Okay, this catharsis is a long time coming. Heading into the Main Event, once again, I hadn’t play near as many tournaments as I would have liked, but my results in live tournaments this year have been very good. More importantly, my style of play in the early going of tournaments of late had allowed for me to accumulate a lot more chips than I normally do at the early stages.
Since I bought in late, I was seated in seat 10, which I hate. The good news is that gave me a very good view of Shannon Elizabeth’s tramp stamp (she was in seat 4 at the adjacent table). As we were waiting for the tournament to start, I looked around at my tablemates. No known players. Good. The only player of note, seated directly to my right in seat 9, was some Euro who was talking with Katja Thater. I assumed he would be playing a Scandi/German style aka LAG.
I decided to play the Main Event while listening to my iPod, which is actually a very tough decision for me. Usually, I prefer to listen to the action and not get distracted, but I decided that mostly non-vocal pieces might work. The WSOP is SO loud, you basically have to use something. My iPod line-up, on random shuffle:
The Mission by Enno Mericone, as played by YoYo Ma (really, this is a classic)
Theme to Rudy
Gonna Fly Now (Rocky)
Theme to Schindler’s List
Stars Wars theme song
Imperial March (Star Wars)
Silent Night (Enya)
Don’t Stop Believin’
The button was in seat 10 (Hooray!), and before I had a chance to settle in, seat 7 had raised to 300, seat 9 called, and I looked down at two red aces. Shit. What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when you get dealt aces on the first hand of the main event? “Great, I’m going broke. Right. Fucking. Now.” I raised to 1,200 and both called (Yikes!). Flop came 9 high, uncoordinated. Checked to me, and I bet 2,000. Seat 7 called, and my scary Euro friend folded. The turn was a blank, and it went check-check. The river paired the 9, and after a small think, 7 checked. I happily checked behind and won the hand. Up to 4,500 on the first hand, yo!
Within the next orbit and a half, I was dealt AK three times. I won the first two hitting an ace or a king on the flop, and I folded the third from the small blind when it was raised in front of me (absurdly weak-tight, but just had a funny karma feeling). I played a few more small pots during the first level, and I think I won every single one, rarely to showdown. At the end of level 1, I had 37,500. Great start.
Level 2 was fairly uneventful for me, and I don’t recall any major hands. Seat 4 proved to be one of the craziest donks I’ve ever seen. He swung from 10k to 40k twice during the level, and he called a 13k bet on the river with jack-high. Jack-HIGH. The best part was his opponent said “nice hand” and turned over a higher jack-high. Wow. I must have won a few small pots, probably with some safe-ish stealing, and I end the level with 41,400.
Level 3 seemed to get the game out of the dirt. People at our table started busting, and there were a lot more flops. I was hovering around 45k when this hand came up: I made it 1300 to go with kings in the hijack. 4 called, including both blinds. The flop came Q92r. The small blind (what appeared to be a good, solid player) bet out 2,000 and got one caller. I thought about folding (is that insane?!) for a second just because I didn’t want to play a a big pot with an overpair against a bet and call. Then I decided he must be leading with AQ to see where he was and made it 6,000 to go, the SB folded, and the initial caller called. The turn was a 7, and he check-called 6,000 more. The river was a blank, and he checked. I probably missed a value bet to AQ here, but I didn’t want to get raised with just an overpair, so I checked, and my kings were good. At the end of the level, I was among the day 1c leaders with 70,500, and I hadn’t faced any real decisions. Things were going unbelievably well. We headed off to dinner