On Sunday I was screwing around on PokerStars trying super cheap things out. (I apparently had ~$60 on my account, probably from when I tried to get a free backgammon set by playing on an affiliated backgammon site?) I was playing 2 tables of 1cent/2cent Omaha to get a feel for what sorts of hands were winning pots. It kept spamming me with messages saying tournaments were starting up so I went to check those out. There was one starting up with a whole bunch of stuff I don't understand in the title but that only cost 33 cents to join. The smart thing to do would have been to do a search for some of the weird terms, but the tournament was about to start and I had to act in an Omaha game so I impulsively joined.
I promptly got confused and made questionable plays in the Omaha games. On the plus side each mistake cost me 4 cents, so it's not like anything actually bad happened. And as long as I take a lesson away it's all good, right? The big one here is that mixing games when I don't really know what's going on is a bad idea. It may well always be a bad idea, I donno. Also, find out what I'm signing up for!
I lost that event, which turned out to be a satellite for another tournament later that day. An $11 tournament which had a ton of different types of satellites going on. I looked into what the most common one was and it turned out to be something they call a double shootout tournament. The basic idea was 36 people pay $1.02 and get split into 6 tables of 6 people. These ones were hyper turbo speed, which meant the blinds started high and got bigger really fast. They didn't reseat people when tables got low, though. Instead each 6 person table played until only one person was standing. Then those 6 winners started over from the start against each other. Top 3 won entry to the $11 tournament, 4th place got $3, everyone else got nothing at all.
Sounded interesting, so I played a few. When blinds and antes cost you 60% of your starting stack in one orbit around the table you have to make a move early. At least it seemed like everyone thought so, with people going all in right away. But even doubling up early didn't seem to be good enough. Now when your only options were all-in or fold. I played around a bit, and started trying raising the minimum to steal blinds instead of just going all-in. And other than the first couple hands of each tournament it seemed to work reasonably well.
Even then, winning the table isn't enough. I then need to finish top 3. With no difference between 1st and 3rd the strategy for the second table seemed to be different. It still opened the same way, with a couple people going all-in with whatever they had. But after that people were a lot more timid. But the hyper-turbo speed was still in play, so winning the blinds was really important. Min-raising to try to steal the blinds worked here too, and better than on the opening table.
I played around 20 of these and ended up winning 3 of them. It turned out after winning the $11 entry you could just go unregister from that tournament and get credited $11 in 'tournament cash' to your account. And then play more satellites to win the entry right back.
So I was up a bit, and learned a little about some of the tournament formats, and had some fun. I feel like I don't have a terribly good handle on how to properly play a double shootout, but I feel like a lot of the other people playing them had no handle at all. Given how fast these things were spawning I think someone who knew what they were doing would probably be making a lot of tournament cash playing them over and over. Tournament cash can only be used to enter tournaments so I'm not sure if that's even a good thing? I guess it wouldn't be that hard to spend it on something that pays actual cash. You'd need to be good at both this weird format and a more standard format, though.
I looked again on Monday but didn't see any tournaments of this type. Maybe it's an extra Sunday thing? Maybe I'll think to look this weekend!