Is too much sun good for you? I don't know but, judging by my recent performances at one or two venues.... I have my doubts!
Fresh from my victory in Bournemouth I decided to play a couple of the events at the Brighton Rendezvous' summer festival. I seem to have a strange affinity with seaside venues. I don`t know why but... who cares! Living, playing, and winning beside the sea suits me fine.
First up was the ?100 (one optional rebuy or add on) NLHE. Cruising along nicely, half the field gone and then... I notice the big blind has now inadvertently passed her hand out of turn. My mind screams "Steal! Steal!", so with only three players left to act and holding A-10 off I make a major raise as in "all in". But, as I do this the big blind now realises her mistake and creates holy hell! A supervisor is called who rules that as the lady in question didn`t know it was her big blind (she was eating) her hand is now live! What the F@>~ type of ruling is that?!? Anyways, after all the table, bar the lady in question, point out to the supervisor that his ruling is totally wrong, the cardroom manager comes over, corrects the ruling, stating that the hand is dead and with only the small blind left to act... I have just secured an extra(!) 800 chips into my stack.... Except the small blind screams "call", flips up pocket Queens and I`m gone..... That`ll teach me to try to steal a dopes blinds...yeah right.. tough justice.
The next event was a ?300 Double Chance Freezeout. Not much to report on this one, never really got going and failed to strike a blow. What the hell happened to my "Lucky Streak" and "Affinity " with the seaside theory?
I returned a couple of days later for a crack at the ?500 main event. Seaside theory back intact, I reach the final on low chips but happy with the way I`m playing and my hopes are high. Offers from one desperate character of a nine way chop - "nine way chop"?. Is he barmy? ...no thanks! I really feel that I can win this one and besides I have no interest in doing deals with so many players left. Of course with hindsight and... after running JJ into pocket kings and then AK into pocket Aces...the extra two grand I would have got from doing the deal now looked a little better but... sixth and ?2,400 is what I have to settle for... no regrets.
Next stop GUKPT Newcastle. Now I must say that I have visited Newcastle many times in the past and always come away with a good feeling. The people are friendly, the place is "alive" and vibrant, so I had high hopes of success on checking in to my hotel a few miles from the city centre.
The casino itself was nice, the staff friendly and helpful, the tables weren`t all crammed together and...the main event started on time!....best GUKPT venue so far in my opinion.
Taking my seat on day one I glanced around the table and wondered... what the hell?... Neil Channing, Lucy Rokach, Simon Zac, Keith"The Camel" Hawkins, Geoff Burke... what sort of an easy start was this!
Not much to report in the early stages aside from one decent hand almost doubling my stack. In fact the thing that stuck in my mind most was Channing asking if he could have a bowl of frosties, the waitress politely telling him that they weren`t available but, she may be able to rustle up some cornflakes and duly arriving five minutes later with the aforementioned cornflakes - much to the delight of Channing and the bewilderment of the rest of us.... beat that for service!
At the meal break I`m up to 26,000 and playing an aggressive but well timed (not loose) game. I end the fist day on 52,000 and Dan and myself move through to day two.
On day two the remaining runners from days 1A and 1B combine to fight it out to the final table. My main intention now is to make the final and re-assess from there. Steadily but surely the slow start turns into quick fire eliminations, and we are down to two short handed tables. I was at this point marooned in a really barren patch of cards and had just managed to survive on several occasions the dreaded card drought. Then up came the fatal hand having built my stack up mainly by nicking blinds I had around 150,000 against a serial raisers 270,000. Once again he goes after the blinds (I`m small blind and he`s the button). I look down and find AQ plenty good enough for a big defensive move in this case. In comes the 40,000 raise so I come over the top for the rest 110,000.. the blinds are 8-16,000 at this point and after a long dwell my opponent opines that he`s pot committed and calls showing KJ. Well unfortunately a King turns up on fourth St and I`m gone in a very disappointing twelfth. No point in crying over what might have been if my hand had held up.... but....
The one GUKPT that I was dreading came up next... Luton... I hate the place but, new casino so who knows? Well nothings changed. The new casino is great but... it still has most of the old faults from the original Luton: bad service, poor management, surly staff, awful food. When will these people learn? Add to that poor seating at awkward tables and.... I still hate Luton!
One thing that Luton does always get is large fields and big prize money so ... "suffer it" seems to be the order of the day. And suffer I did.. ?200 NLHE, 189 runners with ?66,000 in prize money, and not a sniff of it. ?500 Double Chance Freezeout next. Another big field and again not a result in sight so, just the main event to make some atonement.
Well....Having spent nearly three and a half hours on a one and a half hour journey and two and a half of them stuck on the M25, I arrived just 3 mins and nineteen seconds too late for the start (as did around 15 others). Did I mention ...I HATE LUTON !!!! Oh and no joy for Dan or Lucy either.
Last but not least the Leeds GBT. Nice little venue, pretty well organised but still seems to be playing second fiddle to Grosvenors efforts. My starting table had Olympic sprinter Darren Campbell as a "Guest Player" - a genuinely nice guy, and I also got to meet Ken Docherty, another nice guy. As always in this type of pro/celeb event the game is a nightmare... How the hell do you know what the guys doing if he hasn`t a clue himself? That said its fun and ala Bournemouth can be very rewarding.
One guy I did get to chat to was John "Scali" Kalmar ...he of World Series final fame. Now I have played against John before a couple of years back when we were both frequenters of the regular Blackpool tourneys. He remembered me instantly and in return for my congratulating him on his recent success he retold one of his encounters with me. Apparently we were sitting at the same table, and on this occasion after a decent run on the internet, John was thinking of jacking in his day job to become a professional poker player. He was asking the opinions of a couple of local pro's also seated at the table and then of course he turned to me for my opinion. In John's words I looked up from the poker mag that I was reading and said .."Don't" then went straight back to reading. How wrong can you be? Luckily... he didn`t take my advice and he`s now half a million better off.... so perhaps no more "How to play" strategy columns from me then!
That's about all for this column - a fun month or so, some near misses and plenty of new friends....what a life! Of course next up a quick trip to Brighton and then on to the GUKPT in Plymouth. Two seaside events. Now we really can test my "Lucky Seaside" theory.