UK poker star Dave Colclough talks us through his first WSOP experience involving a tussle with Jonny Chan: “He picked on me; and then he picked on me some more”

Dave Colclough remembers getting schooled by Johnny Chan at his first WSOP

However, I have stumbled into a bit of form of late, so hopefully I can get back to the heady heights of the 69th spot I reached in 2001, the year Carlos Mortensen won. That year, Sammy Farha knocked me out in the latter stages. He was in his super-aggressive mode, complete with a monster stack.

But, my most vivid main event memory comes from my first WSOP, played in the darkest echelons of Binion’s Horseshoe. I was winning big at the time by playing very aggressively in pot- limit Omaha cash games. And, my style of play had strangely seemed to transfer over to the WSOP main event rather well, even if I was short of a couple of cards.

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I got off to a flyer and had a whopping 50,000 in chips by the end of level six. I thought this must be huge, until my table broke and I sat down next to Willie Tann with 60,000! Hmmm – I just carried on as normal. Shortly afterwards, they broke our table again and I was moved over to a seat opposite Johnny Chan. I was quite proud of my stack compared to his paltry 16,000. He was probably thinking ‘yum, yum’, as he fondled his obligatory orange.

Anyway, several times I raised and several times he called. I then followed through on the flop, and he then followed up with a call. I would check, and he would steal the pot because I didn’t want to risk a big portion of my chips. He picked on me; and then he picked on me some more.

There is one hand just before the end of the first day’s play that I still cringe at. We probably both had about 35,000 at that stage. He had raised and I re-raised with pocket tens. Needless to say, he then moved all-in and I passed. I’ll eat the deck if I didn’t have the best hand, but I just didn’t want to coin flip it against A-K. At the end of the day I had an average stack of slightly less than 30k. However, this was before the internet- induced non-aggressive player replacement that took place in the early part of this decade, so there were only four players with more than 50,000! If only I had realised that at the time.

Oh Geordie!

Talking of Johnny Chan always reminds me of Carlo ‘Pretty Boy’ Citrone’s first trip to Vegas. Our Geordie friend’s first event was the $5,000 no-limit hold’em, where he just happens to sit down opposite the ‘Orient Express’ – and to the left of a young raising machine. Carlo watches the kid raise the first eight hands on the bounce, and after seeing him do about a third of his chips, he offers his sympathies. ‘What’s the hurry?’ he says.

‘Take your time – whyeye [sic]. You’ll be out before the hour’s up lad.’ The other players chuckle to themselves and the youngster continues to raise the next seven hands straight. Carlo decides another little heart- to-heart is called for. ‘Look, you obviously havnae [sic] listened to a word that I said. Whyeye, there is no need to be nervous. Just relax and take it easy.’ While all this is going on, Chan is choking to death, trying to keep the tears of laughter off the cards.

Anyway, Mr Citrone re-raises the young pretender all-in next hand, and sends him packing. I listened in disbelief as Carlo informed the table: ‘I felt sorry for him – whyeye. I wuz [sic] just trying to help the kid. But he just wunna lissen [sic].’ At which point, those at the table who could understand Geordie are in fits of laughter, asking themselves: ‘Who is the comedian tourist winding up Phil Ivey?’

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