My plan after busting Day 2 of the $3k HORSE was to immediately jump in the $1500 2-7 Triple Draw tournament, but it was 1 AM when they finally sent me to the rail and I missed the tournament I was looking forward to playing more than any other event in 2021. Sometimes these things happen for a good reason though. Joker was in town to play the deuce though and I decided to not get a piece of him because I know his experience in the game is super limited and my goal during WSOP is to reduce my personal variance so I don’t really love taking action from my friends when I’m down there.
Well, a funny thing happened. Joker crushed that tournament. He made the final table with the chip lead and ended up taking 2nd place after losing to David “Bakes” Baker heads up for the bracelet and a $54k score that bested my own personal records. I was impressed to say the least. Not just with the run, but also with hearing him talk about the pots he was playing and realizing how much he was leveling up from the experience. I thought when the tournament started that he was a bit of a 2-7 TD fish and by the time it cost me. Never again. Ride or die.
My next WSOP event was a $500 NL Freezeout and I was crushing on Day 1 until I punted it away (can’t remember how now) and found myself with a stub as we neared the money bubble. I ended up making the money and finishing Day 1 with 25 bigs, sitting above average with 133 players left from a field of nearly 3000. Once again, I fizzled on a Day 2 and ended up busting in 51st place for a $3200 payout. This cash made me 3 for 3 in No Limit Hold’em events though. I definitely focus on mix game tourneys, but I had been playing NL cash all of 2021 and it felt like the experienced paid off. I played a little bit of cash after busting out on Day 2 of this one, but the results were basically breakeven.
My next event was the $1500 Razz – the first time I’ve ever played a straight up Razz live tournament. I bagged 82.5k on Day 1 (shock) which left me middle of the pack with 98 players left and 47 of us cashing. Joker bagged a huge stack in this one finishing with 175k on Day 1. The Day 2 curse stayed alive as I never got any momentum and busted far from the money. Joker also got rekt on Day 2 this time and ended up finishing two spots out of the money.
I late regged the $3k 6-Max Limit Hold’em event after busting the Razz and spent most of the Day 1 smacking everyone around. I got torched the last level of the night with a number of sick connections: I had AJ of clubs on AK4cc2cK vs 44; KJ vs KT on KQ5T5; and AK vs AQ on KQ9Qx – all of which were at least 3-bet pots preflop. I ended up bagging 81.5k after peaking around 132k. After a night of sleep, the doom switch was immediately activated again and I lost every key pot I played on Day 2 and finished out of the money again. I did get to play with the GOAT poker commentator Nick Schulman though. He was cool, but I’ve noticed when he’s actually playing he’s not outgoing or overly friendly. That was definitely my experience as well.
By this time, I was completely over all the Day 2 run bads and I had a getaway planned for the next five days and headed to Zion National Park in Utah for some much needed rest, relaxation, and sight-seeing.
I actually really loved the way the WSOP schedule was organized last year. All the mix game events were kind of jumbled together and when I returned from Utah, the events I was interested in were all NL Hold’em tournaments which was a nice warm up for the Main Event.
I got back to Vegas in time to play the $2500 9-Game tournament, but I talked myself out of it even though I had mostly just been going for it. That left me open to fire all the bullets in the $400 Colossus and I sure as shit did exactly that, getting in for the maximum of four bullets. I definitely punted a couple of them but I somehow managed to make the money on the last one, but it was a min cash that only got me half of my overall investment back.
I played an uneventful online NL event before hopping in the $600 NL Deep Stack the next day and making yet another deep run. I actually had some momentum on Day 2 this time, but I lost an insanely bloated pot where my opponent absolutely punted with KQ when I had AK and got there against me. It killed me late in Day 2 and I ended up finishing in 67th for a $3500 score.
I took a couple days off before playing Day 1B of the $10k Main Event. This was my third time playing the Main and so far I was two for two on making Day 2 and busting relatively early. My 2021 WSOP was full of Day 2s and I had cashed every live NL tourney I played in the series (plus two online NL events), so I was feeling like I had a really good chance to get my first Main Event cash in 2021.
Things were going pretty well for me during the first two levels and I felt like my game was on point and that I was at a good table… and then a crazy hand happened. With the blinds at 200/400, I was on the button and the dealer dealt me a ten face up and a ten face down. They replaced one of my tens with the 8 of spades and I had T8 suited when the action went raise to 1000 and a call in front of me. I decided to see a flop in position and made the call also. The big blind made a very large 3-bet to 7200 and I was folding this hand almost all the time, but then both players called in front of me and I decided to gamble. I was 60k+ effective behind with the 3-bettor and the other two players had around 40k behind. The flop came down 874 with two spades, giving me top pair and a flush draw. With around 30k in the pot everyone checked to me. I thought it was unlikely my hand was good here and if I put a bet in, I was going to have to commit my whole stack to this pot, so I checked back to see what happened on the turn. It was the ten of diamonds, giving me top two pair and a flush draw. The big blind checked again and the original opener bet 9400 and Cole Ferraro (who had just won the $600 Deep Stack I cashed a few days earlier) called. I think it’s pretty clear I always have the best hand here. The preflop 3-bettor never has a hand. Neither Cole or the turn bettor would check the flop with a set or a straight after the 3-bettor checked in front of them and with a ten exposed preflop, it was impossible for anyone to have a set of 10s. Both guys that put chips in on the turn only had like 30k behind so putting them all in made the most sense to me. I jammed. The bettor ended up tanking forever and I was hoping he would call because it was obvious I had him beat… and he did end up calling… when Cole snap-called I knew that couldn’t be good news. He immediately rolled the J9 of spades over and I was absolutely fucked. He had the nut straight AND had my flush draw covered. It’s really the only hand combo that made any sense for him to play this way and there it was. The other ding dong got it all in with pocket jacks and luck boxed the river by spiking a 9 to chop the pot with Cole. I ended up losing like 2/3 of my stack in this spot that I could have very easily folded preflop.
I had about 30 bigs when someone opened the pot from middle position and I 3-bet him with AA from the big blind. The flop came K98 and I overbet jammed the flop and he ended up tanking for a while before nit-rolling me with 98 suited. I didn’t improve and found myself stunned to be an unlikely Main Event Day 1 casualty.
And that was my 2021 World Series of Poker.
Live Cash: -$1499 in 30.5 hours
Online Cash: +$2150 in 25 hours
Online Tourneys: 4 cashes in 12 events for +$3786 in 35 hours
Non-WSOP Live Tourneys: 0 cashes in 2 events for -$1000 in 11 hours
WSOP: 5 cashes in 12 events for -$10,714 in 171 hours
Overall: -$7277 in 272.5 hours
It looks worse than it was. My average buy in excluding the Main Event was probably around $1500 so bricking that one event has an absolutely massive affect on my overall results. Also, I had the biggest pieces of myself in the smaller events that I did really well in and much smaller pieces in the biggest events I played, so my personal net actually ended up being pretty good while my backers definitely took the worst of it. Sorry guys! I felt really good with how I played the whole series. I played 12 WSOP events and I made Day 2 nine times. That’s pretty damn good. Things never went well for me on a Day 2, but I still managed to cash in nearly 42% of the WSOP events I played and felt like I was a contender in every single tournament except the Main Event – both of my other two non-Day 2 bust outs were at the buzzer of Day 1. It wasn’t the greatest series for me as far as profitability, but it was a phenomenal year as far as experience and networking went. I’m on people’s radar now and I plan to stay there. I’m going to play an even bigger and bolder schedule in 2022 and I’ll be GODDAMNED if I have same kind of Day 2 run bad as I did in 2021. A breakout is coming. I’m calling it.
Some Zion pics: