MSPT: Coming Up Short Part 1September 15th, 2015 by Matt Vaughan
The weekend of April 11, 2015 had started ordinarily enough. I took it easy Friday night, relaxing with my girlfriend to help take the edge off a long week of pretending I enjoy my work far more than I do.
It’s funny, I always thought the perfect job meant good pay, light management, and reasonable benefits. Turns out you have to like a lot of the stuff you’re doing; being good at it doesn’t hurt either.
Not being overworked would be nice as well, but we can’t always get everything we want. The weekends are never too bad either. My typical weekend that April involved one of two options:
1. A super relaxing day at home with my girlfriend, maybe with a few errands thrown in
2. A heck of a lot of poker
So, my Friday certainly started out ordinary. Saturday was a bit of a different story though.
I woke up at 7 am, (a rare occurrence for me) to play iCombat (“realistic laser tag”) with some work friends. It was a grueling experience, but well worth it for the fun. By the end, I was exhausted, sweaty, and ready to take a long nap. But I had other plans.
I raced home, showered, ate quickly, and hopped in my car to drive to Milwaukee. This weekend was the main event of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) at Potawatomi. I had run pretty poorly when the MSPT convened at the Ho-Chunk Casino in the Wisconsin Dells, getting “coolered” a number of times. I accidentally 5-bet KK against a tight player’s cold 4-bet when I meant to call, and when he 6-bet I couldn’t get away.
The flop brought rags and I check folded face up. He showed me the obvious AA, which was enough to take away half my stack in the second level of the tournament. A little later I had AJ in a 3-bet pot against one of the casino regs and got it in on a J-high board, unable to get away again from an obvious overpair.
I bricked my two pair, three-of-a-kind, and gutshot outs to bust from the $1,100 entry tournament. I planned for my second shot to go much differently. I was determined not just to run better, but to avoid making the same mistakes I had made the first time around.
As I went to the ballroom to buy in, a middle-aged, balding gentleman with a hint of a generic Jewish, New York City accent, struck up a conversation with me.
“Hey, did you buy in yesterday?” The tournament offered two Day 1’s, with the first being on Friday afternoon, and the second on Saturday morning.
“Nope,” I replied, trying to sound polite, but also discouraging a continuation of the conversation.
“Well, you’re young, you look like you’re probably going to do pretty well.”
I glanced down at my hoodie, jeans, and beat-up sneakers, inwardly rolling my eyes to myself. Yep, the hoodie clearly makes the player.
I later found out that the gentleman who’d struck up the conversation with me was none other than Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, a run-of-the-mill live circuit type pro who had “approved” the reasonable blind structure of the MSPT main events.
He couldn’t have known how wrong and right he would ultimately be about my second MSPT performance.