WSOP Main Event: Jason Strasser Showers and Takes Off

by Craig Cunningham

Team Blog's Craig Cunningham checks out Strasser's chip stack

Jason's at $450,000 and had a bit of downtime as Allen Cunningham sprinted by him from a nearby table, making a run to the restroom. Play has slowed as so many players bustout, creating a long line at the payout area.

"I lost a $100k pot to the guy next to me," he said, "and I don't want to talk about it." Jason's smiling as he says that, and you can tell he still has his A-game. He's more disappointed that some of his chips are sitting next to him rather than in front of him. His friend Doug Kim, a PokerStars qualifier, is two tables over and has built his stack up to $190k. "I feel like I'm due to lose a big pot," Jason said. I suggested that he should walk in the hall for a more extensive interview, but he's brushed it off. Maybe he's due to win a big pot instead.

"Day 2, I rolled out of with no expectations, I didn't even shower," said Jason Strasser as he described his move on Day 2 from $44,300 to $319,000 by the end of the night. It was a magical run, doubling up early on then steadily building his stack through great reads and controlled aggression. The thing that may set him apart from other young players is that he's been here before.

"I played several EPT tournaments, as well as WPT France. I was the chipleader of the Aviation Club tourney in Paris on Day 2, only to bust out. I had chips at the EPT tourney in Vienna and London as well. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but one of the biggest things for me is fighting myself. When I had chips, I turned into Mr. Invinceable and it cost me." Jason has made some changes to work on correcting these flaws in my game. "It's hard to keep your focus in live tournaments when you multi-table online. My iPod helps me to slow down, and I'm trying to find a different beat, a different pulse to keep me settled down. I probably lose information with my headphones on, but I gain a lot more by slowing down."

Jason Strasser in a moment of reflection

If you watch Jason play for even one round, his level of focus jumps out at you. "It isn't so much focus as absorption, I just allow myself to collect as much information as I can," he said. Mentally, he's more than prepared for some of the obstacles that might get in his way. "I have a weird attitude; I expect bad things to happen to me. If I flop a set and their are two diamonds on the board, I expect a third diamond to hit. I don't know, it just seems to help me work though hands better." Having been at or near the chip lead of big tournaments, Jason now has a perspective hardened through some tough bustouts. "It may sound like I'm doing really well, but there are $90,000,000 chips in play and I have $300,000. I just look at it like we're starting a 1,200 person tournnament on Friday, and I happen to be starting out a little ahead of most players. The minute I get ahead of myself, then I'll be in trouble."

Some players have a gameplan coming into Day 3, but Jason doesn't believe in that. "I think it's counterproductive to have a plan; I react to what's being presented to me. I think players with a hard plan are not very dynamic poker players. I constantly have to worry about who's around me. I play off of my table rather than sticking to a certain style."

He may not have come in with a plan, but he has been sticking to a certain style: stacking chips. He's built his $319,000 to $460,000 before the dinner break. While he's worrying about the other players at the table, every other player there is worried they will be Jason's next victim.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker