Chicago Poker Club readers, here's Aaron @nevermissmassey Massey's 7th installment in his summer WSOP series. Read to the end to learn how Massey perseverance pays off in a big way. Originally, this post was to be called Dethroning the Kings, but alas, it has a mostly happy ending...
A lot has happened in the last week since coming back to Vegas, after going home for my “Chicago Vacation”. After getting a little taste of success in the Venetian before going back home, I was eager to get back to work and try to make it happen. I arrived in Vegas at 4am last Tuesday after catching the last flight out of Chicago the night before. I was scheduled to play the WSOP $2500 that day at noon and was sooooo happy that I had made it in time. I played that day and every day since in an effort to make that money… Here’s a recap…
WSOP $2500 - This tournament was juicy, first place was over 750k and I came out swinging. I started off with a tough table that included my mentor, Kevin Saul. I started getting my hands on some chips, then, I bluffed 75% of them off to some crazy German idiot who wagged his finger at me after my failed attempt. Then I ran my stack to above average just in time to have pocket Kings cracked (re-occurring theme) by 45… That was that.
WSOP $1500 - I was a top 10 stack in the room on dinner break, I was playing and running well and had a feeling that I was going to go deep. I come back from dinner break and proceed to run AK into AA, AK into KK, QQ into AA, and to add insult to injury, I get my last 9 big blinds in with A10 against AJ. I lost every hand.
Venetian $1100 - I Bluffed off half my stack then got pocket Kings cracked (re-occurring theme) by KQ suited.
Venetian $1600 - I Get down to 28 players and the money bubble. 27 players get paid and we are only 1 person away from cashing. I make an open raise with A5 from the cutoff, the kid on my left who is an aggressive psychopath re-raises me like he has been doing to everyone all day.
I don’t know what I was thinking (probably something like “I’m Aaron Massey, and you are some wiener that I used to pick on in high school. How dare you raise me”), but I decide to come over the top for my whole stack. He snap calls with AK and eliminates me in 28th place. As I walk away disgusted at what I had just done to myself, I hear the announcement of everyone making the money and everyone clapping and cheering. It was a miserable feeling but I deserved it. I let my ego get in the way of me making the correct decision, my number one weakness as a player. I was beyond upset with myself, but knew I needed to respond like a champion… There was another tournament the next day… The WSOP $1000…
It is so tempting to write a blog post about a hand that one lost after “playing it correctly”. This is one of those, such, hands. Playing it correctly, is of course, in quotation marks because (a) this is a subjective measure, depending on who you ask, when you ask, and the respondent’s bias, and (b) even through my own lens, I’m often not confident about my decision making. If nothing else, I very frequently feel differently about a hand the next morning than I do the night before. This is not one of those times. Even so, (a) applies, and many of you will disagree with me. At one time I had the time and energy to invest in continuously improving my game. I had visions of being an accomplished player, but given my other interests and commitments, I know that I will be relegated to a semi-occasional poker punter. Had I continued to develop my game beyond where I am today, my analysis of this hand would be undoubtedly different. Were I a more recreational player, of course, my analysis would be simpler. The irony is those times when the effect of my analysis on my actions is the same, despite the analysis being so different. THIS is why so many people enjoy the game of poker.
I was at the Northside last night, and pleased with my play for the first time since Jimmy Carter was in office (no, I am not that old). Sobchak was two to three seats to my left, depending on the table population and I had just button raised his big blind with AJo while the table was 5- or 6-handed. Sobchak three-bet me out of position, and I decided this was one of those times he had a big hand, 88 or better, and very possibly dominated, and I folded my button. If you’re thinking “he doesn’t have enough information to narrow a wild man like Sobchak’s range in this spot”, you don’t know how much history the two of us have, and you’re still correct.
Sobchak does such a great job of merging his ranges, mixing up his betting lines, and also taking advantage of his great familiarity with my game. In short, he’s a bitch to play against, but we play the same games, he’s a friend, and he forces me to play better.
I showed my AJ in this spot, sending something of a message – I am playing tight, I’m not screwing around against you, I’m making “solid” decisions. (See my previous expose on quotation marks).
The fact that I folded my AJ in position in this hand will make you scratch your head a bit when I tell you about the hand in question, and it’s all a part of this dance that Sobchak and I do.
I had to leave the World Series and come home for a few days. I made a commitment to my friend Gina that I would, under no circumstances, miss her wedding, even if it meant having to take a flight on my birthday. It was actually pretty cool though, the clock struck midnight while I was in the sky but I was not sure which time zone I was in. Well, I guess that isn’t that cool at all… you really realize it after you write it down. Now I’m rambling. Back to the facts;
Thursday night I had a little get together at a bar in my neighborhood. A bunch of my friends and a few of my cousins came through and bought me a bunch of beers and shots. There is so much value in going out for your birthday. You are guaranteed to eat and drink whatever you want with no chance of having to spend any money. It’s a pure weekend freeroll and I understand this, as I am a man of value (not values… lord knows I have no values). Unfortunately, most of the people who attended my little party had to leave at some point of the night. Why would they leave you ask? The reason they had to leave is because they are real human beings with real jobs and it was Thursday. Lame. After the bar a smaller group of us went out to a late night club/bar. It’s not a club, but it’s not a bar either. I don’t what you call it. I guess you just call it “Evil Olive”. We go there and as usual it’s a freak show. A compilation of Wicker Park’s finest. There is an overall skater boy motif going on; tattoos, black rimmed glasses, sneakers, skin tight jeans, backpacks, etc. And as usual it’s a bunch of dudes… a standard experience of nightlife in Chicago. Even though I’m being negative I really did have a great time and didn’t end up getting home till like 4.
Friday there was a family party at my Mom’s house. It was a joint party for my birthday and my sister’s 8th grade graduation. It was fun and as usual, my uncle Tony came by and told a bunch of hilarious inappropriate jokes. Oh wait… this is funny too. We are sitting in my backyard at the table eating. Some older lady comes over. Supposedly she is my mom’s friends but Ralph and I have never seen her before. My stepfather tells us that he doesn’t really like her. We’re all eating and out of nowhere, at the exact same time, Ralph and I look at each other with the same idea… Before Ralph could say anything I loudly blurt out the “F” word. Moments later Ralph loudly asks me a few questions regarding my genitalia (I am being politically correct here). This goes on for a bit. We are trying to embarrass my mom in front of this old lady just like we used to when we were kids. We’re grown men and Ralph is like 41 years old. We were the worst kids, I mean, the absolute worst. After the party we went out and joined some friends for a “joint” birthday party. We had a table and good company but it was kind of annoying because the place was slammed and there was a group of these suburban girls dancing next to the table bumping into our space therefore making it uncomfortable (you can tell they are from the suburbs by the dresses they wear and their all important choice of shoe). My friend Matt, who is huge by the way, starts bumping into them with some aggressive dance moves, and knocks them around until they get the point and fly away lock a flock of seagulls. We hit the after club for a split second and go home.