Monday, October 18, 2010

Leaving Reno

My bags are packed, got the alarm set, tallied all my buy-ins and earnings and am sitting here watching 2010 WSOP re-runs as I write this.

I'm trying to find the words to describe all the excitement I experienced...but it's difficult so I'll just start.

I planned this trip with the sole goal of winning enough to buy-in to the Grand Sierra Pot o' Gold Series Main Event.  I got to Reno on October 12.  The ME wasn't played until October 16.

I wanted to come early enough to give myself a real shot at playing well.  I don't get to travel for poker very often - just the occasional foray to Vegas for a day or two (and in the past 5 years, I've done that 3 times).  And trying to win a poker tournament after 5 hours on a plane is just really not that easy to do (as evidenced by my play my first few days here!).

Giving myself that much time worked out this trip.  I didn't make any huge scores, certainly nothing earth shattering.  In fact, tallying up my buyins, cash game losses, and expenses, I made a paltry $180/day during this trip.  While that's a lot less than I charge per hour for my lawyering, I feel like it's a huge victory and I'm super excited because I made money.  I didn't lose it.  I'm walking away up more than a grand and it feels great.

I played 9 tournament events:

Event #30: $160 buyin, no cash.  (includes dealer chips)
   Cash game buyin $150 - 0 profit

Event #32: $160 buyin, no cash.
   Cash game buyin $150 - 0 profit

Event #33: $140 buyin - $655 profit (7 players chopped)

Event #34: $235 buyin - $1775 profit (took 3rd outright. As < K5 that turned trip 5s)

Event #36: $340 buyin, no cash (this is the game I blogged about, poorly played set to let straight river me).

    Satellite $120 buyin to win ME Seat - chopped w/ one player to earn $580

Event #37: $500 buyin ($580 from satellite, wheee!) - finished 84th (I think they had138 runners)

   Nonevent: $130 buyin, no cash (Ks < 4s that rivered flushed)

Event #38: $130 buyin - $855 profit (took 3rd outright. A5o as SB < Js BU raise)

All total - I earned $3865 from my poker playing and that feels mighty fine.

I also met some great poker players and neat people.  One was a young man named Darrel Dier who I played against in Event #34.  Darrel scared the crap out of me because he was very aggressive, totally comfortable playing ATC - usually with position - but even without it.  I loved watching him play because it's how I want to be able to play!  While he busted out of Event #34 after several hours of solid play, he shipped the Main Event today for well over $30k.  What was amazing about his run is that he was cL of the tourney at the second break and he never lost that lead after two days of play.  He had a really awesome run.

I was able to snap this crazy picture of him after he shipped it. If you're reading this Darrel - WAY TO GO!!!

I tweeted about a few of my poorly played hands and MicroRoller asked me if I could recall any that I played particularly well.  Honestly, I can't.  I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.  What I do remember is playing position as aggressively and as often as I dared, usually with very good results - with or without a hand.

I also learned a lot about my need to control my emotions.  I tweeted this morning about meeting and talking to one of the female players who final tabled the ME.  She said that tournament play is about lasting, not taking things personally, and picking your fights wisely.  During each break, she would go to the restroom, wash her face, and then find a quiet corner to just reflect and chill out.  And each time, she'd tell herself, "don't get crazy."

After my experience here and certain key plays that I made, and wish I could have unmade, that's advice I will learn from.

All in all - my trip to Reno, while not monetarily huge, feels like a success.  I learned a great deal, feel confident in my game, and am already trying to figure out when I can travel to play again.

Having a family and a job, it's difficult.  More than anything, I missed my loves at home.  I'm fortunate and grateful that I have the support of my family to have made this trip and to have the opportunity to continue doing this.  It's not something I take for granted.

This life is tough because you can play your best and it is often not enough and being away from loved ones is a huge expense in and of itself.  I think that's why we see so many young phenoms, like Darrel, who may not yet have those kind of additional obligations in their lives at the moment.  For guys like Darrel  who are good - I couldn't imagine not giving it a shot and trying to live this life.  It is awesome.

As always - I appreciate you checking out the blog.  I welcome your comments, thoughts and advice and would especially love to hear from women (and men!) with family obligations, kids, home, and all that really good stuff.

So - can I call myself a balla yet?

Until next time - good luck at the tables, peeps.


  1. PokerLawyer, you are totally a balla. I love how you learned from your mistakes and refused to get derailed by them. That's probably my biggest flaw as a player - I get totally thrown if I misplay a hand. And I also HATE to get up from the table and walk around during cash games, but it really does help.

    Nice job, Counselor - it's been fun reading about your adventures in Reno.

  2. You did well in Reno. I understand having the family obligations and trying to play a game that requires money, time and some travel to play with the best. Having played for about 4 years now I am trying to get better. Learning as I go. I have played Wildhorse Casino in Pendleton, OR for the big tournaments and find it is a great way to see where I am in my game. You should look into making it up here. Now that WA State took away the internet play I have to rely on our small casino in town to learn. Keep up the good work.

  3. You played great and I can see you doing really well in the future. Thanks for the kind words and picture, didn't realize how goofy i looked. lol

    Vegas this summer??

  4. Darrel - you didn't look goofy. You looked happy at a job well done. I'm guessing that this wasn't that difficult of a tourney for you (given the huge stack you had throughout - you were dominating!), but if it had been me, I would've been doing cartwheels! =) Yes, definitely Vegas this summer. Least I've got got a little bankroll going now. I'll shoot you a message on FB to see what other tourneys you're planning to take down. Thanks for checking out my crazy blog - I'm gonna have to track yours down on CardRunners now! =)

  5. MYOP - what is up chica! This past week was awesome, awesome, awesome. Had a blast. I hope I'll get out to your neck of the woods for a tourney someday too. I hope your poker is going well. Keep at it!

  6. Steve - thanks so much for the comments and encouragement and now I've got a new blog to be checking out! Yes, I was surprised about the law in Washington and hope that will get changed soon. Good luck in your games and I'll be looking forward to reading your blog. Thanks again for checking out mine.

  7. If you want to start playing like Darrel, you have to get 12-16 tables up on your computer screen(s) at the same time. That guy's crazy!

  8. I had the pleasure of meeting and playing at the same table with PokerLawyer in Reno. She presents a very strong image at the table and pays attention to everything going on around her. Placing in 3 tournaments out of 9 is a really huge achievement.


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