It’s 9:07 p.m. and I’m back at my hotel. Yes, that’s a little too early for bagging, even if the hotel is right around the corner. I lasted 7 hours and 30 minutes and finished somewhere around 62 of 140 entries. That’s not very good. I didn’t run good, which made it tough, and I made a few big laydowns (these were correct), but no excuses. I also made a few mistakes. One mistake is too many in a tournament. Aside from one big mistake, they were all minor, but even minor mistakes add up.
At 7:19 (after the dinner break), I had 30k (started with 20k, so I was well below the average chip stack at this point). At 7:30, I was out. This happened over the course of three hands.
Hand 1: K9-off from the Button. Everyone folded to me. I raised 3x the BB. I had been playing very tight (much tighter than SPATS), so I hoped for two folds, but the BB had arrived only about an hour earlier and called.
Flop: 7d 6d 2h.
I bet half the pot.
I now figured that since he was in the big blind, he hit a piece of that flop, but I also assumed that given my image, he’d put me on an overpair if I kept betting.
I bet 3/4 of the pot.
Regrettably, I didn’t have the heart to fire a third bullet. Then again, I hadn’t established a tight enough image with him and he might have called with a pair of sixes. He took the pot with that hand (a pair of sixes).
Hand 2: I raised 3x the BB from UTG +2 with AT-off. The button (aggressive player) min-raised. I called.
I checked to induce a bet.
I check-raised to take the hand down right there, but he called.
I checked to throw him off, hoping to get a call on the river. This bet-check-bet pattern has become popular throughout the pro and semi-pro crowd recently, and I look to implement it once in a while.
I checked to induce a bet, thinking it would be a big one. He bet 7k. I snap-called because of the non-threatening board.
He showed quad deuces.
Hand 3: I was down to 6.4k and shoved immediately with 9d 8d, which ran into Jacks and lost.
I guess going too far with the bluff in Hand 1 was my big mistake. There are two ways to look at it. The first way is that it’s a good bluff because I’m in position, he could fold, and if he doesn’t fold, I have outs. The second way to look at it is that I knew he hit that flop because he stuck around from the big blind. Therefore, I should have aborted the mission and preserved chips—the key to tournament poker. Hindsight.
With a $1,675 buy-in, this wasn’t chump change. Yeah, I could write it off because my books sold and I was writing about the experience, but it still hurt. Despite the write-off, it’s not a freeroll. It’s a 50% discount (approximately). I also felt like I let my family down. I traveled for the weekend, thinking it would pay off. Not only did I fail, but the turnout for the tournament was low due to a $365 buy-in/$1 million guarantee at the Hard Rock Hollywood on the same night.
Maybe I should have known things would go bad after my dinner break because of my dinner experience.
I ventured to Panera Bread with a limited time allotment, received a sloppy sandwich with no heart put into it at all, and then I couldn’t find my rental car in the parking lot for 15 minutes because it was so similar to dozens of other cars in the parking lot. And it didn’t make a beep-beep sound when I clicked the button. Somewhere within that parking lot, a car was lighting up every time I pressed the button, but I couldn’t find it. This was all while dodging elderly pedestrians and drivers.
I’m very conflicted between thinking ‘I’m a good poker player constantly educating myself’ and ‘I’m fooling myself, wasting my time, and I’m a loser with a gambling problem.’ I honestly don’t know which one I am. If you have ever felt this way, you’re not alone.
Based on recent failures, I promised my wife and son that I would not play poker again until the April WSOP Harrah’s Cherokee stop (currently November) unless I cashed for at least $10,000 at WSOP Harrah’s Cherokee over the next two weeks. Whether or not that happened might have provided a hint as to my poker identity: skilled player or loser gambler.
I know this book is about my poker journey, but unless you’re a pro poker player and millionaire, it’s about all of our stories. We’re all different people, but we’re also more similar than you think. According to a DNA survey, humans are 99.9% the same.
I will be 30 minutes from my dad tomorrow and I will have nothing to do. Should I call him to meet for lunch? It depends on which side of the bed I wake up on.
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