Sunday, 25 October 2009

"Do you speak English?"

Dream Team Final

So the dream team final was held in Birmingham on Saturday and Sunday with a big starting stack and loads of play. We had a team of 5 players who had played enough tournaments to qualify for the final and we started with 13000 chips, blinds at 25/50 and a 45 minute clock.

Teams played for points, with the winning team being the team which had the highest number of points from their top 4 finishers.

Unfortunately nobody told Andy who must have assumed that going out 1st in 110th place would give our team a huge advantage!
Anyway, at least he won a free monkey (pictured above) - Andy is the one in the white t-shirt!
As for the poker, it started off really well.
I started off winning a few small pots and quickly got up to 15000 chips before losing a few reraising a serial raiser (who had shown down k9 etc) with AQ only for him to reraise again before showing AA after I had folded.
By the time the blinds were at 150/300 I was sitting on 7500 chips and so when I raised with AK and was reraise I took the race against QQ and hit an ace on the flop.
Shortly after there was a string raise from early position which was classed as a call so I took the opportunity to see a cheap flop against someone who could easily get attached to his good starting cards. The flop came down T 9 4 and the player who had wanted to raise bet 1300 into the 1050 pot and when I questioned him I decided to set him all in with my Q9 which he called showing AK and my pair of nines held.
The next pot was my the biggest of the tournament.
A girl on my right raised to 1000 which I flat called with two tens looking to use position to my advantage.
Everyone else got out of the way and we saw a real action flop of Ac Td 5d. The raiser lead out for 1500 which was great news as she clearly had an ace so I raised to 6000 to which she responded by pushing with her AdKd giving her top pair and the flush draw against my set if tens. The turn and river were both black and I was not sitting on 35000 chips.
I did make a couple of bad reads in the tournament, one in which I held AK and was reraised by the tightest player at the table. I should have just folded there and then but decided to see what came on the flop.
The flop came Q high, I checked and he bet his remaining 5000 into the 5000 pot and after asking him if he had AK he looked like he subconsciously nodded so I called be he actually had KK and I didn't outdraw him.
For a large part of the tournament I was sat on the right of Nicklas 'ymermeddrys' Hindsberg who's style I like, especially the bit where he raised blind in seat 4 and then when he was reraised look to find that he had QQ which held against JJ.
Anyway, we had a fair few battles throughout the day which I really enjoyed. One of those came after I had had a fair few hands and had raised about 8 times in 20 hands. On this occaision I raised to 1200 with QQ and he reraised to 3000.
After another player had a good think about calling I dediced to flat call and see what came on the flop since there was a fair chance that the guy who tanked could have had one of his aces.
Also, we both had 25000 behind and I felt that was too much to push and I didn't want to play a huge pot for a race if he had AK.
Anyway the flop came down K high, I checked and he bet out 5000 I folded and he showed AK.
Eventually the table was broken and I moved to the right of a guy called Terry from Liverpool who was telling me that the rest of his team was out and so he didn't want to sit around for another day and a half to try to win the tournament so he was going to go all in all the time.
He didn't actually do this but he did call a raise and reraise with AT.
Anyway, I was in the small blind of 800/1600 100 ante when the UTG , who had lost most of his chips 2 hands before went all in for 3500 before he even got his second card. I then decided that if it was folded round to me I was going to push my remaining 17000 in with the intention of going heads up against a random hand regardless of my cards.
As it turned out I had A2, but the plan went badly wrong when Terry called and turned over AK with the UTG having A7.
The flop came down a hopeful QJQ giving the possibility of a split pot, the turn was a 7 and the river was a lovely J.
A couple of hands later there was a raise in early position and I looked down to see AQ. At this point I knew that there was a fair chance that Terry could reraise a huge range of hands so I flat called with the intention of calling a shove if the original raiser folded. However Terry just called and we saw a flop of A 4 7. The original raise checked and I decided that I was almost always ahead here but that if I checked Terry would almosty certainly bet.
As I hoped he then went all in for 30000 into the pot of 10000, the raiser folded and I snap called with AQ to see his 34 well behind. The turn was a ten and the river was a pretty horrible 3 giving him 2 pairs and sending me out just before the end off the day.
So that was the end of the Dream Team.
I lasted longest of our team after Darren had gone out with JJ against TT amd AK but I really enjoyed the event and will definitely be getting a team together for the next one, although I will be looking to make sure that there is more committment from the other team members as there was only 5 of us that played enough tournaments to qualify. Why people say that they are going to play and then don't is a mystery to me, but thanks to the lads that did take part, Andy, Chris, Tim and Darren.
The highlight of the day though was when I overheard Neil Banks asking a member of one of the danish teams where he was from. When he duly answered Neil then went on to ask him if he spoke English, to howls of laughter from the rest of his table and then a few moments of head scratching whilst Neil tried to work out what he had said!
I'm off for a week now and playing the side event at the Circus tomorrow so hopefully better luck will come there.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


After 20+ weeks I've finally finished my FA Level 2 course which culminated in our assessments this weekend gone. There were three groups of 16 at the outset each meeting on a different day. 8 of the potential coaches came from our club The Mags and each group was coached by a different coach educator.

Our coach educator was a guy call Bill Prendergast who I found to be really helpful and, on the evidence of the assessments I saw from the people in the other groups, by far the better coach educator.

The course involves planning and preparing 12 or more coaching sessions using a format of technique, skill then small sided game where the coach is expected to demonstrate that he/she can identify errors and coach the player to correct those errors.

The culmination was a 2 day assessment day where each coach had to coach a 35 minute session that was assessed by an independant assessor.

I've got to say that the course was the first one run in this format over the course of 20 weeks and there were some teething troubles, but on the whole it was well run.

What I will say though, and I am glad I passed so it can't be called sour grapes is that the standard of assessment was poor.

I'm fortunate in that I did the FA Prelim course 20 years ago and also used to be a PE teacher but the standard of tsome of the coaching from some of the people that passed was not very high and yet I saw a couple of people who failed that did much better sessions.

Our Mags club did very well with 7 of the 8 coaches passing the course and I am quite keen to go on to the next level 3 course.

The other long running committment that I had has norw also finished - the Dream Team.

I ended up playing 18 of the events, and after a poor start I began to get some results towards the end including a 2nd in event 13 for $588, 10th in event 18 for $59.9 and 1st in event 20 for $1027.5.

The final result for me was played 18, cashed 3, total buy ins of $899 and total winnings of $1675.45 for a total profit of $776.45 and a ROI of 86% which is not bad considering that half the prize money was held back for the live final on Saturday and the vast majority of players are also sponsored players meaning there is not as much dead money as you would normally have.

Obviously this is only a small sample but it has highlighted to me that MTT's are my best format and that is also backed up by my return in the 18 player stts on ipoker.

Anyway, I'm looking forward the live final on Saturday in Birmingham.

On the football front I'm surprised there has not been more made of the fact that Premiership referees don't know the rules of the game, as demonstrated by the Sunderland goal at the weekend! I don't actually think it made a huge deal of difference since we were never going to score in a month of Sundays.

It was good to see Button with the F1 title on Sunday. I've heard some rubbish, mainly on Talksport, questioning whether he is a worthy champion given the way he has limped home but what they fail to realise is that the whole grid is currently separated by as little as half a second, showing how competitive the grid is at the moment. So I say congratulations to him, especially given the difficulties the team has faced over the last few years.

Anyway, that's it for now.

I'll update either after or during the Dream Team Final.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The September Three...

Can't believe that three of the November nine made it to the final table of the WSOPE.


Just goes to show that form is an important factor.

Well done to all involved, especially Praz and James, the two Hitsquad lads.

Good luck tomorrow.