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My First Live Casino Tournament

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  • My First Live Casino Tournament

    Hi, all. I figured I share my experience at my first official live casino tournament yesterday - a small knockout tournament with 35 entrants. In short, the tourney went very well for me; trying to record my hands with pen and pad not so much. I finished in the top four, and after playing for 5 hours, we all had enough and decided to chop. I had the second largest stack of 165k chips. The chip leader had about 190k chips. The other two players had maybe half of that. I would have preferred to keep playing and maybe chop when down to the final two given my stack size, but as far as my family was concerned, I was "working late" at the office and needed to get home pronto.

    The experience was not at all what I expected - the players were mostly old retired regulars with some business professionals, older women (40+) and younger "kids" mixed in. It was a big time limp-fest. Unlike my bar tourney, where the players are more aggressive and might limp with both junk and hands like pocket AA, these players were very straightforward. With few exceptions, they limped with weaker hands and raised with stronger hands. I did not see one player 3-bet. I only 3-bet a few times over min raises. There really wasn't much a need for it. Also, the players would freely show each other their cards when one folded. Since I increased my initial stack by over 50% very quickly, with hands that were less than stellar, and which rarely saw a turn, I wasn't about to show my cards when folded to. I think I did it once with pocket QQ or something just so the other players didn't think I was playing garbage.

    I have mixed feelings about my play notwithstanding the good outcome. I don't feel like I played particularly well, but rather I just happened to benefit from other players' screw-ups. My play was markedly different, however, compared to the last several weeks. I made some adjustments and found myself to be more patient and deliberate than usual. Here are some takeaways for me in following areas:

    (1) Aggression: I dialed back my overly aggressive style quite a bit. I took advantage of limpers a decent amount of the time, but I wasn't abusive so as to give the impression I was betting with a ridiculously wide range.

    (2) Emotions/Patience - I was able to keep my emotions in check and very steady throughout the tournament. I reduced my semi-bluffing percentage by a decent margin. Also, I was able to play very deliberately, and make tight folds on turns rivers where I knew I was beat. I often ignore little voice in the back of my head that tells me continuing in a hand is a bad idea. However, this week was different, I had my impulse control issues in check. Don't ge me wrong, I stole my share of pots that did not belong to me, but those tactics didn't dominate my play.

    This adjustment was most evident during an extended period of time where I was hovering around only 20-25 big blinds. I went for quite a while getting marginal cards, and occasionally stealing blinds here and there to maintain a 20 - 25 BB stack. I would normally get frustrated and impatient and start to force things betting junky hands. I limited this type of play significantly.

    I remember distinctly the hand that really broke me out of this slow period. I had probably worked my way up to 30 BB and raised from UG+2 with 10,10. I think the hi-jack and maybe the cutoff went all in, one with less than 10BB and another with a bit more. I figured they had very broad ranges and were likely to go all in with any pair, so I called. The HJ showed 5,5 and the CO showed 7,7. I took the pot and won $50 for two knockouts. I had at 6 knockouts in that tournament, four well played, and 2 I got lucky on. But as my stack grew, it was easier for me to call desperate all ins of players who had less than 1/4 my stack.

    (3) Playing against 7 players w/ 9 BB stack - I really didn't have a clue here. We were in the 14th round, and blinds were 6k - 12k. I looked down at my 85k stack, which was larger that most of the others, and wondered how the hell am I supposed to play against all these players with less than 9BBs?? Having one of the larger stacks at the talbe, I was hesitant to just shove with the typical wide sub-10bb range. So I narrowed my range a bit. I know I messed up once when I didn't call an all in that was maybe 1/3 of my stack w A,J. The other player who ended up being the chip leader had the same hand and won with a straight. Oh well.

    I'd be interested to hear how others would have handled this situation. The tourney director couldn't believe there were still 7 players in so late in the tourney.

    (4) NOTES Issues - my biggest problem was feeling like I had not time to take notes of my more interesting hands. I had my pad and pen ready, but always felt like I had no extra time to write down my hands. It was all I could do to analyze other players, keep track of blinds, keep accurate count of my stack size, take note of other players' stacks, pay attention to when my turn to bet came around, and focusing on my own play, let alone take written notes on top of that. I imagine that other stuff will become more 2nd nature with experience and allow me to write down my notables hands.

    If anyone has a quicker way of doing it other than a pen and pad, I'd love to hear it.

    All in all, it was a success. I think a combination of the weak players, increased self control, getting some decent cards, making some smart plays in critical situations, and a good amount of luck all contributed.

    I would say that the players at my weekly bar tourney are much better, but I guess I'll see how that goes on Monday night if I can maintain my composure throughout the tournament like I did yesterday.

    Oh, one more thing, being stone cold sober during my tournament yesterday might have had something to do with my success as well. Maybe I'll try that this Monday night, and skip my ceremonial pre-game double shot of Jack Daniels with a Jack & coke chaser.

    I hope you all have a nice weekend.

  • #2


    • Mikiethebull
      Mikiethebull commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, a total REG-a-thon. Many of them new the dealers and each other by name and I could tell they played these tourneys frequently.

      I think the play at the final table was pretty much like you described we went from 7 players down to 4. I know I wasn't going to make any wide range all-in moves with my 9 BB stack since it was the second or third highest of the 7 players remaining at that point. Thnx.

  • #3
    Hello, thanks for sharing your first live casino tournament with us. I have never been played any casino tournament before. I am not that good in playing casino games. I have recently started playing casino games. Right now, I used to play casino games on website. When I think I am pro in casino then I will start playing live casino tournaments.