I made it through the day!
Before we get to the tournament I want to start at the beginning and give you all the necessary background information.
It was Chris Porter’s (of Poker Royalty) birthday and James Sullivan (of Poker Royalty) decided to throw him a surprise party. I had the night open so I figured I would stop in for a little while since I was planning on flying to Foxwoods in the morning.
Well, the party was kind of fun. I’d never played “Beer Pong” before and I was getting into it. All these dues were throwing over hand, and I just know that can’t be the best way to go. I think you get much better trajectory when you throw underhand.
Anyway, the party moved over to Cherry, the club at Red Rock. It was the first time I’d ever been inside the club and I liked the vibe there. It was pretty cool.
Before I knew it, it was 3:30am. Yikes, so much for an early flight!
My assistant Patty was at the house at, like, 8:30am to wake me up. Instead of that, though, I asked here if there was maybe a later flight she could book me on. She found one leaving at 2:15pm which gave me a chance to get some more Z’s.
At noon, she tried waking me up again. “Hey Patty, how about that red eye flight, whaddya think?” She’d already gone through the trouble of changing my flight and car transportation and know I was changing it again.
Thing is, I knew that E-DOG was on the Jet Blue flight at 11:55pm arriving in Boston at 7:54am. That would give us just enough time to make the tournament that starts at 10:00am. Why they start at 10:00am I’ll never understand. Possibly to make it more difficult for west coast players since they’d effectively be playing with a 7:00am start time. Poker player brains don’t generally function before noon!
To save some time, we all carried our bags on the plane. You know what that means, no shampoo or liquids of any kind. Bummer.
When I got on the plane I felt totally cramped. I generally fly first class which is a little more roomy than coach. Jet Blue doesn’t have first class and the plane was totally full. I have lower back pain sometimes and knew this was going to be a miserable flight.
They have TV though! Pretty neat feature, with 30 channels to choose from. I ended up watching a lot of MTV and VH1.
We arrived on time and hopped into a limo. This limo driver made my old driver Gord Andretti look like he was standing still. Wow, he got us from Boston to Foxwoods in 1:13. We were told that it was normally a two hour drive. Nice!
When we got their, our rooms weren’t ready so we went ahead and started playing immediately… on no sleep whatsoever.
It didn’t worry me for some reason? I remember back in 1997 when I was just starting to come on the season that I played tired for days in Foxwoods and it worked out well. A 20 hour $20-$40 hold’em session followed immediately by playing in the $100 limit hold’em tournament. I won it.
The next day, I played in the $1500 limit hold’em tournament… and won that too!
In some ways, I think being a little tired on day one helps me relax and not get so antsy. I didn’t realize, though, that we were scheduled to play for 15 hours! That’s absurd and a little much. I desperately hope that the WPT will soon be able to run events across the world with the same rules. It would make things so much easier on everybody, but I understand that it’s difficult to implement. Playing 15 hours on day one, then 13 on day two, is just too much and it’s clearly unfair to the older players. It starts to become more of a test of stamina than it does a test of skill.
Realizing the dinner break was at 5:30pm, I decided that I’d need to get some rest if I was going to be able to function later in the evening. With about $43,000 in chips, I skipped the $200-$400 level and got in a two hour power nap. It was a very difficult decision for me as I’ve NEVER done anything like that before. I’m pretty anal about being at the table for EVERY hand, so this was a tough decision for me. I know it was the right one.
Ok, so I promised some poker content, here are a few hands that were highlights for me on the day:
I decided to really mix up my play a lot in the early stages, and lowered my raises even more the normal. I was making the min raise, or what I like to call the “nuisance raise.” Not always, but most of the time.
My starting table was ridiculously tough, but that often helps me try harder: Joe Cassidy, Nick Schulman, Mimi Tran, and about three other tough internet pros that you probably don’t know, but play very well.
I busted a short stacked player in the following hand: I raise to $200 with Ad Qc and the SB calls. The flop: Kc 9c 5c. He checked to me and I bet 200. He quickly raised me to 1000- I called.
The turn: 4c. He checked to me. I looked over at his chips and saw that he had about 2150 left. I bet 500 and he called. The river was the 10c, he checked, and I bet his last chips. Why did I play the hand that way? Well, you’ll have to wait for the Card Player article to find out.
Later, Mimi Tran made it 600 to go and I called in position with KK. The flop came Ks 10s 3c. Mimi bet 600 and I just called. The turn was the Jd, and Mimi bet 1200.
I hated that card for several reasons: 1) It might have just beat me, and 2) it may have just killed my action.
I just called the turn bet. The river was the 2h. Mimi bet out 2500 and it clearly wasn’t a bluff. I had a real dilemma here, frankly, if I re-raise and she moves me all in I’d be forced to lay it down. If I just call, I could be giving up value and not maximizing the hand.
I raised her 3700 more and she called. As she mucked her hand she claimed a set on the flop. Doh! That Jd was a bad card for the trap.
Despite being exhausted, I had great patience all day. In one hand, I re-raised a player with QQ. Another player re-raised and I mucked quickly. Historically, when I’m laying down QQ that usually bodes well for me in the tournament.
During the day I was never in jeopardy. I floated between 25,000 and 50,000. Near the end of the night, though, a dead run of cards had me down to 20,000 with 600-1200 blinds. Luckily, I hit KQ on a KQQ flop and got paid off by KJ.
With about 15 minutes left to play for the evening I noticed that it might end on my small blind. I was vocal in trying to move the game along so that I could hopefully play my button and a few more hands.
Well, the last hand of the night was me on the button and it was… AA! A late position player made it 4500. He was a young, internet looking kid and I was pretty sure that if I came over the top of him he’d lay it down. In fact, i didn’t re-raise any other hand all day outside of the QQ that I ended up laying down.
I got back to playing more like I did in 2004, calling almost exclusively and lowering my raises. Anyway, the big blind also called. The flop was 10d 9d 3s. They both checked to me and I bet out 5000 which left me with 20,200.
The big blind, a WPT champion, check-raised me to 15,000 and the original raiser folded. I obviously went all in and he called. I was slightly worried about his big draw, but was relieved, no shocked to see how good of a spot I was in.. He had A-3! Sweet! Double up on the last hand and now I’m at 67,600.
Playing tired… but playing good. Less than 200 of 600+ players remain and I’m liking my chances. Anyways, I should be in bed! Night all…