WSOP 2012: indirect trip report

I enjoy writing trip reports of my time in Las Vegas. I never got around to finishing my writeup when I went out to play the World Series of Poker last year, though. The notes I took are pretty funny when I look back at them now: "Bally's 7/11 Freedomfest"

"Jerry's Art-a-rama"

Those were events listed on a big board at Bally's--possibly the schedules for various of the hotel conference rooms.

"Woman as if shushing spilled water."

This, if I recall correctly, comes from video poker at Bally's. (I learned enough VP so that I can get coffee more cheaply by playing VP and getting it comped than by buying it directly.) A very drunk woman spilled a glass of water on the bar and her first reaction appeared to be to shush the water.

"Tanning pseudoscience."

No idea.

"Paul Mullins--rugby charity poker?"

A note from when I was scouting my day 2 table draw.

"Old-school VP font."

I thought it was interesting how VP machines quite often have a retro aesthetic. (It seems that I used my VP/coffee intervals as times for serious reflection and note-taking.)

"Tiny stakes at Sahara--$40 + $2 phone. Open-air tournament at O'Shea's. Late night at Aladdin. Off-menu cheap steak @ San Remo. 20-40 LHE @ Mirage when that was a thing. Caesars and Wynn when they were supposed to be the center of the poker world. Old room near nightclub at MGM. Upstairs @ Foxwoods where you could play 5-10 LHE w/ full kill & watch the gathering snow go red in a CT sunset."

Looks like I was recalling poker-related experiences that are now, in various senses, no longer possible. Seems like the sort of thing I would write during a VP session.

"Scooter W bath"

During one of the first bathroom breaks of the Main Event, I was exiting the men's room and saw a big guy on a scooter speeding out of the women's room. Another bystander and I made eye contact. I furrowed my brow to express confusion. He said: "what the fuck?"

"33 unbluff image / r UTG 525 euro call SD call / 832r bet 850 call call / Q bdfd bet 1750 fold r 6500 / riv 2o ch bet 11k of 20k fold."

The record of a hand I played on day 1. The first-ever strategy hand of the Thinking Poker Podcast. I raised under-the-gun with 33 and what I believed to be an unbluffable image. A European pro called and so did a guy in a San Diego Padres cap. The flop came 832 rainbow; I bet 850 and they both called. The turn was a Q, putting up a backdoor flush draw. I bet 1750, the European pro folded, and the other opponent raised to 6500. I called. The river came an offsuit deuce. I checked, the opponent bet 11000 of his remaining 20000, and I folded.

"Gareth, killer impersonation, you know it's accurate w/o having ever seen the target."

I met Gareth Chantler for the first time. We had Indian food on a dinner break. I was impressed at his impersonation of an acquaintance of his and it prompted some reflections on epistemology and authenticity.

"Appleman quote?"

Probably this refers to something in The Biggest Game in Town, my favorite nonfiction nonstrategy book about poker: if I recall correctly, Mickey Appleman is quoted as saying that poker would not be worth playing (for him) if it were not a spiritual endeavor. Unsure what prompted me to recall this.

"Plays poker as expression of his moral outlook. Our Commitment to Excellence. O/U 2.5, # of companies in which he is a big [illegible] decisionmaker."

My impression of an opponent at a table I was moved to partway through Day Two of the Main Event.

"I trade, on avg., 5 to 600K a day. I'm what they call a swing trader. --Giants"

On Day One I played with a guy in a Giants uniform who said this. I believed and still believe it's true.

"LAD cap gesturing w/ beer, spilled on ~50yo woman."

A guy in a Dodgers cap couldn't resist talking with his hands, I guess. I remember this being really funny.

"Pushing guy raises to 1100 of 8k, next 3b to 2325 (!!!) He prob has a hand but I can't fold AK (reasons). Call button, raiser calls. Flop QJx hh. Ch, bet 6k (!!), I fold (I have Ah), fold. He show QQQ."

A hand from day 1. Someone obviously trying to gain chips raised to 1100. The next player to act reraised to 2325, and I thought the bet sizing was very strong, but I also thought that AK and position was too much to fold. Not wanting to four-bet, I called on the button. The original raiser also called. The flop came QJx with two hearts. It checked to the guy who'd made it 2325, who bet 6k, which is a very big bet for this situation. I folded even though I had two overcards, a gutshot straight draw, and the Ace of hearts. The other guy also folded and the bettor showed that he'd flopped top set.

"'I'm like, 'Excuse me. I'm in business school. I'm a real person.' (Aria buffet, unironic.)"

Overheard. The Aria buffet is quite good, FWIW.

"Battle rap?"

This was happening near the escalators next to Bally's on the Strip, right where Elvis impersonators often hang out. Two guys with a boombox and a cheap microphone. One was quite good, the other terrible.

"Nose moving chips around b/c getting head massage."

This was what an opponent of mine was doing in a cash game. I was equal parts amused and grossed out. This note was written on an Aria napkin, which makes me think this was a 2-5 NL game.

"AK r, Ali rr 2600, call -- K52r / 2 / 9 -- 3k/6k/11.5k AQs"

A hand where I called down a bluff. A woman named Allison reraised my early-position raise and then fired all three streets on a K52/2/9 board with no flush draws possible. I checked and called all the way down. This was uncomfortable: that kind of pressure represents that one pair is no good. But I thought she'd be prone to pot-control or bet less with a hand like AA, and I thought she wouldn't reraise with 55 or 22, and I had a blocker to KK, and anyway she was giving off a lot of aggressive signals, which often means weakness. Also from scouting her on Twitter I suspected that she hadn't played this tournament (or at least made it to Day Two, when this hand took place) before--and such players are often over-prone to chase after money they've invested in a pot by launching bad bluffs. I decided to call with my AK and she was bluffing with AQ that had totally whiffed.