Friday, June 30, 2006

Freeroll Tournament

Last night on Stars, I decided I ought to try a tournament, if nothing else to confirm that I suck at them. Also to get a little practice at larger-field tournaments before heading out to Vegas next week. (Oh my god, that's next week!)

I was looking for a 100 or so player tournament, but a freeroll tournament was starting up in 20 minutes, so I signed up. Hey, free practice, right? No cash prize pool - the top 27 places received free entry into another tournament several days from now, that one with a $1000 prize pool.

There were 3600 people in. Not quite what I was looking for, but did I mention "free"?

I decided to look at it as an endurance test, since my usual problem in big tournaments is getting bored and then doing something stupid. A huge field would be good for that.

I don't think I fully anticipated how the "free" part would really work into it. Players started going all-in nearly immediately, trying for a quick doubleup. I stayed out of the way, waiting for good cards and picking up pots when I got them. About 300 players were gone in the first 10 minutes. 600 in the first 20. Holy crap.

I played reasonably well, I thought, picking my spots and betting aggressively. I doubled up a couple times by having a good hand when someone else went all-in with a marginal one. I made the second break, two hours in. We were down to a few hundred players by then, and although they weren't supid, my tablemates didn't strike me as particularly strong.

The problem was, it was after midnight and I was starting to doze off. Part of me wanted to tough it out and see how far I could get. But the prize was entry into a tournament that began at 1am Monday morning and already had 1000 entrants, so would likely be several hours long. Even if I won, I wasn't going to stay up all night before work to play in a huge tourney with a $1000 prize pool.

When we got down to about 150 players left, I decided enough was enough. I had made my point and lasted two hours and beaten out 3500 other players. So I made a very risky semi-bluff, getting called by a better hand... and then sucking out on the poor guy to make my straight and bust him. I had nearly doubled up, and with 100 players left, the "money" was in sight. But I was having trouble keeping my eyes open to see it.

I got moved to another table. If I could stay awake and alive for another 40 minutes or so I would probably make the money, but I was done. Time for a "go out in a blaze of glory" hand. I found AK suited shortly after, raised, got reraised by the table chipleader, rereraised him back, was rerereraised, and I pushed. He called with a trifling AA, and I nearly doubled up the guy, giving him a massive lead over the rest of the table.

I went to bed happy with my play. I had finished in 80th place of 3600, and could have gone further. I knew damn well I was beat when I played that last hand, and would have survived and continued if that's what I was after. And I found that there are a lot of stupid poker players out there, so maybe I don't have to be as worried about big tournaments as I have been.

On the other hand, any blogger game every blogger game I have played in has been Noam Chomsky compared to this Dick and Jane crap.


Ryan said...

Sounds stupid...but instead of dumping your chips, just sit out. I've seen people finish at a final table having sat out with 20+ to go.

Good luck in the WSOP, once again this year I'll be in the states but have to miss the series. My cards will be played in Tucson, Council Bluffs, and Biloxi starting next Friday through August 15th. Again, good luck in Vegas!

Do us Gaijin proud!

James said...

Thanks man! I'm not going to enter any of the events (barring some rather extreme circumstances, lets say), but I expect to have a ball just watching the whole show and supporting the Tokyo players who are competing.

I hadn't thought of sitting out, it's a good idea. I didn't really care how far I got in the tournament, but it would have been a way to spread my chips around more evenly instead of dumping them all to a guy who was already the chip leader. Hmm, I wonder if he won it?