A hectic couple of weeks since my last column, trips to play at Brighton and Walsall and then work wise Paris, for the televised EPM series.
First up, a short trip to Brighton`s Rendezvous Casino.I had been slogging away on the internet for about a week and decided to try to increase the weekly earnings by taking a short diversion back into the world of "Real Poker" and the ?300 freeze out at the Rendezvous`s festival seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
I do enjoy my trips down to the "Queen" or maybe more aptly that should read, the "Queens" of the south coast, though as of yet I only have a small profit to show for my efforts. I was especially looking forward to this trip as it would give me the opportunity to check out the new cardroom and.. what a cracker it turned out to be! Relocated to the ground floor it`s large.. seating two hundred plus, it`s airy and well lit, also importantly... for me at least.. it`s non smoking, and it`s friendly , welcoming and well run, what more could you want? Well... A result would be nice! Yes it would, but on this occasion it wasn`t to be. I had decided to play in this one event only, because I would need to be in Walsall the following day but as luck or fate (depending on which you believe in) would have it, I needn`t have worried about getting there on time. We were down to the last thirty something when I look down and spy pocket cowboys and my mind drifts off to first prize...Drool. The blinds were pretty big at this point relative to my stack so only really one move..All in.. and after a quick round of pass,pass, pass, a very nice chap (and I mean that sincerely) announces "I have to call you" and proudly turns over.. A-9 for nearly all his chips??? In what seems like an instant we look at a board of rag,rag,rag -rag - Ace and I`m on my way to Walsall... What the hell, I still love the games down there and providing you can take the bad beats.. of which there will be plenty.. and the bad poker advice offered, plenty of that too, then I suggest you check it out because without wishing to sound derogatory to the locals, there is plenty of "dead money" in their tournaments. Maybe it`s something to do with the proximity to water? You know close to the sea and all that, an ideal location for fish!
So with the disappointment of Brighton just a fading memory, my focus turned towards the Grosvenor Blue Square finals in Walsall and...the ?100,000 1st prize.
I didn`t play in the 2005 finals due to the fact that I worked on that TV production for the Poker Channel and with this years event not being televised it was an ideal opportunity to grab some cash and glory! I had qualified with just one entry of ?100 which incidentally gets returned to all who make the final stages so, I was basically on the sweetest freeroll of my poker career.. so far.
My game plan was to play snug on day one, build my stack up from the initial 10,000 chips to maybe 20,000 + and then return on day two, fire on all cylinders with only one result in mind.. Winning 1st prize! My reward for achieving this feat was to be a new car in the form of a 350Z Nissan, a vehicle much coveted by any serious driver and very useful for my many trips up and down this fair Isle. Day one had been split into two sessions - afternoon and evening, I was seeded in the latter. I arrived around 8.15pm in plenty of time for the start of 9pm, signed in and made my way across to the bar for a coffee, on route I came across a table of glum but familiar faces. Ewan Jones, Dave Colclough, Mark Goodwin and Paul Jackson, they were listening to Jackson`s tale of woe and subsequent exit from the tournament. Now assuming that all of the above had also met with similar fates to "Action Jac" I greeted them all with a shake of the hand and commented that with so many of the top seeds gone that must give lesser lights - such as myself - a better chance. As I did I noticed the grin spreading across the faces of Colclough and Goodwin, slightly bewildered by their blas? attitudes I ask err...you did all play this afternoon didn`t you? Nope says Mark we were just explaining to "Jacko" the reason he was quoted at 60/1 and "El Blondie" and I were only 50`s, but saw you walk in and decided to give you the rub down by all pretending to be out! Sit down, have a coffee, you are only quoted at 125/1 says a gleeful Colclough, bluffed before we have even played the first hand. Aaagghh!!!
Around 9.15pm play for the second session got under way and for me it was head phones on, head down and forward with plan A. By the third level I had crept up to around 12,000 and players were starting to fall, out went Marc Goodwin, shortly to be followed by Ewan Jones, but myself and the Blonde one were still making progress. At around the fifth level we were down to seventy odd players and I got reassigned a seat two down from my blonde pal who, by this time, looked a little under pressure and down to about 6,000 in chips. I on the other hand had made steady progress up to just over 16,000. Not wanting to be left behind "El Blondie" now takes it upon himself to try a couple of steal plays, both of which fail miserably and now he is looking at a depleted stack of only 3,000. Now they say revenge is sweet but I didn`t find it so, as I had the dubious honour of despatching my pal to the rail, resisting the urge to ask him if his 50/1 price quote was really justified. Well, in what seemed like a flash I`m up to 24,000 - we are down to sixty odd players and that`s it for tonight.
As I drive home quietly satisfied, with stage one of my mission accomplished, my thoughts turn to my plan for day two, one hundred and twenty players left out of the original line up of two hundred and forty three, I`m sitting in mid position chip wise, feeling confident and playing well. What could possibly go wrong? Now.... what colour 350Z did I fancy ?
3pm Sunday and I`m all revved up and ready to go, twelve tables to start for the run at that ?100,000 first prize. Eleven tables, then ten, still there, though just treading water at the moment. Nine and seven pass by and now I am starting to come under chip pressure, down to around 14,000 in chips and I haven`t seen a playable hand in over two hours. The table becomes a little short handed as players start to fall left right and centre, desperate men do desperate things and I now know it`s time to fire, and any reasonable hand will do. We are now playing with a running ante and the big blind when it arrives will knock a huge hole in my stack. I glance down and the "Big Slick" smiling back at me looks like a monster, suddenly I am all in and I have one caller, the pot is a little over 32,000. So it`s my A K suited versus his ....A 10 off suit. How sweet! Right dealer, let`s do it. The flop comes rag, rag, rag another rag on the turn and the river is ....What the hell is that 10 doing??? "NOooooooooo" I scream inside my own head, "well played" I mutter aloud and "good luck guys" is my parting shot. Cancel that 350Z "Hello BMW my old friend... I`ve come to talk to you again".
The EPM Paris and work were next on the agenda and a two day stint in the French capital would make a welcome break from my recent struggles. Staged at the Aviation Club on the Champs-Elysees, you could not really ask for a more glamorous setting. Poker in France seems to have really taken off in the last twelve months, so it came as no surprise to find that most of the field were French. With the odd Dutch, German, Swiss and British players making up the remainder of the one hundred and fifty three runners. Notable entries from the UK were Surindar Sunar and TV actor Michael Greco, along with "El Blondie" - does he get every where or is it just my imagination? From the original one hundred and fifty three entries we played down to a televised final table of eight, none of whom I had ever seen or heard of before! The eventual winner was.. yes you have guessed it a Frenchman, in fact a young French student by the name of Brice Coumet.
There is one more event on this years EPM tour and that is in Dublin mid November time, and if you fancy taking part and getting your mug on TV the satellite qualifiers are now running in the Poker.co.uk card room.
To finish off the column we will have to go back to a previous column. Now I know that might sound a little Irish but I thought that was very appropriate.
The article in question was one that I touched on in "playing winning poker". Judging by the emails I got, and the discussions generated on the forum it seemed to provoke quiet a few comments and points of view. The item in question was my views on "multi tabling" on the internet and I would just like to clarify a couple of points. When you multi-table (especially suited to internet cash games) basically your game plan should be to play very few hands i.e. premium hands only with the idea of playing very selectively and very aggressively. I realise that by playing several tables you will be missing out on some of the information you would have acquired by studying the players at only one table but, this is more than compensated for by skipping through many of the tempting and half playable hands that you pass by playing this formula and to which the afore-mentioned information would be applicable. The hands that you actually play, will probably be, strong enough starting hands regardless of the calibre and ability of your opponents because you will invariably be starting with the best hand. So basically it`s a kind of trade off that in my experience can really pay dividends, and one that I would recommend you integrate into your internet cash game strategies.
Perhaps a little more on strategies in my next column but for now just time to say I`m off to Brighton for the Paddy Power event and the "Northern Lights" in Blackpool followed by the EPM Dublin, reports on those events in my next column. So like I said...."No rest for the wicked".
Until next time, stay safe, play well and enjoy your poker.