I woke up with the best of intentions to sit on my butt and watch college football all day long, but by 9:45 a.m. the poker bug bit. I decided to head down to the Luxor to play the Noon freeze out poker tournament
I arrived at the Luxor poker room at 10:15 a.m, and I took a seat at a 2/4 cash game until the tournament started at noon. I was up about $70 early, and on my last hand before the tournament started I caught pocket Queens. My ladies were good all the way until the river when my opponent caught a miracle 5 on the river to beat me with a set. Ahh well,that's low limit poker. When I took my tournament seat I was up $28 from the cash game. This was perfect because the tournament costs $25 to enter plus an optional $3 dealer toke. So, I was basically playing the tournament for free.
The daily Luxor freezeout is not a typical poker tournament. Players only start with around $300 in chips, and the action begins at 15/30 and blinds go up every 15 minutes. So, this is not the type of tournament where you can wait around for good cards. You must make plays, or die.
Yesterday was a Saturday, I estimate 70 to 80 players entered the noon tournament. On weekends, Luxor offers another freeze out that begins at 10 a.m., and it's always over by noon -- so that should give you an idea of how quick this tournament is.
Also, it's only no-limit after the first hour.
My favorite opening move is to raise my first hand no matter what I'm dealt. 9 out of 10 times I will steal the blinds or maybe get one caller who will fold to me with a bet on the flop. It's a good play in this type of shoot-out to establish a table presence early. I used this strong table presence to bluff later in the tournament.
By the end of the first hour I was the chip leader at my table, and I had knocked out several players. I moved to my second table and caught A,K suited in the small blind. I went all in, and got three callers which each had less chips than me. I didn't catch a single card all the way to the river, and I dropped to only $300 in chips, thereby making me a sitting duck. The very next hand I picked up Q,9 offsuit on the button. There were already 5 callers, so I called all-in with my last $300 and a prayer. The poker Gods were looking out for me because I make a winning straight on the river to give me the best overall hand. I was back in business with $1500 in chips. Next, I doubled up heads-up against the chip leader when my pocket 9's took down his Q,K suited.
I reached the final table with about $3,000 in chips putting me in the middle spot in terms of chip stack. 8 players made it to the final table, and the top 7 players got paid. With my medium chip stack, I should have played less aggressively -- but I didn't adjust my style for the final table -- and this cost me. My first hand at the final table I was on the big blind with 9,3 offsuit. There were 3 callers and no raise pre-flop. The flop came down with 2,4,9 so I made top pair with a possible runner runner straight draw. I bet out $500 and got one caller. The next card paired the board with a 2. This scared me, but I bet out $500 anyway, and still got called. If I were raised here I would have dumped my hand in a second. The river was just as bad because it paired the board again with another 4 making the board 2,4,9,2,4. I still had top pair, but I figured I was up against a boat at this point. I checked, and my opponent checked. He flipped over a 9 also, but with an Ace kicker. I was out-kicked. That was a pretty expensive hand.
The next hand I caught K,Q suited in the small blind. There was a raise to $500 and two callers. I called. I didn't catch anything on the flop and folded, so now I was down to about $1100 in chips. My final hand I was dealt pocket 8's on the button. There was an all-in from a player who had about $900 in chips, another all-in, and a caller. I called all-in with my pocket 8's and lost to a A,Q who hit their Q on the river. The first all-in player on that hand had slightly less chips than me, so he finshed 8th and walked with nothing. I finsihed 7th and walked with $45. Just to give you an idea, first place paid almost $700.
The problem at the final table is that I was getting cards, and not winning with them. I played 3 consecutive hands, and lost each hand. You can't win a final table that way.
After the tournament I set down at another 2/4 cash game for about an hour. Unfortunately, Michigan State was beating Michigan and this was a huge distraction for me. I could only focus on the television. I lost $59 in one hour, making my grand total after about 4.5 hours of play -$14.
I should've just stayed home and watched the stupid football game.