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Virgin Tournament Adventure

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  • Virgin Tournament Adventure

    I've been playing online off and on for about year or so but have only played live, cardroom poker once. That virgin effort lasted about two hours and cost me $130. I learned a lot but the lessons were too expensive for my current situation. Recently, I decided to do my live-poker learning in low buy-in tournaments. Luckily, I found a daily $10 + $10, no-limit tourney only 25 minutes from my house.

    Long story short, I played four times and did markedly better each time, resulting in a 1st place finish on the fourth attempt. After each tourney I headed to the parking lot and sat for about 15 minutes reflecting on what I saw, how I felt, how I thought I played, how I thought I could improve my play next time, etc. I wrote all this down in a tiny little notebook that I purchased just for the purpose. I keep the notebook in my glovebox and pull it out ever couple of days when I'm at a stop light or stuck in traffic; I re-read what I wrote and run through each trouney in my head.

    Now here's the short story long....

    1st attempt: As this was my first tournament and only my second time playing live poker, I didn't feel comfortable -- how to sit, how to look at my cards, stack my chips, guard my hand, place a bet, and so on and so on. I lasted 20 minutes, just over 20 hands. I played a total of three hands -- JT, 69s, KJs. I folded a KT in middle position. I saw no other decent cards. I busted out on the KJs after I raised pre-flop. After thinking over the KJs the rest of the day I realized that I should have called (maybe) instead of raising pre-flop. Overall it was a good learning experience. Biggest lesson: I need to be even more patient than I thought I would.

    2nd attempt: Felt a little more comfortable this time but still hadn't figured out a consistent routine for handling cards, chips, bets, etc. This is a pretty big distraction and caused me to loose concentration many times. Lasted 30 minutes this time, which is an improvement but nothing to write home about. Still only played 3 hands -- AK, TT, KJ. Busted out on Big Slim (KJ) again, which was stupid because I know that KJ can be a dangerous hand and didn't yield to prudence. Felt that I bet my AK too strongly early in the round but that I didn't play the TT agressively enough.

    3rd attempt: Started to feel much more comfortable at the table. Still not a very consistent routine but I was less distracted. Felt that I had played much better than previous attempts. I lasted 45 minutes this time and was the chip leader after the first round. Also made it to the final table for the first time. I was the first to bust out of the final table... with a hand I never should have been in. I called a big bet with AT and then again when the borad hit QTx. When the turn and river came AK I went all in and got beat by an AQ. What was I thinking!!! Stupid move and I deserved to bust out.

    4th attempt: Finally got a consistent routine down for handling the table mechanics; felt more comfortable than ever. I played tight and developed a strong table image; felt I was pretty successful in exploiting my image and managed to steal a few pots. I was chip leader when my table busted and was roughly in 2nd place when the final table formed. When it was all over (1:25), I was in first place and got the big pay out. Interesting last hand. Time had run out and we down to three players; this last hand would determine the winner. The chip leader had 85,000, I had 46,000 and third place had 42,000. Chip leader was on the button, I was the big blind so I had 4000 in the pot and third place put in 2000. I get J9o. I don't like the hand but if I fold, I'm left with 42,000 and third place get the 6000 in the pot which puts him in second place with 48,000. The third place player was in a similar situation. We actually spent a minute or two talking as we tried to figure out what each of us needed to do in order to win. I think it clicked for him before it did for me and he quickly went all in saying something like "well, with good cards like I've got, I'd be a fool not to go all in." He seemed a little too excited to go all in so I figured he was bluffing and so went all in. He had 73o! Ha! Long story short, he finished third. I realized later that I had no real choice and had to go all in because I had nothing to loose. My opponent also had no choice because if he folded he would be in third place anyway.

    I'm looking forward to playing more tournaments but I'm not sure if I'm ready to move up on the buy-in level. Should I just continue to practice by playing in this (and other) sub-$50 tournaments? I'm not sure I hold my own in a $100 or $200 buy-in event because I have a feeling that the players would be stronger than I'm running into in the lower priced tourneys. I don't mind loosing but my budget won't support too many losses at that level. My thought is that I would continue to play cheap events and if I keep winning then I'll build a bankroll that I'll invest in more and more expensive events. Any advice you all have is welcome.

  • #2


    Welcome to the winners circle. :wink: Only your 4th live tourny, great.

    The procedure for recording and reviewing your play in the tournies is a good thing to start and keep up. You made a very good decision for a time limit tourny. When you're in last place, and have possibility to move up, you have to move in on the last hand. 8)

    The plan you describe sound pretty good. Try to stay away from those loose starting hands you describe in the first 3 tournies, chip burners. You might want to stay away from weak cards. Waiting to build a BR is good, patient game selection.


    • #3
      I think we need more info. I am not familiar with any multi-tables that take 75 minutes to play. Can you tell us about starting chips, blinds and increases, are there rebuys or add-ons, and is it no-limit the whole way.

      Just curious, I would not expect the play of this tournament to be markedly different from a $100 buy-in. From my experience that is not enough of a buy-in for people to change habits. Rocks are Rocks Maniacs are Maniacs.

      If you are comfortable at that level stay. If you can afford a higher level move up, but I wouldn't be in a rush. Once you place in the money in the higher tournament, a lot of people have a rough time with "lowering" themselves back to the lower levels if needed. Much like in rings games, where a 20-40 player doesn't want to wallow with the dregs at the 4-8.

      Best of Luck,
      Ray W



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