In the week leading up to the WSOP Main Event, here were some of my comments to my wife:
“I’m not going to play. I can handle $10k, but it’s still too risky.”
“Fifty-one percent chance I’m playing.”
“Don’t be surprised if you come home tomorrow and I booked it.”
“I might fly out there and try to satellite in.”
“I’m not going to waste my time and money just to try to satellite in. I’m only going if it’s the real thing.”
“I’ve waited almost two decades to play. I have to play.”
“You know what Theodore Roosevelt said about the credit not belonging to the critic or those who sit on the sidelines but those who dare to enter the ring?”
“If I book it now, I’ll have to fly all around the country because direct flights have skyrocketed to over $1,100. I’m not wasting that kind of money on airfare.”
“I’m going to regret saying this, but based on the way things are going this year, it doesn’t seem like the right decision. This is going to hurt all fall, winter, and spring, but I’m not going. I’m going to wait a year.”
I wouldn’t be playing in the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas that year, which was disheartening, discouraging, frustrating, pathetic, loser-ish, and painful, but I was banking on the theory that a lot can change in one year. The risk was that my financial situation worsened over the course of a year and I would no longer have the ability to buy-in to the Main Event.
Instead of playing in the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas, I opted to play in the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee events in August.
The WSOP circuit visits Harrah’s Cherokee three times per year—April, August, and November. I usually stay for two days, sometimes even just one day. This meant 1-3 tournaments despite the Circuit being in town for 14 days straight. Since I didn’t return to Vegas, I made a deal with my wife that I would stay at Cherokee from the first Thursday to the first Monday.
This would equate to about 3-5 tournaments depending on how I played. I had to stay until Monday because there was a 6-max tournament, and that’s fast-paced action. In regards to keeping my wife at ease, I had a plan.
The plan was to cash in at least one of those tournaments so I could sell my wife on the notion of staying the same amount of days the following week, which would include the Main Event (Circuit Main Event, not Vegas Main Event) and a High-Roller Event. The former was a $1,675 buy-in, the latter was a $2,200 buy-in.
I would play in the Main Event no matter what, even if I just drove out there for the day (a three-hour drive). I would probably only play in the High-Roller Event if I cashed in one of the earlier events.
Another important note here is that the winner of the $365 Re-Entry would earn a seat into the Global Poker Championship on that Wednesday, which had a $1 million guarantee and would feature some of the best players in the world.
Since Harrah’s Cherokee is the most popular stop on the Circuit, it was going to be incredibly difficult to win the Re-Entry event. The number of entries usually ranged between 2,000 and 3,000. April was usually the highest, and August might be closer to 2,000, but time would tell. The only thing I could do was play my A-game and remind myself that someone was going to win it.
I altered my strategy a little going into this series of tournaments. I was going to pull back the reigns on my aggression and focus on these four points:
⦁ 30 Hours to Cash (This isn’t true, but it was a good thing to keep in mind so I wouldn’t rush my play.)
⦁ Defense wins championships
⦁ Marathon, not a sprint
⦁ Brad Gilbert style—keep hitting it back and wait for the opponent to make a mistake. The math works out in the end. Can still be aggressive, but only at ideal times.
As you can see, it’s the same theme for all four points. These weren’t strategies but notes to get myself in the correct frame of mind prior to playing in the tournament.