WSOP $2,500 Shorthanded Write-Up
One of the WSOP events that I was looking forward to the most on this year's schedule was the $2,500 shorthanded event which took place last week. With basically no experience in live shorthanded tournament play, I honestly did not know what to expect when I showed up at the Rio to play. One thing is for sure, it's a lot more comfortable having only six players at the table than nine or ten. It's too bad shorthanded tournaments aren't more economically viable for casinos; it was a highly enjoyable format for a live tournament.
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With just five opponents to deal with rather than eight or nine, the table draw becomes more significant. Having one or two pros at the table could crush one's expectation. Thankfully, I recognized no one at my starting table.
One thing about these low buy-in, large field (this one had 1,012) WSOP events is that, on paper, the structure is not all that great relative to the buy-in. However, since so many of the players are bad, the structure kind of becomes artificially good since players bust out too quickly. At one point seemingly early on day one, a player commented that we "only have 200 players left." I thought he was joking. At the time, I would have set the over/under at around 500 players remaining. But when I looked at the tournament monitor, I saw he was right. We lost literally 80% of the field in not more than a few levels. To put this into perspective, we played ten levels on day one (starting at 25/50 and concluding at 500/1000). In that time, the field went from 1,012 to 75!
Thanks to two big hands, I went to bed with the 9th largest stack in the tournament.
First, during 200/400/25, I started the hand with around 25,000 and called a raise from Jon "FatalError" Aguiar with Ace-Five suited. The flop was Ace-Six-Five. He bet 1,750, I raised to 6,000, and he called. The turn was a Seven putting two hearts on the board, he bet 10,000, I moved all-in, he called and lost with Ace-Jack of hearts. I was only a 59% favorite to win that hand. It was good that I did since it gave me one of the largest stacks in the tournament.
Not too long thereafter, I made a raise with pocket Jacks. Two players called and we saw a flop of Ace-Jack-Seven. I made a standard continuation bet, one player moved all-in and the other player called all-in! Of course, I called immediately and had them both drawing virtually dead for an enormous pot. Their hands were Ace-Seven and Ace-Queen.
The next day, I returned to find Dario Minieri sitting two to my left with a huge stack. Dario is a fantastic young poker talent from Italy who plays extremely aggressive. Needless to say, I was relieved when our table broke allowing me to escape with no harm after an hour of his company. A day later, Dario took down this tournament for his first WSOP bracelet.
Surprisingly, players busted out on day two just as quickly as they did on day one. Having seemingly made no effort, I found myself among just 20 remaining players. Unfortunately things hadn't been going all that well for me. I had been quite card dead and situation dead. By the latter, I mean that things such as having Dario on my left, being at a table with no easy targets to pick on, and being re-raised a lot forced me to climb into a shell. With 15 big blinds left, I moved all-in from the button with Queen-Jack. A player in the big blind called and I was lucky enough to win a race against his pocket Sixes.
About ten minutes later, it folded to a player named Todd Terry in the small blind. He had been rather aggressive and continued this habit by raising my big blind. I re-raised him with pocket Sevens and immediately called when he declared all-in. This particular bracelet wasn't meant to be mine; an Ace on the flop made Todd's Ace-Jack worthy of 15% of the chips in play.
I found it both surprisingly effortless and highly disappointing to make it deep in a large-field WSOP event only to bust out near the end. The $19,000 which accompanied my 18th place finish was certainly a nice consolation prize, though. It will certainly fund more small buy-in, large-field WSOP events of which I am now a huge fan.