Friday, October 13, 2006


Opportunities to play in a Main Event can be few and far between for many players, but when you work weekends, it becomes a virtual impossibility, especially with satellites predominantly being Saturday or Sunday evening affairs. However, this was my week off, and at £500, the London Poker Masters’ Main Event was an affordable chance to play a big comp, I just couldn’t turn it down.

Tikay, RED-DOG, chili, Wardonkey, vodkaredbull, byronkincaid, Actionjack, ACES, Jaffacake and co had all made the trip down South, now all we had to do was get a blonde name on the cup, easier said than done.

My starting table was a tough one. Off the top of my head, I recall Steve Bovis, Ade Bayo and Dave Barnes, just to name three, but what I really didn’t like about the table was that it was unpredictable, with an array of players who weren’t afraid to bet rags. The first example of this was when Ropesh Chehetry eliminated Rory Liffey. Ropesh had raised with K-8s pre-flop and managed to River a Flush after check-calling the Flop and Turn. Rory bet his Pocket Queens on the River and then couldn’t lay them down to the all-in check-raise.

Actually, this Ropesh lad, who was to eventually make the final table, was a menace right from the off. Sitting to my left, he was fearless and aggressive. I can’t help but recall Steve Bovis’ exit at the hands of Ropesh, the latter having his flopped full house paid off by Bovis’s backdoor straight. Again, Bovis couldn’t lay his hand down to the all-in raise and was sent packing by a young lad who had swiftly jumped into the chip lead with 30-40k.

Another Asian lad across the table looked dangerous too. He didn’t half get lucky though when he knocked out Dave Barnes (right) early doors. The Asian lad raised pre-flop and Dave, who had limped under the gun, and Mateyboy smooth called. Dave checked the Q-Q-6 flop, MB bet, original raiser called and so did Dave. Dave then bet out on the rag Turn, MB folded his Q-T and O.R called. River was a Jack, Dave checked, and O.R moved all-in like lightening for around 6k. Dave called with A-Q and O.R revealed Pocket Jacks for the full house. He’d somehow managed to do a third of his chips with the Knaves before fluking a fullhouse on the River. Dave Barnes’ expression could have woken a small child out of a coma. He didn’t look best pleased.

And then, of course, there was Ade Bayo, a charismatic, but bizarre individual who can often be witnessed kissing his guns and announcing “I love myself!” He truly is a Marmite type of character, you either love him or hate him, although I regret to reportthat the majority hate him, but I guess that’s exactly what he wants. As he admits himself, “People let their emotions get the better of them, I tip them over the edge and they give me their chips in an attempt to get rid of me.”

In fact, I endured a major tangle with Ade. After treading water for the first hour or two, I managed to jump up to 16k after Mateyboy tried to bluff a River for 2.5k. I made a good call with my Pocket Kings and won a nice pot. Then, not too long after, I called a min under-the-gun raise from Ade with 4-5 of spades. The flop came Qd-2s-6s. Ade bet 1.5k (about the pot), and I re-raised. Ade thought and thought before making a good call with A-Qo. Actually, he moved all-in, but it was only an extra 2 or 3 thousand for me to call. I missed and the 20k pot went to Ade, leaving me with just 6k. Perhaps I shouldn’t have made that move, but I didn’t fancy relinquishing a straight and flush draw, especially when Ade could fold his pair. I also feel I play a big stack pretty well, and this was a chance to jump up to 26k – I felt it was worth a punt.

But as it was, I’d dropped to 6k with the blinds at 200/400, not disastrous by any means, but I must to confess to sighing once or twice. However, the spirit of Mickey Wernick was on my shoulder, so I gathered my thoughts and set out about playing tight solid poker, waiting patiently for my opportunities and searching intently for that crucial double-up.

From here on in I didn’t once exceed my starting stack. I ducked and dived to stay alive, but most of my moves went uncontested. However, as the day grew long and the blinds rose, I was forced to survive 2 all-in encounters. First I sucked out on Ropesh with A-8s vs A-T (I Turned a Flush), before fending off Les Kerrigan’s A-T with A-Q.

I remember looking at the clock during the last level and thinking that it would be cool to make a second Day 2, but I didn’t really want to come back with nothing, so I kept moving my stack whilst it was big enough to make any potential call a costly risk.

And survive I did, ending the day with a paltry 7,500. Not much, but it was something. I’d received next to no hands, but managed to bring a new meaning to the word ‘grind’ – Mickey would have been proud. Even Ade complimented my patience, a prestigious honour indeed.

So, Day 2 arrives and, along with an incredible 57 others, I unzip my bag and deposit my chips onto the table. Only 4 hours sleep, so I’m a bit knackered, but awake enough to play a good game. Looking around, it looks like a good showing from blonde, although RED, chili and byron fell early doors, tikay, Wardonkey (left), Jaffacake, Trumper and Paul Jackson are all still plugging away, although the combined chips of that lot isn’t huge.

This honestly was a cracking event, but what really bugged me about Day 2 was the redraw. What was the point? With 57 players still remaining, it’s unnecessary and totally unfair on the short-stacks, one of whom was me. And, of course, out of the nine players on my table, I was allocated the big blind prematurely with the blinds at 500/1,000 and a running ante of 300 (I think). Bah, humbug!

When the blinds passed, I made my move, but this time ran into the Big Blind’s A-Q. However, I had two live cards and my speculative holding of 7-3o (ahem) managed to spike a 3 on the River, elevating me to the dizzy heights of 12k.

A round after (I survived one when my all-in with A-K went uncontested), I was under the gun with 4-5s. I fancied trying to push again, thinking that if I could just get this one through I’d definitely receive a call if I actually found a hand. However, it wasn’t to be, as I ran into A-Q on the blind… again. A rather unsavoury K-J-T Flop finished me off and that was all she wrote for the Beagle. I could have let it go, but I wanted to make a move, especially with the blinds riding high and the antes costing me 2,700 a round.

So, out in about 45th. Gutted but not distraught. I never really got going, but feel I played well with what I had. I just needed the last double up at what was a vital stage to shoot me into a good position with a playable stack. That’s been the story of the week really, the A-K vs Q-Q and K-Qs vs A-J in Event 1, the Q-Q vs 9-9 in Event 2, and then the 4-5s vs A-Q (twice actually) in the Main Event. I just couldn’t find that last piece of luck I needed to become a major threat in the comps.

I may not have cashed, but I feel I learned a hell of a lot from not just the Main Event, but the week as a whole. I pushed myself hard and was determined to remain focused throughout the week, an objective that I feel I achieved.

Whilst Frenchman Arnaud Mattern won the 27k first prize, blondeites Paul Jackson (right), Simon Trumper and Jeff Kimber finalled for 2nd, 4th and 9th respectively. Also worth a mention is Nick Hicks who bubbled for £1,372, not big bucks, but a good showing nonetheless.

So, my Main Event dream was over, but there was still hope for a small win to end the week. Both Danafish and I were signed into the £50 No Limit Hold’Em Freezeout, so hopefully a tiring few days could end on a high…


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