What can you get for 22 cents and two hours of your time these days?
You could play really tight in a penny-ante game, and paying only the blinds, you might make it for two hours. You would have to get lucky and have everyone fold to your big blind a few times (not likely in most games if you are an absolute nit). But if your home games are more about talking and imbibing like ours, you might make it for two hours if you can stand it.
If you're looking for something you can do at home alone on a Saturday night, you could watch a two-hour cable movie (assuming you don't fall asleep halfway through) and waste two hours of your life.
However, if you're more of an EV person (Expected Value in poker terms) and want to put that 22 cents to really good use, here's another, better idea. You could buy in to a PokerStars 2014 TCOOP qualifier for as little as 22 cents and be on your way to winning thousands of dollars.
The PokerStars Turbo Championship of Online Poker starts this Thursday, January 23, with 50 events and a $15 million total guarantee. Satellites are running now for all events in the series, and tournaments last an average of just two hours. Instead of a headache and a hangover or self-induced guilt trip for wasting two hours of your life, you could ultimately walk away with the championship trophy for the Main Event and a minimum of $300,000. You can even buy-in with FPP points or use Step tickets. See all the details on the TCOOP home page.
TCOOP is popular with players who work full-time and with busy moms because of the length of the tournaments (the shortest hyper turbo in the series to date was one hour 37 minutes) and the low buy-ins for qualifiers. But there are a few things you need to know about turbo tournaments if you haven't played them before. To provide those pointers, we asked two of our team members from the PokerStars Women roster, Celina Lin and Natalie Hof.
Celina is a two-time winner of the Red Dragon Main Event in Macau and the first ever female winner of the Macau Cup. Celina advises that turbos are all about stack sizes and ranges.
"Your ranges have to widen significantly; there is no time to wait for big premium hands to play aggressively. Most players don't have much experience managing fast blind increases. Their calling/shoving ranges will be much tighter. Use that to steal more blinds. Turbo tournaments are all about being aware of your stack size in relation to the blind increases."
Natalie Hof is the German presenter for the European Poker Tour and has played poker ever since college, when she played to pay expenses "instead of normal jobs like waitressing." Natalie seconds Celina's comments regarding hand ranges with this:
"Turbo tournaments are awesome. The most important things to know in turbo tournaments are your ranges."
To avoid trouble spots, she advises players to determine ranges ahead of time.
"Which hands do I open-raise/fold with or open-jam? You will be kind of short most of the time, so it's perfect for female players. We don't play as many hands as men, and that's good. Playing straightforward is the right way, in my opinion."
So instead of another two hours in front of the tube or whiling away hours at your home game to make pennies, what not put that 22 cents to good use? Get busy and win a qualifier to a TCOOP tournament now to play in the events starting later this week. What better way to start off the new year with a bang? And remember, if you play your cards right, those pennies can really add up!
For more on the 2014 TCOOP, see this article.