Monday, November 15, 2004

No Regrets (Well, not that many anyway)

I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I came 7th in the big event at Amsterdam after being in or close to the chip lead for the best part of 2 days.

But, although I can't deny I am bitterly disappointed, unlike the last two big events where I have entered the latter stages with huge chips (The Vic and the Bellagio in 2002) where I really fucked up badly, I don't think I did much wrong. So I really should dust myself down and just say well done to the winners.

For two days it was pretty much a dream tournament. I had great draw, with the only dangerous players ever to visit my table (Rumit Somaya, Paul Leckey, Paul Alterman and Julian Thew) safely to my right.

I got a double up within the first 90 minutes of the tournament when Rumit limped with J9 and I had Q9 on the sb and we saw a very pretty flop of 992. I am more convinced then ever that the correct strategy for me in these big events is to gamble early on to get a double up because when a loose/aggressive player has the power to bust anyone on the table it makes the other players very wary of tangling with him and leads to alot of easy steals.

The rest of the day was plain sailing. A guy wanted to totally overplay AK when I had AA (the only time I had the boots in 3 days!). Then I busted AA when a German decided to try and trap me when I had 99 and flopped a set. I finished the day with approximately 65,000 and I felt fresh and relaxed.

Onto day 2, and for the first few hours it was more of the same. I stole with complete freedom. And my loose image caused a pretty big stack to put far too many chips into a pot when he raised my BB with AQ and saw a flop of A99.

After perhaps 9 hours of play on the second day we got down to 2 tables. I had never been allin and I had never showed the worst hand in a big pot. I had about 220,000 in chips and things couldn't be running smoother. Then, with blinds of 2-4k Ali Sharkeshik opened the pot for 12,000. I found QQ in the cutoff. I reraised him to 35,000. Immediately he moved allin for about 40,000 more. Hmmmm. I knew I was almost certainly behind, but there was enough chance of him having AK or a smaller pair that calling for 40,000 to win 120,000 when I have about chip average if I lose, was almost certainly correct.

Alas, Ali had KK. But as soon as the flop was dealt I saw the doorcard was a beautiful looking queen! I busted Ali and assumed the chip lead. Now, an interesting passage of play ensued. For the first time in the entire tournament I had a player whose play I respect, Dutchman Rob Hollink, on my immediate left. With such big chips and the final looming I tried to weild my big stick as the other players tried to scramble into the last 10. But, Rob clearly sensed this was my tactic and haiving good chips himself he started to take me on. Twice within 5 hands he reraise my opening raise and I layed my hand down.

This was frustrating me greatly. I should have been making steady progress and the conflicts with Rob were pissing me off. I had given him about 30k. Not terminal to a 280kish stack certainly, but annoying nonetheless. Then, on my button everyone passed and I made it 14,000 to play with 9T sooooted. Rob, with a stack of about 160,000 made it 40,000 to go. Now, the rest of the table must of been getting used of me raising only to pass for the reraise, and were mentally taking note of this. So, I took I stand. I wanted everyone to know if you reraise me you have to hold a hand which you are prepared to put the whole lot in. So, I shipped it allin. Now, I have never taken cocaine, but the next three minutes were the biggest buzz I have ever had in poker and possibly similar to a couple of lines of coke. At one stage Rob looked certain to call, at another stage he looked certain to pass. Now, imagine the pressure on me while he is going through these macinations and I am trying desperately not to give anything away. Eventually he passed. A massive relief for me obviously but noone messed around with me after I raised for the remainder of that tables life.

So, I made the final. I had a good nights sleep was ready to play. But, it wasn't my day. The trap draw which had been so kind to me throughout the event deserted me at the last. The chip leader Pouya Pouya Majd was seated 3 to my left and obviously came to the final with a game plan. He had played on my table for about 5 hours on day 2 and knew I like to play and raise plenty of pots. He was clearly determined not to allow me to have control of the table and immediately reraise me in the first two pots I opened. C'est la vie, I decided to sit back and try to trap him. After about 2 hours of the final I raised from middle position with AT. The lowest stack, Robert Mizrachi, called. I had seen him make the old "call from the BB and then go allin on the flop" move several times the previous day and it was half in my mind he was planning to do this here. I watched the flop of 369 with two hearts and looked up to see what he was going to do. His chips were already in the pot! Now it wasn't a clear call, I had to put in 50k and the pot was about 140k. But, the nagging thought in my head was that I had the best hand. So, I called. His hand was JQh. So, he had 2 overcards to the flop and a flush draw. I've just checked on twodimes and he was 54%-46% favourite so my call was mathmatically correct. I will never know if he saw he had a flush draw before he went allin but I suspect he didn't, he was merely betting I had missed the flop. He hit his flush and I was down to about 240k in chips.

A couple of rounds later the smallest stack moved allin on my BB. The allin bet was his only move throughout the time I was playing with him. I looked down and saw JJ. I had to call 65,000ish. Again it wasn't a clear call, but I felt there was enough chance of him Arag or a lower pair that a call was the correct play. Alas, he had QQ and they held up. Incendentally, he made the exact same move a few hands later with TT after someone limped in! So, my call wasn't too bad.

Now I became pretty short stacked. The blinds had moved up to 5-15k with a running 3k and I hovered at about 100k. Tristan made up the 15 from the small blind with similar chips and I found AK in the BB. Pretty much a nobrainer dontcha think? I moved in and Tris called with the boots! Even if I smelt a rat and declined to raise the flop came something like K42 so I was doomed.

The whole tournament was a great buzz which I thoroughly enjoyed. I must thank the people who had enough faith in me to buy a share, and to the posters on here and on the Mob forum who supported me throughout the comp. I'm disappointed I didn't do better, but far from downcast. Congratulations must go to Tristan for another superb finish.

I'll be back...


Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

All I can say is that in Monte Carlo there were an awful lot of us rooting for you Keith and it's a shame that the cards couldn't have been kinder to you at the final table.

Nonetheless a wonderful achievement for you and I'm certain it will not be too long before you nail another one of these biggies which you so richly deserve.

I like to think philosophically about such situations in that when making final tables there will be times when you achieve a higher position than your chip stack size suggests whilst at other times you will finish much lower but such is poker.

In Monte Carlo Phil Ivey had a very big chip stack at the final table whilst the eventual winner was at one stage very short stacked indeed.

Congratulations on your achievement anyway and hope not to have you at my table when we next meet.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats on another final table. i am sure a big win is not far off.

davey newth

12:44 AM  
Blogger julian said...

unlucky keith,
you played your large stack with aplomb, a pleasure to watch.
getting yourself into a commanding position at that late stage of a comp is what it's all about & reading your report it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong.
better luck next time.

8:21 AM  

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