Thursday, October 06, 2005

Second Place

I entered a tournament for the first time since I moved to Las Vegas back in July. I used to like to play in tournaments whenever I came to Vegas, but the excitement of them has worn off and I don't think they tend to be as profitable as cash game unless you are very good, like in the top 3% of all the entrants, skill-wise. For the tournaments with entry fees that are worth my time (greater than $200), I am probably not in the top 3%. So basically I would just need to get lucky to win. Relying on luck to win and make a living is not a good idea.

Despite this, I decided to go play in the daily tournament tournament over at Binion's. I've played in this tournament a few times, once sitting next to Cory Lidle. It was also the first place I ever played a live tournament, on the first night I was in Vegas about two years ago, and place second (my friend Ben from college actually came in first). I hadn't played in a week because I went back to Washington DC for the weekend, but I just felt like I had reached the point where I am likely in the top 3% of the players in a relatively cheap tournament like this ($110). Despite not getting a real hand the entire first hour (just stealing the blinds here and there), I was able to place second with some help from a stretch of good cards when the field got down to around ten players (at which point they brought us all over to the well lit "Binion's featured table"). This is only the second time I've placed in the money ina live tournament (I've come in first a few times online), and let me tell you, it is exhausting. I was there for only four and a half hours but my concentration level was so high that now I feel like a ran a marathon with my brain. I'm glad it didn't take much longer. When it got down to heads up I had about $35K and my opponent had $53K. It turns out that the winner also gets a T-shirt and a free pass to the "tournament of champions," to be held November 6. The other guy had actually won the late-night tournament the previous night (which actually finished after midnight, so he won two tourneys in one day!), but he wasn't going to be able to make the TOC, so that was given to me instead. He and I discussed just splitting the rest of the prize money, and I would let him take the T-shirt (which he wanted really badly for some reason), but he decided to play it out instead. He caught some good hands against my not-quite-so-good hands and that was it. I really felt like I could beat him because he was playing way too tightly, but after he got me down to about $15K and the blinds were $3k-$6K with a $600 ante, I pushed all-in with 78o, and he called and won with AKo , a hand well within range for even his overly tight hand selection. That's poker.

If this post was rather boring considering that it was a reasonably exciting story, it's because I am really quite exhausted right now. I can't imagine playing the WSOP events, which take way longer than 5 hours I think. Then again, it was good that I was able to keep up my concentration for so long... maybe I'm just exhausted now because I'm out of "poker shape" after my week long break. Yawn.

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