The Poker Weekender
Excepting token appearances at Bodog and Stars the last week, the only hours I've spent pursuing the online game recently have been over at Merge, chasing points in their darned Santa's Sack promotion; I've already secured my $50 checkmark and am moving toward better prizes... an iPod is next in my sights. Here's weird: Buying an iPod would be way down on my list of things to do, but trying to win one has me entertained and incentivized. Darned competitive nature, anyway.
And of course, it means sneaking in a few tournaments and sit-'n'-goes late at night or as time allows. I had been worried I'd grind down my bankroll on the site by chasing points for the promotion, which would've been counterproductive to the whole process, but back-to-back good showings in MTTs on Friday and Saturday nights boosted me enough to where that's no longer likely to be an issue.
After grinding out a second place in the Friday night $32.50-entry, $2.5K tourney, I followed that up by taking a shot at the $10+1 rebuy donkament early Saturday eve. It was more on a whim, since I rarely play rebuys, but I was already in two SNGs and was killing some time before heading out to a live game.
I never made the game, and did one of those donkament sins that I've pulled my hair out when I've seen it pulled off by others. Yes --- this is a confession.
With the SNGs complete, I was still alive in the rebuy, but needed to get ready in the next few minutes if I was going to go play live. There was also a good snowstorm here so I was still a bit undecided that way, too; it was blowing and drifting quite a bit, with about five inches of fresh stuff on the ground.
I decided... to let the poker gods decide. Next time I found a halfway decent starting hand and caught a bit of a flop, I check-raised to get myself all in. I sucked out and won. Hrmmm. Then I doubled through again, playing A-J all in preflop absolutely for the hell of it and cracking the chip leader's pocket queens. (What he called me shall not be repeated here. I deserved it, too.) But all of a sudden, despite more or less trying trying to depart, I was the chip leader. I still wasn't totally sure I wanted to stay, and I then gave a chunk right back to the player I deposed, who then taunted me into saying he knew I'd do so.
Heck, it was miserable outside. "Game on," I chatted back, or something similar. Three hours later I took the thing down, and as I said, I rarely play rebuys. I'm not sure what kismet was working there, but I was certainly intended --- and yes, that's phrased correctly --- to play that online tourney and not play live instead.
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As for the Secret Santa SNGs on the site, which I've also been playing, those have been interesting as well. Merge (Carbon and pokercs.com) ran a Turkey Day promotion last month which focused solely on SNGs, but this month the SNGs have been incorporated into the larger Santa promotion. In November, all SNG's featured half-priced juice, with players accumulating points toward leaderboard spots, but I did not have the time to chase the top 100 spots on the site and move on.
This month the twist is that, at random, a given SNG will open up with a special table design for the 'Secret Santa' promotion, and pay out double the listed prize money. Playing in one and winning one are both tasks in the Santa's Sack scavenger hunt as well, so it definitely draws the traffic. Problem is, they don't show up all that often. Had they been at the same ratio as what the site was offering, juice-wise, for the Turkey Day promotion, I'd have expected a Secret Santa table once every 20 or 30 tries. It seems like it's more like one in every 50 or 60, based on anecdotal evidence. I've found one, to date; I won it, though, which was cool. It was a $10+1 SNG, and when all of a sudden the players discovered they were playing for $20+2 money, it became the weaktightiest SNG you ever did see. Who knows... maybe three or four of the players rarely ventured into the land of $22 SNGs, and therefore squeezed it down here. In any event, no one wanted to do any more than limp in early or attack pots post-flop with anything less than a monster. Therefore, I volunteered to do just that, and swiped enough early pots to coast into the money and take down the eventual $100 win.
Then I had a solid run in the normal $22 SNGs. Good weekend. Along with the MTT fun, a real good weekend.