Saturday, May 27, 2023

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 and am going to take this unique opportunity of being between jobs at WSOP time to go huge (for me). I have plans to fire more bullets at the WSOP this summer than ever before. In 2006 I played 10 events. In those days it was pretty much one event per day every day at noon with no re-entries. 

Here is what I plan to play this year:

  • $1K Mystery Bounty (Flights A, B, and C with 2 bullets per flight)
  • $1,500 Monster Stack (Flight A and B)
  • $800 Deepstack (2 bullets)
  • $3K No Limit Hold'em (Maybe)
  • $500 No Limit Hold'em
  • $1,500 HORSE
  • $1,500 Turbo Bounty
  • $1,000 Tag Team
  • $1,500 Millionaire Maker (Flight A and B with 2 bullets each)

With this fat schedule in front of me I've been thinking about some missions that are outside of just win a bunch of money or make a final table (which I've decided to never give up on until I do it). Here are some that come to mind:

1) Draw a mystery bounty envelope
2) Have a 100K chip in my stack (I've had 25K chips)
3) 3+ cashes in the same year (I had 2 cashes in 2010 and 1 each in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2018)
4) Finish in the top 1% in a WSOP event
5) Cash for a $10K profit in a single event (my record is riddled with just better than min cashes so $6,449 for 28th place in the 2009 $3K HORSE is my best result)

I'll be making 2 trips with the first being squarely centered around the Mystery Bounty where I plan to knock out 4 of 5 of the above.

In the Mystery Bounty, we start with 40,000 chips, blinds 100/200/200 and re-entry is possible through 12 levels although level 12 is the 3,000 big blind level so I might hesitate to re-enter that late. It will be 30 minute levels and each Day 1 is 22 levels long. By the end of Day 1 the big blind will be 30,000 so 3/4 of a starting stack. 

Of each $1K entry $77 goes to fees, $33 goes to dealer tips, $300 to the bounties and $590 to the prize pool. Last year the top 14% made the money with the min cash being just over $1,000. Payouts related to the $590 will start on Day 1. Eliminations on Day 1 aren't worth anything, but every elimination on Day 2 is worth a bounty.

At first glance at the structure I was thinking maybe 3% of the field would make day 2, but I've seen some indications that the smallest bounty will be $10,000. Meaning eliminating any player on Day 2 is worth at least $10K. 

I'm now thinking it's probably more like 1% of the field makes day 2 which would be $30K in bounty value for each player. Last year with 14,000+ entrants they had 50 bounties of $25K+ with a $1M, a $500K, a $250K and 3 of $100K along with an unclear number of other bounties.

In theory I could make the money, but not make day 2 and re-enter the next day 1 flight.

This article has a detailed recap of last year.

I will probably be terrible about updating the blog with my progress, unless I do really well. :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

A 1000 big blind win at Lucky Chances?


I know for a fact that the right thing to do when I'm winning in a given session is to play longer and press harder to capitalize on the intimidating nature of having a big stack. But part of me always feels like I want to hit and run to lock up a win. I have to remind myself that winning $500 or $1000 in a $5 big blind game might feel like a good win, but it's possible to book a 1,000 big blind win and I'll never do that if I leave early.

Yesterday I sat down at Lucky Chances in the $3/$5 game determined to stay no matter how well things went and only leave early if I got stacked at least 3 times. I bought in for $1,000 which is the max.

On the first hand I got dealt pocket aces! I didn't get a ton of action but picked up $200. Great start! Over the course of the next 6 hours I'd get deals AA 2 more times along with KK once, QQ twice, JJ once and TT once. I won with all of them!

I took the picture above at that 6 hour into the session mark and was ahead about $2,500, sitting on a $3,500 stack. Amazingly the guy to my right had me covered with about $4,700. And he was a really weak player! I was drooling over the notion of a massive pot, but sadly he left before we could stack off.

I did have a few other big hands after that though. With the $10 straddle on I raised one $10 limper to $45 in the cutoff with 98 of spades and got called by the button, both blinds and the limper. The flop came down KJT with one spade and with 4 opponents of course I gave up on the hand. It checked around. At this point I thought "7 of spades would be a nice card." And the turn came out the 7 of spades! To my delight the small blind bet $100, the limper called and I made it $425 to go. "Nice trap" said the limper. Now the small blind shoved for about $900 total! Of course I called, he showed KK for top set, the river was a 4 and I took down another nice pot.

A little later I got AA for a 4th time. The under the gun player limped for $10, I made it $45 and he called. He seemed like kind of a newb who was uncomfortable when the straddle was on. The flop came down J 8 4, he checked, I bet $60 and he called. I thought he might stack off all the way with a J based on how he'd called down with some top pair holdings earlier and that felt like a plausible thing for him to have. The turn was an 8 which I didn't love, but he checked and I bet $200. Now the villain threw out $325! Huh?! $200 is a call, $400 or more is a raise. I have no idea what $325 is. 

I asked the dealer. "What is that?" with an implied, is that a raise or a call. And he said "It's whatever you want it to be." Ha ha! There is no way that's right. In most places more than half of a min raise constitutes a raise. But whatever the rule, it can't possibly be up to me to decide. Anyway, getting check raised on the turn usually means your pocked aces are toast so I made the ruling that it was a call. :) And my opponent took back the extra. The river was a Q and my opponent quickly moved all in. I asked for a count and he had $493. I did not like this at all. I felt like I'd probably run into an 8 that tripped up. But sometimes when you have a huge stack people think you must be trying to push them around and they over play their hands as a result. Getting better than 2 to 1 pot odds I made the call, he showed QJ and my aces up prevailed.

The last big hand of the night was totally diabolical. I raised 88 and got a few callers. The flop came down J 8 3 and I thought "Damn! This is getting ridiculous how good I am running." I bet $100 and got raised to $210. My opponent only had about $600 in his stack and I thought about just shoving, but felt like I'd have the best chance of getting it all from a J if I just called. The turn was a brick, I checked, my opponent shoved instantly and I called even faster. All at the same time, within about a second or two, I showed my hand, my opponent showed JJ (!!) for top set and the river came out an 8!!! I thought "HOT DAMN! THIS IS RIDICULOUS HOW GOOD I'M RUNNING!" I even picked up an extra $100 from a high hand promotion Lucky Chances was running where any quads earned a $100 bonus. 

In the end I won $4,772! Of course I took a couple of pictures of my stack in different orientations, because why not. 

After 8 hours I thought about trying to push through for the 1,000 big blind win, but 954 big blinds is pretty good.

Also, I have to come clean about something. This game lately plays with the $10 straddle on 95% of the time so it's really a $3/$5/$10 game meaning this is only 477 big blinds. But still my biggest win in a long time.

I'm now on a quest for a $10,000 stack in one of the bay area $1,000 max buy-in games! 

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...