posted on April 28, 2011 00:00
Alternative Title: "Scotty Sucks at Poker: The Chronicles of a Has-Been".
This is my story of going O for 9 at WSOP-St. Louis. I wanted to title this article with the alternative title above, but the "powers that be" felt it was not in everyone's best interest to do so. I am not one of those powers. I am but a gambler with a keyboard and a story to tell. And too often guys that write about tournament poker only want to write about themselves when they are experiencing good results. It begins to appear these guys never lose. I'm not that guy. It is what it is -- and I could insert a dozen different cliches here. The truth is -- an above average tournament player will FAIL 88 to 80 percent of the time. Thinking in baseball terms: an All-Star who has a batting average of .300? He FAILED seventy percent of the time. Getting the picture? Coming in to WSOP-St. Louis I had gone 4 for 20 with three Top 5 finishes. Thinking in baseball terms: Not only was I hitting for average, my slugging percentage was pretty good too. Back to poker and how bad St. Louis went for me. I NEVER had a stack in any event. Never. Nada. And I didn't win any important races either...
Ring Event #1 - I was eliminated in Level 7 when I lost a race. I held Ace King versus Queens.
The player on my right was the big stack at the table and controlled the action most of the day. He essentially was "beating me to the punch" with his preflop raises. He was taking my action away. We then got into a raising war and I shoved on him preflop. He reluctantly called and the race was on. Had I won, I would have had a huge stack and been the table boss. My opponent would have been mortally wounded and this would have aided my cause also. I do not regret racing this race despite the fact it was a little early in the tournament for such behavior. I swing for the fences boys...
Ring Event #2 - If I picked the one day of the nine that I did not play well, this would be the day. Dennis Phillips was seated at my table. He rarely played a hand and never really had anything, but he made a slow moving, boring table more fun. This table wasn't good if you were in the mood to gather chips, it was tight. Before Dennis was moved to our table, I ran a three-barreled bluff versus pocket Kings and lost 25 percent of my chips. Phillips came to the table and said "Wow. Look at that stack". He was talking about the opponent and the stack I had tried to bluff. I replied "I built that for him Dennis". By Level Six I was down to 3000 and I can't really blame it on the cards. It was ALL ME. I was eliminated in Level Seven the first two days. I kept seeing the big field on the board and all I can think about is "gather chips Scotty". The reality was I played too fast. I never really have any cards and I did not play very well as a result. Break time with Rob Zombie. You play the who is that game...
Ring Events #3 and #4 - (H.O.R.S.E. and Omaha High Low) Specialty games are my specialty. I won my Ring in H.O.R.S.E in Southern Indiana. St. Louis had a field of 138 and anytime a H.O.R.S.E. tournament on the WSOP Ciruit goes over 100 -- it is a decent showing. I came out of the gates fast and had about 15K early. I was then moved to a very tough table right before second break. My stack never got over 15K and by dinner break I had 12K. There were 80 players left (15 to be paid) and I would bust in the Holdem round after dinner-break with KQ vs. AA. Having a stack early in a Limit tournaments doesn't mean much. They are all about finishing strong, surviving and getting hot late...
On Sunday the $355 Omaha H/L tournament fielded 181 players. My first table was stacked with solid local players and I knew half the table. It didn't last long because our table was broken about 40 minutes later. I arrived at the next table, and the gamble at this table was just crazy stupid. I couldn't catch anything and they beat my stack down to 3K. By the time we were down to 45 players, I had an average stack and 21 were to be paid. Then the most aggressive stack in the tournament was seated on my left -- and he effectively took me out of the game with his preflop raises. I would be eliminated in 25th place and Omaha was as close as I came to cashing at WSOP-St. Louis.
Ring Event #5 - 393 players entered this event, we are in Level 11, the blinds were 300/600 and about 200 remain. The chip average is about 19K and I have over 11K. Three players limp, I find an Ace King offsuit on the button and raise it to 3000. I am pretty well willing to play for my stack. This asshole raises it to something like 6875 out of the big blind. Everyone folds and I shove. He then tanks. Seriously. He has over 20K in front of him, and is getting about 5 to 1 on a call. He then says "I have played with you before. You could be doing this with any two. Call."
My opponent tables a Jack Ten suited in Hearts. I make fun of his hand and say something like "If you knew me, you wouldn't be going over the top of me with Jack Ten". The board flopped him a gutter, he picked up a flush draw on the turn -- and hit a Ten on the river. I was out. I was a 58.6% favorite and would have been a force at my table (and in the tournament) had I won this hand.
Ring Event #6 - This was a $565 Six-Handed No Limit event. 205 players enetered and 21 were to be paid. Six handed events play out a little differently and the game becomes more about gambling and moves. I was card dead most of the day. My few big hands got no action. I was eliminated when I made a move on an opponent that had flopped a set with about 100 players left.
Ring Event #7 - I played versus Ari "BodogAri" Engel in this event. Kurt Jewell was seated on my immediate left. I was in a tough spot and went out in Level 11 on another AK versus Queens allin preflop race. This time I had the Queens. The player on Ari's left was aggressive, and he seemed to want to play pots with Engel. Many times he three-bet Ari preflop. I was below chip average when I found Queens under the gun. I limped hoping these two would bite -- and they did. Blinds were 150/300 and two players also limped. Engel made it 900 to go and the other player made it 2800 to go. Folded to me I re-raised to 7000 (half my stack) and the re-raiser shoved with Ace King suited in Diamonds. He flopped a flush draw, made on the turn and I am out. Ugh. Another race lost for a big stack...
Ring Event #8 - Kirby Brewer was seated on my right and would go on to cash in this event. Kirby deals poker at River City Casino. I was knocked out this tournament with AK on a King high flop versus pocket Aces that "just called" a large raise preflop right behind me. I checked, he shipped it, I called. The man played his Aces well, it was a bad flop for me and I never really saw it coming...
Ring Event #9 - My last chance. And I went out early taking a chance. It has been awhile and I cant remember all the specifics of the hand. All I know for sure is that it was early and I had about 80% of my starting stack. I limp into a 5 way pot from the SB with King Ten suited in Hearts. The board was like something like J 5 4 and flopped me a flush draw. I led out and was raised by the player on my left -- and he was called twice. When the action came back to me, I deduced the player on my left had the best hand of my three opponents. The pot was getting big and I went allin with the "squeeze play". The original raiser tanked. He had a hand and when he folded he said some shit like "I know I am laying the best hand down". BAD FORM. The next player called rather fast and the last player folded.
When I rolled my hand over the guy said some more shit like "See. I knew you had nothing". My opponent had a Jack high flush draw. He had flopped top pair with a nine kicker. In all honesty? If I had his hand, I would have folded to my allin. Doesn't he have to think he is drawing to a flush for the win? Despite it all, I was about 40-60 to win, but the board bricked off and he won with a pair of Jacks. The other player? He said he had Ace Jack. Fuck him and his crybaby rant. Like he "knew" I had nothing, I was proof-positive he couldn't call with two players behind him with only one pair. DUCY.
Reflections - I will write about my National Championship chase later at SCOTTYS BLOG.
Going O for 9 sucks, but it does fall well within the expectations of very possible. Please remember. A good tournament player does not cash about 85 % of the time. At Sharkscope.com you can search players for 2010 WSOP results (5 a day for free). I am going to pick 5 players off the top of my head. Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Dennis Phillips.
According to Sharkscope (2010 WSOP):
Ferguson - 48 plays - 3 cashes for $23K (- 85% ROI) (-$232K)
Lederer* - 23 plays - NO cashes (-$63K)
Negreanu - 34 plays - 5 cashes for $157K (- 48% ROI) (-$67K)
Phillips - 15 plays - no cashes (-$33K)
Hellmuth - 30 plays - 4 cashes for $110K (+ 53% ROI)
5 legends - 150 plays - 12 cashes = 8% of the time in the money.
* Lederer won $250K (2nd place) in the Invitational Tournament of Champions
** ROI is "return on investment"