The World Series of Poker is the biggest poker festival in the world, and it takes place every year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Over the course of seven weeks, professional and amateur poker players from across the world flock to Las Vegas with visions of winning thousands of dollars and capturing a prestigious World Series of Poker gold bracelet.
As a professional poker player, I often find myself in Las Vegas during this time. This year would mark my fourth trip to the WSOP. Unfortunately, my first three trips all ended with me coming home to Michigan with less money than I arrived in Las Vegas with. I was hoping my fourth time would be the charm.
Not only had I lost money each of my first three trips to the WSOP, but I hadn’t had any success in WSOP bracelet events. Between the three tips I’d played a total of 17 WSOP tournament entries, and in those 17 entries I had been knocked out on Day 1 before the money every time. Seventeen entries, no cashes, no Day 2s.
When you consider roughly 15% of the field receives a payout, you would think I could have played and ran well enough to make the money at least once, right? But this was all in the past and I was hoping to make 2022 my breakout year.
Starting the trip as a spectator, not a player
Although the series is seven weeks long, I usually only head out for one week, and this year my week would be right at the tail end of the series. I had seven days to try and find success on the tables.
My plans would change, however, once I arrived as my friend and fellow professional poker player Dominic Choma was still in the WSOP Main Event on Day 4! Dom and I started playing poker in the same high school home game with our friends, and I didn’t want to miss seeing him make a run in his first ever WSOP Main Event. So, I started my trip by watching poker instead of playing.
Dom would run up an impressive stack all the way until mid-Day 5 where he would run into some unfortunate situations and be eliminated in 216th place for $53,900. Very impressive run considering there were more than 8,600 players in the tournament!
Now it’s my turn … hopefully
Now that I had watched Dom find tournament success, I was hoping it was my turn. The first event I was going to play was a $400 buy-in at MGM Grand. I was fortunate to squeak into the money on a short stack before busting shortly after in 23rd place for $585. It might not have been a big score, but I was hoping it was some momentum to take into the rest of the trip.
I returned the next day to play another $400 tournament at MGM Grand, but unfortunately this time I didn’t have as much luck. I would bust two entries in the tournament before the money and be out $800.
After being knocked out the tournament I decided to head over to the Paris Casino where the WSOP was being held to play some cash games. I sat down in a $2/$5 cash game where the buy-in for this game was $1,000, and by the end of the night I would book a small profit of $164.
The next day would be the biggest day of the week for me as I would be playing my only WSOP bracelet event of the trip, an $800 buy-in deepstack event. Things would start off well, as I would run up my starting stack of 40,000 to 70,000 chips. From there it would be a roller coaster as I would go all the way down to 6,000, then back up to 65,000, before eventually being knocked out. I would re-enter the event, but unfortunately get knocked out again before the money. I was walking away down $1,600 on the day.
Looking for some late luck
Although I knew I wouldn’t be able to break my WSOP tournament cashless streak this trip, I was hoping to find success the next day in a $400 tournament at Aria. To my displeasure it would be more of the same, though, as I would be knocked out on two entries before the money. The good news was I still had enough time in the day to jump in another $2/$5 cash game at Paris and I was able to book a $795 win, falling just $5 short of recovering my losses from the tournament earlier in the day.
This left one final day, and one last chance to end with a profitable trip. I was down a decent amount, but anything can happen! My last day was dedicated to cash games, so I decided to play $2/$5 at the Aria. Instead of getting a big win, I would end with a loss of $1,975. Not exactly the way I was hoping to end my trip.
With the trip over it was time to tally up the damage, and unfortunately it was to a tune of a $4,031 loss. This now marked my fourth straight WSOP trip going home with a loss and zero cashes in WSOP bracelet events.
Although it was disappointing to go home with another loss, I tried to remind myself of the fun I had playing and how fortunate I am to be able to play a game I love for a living.
Poker content creator David Kaye of Mason writes a regular column for PlayMichigan. You can follow David’s poker journey on his social media accounts under the handle “DavidKayePoker.” David is on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and Instagram.