I've been playing in tournaments on UltimateBet.net, trying to place in the top 10 for a chance to play a game of Hold 'Em on t.v. to win 10K -- and qualify for the final table, where the winner will take home 200K.
The registration and tournament is totally free, and that's the big-time draw. One thing I like about this site as opposed to, say, PartyPoker.com, is that the site keeps running statistics on your play at each table you're at. So you can see just how much of an idiot you might be: 1) you can see what percentage of flops you've played (usually around 15% for me), 2) how many hands you've won (and that overall percentage), and 3) of the hands you've won, where you won them at (pre-flop, flop, turn, and river). Cool stuff.
Also, when in a tournament, you can keep track of how you're doing. The site has constant updates on your standings in the chip count (along with current chip leaders and how much they have), along with how many players are left -- it even has the average chip count of everyone remaining in the tournament. There are breaks about every hour, and the blinds and such raise at a good pace. The site keeps track of the tables and moves people around to keep things balanced.
I've played in three tournaments thus far:
- The first had about 1900 people registered. I was in the top 200 with a decent chip stack. Unforunately there was a huge glitch, and my tournament was cancelled along with a few others around the same time frame. I quickly got an e-mail apologizing for this.
- The second had about 5000 people registered. I made it below 700 people, but then got bumped something nasty. My chip stack was sem-low, so I wanted to make a move to make sure I could keep up if I got moved to a table with people who had high chip stacks. So a guy goes all in with just a tad more chips than I had. I had pocket 7's, and was figuring it was time to gamble. Well, the guy (sheepishly, I'm sure) turns over 6/7 suited hearts. So I have him by the short hairs, as we are sharing his top card. Guess what happens? If you saw that he was suited and guessed flush, pat yourself on the back. He made it on the river, and typed "sorry" about 20 times after he took my chips. I guess, despite not knowing what anyone had and still having 4 people after him to bet, he figured nobody would call. Yeah, sure, whatever. Lucky bastard.
- The third one was last night, and had a touch over 2000 people in it. I'm afraid a little stupidity came into play for me. I was doing very, very well. There was only about 65 people left, and I was in 45th place overall with about 55K in chips (the leaders were around 200K). For some silly reason I played j/4 suited spades, and I caught four to the flush on the flop. It was two-handed, and the guy before me put out a very strong bet of about 8K or so. Deciding again it was time to gamble, I went all-in, and he called me. You'd think with my poor, poor luck in acquiring flushes when suited I would've just maybe called to the turn to see if I could get lucky or just fold, but instead I went all-in and the guy beat me with a pair of aces when my stupid spades didn't hit. Idiocy on the highest level.
I'm going to try once more a bit later on. My main problem seems to be that I'm playing too well -- really, without ego, I can say that after playing for a while at a table I ended up getting people scared of me despite not being chip leader. Whenever I got a hand I couldn't get much out of people. If I checked my hand, everyone else checked along with me. If I bet strong, they'd fold. If I bet small, they might call for one more card, but if I bet again in any way they'd fold. The chip leaders, for whatever reason (perhaps greed), seem to be able to acquire chips endlessly on questionable calls. So in essence, I can win 6 hands in 20 but not earn as many chips as another person who wins only once, but gets two silly calls and rakes in boatloads.
Well, wish me luck! Perhaps you might see my coyote-ugly face on Fox in the very near future.