Casino Niagara Tournament Trip Report - January 8, 2024

Hey all

So, with some folks asking for, here's my trip report to going to Niagara Casino for the return of their daily tournaments:

Sunday, January 7th:

After waffling, I decided to go down on Sunday afternoon, register for the tournament, and try to lighten the wallets of locals. I'm accompanied by JohnnieH, and we're aiming to meet up with several other KW locals either the same day or the next.

Side note: I was able to get a very good rate on a days inn that was within sight of the casino, about a 10 minute walk. Big props to Beach 2002 / LA Beach Steve and his travel agency inroads. Will exploit him again.

Johnnie and I arrive, check in, and head over to the casino. The room has lots of tables (I think they said 18?), but at about 2:30 p.m., there's only 4 tables in operation, 3x 1/3, and 1x 2/5 NLHE. Johnnie and I find the momentum desk and cashier, get the new cards, and buy some chips. Registration for the tourney takes place at the casier as well. All said and done, it takes about 10 minutes to get it all taken care of, and then getting onto a table is basically zero wait, and we're on a table. Johnnie and I are shown on our tickets to be entrants #17 and 18.

I'm card dead for most of this session, and we only play for a short while. Johnnie H leaves a bit before me, and leaves to play some table games before heading back to the hotel room with thoughts of dinner on his mind. I play maybe another hour or so before heading back to the hotel, and Johnnie had already ordered us some dominos (side note, do NOT order delivery pizza in NF, two large with a dessert cost as much as the hotel room). During lunch, we're debating whether to go back to the casino after, and get a series of texts from a fellow local who is asking if we're going to meet up for birthday celebrations at the Hard Rock at 8:00, which we do.

Humourously, there was some confusion with this other local and his friend. Apparently, he was texting both myself and Laurie, and confused the two of us (I would be upset if I was Laurie), and she wasn't coming up Sunday at all. This local also shows us their tickets for the tourney, and they are entrants 19 and 20... We get back onto a table, and I believe there were only 3 tables running that night. I ask the dealers and locals what they expect the next day, and dealers seem to believe that Monday will be the most populated tournament because it is the cheapest, guessing about 80 people will play. I leave at about 2 a.m. down $15. No fun hands really.

Monday, January 8th:

A restful night, quick breakfast, and we head to the casino for the tournament! A quick nice thing - parking is free at the casino for all tourney players.

Walking into the poker room, there are already people milling about, and everyone's tickets already have their seats and tables, so it's a matter of showing your ticket and card, and taking your seats. 10 handed seats, and the dealers manually shuffle (I heard it was so that if a machine breaks, they don't have to stall the entire tournament). I'll go into a little more detail, but the TL:DR is the structure almost immediately becomes a shove fest, I bomb out earlyish in the tourney. The tournment is $175 per entry, with unlimited rebuys for the first 7 levels. I believe when we started it said we were between 80-90 individuals, but when everything was said and done, with rebuys they claimed to have 162 players. Paid top 21 players for I think $280 for first payouts, and top payout was $5800.

I am at table 4, seat 10. I have Laurie at my table, so that is fun to chat, but she's apparently done this before, so might be a problem (ended up she was POLITELY able to help the dealer out quite a bit with pot management and some rule enforcements, along with others at the table). Players mix is pretty much what you expect, some folks are decent regulars / hobby players like myself, some are clueless nits or clueless stations, and then one particular cannon d-bag that kept getting lucky as hell. Some hands I vaguely remember, with as much detail as I can recall:

Can't remember the blinds, but pretty good examples of the level of skill:
Three way all in between:
Seat 1 - Calling station, has no clue how to play the game well
Seat 2 - Cannon d-bag, young kid who reliably bets pre everytime there isn't one in front of him. Earlier a MP player was considering raising, switched gears and just limped when he noticed the cannon was in the BB. Anyone that saw this (myself included) thinks that MP has AA now. Couple of more limpers, and BB raises, to get jammed on and MP shows AA.
Seat 3 - Moderate player, hasn't really done or shown much as this is early on.

Players act in the order described, and I don't recall the amounts, but Seat 1 raises, Seat 2 calls, Seat 3 re-raises all in, and Seat 1 calls, seat 2 calls. 99 (I think? It was a medium pair) vs AT vs AQ, and the cannon in the middle wins when he spikes a 10. This player consistently was putting it in behind, but his three of a kind minimum a lot. He got quads when I was there, and I heard he said he hit quads again later. He had a big stack, but busted before the money as anyone that sat with him would have known.

Mark loses most of his stack:

As mentioned the blinds got ridiculous quick, 10k starting stack, 100/100 first blind level, but level 2 is 100/200 200 BB ante, and they immediately ramp up. By the end of the rebuys (level 7), blinds are 500/1000/1000, meaning anyone that rebought just before the end of them would come back with an M value of 4. At this point, I have 8800 in chips after a small comeback from losing half my stack earlier with KQ vs 69... anyways, I open shove here from the button with A6cc and the SB seat 1 SNAP calls with JTdd for his entire stack. I wasn't aware of his plan to flop a straight however, and I'm left with 1500 in chips. I wait around a while and eventually shove with KJ I believe, but lose to KK to a rando. I wasn't in the tourney long enough to have much to share, but I'm out with I believe 90 odd players left.




  • Part 2:

    I put my name on the list for 1/3 NLHE and 1/3 PLO along with Laurie and some of the others in the losers lounge. I get on a NLHE table relatively quick (less than an hour), and join in the BB.

    First hand, there is a raise to 15 dollars (standard from previous experiences), and I think once caller. I see QQ, so raise to $50, and get one caller. Flop is 8 5 4 all spades. I bet 100 into the pot, and get called. Turn is a 9 spades, and my opponent shoves for like $250. I fold my non-spade queens, and the villain shows TT with a spade. Not a great start, so I'm looking to immediately top back up to the $300 after losing half my stack. Another player has chips in his pockets and sells me some, so I'm back to 300 as the 2nd hand was a nothing hand.

    Hand 3, I'm on the button, and there is a raise to $12, and one caller, I call on the button with 9T dd, to see a fun flop of 678 rainbow (1 diamond). Original raiser bets 25, and the original caller goes all in for $117. I flat call with dreams of somehow suckering in the original raiser in, when original raiser shoves on top ( I don't remember the amount because I obviously snap call). My flopped straight is in jeopardy after a turn pairs the 6, and a 4 is inconsequential on the river. My opponents show AA (original raiser) and KK (middle caller). I make a nice pot, and the AA chastizes the KK for not re-raising, and allowing me to stack them. I add KK to my christmas card list.

    I play an orbit, and get QQ again, holding up, AK wins a pot too, so I'm at about 800 on the table when they announce that the PLO table 1/3 is going to start. A lot of the others at my NLHE table guffaw, and claim that most of the players have probably left. I point out that the first name on the list is me, and I had done it perhaps an hour earlier. The PLO table starts with 6 players. Sadly, at about this point, JohnnieH has busted from the tournament (half of the omaha table was also made up of KW locals), and it was about 5 p.m. with a drive back to KW still ahead of us. Laurie had left already (2nd on the list), and then I left after about 2 orbits of 6 players. No notable hands really come up, I call a few pre hands, raised one KKTT (1 suit) and whiff, and I don't manage to win a single Omaha pot. Johnnie explains to me how he managed to "chop" the bubble. Apparently, he was all in with 55 vs 57, but was micro stacked, with less than 2 BB left in his stack when he shoved in the BB after a SB limp. Johnnie got up from the bubble, and the floor told him to hang on as another player at a different table was also all in. That player lost as well, and the floor decided that instead of figuring out who had the smaller stack, they simply chopped the min-cash of 284 for 141 each. Johnnie makes money when he adds in chopping the last longer we had all agreed on (I seem to be unclear about what last longer means) for $80. Johnnie ends the trip up a couple hundred, I cash out for 830, and my trip total is a push, paying for my tourney, cash games, and even the hotel room and incidentals.

    Overall, a fun time with Johnnie and the other locals. Casino poker is still soft, and the tournament caters to those wanting to try a poker tourney without concerning themselves with rake concerns or structure quality. For those old timers here, we all know the forum member to consult with rake structure and such is Blondefish.... AND HE WAS THERE! Had a nice chance to chat with him, good to see him in person because I don't think i've seen him since a Royal Cup! Great to see you.

    Anyways, I get home around 8:00, and tell the Russian that sadly we can't retire yet. I would do a similar trip again, but if I were to play another tournament, I'd consider the Tuesday or Wednesday tournaments as the structure is the same for blinds but you get 20k to start instead of 10k, and with the Wednesday tournament I believe goes to 30 minute blind levels after the rebuy period / break. Still not likely as player-friendly as local home games, but if you're desperate to play some tourney there's an option there.

    I had to break this up into 2 posts because of a character limit. I don't remember ever coming across this before, is this a new "feature"? Or maybe the mods can correct it?

  • edited January 9
    Nice write up Mark. Here's my .02c:

    I haven't played a "big" tournament at a casino since Stephen Harper was PM, and haven't been to Casino Niagara since well before that. So I tag along with Mark, because that is always a fun adventure and he had a stupid cheap hotel room (Thanks Steve).

    After an easy drive of chatting about movies and video games, we arrive and check into the hotel and head to find the poker room

    Like Mark said, getting the Momentum Card was easy, as was buying our ticket into the tournament (This being the 1st one in a while left some uncertainty about when/how you could register amongst our group before Monday.) You can buy up to a week in advance and pay with a Credit Card, with no fee. (Interestingly our tickets read FALLSVIEW CASINO across the top)

    Mark and I get seated at 1/3 next to each other which made it nice for us to mutter quietly about the players and their bad play. I nearly doubled up early by slow playing a FH and a few other small hands but slowly drained it off by missing some draws. I leave Mark at the table after maybe 2 hours up $15 to wander around.

    I stupidly decided to play exactly one hand of Ultimate Texas Hold'em (table game, like Blackjack but with poker) and promptly lose $90 on my first (and only) hand with A9cc on a board of 6966K and the dealer shows K3. Sigh.

    I head back to the hotel for pizza and some football on the hotels' incredibly shitty TV. Mark joins me, we eat and chat (probably about movies and video games again) but are invited back to the casino for dinner. I want to watch the Bills vs Dolphins game that night and I knew that picture quality would be vastly better then the hotel, so sure, let's head back. (I had a heavy wager on Buffalo that I knew to be an ABSOLUTE LOCK because of my loyalty to the Miami Dolphins). Easy money!

    We meet up with friends and since I had filled up on very expensive Dominos pizza, I stick to drinking dark beer. After everyone had eaten Mark and Shawn hit the poker tables again, but I wasn't feeling it. The dark beer I had consumed makes me suggest to Keith that maybe we should try some Ultimate Texas Hold'em? He doesn't know how to play but I promise to show him the ropes.

    Maybe it was the beers (we kept on drinking). Maybe it was the karma from tipping heavily. Hell, maybe it was just Good Luck. Whatever it was, I don't think that I lost more then 3 hands in a row, and I'm sure that 5 or more in row a few times. It was a crazy good run that leaves us (and the dealers) up several hundred dollars apiece. Our drunken debauchery had the Sups watching us, but I assured them that I was a former professional dealer myself and that we would be cool. No worries, they let us play with no issue, but the server mysteriously disappeared, so I think we may have been cut off. No sweat, I knew to leave before the casino got all of my ill-begotten winnings back from me.

    I'm now freerolling the tournament!

    Like Mark said the play was rather push-shovey but there was plenty of dead money.

    Here's my bust out hand:

    I was in the BB/BBA for 8000t x2 with 15K(ish) behind. Action is folded to the SB who open shoves and push my stack in after seeing 55. The play is paused as there is action on the other 2 tables. While we wait my opponent whispers "Don't worry, you're good." I assume he has at best QJ and we're racing. After a minute the Sup tells the dealers on both tables with called all-ins to play the hand.

    Villain rolls 57dd, (boy was I wrong lol) and spikes a 7 on the flop. (Like, he couldn't just let me have the pot. C'mon. I hate it when bad poker gets rewarded) So I sigh and say 'Good Game' to everyone, naturally disappointed about being the Bubble Boy in the first big MTT that I've played in 12 years. But as turn to leave the tournament director grabs me and says to hang on, another player busted on the same hand at the other table and he explains to me about the payouts. Naturally I'm thrilled to be walking away with tens of dollars instead of Sweet F*ck All.

    I agree about playing the higher entry tourneys. They are a better value and structure, but you may not get as many fishies at the table.

    Thanks for reading!
  • Thanks guys! I'm thinking of playing in the Wed tournament tomorrow.
  • JohnnieH wrote: »
    loyalty to the Miami Dolphins!

    What is that? You watched the game, even the locals aren't loyal to the Miami Squished Fish
  • It was great to see JohnnieH, DirtyWhore, Laurie & TDA-compliant 13CARDS.
    DrTyore wrote: »
    For those old timers here, we all know the forum member to consult with rake structure and such is Blondefish.... AND HE WAS THERE! Had a nice chance to chat with him, good to see him in person because I don't think i've seen him since a Royal Cup! Great to see you.

    I wouldn't be travelling around the world playing poker if I had not calculated the rake before playing any poker game, so here is the rake structure from my detailed trip report that I posted in my Facebook poker group.

    $175: 22.4% rake = [($140 initial prize pool * 3% staff gratuities) + $35 admin fees] / $175
    $225: 20.2% rake = [($185 * 3%) + $40] / $225
    $275: 17.1% rake = [($235 * 3%) + $40] / $275

    Anybody else playing the best-value $275 at 12:30 pm besides EdtheTed?

  • >one particular donk-bag that kept getting lucky as heaven

    It's not uncommon for people to feel uncomfortable around those who remind them of themselves.
    This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as seeing traits or behaviours in others that we don't
    like about ourselves, feeling threatened by similarities, or simply feeling a sense of competition or comparison ?

    >Anybody else playing the best-value $275 at 12:30 pm ?

    Google says Niagara Falls is a 9hour bicycle ride. So due to poor planning on me part.
    So I doubts I'd get there in time to 'late reg'... I'll have add that to my New Years "to do list".

    edit: oh wow GO goes to Niagara Falls shaving 4hours off the journey
    renting a car is an option too but that'd dip into my ROI
    presuming I win enough to cover costs, which is a BIG IF...
  • BlondeFish wrote: »
    Anybody else playing the best-value $275 at 12:30 pm besides EdtheTed?

    I played the $225 yesterday and the $275 today. Both were decent structures with lots of time and room to manoeuvre with the 20k stacks.

    The $225 had TONS of fish. My starting table had 4 stations, 2 nits, 1 LAG, and 2 TAGS. After building up a good stack of about 40k, I lived up to my name and went completely Card Dead for 4 levels. By then I was on life support at 12bb and went quickly into that dark night.

    The $275 today is definitely the best value, and even tho the field was tougher overall, there were still lots of weak players to prey on. There were many players who played all 3 tournaments this week.

    I ran pretty well throughout the day, and at level 12 with about 40 players left I had a healthy 30bb stack and had just moved to a new table when the big hand goes down.

    Im in MP1 and young TAG player on my immediate right opens for 2.25bb, and I open AcAs for the first time in 2 days. I immediately click it to 6bb and it folds around to him. He thinks for a minute and then shoves his whole 25bb stack. I call, he shows TcTd, flop comes with a ten right in the window, and the rest is history.

    Woulda been in great shape if I had held.

    All 3 tournaments had 130+ entries, but they only have 10 tournament tables, so if you’re gonna play, and don’t want to be an alternate, get there before noon. Lots of last minute arrivals and they only have 2 cashiers open at that time.
  • Note that Casino Niagara's 13CARDS has posted on Facebook that there will be a $1,000 Event starting on February 20 & 21, with one-hand Flipament :o & other satellites starting this Wednesday when the Bingo Buddy-approved $275 is running. The S-Points structure for the $275 = 49.
  • BlondeFish wrote: »
    The S-Points structure for the $275 = 49.
    Is that good?
  • Card Dead wrote: »
    Is that good?

    Yes, for a low buy-in of $275, it's good & much better than the Monday & Tuesday tournaments; $60 & $240 satellites that I played. That's why the $275 Wednesday is the only Bingo Buddy-approved tournament at Casino Niagara for now.

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