BARGE Report

by Lou on August 7, 2005

Wow. I went on break in the BARGE no-limit hold’em tournament and the blinds were $400 – $800, when I returned they were raised to $500 – $1,500. That’s a big jump and I went from having a reasonable stack of chips to being officially short-stacked.

Not only that, the first hand after the break found me in the big blind. With a $1,500 big blind and a $100 ante, plus another $500 and another ante on the very next hand, I was hoping that everyone would have sticker shock at the size of the blinds and fold around to me.

It almost worked. Everyone folded to Murray Logan, on my immediate right, who raised all in. I looked at my cards and found Ks-9s. It wasn’t the best of hands but considering that Murray might have raised with almost anything in his position, I was hoping he raised with a weak holding, or barring that, with a hand that didn’t dominate me to three outs.

I didn’t get anything I was hoping for. Murray had K-Q and I needed to hit a nine or three spades. No help, and I’m out. Lots of fun, but playing for six-plus hours only to get eliminated is frustrating.

In yesterday’s tournament, a format that emulated the short-lived “Tournament of Champions,” one player did not show up and they left his chips on the table for a very long time. While being blinded off, he managed to outlast three or four players at the table.

That’s not bad, considering our mystery player — someone posted a name placard on the table that said “Phil,” in honor of a celebrated tournament player who typically shows up later for tournaments — never played a hand. I suppose there’s a message in this bottle that says something about hand selection in tournaments, and that the majority of players are probably overly aggressive and not nearly selective enough. You can, as we saw yesterday, fold every hand you’re dealt and survive for quite a long time before being devoured by the escalating blinds.

Tonight is our BARGE banquet, and Wil Wheaton — from Star Trek, The Next generation — will be our guest player. Wil told me that my first book, Hold’em Excellence: From Beginner to Winner, was the book that started him off on his poker playing avocation. Wil has become quite a good player over the past few years. The game is not just a passing fad with him, as it is with many other celebs; he takes it seriously and he knows how to play.

Poker Blogger Pauly McGuire, who provided terrific coverage of this year’s WSOP on his blog, The Tao of Poker, will also be there, and he’s someone I always enjoy seeing.

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