Saturday, May 27, 2006


WARNING: For those bored by random poker stories, continue no farther.

Anywho, last Saturday I qualified for the grandaddy of 'em all, the World Series of Poker, which takes place at the Rio (Harrah's) in Las Vegas at the end of July. This even has the highest purse of any event in history. This year it should approach 80 million dollars...yikes and double yikes.

The Reader's Digest version of how I got in was by way of a free-roll, meaning it didn't cost me anything to play (except some "points" I acquired playing at the website)

There were 1584 players vying for 5 trips to the WSOP. I hit a few hands late and took the chip lead ad held a pretty much commanding lead for the last couple of hours. It was a good feeling because once we got down to nine players, I basically couldn't finish out of the money barring a complete brain cramp and meltdown. I didn't have to play very courageously or make any tough decisions, it was actually very easy, which is unusual in these types of qualifiers to say the least. As a rule, it is very tense and stressful.

When it was down to 7, I had about 2 million in chips, the second place guy had 800,000 or so, and no one else had over 400,000. Thise lower stacks played scared and super-tight because they were hoping to slide into one of the btoom three spots and they all had about 200,000 chips. Once the blinds got up to 30,000 and 60,000, it was like petty theft. A smal raise had them all folding up their cards, hoping the next guy to bust out wasn't them.

Enough recap, I probably lost most of you already.


They have capped the event at a ridiculous 8,000 participants (largest field ever by a long shot) and the main event is scheduled to last about twelve days. The first "day" is broken into four. Day 1 A, 1B, 1C and 1D. I hope to play on 1D, July 31st so I don;t have to play one day, then wait for 3, if I am lucky enough to survive day 1. More than half of the players weeded out on day 1, about 60%, I believe.

With 8,000 players, about 800 or so will make "the money", so you are about 9:1 to make any cash... the bottom 100 in the money basically get their buy-in ($10,000) back.

The eventual winner will get about 10 million, and most of the final table finishers (top nine) wil become millionaires, if not immediately through prize money, through the endorsements sure to come their way.

I haven;t really mapped a strategy out yet, but I plan to be tight, but aggressive, making stronger than usual moves with strong hands. There will be thousands of players making their first trip there, many of whom will be playing their first live tournament. These players are likely to be nervous and playing extra-tight. I want to capitalize on this by bullying when I can and stealing pots with re-raises.

One mark of the internet player is making a lot of raises and stabs at pots, but they don;t like to be re-raised. I also have to be aware of sharks, pros that have been there many times before and will be looking to establish control of the table. It's important to make stands when I can and let these guys know I won't be pushed around, even if it means risking my stack once or twice early. I hate having to do this, but if I don't take that chance, I will just be picked apart a little ata time, dying one hand at a time. These guys sense weakness a mile away and will rob me blind if I don't stand my grounf.

Doyle Brunson is the classic example of this type of player, commonly referred to in poker cirlces as a "lion". The lion knows the psychology of the entire table and can generally read you in just a couple of minutes, making decisions more based on your personality type than his own cards.

I have watched a lot of footage where Brunson uses re-raises to push people out of pots where he senses weakness, yet has no real hand of his own.

All I can say is yeeeee haaaaaaaa!!!


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