Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Event #22 $1,500 NL a.k.a. My First WSOP Event

I never thought I'd get to play in the World Series of Poker. And here I am, ready to go fling chips around with the top names in poker. Today I get to piss in the tall weeds with the big dogs. I just hope I don't pee on myself.

My first ever WSOP event begins today at Noon local time. The buy in is $1500 and 20 of my friends including my brother all chipped in and paid my entry fee. I am now entitled to give them 50% of my profits. Pretty cool, eh?

By the way, thanks to: Maudie, Al CantHang, Tanya, Derek, Briana, Otis, Senor, Iggy, Joaquin, Human Head, Obie, Joe Speaker, Wil, Spaceman, Sean & Brent from Lord Admiral Radio, Chad, Halverson, Gracie, April H., and Poker Prof & Flipchip. They all get a cut of my winnings.

My friend Felicia, who is a professional poker player, said that I was "dead money" and that's the reason she didn't want to back me. No confidence? She's right. However, she and her husband Glenn (who is a poker dealer and a solid NL player) gave me some great advice. In fact, I asked some pros about advice. A lot of what they said contradicts each other and that's part of the charm of poker... there's no set way of how to play and people's playing styles vary.

My buddy Otis played in a similar WSOP event two weeks ago and he had some tips for me. I'm sure I'll be nervous but I'm not going to be as intimidated than most newbies. I've spent over two weeks here at the Rio and I'm used to the surroundings and seeing top notch pros all over the place. I'm no longer star struck. I hope that I'll be comfortable.

My strategy is to play smart and avoid mistakes. Easier said than done right? This will be a three day event. My goal for day 1 is to make it to day 2. The final day will consist of the final table which will be aired on ESPN in September on my birthday of all days. How about that? There is a small chance, very small like micro-penis small, in an almost impossible chance that I'll make it that far. I'll have to catch a lot of cards and I'll have to play flawless poker for 12-14 hours today if I want to advance to day 2.

They are expecting about 1500 players in today's WSOP event with a prize pool of well over $2.2 million. First place should get paid over a half a million dollars. Yes, this is the biggest tournament I ever played in.

I once won a 150 person tournament on Party Poker and took 3rd in two others. But those were smaller tournaments. The two biggest tourneys I ever played in before today were both online satellites at Party Poker. One was in April 2004 and the top three finishers won a seat in the $25K World Poker Tour Championships at the Bellagio. I took 12th out of 150. In January of this year, I was trying to win a seat in the Aussie Million a.k.a. the Australian Poker Championships and the winner won a seat in event and won a prize package which included hotel & airfare for two plus spending money. I played in two of those tournaments and got my ass kicked in both. I played tentative, like a pussy, in one and the other I just didn't see any good hands.

Very shortly, I'll be taking my seat at table 44 and sliding on my headphones. I'm bringing my iPod with me and can't wait to fire up some Grateful Dead during my first WSOP event. This will also be my first day off in 16 days since I started working. I'm pumped and ready!

If you want to check on my progress, I will try to update here as much as possible. However, I suggest you follow Poker Wire. The girls who run the site, Jen and Heather, promised me that they will include my name in "notable chip counts" updates (the event is #22 $1500 No Limit Hold'em), so stop by their site anytime after 3pm ET or Noon Vegas time and take a peek.

Thanks again to everyone who helped bankroll me and to everyone who responded that I had to turn away.

****** Live Blogging Updates ******

11:35am... I got my computer set up in media row, ready to do as much live blogging as possible. The hallway was super packed. I haven't seen a crowd like this since Event #2. Looks like every table is going to be filled. To quote Phil Gordon, "I have never seen so much dead money in my life."

Thanks to Maudie and Jeff for the phone call! Flipchip's stellar advice, "Don't be the first one out."

11:40am... Fox Sports just published my article about Charlie. I originally titled it A Guy Named Charlie, but Fox changed the title. Anyway, FOX Sports broke this amazing story about Vegas pros rallying behind Charlie Tuttle.

As I typed this I found out from BG that Charlie passed away early this morning.
Mama, take this badge off of me
I can't use it anymore.
It's gettin' dark, too dark for me to see
I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door.
Am I inspired this morning? Hell ya. This one is for you, Charlie.

2:00pm... $1500 NL update: Piss break. I think there were 2100+ in the tournament. They said it was the 3rd largest field ever at a WSOP event. There are 1600 left. I got $2450 and I'm feeling good. My first table only had 4 players at first. I found AJ on my first hand and won the pot. After the first orbit, some chick sat down to make it five and it stayed that way until my table was broken up halfway in Level 2. We joked that Phil Hellmuth would be at our table since he's always fashionably late. SPotted Eirk Seidel walking towards my table and I got a little queasy. He sat down at the table behind me. Five seconds later, Evelyn Ng sauntered my way. I took a deep breath and she sat down at Eirk's table. I was sitting right behind Evy so if I turned around I could try to figure out what color underwear she had on. I knocked one guy out at my table when he moved all in with a shortstack and K9s. I had JJ and that was the last hand before I got moved.

At my new table, I was the youngest among 8 middle aged guys. I found AA UTG and limped. One guy in LP raised and I went over the top of hima nd scooped the pot. So far, so good.

3:20pm... I got busted. Bad beat too. My AK lost to A-10. The blinds were $50/100. He limped UTG. I raised to $400. Button called and the UTG called. The flop: A-4-x. UTG guy bet $500, I moved all in. Button folded and UTG called, showing A-10. Guess what spiked on the river? Yes, a ten. I snapped, "What? You didn't think you were outkicked?" Felicia told me I played it right. After he turned over A-10 I figured I was looking great with 5K in chips. No such luck. I was out around 1320 or so and outlatsed Marcel Luske and Daniel Negreanu. So much for my day off. Donkeys 1, Pauly 0.

As my brother said to me after I was busted, "At least it wasn't your money."

Sorry that I let everyone down. I was hoping to make it to the dinner break. If I won that pot, I'm pretty sure I would have just folded the rest of the afternoon. Oh well. Thanks to Maudie and Senor for phone calls.

4:20pm... PLH Final Table update: We're down to 8. Brian Wilson is the chipleader. Burt Boutin finished in 9th. Here are the final table seating assignments and chip counts:
Seat 1: Joe Sebok $159K
Seat 2: Cyndy Violette $206K
Seat 3: Steven "Lucky" Liu $193.5K
Seat 4: Brian Wilson $193K
Seat 5: Derek Lefote $36.5K
Seat 6: Allen Cunningham $131.5K
Seat 7: John Gale $64.5K
Seat 8: Anthony Cousineau $99.5K
Seat 9: Burt Boutin $11K
4:45pm... Random Thoughts: I always wondered when Isabelle Mercier and Otis greeted each other if they did the doublecheek kiss or the elusive and rare triplecheek kiss? Sorry, don't mean to get Otis in trouble with Mrs. Otis or anything. Just a half-baked thought here. And for the record, I think Otis is just too shy to approach Isabelle. I have no shame. My goal for the remainder of the WSOP is to get a doublecheek kiss from Isabelle.

5:10pm... Omaha Hi/Lo update: Max Pescatori was knocked out in 19th place. This is his 4th cash this year.

5:44pm... PLH Final Table update: Brian Wilson's AK knocked out Joe Sebok's AJ in 8th place. Joe Sebok won $33,700.

5:50pm... PLH Final Table update: Cyndy Violette's A3s lost to Allen unningahms' Q8. On the turn Allen had trips and Cyndy had a flush draw. She didn't catch it and finished in 7th place. She won $44,930 at her second fnal table at this year's WSOP.

6:15pm... PLH Final Table update: John Gale knocked out Steven "Lucky" Liu. Lucky had QJs and Gale Had A3s. The flop was K-10-J and two spades. Lucky bet and Gale reraised him all in. Gale had the nut flush draw and caught it on the turn. Steven Lucky Liu was knocked out in 6th place and won $56,165.

7:24pm... PLH Final Table update: Allen Cunningham caught a four flush on the river with K-10 to knock out Tony Cousineau's A-10 in 5th place. Tony won $67,400. Brain Wilson is the chipleader.

7:59pm... Random Thought of the Hour: "If you wear pants that white, you're gonna see bush," deadpanned Otis. After hours of deliberation, we decided that Evy was wearing a thong.

9:40pm... Bouncin' Round the Room: Dinner breaks are fun time here a the WSOP. That's when I can I hit the closest bar. Today's guests were Otis and Jay Greenspan. Otis played video poker and hit quad aces which paid out 800 credits or $200. Lucky fucker. We also had a toast to Charlie and attempted to call Al Cant Hang for a dial-a-shot. We were able to get Joanne on the phone.

10:20pm... PLH Final Table update: Brian Wilson eliminated Allen Cunningham. Allenraised preflop and Wlson called. The flop was: 10-4-10 and a re-rasing war broke out. Wilson bet 30k. Cunningham re-raised and Wilson came over the top. Cunningham pushed in with K3s. Wilson waslled with 5-4. Cunningham caught a pair of 3s on the tuen but the river was no help. Allen Cunningham finished in 4th and won $89,865.

10:40pm... PLH Final Table update: Brian Wilson knocked out Derek Leforte. They were both all in preflop. Wilson had A6s and Leforte showed K9. No one paired a board full of rags and Wilson won with ace high. Derek Leforte finished in 3rd place and won $112,330.

11:18pm... PLH Final Table update: John Gale and Brian Wilson were involved in a huge hand. They were both all in preflop. Gale had AJ and Wilson showed 66. The flop: 4-7-8. Gale caught a jack on the turn to take the lead. But Brian Wilson caught his gutshot on the river when a five spiked. Wilson doubled up but Gale still held a $500K cip lead.

11:20pm... PLH Final Table update: On the next hand, both players were all in preflop once again. Gale showed pocket tens and Wilson had 44. Gale got kicked in the junk when a 4 flopped. His hand did not improve and Wilson doubled up on Gale in consecutive hands. Wilson went from almost dead to the chip lead.

12:01am... PLH Final Table Update: With Devilfish n the rail, cheering on his fellow countryman, John Gale failed in his attempt to win a WSOP bracelet and WPT event in the same year. After about 90 minutes of heads up play, Brian Wilson beat John Gale. Wilson's AQ was good enough to take down Gale's KJ. Gale won $204,440 for second place. Brian Wilson won his first bracelet and took home $370,685.

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