Tournament coverage Poker

WSOP Main Event Debrief

Written by Andrew W Scott

Our intrepid CEO Andrew W Scott is playing the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in Las Vegas at the moment and doing well! He has made it to day 4. His end of day 3 debrief is below.

The last three days of poker have certainly been a whirlwind of emotions: wins, losses, bad beats, lucky breaks, intense concentration and constant self-discipline. Welcome to the biggest and indisputably the most prestigious poker tournament in the world – the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

I’ve played this tournament a number of times before, but I have never made it as deep as this – to day 4. It is 2am (Las Vegas time) on Friday July 11 as I write this and at 12 noon I’ll return to the Rio All-suite Hotel and Casino, to play the all-important “bubble”, the phase of the tournament that determines who is “in the money” and who came “so close and yet so far”.

A total of 6,683 players stumped up US$10,000 apiece to play this event, creating a prize pool of some US$62,820,200. The winner wins a staggering US$10 million and the top 7 places all take home a prize of over US$1 million. The last 693 survivors of the tournament will all be in the money with the smallest prize being US$18,406. The other 5,990 players go home with nothing but a great story.

Playing this event is a dream come true for many poker players – in fact it’s a regular “bucket list” item for many, so I feel lucky and honored just to be participating. And even more so because as I write this, there are just 746 players remaining alive in the tournament, and I am lucky enough to be one of them.

Day 1 started for me on Monday 7 July with the standard starting stack of 30,000 chips. My tables were soft and I was comfortable all day, being moved from one table to another only once in the day. By the end of the day I bagged up 70,550 chips, after being over 100,000 at one stage. Day 1 (and every day so far) was 5 levels of 2 hours play.

Day 2 started on Wednesday 9 July (the Tuesday being a rest day) and I managed to grind my 70,550 chip stack up to 94,200 after being somewhere around 175,000 chips at the start of the last level of the day! A tough last level but the main thing was I was still alive at the end of the day. In fact, my internal mantra for these three days has been, “Find a way to survive the day”. I was moved twice during the day and all three tables were manageable – no particularly great players to joust with.

Day 3 was yesterday, Thursday 10 July. It was completely different from days 1 and 2. I didn’t move today at all, being firmly entrenched in the enormous Amazon room of the Rio on table 407 all day. My table was tough – very tough! We probably had about six players bust out on my table today, so I saw about 15 players on the table. I would say only 2 of them were a touch soft, but they certainly weren’t terrible. The other 13 were all good, young, solid players who knew their stuff, with career prize money of somewhere around the US$400k mark. No idiots. I did get my stack to 192,000 chips at one stage, but at the close of play I was back down to just 81,000 chips. Not much – but still alive!

World Gaming Group has three Directors and we all played this event. The other two have now busted giving me last-man-standing bragging rights, but this also means I am now alone in the meal breaks and other breaks between levels, so I have to totally motivate and focus myself. There are no “poker capable” friends to ask opinions of regarding various hands I played. Many other of my poker friends have busted — the Rio has gone from a mad crowd to something much more tense. By the end of day 4 that 746 players will be down to something around 300, and the tension will be much, much higher again.

Well I better get to bed now as it is just 10 hours until the spectacle of infamous “bubble” begins – that’s where desperate short stacks (like me!) try to cling on to life and make it into the last 693 players, and the big stacks try to bully them around and bust them. It will no doubt be yet another emotional roller coaster, especially with the blinds and antes getting enormous at 1,500/3,000 blinds and a 500 ante.

I’ll be on table 391 in seat 1. Wish me luck!