People say min-cashing shouldn't be a goal in tournament poker. But let me tell you, sometimes a min-cash is more than all right.
Not long ago I played the EPT Sanremo Main Event where I barely made the money to earn one of those min-cashes. I wanted to write a little about my thinking at the end of that tournament and how it's okay, sometimes, to make min-cashing your goal in a given event.
It's a cliché, of course, but in poker -- and in life -- you have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. And, man, was I folding them near the end at Sanremo. I really nitted up to make the money. But I had lots of good reasons for doing so, including my table draws throughout the event, how I was running, my short stack, and other factors.
On the first day, I had kings like four times, and lost every single time. I finally reached a point where I told myself I didn't care what happened, I was absolutely going to make it to Day 2. I didn't even care how many chips I had to end the day. My mindset was, after losing all of those big hands, I felt like something had to start going for me at some point, so as long as I could stay alive in the tournament that change could happen.
I tightened up and indeed made it through to the second day, which turned out to be another day of poker where I couldn't get anything going. But I was able to get through the day somehow, anyway. I think I had less than a quarter of the average to end that day.
On Day 3, then, I found myself putting into perspective what a min-cash in the event meant to me at that moment in my life. I had taken a week off away from my family and my business to go all of the way to Europe, and I realized I wanted to be certain to go back home with some money in my pocket. This wasn't your average $1K event where a min-cash was worth $1,500 or something. This was a €4,900 buy-in event in which the min-cash was €8,434 -- close to $12K or so. The money was important, as was the sense that I could come away from the trip a winner.
At some point you have to recognize you're not going to win every tournament you play. We're all trying to win and are always playing for first, but sometimes common sense tells you when you're not having your best day or tourney, it's okay just to try to make the money.
Don't try to be a hero on the bubble and do something stupid when you don't need to, especially when that min-cash has become important to you. I'm not talking about folding pocket aces or kings to make the money, but rather just accepting the fact that ensuring that you cash is worth it to you in a given event -- and in the context of your life, more generally speaking -- and acting accordingly.
All of which is to say I was very happy to come away with the cash -- I had only two-and-a-half big blinds when the bubble burst! And the fact that I'd satellited into the tournament made it that much better.
From there I went on to play SCOOP. There again, I came away with a small profit -- very small, just enough to pay my bills and the travel -- but that was good, too. I also played the Canada Cup in Montreal in between where I didn't win but enjoyed the Playground Poker Club which, apart from the Atlantis for the PCA, is probably one of my absolute favorite places to play.
Now my thoughts have turned toward the WSOP. I've had over 30 cashes and four or five final tables at the WSOP over the years -- I've been very consistent -- but I've never quite been able to close the deal.
I was just listening to an interview Daniel Negreanu recently gave about what motivates him in the WSOP in which he talked about preparation and doing what you can to stay in the right mindset event after event. I'm going to use Daniel's advice myself this summer and hopefully it will translate to my winning a bracelet this year.
So by the time I write my next post, here's hoping I won't be writing about min-cashes again, but rather about my having won my first WSOP bracelet!
Victor Ramdin is a member of Team PokerStars Pro