[ Adventures ]
a little skill, a little luck, and then…
Yesterday was frustrating, because I was in a WSOP tournament that should have worked very well for me—a $2500 event that gave you 7500 chips to start. At the cheaper events, you get fewer chips, which means you often have to make moves sooner than you might like. A nice, big stack like 7500 chips should mean that I’m comfortable for quite a while, and that I have the chance to go deep—to last a long time.
But as with the $3000 tournament, the higher price tag meant a higher quality of player. I don’t know whether the guys at my table are outplaying me, but when I bust out before the dinner break—and since this tourney starts at 5 p.m., a pre-dinner bustout means I’m cooked in less than four hours—I’m pretty sure that I have allowed the intimidation factor to ensure that I’ve outplayed myself.
I turn to my usual therapy: another tournament.I am mortified, frustrated, and furious with myself, especially since this is the last WSOP event before the Big Dance, so I turn to my usual therapy: another tournament. One good thing about this Series is that, with the exception of my very first day, I’ve done pretty well in my second-chance tourneys, which means that most of the time, my initial defeat hasn’t put me on tilt (or when it has, as on the day I should have benched myself, I have benched myself).
Last night followed that reassuring pattern: although I was grouchy, upset, and struggling to stay calm, I got into the 10 p.m. tournament at Caesar’s and somehow managed to play it cool. Despite the presence of a very skillful, aggressive, and lucky player at my table, I avoid my usual stack envy and focus on my own play, exactly as The Numbrist would have me do. In fact, learning for once from my mistakes, I stay calm and focused even when my chip stack dips below the magical 30-big-blind number I need to feel comfortable (there are mathematical reasons why that number is so important, but I clearly need to learn patience and clarity and correct play when my stack falls below it).
As a result—or rather, as the happy accident that is also a reward for my correct play—I find myself fairly equally stacked with the other 8 players when we reach the final table. A deal is struck, we divide the prize pool among us with a tiny bit more for the top two contestants, and I take home about $600 for my $80 buy-in. Although for The Numbrist (or any real pro) these numbers would be laughably small, by my standards they’re not bad, especially since there were some real pros in tonight’s tournament, or at least some guys who are playing most of the WSOP events and planning to buy into the $1000 Bellagio tournament tomorrow. I’m sticking to the cheaper seats—the $350 noon tournament at the Venetian—even though it is now 4 in the morning. That’s okay: The boost from my moral and financial victory should outweigh the sleep problems.