The third Poker Stars Blogger Tournament was this Sunday, and I'd have to say this was the best one yet. That may have something to do with the fancy prize I won, but maybe not.
In previous years, anyone could register for the tournament weeks or months in advance. So thousands of people would register and then not show up. I think the majority of the field in the first two events were no-shows. There were only two other active players at my starting table in the first year. Of coarse last time I was unable to play so I was one of those no-shows.
This year, you could still sign up weeks in advance, but all that got you was a tournament ticket. They opened up actual registration for the tournament a few hours beforehand which more or less eliminated the no-shows. In all 1337 people entered, which is more than I was expecting, but not too many. We also started with $T10,000 chips instead of the usual $T1500. Which was kind of cool, although the blinds started higher so I don't know how much of a difference it makes. Maybe they do that for all their big tourney's, who knows. It did enable me to have over a million chips at one point which was kind of cool.
So as I mentioned yesterday I took some notes, but they're bad, and I don't remember what most of them mean since I only expected to be playing for two to three hours, not seven. Besides I really don't think you want seven hours worth of hand by hand analysis, so I'll give you the paragraph or two per hour summary which I'm sure will still be pretty longStart $T10,000 1337 Players
I remember very little about the first hour because the Bears were still on and I was busy yelling at them, then cheering them, then yelling at them again. Is it time for baseball season to start yet? Oh. Crap.
I had pocket Kings on the second hand of the tourney and won the blinds. I think I only briefly dipped below the 10,000 starting point once after that. There weren't any terribly exciting hands at this point and I just chipped up, taking down boring pots and picking my spots.1st Break $T18,675. Average $14,044, 952 players left.
The second hour is where I one of my two real scares in the tourney. I took a bit of hit with my pocket Jacks when I had to fold to a big reraise on a king high all diamond flop. Neither of my cards were diamonds.
I then got all in pre-flop with a shortish stack, my AQ vs his AT. It went down almost exactly how I wanted. He was in the big blind and I bet just enough so that he had to fold or go all-in and I had a feeling he would push with a pretty wide range of cards. All was going to plan until he hit a ten and knocked my down to about $T8000.
As I mentioned before I didn't stay under the starting tally for long. I pushed with A6s over a bunch of limpers. One guy called, but with garbage, and I went from 8K to 20K just like that.
A few hands latter and I more than double up again up to 45K with wired sevens and a six high flop.
I start getting a little to adventurous then and lose a few pots I tried to steal finishing out the hour around 32K2nd Break $35,626 Average $T32,216 415 Players left
I started getting a lot of pocket pairs in this hour. I knocked out two shorter stacks with medium/small pairs and then got all in with pocket nines against a larger stack. Which got me up to $T94,000
I lost a portion of that defending my blind with K3 when I flopped a king and called his flop raise, but couldn't call his bet on the turn.
The field is starting to thin out now and I'm on the Leaderboard. Woo-Hoo.3rd Break $T74,462 Average $71,117 68th of 188 players remaining
Kings are good to me as I get all-in pre flop against big slick and jump up to $T166,174
And then the worst hand that I can ever remember being a part of happened. I had pocket queens, and made the standard preflop raise. Another guy reraised. I had him covered, and thought he would might be trying to steal from me, or prevent me from stealing, so I pushed all-in. He calls and turns over QQ.
After the hand someone types "wow" and my opponent keeps typing "lol" variations. Like they haven't seen two people with the same hand before. Then I notice that he has over 200K, and I'm around 58K. WTF? I look back at the hand history and see he hit a flush. I guess I should be paying more attention, but the flop was two suited, (I could have sworn three suited) and I remember breathing a sigh of relief that there wouldn't be a flush after the flop had come.
Lets just say I was a bit stunned. I was especially annoyed because I was playing pretty well, and was getting close to the prizes only to get all but knocked out on something as improbable as that was frustrating.
But before I could tilt too hard, a couple of big slicks in a row and an AQ get me up to $T115,00
Then I get AK vs AQ, flop a queen and double up to $T222,364
A few hands later I have pocket tens and the flop comes A T X. He has an ace and must not have believed me because he kept calling. Before I know it I'm up over $T290K4th Break $T275,664 avg $T146,923 9th out of 91 remaining players
The prizes start at 81st place. Three cheers for duffel bags.
I take the chip lead for the first time with T7s in the big blind. The button min raised pre-flop, so I called, hoping to get lucky. I missed the flop, but took a shot anyway, and he calls. The turn brings a fourth card to my flush, so I check call his smallish bet. The river gives me the flush and I'm up to over 400K. He made a comment about how he played that badly and let me get there. And he was right. But it was an expensive lesson to learn.
And we've made to the first level of prizes.
I've had a pretty large chip stack, but no really been able to play big stack poker like I hope to in these situations. If it folds to me in decent position I'll raise with almost any two cards, but most pots are raised before it gets to me, and while reraising to steal could certainly be very profitable, one wrong step moves me from a comfortable chip stack to fighting for position in the middle of the pack, or worse. So I'm more or less conservitive in my play.
After I make that complaint to myself I finally get to bully some people with my stack and play good old fashioned big-stack poker.
Or not. I went up to $T475 and then they started fighting back and now I'm down to 389K. The guy that keeps pushing all-in after my pre-flop raises eventually finishes fourth. He really frustrated me at this point.
My continuation bets are getting a lot of respect, which is even better than them all folding preflop. Instead of giving me their blinds and antes they throw in an extra $30K or so. 5th break T$625,264. Average $T290,652 4th out of 46 remaining.
The Blinds are now $T7500/$T15000 with a $T1500 ante. There's 34K in the pot before the hands are even dealt.
iPod prizes start at 45 players so I get to take advantage of the bubble for a bit as no one wants to be the last person stuck with a PokerStars Duffel bag after five hours of play. Although I'm sure they're nice.
Woot. iPod. I'm sitting at $T690K and there are 45 people left. If I survive another nine eliminations the iPod nano gets upgraded to an 80G iPod. Barring a horrific meltdown that should be no problem.
Its an all-in fest as we quickly get down to hand for hand at 38 players and the next prize jump
And now we have to wait for nine more eliminations to enter the 160G iPod prize package tier.
Well over 300 hands in and I get pccket aces for the first time. Someone ahead of me pushes with jacks and I knock him out getting up to over 800K for a little while
There are railbird.com-ers everywhere. My current table has at least two and maybe as many as four. Never heard of the site before, but they are certainly well represented.
I start chipping up now and climb to over $T1,000,000 in chips as we get down to 27 players and enter the 160Gipod prize category.
I took a big hit trying to push a guy with pocket twos off his hand and failing. I'm down to 775K but still in 5th.
And now I'm card dead. All I can do is sit and watch as thousands of chips worth of blinds and antes are taken from me.
I finally try to take a stand and defend my big blind, but my semi bluffs on the flop and turn get called and then he hits his card on the river knocking me down to 535K6th Break $T535,230 Average $T703,684. 12th of 19 players remaining
Things are still going badly as I can't get a card worth playing to save my life, but we're down to 18 people and into the xBox prize package. Its now a crazy all-in fest as the prizes seem to dip a bit after this level. 11-18 get xBoxs, 10 gets a ton of poker books, 9 gets poker chips, 8 gets a camera, 4-7 get various other tournament entries, 3 gets a 24" monitor, camera and camcorder, 2 gets a 50" plasma and 1 gets a $12,000 prize package to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament which is a European Poker Tournament event.
I wanted the xBox or one of the top two prizes. I have more iPods than I need so I was glad to pass that category. I don't need more poker books, or chips or a poker table. The tournament entries would be cool and I plan on playing some of the big expensive tournaments one day, but I just spent 6 hours playing poker, I want something quantifiable now.
I wasn't the only one with that thought as people started pushing with anything. I was the short stack so it was push or nothing for me, but I'm kind of surprised that people with more chips didn't try harder to make a run at winning the thing.
I pushed with a few low connectors, or suited cards and won enough blinds and antes to get back to a more respectable chip total. We were down to 12 now so I had to be careful. The absolute last prize I wanted was the poker books.
And then I busted. There was a raise ahead of me, and I pushed with wired tens. He calls and turns over KQ ?!?. We both had a little over $T800,000. He had 8,000 more chips than me, so about two hands worth of antes. And he hit a queen on the turn. Getting me the last xBox prize by a matter of seconds as before I could look up the tenth place guy had also busted.
I'm kind of pissed. I wasn't trying to bust anymore, I was trying to win, and had I won that had I would have been in pretty good shape. And now that I think about it, I don't want an xBox. If it came with the HD-DVD attachment I'd love it, but I'm not much of a console gamer so its probably going to be a $400 dust collector. Oh well. I had been winning coin flips all night so its only fair that I lose one. I guess. Still, I could have really gone for that vacation package.
Originally posted at blog.pokerwords.com