The Paddy Power UK Poker Tour seems to have captured the attention of plenty of players up and down the country. Basically it`s a "live" tournament with a ?100 buy in, No Limit hold-em freeze out format, and there`s ?1000 added prize money courtesy of P.P. The relatively small buy in, good venues, and a player friendly tournament structure with a decent first prize ( ?5000+) all add up to a winning formula in my book, not to mention the added money.. Oh it`s just too tempting, so not wishing to miss out on that added money..Yum..Yum! I thought it was about time I checked one out, hello Brighton.... once again!
Arriving in the nick of time at the Rendezvous casino situated in Brighton`s Marina Village, well not exactly in the nick of time. I actually arrived at five minutes to eight and the tournament start time was "about eight o'clock" (The Irish sponsors blurb) not the clubs. Anyhow racing breathless into the cardroom I am informed by the cardroom manager that the event is full (120 runners) Aaaagh.. how could I be so stupid (answers on a postcard please). Well how about this, I`m not alone in my stupidity as four or five others also walk in hoping to get a seat and to accommodate all wishing to play an extra table is put on, so a big thumbs up to Paddy Power and the Rendezvous for taking that initiative.
The final number of entries is 126 and as we take our seats we are all presented with a Paddy Power goody bag containing all the usual stuff, cap, T shirt, pack of cards, poker durex..Ooops sorry.. card protector. A nice touch but not unusual, at least that is until you take a closer look at said card protector. It is the usual round enamelled disc but on one side it is marked " CALL" and on the other "FOLD"...Well what can you say only a paddy could come up with a card protector that actually gives your opponents a clue as to your intentions, that is if you were daft enough to use it in this way..Doh!
How did I do in the tournament ? Lets just say I was back home before the fourth level and leave it at that.
Next stop the "Northern Lights" Festival at Blackpool. Now I don`t know how many of you have ever been to the "Monte Carlo" of the north but it`s famous for three things, the tower, the pleasure beach and...Howard Plant, more on him in a moment.
I had only planned a short trip up north due to the fact that I had to be in Dublin over the following weekend to work on the E.P.M series, so I decided to play Tuesdays ?300 Pot limit freeze out and Wednesdays ?150 Pot limit rebuy. Now I`m not making excuses but, pot limit is not my favourite form of Hold-em.
Incidentally I must add that at the moment I am currently undergoing a major overhaul of my tourney strategy to bring it up to date for today's tournaments. The "old" styles are really not that effective any more, so it`s a case of teaching the "old dog new tricks" and whilst I think it will be alright in the end, it`s gonna be dirty and painful en route!
Ok..Ok...I`m just making lame excuses for my poor showing and you`ve seen right through them so we`ll move on.
The highlights of my Blackpool trip were:
Paul "Action Jac" Jackson offering to buy me a drink for our "last longer bet" in Tuesdays tournament, and returning from the bar with my neat whiskey looking bemused as to why they call this scotch on the rocks...Err they don`t, my advice.. don`t send Jacko to the bar if you want a neat whisky.
Simon Zac being hustled by "Jonny Texas". Simon won the game of backgammon they were playing, gave JT his money back because basically he had not got a clue how to play and Simon felt guilty taking his money and... this is the best bit... ended up ?200 out of pocket!!!.. Hats off to Jonny he`s the best hustler you will ever see!
Wednesdays highlight had to be the arrival of Howard "I don`t lend money" Plant looking very dapper in his tuxedo having just returned from the new 007 movie champagne premier. Howard entertained us with several jokes and renditions of his witty repartee.. none of which were particularly funny. In fact the funniest part of his act is the bemused looks on the faces of people who have not had the (mis)fortune of a previous encounter with Blackpool's very own "missing link".
The low-lights of my trip was of course my own poor form and a distinct lack of results!
The final stop on this years E.P.M tour was Dublin. It`s a long time since I had been to Dublin - about twenty five years to be exact - so this was one trip that I was looking forward to and I wasn`t disappointed. The entries for this event were some way less than the organisers had hoped for at around 75. Nonetheless less there was plenty of quality if not quantity in the field. Entries included.. Alan Cunningham, Eric Siedel, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Mike Matusouw, Surindar Sunar, Dave "El Blondie" Colclough, Andy Black and celeb pop star Brian McFadden.
Only one of the aforementioned reached the final stages and that was my pal and Montgomery Burns look-alike El Blondie. In fact he came to the final table as the chip leader. The rest of the finalists were; Tomas Trinks, Dominic Hever, Tony Baitson, Adrian Walshe, Alan Smurfit, Vera Duffy and Tomas Wahlroos.
El Blondie doubled up early to take a commanding lead and to be honest only Finland's pro player Tomas Wahlroos had any reply to DC`s plays. Colclough continued his chip building as the cards just seemed to run his way for most of the first hour and it looked like it would eventually boil down to Wales versus Finland, but we had reckoned without a strong partisan crowd and some good plays from the young Irish duo of Tony Baitson and Adrian Walshe, both of whom were cheered on loudly by the home crowd.
Our first casualty was local businesswoman Vera Duffy, always low on chips her early exit looked inevitable. Next to leave was Dominic Hever, shortly followed by fellow Irishman Alan Smurfit who was a little unlucky on his final hand to say the least when his pocket Queens are beaten by AcQc. But it has to be said his game was far to tight to be a winner in this company.
Down to five handed and the pressures really starting to show especially on Tomas Trinks and after a spot of bad luck compounded by some bad play we say goodbye to the German. So down to four, two Irishmen one Welsh Boyo and a Finn, and now every move that either Irish lad makes.. no matter how small, is greeted by a loud roar of approval from the crowd.
A brave Tony Baitson is next to go, his moves were good but his timing was off, none the less he.. in this scribes humble opinion.. has the makings of a good player so look out for that name in the future. Thomas Wahlroos is next to leave as first "El Blondie" then Adrian Walshe take great chunks from the hapless Finn, and he`s left to reflect on what might have been.
Finally heads up Dave Colclough against a little known Irishman by the name of Adrian Walshe, not much of a contest you would think! Well Walshe has a secret weapon ...he`s mentored by World Series finalist Andy Black and that tutoring was to prove decisive in the heads up battle that followed.
A fluke pot which sees DC make two pair to a middle pin straight draw by Walshe which he hits and then the unthinkable happens.. as Walshe throws away the winning hand to a big bet from DC on the river as he suspects DC has now made a flush on the suited board!! That was the last high point for my pal and as the cards start to run in the Irishman's favour all of a sudden DC looks shaky. The blonde one starts to take more and more chances to try to stage a recovery but after a couple of plays that come to naught and a badly timed bluff, he`s forced to move all in with 8-10 which is immediately called by Walshe holding J-7, no help for DC and amid the deafening roar we have our Dublin Masters champion Irishman Adrian Walshe.
We retire to the bar where I try to console and commiserate with my pal, though I`m not sure that consoling and commiserating with my friend was really justifiable as I point out to him that he has just won over 50,000 Euros for his pains!
That`s it as far as the E.P.M goes for this year, London, Vienna, Paris and finally Dublin. Not a bad first effort and more to follow, or so I`m told, for season two, but I`ll let you know as soon as it`s confirmed. Which was my favourite? That`s easy, great food, great hospitality courtesy of our hosts The Sporting Emporium, great hotel and a great atmosphere it can only be one place... Dublin.
Now DC, you can`t win em all, just take the 50,000 lets have another drink and then you can be on you way to... St Kitts.(Lucky Sod)
Thank you Ireland for a great show with a fantastic venue and as Arnie says, " I`ll be back".
So that's about it for this column, my next venture is to the Midland Masters in Walsall where I`m told, Matt Dale and Poker.co.uk`s sponsored player Dan Carter will be in action so look out for a report on them and that event in my next column.
In the meantime.. I`m off to continue the improvements to my new strategy...now where did I put that Hold-em for beginners book?
Until next time, stay safe, play well and enjoy your poker.