Thursday, August 23, 2007


Well, that's 200 squid down the swanny.

I felt crap when I woke up, and it was pouring when I 'alighted' (as the voice in the sky says) at Farringdon. Couldn't get my hands on an umbrella, so by the time I reached the Gutshot I was soaked through. The material that my trousers are made of is the thinnest in the world, so I had to spend most of the tournament playing in wet boxers. Great! And if you've played at the Gutshot recently, you'll know that it's the stuffiest most humid cardroom in the country. So I was hot and bothered right from the off and in no frame of mind to play my 'A' game.

At one point, one of the players said he felt faint and dehydrated and asked if they could move a fan towards him. He was metaphorically slapped across the chops with a wet kipper and told that it just wasn't possible. "We've only got a couple of fans," replied the TD, "and people downstairs are complaining about the heat."

Glancing down at the puddle on the felt that had formed from the drips deriving from the ceiling and knowing that the residue water would probably slide in if they were to go with my zany idea, I hestiantly suggested, "Could you not open one of these windows?"

To my suprise, the inevitable opposing comment wasn't delivered with the explanation I expected. Instead, the reason why they couldn't open the window was because it would make the air conditioning ineffective. Air conditioning? AIR CONDITIONING? What air conditioning? If there's air conditioning in this room then it's already f***ing ineffective. I'm sweating like a rapist in here!

"You'll get a fan when you get to the final table," he jokingly added. "It'll give you incentive." Oh marvellous, what a treat. In the meantime, we'll all suffer in silence in this Gutshot desert. Sweet Jesus of Nazareth, what do we pay our registration fee for, not to mention £3 at the door just to get in? Now this is going to be a bit wild, and I genuinely don't want to cause too much of a debate at the next board meeting, but could they not purchase an extra couple of fans? By Jove, I think I've got it!

Anyway, back to the tournament. 100 runners was the max, but I think they squeezed in (probably quite literally I expect) another table of 10 and allowed alternates to step in during the first hour. It didn't take long for one of those lazy-can't-be-bothered-to-buy-in-til-the-very-last-minute players to show their face, one guy on our table exiting on the very first hand of the night.

He raised it up from utg+1 and received two callers. The flop was Jack high with two hearts. He bet and found one caller. The Jack of hearts hit the turn and Mateyboy bet again. This time, his opponent raised another couple of thousand. The original raiser dwelt up for a while (I would have loved to have seen his warped thought process during this period) before pushing all-in. The other player called and flipped Kh-Qh for the flush, Mateyboy showed A-Jo. Board failed to pair on the river and Mateyboy had done his 6k already. The victor apologised and offered his hand, but Mateyboy shook his head and buggered off. Well, at least he took it well!

I'm no expert, but I think he could have got away from this by, if not folding to the raise, simply checking the turn. The board had three to a flush so he could easily be up against a made hand. Also, calling a pre-flop raise and then again on the flop suggests a possible set to me, so maybe a check-call would have been better. Either way, it's the first hand, no one's going to be pissing about with rubbish. It's possible he could, at a stretch, have K-J or Q-J but I expect he'd smooth call the turn, especially considering he has position.

I noticed that there was no 75/150 level, which was disappointing. Made a big difference to me too; at 100/200, raises start to cost a little more if you haven't built on your stack and with just 30 min levels on a 10-man table, you don't have too much time to accrue chips.

I played the £100 freezeout last Saturday, and I'm sure they had the 75/150 level. Seems odd to include that level for a cheaper event. Admittedly, there were antes later on, but it doesn't seem right for the first few levels of a festival event to be worse than the weekly comp.

I noticed that this was a 1 day event too instead of the 2 day affair that it was last year. I think if the Gutshot want to maintain the title of 'the only name in poker', then they need to insure that their side events are just as well structured as the year prior. Last year, the £200er was probably the best event around for that price, not this year. I'm sure the Main Event will still be the biz though.

I exited in flamboyant style on Level 3, I think it was, with the blinds at 100 and 200 with a running ante of 25. I'd yoyo-ed around early doors, but cold cards, poor flops and the cost of a round had seen me drop to 3k.

Mateyboy raised to 800, two people called behind him, so I decided to move for my 3k with a rather vulnerable T-5 of hearts. I had a tell on the original raiser, so was pretty sure he was folding, which he did. The second guy I thought had something like a small pocket pair (he'd called similar raises with such hands before) and would also fold, which he did. The third player, who had around 8k, seemed pretty tight, so didn't worry me too much, but, unfortunately for me, this is the chap that called.

He gave it the ol "Oh, go on, I'll still have my starting stack, blah, blah, blah" before calling and showing A-J of hearts, making my flush draw defunct. I was happy to see live cards though, but I failed to hit and was soon exiting stage left.

I like to remain sceptical, so I'm willing to analyse my play. In hindsight, it was probably ill-timed. As Mickey Wernick always says, "Wait for a better opportunity" - this was too risky and I'm not sure if an extra 2.2k was enough to get three players to fold. However, I thought I was in with a shot and was willing to gamble in order to have a realistic chance of winning this comp. I'm happy to grind, but I play well with a stack, so thought it worth having a stab at the 2,950 that was already in there.

I was gutted, as always, on the way home and spent the whole journey trying to work out if I'd made a donkey move or not. I decided upon the latter.


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