The last couple of days have been glorious.. for February anyhow. Most of my time recently has been spent online practicing my tournament skills (more about that in a moment) and taking leisurely strolls on the beach in front of my apartment. Jealous? You bloody well should be.. it`s cost me an arm and a leg.. but wifey`s happy! Two outings I have made recently have been a trip to Brighton`s January sales poker festival, and a visit on Mr Dale`s invitation to the ICE exhibition at Earls Court London. For those of you who like me have no clue as to what ICE is, don`t ask what the initials stand for because I still don`t know, but it`s kind of a computer gaming / gambling show.
Now when you invite someone to something aren`t you supposed to turn up too? Well the day before we were due to go to the aforementioned show I get an email from Matt to say that he has had some sort of "pike gag" device fitted (He said Braces..but I know they don`t make them that large) anyhow don`t you get them when you`re about five years old? So to continue, the email says that due to lacerating his tongue on the new devices his speech is impaired and everything he says sounds ga.ga.. So.. what`s new! Well off to the show I go. Matt has arranged for his brother James and some geezer called Craig who is the sales and marketing manager (I Think) at Gambling.co.uk to be there and to hook up with me. Now I don't know if you`ve ever been to Earls Court but it`s massive, like you could park ten or maybe twenty spare jumbo`s (Jets not Elephants) in there and still have room for a football match! Having fought the London traffic, parked on a nearby hotel, found the place and registered for my guest pass I finally enter the place bemused, bewildered and confused but proudly sporting my guest name tag "Pete Singleton Poker.co.uk.. Consultant" I thought it should say "insultant" but then decided that may be a little inappropriate for the occasion. I had arranged to meet a friend from America who was exhibiting at the event and to hook up with Craig and James at my friends stand. So after battling my way past bevy's of scantily clad bunny girls offering drinks and canap?s I finally find my destination. The stands empty! No Craig, no James, no Rich (my friend). Nothing. Just an empty exhibit totally unmanned. Now I decide to take a seat on the stand and wait. Well I`ve been sitting there for about thirty seconds when a small group of American business men approach and start to quiz me as to my companies role and market share and god knows what else. Not wishing to disappoint them, I hand out several of my missing friends business cards pointing out that the publication - the stand belongs to some gambling and casino magazine based in Atlantic City - offers excellent advertising rates etc and start to extol the virtues of the magazine, which kind of backfires a little bit on me as the guys start to become more and more interested! It`s at this point I have to point out that the stand is nothing to do with me directly and that I was just holding the fort so to speak. Anyhow they had a good laugh at the situation but assured me that they were still serious about using the magazine to advertise their casino`s. Yep that's right the nice man with the sharp suit and suntan actually owned two casinos and was based in the Bahamas..
Now I`ve just finished talking with these guys when some studenty looking guy complete with rucksack and sporting a hair do that was sort of punk rock meets TinTin comes up to me sticks out his hand and says, "You must be Pete, I`m Craig". How did he know? At this point Craig tells me that James has gone to a meeting and we will catch up with him later and then suggests we get a coffee and a bite to eat..good idea. Two coffees and two sandwiches guess how much? ..Fourteen quid give or take a few pence. Fourteen bloody quid!!... sign me up for a concessions stand at Earls Court! Craig foots the bill telling me that Matt will pay it as "Expenses". Now he tells me. If I had known that I could have gone for a full meal.. just joking. After devouring our snacks we return to the stand to find my American friend and his two business partners have finally returned. I explain what has occurred and they invite me to represent them at some do in Malta around December time.. I`ll let you know is my reply. We spend the next hour or so wandering aimlessly around the exhibition, slot machine, dolly bird, poker game, dolly bird, casino game, dolly bird, it goes on and on and on. One stand that does warrant a special mention is some police chase game where you sit in the drivers seat of a police pursuit vehicle and try to catch the escaping baddies, though on the exhibit stand you are handcuffed to the steering wheel by two dollies dressed in leather hot pants, leather boots and the best California highway patrol uniforms I have ever seen! I passed on the option to try the game, but pointed out to the girls that people would pay for that kind of stuff.
So we left Earls Court met up with James at a Major London hotel where Craig got revenge for the coffees and sandwiches.. Two cold beers cost me just shy of ten quid! All in all a good day, met lots of interesting people, made a few new contacts (no not the dolly birds) and got to meet some more of the Poker.co.uk business team.
As I mentioned in my previous column my poker bankroll sits precariously balanced between low stakes and no stakes. Well I`m pleased to announce that it`s out of intensive care and off the critical list... but still has some way to go for a full recovery. So with a few quid in my pocket and a feeling of confidence in my heart I decide the ?100 rebuy at Brighton's January festival would be a good test bed for my recently honed and practiced tournament skills. One of the moves I have been practicing is the big "all in" reraise and this move was to prove crucial in Brighton. I am not going to bore you with a long winded bad luck story, in fact just the opposite. Remember I mentioned my new pet play the big all in reraise. Well, I used it twice... actually a few more times than that, but twice as far as this story goes. Once I reraised with A-J straight into A-K and the second time I reraised with A-10 straight into James "Flushy" Dempsey who was holding.. pocket aces! On both of these occasions I got lucky, much to the consternation of my opponent`s. Timing seems to be the key with this move.. something I will have to work on! But on these occasions it was a case of "the wrong move at the right time". Anyhow these moves combined with my more conventional play reaped the reward of a split of the top spot. Well.. not quite but it was a good deal for me, so officially second and just over ?4,500 into the bankroll.
I then took a couple of days off and returned to Brighton for the main event the ?500 double chance freeze-out. The line up for this event boasted quite a few major names including the DtD team of "El Blondie", "Aces" Trumper and "Pretty Boy" Citrone. Also in the starting line up were the likes of Joe Grech, Ian Woodly and many of the southern based pro`s. This certainly was not going to be a cake walk.. Well not unless your name happens to be Brian "I hit more cards than God" Johnson. I jest you not, the deck hit him square in the face. He`s been hot for a while now, but this was just ridiculous, every other hand was a monster. A-K, A-A, K-K, Q-Q - hand after hand from about three tables out. Well Brian made the most of his good fortune eventually running out the winner and taking home the 1st prize of ?16,000. As for me? No complaints, one reraise too many and 10th is the best I could do. But, I feel my game is coming along nicely and it won`t be too long before I take down a major result, perhaps the next GUPT in Walsall?
Talking of which "Team Trotter" will again be showing off it`s prowess at the Walsall event in the second week of February. Matt, Dan, myself and god only knows who else will be there representing Poker.co.uk and once again vying for cash and glory. I`m not too sure who values what the most, for Dan and I it`s definitely the cash but for Matt I have growing concerns that it may be the glory.
Prior to that I have a short trip to the Broadway casino in Birmingham for their forthcoming festival. In my opinion the Broadway is one of the top UK venues so a must for all serious players. As usual you will be able to catch up on our performances at those events next column. So thats that for this column, back off to computer-land for more practice. Now Repeat after me, "Timing it`s all about timing".