by Shaun Poulin
I’ll get to the 30k progress, but first I want to address a couple of things about Party Poker that took place this week. The first is that Party Poker completely overhauled their site. The look is different, starting chips for tournaments have been increased, blind structures have been altered - basically it’s a whole new site. This definitely caught me by surprise and initially sent me into a panic since I’ve developed a successful formula for how to beat the SNG’s (Single Table Tournaments) on here, and altering the starting chips/blinds would directly effect my strategy.
The biggest downfall of the switch is that the SNG’s take so damn long to complete now. I used to be able to multi-table four SNG’s at once and have all four done within 30 minutes. Now completing one takes over an hour. The change will increase the ROI%(Return on Investment) for good players, but it may cut down on the hourly rate since fewer SNG’s will be played in any given hour. The new structure has definitely improved the late stages of the SNG’s. Upon getting down to 3 handed, players can comfortably play poker and not get impatient and be forced to push all their chips in on a prayer. Previous structure allowed for solid players to get into the top 5 only to rely on luck once the blinds got too big in correlation to the chip stacks. Definitely an improvement since the better players will win more often now once making it to the late stages. Previous SNG’s started with 800 or 1,000 in chips; new structure has players starting with 2,000 in chips.
The second thing that happened on Party this week probably happened without any of you knowing, unless you are a regular visitor of http://www.pocketfives.com/. Last Sunday Party hosted a million dollar guaranteed tournament with first place getting around $212,000. Anyway, JJProdigy - one of the ranked players on pocketfives - won the tournament and took home the huge cash prize. Upon JJ winning, one of his friends posted a thread on pocketfives congratulating him on the win. A lot of the readers of the thread logged into Party to verify the victory and couldn’t understand why JJProdigy finished in 2000th place and someone with the name “ablackcar” finished in 1st. This prompted a lot of the readers to be inquisitive and apparently this started a chain of events that led to Party Poker hearing about this and doing investigative work of their own.
Party soon found out that JJProdigy entered the tournament with 2 different accounts, and while his 2 screennames never were at the same table, they still played in the same tourney at the same time. Party promptly locked up JJ’s accounts while they were sorting it all out. Party eventually decided that they were going to take JJ’s $212,000 prize from him as well as another $40,000 that was in his account. You can read JJ’s response to this as well as the letter he received from Party Poker here: JJ's story.
His excuse was that it was his grandmother’s account.
The most disturbing part of the story is that JJ claims that he knows lots of players that often enter tournaments multiple times, sometimes as many as 10 in one tourney! I’m glad that I don’t play Multi-Table Tournaments often, as this would definitely bother me a lot more.
Alright, now I’ll get to the part that you guys are really interested in, the progress of the 30k project. Well, for my first week I devised a game plan that had me playing primarily the Mini-Steps SNG’s. For those that don’t know, the Mini-Steps are a series of step tournaments with 5 steps that culminate in Step 5 with cash prizes ranging from $200 to $2,000. The premise of it is real easy. You can buy in directly at any step you wish, and the top 2 finishers in that particular step advance to the next higher step. Buy-In for step 1 is $6, and buy in for step 5 is $430. Anyway, since I’m limited on the amount of time I can play since I have a job, I decided to risk almost my whole 2k and buy in for 10 entries at mini-step 4. Mini 4 costs $165, so I spent $1,650 in entry fees. My goal was to have 5 out of the10 entries advance to Mini 5. The average return on an entry in step 5 based on all players being equal would be $400 ($4,000/10). Obviously if you are better then half the players in step 5 your return will be greater, but I’m being conservative and assuming that we are all players on a level playing field.
I fell a little short of my goal of gaining 5 entries into Step 5, as I was only able to obtain 4 entries. This bothered me a little since my expected return per entry of $400 wouldn’t even net me back the $1,650 I invested. Anyway the first entry I played poorly and finished in 8th place. My next entry faired better with me taking home 2nd place for a cool $1k payout. I actually cost myself $500 in the second entry. I got down to heads up and was a big favorite with a $14k to $6k chip advantage, and blinds at $100/$200. Anyway we battle for about 10 minutes, and my opponent was outplaying me as well as me going completely card dead. About 10 minutes into it we are even in chip stacks with $10k a piece. I get dealt A5, and I proceed to ask my opponent if he wanted to chop the $3,000 in prize money and each of us take home $1,500. I tried to wait for an answer before betting, but I didn’t wait long enough. I proceeded to move all-in pre-flop at the same time he was typing “sure” in the chat box. Anyway once I moved all-in prematurely he typed, well now I can’t chop. He proceeded to call with 66 and it held up and I took home 2nd.
The third entry was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a step 5. One guy at the table named WildBill lived up to his name in a big way. He went through the tournament playing all-in poker. WildBill either was going all-in pre-flop or folding. I love it when someone is doing this and I’ll usually take my chances of doubling up against them when I feel that I have the advantage. In the first 10 minutes of play 4 different players called all-in bets by WildBill pre-flop and all 4 of them went down in flames. I was loving it. Top 5 get paid and WildBill single handedly got us down to 6 left without me even playing a hand. My first confrontation with WildBill took place once 6 of us were left. WildBill followed his usual MO, and moved in pre-flop. I’m holding AK which was an insta-call in my mind against him. He flips over AT, and we are going to the flop. The flop sucked ass! A dreaded Ten came on the flop and I was already planning on my next entry in step 5, but fortunately good prevailed and a beautiful king came on the turn. My next confrontation came when I was holding 77. Again same thing, WildBill moves in pre-flop and I call, not thrilled with 77 but calling anyway. WildBill held two overs and luckily my 77 held up and I was taking the chips that Bill was taking from others. I was loving life. WildBill was bulletproof against everyone at the table except me! It was great. Anyway, I had one more big confrontation with WildBill. By the time the third confrontation happened we were down to 3 players. I had 55 this time, and same sequence of events pre-flop. WildBill shows A5 with the Ace of clubs. I’m ecstatic as I only have to fade 3 aces and a combination 2,3,4 for a wheel and a plethora of clubs. Well the flop comes three clubs giving WildBill a lot of outs. Fortunately the fourth club never showed up to the party and I move up to $16k in chips verses $2k and $2k for the other players. I used my chip stack the remainder of the way to smother my opponents and I took home 1st place for $2k in my third entry. The fourth entry was rather uneventful as I didn’t finish in the money but in 7th.
So, although I didn’t reach my goal of obtaining 5 entries in step 5, I made up for it with a 1st and 2nd place finish with the four entries that I did have. Total investment in the Mini-Steps was $1,650 with a return of $3,000. My ROI was 81.82%.
I also entered one Multi-Table Tournament for the week for $11, and out of a field of 1,420 I managed to get 30th place for a whopping $72.
I also made approximately $600 playing a little bit of 6 handed $1/$2 no limit poker.
I am extremely pleased with my first week and I’ll keep you updated about my progress.
Starting Bankroll Feb. 13: $2,000
Ending Bankroll Feb. 20: $4,044.08
Net Gain/Loss: $2,044.08
Growth %: 102.20%