Dave Colclough comes across some wild cash poker play from the Mad Monk and a 20-stone casino hustler
Although the Warsaw PokerStars.com EPT main event was a disappointment for me, it did turn out to be a rather strange and interesting trip.
I think the poker gods are definitely playing with the old grey matter. For the third EPT in succession, I played the first eight levels (that’s eight whole hours) with absolutely no cards, no situations and no action. My 10,000 starting stack had progressed to the truly heady heights of 11,800 and had sunk as low as 9,200. It was enough to even test the patience of the great Zen.
When I eventually got around to play a pot of any size or stature (almost nine hours in), it was of course to be my exit hand. Fortunately though, the action in the side events was slightly better. I managed to finish third in that now quite rare beast: a pot-limit Omaha tournament. Having also won each time I sat in the vibrant cash table area, the win topped up the profits for a nice little trip.
One of the cash games ended when a bunch of locals got up and formed another game on their own. In a strange kind of way, that was both disappointing and satisfying. It’s a long time since anyone has been running scared from me.
IN THE BLACK
A remarkable hand from the biggest game in town also deserves a mention. The testosterone could be smelt in Krakow as Europe’s finest, wildest and richest sat down with hundreds of thousands of zlotys in a 250/500 (approx £50/£100) no-limit hold’em game. Having pre-flop raised with pocket Jacks, one Russian player wasn’t too surprised to pick up the everpresent calling stations Andy Black and John Duthie. The money was deep, so calling pre-flop raises was easily justified here.
A flop of 6-8-2 looked remotely safe, so Boris led out with a sizeable bet, only to be raised by Andy and maybe not so surprisingly, re-raised all-in for shed-loads by the fearless Mr Duthie. The pair of Jacks hit the muck, but Andy reluctantly called. The dealer turned a 3, followed by a Queen on the river. Andy and John both sat staring at each other, shaking their heads. Reluctantly, John turned over 7-10 to reveal he was making a bluff on the flop with a gutshot 9 his only out.
‘That’s good, 10-high wins. I have 7-9,’ says Andy, turning over his cards…which were in fact K-9 (and these guys are the best in Europe you know). ‘Oh my god, I had 7-9 the previous hand,’ an embarrassed Black mumbled.
BACK IN THE DAY…
This had been pretty typical for the week though. Upon arrival at the casino I went down to sign-up. Whilst doing so, I just happened to notice the blackjack had the old over/under 13 prop-bet. This had been introduced in the UK ten or 15 years ago. The idea being that you bet, say £20, that the first two blackjack cards dealt to you will add up to more or less than 13.
It was then removed [in the UK] rather swiftly as casinos realised what a dream it was for the country’s few card-trackers. In fact, it actively encouraged the average punter to become a card-tracker. I chuckled to myself as I thought of guys I had known like Chris Robson, who could memorise six decks of cards whilst holding conversations with the dealer, monitoring the speed of the roulette ball and picking his nose. Clever punters like Chris just murdered the casinos.
Funnily enough, I bumped into Chris while in Warsaw; all 20 stone of him. He introduced me to the Atkins diet some time ago and while he sat demolishing two whole chickens, he convinced me he was still on a diet. Chris actually had a similar EPT to me – but even more elongated: he lasted through to three or four levels into day 2 – again barely breaking the 10k mark at any point. Now that boy has patience. I’m not so convinced the Atkins diet works though.
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