Well I finally did it! I played in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP.) And what a great experience it was!
It had been a dream of mine for many years and it finally came true. Although I didn’t win it, I felt I got my money’s worth from the moment I entered, simply because it’s a world championship event and can never be taken from me. In how many other endeavours could you compete in a world championship? Golf? Baseball? Basketball? Chess? Even Scrabble? No, the only activity a guy like me can compete in, on the world stage, side by side with world champions, is poker! I am soooo glad I did it.
And I was in with a chance of making it into the money, perhaps deep into the money. Out of some 6300 entrants, I made it to the last 1500, well into Day 3. Many of the great players in World Poker, including world champions, multi-millionaires and household names in poker, were eliminated before me. Moneymaker, Hachem, Heinz, Esfandieri, Cada, Raymer, Neagranu, Cloutier, the list went on!
Highlights for me included:
* mixing with the rich and famous
* meeting Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer and Doyle Brunson
* surviving Day 1
* surviving Day 2
* playing side by side with Michael ‘the Grinder’ Mizrachi for approximately 10 hours on Day 2, when he was the tournament chip-leader
* pulling off 3 massive bluffs at appropriate times and never once being caught bluffing, including one for my tournament life
* milking a big pot with 6666 and doubling my chip stack
* making a huge call on a dangerous board for my tournament life, when a guy tried to bully me out by putting me allin
I feel that I made only a couple of minor mistakes in 28 hours of poker in the tournament. One was in not re-raising an ‘all-in’ pot to isolate the Grinder, and therefore allowing him to win a big pot. The other was making a ‘hero call’ for a big bet, when I should have realised I was behind.
And the end of my tournament? I was sitting on approximately 35 000 chips (about 30 Big Blinds) on Day 3, at a new table. Blinds were 600/1200. A guy raised to 3000. With QQ, the third best hand in poker, I re-raised to 11 000. Everybody else folded and then the original raiser re-raised all-in!! He obviously hoped I was playing A-K or A-Q and would have to fold. I called! The guy immediately said, “You got me!” and turned over 9-9. He had only 2 outs! The cards played out as follows: brick, brick, brick, brick, 9! The whole table could not believe it. A terrible bad beat had brought my tournament to an end.
If I had won that pot I would have been sitting on approximately 80 000 chips. With my TAG (tight aggressive) style, this would probably have carried me through to the money and who knows how much further!? In fact one guy who started Day 3 with the same number of chips as me, became Chips Leader for the entire tournament late on Day 3. You just need to have a bit of a run of cards and play them right.
Still, it was a FANTASTIC experience.
* I now feel I could happily play Texas Holdem No Limit Poker against any player, any time, for any stakes. (I wouldn’t though.)
* The general quality of players in the WSOP Main Event is (surprisingly!) no better than you find in much cheaper tournaments
* If you can find a way to play in this event, do yourself a favour and do it
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