Poker when played optimally will lead to winning money over enough time and hands. Of course there will be short term variance that will lead to losing streaks despite how skilled you are. Tournaments have an even higher variance due to the escalating blinds and antes (forced bets) that create players to act with hand holdings that are less than preferred and players will try to bluff and steal more often than in cash. The increased luck factor obviously takes out some of the skill. The more players that play in a tourney, the more luck is a factor over skill. It's why guys like Chris Moneymaker and Jerry Yang have won millions of dollars in the main event of the WSOP.
The higher variance of tourneys has led the posters over at 2+2 to nickname them "donkaments". The donk part refers to "donkey"- lingo for a bad player. The posters there even raised alot of money to donate to Barry Greenstein's charity to get him to say the phrase, "LOL Donkaments" on the TV show, High Stakes Poker.
This past Saturday's home tourney reminded me of why donkament is such an apt name. Never have I seen so many inferior hands win over statistical favorites. One player even called an huge all-in pre-flop bet with an ace and ten of hearts to be dominated by his opponents aces. Less than one times out of ten will the ace ten suited win, so it was a big suck out when 4 hearts hit the board and the poor player with aces went home in 4th place.
Personally, I even beat 4 to 1 odds to win a huge hand that propelled me to a 2nd place finish. The blinds started to get big and it was time to start making some moves. I was dealt a king and queen of diamonds so I came in for a raise. I ended up with 3 other callers (BAH-No respect!!) so already the pot was large before the cards came out. The flop was ragged as it contained a 9, 10 and 5 with 3 different suits. Since I was the preflop aggressor and there was a decent amount of chips to be won I figured I should take the first stab at it. I bet the size of the pot and I got a quick call from Chris, the others folded.
Chris is a solid player, but his flat call made me suspicious. It meant one of two things to me- he had a huge hand and was trapping me (possible but unlikely) or he suspected me of stealing (which I was) and had a "bluff-catcher". A bluff-catcher is a hand that probably beats most of my holdings if I'm bluffing. So, he could have hands like AK, AQ, 88, 77, 66, etc. I ruled out jacks or better because I think he reraises preflop with those. I think this type of hand is the most likely and therefore I think I can move him off the hand with an all-in bet if a favorable turn card comes. If I get called by nines, tens or fives then "c'est la vie" and I go home.
The turn card was a 4, so unless Chris was fucking around with a 78 the card is a good one to make the bluff with as it likely hasn't hit Chris. I take a little time to count out my stacks and then push it in and announce my all in.
I get instacalled.
He turned over pocket 8's which really surprised me. That basically told me he thought I was bluffing the whole time as there really weren't many hands that he can beat except for a bluff. Pocket 7's were the only holding aside from a bluff that I could have that he could be beating and even that hand would be me bluffing at the pot. A10, A9, 78, K10, J10, 10's, 9's, 6's, 5's, jacks thru aces wre all strong possibilities for me to have in my hand. Chris went with his gut that I was making a play and made a great call here. I have to give kudos to him.
Unfortunately for him, the bad luck was high that night and the queen came on the river and I won the huge pot and took the chip lead. (I had about an 18% chance of winning with a jack, queen or king) He lasted a little while on a short stack but never recovered. My respect for Chris' game has risen over the past year and I somewhat regret inviting him to the game. (not really tho, because it's mostly for fun)
I eventually got heads up with a 6 to 1 chip lead but as luck would have it my opponent doubled up twice with some small bad beats to me and I had no choice but to go all in with an ace three and lost to his ace queen. Shame the worse hand wins trend stopped there.
What can you do? LOL Donkaments