Tuesday, January 25, 2005

World Series of Poker (Luton Style...)

I always wondered whether I was capable of surviving a week long pokerfest, such is the test given by the WSOP. Well, last week at Luton was the nearest I've ever come to playing a week straight.

This was the schedule I played:

Wednesday 8pm - 5.15am £500 NLHE.
Thursday 2.30pm - 9pm £500 NLHE Day 2.
Friday 8pm - 5am £250 PLHE.
Saturday 2.30pm - 6.30pm £250 PLHE Day 2.
Saturday 8pm - 3.30am £1000 NLHE.
Sunday 3pm - 4.15am £1000 NLHE Day 2.

Now, obviously I'm not complaining. The structures were very slow and that suits me. But, it seemed like I was either playing poker, driving (I was staying with my parents about an hour away from Luton) or grabbing a couple of hours sleep for an entire week. By Monday morning I was so tired I felt like a zombie! But, if I'm ever going to go deep in a really big tournament, the endurance factor will be a big test.

I know it's a matter of fine tuning, but was 10,0000 chips and a 45 minute clock really necessary for a monkey comp? And if Luton wants to feed us (we are very grateful for any comps of course...) rather than offer a buffet, what about giving everyone a £10 voucher for bar food which could be eaten while we played.

The schedule could have been slightly more player friendly. The less popular tournaments (omaha and stud), could have been played the day before the two NLHE freezeouts as they would have been done and dusted in one night and given everyone a level playing field for the big events.

But, you've got to hand to Carmel. She really listens to players opinions and acts on them. I think Luton are very close to running the perfect poker festival. Thanks.

Just for Withnail here is a quick rundown of the bad beats I dealt on the other players and a quick review of each event:

£500 NLHE: It seems like an eternity since this event and my memory is a bit hazy. I know I sat next to Ed Giddins (nice bloke, who gave me the run down of the events which led to him being banned from cricket... you really shouldn't believe everything you read from anonymous posters on poker forums) and Dave "Charisma" Welsh. Charisma is certainly already tired of being mistaken for his Ambassadorial namesake. I don't like being harsh on newcomers but Charisma certainly has to stop talking through hands which he's not involved in and giving hapless players the rubdown after they've made a bad play. "How the hell can you call with that?" was often heard. I never really got going on day 1, but one thing I noticed was with so many players coming back the following afternoon, several players went allin on very marginal hands in the last 30 minutes to try and double up and have a decent stack for the next day. If you are entering a 2 day tournament why think "It's not worth coming back with 8,000"? You should pick you spots just as carefully in the last 30 minutes as the first 30 and if you don't want to come back, don't play.

I was very pleased with the way I nursed my short stack despite lack of playable hands and kept in the hunt (I finished day 1 in the botton 5 stacks with 25k or so). On the Thursday I actually picked up a few hands. I virtually trebled up when Shifty Stevens limped in trap 1, I made a small raise with the boots, Tony Hakki called in the sb and Shifty moved in. Yum Yum. I then knocked out Francis Rohan with JJ v AQ much to his chagrin "how can you call me with this shit son?". I actually reached the final in good shape. But, it wasn't to be. I raised to pass twice and was blinded down for three rounds. Then I moved in with QT to find the BB holding AK. End of Camel.

I certainly wasn't impressed with the winner's play. He seems to care not a jot what his opponent is holding, if he likes his hand he simply moves allin. How he has ever won a big tournament like this is beyond me, he should by rights be trapped very easily as he uses a sledge hammer to smash a peanut. Some of the placed horses however impressed me greatly. I have never played with "Cactus Jack", who finished second, before. My spies had warned me he was a complete loony, but I liked his big stack game. He was prepared to gamble with the short stacks but gave due respect when it was needed and played endlessly aggressive poker. (I did play with him for a short while in the £250 PLHE and he didn't play nearly as well. Whether it was because he had satisfied his hunger with a £10k payday or he can't manoeuver so well with a short stack I don't know). Two others impressed me: Stuart Fox and N Tang. Fox has been cleaning up recently and it doesn't surprise me. He plays very aggressively but can put a hand down when things are going wrong. If he hadn't lost a huge pot with KK v AA I am certain he would have finished in the top 3. I have never seen or heard of Mr Tang before. But, he is certainly one to watch. He played on the tight side but picked his spots expertly and never gave up despite having a short stack for ages. A name to look out for in the future.

£250 PLHE: I don't like pot limit as much as no limit and decided to play this event as a semi freezeout unless I had an amazing table. I vowed not to rebuy and only add on if there were alot of chips on my table and I hadn't doubled up. I wanted to be fresh for the £1000 tournament the next day.

Well, this tournament was quite amazing. I was blessed. I found big hand after big hand early on. I flopped a couple of sets and got paid handsomely. Then just after the rebuys ended I raised with QT hearts and got called by Ben Grundy in the BB (I think he was BB although he may have limped). I flopped the nut flush draw and turned the nuts. I got him virtually allin and won a huge pot. I had about 60k when the average was probably a fifth of that. With the only big stack safely to my right (Mick Jones who is a very dangeropus player as he will put all his chips in on seemingly a whim.) I stole and played carefree poker. I got lucky in a big pot againt Tony "Blondepoker" Kendall when everyone passed to me in the sb I raise with AQ and he moved allin with AK. I called pretty quickly but it was about 1/4 of my chips against such a tight player perhaps I should have released. But, I didn't and I hit a Q on the turn to knock him out. We finished for day 1 with 18 left and I was in second place in chips.

Now the old doubts crept in overnight. The amount of times I've wanked away a big stack in the last 18 months is truly frightening. I vowed to play very snugly and pick my spots carefully. We redrew for seats for the semi and the fact Roy The Boy was sitting on my table with a medium stack made me all the tighter as I sure didn't want to double him up. I made one huge error here. with 200k I called a short stacks allin bet of 22k with KJ suited. Now the BB moved allin with AQ for 30k more and I am pretty much compelled to call. I lost a quarter of my stack with a piece of cheese. I managed to make the final with above average chips. The play with KJ affected my thinking in the key pot of the final. with 7 left Brindley moved in on the button for about 40k. I moved in from the SM with AT trying to shut out the BB. But he woke up with AK and called. Ugh. Roy was at it with 56. I rivered a ten and knocked them both out. Now deal time, 4 ways. With 1.2 million chips in play I had about 400k and the other 3 split the reamining chips fairly evenly . There was 49 grand in the pot and I agreed to take 12k with the other 3 taking 10k each. The deal wasn't great for me but I agreed for two reasons. I had a terrible 12 months in 2004 and could do with 12 large and the other 3 guys had all shown a willingless to gamble. D Mitchell had called a huge allin bet with K5. D Mitchell had done the same with AT. Mick Jones had the hump with me for refusing to up 10th place by a monkey (I didn't refuse because I'm tight.... I always refuse to giving the bubble money since I agreed in Southampton one day and someone went allin with QJ against my KK saying "I've got £200 now, I'm happy". It changes the game, makes the small stacks more happy to gambooool. And if I'm around at the late stages of a comp I want to exploit the fact that several players are desperate just to make the money/final.) and maybe he would gamlble with me too. So we played for about 7 grand. I lost about 80 grand raising with A8 and having to pass for a reraise. Then after Jones was knocked out I found AA on the BB with Mitchell raising into me. I reraised small, and he called. The flop looked lovely: J65. He checked and I moved in. Oops, he had 66. Exit Camel. I was very happy with my play in this event. Apart from the KJ error I play pretty much faultless poker. Although I made a couple of big outdraws, pot odds probably made a call the right play. I was never allin prior to the deal being made and I always take that as a tournament well played.

One player really stood out in this comp. A young kid John Paul Kelly was on my table for a long time. He was the player who moved in with AQ. He played absolutely brilliantly and made one great laydown with QQ when up against AA. He will win big tournaments in the future without a doubt.

I think this post is long enough already and my typing fingers are tired... so, I will tell the £1000 tournament story tomorrow (or the day after....)


Blogger Milkybarkid said...

Hmm yeh i did blast you off with a good 32k pot against me!! With the AK hearts on the flop and the fact you had raised practically under the gun i couldn't read that you had a flush. I had 89 hearts and called from the big blind. I should have slowed down on the river after my initial check raise got called on the turn. Anyway congratulations on a damn good poker week.

Ben Grundy

4:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting hand write up by tikay with your move in when one of two other opponents has thrown 5k chip in by mistake....more details on this please....

You moved in during the conversation for what reason...you feared the hand was about to be decalred dead????


6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This happened as well at my table. On the basis that no further action had taken place the bettor was allowed to withdraw the bet and flat call as intended. Did the Camel know this ruling before he moved in?

11:23 AM  
Blogger The Camel said...

I will write a full account of this hand and all of the £1000 tournament either later tonight or tomorrow.

My recollection of the hand is slightly different to tikay's :)

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Keith, a nice weeks work.


2:12 AM  

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