Sunday, August 21, 2005

Top Of The League!

Not QPR unfortunately. They just got tonked by Coventry City 3-0 in the first game at Ricoh Stadium.

No, top of the league is me. After winning the main event at Sheffield yesterday when update the 2005 rankings on Wednesday (assuming they have the Sheffield results to hand by then) I will have a slender lead over Stewart Nash. DY, latebet and all the other "poker is about winning money" merchants will have probably have a hearty giggle in my direction but I would really like to win the rankings. Not for the 10 grand in prize money (although obviously that would come in handy) but purely so I can say I was the most consistent tournament poker player in Europe in 2005. I doubt very much I will triumph however. I am taking a couple of months off poker starting today to attend to some other matters. And when I return to the scene I certainly won't be playing so much. Although the way the rankings are compiled does give me some sort of chance. In other years missing 4 months poker would have meant I had no chance as it was the cumulative total of all your final table points for the year. In 2005 they have changed the criteria. Instead, your points total for the best 10 scoring events is what determines your position. So, if I can finish highly in a couple of high scoring events I still have a squeak. The fact Dave Colclough and Stewart Nash are going to Lithuania proves they are trying flat out to win them too. Being much more dedicated than me, one of them, probably DC, will almost certainly win.

But, if DY and his ilk will sneer at me for letting ego get in the way of my poker (probably correctly) I will say that trying to earn rankings points has definitely concentrated my mind recently in the tournaments I've played. Here is a quick rundown on all the events I've played in the last couple of weeks:

£1,000 NL @ The Vic. Made the last 4 or 5 table in healthy chip position when Jim "Septic Tiger" Britton made a world class move and I suffered the consequences. Blinds were 400-800 and I've got about 16k and the sb. A guy limps for 800 and Jim decides to make it 10k to play with A5o. I wake up with KK and move in. Limper passes and Jim is forced to call. Flop comes 234. Nice work if you can get it.

£5,000 NL @ The Vic. Managed to avoid going broke with QQ v Henry "The Nugget" Nowakowski's AA in the first level. If you have played with the Nugget you will know what a feat this was. Played really well on day one of this tournament and finished with 44k for second position. Day 2 was a massive disappointment. On the very first hand the sb hadn't taken his seat. I raise in mid position with 66. Simon Trumper reraised. I was pretty sure he was raising because he thought I was stealing due the absent blind man. I should have moved allin. I didn't. I called and we checked it down. he had J9 for second pair. Ugh. I lost nearly 1/4 of my stack on the first hand. Horrid play. I struggled all day after this but never got back to 44k. I did come close when tripling up with KK about 6 hours later but it was a false dawn. Within sight of the money (about 20 left) a massive stack raised and I moved in with AQ. He called with QJ and flopped a Jack. I was sick.

£300 NL @ The Vic. Trebled up within the first hour and was one of the chip leaders when I called a raise in the BB with AT. Flop came a juicy AT3. The action went check, bet, raise, reraise, allin. The geezer called all this action (the allin bet was a raise of approx 5k) with one pair, AK! Naturally he rivered the King. God bless 'im.

£200 NL @ Luton. Now, there has been alot of talk of the great structures of the tournaments at Luton recently. And yes this event was very slow. Too slow IMO. How can you get 100 bb's and a 45 minute clock for a £200 comp? I played dreadfully in this event. It was the one tournament in this 3 week spell where I didn't "put it all in". I just got incredibly lucky. I pushed allin against another big stack with AQ. He had AK. I rivered a flush. I raised with 85 suited and a huge stack reraised me... I called, flopped a flush draw and went allin. He called with KK. I hit on the river. Yada yada yada. It just went to prove that if you're prepared to stick your chips in the middle you've always got a chance. A bad maniac can win. A bad rock can't. I had a enormous stack. With 4 table left I had 20% of the chips in play! I wanked alot away... but managed to make the final with an average stack. I turned down a deal 6 handed... and then raised Jen Mason's blind with K3. She called. The flop came 992. She didn't have any of this of course... so I moved in. She didn't need any of the flop. She had the boots. I certainly didn't think she was capable of playing a big hand this way. But she was probably aware I wanted to get to Loftus Road for the R's first game of the season and rightly thought I would pay her off. Congrats.

£750 NL @ Luton. Probably the most annoying comp I've played this side of the WSOP main event. I played great and just got fucked over and over again. I quadrupled up early and was sure I was going deep into the comp. Then this hand occurred. Charlie "The Mechanic" Bambos limped for 100 as did Lovejoy. As Bambos only had 1200 I decide to raise to 700 with AQ to try and get heads up with the short stack. He made the silly play of calling which gave Lovejoy odds to call too. Flop came A86. Bambos checked and Kevin bet 2000. Hmmm. He does have a tell when he's bluffing and he displayed it here. I couldn't believe he would have a hand where semi bluffing was an option for him (57 or 79). So an outright bluff seemed most likely. I wanted to give him the option of bluffing some more chips off so I simply called. Bambos passed. Turn came a 5 and Lovejoy stuck in 7000! He didn't display the same tell but I decided to go with my original read and called him. He had 44. River was a 7 for a straight. Grrrr. I then proceeded to lose big pots with AK v AJ and AQ v AT. It was ridiculous. In none of these situations should my opponent have committed so many chips, yet each time they did they sucked out. My night was finished when I lost with a pair v overcards. I wasn't very happy driving home I can tell you....

£300 NL Shootout @ Luton. What a difference a day makes.. The shootout was two single table satellites. With the winner from each table going forward to the final. I got lucky in so far as drawing one of the 9 player heats but very unlucky with my table draw. Bad Girl Pham, Stuart Fox and WSOP man Laurence Gosney all featured. I hot a few hands and got a bit lucky and managed to win the table... The folly of Luton's structures became apparent in the final. The heats featured a 30 minute clock and a starting stack of 100bb's. It took forever for everyone to finish. They wanted it all wrapped up in one day so, when the big money was to be divided (the final) they shortened the clock to 20 minutes and only gave us 50bb's to start. By 40 minutes of play the starting stack was only 12.5bb's. Ridiculous. So, with prize money approx 1st 10k 2nd 5k and all the rest 1k I gambled it up! I picked up the boots early and doubled up. I found AK a couple of times. I won a huge pot with JTs v 99. In short I played to the clock. By the time we got three handed the blinds made for a crap shoot so we did a deal. I got £5400 which was slightly less than I was due to by chip count but I was completely knackered and couldn't be bothered to argue for my extra £300...

£1500 NL @ Luton. The main event was a disappointment. I never really got in sync. My bluffs were badly timed and my good hands never got paid. One hand of interest. With 8000 in chips I limped for 300 with 45s. Rob Sherwood raised to 800. I had him down as a bit of a rock and thought I could outplay him on the flop. We saw it two handed: Q42 with 2 diamonds. i checked and he bet 1000. It was an intriguing board and there were alot of turn cards which would either help me or be very scary to what I assumed was a big pair. I called. The turn came 3d. I fancied this was a lovely card. I fired 2200 into the pot. I really couldn't see him calling with AA or KK unless he had the diamond in that suit. He called. Ugh. The river came Kh. I decided to preserve my 4000 and checked. He checked behind me. I announced "one pair" and he immediately turned over AK (with the Kd). I think it was a horrid call by him on the turn and he got very lucky. So be it. He paid a high price when he might be drawing very thin and hit. Good luck to him. I tossed my hand to the muck. Then he asked to see my hand. Personally I think this is VERY bad form. As Ray Hammer said at the time "You've won the pot, isn't that enough?" But he insisted. It would have served him right if I had misread my hand and thrown away 2 pair. But, unfortunately I hadn't. This is the first time in 15+ years I've been playing poker someone has asked to see my losing hand. Very bad etiquette I think. Get it quietly for Goodness sakes. Stupidly I let this affect me a bit and didn't play too well for the next 90 minutes or so. Very unprofessional. I moved tables with a tiny stack...2500 or so. Very first time I was in the blinds I peeked down at the boots. The sb was a monster stack with 50k or so and let me walk!!! That summed up my night. I busted out 10 minutes later with AK v AA. Marvellous.

£200 PL (with rebuys) @ Sheffield. My table was like the rock of Gibralter. How I managed to have two rebuys and an add on is something I should be ashamed of. I made it somehow to the last three tables when someone doubled the bb in early posi. He got 4 callers so I was dutibound to stick in the extra 800 with 34o. Implied odds and all that. The flop came pretty nice. I flopped a pair and a gutshot straight draw. So I went allin Junior Hill called with 99. I missed my outs and was busted. C'est le vie.

£750 NL @ Sheffield. I hate to emphasise a point this often... but again a main event at a locals casino proved to be tremendous value. So many players aren't used to playing on a slow clock with loads of chips that they bust themselves. An example from this comp: A guy seemed to be a maniac. He had turned his 5000 starting stack into 20k with some very strange hands. I decide to limp UTG with KK. All pass to him on the bb (Playing 50-100). He raised 500. I called. Flop: 752 rainbow. He bet 2000. I called. Turn was a queen. He now fired 4000 into the pot. I considered moving allin but if he was indeed bluffing i wanted to let him double me up. So I called. He checked the river which was a 9. I bet 4000 and he called with T2o!!!!

I did have one very nice hand after this. I limped with 66 and was delighted to see a flop of 644. One of the guys in the blinds had T4 and a ten on the turn sealed his fate and doubled my stack. I had a huge stack (40k+) by the time the blinds reached 200-400 but for 4 or 5 hours I made no progress and gradually returned to the pack. As we neared the end of the night however I went on a mini rush and won a couple of big pots and ended the day with 85k which was well above average for the 16 players returning for day 2.

Day 2 didn't start great. I twice got called bluffing. I was soon below average. Then I got a free look at 238 (2 hearts) flop with 45h. And managed to win a nice pot. Still, I was well below average when the final arrived. Playing 8 handed I found AK UTG. I had 40k and the blinds were 3000-6000. I decided to move in to try and get one of the big stacks to call thinking I was just stealing the blinds. Hassan Mohammed instacalled allin. Then a short stack went into the tank and called too. On their backs it was good as I could hope for QQ for Hassan and JJ for the other caller. I hit two aces and trebled up. I played pretty well for the rest of the final. One play I was pretty proud of was check calling big bets from John Law on the turn and river with just ace high and winning.

Jim Reid was a thorn in my side all final. I was relieved when he busted out 4th because he had reraised me 3 times pre flop and forced me to pass. I know we were due to play a big pot sometime soon and he probably would have had the better of it. Three handed I found some good cards and played very aggressively. It was the first time I have won a big tournament with no deals so I am extremely satisfied.

A good three weeks. I have won over 30 grand and enough rankings points to lead for now. Whether I will win is doubtful. But, for now, I am pretty damn pleased.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your head got any bigger it would match the size of your belly.

You aren't in the league of trumper , colclough , Hendon Mob , devilfish , lucy , arama or grech.

You are the dead money weather you win these stupid rankings or not.


7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats a hell of a league. Over the 38 game season i'm 1/4 one of colclough, devilfish or lucy; 3/1 the hendon mob (meaning basically ram), 100/1 trumper, arama or grech. Bit skinny on the last named cunts obviously but no one ever got rich by offering value.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apologies to Simon, I've just noticed i've called him a cunt, which is a little unfair, though his constant dwell-ups and 'i knew u had thats' can be somewhat annoying.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Davey Newth said...

Congratulations Keith

Hope to see you in Newcastle at the weekend.

All the Best to you and Catheine with the not too distant arrival of 'Camel Junior'

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought you a bloody budweiser...let it go man!!!!

Outdraw table:Lovejoy 1 Camel 6

Not my finest hour but I figured I was due one.

Will try to disguise that tell in future(rolls eyes)

Well done on your current top spot


11:13 PM  
Anonymous Jim Reid said...

Thank you for your kind words on blonde poker however KEEP AWAY FROM MY BIG BLIND,overall the best player on the day won well done Keith.

2:00 AM  
Blogger chaos said...

Very well done Keith glad to see life is treating you well & good luck with the impending arrival of your child.

A quick comment on the etiquette. Checking is a bit murkier I guess, but for me, when I've bet and someone calls, I consider it poor etiquette for me not to turn my cards over. That isn't to say I haven't uttered 'you win' & mucked the cards myself a few times & been disppointed with myself for doing so. I suppose my poker school drilled into me that 'your opponent has paid to see your cards - turn 'em over', whereas, in reality, your opponent has paid to win the pot. Cards on their backs, though, is also a valuable anti-collusion procedure.

Perhaps it is different on the circuit and maybe it's a bit like batsman not walking in cricket, if everyon's doing it then why give them an edge. Though of course that's a dodgey path.

'You've won the pot, what more do you want?': some help in winning the next one, please:) It's a bit like paying the rake, folk often don't care what they're giving up when they win the pot: they're just relieved to win it. But of course it all mounts up, and of course can break players. The same could be said of information, although too much information can be a disadvantage.

If I'm going to be showing my oppo cards when I'm called, then, generally, I want reciprication. That said, I've not played live for eons. On that note, I suppose the net has trained us to expect to see all the information we are 'entitleed to' (& more in the case of party).

2:56 AM  
Anonymous julian said...

well done keith, nice to see class shining through.
good luck to you & katherine, hope we see you soon

4:03 AM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

One for our first poster (and anyone else) to think about : how come Keith mis-plays all these hands and yet wins lots of money, whereas so many other bloggers and sponsored players never make a mistake, it's always someone else's fault, and they're doing their bollocks !

Something to do with honesty I think ! Yay the Camel ! Another one for the good guys !!


11:39 AM  

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