Busting The Main Event In 2017

Skyline of Las Vegas City, Nevada, USA

To prepare for the Main Event of the WSOP in 2017 I did the following:

  1. Took multiple lessons on live poker, including courses in tells and tells management
  2. Took multiple lessons on the newest trends in online poker
  3. Attended a series of events in Montreal to practice my live game and some new concepts I have been working on
  4. Attended a series of small live events in Las Vegas over a two-week span to get a better feel for mid-stakes American pros and recreational players, whereas normally I would only show up for the Main Event.
  5. Reviewed databases of American poker players extensively to see how the generic American player is playing these days
  6. Reviewed several databases of prominent European nations (especially those from the United Kingdom and Germany) to find out how they are playing
  7. Took three days off before the event to eat a plant-based diet so I could feel clear-headed
  8. Watched my caffeine intake in the days leading up to the event, so I could ensure I had several nights of good sleep under my belt
  9. Flew into Vegas early so I could remove any effects of jet lag
  10. Devised a new system to help me pay attention more efficiently at the table
  11. Spent the night before the Main calibrating my notes and going over my system
  12. Woke up to an alarm the day of the Main Event so I could eat an egg white and spinach breakfast.
  13. Spent 20 minutes visualizing the pots I would win and the stack I would have after Day One

For my troubles, I received the following hands and board run-outs during the entirety of day one, prior to my busting just before the day ended.

  1. I received AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22 exactly zero times
  2. I received AKs and AKo exactly zero times
  3. I received AQo twice. One time I flopped top pair top kicker to win a small double-up after I’d been crippled. The other time I had it in the cutoff with a shorter stack when my big stack opponent on the button had AKo. I jammed into him after he threebet me, exhibiting a tell that determinedly proved (at least to me) that he did not have AA or KK.
  4. I raised TT once, and received a multiway A-K-4 board
  5. I raised 99 once, and received a multiway J-Q-x board
  6. I had big broadway combinations frequently versus EP openers who turned over hands such as K-9s and 3-2s from those positions after opening. I threebet them at specific times. I never once was fourbet. However, in these nine threebet pots, I flopped a pair exactly once. The other eight times I was working with a high card after having threebet the (likely) superior hand. Despite being in position all nine times, my opponent only folded to my continuation bet once. This is far less than what the field generally does according to my database reviews and experiential wisdom. In addition, after checking the turn multiple times, I failed to ever develop anything with my free card of a river.
  7. I ran one triple barrel bluff in a spot I have analyzed extensively in my free time. Unfortunately, my opponent made a great read and picked me off. I don’t believe he found a live tell on me, due to my practicing what I learned in that department from a previous lesson.
  8. I rivered one straight and got a value bet out of it
  9. I misread my hand and called a 3K 1/3rd pot c-bet on a flop. The turn and river got checked down, and my high card somehow won the pot.

The Moral Of The Story:

Poker is a very fun game, but it is also a bizarre game where strange things always seem to happen. You must anticipate this and find a way to enjoy it every time you play.

I am not writing this post to go, “oh poor me.”

I wrote this post so you can see the amount of work you can put into one event and walk away with nothing.

(To be honest, I felt I walked away with less than nothing. I actually really love messy tournaments, because they give me a great deal of data and experience to learn from. That was sadly not the case in this event. I just found myself card dead for 10+ hours and missing every flop.)

However, I digress, my intention was to not complain…although I guess I just did. Looks like I’m a typical poker player after all 😛

What I wanted to say is I love my job quite a bit. All of the work I did for the WSOP Main Event 2017 will help me in the future. For that reason, it was nice to have the goal of being prepared for the event. It gave me something to think of every day when I woke up. It gave me a win to visualize every time I was eating dinner alone. It gave me a reason to work.

Of course, we all want and need money, but having a job you genuinely enjoy and a complex puzzle to solve is a close second for me. The preparation for this tournament was difficult; the actual play was not. That is as it should be. I feel good today because I did my job.


Back to work kids. Let’s do this. There’s always another tournament tomorrow.

There’s always another tournament tomorrow…