Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

First live poker tournament

Tonight I played in my first live poker tournament, and cashed.

I hadn't been at all sure this morning (or even this afternoon) that I would feel like playing as I had a somewhat unrestful night and was dragging around all day. But I had agreed to meet prock at Artichoke Joe's for dinner and felt OK after getting up there.

It was fun talking with prock. We have a few acquaintances in common. He worked for the same company as dd_b for a while, and went to grad school with Milo Martin (who graduated from Gustavus a year ahead of me.)

The tournament was 1/2 Limit Hold'em and 1/2 Limit Omaha/8. It was $40+10 for 500 chips, with rebuys at $20 for 500 and one add-on at $40 for 1000 after the third or fourth level. There were four (maybe five?) tables of 10 players each to start (and they were still trying to sell a last seat well into the tournament, so I needn't have shown up early to play.)

Play was conducted with $20, $100, and $1000 chips. This required a lot of change-making throughout the early levels (since there were very few $20 chips on the table) but we did not color up until the final table.

As best I can reconstruct the blinds and limits are:
20/20 20/40 Hold'em
20/40 40/80 Omaha
20/60 60/120 Hold'em
60/80 80/160 Omaha
60/100 100/200 Hold'em
100/200 200/400 Omaha
100/300 300/600 Hold'em [edit: this is the level I forgot]
200/400 400/800 Omaha
300/500 500/1K Hold'em
500/1000 1K/2K Omaha
1K/2K 2K/4K Hold'em

But I might have dropped a level in there somewhere. I seem to recall stealing Hold'em blinds for 2K. I believe Hold'em levels were 15 minutes and Omaha levels were 20 minutes. This meant that we were pretty much constantly in short-stack mode.

The play went pretty quickly except for one or two players who took a noticeably long time making decisions. There were very few multiway contested Hold'em hands, but the first two levels of Omaha featured quite a bit of limping, with 6 players to the flop not uncommon.

I made the cardinal sin of rebuy tournaments by not taking the immediate rebuy, and then winning a hand so that I no longer could. Fortunately I managed to triple my buyin in the first Hold'em level so this was not a big loss. (I had J8s make trip 8s and get paid off all the way, and some top-pair hand, probably AK, earn a few big bets.) I didn't play any Omaha hands in the second level (O1), unfortunately.

At the break I was down to 1K and the add-on put me at 2K. (I think that's correct because I remember thinking I was even with where I'd be with the rebuy.

Some memorable hands:

I had AdQd and two other high cards in Omaha and limped in after one other EP player. Four players (us and the blinds) saw the flop, which was Ah2dQh. EP bet, I raised, and all four players saw the turn for two bets. The turn was the 9d which only improved my position so I kept betting. The river was a lovely black Ace. EP bet out again, I raised and the blinds folded, he called and grumbled that I should not have raised. He mucked--- I'm pretty sure he had A2. At least one of the blinds was on a straight draw and would not have paid me off, so I feel OK about my raise WITH THE NUTS here. Sheesh.

With AxKc I 3-bet a short stack raise (the same player who complained about A2). Seat 10 called from the blinds and the short stack called. The flop was T98 (or maybe T97) with two clubs. Seat ten bet out, the short stack raised all-in, and I called the partial bet and seat ten's completion. I was getting low on chips myself, and when seat ten bet the turn (a jack and a third club) I called (or raised?) all-in. The river was a Q giving me the nut straight. Seat 10 had flopped a straight and was crippled. I don't remember what the player to my right had.

I didn't have much luck with low hands in Omaha. I had to fold an A3 and an A2 on ugly flops. An AQQ9 flopped a nut flush draw and rivered a straight to take the high half of a four-way pot. My only really big starters were Hold'em. I had KK hold up against seat 10 on my original table, who was a very loose player who managed to accumulate a lot of chips my making her draws or being the only one left in an Omaha pot with any sort of low. I also stole, not the blinds, but just the big blind, with AA. (A player had busted out and only one blind was posted.)

When down to two tables the game became very much about blind stealing. I did my part in both Omaha and Hold'em. I only got called once, when I had raised in the CO with Q7s. I flopped a gutshot and bet it, and button decided he didn't want to pursue the matter.

I sort of regretted folding KK and two babies to a 3-bet in Omaha, after I discovered that my opponents held TT-trash, JJ-trash, and low cards. I would have knocked out a short stack who won with his JJ, even rivering a gratutious boat. I did go up against a steal attempt from a short stack with 68KK vs. his 79TT, but he rivered at T to double up and I believe ended up making the money.

(II also made some calls that weren't that great, and I limped in an A3s hand that I should have just raised with, and had to fold the turn.)

I busted the 11th place player when he raised all-in with K9 offsuit for less than the big blind. I held Ks7x in the big blind, flopped three spades and a 7, and my hand held up.

At the final table I had 7.9K chips left. The other opponents had about 3400, 6000, 7000, 11.8K, 12.4K, 14K, and 16K. The payout structure gave $80 to the 9th place player and about $1400 to 1st place. But negotiations immediately started for a straight split of the prize pool among all 9 players. One of the big stacks objected to this, but the 4th-place stack objected to giving the top three some extra money. I just kept my head down. Eventually we settled on the original proposal. (I had been warned on 2+2 that this was typical for this tournament.)

The $3840 prize pool split 9 ways came to $427 each, which was bigger than the 4th place prize, so I was certainly happy to take it. We took $425 and left the remainder to the dealers, as well as most of us contributing $20 or so. So my net was $425 - $50 entry fee - $40 rebuy - $21 tips = $314.

If this chop is the typical result then obviously stealing chips on the bubble becomes much less important and merely surviving to the final table is of paramount importance. Without the deal the payout structure was very heavily tilted toward top-three finishes and normal tournament strategy would apply, though it would still be somewhat of a free-for-all with the blinds continuing to grow.

The tournament started at 6:45pm and finished around 10:15pm.

prock sweated me from a little after the break until the final table, which I appreciated.
Tags: final table, hold'em, omaha, poker, tournament
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