Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

October 24, 2005

Inaugural PokerStars Blogger Championship

I write so much about my poker experiences on my personal site that I decided to go ahead and start a separate blog for it. My first entry will cover the Inaugural PokerStars Blogger Championship.

To be honest, I had actually forgotten about this tournament. I was in the middle of a one-table limit tourney when the blogger championship started and automatically popped up on my screen. So for about the first half hour, I was madly switching back and forth between the two games. The limit tourney was down to four people and was progressing quickly, and there were a lot of no-shows for the blogger tournament initially so hands were going by very fast there as well. I actually wasn't even trying my hardest for the blogger tournament at first because I had money invested in the limit game, while the blogger tourney was a freeroll. Most hands were forgettable at this point in time, but I do remember one.

I was in the big blind with KQ off-suit. Everyone folds, and one guy calls in fairly late position. I raise to about 3x the big blind, and he calls. The flop comes up 10 J Q rainbow. I lead out with a decent bet, and he re-raises twice my bet to put about 2/3 of his chips in. At this point I'm somewhat worried about a 89, QJ, Q10, 10J. I'm pretty sure that he doesn't have a pocket pair or AK because he just called the big blind initially. I had top pair with the open ended straight draw, and I also had him covered. I decided to put him all in. Turns out that he had a KJ off suit, and the turn/river cards helped neither of us; one more player gone.

The next couple of hours went pretty smoothly. I only had one gut-wrenching moment the whole tournament. It was about midway through, and I went all-in with QQ against a guy who min-raised the big blind. He called with AA. The flop helped no one, and the turn didn't either. I had only the two queens as outs, and I hit one on the river. Salvation! Amazingly enough, that was also the only suck-out I had the entire tournament. And that's really something playing online hands for five hours. The rest of it I just played good poker.

Toward the end, I couldn't get a hand to save my life. The chip leader at the time was at my table throwing his stack around, and I couldn't bluff to save my life. The blinds and antes slowly ate my stack away, but not before I made the good prizes!

I ended up coming in 31st place out of 1473 entrants. One person of note who I ended up outplacing is Wil Wheaton. He's supposedly a pretty good player, and I was a huge Star Trek: TNG fan growing up, so I just thought it was neat to be playing in the same tournament as him. I was never at the same table as him this tournament, and I didn't even know he was in it until he was out. Apparently he plays fairly regularly on PokerStars, so maybe I'll run into him sometime.

For coming in the top 36 players, I've won an iPod nano. I'm definitely excited about this as I've wanted one of these for a good while, although my wife will tell you I've not wanted one as long as she has and that I should give it to her. I'm not falling for her wiles this time, though. :-) I'd like to thank PokerStars for running an excellent tournament and congratulate all the players who placed. It was definitely a tough field. I look forward to playing in it again and hopefully having a more respectable poker blog by the time the tourney comes back around.

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