Friday, 28 December 2007

Bubble trouble

Sunday December 23rd, 2007
£20 rebuy

The tournament Sunday was less eventful for the poker than a few other things that happened.

The most interesting hand I got before the final table involved me with only just over 2 big blinds meaning that almost any big blind would call if I raised.

However, there was one tight player called Frank who is a good player and he is the only player that could possibly fold if I went all in.

So I got 74o on his blind and decided to raise all in even though I was relatively early position. Unfortunately I got 2 callers before it even got to Frank, one with Kings, however a rivered straight was enough to give take me from 5000 to 20000 chips in one go!

Anyway, this was enough to get me to the bubble.

Now, about a year ago on of my goals was to qualify for the Grosvenor Grand Prix.
I played a few satellites and in one of them at Blackpool 7 of us turned up which meant there was one seat up for grabs.

I managed to play my way down to heads up and when we got there I realised that this was only the second time in almost a year of playing live that I'd played heads up poker live!

So I decided there and then that I didn't want to do deals any more. As well as stopping the game before it has finished it also changes the game.

This is also true around bubble time when a saver is made.

On top of this I find that people play very tight and scared around bubble time so I want to take advantage of that.

So on Sunday when someone wanted everyone to put £10 each for the bubble I said that I didn't want to.

Unfortunately everyone else did but I stuck to my guns.

I even had to object when everyone else wanted to do the saver excluding me which is not right since that could lead to people colluding to get me out.

So , even though I objected to the saver I managed to survive the bubble and make the final table.

The final table didn't last that long though as my big blind hand of 5s6s was met by a flop of 7s8s7d.

I check raised all in and my opponent quite surprisingly instacalled with 8T.

Despite being 50 50 to win, none of my outs arrived and I was out in 9th for £150.

And so it was off to the cash table where I was met by a couple of friends of the lad who went out on the bubble.

I've encountered these players before and one of them who was drunk gave me some stick.

This player can play very loose and one hand that involved him and his mate before arrived involved £600 with J4 and QJ as the hole cards on a board of AKQ!

We got involved in a couple of hands, one where he raised, I reraised, he reraised all in and I was committed to calling with AJ against his QQ.

I felt that I was ahead of his raising range and when he went all in he was begging me to call which is good info for the future.

The other hand involved me calling what I thought was a move on a board of JT8 T. I only had an 8 and again he stood up but this time he was telling me to call if I wanted to. I took this as being different to the last time and called. Unfortunately he had a ten and took great pleasure in showing me but also made a couple of nasty comments which I replied to.

Being the sort of person he is he offered to take it outside but I stopped wanting to fight people when I was still in school. But I wouldn't have expected anything else from him as he plays poker the same way - ie any raise when he has money in the pot is a test of his "manhood".

What I have taken from the session though is that he was standing up both times he had me beat and I'm pretty sure that he is playing good holdings against me and the rubbish hands he is playing are against his mate. - Something I will be able to use against him in the future I hope.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone reading this and happy new year.

Friday, 21 December 2007



Just played the sixth Jackpot sit and go on Bluesq.

These tournaments are 6 handed and $50 entry with the top 3 being paid.

The big bonus of these tournaments is that if you win 6 in a row you win a jackpot of $50000 plus.

At the moment the jackpot is $190,000.

If you come 1st or 2nd 6 times in a row you win a consolation of $750

So after winning 4 and 2nd once in 5 I played my final one for the $750, I just had to finish in the top 2.

I started out 1st hand losing half my 1000 stack with A5 on an A46 flop when I was bluffed off by JJ

Then with the blinds at 50/100 my all in with KsQs was called by KJ. Fantastic position, until the Jack hit the flop!!!!!

I don't believe online poker is rigged in any way other than the individuals that were allegedly involved with Absolute scandal.

But it damn well feels like it!!!!! LOL

Anyway, I'm back up to 1 win and 2 top 2 places, only 4 or 5 to go!

Thursday, 20 December 2007


Just found this article on blonde about the Cruise win.

Lucky 7

Monday December 17th
Leos - £10 rebuy
83 runners

I started off quickly again and picked up a nice big pot after raising the serial limpers with AJ, went to the flop with about 6 players but an A on the turn won me a lovely 5000+ chips.

I slowly built up a very healthy stack during the first hour and a half to the point where my starting 1000 chips were up to 25000.

By this point (blinds of 100/200) those without chips are generally happy to get all their chips in with a wide variety of hands and sometimes even blind.

Having a large stack like that can be very useful to isolate these players.

One interesting hand that I won involved a mate, Andy Booth, who had around 3500 chips.

I had raised to 1600 with 99 pre flop after a few limpers and he was the only caller.

The pot was now something like 4000 and when the flop came KQ5 I was resigned to folding to his inevitable bet or checking expecting to be behind when he said something about having to call if I bet, virtually telling me that he had missed (he had A7).

Any bet and I would have folded!

Anyway, I got to the break with 21000 chips.

Now, before I played on Monday I had to move our old sofa ready for collection on Tuesday.

As I was moving it I heard all the money that had fallen down the back so I decided to fish it out.
Anyway, ignoring the slummy, I fished out £7 in pound coins and so I said that I would put it on number 7 on the roulette when I get to the casino - I never play any of the house games normally.

Anyway, I put the money on in the break and, you guessed it, number 7 was a winner giving me £245 from the back of the settee!!!!!

Someone did say to me that it was a shame I never found £20 but I did tell them that would have been no good because I would have lost as number 20 never came in!!!!

Anyway, more of this later.

So, back to the tournament.

I got moved to a new table and a couple of hands in I am up against a player who limped and then called my button raise with AT.

There was about 6000 in the pot and when the flop came QT5 rainbow he went all in for 12000!
I actually said to him that if he had bet 4000 it would be an easy fold.

After a bit of deliberating I folded doubting that he had a strong hand, showing my ten.

He later told me that he did have me beat but I couldn't be sure one way or another.

Then a few hands later with the blinds at 400/800 came a hand where I am almost certain I folded the winning hand.

I had Ks8h on the big blind and my earlier foe, who I had seen limping into quite a few pots, was involved against me and the small blind, a loose calling station beginner who only bet or raised when he had a good hand - the small blind that is and not me!!!!

The flop came Js6s3s

Having the Ks I decided to see if I could take the pot there and then and bet about 1100 into the 2400.

This was called by both players.

The turn was an 8d.

This was checked by the small blind and now I had a feeling I was ahead as I was sure my foe would have raised my bet with anything better than a pair of 9s on the flop.

So I bet 2400.

My foe thought about it for ages and eventually called as did the small blind.

Now I was almost certain that my foe had the Ace of spades.

The river was a 6d putting a potential full house on the board.

The small blind checked and I decided that the only way to get chips off my foe if I was ahead is if he bluffs, so I check too.

My foe then spent ages playing with his chips and he looks like he is trying to summon up the courage to bluff.

After an age he says all in (about 11000 chips into the pot of 11000)

When he said all in he made a slightly different movement with his head to the one he made in the previous hand.

The small blind folds and I am sure I am ahead.

But he has gone all in on a board with a potential full house and flush.

So I told him that I was about to make a call that would look either absolutely fantastic, or really stupid.

His reaction to this was "go on then"

But his smile had elements of a certain smile that some people do when they are bluffing but it was not completely the same.

So what should I do?

I've got to say that I was 90% of the way to making that call and there were 3 things that stopped me.

1. I was sat on the left of him, the small blind from the same hand and another player who I know that makes a certain action when he bluffs that I know for certain is a bluff so I felt that there were a lot of chips on offer.

2. There was a small chance that my foe had the As and a 6 giving him an unexpected set of sixes.

3. I still had 15000 chips which was above average and there were 40 players left.

So I folded showing him the 8 and told him that I was pretty certain that I was ahead.

After the hand I asked him if I was ahead and he said that he had the flush but when I asked him what with, he said "a seven or something" and again I was pretty sure that he wasn't telling the truth.

Unfortunately we broke tables a short while later but I asked him again and this time he said that he only had the ace of spades.

I'm still not sure and someone else I asked about this hand actually said that even if the call would have been right it wouldn't have been a good call because of the flush and full house possibilities.

I'm not sure now myself but I wish I could find out!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I got moved soon after and played one pot in the big blind with A3 after the button had limped.

The flop came down A45 and I checked expecting to be ahead and the button bet 3000 into the 4800 pot. I raised another 4000 expecting him to fold but he went all in.

I folded to what I reckon must have been 2 pair or maybe a set.

So I was now down to 9000 chips with the blinds of 1000/2000.

Time to make a move soon.

It was when I was telling someone on the table about my roulette win with the £7 on no 7 when someone made it 7700 to go pre flop.

So I said to the raiser that if I had 77 in my hand I'm all in!

Anyway, I didn't have 77 and folded but he was called by 1 player.

The flop came down J77 and the raiser had……………………… 77!

A couple of hands later and I got 72.

Now I like to vary my game a little occasionally by playing if I have 52 for example and the bet is the same (ie 2 with 5)

So I'm sat there with 72 and the blinds are 2000 and I have an extra 7000 chips and, needing to make a move soon, I thought, why not?

I'd hardly played a hand on this table I should be credited for having a good hand and I shipped in the 9000.

Everyone folded as per the plan until the big blind woke up with TT.

The 7 on the turn gave me hope but a blank river saw me going home £223 up on the night, unfortunately none of it due to poker!

The cash game was full so I just went home.

If anyone reading this has any opinions on my play I'm happy to listen as I want this to be a part of the learning curve.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Welcome to the Circus

Monday December 10th
Circus Casino Liverpool
£250 f/o
70 runners
10000 starting chips

Today saw the opening tournament in the new Circus Casino in Liverpool.
Stanley's were adding £2000 to the prize pool and there were a lot of the Leos crowd plus a few of the Northwest pros including Ash Hussain, Nick Slade, Ali Mallu etc.

First off I would like to say that it is about time Ali Mallu was allowed back in to the Grosvenor Casinos and congratulations to him on his cash at the weekend in Luton.

The Casino is very nice and the card room upstairs, apart from the cold air conditioning was very well done. A couple of teething problems, including the restaurant running out of bread for sandwiches, but still a very nice casino.

They could do with sorting out some parking concessions at the adjoining car park and the chips were very similar to my 8 year old son's Simpsons poker chips though!

I started off badly with my head on a few other things and so I wasn't able to focus totally.

Every time I raised, a Leos regular, John, a pretty solid player was reraising me and 4 or 5 times I had to let my middle pair or AQ go as I know he doesn't play with rubbish cards. In fact I know for certain he had Aces and Kings on at least 2 of those occasions.

I then got a pair of Aces with the blinds at 100/200. I raised to 600 in middle position and was called behind.

The flop came down TT9 which wasn't a great flop as, knowing this player, he could easily be playing AT.

I bet out 1000 into the 1500 pot and he flat called.

The turn was an offsuit J and so I thought I would check and see what he did.

He bet 1000 into the 3500 pot which smelled a bit like a ten and so I flat called hoping to see a cheap river or an Ace.

The river was a Q so I checked again and he bet 5000. Convinced I was behind I folded face up and he flipped over his JJ full house.

I like to think I can get away from hands like this and I was please that I did, although I probably do sometimes throw away winning hands as you may have read in earlier posts.

It would be interesting to know how others would have played that pot.

The next hand of note, I can't quite remember but it involved me having 4 6 against John on a 7 8 J flop with 2 spades. The flop was checked and then on an ace turn John put out quite a weak bet and so I called with the intention of raising on the river.

However a 5 on the river gave me a straight and when John checked I felt that he was only calling with a better hand so I just checked and won with the straight.

I told him I didn't think he was strong and he muttered something about what I thought he was betting with when the ace came, so I left him with those thoughts for later!

A short while later (100 200)and I pick up 77 in late(ish) position so I raise to 600 and John reraises again! Another 1500 this time. He can't have aces or kings again so I say to him "Have you got Aces?" hoping that he puts me on Kings. In fact another player actually says that I must have kings which reinforces that message to John and so I minimum raise another 1500 after a think.

John thinks about it and calls.

At this point I'm thinking that he has something like JJ.
The flops comes down 852 so I check (because I am not sure if he would fold with JJ on a flop that low) and so does John.

The turn is an A and now I bet 3000 If I have it wrong then he'll raise I I'll fold, otherwise he'll fold and I win.

He did fold and I showed him my sevens and he told me he had TT.

By the break I'm up to 25000 chips but lose 5000 with JJ when a short stack goes all in for 5000 with 99 but hits a 9 on the turn.

I then dwindle down with various situations like blind on blind, putting pressure on a short stack when he check raises all in with 2 pair on a flushing board leaving me having to call the small raise with middle pair etc.

Eventually I went out pretty tamely when I only had 4000 left and the blinds were 800/1600 after someone limped on a tight player's big blind I had Q3 but with the chips in the pot I felt that one of the players behind me was going to raise so if I raised all in there was a fair chance that one of the remaining players might reraise leaving me heads up to play for a chance at more than tripling up and giving me enough to play with. Unfortunately the big blind called and even though the limper nearly folded, a queen high flop gave me some hope but the big blinds Q9 had me out kicked and I was gone.

I think in hindsight maybe I should have folded the Q3 and waited but I didn't feel I had enough chips to take the blinds down without a showdown and even if I did get a big hand, I would still be short stacked whereas I felt that the chips in the pot were good enough reason to go for it in that spot and hope for the reraise to give me a heads up chance and dramatically increasing my stack.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Where's the trophy?

Sunday December 9th 2007

Ladbrokes Casino and Sportsbar

Ladbrokes Poker in the Pub Championship

20 runners


Well if you can call it that!

Considering I got drawn out of the hat to get to the final as one of the 5 random selections it's still nice to win something.

The day didn't start out fantastically.

It started off with me playing a cash game at the "Vic" whilst I waited to watch the Hatton fight in the early hours of this morning.

Once Ricky was dispatched by a stunning display from Floyd Mayweather I made my way back to my car to get to my hotel in Borehamwood.

There on my windscreen was a lovely penalty notice because the parking bay I thought was ok was actually for residents only!

Then my satnav decided to take 15 minutes to find a satellite signal so I drove off heading towards Wembley guessing that that was the best direction.

Once the satnav woke up I found out that I was still the same distance away from my hotel as the Vic is! - at least it wasn't further.

Anyway got back to the room at 6 and set the alarm for 11.

The drive into Paddington wasn't great either with a load of traffic. - I wouldn't want to do that commute every morning!

Once inside the casino - after having my baseball cap confiscated - and I've just realised that I forgot to collect it on the way out! - I did get a bit of a ray of hope that it might be my day when I walked past the roulette table and saw the ball land on number 23 - my wife's birthday and the only number we did on our only casino visit together when we won a few pounds!

The starting stacks were originally 2000 chips with a 20 minute clock starting at 25/50 blinds which would have provided a bit of a crapshoot very quickly.

Luckily one of the other players lobbied for an increase in the stacks and managed to get us an extra 1000 chips.

I then got involved in a bit of a disagreement over string betting when the following action happened.

At the very beginning the tournament director announced that players should be very careful about string betting and it would be best for people to announce their raises.

Within 5 hands of this a player put a 100 chip into the pot on my big blind (50)

I asked if she had said anything and the dealer said no so I said that surely this was a call to which the dealer stated that she had 4 25 chips and so it was a raise.

I queried this with the director who agreed despite what she had said minutes before.

So a few hands later and someone bets 200 and a player throws in a 500 chip to which the dealer says call. The player who threw in the 500 chip then says raise and the dealer changes her mind and says it is a raise to which I say "that is why I made the point about the oversize chip!"

My point wasn't accepted but the disagreement was resolved later when I explained why I made the comments.

This is exactly the reason why poker should have some fixed rules about issues like this that are uniformly applied like those proposed by the the TDA (Tournament Directors Association)

That is the only way to stop getting conflicting rulings at different card rooms which can lead to rulings being made unfairly.

Anyway, because I was expecting the tournament to become fast after a few levels and my table was playing very tight I decided that I was going to get busy.

Things didn't go to plan though as I decided to bluff into a rivered straight to lose 900 of my 3000 starting stack.

The next hand of note during the 50/100 level involved me calling a raise to 300 and call with 66. The flop came down Qs3s and a beautiful 6h and the initial raiser bet 1000 into the 1000 pot with only 950 left so I went all in and he called with his 9sTs flush draw. I lovely 3d was the turn saving me any heartache and doubling me up to 4000.

Fortunately there was a fair amount of limping which I was able to punish when I picked up a few hands and this got me to the final table with a healthy stack of 12000 out of the 60000 in play.

As the blinds got bigger 6 handed I did lose a pot of 5100 when a short stack on the big blind in the 600/1200 level who only had 1700 went all in with 3c4c against my AK and the small blinds JQ. Running clubs gave her the pot witha flush.

However next hand after the blinds went up to 800/1600 I raised in the cutoff with JQ and when she went all in I was forced to call the extra 1900 expecting to be dominated which I was by AQ. A lucky J gave me the chips I should have won the hand before.

I'm now clear chip leader and a few hands later I raise with K8 on the button and I'm called by the short stack with AK but a lovely 8 knocks another opponent out.

By now there is only 1 player with a chip count close to me and when he raises to 5000 I find aces and reraise for him to make a good pass.

I now have more than half the chips in play and am able to apply pressure all the time with just over minimum raises which the other players can't call.

I got to heads up with 47000 of the 60000 chips and blinds of 2000 4000.

The very first hand in the small blind my opponent goes all in with KhTd.

I call with A2 and an Ace on the turn wins me the tournament and a gorgeous cruise!

The Landlord of the Royal Oak pub that I represented also wins a cruise package.

Since I've never been in the Royal Oak I'm going to pop round tomorrow and introduce myself. I don't even know if he knows I was in the final!

A great big thank you to Ladbrokes and the Publican magazine for coming up with this great promotion.

It was only when I got to the car that I thought, "Where's the trophy!"

I wanted something to put on the mantlepiece - or at least in a cupboard somwhere!

Never mind, I'll have to console myself with a trip to the Carribean!

Monday, 3 December 2007

What's Hi Lo?

Sunday December 2nd - Stoke

Played the monthly £1000 added tournament in Stoke last night.

92 runners 3000 staring chips with a 3000 second chance

started off quite well and up to 4500 after 15 minutes with a few late position raises with good hands.

Then I picked up a pair of fours on the button after there had been a raise of 300 from seat 4 folowed by 3 calls so I decided to squeeze and raised to 1500.

The raise got past the 1st raiser who I was most concerned about.

However I had one caller - Mr leather hat who called after a little think.

The flop came Ks9s3d and old leather checked and so I fired out a continuation bet of 1500 - leaving me 1200 behind. Again he has a long hard think and eventually called.

The turn is a Jh and he checks again.

Thinking he had AsQs or something similar I decided to put my last 1200 in and he called showing Qc10c for the enormous gutshot straight draw!

Later on in the tournament this same guy had a huge stack after calling someones huge all in bet on the river with Q6 on a board showing AJT63!

Needless to say, the huge chip leader with 30 players left failed to make the final table!

So it was on to my first game of dealer's choice.

Blinds were £1 and £1.

Having never played dealer's choice I had never played Irish but quickly learned from a friendly local.

So the games being played were 4 5 and 6 card omaha and irish with the occasional texas holdem.

After a couple of rounds it was my button and I elected for 4 card Omaha hi-lo to be greeted with the question of what is that? from the dealer!

I replied that it was only the 3rd most common game played! To be fair to the dealer she did say that it was my choice and I had never played Irish before but there were two objections from a couple of locals and it was decided that hi-lo was not an option, nor stud or anything else other than Irish, Omaha and Texas!

Surrpisingly since I had never played before I was happy to leave the table with my £50 parlayed up to £201, partly due to one of the locals who was quite happt calling my bets when he held the bare ace of clubs on one of the omaha rounds with 3 clubs on the flop because he could have always made the flush! - One of the other locals then told him that you have to use 2 of your cards in Omaha and so he wouldn't have had the flush even if another club had arrived!

Saturday, 1 December 2007


Well, maybe as some sort of payback for the cruise tournament, I had some good news yesterday.

Ladbrokes have been running the Ladbrokes Pub Poker Championships on a Sunday night with a Cruise place available as an added prize for the winner of the championships. There have been 5 tournaments over the last 5 weeks with the winner of each tournament going through to the grand final in London along with the 10 best points scorers and 5 wildcards.

Unbelievably I have been picked out of the random draw as one of the wildcards with the tournament being held on Sunday 9th at the Ladbrokes casino and sports bar in Paddington.

There are only 20 players in the tournament with a 1st prize of a place on the Ladbrokes cruise.
I have checked out the competition and Lifeisalaugh is the only player in the MTT leaderboard top 100.

I don't know whether any of these players have played live before or how good they are but I'm hoping - lifeisalaugh aside - to be one of the better players there.

Even if i'm only as good as the average player there the $5500 cruise place provided by Ladbrokes is still a great prize considering it only cost $5 to enter each tournament.

I'm hoping my experience of playing some of the live GUKPT tournaments will prove useful.

Ladbrokes are also providing us with $300 expenses so it has already been well worth playing the tournaments.

I have to be fair to Ladbrokes, they do some good promotions and that is where I play most of my on-line tounraments. I've had a share in their poker horses for the last two years and even though this year's horse was plagued with injury problems they have decided to carry the share ownership through to next season which the didn't have to do.

Let's hope next January i'm reporting from the cruise ship!!!