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Ain’t Nobody Takin’ From Us: Perseverance and Poker

Ain’t Nobody Takin’ From Us: Perseverance and Poker 0001

The World Series of Poker is often called the “Mecca of Poker” as players from across the world make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to take part in a series of gold bracelet events. Oftentimes these players jump from tournament to tournament chasing poker glory without so much as an hour off — let alone a whole day — in between. Case in point, Jorge Vergara.

This past Tuesday, Vergara began the day as one of the final 12 players in Event #9: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em. Vergara was second in chips to start play, but was eliminated in ninth place on just the second hand of the final table.

Vergara’s bustout hand began when Frank Patti, the eventual third-place finisher, opened for 32,000, then Vergara moved his short stack all in from the button. Action folded back to Patti and he made the call.

Patti: {q-Spades}{q-Diamonds}
Vergara: {10-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}

It was a bad spot for Vergara, and according to the PokerNews Odds Calculator he had just an 18.23% chance of surviving the hand while Patti would prevail 81.36% of the time.

The {j-Spades}{2-Spades}{9-Diamonds} flop did little to help Vergara, and Patti became a 9-to-1 favorite. The {J-Clubs} turn meant Vergara needed to catch a two-outer, something that would happen a mere 4.55% of the time. Unfortunately for him, the long shot didn’t come in as the {4-Hearts} blanked on the river.

Vergara no doubt had high hopes coming into the day as he had chips to make a run at the $323,125 first-place prize, but instead things didn’t go his way and he had to settle for ninth place and $23,693.

Such disappointment would send many players back to their hotel room for the day for consolation room service and maybe a little booze, but not Vergara. He was the type to get right back on the horse.

This was evidenced by the fact that after he collected his prize money in Event #9, he immediately hightailed it over to the Venetian to late register the $1,100 buy-in Mid-States Poker Tour Main Event, a tournament that attracted 854 entrants and created an $840,000-plus prize pool.

I happened to be playing that very event, and as fate would have it Vergara was seated to my immediate left. I recognized him straight away as I had reported Day 2 of the aforementioned WSOP event, and I must say that I was impressed on how he carried himself. Instead of telling bad beat stories and bemoaning his bad luck at the Rio, Vergara was focused on the next tournament and getting back in action.

Sometimes it’s tough to leave things in the past and move on — especially an hour after busting a WSOP final table — but it’s absolutely crucial to do so if you hope to maintain poker success.

I’m not saying it’s necessary immediately to jump into another tournament as Vergara did. In fact, that isn’t always a good decision, as my colleague Josh Cahlik once wrote about here in an article titled “Play and Learn: When Emotion Blocks the Exit.”

Rather, I think it’s important in poker not to focus too heavily on the past, and especially not to indulge in negative thoughts that can affect your ability to continue playing and learning. The sooner you start looking forward, the sooner you’ll get to where you want to be.

Vergara was able to do this as he took his seat in the MSPT event and immediately got to work. He played well, and instead of letting his recent WSOP elimination affect him negatively, he looked at it as a positive and used the deep run as motivation to go for it again. He was obviously playing and running well leading up to that final table, so why not keep the ball rolling into the next one?

To do this Vergara had to stay upbeat and focused, not downtrodden and depressed. Like I say, I was impressed, because truth be told, I’m not sure that I could have done the same (I’m usually need a day or two to recharge my poker battery.)

For me, Vergara embodied one of my favorite song lyrics. It’s from Wyclef Jean’s “Sweetest Girl,” and while that song has nothing to do with poker, two lines in particular are applicable when playing a long tournament series, especially the WSOP and surrounding tournaments.

“See every day they feel the struggle, but staying on the grind
And ain’t nobody takin’ from us, and that’s the bottom line.”

Follow Chad’s personal and poker endeavors on his PokerNews blog, My Way or the Holloway. And for all the latest here at Learn.PokerNews, follow us on Twitter @LearnPokerNews! Find us as well on both Facebook and Google+!

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