Vicky Coren’s WSOP experience can help us all to learn more about poker

London’s favourite girl Vicky Coren talks us through her Main Event

I’m not a big preparer. In fact , I turned up to the WSOP five weeks after everyone else. I’m kind of sceptical about the idea that you’ve got to work out and be fit. It ’s a card game. I’ll make a big effort to make the right decision but I don’t need 18 months of gruelling training just to sit on my arse.

My starting table wasn’t one of those giant free tombolas that you hear about. On level two or three one guy passed Kings before the flop and it was the right decision. He showed Kings and the other guy showed Aces. It was a pass that most reasonable poker players would be able to make.

In the early stages I look to see how much money a player expects you to put into the pot if you play along with them. If they limp and get raised do they re- raise? If they raise and get called do they bet all three streets? You need to work out if a player is going to be one where you’ll have the chance to make lots of decisions if you play a pot together or not .

There was one player on my table who I was faring well against so I made an effort to play lots of hands against him. Every time he raised, I called. The cards became irrelevant because I had position on him and I seemed to win every pot . He was one of those players that believed if you play you’ve got to come in for a raise. It ’s often true, but not necessarily in the opening levels of the Main Event . If he raised he’d bet the flop but if he met any resistance he’d generally switch to check- calling with a big hand and check-passing with a medium hand.

Anyway, I managed to get to the end of Day One with more than average chips but at that stage your chip count is amazingly meaningless.


Day 2 started well for me. I was the chip leader on my table, so I had lots of flexibility to re-raise. I built my starting stack (of 60,000) up to 85,000 just from stealing lots of small pots. Then came a horrible hand where I had a pair of Threes in the small blind. Two people limped, I called, the big blind (a good online player known as JoeyTheB) checked and we saw a flop of 3?-4?– 7?. Joey led out for 1800, one limper passed, and the other moved all-in for 7000. It felt an awful lot like a bare A?. I re-raised to 22,000. Now Joey went into the tank. He thought and thought and thought , and said, ‘I don’t think I can pass this hand.’ He then re-raised all-in for about 50,000 more. I had a long think, but knew I had to pass. There are rarely good times to fold sets in tournaments, but the WSOP Main Event is one of them.

So I folded, Joey showed Q?-10? and the all-in player did indeed have the A?. The board didn’t pair and Joey won the pot . But my luck had changed and I was suddenly vulnerable. I lost another significant pot when I called a raise with 5?-6? on the button and the flop came 4-7-K with two spades and I had to pass for an all-in raise when my hand didn’t improve. My exit was pretty standard. Down to 22,000 chips I ended up getting it all-in with J-J against a PokerStars qualifier named Dan Assor who had Aces! Sadly, he rolled them over very slowly, which was unnecessary. I don’t think he meant any harm by it , but if you’ve got the nuts there’s never a good reason not to show it as quickly as possible. So that was my tournament . Never mind – I’m always pretty philosophical about luck and timing in tournaments. From level three, Day 2 just wasn’t my day.

PokerPlayer magazine is now FREE so hurry up and get your free subscription here


Pin It

Comments are closed.