My Year in Tournaments (January) by Barry Greenstein

greenstein-thumb.jpgI have a really nice job.

It's part of my job to wear a PokerStars patch whenever I play in a live tournament. To give you an idea of how many events PokerStars is sponsoring, I heard that they are planning to introduce their tenth poker tour, the JPT, on the planet Jupiter.

In order to get this job, I established a reputation for making final tables of televised events, so that my PokerStars patch could be viewed by potential customers for the online site. Without this extra money, poker tournaments are a very dicey proposition as a way to make a living. I have a ROI (return on investment) of about 100% with seven million dollars in tournament winnings on entries of about half of that, but that doesn't include expenses. When you factor in expenses and lost opportunities from making money in side games, the live tournament trail is usually financially worthwhile only if it leads to an endorsement contract. However, many recreational and professional players like to take a few shots at a big score and the extrinsic value of fame and the satisfaction of accomplishment.

I will detail my progress in tournaments for the year in 2010, and I'll include my expenses. I'm already more than $100,000 in the hole as I start this project, having bubbled the High Roller event in Australia, but that's OK. I would rather face a challenge than be like most players who only start keeping records once they are ahead.

I'll add the economy plane ticket cost and $200 for every night I have to stay in a hotel, since this is approximately the average a young aspiring tournament professional on a budget would spend per day over the course of the year.

1. PCA Bahamas Main Event
Buy-In: 10,300
Airfare: 1,000
Room and Board: 1,000
Cashout: 0
Cumulative profit: -12,300

2. PCA High Roller Event
Buy-In: 25,500
Airfare: 0
Room and Board: 400
Cashout: 0
Cumulative profit: -$38,200


3. Aussie Millions High Roller
Buy-In: 91,000
Airfare: 2000
Room and Board: 600
Cashout: 0
Cumulative profit: -$131,800

4. Aussie Millions Main Event
Buy-In: 9,500
Airfare: 0
Room and Board: 1,000
Cashout: 18,200
Cumulative profit: -$124,100


January Summary: Success and failure are not always far apart in tournaments. I got knocked out just short of the money with Aces all-in preflop in the PCA Main Event, but even if I had won that hand, it would have only taken me back to slightly under average chips. I flopped a set early in the PCA High Roller, but lost most of my chips to John Duthie's flush on the river.

In the Aussie Millions High Roller, I was the chip leader with seven to go, paying five spots, but I lost with Kings against Jacks in a pot that would have given me almost 40% of the chips in play. The one million dollar first prize looked likely until a Jack on the turn doomed me to a bubble finish. I cashed out 50th in the Aussie Millions main event after becoming one of the chip leaders early the second day, but then struggling until I busted.

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