Tuesday, February 07, 2006

80 hours at the Rio

This week I found out the Rio has been running a promotion where you get to play in a freeroll satellite tournament for the main event of the WSOP. All you have to do is play 80 hours in a calendar month, or win two of their daily tournaments in a month. I had heard rumors about this for a while, but nobody seemed to know quite what was going on, even the dealers and floorment. Despite this, there were supposedly 17 people who qualified back in December, and they played their freeroll on January. I don't see how this is possible, since in mid-January, the poker room staff still couldn't give me any information about what the promotion was, and their rewards card swipers weren't even working, meaning they must have kept hand records of everyone's hours. Never did the rumors include mention of the WSOP, only that there might be some sort of freeroll for players who log a lot of hours. Suffice it to say that there was a lot of confusion and hearsay surrounding the situation until last week.

Now, the situation is much clearer. They have the rules posted on the wall, and the comp card swipers are working again. I play a lot at the Rio, but also a lot at other places, so I'm trying to determine whether it's worth trying to reach 80 hours. Here are some factors that will weigh in the decision.

How much of a commitment would this be? I didn't start playing at the Rio this month until Friday, Feb 3 because I didn't know about this promotion and I'd been playing at the Mirage insted. Since Friday I have 18 hours logged at the Rio. February is 1/4 over, so my 18 hours are behind pace - I need 62 more in 3 weeks. Without trying, I would probably play 20-35 more hours there this month anyway. So the opportunity cost is about 35 hours during which I would be doing something else. For instance, I recently found out that the Mirage gives a $15 food comp just for playing. The 2-5 Mirage games are pretty good, but not quite as good as the Rio. The Mirage also has good 10-20 and 20-40 limit games, and a lower rake than the Rio.

How many players would I be going up against? Supposedly there are about 18 qualifiers from January, and they'll be playing on Sunday. So far this month, the Rio has been much more crowded than in January. Although I suspect this is mostly because of the Super Bowl, it's also possible that now that the rules are posted, more people are attempting to qualify for the tournament. The shortness of the month compensates for this somewhat. I approximate 24 other qualifiers for February.

How tough would my competition be? There are two players at the Rio who are probably better than I am, but they don't play there every day, so I doubt they'll qualify. The regulars at the Rio are decent, but not great. The real problem here is that there will be no fish - against a normal tournament field, at least 20% of the players are terrible. This won't be the case. I have relatively solid tournament skills, so I'd say that against a field of 24 solid players, I have about a 1/16 chance to win. If I knew the tournament structure, I could make a better approximation.

How much is the prize worth to me? Well, the prize is entry into the $10,000 WSOP main event. Although I could afford it, I would not put up the $10K entry fee on my own, so clearly it is worth less than that to me. How much would I be willing to pay to enter the tournament? $9000? Probably. Close enough.

What is my equity? $9000/16 = $562.50. So, I'm spending about 35 extra hours at the Rio over the course of 3 weeks for an expected extra $560, or about $16 an hour (neglecting the length of the freeroll tournament itself). Is that worth it? Probably - $16 is still a significant boost to my win rate.

I'll try to keep myself on pace, and then check out the freeroll on Sunday to see who shows up, what the structure is, and how many players there are.

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