Before yesterday, I had either never heard of Online Casino Malaysia or thought that it was just some sort of informational site associated with Poker School Online. Then I found out that it’s the completely free section of Bugsy’s Club, which is one of the few sites that is Mac compatible and allows Americans to play there, so I signed up.
PokerPages looks like an absolutely amazing site. It doesn’t have the star power of Pokerstars or Full Tilt, but they have much more substantial rewards for their free games. More immediate ones, anyway. As far as I know, at other sites you need to have experience actually gambling at their site to receive any tangible reward at the end of a free tournament. Other sites may offer free seats to big tournaments, but that usually requires making the final table out of about 2000 twice and then doing well in a third round. Even the best players in the world would need a lot of luck to pull that off.
I know that you can win something from nothing at PokerPages because I did that in my first day. I played a one table tournament earlier in the day and came in 4th because someone pushed all in with an inside straight draw and made it, but that’s not important. What’s important is the tournament that I started at 10:20 last night and ended up playing in after I should have been asleep.
It was different than any tournament that I had played in before because the starting stack was 10,000 chips. That made the starting blinds of 25/50 seem miniscule, but their quick rise in cost made a large starting stack necessary to have a good chance at success without playing like a maniac. I saw very few, if any, of the flops during the first couple of rounds that the blinds made.
Finally, I found myself with a couple of good cards. They were actually quite good – pocket aces. Before I had a chance to bet, someone raised 4100 chips. That normally would have scared me out of an early pot, but with those cards I raised all in. The player who had raised first was the only caller, and I was up against kq. There were no face cards on the board, and I ended up doubling up.
I got a few more cards after that hand. I had pocket kings and ended up going all in after the flop and turn cards showed no ace or straight or flush draws, and no one called and I got a bunch of chips. I pushed (bet a few thousand) when I hit a set of 5s, and again with a set of tens but 3 diamonds on the board, and no one called those. My next big hand was another pair of aces in the hole and I had one caller to my medium raise. I got pushed all in on the flop, which was a tough choice because you never know when someone flopped a set or 2 pair. It turned out that I was up against a flush draw, and the next two cards didn’t hurt me and I doubled up again. I got even more money when someone went all in with two pair against my set of fours. By then, I was up to over 100,000 chips.
I stayed around the 100k level for a long time after that. I did lose a bunch of chips after I called an all in bet with a pair of kings and ace kicker, and the king that gave me a pair gave the other player a straight, but I made it back. When I got decent hands, a series of small bets usually either resulted in my opponents folding or someone calling with a terrible hand.
The name of the game was survival, and I played very tight. I did make one iffy call – about 20k all in for the other person with a pair of jacks in my hand and a queen on the board, but I ended up with a jack on the river to bust his pair of queens. Hitting a set of jacks also enabled me to double up against a pair of aces after limping in with a call of the 16,000 big blind.
Things were going well, and people kept going broke. However, as time went on the ante was up to 10k and the blinds were enormous. I thought of pushing all in with suited connectors, which would have actually given me the straight and the pot, but I folded and waited. The next hand was 4/3 offsuit and the hand after that was the big blind. The blind and ante knocked my stack all the way down to 10k, and someone raised ahead of me. Even with 10/3 offsuit, I had to call and hope for the best. It didn’t come and I ended up in 13th place out of 1203.
The last three times that I’ve done well in a tournament with over over 1000 players, I came in 13th. The first time it got me a spot in another satellite, which I lost. The second time it got me absolutely nothing. This time I got 60 cents worth of bonus points and a boost in my skill ranking, which is a reward system for the best play money players. The top 50 for the month get a free membership at PokerSchoolOnline and a spot in a huge freeroll, and I don’t think that I have a chance at that this month since I started so late but I’ll see how close I can get.