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WSOP Main Event Day 1

The WSOP is an incredibly well run event. There is just no problem finding the right seat, getting settled and getting started on time. This sort of procedural and logistic mastery has to be a contributor to what makes the US great.

My day 1 started bang on time. It was, actually, quite a thrill to have a seat, playing against all the best players in the world, and to hear Doyle Brunson say the words 'Shuffle up and deal!'.

Two things I think I would do differently if I were to play in this event again though, are;

a) It occurred to me after the first few orbits that perhaps some practice at smaller tournaments would have been helpful. I haven't played a tournament game for about 2 years now, and then only microstakes home games. Even a bit of prior study on the 2+2 forums or something similar, to be up to speed with current tournament play thinking, would have assisted me a bit.

b) Maybe those 2 martinis I had last night, and the nice wine with my steak dinner, and the desert wine, weren't such a good idea. Nor was the coffee I had in the afternoon, which found me wide awake at 4am, and getting only 5 hours sleep before the start. Should have thought that one through a bit more. Well actually, I did, and I was intending to have a sober, early night. But when you see a bar called 'Vesper', how can you not see if they make the best Vesper Martinis in the world? So I did, and they were. Big too, about 300ml of gin in each.

My breakfast was a Starbucks Latte, a bottle of water with berocca and some aspirin.

I started in seat 4, got to see my first flop in the big blind with 7,4 off and 2 callers, and folded my hand to a raise when the flop came AJ5.

Nothing eventful on the button, folded a J2 or something like that. Next hand though is pocket kings. There is a raise in front of me, the blinds are only 50/100, and the raise is to 250 total. I re-raise and make it 450 total. The button folds, so does the small blind. Big blind calls and the initial raiser folds.

Wow, this is my first played hand in the WSOP main event! How exciting.

Flop comes AJJ. The big blind insta-bets 600. There is just no doubt he has an ace, or even a jack. Maybe even AJ I tihnk. He is very confident.

I fold, and donate the first of my chips to the eventual winner.

My idea of playing tight seems to have been adopted by every other player as well. I didn't know my blog was so popular. Or maybe they came up with the strategy by themselves. Whatever the case, the 'standard' raise at every level was 1.5x the blind, or a bit smaller. It suited me just fine, and everyone else too.

For the first two levels I played super nitty tight. I would only call from early to mid position with hands line AJ or AQ, and fold hands like KJ or low pockets if there was any serious action. For those four hours I was in not more than 6 pots, 3 from the blinds, hit nothing and folded to other action.

At the start of level 3, with blinds at 150/300, I have 28,900 chips and find myself with AA in late position. There is a raise from early position, and then two calls. Very nice I think. The pot is 2,550, and I re-raise up to 2,500. Which is too much, and everyone folds. I should have made it about 1,400, and I probably would have ended up with 1 caller and won a bigger pot. Never the less, 2,500 is a nice pick up at this point, and I am ahead of my starting total for the first time.

Next, I run into a cold deck, which goes on and on and on for the rest of the 3rd level, on through the 4th level and into the 5th level. Hands like K2 off, J4, 72 at least 5 times, 83 at least 4 times, sometimes A3 or A6 type hands, but always in early position, and just not playable at a table this tight.

Antes start at level 4 and by level 5 the blinds are 200/400 with 50 ante. Also, somewhere along the way I thought I would try some fancy plays. What I really did though was have the idea for fancy plays, but lacked any ability to make them work. Blinds, antes and some half arsed stabs at the pot brought my stack down to just 16,200.

Even worse, just before the end of level 4 our table was broken up and we were all moved to different tables. So the ultra-tight image I had built up all day was of no use to me on the new table where no one had seen me play a hand before.

As level 5 started, a couple of the big stacks started hammering on my blinds. For three orbits I didn't have anything to play back with, but resolved on the 4th orbit to make a stand, even if it cost me some chips, and at least make them work for the blinds.

In the next big blind I have J10 suited, a nice enough hand to defend with. Sure enough, a big stack raises, and there is a call from 2 other largish stacks as well.

The flop is 94Q rainbow. The first raiser opens the betting, making it about half the pot, and the two others call, as do I.

The turn is 8 of clubs and there another club on the board, but right now I have the nuts. The first raiser bets again. There is one caller and one fold. This makes the pot size about 13,000, which is all I have left. I tank for a while, look at my opponents as if I am trying to get a read, look back at my cards, do some pretend adding up in my head and generally ham it up. I want to get paid out.

Trying to look as unsure as possible, I announce 'all in' and fumble my chips forward.

The first raiser calls and the other guy folds. A good result. I just hope the river is kind to me. But what do you know, my opponent turns over AQ. All he has is top pair. I must have made it look like a bad bluff for him to call with that. The river is a queen, but his trip queens are no good and the nuts stay the nuts.

After that nice hand I now have 40,500 chips.

About this time I start to get a migraine. The coffee I had earlier has worn off, and I am feeling the effects of my hangover. Only another hour and a half to go.

I have one more nice hand, KK, which nets me a few thousand more chips. But then get a run of AK, AQ and some small pockets, which get me into the flop, but go nowhere.

I end the day with 37,175. Not great, but I did it, I made it through day 1.

Day one ended at 12:30am, and Monday will be day 1 for group C. My day 2 starts on Tuesday at noon. The blinds will be at 250/500 + 50 ante, and I am going to need some luck I think.

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Nick on :

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