Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rethinking small buy-in live tournaments

I played in the tournament at the Gold Strike last night. It was a $60 entry for 8,000 chips and an extra $10 (for 2000 more chips) that went to the dealers. The dealers are mostly very good at the Strike, they treat me well, and I'm always happy to see them taken care of.

I chipped up mostly by just sitting in my chair and waiting. A short stack pushed and I had A-K to his ace rag. There were a bunch of limpers and I shoved from the big blind with 5 5. I figured nobody would call if all they could do is limp. Wrong. A guy called with A-9 (don't remember the suits), and my hand held up. Presto is gold, once again.

There were 47 runners, so when we got to the final table, 47,000 would be an "average" stack. I worked mine up to around 43,000 and then went card dead. Fold, fold, fold and, guess what, more fold. I kept looking for a spot to try and pick up blinds and antes, but someone always raised in front of me.

At the final table, I was short stacked. and only five would get paid (First = $900, second = $500, then $300, $200, $100). Finally, I picked up A 5 and shoved and was called by J-J. The flop was 9-7-2 with one heart. The turn was the Q. "Come on dealer, one more heart," I pleaded, but it was a blank and I was out in ninth place.

Did you notice the prize money? The Friday tournament has a guaranteed prize pool of $2000. But of the entry fee of $60, $40 goes to the prize pool and $20 to the house. Of course they aren't going to run the tournaments for free, but 33% seems high (and don't forget the $10 for the dealers on top of that). We came out okay on this tournament because of the guarantee, but I may have to re-think playing in these smaller entry tournaments -- bad odds, actually.

Tonight's another tournament and it's the same $60 buy-in. I might skip it or check out the tournament at the Horseshoe. Heck, maybe I go wild and play the Omaha-8 game instead -- now that's some fun stuff, even when you lose.

Below: The Gold Strike was having drawings to give away five Chevy Cameros. I didn't hear them call out MOJO, you're a good guy, so come get your fancy car. Schmucks.

Below: There are shuttles that run between casinos. There used to be one that went to all nine of them, but I've heard that it was discontinued. I saw the one below as I was walking in. It goes between Harrah's and the Horseshoe (both owned by the same parent company: Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.).

All images by MOJO and taken with my P&S.


  1. That's about the same juice they're getting in Vegas. I think (not knowing for sure) the dealers are getting 15%.

    Thanks for the visit.

  2. As far as the casino cares, aside from the dealer, we just rent seats.

  3. 33% seems really high but as we all know they make even more at the cash games with the rake. Tournaments are just a draw to get us in the door.

  4. Big rip-off, if you ask me. They can and should do better.

  5. Low buyin players may have to be better than those in Bobby's room -- at least in some respects. Being profitable with the rake percentages through mid-level is a true challenge. Blackjack played properly gives away a couple of percent. We give multiples of that and think little of it.

    Like the picture of the car. With the color and the rope hanging in front of the door, it might make a better ad for Walmart. LOL

  6. One of the things you need to remember when things don't go as well as you would hope -- Ocala has MOJO!

    Which includes, of course, an aura of impenetrable optimism!