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The bubble burst in the main event last night giving me my second main event cash in as many played.

When I cashed a couple years ago I had an above average stack and got a hold of a lot of chips around the bubble. This time, I squeaked into the money with less chips than I started the event with.

I was all over the place

It was a really weird tournament for me. Usually, I build my stack up quite slowly and don’t have many swings. This time, I was all over the place.

I got my money in bad a couple of times and sucked out, but the rest of the time I just kept on running into monsters. I was pretty happy with the way I played overall, and maybe if I won a coin flip near the money last night to take me to 300k I would be in really good shape. As it happened though, I have no complaints. It’s a good tournament to play and cashing in it is really good fun. It’s sick to think that more people make the money in it than entered the Aussie Millions this year (747 cashed and 746 in the Aussie Millions).

I don’t have many standout hands from the event. In fact, besides my all-ins I only went to showdown a couple of times. One bluff that didn’t work is still in my head. During the second day I had 109 of spades on the button and a middle-aged guy in middle position raised. I called and the flop came K73 with 2 clubs, he checked I bet hoping to pick it up and he called.

The turn was the 8 of clubs and he made a really weak lead for about 1/4 of a pot-sized bet, I raised and he called. The river was the 5 of clubs and he checked. That seemed like a good river to fire a third bullet, so I did. He tanked for over 5 minutes and eventually called with Q10 of clubs for the second nuts. I definitely didn’t see that coming.

Min-raise preflop to 2-2.3x is becoming the norm

The one thing that I’ve noticed over the past month is that the almost min-raise preflop to 2-2.3x is really becoming the norm. Every time I’ve seen the game move in the direction when something become’s the norm it always leaves an opportunity to counteract it with something else. I’m not saying the min-raise is bad, but generally the argument for it goes something like, if I make it 4000 at 1000/2000 then it’s like getting one preflop raise for free for every 4 that the guy that makes it 5000 preflop.

That seems like incredibly short-sighted thinking when you consider that the pots you win with a bigger preflop raise are bigger, you offer your opponents worse pot-odds and implied odds with a bigger raise and as a general rule you’ll take down more pots uncontested with a bigger preflop raise. I think you have to be a very skilled player to overcome all those things and actually get the few chips you save preflop to actually count.

When you raise preflop you have the impetus in the hand. It seems straightforward then that the pots where you have the impetus you’d want as big as you can get them. It’s a question of balance though with the min-raise the right play at times, but I think it’s a losing play for most player’s in mid to late stages of tournaments.

Since my last blog post I also cashed the 2.5k mixed hold’em event. So I’ve ended my 3 months away strongly with a couple cashes. I’ve got a few more days in Vegas before heading back home. It’s been a great 3 months abroad and I’m happy with the way I’ve played as well, but it will be nice to get back home, at least for a little while.


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