The Goldstrike Casino started a new tournament last week. I missed the first one because of this, but I didn't miss it last night (Saturday).
They call it the Weekend Warrior Tournament and the casino adds an extra $1500 to the prize pool, s-w-e-e-t. The buy-in is $100 for T4000 chips and there is another $10 fee that goes to the dealers that gets you T2000 extra chips. 82 donkeys, er, players entered. I calculated that there were roughly T480,000 chips in play and so you would need T48,000 to be average when you got to the final table. Let's think optimistically here.
I chipped up nicely early on. There were obvious noobies who were simply giving their chips away and I managed to get my share. Then this disaster. I pick up ♦A ♦K in early position and make a four-times-the-big-blind raise. It folds to a lady who is short-stacked and she moves all in. It didn't cost me much more, so no problem, right? You just call, right? Well you simply have to and she turned her cards up and showed ♥A ♣A. Nice hand, oh well, at least she didn't bust me.
I chipped back up again. With the blinds T150/300 with a T25 ante, it folded to me on the button. I had ♥K ♥10 and raised. The big blind moved all in (he had me covered) and I gave it up. The next orbit it folded to me in the small blind and I picked up ♦Q and ♠7. I limped in (perhaps a raise is better?) and we saw a flop. It was ♦J ♣9 ♠ 4. I bet half the pot and the big blind moved all in, oops. I pretended to study, then folded. Unfortunately as I was trying to muck my cards, the guy next to me was reaching out (for some reason, not sure why) and he flipped my cards over exposing my steal attempt. The good news is our table broke and I went to another table where I didn't have to repair my image.
Image is important in a donkament like this. Because it's the holiday weekend, there are many tourists who are not experienced players. They've seen it on TV and want to give it a shot. Do they understand stealing when it is checked to you on the button? Do they understand fighting for blinds and antes? No, they are not tournament savvy. When you show a bluff, they will never trust you again. Forget stealing. Forget bluffing, they'll call with bottom pair or even ace high. I'm just sayin'.
At the new table the blinds advanced to T500/1000 with an ante (I don't remember how much, probably T100). When I had the big blind, a guy in the cutoff seat raised my big blind twice. The third time, I was ready for him. He raised to T4000 and I moved all in. He didn't even bother to pretend to study his cards before folding. I'm glad he was on a steal because my hand was ♦7 ♥4. What if he had called? Well, that's too bad. You simply can't let them keep stealing your blinds. After you play back at them, they will usually slow down.
Good things happened. I made a raise and someone moved all in for a little more. I called with my ♦Q ♠Q (she had pocket jacks) and my hand held up. Then this hand:
A guy was getting shortstacked with the blinds at T800/1600 with an ante of (I think) T200. He had T10,000 and raised to T5000. it folded to me, I had ♥K ♥6. The raise was suspicious (a good player would shove, not bet half his stack), but this guys didn't look like the brightest light bulb in the pack. I had a fairly healthy stack, so called, probably a dumb play (I was not getting quite 2:1). The flop was great: ♦K, ♣7 ♠4. I checked and he moved all in, as I knew he would. I called and he turned over pocket aces. Arrgh. The good news was that the turn was the ♠6 !! I love snapping off aces. It's a hard job, but somebody has to do the dirty work.
When we got the final table I was the chip leader with T115,000. Another guy had around T100,000, but I'd played with him before and he wasn't a threat unless he got lucky. There were three short stacks and the rest in the middle as far as size. Immediately somebody asks how much do we each get if we chop now? They tell us and then they ask, "Is anybody against a chop?" Of course I have to be the bad guy. I'm not against a chop when it becomes a crap shoot, but when there are three stacks on life-support, then no way. We play for a while and three people are eliminated (surprisingly one was not one of the short-stacks) and there are seven of us left, and I've chipped up to T130,000. They start in again on the chop thing again, but offer me $300 extra (paid by the short stack) and I agree; it's almost second place money. Even though you always want first-place money, I've played in enough of these things to know that bad things can happen pretty quick. Maybe I should have counter-offered with a chop by the chip count or a modified version, but who knows?
The bottom line is that I got a nice payday and I'm officially a "Weekend Warrior" with two more days of the weekend left!
After the tournament (it was then around 10:40 p.m. by the time we signed the forms and cashed out), I headed for one of the $1/2 NLHE table where I encountered a true maniac, something I've not seen in nearly two years (and I play at the casinos a lot). I'll do a post later and tell you how I did against him.
Edit: I finally blogged about the maniac. You may find it interesting and can read about it here.