I don’t want to make this too long and want to stick mainly to poker, but do fire away with any questions as more than happy to talk WSOP or other non-poker adventures!


I arrived at the Rio on Wednesday night, day 1 of the High Rollers event. My girlfriend doesn’t deal sensibly with jetlag so she immediately wanted to sleep at 6pm local time which meant I could head down to WSOP and sort my third party buy in and check out the action. It being my second time, walking down convention way wasn’t as exciting as 2011. Saw Joe Cada, Sam Holden and Grafton, took a peak in a busy pavilion room, but not really ecstatic yet. The buy in was really easy, the site I qualified with had the guys behind GSOP buy me in and it was just a case of going to the will call desk. Went to see Brasilia Gold where I would be playing Thursday and then went to find some high rollers. By the time I had seen a swarm around Phil Ivey’s table and captured this table of death (not often you feel sorry for Erik Seidel) I was like a kid in a candy store and fully excited at being at the WSOP:


Saw the legendary Penn and Teller that night!

So to Thursday and event 49, my shot at a bracelet! I cannot overstate the importance of table draw at the WSOP, both in terms of who is at you table but also the rapid rate that tables break in the small buy in events. Sadly my table never broke and it was pro heavy Started with Shannon Shorr, two guys who went deep in a recent 3k and only one weak player – he was a maniac so I was lacking in the recreational villains with their WSOP clothing. The poker gods had cruelly placed 3 on the next table

I was getting dealt more than my fair share of QQ+ in the early stages, but never connecting with anything, but was able to stay around starting stack. I think best I got was a rivered flush where villain folded. The table draw got worse as our latecomer had a good excuse – he had just shipped event 42, still made the bracelet ceremony at first break more interesting since I was playing with the guy (Hungary has a fine national anthem). Nick Abou Risk came and sat on my left, which is far from great!

Once I had gotten down to around 20bb I doubled with AK>KQs, got short and doubled with 76s vs Nick’s A4. My final hand (18bb) saw me raise from early with QQ and get a call from the SB. I cbet the 7 high flop and naturally called a raise. He shipped the 9 on the turn and I am obviously hoping to see TT or JJ rather than a set. He turns over KK which isn’t what you expect a call out of position with less than 20bb effective, but hey a cooler consistent with my demise with KK vs AA,AA two years prior.

Overlooking the fact that I did not cash, considering the table draw, I was happy not to make any major mistakes and win several hands versus pros (there wasn’t really many other players to target!) Much prefer the 25/25 first level and 4500 starting stack to the 1k events.

Friday was non-poker, did a lot of visiting different casinos. Ate best sandwich ever at Earl of Sandwich in Planet Hollywood (thanks to blonde poker for that eating tip). Rode the rollercoaster at New York New York (much better than I expected). Went bowling and ate dinner at Ping Pang Pong at Gold Coast. Was in need of sleep after that day. I did go down to WSOP in the morning to take advantage of the Wifi and have to say how impressed I was at the ladies event. I did not watch any but the buzz in the hour before it started was unlike anything I have ever experienced. A real genuine excitement and loads of players recognising each other. Completely different to the non-excitement of the poker I played while in Vegas. Apparently no men entered for 10k so definitely a success. Anybody who does not think there should be ladies only events wants to experience the excitement of that event.

Saturday became all about a deepish run in the bounty event, was pleased that Tony Gregg won the high roller. He is known to be a nice guy and we were impressed with how quickly he ran to the restroom during play on the Friday! As would be expected my edge was decidedly bigger in a $560 buy in event. I was expecting more than 300 entries. I was quite impressed with some of the play, not all the older gentlemen were straightforward rocks, but fortunately some were. The big hands played were getting QQ in pre twice three ways and holding up. Also shoved a turn with top pair that was quite an interesting spot. The bounties were worth $500 so I was always going to shove relative rubbish like Q6 in the SB when I had a short bounty in the BB, he called with K8, but hit a 6 to be effectively free-rolling heading towards the bubble. No great spots so I was pretty short when the bubble burst. Second hand that I shoved in the money was more than good enough KTo, got looked up by A6 and couldn’t hit. That left me with one ante chip … A literal chip and a chair. The next two hands were fun. In the first I am heads up versus KK and the first card I squeeze is an ace from space. I hit an ace on the river and have just over 1BB. Again I am all in versus JJ and first card I squeeze is again an ace unfortunately a J on the flop seals my 32nd place finish + bounty.

Given I qualified for the 1.5k event you could say that it was a profitable trip, or at least one that more than paid for itself. But I lean towards seeing it as down money after the two tourneys played. But at least I have a US flag now.

On Saturday we moved out of the Rio and into Ballys, I liked staying on the strip but did not like packing and unpacking halfway through my stay. Ballys is fine, much prefer it to gimmicky places like Paris, Flamingo, Planet Hollywood and New York New York. While we are talking casinos, do not like the feel of MGM poker room since it was moved quite a while ago. Prefer the location of Planet Hollywood's poker now. Favourite casino was Caesars and the poker room is one I would like to play in despite it being away from the main casino.

Other noteable Vegas experiences included helicopter to Grand Canyon (avoiding thunder storm), record temperatures, Seeing the great show Absinthe at Caesars, Eiffel Tower “ride” at paris (worth it for the pics), fun time in Margaritaville on final night, oh and recording a loss in soft Ballys Cash Game .



After a really great time in Vegas (not just for the poker) we headed for Texas and had at least as good a time in San Antonio and Rockport visiting friends.

A 24 hour delay on trip home is not what you want, but did not detract from this being best vacation ever, such a shame to return to the UK - heatwaves here arent the same!