I made day 2 with of the main. We started with 60k, returning with 88k and a dream. There were a few interesting hands but today I wanted to share some reflections on other aspects of day 1.

I drew the Ballys room, by dinner time they had us seated 10 handed, ugh. One table over from me was Phil Ivey also enduring the 10 handed poker experience. It was already warm (because they are putting too many bodies in that room for the capabilities of the HVAC system) but then extra bodies crowded around to watch Ivey in addition to a camera crew making it even warmer. Yes, we were warned that day 1D could be 10 handed but that doesn’t make it right. Seeing one of the greatest in our game playing the flagship event 10 handed all seemed kind of pathetic to be honest.

But there were lots of cool aspects too, apart from Ivey, one table over one way was Nate Silver, one table over the other way was Fedor Holz. It’s also a fun confidence boost when you see Fedor busting and walking out of the tournament area while your dream is still alive. I kind of enjoy that Vince Vaughn is the master of ceremonies but he did his entrance in a different room and Caesars was too cheap or lazy to set up a video feed to the other room with several thousand players so we just heard some trumpet music.

I drew what I suspect was an above average soft table but this is not the first time my main event table has been soft. This is why it’s the only 10k event of the year that I play. Every year its an unprecedented opportunity while simultaneously being a longshot. I was definitely the only full time player at the table. A couple of the guys were pretty good and nobody was outright terrible but play was mostly predictable and fairly weak passive. Even the guy who was running like God (quads twice, boat over boat once, nut flush over set once, flush over straight once etc) missed massive value when he overboated somebody. He also found a reason to fold QQ on the turn, after I 3 bet him preflop and fired flop and turn on J445. I had A2 never imagining he would fold an overpair. 

But the main thing I wanted to talk about was how you always see such a great variation in how people handle adversity. By level 2 when things weren’t going smoothly for them two guys became quite whiny and remained this way all the way to bagging chips at midnight. These are grown men who undoubtedly have a lot of success in whatever their main line of work is. It’s always strange to see them wilt at the first sign of trouble. A lady who got coolered in a set vs nut flush hand and was down to 20k chips (which was still 40bb!!) managed to light the remaining chips on fire in a zero equity bluff that made no sense. 

Honestly, anyone who is grounded in holdem fundamentals and can keep their composure would be +EV in this tournament. It’s at least as much about the mental and physical slog as it is about any exceptional skill.

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