Poker Journal: Red Spade Open

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The Red Spade Open is one of my favourite tournaments to play on PokerStars. Outside of the minimum $1 million dollar prize pool with $200,000 guaranteed first place prize, there is also a chance to get a bounty knock-out on any of the PokerStar’s Team Online or Team Pro members worth an extra $100. It’s apparent I’m not the only one who enjoys this massive $50+$5 buy-in tournament as the total entrants reached 24,736. That meant the prize pool inflated past it’s guarantee to make it a total of $1,236,800 up for grabs!

The first two hours for me were dreadful but I did make some great lay-downs that prevented me from going out early. One example, in particular, was when I turned a straight but folded to a player who made an all-in raise –  who ended up having a higher straight. I did go all-in twice before the second break, but both times resulted in split pots that left me with well under average chips.

Shortly after the break, I picked up  and made my move. As the picture below illustrates, it was a coin-flip and luckily he did not have a spade.


The new found chips was a blessing but then I ran through a long series of cold cards. As I was once again getting closer to 10 big blinds remaining, I decided to make a stand with . Although I got called by pocket nines, I managed to hit runner-runner flush to get a much needed double-up. Thankfully, lady luck was by my side when I most needed it.


Not very long after that hand, a short stack pushed all-in after UTG made a minimum raise. I drew pocket jacks and tried to isolate by 4-betting all-in and wasn’t happy to see the call. My opponents had and – I was hoping to be at worst a coin-flip, but despite still being a favourite, I had more outs to dodge. Thankfully, as the picture shows, it was a board of blanks and my hand held up.


I moved to a new table and had another great chance to pick up some extra chips but my hot streak had to run out sooner or later. I started the hand raising the blinds of a short stack with . The hijack position called but had less then one big blind. The BB thought it over for awhile before eventually pushing his remaining chips. It was an easy call for me and was delighted to see I was well ahead until I saw the horrible flop:


Nothing very interesting happened for the next few orbits as I was catching no cards. Then, shortly after a table change, a short stack made a standard 3xBB raise in early position. I made the call in late position with . It was a good flop for me as I hit top pair and even though my opponent went all-in, it was less then the size of the pot and was an automatic call. He showed pocket queens and my hand held up to the end:


Just a few hands later, I raised another small stack with . His response was to 3-bet all-in but since it was only just slightly more then twice my raise, I could make the call. He showed and although I got the go-ahead pair on the flop, he also picked up a gut shot straight draw. I turned trips and the river was a blank putting me at just above average chips with 3590 players remaining.

Sadly, that would be the end of my luck for the tournament. I couldn’t get anything going my way and was dealt very few playable hands. I did manage to make the money, but with the payout structure being very top heavy, you need a lot of chips to go deep. Eventually, I made a stand with in late position. Although I was ahead going into the flop, disaster struck on the turn and I couldn’t get  my miracle ace on the river, like you always see on TV.

So in the end, I more then doubled my buy-in with a cash of $136.04. Though it’s hardly the $200,000 I daydreamed about, it’s a step in the right direction and there will be many more chances in my future to obtain that lofty goal.