This was the year, as it turned out, that I was going to make my own shot at a couple of WCOOP events. Despite being naturally cheap and preferring to build my bankroll slowly, Todd Brunson-style, by beating up on weaker games at lower stakes, I resolved to give it at least a try this year. Last year I was sorely tempted to try a couple of sats but only had $200 or $300 in my 'roll. This year I was little higher, and so I could afford to try, or at least to dream.
I've never been much of a big fan of steps-format qualifiers, but I decided to give a couple of these a try. I've found since breaking through to what I would describe as a level of "basic competency" at poker, that I just can't play tournaments under $10. There is something going on down there that I've come to think of as "noise factor": the random and unpredictable bad plays by so many different types of weak players have a strange effect: they put a cap on the percentage of return that you can achieve. It doesn't matter whether you're playing the fabled "donkaments" at $2 or $5 or $10, it seems -- the net from all the effort seems to come out the same.
So I skipped the Step 1's and their $7.50 buy-ins, deciding to start at the $27 Step 2 level instead. The first one I played was an 8-game Step 2 with two moving on to a Step 3, and I caught a run of cards and rolled over the table. Two or three of the players were decidedly not good and a couple of the others had suspect hygiene in poker terms; I got hot and they weren't going to head me without several breaks. By the way, Step 3's come in 3 and 3a versions, with the standard Step 3 offering a Step 4 coupon -- worth a $215 buy-in -- and the special 3a steps offering a $320 coupon instead, though at the cost of it being a dead-end for the steps process.
I disremember whether I won my Step 4 coupon immediately (I think I did, but it might have been on my second try), but all of a sudden I was in possession of a $215 buy-in on the cheap. There wasn't much for $215s early on, so I decided to try Event #1. I ran pretty deep there, something like 1,675 out of 7,200, but took a big-stack-inflicted beat to depart. No biggee.
By then of course, I'd also picked up a $320 ticket by winning a 3a, and what I eventually did with that you've already read. What I didn't blog about until now was that I kept on playing the Stars Steps, focusing on 8-game and NLHE turbos, and after what I believe to be a grand investment of 14 $27 starting steps, I'd ended up with the previously mentioned $215 and $320 entries... and two more $320s as well. I've heard that there are some people who are absolute gold when it comes to qualifiers and sats; I don't claim that, but I think I'm gonna have to take a more serious look at the process.
I think I'm done for the duration of the WCOOP, by the way. The only thing that interests me at all is the $215 HORSE, and I'm a bit overbaked on poker to really want to play in it at the moment.
More next post, or maybe the one after that. I've grown very fond of Stars, but there's one question about the WCOOP that I just have to ask....