A Small Stakes Tournament Recap
June 13, 2021

Some people might say that a trip to the World Series of Poker isn’t complete without actually playing in the World Series of Poker.  But this column wouldn’t be The Small Stakes if I was rolled to play in a World Series event.  Well, that and my scheduling.

On my first day off I was planning on hitting the Golden Nugget to play in their deep stack tournament series, but a few days before I was to do that, the Rio announced that they were going to launch their own daily tournament series.  It seemed promising – 15,000 starting chips, 30-minute levels, and 25/50 blinds to start.  So I hit the PokerRoad forums, solicited some help, and went for it.

I’ve been in the Rio for about two weeks now, and as much as I dreaded going back inside when I didn’t have to, I think it was a benefit to have a good idea of how the place was laid out, where the tournament was being played, as well as all the other benefits of familiarity.

I got to my seat with a few minutes left before cards were to hit the air and watched as my opponents filled the table.  When the first three players to sit were in their 50s, I started to feel pretty good.   We were only six-handed to kick things off, but we soon filled up to ten.

By the time the table was full I was squeezed in between what had to have been the two most overweight people in the room.  That’s gotta be –EV, right?

My first significant hand came about 20 minutes into play.  I was in the cutoff and raised to 125 with AQ off-suit when it was limped to me.  The small blind called, and that didn’t make me happy.  He was in his mid-20s, well spoken, and seemed to have a great grasp of the game.  Anyways, I’m not going to fold in that position regardless of whom I am against.  The flop came 9,10,J rainbow.  He bet 250 and I called.  Looking back, I probably should have raised.  The turn brought a 3 and he bet 550.  Once again I called.  Again, I should have raised here.  The river was another 3 and he bet 1,200, while I folded.

After losing two more pots with AQ, once with two kings on the flop and another time with a Q on the flop and facing an all-in shove after my continuation bet, I was starting to feel like I couldn’t win a hand.  After two hours I was down to 10,300 and we were heading to break.

I won my first pot from the small blind not long into the second hour of play.  I had 83os in a six-way limped pot.  The table checked a flop of A25 as well as an 8 on the turn.  When a 3 came on the river, I made a bet of only 500 and took the pot down for a solid 3,000.

I was back to 10,025 and while shorter than my starting stack I was starting to feel a little more confident.  All I needed was some cards to go with it.

My next notable hand came when I woke up with AhJh in the big blind.  With two limpers I checked and loved the all-heart flop.  I put in a bet of 250 and got one call from a player in middle-position, but he folded when I bet 500 into the turn.  I was up to 12,000 and feeling good.

Early in the fourth round, a player in early position had meant to call, but misread his chips and threw in 5,100.  If there was ever a time to pick up aces, it was now.  Of course, I had 10s4c and couldn’t take advantage of the huge pot.

Play at my table got really bad as new players moved in and some bad players stacked a few others and built huge pots.  Sadly, I found myself totally card dead and in terrible position, having the huge stack to my immediate left, and the only really skilled player next to him.  I ended up finishing somewhere around the 120 mark when I was down to eight blinds.

All in all, it was a good tournament. I’ll likely play one or two more if my bankroll allows it.  Thanks to my readers for having some confidence in me.


SoniaGood Article!0