For the keen online player, Pokerstars‘ Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) is a must play event. This year’s SCOOP 2014 takes place from May 4-18, featuring 45 events. Highlights include the $10,300 Main Event (qualificaton recommended!) but there are also an array of cheaper events and qualifiers. On Friday night I chanced my hand in the $27 Limit Omaha 8 competition. This was a lovely event with a slow structure, over 2500 entrants and a $10,000 first prize. Here are three key hands from my tournament.
Hand 1: The hero call
We are a couple of hours in. I’ve not picked up too many hands and my starting stack has fallen from 5,000 down to 4,000 chips. I’m in the big blind and pick up a suited Ace Deuce. Even after a raise and re-raise in front I decide this is enough to play with, although this is truth be told an average hand. The suited ace makes the difference in my view between folding and calling. Now watch what happens next. Easy call on the river, or am I a fishy calling station? I was half expecting some abuse from my opponent but in hindsight I think the call is clear cut. – Looking at how my opponent played the hand, he limped in early position then called a three bet. He then bet every street after I checked to him. What hands will do this? A pair of kings on the flop which make quads on the river, granted, aces possibly (although many people raise aces pre flop), and various busted low draws. The combo of low draws far outweighs the quad kings and aces, and with my Ace Queen I’m in good shape against a busted low. – More importantly, the pot is laying 14 to 1 on the river and I’m last to act. If I call and win I tripple my stack and am right back in the tourney. If I fold I’m down to two big blinds and near the exit door. Easy call. Still pleased when the chips came my way though.
Hand 2: Three Quarters
The next hand takes place a couple of hours later approaching the money. I’m in the big blind again and call a raise with a marginal 2/3 holding. Watch what happens next. Villain was unlucky to run into such a huge hand (‘The so called ‘Steel Wheel’ – Omaha 8’s equivalent of the Royal Flush) but his cap on the river is unforgivable. At best he is only ever taking half the pot and most of the time he will be quartered. This hand gave me a great stack and an opportunity to push on into the money.
Hand 3: Half two in the morning
Several hours later. We are down to the last 45. My stack has fallen a bit below average but I’m still very much in the game. However I’ve been playing now for seven and a half hours, the brain is fuzzy and I need sleep. Here’s the hand which dents my stack and effectively sees me out of the tourney. In retrospect, this was possibly a fold pre flop. It was certainly a fold on the flop. By the turn and river I had enough to keep going.
I finished in 49th place, turning my $27 entry into $130. Not bad, but it could have been so much better if I’d kept it together at the end. I was already planning a very different article: How I scooped $10,000. Maybe next year!