I play a lot of tournaments, so I figured I better write some articles about them. This month's first article is just about the basics -- what tournaments are and why you should play them. I plan on more in depth articles later on.
One of the frustrating things about tournaments is how long it can be between wins. I'm in the middle of a rough stretch myself. After playing five tournaments out in Reno and getting a win and two third place finishes, I haven't had a significant score since. And that isn't unusual in tournament poker. They pay ten percent of the field, so if you average a money finish twenty percent of the time, you're well ahead of the game.
Of course that means you're getting nothing 80% of the time.
Then there's the fact that most of the prize money is clustered in the top three spots. So, even if you cash, you're not really happy unless you finish there. So if you're playing tournament with 100 players in them, you're going to be unhappy 97% of the time.
So why do it? Because the return on investment when you do win is very good, and occasionally life-changing. Chris Moneymaker famously turned US$40 into US$2.5 million at the 2003 World Series of Poker. My biggest score was at a Canterbury Park Fall Classic event where my $300 became $35k after eleven hours of play.
So, despite the recent bad run, I'll keep playing tournaments. In fact, I'll be playing several this week as the Mid-States Poker Tour comes to Canterbury.
And I always do well at Canterbury...