I have been thinking lately about a particular paradox in my life and trying to figure out how to handle it. The paradox is that as I have become more well-known for playing poker, it has become harder and harder for me to find time to play at all. I mean I just played in the Bellagio Five Diamond $15,000 event and that was literally the first live poker tournament I have played since the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. I can’t even figure out how that happens. There was a time when I played poker basically every single day. You couldn’t have kept me away for almost six months. And then the irony of becoming famous for being good at my passion and then not being able to actually play… that is ridiculous.
How did it get to be six months? Okay, so I always take the month after the WSOP off, so that explains July. In September, I was going to play the Bike tournament, but then I had to film the “Best Damn Poker Show” for UltimateBet.com and the filming was scheduled right in the way of that event. I couldn’t go to WSOP Europe because it conflicted with Aruba, so that was out. Then, I went off to play in the Aruba Classic, but found out that I booked a TV show in New York, so I had to leave because I needed to arrive in NYC by the end of September and that is exactly when the Aruba event was going. In October, I had planned to play in the Festa al Lago, but was still stuck in NYC. Then, I had two “Poker After Dark” tapings scheduled for November 2nd and 3rd, but, you guessed it, I was still unable to get away from the East Coast. Grrrrrrrrrrr. Canceled those too! So now you can see how all of a sudden December was on me and the Five Diamond was going and this was the first big event I could play. How does someone’s life even get that out of control? It makes no sense.
Okay, so now I have made a renewed commitment to poker and I have a lot of it scheduled in the winter and spring. I was planning to go to the Borgata, but then they pulled out of the World Poker Tour, so I am waiting on the Commerce Casino and I am going to hit that one hard. I am planning to play a ton of preliminary events and the Main Event as well. I am scheduled for the Shooting Star at Bay 101, the first time I have been able to play that in three years. Maybe I will actually be a real poker player in 2009 again… gasp! I am actually really excited about it.
One of the things that makes me excited is that I feel like maybe I can get back in the groove again now. It was really weird for me playing the Five Diamond because time seemed to pass super slowly, which is a real oddity for me when I am playing poker. Usually, I blink my eyes and the day is done in those things. For some reason, I was having trouble with that this time and feeling like the days were just dragging on. That may in part be because the structure was super slow on Day 1, which really slowed things down. I mean I like a slow structure as much as the next guy, but the Bellgio took it to a level of ridiculousness. $45K in starting chips and the highest you get to is $300-$600 on Day 1. The problem I have with that is that even if you began Day 2 with your starting stack (which I basically did at $50K), then you are in amazing shape. And that just doesn’t seem right to me. $50K with $400-$800 blinds is a ridiculous number of chips. So, the first day was a bit of a waste.
Here is how much of a waste it was: Andy Bloch and I were discussing the fact that if we had the choice, we would have preferred to just buy in for $15,000 at the beginning of Day 2 and start with 45K in chips, but save a whole day of our time. That is silly if that is a logical decision and I think in this case it would be completely acceptable to do that if you value your time highly. The flip side is that when we got way down, when there fewer than 100 players and the blinds were $2K/$4K, all of a sudden the jump goes to $3K/$6K. I would have preferred a faster structure earlier when it didn’t really matter and slow it down later without a 50% jump shoved at us. The WSOP has that beautiful $2,500/$5,000 level and it was well-missed in this event. I don’t see what is wrong with slowing it down later on.
Not only that, they also paid 20% of the field. What the hell was that? I totally get that recreational players like to say they cashed and I am down with paying 20% of the field in super low buy-in events. I get it. But this was a $15K buy-in. It just seems like there is no reason to be paying that deep. I know I came in 76th and was annoyed at getting $21,000 back knowing that the payout meant they had taken over $1 million out of the top spots to pay those extra 50 players. I want the big reward for finishing well. I don’t want the dribs and drabs for making it sort of deep, but not really getting a result. I just don’t believe people playing in $15,000 events are recreational. I don’t think they are looking just to cash. I really don’t like this whole 20% of the field thing at all. I guess I just prefer the way the WSOP does those things.
But, whatever, it is not like I am not going to play in them anyway. Here I am so happy to be back to playing and I am just griping about the payouts and the structures. That is so like me! I am such a pain in the ass.