$20,000 No Limit Hold’em Team Tournament at the Borgata: The Worst Form of Poker

So I got home from Atlantic City at 4:30am this morning and had to be on the road to a client in Delaware at 7:00. I’m tired. And I’m disappointed in the outcome of the tournament I was in last night. To vent some frustration and keep myself awake I’ll give you a brief tournament report and some strategy observations.

First of all, this was a $20,000 free roll at the Borgata sponsored by Philly2night.com and Coors Light. This was a No Limit Holdem Team Tournament. Before I go off on a rant, this is how the team tournament was played: Co-ed teams of five players each faced off in single table tourneys, all five teammates playing at the same table against another team’s five players. Teams advance by eliminating all the players on the opposing team.

This is without a doubt the worst form of poker I have ever played. Stealing blinds from your own players, folding big hands because none of your opponents came into the pot, and literally telling everyone at the table what you have are far too common for this type of game to be viable. Its just a dumb idea. And I’m not just saying that because I got knocked out of each round by my own teammates. We won the three preliminary rounds and sent a player to the final table of ten. The top four teams got paid, but we were the first team eliminated. That’s poker.

The skill level of players at this event was about as low as I have ever seen. The mistakes and weak plays were constant throughout the night. The most prevalent mistake being the minimum preflop raise. With the blinds 25/50 nearly every raise was to 100. This happened at every blind level in every game we played.

This type of raise is a pointless waste of chips that accomplishes virtually nothing. It doesn’t knock players out of the hand, it doesn’t buy you the button, it doesn’t define your opponents hands, and it barely increases the size of the pot. This is a rookie mistake. It usually plagues timid players that don’t have a clear goal of what they want to accomplish with their bets.

If you have been making this kind of raise STOP IT! Raise a minimum of three times the big blind in unopened pots, and more if there are already callers. You are more like to win the pot outright, eliminate most of your competition, or at least get you closer to the button. You also better define your opponents hands when you have made them pay a higher price to see a flop.  If you want to bet the minimum buy a lottery ticket, I hear the jackpot is up over $300 million now.