Friday, June 17, 2016

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times...

I didn't talk about it too much on this blog, but I went to Vegas for what turns out to be the longest trip I've ever taken.  I had grandiose plans on taking down a bracelet (or three), but definitely had intentions to run good (who doesn't have that plan?) and at least score a cash.

My wife bought me a round trip ticket to Vegas for my birthday, working with a friend to research tournament options, hotel accommodations, etc.  Consistent with my arrival date, I opted to play the Millionaire Maker last week.  Mind you this is my first WSOP; I've never seen the Rio during WSOP, nor have I ever played in any non-circuit event.  I arrived at Rio late Thursday night, surveying a mostly filled Pavilion room and lots of action.  Turns out there are 2 other rooms almost as cavernous!  Wow!  Poker in America is alive!  I meet up with a few buddies, and see one of the floor managers from Baltimore.  After meets & greets, I go back to my hotel to get some rest for the 10AM start the following day.

I was a little late to my table to start the morning, so I maybe was blinded off 75 chips - a paltry amount.  I think I treaded water for a few hours with a stack size hovering around 7000 from the 7500 start.  No major hands to reiterate for this blog, but my table was eventually broken and I was seated around 2 tables behind where I was originally.

I walk over to the new table to find that I would be sitting in the big blind.  At this point, blinds are 100/200 with a 50 ante.  I look at the table, say aloud "I'm in the Big Blind?  I'm going to take a walk," and continue to take a walk around the room after observing my poor starting spot (I maybe have 6000 chips at this point).  As I circle back around to my seat after the dealer deals the cards, the dealer yells, "Floor!" and tells the floor that I avoided my blinds.  Apparently, that's against the rules - I had no idea.  I've played in all of 3 tournaments and never had to deal with a situation such as this.  Floor calls the tournament director, and tournament director says that I'm supposed to pay my big blind and small blind (with missed antes) to the pot on the next hand, as well as sit out a one round penalty (paying antes).  That's not all.  I'm also supposed to miss my next big blind and small blind (and antes) and can sit back in as the cutoff.  Pretty steep penalty; around 20% of my stack!  WTF.  At this table, though, I eventually recover my chip stack and work back to maybe 8000 before another table break.

I move into the Brasilia Room, which is where I'd finish my tournament with another atrocious penalty / angle shoot.  Guy sitting next to me is a complete fish with a mountain of chips - just trying to give them away.  A few hours pass and I dribble my stack down to ~4000 through blinds and antes.  Guy nearly doubles me up with JJ on a KK7 x 7 board with 22.  I'm sitting on around 8000 chips now and he pulls an angle shoot on me:

In the BB with 150/300/50 blinds and look down at AJ.  UTG limped, folded around to SB (fish) who calls his option.  Dealers starts to deal but I hold him up because I haven't acted.  I take the 3 100 chips and pull them back - putting out a single 1000 chip.  UTG instacalls and SB starts complaining that I just called.  I say "excuse me?"  It was very clear that I was raising.  He says 1 chip = call.  Half the table is like WTF - such a standard thing.  He's insistent.  Calls floor.  In the meantime, he tells me he understood what I wanted to do, but 1 chip = call.  Floor rules in his favor.  Seriously?  WTF?  Same floor person that gave me the penalty before, BTW.  Flop comes 9 9 x.  I lead for 800.  UTG calls and SB folds.  Turn is a blank.  I check / UTG leads & I fold.

I would eventually get all in with angle shooter on my BB with 9 4 on a Qd 9 5 4d board against his 76dd - diamond on the river LDO.  I so wanted to throat punch this douche bag....  Thus ends my Millionaire Maker WSOP run...

I decided to not dump more money into tournament poker - particularly because I was running so poorly.  Switching over to cash games, my whole week would be filled with card deadness & second besting.  At every flop, turn and river, I felt like I was being outplayed, only to be proved that I was being outlucked...  The majority of the time, I would properly fold - I think there were 2 or 3 bad calls that I made in the 45 hours of cash play.  45 hours in 4-5 days and you get pretty sick of building a pot only to have to fold the river...

My last day of cash would mostly make up for my run bad in cash, as I didn't get hit by the deck, but ran pretty darn well.

Final notes:  I played in Rio, Planet Hollywood (briefly, which is a crappy poker room.  I met Tim TheTrooper97Vlog at PH - he was sitting at the same table as me!), and Belagio (my favorite Vegas poker room).  I saw Scotty Nguyen, Doyle, Scott Seiver, Elie Elezra, Johnny Chan and Antonio Esfandiari.  It was a fun time - particularly when I was able to make up my deficit on the last day.  Let me tell you: Vegas is miserable when you're running bad as a poker player.


  1. Truer words were never spoken than your last statement. Folding hand after hand and missing virtually event flop makes for a terrible poker experience.

    Maybe other people have a different opinion, but the two plays you mentioned seem standard for tournament play. I know you are supposed to go immediately to your next table when a table breaks. I have even had tourney personnel warn players about this when the table broke. And unfortunately, the one chip rule is applied pretty harshly to keep the dbags from angle shooting. I have made the mistake myself before of not saying "raise" first before putting out a large denomination chip and having my play deemed to be just a call.

  2. Sorry to hear it didn't go better.

  3. Glad you managed to salvage the trip at the end.

    Regarding you WSOP experience, I'm not really sure I understand how you could even miss the blind (when you got the penalty). You move to a new table, you put your chips down. If you walk away, they post your blind (and ante) for you and it's dead money in the pot.

    So are you saying that when you saw you were going to be the big blind you walked away, DIDN'T put your chips down, and then came back to come in after blinds had passed? Man, you should know you don't get to skip out on blinds during a tournament. If that's what happened, you're lucky you got off that easy. I could see them disqualifying you from the tournament for doing that.

    On the single chip rule, you basically got screwed. Yeah, it's a gray area, but it was so obvious that you intended to raise....

    So I asked (on Twitter), Matt Savage, TD Director for WPT. He answers questions like this all the time. He said it was definitely a raise. When I responded that it was challenged and ruled a call at WSOP, he responded, "When you don't make your intentions clear by saying "raise," you run the risk of getting a decision you don't want."

    I honestly tend to believe that you got that ruling because the floor person remembered the earlier incident and figured you were just some kind of angle shooter and wanted to give you just a bit more grief. Surely he wasn't willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.


    1. "So are you saying that when you saw you were going to be the big blind you walked away, DIDN'T put your chips down, and then came back to come in after blinds had passed? Man, you should know you don't get to skip out on blinds during a tournament. If that's what happened, you're lucky you got off that easy. I could see them disqualifying you from the tournament for doing that." - Yes. I had no idea that I couldn't / shouldn't do this. If I had known, I wouldn't have made it obvious to the dealer that I was doing exactly that... Moreover [though it's not her responsibility to inform me], she saw me doing exactly what I was doing, said nothing, and then when I sat down finally, called floor immediately as if waiting for me to do what I did. Again, not her problem to explain the rules, but I definitely had no idea that was a rule... The penalty seemed very steep at the time.

      For the WSOP, is it possible the single chip rule is different than WPT?

    2. Well, what the dealer should have done was immediately informed you that you HAD to post the blind (and ante) whether you wanted to play the hand or not. However, remember that there are a lot of new/temporary/inexperienced dealers brought on for WSOP gigs, many are not the best.

      And when the floor comes over, he's gotta assume that anyone who pays $1,500 to play in a WSOP tournament knows this, it's so basic to tournament play.

      No difference betweetn WSOP & WPT, pretty sure they both go by TDA rules. The single chip rule is standard. What makes your situation a little "gray area" is that you were the blind, that's really where a lot of these disputes come in. Because of that, the ruling could go either way. I bet 95% of tournament floors would rule it a raise (assuming it was explained properly by the dealer). You got the odd 5%. Again, I suspect it was due to the earlier issue, but maybe it was just a coincidence.

  4. Nice.. I envy you this experience in WSOP. Especially that you met Tim TheTrooper97Vlog. Best of luck in the future, I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  5. PM,

    That was one of the reasons I was suggesting you play a few events before WSOP.

    Single chip rule is always there. Even in cash, if you are the small blind and you take your dollar back and put a $25 chip (without announcing raise) it is still considered a call. These are usually newbie mistakes or rusty plays (you are more a cash game player and need to get into the tourny frame of mind).

    The second punishment was a little harsh and I didn't know that either.

    Oh well! You run good at shoe so you can makeup for it after your are back.


    1. Thanks - The problem with the smallish tourneys is that it's rarely worth the time to sit on one of those $100 buy in / $4k guarantees. They're so top heavy and even at that, the payout isn't great for the hours. I understand though, your thinking. I get it - I guess I just need to bite the bullet and deal with the $$$ / hr differential.

      What it comes down to, though, is I HATE tournaments! I hate the time pressure of the constantly decreasing chip value versus time. I hate the short stacks. I hate the one street poker.

      I'd do it again next year. Maybe my $1500 buy in is a sweet spot where I won't exceed that value...

      Whatever... I don't know...

  6. TPM, made me laugh when I read how you avoided the blinds after they moved you. I always state verbally my bet if I'm using a single chip in a tournament.

    1. Yeah - not my most brilliant of moments. Honestly, had I known it was against the rules, I would not have done it (penalty notwithstanding). Live & learn I guess...

  7. I understand! How's the Shoe treating you or are you too busy to even play?

    1. I've been playing, but distracted. Combination of sideways slide, bad run of cards and distracted playing leads to poor results lately. A lot of hands I can usually fold, I've been having a tough time folding. I paid off 3 sets last session and lost 2 buy ins. One was where I bluffed into a set, another where I turned 2 pair, and the third I turned trips. Meh - sideways slides happens in live poker as well, but it sucks for the hourly average...

    2. That sucks, I always enjoy your cash game hand histories and breakdown of play. Getting hit by the deck is awesome but we all know how the opposite feels. I hope it turns around for you soon.


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