Well the final results for my 2023 World Series of Poker are in:
|Date||Event #||Event||Buy-In||Planned Buy-In Bullets||Planned Buy-In Dollars||Actual Buy-Ins||Actual Cash Outs|
|17-Jun||39B||Monster Stack NLH||$1,500||1||$1,500||$1,500||$0|
|18-Jun||42||Eight-Handed NLH Deepstack||$800||2||$1,600||$0||$0|
|20-Jun||NA||Weekly Senior Deepstack||$250||0||$0||$250||$0|
|27-Jun||62||Mixed NLH, PLO||$1,500||3||$4,500||$1,500||$0|
|28-Jun||64||Deepstack Championship NLH||$600||2||$1,200||$600||$960|
|29-Jun||68||Super Turbo Bounty NLH||$1,000||0||$0||$1,000||$300|
|02-Jul||74||Mini Main Event NLH||$1,000||1||$1,000||$1,000||$0|
|05-Jul||76C||Main Event NLH World Championship||$10,000||1||$10,000||$10,000||$0|
|10-Jul||77||Lucky 7’s NLH||$777||0||$0||$777||$1,555|
|12-Jul||81B||Ultra Stack NLH||$600||3||$1,800||$1,200||$0|
|14-Jul||88A||The Closer NLH||$1,500||0||$0||$1,500||$2,400|
|15-Jul||88B||The Closer NLH||$1,500||2||$3,000||$1,500||$0|
I fired 19 bullets at a total of 16 events. I cashed in four events, plus won a little bounty money in a fifth event. My cash percentage of 21.1% is pretty reasonable. That’s actually higher than quite a few pros’ cash percentages. Remember, only 15% of the field cashes in any given WSOP event, and the other 85% walk away with nothing. So total failure is the most common outcome, even for the top pros (why do we play this game?!).
The problem, once again this year, is that all my cashes were small–min cash, or only a few rungs better than min. To really win at tournament poker, you need some finishes in the top 1% of the field–at least once every 50-100 tournaments. Maybe sprinkle in a few top 4-5% finishes here or there. Finishing with lots of min cashes or slightly better is just not going to cut it.
And obviously, min cashing in a few smaller buy-in events does not offset even the $10,000 entry fee for the Main Event. Had I cashed even the minimum in the Main this year, I would at least be close to break-even. Clearly, the one large tournament dominates the overall results. And man, did I run bad in the Main (QQ lost big pots twice, then KK ran into AA twice).
Honestly, I felt like I was really well focused this year on giving myself a chance to go deeper and score some bigger wins. And there were definitely at least three tournaments this year where I could have shut it down and folded my way into some more small cashes, but I took a more aggressive route that could have gotten me a bigger score (alas, all three of those ended in zero cash, which is the opposite side of that risk analysis). Still, I’m pretty sure the results are telling me I’m not being aggressive enough early enough to build up a big stack that can run deep.
So I’m going to review with a couple of coaches and other pros, and see if I can improve on this before next year. Also, there are lots of good poker tournament opportunities in the Philippines, so I’m going to try to take advantage of them more over the coming months. All in all, I think my tournament game improved quite a bit. I was really happy how I played my short stacks, with most of my decisions being correct according to the GTO charts and/or Nash equilibrium tables (or in some cases, intentionally deviating). But I know I need to do a lot more study. There were lots of spots where pros or other good players put me in the wringer, and in most cases it was because I did something they could take advantage of.
Finally, just a note on the cash games this year. This is usually where I make up for any deficits in tournaments. But I played far fewer cash games this year than I normally do. I was really focused on getting into every bracelet event I could. I haven’t even entered all the cash sessions into the spreadsheet yet, but I know I’m down a touch. Most of that was due to one monster cooler hand in a 5/10/20 game where I flopped top set of Qs and the villain hit a set of As on the turn. That was a $12,000 pot. If I win that, I’m up several thousand for this trip. As it was, I’m probably finishing down a few thousand.
Bottom line: I’m reasonably happy with how I played all summer. That’s the most important part. Play well consistently, and the results will come in the long run. For any short run of a few weeks, results are primarily impacted by variance. Where I didn’t play well, I at least have some ideas what I need to work on. And I will put in the study time to improve.
Thanks for following along all summer, and for all the encouragement and consolation!