Thursday, April 13, 2006


With 10k in chips, an hour clock, and no real maniacs in sight, the fear of an early exit didn’t linger for too long, well, except when I was dealt pocket nines first hand. (The devil on my shoulder falsely predicted the future with a nine on the flop and a big draw hitting on the river). I raised, and everyone folded. Whoever said, ‘I hate winning the first hand’ was a total gooseberry.

Only two or three hands later I was dealt A-J. Bambos raised, I called, and so did Steve Reid (Card Shark). The flop came A-J-8. Boy, I was getting my hands dirty early. Bambos checked, I checked, and Steve bet. Bambos folded and I flat called. The turn brought another 8. This was a good card as it assured me that I wasn’t behind. If I bet, it would scare the hell out of him, so I thought I’d trapcheck again. Interestingly, Steve overbet the pot for 1k and I called. The river brought a ten, and this is where I think I made an error. I checked when perhaps I should have made a small milky bet. At this stage in the comp, it’s unlikely that Steve’s bluffing, and he could easily have A-T, A-Q. I seriously doubt that he’s holding J-J, K-Q, or an 8, and all other hands will probably be checked. However, we both checked and he showed the same hand as me. Strangely, we both looked kind of relieved.

My intention was to confuse the table with my play. I knew this would cause a stir and at least make people wary of me. I didn’t want to play a predictable game as the more experienced players would simply call and outplay me. Calling a raise with 9-8 against Kholi and checking a made straight on the river against Stuart Nash certainly achieved this goal. It’s just a shame I moved tables soon after.

My new table, which was to be my home for the rest of the tournament, was certainly a different sight. Barny Boatman, Phil Peters (These two were like a double act – Cannon and Ball perhaps?), Rob Yong, Dan Carter, and David Lloyd were all present. With about 14k in front of me though, I was surprisingly at ease and looking forward to mixing it up with these guys. I kind of new that I’d have a good chance of accumulating chips during my stay.

Almost immediately, I eliminated my 2nd player when I held 8-4 in the small blind. After checking a double belly buster draw on the 6-7-T flop, the seemingly rock-like player who had limped under the gun overbet the 300 pot by 200, which was odd. I made the call thinking he had bet a set, being scared of the flush and straight draws, and that if I straightened up, I could clean him out. The 9 turn did give me the straight, and, to my joy, he made a bizarre all-in move for 4 or 5k, I quickly called thinking he had the set, but was surprised to see a 9-6 (!!). Nice gift, and I was up to the 18k mark and brimming with confidence.

I love having more chips than the table, it improves my game oh so much as I play ten times better when I don’t fear exiting the comp. Knowing that you can mix it up with likes of Phil Peters, and still have 12k if it goes the shape of the pear is a massive advantage… so that’s what I did. I played aggressive poker, ducking and diving, and making a range of plays on different players. And after finishing off short stack David Lloyd with A-K v K-Q, and Dave Barnes with a straight v top pair, I found myself well into the late thirties and up there with the chip leaders.

Then I believe I moved into the chip lead, although only momentarily, when I eliminated Barny. I raised preflop with A-K suited, Dan Carter reraised from the big blind, and limper Barny called. I had more chips than both of them put together, so I didn’t hesitate in reraising (a move which I would think twice about doing on Day 2). Dan mucked what he claimed was A-Q and Barny moved his shortstack in with T-9 of hearts. A king flopped and that was that, I was up to around 53k. How exciting! Pity this was to be my peak…

By the end of the night, I’d dropped down to 40,800. I’d had a few steals reraised all-in by shortstacks, a few bets gone astray, and a perhaps needless 1.8k investment into a pot which could have eliminated shortstacks Dan Samson and Rob Yong. Rob moved all-in (he was in tilt mode) with Q-J, I called with K-3 in the small blind, and Dan, who only had 900 left, moved in on the big. I flopped a flush draw, but nothing came. I even lost the sidepot to Rob who hit a queen on the river. From this hand on, my comp kind of went south… like a dribbling tap.

When I was on around 45k, I passed Julian and expressed my concerns of my failure to continue accumulating. He assured me not to worry, and he was right. This was my first Main Event and to be able to handle the chip lead with the finesse of Yoyo, JP Kelly, or Stuart Fox, was perhaps being overly optimistic and unnecessary hopeful.

So, I rocked up for the rest of the night and waited for hands, which never came. However, I still moved into Day 2 in 8th position, so I can’t really complain. Time to book a hotel (which was a welcome chore) and get settled for the night. Tomorrow was promising to be another exciting day. I’d made Day 2 in my first Main Event, but I still had eyes on first prize. First Main Event or not, I was here to win and there was no way I wasn’t going to go out fighting. Bring it on…


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