Saturday, January 17, 2009

PCA Freeroll

I was watching some of the action at the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure last week Thursday. It was the final table of the High Rollers tourney, the 25k buy in. I think Pokerstars TV did a fine job of covering the event - the Brit announcers had a good grasp of the game and several of the Pokerstars Pros stopped by to offer commentary for an hour at a time. Great entertainment on a cold and housebound day.

Pokerstars was offering a freeroll that afternoon. Terrible small prize pool but no buy-in necessary (fits my bankroll perfectly these days.) So I signed on to play while watching.

Dr. Pauly, in his 2008 WSOP coverage, referred to the Amazon Room (the site of the WSOP) as the killing fields. He painted a picture of a room covered with the blood of slaughtered donkeys. I thought perhaps, at the time, he was being a bit "over the top" -- but no more.

The field was capped at 10,000 entries. 10,000 folks signed up to play in this thing and I was amazed. Being a freeroll, the event started out pretty fast - lots of all-ins, folks trying to double up fast, and, with having paid nothing to enter, there was little downside risk, other than getting booted from a freebie.

It was incredible to behold the numbers of players felted in the first hour. Fully 95% of the field was toast in the first 60 minutes. After the first break things settled down and play was somewhat normal with 500 folks left. I played the game I've been trying to play for some time now -- solid, not over-committing, not entering pots with marginal hands or from out of position. It felt comfortable to me to try to keep my stack above average but not get too greedy early on.

I got lucky when I raised from the cut-off with A-10os and called by the blind. The flop came K-10-Q and I bet the pot to find out where I was in the hand. My bet was called and the turn came A. I fired out a bet and was re-raised all-in -- I called with my two pair to find that the BB had flopped the straight with AJ and had trapped me. Oh, well it's a freeroll right? The River is A and I fill up to double up and I never looked back from there.

My final hand played out like this -- QQ in small blind and I raise the BB 3x
(the BB is chip leader and has 2x my stack) simply trying to steal - I had been pilfering blinds regularly with a big stack. He reraised me all-in and I put him on two big cards or a medium pair. I figured that he thought I was stealing with cheese and would back off. Nope - he woke up with AA and I was toast.

My finish ------------------9th!! 9th out of 10,000, needless to say, I was stoked. I've been playing well for a couple of weeks now - spent Christmas week re-reading the Harrington 3 Volume texts and they have helped a lot.

So, with thoughts (delusions?) of grandeur I prepare for the month of February in Las Vegas. The Venetian is having their first "Deep Stack" tourney of the year the 3rd through the 25th. Caesars is also having a deep-stack event which begins on the 5th and ends on the 25th. Buy-ins are reasonable, actually cheaper at Caesar's than the Venetian --. And my plan is iterative. I've committed from the 2nd to the 13th -- should I do well (my hope is to cash in three events during that time) I plan on flying my beloved Paula down for a Valentine's weekend to remember and convincing her to let me stay a bit longer ---- wish me well!!

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