This is the last of this series. I'll still do these occasionally but thought it would be good to end the series with two topics that don't receive a lot of discussion... rebuy tournaments and super satellites. This event was a $3 rebuy tournament and for every $215 in the prize pool, a seat would be rewarded into the PokerStars Sunday Million. With 270 players and $810 in the starting prize pool, at a minimum three players would get seats.
I went in setting a budget of $15. Part of this $15 included $3 for an add on, so that meant I could do a single rebuy four times. Many people advocate taking the rebuy right away and in a higher buy in rebuy event, I would do just that but I know from experience in lower buy in events that if I pick my spots right... make the right gambles... that I can do just as well with the single. I ended up taking one rebuy... on the very first hand... and one add on for a total outlay of $9. I won a seat meaning I turned $9 into a $215 tournament entry. Here is how the tournament played out for me.
Hand #1 – We start with 1,000 in chips and the blinds at 10/20. This is a turbo event so the levels are only 5 minutes long and the rebuy period is only 30 minutes. Knowing this, I know it is important to play as many hands as possible in these 30 minutes to try and accumulate chips. Given that it is a rebuy event, I'll make plays I definitely would not normally make. This first hand is a good example of that. I call a raise with A-J and four of us see the flop. The flop comes J-9-6 with two hearts. The small blind who had called pre-flop bets and is called by the pre-flop raiser... I move all in... and the small blind calls. He has A-8 of hearts and hits a heart. I make a single rebuy.
Hand #2 – Very next hand and two people move all in before it gets to me in the cutoff. I call with 5-4 suited. I make this call for two reasons. One, I think there is a strong likelihood these two are playing big card type of hands (that's the typical move in a rebuy tournament with a hand like A-K, just move all in pre-flop for 50 big blinds). Two, I think another person might call if I call giving me a chance of quadrupling up. No one else does call but I was right about the first part... they both have A-K. I hit a 5 on the flop and a 4 on the river for good measure and triple up to 3,030.
Hand #3 – Blinds are 25/50. There are three limpers and I limp as well in late position with Q-9 suited. The big blind moves all in for 200 total. The first limper moves all in for another 765. The other two limpers call. There is now 3350 in the pot and it is another 915 for me to call. I'll still have more than 2,000 if I call and lose the hand and there's a potential for a big pot here, so I make the call. The flop comes Q-J-4 with two hearts. I'm not going anywhere now... top pair, weak kicker is a monster during the rebuy period. I make a small bet of 550 to thin the field out a little and am called by a big stack (he has over 7K in chips). The turn is a 2 and I check. My opponent goes all in. I call for my last 1,295. He has Q-8 and my 9 kicker plays and I win the side pot. The other two all in's have 6's and 5's and I win the main pot as well. I have 7,800 in chips after the hand. Mission #1 – get a lot of chips -- accomplished. Now I'll tighten up and only play premium hands and situations.
Hand #4 – Blinds are 50/100. I limp with jacks under the gun. I do this because I know the aggressive tendencies of a rebuy event. My limp will likely invite more limps which will invite someone to raise. Sure enough one other player limps and the big blind moves all in for 1,660 total. I move all in to isolate and the other limper folds. The big blind has A-8 off and doesn't get lucky. I have 9,610 in chips now.
Hand #5 – Blinds are 75/150. My A-8 off friend moves all in first to act for 2,000 total. I call with jacks. The small blind calls for his whole stack of 1,370. Mr. A-8 has , the guy in the small blind has 5's. A 9 flops but I fade the bad beat and am up to 12,955. My play like an idiot to get chips and then play like a rock strategy is working out so far. We reach the break and even though I am comfortably in the top 10 in chips, I go ahead and make the add on because at these rapidly increasing blinds, I am going to need every chip I can get my hand on. I have 14,155 after making the add on.
Hand #6 – The secret of my success... get dealt big pocket pairs every 10 hands. I get queens with the blinds at 200/400 with a 25 ante (I told you they go up fast) and make it 1,200 to go. I get one caller and bet 2,400 on a 10 high flop and win the pot. 16,005 after the hand.
Hand #7 – I play a couple hands, winning two and losing two and am down to 13,500 with the blinds at 400/800 and a 50 ante. I raise first to act from middle position to 2,400 with A-4 and the button calls me. The flop is about as good as I can hope for... 5-4-3. I bet 4,000 and my opponent folds. Back up to 17,500. We're still a long way from winning a seat and I know I have to keep maintaining my stack or it'll disappear in a hurry. If I can get to a certain point with a certain number of players remaining, I'll shut it down.
Hand #8 – I call a short stack's all in with 2's and lose to his Q-7 that hits a queen. Down to 13,910.
Hand #9 – With the blinds at 600/1,200 and a 75 ante, I limp on the button with J-10 suited after a middle position player limped in. The small blind moves all in for an additional 775 and we both call. The flop comes 10-5-3 and I lead out for 3,600 into the 9,400 pot. My opponent only has 5,120 left so I know this bet will commit him. He just calls. Huh? Not like I'm going to fold now. The turn is another 5 and I actually like that card. I bet enough to set him in and he calls with A-4. It's one thing to gamble during the rebuy period but I don't like his play here at all. No Ace or 2 on the river and I now have nearly 25K in chips.
Hand #10 – I move all in first to act with A-J from late position and pick up the dead money (which is significant at this stage).
Hand #11 – the blinds are now 1,500/3,000 with a 150 ante (did I mention they move up fast?). I make it 7,500 to go with from middle position. The cutoff moves all in for an additional 1,235. I don't like it but I'm not folding for that little. He has queens but I spike an ace to knock him out and have almost 40K.
Hand #12 – After going through the blinds once, I raise to 7,500 first to act with Q-9 suited and win the dead money. This puts me right back to 40K. We are in the money now (14th-24th get a whopping $14) but still a ways to go for the seats.
Hand #13 – I raise to 7,500 again first to act... this time with A-J and a short stack in the small blind calls all in for his last 3,555 with 10-8 of clubs. The flop comes A-J-2 with one club so I am looking good to take him out. It comes runner runner clubs though and he doubles up with his flush. Down to 35K.
Hand #14 – with the blinds at 2,000/4,000 I make it 10,000 to go from the button with 10-7 off. No one could accuse me of playing it safe... yet. They fold and I am up to 41K.
Hand #15 – the very next hand, a short stack under the gun raises to 12,000 leaving himself with 1,000 (again... huh?). I have A-K from the cutoff and move all in to isolate. He calls with A-2 off and doesn't improve. I have 62K in chips now.
Hand #16 – I steal the blinds with A-4 and am now 4th in chips with 21 players left with 69K. 6th in chips has 30K. I have now reached the point of the tournament where I feel I don't have to play another hand to win a seat... so that is exactly what I plan on doing.
Only one problem... the blinds move up so quick and people are being shrewd. Even though we go hand for hand at a certain point, they are utilizing the maximum amount of time on the clock to force the blinds to go up. It doesn't matter what your stack size is if the blinds are 10,000/20,000. As promised, I don't play a hand. For two orbits... or 18 hands. In this time, my stack goes from 69K to 11K. That is how quick the blinds were going up... and how few hands we were playing. I had just gone through the blinds though and there were 15 players left and plenty of people that were going to be forced all in before I was ante'd out.
In fact with the blinds at 15,000/30,000, I do the unthinkable... I fold aces pre-flop. Doubling up at this point isn't going to do anything for me. Waiting for people to get eliminated will. And they are eliminated and I win the seat. Not without a scare though... I never thought when I had 69K with 21 players left that it would even be close... but if just one or two of the short stacks had won their all in's, I might have been sitting there congratulating myself for my massive $5 of profit rather than the seat I won.