Perception and awareness ...two traits vital for success at the poker table more on them in a moment. First off a happy New Year to you all and welcome back..I presume you did take a few days off over the festive period..good, so well rested and recharged we should all ( I assume more than just my own wife reads these columns)..we should all be ready to go and grab some well deserved dosh in 2007.
For me my first foray was to Walsall on New years day for their ?300 double chance freeze-out.
Just shy of 100 entry`s and a prize pool of nearly ?30,000 so, with some decent play and a little good fortune the possibility of a nice start to the year. The journey to Walsall was quiet and uneventful and after leaving home about 3.30pm I arrived at the midlands fair city around 5.45pm and would you believe it.. just in time for the free buffet. In the past I have been quite scathing and critical of the fare offered to players at Walsall, ok..ok I realise it`s free but so`s dog shit and you wouldn`t eat that now would you! Anyhow no worries this time, the food whilst unlikely to be awarded any Michelin stars or good food guide entries was by Walsall standards pretty good and even the normally extra chewy "Sole of shoe" steak was almost melt in your mouth. The head of catering did confide in me afterwards that it had been left stewing for about three days.. over the Christmas break but ..well cooked is fine by me.
The line up for the event itself included the likes of... Simon Trumper, Lucy Rokach, Trevor Reardon, Lawrence Gosney, Tony Kendal and Julian Thew...More on him shortly!!! 2006 was not a good year for me and I had high hopes for 2007 but hopes and aspirations aren`t always easy to achieve and after three and a bit hours of trips to "No card Alley" and surviving with some deft steal plays I was more than relieved to get moved to another table. Glancing around at one or two well known faces and some very impressive chip stacks Julian (Thew) greeted me with "I Guess we have more chips on this table than the other four put together" and continued "But the way you play and with your Knack for survival.. I suppose you`ll be sticking around till the last two tables".. very nice I thought, a kind of backhanded compliment. I pointed out to Jules that survival tactics weren`t really my game plan for 2007 I wanted chips, money and glory and that 2007 was not going to be the same old.. same old for me.
Not two hands later having just settled in and exchanged pleasantries with "The Big TR" and Mr Gosney I glance down and find pocket tens. Two limpers up front one of whom is Julian Thew.. me low on chips.. players behind and yet to act showing no signs of any interest.. time for action. At this point the blinds are 400-800 and I have 4,800 in chips so all-in is the only sensible option, passes all round back to the big blind who studies for a moment, mutters and mucks as does the fist limper, so Julian.. fancy a go? He certainly does.. he calls and flips up pocket sevens. Upon seeing my pocket tens he exclaims "Nice hand..I thought I may have a coin flip". No sorry.. 4/1 dog. Sometimes poker is about making the wrong move at the right time and I am reminded of this as he makes a middle pin straight on the river! "Sorry, unlucky" says he "Nice hand " say I and that`s it I`m gone.
Walking out I reflect on Julian's decision and on closer examination I suppose you can`t really criticize his play he thinks he`s even money the pots laying him 7/4 and he still has plenty of chips left if he`s wrong. For my part I think I had it spot on but, even if you play a hand perfectly there`s still no guarantee of it winning! So a good outcome for Julian,a bad outcome for me.. but that`s all it was an event involving two people and one outcome.. perceived differently by the two of us. That`s all bad beats or lost pots are ..an outcome to an event and if you are to survive and thrive as a successful poker player that`s the way you will have to learn to perceive things, no point in asking why or bemoaning your bad luck just forget it and move on!
On the long drive home I had plenty of time for further contemplation and whilst Julian Thew may well be the new Messiah, the second son of God or just on a lucky run (Sorry Jule`s ..couldn`t resist) he is a good player and a great ambassador for the game.. something William Hill his current sponsors may do well to remember as Julian tells me his position is up for review shortly.
On a different note during my round trip of three hundred plus miles it dawned on me that if the government gets its way and starts charging road users per mile then trips around the country to various poker clubs and venues could result in having to win the damn tournament just to pay for the travel costs.. oh and by the way, if this does come about then I`m afraid you`ll be getting a column from either Canada or America because emigration would really be the only solution for this road warrior, still they tell me that the club by the Niagara falls is great and I know from my own travels that Vegas and LA are fantastic... so maybe ?1 a mile Mr Blair?
Now, is poker a sport? No..not really, is it a team game as one or two pundits would have you believe? definitely not.. it`s all for one and screw the rest! Having said that Team Poker.co.uk will be out in force on January 12th-14th at the Grosvenor/blue Sq. sponsored British poker tour inaugural event in Bolton. For those of you who have recently joined us here at poker.co.uk "The Team", and I use the term "Team" very loosely..consists of Matt "The good all round egg" who smiles a lot, goes around shaking hands with all and sundry and (I swear) sounds just like prince Charles. Dan "Lucky Scrote" Carter, Poker.co.Uk`s sponsored pro.. who I am reliably informed by the boss could well turn out to be the next Gus Hansen.. Hmm...Ok, no pressure there then Dan.. just do it like Gus. Of course that`s fine by me, at least I will be able to say I knew him before he was famous! The third member is your`s truly.... Pete "The Professor" Singleton, who has hidden talent.. very well hidden! and who on current form couldn`t win a tournament if he was the only one to turn up.. it would be declared a draw.
So the three musketeers or as a few of our regular forum addicts like to label us, Delboy, Rodney and Grandad will be hoping to leave their mark on this fabulous new event. Personally I just hope the "mark" in question turns out to be a glorious appearance in the Channel Four televised final resulting in a great publicity coup for the site and not... just a dirty wet patch caused by spilt beer or incontinence.
Obviously the next column will contain a full and frank report of the teams efforts at the Bolton event which, will in no way be enhanced by poetic licence so any inadequacies in the team will be exposed for all to see...Fair warning!
Spam on the forum. This usually starts with " Hello, I`m new to this forum and would like some help" and then finishes along the lines of .."Oh should I try Scope, Tracker, Calculator etc , etc , etc" The questions and answers are invariably posted by the same person in a sneaky attempt to get you to buy the "Wonder aid". Well some of the many computer aids do work ok...to a point, others are just totally sh.t, simple as that. As with all "playing Aids" they are just that and can be used to help take away some of the strain of online play but I suggest you don`t become too reliant on them. There is of course the ultimate poker aid, it costs nothing, it`s totally portable and solar powered, it`s infinitely programmable and here`s the best bit.. if you intend to play in any major live tournament`s...you can take it with you to use there as well! Without it all the extra "poker aids" will be totally useless and no matter how high or low your aspirations it will always try to keep improving and developing but this one aid accepts no short cuts the rewards however for those who programme it correctly are the possibility of riches and glory beyond the dreams of most players. Still mystified? Reach up with both hands and you should be able to find your`s sitting squarely in the centre of your shoulders.
Now time to go and pack.....Viva Las Bolton.
Until next time,
Stay safe, play well and enjoy your poker.