Not posted for a while, probably to do with the fact that "I only blog when I'm winning..... blog when I'm winning... etc", and I errr haven't won for a while. In fact, not only have I failed to win for a while, I'm actually losing - something I haven't done for a long time. Still, variance has to get me at some point and I can ride it out.
That said though, I did make a final table at the World Champs of Amateur Poker at DuskTillDawn last month.... and it was in the Omaha event, a discipline in which I have never played live before, and have never played a tournament live or online before. Was a little clumsy handling 4 cards, but got there in the end. Was nice to be back on an APAT final table, and taking another 5 points for the National Rankings.
More recently I experienced the delights of Bolton (sadly I must have missed the "delights" and just experienced the arse-end instead. What a horrible run-down place!) as the APAT tour hit town for the English Amateur Championships. Now, as bad as Bolton is as a town, the G casino is an awesome venue. If they could have figured out how to crank up the air-con and keep the temperature somewhere under 90, it would have been the perfect venue!
The game itself went reasonably well and I managed to move into top form. For the first two levels I played more than 50% of hands, moved my stack from 10k up to 18k, and never showed a hand! The dynamics of the table changed with the late arrival of a couple of players, and I had to reign in my uber aggressive loose nature, but still managed to stay right on top of the table and drive my stack upwards. A minor accident saw me double up a short stack, who when counted his chips and was a little less short than I had realised - gulp.
It was a horrible feeling when that table broke, and I moved to a new spot with a known aggressive player on my immediate left who was sporting a monster stack of over 90k, making my 30k look a little weak. Still I had enough to make him respect my plays, and history between us in Dublin led us both to avoid each other like the plague. At one point when I raised from the cutoff with A3, and bigstack flat called behind, I thought I woould be taking a huge pot as the flop came 245 (MBN!!). The Ace on the turn both made some action for me (matey had AJ) but also killed the action as my check/min-raise set off too many alarm bells and he was able to get away.
Shortly after, having donked a few chips around trying and failing to get moves thr0ugh, I found myself at risk against the not-so-short-stack that I had inadvertently doubled up a while ago... my 66 was looking very poorly against his QQ, and a board of 742J wasn't helping..... my coat was on, ipod and glasses packed away, hand extended to shake............. til BINK 6 on the river saved the day!
Zero decent hands, several more failed steals, and I'm short stacked. A couple of table moves resulting in complete lack of knowledge of players around me, and a necessity to get my chips in as early as possible, left me in a complete hole. I was down to 10xBB and needing to shove to stay alive - and the guy two to my left had enough chips in front of him to build Westminster and Buckingham Palace!! On the button to his BB I found A6o and open shoved successfully taking the blinds and antes.... and on the next hand found AQs. Wanting a call from a weaker Ace and most pocket pairs, I hoped another open-shove would look weak, and apparently it did as the Big Blind called with ATo for more than half of his stack!! Happy days.... but of course this was to be the one time in five that AT beats AQ.
I was out in 46th, where if my hand had held I would be up to 48k with blinds at 1k/2k, and an above average stack. C'est la vie - need to keep reminding myself I wanted that call from the AT.
So back home early on Sunday afternoon, and resolved to make use of my "poker pass" and play some online cash during the afternoon and tourneys in the evening. Cash was hopeless - in half an hour I ran QQ into KK for one buy in, and a flopped straight into a rivered house for a second buy in. All the evening tourneys saw early exits, except the Sunday 250k on Pokerstars where I managed to finish araound 600th from 30,000 runners - 4 hours work and a late night for a whopping $50 profit, only recouping half of my cash losses. Great. Whilst sitting 12th from 20k+ still in the tourney, I had my eye firmly on the $27,000 first prize :)
So, next stop Luton in November for the European team and individual championships. Did I mention I had been selected to play for England in the European Amateur Team Championships? What an absolute honour and a privilege.