Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Merge Network 'Adjusting' Evening Tourney Schedules (or, 'Rats, There Goes the Neighborhood')

You know you've got too good of a thing going when the good thing gets modified. It's one of those natural laws, Murphy's or otherwise, right? A few months ago I went on an extended rush playing Bodog turbo sit-'n'-goes, which lasted right up until they changed the format, which essentially halved my win rate (percent-wise, over break even) while I learned the nuances of the new format. Based on recent results, I'm still learning....

Now the Merge Network, which is, Carbon Poker and a couple of other skins, has changed its evening tourney schedules. Merge is small, as you know, and the network's evening tourneys habitually feature smallish, 100-player fields and nominal overlays. My two favorites were the 7:30 CT $2,000 Guaranteed, with a $15+1.50 buy-in, and the $23+2 buy-in $3,000 Guaranteed at 8:45. The $2K always offered a $600 first prize, and the $3K brought $900 for first. Yeah, small stuff, but fun and profitable, in its own way. I'm very much in the Todd Brunson school of thought on game selection --- if I know a lower game is likelier to provide a steady, solid comparable win rate, I'll opt for it.

But back to Merge. Darned if I didn't win the $3K on Tuesday night, and not for the first time. No skill brag here --- when you catch A-A, K-K and Q-Q (twice) at the final table, you should win it. Still, it's part of a nice push I've had there when I've had the chance to play in recent months.

I opened up the software on Wednesday evening to play a bit and watched as it did another of its frequent self-upgrades. Merge updates its software more frequently than any other site I could name, including Stars or Bodog, so this was not unexpected. But what was unexpected was that the $3K was no more, at least as a $25 tourney! To quote Charlie Brown, "Auggh!" In its place was a different $3K tourney with an $11 entry. The first prize was still $810, but it means climbing over more than twice as many bodies to get there. Not that I won't try, of course. The win rate's been just too durned good.

It's odd, though. This leaves the network with only one regularly scheduled weekly event with a buy-in over $20, and that's the $20K on Sundays, which I play when I can. What it means is I no longer have as much of a reason to leave any amount of money on the site --- I can play the events I wish to with a relatively smaller 'roll, and I'll try to find a way to move the remainder over to Stars and Bodog, difficult though it is at the moment. I'm not sure that's what Merge had in mind when they made the change. They're supposed to be creating reasons for me to keep money there, not taking reasons away.

On the plus side, I think I'm going to be able to take a shot at a Heartland or Circuit satellite (or two) in the coming months. I'd like to buy in directly to the main but that will remain out of reach for a year or two, I believe. I'd be idly interested in selling a small piece of myself, but want to make sure it's largely my money on the line. It's actually more painful for me when I lose someone else's money, so I'd rather it be mostly mine at stake. Maybe I can do what that Dan Zogman guy did in the recent HPT over in Gary. Zogman, who lives only three suburbs north of me, ran $100 into $228,000 early this week.

Yeah, I know. But we can all dream, can't we?

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