Well, i'm busto. And I'm not even upset about it.
Degree Poker last year was a battle. The blinds were moving, the pressure was on, but it was poker. I took flops with low pocket pairs, I took flops with suited connectors, I bluffed. That's poker folks. This year, they forgot that a poker tournament should be playing poker.
Have you ever watched Poker Superstars Invitational on tv? It's got all the stars but all they ever do is push all-in and decide whether or not to call it (and look bored to death doing it). This is what people think poker is ... ALL IN! If i wanted to pull the arm on a slot machine i'd play them, guessing pre-flop about the strength of your hand only is NOT poker.
As you can probably guess, they screwed the blind structure up. And not just a little bit. Here's the details.
Starting Stacks: $2000
Each level: 20 minutes
Level 1: 25/50
Level 2: 50/100
Level 3: 100/200 w 25 ante
Level 4: 200/400 w 50 ante
Level 5: 400/800 w 75 ante
Figured out where I'm going with this yet? Let's look at this a bit more. Harrington defines the relationship of stack size to the blinds and antes as M. I believe this was Paul Magriel who came up with the concept but i dont remember for sure. Anyways, if the blinds are 25/50 and your stack is 1500, your M = 1500 / (25+50) = 10
At a M=10 you have some flexibility to make decisions, though are definately not comfortable and must keep moving. At M <= 5 you're looking for spots to push basically.
We'll look at my stack tonight in our examples:
2000 chips at 25/50 is an M = 26 (that's good! we can take flops and play poker at this level)
2150 chips at 50/100 is M = 14.3 (still got room baby)
2400 chips at 100/200 w 25 ante is M = 4.36 (that's a pushing zone)
2000 chips at 200/400 w 50 ante is M = 1.82 (thats super-life-support)
Dealer was great -- we had to be doing a 40 hands per hour rate. First hand I got involed in was a blinds battle which I won. Then, I raised on the button at 50/100 and the BB defended. I continuation-bet the flop and won. Did that twice actually. Basically, I didn't get many cards and used position to keep my stack going. I won every pot I played and I played some real crap.
Then we got to 100/200 +25a and the short stacks started pushing. I can't get involved with crap cards against a push. Then we got to 200/400 w 50 ante. I'm on super-life-support already with these stupid-big blinds and I jam with A7o in LP (one out of the cutoff). Big stack in SB finds AQ and i'm sent packing.
I'm NOT complaining about how I played this hand or how bad my luck is not to get cards. My complaint is that the tournament went from poker to crapshoot so that they could cram more people into it.
What you'll see in the next few rounds and into the final tables are not players who can play, but players who got lucky.
This isn't a slot tournament, it's supposed to be a test of luck AND skill -- that's what poker really is.
I'd like to thank Unilever, TSN, and Niagara Fallsview for putting this thing on again. It's sorta fun yeah, but if it wasnt a 15 minute drive from my house to Fallsview casino it would be a serious waste of time. Some crazies flew in from BC and Northwest Territories I understand -- what a waste.
Will I try and get in next year? Yeah probably! But only online. It's not worth killing a few hours of my day at the walk-up draw to get into a crapshoot.
If you can't take a flop for less than all your chips past 40 minutes in a tournament when you've won every hand you played so far... It Isn't Poker. Sorry.