Saturday night, my friend Brian and I went to Mohegan Sun. My purpose for this trip was two-fold. First, it was to meet Nick Houser, one of my Skype friends and a fellow SDA member, who had turned 21 last week. The other was to play in one of the casino’s midnight poker tournaments.

At about 10 o clock, I briefly ran into Nick, who was actually winning for the night thanks to his choice of slot machine (I’ll withhold that here for his sake). Then it was time for some limit hold ’em before the midnight tournament. My money-hemorrhaging skills were on full display, as I lost $70 in just under two hours. After that, it was no-limit hold-em tournament time.

The basic rules of the tournament were that it was a turbo tournament, meaning blinds and, eventually, antes increased every twelve minutes. This is slightly quicker than the average online tournament, but in a live tournament, what it means is that you’ll get maybe one round around the table before the blinds and antes go up. What it also means is that, given enough time, even the chip leaders have either “All-in” or “fold” as their only two options.

Suffice to say that while Brian gets knocked out somewhere around tenth place out of 31 entrants, I manage, through a combination of (Mostly) luck and (Maybe some) skill, to make it to 4th place, when 5 positions paid. Dan Harrington writes in Harrington on Hold ‘Em that you need some luck to get deep into a poker tourney, and while a 31-person midnight tournament is not the main event of the World Series of Poker, I found Harrington’s thoughts to be accurate. Multiple times, I either had a worse hand suck out, or actually had a very good hand against an opponent who had no choice but to move with a worse hand.

In all, my fourth-place finish earned me $122, which after the tournament entry fee was enough to basically make up for my losses earlier. It was a fun time, and I don’t know if I’d do it regularly just because it starts so late, but I might have to make it an occasional thing I do there.

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