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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Jeremy “Chipsteela” Menard- No Fear, Just Loathing in Las Vegas Part 1

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So I arrived in Vegas late on a Friday night excited at my chance to finally get my hands on a bracelet and make a name for myself outside of the online realm of poker. I had already made plans to stay at the Rio where the tournament is being held, after spending about a month last summer in a house as far as possible from the strip that resulted in over $500 in cab fare alone. A friend of mine, who is more of a recreational player, also decided to come out with me so he could take a shot at the $1500 event that was being held the next day. When we went to get our room we were informed that since we arrived so late there were no more rooms available with 2 queen beds.  Instead we had to settle with one king bed until they had a room available for us to switch to. I know that sounds pretty gay, but it was only for the first two days so we decided to just deal with it. There were plenty of pillows we could use to build a protective barrier between us anyways. I should have taken this as a bad omen for the trip and just got the fuck out of Vegas right then, but instead I went down to the poker area and registered for the tournament being held the next day. Then I peaced out for the night with a feeling of confidence that tomorrow was going to go well.
 
It all began with Event 51, the famous $1500 No Limit tournament that is well known for its weak fields but also for its piss poor structure. It definitely lived up to both of these expectations. I was relieved to find that I recognized absolutely no one when I took my seat at my table. I was looking forward to taking advantage of the weak players, and letting them make huge mistakes and basically donating me their chips. However, the first hand I ended up playing proved to be a bad sign of things to come.
 
An older man opened the pot to 150 in early position at 25-50, a younger, European internet looking type player called the raise from late position, and I looked down at the A-Ko in the small blind. It would be perfectly fine to put in a raise here to thin the field, but I felt that there was no reason to start building a big pot out of position this early in the tournament when I don’t have many reads on the table. I elected to just call and the big blind came along as well. The flop rolled out K-x-x all spades, which seemed to be a pretty decent flop for me seeing as I held the Ace of spades as well. I decided to check the flop, and the action ended up checking around which was kind of surprising to me. The turn is a complete brick, and I felt that with the strength of my hand it’s time to start building a pot so I led for 2/3 pot, and strangely the player from the big blind flats while everyone else quickly folds. The river is another brick and I decide to bet for value, betting 850 into a 1350 pot. I feel that if he had had a better hand than me he would have certainly played his hand differently, but he takes his time and indeed calls. I show my hand expecting to scoop the pot, but surprising enough he rolls over the J-2ss for the flush. Ummm, well played sir, nh. I was excited to continue playing at this table, however my table broke soon after and I had to get used to a whole new group.
 
The table I moved to had another motley group, and one internet player that recognized me before I could ask him who he was. There was a lot of action going on at this table; unfortunately I wasn’t involved in any of it. I sat through orbit after orbit of non-suited, 6 gapper type hands, and then a very interesting hand comes up at the 50-100 blind level. I’m sitting in the big blind, and the action folds around to a European looking gentleman in the small blind. He peers down at his cards and makes an absurd raise to 1050, which I believe is 10.5x the big blind. This wouldn’t really be a big deal to me, however I look down to see A-Qo. At this time I have about 3200 chips remaining, so flatting is not an option ever. My hand is super strong, but the only problem is I haven’t seen this particular player get involved in a single hand in the 5 orbits I’ve been at the table. I would imagine that if I did decide to get it in I would be racing at worst most of the time, but at the time I was feeling that I had such a large edge over the players at my table and in the field that there was no reason to just straight up gamble here. After 30 seconds of thought I asked the man where he is from, this way I could at least get a location tell, but the man didn’t speak any English whatsoever. A few more seconds go by and I just decide to fold, which in retrospect was probably a mistake due to the shitty structure of this particular event and also the fact that he was French. Meh.
 
 After the first break, I came back to an even more painful run of cards. I decided I wasn’t just going to just keep folding though, and I started splashing around in several pots. Somehow, someway I manage to brick every flop I see, which isn’t necessarily a problem, however no one folded to my continuation bets so it became a problem. This is probably what led to me just getting it in, in my bust out hand. The action was pretty nuts on the particular hand, as an older man opened utg+1, a euro flats in mid-position, and another euro makes a decent sized reraise from the hi jack. I look down at A-Ko in the cutoff with around 2500 left in my stack. This is the kind of action that could actually make me start to consider folding a hand this strong, however I was pretty over it already so I just put it in with the idea that I was willing to race to try to start building a stack. I was happy to see the first few players fold adding dead money to the pot, but the player who had reraised made the call as expected since fold equity was non- existent. He flipped over the Q and the Q, and I laced up my Nikes in hopes of actually winning a live race. The board was not my friend however, and with this hand I was 0-5 in coin flips holding the A-K in WSOP tourneys. Just so sick.

In my next few blogs I’ll go over the 3x chance and the 5k 6-max events that I played in at the WSOP, and of course some great stories from the Vegas night life. While you’re waiting go out and watch the Hangover, or rent Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Shit is classic.

Part II

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