Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Neteller: Last week $113; Current $113 (-)
Ultimate Bet: Last month $517; Current $442 (-65)

Total = $555

Profit on the month = -$65
B&M money = £2,386 (+£2,334)

The APAT English Amateur Championship tournament in Bolton turned out to be totally awesome, with me finishing in 2nd place for a prize of £2225!

Day 1.

I met up with two of the Raise the River guys, at the Odessa Cafe in the centre of Bolton, "Snakeyes" and "NoCash". "BurnleyMik" turned up later at the casino. Before the tournament started, we set up a £10 a head "who goes deepest" prizefund of £100 for 10 of us, held by Kevin from Blackburn. Then we were off.

I was on a table in the corner, which turned out to be a thoroughly good thing. With over 220 folk all crammed into quite a confined space the heat in the centre of the room was mega, so it was useful to be near an exit.

We quickly found a "table captain" in a guy from Halifax. He bullied the table something rotten and over the first couple of hours took out several players. Certainly there seemed to be more cries of "Man down" from our table than anywhere else. He had position on me which made things difficult. Basically I took down a couple of blind steals and that was it. Mainly I was trying to come to terms with casino rules such as keeping your cards on the table and avoiding "string bets". All new stuff to me. I was totally card dead, so my 10,000 starting stack was slowly depleting as time went on, but I hadn't reached a 10xBB situation which would make an quick all in necessary.

The table broke up and I ended up in the centre of the room. This was bad news as the heat was dreadful there and I was downing water like a fish! However, my luck changed with regard to cards. I had AA twice and the first time I just took down the blinds and an original raiser who folded to my all in. On the second occasion however I opened with a 3xBB bet and was followed by an all in from one of the few female players. Naturally I called. She had KK. Nothing untoward happened and I'd doubled up nicely. BurnleyMik told me afterwards that she had crippled him earlier with 99 hitting trips against his 1010. A tough break for the lass, but I needed it.

I went card dead again for the next couple of hours, just making the odd blind steal, against players I thought wouldn't shove back at me (reads were good).

At the very end of the day (about 1.30 in the morning) I was moved to a new table. A couple of hands are played with no action and I look down at AQ of Spades. We are nearly at the end of the level and everyone left will go through to the next day. I put in a 10,000 bet (a quarter of my stack). A Welsh guy, Gary Phillips, goes all in with a stack similar to my own. A big stack thinks long and hard and folds. I go into a trance and eventually decide he has to have a big pair to make that move at this stage of the day, so I fold. Gary, very decently, shows his KK to confirm my read.

Day 2.

I'm still in, but in 26th place of the 30 left. I've worked out what I'm going to do before I even get to the casino. The new blind levels and antes are going to slaughter me so I'm going to make a move on the first two laps with the first reasonable hand I get and with air if it's getting close to the second set of blinds. First lap I shove with A9o and collect the blinds. That gives me another couple of laps. Then I get AA and shove - no callers. Collect the blinds again. My stack is dwindling as the level is coming to a close - I have to make a move and shove on the blinds with A5. Call from the Ian Burnett in the big blind with A10s. I'm on my feet ready to shake hands and leave. A 5 hits on the river!! Ok - we still have a game folks.

Then comes what will be the main hand of the tournament for me. I look down at QQ. A guy in early position with a stack smaller than mine makes a 4xBB move. I go all in over the top. The guy after me (who has shown every sign of being a good player) goes all in over me with a bigger stack. The original raiser calls. The guy to my left has AA (damn). The original raiser has AhJc (why was he still in the hand?). The flop comes Q93 all hearts. Yippee - I've lucked out trips. (Damn - there's a flush draw). Two blanks and I've trebled up!! I felt sorry for the AA guy, who had only done what anyone would and he exited shortly afterwards.

I now had a stack of something like 240K. Folk were exiting steadily and I was "in the money". I now went totally card dead again. For something like two levels I only made the very odd blind steal and watched the others at the table. A young chap called Andrew McCloud made a very strong impression as did Ian Burnett, who was a couple of seats behind me. It turned out that he knew "Mair", who my wife told me was giving me a lot of support on the APAT website along with some of the other RtR folk.

I decide not to make any more blind steal moves as there are so many guys ready to go over the top and put you to the question. Besides, I didn't have too, since I was comfortably more than 10xBB and antes. Gradually players were eliminated and we were down to the final table.

The last 9 players were all treated to a very pleasant meal. They all seemed a really decent bunch of folk (and no sign of the autistic types I remember from my Chess Congress days!).

I went into the final table with the second smallest stack, so I knew I would be making a move fairly early on and it would have to hold. Early doors, Tony Trippier (who was chip leader at the end of day 1) puts in a big bet ahead of me. I go all in with QQ and he shows AJ. The Queens hold (I'm really beginning to like Queens). Things are now really aggressive all round and I'm only really looking for all in moves. I end up all in with Andrew McCloud with QQ (again) against 1010. He hits a 10 (damn) but I river a straight!

Then one of the key hands of the tournament and I'm not in it. Andrew makes a big bet and John Kay goes all in over him. Andrew has a long think and makes a great call when he finds his AJ up against A7. However a 7 comes and no jack so Andrew is out in 4th. (Tough that).

Ian Burnett finishes 3rd when his A4 is beaten by John Kay's K10. I'm second - hooray! Now for a shot at the title. I'm .5M chips v 1.5M chips. First hand I get A4 and put in a big bet. John goes all in. Odds must be my A is ahead and I'm level on chips if I win. I call. John shows 109 hearts. Four blanks ... and a 9 on the river.

John rode his luck, but then so did I, so I can't complain. I was saved on the river 3 times in the course of the day.

A great exciting day and very well run by the APAT folks. Many thanks to Steve at the casino and the RtR folk for their support (my wife was amazed at the positive vibes I was getting). I will return, but I doubt if I can ever run as well as that again. As Pete Birks put it to me, the best poker advice I can give is "run good". Amen to that.

Oh, I've had a crap month at the $11 SnGs. Now ask me if I care!!!