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Sole Survivor - WSOP Main Event

by Ian Simpson |  Published: Sep 01, 2013


Ian SimpsonSo in between blow heads snorting cocaine in the back seats of busses, prostitutes knocking on my hotel door asking if I had paid for a girl and some tosser going through my belongings I managed to play some poker whilst in Vegas. Oh yeah, by the way, never ever stay at The Quad hotel on the strip. There’s a reason it’s so cheap.

Perhaps I had been spoilt, for a good chunk of my trip Paddy Power was good enough to put me up at the Palazzo hotel which was fantastic. It’s the kind of place where there’s a remote control for the curtains and the mini bar boasts an “intimacy kit”. Whatever you just pictured that being, add one more item and you’re there.

Day 1b got underway when the iconic words “shuffle up and deal” were spoken by none other than the Legend himself Doyle Brunson. The button was placed 3 places to my right, meaning I was UTG and got to make the first action on my first ever hand at my first ever WSOP Main Event. I looked down at the first card as it greeted to me. A red king. I looked at the second card. Another red king. Assuming I’d peeled the first card twice I double checked my hand (we all know the story of the man who didn’t double check his hand) but I did indeed have two red kings to open the action. I raised, everyone folded and I took down the blinds. I table my hand and proudly announce my chip lead. You know, not counting the guy 150,000 ahead of me from day 1a.

I got off to a good start in the first few levels. My table draw was pretty good except for the pro Omaha player two to my left who gave me some trouble. It’s always important to catagorise your opponents, especially when you are likely to be spending the next 10 hours playing with them. I had two or 3 timid players on my table, who would have been proud to tell their friends and family if they made day two. I had a couple of strong players to my left which always makes life awkward, a friendly Russian bluffer and a few people who just had the money and the inclination to spend it having fun playing the main event.

The first few levels I played lots of small pots and steadily increased my stack. I really love starting with a deep stack so there’s lots of room to manoeuvre and feel out your opponents. I’d pegged one opponent as being pretty nervous, probably playing his first ever WSOP and possibly risking a bit much playing in a $10,000 event. I raised Jc10c on his BB. He defended and the flop came AhQs5c. He check called my continuation bet but hesitated as he reached for his chips. Having seen him do this earlier in a pot I wasn’t involved in I was confident it wasn’t a reverse tell and decided to bet any non-king turn. The 3c landed giving me more equity should he call a second bullet, but as planned he folded.

The Russian guy to my left just loved to bluff. He was to my left which is always awkward but I managed to make 2nd pair or top pair against him and call him down successfully a few times. On the 3rd time he got caught he put his head in his hands and dismally counted his chips. He’d thrown away over half his stack bluffing in the first two levels and was pretty dismayed about his start to the tournament.

With his confidence low I was ready to take him on after I raised pre flop to 500 with J10. The board came down Q74 and he checked. I’d be in a tough spot here if he check raised me so I decided to delay my continuation bet one street to see how the hand developed. The turn came another 7 and he fired 700. Not much of his range has really hit on this sort of board, and since he just couldn’t resist a bluff I decided to play him at his own game and re raise to 1700. He folded and started poking his last few thousand chips around as he counted them. Probably deciding how best to bluff them.

I caught even more of his bluffs as the day progressed. I won some tidy pots along the way with AQ having out kicked my opponent and gotten paid on all 3 streets and a couple of flushes here and there which took good pots. I found myself on 60k, double my starting stack. I couldn’t ask for a much better start to such an important tournament. Keep an eye out for my next blog to see what happened next. ♠

Science teacher Ian Simpson came fourth in the Irish Open 2012 for €107,500 and, as the last online qualifier standing in the main event, won the Sole Survivor contest netting himself another €100,000 – €50,000 in cash, €50,000 in tournament buy ins.