Saturday, October 25, 2008
It's Saturday, time for another poker tournament
Went to Harrah's Casino again tonight for a poker tournament. This one was slightly different than last night's. The buyin was $110 ($10 to the casino and $100 to the prize pool). Harrah's adds $500 to the prize pool. If more than 50 runners sign up, they come out ahead. If less than 50, they lose money, so they are gambling. It's a loss-leader, however, in that it brings players into their facility. Besides poker, many of them play the slot machines and table games and that is where the real money is for casinos.
Well, Harrahs gambled and lost. Only 26 runners signed up. Everyone started with 5000 in chips and for a $10 dealer toke, players could get an additional 2000. I didn't check, but obviously everyone took the add-on. So, in effect, the entry fee was $120. The levels were 20 minutes and blinds started at 25/50. I got a sheet with the blind structure from the Tournament Director. When I compared it with the Friday night structure, I saw they bumped the blinds up quicker. So because you started with 3000 less chips and the tournament played faster, you have to open up your game a little more. I would bet any amount of money that none of the other 25 entrants bothered to check out the tournament structure.
I was able to double up in the first hour. I don't remember how I did it, but basically a small pot here, a small pot there. Near the end of the second hour, I was able to double up again. The blinds were 400/800/50 and I was on the button with: ♥K ♠K and made a standard raise. The small blind had around 10,000 in chips and moved all in with: ♠Q ♣Q. I called, of course, and my hand held up. Questions: Is there no move besides all in? Are players so afraid to play after the flop the reason that this play is so compelling?
I won one other big pot. When we were six-handed, there was a limper in front of me and I held: ♣K ♣J. The blinds were 2000/4000/500. I limped as well, and a short stack moved all in for 12,000. The first limper called, so there was 36,000 chips in the pot and it would be ridiculous not to call another 8,000 to try and win this pot. The flop was ♣A ♥5 ♦2. I thought, "uh oh," but the first limper checked. The next card was the ♠J and limper checked, so I bet 6,000 into a dry pot. He folded and the all-in short stack turned over ♥K ♥10. He bricked out on the river, and I was in chip city.
When we were down to four-handed play, the blinds were 3000/6000/500. I limped in with ♥K ♣9 and the button folded. The small blind completed and the big blind checked. The flop was ♣K ♥Q ♦2. The SB checked and the BB, who was short-stacked (compared to everyone else), moved all in for 22,000 more. I had top pair with a 9 kicker, but the BB was a lady who had played tight. Do you or don't you? I usually act fairly quickly, but this time I had a problem. I could fold and have plenty of chips. I could call and bust another player and increase my stack. Finally, I called and she turned over ♦Q ♣2 for two pair. The turn was a 4 and the river an 8, so I doubled her up and hurt my stack.
After that I had to be picky about when I put my chips in. A guy held ♣A ♦2 on the button and limped in. The big blind (me) moved all in for 22,400 more. He called. I think he should raise on the button, but if he didn't raise, he should give up the hand. He took the worse option. He was fortunate that I didn't turn over A10 or some other stronger ace. Instead, he was lucky in that all I had was ♠Q ♠10 and he was about a 51% to 49% favorite (instead of a huge dog). The board bricked out for both of us, so his ace-high hand was a winner, and I was out in fourth place.
The ending was disappointing, but a cash is a cash!
At night, the reflection of Harrah's lights in the water makes an interesting image.