Sunday December 9th 2007
Ladbrokes Casino and Sportsbar
Ladbrokes Poker in the Pub Championship
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!