I’ve had this post half-written in my queue for the past couple days, but this is the first chance I’ve had to finish it off.
I haven’t played much at Pacific Poker recently. I still have a $100 bonus sitting there that requires a lot more play before I can withdraw it. I had a great run at the 2/4 HE tables when I started, but after giving much of it back in a string of losing sessions (courtesy of some extremely cold cards) I hadn’t visited in a while. Monday changed that when I stopped by for a little Omaha Hi action in my quest to
master learn a new poker variant. A $20 profit in less than an hour at .5/1 reminded me of how crazy the fish can be.
Of course, that lead me to the $15+$1.50 Pacific 10K guaranteed NLHE tournament. Pacific holds one of these every night at 10 and I played a couple back when they were still giving a small overlay on them. Now they tend to get 700+ entrants so the overlay is gone, but the bad players remain.
After playing for one night, I was reminded of why I stopped playing these tournaments months ago (and why they are still tempting for all that)
My very first hand is dealt and the client freezes, leaving me unable to see any cards. But neither can I exit because that message may go through and I’ll lose my entry fee. For the first time since I started playing poker online over 6 months ago, I called support. I explained my problem and the CS rep told me they had just received a call from someone with the same problem, they said someone would be with me shortly and then put me on hold. For 20 minutes. Then someone comes on the line and tells me that I need to go in and stop the application in Task Manager (basically circumventing the regular exit procedure, a tactic of choice for all-in protection abusers) Then restart the client and I should be fine, if not, send them an email and they’ll refund my entry money. Then she hangs up. Of course, this has to be the worst “fix” I’ve ever heard of, but I don’t want to lose my entry fee, so I give it a shot.
That’s all well and good, and a restart gets me connected back to the tournament. But by that point we’re a few levels in and I’ve already lost more than 10% of my stack. And the limits are rising fast.
The structure for these tournaments are ridiculous. T800 to start, blinds going up every ten minutes. And not only do blinds go up that quickly, there’s a break 55 minutes in that takes the last 5 minutes of the 5th limit. That’s just ridiculous. Now, I might understand this when they were still giving an overlay on the tournament and they just want to get the tournament over quickly so that people head back to the ring games, but now that they are getting full entry fees, they could run the tournament at a more reasonable pace.
But even with all that nonsense, it’s still very tempting to play. The play is generally awful and there is potential to make the money (as long as you hit a few hands). Unfortunately, the small hit I took to my stack combined with the fact that blinds were already getting significant meant I had to play my whole tournament in “short-handed mode”. I managed to steal a few blinds and even doubled up to keep ahead of the blinds. At the 150/300 level with only T1350 chips UTG, I went all-in with 77. When it folded around to the big blind, I was feeling pretty good because he had just doubled up on the previous hand and had only a few hundred more in chips then I did. Unfortunately he decided to call with AT and hit two pair on the flop. And I was out 165 of 720. Not horrible, but still a ways from the money.
165 of 720 If I’d had an opportunity to play a few hands before I was in a short stack situation, I may have actually made the money. But my 77 was called down by AT in the big blind with myself UTG with T1350 at 150/300. The structure at these tournaments is awful, but so is the level of play, so it’s still a very tempting opportunity.
I feel a bit better now that I’ve aired my grievances. I’ve since been playing Pacific a bit more and have been having good success at the 2/4 HE tables. But I cannot help but hear the siren call of the 4-digit payday and horrible players of the Pacfic 10K guaranteed, despite all these issues.