Tournament Poker

Two weeks have gone by since my last home hold’em tourney so this Friday it was time for the next one. It’s just a basic $20 pot-limit hold’em tournament, with T1000 in starting chips. On top of winning the cash (divvied 50/25/15/10 with 10+ people) points are awarded for the top five finishers (10-8-6-4-2 for simplicity sake). These points accumulate over the course of a “season” (defined as 10 tournaments) with some prize being awarded to the points leader. There’s a lot of excitement about winning EPT points (as they are called) even though everyone’s been told that I’m not going to be able to get a very good prize for our first season.

And that’s the set-up. I don’t know how much of this I’ve explained previously (and I’m too lazy to scroll back and check), but I thought I’d provide a refresher for my hordes of three readers.

Friday night was the 8th event in the first “season”. It was also our biggest turnout with 19 bodies. Now, early on, one of the players won two tourneys back-to-back, which had, along with a couple other money finishes, put him well ahead in the points standings. Even after finishing in the money five out of seven times, included a first place finish in the last tournament, I was still 10 points behind, tied for second in points.

But I managed to change that Friday night, beating the field and finishing first for a nice chunk of change. Unfortunately I’ve been too busy to make this post before now, so the details are a bit hazy. There were a few key hands that my night hinged on that I can relate.

Just before the tables merged, I went in for a decent raise with AQ and got two callers. The flop came AQx, 2 diamonds. I can’t remember the exact sequence of betting, but eventually I pushed the other two all-in. One showed AJ, one showed two diamonds. So, I just had to hope for no diamonds. The turn came a safe blank, but the river was another diamond and the crowd that collected around the table started hollering. But I had been paying attention and yelped a bit louder and reached to protect my pot when I saw it was the Qd. This put me in good chip position as the tables were merged to the final eight.

Second important hand was a crazy affair when I held KQ. The flop came Qxx and I liked it and bet accordingly. Nothing of much note on the turn and river and then the guy I was heads-up against pushed all-in. I had him covered, but the whole sequence had halfed my stack. He flipped Q4 and left the table to eat dinner. This was a nice influx of chips that put me well ahead at the table.

But all was not good fortune. I lost a nearly T10000 pot when A2 rivered the pair of twos against my bigger ace. He had called a T1000 bet on every street, with just A2. Now, I may have been broadcasting a tell that I was trying to bully, which I was with only A6, but I also read that the flop missed him. That gutsy call knocked me well back at the table. In fact, I was just about ready to give up on making it to first.

But I kept up with my aggressive play. Raising and reraising to steal pots, and hands held up when I needed them to. I had some good reads on my opponents and managed to take advantage of their styles. In fact, I felt really good about my play when I realized I had clawed my way back into a small chip lead. I carried that through to the final two, though it was still a small edge. I stole a few pots and then found 55. At this point I was getting a bit tired and was willing to gamble so when my opponent raised my limp, I re-raised him back and he put all his chips on the line pre-flop. It turned out to be 97 vs. 55. I guess he was even less patient than I was and my fives held up for the victory.

So, I’m now 6 for 8 in the bi-weekly hold’em tournaments, the money leader and tied for the points lead, and I’m feeling pretty satisfied with myself. Of course, since I organize the tournaments, it doesn’t necessarily look great, but I’m not going through all this effort and not even getting the opportunity to play. It’s not as if I am making any profit beyond what I win at the tables.

Then again, I managed to make a complete fool of myself at the blogger tournament tonight. I was out in 27th (of 30) 15 minutes into the tournament. I got into an ill-advised confrontation with Mean Gene early while I was sorting out the betting interface. I ventured a good chunk of my chips but was forced to back away when the flop didn’t hit and he put the pressure on me. Ten minutes later I went all-in with my short stack when I found AQ. Blinds were going up to 25/50 in less than five minutes and with only 300 in chips, I figured I wasn’t going to get many more chances. Unfortunately, I ran into Gene again and was out of the tournament.

I have to say, I’m not a big fan of Pacific Poker. Some people at my table were saying that the games were really soft – and I can’t disagree from my short time at the .5/1 table – but I don’t know that they are more +EV than my PL games at Party/Empire/Intertops. Still, I suppose there is a bonus to unlock, even if the method of doing so is a bit extreme. Maybe Pacific is where I should start my 2/4 dabbling.

But that’s enough about poker, it’s time to call it an early night.

2 Responses to “Tournament Poker”

  1. Kal says:

    I had the K8 diamonds on the button in your AQ hand. Figured 39% chance to triple up was worth the gamble at that stage. I had been getting bunk most of the night and didn’t even have enough to cover the raise. IGHN.

    Anyways, BP put everything in perspective when he said, “the only hand that can beat me is a boat” then flip his cards and is put out by a higher straight then his. We’re pretty much all fish to have let him win a few weeks ago.

  2. tp says:

    Wasn’t a particularly bad call, though you could have been patient and waited for a better opportunity instead of butting heads with the chip leader. I think it was a better call than the AJ though.

    And BP’s comment was ridiculous. I though he was putting on a show talking about the boat because he wanted to get a read on the raiser. When I realized he was serious, and with the low end of a four-card board straight, I was flabbergasted. I don’t feel too bad about him having won though, he was getting great cards. Lots of trips and straights and flushes. Had such a huge chip advantage there wasn’t much that could be done. Now, I shouldn’t have gotten impatient when it was down to three that week and given away my chips, but it would have been a large hill to climb to bust him, and I’d already been fighting for a long time at that point.

    He’s ego has definitely been punctured now. After his first two nights, he thought he was guaranteed money whenever he played, but after two early exits, he’s revised his expectations.

    I went looking for info on the Brantford tournament and while I couldn’t find any official info, there was a post on some board saying that it was going to be a 14-table 100K tournament that was actually going to be televised. Wish the website for the casino had some actual information.