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Friday, August 8, 2008

Poker - WSOP '08 Event 43

This June I sacked up and went out to Vegas to play in my first World Series of Poker event: Event #43, pot limit omaha high/low.

I wasn't sure if I was ready to play in the world series--yet-- but I found a letter in the mail that Spring that made the decision pretty easy. The Wynn casino and hotel offered to put me up for three nights anytime in June--free... I knew that $2 blackjack we played piss drunk at 4am last New Years would pay off someday! Good work, friends.

I booked my flight and got my tournament buy-in ready...

Three days into the trip, I am middle of the pack in chips, and I am one table away from an ESPN televised final table. I've spent the last two days playing next to (outplaying :D) some of my favorite poker players. And I've even knocked out a couple of them--something I hope to get used to. Of the original 720 players, 18 are left.

Shit is getting real: winner gets $220,000, and I am guaranteed $7,500, if I happen to get knocked out anytime soon. The first big pot at the table I flop a fairly strong hand and the guy first to act goes allin... My mind starts racing. All I can think about is that if I win this hand I will be the chip leader and have a great chance at winning the entire tournament. I play to win and make the call............ and miss my hand completely. It's all over with the turn of a card. No final table, no massive cash prize. Done. I never thought I'd see the day when I was upset about making $7,500. Of course, after collecting my winnings in cash, I was a little less upset. That night I went to sleep replaying that last hand, over and over.

Now I had a day to kill before my plane left for Boston. So I did what any self-disrespecting poker player would do: I sat down in a cash game with everything I'd just made--yep, all $7,500. I was taking a page out of my friend Egizi's poker book, "Bankroll Mismanagement." It was only a $5/$10 no limit game and the next biggest stack had $2,000, so I wasn't truly risking it all--so I'm not really that reckless.

Wearing my nicest suit, I sat down at the poker table and told the waitress to keep the whisky on the rocks flowing. I bought in for $2,000 in chips with a $5,000 brick of $100 bills nestled behind. My goal was to play the part of a guy who was having a good time and who didn't care about the money. I played for a couple of hours, made some money, and got up for lunch before the drinks affected my poker game negatively.

Red wine and filet mignon poolside followed by a sobering read in the sun for a few hours--this too, I could get used to. After lunch, I went back to the cash game and mopped up some more loose action before calling it a day. Walking through the airport I felt pretty bad ass not declaring the $10,000+ in cash on my person. All in all, it was a good trip, but you ain't seen nothing yet.

-Ian Graham, August 8th, 2008

"Do not repeat the tactics that have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances."

-Sun Tzu