Yesterday I made a last minute decision to play in the Caesars Palace megastack tournament at 12 Noon. The buy-in is $330+10 for 12,500 chips and 50 minute levels. All in all it's a very well run tournament, and for the money it's quite a good value.
This is really one of those poker tournaments that favors super-patient poker play. Players get a ton of play for the money. Unlike lower buy-in tournaments players can afford to take their sweet time, and the players that were standing at the last four tables tended to be tight, patient players, who weren't afraid to stick all their chips in at the right spot.
There were about 530 poker players in the Caesars Palace Megastack tournament I played yesterday. The top 54 got paid. I finished 38th.
Perhaps the most memorable hand of the day was the bubble hand. We were playing hand for hand, and all eyes were on my table. With blinds of $3/6k in MP I looked down at JJ and popped it to $20k straight hoping to just take it down (along with the $5k in antes). To my surprise, the button re-raised all in.
The button had ~ $50k , and I had about $65k. I thought about the decision for a few minutes, and felt like I was good when the villain started talking too much (Me: "man, I'm tired, it's been a long day...." Villain: "you've played this well for so long, literally all day and night, I'm telling you right now I have a good hand" ...
I knew he didn't have aces or kings, (tip: unless you're a pro, don't talk!), and he probably didn't have queens either. I put him on over cards, or perhaps a hand like TT.
Eventually I made the call, and sure enough he flipped over AQ. It was a race to the river, but when I flopped a J, and boated up on the turn, the fat lady was singing, and I was in the money!
I busted out during the next level. With $80k (10xBB) I pushed in late position with no limpers hoping to steal, and go called by A,J on the SB. I flopped a 9, but the villain spiked a J on the river.
38th place paid $467. You'd think about for more than 13 hours (it was after 1AM when this happen), I could walk home with more than a hundred bucks or so with any cash -- but this tournament is structured so the final table gets paid nicely ($45k for 1st!!), but until you reach at least 18th place or so, you're not getting much.
Still, for someone that wants a long, grueling Las Vegas poker tournament with the possibility for a big pay day, the Caesars Palace Megastack is the one.
The dealers, and staff were excellent. Cocktails were flowing (although "well drinks" only, and no sugar free red bulls). The tournament was run very well. Management did a terrific job of enforcing rules, keeping play going, etc.
There is only ONE HUUUUUUGE problem with the Caesars Palace Megastack tournament... it caused me to make the dumbest mistake I have ever made playing poker!
You see, with your buy-in you get $12,500 in chips. You're given chips in denominations of $25, $100, $500, $1,000, and one shiny $5,000 chip. So what's wrong with that? Nothing, except that the $5k chip looks almost EXACTLY like the $100 chip (and pretty close to the $500 chip too). I don't mean, "geez, these chips look a little similar" ... I mean, if you're looking at a guys stack of chips 3 seats away, you honestly can't tell what's what! How's that for similar?
So here's what happened. I bought in a few minutes late, and took my seat. I stack my chips, and after sitting there for about two minutes I pick up a hand on the button. I raise it and get called by the BB only. I miss the flop, but BB checks to me, and I decide to take a stab and bet out $300 (pot sized bet).
The only problem is, I didn't throw out $300. I threw out $5,200 !!!! I thought my $5k chip was a $100 chip. I didn't announce my bet amount either, so my bet really was $5,200.
Of course everyone at the table knows its a mistake, including the villain, who unfortunately DID have a hand. He called, and he won.
Less than 10 minutes into the $330 Caesars Palace Megastack tournament, I was down almost half my chip stack. Imagine how you would feel, if you were down this much by PURE ACCIDENT. Not good!
I am not the only person that has made this mistake. I've heard the mistake was made several times on this very day. And of course, AFTER I had already made the mistake all dealers who sat down were warning players about it in the early rounds (but because I bought in late, I missed the warning, if there was one).
In the end, it didn't matter, because I played a good tournament, got lucky, won races, and cashed anyway. But man... that sucked.
Dear Caesars Palace poker room management -- Please change the color of these chips!?!?! Please! I am not the first person to make this mistake, and I won't be the last.
Other than that, great tournament! And one I would play in again (once I can muster up the time and energy!)