I now have my first cash of the trip, but also my first heartbreak.
Unlike every other tournament I’ve played out here so far, I opened Wednesday’s WSOP $2500 NL on fire. By the first break my 5,000 chip stack had grown to 15,000. And despite bluffing off half of those chips to Can Kim Hua in Level 4, I regained my footing and made Day 2 of the tournament with a healthy stack, despite drawing a very tough table with John Phan and Dustin Woolf later in the day. I was poised to make the money and potentially go deep.
During this tournament I employed a popular tactic of mine. It’s one that doesn’t take much effort, all I have to do is sit there quietly being myself. Here’s how it works.
Anytime I’m sitting at a table with younger players, they automatically do the same thing I do: they presume older guys are fish until proven otherwise. Since I’m a relatively unknown older guy in the youthful world of tournament poker, I am often mistaken for dead money for several orbits, sometimes even several hours. During this time I have an easy time stealing the blinds, especially from middle and early position, before something happens to blow my cover. Then I do something like reraise out of the blinds and show down suited connectors, or call a short stack’s all in with queen high and the jig is up. Once the jig is up, it always unfolds the exact same way. During the next deal, a young kid sitting next to me, now feeling a newfound kinship with the scruffy old guy, perks up and asks me “hey, do you play online?” It never fails.
So in Day 2 of the $2500 Event I drew a great table, filled with players who were desperate to make the money in WSOP Event. Unfortunately the bubble period didn’t go that well, thanks in part to a player violating tournament rules by outwardly advising a short stack to call one of my raises. I was annoyed but I’m not the type of guy to report the violation to the tournament staff, so I let it go. Then the bubble burst, we were down to around 80 players, and I lost the following big pot.
Blinds are 1500-3000 with a 400 ante. I have roughly 50k. I pick up pocket aces and decide to openlimp since a couple of 20k-ish stacks are in late position, and I figure they might shove with a wide range. It is folded to a kid in middle position with 47k in chips and he makes it 14k to go. I am thrilled with this development, and I’m already imploring my aces to “please hold!” in my head. Then, it is folded one spot to another player in late position, and he insta-shoves for about 30k. This is a wet dream scenario for my aces, and now I’m chanting “hold, hold, hold, hold!!” in my head. When it is my turn to act, in order to ensure action from the 47k kid, I have the dealer count out both raises and pretend to mull things over a bit. Then I say “okay, I’m all in.” The 47k kid shrugs and calls.
There’s 140k in the pot, (and with all due repsect) I’m the best player at a table that is not breaking, and winning this hand would put me near the top of the leaderboard in a WSOP Event with a three million dollar prize pool and a first place prize of $667,000. I turn over my aces and say–aloud this time–“HOLD.” The 47k kid has JJ and the 30k guy has 55.
The flop is 10-2-2 rainbow. The turn is… the jack of diamonds. No ace on the river.
Ouch. I cash for $7,000.
I”m homesick for my fiancee and new apartment, but back to work today.