Friday, November 23, 2007


As I write, I am currently watching the final of the Midlands Masters in Walsall unfold. As with the Grand Prix, the final is being played in a yet to open sideroom that Grosvenor are planning to rent out for £75 squid an hour. People will be able to play a cash game, STT or whatever with big screen TV, dealer and waitress service. Also, there's an expensive soundproof door that can be pulled across if they don't want people to know what they're up to.

But back to the Main Event, this has to be one of the toughest line-ups I've ever seen including Mickey Wernick, Paul Jackson, Marc Goodwin, Harpit Gurnam, Martyn Cavanagh, Steve Jelinek, Rob Reece, Chicken Joe and Dave Colclough. In fact, the whole field was tough, and although I assumed that I'd have a 'I know their game better than they know mine' advantage, I think it would have been better saving my dosh for a GUKPT or something instead.

I did decide that it would be good experience and somewhat of a challenge, but that only comes into effect if you actually get further than a few hands. To be fair, I made it about half way, but only through grinding a shortstack and never getting above my starting stack.

This was due to a couple of mistakes, apart from actually playing the comp in the first place. Ironically, although I was sat at a table with Thewy, El Blondie, Woodley, Herbert and Singleton (who, for some unknown reason, turned into a raising machine), the player who took most of my chips early doors was the lesser known Tony Fellone (gotta love the cool gangster name!).

I called a raise with 8c 4c (it was a loose table, as you can imagine) and bet out 500 on a 5c 2c 5d Flop. Everyone folded except Tony. Check, check on the Kc Turn, and then another check from Tony on the 4d River. I bet out 1.5k, and Tony made it 4.5k.

Against anyone else, I'd fold, but Tony seemed like a rash, loose player lacking the calculation of someone who'd check-raise the nuts on the River. A straight or flush would flat call my bet on a paired board, and I eliminated all possible house hands: he was uncharacteristically passive on the flop with draws out there if he had the 5, Pocket Fours would fold the flop (and I had one!), Kings would have raised pre-flop, and he surely wouldn't check 3 times with Pocket Sixes. Also, I'd just seen his poker face when he had a hand against Woodley, and this time he looked different.

So... going with my belief (which I try to do to avoid playing scared poker), I made the call but was shown Ac 8c, which was a mighty surprise, but proved that I'd somehow managed to outthink myself. I never tilt, but I rued my decision for a good while and later deemed it to be a terrible call, if only because I forgot to consider the amount of bluffing hands that he could have held, which is very few. However, in hindsight, it only cost me 3k, and if I hadn't been knocked down to 4k, then I wouldn't have doubled up off Julian Thew's flopped two pair with a flush and straight draw as my card didn't arrive to the River, by which time, and with a deeper stack, he probably would have pushed me off the hand.

My next mistake came a couple of levels later, looking down at As-Ts in early position, I decided to limp and see a Tc-Ah-Qh multiway Flop. Everyone checked and Chicken Joe bet 700, which was check-raised to 1,600 by Z Mirza who'd limped in early position too. I dwelt up for ages before calling, believing Joe was going to sense danger and step out the way whilst also giving me position on Mirza to see what he did on the Turn. Hands I was worried about were K-J and A-Q (he would have raised a set up pre-flop), yet he could still have A-J or below (Joe is a loose player) or even the draw.

Anyhow, a raggy heart came on the Turn, and after Mirza checked nervously, I decided to represent the flush to either stop him rivering another heart if I had him beat or get him off the straight or two pair. So, I popped out 2.5k, but he quickly called and we saw a blank River. At this point I knew that (1) I'd made a mistake in betting the Turn and (2) that he had me beat, most likely with the straight, and probably holding a heart.

If a heart had hit the River, then I would have grabbed my balls and pushed in either hoping he didn't have a heart, or that he'd fold the Jack. However, because it wasn't red, and although I contemplated an all-in, I decided against it and checked. He showed Kh-Jc and said he would have called, and I believe him. But I had 6k and was still in with a shot, which isn't bad considering that if there'd been some pre-flop action I might have done my whole stack.

On a sidenote, I was made to show my hand here after trying to muck, which I hate. Apparently the rule here, which isn't applied consistently, is that all checked hands on the River have to be shown. Not only is this time-consuming, annoying and unnecessary, but it gives away a lot of information in a game that should be about deception. Paul Jackson detested this rule too, and claimed that if people wanted to collude, then they could just muck their hand before being asked to reveal and there'd be nothing the dealers could do.

Apart from those hands, I didn't really hit much, and spent most of the time ducking and diving (even getting back up to 9k at one point) before cold cards allowed the 'cost of poker' to demolish me. With the blinds at 300/600 and about to rise, I saw one Ace and pushed my 4.5k in from latish position after remaining frustratingly patient through a seemingly endless sea of 8-3, T-2, Q-4, etc.

Of course, poker is all about timing (aka luck), and I ended up running into A-K and Kings behind me. Luckily, the A-K was pushed off the hand pre-flop, so I had a chance, but my outs didn't arrive and I was deservedly out of the door. Rob Reece was the chap that finished me off, and he seemed like a nice lad, even if he does look like Chris Moyles.

Bit gutted because I feel I spent £800 without gaining too much in the way of experience or enjoyment. Also, I didn't play particularly well and am begrudgingly sighing over a recent lack of cards and, more importantly, opportunities. I'm not playing amazingly, but solid enough and feel that I deserve the cards to run a bit better for me at those crucial times. Still, am remaining patient and looking forward to playing a couple of freezeouts at the Luton Christmas Cracker. Praying for a final table at the moment.


At 1:17 PM, Blogger legiorgio said...


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At 6:51 PM, Blogger Ukgatsby said...

Excellent reading as ever
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