All over now, bar the freerolls that the teams finishing position qualified them for, which in the case of the team I was in is £200 for third place. It was a lot of fun, but playing poker for nowt with cash at the end usually is and I’ve not changed my opinion, to any significant degree, from the beginning of the tournament.
I was pleasantly surprised to end up having contributed 14 points to the team haul and £10 to my bankroll and I would have either been in the money last night or have come away with nothing(far more likely, no false modesty) if I had been playing for myself. Played for about an hour and forty minutes and for the last hour I felt that I was being chased by the blinds, never in desperate trouble until the end, but working with a stack of less than 10 x BB and bottom half of the chipstacks at any table I sat at. In the end it was quite satisfying to have manoeuvred my short stack to 4 points and finishing 10th. I don’t know if I became more accustomed to playing the 2000 chip/5 minute blinds game, but it seemed to be a lot less frenetic than at the start of the tournament.
Our team went into the last round with a chance of winning the whole thing, providing we won and the two teams ahead of us lost, we did, they didn’t and we ended up with 4 wins, two losses and a draw and stayed in third place.
Whilst I may have warmed a little to the concept of ‘team poker’, and would sign up for another tournament without hesitation, I still think the structure needs a lot of work. I have looked at most of the team’s forums on Sky Poker and have seen no one even attempting to espouse a ‘team poker’ manifesto, philosophy, strategy, call it what you will. I have no idea if one exists, but I suspect that it can’t be applied when there are 250+ to a team and you have little idea who your team-mates are and cash at the end goes to the individual. In the last round of the tournament I would guess that there were around 10-12 players who I knew were on our team had I run into them at a table. Which was the case with one player and I tried to think what I could do as a team player? I did bump up against one teammate late on and he was even more shortstacked than me but nothing happened that I thought I could play differently, as a team player, than I would play for myself. I did think of a possible scenario later on, something like this; he has 5 x BB, I have 10 x BB, he shoves UTG, I have something like Q10s on the button, which I would consider playing, with no other callers I might shove to try to isolate, but in the team game I would probably fold and give him a shot at stealing the blinds. Not a radical change, would probably fold anyway if there was a big stack in the blinds. But that was about all I could come up with, not very creative but all I could think of that matched last night’s circumstances.
Essentially my problem is with the number of people in a ‘team’, the majority of them unidentified unless you have printed out the full teamsheet and scour it every time you move table or someone joins and then you have no idea, assuming there is some sort of ‘team strategy’ whether they have bought into it.
I understand there has to be a suck it and see attitude from Sky Poker, but one of the first things that you have to bring to the party, as the facilitator, is a way of identifying your teammates and setting it up so that at least half the cash on offer goes to a team pool, now how that pool gets divvied up at the end of the tournament would be an interesting conversation, but if Sky are trying to drive some sort of team play, then it has to be considered. If it’s only ever going to be ‘a bit of fun’ well then there will never be any discussion of strategy or tactics and the better players will drift away from the format.