I don’t often play live tournaments, but a few months ago I received an email about an 888.com sponsored event in Newcastle for £220. Living only 30 minutes away on the train, I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Fortunately enough I was able to qualify online for less than a quarter of the buy-in. The satellites on offer themselves were quite tough due to only one player qualifying from each, but when I got heads up I played well enough to grind my opponent down and take the seat.
I have run pretty well in my previous live tournaments. I have played in three major live events before, two UKIPT’s and a Newcastle leg of the Sky Poker Tour. Cashing in two out of the three and making it past day one on each occasion.
This weekend would be a tale of two different days.
The weekend as a whole was a good tournament. Two day 1’s with 25,000 starting chips meant it actually wasn’t as much of a shoving fest as I expected. Players could rebuy each day if they wanted and in total there were well over 100 entries so the guaranteed prize pool of £20,000 was beaten.
Playing day 1b I made it through, but was pretty disappointed with my play. I ended the day with around the starting stack and just over ten big blinds.
In the course of the first four hours of play I managed to flop three sets and turn the nut straight. On each occasion the villains in the hand were strong enough to extract some value from, but I should have been able to get much more. After my run of hands I was up to around 40,000.
Most of the chips that I had gained went missing on a couple of hands when I got slightly out of line against two aggressive players. My game as a whole is very solid, sometimes too tight, but on this occasion I got out of comfort zone and it cost me vital chips as the day wound down.
However, despite the lack of chips and sleep, day 2 almost went perfectly. Starting with 47 players remaining from the two starting days, 15 would get paid. 15th-£370, 1st – £6546.
Being a short stack, I was more in my comfort zone and played pretty much as well as I could have. I had two locals to my left who were both good players. There were also a couple of others at the table, whose plays I would describe nicely as questionable!
A couple of early shoves and reshoves kept my head above water before I picked up some chips to get myself back into the tournament. I doubled up twice, first 99>77 and then when my A10s came from behind to turn a straight against KK. I was up to around 100,000 and a few pots here and there kept me around that figure for the next few hours.
Players started to fall relatively quickly, as the blinds/structure caught up with the average stack. Having passed up two opportunities to call big reshoves with AQ and AJ the dream scenario came up.
Down to 20 players, I had a stack which could have crawled into the money if I wanted to of around 90,000 with the big blind at 6,000. Which would have been a decent return having qualified online.
I looked down to see AA and a limp in front of me from an older player who had been limp folding off his short stack quite a bit. I was tempted to shove, but felt the limper would have just folded. Having raised it to 20,000 the player right behind me shoves for 110,000 just covering me. After a couple of players thought about calling, it came back to me and obviously I couldn’t call quickly enough. My opponent turned over 99 and a 9 on the flop sent me packing.
Including the blinds, antes and the limp I would have been up to over 200,000 which would have given me the second biggest stack at my table and all but guaranteeing a spot in the money with a great chance for a final table.
The event itself was well organised by both the casino and the sponsor and I would recommend it to others looking for small buy-in, big prize pool events.
Day one, I know I made so many mistakes and, despite the disappointment, I don’t think I could have played much better on day two.
Live tournaments, no matter what the result, always spur me to work on my game more. This event has been no different.