The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

January 18, 2007

Company Poker Tournament

As I’ve mentioned before, my company has kickoff meetings twice a year, and we started a tradition a while back to do a poker tournament on the second night of the event. I’ve won the last two events, with the help of some luck, and I knew it couldn’t last forever. We played last night, and had our biggest turnout with 26 players. I managed not to take the last place finish (which is the winner of a lime-green t-shirt, another tradition), but finished 14th of 26, well out of the money. I only got a few decent hands, mostly in positions where I couldn’t make any money from them, and then as the blinds increased just never increased my stack to have breathing room. In the end, I went all-in and was called on a coin-flip hand, where I didn’t come up “heads”…

What was odd, though, was how much turnover there was. None of the paying spots in this tournament were in the money 6 months ago. And while the money seats were definitely dominated by some of the more solid players in the group, there was one statistical outlier in the group. One player who knew very little about poker, and was drinking pretty heavily, worked his way into 2nd place. It’s odd how someone who has to constantly ask what his options are (to be told repeatedly that it’s to “check, bet, or fold”) can manage to get into 2nd place, but when viewed statistically, it’s merely an aberration. We all catch good cards and bad cards. I won two tournaments in a row partly due to good poker, but also heavily due to catching the lucky card precisely when I needed it. This guy managed to catch the cards without playing good poker, and it was enough to get all the way to the end of the tournament. But it’s still disturbing. I watched as the guy who eventually won (who is an excellent player) was getting frustrated at his inability to destroy a player who had no idea what he was doing.

I’m reminded of something in poker. Being a good poker player is a tremendous indicator of long-term success. But it means absolutely nothing when short-term success is considered.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 1:33 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Personal Life, Poker/Gambling

1 Comment

  1. No disagreement there. While my overall success playing fixed limit money games is due to certain skill levels I’ve acquired over the past few years, the times that I have finished in the top three positions in tournaments have been due to being lucky and getting the right card or cards at the right time. The tournament I won in Las Vegas was due to an extremely lucky hand late in the tournament when I had to go all in just to make the big blind. My hand was 9-2 offsuit, and I thought I was dead. But the flop contained both a nine and a deuce, and my two pair held up, and I went on to win.
    I had a third place finish in a tournament in Phoenix several months ago that, again, was due to some luck at the right time. It was the final table and I was short-stacked. I looked down at pocket jacks and realized this was my spot. I went all-in and was immediately called by the guy on my left, who had pocket aces. The flop contained a wonderful-looking jack to complete my set, and I survived.
    Poker skill is great, but you can’t beat luck.

    Comment by Arizona Lawyer — February 6, 2007 @ 8:46 am

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