Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nov 21st - £100+£10 NL Hold'Em - Western Club

Another day, another £110 out of the window and I think its time for a break away from 'live' poker...well for a week or two anyway.

Tonights event at the Western was attended by 62 runners and the inkling I got that things were not going to happen for me was very shortly into the game itself when I get As-Ks in LP.

As is customary in these cases I raised to 350 (blinds were at 25-50) and got two callers. The flop looked fine for a holding like mine in 3c-7c-8s. Ok...I had no pair but I couldn't see either of my opponents having any of that either so once they'd checked I decided to cover my position and went all-in without much hesitation.

Then came the dwell-up from next player to act. He'd already lost 1000 points in an earlier skirmish so was looking at a stack of 3500 as he finally decided to call. The other player passed and yer man flipped over Qc-Jc for a flush draw. Well I suppose I'd have called as well! The turn card was the Js which although gave matey boy a pair of Jacks at least helped me somewhat in the process. The 2d fell on the river though and I was down to 1500.

I scrapped my way back upto 3000 and we were well into the 2nd level when I get my bogey hand at the Western in 10-10. Again I raised it up to 500 and again I got the same two callers as last time. The flop looked okay with J-6-3 and once again the two lads checked before it got to me. So what to do?

I'm a great believer that a one card higher than your holding pair flop is fine, especially if no Ace or King, as it limits the scope of an opponents holding somewhat. So with 2500 in hand I again launch an all-in bet, in defence of my 10's, and pray that neither of my opponents held a dreaded Jack.

Once again I got the dwell up from opponent 1 who wrestled with his conscience before finally folding. Opponent 2 though called without hesitation and proudly flipped 6h-3h for two pair!!!

A King on the turn was followed by a Queen on the river and I was out before the end of level 2.

Yes...its time for a break!

Entries ->62 - Place ->55th - Loss -> £110 ($204) Profit/Loss for 2006 -> +$12539
(As from 7th August rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.85)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nov 17th - £10 NL Hold'Em (FullHouse Club - Reigate)

Form is a wonderful thing. It comes & it goes...not always in equal proportion and people say that it always evens out. At the moment though I'm on the down slope of form, with ocassional peaks, but definately on the down slope.

Tonight was the £10 NL Hold'Em rebuy event at the FullHouse Club in Reigate. Scene of last weeks 2nd placing I was hopeful of more good fortune. It just wasn't to be!

With any £10 event these days you're always going to get the crazy players and if you have enough rebuy money then you can usually buy your way to 10k in chips with no bother. £100 isn't what it used to be though and where once upon a time that would be one of the top wedges in the room in todays card rooms the £100 will go in 10 hands and you're still staring at young players with £400-£500 in cripy fifties just looking for more action.

My BIG chip stake was 6k which, with usual dramatic effect, got whittled away to zero after one too many races came unstuck. These young fellas call with anything and they're encouraged when their 10-2 ('it was only 3k to call' look) batters A-Q & A-K relentlesly. I couldn't compete.

At the break I'd spent £90 and had 4k in chips. At least people would play properly now right?

Three hands into the 2nd session I get 9-9 in LP. One bloke, from across the table had limped in, another went all-in for 1100, and I duly followed suit to get rid of the limper. Trouble was that the 'limper' held A-A and was glad to call.

No 'shocking' 9 came to save me and I was home by 11pm. Not bad from Reigate!

Entries ->68 - Place ->??th - Loss -> £90 ($167) Profit/Loss for 2006 -> +$12743
(As from 7th August rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.85)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Nov 14th - £100+£10 NL Hold'Em - Western Club

Too many good starting hands meant my demise tonight before the break but what can you do?
Its true to say that I'm never going to be knocked out of a tournament holding 7-2 o/s under the gun. Mind you...nor is anyone else.

With a 5k starting stack and a 30 minute clock there were 60 runners in tonights £100 NL Hold'Em at the Western.
Within the first 30 minutes I'd had K-K once and Q-Q twice and had expanded my stack to close on 7k. I then get my first knock back.

Holding A-A in mid position there's a raise, to 400, from a player in EP. I re-raise to 1200 and there's an all-in at the far end of the table. Mr 'first to raise' folds and I, of course, call. Mr 'all-in' flips Q-Q!

The flop is x-Q-x-x-x and I'm back down to 2k already! Bah.

I then get 10-10 and make 500 back then launch an all-in bet with As-10s and get called by player holding A-K. A 10 appears on the flop and I breathe again.

Ten mins before the break I get A-Q in MP and with blinds now at 100-200 I raise it up to 700. The player to my immediate left looks down, looks up and then announces 'all-in'. He has me covered. Now don't get me wrong I COULD have passed this hand and if my A-A had have held up earlier I probably would have but my stack was shrinking so I decided to gamble. I called and he flipped A-K.

Flop was 9-10-6. Turn = K. So I now needed a Jack to get out of jail. River = 5. Argh!

Entries ->60 - Place ->49th - Loss -> £110 ($204) Profit/Loss for 2006 -> +$12910
(As from 7th August rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.85)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Nov 12th - £50 NL Hold'Em (Fullhouse Club, Reigate)

Buoyed up from Friday nights £660 profit I decide to go and play in the FullHouse Sunday night game which is a £50 event with optional £50 rebuy or top up. Eighty runners partook and I was gone before the break!

In events like these where there's an optional rebuy I always try and use the first lot of chips to gamble and try and accumulate chips. With 4k to start you just have to wait for the opportunity to do so. It came when I held the Kh-5h.

On a flop of Qh-7h-6c I re-raised a guy to 1000 who bet out 300 at it from the off. Usually opponents will flat call or pass in these situations. Not this guy though who proceeded to go all-in. Even if he had a set in this spot I couldn't pass this 6/4 chance so I called. He flipped Q-7 o/s (wierd call to start with) so I needed a heart to scoop the loot.

The turn card was the Kd, which made things slightly more interesting, but the 4s fell on the river and it was rebuy time!

So now I have to play tight and wait to get good cards. The Kd-Qd looked nice. What happened then though made it even more impossible to put down.

I flat call the 100 blinds. There's a raise to 300, then to 1000, then to 1750 all-in, then a call, then another call! It was my turn. I could pass if I wanted to...not with all that moola in the middle and the implied odds of more calls to come.

Sure enough there were 6 of us...all in for 1750.

The flop was 8d-9d-8h. Theres a bet to 500. One all-in already. Three of us call. One pass.

The 8s falls on the turn. Guy goes all-in for 1000. Next player calls, as do I leaving myself with 50 chips left!

The 2h falls on the river! Boo bloody hoo.

Player flips 5-5 for a mini full house and every one else passes showing A-K and A-J along the way. Dang!

So that was that. My last 50 points goes in with As-7s and gets robbed by player holding K-K. Come back form...all is forgiven!

Entries ->80 - Place -> 75th - Loss -> £100 ($185) Profit/Loss for 2006 -> +$13114

(As from 7th August rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.85)

Nov 10th - £10 NL Hold'Em (FullHouse Club - Reigate)

With my form seeming to have returned somewhat after Tues nights qualification to the Grand Final of Loose Cannons event I hopped it down to the FullHouse Club down in Reigate for the weekly £10 NL rebuy event.

Arriving there at around 7.30pm I was surprised to hear that I had secured one of the last places available. The place was deserted! Apparently members can phone up from 4pm on the day and book their seat! Nice.

Anyway 66 runners took their seats at 8.30pm and, with it being a rebuy event, the plan was to accumulate chips ready for action in part II. Unfortunately things didn't quite go according to plan. By the time the rebuy period was coming to an end I'd spent £90 and had 2k in chips. Last hand I get Kh-4h, go all-in and get called by A-K (as you would) The flip was 3-4-7-4-J and I'd doubled up. The top-up gave me another 2k so I started the 'proper' game on just over 6k.

This dwindled away to 4k before I get a free flop on the BB holding 10-7 against two other players. The flop was 10d-7c-4d and I lumped all-in, being first to act. I was called immediately by a player holding the Qd-8d but luckily he didn't improve and the night began to go my way.

I chipped my way up to 15k and, with 2 tables left and blinds at 1k/2k, I decided to nick the antes with Ks-9s on the button. The BB woke up with A-K and called. The flop contained 2 9's and he wasn't best amused!

So I get to the final table with 24k. Chip leader has 80k and there is 409k in play. I draw seat 1 which gives me a free round as the button always goes to seat 1 and its 3k/6k.

Lucky for me there's plenty of action with the other players. There's a hand with 3 all-ins. Two get eliminated. Another two go. I get lucky then going all-in with K-10 against Q-J and suddenly we're down to 3 with blinds at 8k/16k. Needless to say a deal is done which guarantees us all £600 with £560 left to play for.

Two hands into the level there's an all-in from the chip leader and a call. Chip leader prevails and we're down to heads-up. Trouble is I only have 40k left!!

I press for another £160 which chip leader agrees to and its over soon after when my A-3 can't beat Q-4. Never mind...the £760 will come in useful.

Entries ->66 - Place -> 2nd - Win -> £660 ($1221) Profit/Loss for 2006 -> +$13299

(As from 7th August rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.85)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nov 7th - £50+£5 NL Hold'Em - Loose Cannons (London EC2)

While the big guns of the European poker world hover around Amsterdam hot spots like a swarm of bees us poorer poker players seek out the best value tournaments and attempt to have a good night out knowing that we won't be too broke in the morning!

Tonight saw the first leg of the £5000 added VC Grand Prix event held down at the newest poker club on the block, Loose Cannons, close to Cannon St station.

Entry costs £50 and the idea is is that tonight, and for the next 3 weeks, 25% of all entries qualify for the Grand Final night to be held on Wed Dec 6th. Prize money is accumulated throughout the 4 qualifying weeks and with the £5k that Victor Chandler is kindly adding there should be around £15k to play for come the big night! Not bad for a £50 comp where the final may just about comprise of 50 runners or less!

So...with that said, 34 runners sat down for the 1st heat (expected to grow in weeks to come) and 9 qualifiers were sought. Where did I finish?? Read on...

Firstly let me say that strategy in these 'qualifying' events is simple. Survive! Its not about winning. Its not about making re-raises with A-Q. Its not about playing aggressively! Its about nicking the odd ante, flat calling where possible, hitting the odd flop and waiting. Waiting for other, not so-experienced players, to gamble it up and knock each other out!

Of course you need chips to play with and if you find yourself short then you must not let yourself get ante'd away with half the field remaing. That said you should do ok!

With Loose Cannons attracting a certain type of crowd - city workers & the like - its very likely than 90-95% of the field have little thought on what the game plan should be. They're there to win! Big mistake!

Antes started at 25/50 and we ran a 25 min clock starting just after 7pm. With a 3500 starting stack there was no need to panick...ever...just roll along!

By the break (3 levels in) we were down to 3 tables of 8. Ten players had busted out. Duh???

My chip stack hadn't moved. I had 4100. Best hand I had was 6-6 and didn't connect on the flop. Oh well never mind! Passive play was the order of the day and that hand cost me 100 points!

After the next level (150/300) another 8 players had gone. We were down to 16. I had 3900 and was going nowhere. Its ok!

After the next level (200/400) I'd managed to nick a couple of antes and my chip stack stood at 4000. We were down to 13. Four more before we all qualify. Easy right???

Things started to slow up. People with similar stacks to mine were still intent on going all-in though and were getting called by the monster stacks. I saw some terrible play. We were down to 10. One to go!!

With blinds now at 300/600 I had dripped down to 3100. Enough for approx 15 more hands. Nobody was moving. I pass both my blinds. I have 2200 left. I'm on the button and I get Ah-9h. Its passed round. That 900 out there sure looks tasty. I go all-in! 'Call', says the BB, who has a mountain of chips.

He flips A-10 (gulp). Flop is J-5-6 (uh oh). Turn is 7. (I shout for an 8) River is EIGHT!!! I survive!!

Blinds flip to 400/800. There is one small stack at our table. Its hand for hand. Small stack goes all-in for 2800 on the SB. I'm in the BB and look to see A-J. Can't pass that as I'd still have enough for a round or two even if I lose. I call. Short stack flips A-Q! Oh dear!!

Flop is 10-JACK-5-7-3. Its over. I've qualified. Perhaps there is a poker god??

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oct 31st - £100+£10 NL Hold'Em - Western (London)

I think I must sounds like a right old moaner recently. Its been several weeks now since I last hit a final table (the last being at the Western in early Sept) and I'm still in this rut of getting runover by players 'getting lucky' against me!

Apart from last Fridays effort when my K-J got pasted by 7-7 I generally get my money in with the best hand. Not that that matters of course as I'm being drawn out on most every time. There's no rhyme or reason to it as thats just the way it is.

Tonight at the Western was another case in point...

At the first break (90 mins play) I had 8500 points and was playing well. There had be no 'all-in' moves and I was swimming along nicely. In LP I get Q-Q and with blinds at 150/300 I make the obligatory raise to 1300 and got called in two spots. The flop was a decent looking Jh-8d-5d.

Without so much of a blink the SB, who has me covered in chips and is first to bet, goes all-in. The 2nd player passes and its back to me....hmmmm!

Ok..a set is automatically ruled out as which donut goes all-in with a set? Two pair is a possibility but with the cards spread as they were...J...8...5 then that was unlikely too. He either had 9-10, A-J, K-J or Q-J. In any instance I was winning. Could you or I put Q-Q down? Of course not!

I called and he flipped Kd-Jd for top pair & flush draw. Now this is where form comes in. When your form is good two low black cards appear and the pot is yours. When its bad....well!

The turn card was the 3h and I prayed for a black card to appear. No joy as the 3d fell on the river. Another £110 bit the dust. Next stop is Equal Chances £10k guarantee on Friday night. Last time I was there I won £1k in the cash game :)

Entries ->50 - Place -> 27th - Loss -> £110 ($204) Profit/Loss for 2006 -> +$12078

(As from 7th August rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $1.85)