"Las Vegas" July 2020 Trip Report

 

Due to Covid-19, the WSOP circus that usually takes place in June/July in Las Vegas at the Rio was moved online.  So we adapted....   Online poker is legal IF you are physically located in the state of Nevada.  So me and our promo#24 winner (Brian Dixon aka drivingfool) headed to Nevada.  We stayed in Sparks and poker binged for 3 days online.  I usually ask my poker promo winners to write up a little trip report about their experience and I add it to mine.  I know lots of you enjoy reading about our adventures.  Well....Brian wrote up such a great/thorough trip report that I think he summed it up beautifully.  Hope you enjoy the read...

 

When you are done, feel free to register for our NEW upcoming multi-month Tahoe promo HERE.

Sparks Were Flying at the WSOP   

by Brian Dixon

 

It was an online poker players dream scenario.

 

Two new friends, beer, two laptops, a full refrigerator, two big monitors, multi-table play, tough competition, playing twelve to fifteen hours-a-day for hundreds of thousands of dollars and coveted WSOP bracelets. 

 

A great poker time was had, as Chris Simone and I battled the best online players at the 2020 WSOP Online tournament.

 

The trip started with a little last-minute planning. This year’s games, due to Covid-19, had two ways to go. Cancel altogether and reschedule next year, or hold the “Big Show” 100% online. The challenge wasn’t that WSOP chose the latter, it was that they did not make their decision until mid-June, well after the normally scheduled date. This caused Chris and I, and I’m sure many other people, to scramble to make hasty travel arrangements.  

 

This year, the first 31 WSOP bracelet tournaments are on the WSOP.com website, and the remaining 54 tournaments are on GGPoker. If you live in the U.S. you must be domiciled, meaning you have to be physically located in Nevada or New Jersey to play.

 

This posed our first challenge: Should we fly to Vegas, drive to Tahoe, or head to the Reno area? After an exhaustive room research project, we tentatively settled on Tahoe, and prepared ourselves for $300-$400 a night, for a modest single hotel room.   

 

I was about to book our rooms, but Chris’s wife came through at the 11th hour. She was able secure a two-bedroom timeshare apartment/condo in Sparks NV, which is the neighboring town just past Reno. Happy times! Two separate bedrooms, comfortable beds, a full kitchen, couch, AC, and living room that had a couch made for two people who had poker binging on their agenda. Even better, the cost was a fraction of what we would have paid at the hotels. Thanks Francine! 

 

Initially, it was a little strange planning to spend three days with someone you have never met in person before. Chris arrived at my house and immediately quelled any concerns I had. After a friendly hello, complete with a social distance elbow bump, we were on our way, ready for a weekend of poker escapades.          

 

We arrived at around 1:00pm, and our rooms would not be ready until 2:30, only half-hour before our first bracelet event was scheduled to start. Both Chris and I were not that familiar with the WSOP.com poker software, but easily became proficient with a quick small stake tournament in the car to warm up.

Our first bracelet event was the $600 NL Monster Stack. We settled into playing and both quickly noticed one major aspect of the table play...IT WAS AGGRESSIVE! I mean dialed up to 9.5 aggressive. You could not min-raise with your suited connectors, in early position, and get to the flop. You were four-bet almost every rotation. Ok...a bit of adjustment was necessary. If you had connectors, you had to 1) get rid of them in early position or 2) You had to be the one making the 4-bet. So we adapted our play. Additionally, if you had, let’s say, AQ in mid-position, and raised in an open pot, you would get constantly re-raised. Second adjustment. We finally both got in the groove. Midway through the tournament, my KK ran into AJ, all the money went in, and I was out. I wasn’t happy with the result but content that I got it in with the best of it.

 

Meanwhile, I jumped into several other smaller tournaments and watched Chris get closer and closer to the bubble. Play went hand-to-hand and he made the money.  The top 330 out of 2005 players got paid and Chris ended up in 259th place.  It was a great start to our first day and a wonderful beginning to our World Series. We continued to play in tournaments until early morning, trying to squeeze every last hand in until our bodies told us we had to shut down.

 

The second day bracelet event was my dream event: No-Limit Turbo Deep Stack 6-Handed. I had big expectations for myself, as I play a lot of cash games with friends in this format, and some online games for fun. I enjoy the wider range and more frequent rotation. I managed to build my stack up to $155,000 and was in the top 10% of the leaderboard, and was feeling pretty good about my play. A couple of close coin flips, including a heartbreaking big loss with my JJ vs 10,10. You can guess what came on the river. Both Chris and I played well, with no major mistakes, but didn’t manage to cash in this tournament. The cool thing was Chris jumped into two smaller tournaments after he exited, and managed to cash in both.

 

The funny thing about the WSOP. You either build a stack and continue to build it, or the increasing blinds, plus a couple of close-call losses, combined with aggressive and well-skilled players, put you on your heels. You then find yourself with a short stack, looking for a spot to shove with some fold equity.  At times it truly felt like a grind and felt like you were treading water for hours on end. Oh well, there was always the next day.

 

Our last tournament was the Big 500 No Limit event. By this time, we were both in full gear, and ready to make some waves. We had both played at least 15 tournaments of various sizes by this time, and we were ready. However, fate had other ideas. Chris lost a coin flip early and was out. My tournament was like a yo-yo. Up to $50K, down to $12K, up to $65K, down to my starting stack. I finally got some mojo and rivered a 2 outer and was up $10K above my initial stack. Then I ran into a set with AK and my last bracelet event was over.

 

Not satisfied with my results, I jumped into two smaller multi-table tournaments and managed to cash modestly in both. I finished in the top 10% of 550 players and 450 players. As you get close to these tournaments, the blinds are so high it’s honestly a shove-fest. A funny thing...We hadn't focused much on dinner this night as we were busy playing, and Chris got a hankering for some Mexican food at 11:30pm at night, and swore this famous taqueria just down the street was open. He left, while I continued to play in my tournaments. Expecting to be shoving a burrito in my face a few minutes later, I instead received a text from him. The nearby taqueria was closed, and the new place he had in mind was in a sketchy part of Downtown Reno. In the end, Chris arrived 30 minutes later with enough food to feed 5 people. We happily finished every bite!

 

Overall, it was an outstanding trip. I met a new friend, both on the virtual felt and off, we had some amazing conversations, played poker until our eyes crossed, and had the time of our lives. I can’t thank my gracious host enough for the opportunity to join him on such a wonderful poker adventure.

 

Thank you Chris, for your hospitality, camaraderie, generosity, and the fact that I had a partner-in-crime for three days of poker bliss.     

- Brian

Well written Brian!  

It is time to kick off our next multi-month Fall Tahoe promo#25!  You must Register if you would like to participate even if you have played before.  CLICK HERE to register.  Reminder: You must live in Santa Clara County or nearby to participate