Arthur is upstairs fixing the leaking problem with our air conditioner. He figured it out quickly. From a pocketbook standpoint you’ve gotta hope that’s a good sign. And he didn’t have to drag in an arc welder or anything.
Meanwhile, with him moving around in the attic, I’ve got a moment to write about the poker game I played in last night. I go through stages writing about poker. It hasn’t been touched on here in a while, but I play nearly every day.
Obsessed? Me? Sure.
I’m still playing that $250 we sent to Costa Rica two years ago, so it’s an obsession that hasn’t really cost anything more than time. It’s surprising to me that my passion for the game has grown, because I want to play more every day.
Recently, Helaine and I were at Foxwoods Casino. An older man came up to say hello. He told me he had played Hold’em with me at another table. Then, he proceeded to tell me he was a professional playing at Foxwoods every day.
If everyone played like me, he said, he’d have to change jobs and become a weatherman himself. I took it as a major compliment on my poker skills.
Last night I got home a few minutes before midnight. There was a very small stakes tournament starting. I had played it before. It is billed as a $3 tournament. That is such a lie!
For $3 you’re entered and get $1500 in chips. If you’d like, as long as you have $1500 or less in chips, you can buy another $1500 for $3 more during the first hour. Than, after the first hour ends, you can add-on $2000 more in chips for another $3.
A player who buys in for the $3 minimum has a chance, but is severely handicapped starting so far behind the others.
For each $215 in buys, rebuys and add-ons, there is a $200 + $15 entry awarded to another, larger tournament. In that one (played on Sunday afternoon) the prize pool is guaranteed to be $500,000 cash. More frugal players (like me) cash the entry in, getting $215 in cash to play other games.
I went for the whole $9. Others in the tournament played wildly the first hour, busting out and reloading time-after-time.
Let’s get rid of the suspense. I cashed out in this tournament, taking home $215 for my $9.
PokerStars Tournament #9607798, No Limit Hold’em
Total Prize Pool: $5223.00
Target Tournament #9356555 Buy-In: $215.00
24 tickets to the target tournament
Tournament started – 2005/07/05 – 23:59:00 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 1st place.
You qualified to play in Tournament #9356555 and are automatically registered for it.
See Tournament #9356555 Lobby for further details.
If you choose to unregister from this tournament your account will be credited
with $215.00 Tournament dollars. Tournament dollars can be used to buy into
Visit our web site at http://www.pokerstars.com/tournaments.html for more details.
Thank you for participating.
As the tournament started, I could see I was at a wild table. People were being very aggressive. At the time I looked at that as a problem. As we continued, I realized these people were just putting more money on the table which was getting shared by all of us.
I finished the first hour significantly up – somewhere in the top-100. Unfortunately, I needed to be in the top-24 to win.
My goal was to play very conservatively. In a tournament like this, where you can accrue enough money to have a stake significantly larger than the ‘blinds’ , it’s often (not always) possible to hold on until good cards come.
That’s what I did – and I did it successfully. I don’t remember any bad beats, though I did lose a few hands. Finally, I took another player all-in, won and wound up in 11th place. It was a good place to be, but there were still hundreds competing.
At that level I really turned conservative.
Steffie had come downstairs. It being the summer, she’s got no reason to go to sleep early. We sat on the sofa in the family room and watched TV while I played on a laptop. Having Steffie there to joke and laugh with was the best part of the game. She is very observant and disarmingly funny.
She probably doesn’t know what good company she is.
I haven’t written this in a while, but the goal in a tournament is not to win. The goal is to not lose! In no limit Hold’em, you can win a million hands – but you’re still busted out of the tournament if you go all in and lose just once.
Players were being shed at a fairly steady pace. We paused for five minutes at 1:00 AM, then 2:05 and 3:10. Those left had larger stacks, but the blinds were getting larger too. There was no chance to sit on a lead yet.
We took our break at 4:15 and once we returned things started to slow down. Some players, sensing their chips would not hold them, decided to slow the play down, hoping that would give other short stacks playing on other tables, more of an opportunity to go out first.
I’m not sure if that strategy works, but it’s a pain in the butt as the play stops while the online clock counts the player out of a hand.
I looked at my chip count and saw where I stood. I had peaked at 8th place. With the number of players down to 50, I decided I wouldn’t play any more hands! I had more to lose from playing than I could possibly win. It was likely I could float my way into the money… or so I thought.
I folded AJ twice in a row. I was dealt two Queens – folded without a bet.
As the deal went around the table and the blinds passed me by, my stack began to shrink. Now I was in the mid-teens with 8 or 9 more players left to go before the payout.
I started calculating. Maybe I wouldn’t last long enough?
And then, the player to my left realized he didn’t have to play either! As long as no one else was playing a hand, he would fold and the chips (my blind, his blind and a table’s worth of antes) would fall to me.
I had too many chips for him to challenge me, so he didn’t! There was no upside to either of us being aggressive.
The tournament had gone from 500+ to 27. We were spread among three tables – all now being displayed on the laptop. Play had become grindingly slow.
Finally, a little before 5:00 AM, the last player folded. I had (along with 23 others) won!
I’m usually very critical of my play¹, but I was pleased. For the most part, I’d stuck to my strategy. When I strayed, I hadn’t gotten beaten up too badly. Skill got me close and luck too me the rest of the way.
My winnings in 23 months of play are minimal, but it’s been very good cheap fun. I’m still astounded it’s lasted this long.
¹ – It would seem you should be able to control your own play, but often emotion gets the better of you, taking you into hands you shouldn’t be in and costing you chips. The most important asset a poker player can have is discipline. That’s usually in short supply around me.