Hey folks, we’ve got another unique podcast for you this week: A trip report from Red Chip’s own Zac Shaw, who just got back from the Red Chip Poker meetup at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is our first ‘trip report’ podcast, and the main focus is to let people who’ve never been to the World Series of Poker in on the experience. Shaw answers questions like, “Should you go?” and “What should you expect?” so you can help decide if it’s worth the trip (spoiler alert: it is).
He also reviews some hands he played at the WSOP cash games, and reflects on what he learned from playing on Live at the Bike, and gaining poker wisdom from members and coaches alike.
The podcast has a companion in Shaw’s WSOP live blog, where you can get more detail and lots of photos of the trip.
Is a Trip to the WSOP Worth It?
This was Shaw’s first trip to the World Series of Poker, and his expectations were exceeded. He talks about wandering in awe through four grand ballrooms full of hundreds, even thousands of poker players. The television set where most of the final tables are held was also impressive, earning its nicknames “The Mothership” and “The Thunderdome”.
Poker celebrities are an arm’s length away, and you are pretty much guaranteed to see all the big names in poker if you hang out long enough. You can rail them, snap pictures, and generally spectate within respectable reason. It’s pretty cool to have such access to the “greats” and further solidifies poker’s status as a pursuit that places all players on a level playing field.
It was also interesting for him to witness how small and tight-knit the poker world is during these post-Moneymaker boom days, in stark contrast to the massive spectacle of the media production. It really felt like almost the entire poker world was housed in the convention center wing of the Rio. Poker celebrities and authors were easily accessible.
In short, Shaw thought a trip to the WSOP was definitely worth it as a bucket list item for any poker player. And even if you’re not buying into any of the big tournaments, there are abundant cash games to play.
First WSOP Cash Game Hand: Planning vs. the 4-Bet
Shaw’s first big hand (at $1/$3 NLHE in the Rio) is documented here in the forum. Here is a replay:
Shaw talks about the need to have a better plan after calling the preflop 4-bet, something he’s worked on in the past for his ‘Strategy in Action’ series.
The bad beat meant Shaw had to walk the walk from his most recent Strategy in Action episode on perseverance in poker.
Red Chip Poker Meetup in Vegas
Shaw recounts an incredible time had meeting the Red Chip Poker members and coaches, first at brunch and later around the cash game tables at Caesar’s Palace. Coaches Ed miller, James “SplitSuit” Sweeney and Doug Hull were all on hand and rotating between tables so everyone got a chance to try and stack the pros.
Shaw did just that in a hand he recounts in the podcast where he stacked SplitSuit but once again committed a planning error that would have punished him had his flush not come in vs. SplitSuit’s flopped nut straight.
Live at the Bike
The day after the official Red Chip Poker meetup, a group of about a dozen and a half Red Chippers boarded a party bus and headed to Los Angeles to participate in a live stream of the long-running Live at the Bike show.
The whole epic saga is well documented on Shaw’s live blog, including a breakdown in the middle of the desert, a last-minute arrival and many interesting hands.
The adventure with all the Red Chippers cemented in Shaw’s mind why the community is so awesome!
Shaw goes over one of the hands he played (again, questionably) and the post-game analysis he received from coach Christian Soto.
He goes on to detail how Soto got him to consider dedicating time away from the table to just think about poker — no training videos, no books, just thinking spots through. It was something of a eureka moment for him.
Soto is a big advocate of being a trailblazer in poker. By thinking outside of the traditional lanes and lines advocated in poker training material, Soto says players can have similarly off-the-chart results.
Getting Around at the WSOP
Shaw ends the podcast with some tips on getting around — take an Uber or Lyft — and maintaining proximity to the slightly out-of-the-way Rio casino. He also has some general tips for those who have never been to Vegas (make some time to enjoy the restaurants, nightlife and other amenities).
On behalf of everyone at Red Chip Poker, we hope to see you out next year for the 3rd annual Red Chip Poker meetup at the 2017 World Series of Poker!