Last weekend I made a last ditch decision to head up to Dusk Till Dawn for the monthly £300er. I only had a couple of hours to get there, and the Ford Fiesta does tend to make a strange rumbling noise when it reaches 70, but I was in the mood to gamble.
I made it in pretty good time in the end, but when I reached down to grab my shoes, I realised that I’d accidentally picked up my toilet bag. Now, that may seem like the mistake of a simpleton, but I have a tendency to place a lot of my belongings in plastic bags, thus concealing the identity of their contents. Anyhow, imagine my shock when I tried to squeeze my feet into a toilet bag. Not only that, but I’d travelled all this way like a coked up Nigel Mansell only to risk being refused entry.
At 26, you don’t expect to experience those anxious teenage McLovin moments where you’re nervously wondering if the bar all your mates are in are going to accept your fake I.D., but that’s how I felt, and I really couldn’t bare the humiliating journey home at such short notice.
Back in my school days, one approved strategy was to beg some random lass to go in with you for extra credibility, and I thought the same could be applied here. Cue the arrival of Julian Thew. Hallelujah! Who better to go in with than an EPT/GUKPT hero and someone who had previously entered the Gala Casino in open-toed sandals and a Pauline Fowler cardigan?
With Julian by my side, I confidently approached security, but a big foreboding hand soon obstructed my path as Julian waltzed in unhampered. “Sorry, you can’t come in with trainers.” At this point, I attempted a number of different strategies, ranging from begging, lying and pleading total ignorance, but nothing seemed to work. We even debated in detail the rule about ‘no sportswear’ and whether this included my black Nike trainers. “But I’ve never played any sports in these,” I cried. Funnily enough, that didn’t seem to work. “But I’ve travelled all this way, I thought I’d be okay like this.” Nope, that was a no go too.” “But I genuinely don’t even own any shoes.” Oh gosh, this really isn’t looking good.
“I’ve only been here once, and that was at the press tournament on the opening night.” Oooooh, this perked up a few ears on the sidelines as another chap from behind the desk said, “Well, okay, we’ll say this is your first time and let you in just this once.” Phew! Even then, there still seemed to be a standoff with the first security guard seemingly stuck in refusal mode, but after the other dude repeated himself, I quietly crept in thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t have to about turn and head home.
I won’t bang on about DTD, I’ve already blogged about how great it is. Everyone is always sucking up to DTD for various reasons, so I won’t repeat myself. It’s excellent, there’s no doubt about it, so say no more, if you haven’t been, just go.
An impressive 170 players turned up. On my table were Ironside, Rana Gurnam and Lucy Rokach. I won’t bore you with my entire hand history, but will mention a couple of hands.
The first one involved Lucy. With a stack of 13k and blinds at 75/150, I raised it up to 500 with A-To and received two callers, one of whom was Lucy on the button. The Flop came Ac-Qs-7d. I checked, Lucy bet 1.5k, Mateyboy folded and I flat called. Turn was the Js. I checked again and Lucy bet 3k leaving herself just 3,150 behind.
I dwelled up for ages, which probably annoyed a few people, but I’m determined not to allow other people’s impatience to force me into making the wrong decision. In the end, I put her all-in and she called with 7s-5s which hit a 7d on the River. This obviously frustrated me, but I’d made the right decision which was ultimately the most important thing to me. It would have been easy to back out of that hand, but, as I do in online cash (hence hectic swings), I felt I was ahead and stuck with that belief. I don’t want to play scared poker.
I grinded my way back up to 17k, before dropping down to 8-10k. At this point I’d noticed that Rupert Elder was raising it up in the same sort of position each round, and was probably playing a wide range of hands, so, with blinds of 300/600, I pushed from the small blind with 9-6o after Rupert had made it 1,500. I was pretty sure he was going to fold, but he gave me a spin with 5-5 which stood up.
I’ve thought endlessly about this, and whichever way I look at it, the bottom line is that I made a mistake by overestimating the fold equity in the hand, which, considering he called with Fives, didn’t really exist unless he had was on a complete steal. I actually thought he’d only call with Nines or above, so I guess I simply misread my opponent.
Apart from that final hand, I’m really pleased with how I played in this tournament. I made few errors, read the game well and grinded when I needed to. On the other hand, I did feel kind of depressed, not because I was out, but because it reminded me of all the tournament poker I’ve been missing out on and how perhaps, if I just played more, I could take a big comp down. As someone who spends so much time working beyond the felt, I sometimes worry that the tournament scene is passing me by. I grind out a decent enough wage online, but the glory and competitive nature of tournaments is something that I find attractive. I’d hate for the poker buzz to one day disperse and find that I missed out on these opportunities and failed in my goals to play big events such as the Irish Open and World Series of Poker. Sometimes the urge to jack in all my work responsibilities and become a full time pro is overwhelming. Never say never, I’m still a gambler at heart.