Friday, December 9, 2011

Return to Live Poker

Since my last blog update a few weeks ago I have been encouraged to return to the live poker scene as a change up from the usual online grind and also for some much needed live tournament practice before the Aussie Millions which is coming up in January.

As a result I have returned to playing at The Star Casino in Sydney to take part in the Summer Series currently being held there. The summer series runs for two weeks including no limit holdem and pot limit omaha tournaments ranging from a modest $330 buy in up to a main event $5500 nlhe event.

Because of work committments I could only play in two events: Event 1 - $330 nlhe starting on a Tuesday evening at 6.30pm, and Event 3 - $1100 nlhe starting on the following Sunday. Unfortunately I am not able to play in the main event this week due to it running during usual work hours.

I visited the casino a couple of weeks ago to play in the weekly $330 tournament as a warm up but discovered that the usual weekly tournament was not running - in its place there were only main event satellites. I decided instead to sit down and play at a $200nl cash table. I stayed a few hours and managed to make $350 against some pretty ordinary players making me wonder why I don't spend more time there. If nothing else this small winning would fund the entry fee to Event 1.

For Event 1 I decided to open up my tournament game a lot more than usual as the blinds were only 40 minute levels and 10K in chips starting stack. Event 1 had three day 1 flights leading into a day 2 and then a day 3 for the final table. I played on the first day 1 flight after work starting at 6.30pm with 250 runners playing down to either 40 players left or 14 levels. At 3.15am the tournament directors decided to bring to play to an end for the night 12 levels played and 51 players left.

I ended day 1 with 32.6K in chips which was equivalent to 16 big blinds for the start of day 2. When I returned for the start of Day 2 later in the week I had learned that there were 99 players left out of 583 starters and the top 57 places were being payed. From the start of day 2 I played the usual push-fold game everytime I had 15-20 big blinds and lasted until there were only 32 players left and pushed my AJo with only 12 big blinds under the gun into the small blind's AQs and as usual did not get lucky. As small compensation I managed to make enough prize money to free roll Event 3 the $1100 nlhe a couple of days later.

Event 3 again had 40 minute blind levels but with a bigger starting stack of $15K and this time there were only 108 starters with only 12 places paid. I opened up my play more than usual again and found good spots to balance my play with bluffs, value raises and 20BB re-shoving but unfortunately found no value as everyone continually folded just when I had built a decent stack.

Eight hours into the event I finally managed to find a double up to 32K in chips with the big blind at 1200 chips and found myself with pocket queens under the gun. I raised to 3K only to be raised to 8K by the massive stack at the table in late position. It didn't take much to realise he was very strong but this is the best tournament spot I've had for the entire year - I was not going to fold my QQ here and even though I knew the villain showed great strength here I pushed all in only to have him snap call me and turn over pocket Aces. Needless to say I did not get lucky this time and ended the tournament in 35th place. A good run and a good spot to try and double up to around 70 big blinds late in the event but it ended up being a cooler.

All in all its been a good return to live poker free rolling both Summer Series tournaments from a short cash game session a few weeks ago. Tomorrow I will try my hand at a $550 turbo satellite for an Aussie Millions main event ticket and hope that I have a little luck on my side!