Ok, so this is long overdue, firstly I was just been lazy and then last week I recieved some very bad news and was in no frame of mind to be writing a blog and was way down on my list of priorities! Anyway here goes:
So, will try and remember all of the details form this trip although I have drunk a lot of alcohol since so might forget some things but here goes. Travel down on the Tuesday; meet up with Stevie, gregior, johne147 and clarkatroid. First time I’ve met Clark in real life and he’s a top bloke and we got on really well, don’t fuck with THE TROID! We all wanted to play the £500 f/o side event but was sold out on arrival, Greg and john were organised enough to buy in beforehand, who does that? Clark ended up getting in as an alternate but me and Stevie sacked it off, started drinking and watched the champion’s league football. Afterwards we decided to keep drinking and sit in the £1-£1 self deal cash game, lol Was great fun despite stacking off to Stevie with no pair no draw countless times, but cracking some old boy’s QQ with 25s was a personal highlight. Clark joined us in the game after busting the comp and had a master plan to move onto drinking double JD n cokes. This continued until about 5am, we were all hammered and somehow managed to stumble back to the hotel.
After Tuesday exploits, Wednesday was pretty much a write off with me Clark and Stevie feeling rough most of the day. Moorman turned up in the evening and we all headed to Asian fusion restaurant at the top of the Hilton, great food and also beat Stevie HU in credit card roulette, £150 in his eye! Relaxed in the hotel bar for the remainder of the evening, drinking pretty slowly and also playing a $0.5/$1 deep cash game on full tilt between the 5 of us, lol. The Troid cleaned up as far as I can remember but we all retired to out rooms pretty early as 4 of the guys were all playing day 1a on the Thursday.
Thursday was a pretty bad day for me really; I got no sleep the night before because moorman snores like a fucking elephant at times. I started to feel really ill during the day as well, cold/flu symptoms including constant running nose and coughing. Headed down to the Vic on the dinner break of 1a and caught up with guys playing and bought in to play day 1b. Headed back to the hotel soon after and called at a pharmacy to get day nurse/night nurse tablets. Just stayed in my room that night hammering tablets and watching films online as well as checking the live updates to witness moorman turn his 15k start stack into a whopping 138k and a commanding chip lead at the end of the day. Managed to sleep better on Thursday with the aid of night nurse and woke up feeling better on Friday although I was still coughing pretty badly.
Onto my first day, 1b and despite having a few good players on my table they were all lined up on my right which is fine by me. They were skalie, Roberto romanello and Padraig Parkinson. Not a lot happened in the first 2 levels, I flopped a set in a limped pot and got to the river where skalie tried to bluff raise me. I flatted romanello’s raise with KK and got 3 streets of value when he check/called them all. Next two levels I hardly played a pot as a player had turned up late to our table and was clearly here just for fun and was drinking and playing every pot. I deliberately stayed out his way with marginal hands as I knew I would end up 3 barrel bluffing him for no reason at all.
After the dinner break I slipped down from my peak of 30k to around 19k when I managed to bust the crazy guy with AK vs his AJ. He raised UTG and I 3 bet on the button, folded back to him and he goes, meh, I’ve had fun I’m all in, lol. That pot took me up to around 40k again and gave me lots of room to manoeuvre again. I was quiet again for a while before my next big confrontation. UTG was an active player who made it 1600 at 300/600 with about 21k behind, I decided to use my stack and 3 bet him in mid position with 45s, basically putting him in a really tough spot. In my eyes he has to fold or shove, and the fact I 3 bet his UTG he got to give me tons of respect since we have never played together before. Moorman on the other hand would know what I’m doing and jam 56s for value, lol. Anyway it folds back to the UTG guy and to my surprise he flat calls creating a pot of around 11k with him having about 15k behind. Now I was the one in an awkward spot and was prepared to give up the pot tbh unless I flopped hard as I really feared he was trapping me with a big pair. Well the flop came a pretty tasty A 8 6 with the 68 of my suit, no folding now. He checks, I bet about 9k and he instantly ships in and I make the obligatory call. He tables AJo and because I run so good I bink my flush on the end propelling me to around 65k. I really don’t like the way he played the hand vs an unknown and think he is going be spewing chips in the majority of situations.
After this hand a really weird dynamic forms on our table when a player who was in his seat at the start of the tournament hasn’t returned from the last break. This means every time I’m on the button, the BB is sat out and romanello and Parkinson are the 2 players to act before me. I am the chip leader on the table and have 3 bet each of them once on the button to take the pot uncontested when the BB is absent. Then my biggest and most crucial pot of the tournament arrives. Padraig opens in the cut-off, and I 3 bet 99 on the button with the BB sat out, the SB quickly folds and its back to Padraig who makes a relatively small 4 bet. My 3 bet just looks like I’m full of shit and using my stack to exploit the dynamic created by the missing BB. Padraig is obviously good enough to recognise this and can 4 bet/fold profitably imo as I have to fold so many marginal hands. Given my analysis I 5 bet jam for value and he instantly calls and I think I might have said ‘fuck!’ The pot is about 80k, and I have 25k behind if I lose at 400/800. He tables the only hand I want to see after the snap call in the form of AK, I hold and take a 100k+ stack into the last level of the night, :-)
I was rooming with moorman in London and the last thing he said to me before I left to start day 1b was: ‘If you get more chips than me I’m quitting poker’. Obviously he wouldn’t quit but if I did manage to get more chips than him it would tilt him bad especially when me and the rest of the lads would wind him up mercifully that night. I was quiet for most of the last level but did get into a pot that would have propelled me over moorman’s stack. I am in the BB with AK and facing 3 limps for 1k make it 5k total to play, first guy quickly folds and then Richard Ashby (chufty) plays with his stack for a while eventually calling the 5k out of his 20k stack much to my amazement. After the initial limps + blinds and antes he now has less that a pot size bet left which pretty much makes the flop irrelevant for me, I’m setting him in regardless of what comes. The flop came J9x and I set him in, he snap calls with his expertly played T8 and rivers an 8 to win the 48k pot, sigh. Was pretty titled after this hand and basically sat the last 30 minutes out and took my 100k stack into day 2.
With just over 50 players left at the start of day 2, amazingly moorman was chip leader and I was in 3rd place, with another one of our group gregior also making it through with a workable stack. There was obviously a redraw for tables so even though I had a big stack I was going to adopt my normal strategy of sitting back early and analysing the table and letting the dynamic develop. My seat draw was interesting as I was on the immediate left of Ali mallu who also had a lot of chips after busting Richard gryko early. Most people know all about Ali, but for those that don’t, he is ultra aggressive and can turn up with any two cards at any given point. He is also very capable of ridiculous spews and blow ups though which made my seating position pretty valuable. Even though my plan was to play small pots and observe a while, Ali put paid to that plan on my very first orbit at the table. With blinds at 600/1200 – 100, Ali opens the button to 3200 and I 3 bet from the SB to 10500 with AK, the BB quickly folds and back to Ali who instantly says ‘all in’. I had around 100k at the start of the hand and he had be covered, I wasn’t too pleased about getting such a big stack all in pre with AK this early on, but the fact that it was ali mallu made it a pretty easy call. I call for a monster pot and he flips A9 off, :-) no dramas and I’m the overwhelming chip leader with around 210k.
The next two hours I play some of the worst poker of my life and proceed to donk off from 240k down to about 120k playing ridiculously bad and just spewing chips every which way. The following two hours I regained my composure but had a dwindling stack compared to the rising blinds so was hardly playing any hands at all until I was on the right side of a cooler situation. Pretty close to the bubble and a guy opens in the cut-off and I find JJ on the button with about 20BB’s, I jam he snap calls with TT, which crushes my 20BB re-shove range versus cut-off open and he is very unfortunate to only have 2 outs. This pot gives me a playable stack again and just at the right time as play is beginning to tighten up and slow down around the bubble. I end up bubbling my mate Sam trickett with TT vs KT to solidify my position going into hand to hand play. A pretty big hand then played out on the bubble, everyone folded to robin keston in the small blind who made it 24k, blinds 4k/8k and I call in the BB with QJ. The flop comes J 7 3 rainbow, almost perfect for my hand. Moorman had played with keston for most of the first day and said he was very aggressive which influenced me to play the QJ how I did. Robin bets the flop and I call, the turn is a low blank and now he fires a pretty big bet of around 60k, if I call I have around 120k behind. No point in shoving the turn here really as he only calls me with better hands, but since it was the bubble I thought he was very capable of setting me on the river with a bluff since I’m an unknown to him who could be hanging on to make the money. So I call and we go to the river when another blank rolls off and he is eyeing up my remaining stack as well as checking his own, contemplating a bet. He eventually checks and I check behind and he insta-mucks, after the pot he mutters something about firing a 3rd barrel but I would have beat him into the pot with a fist pump and a chair spin, :-)
After this pot I was comfortable stacked again and with the bubble bursting shortly after, normal play resumed. Stuart rutter was two seats to my right for the whole day, I have a lot of respect for his game and we rarely tangled in any meaningful pots. Earlier in the day I re-raised his cut-off open from the small blind with KQs and he replied in kind with a shove all in, sigh. Stuart had enough to make me pass and imo he was never 4 betting light in this spot unless it was some sick level but way too risky to gamble and Stuart told me on the break he had AA, phew. I then misplayed a hand against Stuart towards the end of the day, he opened in LP and I 3 bet with pocket 4’s on the button, again he responded with an all in but we were much deeper stacked than the previous situation. I should definitely have flat called here preflop and played the hand in position as we were pretty deep. He told me again after he had QQ, mbn to get premiums the two times I 3 bet you all day, lol.
The rest of day 2 went quite slowly, I wasn’t involved in any big pots, and the aggressive Norwegian Erik svanes was on our table with the chip lead and opening most pots 5/6 handed which kind of sucked for me. I did 3 bet him from the SB with 24 off to keep me above average and to try and slow him down a little as everybody else seemed content to let him take every pot. Not long after there was a big confrontation on the other table followed by a short stack exit and final 9 were set, this was to be my 3rd big live final and was desperate for the old saying to come true.
My seat draw on the final table was pretty good with Erik 2 seats my right with all the chips, then Stuart, the other player I feared, was across the table so we wouldn’t be butting heads that often. Blinds started at 5k/10k -1k but 3 players were all under 100k I think so I envisaged a pretty fast start to the final with short-stacks either doubling up or busting before the stacks eventually condensed and play slowed down again. I think I raised 55 pretty early doors and Stuart 3 bet me from the SB and it was an easy pass. My first big hand came when it folded to me in the SB and surinder sunar is in the BB with 7BB’s. I look down at K6 and slide in a 100k stack enough to set him in. He honestly dwells for 5 mins, playing with his stack, pushing it up to the line and back again looking at me for a reaction I think, before eventually making the very brave call with 77. Fucking great news, first big hand on the final is a ridiculous slow roll from a guy that won a WPT ffs, door card is a 7 cos he’s the best he doubles.
Not long after that hand I get AA, raise in LP and Richard Ashby moves all in for about 8BB’s total with A5, no dramas and we have lost the first player and my stack is back up to about the 280k mark. My next hand involves surinder again, all fold to me in the SB and I raise with J9, he defends pretty quickly and we see a 922 flop. I check and he checks behind, the turn is an 8 and I bet 30k into 55k pot and he tank calls. The river is a very nice deuce, so the board reads 22982 and I bet 75k and he tank calls again, mucking when I show the 9, welcome to valuetown! The rest of the table is pretty cagey so I start to open preflop more frequently when the blinds go up to 6k/12k and take 3 pots in a row uncontested, :-). A few of the short stacks then bust including Surinder and Stuart Nash, making us 6 handed. Tony cascarino then opened to 55k in the cut-off with 80k behind and I make it 125k on the button with AQS, back to tony who folds saying 22, wp sir. The next hand I play is when I open to 32k at 6k/12k and the guy in the SB who hasn’t played a hand makes it 75k total to play, lol. I have 67 suited and peel looking to flop huge and stack his face up big pair. Well the flop comes A high and he checks, I decide to implement plan B and bet relatively small with 90k and he snap folds, I show to claimer and trickett on the rail, :-) The guy must have seen it as well because the next time I open for 32k, he makes it 150k, lol.
Cascarino goes out next and we are 5 handed, then an interesting hand comes up between me and Stuart rutter. I raise to 40k at 8k/16k and he flats on the button, I bet an 848 flop and Stuart thinks for a little while and calls. The turn is a K and I make a fairly big bet that Stuart thinks about for a long time before calling, at this point I’m fairly confident his hand is a pair between 5’s and J’s. Before the river came I was pretty sure I was turning my hand into a bluff on the river and jamming all in leaving Stuart with a very difficult decision. It remains a hypothetical situation since I binked a 3 on the river and Stuart time bank folds to my shove later telling me he had JJ. I told Stuart later on what I had and we talked a little bit about the hand, I was pretty sure Stuart had a hand like JJ or with similar value and was calling my bet on the K turn guessing I wouldn’t bet again on the river with nothing since the K was such a good barrel card for me and would normally bet it with 100% of my range. This pot propels me into a slight chip lead and now we are 5 handed I’m full of confidence. Unfortunately Stuart is the next to bust out with KQ vs AK after seeing a K high flop with Erik, tough spot to get away from imo.
We head into the dinner break with approx chip counts of 1m to Erik, 570k to me and Jeff Duvall and 500k to guy steel, blinds would be rising to 10/20k after the break. While eating dinner, Guy steel was desperate to do a deal, he wanted to give Erik £100k, the 3 of us took £75k and we played on for an extra £50k ftw. I wasn’t interested in a deal and told him so; he seemed taken aback and kept on at me through the dinner break which became a little annoying. I did agree to flatten the payouts though, taking some money off the top and bumping up 4th and 3rd payouts since they were set out pretty top heavy originally. Got a nice free meal courtesy of grovensnor which was a nice bonus and trigg even managed to get in with me for a freebee, wp sir.
Over the course of the last 2 days I had 3 bet Erik quite a few times but he had yet to see any of hands and was becoming visibly frustrated. Sometimes I had had hands, but others were complete air balls, and it was definitely playing on his mind that I could be owning him too much. This battle then swung massively in my favour when Erik button raised to 50k a few hands after dinner, I make it 160k from the SB with AK and he instantly sets me in. I obviously snap call and he sheepishly turns over KJ and I hold to win a 1.2m million pot 4 handed with 2.7m total chips in play, wiiiiiiiiiiii! Erik is then the next to go out, 3 bet shoving on Jeff with T8 and failing to get there against Jeff’s KJ and we were down to 3. 3 handed goes pretty slow, I’m taking a fair amount of hands preflop and the shorter stack, guy steel, seems to be getting visibly frustrated with how things are going. Anyway, I make it my standard 50k on the button with A5 and guy steel makes it 150k playing 500k total, I don’t think he is very strong and set him all in, he beats me in pot and I’m pretty sure I’ve got 3 outs. To my surprise and delight he turns over KJ, I hold as a 60/40 favourite and get heads up in a live tournament for the first time in my poker career, lol
At the start of heads up I have around 1.5m and Jeff Duvall has 1.2m with the blinds at 10/20k. With lots of play left I thought we were gonna be in for a long battle but then Jeff check/raised all in the first flop lol. He was making huge raises pre-flop and pot sized bets or more post flop making it very difficult when I went through runs of not getting hands preflop or hitting flops as is often the case in HU play. I was determined to stick my strategy and try and wear him down and frustrate into making a big mistake for a huge pot. After gaining the advantage in the match I 3 bet Jeff 2 hands in a row, the 2nd time with AJ suited to which he responded with an all in, I called very quickly he showed K8, I won the pot and had 2.2m to his 500k and was within touching distance. Unfortunately I got him all in with 89 vs my A3 and he doubled, then he doubled again with KJ vs my rashly played KT and he was chip leader again with 1.6m to my 1.1m. The back and forth goes on for a total of close to 4 hours and was mentally exhausting. He got lucky several times when he was all in for his tournament life and I got lucky once for my tournament life. Overall I think I played a pretty good patient HU game and manage to trap him well on several occasions. The final hand of heads up went down like this and was captured all on video by Jon Raab at blue square:
So that was that really, delighted obviously to book a huge win that has eluded me on many occasions now if you have read my blog before. Not only is the money great but winning it in a live tournament such as the GUKPT grand final that carries so much prestige means a lot to me. Not done a lot since getting back home, final tabled the hi roller ECOOP event on bam bam poker for $20k, so along with my LEOCOP score and the GUKPT it’s been a pretty sick last 4 weeks. Just gearing up for Christmas atm so don’t plan to play a great deal of poker, but heading out to Australia for New year to meet up with some friends and then play the Aussie millions tournament in January. Just like to thank everybody who wished me well throughout the GUKPT and congratulated me after, really meant a lot, that’s about all for now, ill finish with a few pictures I’ve nicked from the live updates, by for now