Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Part I: It Begins... WSOP 2010 Event #3

May was a pretty lousy month for my bank roll. 5/1/2010 was the last notable day of poker income where I placed 3rd in a $120 - 100 or so entrant, evening NLHE tourney at the Venetian. Since then I had the worst run that I could remember in the last 2 years.

Since I had been running so badly I thought maybe visiting the MGM poker room, where it is not unusual for me to feel that I am the best player at the table, was a good idea to get my confidence up. I went Friday afternoon, and forgot how soft the $1/2 cash games were over there. Unfortunately I picked nothing up for several hours, only adding around $50 to my stack. Finally I hit a set with a pocket pair. I wound up losing my whole stack to someone who flopped a bigger set. I cannot say I was surprised. I think the odds of this is close to 1/100. The worst part is I knew he flopped a better set, I didn't want to believe it though. I had felt this way all month.

I am an emotional person and did my best to not let this get to my head. I know variance had the best of me, but I convinced myself that I had purged all the "bad luck" before the WSOP began. I was religious about exercising, sleeping early, eating right, and even cutting the wine out of my diet (not so easy to do for an Italian).

After I arrived to the Rio Saturday morning I quickly made my way to the poker room. Along the way my first "star" sighting was Chris Moneymaker, playing black jack, a game that you will never catch me playing. I read his book, and in my opinion Moneymaker is not a poker player, he is a gambler.

I found my table quickly and had a back pack full of food.

I have learned in the past that while I play long poker sessions I do not respond normally to hunger cues, and could easily go 10 hours without eating. Even though I didn't feel "hungry" my mood would be a mess and I found that if I did not having something to eat my game would fall apart. So to snack I picked up a bunch of "health" foods from my office.

After I got my self settled I realized I did not bring my headset to listen to music. I blogged about possibly dropping music from my game the other day, but decided I was more comfortable with music. I even created playlists to help affect my play if I were to go on tilt or hit the bubble.

Tilt Leveler Playlist - Hope/Patience/Stabilization
1. I Get Knocked Down - Chumbawumba
2. The Show Must Go On - Queen
3. One hand in My Pocket - Alanis Morisette
4. Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
5. Patience - Guns N Roses
6. Don't Stop Believing - Journey
7. Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
8. Alive - Pearl Jam
9. I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

Bubble Playlist - Confidence/Aggression
1. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N Roses
2. Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
3. Going the Distance - Cake
4. Seek and Destroy - Metallica
5. The Four Horseman - Metallica
6. Fight Fire with Fire - Metallica
7. Burn - Nine Inch Nails
8. Head Like a Hole - Nine Inch Nails
9. Empire - Queensryche
10. Pressure - Billy Joel

I was upset that I had forgotten my headset and since I had 10-15 minutes until my game began I scoured the Rio gift shops looking for one. Eventually I found one "hot pink" set. While thinking about how comfortable I was with my manliness my mother, who was with me at the time, reminded me that it was my 4 year old son's favorite color. I quickly bought it.

When I returned to my table there were some players sitting there. I had 3,000 in chips waiting.

I was in seat 8 and it seemed that seat 7 was someone I should have known. People were stopping to talk to him and take pictures every 10 seconds or so. He was a pleasant Asian man who was very down to earth in our conversation. He mentioned how he had six children and was from California. He stated he was entered in 11 events. I explained how he had much to teach me as I was impressed he could convince his wife to watch 6 kids while he was gone for so long.

I was embarrassed that I did not know who he was though, as it seemed everyone else did. I did not get into poker by watching TV. I read. Not magazines. I read books. Alot of them. After I became an astute player I began to watch more poker on television, and began buying the WSOP main events starting with the year Moneymaker won. I was in the middle of 2007 as of a few weeks ago, and have at least 6 or 7 episodes to go. When I finally asked who he was, I told Jerry Yang that he just ruined the surpise ending of my 2007 series! He showed me his bracelet after I asked and I told him I guess my wife would let me play 11 events too if I won a main event...

Wow. Jerry Yang. It was quite surreal. Having the 2007 main event champion sitting directly to my right, I thought, was better than having him sit to my left. As I looked on to the several players who by appearance looked to be loose aggressive online kids, Jerry Yang's presence gave me comfort. I was hoping that he would bring a calmness to any aggressors sitting to his right. I was right.

A few short minutes later David Sklanksy, author of "The Theory of Poker," sits at seat #2.

I am an avid reader of poker strategy books and I recognized him immediately. I explained to Jerry that I would have known him too if he wrote a book. Jerry was quick to tell me he is working on publishing a biography, and then was sure to tell the table "That's the guy you need to watch out for," as to move the target off himself.

Shortly after we all stood as the National Anthem was sung. Joe Cada was then brought on stage to start the game. In my opinion was not such a good public speaker, but did manage to say "Shuffle Up & Deal."

So my journey was about to begin. Starting the $1,000 NLHE event with two superstars at my table. I felt fresh and ready. I was not going to let my table scare me or ruin my confidence. I was determined to play the best poker possible.

1 comment:

  1. You had me at Jerry Yang - Sklansky showing up is a trip though. I actually got a VIP poker lesson from him once, via a magazine story my friend Nelson was writing.