Take full advantage of a freeroll frenzy at 32Red Poker this weekend because we’re giving away €2,500 in Guaranteed prizes over four tournaments. Maximum possible reward for zero outlay is what we’re all about, and there’s something for everyone in terms of tournament format.
Starting at 5pm UK time we have a €250 Flip Freeroll in which everyone is all-in, every hand, until a winner finally emerges victorious. This is followed by a good old Classic Freeroll at 9pm – the entry requirement for this freezeout is just a single raked hand, and there’s €500 up for grabs in guaranteed prizes.
Log on again at 5pm (UK) on Sunday for the exciting €750 Survivor Freeroll. In this format, at the end of a specific time period the lowest stacks are eliminated, with the final 10% or so of the survivors each receiving an equal share of the prize fund.
The grand finale is the €1,000 Classic Freeroll at 9pm, for which you’ll need to make 32 raked hands to take part.
Have a great weekend of freerolls, and enjoy some fun poker!
Like many people, poker is a passion. I love to play poker and, of course, I find myself thinking about poker. Anyone who has read my articles knows I particularly like to think about how we think about poker – the psychological aspect of the game fascinates me. While there’s more psychology in online poker than people might consider, the ‘live’ format presents us with a different set of questions and situations because we can both see and hear our opponents (and, don’t forget, we’re also exposed).
Not surprisingly I always look forward to poker festivals which, fortunately, also tend to take place in some interesting parts of the world. Tallinn was no exception, the pleasant-on-the-eye Estonian capital being the perfect setting, and the Olympic Casino Olümpia, part of the luxury hotel, Radisson Blu Olümpia, where our players were staying, the perfect venue.
After an enjoyable evening with my fellow 32Red Poker players and indefatigable 32Red Poker Manager, Nick Diaz, the evening before the Main Event, I sat down at my table the following afternoon and had a look at my opponents, who all hailed from Estonia and a couple of other former Soviet countries, with the exception of a Scandinavian and an empty chair. As it happened this chair proved decisive, because while it remained empty I couldn’t have been happier. However, the late arrival of a talkative, dominating Swede, seated to my left, seriously cramped my style. The dynamic of the table changed completely due to a combination of his endeavours to steer it his way and the table’s apparent willingness to let him, despite what seemed to be almost cliched behaviour on his part. His big river bluffs were believed and his big river bets with the nuts were called, and he gleefully engineered a mountain of chips.
I sat there trying not to get too frustrated. A couple of attempts to get involved with my potential benefactor/nemesis backfired. In one particular hand with the Swede and one other I had Ac, 6c and the flop brought Ad, 6s, 7c… There was no point my being aggressive as previously the table bully had backed off completely at the sniff of trouble, so I let him build the pot as the Turn delivered the very welcome 2c, and the third player stayed in. My two pair and a nut flush draw, conveniently out of position, was looking very promising whether or not I hit the flush. I wasn’t thinking about the other player too much; I simply put him on a decent hand – AK, for example, which he should have been raising with, but perhaps he was concentrating his efforts on trapping the Swede rather than scaring him off. The River was the 8d, and I again checked. The bet inevitably came – not all-in this time – and was met a call from the third player. I smelled a rat and called with my two pair. I was right about the other player – he had effectively misplayed AK. Alas the Swede had been sitting there with 9d, 5d and had filled his gutshot on the river. He got lucky but, to be fair, he had also made his own luck for much of the day and had been reading players well.
But in a poker story reminiscent of Icarus (who flew too close to the sun, remember), after building up loads of chips and putting himself well in contention, our ‘hero’ saw his stack(s) dwindle as poor river bluffs contrived to secure a fairly rapid demise, thus demonstrating that a failure to adjust can have serious consequences. Having said that, copious amounts of alcohol won’t have helped him, either, and therein lies another lesson.
I was eventually eliminated just before the end of Day 1 when, finding Aces for the first time, I managed to get all-in against a big stack, but his pair of fives found a third playmate on the Flop.
And that, as they say, was that.
I went out of a side event with another good hand, this time my Q-high straight running into a K-high straight. C’est la vie.
A nice festival, in a nice place, with a good bunch of 32Red Poker players.
Good luck at the tables!
Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)
32Red Poker Ambassador
Once known as Big Red Castle, it’s not surprising to learn that Tallinn, Estonia’s picturesque capital, is a favourite among tourists looking for a bit of history that’s easy on the eye. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city was a European Capital of Culture in 2011. Sounds a great place to visit, and thus a perfect venue for the third leg of the MPN Poker Tour, which took place January 15-18, 2015 at the Olympic Casino Olümpia.
Winning a package via 32Red Poker is a perfect way to experience a live poker festival, and our players had the added bonus that the casino, a very well respected poker venue, is part of the luxurious Radisson Blu Olümpia hotel, where they stayed.
The Main Event was a €500 + €50 No Limit Hold’em tournament with a €40,000 guaranteed prize fund. The combination of a decent structure (25,000 starting chips, 60-minute levels), late registration and unlimited re-entries during the first six levels made for some interesting poker and some awkward decisions.
Having collected their free chips to use at the tables, drinks vouchers and a free sports bet given away by the casino upon joining, Angus Dunnington (Scotland), Simon Taylor, Bruce Shannon (England), LeoLeou (Northern Ireland) and Vladimir Pastushenko (Ukraine) took their seats in the tournament room. Note that, ultimately, 122 players actually entered and, with 26 re-entries, this made for an effective total of 148 entries, thus generating a prize pool of over €70,000 for the top 12 places, with over €20,000 for the winner… well worth playing for.
There was also the added incentive of making an impression in the MPN Poker Tour Player of the Year, which offers as a fantastic first prize free entry to all of the MPNPT Main Events in 2016 (plus a unique trophy).
Angus got off to a decent start but the late arrival of a talkative, dominating Swede to his left seriously cramped his style. He eventually made his exit just before the end of the play for the day when, finding aces for the very first time in the tournament, he got it all in but ran up against a bigger stack’s 555. Meanwhile, the structure might have been welcomed by some, but LeoLeou coped with what he perceived to be the tedium by turning to his iPad for entertainment. This might not necessarily be recommended strategy, but whatever works, and he managed to find a path through the jungle to end Day 1 with 17,900 chips, a little behind Simon’s 23,600 but out of touch with chips leader Revo Rink, who was already racing off into the distance with a stack of 215,000!
In terms of the Main Event, fortune didn’t shine on our players today. As the blinds increase the significance and implications of taking a hit – or even failing to keep your head sufficiently above water to afford much-needed breathing space and flexibility – can grow conspicuously problematic, even with the tournament’s player-friendly structure.
With good opportunities difficult to come by, any ‘decent’ looking hand assumes far greater importance than would normally be the case, while premium holdings are like gold dust. Simon Taylor found himself with KK but, unfortunately, ran into a pair of ace. Coincidences tend to be more memorable when associated with good or bad fortune and, for Simon, it was the latter, as he’d exited the event in the same manner as his fellow 32Red Poker player, good friend and roommate in Tallinn, Bruce Shannon…
Meanwhile, LeoLeou was still battling away or, in his words: ‘Hand dead at new table. Going to get blinded out’ – which was a more practical assessment of his chances than a show of pessimism, as anyone who has spent time with the likeable player will confirm. Later he was ‘still hanging on’ with around 50K in chips when the average was 95K and, eventually, after 3-betting a big stack with 88 and shoving a 10, 10, 2 flop, he had come up against A, 10 and the 32Red Poker assault on the Main Event had finally come to an end.
The players met up in the Old Town, which is well worth a visit, the plan being to recharge the poker batteries and try their luck in Event 4 on Day 3. Ukraine’s Vladimir Pastushenko had other ideas. He had already made up for exiting the Main Event by taking 2nd place in the 24-player €135 + €15 NLH tournament, and today he made another final table in the €110 + €10 NLH, finishing in 6th place – all the more impressive considering there 105 players this time around.
Our players, suitably refreshed, sat down for the €135 + €15 NLH ‘Big Night Out’ event. This was a sort of quasi freezeout with re-starts available during the early levels which, unlike the 60-minute blind levels in the Main Event, were this time only 20 minutes.
At one table, Angus Dunnington, Bruce Shannon and Vladimir Pastushenko were all next to each other. Bruce got off to a flying start, re-raising a player on the steal more than once, making a nice (check-) call on the river with a not very attractive but ‘strong’ enough hand and, even taking into account a bit of inevitable bad luck, deservedly built a hefty looking stack. Unfortunately a series of big pots highlighted how quickly the proverbial wheels can come off the poker train as it hurtles along, and his disappointment will have been heightened by the fact he lost out to players whose understanding of the game doesn’t approach his. That, of course, is one of the occupational hazards of poker, but it always feels particularly cruel nonetheless.
Angus felt he didn’t seem to get going, yet Bruce’s exit ironically coincided with his recovery. After barely waking up for much of the tournament he was suddenly able to take advantage of his hitherto dormant table image. All good things come to an end, as they say and, as he was starting to finally move up gears, his Q-high straight came up against a K-high straight.
The 32Red Poker presence did continue, though, with LeoLeou finishing in 5th place in the 59-player tournament.
The last poker fix came in the form of the €50 + €5 Pot Limit Omaha which, with only 39 entries, paid out just five spots. While most of the players were relaxing and thinking of their flight home and the next quest, the indefatigable Simon Taylor took 5th place.
Tallinn is a nice place for a poker festival and our players enjoyed their time both exploring what the city has to offer (Can-Can dancers at the casino proved to be a popular, albeit unexpected form of entertainment, but it’s the picturesque capital itself that lives up to its expectations) and the poker itself (although the frustrating nature of poker means some enjoyed it more than others).
As for the festival, the numbers proved quite encouraging in the context of the MPN Poker Tour, with the 148 Main Event entries here – after 109 in Malta and 89 in London, translating to official first prizes of €20,387 in Tallinn, €15,330 in Malta and €9,465 in London – showing how the tour is going from strength to strength.
One of the auto-options available to us at 32Red Poker tables is the facility to Muck Winning Hands and, nearly all of the time, this is the correct thing to do because we don’t want to be giving our opponents undoubtedly useful information for free if it can be avoided. Indeed, with this in mind, if we were to decide never to show a winning hand we could simply get on with the game, not having the ‘inconvenience’ and potential confusion – or, worse, the serious implications – caused by voluntarily making a poor decision. It sounds sensible to sacrifice possible gains in order to rule out the very real risk of losses and the additional advertising afforded the opposition. Read more
While even one-table Sit & Go tournaments have a multi-table flavour, a key difference is that we’re effectively being fast-forwarded straight into final table mode as soon as we sit down. Thanks to the more rapidly increasing blind levels than we experience during the much, much longer course of a MTT, much of the strategy specific to S&G poker is related to both the blinds and the limited number of prizes. Read more
We don’t need years of experience to appreciate a couple of the implications of playing small pairs pre-flop (for the purposes of this article we’ll define small pairs as 22-77). On the upside, when the flop promotes the pair to a set it’s great news, particularly in view of the fact that such a hand can be so well disguised that the ‘reveal’ might come only at the conclusion. However, what happens far more often is that, not only does the small pocket pair remain a small pocket pair but, invariably, the arrival on the flop of at least one overcard immediately starts to sow the seeds of doubt – our pair might already be beaten and we’re effectively sitting in the dark armed with a pretty toothless pair. Read more
It’s strange how some of the most logical, rational people are prone to superstition. Even during my days as a pro chess player it was not so unusual, in a vast hall full of people engrossed in arguably the most testing game around in terms of there being no luck element, to see superstitious types. Lucky shirts are common (despite causing certain sartorial challenges), as are pre-game rituals and even placing (and moving) the pieces in a very specific manner, and without exception. A Dutch International Master, for example – also a fan of loud shirts, funnily enough – deliberately positions knights facing backwards which, from the opponent’s point of view, can be quite disconcerting… Read more
When the MPN Poker Tour rolls into Tallinn, the scenic Estonian capital, 15-18 January 2015, 32Red player TTayseer555 will be on his way to the €40,000 Guaranteed Main Event after winning his way to glory this week. Read more
Poker, of course, is a rich, complex game that comes in many guises and formats. We all have a particular favourite ‘perfect’ poker game which, ideally, we both feel comfortable with and can achieve a level of success from. The potential problem with this, like all manner of favourite things, is that not only could we be missing out on something equally rewarding, but sticking with the same recipe week in, week out also runs the risk of restricting our growth and consequently stifling our game.
A fun, action-packed, psychologically demanding NL poker variant is the adventure known as heads up play. Stripping down poker to 1 v 1 leads to obvious comparisons with chess, where strategy and the need for ceaseless mental agility are paramount. These factors are no less important in poker, which also has more by the way of bluff and brinkmanship than chess.
For those who have not tried heads up there are two quite different types, namely the Sit & Go (SnG) and cash. These are clearly two independent animals, the former featuring blind levels that increase over time (with a frequency depending on structure), while cash games continue ad infinitum with the same blinds. Consequently the two formats share some skills but not others. A SnG typically starts the protagonists without too much of a healthy stack/blinds ratio which, in turn, makes for a more urgent approach than we might be used to. Moreover, before we know it, the tension increases along with the blinds, and we soon find ourselves making more critical decisions, hands being characterised by their not exactly having a great deal of play. Pre-flop all-ins become a key part of the game, as is stealing and re-stealing and so on.
Moving on to heads up cash poker, the constant cadence of the game provided by the almost reassuring fixed blinds affords players the opportunity to experience the most that their stack can offer. If deep-stacked play is your thing you could do worse than use heads up cash as a fascinating training ground.
Good luck at the tables!
Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)
32Red Poker Ambassador
After successful events in London and Malta, the MPN Poker Tour will move to the picture-postcard Estonian capital, Tallinn, 15-18 January 2015. Live poker is always thrilling, but being part of a poker festival in such a great setting makes the experience even more memorable.
We’re giving our players at 32Red Poker the opportunity to qualify for a €1,500 package which includes the €550 buy-in for the €40,000 Guaranteed Main Event, a €150 buy-in for a Side Event, four nights’ accommodation at the fantastic Radisson Blu Olümpia venue hotel and €400 expenses.
That should be more than enough motivation to begin your qualifying quest, which is as bankroll-friendly as it gets. There are satellites to suit all pockets, with buy-ins starting as low as 40c. Furthermore, the tournament formats are also varied, featuring SnG, Freezeout, Rebuy, Turbo and even Carnage tournaments. These, of course, each require different skill sets, and will make the qualifying experience an interesting and rewarding one whether or not you win your way to the €1,500 package (and the 15 January Welcome reception that also comes with it…).
Good luck, and hopefully you’ll be celebrating the New Year with a trip to Tallinn…
Click Here to find out more.