Right, there's a lot to catch up on. Expect three posts in quick succession.
Went to Walsall for the APAT English Championship at the start of November. 200 players and I bumbled along for most of the first day. Up a bit, down a bit, but I made the money and the 2nd day with a mid-low stack. Began day 2 by knocking someone out when they pushed 88 into my AK then got a huge boost with a raise and a call coming into my Aces on the BB. Following my push the inital raiser got out of the way and Rich Offless called with Jacks to double me up to over 200,000 chips. I then gave most of it back to him when I pushed on a flop with a flush draw and missed.
When we get down to 11 players I suffer another dent, again to Rich, when he makes up the SB against my BB and we see a flop of 753. He bets out 15,000 into the pot of 20,000 but I've flopped top pair and so raise to 40,000. He thinks for a while before calling. The turn is a Queen and we both check. This was a mistake by me (and not only from a results-based perspective). More than half the deck are bad cards for me on the river and I have to take advantage of the weak check. However, I don't and the river is a 2. This looks a safe card for me but Rich bets 50,000. I really don't think he has a Queen and he is more than capable of bluffing here following my turn check. I call and he shows A4 for the rivered straight.
We're hand-for-hand as we have two tables of five and need to lose one more player for the final table. I have 130,000 and raise to 30K with QQ. The BB pushes and I call - he shows AA. The first four cards dealt on the board are insignificant but the fifth is a mightly female dagger in his heart and my rivered set doubles me up and I make the final table in joint second place with Rich (though miles behind the chip leader Darren Shallis who has nearly a million).
We get down to six and I am in 2nd place with over 300k. It's my BB and the action is folded to Darren (still big chip leader) on the button. He raises to 40K (2nd or 3rd time in a row he's done that). Before I look at my cards I'm considering raising no matter what I see, but when I find AK I want to make sure Darren puts more chips in the pot, so I start giving it a bit of chat. 'If I was in your position I'd be raising with any two cards here' etc. I reraise to 120K and Darren pushes. I instacall and Darren picks up his cards and confidently slaps down AQ. His demeanour was of someone who knew he was ahead (and he later admitted such to me). However, the Queen on the flop meant luck evened itself out pretty quickly after my set of Queens earlier and I left in 6th place with £600.
I was mostly happy with how I played in the tournament and if I'd won that final hand I'd have swapped places with Darren, been chip daddy and would have really fancied my chances to close things out as there was still a lot of play left in the final. As it was, it was a good result and my first ever cash on the Hendon Mob database (my only previous entry was my TV appearance on Sky).
Rich went on to win and there's a great interview with him at Blondepoker which includes a bit about me. It's APAT Manchester this weekend so I hope to go well again as I loved the structure and atmosphere, but first there will be a very boozy night of poker in Chester on the Friday night, where I will duel with Rich again.