Saturday, July 21, 2012

WSOP wrap-up and response to Jarred Solomon

The 2012 WSOP has come and gone. I almost wrote, "all too quickly", but of course this is with the hindsight that comes a week after busting the main event. When the WSOP is going on, it's a tough grind that you're always looking towards the end of; when it isn't, it's fun and you miss it. This year even more so for me, as I surely logged more hours than I had in any other WSOP to date.

Although frustrating at times, I went deep enough in enough events to make this year more fun than tilting. I built some stacks and had legitimate shots at a number of events, especially the $1500 NL where I finished 20th and the $2500 6-max LHE where I finished 7th. My enjoyment of the game was definitely renewed by this year's WSOP, the pursuit (as it were) of the cashes record kept me motivated and playing, and of course the camaraderie is always the best.

On that last note, I am saddened by the thought that it may be the last year together for our house. Matt announced his retirement as a pro via Twitter and will be focusing on grad school, Jerrod is already in grad school, Gavin played a very light schedule and wasn't in Vegas much, and another of our anonymous housemates has told us he doesn't plan on coming out for 2013. Jimmy quit, Jody got married. As for me, I definitely plan to play the 2013 WSOP, but it won't be the same with our big happy house, BBQ parties, late night In-N-Out runs, speed chess/Chinese poker mixed games, jiujitsu challengespelting Bill with water balloons, watermelon violence, and Apples-to-Apples hi/low behind us.


With that covered, I get to the business on which I'm a week overdue. In the blog world that might as well be a year, but as covered before, I had a good excuse. I guess the easiest way to respond to Jarred Solomon's post is to take it one statement at a time. I admit I was pretty surprised when I woke up in the morning to see this post. While I do appreciate that Jarred was critical in a very respectful way, I thought he was pretty off with respect to his analysis of my mindset, but it did make me question the perception that I may have given my blog/Twitter-following public.

Jarred's criticism begins accordingly:

You build something up so that if it comes to fruition you get to experienced an almost enhanced glory,but if things dont work out you simply play it down.In the early/middle stages of the series,you made it clear that the 'cash record' was a big goal for you,and something you were actively pursuing.

I am very confused as to where I ever would have suggested that the cash record was a big goal. It was never even a goal. I'd be very surprised if there was a single tweet that even implied that it was a big goal. Certainly I can't see anything in my original blog post that even suggests this at all. The cashes record was never something I was ever in pursuit of, and I would like to know where this idea comes from.


All of a sudden it's somewhat out of reach and now it's a nit record,and not one that anyone good respects.You even go as far as to say "it's not a record i'd be particularly proud to have". 

It should be noted that at the time of the post that Jarred is referencing, the record was not out of reach. At the time, Puchkov had 10 cashes and I had 9, and both of us were still in the last 1k event. He could have missed and I could have cashed that and the main event to overtake him, so I was still very much in reach of the record at the time of writing.

Whether this is true or not,it clearly wasn't your view when you were leading the cashes tally,or when you folded to three quarters of a blind in the PLO 8 tourney.

For the first part of this statement, see above. For the second part, folding to 3/4 of a BB in the PLO8, that was simply correct, and I knew it. I lost an all-in at the end of Day 1 of that event and left myself with just 8500 in chips to end the day. Since we were 30 off the money, I went home and asked my housemate Jerrod Ankenman what hands I should be playing at this point. Jerrod might more knowledgeable than anyone on the planet when it comes to the intersection of PLO8 hot-and-cold equities and ICM. He felt that while there was a chance I might need to double up, if it looked like people were busting quickly then I should probably only play AA with a wheel card and A2Kx and that arguably even these would not be playable hands (from an ICM, not cEV perspective of course) if there were already multiple people in the pot. I wasn't happy to have to play this way, but if the person you respect the most about this topic tells you that's what you have to do, then it seems foolish not to listen, bruised ego or not.

You doing the same thing with this 1k tourney and your grappling competition.You're going to try your heart out in the tourney,if you bust,you and everyone forgets about it and focuses on the grappling comp.And vice versa if you make day 3.With regards to the grappling,if you do well you're a hero for doing so without much training,but if you don't do well I'm sure you'll highlight the condition you're in and your lack of training(like you have already).

Maybe this happened in this grappling tournament, but I think I was just really telling the truth. If you've followed my MMA career at all (and I don't really expect people to, but if you're going to be critical about my comments on one match then you should at least check the previous ones) then you'll know I usually say pretty much how I'm feeling before the match. When I made my MMA debut last September, I was recovering from the most debilitating injury of my career, a rib injury that two weeks before the fight meant I couldn't even sneeze without pain. This is what I wrote in the blog entry a week before the fight:

On Saturday, September 17, I'm going to win violently and decisively. End of story.

That doesn't sound like something I'd write if I were trying to make myself to be "a hero". I wrote it because that's how I felt about that fight. Maybe I'm not honest with myself or my audience 100% of the time, and I don't know if anyone truly is, but I try to let the words on this blog be reflective of how I'm feeling about the topic. I'm not trying to be disingenuous or make myself out to be a hero.

What I suppose I could take out of this not that I shouldn't try to temper the expectations of my audience, but rather myself. Perhaps if there is a lesson to be gained, it's that I should go into anything I compete in with the mentality that I will win it. But having played poker -- a game where one can be perfect and still lose with regularity -- for as long as I have, it is hard to bring that sort of mentality to the forefront in other arenas. But maybe if there is something to take from this line of criticism, it is that.

Moving forward again:

I probably wouldn't have gone on this rant if you'd simply acknowledged Konstantin Puchkov in a bigger way.Not only did the guy tie the record,but he got a couple big results,unlike you and Joe who's resume was comprised mainly of min cashes.

I'm surprised you would feel it is important for me to acknowledge Puchkov's results in my blog. I've never played with the guy, and have spoken to very few people who have, so I really can't have any intelligent comment on how well he plays. That is why I neither disparage nor acknowledge him. I am not putting down "his" accomplishment when I say the cashes record is "sort of a nit record"; I'm simply saying that's how most poker pros will feel about it. And yes, it is true that Puchkov cashed for either me or Tehan, but again, I don't see why this is important with respect to the discussion at hand.

What makes it even more admirable is that he got it idone quietly,while you and Tehan were boasting about your tally at every opportunity you got.The guy may not look like a shark,but he's a great white,and has earned my respect in a big way.

"Boasting" is a word that I am, again, very surprised to see with regards to my referencing of the record. Again, please find a tweet or blog comment where I boast. The only thing I can think of that might be construed as a brag was this (obvious joke) tweet after Jesse Martin briefly tied me for the cashes lead (a fact that I wouldn't have known had it not been for Nolan Dalla telling me in the Amazon Room) and I re-took the lead. (For what it's worth, Jesse thought it was funny.)

I'm glad you think Konstantin Puchkov is a great player. I wouldn't know, but I'm happy to hear it if it is the case. I'm happy that the record is held by someone who other poker pros can hold in high esteem. (It is generally not the classiest thing to speak ill of the deceased, but from what I heard of people who played with Nikolai Evdakov, he was unpleasant to play against specifically because he was constantly playing very slowly in order to cash.) And even if I don't feel the cashes record is something to be pursued or necessarily held in high esteem, I congratulate Puchkov on his eleven cashes, as many have congratulated me on my ten.

Hopefully that puts that particular issue to bed; in any case, it is all I have to say on the topic for now. Further comments welcome as always.

1 comment:

  1. I find the crtitque of how you "discussed" your status in relation to the record humurous and unfounded. I found your tweets and comments regarding the number of cashes always to be a record you were never chasing, but if it happenned it happenned. Knowing your goals (not first hand - but through mutual friends), probably makes it easier to read a tweet/post/blog and be able to put it in proper context, and obv not read into your words as some may do. Congrats on your 2012 WSOP.......I personally am glad you are back in 2013 as it is always fun rooting on one of the "good guys"