WSOP 2021: My Time Is Coming

So people of the world
You take a bow
Cause I used to be out
But I’m flaming now
So hold on tight
With your knuckles white, cause
My time is coming

OMG, I’ve had “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” stuck in my head as an earworm this whole trip. It’s keeping me up at night; right now it’s 4:30am and I’ve been awake for an hour.

That could be because I’ve got some latent adrenaline after yesterday, or it could be because my memory for lyrics is bad, so the chorus of the song is on an endless repeat like the Sergio Leone-style anthem music the WSOP plays over and over before events start.

The restart time for Event #27 $1500 HORSE Day 2 wasn’t until 2pm, so after writing up my post on Day 1, I thought about heading down to satellite land to play the 9am mega but I decided that since Wednesday’s hadn’t had that many entries, I’d be better served keeping it fresh for the HORSE. It felt a little weird to be not playing poker for half a day, considering I’m only here for four days, but I braved the crossing to the Walgreens to pick up some goodies (by which I mean a lot of Diet Coke), rested on the couch, and talked to my wife and father on the phone.

I consulted my wife on the question of which card cap to use for Day 2, and she said to go with the gold.

So, even with only about 4 hours of sleep, I felt up to the task of trying to somehow make a stack about one-third the average last for the day.

The day started off with good news for me, because I picked up a great hand in the first game of the day—Omaha/8—and managed to more than double up, which put me in median stack territory and room to wait for hands. One of the players at the table came back with just 6500, doubled on the first hand with an AAKx hand but was still so short that he was knocked out shortly after that.

We were early in the break order, so by the next time I did an update on the PokerNews MyStack app, I’d been moved to another table. I got another double-up there that took me to 95k. Warning #1 for anyone using MyStack, if you take a photo (at least on the iPhone) through the app, MyStack does not save the photo to your Photos library! So take the pic with your Camera and add it to the MyStack post from Photos, or you’re never going to have access to that sweet, sweet chip porn, because there’s no way to export the image.

It was a bit of a roller coaster, I have to say. I haven’t played much HORSE live or online in recent years, and I can’t say I remember my game being this swingy before. Maybe I just don’t remember it. Anyway, two hours in, I was n worse shape than when I started, with just three big bets and 45 players to go before the money.

Did You Miss Me, Baby? Here I Am.

That was right about the time I went to do an update on MyStack and noticed that I’d been reported busted by PokerNews somehow.

I mean, geez, I didn’t think I was significant enough to get even a cursory bust report. We’re they reading my Twitter reports and just extrapolating? I mean, I’m a former WSOP live reporter and a former contributor to PokerNews.com. Where’s the love? I went over to the media table to check things out and the guy was unhelpful. I suspect this is some sort of software bug, because at my last table of the day, I heard James Woods, who reports on the app, mentioning to someone on the rail that it had happened to him, and I’m pretty sure nobody’s erroneously marking him out.

Just a note to the MyStack devs who aren’t reading this post: the Feed needs times, not just the date.

Another table change and I had a couple great hands in Stud/8 that put me back over 100K. Briefly.

That was the peak for me. We had 20 places to the money still, and I got my third(?) table change, finally over to the far side of the Orange section, about three hours into the day. Half an hour later were were told we were going hand-for-hand, then after about five minutes where I could see Norman Chad and some other folks standing at a table in the middle of the section, a rumor started going around we were already in the money.. Finally the announcement came through and I’d cashed at the WSOP for the first time. It was almost a little anti-climatic.

I was back to critically short by this point. Not so much from trying to eke into the min-cash but because I’d gotten Stud hands in the Razz rounds and Razz hands in the Stud rounds. Limits were up to 8k/16k; even the 2K antes in the Stud games were eating though my shot stack pretty fast. I had to commit to a Stud/8 hand that looked pretty good with three low cars a nut flush possibility, but the best I ended up with was a pair of threes. And that was it! I was a WSOP casher on my fourth bracelet event.

Got my cash from Payout, went back to Amazon to take a pic of the tournament clock—I forgot when I busted, I’m out of practice—then headed to my room to try to catch up various people. Apologies to the little poker group I belong to, PokerTeam 1: Brad, Steve, and Daryl, who I’d been updating through the day but neglected to ell I’d cashed among all the other people I was informing.

So, is a Smashburger a thing? Because it seems to me every short-order cook already used their spatula to smush the patty onto the grill.

Not sure what I’m gong to do with the next day and a half. I’m hoping the satellite scene picks up a bit on the weekend, plus going to try to arch up with Jeremy Harkin who’s been greatly encouraging—not to mention renting me a room wen I was down here as a reporter—and maybe grab a beer or two with Kevmath if we can squeeze it in.

WSOP 2021: Choose Your Own H.O.R.S.E. Adventure

This isn’t (hopefully) going to be a long post; it’s a little before 8:30am as I’m typing this, hoping I’ll get sleepy by staring at the screen, but I’ve been up for over an hour and I didn’t get to sleep until 4.

Yesterday started off with me popping over to Denny’s catty-corner from the Rio. It seems like, despite the wide-open rep of Las Vegas—many of the restaurants in the casino complex are shuttered—at least during the weekdays—which has led to scenes like this.

Denny’s, on the other hand, was busy and considerably less expensive than anything I’d seen on the menus at the Rio. All you have to do is take your life into your hands by walking across both Flamingo and Valley View each direction during morning rush hour to get there.

First order of the day was to get registered for Event #196 $180 NLHE Turbo Mega Satellite. I had my three $500 lammers from the evening before, but I was hoping to pick up another $1500 in lammers from this satellite. I’m starting to think my decision to grind satellites in the COVID era was -EV. By the end of registration, only 18 players had joined in, which meat just one full payout and one of two lamps and $200 cash. I had one AxQx hand get all in against AxJx and lose, which mostly wiped me out an I ended up fifth. The other players were discussing how to potentially chop it up as I picked up my bag, while the TD pretended something on the far wall of the Pavilion room was interesting.

That took a couple hours. It was time to make a decision about the path of my next three days in Vegas. I was (discounting expenses and treating my lammers as actual dollars) slightly ahead on the trip after the first day. Do I a) buy into the HORSE tournament? or b) use the lammers for the bulk of three more $580 mega satellites? With the number of players the mega were getting, I wasn’t sure how many of those were going to be profitable for me—I really prefer the larger satellite fields—and they could mean forgoing the two other bracelet events I was interested in.

As it happened, my passions took the lead and I dropped my lammers at the cage to register for HORSE.

My first table in the HORSE tournament couldn’t have had a better location. Though it also had Ian Johns in the seat next to me. It seemed like several other players there were from Washington state, as well. The next table wasn’t so good, in the ass-end of the Tan section of Amazon with bad lighting that made it difficult for the older players—not me, of course—to see the stud variant up cards at the other end of the table. Ran into some serious hardships and was down to 7k from 25k at one point before a phenomenal O8 segment took me up over starting stack and nearly 40k.

Got moved after a couple hours to a table with better lighting but also Alan Kessler. I lost the first hand I played there (to him) and then a (for me) massive hand where I had seven hearts in stud and I had to call off on the river when he raised me with his rivered boat. That stung. I did manage to pull off a flush that held up against Anthony Zinno to recover a bit.

Got moved to a table with Barry Greenstein and was dealt 234 in Razz, which got me excited. Then I got 2 black kings, which took some of the edge off. At this point, we were nearing the final three levels of play, which is still two hours before bagging, but I’d made it past the ed of registration, and if I could hang on with my <10 big bet stack, I might be able to make Day 2.

Attendance was down a bit for this event. There were 751 entries in 2019 and just 594 yesterday, which is a full 20% drop. I’m guessing that’s probably worse for someone like myself, because most of the people who aren’t showing up are the more casual HORSE players (like me).

Ran into Joe Brandenberg in the halls, and Jeff Mitseff at the next table at the end of the night. We got the “five hands” notice from the floor just as we headed into the Razz round. I think I managed to stay out of most of those hands.

Anyway, my table draw is interesting. Felipe Ramos is #3 in live tournament earnings in Brazil. Ron Ware runs the Mixed Game Poker in Las Vegas group on Facebook.

After we bagged up, I needed to find some food. If there was anything open at the Rio during the day, it wasn’t open at 2:15am. I headed across to Ping Pang Pong (crossing Valley View in the dark, yeek!) and managed to wolf down my first food since breakfast. This hibernation fat is good for something!

Going to try to make the day last as long as I can! Usually I change out the card cover each time I cash, I’ve got to decide whether making Day 2 of my first WSOP bracelet event is significant enough to swap out.