It’s halfway through my stay in Vegas this summer and I’ve been quite happy with my results so far. I feel like I have been playing better and better with each tournament I enter. I’ve also been fortunate to play with some extremely talented players which has taught me a lot about tournament poker. My only disappointment has been that I didn’t get to enter the tournament i was most looking forward to this summer, event 47, $1500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split 8-or-better.
Here is a summary of my efforts thus far (ITM results in bold):
Venetian $1100 NLHE – 20th of 350: bust-out hand KQ vs AT on QJ2K
Event #31 $1500 NLHE – 782nd of 2811: bust-out hand AKs vs AQs All-in Preflop
Event #35 $2500 Mixed HE – 191st of 393: bust-out hand A2dd vs JJ on Jd7d47Td
Event #38 $1500 NLHE – 1768th of 2534: bust-out hand 77 vs AK All-In Preflop
Event #41 $3000 NLHE – 178th of 1394: bust-out hand AK vs 88 All-In Preflop
Event #46 $2500 NLHE – 62nd of 1607: bust-out hand KQ vs A4s All-In Preflop
I’ve made 4 dinner breaks, 3 day twos and cashed in 2 of the 6 events i played. Most importantly i’ve felt cool and collected at the poker tables. I’ve been lucky to get seated with good people and had some very entertaining tables which made it easier to pass the time and the days more enjoyable. In past years I felt less comfortable and under a lot of pressure which led to poor play on my part. Now i feel comfortable playing tournaments, and i usually feel like i am one of the top three player’s at my table, and i’m confident with my decision making abilities.
I’ve been setting small goals for myself both on and off the tables to keep me on track while i’m down here. My on the table goals have been: to make a day 2 (first event), to make it to the money (first event, but i passed on a good opportunity to chip up because of this goal), to make day 2 in a world series of poker event (event 41), to cash in a world series event (event 46), to use the baller chips (event 35), to get orange chips (5000) in a preliminary event (event 46) and to build my chips to over 100k (event 46). Off the tables my goals were to maintain a good diet and keep in shape; fortunately we live 2 blocks from Walmart so grocery shopping has been a breeze, I’ve gone for a couple of runs (which is surprisingly difficult in a desert), a couple of swims in the pool and a few sessions of yoga as well. I’ve been feeling full of energy and excitement everyday, and i think those are key ingredients to a successful summer.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed in the tournaments is that fatigue is everyone’s biggest enemy. Playing poker for 8-10 hours straight is something that most people are not physically or mentally prepared for. When the body starts to get tired it manifests in the mind as well, leading to poor, scared or spewy play. This is something I’ve been capitalizing a lot on, the blinds and antes are bigger at the end of the day and people are less apt to fight back at this point. Packing a full day’s food in my backpack has been my number one weapon, you are what you eat, and I’m eating Good!
There has been a good atmosphere in the house with a lot of the roommates enjoying success. Michael Aaron, Sean Rice and Alex Queen both made final tables, finishing 7th, 8th and 9th respectively. My two best poker friends Greg Merson and Anthony Gregg final tabled the $3000 4-max Hold’em which was a sick sweat. Grayson Ramage has been making day 2s in almost every hold’em event he plays and is poised to make a big splash in the $1500 Ante-Up Event.
Every tournament I’ve played there’s been someone i knew on the table with me which made for a lot of fun. The player’s I have learned the most from playing with this world series are: Berry Johnston (1986 World Champion), Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi, John Esposito, Elliot Smith, Chris Klodnicki, Aaron Jones and Chris Moorman.
Having great players to talk to about hands and getting insights about life has been priceless for me this summer. Not matter what happens the rest of the way, i feel like i have been so fortunate to have this experience and that my game has come a long way in a very short period of time. My remaining schedule includes a couple more no-limit hold’em events, the $3000 PLO8 (with my favorite chips) and of course the $10000 WSOP National Championship. My goals for the remaining events are to get my hands on some dark green chips (25000) and to make a final table. I’m super excited to get back to the Rio for my next shot, if you want to join me for the sweat I will be posting updates on twitter @GripsedPoker