Monday, August 24, 2009

One Lottery Ticket Please Part IV

This is part 4 of my recap of playing in WSOP event 51. I'm unintentionally setting a world's record for longest time to complete a blog entry and would like to apologize to Walter Cronkite and others who have begun reading the first part of this series, but are no longer with us. I promise to have this finished before the 2010 World Series.

If you're the kind of person who checks their email playing internet poker while also watching television, you might want to skip part 1 and head straight to part 2. Whatever you do, don't start with the entry below as you'll feel confused much like a character on LOST jumping all over time.

I know. Now you're gonna start with the entry below because you don't like it when other people tell you what to do. Fine. Do whatever you want.

I was only trying to help.

4:14 PM. I count my chips and look up at the video monitor. The average stack is 6839 and I remind myself how happy I'd be if I had just showed up to the tournament right now. I have close to average chips.

Off the record, I'm having a hard time buying my own mantra. The same mantra I've sold to millions of anxious people at seminars all over the world. And yes, in case you are wondering, I am available for your next corporate function.

Truth be told, I don't remember the next few orbits. From what I've read, the earth continued to rotate. Like a boxer covering up and listening for the bell, I waited for the round to end. We came to the end of level 4 and I got a much needed break. I walked all the ways through the Rio and tried to clear my head. When I reached Summerlin I decided to turn around and head back.

The funny thing is I made money, having begun the last hour with 5175 chips, and finishing level 4 with 6450. In some cultures this would be considered a good thing.

5:21 PM. Twenty minutes into level 5 and I'm seeing no playable hands. To make matters worse, I've got the guy I gave half my stack to sitting to my left and making my life difficult. He's applying pressure and forcing people to make big decisions. He's seeing lots of flops and if I were to enter a hand he'd be in position against me. So unfortunately my cards matter. Look I'm not a hemorrhoid expert, nor am I familiar with the clinical terms used by the medical professionals but this guy is what's known in the business as a pain in the ass.

5:23 PM. The woman to my right with approximately 3 grand in chips pushes all in under the gun. I look down at pocket 10's. I can't fold here, but playing this hand means I'm just hoping that no one behind me wakes up with a better hand. Since I'm going to call if I get raised, I get proactive and push. Everyone behind me folds. She asks me if I have a pair which seems like good news.

Then she turns over her cards and shows pocket 10's for an anti-climatic chop. I'm almost embarrassed by my superego's entitlement. "First real hand in over an hour and I chop the blinds. Unbelievable"

My id says "Yeah but at least she didn't 4 flush me with runner runner."

My ego just can't take it anymore. "Do you realize you're talking to each other like you're two different people?"

My id responds "We're completely different people. I'm not like him or you at all. We are such different people. We are. We are."

At this point the woman to my right looks at me and says "We are...what?"

I sit there silently. My id in particular is especially still.

Very softly, underneath the sounds of chips clicking throughout the room my superego whispers "Dude I think you just said that last part out loud."

My ego whispers back "Oh, so now it's you."

My phone vibrates.

I look down and see a text message sent at 5:26 PM.

From my id.


Then at 5:27 PM:


5:29 PM. From the looks of it we have around 47.4% of the field remaining. I look up at the board and confirm that there are indeed 1319 players left.

5:48 PM. A gentleman in middle position pushes all in. He the kind of guy who plays sub par cards, not because he's loose but rather because he genuinely thinks king jack is a good hand. His stack is half the size of mine. It's a similar situation to the hand I had against our lady friend. I look down in the blinds and see pocket 10's. Here we go again. I call. On this occasion Mr. King Jack has pocket jacks. I double him up. Leaves me with 3600. I've definitely had better Saturday at 5:48 PM experiences than this one.

5:55 PM. Here's some random math for you: For the past hour on approximately 50% of my hands, the first card I've looked at has been an ace. But over and over again the second card has been a rag. Fascinating. Over and over again. And I keep folding them. The best second card I've seen is a 7. Maybe I shouldn't look at the second one? Maybe I should just look at the first and raise? There's gotta be a way to fix this.

5:59 PM. Last hand of level 5. From early position I look down at queen jack suited. I haven't played many hands this hour so I'm hoping my early position mini raise gets respect. And by respect I mean my big stack nemesis folds. He calls. I miss the flop badly. I have less than 3000 chips left and prefer to save them for another spot. My plan will be to push preflop and either win the antes or double up. But I'm done with this hand. Please bet so I can fold sir.

6:03 PM. Level 6. 150/300 and 25 ante. 700 a round and I'm about to pay my blinds. I think I'm still alive, but sources say I am seeing a very bright light.

6:08 PM. Pocket 5's under the gun. According to my plan I'm supposed to push here. What else can you do? My id wants to push. My superego wants to push. Even my ego thinks it's the only play. But the guy making minimum wage who controls my hands comes up up with another idea. He decides to limp. That's right.



This "guy" tells me that someone behind me is going to raise to isolate me and then we can race. He convinces me that this is what's meant to be. I don't agree but it's just too much trouble to argue with the voices in my head. So I play along and call.

There are a few limpers behind me and then the small blind steps in and makes the move and raises to 1100. Ahhh. I get it. It's perfect. I'm going to push when the action gets back to me. Just like I said I would. But some of the medium stacks caught in the middle behind me will have to fold. Because they don't want the guy in small blind reraising all in behind them. I'm going to win alot more chips this way with all their dead money. Thank you universe for the secret message. And to think I was going to win less money by raising under the gun. What do I know?

And then something completely unexpected happened.

The big blind announces raise.


He shoves out 3200.


I've played a few hands of poker over the past 5+ years. That's a raise and a reraise. It's oh so very likely that at least one of them has me 80-20.

Yes I know- I might be getting close to 4 to 1 from the pot. A call wouldn't be a terrible move. However if I wasn't going to take them odds for 25 thousand chips with ace king, I'm not exactly dying to take the worst of it here.

Survival is more important to me.

If I fold I still have 2450 chips. I can still shove on another hand. Specifically one where there isn't a raise AND a reraise in front of me.

6:12 PM. 1950 chips left. No one fades away like I do. My chip stack is a modern art exhibit. Critics are raving over its simplicity.

6:13 PM. I got an agent pitching Rick Moranis on a film I wrote where he plays me getting smaller and smaller in direct proportion to my dwindling chip stack. It's called Honey I Play Weak Passive Poker.

6:14 PM. I'm really trying to go all in. I swear I am. But I've seen 2,7 the past three hands. If only they were suited. Damn it's still so tempting to push with it. According to my right brain, if my left brain can confirm I have two cards dealt to me I should push.

But I don't. I'm stubborn. I got a blog to write and I damn it I need to tell a bad beat story. I need a pair so that I can get beat. I need ace king so that I can lose to ace queen. Come on already. Give me a top 50 hand I can go home with.

6:17 PM. Okay. I'll admit it. I'm sitting here thinking I wish I could go back in time and call that guy's all in with my ace king suited. I'd either have 25 thousand chips. Or I'd have avoided the past two hours of misery. It's SO win win.

And since you brought it up, what does Mr. Pocket 5's do if I push my 10k+ into the middle on the flop? Yeah instead of making my almost pot sized bet what if I led out all in?

Does he call on the 9 high board with his 5's? Maybe he does? Since he was willing to raise all in. And perhaps my pushing all in would stink of desperation?

But maybe he lays it down.

These are the things you wonder about while you're folding and waiting for Rick Moranis' people to call you back.

To be continued.