I got to play in a tournament at The River in Shelby on Van Dyke and 23 Mile Road (just south). I had played in that room before, but only cash games, and I was interested in playing a tournament and checking out how the room had changed since the last time I played there.
The first surprise was that they had moved the blackjack tables to the entrance by the charity stand and between the poker room and the bar. This allowed them to add more poker tables. I also noticed that they had angled the tables in the room to squeeze one more table in. My only guess was that this was done because of tournament turn-outs. The second thing I noticed was that the televisions were close to the players and really sharp (good HD). Samsung I believe.
I bought into the tournament after standing in line for a couple of minutes waiting for someone to cash out from the cash game. The system there is for the charity to give you a single tournament chip and then you take that chip to a tournament stand where you trade that chip for your sitting placard. I got table 3, seat 7 where I stayed until the final table.
Yes, I did make the final table. But before I talk about the tournament play, I have to comment that the service at the tables was fairly frequent and prompt until later in the night when the staff seemed to go from three servers to two. Service was still prompt but obviously not as frequent. The poker room is adjoining a restaurant that I have never ordered from so I can’t comment on the food.
I played for about five hours there. I was very pleased with all of the dealers except for one who was slow and chatty. All others were professional, competent and friendly. I actually ended up winning the tournament and getting my picture taken for the winners’ wall. I met the owner as well, Saad. He seemed very engaged and interested in improving his room.
The tournament had deep starting stacks (30K), which made for a deep field late after the first break. Once we were approaching the second break, blinds started doubling every level and we ended up with 10bb-20bb just before the final table. I always want to chip up and play more hands when playing so deep early on, but haven’t really had the right situations or cards in the last two tournaments in order to do that, so I’ve had to wait until mid-tournament to make some moves.
I have to probably attribute my win to one hand where I was all-in for my tournament life against the chip leader. We were already in the money with seven players left. The chip leader raised UTG for 40K, which at the time was 4x the big blind. She had played very tight the last hour, so it was with trepidation that I shoved my 20bb stack (second place chips) with AKo. She called reluctantly with AQo, and I held up to take the chip lead and cruise to the win.
I would definitely play at The River again and might play this tournament again.