Friday, April 14, 2006

At least the soup was nice...

Given I've got my WSOP trip coming up, I've got to get a bit more live experience. I've gone right off mixing with the hoardes at the Gutshot crush, so tonight I went down to the Sportsman for their £100 rebuy. Now, I normally don't like rebuys, especially £100 ones, as they favour the players who can dig into their pocket the most often. Nevertheless, I decided upon a £300 budget for the evening (using money withdrawn from poker accounts I'm not going to use any more) and made my way to Marble Arch.

There are, by all accounts, usually some faces at this tournament but tonight the only one I recognised by sight was Koresh, and Kevin Daly when I heard his name. Most of the big names are in Dublin for the Irish Open. So, the field looked quite juicy, given that two other people I recognised were a 'throw money about' gambler I remember playing at one tournament at the Gutshot last year, and a sweet Oriental lady who had been at my table at a £30 Sportsman freezeout before and she's no poker player.

In a rebuy tournament, at a table with a few gamblers, you need to hit cards - you can't force people off hands. I found few spots where I could commit chips with confidence. I found AK twice. The first time I went all-in in late position behind a couple of limpers (I'm relatively shortstacked - 1400 chips at 100/200). The SB calls, as does one of the limpers. They have AA and KK. Even my slim chances at hitting a straight were kiboshed by the BB folding TT face-up.

The second AK hand was the sickest bad beat I've had in a live event. I go all-in, against the one limper ahead of me. Three cold-callers behind me plus the original limper calls, so I know that if I do win the hand, I can more than quintuple up. The flop is K85 all hearts. Seeing as I have the Ace of hearts I'm absolutely loving this flop. I love it even more when the original limper bets and forces everyone else to fold. I'm jumping cartwheels when this guy turns over K6 with no heart.

I think to myself as long as there's no six, I'm home. Turn is a 7 and the river is a 4. Before I have a chance to fully celebrate my victory, the cries of 'Straight' go up and I have to rebuy. Aaaargh.

Just before the rebuy period ends I get moved to another table, and Koresh's immediate left. On my very first hand at the table I see a free flop of KQ8 with 83. The flop is checked by the four of us and the turn is a 6, putting three clubs on the board. Koresh quickly bets out.

I immediately know Koresh doesn't have anything, and I go all-in (risking one of the other guys having hit his flush, but the odds are with me). They both fold and Koresh ums and ahs. He asks for a count and I realise I don't have quite as much as I thought I had. He should call with anything, but his fold means he did have absolutely nothing.

I got knocked out two hands into the freezeout period racing 99 against AQ but I can take heart from the fact I think I played well, considering, and made one really good read. I also had a very nice free dinner (a wonderful celeriac soup and cod with pesto mash)

I would like to play this tournament more often (especially when I think the big guns will be elsewhere) but I'd need to go with £500 in my pocket to feel like I have room to manouevre.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sometimes you can do everything right and yet...

Last night's big $600K on Crypto - huge overlay as they only got just over half the runners needed to cover the guarantee (650 odd). After starting off with a couple of failed bluffs, I got back up to where I started before getting a huge hand.

I call a raise and a call with 88 and see a beautiful flop of 853 rainbow. First to act (the pre-flop raiser) bets just under the pot, then the next guy goes all-in. Even more beautiful. Sadly, the original raiser feels the heat too much and bails (with what he later said was TT). The other guy has AA and I move from 3000 chips up to 7000 and I'm 8th overall.

Then it all goes wrong. I get AA all-in against QQ pre-flop - he rivers his set. Then, five minutes later against the same guy, I get him to call my all-in on an AQ2 flop when he thinks his AK is ahead (sensible enough thought). However, I've totally put him on AK and have him well and truly over a barrel with my AQ. Until the river is a King, of course. Grrr.

I'm back down to 2800, and another 800 chips go when I have 57 on a 542 flop against my opponents 56. The river is a 6. My tournament ends when I push with AQ and run into AA.

A lot of players (and I mean a lot) would then use their next blog post as an opportunity to rant and rave about their bad fortune/useless fish/woe is me. Whilst I was disappointed to get knocked out of a big tournament so early, I was very happy with my play and I know that if I played like that in every major tournament I'd get a nice string of results.

Booked my flight to Las Vegas last night as well - just sixteen and a half weeks to go...