The $2.5 Million Moneymaker Freeroll.

A few weeks ago, after observing Mr. Jeremy in a few tournaments on Poker Stars, I switched from Party Poker to Poker Stars.

The rakes and tournement fees charged by Poker Stars are less than that of Party, it’s a more attractive interface (with several different available themes), and there seem to be just as many terrible poker players.

Jeremy already wrote about our entry into the Wil Wheaton dot Net blogger tourney, and his unwillingness to believe that I had A Better Hand Than Him. He eliminated me, but that was ok, since he went on to take second place, win a bunch of cash, and got me a really neat set of Kem Cards

Starting today, Poker Stars started a new freeroll satellite style tourney with over $2,500,000 in prizes and payouts. The way it works is like this:

Every Poker Stars player receives one free entry in to the first level of the tourneyment. Level one tourneys happen about 4 times a day, and the top 50 finishers of each one, advance to a weekly level 2 tourney. At the weekly level 2 tourney, the top 6 advance to a live game in the Carribean with a $1,000,000 top prize.

I decided to give this free first level tourney a try today. Entries were capped at 10,000 players. With only 50 tickets to the level 2, that means only 0.5% of the players would advance. Not great odds, but I figured I’d give it a shot for free.

The carnage started early. In the very first hand at my table, UTG went all in, and recieved one caller. Needless to say, I folded my 27s from the big blind. UTG had.. get this 34s. His caller? The mighty A2 suited. Clearly, this tournament would be filled with brilliant play. At any rate, A2 won the hand when he paired his 2.
Two minutes into the tournament, 250 people were already eliminated. 5 minutes in, 1,000 people had met their end. 10% of the field gone. The way to survive this kind of craziness is to just sit back, play super-tightly, and stay out of the way of the crazies.

I managed to get a couple of big hands and at about 17 minutes in I had roughly doubled up my original stack… by which time 30% of the ‘players’ were gone. Things stayed pretty quiet for me for another 20 minutes or so. I had 2685 in chips, which put me at about 2136th place out of the remaining 5002 players (yes, 36 minutes in 50% of the field was gone).

I found myself with AKo in the big blind. We were on level 3 , which put the blinds at 25/50. UTG+3 limps, the small blind completes, and I raise to 150. Both players call. The flop came A56 with 2 spades. The SB bet 150, I raised him to 600, the thrid player folded, and SB reraised me. I reraised him all-in. He instantly called.

What’s going on? Am I hosed? Of course not. He flips up 3sTd. He has NOTHING to my top pair, best kicker. As luck would have it, the turn and river were running spades, and he caught his miracle flush. I had to admit, he trapped me with his genius play, silly me.

At any rate, since he had me covered, I was eliminated. 2 hours later, the strategy master who eliminated me is, surprisingly still in the tourney. He’s sitting in 239th place of the remaining 534, with about 2/3 of the average stack…. Actually, I just watched the guy cripple himself when he was the second guy to call someone’s all in. He’s now down to 483 of 513, and out it 444th place.

Watching the tournament unfold, it seems like solid play, and a little bit of luck could get you pretty deep in one of these. It will be interesting to see how the level 2 tournaments in this promotion work out. It looks like those will be 1,000 – 2,000 player tournaments.

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