Jamie Burland: Looking back on Las Vegas

Jamie Burland looks back at a summer in Vegas and reflects on doing the almost unthinkable – busting the WSOP Main Event in level one…

Greetings poker zealots! Having been in Las Vegas, I haven’t played a hand of online poker for nearly a month now. The betting claw on the end of my right arm is starting to resemble a hand again so without further ado, here is my Vegas recap…I did my absolute conkers. I tried so hard too. Before I threw in the towel I doubt there were two days in the whole trip when I didn’t enter a tournament. I grinded my little butt off, registering 38 tournaments over three weeks, but unfortunately the results were disappointing and I came home around $20,000 down.
With a little more luck it could have been very different. One particularly cruel hand stands out. In a $500 tournament at the Venetian 24 players were left when I opened T-T on the button. A lady who rushed to the table and nearly missed the hand shoved from the big blind with A-Q – and rivered a Queen to knock me out.

The joy of others

Despite the pain, I still really enjoyed the grind but I think another week of busting tournaments might have sent me over the edge into a tilt whirlwind. Next year I may go to Vegas for less time and get in more of those amazing online summer games. Despite my own failings as a poker human, I drew lots of joy from some good friends and poker heroes that had a great summer. It was only a few days after arriving that I found myself in the oddly named WSOP ‘Thunderdome’ watching good pal Niall Farrell negotiate the final table of the $3k NLHE before eventually finishing runner-up. It was fun celebrating this result with Niall the following week in a few of our favourite downtown haunts.
Hats off as well to my poker nemesis David Vamplew, who bookended his Vegas trip with two second place finishes for a combined total of around $750k. I saw a tweet saying that on arriving home in Edinburgh, David didn’t even bother to pick up his suitcase from the carousel and I’d absolutely bloody love it if that were true.

Sweating it out

One of the most heartwarming and awe-inspiring moments of the summer was Barny Boatman’s bracelet win. I was lucky enough to be around for that rail too and as I watched Ross congratulate his brother I really felt that for these two blokes a dream had come true.
Matt Perrins also tasted gold in Event #57, $5k NLHE. I was sick that I was in tournaments myself that day so was only able to watch half an hour of the action. With the Main Event round the corner I was trying to keep as professional as possible and from the pictures and tweets I saw the next day it sounds like the celebrations were no quiet night at the library either!
I’ll leave you to read how my Main Event came to a disastrous end but suffice to say there’s a good chance I was the first Brit out. Morale was pretty low. The only way it could ever bounce back would be if a friend (preferably one I had a piece of…) went deep and gave me a sweat. Step up Kevin Williams who had a tremendous run before eventually busting in 77th. It was a hell of a run while it lasted!

Hand of the month

(or How to do $10,000 in two hours) As I sat down for the Main Event it was nice to see a familiar face in Liv Boeree and even nicer that we seemed to have drawn a fairly good table. I was winning a fair amount of small pots and had chipped up to around 33k when this hand happened just before the first break.
At 50/100 there were two limps (one from Liv) before I made it 500 with K-K. Both blinds called as did the limpers. On A-K-5 rainbow the small blind bet 1,200, the big blind called and Liv and the other limper folded. I made it 3,000. To my surprise the small blind reraised to 10,000 (the BB folded).
At this stage I was trying to think of the hands a semi-random player would do this with; 5-5 for sure and A-A is also possible along with A-K, A-5, and K-5 suited. Plus, you do always have to add in the random spewfactor that you always read about in the Main Event. The turn was a 5, giving me a boat but I was by no means doing backflips as one of his more likely value holdings just made quads. He bet 10,000.
Honestly, I had a pretty sinking feeling in my stomach, but are you supposed to find a fold here? I asked about 30 pros and only one said they might fold. I’m not so sure. If this wasn’t the Main Event I wouldn’t think twice about getting the money in with this hand. In the end I called the turn and a river shove. The small blind had pocket Aces. What do you think I should have done? Tweet me at @JamieBurland as, weeks later, I’m still racking my brains thinking about it.

Vegas with Jamie

Started grinding: June 24, 2013
Finished grinding: July 12, 2013
Total buy-ins: $38,054
Total cashes: $17,453
Total profit/loss: -$20,601
Number of tourneys entered: 38
Total cashes: 7
Biggest cash: $4,462 (Event #56, $2.5k NLHE)
Tilt factor: 7 (out of 10)
Soundtrack of the trip: Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
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