Since returning to the PokerPlayer fold I’ve been playing lots of poker – and winning!
Regular readers might remember me when I was editor of PokerPlayer. Since I left, back in 2009, I’ve carried on playing, but poker took a bit of a back seat to work. I met up with the old PokerPlayer crew every few months for a raucous home game, but my live and online game took a big hit. Now I’m back I’m loving the game again and the break seems to have done my game good. On this regular blog I’m going to chronicle some of the big hands I’ve played. Not from an expert’s point of view, because an expert I am not. Instead you’ll get an enthusiastic amateur’s view of how a hand played out. I might play the hands well, I might make an absolute car crash of them, but I’ll write about them as I see them. If nothing else it’ll make you feel better about your game – ‘If he can win a tourney with a thought pprocessrocess like that, there’s hope for me…’
I won my first live event for a long time at the PokerPlayer UK Tour in Leeds (thanks in part to a hand I couldn’t have scripted better myself – Aces against A-K and Jacks a few players away from the final table). Buoyed by the success there I played in the Grosvenor Goliath event in Coventry and had a great run finishing 168th out of 1,882 runners. My downfall came from a limped family pot – the ones that always spell trouble for someone.
Keep it in the family!
The table was fairly aggressive but also very friendly and when the pot started limping round the table talk turned to ‘don’t raise it, keep it friendly’ style jokes as each player took his turn. I was on the button with A♦-6♦ and didn’t rock the boat. My thinking was that I could flop huge and win a monster pot or get out – the blinds were fairly big at this point and there were six players in the pot.
I did flop big – A♥-A♣-8♣ – albeit slightly dangerously, and when it checked round to me I bet and picked up one caller a couple of seats to my right. I was pretty sure he didn’t have an Ace. He was an aggro player and A-10 and up would have been popped pre-flop. There were Aces that beat me but that would just be unlucky. And from the way he called I had him on a flush draw.
The turn was the 4♠ and I decided to overbet it, doing my best to look weak. This was me falling into the classic look weak/are strong, but he didn’t seem to notice. He seemed far more interested in what he had and he started agonising over his decision. The bet put him all-in and if he folded he’d be left with around 15BBs. He started talking and said, ‘You’ve either got me crushed or you’ve got nothing.’ This was obviously music to my ears. He then seemed to make things even better. ‘I think you’re on a flush draw.’
Now if he didn’t have a flush draw I was thinking I probably had him near dead. Willing him to call, he eventually flopped his chips over the line reluctantly and said, ‘I don’t want to play with a short stack anyway.’ The pot was now about 600,000 and would have put me in the top ten of the tourney. He flipped over 7♣-4♣ and obviously the dealer dealt his river club. I still had chips left but tilted them all off pretty quickly. He said he called because he put me on the flush draw and thought his Four ‘could be massive’, with two blockers to the flush. As it turned out he needed the club to win.
Zen and the art of poker
Leaving the tourney I felt pretty good. The hand had played out exactly how I wanted it to, I just didn’t get the end result. About two hours later my poker zen was replaced with a crushing sense of injustice, which lasted for the rest of the night and into the next morning. And just to show the variance I didn’t place anywhere in the next two tourneys I played in, including the PPUKT Cardiff where I triple-barrel bluffed off almost my entire stack, only to get owned in a massive way when someone told me I had nothing and shipped the river. ‘I couldn’t even beat an Ace mate’, was what he said to me as I was smouldering in my seat thinking bad things about him.
Anyway, the upshot of this first blog is that I’ve well and truly got the bug again. We’re running lots of promotions at the moment – the Grand Prix, the Cash Showdown and the PPUKT among others and I’m loving all of them. If you haven’t signed up to play – do it now! They’re great fun and the table talk (especially in the Cash Showdown) is as big a part of it as the winning. Well maybe not quite as big. The freerolls we run have pretty decent prizes and not many runners!
The PPUKT is nearly at at end – there’s just the Grand Final to go at the Vic on November 16/17. The buy-in is £165 but you can qualify via the satellites on Grosvenor Poker. There are three seats guaranteed this Sunday at 6pm and one seat guaranteed on Tuesdays. Both are £16.50 buy-ins. Hopefully I’ll see you there. Hopefully you won’t stick it in my eye on the river as I’m attempting my trademark One Big Move.