Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'm back from LA. Was fun. I did pretty well in the cash games, and so decided to take my shot at the million-dollar guaranteed limit tournament on Saturday. $1580 buy-in, plus unlimited $1500 rebuys for the first three hours, and then a single or double $1500 add-on. So it was a "cheap" tournament that could get quite expensive.

First place paid over $500,000, so I was willing to gamble a bit. So I budgeted $3000 and promptly spent over twice that.

The first round everyone was pretty tight, and then rounds two through perhaps four everyone loosened up considerably before tightening back up. I pretty much stayed around an average chip stack through the entire day 1. I was for the most part card dead and therefore not playing many hands at all, so I got pretty good respect any time I was in a pot. But a few suckouts kept me from amassing anything substantial. Then a bad couple of hands in the last 30 mins of day one left me fairly short-stacked going into day two.

Day two saw 57 of the 434 original players return. 27 spots paid. I was in dire straits, however, pretty much forced to go all-in on any hand I wanted to play, and that hand came eight minutes after the start of the day when I picked up TT but finished in third place to JJ and an 85s that became trips. Such is life.

That was my first "big" tournament and I think I handled myself pretty well. I did let nerves prevent me from making a move or two that I normally would have, and perhaps kept me from being as aggressive as I should have been in a couple spots, but I think my comfort level will increase pretty dramatically with a little more experience in these tournaments.

One thing that was surprising was seeing how some of the "bigger" names played. In my admittedly brief playing time with some of them, there was definitely quite a disparity between reputation and skill in a few instances.

I did play a substantial amount against two players who made the final table. One of them I had all in as a 3:1 favorite after the flop at one point late in day 1 (and of course lost) and another one had been shortstacked for most of day 1, all-in a couple times, before having a nice run the last round of day 1 and apparently having an even nicer run on day 2. That's the nature of tournaments, I guess.

All told it was quite an experience. I've had pretty good success in my fairly short limit hold'em tournament career, and so I think I'll probably try more events, both online and live. There are quite a few big events that come through Las Vegas and LA, so I won't even have to travel very far. I'll even start adding some NL events, although I'm not prepared to try any event above about $1500 just yet.

The final tally for the weekend wasn't too shabby either considering how much I dropped in the tourney. I was down a little bit, but not a whole lot, thanks to having decent success in the cash games. And maybe if I try enough of these tournaments, one of these days instead of just paying for my tournament entry with cash game wins, I'll have a nice big score that will make all the long hours all worth it.


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