Thursday, 31 July 2008

Poker Player Championship - Walsall

This was the first time I had been to the Walsall Grosvenor Casino and I must admit I was very impressed with the Venue, nice card room.

This time there were just over 90 players started, and I started a little flustered as I arrived later than I would have liked (the Sat Nav decided to take me on a tour of Walsall first). However I did settle in quickly and recognised 1 person on the table from the Bolton Leg, and he played exactly the same as he did there ... which was nice.
Nothing really astounding happened for the first 6 levels. I was getting relatively few hands and had to be content with stealing a few chips from one particular player on my right who would limp in and then fold to my position raise. This allowed me to get the blinds plus his extra bet on about 3 occasions. Just before the second break I managed to win quite a big pot to get me to about average chips. I basically bet my A high flush draw on the flop in position against one opponent who called. At this point I put him on small-mid pair or a draw himself, anyways I got him as weak. The turn came a higher card so I had another punt having missed my flush - again he flat called. When he checked the river to me I basically had to bet at the pot or show down A high. On announcing my bet he was already pushing his cards into the muck and I didn't even have to say how much!
First hand back after the 2nd break with about 45 players left I looked down at a JJ in early position, I raised it big and it folded around so I just won the blinds. 2nd hand and I look down at AQs UTG. I raise it up again and it folds around to me again. 4 hands later in the CO is where I really start to think this was going to be my day. I look down at a glorious KK. It folds around to me so I raise it up to just 2 and a half times the big blind (800 / 400) to 2000 expecting the blinds again, but no the button re-raises it up to 5000 leaving himself about 3000 left in chips, I have about 10,000 left behind so after calling his re raise and putting him all in I will be left with about 4000 in chips. Put him all in I did and he turned over the dreaded AA. No K came to help so I was crippled.

Could I have gotten away from KK. Looking back I think I could have. Heres why!

The guy was folding for England and seemed happy to be blinded away. Two hands before he managed to get all of his 4000 chips in as the BB with QQ to double to 8000. Now given that would he really put all his newly earned chips on the line with anything but the AA? Admittedly he could have had QQ again, but I firmly believe he wouldn't have re raised with a strong A or JJ. I did ask him if he had AA before going all in and I got the reaction which I am fast believing is a tell for someone who has a very big hand (but that is what live experience is about learning these tells). Finally I had only invested 2000 chips. Anyway my decision to put him all in was backed by the fact that this hand wouldn't be the end of the tournament for me and the result stood.
From there I took a turn of the table then pushed in with A2 suited of which surprisingly both were live cards but lost to someone who paired the flop with his KQ. Out this time about 40th.
I am quite sure my time will come. I am happy with the way I played again and have learnt some more valuable live game lessons ...
Until next time
Keep it tight!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Poker Player Championship Bolton Leg

Well my first try at the Poker Player Magazine Championship 2008 (Leg 1 Bolton) was met with mixed feelings. Initially I expected there to be more of a presence from the magazine, but they even turned up late after the tourney had started.

I recognised some of the field from the Virgin Poker Festival, Newcastle ... this is obviously in the catchment area for these players. I also believe that the Blogger Four King Hell (Michael Lott) was there on my second table (but never had the chance to introduce myself .. perhaps at Walsall Michael!)

I started off very well .. the best being able to limp in with pocket 4's and hitting a full house on the flop to add another half to my stack. Again as is often the story people were respecting my raises and I felt good, but thats where the poker fun stopped as I was moved tables.

On my second table I was sat to the right of a chap called Duncan Godfrey ... he actually knocked me out at Newcastle Virgin Poker Festival, but this time it was more social as I didn't get to play any hands against him. If you look at you will see him on the televised table of the 2008 Aussie millions sitting to the right of Phil Ivey.

Anyway I wanted to set about gaining my usual tight image but had to make a few raises early on as I was hitting strong Aces. I must have looked like a very loose aggressive, which arguably was or wasn't good for me when i looked down at AA under the gun. I think the blinds were at about 100 / 200 and I raised it to $1K. Only the big blind called and he had a stack that could cripple me. The flop came Q, T, 4 with 2 to the flush but I didn't have the A of that suit. I continuation bet into the Pot $2k and was called by my opponent. At this point I had no reads and to be honest was totally unsure where I was at - didn't know if he had hit a set, 2 pair or was flushing and was he prepared to call me all the way to the river? I had about $5000 chips left. The turn came an unsuited 8. He "acted" weak and checked to me, did I want to take another pop! No I decided to give the free card in fear that I was already behind and prepared to call any bet on the end which I deduced would be small if the guy was on a monster. The river came a clean 4 so no flush possibilities. He led out $2K and I called. He held A4 for his set of 4's.

I have replayed this in my mind and wondered whether I should have just pushed on the turn .. I am not sure I would have gotten him to fold though.

I was damaged and my exit hand came a circuit later with the blinds heading up I felt I need to get some chips quick. I got to see a cheap flop in the BB with 97 diamonds. Against 2 opponents and on a flop of 2 diamonds I decided to push my now short stack. I got called by a guy on a bigger flush draw and I exited in about 80th.

Not to worry though I am off to Walsall tomorrow to try again in Leg 2 off this tournament so will report back after that.

Until then ...

Keep it Tight!