Tuesday, April 04, 2006

April Poker Tournament

I ended up finishing 2nd in the poker tournament this weekend. I even came within one card of winning the whole thing. The tournament started at 1pm with 46 players. For my $70 buy-in, I received 25,500 chips. It was a very blue collar crowd - a lot of electricians, beards, and tattoos. I fit right in. I decided to play pretty conservatively and see how others played. I ended up hanging around until the final table of 9. Up to that point, I had only won small hands, but hadn't lost any big hands. I basically went to the final table with about the 25,000 I started with and was the short stack at the table.

Once at the big table, I was able to use the lessons I learned from Phil Gordon's Little Green Book well. I spent the last two weeks reading the book multiple times. The basic strategy of survival worked well up to this point - don't lose all of your chips on mediocre hands. Now I was able to play position and let others play bad hands thus eliminating my competition for me. One of my favorite moves was to not let the big blind see a free flop. Every time I was in the small blind and it was called/folded around to me, I would raise to pressure the big blind to fold. It worked a large number of the times and increased my chip stack nicely.

I almost won the tournament when I went all in with a pair of 10s. I was called by the reigning champion (who had a $75 bounty on him for whoever took him out of the tournament) who showed K-J diamonds. I flopped another 10 giving me a set. Unfortunately, two of the flop cards were diamonds and he caught the 5th diamond on the river. I had him covered in chips, but it sort of sealed my doom. I finished 2nd and collected $280 instead of the $1000 for 1st. Kind of a bummer, but then again I outlasted 44 others after 11 hours (we finished at midnight).

Also unfortunately for my friend Keith, who invited me to the tournament. He went out 3rd (around 2pm) and waited for me to finish at midnight. He did improve on his finish last year when he went out 2nd. Hopefully he has learned a lesson.