The felt is greener…

I finally got my internet problems sorted out earlier this week (fingers crossed) so I was looking forward to getting back to the virtual felt this weekend. June was a short month because of my vacation and July has been slow because of Internet outages, so I have not been growing my bankroll at the pace I had expected back at the beginning of June. So, when I logged in on Thursday to a few different clients and noticed I had a 15% reload bonus available at Empire, I was stoked to get back to the tables.

But first I had my bi-weekly PLHE tournament on Friday. Unfortunately the summer months continue to be slow and we again only had 10 people show up. But that’s still ok, a full table and a nice $100 payout to the winner.

The game starts slow as usual. Between chatting, slow deals and slow calls, we usually don’t get through much more than one orbit in the first half hour. Of course, I didn’t see any kind of playable hands until my first big blind (I started the night on the button). Even still, it was only K9d, where I got to see the flop for free. The flop comes queen high with two diamonds, so I throw in a small bet. Only get called in one place, and it’s a hesitant call, so I’m thinking he doesn’t even have the queen. The turn brings another diamond, so now I don’t even have to worry about that. I check

A few hands later I’m looking at JTd on the button. Blinds are at 20/40. It’s folded to me, so I raise. I know I’m going to get called by the aggressive player to my left, but I figure I can work with it after the flop.

Now, just to set this up a bit, I run through tournaments in a season format. There are 10 events in the season, and the top five players at every tournament earn points towards winning the season championship. Last season one of our players – Alex ‘The Roti’, a name he earned for his meal choice in his first victory – won the second and third events and was in a commanding point lead for the majority of the season. I managed to bring it back to even by the 8th event, but he pulled ahead for good in the ninth week. So, there is bit of rivalry between the two of us. He is a super-aggressive player that will sometimes go on his gut, so he can be a bit unpredictable. But his aggression can sometimes be used against him.

Back to the action. I’m in the hand heads-up with JTd and the flop comes 9oQdKd and I barely catch myself before I start chuckling. I throw in a small bet, just T50. My hopes are fulfilled when it’s made T200 back to me. I hem and haw for a few seconds and everyone starts making comments that I’m doing the math to see if I should call. Really the only thinking I’m doing is about how I can extract the most money from this hand. Eventually I throw in my T150 and we see the turn.

It’s a rag and I quickly throw in another small bet. Again, my opponent comes over the top of me, this time for even more chips. I almost beat him into the pot with my all-in call. He quickly calls my re-raise with top pair. No help for him on the river and he is down to the felt. After our hard-fought battle for the points championship last season it was very satisfying to knock him out first tonight.

Unfortunately I’m not nearly so lucky when my pocket threes dont’t get much action on a 993 flop. Probably should have let it ride until the river, but I wanted a decent pot to bet against when we got there and scared everyone out on the turn.

The rest of the night was a bit of blur down to the final two. I was playing very aggressive but got caught when pocket sixes called my all-in bet with A5o on a 983 board. I don’t think my read was completely off on this play, as he wasn’t really sure about the call, but I still lost the chip lead and put myself in a precarious position. But I kept the pressure up, sticking to large bets and forcing him to make the decisions. After nearly doubling my stack grinding, I managed to double it again into a serious chip lead when my 9 outkicked his 6 when we both hit a pair of kings on the flop. After a few more small bites out of his stack, he went in with K5 and I was forced to call with 92. The first card flipped is a 2 and the third was a 9 and my unlikely two pair holds up for the win.

So, that puts me at 8 money finishes in 12 tournaments, with 4 victories. I’m beginning to get a bit concerned that people are going to stop coming out. Also, with two wins in the first two events of our second season (ah, All About the Twos, just like one our homebrew dealer’s choice games) that puts me well into the points lead for the second season, which can’t be a bad thing.

We played some rather sedate limit hold’em after that for a while, but when everyone was getting ready to leave for the night, the gamblers started coming out. It was time for a little high card action. People were playing for nearly 10 minutes and at the peak of the action we had five players trying to draw the highest card. And even though we set the rule that you could only bet with chips, that was quickly circumvented when players started buying chips off other players. One of the more entertaining finishes we’ve had in a while even if it was a bit crazy.

3 Responses to “The felt is greener…”

  1. Carter says:

    TP, I’m curious about how your season is set-up. I’d like to set-up something similar for the poker group I run here in the DC area, and was thinking about setting up a rake on each tournament that ultimately goes to the winner. Any ideas you could give me on scoring, etc would be much appreciated.

  2. tp says:

    Ok, it took me awhile to find a few minutes to string together to answer this question.

    Right now entry is 20+2 for each tournament. Payout is 50-30-20 (with 10 or less) or 50-25-15-10 (with 10+). The 20 goes to the prize pool and right now the 2 is going to pay off the chips, cards and table. The “game” has a bit a debt right now (that I paid out of pocket) to acquire these items in the first place. We’re still a ways from getting that paid off.

    Even so, I am giving buy-ins to a year-end 50+5 tournament for the top 3 point finishers in each season. (50 for first, 30 for second, 10 for third x 2 seasons) Points are dead simple and are assigned 10-8-6-4-2 for the top five finishes. It works pretty well because people are happy to get points at all and it makes rivalries a lot friendlier when you are arguing about who is ahead in points instead of money. And it let’s the person who finish on the bubble for the money still collect a couple points. I could have chosen a more complicated and fair point process where the number of entrants entered into this calculation, but I chose to keep it simple. I’m also giving away 1 point for each player eliminated in a bounty tournament next week (20+2 as usual, but everyone also puts up 5 for bounty) so there’s a chance for many people who don’t usually get a chance at points to collect 1 or 2.

    And that’s the gist of it. Most of the tourney rules I use came from, which is a great resource for making sure you are prepared for whatever comes up in a tourney. One thing I’d recommend is keeping a printed copy of the misdeal rules somewhere, as that’s been handy a few times where I was involved in a hand and had to make a decision on what the redeal procedures were. People can’t argue if the rules are there in black & white.

  3. tp says:

    I forgot to write a few things in my first reply, so here is a continuation.

    The whole thing has worked very well, and everyone has a great time. The funniest thing is how excited everyone gets about earning points, even before there was any actual value to them. I forgot to mention in the post at my site, but the money used to pay the buy-ins earned over the course of the season is probably going to come from the $5 buy-in to the big tourney, which I expect to attract 25 or so people from the long list of invitees I’ve generated over the last six months. If you have less items to pay off than I did, any extra juice you charge during regular tourneys can be used towards some kind of prize. I don’t keep any of the money myself and am actually owed about $150 still for “materials” used in the game. Still may not be strictly legal here, but as I don’t pocket any of the money, I don’t worry about it too much.