By Karaoke Phil
A month ago, Bryan Mileski from MN Poker Mag wrote that October “is Minnesota’s World Series of Poker.” Indeed, for the last couple of years I have considered October my own private poker series. I have never had the bankroll or time to actually head to Vegas in June and compete there. So, I have used October in Minnesota for my own version of the WSOP. I budget during the year for October and conduct most of my live casino play during this month. For me, it all started three years ago with Canterbury’s Fall Poker Classic. I added in Running Aces’ Midwest Poker Classic to the mix when that began. With the Heartland Poker Tour and/or future Minnesota State Poker Tour events possibly showing up in October I may need to expand my budget a little more.
I feel like I had some success this year and would like share some that with you all. I began with the Midwest Poker Classic and played in my favorite type of tourney – Omaha Hi-Low (OH8) and their Event#7. It was a $230 buy-in and we had 47 runners. Omaha doesn’t quite have the mass appeal of NL Hold ‘em – oh well. We reached the final table around level 12. A bad play on my part during Level 13 –on the money bubble with 8 players remaining – hurt me, but I hung on past the bubble and made cash when I went out in 7th place. I always like to follow up a tourney with some cash game play but, unfortunately,the only OH8 table going was a $20/$40 game (well above my bankroll).
Next up was the Fall Poker Classic at Canterbury Park. Again, it’sOH8 for me and Event #6 – another $230 buy-in. Canterbury has always been the more “premier” tournament between the two and their OH8tourney saw 155 players. Two things struck me early this year – the first was that (it seemed to me) Canterbury had nice new tournament poker chips which were a great improvement over their previous ones; the second was the overhead music being piped in. Omaha tends to be an“old man’s game” and, sure enough, the music was all 50s and 60shits. After an hour or so the selections moved into the 80s but I found it quite humorous. I ran pretty well and went deep, but fell short of the top 18 payout structure when I busted with 3 tables playing in24th place.
The cash game that followed, though, gave me the biggest poker boost to my psyche that I’ve had in quite some time. Again, there was that “high roller” $20/$40 game, but a couple tables of $6/$12 were running. It’s a half kill game which basically means about half the time it plays at $9/$18. Those tables were still a little above my usual comfort zone of $4/$8 (half kill) but, not too far above and,darn it, I wanted to play. In the end, after 5 and a half hours of play – when the table broke at 3:30 a.m., I racked up $5 more than my starting amount. I was more than pleased to “hold my own.” With my cash game and tournament play (along with discussions with several“more experienced” players) I now fully believe (without any hesitation) that when it comes to OH8 (the limit variety) I can compete with just about anyone. It helps even more that I also believe I have identified a leak in my tournament play which should bring even better future results.
There were also the usual house games I played with mixed results but my “Series” play for the month ended back at Running Aces with my FIFTH straight appearance at the State Championships for the MN State Poker League (Free Poker Network) that I play in. I checked in, got my new card protector (that’s their version of a League Champ Plaque) for winning my bar and joined 215 other bar league players from across the state. I played well overall but the structure doesn’t particularly lend itself to long-term patient play (they need to get down to final table in 10 hours or less of play). I ended up busting about 98th when I reraised all in (6.5 BB total) with A/Q suited after the UTG player had made a standard 3xBB bet (with A/K off suit).
My Own Private Poker Series was a good year for me this year – and a fun year. I’m really looking forward to next year, perhaps a slightly larger budget to take in another tourney or two and to the day when that budget also includes funds for traveling out West.