Friday, May 13, 2005

Lake Tahoe WSOP Circuit Trip Report

I barely know where to begin. It has been a long trip! I got to Tahoe on Wednesday night and met up with Matthew at the airport. We headed to the casino to play the next day.

In the first event, a $500 limit event, I played well in my estimation. The only real mistake I made was the last hand I played. The cutoff limped first in and I thought about folding but decided to call with 55 behind him. Then the big stack (who had been playing very tight) raised from the SB. I called and wound up with all of my chips in on a 7 high flop only to see his JJ take me down. It was a terrible play. That hand put me out in 10th, one off of the final table. Ugh. My 10th place finish was still good enough to double my money but I was nevertheless disappointed.

In the second event, a $500 limit event, I got very lucky. I either doubled up or busted a player each time I had AA. One hand was very scary when my opponent turned a set of jacks. Unfortunately for him the jack on the turn gave me the nut flush and he saw no help on the river. I left him with 75 in chip left, and after posting a $50 ante, he was ammboed! I blinded off for a while and finally decided to take a coinflip once we were in the money. My AQ was no good vs. 99 but I will take that hand again any time.

The next day was a $1000 NL event. I think I played very well. I defended my blinds at the right times and I pushed people out of pots at all the right times. Then a hand came up that I will never forget. I posted the hand here, but I think my wife already spilled the beans about the result. In the end I decided to take a shot at a huge pot and was out of the tournament in a flash. My father had stopped by to watch and was amazed that I was out after doing so well. Oh, well... I got some quality time with daddy out of it.

The final event was a $1000 limit event. Again, I truly felt on top of my game and managed to survive a few tough hands to make the final table. I ended up busting in 8th place when my QQ lost to 99's quad nines. I am not upset at that hand in the least, but I am much more upset at the hand I misplayed earlier. I had 99 in the BB and called an MP raise and a button call. The MP raiser checked a ten high flop and the button bet. I just called and the raiser called. He suddenly bet out a Q on the turn and I knew I had messed up so I folded. He said he had AQ (obviously) and the button confessed to having a smaller pair. I was not pleased with that mistake. In the end, however, I would have been all in with my QQ and lost to 9999 so it did not really matter.

Overall, I played some of the best poker I have ever played. I made the money in 3 out of 4 events, made one final table, and only missed the money in the other event due to a "that's poker" type of situation. I also had a great time. I had more fun at the table that I can remember having. I felt incredibly relaxed and at no time did I feel overmatched or intimidated by another player. I cannot wait for my next major event.

Personal note:

Right now I am sitting in a crummy motel in Niagra Falls, NY. I am still not home after travelling all day yesterday. Because of a flight delay I missed the Buffalo to Ithaca bus so my wife came to get me. Since we were so close to Niagra Falls we decided to go have a look. Neither of us had been there since we were kids. We also had a look at the new Casino Niagra, which seems to have quite a nice poker room. Then, on the way home, a deer bolted in front of the car and I ran right into it at about 50 miles per hour. Neither of us were hurt, the airbags did not even deploy, but the deer was killed. I feel awful about it. As a result, our 2004 Toyota Matrix is not drivable. My wife rented a car to head back home in order to take a final while I site here in this crappy hotel waiting for the insurance people to look at the car. FYI, Geico's service rules. The silver lining? I have wireless internet at this $30 per night hotel!
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