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Time to get back in poker tournament swing

Oct 28, 2008 4:03 PM

The Inside Straight by Joe Awada |

The World Poker Tour just concluded its stop in Las Vegas at the Bellagio, and I had the opportunity to play in the $15,000 buy-in main event, thanks to my sponsors, including the Palms Hotel and Casino.

It was my first tournament action since the World Series was in town last July, and I must admit I was a little rusty, even though I’ve been playing poker regularly.

Of course, there’s a little different mindset when competing in a tournament, as I’ve pointed out in previous articles, and it took a little while to get into the flow of the action.

There were about 370 other players competing and I made it through the first day of action, even though I was card dead for most of the session.

Because I lacked premium cards, I had to be a little "innovative," meaning I stole a few small pots by making several moves at the right time.

The day ended with my stack about 30 percent less than my original stack of $45,000.

The second day I felt more into the groove and squared off against some great pros, who were well-represented in the field.

Despite the quality of players, I was surprised at how careless many of them were in handling their cards. Specifically, several would expose their hole card or cards as they mucked their hand, or even worse, wouldn’t totally conceal their hole cards when they curled over the corners to check them.

I actually saw several hole cards during the course of the action from several players who have been playing professionally, and successfully, for many years.

Of course, seeing another player’s card or cards is an advantage to one’s opponents. A couple of times, one player would point out to the careless player that he was flashing his cards – which raises the question, should someone point out another’s carelessness?

In any case, I become involved in a pot with a fellow pro, who inadvertently (I think!) revealed that one of his hole cards was the 8 of diamonds.

Since I had ace-jack of diamonds, I felt I had an advantage of he had anything other than another 8, but even if he had pocket 8’s, I would at worst be in a coin-flip race with him.

Anyway, the player went all-in pre-flop, and since I had him covered with my chip stack, I called.

The flop came queen-10-3, giving me a few more outs with the straight draw, but the turn and river were no help so I lost that pot.

It wasn’t long after that hand that I again had a solid starting hand with ace-king of hearts, but got into a race with a player who had pocket 10s.

I became all-in with him and, as luck would have it, again lost that race, and my tournament run was ended.

Certainly not what I was looking for after my tournament layoff, but there will be lots more opportunities to come.

In the meantime, I’ll be hosting another poker seminar at the Palms poker room at noon Sunday, Nov. 2. We had a great turnout for our first seminar and I’m expecting another nice session next week.

We’ll cover topics such as tournament strategy, money management and live action cash games. All poker players are welcome.