I spent last weekend in Las Vegas. I played in three poker tournaments.
Tourney 1 (Sit and Go, $70 buyin):
A Sit and Go tournament is a one-table tournament. There are only ten players. The blinds move up quickly and you aren’t given many chips to start. Because of this, play is aggressive and the whole tournament takes only 90 minutes or so. 1st place gets 70%, 2nd place gets 30%, everyone else gets a good story.
This was my first one. I really like the format. Lots of fun.
4 of our 10 players went out very quickly. The format attracts idiots and drunks. I should have won. I made it to heads up play. I was better than the other player. He was slightly buzzed and let me catch up from a 2-1 deficit to even. My aggressive play was rewarded continually, I felt I was going to grind him away before he noticed he was in trouble. It didn’t quite go that way. I went all-in with 2-2, he called with K-A. Your basic coinflip hand. He made his King on the flop and that was that. I wasn’t disappointed with my play at all and feel that I can be a good player in this format.
Tourney Total: $110
Tourney 2 (“normal” tournament, 43 players, $80 buyin):
Ugh. Never had cards, never had it going. With no cards I would make a stab at blinds once in a while. Someone always came over the top. If I stayed for the flop I wouldn’t hit anything and any try for the pot would be raised. I was getting pushed around with no mercy and I couldn’t do anything about it.
In the big blind (100-200) I limped in with K-8. The flop was 5-6-7. That was good enough for me to go all-in with my last 2,000. Hopefully the other three players would fold, but even if they did I had 8 or 12 outs (depending on their cards). Two players folded. The third player correctly read me for a straight draw. He called me and turned over 6-x. I was lucky and got my king on the turn to double up. I suddenly felt right. I had weathered the bad cards and suddenly found myself with an average stack. I could get back to work.
I was feeling even better on the next with J-J. I re-raised a 400 bet up to 1,200. The player I had just drawn out on re-raised me to 2,400. Hm. Obviously he could have a higher pair, or perhaps K-A. Something like that. On the other hand, he could be trying to make up for last hand. I called. The flop was K-x-x. He put me all in. Do these guys think I’ll fold everytime they push me around!? Well, they’re right! I think I had to fold, there were just too many hands that could beat me. What do the readers think? Was it the right call? Was my mistake calling the 2,400? I wish I knew what he had that hand. I suspect a pair of Queens or K-A, but I’ll never know. That’s poker.
I was back to low stack. Urgh! Only 800 or so left, and 150-300 blinds coming up in a few hands. Q-10 was good enough for me to go all-in. She turned over a pair of Aces. C’mon!!!
(My friend made it to the final table. He finished in 6th. The top 5 were winners, but they had already decided to give the entry fee back to sixth place. I thought it was very good to get 6th place. He felt that he just spent 3 and a half hours of grinding to end up back where he started!)
Tourney Total: -$80
Running Vegas Poker Total: $30
Tourney 3 (Sit and Go, $60 buyin):
Somehow I ended up playing hyper-aggressive. I didn’t want to, but the cards and the quick structure made me. I limped with Q-J. The flop was Q-x-x. The button raised it, I called. On the turn, he bets big again. Because you start with so few chips, this most of what we had left. I was already pot committed. I called. The river was a Jack. It turns out he had Q-A and was (rightly) furious when my two pair on the river knocked him out.
Barely into the second round, I have 9-9. I re-raise the bet to 600, hoping to push him out. He won’t be pushed. In fact, he puts me all-in. It’s 725 more into a pot of 2,200 or so, I have a made pair, I have to call. He has Q-Q and the rest is history.
Tourney Total: -$60
Running Vegas Poker Total: -$30
Overall I didn’t play my best poker. I was better than many players, but not all of them. I wish I could have played more, I felt like I was just getting the feel of Sit and Gos when the trip was over.
I also discovered a bad tendency of mine. I like to push from the button, small, and big blind. That’s proper, those are the best places to push. But because of that I tend to seriously discount raises from those positions. I tend to assume they are bluffing and I get into big trouble when they’re not. Something to work on.
Las Vegas Total: -$30
Running Total: $669