Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Binge Day 4 – Grosvenor Walsall

Although tempted to make my debut at the Star City Casino in Birmingham, the lure of a £300 double chance freezeout at Walsall overshadowed my lust for 5 consecutive days in 5 different casinos and before I knew it, there I was, back in the all too familiar compounds of Junction 10.

Now and again a quality tournament pops up that is capable of drawing big crowds on a regular basis. Back when tikay donned a brown barnet, the Gala Nottingham’s £100 rebuy was the highlight of the month. It used to make a packet and attract players from all over. With £100 now seeming like a splash in the ocean and options for poker community going through the roof, the Gala’s £100 rebuy has dropped off the radar allowing the monthly freezeout at Walsall to take hold of the reigns.

And why shouldn’t it? 2 day event, 7.5k chips, 45 minute clocks, every blind level under the sun, satellites throughout the week – this really is a low stakes players wet dream and one of the best ‘affordable’ freezeouts available. If there’s a comp that I’d advise an amateur to splash out on, then this is the one.

When I started playing, there were no freezeouts, just £20 and £30 rebuys, so variance truly was a factor back then with long, dry spells a familiar occurrence. Nowadays, the cream can rise to the top a lot quicker with the likes of Stoke, Blackpool, and Cardiff, not to mention all the side events at the Festivals, following suit with similar freezeout tournaments.

When I arrived, the usual motley crew were there: Karabiner, tikay, Thewy, Ash Hussain, Pete Singleton, Lucy Rokach, Mick Jones, Simon Zach, Nick Slade – all the usual suspects. On my table were Ben Callinan, Mad Turk and Rajesh Modha, so I knew I was in for a rough ride.

I won’t bang on about the ins and outs of my tournament, it won’t be anything you haven’t already heard in the endless blogs out there. I pretty much hovered around average for most of the comp, before the cards seized up and a mistimed all-in re-raise against Zippy Aslam cost me my comp with about 40 or 50 left. I thought he was weak, was mistaken, and paid the price. Simple as that really. I probably could have been more patient, but I like to go with my gut, if I’m wrong, then c’est la vie, I’ll make sure I’m right next time.

I do wish it hadn’t been Zippy though, he seems to be my nemesis. Whenever he’s at the table, I always exit in dramatic circumstances. I actually found it a little embarrassing going out to him, mainly because I respect him as a player. His Kings v my T-7s, I Flopped a flush draw and Turned a Ten, but part of me didn’t want to make my hand on the River. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that before in a showdown, I hate making mistakes, so perhaps I just felt I deserved to be out of the comp.

But enough about me, the most interesting hand I witnessed involved Lucy Rokach, and it ultimately led to her demise. She’s limped in late position only to re-raise the button bet on an A-9-8-J board after everyone checked the Turn. The button and I both folded, only for Doc, a tight, but calculated player to push all-in under the gun. Lucy quickly said something like “Let’s gamble” and shoved in the rest of her chips with K-J, but Doc’s A-Q stood up.

There were a couple of things that interested me about this hand. Firstly, the check re-raise from Lucy on the Turn seemed very suspicious to me. I’d called the initial button bet with A-6 in the big blind and was severely thinking about re-re-raising Lucy for what would basically be my tournament life, but Doc was still to play behind me and could easily have held a monster.

From my perspective, Lucy’s play didn’t make any sense. I very much doubt she’d check two pair twice, and would imagine she’d raise pre-flop with any hand that would have made a set. In this sense, I deemed it a squeeze play after Doc and I had flat called. Doc said he would have folded his A-Q if I’d have moved over the top, so a missed opportunity I guess.

The second thing that raised a Beagle eyebrow was Lucy’s willingness to gamble after she’d been caught with her pants down. She knew she was behind, but was happy to stick in the rest of her chips in hope of catching something on the River. She didn’t even hesitate, clearly not a fan of grinding.

After the tournament I posted a thread on blonde about the pros and cons of double chance freezeouts. Personally, I prefer straight freezeouts as people play with more fear as they know they could be eliminated from the comp in any one hand. With another 3.5k behind them, they seem happy to play more freely and thus become less predictable and harder to push around. Of course, the flipside means that they may throw more chips your way on draws or marginal hands, but that also relies on you finding hands.

I believe all double chances should prohibit players from taking the second set of chips straight away. If everyone does it, which can happen via the domino effect, there doesn’t seem much point. My preference is to take it as soon as possible. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I believe I have the edge on the average field (ie, in the top 50%), so why wouldn’t I want to garner the maximum amount of chips from the hands I win. The weakest player on my table won early pots, so I deemed it even more imperative to grab those extra chips early doors.

As I’m sure you’re already aware, this comp was won by Thewy. I’m sure he played superbly, but they always say you need to get lucky to win any comp, and get lucky he did, pushing all-in under the gun with Deuces, running into Queens and Kings and outdrawing both. Ouch. But once he’s got those chips, you’re in hot water.

Thewy’s had an incredible few years and it’s great to see him still donning the William Hill logo. He may not have performed to his capabilities on the ‘big stage’, but Thewy’s record in £300-500 freezeouts is second to none. I don’t know if there’s any particular correlation or whether it’s simply coincidental, but either way, I wish he’d tell me how to win them instead of £20 rebuys.


Post a Comment

<< Home