I haven’t been a poker tournament player as I prefer playing cash games. I only register in major Sundays’ tournaments in case lady luck decides to let me win one of those. Last Sunday I also played the satellite tournament (€100 buy-in) for the €1,100 Greek Poker Cup in Casino Loutraki, the largest live poker tournament held in Greece up to now and I actually won a 5-nights hotel package along with the seat of course. That was the reason why I began studying once more about poker tournaments and practicing almost daily the past week to improve my tournament skills. Making to the final table of 2 poker tournaments the last weekend and taking down one of them made me believe that I might have a chance hopefully in Loutraki!

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First, a few comments about my play at the Greek Poker Cup satellite tournament. To tell you the truth I wasn’t that eager to travel 600km in order to play my first live poker tournament. Besides I haven’t yet played a single hand in live poker on the cash tables of the local casino. Online poker is much more convenient. Of course live poker has other benefits which I will find out in 2 weeks’ time. With that in mind, my goal was to make it into the money regarding the satellite tourney, which I thought was easier than other tournaments, since Greek players are below the worldwide standards judging by the play of the majority. Indeed I managed to get paid and from that point forward I was somehow trying to bust out before I won the package. The hand that was decisive was a couple of orbits before the end of the tournament, when holding Kings I called the chip leader’s 3-bet shove from the button, making a foul play nonetheless. Even with Aces it’s probably a fold as one or two players were busting out soon and I was the second player in chips. The chip leader actually had Aces but I managed to show Quads, acquiring a huge chip lead. From that moment on I think I didn’t play a single hand, while surfing the net searching for the Hotel’s whereabouts and travel instructions.

However, that win made me resume my Deucescracked.com subscription and began watching poker videos about tournament optimum strategy. I honestly haven’t been a good poker tournament player. Although I have played a bunch of tournaments mainly during the start of my… poker career, I never improved my skills to the level which is required to become a winning tournament player. This time, as the Greek Poker Cup will have a lot of publicity and I don’t want to bust out first, I decided to at least prepare as much as possible.

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So, the last week I have been playing about ten or so tournaments every day while watching 3-5 videos per day. I already knew about tournament play terms such as ICM, but the videos really helped me improve my style of play. Given the experience I have already gained playing at the higher stakes of cash games, the videos made an immediate impact on the results. The biggest proof is the cashing out and final tabling at two tournaments at Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker of large fields (2,000+ players) on Sunday. The final tables took place almost at the same time and most peculiar thing is that I won the one where I was the shortest stack at the final table, while finishing third in the one where I was a chip leader (twice the stack of the second!).

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Those final tables meant a $25K win and although it isn’t huge, considering I spend about $1.5-2K every Sunday in buy-ins, it is surely a welcome bankroll’s boost! Hopefully it’s the start of many more final tables to come!