Vegas-> Marbella-> Vegas-> Bracelet?
I've just left Las Vegas and am on a quick visit to Marbella for the UKIPT, where I've started off well (follow Marbella live updates here). As soon as I'm finished here, I'll be back to Vegas for another summer at the World Series of Poker. I'll be playing essentially every no-limit hold'em event except for the Big One for One Drop -- pretty much the same full schedule I've played the last few years. A big difference this year, of course, is that I'll have the family with me this time.
Alex and the baby are staying in Vegas with me. Arianna is just over two months old now, and we're all staying in a nice two-bedroom apartment near the Rio. It's great they can be here and I think it'll be a steadying influence for me all summer. After all, it will be hard to stay tilted for long after getting knocked out of a tournament when I know I can go home to Alex and Arianna.
Like I say, I will primarily be playing no-limit hold'em events (as usual), although each year I also have tried to play at least one non-hold'em event, just to mix things up a little. Although to be honest, that hasn't always worked out so well.
Last year I somehow got persuaded to play a stud hi/lo event, which besides being a game I don't normally play has fixed-limit betting, which I'm also not very used to. But I decided I was going to play, and once I did I went back to the house where I was staying and signed up to a site that had some stud hi/lo instructional videos. I watched two training videos, thought to myself, "I've got this nailed down," and went in to play.
I sat down and won the first three pots I played and thought "Hey, maybe I'm a natural at this game." Then gradually over the next four hours I just got completely, slowly owned. I couldn't do anything about it, either. I lost lots of small pots and over and over I realized I just didn't know what to do. I wanted just to gamble, but since it was limit I couldn't just get my chips in and try to double up. I had to play each hand and each street and I was in over my head.
It was demoralizing as I just got dribbled down and eventually I thought "What did I get myself into, here?" But I still enjoy playing those other games. In limit mixed games, for instance, there seems to be much less reading of the players than in no-limit hold'em. Everyone seems to be having a good time, too, people act quickly, and it's a lot more sociable.
But I knew I was the fish. I could tell people at the table were looking at me and recognizing how I really didn't know what I was doing. It was kind of a role-reversal from what happens for me in NLHE when someone sits down and I know the player isn't very experienced. I'd be on sixth or seventh street not really knowing what to do, and it was like the rookie hold'em player getting to the river with some weird holding and thinking "Now what?"
I think this time I'll probably play a low buy-in pot-limit Omaha event for my one non-NLHE event, just because I know a little more about PLO. You can gamble it up in that game once in a while also, and use aggression to reduce the edge better players have. That can be a clever approach in NLHE, too, if you know a player has a big advantage skill-wise, to increase the variance.
So I'll expect to be pretty busy, as the schedule has hold'em events going pretty much every single day. It should be a great summer in Vegas with the family.
Jake Cody is a member of Team PokerStars Pro