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Steve's Home Poker Blog > First time playing poker at the casino!

My buddy Dano talked me into "manning up" and going to the Casino before we go on our Vegas trip, and I went to the Boulevard Casino for the first time to play the early bird tourney: $20+$5 buy in, T1500, 25/25 starting blinds, 15 minute intervals, 40 people.

I personally think this tourney structure blows - the starting stack is short (I prefer it to be at least 100 times the starting BB), the blinds increase quickly, and you are forced to make moves with mediocre cards - relying on a lot of luck to win.

I was very intimidated at first, but I was lucky enough to win the 2 of the first 3 pots I entered, and that settled me down a bit.

I was very happy with my play - I was lucky enough to get some decent cards, I got lucky when I needed to win races where I was facing elimination, when I got unlucky (sucked out/lost races) it didn't cost me all of my chips, and I only made 2 or 3 bad decisions that didn't cost me too many chips:

1. Trying to isolate an all in short stack after 1 person called. I re-raised, he called, and I knew I was beat. In retrospect, if I had just called, we still could have knocked a person out and it would have cost me less chips. Was this a mistake?

2. Pushing all in with AT suited 4 handed when I didn't really need to. I could have put in a standard raise and not risked my entire stack. Luckily I was 2nd in chips and everyone folded. This was definately a mistake.

Finally, the final hand. I'm debating wether or not I played this well:

- Heads up.- Blinds 1500/3000.
- Hero ($20000) calls on the button with 7T off suit: $6000 pot.
- SB ($40000)checks: $6000 pot.
- Flop: 468 rainbow.
- SB bets $2000: $8000 pot.
- Hero re-raises $6000: $14000 pot.
- SB re-raises all in for Hero's remaining chips ($11000): $25000 pot.
- Hero calls $11000.
- SB shows a 6X off suit.
- Hero shows a double gutshot straight and 2 overcards - 14 outs.
- Turn X.
- River X.
- SB wins with a pair of 6's.
- Hero comes in 2nd out of 40 players and wins a prize of $160.

The re-raise on the flop was very aggressive. I did this because:

- He appeared to be a solid player who was more than willing to take a stab at winning the pot on the flop no matter what he had.
- His bet was small, and I thought if he flopped top pair, he would bet more to protect it.
- I didn't think he had a straight, if he did I thought he would smooth call/check raise (he knows I'm aggressive).
- The chances of him having an 8 were slim.
- If he didn't have an 8, I had 14 outs, and I was small favorite to win after the flop (I calculated it and I was a 51% favorite to hit my hand after the flop).
- I felt that I would need to win at least one more coin flip to win the tourney, and was happy enough to be ahead at this point.

After he re-raised me all in, I thought I was wrong and he did have the 8. If he did have an 8, I still had 11 outs, and I was getting over 2:1 on my money (more than enough to call).


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