About an hour ago, I was eliminated from the World Series Of Poker Main Event in the third level of Day 2. Return on my investment: zero.
I’ve had losing days at the poker table, but none as frustrating and boring as today. The frustration came from a complete lack of playable hands — at one point, I went 64 minutes without voluntarily putting chips in the pot — and the boredom came from the fact that no one at my table said a single sentence out loud in the six hours I was there. I thought of something Tony Dunst said on my Final Table Show today: “Without talking, a poker tournament is just a bunch of 24-year-olds in sweatshirts doing math problems silently.” That’s exactly what I lived through today. I had planned on not listening to music today, but I finally put on the headphones after 2 hours because I needed something to keep my brain engaged.
I don’t have any bad beat stories where an opponent caught a two-outer or a gutshot straight. Most of my chips bled away slowly to the blinds and antes, and on the very few occasions where I raised pre-flop, two or three opponents called and hit what they needed while I missed. There was a series of three consecutive hands in the second level of the day that summed up how things went for me.
I raised with a pair of tens pre-flop in late position, only to get called by three other players. The flop was ace-king-five, and was bet and raised before it got to me, so I folded. On the next hand, I re-raised a loose player with my pocket jacks on the button, and was called by the small blind and the original raiser. This time, the flop was ace-king-six, so I never put another chip into that pot. On the next hand, I was the small blind. A good player raised in middle position, the player on the button called, and I looked down at ace-king and called. Did I flop an ace or a king? Of course not — it was seven-four-deuce, and I was done with that hand.
It’s not like I was waiting to have the cards magically come to me, but I just didn’t have many spots in which I could make a move. I’d be shocked if someone told me I dragged 5 pots all day.
That’s poker, of course, but some of the frustration also comes from having two guys move to my table at different times with huge chip stacks. As I said yesterday, in the early stages of any tournament, that can either mean they’re very good or very reckless and lucky. For both of these guys, it was the latter. One of them played far too many hands and kept giving away chips. Unfortunately, none of them went into my stack. Ironically, one of my last hands was against that guy, when he was short-stacked and called my big re-raise pre-flop with jack-ten and then flopped a ten to beat my nines, taking almost all of my chips. Less than five minutes later, I was done.
Once I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on my Main Event run, I may be able to look back on it as a positive life experience. Friends have already asked me if I’ll play in it again next year. The answer is yes, but I’d never pony up the full $10,000 buy-in. If I can get in cheaply via a satellite tournament, I’ll take another shot. Hopefully, I’ll make it to the dinner break on Day 2 next time.
I truly appreciate all of the words of support and advice from everyone who offered them, but for now I’m going back to the cash games and leaving the tournament world for awhile.