Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

WSOP Challenge Update Week 2

Time for another update in the series on Greg and Mark's WSOP satellites challenge - where we take $500 each and give qualifying for the World Series of Poker Main Event a try. You can see the kick off article here and last week's update here for the story so far. 

Another week of not too much in the way of action, we will both have to make an effort to play more games over the next week. Well, the SCOOP is on, thats our excuse and we are sticking with it!!

World Series Challenge - Mark's Update

Balance Remaining $479.60c

Tokens / Tickets Remaining: None

I managed a solitary $2 + rebuy qualifier at Party Poker this week, which I was fortunate enough to win for an entry into the $75+$5 sub-qualifier, which I was not fortunate enough to win!

A couple of observations to share, firstly on the smaller buy-in game. 

Now, you might expect players in a $2 game to be pretty terrible... especially on a fishy poker site like Party. While this is certainly the case, knowing that your opponents are bad is only really useful if you can come up with an effective counter strategy for the particular type of 'terrible' play you find. One point that stood out was that players were way too loose early on (it was a rebuy after all), and then way too tight when it came to the final table and stacks were getting short. Since your opponent can not 'mathematically' call without a strong hand, and the chances of them having a strong hand are small - you can push all-in with a lot of hands at a shallow stacked short-handed final table... yet walks were getting dished out left, right and center! I countered this by getting aggressive and was able to double my stack without a showdown over the course of about 3 orbits, which put me in great shape for the eventual win. One opponent waited until she had 2.5 big blinds before shoving, by that time even a double up would have been pretty pointless - this kind of overly tight late game play is just as 'fishy' as playing loose and wild... it just feels more sensible somehow!

Anyway, my need to shove before blinding down was my demise in the $80 qualifier. After a great start the 37 players had gone down to 18 or so, I lost a couple of pots, blinded a little (raises ahead and some crazy players!) then had just over 8BBs in the cutoff with a suited Queen-Ten... easy shove for me here but alas an Ace-King on the button held to beat me. No regrets, the standard of play in this $80 game was no better than you'll find in a regular $10 tournament somewhere like PokerStars, and it was nice to have something other than a level one qualifier to talk about. I do need to diversify my qualifiers a little more this coming week, so a report on some other sites coming up next time!


World Series Challenge - Greg's Update

Balance Remaining $425

Tokens / Tickets Remaining: None

After playing some more of the Stage 1 rebuy tournaments over at 888 Poker, Greg got frustrated with the crazies and decided to avoid the headaches by hitting the $25 Stage 2 qualifiers instead. The game he played had 108 players, which is a nice number for smaller site, with the final table all progressing to the supersatellite to the Main Event itself.

Some of the stories of 'overshoving' caught my eye, with huge stacks being pushed all-in from early position with the likes of A-6 and Q-Ko... with shallow stacks you can understand this, but when the big blind is still 50 and you have plenty of play left - why shove something which is unlikely to ever be called by a hand that does not have you completely crushed??! With a better structure than the step 1 donkfest, the entire game was still over in a couple of hours. Looks like Greg got off to a nice start, with a couple of mid-sized pots, though he missed out on getting paid with some premium hands early when everyone folded to his continuation bets.

In the end, Greg lost out on a coinflip with his Ace-Queen with 72 players left - you just have to win those flips to get ahead in these qualifiers, and this time it was not to be. Sounds like the 888 qualifiers are as soft as ever, and with Greg intending to move over to PokerStars for next week's update I might cross over and check them out myself!


I'll be back next week with the latest World Series news and another update from our qualifiers challenge!

GL at the tables, Mark

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