Sunday, April 23, 2006


After a fun and entertaining week in Dublin, myself and several other blondeites decided to venture down to Walsall and play what has always been one of the best comps in the county.

The £300 double-chance freezout has always been a fave of mine, and I was gutted when they took it off the monthly schedule, but, and hopefully not for ‘one night only’, it’s made a most welcome return.

Joining the likes of RED-DOG, tikay, Djinn, booder, I KNOW IT, Slick Kid, malcm, The_nun, and M3boy were well over a hundred other hopefuls (great turn-out once again), all looking to take a large bite into the 15k first prize.

I sat down to be greeting by the smiley faces of Des ‘Bling Bling’ Jonas, David ‘booder’ Baker, and Craig ‘I KNOW IT’ Wildman perched opposite, whilst the rest of the table was made up of faces I recognised, but couldn’t attach a name to.

After a solid performance in the Luton Main Event last week, I headed into this competition with my confidence riding high, convinced that I was going to final. And following a few early pots, I had no reason to question that optimism. I wasn’t hitting too much, but I somehow managed to duck and dive my way up to 11k pretty briskly. As Des said, ‘We’ve let you get away with too much on this table, snoopy’. Yeah, he was kinda right too.

Mid ducking and diving, I recall a massive hand between myself, booder, craig, and mateyboy. With blinds at 25/50, booder raised to 200 under the gun. The aforementioned all flatcalled, including myself with an A-J holding. Booder raising from trap 1 spells trouble to me, so I didn’t think a reraise was the wise option.

Anyhow, the flop came a very dangerous Jc-Ts-8c. Booder, after a momentary dwell, checked tentatively, whilst mateyboy came out betting for 1k. Suspecting that Mateyboy, who had overbet the pot rather aggressively, actually had a big piece of the flop, I opted for a reluctant fold. Craig called, and booder moved all-in. Mateyboy and Craig both called. Phew, I sure was in trouble. Craig had K-Q, booder held bullets, whilst Mateyboy was ahead with J-T two pair. I would have come a good fourth though, as the turn brought a nine, very nice for Craig who pulled in a tasty pot.

At the break, Booder lambasted his own play. Personally, I wouldn’t beat myself up about it too much. I would have checked the flop too, but I think I would have let it go once it came back round. That flop was just way too dangerous and I don’t like sticking my chips in with those sort of hands, even if it is bullets. You’re sure to be in trouble somewhere down the line. Perhaps a preflop bet to 300 or 400 would have been better too, as it was somewhat of a calling table… but hardly the most foolish error ever made.

Meanwhile, I’d managed to crawl up to around 14k, bit by bit which was most satisfying. Then came another interesting hand. I flatcalled from late position with 6-4 off. (yes, very loosey goosey, but I was trying to play every pot and see as many flops as possible) With a few limpers, Des raised it up from the big blind. I smelt a rat and decided to call, fully intending to move on any flop. I had a feeling he was trying to steal, but thought seeing a flop could get more chips, especially as he’d put me on a strong pocket pair.

Anyhow, the 4-6-K (2 clubs) flop change the dynamics of my strategy slightly and I decided to call his bet, hoping he’d hang himself on the turn. Turn was an 8 and all the chips went in, to my delight, although his K-7 clubs holding was extremely dangerous. He missed his 5, K, 7, and club and I was flying. Des mumbled his complaints as he left the table, but he’s a good lad and takes these beats on the chin. Anyhows, I didn’t care… who’s gonna mess with me now??

Inevitably, the table broke up… and so it was time to build my image all over again, something that is a right pain in the arse for me as mateyboys automatically label me as a rock. With D Sami, Trevor Reardon, and Lawrence Gosney on my left, this wasn’t going to be an easy night. Lawrence was bound to call my raises to outplay me, so I had to be aware of that. I let him get away with it once, when I folded king high (K-J) to his 8 (!!) high (8-3), but everyone gets bluffed out now and then.

D Sami will be fuming though. He bet 1500 under the gun with the blinds at just 100/200. I called from the button with my 6-7. I knew there was a good chance he had a big pocket pair, and so was sure I’d bust him if I caught the flop. He had a nice chunky stack, and I had enough chips to make the call… so I deemed it to be worth a shot. Well, ultimately it was, as I flopped a straight and he paid me off with his cowboys. New table, but, once again, who’s gonna mess with me now?? Image sorted.

I played quite a few hands on this table, plenty of moves. Ran into aces and failed to hit my flush draw, but karma visited when I hit a jack high (two diamonds) flop with J-9 (of diamonds) versus A-J. I hit a 9, and Mateyboy looked like he was going to turn green. Boy, my chips were moving in and out like the hokey cokey, but I was cool with that. I wanted chips, and lots of them.

Before I knew it, I was up to 70k and chip leader. My game was in top form and I was overjoyed with the way I was playing.

Soon, we were down to 3 tables and I was about to lose 20k of my phallic stack. With blinds at 1k/2k, I trapcalled from the small blind with A-J, fully expecting Carl Thomas, an aggressive and very dangerous Welsh player, to take a stab. He did, so I reraised his 4.5k to 14.5k, but I wasn’t expecting a 20.7k all-in. Wow. This really was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make, took me ages. I had decent pot odds, and I wasn’t necessarily dominated… but did I want to become a shortstack when 47.5k was still a threat on a relatively weak table? After a lengthy dwell, I opted for the latter… and never found out what he had. However, I was still chipped up, and soon rose back up to 55k+.

Drum roll please………………….. Kings verus Aces that would have put me on 90k. King on flop provided the usual tease, and I was down to 20k. Bizarrely, I even thought that I’d prefer to have flatcalled his reraise so I could suffer a bad beat instead when the chips moved in on the flop, but that has to be the dumbest thought I’ve ever had… and I’ve had quite a few, believe me. Anyway, s**t happens, you have to forget it, which I did, but the poker gods didn’t, and they dealt me another blow when my 2nd pair ran into top pair in a battle of the blinds situation. I had too few chips and no real option, anything but top pair and he folds. Gone in about 25th and gutted beyond belief.

So… where the hell did all my chips go???

Did I mess up, was I unlucky, should I have finalled?…. Gawd knows, but I know it hurt… even more so than the Luton Main Event. Shellshocked in fact. Why?

-- I felt on top of my game
-- I made few mistakes throughout the whole comp
-- I was chip-leader with 35 left
-- I’m itching for a win
-- I feel as if I am more than capable of and deserve a win
-- The 90k would have made me a true threat for the 15k
-- I’ve never lost so many chips in such a short space of time
-- I was truly convinced I was going to win the comp outright. No other though entered my head.

But to take away the positives, I played some good poker. My game is gradually evolving towards a level to which I’m happy with. I’m accumulating chips and amassing big stacks, it’s just about riding that final obstacle. One of these days I’m going win a few comps in a row and make people sit up and take notice. I’d love to be recognised in the same bracket as young players such as Jen, Chili, Flushy, JP, Bradley… I never am, but I will be soon because I won’t stop until I am.

Bring on the next comp… sharpish… because I’m going to win it. Bridesmaid no more…


At 7:31 AM, Blogger Alex Martin said...

Loving your attitude snoop. Nice work recently surely going to culminate in a win sooner or later.



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