Wednesday, September 24, 2008


So I played the £2,500 HORSE tournament at the Empire - made it to day two, but obviously I'm sitting here writing this while there are still eleven players left in and I'm not one of them.

As JQ says, it's fool's gold chasing these elusive tournament/bracelet wins, but wtf, you gotta give the odd one a shot now and then.

Even though my day two was real torture I enjoyed playing in this event. I have always loved playing all the games and I have to say that playing limit made a nice change. Loads of interesting situations come up and unlike a no limit tournament it's not the end of the world to get short-stacked.

My starting table included Jeff Duval (still in as I write and with a real chance of winning - go Jeff!), Howard Lederer, Jon Shoreman, Richard Ashby aka Chufty, Yuval Bronstein (who made the final of this event last year) and Marc Goodwin. Hmmm, what's that old saying about not being able to spot the sucker at the table?

There were three straight-flushes on our table during the first four levels - the funny thing being that on two occasions the players that held them didn't realise that they had the absolute joint in their sweaty mitts.

Shoreman was the first perpetrator (very surprising that he would miss that) when he was involved in an O8 hand and turned his hand over at the end saying he just had the low. Hang on, you've got a straight-flush for the high there too! Oops, well we all do silly things like that don't we?

Yes, because a bit later on in the Hold'em round I raised with AdTd. Marc Goodwin called in the BB. The flop came down with three diamonds - alright, I've flopped the nuts here. He checked, I bet, he called. Turn card is the Kd. He checks again and now I'm thinking, "Fuck, that fourth diamond has killed my action a bit, but it's limit so I'll bet anyway, fuck it".

I bet and now he folds with a grimace, showing a Qs to match the Qd on the board (like a pair of queens was the world's fair or something and how unlucky is he to have had his top pair done on the turn etc) and in the spirit of friendliness that we had all played the tournament so far I showed my hand saying that I had flopped the flush anyway.

Hold on, that Kd gave me a Royal! The Jd was on the flop too, you see. Shit, I hadn't even realised, what a doofus. Jeez, I wouldn't have minded giving a free card there - oh well, I'm in an elite club with Shoreman. At least he has the excuse that he was playing Omaha, where your mind can get focused on the main draw you're going for so it's more common to miss a different hand you have made. Or something like that.

The start of day two I had a bit of a bad beat when on the very first hand the big blind hadn't showed up. Fold, fold, fold to me and I look down to see the boots. Ay, ay, what a spot to have aces. I've got Barny Boatman, John Juanda and John Phan (SB) behind me, surely one of them is going to think I'm taking advantage of the big blind not being there.

I raise, Barny mucks saying what a good bet, but he knows me well, plus he has the other two behind him. Surely these two top class tournament pros, who have never played with me before (ok, I played with Juanda a bit in a WSOP Stud 8 tournament once, but that was only for about two hours about two or three years ago) are gonna think I'm taking the piss and play back at me? Nah, of course not, muck, muck.

I guess my granite reputation is world-wide now. Btw, Phan proceeded to play every hand in the rest of the Hold'em round and won about six of them. Marvellous; I guess he just didn't want to get involved in the SB (don't blame him I suppose).

I have to say that the atmosphere at the Empire is sort of weird. Business must go on as usual and over half the casino is full of the regular Chinatown punters cracking away at the roulette - they couldn't give a shit about the World Series of Poker. Imagine you're an elderly chinese man who's had a bit too much to drink and now a burly American tournament director comes up to you and tells you that you can't stand in a certain place.

I mean, this is where you come every night to gamble and now some guy with an accent you don't understand is telling you where you are allowed to stand whilst all around are a load of buffoons wearing weird clothing with all these funny looking patches that say Full Tilt on them, what the hell are you going to make of that?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One For The Moaners - The Vic Moves With The Times

Kudos to the Vic for renaming all their games by blind size instead of minimum buy-in size. Now the £100 game is the £1-£3 game, the 200 is the 2-5, 250 is the 5-10 and so on.

They've also changed the minimum buy-ins to 40x the big blind, so the min sit down in what used to be known as the £100 game is now in fact £120. The 5-10 (old £250 game, no need for me to tell you that was there?) now has a min sit down of £400.

I don't know if it's going to make any difference, but it feels right. More in keeping with the internet and card rooms in America and all that. It'll certainly be interesting to see if the 2-5 game gets more popular. Always plenty of games with those blinds in Las Vegas, so I'd imagine people want to play that.

No doubt plenty of the regulars will find a reason to moan about this new change, but I think it's a good move. I'll probably still call all the games by their old names for ages though. Calling something The Monkey Game just has a ring about it doesn't it? I remember once hearing Bambos asking what the game was, "Monkey or Half-Monkey?" What kind of slang are we going to use now?