Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Games that are not Chess - Poker

Apart from chess there are other games I play. Bridge, Backgammon, Poker are the more serious of them, although I've even played an Othello tournament.
At the moment there is a real concern that Poker (specifically Texas Hold-em) is taking players away from the chess world. And it is probably a valid concern, but only in the short term. I think Chess and Poker (and Bridge, Backgammon, Pokemon etc) can all happily co-exist, and indeed provide a source of players for each other.
My recent experiences with Poker have not convinced me to give up chess. I don't believe I'm a good poker player (people keep stealing my blinds), but I thought I'd give the online tournament scene a go. The online site I used offered a series of "freeroll" qualifiers (free entry) to a money tournament. The qualifiers ran for a month, were restricted to Australian players only, and the tournament final was last night. The prize money was pretty generous compared to chess, $17,000+, especially as there was no entry fee. Each qualifier attracted about 1500 players, so I'm guessing there were 40,000+ entries in the series, although most of those would have been multiple entries. Over the month I probably played 7 to 10 qualifiers, which would have taken about 12 hours of my time. I made it to the final in the second last qualifier (top 50 finish required), and needed a top 250 placing (out of 1,320 players) in the final to earn some prize money.
Now this is not going to be some pathetic tale of how I caught a bad beat and missed out on a trip to Vegas. Instead I played very tight poker, folded most of my hands, and after two and a half hours went out when I played 55 v AQ offsuit and my opponent paired the ace. I finished 155th and earned some prize money.
How much? For 14.5-15 hours of play I earned $10. Thats about 75 cents an hour. For that I'm not giving up my day job. And indeed for that, I'm certainly not giving up chess, even if I earn $0.00 an hour for playing.
Nonetheless it was an interesting exercise to see how I would go in what is basically my first experience in tournament poker. The plus side was that I could play from home, usually lying on the lounge, and I got some free entertainment when players completely lost it after getting "backdoored" on the river.
But I guess like everything in life, if your not doing it for a living, then you're doing it for enjoyment. And if you enjoy chess more (as I do), why would you give that up.

1 comment:

TrueFiendish said...

You are modest. I don't believe that people keep stealing your blinds, unless you are too "risk averse" to call their bullshit raises. Bad luck about your 5s bombing out. I'm sure it is a comfort to know that the odds favoured you even though reality did not.

Go to Canberra Casino and pick your mark (drunk idiots who are there to spend/lose cash) while avoiding the ones who can play. It's an earner, and as a chess player I am sure you appreciate seeing someone suffer in person rather than cyberwise...