Day 13 -Time for a plan
|Jesse May in
Its time to talk about the
need for a plan. Succeeding at the World Series of Poker without a plan is like
playing the old computer game Zork with no map. You might get lucky once
through the maze, but forever after youll be eaten by grues. Take 100
very successful poker players, and I guarantee that you can split them in half.
Half of them center their entire year around the money they will make at the
WSOP, and the other half spend the entire year saving up the money that
theyre going to blow there. No matter how talented some people are they
never seem to solve the pitfalls of May, when having a carefully thought out
plan is only helpful until its eleven thirty in the morning during the
fourth week and youve been up all night trying to make up for a bad beat
you took on the bubble in your best event by playing seven one-table
tournaments, and then you decide to compound things by sticking lord knows how
much money in the pot limit Omaha rebuy tournament because you decide
theres not much more to the game than sitting back and waiting for the
nuts. It can happen quite quick.
Las Vegas is hard by itself without all
the World Series hoopla. Were standing near the snack bar this morning
when approached by a successful Internet player on his first trip to Vegas.
Vegas is so easy, he says, Doesnt bother me at all. For
one thing, I never go on tilt. Never ever. Thats Day 1 talking, the
euphoria of the well slept beginning, when the games seem juicy and the
bankroll seems large and youre within your limits. I wish the man well,
but Ill revisit him two days before hes set to go home before
believing. Somewhere after the first week youve first been in Vegas, even
the toughest nuts find that the wall falls down.
Last night Im on
the rail sweating the last few tables of the Omaha Hi-Lo event, when Paul Wolfe
shows up, cracking jokes. You never realize a guys been gone until he
shows up again, but you can spot a well rested soul from a mile away.
Where you been, Paul? I ask. Havent seen you in a
Wolfe took some time off to visit his daughter and some family
downtime. What a disgrace. Gives poker players a bad name, Howard Lederer
agrees laughingly from his seat in the tournament. Imagine. Taking time out
from the World Series of Poker for rest and relaxation. I mentally move Wolfey
onto my players Ill consider betting on in the main event list. By the
middle of the WSOP, a well rested player sticks out like a sore thumb.
Its nearly eleven pm on Mothers day and the room is howling.
Everything is going on. The Omaha Hi-Low tourney is on the bubble, 28 left
paying twenty-seven. The ladies tourney is down to four tables. The 2nd chance
event has started, and the final table of the No Limit Holdem is heads
up. What a buzz.
An all-in on the Omaha and a redraw. One lady left in
this event, one woman who scoffed at the restricted event for the open side,
and no wonder. Its Annie Duke, sitting next to her big brother Howard,
and theyre both still in. Annie had a good run in the NL shootout the day
before. Most tables were done when hers was still five handed, but she tortured
them in the end. Here she is in the four seat with Howard in three, and
Annies wearing retro preppy, a green t-shirt over a pink long sleeve. The
tables a bit of a who who Mel Judah and Erik Seidel along with the
joker Artie Cobb, and Thor Hansen to boot. Matt Savage is teasing Seidel
fiercely. Erik Seidel is in the money, he announces to the whole
room. Eriks WSOP has been a bit light this year, by his standards, but
hes in his usual good spirits, which is to say a wry smile, eyes that
take in everything, and a pronounced silence punctured by
Artie Cobbs partner is on the rail behind him.
What a line-up, she says eyeing the remaining Omaha players.
Theres only like two left that I dont know. I ask her
where Arties hats have gone. Cobb was famous for his collection of silly
hats, big hats that hed wear while playing at the Horseshoe, and ten
years ago were the times when youd see Artie Cobbs hats and name at
about six WSOP final tables every year. Apparently they sold all the hats when
Jack sold the Horseshoe, and now Cobb only has one hat left a white
leather affair with a rabbit sticking out the top which hes pledged to
don upon making any final. But its unlikely thatll be in this
event, Arties been desperately short for a while and between hands he
whispers, Im gonna need some luck.
John Nguyen wins
the No Limit Holdem shootout at the exact moment that Phil Hellmuth gets
knocked out of the Omaha. A roar goes up, and a round of applause, but
its for Nguyen. Hellmuth is fine about it, on this night hes not
bitter at all, and stands chatting on the rail for a while with Cyndi Violette
and Andy Glazer before wishing the remaining players good luck and heading out
of the room.
Annie is giggling about how she check-raised Howard on the
river and then scooped the pot. Most players might imagine that if their sister
checks to them after the last card in a WSOP event then its a pretty good
time to bet your hand for value, but to these two it means something more. It
means that theyre too ethical to soft play each other when integrity is
at stake, and you gotta like that. Howard is the perfect big brother straight
man, and you can just imagine Annie relentlessly teasing him when they were
nine and twelve, Howard bearing up stoically. Although twenty minutes later
when Howard gets short stacked and raises with the kings, Annie triple raises
with the aces double suited to send him to the rail, and Lederer looks a little
like he wants to say, I have no sister. It was pretty funny.
went on to win this tournament along with her first gold bracelet. Poetic
justice that it happened off the television table at the same time the ladies
only event final table was being filmed by ESPN. Two open bracelets this year
have now been won by women, well over their proportionate representation in the
fields. I think theres something to be said.