Playing as a Team


If you are a Minnesota poker player, you probably know about the team battles at Running Aces. The idea was inspired by the never ending twitter battles between Poker Joker and Rooster, and Running Aces tournament director Tristan Willberg decided to make a legitimate team battle happen. The schedule included two $65 buy-in events, which I planned to skip, and a $230 event that I was definitely going to play. Then Brian Soja got himself a big stack in the Sunday Optimum right about the same time I busted out and I took his seat in the $65 event last weekend.

Our team was lots of fun, with Poker Joker himself cranking up celebratory tunes on a bluetooth speaker with every player we eliminated, Renee Kessel dancing, Jordan Handrich asking me “What range should I call with here?” and Steve Lillehaug drinking like it was his job. It was the most fun I’ve had in a poker tournament in a long time, and I’m glad I got the opportunity even though we busted after making the final four.

It would usually be almost impossible to get me to play as $65 event, but I’ll be playing every team battle from now on, and Tristan has assured me that there will be more team battles in the future. It’s like playing with a bunch of your friends, being able to root for half the table, and it brings backs the social aspect that is sometimes missing in more competitive games. I never had any desire to put my headphones on or check the rss feed on my phone.

The rules are fairly simple. You can not reveal the contents of your hand, but you can say pretty much anything else. You can tell your teammates what to do, or what you would do, but they won’t always take your advice (QJ isn’t a monster Renee). The rules have been amended a few times as you would expect in a new format, and they remain somewhat vague, but the format still works very well and there were no significant disputes. Friendly rivalries, meeting new people, and busting those people and celebrating, are all part of the deal.

I’m looking forward to this Sunday’s $230 buy-in event, partly because I have joined a very strong team, but also because the experience was so much fun. We may be there until 5 am because the structure is very good and it’s best of three instead of the single elimination that we had in the $65 event. This could mean a significant wait if you dispatch your opponents with two quick wins and another match is a rough best of three that goes down to the wire each time, but my plan is to play cash games in between matches if I do find myself with a significant wait. I might wander outside and watch the horses, and if I’m feeling frisky I may even lay down a bet on a long shot.

There are spots for a few teams still open, and if you can’t find a team I can post something on facebook for you and find you some teammates. I want this thing to fill up, because everyone is going to have a great time and the more teams that register the sooner they will run more team battles!

To give you an idea how much fun it was, the Optimum was three handed when there were four teams left and even though the Optimum is a much bigger tournament, the rail was about four people while one of the team battles had a rail of at least a dozen people who were all standing and cheering.

For full info on the team battles, click here.

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  1. #1 by Fox on August 30, 2013 - 6:56 pm

    I won’t be with team Joker this time, I joined a team full of ringers for the big one. You can’t say anything you want, anything that reveals the contents of your hand is a no no, and there are a few other rules too, but you can tell your fellow players to fold, raise, call, etc. There are a million ways to use that, and it makes for some very complex situations, which was part of the fun!

  2. #2 by robowolfman on August 30, 2013 - 5:15 pm

    Are you going to play with team poker joker? And since you can say anything you want as you play do you use that to your advantage and how do you use it to your advantage if you do?

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