Travel Snafus and WPT World Champs

Travel Snafus and WPT World Champs

Double-checking my itinerary would have been sensible

I’ve a little bit of a historical past of journey mishaps on my approach to Vegas. On considered one of my earliest WSOP journeys over ten years in the past, I booked (or thought I had booked) an itinerary that required me to spend a couple of hours in a single day in Heathrow. After idling in terminal one for some time after my arrival and typing up a weblog entry, I headed for terminal three, which I used to be assured was the Virgin Atlantic terminal. Lengthy stroll, however positive – didn’t I’ve all night time? I used to be greeted at terminal three by the sight of VA logos all over the place, which was encouraging. Much less encouraging was the absence of any signal of my flight to Vegas on the screens. Hmmmm. Higher examine the outdated itinerary. A fast look on the aforementioned itinerary revealed the supply of the issue right here: my flight to Vegas from Heathrow was really from Gatwick.

 simply in time to see each store, meals outlet, and tube station within the joint slam its shutters shut

Having no notion of essentially the most economical method of getting from Heathrow to Gatwick however harboring a powerful suspicion that the reply wasn’t “TAXI!”, I made a decision to catch the final prepare to Paddington. That acquired me into Paddington round 1am, simply in time to see each store, meals outlet, and tube station within the joint slam its shutters shut. Hmmmm. After ascertaining that the most effective plan of motion now was to tube it to Victoria after which catch the Gatwick Specific, I used to be left with the minor drawback of what to do for the subsequent 4 hours till the tube station reopened.

The reply I got here up with, and I acknowledge it proper right here proper now to be laughably sub-optimal, was to spend the night time in Paddington shivering on a bench like a homeless particular person, surrounded by precise homeless individuals. And let me dispel any illusions you may need: spending an evening shivering in London’s draftiest and least enticing prepare station with no meals and no rest room and simply your overheating and dying laptop computer battery as your solely warmth supply is just not as a lot enjoyable as you would possibly suppose.

A couple of hours into this, I observed considered one of my homeless compadres had skulked off someplace. A bit of investigation revealed the vacation spot of the skulk to be an inexplicably open, however empty ticket workplace which afforded significantly extra shelter and warmth than the concourse benches. Higher but, it boasted an influence outlet. As I reveled within the plush environment of the ground of the ticket workplace recharging my laptop computer and my spirits, I acquired all philosophical about how even the smallest issues can turn into enormous luxuries in the proper gentle.

My reveling and revelation didn’t final lengthy although: a station safety man materialized to chase us again out onto the concourse with shouts of “get out otherwise you’ll have me sacked.” I wouldn’t have thought his job safety was a urgent concern to the homeless fraternity, however no one argued. He shot me a very quizzical look: I assume he’d by no means seen a homeless man in a white Miami Vice jacket clutching a laptop computer earlier than.

Lastly, on my method

My partially regenerated battery acquired me via ’til 5am, opening time for every thing. Hurray! The Circle Line tube trip to Victoria was rendered all of the extra surreal by the truth that I used to be the one human within the carriage, and my companion the one hen. Sure, an precise hen of the flying feathery selection was sitting on the seat subsequent to me, wanting up at me like he’d by no means seen a homeless man in a white Miami Vice jacket with a laptop computer earlier than. I took an image of him with my cellphone to show I wasn’t hallucinating. I additionally suppose it’s simply as nicely the ticket conductor didn’t come till after the hen acquired off at Notting Hill to inform the opposite birds his “hey, you’ll by no means guess what I noticed on the tube this morning” story, as I’m fairly sure that the hen was not in possession of a sound ticket.

The Gatwick Specific leisure was supplied by the panicky American outdated girl decided to drive her silent and sullen husband around the twist with very public fretting over them lacking their aircraft. “We have now solely six hours earlier than takeoff! Are you positive that’s sufficient time? How lengthy does this prepare take to get to Gatwick?”

I used to be tempted to up the ante by telling her “Ah, you’ll be grand, it hardly ever takes greater than 5 hours,” however the husband appeared prefer it wouldn’t take a lot for him to snap, so I left it. As an alternative, I targeted on the positives of my frigid night time. It most likely surprises no one that is aware of me that I used to run for twenty-four hours continuous for no good cause apart from to see how a lot it might mess me up, that I prefer to put myself via some type of pointless ordeal once in a while within the view that it “builds character” and “places issues in perspective.” Anyway, while you’ve endured an evening like I simply had for no good cause apart from your individual stupidity and lack of consideration to element, you kinda want to seek out some type of silver lining.

Fairly the improve from my prior WSOP journey expertise. [Image: Dara O’Kearney]

I tweeted fairly a bit about my connection woes this time on the best way to the WPT World Championship on the Wynn, and bleated about them on a current episode of “The Lock In”, so I’ll spare you the threepeat. The cliffs are I missed my connection in Heathrow and after a number of hours of being shunted from queue to queue, I ended up making an attempt to guide an airport lodge solely to seek out all of them booked out. My buddy Alex O’Brien got here to the rescue, and I ended up spending the night time in rather more salubrious environment than that night time in Paddington. Alex is the right hostess, and had champagne on ice served in gold glasses prepared on my arrival.

Didn’t money, however heard Phil Hellmuth sing

David Lappin and I have been staying on the Wynn Encore for the journey, simply my favourite lodge on the strip. I used to be additionally blown away by simply how nicely run your entire competition was. I affiliate enjoying in Vegas with all of the worst of the WSOP: countless registration queues, incompetent workers, dreadful sellers, poor meals choices. None of those have been issues right here – it was one of many smoothest-run festivals I’ve ever attended.

Come on, I need to hear you sing.”

I had a tricky Day 1 scuffling with card dying and dropped very low at one level, however managed to bag up a bit greater than beginning stack. My Day 2 desk featured the one and solely Phil Hellmuth, who’s at all times enjoyable to play with. We had some good banter when he learn a tweet by my co-author Barry Carter suggesting I used to be a 90s reggae singer. Once I declined Phil’s cajoling to sing, he handled us to his personal rendition of Drake. My neighbor turned to me and stated: “Come on, I need to hear you sing.”

“Belief me, you actually don’t. It’s actually unhealthy.”

“It may well’t be worse than Phil’s Drake.”

Having began the day comparatively brief, I used to be teased by doubling my stack within the first session, knocking out a shorty in a flip and successful a couple of different respectable sized pots. Simply after the primary break, I acquired in AKs towards Jacks for nicely above common, however couldn’t win this flip.

Facet occasions: two heads are higher than one

I fired three bullets on the thriller bounty with out making Day 2, coming very shut with the second bullet. I had constructed an enormous stack, however my Kings misplaced to QJo close to the top of the day.

I additionally fired two bullets on the 1k on the ultimate day. The primary didn’t final lengthy (my Kings acquired outdrawn by J9 in a three-bet pot), however the second introduced me not removed from the bubble. This time my AKs misplaced to QQ.

By now, I used to be already technically within the tag staff occasion. After he busted his second bullet, Lappin went and regged us each, joyful to play all of the palms till I busted within the 1k.

It’s a recreation of being whittled away, hoping to get an enormous infusion earlier than you ante out.

This was a tag staff occasion with a distinction. Whereas it was technically Maintain’em, each pot was a bomb pot. For these unfamiliar with the idea, the supplier offers a hand to everybody after which a flop (so there’s no pre-flop) after everybody antes. This seems like numerous enjoyable in concept, and bomb pots are apparently used to enliven money video games. As a event format, although, it doesn’t actually work. It’s a recreation of being whittled away, hoping to get an enormous infusion earlier than you ante out. Each pot is large, however your probabilities of successful it small (1 in 8 or nevertheless many gamers there are at your desk). You want a powerful hand to wager into that many gamers and a powerful one to proceed dealing with a wager.

Total hours glided by with no single elimination and a type of gallows humor engulfed these of us (many of the remaining discipline) who have been type of regretting our resolution to enroll. One man stated it reminded him of the early days when “My associates and I’d all play. None of us had a clue so we’d limp each pot, examine it right down to the river, after which discover out who gained.”

Staff Chip Race was hanging on grimly close to the bubble, then acquired some warmth and truly hit the chip lead briefly with six left. Lappin recorded the entire thing for the newest episode of “The Lock In”, which he assures me is his masterpiece as a director. We ended up busting in 4th for just below 5k, a partial journey saver.

Guess who learn my guide?

In between tournaments I signed a couple of books for a couple of people and was notably heartened by the variety of individuals taking the difficulty to inform me how a lot they respect them. One, specifically, caught in my reminiscence due to the gorgeous method it was worded. As I strolled again to fireplace my second bullet on the 1k, a tall good-looking younger man requested: “Are you Dara O’Kearney?”


“I simply need to say I don’t admire many poker gamers, however I actually admire you in your books and work. I simply learn GTO Poker Simplified and it made an enormous distinction to my recreation.”

He sounded Francophone so I requested his title and the place he was from.

“Eliot. From Montreal.”

Once I handed on this encounter to my co-author Barry Carter two days later, he stated: “You imply the Most important Occasion winner?”

For the primary time, I made the connection. The day after stopping to speak with me within the hall, Eliot Hudon from Montreal had closed out the WPT World Championship for over $4m, defeating Benny Glaser heads up.

Remaining desk modified in a rush

I’d stopped paying shut consideration to the Most important Occasion after I busted out, however was conscious that Benny Glaser went in as huge chip chief and favourite to win. The overall consensus was that with virtually half the chips and essentially the most expertise, he’d have the ability to put all of the others in an ICM coffin. Everybody else besides Eliot was brief (sub-20 large blinds) and Eliot had solely half his stack. This put everybody however Benny in a horrible ICM spot ready for others to bust.

All of it modified a couple of palms in. Choosing up AJ underneath the gun, Benny simply open shoved. This can be a shove that’ll get via more often than not, and Eliot, specifically, wants a really sturdy hand to name (particularly Kings or Aces). Sadly for Benny, Eliot had a type of palms, Kings, and held, flipping not simply the stacks however the entire complexion of the sport.

the play was worthwhile, however not optimum

To place it in layman’s phrases, it’s much like betting 35 of the 36 numbers on the roulette wheel, a wager that may normally end in a small revenue however sometimes a catastrophic loss. ICM specialist Bungakat (who kindly allowed us to reference a few of his sims in our “Endgame Poker Technique: The ICM E book” posted the outcomes of an HRC sim he ran that indicated the play was worthwhile, however not optimum.

Let the talk start

Debate raged via the poker group and the Benny rail over the play. My very own view was as follows. Even when the play was optimum (and I don’t imagine it’s based mostly on the sims I’ve seen) I personally wouldn’t suggest it on this spot. Whenever you’re essentially the most skilled participant on the desk with a commanding chiplead, you possibly can railroad your approach to victory the overwhelming majority of the time with small bets and raises. Preflop solvers don’t account for this type of future fairness and simply contemplate every hand in a vacuum. Earlier than the ultimate desk began, I requested a number of top-class gamers how usually they thought Benny would win from right here they usually all estimated his probabilities at 90% or increased, and reckoned that he got here second the remainder of the time.

it was a 1% threat he didn’t have to take

When he bumped into Eliot’s kings and didn’t get there, the stacks flipped, and he was now in the identical horrible ICM state of affairs Eliot was at first (solely worse, as a result of the was out of place to him). The truth that Eliot cruised to victory from there underlined this level even additional. Sure, Benny was very unfortunate to run into the 1% of palms that may name, nevertheless it was a 1% threat he didn’t have to take. If the professional evaluation that Benny was 90%-plus to win at first is correct, this shove ended up costing Benny nicely over 1,000,000 {dollars} in fairness.

I ran my very own sim for a video with Barry Carter the place we talk about the shove, the decision, and all related components. That sim additionally signifies that the shove is worthwhile however not optimum, and that the optimum play is a min-raise. We shared a cab to the airport with Jack Hardcastle, who concurred. He stated he’d haven’t any shoves on this spot, preferring the small ball strategy. We each agreed it might be completely different if it was a brilliant excessive curler ultimate desk with Michael Addamo, Stephen Chidwick, and three different gamers significantly better than us. In that occasion we’d fortunately shove and hope.

Eliot’s win was extraordinarily spectacular. He dealt with himself with super poise and style, giving a really gracious winner’s interview. The delight of his small close-knit rail of precise associates would heat essentially the most withered of hearts. His execution on the day and over the entire event suggests that is the beginning, not the top, for the soft-spoken lad from Montreal.

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Author: Sean Gray