The Hopes, Dreams, and Subsequent Collapse of My 2017 WSOP

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A note from the editor.
Allen Katherman is a guest writer to mantanium.com this summer. He is a Poker personality, fashion enthusiast, nuclear engineer and a great friend. Be sure to follow him on instagram and check back for more.

The Hopes, Dreams, and Subsequent Collapse of My 2017 WSOP.
By Allen Katherman

For many poker players, the beginning of every summer is filled with dreams of making money, obtaining bracelets, and forging unforgettable memories. The reality, which a lot of people find out rather disappointingly, is that only a seldom lucky few meet all of those wickets for a successful summer. For me, the 2017 WSOP was the first summer that I decided to take tournaments seriously so that I too can chase “the dream”. Using my Instagram popularity and YouTube as a reference, I quickly sold half of my action for the summer with a detailed list of playing numerous No Limit Hold Em Tournaments. I sold half my action for a variety of reasons but the main reason was to minimize my cost while playing in as many tournaments as possible. Although I’ve played and studied live cash games for years, I knew that playing tournaments was an entirely different beast of poker. Because of this, I studied and studied as much as possible by watching as many YouTube videos and Crush Live Poker snippets that I could get my hands on. All the studying, coupled with my years of experience in live cash play, made me feel as if I was going to take the poker world by storm but little did I know, I was far from the truth.

The first tournament on my 2017 WSOP schedule was the Millionaire Maker. I registered early for the event, talked tournament strategy over and over again with my friends Dylan and Brian and felt dialed in to be the next millionaire on the winners’ board. As soon as I woke up for the tournament I felt ready and motivated. I had breakfast at one of my favorite spots in Las Vegas, Baby Stacks, and had my usual spam and eggs. The drive to the Rio Hotel and Casino motivated me as I listened to my favorite inspirational video on YouTube. I felt physically and mentally ready and there wasn’t a force in the world that was going to stop me….with the exception of my play. It was once said that “poker is not a game of cards between people, but rather a game of people using cards” and no matter all the studying and live cash play before the tournament, nothing could’ve prepared me for the biggest variable in poker, the human element. The beginning of the tournament started with every player having over 100 big blinds which is something a cash game player is used to. “Big blinds” is the depth of playing chips that a given player has relative to the forced bet that is automatically put out 2 spots to the dealer’s left (please watch a poker game for even further detail). In simple terms, this is the given depth of playability that a certain player has during the game. I lost a few hands early and unlike cash, tournaments don’t allow you to rebuy more chips during play. This, along with the blinds increasing every hour, put me in uncomfortable situations that I wasn’t used to. This made me not play efficiently and it wasn’t long until I was playing on what is known as tilt. Tilt is defined as “a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy” and it wasn’t long until tilt drove me to being eliminated out of the tournament.

I was confused and upset. How can I study so hard but yet lose so quickly? Instead of re adjusting my thought process or even accepting criticism, I immediately registered for one of the Planet Hollywood circuit series tournaments and again received the same result, this happened with the Golden Nugget Main Event and also the WSOP Monster Stack tournaments. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I was being too stubborn and refusing to adjust my ways. I failed to learn from my mistakes and carried them over into each subsequent tournament. It wasn’t until my friend Dylan drove out the night before the Little One For One Drop tournament and discussed with me where my wrong spots were that I finally realized where I was going wrong. Dylan, also a poker player, specialized more in tournaments whereas I focus more on cash so it was only right that we discussed tournament strategy and fundamentals over some friendly 1/2 NL poker at Caesars Palace.

The game we were playing originally had a friendly vibe until certain people at the table were needling after they won pots. I don’t have too many pet peeves but lack of poker etiquette sits at the peak of some of the small things and my tolerance for those said actions goes away after a couple of Jack and Diet Cokes. I get it, we as human beings are naturally competitive but if you’ve already beat somebody in a pot, what’s the point of rubbing it in their face? Shouldn’t their money and the fact that you beat them be enough? It wasn’t long until my friend Dylan got involved in a big pot and the villain in the hand not only won, but slow rolled (an act of taking your time to show the winning hand) Dylan in the process. This made me explode in rage and it wasn’t long until was I drilling into him with whiskey infused adjectives and nouns that I would never repeat in front of children. This of course, is not acceptable in the poker room and I was kicked out of the poker room. I got back to Dylan’s room and realized it was 7am! The tournament started in 5 hours and there wasn’t a sober cell in my body! Little did I know that I was only resting up for what was going to end up as one the craziest poker runs in my entire life…..

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