Sunday, July 31, 2005

Feels Pretty Damn Good

Decided to head up to the Toon for the Newcastle Festival this week.

Managed to squeak into the final of the £100 NL. The blinds got pretty big and it turned into a bit of a lottery. Found TT and pushed in but Steve Lui had JJ and that was that.

Struck down by a cold I decided to give Friday's PL comp a miss.

So onto Saturday and the £500 double chance freezeout.

James Browning devised a very good structure which afforded loads of play. No crapshoot in this event.

The play in the early stages confirmed my ever growing belief that the main events in the provincial casinos are the best value poker events in Britain today.

Let me give you two examples of how i got off to a flying start in the event.

I managed to get to 20k (from a 10k start) pretty early. With the blinds 150-300 a guy with about 12k makes it 1000 to go with KK. I call on the button with 66. The BB now moves in for another 1200. The original raiser now just calls! I call too, flop a set and bust him.

Then, during the next level (200-400) an early position player limps and a young guy who had played perfectly well for the first couple of hours now moves on the button for 20k! Lucky old Camel discovers the boots on the small blind. So, with the chip average about 13k, I managed to accumulate over fifty large.

I would be lying to say I played well. The chips fell into my lap and I picked them up. The rest of day 1 was spent bullying and nicking until for the last hour I got moved to the right of WSOP champion Laurence Gosney. What a pain in the arse this bloke is. When I moved to his table I had over 90k. There were five tables left and I had more than the average for the final. But, it was inevitable I would clash with LG as we both like to play loads of flops and play them aggressively. He got the better of me in two big pots by simply outplaying me and cut me in half. I then got very lucky against Jas Pardesi. He raised my bb and I moved in with AQ. He called with AK and I lucked out by the boarding pairing twice for a split pot.

I was steaming and lucky play ended when it did. I would have tilted off the rest of my chips I think.

Day 2 was a different matter. I played really well today. I never put my chips in danger and shifted gears well. Laurence continued his path of destruction on the other table (he was moved early today, thank God).

I managed to get double my stack without showing a hand (apart from a couple of minor allin calls) and get to the final in pretty good shape.... third in chips.

For the first hour of the final Mr Gosney seemed like he was going to absolutely walk home with the prize. He knocked 4 players out in the first lap... all of them outdraws! By the time we were 5 handed he had 4/5ths of the chips in play. He was playing 90% of pots and raising virtually all of them. The only way to stay alive was to avoid him.

But, eventually the tide turned. he doubled me up when he called my allin raise with 93 (I had AK). He hit a 3 on the flop of course but I managed to turn an ace. Then, the key hand. Laurence moved allin on the button. The sb called and I woke up with QQ. I was in excellent shape against A7 and AQ and trebled up, eliminating a player in the meantime.

Down to 3 handed George Harle proved once and for all Laurence was falible. He called a raise and checked a flop of TT9. LG moved in with 55 and George showed JT to win.

Chip stacks were now: George: 400k me: 250k Laurence 100k. With £27,400 in the pot Laurence offered a cheeky deal. Me and George £10 grand each him the rest. I agreed quickly and surprisingly so did George.

I must admit I was pretty delighted. Not just because I had split the tournament, but I was really pleased with the way I played. I somehow managed to dance around Hurricane Gosney and picked my spots perfectly. George was definitely Man of the Match and deserved the trophy. He's definitely one to watch in the future if he decides to devote more time to poker.

As for the tournament itself, it was great. Stanley casino really pushed the boat out. New tables and chips were provided. Dealers, although inexperienced, were eager to learn and friendly. A free buffet was provided every night. It really was refreshing to see a casino try to please its punters.

A very enjoyable and satisfying few days.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Have a Little Look Here...

31 Runners.
Paying 10,000E each.
Prizepool 238,000E.

Can someone enlighten me what happened to the other 72,000 Euros?

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I pretty much gave it everything but the cards chose the most important tournament of the year to spit firmly in my face.

I had an incredibly good table. One guy, who only lasted 15 minutes, played every single pot to the river when he had a pair. He called off his last $5000 when the board showed KKJ92 with pocket fives.

The rest of the table was a juicy mix of rocks and calling stations.

But, for virtually the entire tournament when ever I got involved in a big pot I was royally buggered.

For example:

During level 1 I flopped a set of 7's against an obvious overpair. He caught a backdoor flush with the King of hearts.

Level 2 opened with me holding KK against 9T on a flop of 974. He rivered another 9.

I took on a short a stack with KK. He had AK. You can guess what the river was.

The fact I survived for as long as I did was testament to what an incredible table I was on. I think I was reraised only twice in the 7 hours I played.

I had 8,000 at the dinner break and was delighted to still be around. In a normal big event with ill fortune I suffered I would definitely have been toast by then.

Level 5 began and I felt my fortunes had turned. I flopped a set of jacks and got paid. I picked up the boots and won a nice pot. Then the first hand which led to my downfall occurred.

We were playing 150-300 with a running 25. A tightish player with about 15k raised my big blind to 900. I called with 76spades (I had approx 17k at the time). Flop came over 982 with two hearts. I checked and he bet 1000. I check raised him 2500 more just to see exactly how much he liked his hand. He called. Hmmmm. An overpair looked most likely but him getting stubborn with a flush draw was a possibility too. Anyway, I was through with hand unless I hit my straight. Bang! An offsuit 5 rolled off on the turn. Now, how much to bet? I wanted to bet enough to get him to be making a bad call with a flush draw, but not too much so that he could call if he had the overpair. There was about 9000 in the pot and he had about 10-11k left. 4000 seemed the right amount. He would be taking a little over 3-1 about a 4-1 shot if he did indeed have the flush draw. So, that's what I bet. He hummed and hawwed and finally called. The four of hearts was the river. I was watching him as it fell and he almost jumped out of his chair. I was 99% sure he had made it and checked to him. He simply moved in. I passed and he showed me A9 hearts. He had flopped top pair and a flush draw. Against a more aggressive player I would have lost alot less chips as most would simply move in after my check raise with this hand. I probably should have bet slightly more on the turn but I honestly felt he had an overpair and didn't want to scare him off. Anyways, if he called 400 who is to say he wouldn't have called (or moved in) if I had bet 5 or 6k?

Back down to about 9k I started my kleptomania again. I stole my way back to 15k in about 45 minutes. Then the big pot occurred.

There were 4 limpers to me on the button. Naturally I called along with 97hearts. The sb made up and the bb checked. We saw the flop of 862 with the 8 and 6 being hearts. I flopped a straight flush draw! Checked around the final limper bet 1200 into the 2300 pot. Against strong players my hand is a definite raise. But against this motley crew? I wasn't so sure. Someone could easily have flopped a set or got stubborn with 99 ot TT or something. I would be favourite against an overpair and about a coin flip against a set. But, I didn't really want to gamble on this table. I certainly wasn't passing at this stage and although a hefty raise could have worked there were so many limpers I wanted to see what they did. So, I called. The bb now raised 3000. Everyone, including the bettor, passed. Now, I made my big mistake. I was pretty sure he had flopped two pair. I *have* to move in now. The guy was an absolute rock. I think there was a good chance he would have passed here even with bottom 2 pair. But, I was still didn't want to play a pot for all my chips when I was drawing. I'm not usually scared to stick 'em in with a draw, but on this table? I just didn't want to do it, when chips on this table were so easily up for grabs. So, I made the weak move and called. Horrible, horrible play. I figured I still have 10k if I missed and although he probably wouldn't call me if the flush came, he could easily double me up if I hit one of the 6 straight cards.

The turn was a black ace. He bet out 3k. Ugh. With 15 clear outs I cannot pass. Moving in wasn't really an option now, as he would be almost dutibound to call. So I call again. I miss on the river too and he checks. The allin would have been futile and I chek behind him. He shows 84 for top pair and no kicker. I felt physically sick. If I'd moved in on the flop I would have won the pot. Even on turn when he bet so weak, I probably would have picked it up with an allin. Even a river bluff might have been successful against the player in question. I played with the guy for 8+ hours and this was the nearest thing he made to a move all day. Bollocks.

I still had 7.5k left. More than enough on this table, but my hopes of another comeback were quickly scuppered. I raised on the button with AQ and the sb moved in for 4k. I called he showed A3 and flopped a flush. The final denoument happened soon after when I moved in with 77 and got called with QQ. He madce quads.

I don't think I've ever been so disappointed to go out of a tournament. With normal luck I could easily have ended the day with 50k+. Instead I am left to rue a terribly played pot and ten grand down the swanee.

Thank God Katharine is in Vegas and was there to console me. I was so tilty after busting out the dice table would have taken one hell of a pounding if she wasn't here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So little time...

I think it's safe to say the WSOP has begun in anger now.

Never being one to be afraid to stick my oar in, here's a few random thoughts of some quite extraordinary happenings at the Rio during the last couple of days.

Firstly, congratulations to Paul McKinney for his win in the seniors event. The guy is 80 years old. Truly amazing that someone of that age can win a bracelet. He's a really nice bloke and I'm chuffed for him.

Secondly, Vinny Vinh has confirmed my opinion that he is perhaps the biggest tosser in the world of poker. I was playing on his table last year at the Bellagio when he raised my big blind for the 4th consecutive round. I moved in with KQ and he called instantly with A8. I outdrew him. He looked at me with hatred in his eyes and called me "a fucking motherfucker". Charming. But, he isn't just offensive. He proved when headsup in the $10k PLO final he is also a slimy weasel.

This is how Cardplayer reported an outrageous incident:

"Date / Time: 2005-07-05 02:04:00
Title: Rafi Amit Doubles Through Vinny Vinh; F-Bomb Penalizes Him 10 Minutes
Log: After a flop of 9c-8d-8h, Rafi Amit bets, Vinny Vinh reraises $344,000 more, Amit pushes all in, and Vinh calls. Vinh shows Ad-10d-8s-5d (trip eights), but Amit has Jh-9d-9s-4h (full house, nines full of eights). Vinh is drawing very thin, needing to catch the fourth eight or running aces to win the hand. The turn card is the 5h, the river card is the 2c, and Rafi Amit wins the hand.

The chips in their stacks are counted down, and Vinny Vinh has about $95,000 left.

But wait, there's more ...

Apparently, Vinny Vinh heard Rafi Amit say the "F-Bomb" during a hand a few minutes earlier, which is a mandatory 10-minute penalty. There is a sustained argument between Rafi Amit and Assistant Tournament Director Jack Effel, and multiple sides to the story, but the end result is that Amit is being blinded off for ten minutes at $8,000-$16,000."

Amit did not abuse anyone. All he said was something along the lines of "Fuck it, let's gamble". Vinh lost the pot and then squealed about Amit swearing. If he had won the title after such an underhanded move he should be ashamed for life. Thankfully, justice was done despite Amit losing $200k during the penalty. He recovered his composure and beat the obnoxious little git.

Thirdly, this Amit/Vinh case just showed what a ridiculous thing the "F bomb" rule actually is. Fine, if you abuse, insult or threaten another player or dealer you richly deserve a 10 minute penalty (probably 10 minutes is far too little in many cases). But for using the word "fuck" in whatever context receiving a penalty is juvenile in the extreme. We are all adults for christsakes. If we were playing in a church, fair enough. But we are not and whoever thought up this rule should just fuck right off. Boom boom!

Fourthly, the Trumper/Greenstein incident has been discussed ad infinitem. Simon does have a tendency to showboat and "play for the cameras" on occasion and I wish he didn't. It sounds like he was doing this here. If Simon's delay in raising was only 90 odd seconds that is fine, but showing his cards one by one was bad ettiquette. Let's just play poker and forget all the bullshit. The reaction to the incident has been overblown in the extreme. Greensteins has taken back some of his ridiculous allegations and I think it's all over now. Simon is a good bloke and a good player and I hope he doesn't let this furore affect his performance in the main event.

I am pleased to report that there finally is a real buzz at the Rio now as the main event is about to begin. I am feeling quite nervous already but looking forward to giving it my best shot. For anyone who isn't here and fancies a little wager here are my 3 to follow.

1. Garry Bush. I feel very strongly Bushy is going to go very deep this year. I don't think I've ever seen him so animated and focused. He hasn't played dice once on this trip (therefore isn't on tilt) and is cock a hoop at what has happened at the Rio thus far. Everything points to an excellent run.

2. Rob Hollink. I've always rated Rob's game but in the last 6 months he has been absolutely awesome. Winning Monte Carlo and finalising at the WPT championship. He has enough gamble to get chips early and enough wile to keep them.

3. Erik Seidel. Quite simply Mr Consistent. He seems to be always there at every last 3 tables and is an intimidating presence when he has a mountain of chips. Clearly at the top of his game right now (he won his 7th bracelet earlier this WSOP) he can go all the way.

Today for me it's a piss up watching the Hooters girls take on the Hendon Mob in a series of heads up matches then a quiet day tomorrow before playing on day 2.

It's really funny how whenever you ask someone which day they are playing on whatever the answer it's the day they were hoping for. I haven't heard anyone say "I'm playing on day 1 and I'm really pissed off about it."

Let battle commence.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A thorny problem

So, I'm back in Vegas.

I managed to grab 14 hours sleep before playing the $3000 NL holdem yesterday.

I picked up a dream table draw. After playing with them for 4 hours there was only one I could honestly say had any semblance of a game. The rest were tight/passive and seemed genuinely scared of busting out.

I had built my stack up to 5,500 when the following hand came up.

Blinds were 100-200 and I raised to 700 in middle position with AQ. The sb didn't see my raise and thought everyone had passed to him. He attempted to raise to 600. The dealer informed him of my raise and he seemed very flustered. He didn't say raise when he put his 600 in so he had to complete my bet (he had 500 less than me prior to the hand). I really didn't know what to think. I didn't know whether he would have reraised me preflop so all I knew was he wanted to raise the bb. Hmmmm. So, we saw the flop heads up. It came AKQ rainbow. He checked and I bet 800. He now raised to 1800. Bollocks. He was certainly tight/passive but that didn't mean he had me beat. He had seen me be very aggressive and bet into virtually every pot I raised. With Ax he would probably assume he was in front and his raise suggested to me that he was keeping a couple of grand in case I had a real hand. I *could* have passed or called but I honestly thought I was in front so I moved allin. He beat me into the pot with KK. Ugh. It was so annoying because against this player although I might call a small reraise preflop I almost certainly don't double him up if he had indeed reraised. It wasn't quite the end of the story however. I managed to parlay my remaining 550 into 3000 when I picked up AK UTG. I limped. A new player to the table made it 700 to play and was called by the bb. I pushed in for about 2000 more. The raiser called with QJ! He hit a Jack on the flop and sent me scurrying to the rail.

I was really gutted. It was definitely my best chance of going deep into a comp thus far in the WSOP. On reflection I should just have mucked the AQ when he reraised. Even if I had the best hand I feel my +ev on this particular table was so big that passing was the correct move. Oh well, live and learn.
FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from