A quiet month is the best way to describe October's performance - a couple of near misses and a minor cash at the London leg of the GUKPT tour was "as good as it gets"...so to speak. Well that's October dealt with.. now on to an event I have really been looking forward to the GBT final at Bristol.
I had previously qualified for the final of the GBT courtesy of my win in the earlier Bournemouth event and, as a bonus, Gala had also awarded me an entry into the ?1,000 support event for a 2nd place finish in their poker league. Add to that ?450 of expenses and some snazzy publicity shots courtesy of Gala's excellent marketing machine and it wasn't hard to convince Matt to pony up an extra ?300 to give him a shot at three paydays and me a chance at three results ...Delicious!
Monday's event was a ?300 NLFO, so arriving in plenty of time having checked into my hotel which was literally yards away and, having had a pleasant lunch, I was all set to go. First up a couple of press interviews (There was a twelve foot square poster in the casino foyer, featuring myself and the four other leg winners)....fame at last!... Now for the fortune bit. With the publicity bits done and dusted I proceeded on into the casino to meet Matt and the rest of "Team Trotter" which, on this occasion, seemed more like a football team with around a dozen people wearing Poker.co.uk team shirts... a nice coup for Mr Dale on his home turf.
The event itself drew a field of 107 runners most of which were wearing Poker.co.uk regalia...or maybe it just seemed that way with at least one team member on every table... Gala must have wondered what the hell was going on! It was hard to keep tabs on all the team but there were several early casualties including Lucy unfortunately. Matt, Dan, Nick Wright and myself soldiered on and when Matt and Nick both exited it was all down to the young gun and the old soldier. Dan fell just before the final - we had both struggled short on ammo for some time - I managed to book a final spot with a short stack...So what's new?
Into action straight away with a quick double up courtesy of AJ and we're back in the fight. A few hands later and pocket Queens are more than enough for an all-in push on the button behind a raise from the cut off. After a dwell the original raiser makes a crying call revealing pocket nines so... 1/4 on we go to the flop and when a nine appears on the flop my 1/4 on shot doesn't seem so hot...... exit Singleton in ninth spot.
Event number two was the ?1000 NLFO with a slightly depleted field of 51, possibly due to a clash with the very popular "Master Classics" over in Amsterdam.
Sitting down at the start I notice one or two familiar faces at the table as in.. Lucy and Dan...WTF?!... was this Gala's revenge for our mob handed attack in event one?... We were assured it was just the "luck of the draw"...Hmmm some luck.
Lucy got off to a good start building chips quite quickly, Dan got ill..struck by some mystery bug... and me?..usual grind.
We pressed on and then when down to the last two tables the final member of "Team Trotter" the "Donk Dale" was also moved on to our table ...unreal. We are now playing nine handed and four of the players are Poker.co.uk sponsored! One player then suggests we may be playing team tactics with soft play.. well, and you can trust me when I say.. that is not how we play, it's everyone for themselves but one player didn't see it that way and persisted with the argument (..and he hopes Matt may one day... sponsor him?). Fortunately I get moved to the other table. Unfortunately both Dan and Matt exit prior to the final, so this time it's down to "The lady" and... the "Tramp?".
Lucy has her usual formidable stack and I, as per usual, have my "bit of string" stack....one day...one day
With a couple of all in pushes I manage to steal my way out of immediate danger, and when two players exit in the first half hour I'm back under pressure with the short stack. Meanwhile Lucy and Ian Fraser seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot. I think it was a distinct case of a clash of personalities, but they seemed hell bent on destroying each other.. much to the amusement and delight of the rest of the table. Again I wasn't around long enough to witness the inevitable carnage exiting in 6th spot pushing my low stack in with A K and finding the huge stack of eventual winner Alex Torrence with an un-passable 9 3.... again a nine seals my fate.
Incidentally Fraser exited in fifth and Lucy in fourth ...there's a lesson there somewhere.
With two final table finishes and my confidence sky high the main event now looms large in my thoughts...
Prior to the start of the main event I do a couple more press and a TV interview, and then take my seat for day 1a along with 40-50 other hopefuls. "Hopefuls" is perhaps the wrong description of my fellow competitors as this field includes Jamie Gold and Phil Laak along with several other top American imports and with the Hendon Mob, Roland De Wolfe and several other top UK pro's... all of a sudden I realise I may need all of my confidence and resolve.
Off to a steady start building my stack without putting too much at risk and things start to look promising... Maybe the poker gods were saving me for this? The arrival of "The Wolf" at my table does nothing to diminish my positive attitude especially when my flopped trips turn into quads on the river and.. more to the point.. Roland's unfortunate "catch" to make bigger trips on the turn ensures a payoff for me on the river.... Wow. Not content with my new found stack status I now feel that the GBT title is mine for the taking.... how wrong could I be. One hour later having run two sets of trips into bigger trips and.. having pushed pocket kings straight into pocket aces my confidence, and more importantly my stack..is in tatters.... What a ride! From the outhouse to the penthouse and back to the outhouse...familiar territory looms once again.
Roland meanwhile has recovered from his setback and is now back in contention and this session can't end soon enough for me. Mercifully I end day one at the bottom of the pile... short stacked but, still in there fighting...sound familiar?
Day two is my day of rest and after taking in the sights and sounds of Bristol, an evening meal in Stroud with my wife and some friends, a final drink back at the casino with Matt and his lady friend (More on that in a moment) it's off to bed for an early-ish night but not before witnessing an astonishing line up in a ?2000 buy in NL cash game whose participants included Roland De Wolfe, Phil Laak, Jamie Gold, Bambos and Roberto Romanelo... wild and woolly or what! Not surprisingly the cash action drew a bigger crowd of spectators than that days tournament leg.
As we sat down for the start of day two my strategy was to be an early push with any half decent hand (no slow lingering death here) and who knows? with a couple of brave shoves I could be right back in it. Third hand in, the opportunity for a major double up arrives..pocket kings and with the blinds and antes now at substantial levels an all in would seem appropriate ..still one caller would be nice. My prayer is answered in the form of Albert "I can't pass" Sapiano with his pocket sixes.. again 1/4 on.. how sweet!
Albert's trips on the flop turn into quads on the river and my dream of a major title will just have to wait a little longer.... maybe the poker gods just like to tease me ?
So a profitable few days in Bristol with two final table appearances, great hospitality (though the players buffet left a lot to be desired...The same fare five days on the trot!) Gala really have a winner with the GB Tour it just needs a few improvements here and there but I'm sure next years will be bigger and better....I'll be back for sure.
A few Valuable lessons learned all round. My game still needs more bite. Best not to make any clashes at the poker table personal.... or your results will definitely suffer. Matt is definitely trying to lose the "Donk" tag and improve his game ...and it shows. Also, his status.. as pokers "most eligible bachelor" which I thought first appeared in "Gay weekly" or some similar publication is still in tact and.. contrary to popular rumour (possibly.. spread by me) he is definitely not gay... the girl he was with was gorgeous!
I was hoping to give you a report from this weeks GUKPT at Blackpool but time and space won't allow and... depending on Matt's view of my last paragraph, it may just save my bacon so... I'll keep that for next week along with the Midland Masters tournament report....good idea?...I think so.
Until next time..
Stay safe , play well and......stay off the gay jokes.