Monday, 27 June 2011

Blackpool rocks!

This was a fun weekend! The APAT contingent descended on the G Casino in Blackpool for the UK Pub Poker Championships, and resplendent in our new branded shirts, I joined with members of the (in)famous Black Country Poker Club to represent our sponsor - The New Talbot.

This team tournament was all about 8 members surviving as long as possible to ensure that each individual player could contribute the highest possible number of points to the team's cause. With 128 runners, only the top 50 would score points (1 point to 50th place, 50 points to 1st place, and a sliding scale to all places between. We scored 98 points, which on the face of it sounds ok - however considering that only two people made the points and just happened to finish 1st and 3rd, kinda suggests that the rest of the team were an epic failure.

Massive congratz to Tony Trippier on his tournament win, and to Brian Yates on another APAT final table... both hugely well deserved.

I finished a paltry 98th, but bad as that may sound, I reckon this was probably one of the best games I've played, certainly in terms of where my head was at and some of the reads I made. My game was summed up into 5 key hands:

Hand 1: Blinds 50/100. UTG aggro maniac who had played almost every hand since the tourney started, and who had already been seen to 4-bet preflop with 88 and TT, opened UTG to 300. I raised in mid position to 850 with QQ. He re-raised to 2000. At this point I consider I'm never folding here, but didn't really want to shove knowing he could have AK and I don’t really want to race for my stack this early... I decided to flat call, and play the flop in position, ready to be wary of an A or K on the board. Flop was 743 rainbow. He checked, I bet around half pot, and he insta-shoved. I called, albeit a little reluctantly - I knew his range included a fair amount of hands that QQ beats, but his body language was strong - he did indeed show up with AA...... and I binked a Q on the river.

Hand 2: Blinds 75/150. UTG tight player opened to 350. I re-raised to 900 with QQ. He flat called. Flop was J82 rainbow. He checked, I bet 1000, and he called. Turn was another J. He checked, I bet 2000, and he shoved. I couldn't put AJ into his range - didn't think he would have flat called out of position pre-flop with AJ – but I just knew I was beat. I told him he didn't have a J and that I would fold QQ to his overpair - he showed KK! Really happy with the read and laydown.

Hand 3: Blinds 75/150. New player to the table raised UTG to 450. Changing tack a little, I flat call in mid position with QQ, everyone else folds. Flop is J94 rainbow. She checks, I bet half pot, and she min-raises. This one was easy - I just knew she had AA and folded my QQ face up - she did indeed show AA. Even happier with that read and laydown, although getting a bit pissed about having to fold QQ on J high boards!

Hand 4: Blinds 100/200. I open on the button for 400 with QJ, the SB folds, and the BB calls. Flop is ATT and the BB checks. I figure this isn't the best flop to c-bet as although I can reasonably represent the Ace, he can check-raise and represent the 10 - it could get pretty messy at this point if I then re-raise with air, so I take the pot control safe option and just check behind. The turn is a 2, and he checks again - I now figure that after two checks, my Q might actually be good, and take a stab at closing the hand here with a 400 bet into the 900 pot - he flat calls. The river is a K and of course this is my gin card giving me the broadway straight. But here it all gets weird - having taken the passive line all the way, the BB comes out with a 1000 bet into the 1700 pot. I figure that I have the best hand here almost all the time and have to raise for value, hoping to get a call from any random A or K hand - I raise to 2600..... the BB shoves for 13k! Shit! I need to call around 10k to win 16k, and have 15k behind. This one takes a while, and I actually end up calling a clock on myself - I eventually fold knowing that he isn't shoving with anything that I can beat - at best I'm calling to split the pot. We both agree to show, and he had AT for a flopped house!! Now I'm cooking, and the table image is pretty immense after some decent laydowns. What's more, after three potential coolers, I still have 15k, whilst the tournament average is just over 12k.

Hand 5: Blinds 100/200/25. For nearly two hours, I've been trying to summon a valet so I could order food - frankly, I was starving! 13 tournament tables, and only 1 valet - service was slow. A hand evolved where two early position players limped, and I looked down hoping to see a nice squeezing type hand - AJo was good enough to squeeze. At that exact moment a hand tapped my shoulder and the valet asked what I wanted to order - I politely asked him to wait a second whilst I played out this hand, but he said he would come back later.... NO don't do that, I've waited too long already - back at the table, I'll fold, no I'll raise, oh too flustered now, I'll limp as well. Sigh what a bad move. Club sandwich and chips ordered in a hurry, and the flop is dealt in a 4-way pot. Qc 9c 6c, and I have the Ac - happy days thinks I! The player in the SB donk-leads 600 into the 1250 pot, the BB calls, as does one of the limpers - actions gets to me with a pot of 3050, and I have 13k behind. I hate flat calling here, as if I hit another club, I probably don't get paid off with 4 clubs on the board. I want to make a standard raise, but two of the players in the hand are unlikely to fold top pair, and at this moment I only have Ace high. I take the aggro stance and semi-bluff shove (although I know it effectively turns my hand face up to some degree) hoping to fold out all one or two pair hands - the guy in the SB tanks and eventually calls for most of his stack with 3c 5c. OK he had a made flush, but not a great one, and with two players to act behind him, and with the obvious tight image that I had shown throughout this tourney, I think his call was probably not the best. I missed my draw, and was out. C’est la vie – I wouldn’t do anything different in that spot next time.

So – disappointed to be out, but not disappointed with my play.

With cash tables and evening tourney to console myself, I headed for a spot of BlackJack and made enough to pay for dinner and drinks.

With two of our team players still in the tourney, a stay for day two was obligatory. A morning in the sun on Blackpool prom with some really nice people and great friends, drinking Magners over ice – how much better can it get than that?

Sunday afternoon was spent on just about the craziest cash table I’ve ever played, along with Steve Bayliff, Craig MacInnes and Andy Overton. Playing a round of each – one round of No Limit Holdem, followed by a round of 4, 5, or 6 card Omaha, was just about enough to confuse the locals into giving us all their money. I spent four hours turning £140 into £540, then 10 minutes turning it back into £140. Ho hum 

APAT weekends are usually great fun, and there are so many great people that I just love spending time with at these events….. when we end up in a casino as good as the G in Blackpool, it just makes for a perfect poker weekend away.

Special mention to Aneurin Venables for spending hours and vast amounts of money playing Arabian Derby on Blackpool pier to win an array of soft toys, that he then assigned as bounties on the heads of a number of BCPC players - cheers mate... good for a laugh!

Back to work today, and to the STT grind tonight. Reality beckons.

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