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50k guaranteed, Kings Casino Rozvadov, Czech Republic

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bavarian Players Cup ... finally!

Today I took another shot at the Bavarian Players Cup qualifier at the "Schrannenhalle" to qualify for the grand finale in Innsbruck (Austria) were they play for a total prizepool of €50,000. This was the second to last qualifier but I knew that it would be definately my last one (being in Vienna on the last available date). I had tried it 4 times so far. I missed a ticket by just two or three places twice and went out somewere in the middle the other two times.

This time the mainflight wasn't any better. We had a "Jamie Gold"-Wannabe at our table. Well almost, as he wasn't that good in table talk. But he played Jamie's style by playing every possible crap and hitting flops (or rivers) in a miracioulous way almost every time. So after one hour (2 levels) we had lost about 10 people on this table alone and he was up to around 50,000 chips which meant that he had now 10 times his starting chips. I had played one of my tightest games ever (mainly because I was card dead) and was able to play a total of three hands and pick up some chips without showdown in these hands during the first three levels. Finaly shortly before the 4th level (and before getting into dangerzone) I got 44 on the button and made a standard raise. Of course Mr. "Wannabe" called as well as another player. The pot had already 5,000 chips at that time. Flop was low cards but no other 4. No flushdraw, no straightdraw. It was checked around. Turn was a Q and it was checked again. River was a 6 (and paired the board) and Mr. "Wannabe" was betting 1,000 (obviously trying to buy this pot cheaply). The other player folded and I quickly went all-in with my remaining 4,500. He hard a hard time thinking if he should call or not as he put me on Kings here (mainly due to my tight image). Of course I was sure that I was beaten if he called, so I prayed for a fold. Finally he said "I think you have Kings but I have to call". It turned out that he had QJ for a pair of Queens and I was out of the tournament around 90th of 145.

Some of the people around estimated that this guy would easily get one of the four tickets as he had "full control over the other players and the table". But I said that I'm sure he wont't even make the final table. I was right. He wasn't able to change gears and went out around 15th place. That's what I call justice!

But it gets even better: The time I went out I was one of the last to get a seat in the consolation round. That one is basically a freeroll for the first 66 that busted out of the mainflight. You get less chips and the blindlevels are faster. But what makes this one really tough is that it's more or less a "winner-takes it all" format. Places two to four get a free start (worth €35) for the next qualifier but only the winner gets the ticket for Innsbruck. I had a good start and was able to double my chips from 2,500 to 5,000 during the first level. From there I never looked back until the final table. I was chipleader for most of the time with around 20,000 chips during the middle stage of the tournament (about 24 left). At that time I realized that I am on the way to take this thing down. And I would be very dissapointed if a fail here. Unfortunately I couldn't make it past those 20,000 chips (no cards). But at least I was able to keep that level.

As we reached the final ten, I was second in chips with another guy very close. We lost the next six players quite fast but I wasn't able to get much of that pie. So at the end we had four people with quite simmilar chipcounts. It was time for a move and I used the right spots pumping up my chipcount to 40,000. Took out 4th place wit AT vs. AJ when I flopped a Ten (sometimes you need to be lucky). This was one of only two times were I was behind in an all-in race situation for the whole tournament. With 80,000 chips I was now the bully but I failed in a steal attempt from the small blind. He found AQ and I was in bad shape with A6 here. No help and he knocked my stack down to 50,000. But I got my revenge quite fast and that time I was ahead. Up to over 100,000 I had more than 2/3 of the chips entering heads-up play. I almost got my opponent down with AJ vs. 87 but he spiked an 8 on the flop and we were almost equal again. The very next hand I got KK in the small blind. I decided to go for full risk and set a trap by just calling his big blind. I had either pushed/raised or folded so far. And like expected ... he sensed weakness in the call and went all-in. I called immediately and his J8 was way behind. He found some outs with a J on the flop but no more help and I won the tournament and my ticket for Innsbruck.

So what did I win here? It's the entry for a €50,000 tournament with 240 participants (only qualifiers, no direct buy-in). That makes the ticket worth around €208. I tried to qualify for 5 times (but one try was for free) so I spent €140 on that. Well, €68 is still a nice overlay here. The tournament will be held in the Casino in Innsbruck. It will be a three day event with two heats of 120 players in each heat. They play down to 40 each day. The final day will the be the combined field of 80 players. It will be the same deepstack structure as in the mainflight qualifiers, so it's a decent structure to play. The payout schedule is good too. They pay 30 places with €375 as lowest payout and €13,500 for first place.

In general I'm sure this will be a great tournament. But there are two things that I'm not happy about. First the time schedule: You have to be there one day before the first heat to draw for your heat. That means basically you have to be in Innsbruck from Sunday evening till late Wednesday night (if you make it that far). Of course the casino offers a good selection of cash games but it isn't that great for those who just want to play the tournament. The second one is worse: After they had played about 2/3 of their qualifiers they sent around an email saying everybody who qualified has to pay a €35 fee to secure the qualified seat. While in general nothing is wrong with a €208+35 buy-in it's somewhat smelly that they never mentioned this upfront. Things like that leave a bad taste, especially nowadays after the "Asch" desaster.

Anyway, this will be a great tournament and I'm looking forward to this. It looks like the coming months will have some great poker. First Vienna as a warm-up, then Dublin in early October and Innsbruck in early November.

And if you wonder why I'm coming back from a tournament late in the night and sit down at my computer at 5 o'clock in the morning to write this blog entry ... I'm so exited that I can't sleep. Sounds weired, I know. I only won a €208 entry, nothing more. But winning this out of 66 players (basically on my last opportunity) makes me feel so great at the moment.


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