 chips (all of his chips) into the pot. Here's how described it...

“The Grinder” takes a nice pot when he goes up against James Southerland and Wesley Huff. Southerland raises to $5500 pre-flop from the button and Huff pushes all in from the small blind. Mizrachi, “The Grinder” from the big blind calls. Southerland also calls and the showdown commences. Mizrachi turns over an Ac Jc , Southerland flips over pocket 7’s and Huff pulls out Kd Kc. Mizrachi seemed confidant that an Ace would hit the table, and sure enough it did when the flop came Ad Js 3s 2s 2h. Southerland’s 7’s didn’t hold up nor Huff’s K’s. Southerland is eliminated and Wesley huff is left holding only $500. Mizrachi is pleased with his take and now sits with about $37,000 in chips.

Going into the hand I was 53% to win while 77 was 19% and AJ was 28%. I would estimate that 90% of players would have folded the AJ behind a raise and a reraise, but Mizrachi is fearless and decided he wanted to go for the gusto. In fact he'd entered into event #4 at noon (from which he was quickly eliminated) knowing that at 2 p.m. he'd have to continue playing event #3. It's all or nothing for this kind of guy. His risky style didn't pay off, however, as he was eliminated in 54th place despite having all of my chips. I lost my last $500 chip when my A 10 lost to the big blind's 6 4. In the end I finished 58th and got paid $3,761 for a net profit of $2,261 which left me up $761 for the 2006 WSOP. I've had 5 days in my poker career when I've won more than $10,000 in one day and I've had at least 25 when I've won more than $2,500 so financially it wasn't earth shattering, but there's something special about succeding at the WSOP and I'm proud of my performance so far.

The last two days have taken their toll on me stress wise so I'm not sure if I need a day off or if I'm going to play event #5 (event #4 $1,500 limit hold 'em went off today) $2,500 buy-in no limit hold 'em with 6 handed tables instead of 10 handed tables. Fewer players at each table means you have to play more hands and can expect more confrontations. My specialty is 10 player single table tournaments so I play short handed all the time (even though we start with 10 we play down to 1 so I have experience playing with any number of players), but I prefer a full game in this type of environment. I'm going to make a game time decision tomorrow morning. If I don't play, my next event will be $2,000 buy-in no limit hold 'em on Saturday.

On another note I'd like to give a shout out to anyone at the census bureau who as a result of my good friend Brian Ridgeway might be reading this blog. Those crazy americans aren't going to count themselves. I'd also like to thank my sister (Jennie or Jenn with two n's) for mentioning my blog on her blog. Also I appreciate all the compliments I've been getting on my writing. I'll give give full credit to my high school english teachers (Miss Edwards, Mrs Dodson, Mrs Jackson and Mrs Queen, but not Miss Corbett who was a huge bitch) and my wife who always lets me know when I'm being an idiot.

I made it to Day 2!

In my second try at this years WSOP I made the money and have made it to day 2. Let me start at the beginning. If you don't understand all of the specific about the poker hands don't worry; all that really matters in how much they pay me in the end. :) I sat down just before noon as one of 1102 entrants who each put up $1,500 to enter this event. I took my place at table 145 in seat 7 (the seats of a poker table are numbered starting with 1 to the dealers left and continue upwards in a clockwise direction) today feeling a little nervous after getting bounced so early yesterday. About 5 minutes into the tournament the player in seat 10 shows up and it's Chris "Jesus" Ferguson! Not only is Chris the 2000 main event champion, but he's also (by my estimation) one of the top 3 or 4 fan favorites in the entire poker world. If you've ever watched poker on TV you may have seen a segment where he throws playing cards across a room at upwards of 70 mph, which then cut the top off of innocent fruits and vegetables (it's quite a trick). He's a great poker player, he has a phd (in computer science?) and in my experience is a really nice guy. He was at my table for the entire 12.5 hour day today and happily I got the best of him more than once. The first such hand came up in level 2 with the blinds at 25/50. WARNING: HEAVY POKER CONTENT! If you don't care about the specific of certain hands you can skip to the second to last paragraph. Chris opened to 125 and I called 75 more chips with A 10 out of the big blind. Normally I'd avoid calling a raise with A10 because if you flop an ace you could lose a good chunk of your chips to AK, AQ, or AJ and if the flop comes 10 high and the original raiser has a big pair you're also in big trouble. It's tough to tell where you stand in these types of situations and good poker means limiting your difficult decisions. But, in this case I was getting good pot odds (I only had to call 75 with 200 already in the pot) so I had to call. The flop came down A 10 9 with 2 hearts. A great flop for me making me top two pair. I checked hoping Chris would bet so I could raise him. I figured if he had an A I had a good chance of taking most or all of his chips and I expected no matter what he had he would bet the flop. To my surprise he also checked. The turn was a 2 and I bet out 150 into a pot of 275 (don't forget to count the 25 chip small blind if you're adding along at home). I was hoping he would interpret this bet as a bluff or a draw and raise me. After about 10 seconds he just called. My heart really started beating at this point. I figured to have the best hand, but if by some chance he had me beat, I knew I was going to lose all of my chips and be eliminated. The river was an off suit 2(meaning it was not a card that made a flush possible, in this case it means it was not a heart). I figured if I checked, it might confirm any suspicions he was having that I'd been bluffing on the turn and had now abandoned the bluff. Also if he didn't have much or missed a draw he wouldn't be calling my bet anyway and might try to bluff at the pot. When I checked he quickly bet 200 and I raised him to 600. He spent about 60 seconds deciding what to do and during that time if you'd put a stethoscope up to my heart it would have blown out your eardrums. I figured there were 2 possibilities: 1) he had a monster hand and was trying to convince me he didn't have much so I'd call his all in bet or 2) he didn't have much and was trying to decide if he should call. It wasn't the thoughts of the second possibility that made me nervous. In the end he called, didn't show his hand (which I suspect was something like 77 or 88) and my stack increased to 2500 (we started the day with 1500).

Another exciting hand took place during round 3. With blinds at 50/100 everyone folded around to me in the small blind and I looked down to find J9 of diamonds. Not a great hand but good enough to muscle the big blind. I raised to 300 and after some thought the big blind called. The flop came down 9 3 3 with 1 diamond. I bet 450 into a 600 chip pot and my opponent called. I figured he probably didn't call my preflop raise with a 3 so I liked my hand, but I didn't have enough information to put him on a specific hand. The turn was the 8 of diamonds so now I had top pair and a flush draw and I wasn't going anywhere. I considered my options and decided to be aggressive. I bet the whole pot, 1500. My opponent quickly said "how much do you have left" which was not a good sign. I only had another 250 and after it went in the pot we both turned up our hands. He showed me 8 3 for a full house. 8 3? What kind of cheese is that? How the hell did he call my raise with that? I figured at the very least hitting my flush would win me the pot and now I'm drawing dead to a 9. And then.....BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE! A 9 on the river made me a bigger full house and I took down a nice pot. I went from toast, to having a $5,000 stack (a stack that was twice as large as the average stack) with the turn of that one card. At that point I felt like I was in for a good day.

In round three with the blinds at 50/100 I dodged another bullet (it wouldn't be my last evasion of the day). A Scandinavian gent in seat 1 (who it turned out was a great player) opened to 250 and I called out of the big blind with KJ. This is a similar situation to the A 10 I had earlier where I don't really like the hand against a raise, but it's so cheap to see the flop and I know no one can raise behind me that I had to call. The flop came down 5 6 7. This fellow had been doing a fair amount of raising so he could have had a wide variety of hands, but probably wasn't raising with any 5's, 6's or 7's in his hand. I decided to put him to the test and after about a 10 second stall I bet out 350 into a 550 chip pot on a total bluff. He thought for a long time and at one point counted out 350 chips and put a stack of 800 next to it. He looked like he was going to push them into the pot, but what he was really doing was looking for a reaction. I decided to do a little acting to help my cause. Normally if player acts strong it means they have a weak hand and vice versa. If an average player stares you down with his meanest stare he's trying to scare you into folding and if he's won't look at you he wants a call and doesn't want to frighten you away. I figured this guy would be familiar with this kind of tell, so I stared off into the distance and did my best to look as uninterested as possible. What might be surprising to some of you is I wasn't nervous at all in this hand. I figured if he raised me I'd just fold. I'd still have plenty of chips and there was no chance of elimination so I wasn't nervous even though I was running a total bluff. He called my bet and the turn was another 5. Well what the hell do I do now? There was almost no chance that the five helped him and I figured if he was unsure on the flop, maybe I could get rid of him here. I bet out 750 and much like before he stacked his chips in various combinations and looked at me and stacked some more. He just called my bet and I thought "I'm going to need to him a K or a J to win this pot." To my delight, a pretty little K showed up on the end. Now, much like in the hand where I had A 10, I checked figuring if he missed he wouldn't be calling another bet and might bluff at it, and if he had a big hand I'd lose less, by checking and calling than I would be betting. I checked, he checked I showed him my hand and he showed me JJ. In order to win that pot I need him to not raise more before the flop, to not raise the flop or the turn and to hit one of 3 K's in the deck.

I dodged another bullet (sort of) in round 4 with the blinds at 75/150. I opened with a raise to 525 with QQ. A short stack with only 475 left called me and the big blind (who had more chips than me and a loose player) also called. The flop was 8 7 7 and after a check from the big blind I bet out 1200. After a little hemming and hawing the big blind showed 44 and folded. The short stack turned up AK and the turn card came out. It was a 4! If the big blind had decided to call (it wouldn't have been a good call, but she almost made it anyway) I would have gone broke, but instead I won the pot. I was up to 9,000 chips well over twice average when we took our second break. For the next hour and fifty minutes I went card dead. With 10 minutes left in round 6 with the blinds at 150/300 a dude with a ragged beard who'd been at my table since hand 1 opened for a raise to 1000. I was on the button with AQ and 6900 chips left. I had quite a few options. Although folding might seem crazy to those of you who don't have a ton of poker experience, the one's who do will tell you that folding was reasonable if not optimal. I also thought about raising it 2000 making it 3000 to go. This guy had raised with some wacky shit over the course of the tournament, but if I made it 3000 I'd have almost half my chips in the pot and if he reraised I'd be forced to call and put my tournament life at risk. I decided to just call and see if I could hit something on the flop, which came down A Q 5 with 2 hearts. DING! It was a perfect flop for me. Unless he had AA, QQ, or 55 I had him beat. AA and QQ were very unlikely because there was already an A and a Q in my hand and one of each on the board. I couldn't rule out 55, but that's just one hand among the dozens of hands he was likely to have. I hoped he had AK or AJ and I'd be able to double through him. He checked and I bet 1400. He thought for a few seconds and called. The turn was a blank and he checked again. I decided I wanted to end the hand right there. The pot was already big and I didn't want to give him a cheap look at a flush draw if he had one so I bet my entire remaining stack of 4500. He thought for a long time and right away I knew I wanted him to call. If he had a flush draw he'd only hit it 1 time in 5, if he had a pocket pair I was a 22 to 1 favorite and if he had an A other than AK (which would make me a 14 to 1 favorite) he'd be drawing totally dead (meaning he had no card that could come on the river that would make him the best hand). Finally he called and when I showed my hand he immediately folded without even waiting to see the river card. This hand left me with about 14,000 chips and a very positive feeling during the 1 hour and 20 minute dinner break.

I had some dinner, took a shower, and came back feeling refreshed. Unfortunately I also felt the jitters come back and despite the fact that I was in a strong position chip wise, it took me a while to settle back down. I knew we had 4 more hours of play and if I didn't do anything stupid I'd have a great chance to make the money. My table only got tougher as Hoyt Corkins (his real name!) and Dewey Tomko (also his real name!) joined the fray. With these two, the Scandinavian Gent and Chris Ferguson and without much in the way of amateurs, I was at a tough table. At this point I went into cruise mode. I won a few small pots, stole the blinds and by the next break found myself with about 12000 chips (still above average). 99 places paid and towards the end of the 9th round someone finished 100th. Just after, I won a nice pot when the bearded dude raised my big blind and I reraised him with AK. He put in his last 4000 chips after his initial raise of 2000 and showed A 5 (not a very good play). My AK held up and I was over 20,000 chips. After an uneventful round 10 we called it a day around 12:30 a.m. We all put our chips in sealed plastic bags which will be waiting for us when we arrive tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. There are still 70 players in the tournament and if I was first out tomorrow I would still get paid $3,008 gross ($1508 net). I'll pick up another $753 if I can make it to 63rd and the prizes keep going up from there. The money really starts picking up in the top 18. 18th is $12,034, 9th is $33,845 and 1st is $345,984. The final 9 will be on ESPN. My stack of 20,500 is just short of the 23,614 average stack.

Anything can happen tomorrow. When we get back the blinds will be 1000/2000 so things should progress quickly. If you're bored or really fired up about how I'm doing you can follow the action in real time (or about 5 minutes behind real time) on (remember we don't start until 2 p.m. pacific). Just click on the number 3 in the blue strip about half way up the page where it says "select WSOP event" and then click on "full details" written in white towards the bottom. They should list the players names as they get eliminated. So if you don't see Wesley Huff listed (my first name is Wesley and my middle name is David for any of you who are confused) it means I'm still in it. I'll let you know how it all went down tomorrow. Also I look forward to Jen joining me here in Vegas tomorrow until Monday.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Event #3 Update

I thought I'd put an update up for anyone who might check this this evening.

I just heard from EB that he had spoken with Dave and they have under 200 people left and he has about $14,000 in chips. According to the average stack is currently 8265, so he's doing really well!

They are going to play tonight until they're down to under 100 players.

Apparently Dave got to play with Chris Ferguson for awhile! It sounds like he should have some good stories for us tonight!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Event #3 Preview

After an early exit today I find myself extremely bored. I should probably head to the poker room and make some money, but I want to be fresh for tomorrow and this is a marathon not a sprint so I'm holding off. I did, however, break down and head to the craps table for an hour. I wanted to play Pai Gow (my favorite casino game), but all they had going was $50 and $100 minimum tables and I was looking for a little relaxation, not drama. In fact the minimums at all the table games were at the levels you'd expect to see on a holiday weekend. I'm sure they were looking to capitalize on people trying to get even for their $1,500 tournament loss today. I did not fall into their trap, picked up a quick $160 profit at the craps table and headed back to my room.

Tomorrow is $1,500 pot limit hold 'em. Last year there were 1071 entrants (I'd expect 1200-1500 tomorrow), 1st place was $369,535, 9th place was $29,560 and 100th place was $1,625. A few reasons why this event draws a smaller crowd than event #2 are: some of the players are still playing event #2, the people only playing one event usually go for the first one, and for some reason people don't like pot limit as much as no limit. What's the difference you ask? In no limit you can bet any amount up to all the chips you have in front of you at any time while in pot limit you can only bet up to the size of the pot. For example if there are 800 chips in the pot and the blinds are 50/100, you can bet any amount between 100 and 800 chips (you can't bet less than the amount of the big blind). It gets a little tricky before the flop to determine the size of the pot (secretly I think this is why people don't like pot limit) and consequently how much you can raise. If the blinds are 50/100 and you're first to act you can make it 350. What? There's only 150 in the pot how can you make it 350? Well the answer is you have to call the 100 before you can raise so what you're actually doing is calling 100 and raising 250 for a total of 350. If someone calls in front of you, you can bet between 100 and 450. If someone were to raise to 350 in front of you, you could make it up to 1200 (50+100+350+350=the pot so you put in 350 for the call and 850 more for the raise). You see a lot of guys sitting there and you can tell they are thinking "uh how much can I make it?" I can understand everyone having to think about it a little (especially in a reraise situation), but it drove me nuts in last years WSOP when we'd been playing 100/200 blinds for an hour and some clown says "how much can I make it" when he's the first one in the pot, we've been playing for 5 hours and everyone's been opening for 700 for the past hour. What are we playing for pennies on the kitchen table here? I suppose some people would tell you they don't like pot limit because it limits the amount you can bet, but what's stupid about that is you shouldn't be betting more than the pot anyway in at least 90% of situations. If you bet more than the pot you're generally risking more than you should be to win what's in there. I suppose I'd have a 51% preference for no limit, but I really don't care. I'll let you all know how it went tomorrow.

A few pictures

This is what the tournament area looked like a few minutes before the tournament started. Notice how you can't even see the far side of the room. Every one of those overhead lights has a table under it with 11 players and a dealer. Also there are even more tables to the left and the right that didn't make it into the photo. It's truly amazing.
Here is a picutre of the outside of the tournament area where a bunch of booths have been set up to sell goods and services to poker players. The most common tactic is to use flusies wearing tight clothes (like the two under the B of the absolute poker sign) to get the attention of the 90% male crowd.

This is what I did to the guy who eliminated me from the tournament! Let this be a lesson to you all not to cross me! I'll try to get some more photos (maybe some that don't suck)tomorrow.

Event #2 Recap (Yuck!)

Event #2? What happened to event #1? Well event #1 was actually a $500 casino employees event so this was actually event #2. The short version is, I didn't make the money, but there isn't anything I could have done differently.

Here's the long version. We started with 208 tables that each had 11 players (it's almost always 9 or 10, but sometimes in tournaments they squeeze another player in until a few players have been eliminated and then go to 10), which is 2288 players. But there was also a list of alternates. As players get eliminated they are replaced by alternates who start with the same number of chips that everyone else started with. By the first break we already had 500 alternates in the field (meaning 500 other players had already been eliminated). I'll let you know how many they ended up with tomorrow, but they said other than the main event of last years WSOP (which had over 5600 entrants) it was largest in person field in poker history. Every Sunday I play two $215 buy-in online tournaments that usually have around 5,000 entrants so I'm used to playing against big fields, but let me tell you it's much different to see all those people in one place. It's hard enough trying to beat the players at your own table, but it seem like a monumental task to beat the thousands sitting at tables that stretch on for what seems like forever. With that said, I like my chances against the competition I've seen so far.

We started with 1500 chips and the blinds a 25/25 with the limits increasing every 60 minutes. Someone went broke on what must have been the first hand, because they were calling for alternates right out of the gate. I spent most of the first hour sitting there not doing much other than observing my opponents. I did win one pot when the most aggressive player at our table, who'd been involved in over half the pots to that point, opened for a raise to 75. I looked down at two jacks and make it 225. Everyone folded to the original raiser and he called my raise. The flop came down A 7 5 and he checked. I bet 300 and he quickly folded. Winning that pot, my first at this years WSOP, was the highlight of my tournament. Not too exciting. I stole the blinds (meaning I raised before the flop and everyone folded) 3 or 4 times and picked up another small pot after seeing a free flop from the big blind, but my stack hovered right around 1500 the whole time. About half way into round 3 with the blinds at 50/100 I picked up AA in the small blind. Everyone folded around to me and I raised to 250. A standard raise from the small blind would be 300-400 but I kept it small because I had the best possible starting hand and the fellow in the big blind was an extremely tight player (meaning he plays very few hands). I certainly didn't want to scare him away with a big raise. He called and the flop came down K Q 7. I figured this was a great flop. I wanted some action with my great cards, it was likely that he called me with big cards (like QJ, KJ, K 10, etc) and unless he had KQ or 77 I had him beat (I ruled out KK or QQ because he certainly would have reraised me preflop with those holdings). I bet out 250 and he went all in for about 1200. I quickly called and he showed me KQ. Yuck! I still had outs (cards left in the deck that would give me the best hand) as any A would give me three of a kind and any 7 would give me a higher two pair. A four on the turn gave me 3 more outs (two A's, three 7's and three 4's), but a 6 on the river gave my opponent the pot and eliminated me from the tournament. AA is an 87% favorite to win against KQ, so clearly this was a bad break. It wasn't the result I was looking for, but there wasn't anything I could have done differently so I have to be happy with the way I played.

As far as celebrity opponents go I played against a fellow who apparently finished 4th at the WPT championship event at the Bellagio in 2004 and against Eric Froehlich who was the youngest player to ever win a bracelet when he won an event last year at 21 years 4 months. This year he seems fatter, smuger and less attractive and believe me it takes A LOT to stand out in those categories when it comes to poker players. To sum up, no good today, but I'll get 'em tomorrow.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I made it to Vegas and I'm ready to go

I arrived in Vegas after a bumpy flight around 6:30 p.m. and after getting my bags, discovered the shortest taxi line I've ever seen at the LV airport. For those of you who haven't seen, it the Vegas airport taxi line must be one of the seven wonders of the transportation world. It consists of 5 rows of dividers each about 100 yards long that lead people up and down a stretch of sidewalk like they were waiting for an amusement park ride. Sometimes, like today, you walk straight to the front and get in a cab. Other times, like a Friday night, (when everyone who's just in town for the weekend has arrived) you can find yourself waiting behind over a thousand people. The cabs swoop in, in groups of 20 and scoop up passengers only to be followed by 20 more so even though you're standing in line it's more like a constant slow walk. The first time I saw that line on a Friday I thought we'd be in line for the entirety of our three day trip, but it only took about 15 minutes. It's really quite amazing.

It's also very unusual for me to arrive in Vegas, head straight to my room, and stay there all night. Usually I push the hotel room door open, chuck the bags in, and am back in the elevator headed for the tables before my bags hit the ground. But, this is going to be a different kind of trip. No drinking, no table games, all business. I'm going to take any edge I can over my opponents and if that means getting to sleep at 11:30 p.m. in a town where some of the bars don't open until 2 a.m. then that's what I'm going to do.

Tomorrow the 2006 WSOP kicks off with a $1,500 No Limit Hold 'em event. Last year this event drew 2,305 entrants, 1st place was $725,405, 9th was $54,075 and 200th paid $2,225. Also of interest, a fellow named Charlie Huff (no relation) finished 6th and won $136,780. This year there should be at least the same turn out. I wouldn't be shocked to see 3,000 people show up wanting to play, but I'm not sure they are set up to accommodate that many players at one time (they split the first day of the main event into several days to handle the huge fields). I'm already signed up so I won't be one of the one's getting shut out. I'll post again tomorrow and let you all know how it went for me (hopefully it won't be over and I'll be preparing for day 2 of my first event). It would be great to start out with a money finish, but this tournament is only 5% of my $30,000 bankroll so if I don't succeed it will be a minor setback at most.

Doesn't look like $30,000 does it?

For those of you who've always wondered if those sneaky Hollywood executives have been tricking you, now you can see for yourselves what thirty grand looks like. Sometimes I've seen in movies where they use a briefcase or even a duffel bag to carry $50,000, but clearly it's for show. Hopefully I'll show you all what a much much bigger pile of money looks like in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A fun story from last years WSOP

I've had a request to tell a story from last year's WSOP that was a little amusing. One of the coolest things about going to the WSOP was getting an in person look at the worlds best and most famous poker players. They were walking around everywhere. I found myself doing double takes left and right. I'd be sitting at the table playing and I'd think "wow that guy looks an awful lot like Johnny Chan....holy shit that's Johnny Chan!" This happened no less than ten times.

Even cooler than strolling by the world's best was getting a chance to play against a few of them. Among the best were Julian Gardner (the main event runner up in 2002), Layne Flack (who won back to back preliminary events in 2002), and Howard Lederer (who has won multiple World Poker Tour (WPT) events and is a fan favorite). In most competitive arenas where money is at stake you want to play against weaker competition, but having one extremely strong player at your table in a poker game is not particularly detrimental. About 80% of the time I look at my first two cards and fold them and for the most part other good players do the same, so it's rare that you butt heads with one specific player over and over. I looked at it as a positive to play against the star competition so I could observe their tactics (I also thought it was just plain cool). I didn't get to observe Layne Flack for very long, however, because I busted him 30 minutes into the tournament.

And then there was Phil Helmuth. In 1989 Helmuth became the youngest main event champ in history by winning it at age 24. He has 9 WSOP bracelets (3rd most all time) and last year became the first player to ever have 50 career money finishes at the WSOP. Around 3 p.m. in my second event, I was moved to a new table and found myself sitting directly across from Phil. Two hours later we'd been playing for five hours total and were still over an hour short of the dinner break. Phil was starting to get hungry and mentioned that fact to the table. A few minutes later he asked if anyone had any food. No one did. Of course there was food relatively near by at a snack bar area, but it would take at least five minutes to meander through the hundreds of poker tables, make a purchase and return to the game. Phil was running short on chips and so every hand was critical. Between hands he stood up and went over to Chris Ferguson (the 2000 main event champ who always wears a cowboy hat and is often called "Jesus" because he has long hair and a beard) and asked if he "had any snacks." Chris did not and Phil found himself back a square 1. Suddenly he looked down on the floor. EUREKA! He reached down and pulled up an open box of graham crackers. There were a few left inside and he said to the guy next to him "are these yours?" The fellow replied "I just got here." I could see the gears turning in his head. He asked if they belonged to anyone else but it seemed they were up for grabs. So with everyone's attention on him he took one out, looked at it and was about to take a bite when I said "Come to Las Vegas, where you can see a millionaire eat food he found on the floor." Everyone including Phil and the dealer had a good laugh. When the laughs died down he put them back on the floor (perhaps for some other hungry player to find) and a few minutes later ran off to the snack bar.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What do I really expect to happen

The most likely result of my trip is a loss. If I was to go play this same set of tournaments 1,000 times I have no doubt that my net result would be positive, (and that's why I'm going). But, it would probably be the result of 750 losing trips and 250 winning ones. The key is the wins would tend to be much, much larger than the losses.

Last year (in my first year at the WSOP) I played in three events and even though I had a net loss I would classify the trip as a success (probably a B or a B- on my scale). The first event I played in was a $2,500 No Limit Hold 'em event and I finished 72 out of 1050 which paid $3,750 gross ($1,250 net). Unfortunately in my second event ($2,500 Pot Limit Hold 'em) I finished about 100 out of 450 and in my third event ($2,000 No Limit Hold 'em) I finished about 250 out of 1100. So even though I was better than the 25 percentile in all three tournaments I lost $3,750 (actually I personally only lost about half that since I had investors who had put up half the money). Maybe the best thing about that trip is I've already done it once so now I'm not going to be nearly as nervous as I was last year.

What are my goals

I'm bringing $30,000 to Vegas for the WSOP events (as well as some side action or smaller "second chance" tournaments and satellites) and I've given a lot of thought to what my goals are. I've got plenty of them, but rather than make it a simple success or failure I've come up with a letter grade system much like you'd have on a test. This is how I'd rate my level of success.

A+ Making any final table or winning more than $50,000
A Making the Money in 50% of the events I enter or winning more than $25,000
A- Making the money in 40% of events I enter or winning more than $10,000
B+ Winning at least $1 or making the money in the main event
B 3 strong money finishes or Coming home with more than $25,000
B- 3 weak money finishes or coming home with more than $20,000
C+ Coming home with more than $15,000 and two money finishes
C two weak money finishes
C- Coming home with more than $10,000
D+ Coming home with more than $5,000 and 1 money finish
D Coming home with less than $5,000 and 1 money finish
D- Coming home broke with 1 money finish
F Coming home completely broke with no money finishes

A money finish is exacly what it sounds like. The top 10% of finishers in every event win money and everyone else loses. A weak money finish would be just sneaking into the top 10%. For this kind of finish you get your buy-in back plus a little extra. A strong money finish might be one where you win several times the initial buy-in (ie winning $8,000 in a $2,000 buy-in event).

Of course my letter grades aren't a perfect system, but it will give me a record of pre WSOP ideas about success that I can look back at when I'm done. Not included on the list are a few off the chart results such as winning a bracelet (the winner of each event gets an engraved gold bracelet as a sort of trophy), multiple final table appearances, winning over a million dollars etc. I figure I have about 1 in 150 chance of winning an event, about a 1 in 600 chance of winning $1,000,000 or more and a 1 in 6,000 chance of winning the main event and $10,000,000. Not great odds but light years better than the lottery.

My Schedule

All of this poker and WSOP stuff is great, but what the hell will you actually be doing!? I'll be staying at the Rio (where all of the events are taking place) from June 26th until July 9th for the preliminary events. I'll be heading back to Vegas again on July 27th for the main event, which could last 5 minutes or 12 days depending on how I do. Here is my exact itinerary with the dates, the variety of poker and the buy-in for each tournament.

Tue June 27 No-Limit Hold'em $1.5k
Wed June 28 Pot-Limit Hold'em $1.5k
Thu June 29 Limit Hold'em $1.5k
Fri June 30 No-limit Hold'em Short Handed, 6/table $2.5k
Sat Jul 1 No-Limit Hold'em $2k
Sun Jul 2 Limit Hold'em $3k
Tue Jul 4 No-Limit Hold'em $5k
Wed Jul 5 Seven Card Stud $1.5k
Thu Jul 6 Limit Hold'em $1.5k
Fri Jul 7 No-Limit Hold'em $2.5k
Sat Jul 8 No-Limit Hold'em w/re-buys $1k (3K-5K total commitment)

Fri Jul 28 No-Limit Texas Hold'em World Championship Event $10k

Sure looks like a lot of poker when I look at it this way. But the chances of me playing all of these events is remote. The first 11 events are theoretically 3 day events. The first day consists of about 15 hours of play (there's a 15 minute break every 2 hours and a 1 hour dinner break about 6 hours into each event). The next day whoever is left (about 5%-10% of the starting field) comes back and they play down to the top 9 players who come back the next day for the televised final table. So if I make it to day 2 of an event I won't be playing day one of the next event. I expect the first event to have over 2000 entrants (like it did last year) and even the smallest events (some of the limit hold 'em events or the stud event) will still have at least 300 or 400 so making day 3 is going to be extremely difficult. If I make it that far in ANY event the trip will be a huge success monetarily and otherwise. Conversely if I don't see day 2 of any event the trip will be a spectacular failure. Keep in mind, however, that these are not chess tournaments or golf tournaments where the best players always tend to do better than the worst. The short term luck factor (notice I said short term, because in the long run everyone gets the same distribution of cards and skill alone separates the winning players from the losing ones) in poker can destroy the best laid plans. In poker the best player in a tournament can be the first one out and the worst player could win outright. Of course it's much more likely to be the other way around. One of the great things about the WSOP is they give you time. The longer the tournament lasts the more skill comes into play. Hopefully I'll be able to avoid the rough spots early and give my skill a chance to come into play.

A little WSOP History

The first World Series of Poker (WSOP) was organized by Las Vegas pioneer Benny Binion and inspired by a 5 month heads up match between Nick "The Greek" Dandolos and Johnny Moss which had taken place in 1949. During that historic match Moss reportedly won between two and three million dollars, but more important to Binion were the crowds that gathered to watch the spectacle. The first World Series of Poker which took place at Binion's Horseshoe in 1970 was nothing more than a high stakes game that went on for several days designed to draw people into the casino. The game was populated by seven of the foremost players of the day and the champion was determined by a simple popular vote among the players. The following year the event adopted a tournament format and 13 entrants each put up $10,000. All of the money went to the winner, Johnny Moss, who was not coincidently also the previous years champion. As the tournament grew, more events were added with smaller buy-ins. While players competed in various forms of poker during these preliminary events (in 1988 there were 12 events total), the main event remained No limit Texas hold 'em.

A few revolutionary happenings came together around 2003 that led to an explosion in poker popularity and shaped the WSOP as we know it today. In 2002 the travel channel made a deal with the organizers of 13 of the largest existing annual poker tournaments to film the play of the final six players. This wasn't the first time poker had been on TV, but the key difference between these and previous broadcasts was tiny cameras in the table (called lipstick cameras) that allowed the viewers to see every players hole cards. In the past watching poker had been like watching paint dry, but now all the bets, bluffs and blunders were there for everyone to see. The following year ESPN jumped on the poker bandwagon when they filmed the 2003 WSOP in a similar manner. The main motivation for this endeavor was the NHL hockey strike which left huge holes in ESPN's prime time line up. They filled these holes with poker.

The internet also played a huge role in poker's growth. While you could play poker for money online as early as 1998 it took a few years to work out the bugs and even longer for people to trust that the games were fair, safe, and secure. But, once that started to happen it meant that people who didn't live within 500 miles of a card room or casino could get in the action. In fact the eventual winner of the 2003 WSOP main event was an unknown accountant named Chris Moneymaker (his real name!) who got into the tournament by playing a $40 internet qualifier. He parlayed that $40 into a 2.5 million dollar payday after beating 849 of the worlds best (and a few of the worst) players. The following year the size of the field in the main event tripled to over 2,500 entrants. In 2005 the tournament grew by leaps and bounds again to over 5,600 entrants (that's a prize pool of over 56 million dollars!) with a first place of 7.5 million dollars (plus everyone in the top 9 won at least a million dollars). This was the biggest cash prize in television history and in fact even if you won all 4 of golf's major tournaments (The Masters, The U.S. Open, The British Open, and the PGA Championship) you'd still come up short of the prize money for first at the WSOP! This year there are 45 events scheduled and the main event is expected to draw around 8,000 entrants. I'll be among those 8,000 and while 7,200 of us will be coming home with nothing but a story I'm planning to be one of the 800 winners.

Monday, June 19, 2006

How Poker and Poker Tournaments Work

How does this whole Texas Hold 'em thing work anyway? If you're familiar with hold 'em and the way tournaments work you can skip this section. For those of you who don't know how Texas Hold 'em works you can check out the following link which has a brief description of the procedures as well as a few pictures to help you figure it all out.

You'll probably need to refer back to this link to understand a good deal of what I'm saying in my daily updates. Once you've got that down it's important to understand the way poker tournaments work. In many poker games people play for cash. In those games players can come and go whenever they chose and if they run out of chips they can simply buy more. In a tournament, however, once you've paid your entry fee you're locked in and if you run out of chips you can't buy more and are eliminated from the tournament.

Lets look at a simple example which will illustrate a few of the finer points. Imagine you have 100 players who each buy into a $100 tournament which gives us a $10,000 pile of money. In return for this $100 entry fee the players each get $1,000 in tournament chips (tournament chips are always referred to in units of dollars, but they're not actually worth anything; they are just betting units). In a situation like this the blinds might start at 10/20 (meaning a $10 small blind and $20 big blind). After 20 minutes of play the blinds might be increased to 20/40 and then to 30/60 after another 20 minutes and so on. After a while those 1,000 chips each player started with don't seem like so much and eventually are forced to put all their chips at risk on a single hand. If a player runs out of chips he or she is eliminated and leaves the tournament. Now it's time to split up that $10,000 pile of money we started with. First and foremost the casino or whoever is running the tournament takes their piece of the pie off the top (usually around 10%). After "the house" takes their $1,000 fee we're left with $9,000 which gets split up amongst the top 10 finishers. The tenth place player would normally get about $150 gross ($50 net). Not too exciting after beating out 90 other players, but much better than 11th place. The first place player would usually get about $3,500. Pretty sweet for a $100 risk. The other eight places would be somewhere in between with each place paying slightly more than the previous.

Sometimes when there are only a few players left (usually less than 5) the players will agree to split all of the remaining prize money based on how many chips each player has. In our example Let's say 1st place is $3,500, 2nd is $2,000, and 3rd is $1,500. Player A has 50,000 chips and player B has 40,000 chips and player C has 10,000 chips. Assuming all the players are of equal skill Player A has the best chance of winning because he has the most chips and player C has very little chance of winning (and not much chance of getting second either) with player B somewhere in the middle. But, crazy things happen all the time in poker and maybe the players want to lock up their profits and avoid the stress of playing for big money. If they agreed on a deal based on chip count player A would get $2,750, player B would get $2,500 and player C would get $1,750. Players A and B get MORE that 2nd place money and player C gets a little something extra when he's probably toast anyway. It's easy to see why deals are attractive. I play tournaments of this type every day. On the internet you can play tournaments with buys ins ranging from as little a 10 cents to as much as $5,000 and every amount in between. And in person you can play tournaments with buy ins between $10 and $50,000. Anyone can play in 99.9% of these tournaments, they just have to put up the money.

WSOP tournaments work just like my example except instead of 100 people putting up $100 each, you might have 1,000 people putting up $2,000 each. In a situation like this 1000th place to 101st place would pay nothing. 100th place would pay around $2,200, 10th place might pay about $25,000 and first place would pay about $500,000. You can get a sense of what the other places might pay and it's easy to see that you really need to go deep into these tournaments to be successful in the long run.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome to my blog! Hopefully this blog will be a place where my friends, family, and jerks that I know can get updates and stories direct from the World Series of Poker (WSOP). For those of you who are poker savvy I'll include as many details as I can remember about key hands and reknowned poker players that I compete against. For those of you who aren't I'll try to include as many explanations of terms and concepts as I can. So no matter who you are plan to be either confused or bored much of the time that you'll be reading my blog! I'll have my laptop with me and I plan to write something at least once a day and most likely before and after every tournament. You can sign up with blogarithm (there's a little white box on the right hand side towards the top of my blog) and they'll let you know when I've updated my blog (although they only check a once a day).

Before I go any further I'd like to thank my wife Jen for not only helping me set up this blog and making the costume I'm wearing in the picture (they say dress for success), but for fully supporting me in this endeavor which could end up costing us tens of thousands of dollars. I'll be the first to admit that coming home with my pockets completely emptied is a very real possibility. But there's also a chance that I could be bringing home hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars as well as some degree of fame and a boat load of respect from my peers. That's the dream and that's my goal.

I'd also like to thank Gerry Lopez, E.B. Sandberg, Matt Lessinger and Jake Chapman who between the four of them have put up $13,500 of the $30,000 bankroll I'll be using for tournament buy-ins. I have plenty of confidence in myself, but it's great to know that these guys have enough confidence in me to put their hard earned money at risk.

I hope you enjoy my blog! Please comment whenever you feel inclined to do so and feel free to e-mail me at to express any thoughts you might have or hopefully to wish me congratulations on winning large amounts of money.

My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since...