I’ve played the Thousandaire Maker tournament on Ignition Casino (and previously on Bovada) 48 times now. It runs most every night at 8:15pm Pacific.
It’s a Survivor-style tournament with a $75 buyin (and $7 fee), with a guarantee of five even $1K payouts. If the number of players meets the guarantee (67 players), another payout starts building up for sixth place (80 entries makes an even $6K in the pot, then another payout starts for seventh). No chops, only one min-cash (if any) and less than 10% of the field makes it to the money. But it’s a great value overall.
I’ve cashed in the Thousandaire Maker six times. If I was smart, it would be the only tournament I play, because when you cash it you’re typically making 1120% profit. So if you can beat the 7.5% cashing rate by 10% (effectively a 8.2% ITM), you are profitable. The tournament only lasts about 3 hours. By my records, I’ve spent 65 hours and ten minutes playing Thousandaire Makers since April of 2015 (coincidentally, spending almost $1 on buyins for every minute of play). And I’ve made about $2,000 in profit (a little over $31.50/hour). An average of 82 minutes per tournament.
So my ITM in Thousandaire Makers is 12.5% (based, admittedly on just 48 tournaments). That’s beating the average ITM for all players by 67% and an ROI of more than 50%.
Unfortunately, with just one Thousandaire Maker per day, a 30-day month would mean $2,460 in buyins, an average of $3,750 in cashes, and $1,290 in profit (about $15.4K per year). That might have been enticing in the not-too-distant past, but not these days. And not when you more or less need to give up every evening—or at least plan to be be busy between 8 and midnight.
I got into the Thursday night Thousandaire Maker just before the first hour was up, despite a promise to myself not to do late entries any more. I was under the gun with 3♣7♣ on my first hand and folded.
Hand 2 T♣T♦ BB 2500 50/100
Three of the players on our (full) table have more than double the starting stack of 2500 chips. Two are under 20bb, with the small blind down to 1250. UTG/(Player 44) folds 4♠T♥ (it’s Ignition, so I can see the folded cards). UTG1/29 min-raises with A♥8♥ and UTG2/27 calls. Action folds through the small blind, and I jam the tens. This is a typical fish/new player steal attempt; the other players can see from my player number (55) that I’ve just registered. They know it’s just before break. I could just be looking to pick up 450 chips from weak hands before the blinds go up. UTG1—table chip leader at 6420—folds, but UTG2 calls with Q♣A♦ and almost 28bb behind. The board runs out 4♦J♣5♠K♠7♠. I actually had the best hand at the table. Both of the other tens were dealt, but nobody else even had a jack, much less a straight or flush.
Hand 8 J♠A♦ UTG2 5175 75/150
I opened to 400 and the blinds folded. CO/27 (the player I’d doubled up against) folded Q♠K♦ with a 2483 stack, which I’m pretty sure I would not have done.
Hand 10 T♠T♣ UTG 5400 75/100
Tens again! On hand ten! I open to 400 and everyone folds. Out of eight other players, there was only one over card, with CO/50 holding A♥4♦.
Hand 25 K♠A♦ UTG1 5100 100/200
I open to 500 and everyone folds. The best hand I was against was Q♦T♦ (Portland nuts!) on the button.
Hand 40 A♦K♣ UTG1 4450 125/250/25
We’re playing eight-handed. HJ/44 on my left is the table leader with 10.8K, and CO/29 is 1K behind. The rest of us are between 3.5K and 6K. I open to 750 and the big stack 3-bets enough to put the short stack (BB/42) all in. BB shoves, and I 4-bet all in, which is called by HJ. It’s A♦K♣ v K♦A♣ (CO) v A♥K♠ (BB). The runout is 7♦T♦9♣8♣3♣ and we chop the blinds and antes for a 75 chip profit. No jacks dealt, but the other big stack on the button would have made a six-card straight with 6♣5♥.
Hand 43 T♦T♠ SB 4170 150/300/30
Just seven at the table. The big stack took a hit on the hand after the three-way chop, but he’s still in second place at the table with 8.6K. Four of us are in the sub-20bb ‘Danger Zone.’
UTG2/62 shoves and with tens for the third time in 43 hands, I call, with 29 chips behind. He turns A♠T♥, the flop is a dangerous 4♣Q♦K♦, but the turn and river are 6♠6♦. I double up to 8761 and move out of the Zone.
Hand 49 A♦T♠ SB 8311 150/300/30
I’ve been moved to a new table and I min-raise when action folds around. BB/25 has 5.7K and 3♠A♦ and jams. I fold.
Hand 55 A♠A♦ BB 7501 200/400/40
Tens three times in less than 50 hands and now aces on the big blind? How lucky must I be? Everyone folds to me and.
Hand 58 6♣6♦ CO 7661 200/400/40
What to do with a pocket pair less than tens? There are six players at the table, and I’m actually in the bottom half. Three of us are between 7K and 8K, and the others are 9.6K, 10.3K, and 12.3K. I open to 1000, and the only called is BB/72, another of the small stacks. I’m not exactly sure what he’s thinking here, putting in an extra tenth of his stack with 6♥9♥. I c-bet the 3♠8♦A♦ flop for 1100 and he folds.
Hand 59 J♥Q♥ HJ 8861 200/400/40
I raise to 1000 and BB/7 (the third of the short stacks) jams Q♣A♣. I fold.
Hand 60 T♠K♦ UTG1 7821 200/400/40
I shove with just under 20bb and everyone folds. UTG/13 folded 9♠A♣ before I shoved.
Hand 62 A♣T♦ BB 8581 200/400/40
Action folds to SB/13 and he raises to 820 with 3♠A♦. He only has me covered by 500. I shove over the top and he folds.
Hand 68 A♠8♥ BB 9191 250/500/50
I get a walk with the best hand.
Hand 71 K♦J♥ CO 9341 250/500/50
I got disconnected a couple of times during this tournament. Pretty sure I’m raising and winning the hand here if I wasn’t. As it was, BB/7 got a walk with 8♦2♣.
Hand 72 7♥7♣ HJ 9291 250/500/50
Seriously. BB/26 had A♠2♠, so there might have been a jam if I’d raised, but…
Hand 89 Q♣A♣ BB 7971 300/600/60
Between the disconnect and bad cards, I’d been slipping into danger territory. This hand, action folded to SB/72 (the next-to-last player to register in the tournament but a player who’d chipped up to 29K) and he shows 2♠9♦ as he folds.
Hand 91 7♦7♣ D 8331 300/600/60
Finally, some sevens I can play! We’re eight-handed. UTG2/26 folds A♣8♣. I cannot fathom it. I open-shove, two bigger stacks with bad hands in the blinds fold.
Hand 92 J♠9♠ CO 9651 300/600/60
UTG1/26 raises to 1.7K. I typically would play this hand against a raise but chose not to here. I fold. D/11 re-shoves for 11K. UTG1 calls and the smaller stack is at risk K♠K♥ v A♥A♣. The board runs out Q♥5♣6♣T♣6♥ and player 26 is out in 16th place as we get closer to the money. Kings get cracked on the next hand by Q♦T♦.
Hand 96 9♣9♠ SB 8511 400/800/80
Seven players on the table and I’m one of the only two stacks under 10K. UTG1/42 has only 6K, BB/11 is at 12.7 before the hand begins, but everyone else is above $15.5K, with D/72 at nearly 25K. Action folds to him and he jams. I call with my pair and BB folds A♠K♣, missing out on a triple-up, as the board runs out 2♠7♥6♦4♠K♦. Instead, I double up. He gets knocked out on the next hand with a pair of sixes calling another shove from player 72, who catches an ace on the turn to go with his Mutant Jack (suited A?J?).
Hand 104 Q♣A♠ SB 16942 400/800/80
The strategy a lot of late-entrants take (and sort of need to take given their initial short-stack status) is to shove repeatedly. This tends to take the ‘fun’ of poker out of the game for me, at least, which is why I try not to join a tournament in the later stages of registration. I can’t think it would be an effective strategy in cash games. Anyhoo…after losing a third of his stack to me eight hands earlier, then knocking out a player, player 72 is up to 27.6K and we are back in the same positions as our last run-in. He shoves, I call. He has 7♦J♣. I pop a queen on the flop and double up. Board is T♣T♠Q♦4♣K♣. We’re within five spots of the money, with five full $1K prizes and sixth place paying $475. I’ve got the chip lead, and I could actually sit back at this point and do nothing.
Hand 107 Q♦A♣ UTG 34764 400/800/80
Does that mean I will do nothing? No. I raise to 2400. Ten hands ago, BB/72 had a stack that would have gotten him handily into the money, now he’s one of three 15–17bb short stacks at the table. He has J♠J♣ and shoves12.3K. I call, the board is 5♥T♣6♦A♥7♣ and he’s out in 10th place. Buh-bye.
The final table starts on the next hand with four stacks under 20bb. That;s the same number of players that have to bust before we hit the full $1K packages. Only 3 players have more than 20K, and I have 20K more than the player in second place.
Hand 129 7♠7♦ UTG1 42154 600/1200/120
The player on my left took over the chip lead a few hands earlier when he won a race with jacks to eliminate the 9th place finisher. He’s got about 1K more than me. Two players are under 10bb, three others are between 10 and 16bb. The ideal strategy here is to let them cut each other out for the most part. However, I min-raise from UTG1 after the one other player with more than 20bb (31) folds. The chip leader has 4♣4♦, but folds, leaving only the five small stacks, none of whom want to pull the trigger lest someone behind them shoves. They all fold to BB/17—one of the shortest stacks—with just 3♥8♠. He packs it in and drops to the shortest stack.
Hand 144 A♦A♥ BB 38594 800/1600/160
So much has happened. That short stack from the last hand managed to get A?K? in against another short stack’s A?Q? and double up, then bumped up again a couple of times while two players went out. The money bubble has burst, and now we’re just waiting to see who gets the not-insignificant sixth-place prize ($475) as opposed to the $1K. The chip leader to my left (still player 29) has 43.8K—over 27bb). On my right is player 31 with roughly the same stack as me. The other three are 18bb, 13bb, and 7bb. Nobody wants to miss out on the extra $525.
I could theoretically fold aces here is one of the other two big stacks shoved. I wouldn’t, but theoretically. As it happens, Everyone folds. Do my big blind aces stink?
Hand 145 5♣5♦ SB 40194 800/1600/160
D/31 min-raises here with T♣A♣. I don’t lilke this play myself because the only other stacks who could keep him from the big prize are the only ones left to act. He has enough chips to wait it out, courting one or the other of us having a premium hand is bad.
Hand 148 6♦K♠
The short stack (SB/7) has A♥4♥ and just 6bb. He shoves, Not a bad plan given that BB/17 has only 13bb and no matter what happens, he’s getting 480% ROI. Unfortunately, BB has A♣J♠ and makes the call. The flop is bad: A♠5♦5♣ meaning a chop is only possible with an ace, king, or queen, but the turn brings some more outs with 3♥ providing an opportunity for a win. The river is 9♦, though, which ends the tournament.
148 hands. Two hours and thirty minutes. +1120%ROI.