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Poker Is Not Dead - The WSOP's "Big 50" Is The Biggest Tournament Of All Time With Over 25,000 Entries , Including Me, Who Found A Bag For Day 2

Poker- confirmed not dead!

The Rio in Vegas is an absolute madhouse right now, and it’s not because DJ Pauly D is spinning tunes a the club. Nay, it’s because the WSOP has kicked off, and they are in the midst of hosting the biggest poker tournament of all time. That’s right. The WSOP, to celebrate it’s 50th birthday, ran a tournament called “The Big 50″, where it cost $500 to enter, players start with 50,000 chips, and the prize pool is guaranteed at $5 million. So a good structure, a low price, and a huge prize pool? Well…yeah, that’ll do it. People came in droves, including yours truly, to get a piece of this. This tournament simply had too much value to miss. A $500 tournament at your local casino, even some of the bigger ones, would boast a guaranteed prize pool of maybe $100,000. A $5 mil guarantee for such a low buyin is unheard of. And man did the WSOP hit a grand slam with it.

I decided on Friday that I was coming to Vegas the next day. I booked my flight and my hotel and decided to leave NYC for the first time in…in a very long time. I took an 8:30 am flight on Saturday morning, with plans to jump into the Big 50 directly from the airport. But the Big 50 had other plans for me. While I was in the air, it sold out. Every seat was sold. And not just that, but the Sunday flight was dangerously close to selling out. So the first thing I did was sit down in the Vegas airport and register online for the Sunday flight. Crisis adverted. Kinda.

You see, it’s great that the WSOP finally allows you to register online for events. The bad news though is due to some gaming laws or what have you, they need to verify your credit card in person the first time you register using it. So they have 1 line, for one kiosk, to get everyone verified. And it because the perfect (shit) storm when thousands upon thousands of people had to stand in 1 line to get verified. Despite the kiosk being open 24 hours a day, during the Big 50, it was a 1-2+ hour line, every hour of the day. So while I was technically registered for Sunday’s Day 1, I still needed to get my credit card verified. So I did that Sunday morning. The tourney started at 10, I got in line around 9:30, and I sat down at my starting table at 11.

My first bullet didn’t go so hot. Actually, before I go on, let me tell you about this guy at my first table. He was a machine. He played every hand, and ran hotter than I’ve ever seen anyone run. He had 200k at 300/600. He called down everything, and was turning trips with his J6o, rivering full houses with his A4 to beat AK on A4k boards, it was madness. Never seen anything like this guy. And he took a huge chunk of my chips before I eventually busted getting my pocket kings all in pre flop against my opponents pocket 8s. He turned an 8 for a set and that was all she wrote for me.

Which brings us to re-entry. You were allowed 1 re-entry per flight, so I could re-enter the tournament after busting. The problem though, is there was a massive, and I mean MASSIVE line for late registration/re-entry. People lined up starting at 8am (probably earlier to be honest) to wait for someone to bust so they could get a seat. WSOP starting seating late regs at 11am, and by 1pm when I busted, the line to get into the tournament was 2+ hours long. I mean everywhere you looked inside the Rio it was just people waiting in lines. Lines backing up into other lines. Lines here, lines there, lines everywhere. It was a KB wet dream.

And they were putting people literally anywhere they could. Literally. From the gift shop

To an old abandoned bowling alley turned storage area

It was simply nuts.

Not wanting to stand in a 2+ hour line half out of principle, half out of “I’m in Vegas, I can find something better to do”, I ventured out. I had lunch with my friend Alex (we went to Rise and Shine which is a steak and eggs joint and it was incredible) and then had a couple drinks and watched the first half of the Raptors/GSW game with my guy Remko. It was then that I saw a tweet from Kevmath that said the late reg line had basically died. So I decided, hey, I came to Vegas, I’m here, let’s fucking hop back in this bad boy and see what we can do.

So I jumped back in. 50k starting stack at 2500 bb. I chipped up to 66k first level, which unfortunately took us to the 70 minute dinner break. I would come back from dinner with 66k at 3k bb, so still with work to do. Oh yeah and during break I

1) Got photographed for the WSOP’s in house photographer’s daily series where he made me look really cool


2) Did an interview with WSOP, which was dope.

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But then, tragically, I lost half my stack. I thought I was done for.

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Had 31k at 3k bb. I got a shove through and was up to 38k. And then I got in AK vs TT all in pre flop and hit a K for a much, muchhhhh needed double. And then a few hands later I doubled AGAIN.

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And as you know, when I have chips, I love raising and they love folding.

I was having a great time at my table. It was a very laid back, fun table. It’s always great to engage everyone at the table, make everyone feel comfortable, and then exploit the shit out of them. *Evil laugh here*. No but really, it was a very fun table to play at.

I entered the final level of the night with 148k at 5k bb. 30 bigs, not too shabby, considering I was down to 10 not too long before.

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And then I took off. I was dominating the table, and making hands too. Flopped a set of jacks once for a good pot, and turned a straight another hand for a decent payoff. I bet big on the river in that one trying to look like I was bluffing trying to make him fold, but he ended up tanking for 5 minute and folding. Maybe I should have bet smaller, but I thought the only way I’d get paid off was if I looked weak. I guess I need to work on my looking weak face.

People want to put chips in a bag. So you can get super aggressive at the end of a day. And that’s what I did. I started the last 50 minutes with 147k and ended with….

BOOOOOOM. 363k baybay! I’m guessing average is around 225-240 or so, so I’m feeling good sitting above average like that.

What I learned from this tournament is to not get down when you’re low on chips. You can always find spots to spin it up. I think I played some of my best poker in a very long time. I was patient, I took great spots, and my bet sizing was decent. Feels great to have 363k in the bag coming back to 6k bb at 10am on Tuesday morning. You have to play basically all day on Tuesday to make the money, so I’m in for another doozy of a day. Hoping to just keep playing my game, make some hands, and keep running it up.

Make sure to follow Cracking Aces on IG where I’m doing most of my updates. That’s where I did all those above updates. I’ll also be tweeting from the CA Twitter account too. 

So hey, I get to say I bagged the biggest tournament in poker history. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Make sure to listen to the Cracking Aces podcast every Thursday. We’ve had on Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, and 2013 Main Event champ Ryan Riess so far. I’ve gotten great feedback about it, so if poker interests you, I definitely would love for you to listen. Our most recent episode with Ryan Riess is a big WSOP preview episode, so definitely give that a whirl before I start up again tomorrow.

Til next time, this has been Vegas Nate.