To Win a Bracelet You Need to Play Like a Possessed Magician

WSOP Bracelets
The gold.

I was going to be a father in early August and I knew that the 2012 WSOP could be my last shot for a while.

Palms Place was my home for 49 days. I can recommend it. It's very classy and has a kitchen.

I don't cook food while in Vegas but it's great to have a fridge to store fruit, coconut juice, smoothies and the leftovers from takeaways.

I exercised every day and meditated in their great Hamman. The walk to the Rio was also good to get me focused.

I hadn't played as much as I had wanted or should have prior to the Series, but there was over a month left to the Main Event to find my poker form.

Time to Grow Up

Sleepy railbird
You really need a week to get rid of the jet lag.

On the other hand I was going to be a family man. It was time to grow up and I didn't intend to burn too much.

I actually only had a small bankroll and didn't intend to spend more than that.

If I didn't score any results I would convert to cash games only but I would of course play the Main Event no matter what.

I have no memory of the first $1,500 No-Limit event. But I finished 74th out of 2,101 players for a nice cash of $5,261 and I was off to a good start.

The next tournament the next day was a $1,500 Pot-Limit event. I was playing well but I was also jet-lagged and tired.

You really need a week to get rid of the jet lag but I didn't have that time. Perhaps that was the reason I didn't find the call against a very probable bluff just outside the money.

Had I called and been right I would have had a top 10% stack. Instead I had to fold into the money and could never get anything going after that.

Anyway, 64th out of 639 players was not too shabby and $2,432 got me another couple of lottery tickets.

Stud: The Rolls Royce of Limit Poker

It was May 31st and Day 5 for me. I was really tired after four really long days of poker.

A good decision would have been to take a day off. But, then again, I was playing well and getting results.

$10K Seven Card Stud
What a game!

And it was Stud on the menu to the tune of $1,500.

Stud is the Rolls Royce of Limit poker. There's a lot of math, you need to keep track of all the live cards, there are five betting rounds and position can change every round.

On top of that there is much skill in reading your opponents hands, predicting who will bet and what the others will do after that.

What a game!

I've played the game quite a bit against great players. I don't consider myself an expert, but I'm always surprised how bad people play it so I suppose I am.

Relatively, it’s my best game. So I played. I mean: limit poker, no big decisions, and if you're tired you have the patience to fold the crappy hands.

You can always find the arguments when you want and need them.

Stay Away from Draws in Limit Tournaments

Jeff Lisandro
Pretty good Stud player.

In Hold'em tournaments it's absolutely paramount that you attack before your stack is so small that you will get a call.

In Stud tournaments it's better to wait for a real hand before you commit.

One reason is that it's harder to outdraw, but more importantly is that with antes you can get many times your stack in odds and have the frontrunner make the rest fold.

I was getting close to the money again for the third straight tournament.

You should really stay away from draws in Limit tournaments. They can be African-killer-termites to your stack when the limits get high.

But I had three connected high cards, JT9, my cards were live both for pairs and draws and I got good odds from last position.

One player bet third, fourth and fifth street with a probable pair. Jeff Lisandro, arguably one of the top stud players in the world, just called with three of the same suit.

The suit had been completely live on third street and I had him down for a flush draw. In that case he just made it.

But I had a straight after five cards, a very strong hand in Stud. If I raised I would put the first player all in, and Jeff didn't have much more either, so I bet.

He Was Right, But So Was I

Antonio Esfandiari
To win a bracelet, magic helps.

Jeff check-raised me. It was an auto-play to raise again and put him all in.

I got 6-1 and he could easily have a pair with a flush draw, two pairs, or be rolled up.

But I just knew he had it. I wanted to fold my straight face up but I was tired, jet-lagged and couldn't find it in me to make the world-class-fold.

Jeff told me later, when he raked the pot, that I could never have folded that straight given the circumstances.

He was right, but so was I. And to win a bracelet you need to play like a possessed magician.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the views of

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