Saturday, February 25, 2006


After a strong satellite performance the day before, I went into the £300 event with high spirits and a vast amount of hope. I don’t think I’d ever been so determined to win a comp than I was this night. I was desperate for a big payday, not only for the financial benefits, but also to remind people that I could still play as, somehow, I felt as if I was losing respect as a poker player. From my experience, if people fear you at the table, then you’re half way there already.

Filled with a newfound confidence, I battled through the 190 players to find my seat at table 18, located outside the cardroom. I’d never seen a table plonked there before and, at one point, I think I could have reached out and stuck a bet on the roulette wheel.

Whilst seated, Paul Jackson approached the table and informed the guy to my right that he was in the wrong seat. After a bemusing conversation, we found out that they were both called Paul Jackson. The sheet, however, had only accounted for one of them, so Actionjack was left stranded with nowhere to sit. I believe this is what caused the later than intended start. I’m just glad the lesser known of the Paul Jacksons arrived first, as having Actionjack and Joe Grech immediately to my left could have proved immensely problematic. Amusingly, the young Asian lad opposite me shouted, ‘Well, thank God my name’s -- something unpronounceable -- ’

Speaking of Joe Grech, I think, with the exception of Greek Jack to my right, he was the only threat at the table. Paul Jackson #2 was checking nuts on the river, one fellow never knew when it was his turn, one guy bluffed excessively, and another was the biggest rock on the planet. Pretty good set-up for me, if only Joe wasn’t present. However, I knew his game better than he knew mine, so I fully intended to use that to my advantage, even if it meant placing my chips at risk.

Personally, I like to make some sort of preflop raise within the first round, whatever I hold. I don’t know if it’s my age or something, but my opponents always consider me to be a rock and getting my monsters paid can be a mission if I don’t let the table know I’m here to play. Interestingly, Joe played like a nutter within the first round. He also showed his cards on almost every occasion. It was clear to me that, as I guess I was, he was attempting to build an image for himself. It’s a very clever ploy in my opinion as the first opinions people make of your play are often the ones that stick.

I didn’t fear him, but Joe’s position two seats to my right certainly was a slight concern. I knew that he’d call my raises with the intent of outplaying me post flop, mainly because he considers me to be a predictable rock. The first time I crossed swords with Joe was when I raised preflop with 8-4 off. He called and the flop came Q-Q-7. I checked knowing that he’d almost certainly bet out. He did, and I flat called, fully intending to represent the queen. However, I paired up my eight on the turn, and so I thought I’d check and hope he’d try to bluff me out. However, the hand was checked down and my pair of eights won. I was happy to show my hand too as it made people aware of the crap I was willing to play. Also, it showed Joe that I wasn’t willing to be pushed around. A cheap way of making a statement in my opinion.

After 45 minutes, I managed to pretty much double my stack. With blinds at 50/100, Greek Jack raised to 400 preflop. My head was above water chip wise, so I decided to call with T-9 off and try to use my position in the big blind to outplay what I considered to be a relatively tight player who would be fearful of any chip movement deriving from my stack.

The flop came out a tricky K-7-8 rainbow giving me an open ended straight draw. Jack bet out 600, and I raised to 1400. A small raise, but I knew that I could easily push him off any ace and most pocket pairs. However, Jack smooth called and bet out 1k on the 9 turn. At this stage, I knew he must be relatively strong, but I couldn’t fold for such a small amount, especially after pairing up. Just too many outs. I actually put him on a hand like KQ. His bet sang ‘feeler’ to me and I was pretty sure he didn’t want a reraise, even though he may well have pushed.

The river came a jack, and to my surprise, Jack bet out 1k again. Another strange amount, but I was 99% sure that he didn’t hold the Q-T, so I minimum reraised him. He called and showed AK. On seeing my hand, he gave that veteran chuckle and shake of the head that I see so often. Jack was down to 2k and I’d moved up to around 12 or 13k. Marvellous I thought, just what the doctor had ordered. I was brimming with confidence and truly thought, although arrogantly so, that I was heading for the final table. When I get chips, people don’t seem to want to play against me, which is a nice weapon to have. It’s just getting those chips that can be a battle.

With morale high, I was severely grounded by the following hand. Under the gun raised, the rock called, I called with 8-7, and Joe called from the small blind for value. The rock 1k bet the flop of 8-8-3 and I called, pretty sure that he held tens or jacks. Joe and the original raiser passed, leaving the dealer free to deal the 4 turn. To my surprise, the rock overbet the pot and moved all-in for about 5k. Although I was in a state of momentary quandary, I quickly called believing that he was too tight to play A-8 preflop and not crazy enough to bet out a full house. To my elation, he turned over pocket queens. To my non-elation, the dealer turned over a queen. My shoulders slumped and I was down to 5.5k with a gigantic thud. And what did Joe say? Yep, you guessed it… ‘I folded a queen’. Great. I was gutted as a 20k stack would have held a player like me in unbelievably good stead, especially with my accommodating table. But, it wasn’t to be, and I was forced to accept my bad beat.

It was a tough beat to take, but I’m happy that I managed to brush it off, simply saying ‘Ah well, I’m still in’ when the table made their efforts to console me. But it was true, I was still on 5.5k, it wasn’t a tragedy just yet. And this thought proved justified when I doubled up 3k with A-A v Joe’s A-K, and then up to 11k when I flat-called with A-Q, fully expecting Joe to make a move with his diminishing stack. He did, but he had a better hand than I expected in pocket nines. He’d bluffed and shown K-3 a couple of hands earlier. I though he had one more in him. Anyhow, I spiked an ace, Joe was out, and I was back in business.

This is where I went carddead. I was moved to a much more threatening table, sandwiched between the ever-consistent Micky Wernick, and the 50k stack of Des ‘Bling Bling’ Jonas. There were a couple of calling stations to my left, not to mention some decent opposition in Benwoo and local chap Don. After a few blind steals went adrift, I dribbled down to 6.5k.

Then, I ran into Lord Wernick. I flatcalled K-7 on the button, with the intention of betting out if the blinds checked. The flop came 2-7-4. I bet 1k, but Micky reraised 1.5k. I thought about it for ages before releasing, reluctantly so. In hindsight, I think I made a mistake. Micky showed a 4, and later told me that he had 2 pair 7-4, but I’m unconvinced. My spider senses tell me that he fibbed and just outplayed me. I mean, he probably put me on overcards such as Q-J, so surely he’d trap two pair and let me catch up. A mistake on my part I think, but I can’t be sure.

Anyhow, after being dented by the ever-increasing blinds, I eventually started making the short-stack all-in manoeuvres, eventually becoming unstuck when my JT of spades ran into AQ of the same suit. I hit a jack on the turn, but, as usually happens in the cruel game of poker, was outflushed on the river. The blinds were 300 and 600, and I’d moved in for 4k. If I was going to double up, I wanted to move onto something substantial, but I can’t help but feel that I should have waited.

Well, I was a gonna, and trundled over to the bar with my tail firmly between my legs. I can’t tell you how deflated I was. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed to exit, possibly because I was so determined precomp to perform. However, at least I believe I played a pretty strong game, which is the most important thing in my eyes. I was focused, calm, and calculated, making very few clear errors. I’ve got plenty of hands to swish around inside my washing machine brain, but that can only be a good thing. There’s nothing worse than knowing that you made a stupid move, and then having nothing else to mull over. At least this way I learn something and move forward.

Ah well, there’s always the next comp, but I can’t hide my disappointment. I NEED a win, if only to convince myself that I can still play this blasted game. More importantly though, I’d like to congratulate tikay and Julian for their fine performances. What more can be said about Julian. Consistent as hell and seemingly impossible to eliminate. And tikay? Well, he’s a better player than he thinks. Hopefully 6th of 190 will help assure him that he can mix it with the best. Nice job guys.


At 8:48 AM, Blogger yoyopoker said...

well played snoops, if one or two of those pots had gone the other way i'da really fancied your chances.
and yes, i think folding the K-7 was a bad decision.


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