Firstly, following my previous post, the relief of no longer trying to grind out SNGs around a day job and busy family life is immense. That said, when I resigned from BRS, I was kinda chuffed that Paul Jackson offered me the chance to stick with it and just play selective MTTs. For me, quality seems to be better than quantity, and my P&L is recovering following several cashes and several final tables - I just need to run better on final tables and turn small cashes into a win for a decent payday.
In the midst of 2011, Dave Allan created a great new poker community for Midland based poker players - The Midland Poker Forum was born, and as part of the promotion to get the site off the ground, and in conjunction with new sponsors RedBet poker, he created a short league for all forumites, the prize for which was a £336 seat in the Dusk Till Dawn monthly DeepStack event. Despite not actually winning single round, my consistent second and third places earned enough points to win the league and the £336 seat.
Now, the seat was supposed to be played in December but I was otherwise engaged in Manchester with APAT, so pushed for entry to the January event instead..... but forces conspired against me when DTD upped the buyin for the January event to £560, and my meagre bankroll meant the uplift of £224 was beyond me. I posted on Facebook to see if I could sell some shares to raise the difference - didn't really expect much positive response, and was gobsmacked when I managed to sell 30% within 5 minutes of posting! Huge thanks and gratitude to my stakers for their confidence!
So, off to DTD on 7th Jan.
The day started with the strangest possible moment which almost felt like an omen. On arrival at DTD I couldn't find anyone I knew to pass the time with, so went for the big screen to watch the Wolves v Bham cup game. I perched against a seat by one of the poker tables, and watched the pretty poor game wishing for something better on TV. The seat draw was made, but not yet posted on the screens, however the TD was distributing papers to each tournament table with the draw for each table so the dealers would be able to check they had the right players in the right seat. I happened to glance at the sheet for the table I was on and by some sheer fluke spotted my name.... now for the weird but, I was drawn in seat 5.... and that just happened to be the seat I was perched on to watch the footy! So out of 282 entries and 282 seats, I had happened to sit on the seat that would become mine for the rest of the day. Surely an omen of sorts.
I knew nobody at my table by the names on the sheet, although I thought I recognised the name in seat 1 from somewhere - Anthony Kendall - but couldn't recall a face. Of course when Tikay turned up, the connection was made. Funny how we can know someone by their nickname, but fail to recognise the full version of their real name. I've spoken with Tikay a few times, and he's a proper gent - spending several hours playing poker with him was a privilege... what a nice guy, and huge fun at the table! It was a bit of a bonus that it would eventually be me that took him out :)
The tourney started with a monstrous 30,000 stack - bigger than I've ever started with before. For four levels I hardly played a hand in anger - there were many limps pre followed by folds when missed the flop, and I shed a few chips and cultured a nice weak/passive image. By level 5 and the antes, I had pretty much figured the table out, and knew I had the ideal seat - the two fish at the table were seat 2 and seat 3, and I had position in seat 5. By the end of level 6 I had almost doubled my starting stack without ever reaching showdown - mostly by 3 or 4 betting pre.
By the end of level 9, I was double the average, biggest stack on the table, and generally crushing! I had never played this well in a live tourney before, and almost felt that I could see everyone's cards face up. At this point I had only been to showdown once with a top two pair hand that I checked back in position after a scary river card hit - to be shown that the other guy had called me pre, flop, and turn, with an underpair to the board and no draws. Easy money!
There was a flurry of small stack bustouts and four new players with biggish stacks arrived - I failed to switch gears here, and assumed that my uber-aggressive game could continue to get through, and before I knew it, my 100k was down to 70k, and I was folding pre to a 5 bet, only for the guy to flash a 3. Time to tighten up and re-evaluate.
Hand of note for the day came in level 11. I min-raised in mid position with 66, and Tikay called in the BB. Flop 456 (two clubs) - about as wet as it could be, and could easily have smashed into the BB's hand. Tikay had around 28k behind to my 70k. Rather than getting fruity and allowing the board to get any wetter, I bet almost full pot - around 9k. Tikay flat called! Turn was a 2 - now any 3 wins. Tikay checked - I shoved, he called, and showed 44 from a slow played smaller set - unlucky.
End of level 12, and I'm back to around 88k - the average was 82k, and if I didn't play another hand I would would finish the day near average stack... I was set fair to hit day two with at least 30 to 40 big blinds.
We had a 5 minute break before the last level and I went outside for a breath of air, and to ring Katharine to say goodnight. I also needed a pee rather desperately. Back in the cardroom and heading for the loo, but there was only 20 seconds left of the break and I was in the small blind first hand - better to play the hand, then go for a wee after.
The table folds round to me and I find AKs. Now, the guy on my left has a similar stack, and has played in the true fashion of an old school player - always open-raising 3.5x, yet folding to any resistance, and always squeezing from the BB in a limped pot. Three times today I had limped in the SB, and he had raised big from the BB forcing me to fold. Also three times today, I had open-raised from the SB and he had folded. So, in this AKs spot, I figured the best action was to limp to induce, and sure as eggs is eggs, he obliged. With a bet of 8k on top of the 2.4k blind, there was a total of 15.5k in the middle and I had 85k behind. I didn't want to be playing the hand out of position post flop with a hugely bloated pot so elected to shove the lot here, and take down the 18% increase to my stack. I, and the rest of the table, were abso-gobsmacked when he snap called the 35x shove with KJo. Naturally the flop was QT9 and I was out. I congratulated him on his expert play, and used a few expletives that I should probably have saved for other circumstances. I loved his call before the flop was dealt - just have to hang on to that thought.
All in all, I have never played better. I stayed away from usual distractions - alcohol and iPod - and found a new zone. I didn't lose a single hand at showdown until the end, I won several hands that I knew I had no right to win but was able to make the right plays at the right time, and I made two significant and correct read-based laydowns preflop (JJ and QQ), both to single raises.
I can't wait til next week for my next live venture, back at DTD for the Grand Prix (£100k gtd prize pool, and I bagged my £60 in a €2 satellite!)
Sorry to those that staked me - I was in a great spot to pay something back, and feel pretty bad about the outcome.... however I couldn't and wouldn't play anything differently.
Thanks to Dave Allan and the MPF for the opportunity - here's hoping there is another promotion soon :)