Monday, July 5, 2010

Eve of Main Event

I'm a few hrs away from playing the WSOP main event. It's basically THE tournament for poker players. This will be my 6th main event. I have cashed once before, back in '06 when I finished 73rd out of 8k entrants for $65k. Jamie Gold won it that year. It's supposed to signify the poker champion for the year but as we all know now, it doesn't necessarily mean the best player wins it (or else Phil Ivey would be winning it every year and I'd be finishing 2nd...just kidding). It is just a $10k buy in tournament w/ thousands of entrants. I won't list names of guys that have made it deep or even won it that are considered average at best, terrible at worst, but there are plenty of them. It definitely does bring a big sense of prestige w/ the title, not to mention all sorts of endorsement deals since it's promoted and televised heavily. As a poker player it is my ultimate goal in poker, and probably most poker players' ultimate goal.

Anyway this WSOP has been very mediocre for me. I have 4 cashes out of 16 events which is very respectable, but I'm a small loser still because none of my cashes have been big. My best finish was 76th (out of 950). I do feel like I've been running somewhat bad, having lost over half my flips, and not being on the good end of coolers enough. I would need a main event cash to show a profit, and anything above a min cash would be profit for this year's WSOP.

I will be wearing a Full Tilt patch at the main event, and have been wearing one during the WSOP. I did not win a seat through FTP, but was asked to wear it to represent FTP. Maybe I'm on their radar for a potential deal, which I would gladly accept since FTP has been my "home" for poker for several years now. Also they issued me a VIP card to their exclusive suite/lounge at the Rio. You either had to be one of their pros, win a seat through their site, or be connected somehow to have access. I'm not sure why I got it but I'm gonna assume they know of me and hopefully are considering adding me to their stable of pros. Obviously I think I have done enough in poker (especially when you see what most of their pros have done) to warrant a deal but ultimately it comes down to them. Also I do think I can bring a lot to their site as a pro (are you listening FTP?) but won't get into details here.

Anyway the lounge is a cool place to relax during breaks and what not. They have food platters and drinks laid out all the time and couches to relax on. Plus it's kinda cool to rub elbows w/ Ferguson, Lederer, Matusow, and other FTP pros when in there since they're always hanging out there. My buddies are always asking to go in w/ me so they can ravage the food and drinks whenever they have a chance.

As for my past week, it was busy even though I haven't been playing much poker. Besides the last events I played last week, I found time to go to Howard and Suzy Lederers' charity event/mtt/bbq/fireworks show at the Golden Nugget Friday. I took my wife and kid since it was family friendly. It benefited the Boys and Girls Club of America which is a great organization to donate to. We did our share and spent $1k in buyins in the turbo tournament. We also ended up winning a silent auction for a stuffed pirate ship w/ dolls that cost $185 (proceeds went to the charity as well). The auction had the usual things like autographed sports and movie memorabilia (was considering buying an Elvis plaque w/ his signature but was pretty expensive..$3500 to start), paintings, but a couple of other unique things such as a night w/ the Lederers at their house where you can bring up to 8 people and have a home game w/ them while Howard gives pointers on poker (starting bid $1k, buy out at $10k) and a right to have Steve Zolotow write an article about you or a poker hand you played in Cardplayer magazine (starting bid $350). Anyway we had a nice dinner in the pool area after the tournament then got to watch a very cool fireworks show afterwards. I also got to chat w/ a few FTP luminaries such as Howard Lederer but missed out on a chance to talk w/ Ray Bitar who I think is the primary owner of FTP.

Yesterday was the 4th of July and a bunch of friends and families headed to our buddy Joe's house and spent the whole day there. Before that I met up w/ a couple of FTP pros (Mike Gracz and Jeremiah Smith) at my church who were attending as well and was surprised to learn that Gavin Smith was w/ them but left before I got a chance to exchange pleasantries. I bring that up because if you heard of Gavin, he's one of the last guys you'd think would go to church. He is known to be a drinker, and makes all kinds of weird prop bets and such. He isn't a bad guy per se, on contrary a very nice guy from what I know, but has been known to party hard and drink heavily (maybe he's changed recently, idk). Anyway I thought it was really cool to meet up w/ other poker players at my church, especially guys that are well known in the poker industry.

Anyway Joe ended up having a bbq at his house and it was mostly comprised of poker players and families. Some of the guys went out and bought some fireworks and we set them off on the streets at night and the kids had fun watching them. We played some chinese poker and I lost a little (friendly $5/point). Then a few guys and I decided to start up a $5-$10 baduci game. Joe's girlfriend Lisa ended up dealing the game which was nice because baduci is not an easy game to deal, especially when you're in a hand. She has plenty of dealing experience so the game went smoothly and quickly. Anyway we played 7 handed and among the 7 were 2 bracelet winners (1 recent winner in Chris Bell), a WPT main event winner (host Joe Tehan), 2 typical internet kids that win online, a couple of las vegas live pros, and me. I guess you can say the home game wasn't the softest home game around but it was fun because the money won/lost didn't really affect out bankrolls. Anyway I ended up big winner for the night w/ about $500 won. I also had the highest vpip in the game at around 90%. I was playing terribly predraw but played very well after the 1st draw and it helped to catch a lot of cards like I did. It was funny when I would point out why I wouldn't call so and so at the river because his went to showdown % in the game was 15% and other internet lingo about certain players in the game.

Anyway one thing I try to do before a big tournament is get plenty of rest so I'm gonna wrap this up. I will get back to more poker specific stuff again, especially when the WSOP ends. I will also look to get back to grinding online and resume my goal of a career year. Obviously if I final table the main event that goal will be accomplished but that is a lot more difficult to do than by grinding my usual routine.

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