Thursday, July 8, 2010

3rd Place in WSOP final table and a wrap-up

The WSOP has been kind to me this year. I cashed 5 times, which is a record for me and also made my first WSOP final table. I always feared my first final table would be in a game besides No Limit Texas Hold'em.

Sure enough, I got to play the $1500 limit holdem shootout for my first chance at a bracelet. My table was no cakewalk either, as it had Mike Schneider and Terrence Chan at the table, who are both certainly amongst top 10 limit poker players in the world. Despite this, I liked my chances, as I used to play a decent amount of heads up limit on Full Tilt before people stopped giving me action, which was around 2.5 years ago.

I quickly lost � my stack, which was no fun. I had AK 4 times in the first 2 hours and lost with all of them. Eventually though, I went on a heater and got up to 1,000,000 chips. We all started with 450,000 and there was 3.6 million in play total, as it was an 8 handed table. Luckily, Terrence and Mike both busted fairly quickly. Things were looking good until I ran AA into J8 twice.

Both times, the pot was huge and they rivered me, so that was no fun at all. I pot controlled wonderfully a few times where I could have lost a lot of bets, like with AJ on a 988J3 board where I lost to T7. I certainly had my fair share of luck. I know I rivered Mike once early in the day with 55 when I bet the flop and turn and rivered a set.

I also made 2 flushes throughout the day and got paid off. Sadly though, the two huge losses with AA did me in. One great thing that happened was I took 3rd place despite having only 200k when we were 4 handed. The other stacks were 1.6 mil, 900k, and 700k. The player with 600k decided to try to push around the big stack with A4s and flopped a flush draw only to get all the money in and lose to a pair, so I lucked out and got $25,000 more than I normally would.

Limit is a swingy game. In my 2nd round match, I was down to just 3bbs when we were 3 handed and came back to win. Both the 1st and 2nd place player at the final table were both very short. Then again, each one of them had the J8 against my AA to come back. Also, against the guy that won, I had KK vs his QQ in a spot where I left him with 2 bets where I probably could have gotten them in if I wasn�t playing to conserve chips.

He raised the cutoff and I reraised with KK on the button. He 4bet and I just called. I could have capped it at 5 bets but I basically never cap it because it turns your hand fairly face up. It came Axx. He bet and I called. The turn was another A, which looked good for me, but I figured he would only call down with an A or a big pair, so I just called his bet again. The river was a blank and he checked. I bet for value and he called, leaving himself with 2bbs. Had I capped it preflop, I probably would have gotten another bet in, leaving him with half as much as he had. Ohhhh well. Cant cry over spilt milk. All in all, I think I played some great limit holdem over the last 3 days.

Since I learned to play PLO pretty well over the last year or so, I decided to play as many PLO events as I could. I made it really deep in the $1500, losing a huge coin flip when we were down to 30 people or so. In the $5000, I got it in once with A986 vs AJ86 on a 8869 board only for him to spike an A to chop a huge pot and then later with AAJ4 vs KK82 on a 543 board only to lose to a K on the river. Simply put, since I now know how to play the game decently well, I see that most other people have no clue how to play.

This has motivated me to learn all the other games so I can play all the random mixed game events. I have decided to spend around 2 months on each game, which should hopefully be enough time to get me to a competent level. I don�t need to be world class. I only need to be ok. For example, I figure I am about a 95 out of 100 at no limit holdem. I imagine the average player is around a 50. In PLO, I am probably an 80 or so where the average player is around a 25. So, I actually think I have a larger edge at PLO than at no limit holdem. Expect me to be in lots of random game events next year.

I am flying to NYC to visit my girlfriend to relax before the main event. I will be back in action on 7/8, playing day 1d. I am going to play as perfect as I know how and make a point to make no mistakes. I have vowed to myself to play great poker and I think I am doing just that. I think I lost the drive to destroy everyone over the last year or so. Now I have it back. I am fully expecting huge things from me in the future. Im coming for the main event belt.