Tournament Strategy episode 1

28 02 2012

Hey guys I was working on the computer when a past tournament hand came into mind and continues to haunt me almost a year later.  I want to tell you about it and then let me know if you guys think it was a good move or not.  So I was playing at the WSOP last summer and I was playing in a 2pm $230 buy-in daily event.  These events happen every day and are the most attractive tournament at the WSOP.  This day happened to bring in 1,090 players.  A cool $40,000 for the winner.  Now this is a little more than halfway during the series and so far I was 0 for 11 in trying to cash in a tournament.  I was running terrible.

However, I finally got a chance to prove myself.  In this tournament I ended up cashing running and playing really well.  I even had the chip lead at one point.  We were down to 93 people when this hand came up.  With the blinds at 6,000-12,000 with 1,000 chip ante I had about 100,000 left.  This was a shorter stack and about 8 big blinds.  I looked down at 66 from the second position.  Now there are several options here.  I decided to ship in all my chips.  The big blind woke up with QQ and raised all in having me covered.  The board blanked and I lost, only winning $400. 

Now I want to analyze the hand.  My dad who had been watching from the rail said I should have folded and waited for a better spot.  A pro that I know well and trust told me it was a clear ship.  So let’s think about it.  I am short stacked but in my belief I am not on complete life support.  If everyone folds I pick up 27,000 which would be 27%.  If anything that wasn’t 77 through AA call I am actually a favorite.  Now I still have to go through 7 people in hopes they all fold.  And each of the 7 still has to have a big enough hand to call.  The scary thing about shipping there is that I am risking my whole tournament life on a marginal hand.  All that hard work would have gone to waste.  But in my opinion I believe it was the correct move because of the 27% increase if they fold plus if they call I still have a chance and at worst I am an 80% underdog which is what happened.  Doing the math in my head I think it is the correct move.  Of course the heartache of playing so long and not getting a big result still hurts but I would do it again if it came to it. 

What do you guys think?  Leave me a comment and let me know if you like how it played out or would you even flat call or fold and wait to get a better hand in a better position.  Thanks guys!


Why I love tournament poker

27 02 2012

Imagine yourself walking into a fair or carnival.  What do you see?  You see rides, attractions, games, food, and lots of activities.  Now when you walk into the amazon room during the summer at the Rio what do you see?  The same thing, but with poker!  There are hundreds of people buzzing around different games at different stakes.  There are massage therapist, cocktail waiters, and different food stations.  There are fish galore.  The summer is a magical time for poker.  When I walk into a tournament I feel that excitement and buzz that you get when going to a carnival.  You pay your ticket to get onto the wild ride.

A tournament is a roller coaster and you get that same feeling in your stomach when your QQ get cracked by AK.  It burns but then a round later you suck out when your flush hits the river and the anticipation of getting closer to big money fills your stomach.

Don’t get me wrong cash games are a lot of fun, but they cannot even compare to live tournament poker.  In a cash game you are playing the same 9 guys and when you bust them they can reload and the only way you win is when you walk out the door with a profit.  Tournaments are for the more risqué.  You cannot leave until you’re broke but that risk is worth the high reward of big money.

I mean what feels like a bigger accomplishment; winning $1000 at a cash game or min cashing in a tournament of over 1,000 people with potential to earn a lot more.  With a tournament people come to watch.  Unless you’re playing mega high stakes no one is going to watch you play in a 1-2 game.  Only tournament poker allows rail birds to get wildly drunk, hold banners, and shout Devo! (or in my case Jesse!!!)

I fall asleep every night in anticipation of the next tournament and the next opportunity for that big score.  Every day some casino somewhere is playing a tournament and giving people the opportunity to win $100,000 plus.  The atmosphere is amazing, the characters that come are comical to say the least, and that feeling up stacking the mountain of chips while holding the bracelet or trophy is unforgettable.

The next tournament for me is the World Poker Challenge at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno March 1-11.  I will keep everyone updated and if you’re in the area come play some tournaments with me!