Sunday, January 11, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 8:43 PM
The Charity Tournament was Saturday. It started 1.25 hours late and there was utter confusion for the first hour or so over how the re-buys and add-ons worked. Everybody gave a different answer. It was exacerbated by the lack of any poker/tournament knowledge by either the dealers or ½ the players. I am usually pretty cool in this situations, but I lost it and said, “Please don’t deal another f___in hand until I know what the f---in rules are. I don’t fancy gambling a few hundred dollars without knowing the rules.” The dealer finally got the director and the rules were made around 95% clear, which was about as good as I could have hoped for.

I started with $2,000 in TC’s, which were basically immediately lost on a hand were I bet when my Ace paired on the turn. Unfortunately, he had two pair. I re-buy and play tight for about an hour and limp in with 33. I flop 3KK and eke $2,000 out of another guy over 3 streets and double my stack to $4,000.

I had trouble doing much at that first table, because the guy to my left was very good, and that is the worst place for a good player to be seated. They broke our table quickly (it was the 2nd of 24 to be broken) and I was happy to go to a different table than that guy.

The best starting cards I got all day were at my second table, where I got AKs heads up against AQ, where I doubled up again to $7,700. Shortly thereafter, I got 26o in the blind and saw a flop of 2-6-x, which I bet and narrowed the field to 3 others. The turn brought a full house and I struggled with what the right amount to bet was. I was afraid of losing to a higher full house on the river, so I bet $1,500 and they ran. Now I have just over $8,000.

The second best cards I got were 99, which I played in a 3-way pot. I won a small amount in the side pot but lost the main pot to AA. Now the structure changed to ante & blinds, which makes it much harder to wait for good hands. I stole a handful of blinds – just enough to stay alive and find myself on the big blind ($800) with about $4,000 in chips left looking at QJo. There is a sense of urgency, because the blinds go up after this hand, so with the antes I only get about 4 more hands. There is only one caller and the SB left, so I raise and get called by AJ. I basically only have 3 outs – the 3 Q’s plus a very unlikely straight to win. Neither of us pair up and I am out. When I was eliminated, there were 80 players left (out of 216) and 12 tables (out of 24). I consider it a decent showing considering that aside from AKs and 99, I got almost no playable hands. I lasted 5 hours.

Junell lasted much longer, and I have asked him to chime in with his account.

The guy who took my money was still playing when I left, with only 14 players left. I couldn’t help but wonder if that would have been me if I had won that hand.

The field was approximately what I had guessed – a lot of ESPN watching young guys, plus a good showing of old “rocks”. I would say 10% of the players were “good” which I would define as “capable of winning or breaking even consistently in a card room at most limits.” The bulk of players were “average” which meant that they had plenty of Hold’em experience, but little No-Limit experience and little tournament experience. About 10% had no idea how to play Hold’em, the giveaway being little things like folding their hands pre-flop when they are on the BB and nobody raised. I actually saw this quite a bit. Once down to the final two tables, I don’t think there were any bad players left. An average player can play their way to the final table, but there isn’t enough luck in the world to get a bad player past a field of 216 players over 8 hours.

One guy at my second table evidently (according to the people at the table before me) had an interesting strategy. He folded every hand except 5 over four hours. All 5 of those, he went all-in pre-flop!! Once he was called and had AA, but he lost. I am guessing that he would only play JJ, QQ, KK AA, AK. That doesn’t seem like much of a strategy, but to each his own.

While the organization was horrible for the first hour, everything did settle down and it eventually became much better run. However, even for a charity event, I would have expected the dealers and organizers to have even an iota of tournament experience.

I heard that they are not doing it again because even though it was a massively successful fundraiser, the hassles with TABC to get it approved weren’t worth it. I probably would not play in it again, but that is primarily because it was too expensive, not because I didn’t enjoy it. For ½ the price, I’d play every time.

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Random thoughts from a lawyer, an accountant, a commodities trader, an ex-Marine and a WSOP Main Event money finisher that don't know as much as they wish they did...



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