The $1500 Mixed Omaha Event is slated to be a 3 day event but with 29 players left it was possible that it would be extended to 4 days. In any event it would be a very long day. The stress of the first two days had left me a bit congested and that was a real problem because I ended up not getting enough sleep. A further problem was that I discovered that the chip leader had been placed to my direct left. Things were not shaping up well.
My other problem was that I was utterly alone at the WSOP. This I addressed in 2 ways. First I called my brother, which I never do, and he got exited enough to follow my action and give me someone to talk to during breaks. Also I made a post asking for virtual railers in the Reddit poker subforum. That was helpful too as I saw a few posts between hands that encouraged me to stay focused.
My plan was to be aggressive and look for big flips against players I was not likely to beat in any other way (which was most of the remaining field.) Like most poker plans, this one didn’t really work. I was too card dead and to boxed in by the big stack to do much at all. Instead I just folded. 20 minutes in we lost a few players and just like that I was up the pay jump ladder another $1,000. Another 25 minutes and we were at the bubble for the next pay jump of $1,400. At this point a looked down at AC6H6S3C2H in the button with a raise and a pot-sized reraise in front of me. I pulled the trigger and potted again putting both of the other players all-in. The runout gave me Aces up and a 63 low. I took the low in the main and side pots and split the high in the side pot. I didn’t eliminate anyone, but the hand put me up for the day and over 400K for the first time. My virtual rail informed me that I was now in 4th place overall. Moments later Allyn Shulman eliminated another player. That meant another pay jump to $7,162 plus a table redraw which meant that I would probably no longer have the chip leader to my left.
My new table included my nemesis, Igor Sharaskin, but this time he was seated to my right. Also at the table were Matthew Sanner, Allyn Shulman and Allen Kessler. The big stacks were on my right and the smaller stacks on my left so this looked favorable as we moved into Level 22 with the first break of the day still an hour away.
The first notable hand at this table occurred 25 minutes in when Igor Sharaskin made a bad call against Allen Kessler’s all-in flop bet but was rewarded on the river hitting one of his 5 outs. That eliminated Kessler in brutal fashion (which was amusing to witness) and brought Igor up to about 700K and the chip lead. Meanwhile I was finding a few spots to muscle people out of pots or chop and gradually built my stack to almost 500K. Right before the break I called a raise from a short stack with 6543. On a flop of A85 I check called. The turn was a 7 giving me the nut straight and third best low and a draw for the nut low. I check called his all-in bet. It turned out he was holding 8542 with two spades giving him a better low and 12 outs to a flush or boat. The King of Spades gave him the flush and the scoop and just like that I was back down to 380K.
The break came at a good time as I needed to shake off that last hand. My virtual rail told me I was still in good shape and just one elimination from a pay jump up to just over $9,000.
In Level 23 the play started to tighten up. Igor had tried to do some bullying but lost some chips in the process. Allyn Shulman was now on my left and 45 minutes in she defended her big blind against Igor and flopped a set of Kings. Unfortunately for her Igor had flopped a set of Aces and now we had that 15th place elimination.
The two table redraw was weird. I was in 6th place overall out of 14 but had the 5th biggest stack at my table. Still Igor was at the other table and that felt good to me. Just three more players would need to go out to get to the $11,716 pay level and my first 5 figure score.
We were now in Level 24 and it had pretty much become a waiting game for me as it was getting very hard to find any playable spots at my table. I did manage to get back over 400K again, but it was tough since so many players had me covered. Fortunately it only took about 35 minutes to eliminate 3 players and get to that 5 figure pay day. Part of this was the doing of Vladimer Shchemelev as he started crushing and soon was up to 1M chips with 10 players left.
Meanwhile I had been moved back to Igor’s table. We were 5 handed but Igor had hit a rough patch and amazingly I had him out-chipped by a small bit as we approached the second break. I was pretty gassed at this point but I decided to defend my big blind to close the action in a 4 way pot with ASJJ98S. The flop came K54 with 2 spades giving me the nut flush draw and a very bad low draw. The player to my right started the action by going all-in for about 1/2 the pot. It was a tough decision but I decided that I had too much equity to fold and a decent chance to see the turn without having to commit most of my stack and so I called. Yakovenko, another tough Russian, slowly called but then Igor very quickly shoved all in.
Now I guess I am supposed to fold here but I decided that the flip was good enough especially since certain run-outs would eliminate Igor, get me a pay jump to $15K and put me right about at the chip lead entering the unofficial final table of 8 players. I called and Yakovenko tank folded. Igor had top two, no low draw and a second best flush draw in spades. The turn was a 5 giving Igor a baby boat. Now I needed a 2-outer Jack for the high or a 7,6,3 or 2 for the low half of the main pot. Sadly it was not to be. I was left with a paltry 33K at the second break. Two hands after the break I was out in 9th place.
I actually felt great about my play. I had given myself a decent chance to enter the final 8 in 2nd place and, at the same time, claimed my first 5 figure score at the WSOP. After a desperately needed nap, shower and dinner I even had the energy to head down to handle my winnings and then hit the cash games and win another $500 at a 1-2-5 Big O table. It was a great way to cap off a great trip to the WSOP in Vegas that I will never forget.