WSOP Too Far Away

Posted at 19:39 2010-07-28

I stare at the monitor. It is blank. Utterly non-responsive. This is the second time I've broken the laptop.

I've just smashed the keyboard with my fist after losing with QQ v A2 on the bubble of a WSOP satellite on PokerStars. Now the screen sits there, mocking my rage with its indifference. I stand up and pace around the room, running bad beats through my head, clenching and unclenching my fists. Sure, I've only busted my laptop twice in two years, but that's twice too many.

Need to curb the tilt. Need to cut back on the keyboard mashing, the F-bombs, the frothing at the mouth. Need to cut down on chat box expletives. Need to stop scaring the neighbours, who by now must think they live next to a raving lunatic. Think about it - what would your average person, who has no knowledge of online poker, think when they regularly hear screams coming from a suburban house at 2am like, “You fucking called me with WHAT?!?” or “HOLD HOLD HOOOOOOOOOOOLD!!!” or “One time dammit ONE TIME!”

The problem is, of course, I play tournament poker online. And for the most part, only multi-table tournaments. There are few things more frustrating than MTTs. Razz? Yes, more frustrating than MTTs. Waiting for BP to plug the oil leak? Yeah that’s a bit frustrating. Men “The Master” saying “all you can eat, baby” for the 18th time? Yes, that’s quite annoying.

But a variation of the MTT tops all of these…satellites. The payout structure always sucks as the percentage of players actually winning anything is always quite small - usually less than ten percent, often less than five per cent, and sometimes there will be only one winner.

I don’t know how many times I’ve played for hours and hours, to end up with nothing at the end of a satellite. And this is the main reason satellites and tilt go together like peaches and cream; like Scotty Nguyen and Coronas; like tilt and smashed laptops.

I’ve had some results in satellites over the years, but I’ve never cracked a WSOP satellite. I played the World Series last year (through building my bankroll, not through a satellite) and I tell you this - playing the WSOP can change your poker mentality completely, as I’m sure the many Aussies are pondering as they sit on their 14-hour flights back home after their WSOP campaigns.

Firstly, you realise that tournament fields are relatively weak, even at the higher buy-in level. Yes, everyone says this, thus the name “donkament”, right? But when you cough up a couple of grand on a tournament entry and find yourself against players who don't understand the basics - how much to raise, pot odds, outs, position, hand rankings, how to spell poker - well, this never ceases to surprise me. The Poker 101 stuff is beyond half the field.

You also realise that because the fields are so weak, you can play competitively at that level.  You’re competitive in close to the top tier of tournament poker in the world. You have a positive expectation against the field. Think about that.

The WSOP is addictive. You need to play again, soak in the atmosphere, the rush of live play, the fact that nothing in poker is as satisfying as making your way to the final table of a big field tournament. The WSOP is the mother of them all and once you’ve got a taste – well, you need to chase that dragon. It’s hard to come back down from that high.

Nothing is like the WSOP. I thought last year would be my first and last time (this is what I assured my girlfriend). I meant it at the time (really, I did) but now – god no. Playing last year changed my game and my outlook. I started playing higher buy-in tournaments online and live, and the thought of throwing down a grand or two for a tournament became less and less intimidating.

Now I’m not going to pretend I’m a high roller. Not even close. A thousand dollars is a lot of money, but when it comes to a poker tournament, the money becomes less and less of an issue. $4.50 for a coffee? Ridiculous – you can take your soy-milk latte and shove it, hippy. But two grand for a poker tournament? Sure, no problem.

Now think about that monetary logic and then think about what your wife (or husband) thinks about it. Hmmm.

So I hop on my girlfriend's computer and start writing up this article. The WSOP came and went and I didn’t play. I’m gutted. For all my talk in this article of plonking down a few grand here or there for a tournament, I also happen to play a disciplined bankroll, and I hadn’t done enough this year to justify a trip to Vegas.  Vegas will chew you up and spit you out if you don’t have the bank roll to sustain it, and this year I didn’t.

So for those of you who made the trip – especially the Aussies – I hope your bankrolls and your games improved. But for me, as with many, the World Series was painfully out of reach. Until next year.

- Tim Napper

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WSOP dreams will have to wait until next year... WSOP dreams will have to wait until next year...

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