WANT TO PLAY THE PENDLETON LADIES NO LIMIT HOLD’EM TOURNAMENT?? YOU CAN AFFORD THE BUY-IN….HERE’S A COUPLE OF IDEAS
Hey, we get it. We are in the same place as everyone else. Two hundred and fifteen dollars will at least fill one or two gas tanks, and maybe, just maybe buy some groceries. So how can we even think about paying $215 for a buy-in to ONE tournament? Even if that buy-in is actually pretty low for all you get, not to mention the chance to win thousands…it is a lot of money to put on the line. But there are some ways you can come up with that buy-in and still put gas in the car. We will start the conversation off with some ideas we have for coming up with the buy-in and then we are going to encourage all of you to come here and share YOUR ideas. We would like to make this the biggest turn-out the Wildhorse Casino has ever had for their Ladies Tournament. We would love to see one (or a bunch of) our friends, site visitors, any14poker.com players at that top of the money list. We would love to post your pictures here on the site and tell your stories.
So how can all of us get there without riding our bikes to work for a month? One of the easiest ways I know of is to play some of the local free-roll and low buy-in games at your local card room or casino. We play a free-roll game pretty much every Monday (and Thursday, if we have the time) at the Wild Goose Casino, in Ellensburg. The free-roll at the Wild Goose is a great example of how you can win enough for your buy-in to a larger tournament. One Monday night in August I (Michelle) played the free-roll. The way this particular free-roll works is you sign up before five o’clock that day and you can play for free. Not a penny. You get $500 in chips, and if you want to pay the $20 buy-in, you get $2000 more for a total of $2500 to start. After the first two fifteen minute rounds, you can also do a rebuy for $10 that gives you $1000 more in chips. So you have four choices in this game…play for free with $500 chips, play for almost free by starting with $500 in chips, last two rounds, and do the $10 rebuy, buy in at the beginning for $20 and play the $2500 chips…OR, play the whole thing for $30, with a total of $3500 chips. Any way you play it, it is a pretty low buy-in, and first place pays anywhere from $250 all the way up to $480 on the really busy nights when lots of college students are there. Number of players ranges from 30 to 70 (using alternates). This one Monday in August I opted to just do the initial free-roll, and had $325 after the second round, when I paid the $10 to get the $1000 add-on.
I won’t do a play by play for you, but I will say that I played extremely tight that night, I probably played a grand total of five hands right up to when we had six players left. I tried to pick my spots carefully, sometimes playing the players as much as I played my cards. Over the last two years of playing in these free-rolls, we have found that there is not a lot of point in doing a lot of bluffing, especially early in the tournament. People who don’t have much invested don’t have much to lose, and they will call you with a very wide range of hands. So I played patient, and tried to play the few decent hands I got to the best of my ability. I got two pocket pairs all night—sixes, and jacks. When I went all in under the gun with the jacks, two people called me, both with very marginal hands. I almost lost the hand when one of them paired her queen, (she held Q2os), but ended up winning with a jack high flush when four diamonds hit. That kept me in the game.
I ended up holding on and taking first place, which paid $247 because we only had 38 people that night, but it wasn’t a bad return on a $10 investment. And I gained a lot more than the cash, I gained some great tournament experience. I learned some things that night; I also was reminded of some basics…like NEVER FOLD YOUR HAND WITHOUT LOOKING HARD AT THE BOARD. One key hand for me made me feel pretty foolish, and if it weren’t for the diligence of another player, Brad, I would have been out $10,000—pretty vital to winning the tournament. I had two pair, the other player had two pair, I brain-farted and just accepted half the pot when the dealer split it between us (we had the same top pair but different bottom pair), and Brad, stopped the dealer and said, “HEY!!! Her two pair were higher!!!” I definitely owe Brad a dinner, because I missed it completely! I forgot one of the basics of poker, CHECK YOUR HAND AGAIN BEFORE MUCKING! Dealers are human and they can miss stuff. That one could have cost me over two hundred dollars that night!
So, one of the easiest, and best ways to make your buy-in for the Pendleton Wildhorse Poker Round-Up tournament is to start hitting those free-rolls. They are SO valuable because you can get your buy-in for a much lower investment. Even if it takes you $20-$30 and you play, say ten free-rolls, you are also getting a LOT of experience that can really pay off when you get to the bigger tournaments.
And if you don’t make your buy-in BEFORE the Wildhorse Fall Poker Roundup, you can still attend and play one of the hundreds of satellites available for $25 and up…play against ten people, win first place, and you have a $200 buy-in.
The second suggestion we have is for setting up a home game or two…or three…or more. They are a LOT of fun, you can set the buy-in for whatever you want, and you still get some experience. There are some real pros and cons to this suggestion, and I think I will write a separate column on the home game idea so that I can cover it more thoroughly. In the meantime, how about some ideas from all of you? Let’s brainstorm together and come up with some ways to get as many people to the Round-up as we can! Email us with your ideas or go ahead and submit them to this blog! We want to hear from all of you!