Saturday, October 29, 2005

Almost the bubble boy

I am 0/1 in my attempt to win a seat to a major event. $325/$3000 spent.

My first shot was today at a super satellite to a $10k WPT event in early 2006. This was a live $100+$25 NLHE rebuy event. The structure was $1000T for the buy in, multiple $100 rebuys for $1000T during the first hour (any time you have $1000T or less), and a single $100 add-on for $2000T.

I finished 13th/108, slightly out of the money where the payout structure was something like:
1st and 2nd: $10k seat to a WPT event + $240 cash
3: $2k seat, + $2100 cash
4: $2500
5: $1000
6: $700
7: $600
8: $500
9: $400
10: $300

A ~very~ top heavy payout. About 5/6 of the total prize pool going to the top 3 places. I would realisitcally say that finishing 6th is like finishing on the bubble; so I'm really stretching it to say that I almost finished on the bubble.

There were 20 minute levels and the blind structure was as follows:
25/25, 25/50, 50/100, break
100/200, 200/400, 300/600, break
500/1000, 1000/2000, 1500/3000, break
2000/4000, 3000/6000, 4000/8000, break
5000/10000, 10000/15000, 10000/20000

In the actual tournament, after all rebuys and add ons, there were a total of $389,000T chips in play.

How did I run during this tournament?
Starting level 4, I was slightly above average chips, 22.5xbb (~95 players remaining)
From level 6 onwards, my stack size never exceeded 10xbb.
Starting level 7, I had ~45% of average chips 3xbb (~60 players remaining)
Starting level 10, I had close to average chips 4.5xbb (21 players)

These were all of my major hands:
- I was all in exactly two hands during this tournament, including my last hand which was a coin flip.
- I was involved in 4 all in preflop coin flips, winning 2 and losing 2
- I was involved in 3 PP vs Ax (where x is an unsuited undercard, and I had the PP), winning all 3.
- I had 2 slightly smaller stacks both all in with AA vs their QQ and AKo and lost when the board came xxxKK.

So overall I ran better than average.

During the duration of the tournament, I was faced with a number of decisions. I'm not sure how good my decisions were so I will list them here to reflect on them some more:

#1: Should I enter this event at all (given I am willing to spend $3000 on satellite entries) given the structure? Actual Decision: enter Thoughts: Is this event just a crapshoot with $25 juice and average time consumed, door to door, ~4 hours?
#2: Should I rebuy at all, and if so when should I rebuy? Actual Decision: rebuy. During the second orbit I concluded that my starting table was the best table I had been at for a Saturday tournament in at least the last 2 months. There were 5 opponents (at a 10 seated table) that were extremely poor (willing to commit their entire stack on any hand where they had any pair or any draw on the flop) and no smart loose aggressive opponents. There is no need to give any examples, just trust me, this was the case, and it was demonstrated multiple times during the first hour. (total rebuys at this table were 10, but could probably have been closer to 15 if the chips hadn't moved back and forth a few times). Result: I finished level 3 with $2500T.
#3: Should I take the add on? There were roughly 95 players with average chips somewhere around $2200T, the overwhelming majority would be taking the add on, so average chips entering level 4 would be ~$4200T. Actual Decision: add on to start level 4 with $4500T.
#4: Having very recently been crippled in level 5 (200/400 blinds), it is folded to me in the small blind where I have $1500T. BB has $1200T and is very loose preflop. My hand is Q4o, which is slightly worse than 50% against a random hand. Should I move in or muck? Actual Decision: move all in. Result: My opponent went into the tank for over 30 seconds, and then called with 67o (very close to a coin flip); neither of us improved. Thoughts: I don't know if I made a mistake. I believe I should certainly push with any hand that is 50% or better than an average hand. My opponent's calling range is probably 90% of all hands, or put another way my opponent will lay down 10% of the worst possible hands. Any knowledgeable player should assume that SB will move in with any 2 cards, so any knowledgeable player should blindly call since even 23o is getting the right price at 2:1. Given an opponent that will fold 10% of his hands, what % of random hands do I need to beat to move in?
#5: In level 8 ($1000T/$2000T), I have been moved to this table in the last 2 orbits and played exactly one hand where I moved in and stole the blinds. It is folded to me in the CO and I find KcKs. Button is on the conservative side, SB has "average" preflop standards, BB is a little tight. I believe that BB is not sophisticated enough to recognize that a less than all in raise probably means a very strong hand. I have $9500T, button has $12000T, SB $16000T, BB $8000T, 26 people remain, avg chips ~$15kT. What's my play? Actual Decision: Move all in. Result: Button and SB quickly mucked. BB went into the tank for about 1 minute and mucked.
Thoughts:Should I have made a less than all in raise? Would this have increased the probability of getting action? Which hands to I want action from? I think I welcome action from any worse hands from all players, just so long as all the money goes in preflop. If only 1 player calls, how much of his stack do I want in before the flop?
#6: In level 10 ($2kT/$4kT), we are 6 seated (13 players remaining total), I have moved in twice already in this orbit where I was called once and showed AKo. I have $28kT, very close to avg chips, UTG and find pocket 5s. The 3 chip leaders at the table are on the button, SB and BB, who have between $45kT and $65kT. I am about 8th or 9th in chips. What's my play? Actual Decision: Move all in. Result: only SB called with AK and SB won the coin flip. Thoughts: At this stage of the tournament with my chip stack, I could probably have a 75% chance of folding my way into the money. Given the top heavy payout, this is a poor strategy. I think UTG, at this 6 seated table, I should push with any pair, any A better than A7o, any K better than K8o, and even some other hands as bad as QTs, J9s. The 2 short stacks at my table are playing very tight, and the big stacks are ~not~ playing particularly loose.
#7: Did I play too tightly during rounds 5-10 since I was hovering around 6-7xbb for the majority of that time? Overall, players were substantially tighter starting in round 7. I missed ~4 actual occasions where it was folded to me (somewhere between MP -> MP+2) where I had a trash hand, mucked, and it was folded to at least the SB.

$3000 to spend on satellites will go pretty darn fast if I'm spending $325 a pop. One other thing I should make a note of is that: I had fun. I enjoy these live $100 buy in tournaments much more than online ones, and I find them considerably more exciting that limit ring games.

The 2nd half of these tournaments are almost entirely about all in moves with 3-10xbb stacks which means a huge amount of luck. I believe that over 70% of the field have a poor grasp of the all in values of most hands, so in the long run I still think there is some "skill" in that stage of the tournament. Unfortunately, the long run dwarfs the number of entries I will make into these events.

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