Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A New Series of Tournaments

Today I started a new series of medium sized multitable poker tournaments. Actually it's more like two series. The first set is a group of 4 tournaments at Lucky Chances Casino in Colma CA the first of which ($330 NL Hold 'em) I played today (Tuesday). There is also a $550 NL hold 'em (Wednesday), a $550 NL hold 'em shoot out (Friday) and a $1,060 NL hold 'em (Sunday).

The second set is similar to the WCOOP but is on another website, namely fulltiltpoker.com. I plan on playing 6-8 of the 16 tournaments in that series in the $215-$1060 range. Some of these events are on the same day as the in person events, but happen much later in the day. So if I go broke early in person I can come home and play, but hopefully I won't be able to. :) I've given myself a $4,000 bankroll for both sets combined and I've sold off a little bit of my action to a few select backers.

So what happened in the $330 event from today? Well we started with 204 players, 3,000 chips, blinds at 25/50 and 20 minute levels. I have to say that this was not a great structure. In person 20 minute levels means 10-12 hands per level which meant this was in effect a turbo tournament.

I folded just about every hand for the first hour or so and then managed to pick up a few small pots without ever having to show a hand. I quickly grouped my opponents into two categories: players who I knew weren't any good and players who didn't seem very good but had yet to make it perfectly clear that they sucked. From the start I liked my chances.

After two hours of play the blinds went up to 200/400 with a 50 chip ante and I found myself with about 7,500 chips in the small blind. The player on the button raised to 1,600 and I thought to myself "If I look down at anything here I'm moving all in." It just felt like a bullshit raise to me so when I looked at my first card and it was a king I moved all in without looking at my other card. The big blind folded and after about 5 seconds of thought so did the raiser. It turned out my other card was a 7, but I didn't look until I was already stacking the chips.

On the very next hand the same player raised, but this time he moved all in for about 8,000. I looked down at AQ and quickly called. When the cards got turned over my opponent showed A9. I flopped a Q so I didn't even have to sweat it and took down a nice pot. With about 70 players remaining, I was in great shape with about 20,000 chips while the average stack was around 9,000.

I fluctuated a little, but found myself with that same 20,000 chip stack a few hours later when the blinds had ballooned to 1,000/2,000 with a 300 chip ante. In the big blind with KJ I faced a tough decision when the player one off the button moved all in for about 9,000. I wasn't thrilled with my hand or the prospect of risking a big chunk of my stack, but after counting down the pot and seeing that I was getting better than 2 to 1 on my money I decided to call. When I showed my cards, my opponent proudly turned over AJ. Yuck! I called out "Put queen, ten, nine out there." I didn't get my wish, but the flop I got was just as good- A Q T! I'd flopped a straight! After winning that pot my stack was over 30,000 chips and we were down to about 30 players.

As we got close to the money I made a play that took balls of steel. With about 25 players left (18 spots paid) and blinds still at 1,000/2,000 I was in the big blind again. The player on the button (who was talking up a storm at all times) raised to 5,000, went silent, and stared at the table. This was as good as a neon sign that said "I Do Not Have a Good Hand!" I told myself that if I looked at anything good at all I was moving all in even though my opponent was one of only two players at my table who had more chips than me. When I checked my cards I saw that I'd been dealt 9 3! ACK! That's about as bad as it gets, but after about 10 seconds I moved all in anyway. My opponent quickly folded, I took down a fair sized pot, and felt a wave of satisfaction come over me. In the past in situations like this I would think to myself "If I was a better player I'd probably move all in here," while I folded. But lately I've been playing with a fearless attitude and my results have been great.

When the player in 19th place went down I was in the money and guaranteed a payout of $600 gross. I'd run my stack up to about 50,000 chips while the average stack was around 35,000 at that point. We quickly lost 3 more players and my payday was guaranteed to be at least $800. With the blinds were 2,000/4000 with a 500 chip ante I ran into a major speed bump. I raised to 12,000 with KJ, the player in the big blind moved all in for a total of 24,000, and I was forced to call even though I was pretty sure I was behind. Unfortunately, my opponent had AA and I didn't manage to catch a miracle.

My stack slipped even further as I slowly got blinded off. The blinds went up to 3,000/6,000 with a 1,000 chip ante and I found myself with 19,000 chips and two more hands before I would be forced to take the big blind. I was looking for just about anything to move all in with, but instead of finding anything, I got dealt 8 5 and then 2 4. Yuck! In the big blind with a third of my chips already in the pot I called a raise with A 7. Sadly my opponent had A9 and I was eliminated. :(

I played a great tournament and did surprisingly well considering the crappy cards I got dealt. I got AK twice and AQ once, but I never got a pair above 88. I finished in 11th place which paid $1,040. I would have like to make the final table, but this was still a pretty good way to start my November tournaments. Tomorrow I have the $550 NL at Luck Chances which starts at 10:15 am. At 6 pm there is a $216 (that's not a typo, they charge and extra dollar in juice at fulltilt) 6-handed NL hold'em online which I should be able to make barring a money finish in person. I'll let you know what happened.

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