UK poker pro Dave Colclough is outplayed by Praz Bansi so he decided to tell us how it happened! “From here on in, the plan was simple: I was going to have to revert to luck if I was to take this one down”

Dave Colclough comes face-to-face with one of the UK’s hottest new poker talents, Praz Bansi

I found myself in a seasonally induced sleepy Brighton for a few days ealier this year. Somehow I managed to win a small £200 support event that culminated with being on the winning end of seven consecutive coin flips. Believe me, this win wasn’t down to superior play. In fact, on my way to securing the £7,700 first prize, I was outplayed in one key hand by England’s latest boy wonder, Praz Bansi.

In the early stages, I was hanging on as Johnny short-stack, once again under the influence of the old ‘Zen’ thing. Anyway, it wasn’t long before the buses rolled up at once, and from nowhere, I shot to chip leader with a stack of 100,000 to hide behind. Of the 13 players remaining, most had stacks between 10 and 50k, except for Praz, who was proudly eyeing a meaty pile of 100k. He was also sat at my table. After he raised my big blind, I looked down at A-9 suited, and decided to call. A flop of J-J-9 seemed like a good fit, so I gave him the old sandbag trap-check, but he didn’t oblige by betting. Round one to Bansi.


The 8: arrived on the turn and I still fancied I had the best hand, so I gave him the old trap-check again. He duly obliged with a pot-sized bet of 14k. I was sure he would have bet a draw or a pair of 8s on the flop, so I was still sure I had the best hand, and so raised to another 38k. Praz gave it the obligatory 30 seconds and then moved his whole stack in. A call would severely dent my stack, leaving me with less than 10k. I worked and re-worked the logic through my head and decided he just didn’t have a hand. This delay gave Praz the opportunity to start talking (often a sign of nerves).

My instincts were screaming ‘call’, but my brain was saying ‘you have 45k in front of you, there’s no need to take the risk’. Praz assured me that he ‘had the best hand at that moment’. I chose to pass on this one. Praz showed me his bluff by rolling over A:-6: no pair with a flush draw. I had passed when I was an 80% favourite. Round two to the Bansi boy. From here on in, the plan was simple: I was going to have to revert to luck if I was to take this one down.

The kid’s got talent…

The reason I bring this hand up is because Praz reminded me of not one, but two, famous players from a final table at the 2000 World Series of Poker. The event was potlimit Omaha and the big names were everywhere; Devilfish and Phil Hellmuth were just two of those. However, by the time the event reached the heads-up stage, an ageing poker superstar by the name of Amarillo Slim Preston was duly declaring to his opponent that he had never lost heads-up in a WSOP final. He proceeded to try and talk the hind legs of the proverbial donkey, but his young rookie opponent was no donkey – he was Phil Ivey.

I played with Amarillo Slim quite a bit that WSOP and had been surprised to notice an obvious tell. On the few occasions he had the goods, he would sit there smiling, looking comfortable while saying very little. However, when Slim didn’t want an opponent calling his bets, he would talk, and boy could he talk! Ivey had also noticed the old timer’s habits and he proceeded to methodically take him apart.

As I sat in Brighton, I shivered at the thought of the similarities Praz had with both the talkative Slim and the eventual winner of this heads-up no-match. Phil had been very passive during the time I was sat at the table. Perhaps he was just waiting for all the Europeans to knock each other out. Or, perhaps he was just biding his time and picking his spots to perfection.

Ivey’s maiden WSOP victory was an announcement to the poker world – while the less said about Mr Slim, the better. As for Mr Bansi, I am sure I will be playing a lot of hands with him this year – and I don’t like the current score.

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