Every time the World Series begins, I am reminded of why I play poker for a living. There is no better feeling than walking into the absolutely packed Rio with thousands of other hopefuls, knowing that at any point during the summer you can achieve greatness and wealth.
Most years that I’ve played at the WSOP, it takes me a few weeks into the series before I muster up a deep run, this year was different though.
Luckily for me, the colossus had 4 starting flights and also allowed 4 $565 bullets to be fired into it. I say this, as my first 3 bullets ended very abruptly and I had nothing to show for them. The 4th bullet though, was nearly everything I could have hoped for.
I started the 4th bullet at 7pm on May 30th, and was a little less exited for it than I was for the first 3. Knowing that it was going to be my last chance, had me a little worried about making day 2. I wanted badly to have this tournament go well, having a deep run in the largest live poker tournament to ever run is the kind of thing dreams are made of, and I wanted to make that dream a reality.
I started the 4th bullet off with one of my more ambitious calls of the world series.
Hand 1: “Everybody Loves A Chopped Pot”
Table Info: The tournament is less than 15 minutes in, but from what I could tell there were no other professionals at the table. Opponent in the hand is middle aged male, who has limped a few times previously. I have AKo in the SB.
Action: UTG limps, utg+1 raises to 150, utg+2 calls, folds to me in the SB, I 3bet to 750. UTG calls, everyone else folds.
My Thoughts: Having my opponent limp utg and then call my 3bet was very weird, however it is the kind of play I’d expect a weaker opponent make with a hand like AK or 99/TT/JJ, but mostly expect them to have AK also.
Action: I check, my opponent checks behind.
My Thoughts: When he checks behind, I fairly strongly expect him to have AK also, this means that I should try to turn my AK into a bluff and rip him off of his hand.
Action: I bet 800, my opponent snap calls.
My Thoughts: Why did he snap call, wouldn’t he think about it with AK? Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t though, he could be calling fast to get me to not bet river as it looks stronger, I don’t really know for certain…
Action: I check, my opponent goes all in.
My Thoughts: What the heck!? Why did he do that? Hmmm, this hand doesn’t make much sense, but as I don’t see him playing JJ+ like this; as long as he doesn’t have 99/TT I should win or chop. Well, sets are hard to make in this game… I call.
My opponent flips over AK also, and we chop the pot.
After making that call, I knew that I was on top of my game, and ready to make a deep run.
The next few hours were fairly uneventful, I spent it grinding my stack up to a very healthy 23,000 after coolering a couple opponents and getting some fortunate boards and situations in my favor.
Hand 2: “3x Over-pot Hero Call”
Table info: Blinds are 150-300+ 25 ante. The original raiser is under the gun + 2, he is a fairly weak recreational player who has been very easy to read. Big blind (villain) is fairly unknown in this hand, however I know they are a reg of some kind. I am in mid position with J9 of spades.
Action: UTG+2 min raises to 600, I call in MP1, sb calls, BB calls.
My Thoughts: While this is a very wide call by me, due to my reads on the opener and on the rest of the table, I viewed it as a good situation to play a looser range than I normally might.
Action: SB Checks, BB shoves for 9,000 into a pot of 3,000. UTG+2 folds, I call.
My Thoughts: When BB shoves 3 times the size of the pot I at first am very confused, as I never expected him to be the type of player to have this play in his arsenal in this kind of situation with any hand. However, after I thought about it for a while, I realized that his range for shoving all in here would mostly be straight and flush draws and as I am a sizable favorite vs those hands, I decided it was a fairly easy decision and called.
My opponent flips over 67o for an up-down straight draw, unluckily for me though, they turn a 3 and win the massive 21,000 chip pot.
I went into the break somewhat dejected, but happy with how well I was playing and knew that if I could get some momentum in my favor I could turn the healthy stack I had remaining into a stack to contend with.
Hand 3: “Pair and Flush Draw”
Table Info: Blinds 150-300+ 25 ante. Brand new table, I have no reads as to how people are playing, however most of the players in the hand seem to be young and could be regs. I am in the big blind with 74 of clubs.
Action: UTG+2 raises to 675 (6k starting stack), folds to CO (11k starting stack) who calls, and I defend the big blind with 74cc.
Action: I lead 1400 into a pot of 2100, utg+2 moves all in for 5,300, CO calls, I shove all in for 5,500 more, CO calls.
My thoughts: I lead for multiple reasons, mostly though as it makes it very easy to play vs both opponents, and allows me to run a multi-street bluff vs CO if needed. When UTG+2 goes all in and CO just calls, I am very confident that my club outs are all live and that I occasionally have 2 to 4 more outs on top of that, thus I happily stack off.
I brick my draw and lose to CO’s A7.
After that hand I was left with only 6,000 chips nearing the end of 200-400, but within an orbit I had turned that 6k into over 24k once again after a fortunate AK>AJ and a won flip. I wasn’t at 24k for long though, as at the start of 300-600 I ran KK into AA!
This journey isn’t over though, as the poker gods smiled on me, with a beautiful K on the flop, and thus enabled me to end the day with over 100 big blinds , or 83k in chips.
If you enjoyed this article, come back for part 2 to learn whether or not I put that massive stack to use!