This year’s WSOP was the first time I played a $10,000 buyin tournament on my own dime in over three years. The previous $10,000+ buyin tournaments were all paid for from Supernova Elite package bonuses, and obviously those were not an option this year. Because of that and the fact that I’m not making as much money these days due to the fact that I’m not playing poker that much, I really wanted to focus and have a profitable trip. I put in for two full weeks off of work, didn’t invite anyone to accompany me on this trip, and was determined to put in serious hours on the felt and make it happen.
I arrived in Vegas on Monday July 2nd at 5:30 or so. I went and checked in at the Vdara, and was really happy with my room. I actually had tried to book a room at Aria originally, but they were full for the weekend, and they suggested that I try Vdara next door. I was under the impression that you could only book there for a month or more at a time, which apparently is not the case.
After getting settled, I immediately wanted to put in a session before the 10k 6 max which would start the next day. Following the advice of a friend, I headed to the Wynn where I saw there was a 10/25 game running thanks to the Bravo Live Poker app (if you don’t have this app and you play live, download it immediately). I sat down, started off a little slow after four bet bluffing an old guy one of my first hands (oops). But I stacked him in one of the biggest pots I would play there shortly thereafter. I ended up winning 11k that night despite getting K high flush vs A high flush the last hand of the night. I left the Wynn at what I thought was 5:30 am because I forgot to change my watch, and headed home to get some sleep before the 10k six max.
My starting table was tough, on my left was Griffin Benger, better known as Flush_Entity online where he is the #1 ranked MTT player in the world. To my right was Shaun Buchanan who is a total beast, and then Matt Stout and Jason Senti rounding out the group. I played pretty well all day but never really had a chance to chip up. I peaked at about 40k but never once had a big hand to play which was a little annoying. I got moved to another table in the last level of the day, where I doubled up one of my first hands, only to blind down the rest of the two hours and eventually bust with KQo losing to AJs of Layne Flack.
I was a little disappointed after the tournament. I grinded my ass off to win 10k the day before, only to play an entire day the next day for nothing. I woke up early and decided to grind cash games again. I checked my app and saw no games I wanted to play, so I decided to check out Aria because it was right next door. To my surprise, there was a 10/20 running there. I sat down and made friends with a regular there who was really good company and made the session a lot of fun despite a very rocky -7k start to my session. I stuck with it though, for 20 hours as a matter of fact, and eventually grinded to even, then up a little, then up a lot, and finished up somewhere around 10k. It was a huge truimph of a session. I would return the next day and play for another 20 hours, once again building a huge stack and playing great all day. I ended up winning 20k the next day, culminating with a massive 14k pot where a guy called me down with AT on T64Kx where I 3b huge preflop, bombed the flop into 4 people, and then fired the turn and river with AK. It was a great day overall but I was starting to get really run down, I had played at least 12 hours of poker every day, and 40 out of the last 46 hours. I got a 2 hour massage at the table just to keep myself awake, it proved to be a good move. My friend Joe Ingram got a nice pic of my massive 35k chipstack towards the end of the night and tweeted it.
The next day I woke up around 2:00, I was exhausted and debated whether to play. The next day would be day 1 of the WSOP and I wanted to be rested, but at the same time I was crushing cash games and really running well. I went to my computer and checked to see how my friends were doing in the original tournament I played. I quickly saw that my friend Timothy Adams got 7th in it for > 100k and my other friend, Greg Merson, shipped the bracelet for 1.1 MILLION. WOW was I happy for those two. Shortly thereafter, I found out that another friend of mine Will Jaffe had won the 1k event the day prior as well! They got their bracelts at the same time (Greg on the left, Will on the right)
These guys are more commonly known as Gregy20723, dankness3, and Tim0thee online, but they all have bracelets now (Timothy won the 4 max earlier this year) so they are making names for themselves in the live world as well. With that motivation, I headed to the Aria. I waited for a while to sit in the 10/20, and after getting a seat, I played like shit for 3 hours and left -7k and pretty mad at myself for playing when tired and playing when I knew I needed some time off. Despite that misstep, I was still freerolling the main event off cash game profits. I decided to get a good dinner that night and met up with my friends Chris and Seth (GoMukYaSelf and SethSethSeth) for dinner. I had a great steak and lobster bisque, along with a lot of laughs, and headed home for a good night sleep while most of my friends hit the clubs.
The main event would also prove to be disappointing. My table was hyper aggro due to two Italians at my table, on of which was Fillipo Candio, who were both maniacs. Fillipo is really fun to play with actually, he laughs and makes jokes the entire time and is basically a riot. I misplayed two hands pretty badly, one of which made me 22k and another which cost me 20k, but that’s tournaments for you. I made it to day 2, where I Lost 2/3 of my chips the first fucking hand where some old Texas cowboy flopped a set on me. I chipped back up to my starting stack by winning a bunch of small pots with the first rush of monster pairs I had seen all series when I got dealt AA, KK, and QQ all in one rotation, but never saw an open in front of me on any of the hands. I busted first hand after a 30 minute break when I jammed 10k with QTo with half the table gone, including the BB, and lost to another short stack who called it off with 66. I went home immediately and saw that if I rushed my ass off I could make the last flight to Chicago that night, so I booked the flight, showered, packed, ran to Aria to cash in chips and made the flight which left in 2 hours.
All in all it was a great trip. I got to meet a few people that I have played a ton with online, I came out net about +30k, and I got the enjoyment of doing nothing but play poker for 9 days straight. I had my best cash day ever and won three of the biggest pots I have ever won so all in all it was awesome. I might write some interesting specific hands from the trip next week, as there were several, I tried not to include them in this post for fear of making it too long, but that should make for a good post later on. I’ll definitely be back next year, I’m not sure what tournaments I will play, if any, but I can’t resist the cash game action.