Saturday, July 10, 2004

A week of Freeroll Festival poker

Almost a week of poker.

OK, the Ladbrokes Freeroll Festival. 6-seat multitable NL Texas Hold'Em tournaments. Four $1000, 1500 players max, tournaments a day for six days in a row, where the three first in each went to a $26000 final on Sunday. First prize there: Entry into Poker Million 2005 (worth $13000) and $13000 divided between 2nd to 7th place.

Day 1
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The Freeroll Festival was supposed to be 6-seated multitable, but the first tournament was ten-seated. I had registered to the second tournament just when registration started, and possibly they reset the registrations to fix that error (6 vs 10), so I wasn't in the second tournament.

Day 2
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Cant play all day.

Day 3
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I decided to play more wildly (since it's a freeroll anyway) today but that shows in the results. In the second tournament, I bet heavy, but not all-in, with KA hearts in the pocket and was eventually all-in with those, who had become two pair aces and kings. Good, huh? But it was beat by a straight, ace high and I was outta here.

Out during the first hour or so in all tournaments today.

Day 4
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Today, they had cut down the registration time to just one hour before tournament start instead of as the previous days, two hours before.

As yesterday, play fast. Up and down, maybe too fast sometimes.

In the second game, it was only ten minutes into the tournament and the pot was big.The turn had given me trips seven. I went all-in to scare the remaining player off and WHAMMO, he calls. And he has 57 on hand and the board gives him full house, fives full of sevens. I didn't see those fives, but one has to take one's chances.

Third game, laggy connection and I didn't get on a roll or hit a streak. When the poker client was chugging, staggering and stammering, it was hard to get at "flow" in the play.

Day 5
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Back to careful rock play. Survived for an hour and a quarter in the first.

In the second one, there was a bit of network hiccup just before the hone hour mark, interrupting my play, but I was short-stacked anyway and my last straw didn't come.

Day 6
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Methodical play in the second tournament led to the best placements so far, 165th and 156th, both after an hour and 45 minutes. Getting low on chips compared to the others, I went all-in with AK diamonds. Called by one other with T8 hearts, and he draws a full house! Bwaaah, not fair!

Two high placements today. Maybe because I was a bit hung over and tired, so I wasn't susceptible to FPS (Fancy Play Syndrome), more of a grinder.

Well, that was a lot of poker. 156th was my best placement. What worked best was to play carefully, not wildly, but it all ended in the same way in those tournaments where I wasn't knocked out early; an average bankroll eaten up by the blinds and the blinds have reached the level where you have to win if you've followed a hand past the flop. But, if you have chips left and enough players have put chips in and you win the next hand you enter, you could bounce back up.

I think what made me lose was that I was too impatient. Getting into a hand just because it was so-so OK and I hadn't played for a while. Also, I was a bit greedy and didn't back off even though the betting indicated that the opposing player(s) had the nuts. The bad thinking of "Since I've already put chips in, I might as well put in some more." I don't think there's much bluffing past the flop. I never had a large stack, I don't think I ever were above 10000 (started with 1500), at least not for very long, while the big boys had 50000 after an hour. So I could never outmuscle players by betting high with a medium strength hand. Sort of only being able to play the cards, not play the pot or players.

The sweetest, neatest, coolest thing was to outplay people, to be the one making someone run out of chips and leave the tournament. Especially if you trapped someone with ye olde check-raising.

Freerolls are a bit special. In the first hands there are many all-ins, sometimes (most often?) with more than two players. If you stay out, you're safe. If you enter, you could be out or you could double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, sextuple, septuple or octuple your bankroll. From looking at the leaderboard at some tournaments, that has happened. And then you can just sit back for an hour and just wait for aces and/or kings in the hole. But people wouldn't play like that if their own real money was at stake. It's not fun to see someone else early in the tournament with 10-15000 in chips when you're around the 1500 you started with.

Another thing about freerolls and not risking any of their own real money. Some register, and then don't play. Several times there were dead hands (automatically place blind and fold) and if you were lucky, you were in the position to scrape up their money.

Cost: Nothing more than time, and the weather was bad, had nothing better to do, et cetera...

Earnings: Experience, something to blog about.

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