Sunday, February 24, 2008

Progress, sort of....

Wow! The Vic has installed a shuffling machine (I only saw one and heard it cost about £8,000, so it's very likely they only have one). The bad news is that it will only be used in the raked game. No surprise there really.

I reckon it'll take about 10 days for that machine to pay for itself...

Edit: They have two shuffle machines and DY tells me he actually played in a non-raked game with one of the machines in use.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I have played poker for many years with Declan from the old £50 Seven card and £50 Round of Each days up to £250 Dealer's Choice and all the pot limit and no limit Holdem games these days. He was the first pro I remember being aware of - his tight aggressive style and table presence was certainly intimidating back when I first started going to the Vic.

What has always impressed me about Declan is his versatility and ability to change gears. Many players would probably just say he's tight and while he is pretty granite I've also seen him play pretty open. I remember a £250 DC game where he raised or re-raised pre-flop almost every hand (especially if Hyder had limped in or raised). I know a lot of the locals would find that hard to believe, but it's true.

Declan also has no problems grinding at smaller limits. While many players would feel embarrassed at having to drop down after playing big Declan feels no shame in having to play "smaller" if he has to. I can remember him playing the old £1,000 game (at one time the biggest game in Europe alternating between a round of PLO and London Lowball) - after winning a load of money for himself and his backer Declan was back to the coalface in the £100 and £50 games. It's this ability to grind which sets him apart from a lot of players.

One of the greatest strengths of Declan's game is the way he makes the stars feel good about playing. I've seen him fold for about two or three hours straight whilst all the time making jokes and wisecracks. All the stars seem to love his company and somehow they always pay him off in the big pots too.

Last night I played in a blinding £100 No Limit game with Declan which featured a Norwegian gentleman who routinely made it between £50 and £75 to go before the flop. Remember, the blinds in this game are £1/£3. Post flop the Norwegian would then continue to just bluff off his chips with hands like queen high etc.

I have to specify that this particular player was not some young internet hotshot typical of Scandinavia, but a drunk businessman who was just enjoying himself. I managed to win a pot with 9T clubs when by some miracle he forgot to raise before the flop and I was able get in cheaply and flop a flush.

Anyway, Declan pretty much folded every hand and somehow this Norwegian was completely oblivious to it and enjoying Declan's many witticisms during the course of play. After yet another hand where the Norwegian bet on the river and got called down by bottom pair (miles ahead of course) Declan looked at this fella's cards and said , "Hold on, you've got a straight - straight in the dustbin".