November 2006
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My Poker Investment Portfolio Starts Here

I’ve never bought or traded a percentage in another player before, but now I have ten percent of David Buckle in next year’s WSOP Main Event.  Not a big name player, I grant you, but it’s got to be better to walk away from a tournament with a lottery ticket than a big fat zero.  So that’s what I did.

Last night was the £150 WSOP super satellite at Gutshot that I won entry into last week.  With 33 players and a handful of rebuys, the prize pool just topped the £6500 mark – just enough to award one Main Event seat with flights and accomodation.

The complete prize structure looked like this:

1st: £6500 package
2nd: £115

Somewhat top heavy.  With one buy in less in the prize pool, we’d have been playing for three packages with a $1000 super-satellite at the Rio and some spare change for 4th place.  Despite almost everyone in the tournament preferring to play for three places, the prize structure stood and we weren’t able to chop the package.  The final add-on was actually taken by someone who wanted to play all-or-nothing for the big one, knowing that paying the extra £150 would be enough to create the seat.  And that was that.

So with twenty-something players remaining and just one prize greater than the price of a buy-in to play for, I wasn’t going to hang around.  Looking down at AK and having a below average stack, I figure I have to take a shot, even facing a raise and a reraise that already covers my chips.  I’m hoping to run against two smaller pairs, or one smaller pair and a worse ace.  In either of those spots, I’m about one-in-three to triple up and that’s plenty good enough.  In fact, I end up drawing a bit thinner, against QQ and KK.  When the KK is slowrolled after seeing both the other hands, karma kicks in and sticks a queen on the flop right up his arse.  There’s a jack too, so I’m calling for a ten to make a winning straight, and the turn card dutifully obliges.

I should have tripled up here, but somehow I got stiffed on the pot.  I moved in for 3200, but ended up with 7300.  It should have been virtually 10k, but thanks to the excitement of actually still being in the tournament, I didn’t notice until half way through the next hand.  All I can think is that my side pot was only awarded the first player’s original raise; whatever happened it was too late to do anything and I had to try to convince myself that it wasn’t going to matter that much.

Actually, it was about as insignificant as you could hope for.  From that point on, I only committed all my chips twice; once defending my blind with A2s (my reraise was called after an eternity by 35s, and I still don’t understand why but it made breathing difficult for a while) and then when I was actually eliminated in fourth place, with my AJ losing to K9.

With four players remaining and the cardroom still unwilling to chop up the prize the best we could come up with was for the winner to give 10% of any World Series winings to each of the other three.  We hastily scribbled an agreement which the club are keeping in their safe; far from perfect but even a forum post is more than anyone claiming to have a piece of this year’s winner had.  Even though the deal really probably isn’t worth much (although, of course, it could be worth 10% of $12m…) it no longer felt like I’d been playing for six hours with still a chance of going home with nothing.

I was pleased with my performance, and definitely got more out of this tournament than I expected.  Most importantly, I got a lot of high-pressure final table experience.  The stakes were way out of my comfort zone (my seat was worth over £1700 before I busted, and I couldn’t lock in any of that equity) but I didn’t choke.  I stayed patient and made good decisions.  I’d built a table image that I could take advantage of.  I always believed it when I told myself I had as good a chance as any other player to take first place.

I was also very pleased that I managed to walk directly back to my hotel without passing any places that I’d only ever seen on Monopoly squares!  This is a first for me, and although it’s nice to see London by foot, it’s not ideal when you’re alone at 3am and are a little unsure of the way.  Plus, I was disappointed last week when I discovered, by accident, that The Angel Islington was just another Wetherspoons.

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