This months column is little longer than my usual offerings (sincere apologies) but with so much catching up to do and very little opportunity to do so......just suck it up.
Contrary to popular rumour I haven`t gone bust, been detained at her majesties pleasure, committed to an asylum, abducted by aliens or died, though sometime in the future at least one of the aforementioned is a sure bet. No, the reason you have not seen or heard much of me online is due to the fact that I am at present homeless. Well actually between homes. Gone is the seafront apt soon to be replaced with a detached bungalow (no OAP Jokes please) not far away in Sandwich, Kent - courtesy of a very strong housing market in the South East of England. God bless the UK housing economy! So homelessness which in most cases signals destitution, in my own case means anything but, though it does mean very restricted online access. Hence my disappearance, but fear not ....I`ll be back. Of course it has meant no halt to my offline career and due to pressure from the boss (Donk Dale) sorry Mr "Donk" Dale to keep you fully informed of "Team Trotters" Exploits here`s an update....enjoy.
September`s stop on the GUKPT was in the scenic Southwest ...well at least to Plymouth, not that scenic admittedly but not too bad if you include "The Hoe". Plymouth Hoe was made famous by Sir Francis Drake and the immortal lines "What Ships? I see no ships". Not the case now, modern day visitors are more likely to mutter "Bloody Hell.. what a lot of ships". On the day of my visit I counted no fewer than two destroyers, one minesweeper, two frigates and one Aircraft carrier, not to mention pleasure craft and ferries galore...still an interesting and entertaining place nonetheless. But enough of my watering on to the poker.
My first event was Tuesdays ?300 Double Chance Freezeout. Not a great turnout with only 42 runners, but I`m told that`s not too bad here in the West Country...hmm OK. Due to the small field this meant only five prizes. Well, nine of us lined up for the final and reminiscent of a famous game show... four would leave with nothing! First prize was around ?5,000 and to be honest that was my only goal... so what you are about to read is possibly my most embarrassing performance of the year. You may think I was unlucky, well if I am to be totally honest about it... I believe it was just bad play on my part.
With six players left I have built my stack up to 48,000, basically without having to show a hand. All good so far, then this happens... The short stack moves all in under the gun for 15,800 and two players pass. Then the bet is called by a tough London player, the small blind passes and I look down in the big blind to find pocket kings. At this point my first instinct is to pass.... sounds absurd I know but over the years I have learnt to trust my instinct and usually go with it. But passing KK or AA pre-flop is a very tough decision and these are my two exceptions...I now have no exceptions! After a long dwell I ask the London player how much he has left? Around 30,000 is his reply and, from his attitude, I deduce he isn`t going to let his hand go for a re-raise, so...I flat call (mistake no 2) I decide that if an Ace flops and he shows any interest I will pass. The flop comes A,A,6. At which point the all in player gets up from his seat in disgust. I check and my opponent moves all in. He too has seen the dismay and dejection exhibited by the all-in player. I think long and hard now and come to the conclusion that my opponent is more likely to have QQ or JJ than a lone Ace. I eventually call, he shows me A,Q, and I have just handed him the tournament on a plate! You could argue that I was unlucky, but I believe I played the hand badly from start to finish. While I usually make around two or three mistakes per tournament, I managed to make at least three in this one hand! Am I the dumbest poker pro in the UK? Somedays I think so. I continued to beat myself up over the way I played this hand for the next 24 hours.
Having finally put Tuesday's balls-up behind me, I took my place along with 157 other hopefuls on Thursday for day one of the main event. My starting table had the likes of Barry Neville, James "Flushy" Dempsey, Martin Cavanagh and Bambas Xantos for starters... Easy peasy then... Not exactly. After seeing my stack yo-yo up and down during the first two hours and, having watched Barry "It's Magic" Neville quadruple his stack easily.. one time calling a big all in bet on the turn with a pair of eights (The board showed J,Q,5,4) only to find his opponent with a set of fives and then have his magic third eight appear on the river???? ...Well, he did start with the best hand as he was at pains to point out....Err, yes but.. what did he think he had when his oppent moved all in on the turn? .. Best not to ask. We reach the dinner break and I have around 8,000.
Refreshed by a very edible buffet and with the running antes now starting to bite my own lucky charm is put to the test when I make and all-in blind steal with 7h 10h get called by Sunny Chatta in the big blind with A,9, and hit a lucky 10 on the flop to win the pot and survive.... Phew. Well that turns out to be the high points of my efforts. Several blind steals are all I can do as my card drought extends from 9.30pm to 1.30am. Any length of time in survival mode tends to warp ones sense of perspective and even the most average of hands start to look like monsters after such a long drought. So around 1.30 am Qh,Kh, looks fine for another all-in push from the cut off, a pass from the button and the small blind seem to herald another round for me to make something happen. But wait, the big blind has a long squeeze and suddenly announces "Call" flipping up pocket Queens. Rags on the flop and more to follow on the turn and river.. not a king in sight and I`m gone. I bid Plymouth a fond farewell. Not a bad tournament organisation wise, nice and helpful staff, though possibly not fully geared up for a major event and as indicated by the number of entries perhaps a bit too far off the beaten track for most players.
(Dan and Lucy both played on Day 1B but faired little better (Scrote`s account can no doubt be found on his Blog)
Busted out of the main event and with 2 more days left at my rented holiday home (large caravan). Oh isn`t poker glamorous! I decided to make the most of the glorious weather (80 odd degrees) and visit Torquay, Brixham and Looe. Looe was great, very picturesque and we even had a seal swim up to us in the harbour. Torquay is full of ageing geriatrics who seem like throwbacks from the seventies, but still insist that it`s a cosmopolitan place, and Brixham well, this once picturesque fishing village is now more like Stoke by the Sea. Full of charity shops, chip shops, kebab houses and cheap pubs. . Yuck.!
But enough of the travelogue. Back to the poker.
The domestic poker calendar is now full to bursting point and clashes are bound to happen - witness this months Broadway (Birmingham) festival and the EPT event in London. I opted to play the first couple of events at the Broadway, followed by a trip to the support events in London, whilst Dan was scheduled for the main events at the Broadway followed by the main EPT event in London. First up for me was the ?100 N/L rebuy. After my initial entry plus one add on and dodging the bullets from 137 other rivals I lined up along with (fellow Poker.co.uk pro) Lucy Rokach, Alan MacLean, and six other combatants in the final to fight it out for the ?9,000 first prize. Unexplainably the two chip leaders, Lucy and Alan, seemed hell-bent on each others destruction, a path that eventually led to their demise in fourth and fifth spots respectively. The heads-up boiled down to an in-form Ben Callinan with 600,000 in chips and my good self with 80,000 ..not too bad then. We eventually get all in me with 10-10, and Ben with A-10, after a raggy flop followed by another rag on the turn the inevitable Ace falls on the river to give Ben the ?9,000 first prize and I have to settle for runner up spot and ?4,000.
My second effort in the ?300 D/C freeze out ended prematurely when my pocket jacks were no match for "Burnley John's" pocket fives and along with John`s "I thought you were making a move" ringing in my ears, I set off for London.
Alas on this occasion the streets of London were not paved with gold... only empty kebab wrappers and dog shit! Two events - the ?300 Freezeout and the ?1,000 Double Chance both proved fruitless, and it was during the long dark drive back home that I had the inspired thought of returning to the Broadway for their final event... So, next day back up to Birmingham I troll, the poker gods again reward my tenacity, this time with third place and another ?1,100 odd...
So four events played, two in the money finishes, add to that some nice cash game results and September finishes on a high note. Of course before my head swells too much we mustn`t forget my abysmal play at Plymouth, the hundreds of miles I have driven, around ?1,000 in fuel and accommodation expenses - not too mention the strain on my sanity, oh and to cap it all...I`m still homeless!! Roll on October!!