The Drive

I’m safely ensconced at the Westin Las Vegas after a relatively pain-free 8 hr. drive from Palo Alto. Heading over Pacheco Pass at 4:00 am is definitely the way to go. There was no traffic leaving the Bay Area and I hit no heavy traffic the whole trip. One stop for gas and I rolled into Vegas around 11:00. One benefit of all those years of travel was an upgrade at the Westin. Bigger room, more amenitites but on the downside, the club floor is on 15. No problem except the elevators are having trouble so only two are working. Either a long wait or a good work-out. All things considered, however, it will be a great base camp. Just up the road from the Rio where the WSOP is held, 2 blocks from Caesar’s where the 3-day WSOP Academy will be, but away from the craziness that is the Strip. The lobby doesn’t have a casino between the parking lot and the guest room elevators (a huge plus), great bed, and quiet hallways.

I’m heading over to the Rio to get the lay of the land and to register for the 2-7 Triple Draw event that starts at 5:00 pm. The WSOP has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1969. That first WSOP was really an informal gathering of the top players in the country. The winner was declared by acclimation rather than a tournament. The 2007 WSOP spans more than a month and includes 55 separate multi-day events. The Series culminates with a $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold-em tournament that will take 8 days to crown a winner. Last year, over 7,000 played and the winner took home $12 million.

The 2-7 Triple Draw event is #48 and schedule to run three days. Triple Draw is a derivative of the old five-card draw poker game with a few twists. First, there are three draws instead of one, with betting before each one. Second, it is a pure lowball game so the worst hand wins. Straights and flushes count so the best possible hand is 7-5-4-3-2 with no flush. The betting, bluffing, and drawing strategy can get quite complex. Although I have only been studying and playing Triple Draw for about a month, my hope is that the field will be relatively small and that I can be competitive given the few true world-class experts in the game.

The WSOP event is a $1,000 buy-in with unlimited rebuys through the first break. For the $1K entry, I will receive $2,000 in chips. I will also have the option to buy an immediate rebuy for another $1K. I assume all serious players will take advantage of that option. If I go bust before the first break (two hours in), I will have the option to rebuy another $2000 in chips. That option is open to all on an unlimited basis until the first break. At that point, one last $1K will buy an “add-on” of $2,000 in chips. Thus, assuming I don’t go bust in the first period, the event essentially requires a $3,000 investment (initial buy-in, immediate rebuy, and the add-on).

The event is a “limit event” meaning that the amount of each bet is predetermined by each level. The tournament starts at $50/$100 limits ($50 for each bet and raise for the first draw, and $100 for each bet and raise for the second and third draw). Because there are so many bets in each hand and because Triple Draw is an “action game”, it will be quite easy to go bust in the first two hours. I expect many players will invest $5K-$10K in an effort to build a big stack early.

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