Having looked at a number of poker clients, whilst learning to play, I happen to have a number of accounts dotted around. The other day RedKings sent me a ticket to a Freeroll, probably because I’ve deposited there but not played in a while. You can’t fault the networks for their psychology: a ticket specifically targeting people who have deposited with them (they wouldn’t want to give away money to just anyone) and who haven’t played for a while. What better way to get them to start playing again than by competing for real money with no stake in a closed tournament?
It was at the right time of the day and so how could I refuse?
I’d not entered a scheduled tournament before and I was impressed by how the client handled the ticketing aspect (I’d had visions of arriving early to get my place and then having to leave the client running all day, but you can load/close the client and your seat persists.) It was around 10 hours before the tournament when I signed-up and there were already a few hundred people registered as being more eager than me - the attraction of free money is so obviously a winner.
I turned-up pretty much on-the-dot to find there were over 1200 people who had crawled out of the woodwork for this one. My table opened, along with over 120 others, and the game began.
I really should have done some research before entering. First off, half the people on my table were “away” when it started and by the 5th hand there were still two missing. The blinds were set to rise every 12 minutes and there was an atmosphere of lethargy about the play; no big moves, limping-in, checking all the way to the river. For someone who likes Turbo games the first 30 minutes was torturous.
In the complete boredom of the game, my mind wandered onto just how long this game was going to take. All ten people on my table remained and there weren’t any obvious short stacks. I started to make some rough calculations and was horrified to learn that I might be here for 5 hours. I decided to push from a useful pocket on the bb and was caught with a weaker kicker – I was the first one gone from the table after 40 minutes of play.
It was a bitter-sweet moment; I was kind-of glad to be out of it so I could do something more constructive but I kicked myself for not being able to fold top-pair given all the signs that I was beaten. I checked the results and was amazed to find that I had finished ahead of 470 other players. Clearly I’d been unlucky and drawn a table of grinders!
When I was telling my Freeroll experience to another (much more experienced) player they replied “what, you turned-up at the start?” Well, how very naïve of me to turn-up to the start of a tournament!? Apparently people have actually cashed by not turning-up at all!!!
If nothing else it was an experience…which I won’t be repeating in a hurry.