How Highly Are Poker Players Valued by Casinos?

How Highly Are Poker Players Valued by Casinos?
I have news that will tilt the life out of some people.
The gap between Grosvenor and Genting is starting to widen when it comes to value for money in the Midlands.

We all know that Grosvenor have made the registration fee for their standard comps £7 now as opposed to £5 at Resorts World and Genting Coventry. I personally still think that £7 is reasonable to provide dealers, card room managers, valets (I couldn’t keep a straight face when I typed valets*) chips, tables etc etc for our evening’s entertainment.

However on the £7 reg fee I believe that we currently get 70p back in player points which equates to 10% and I use mine to get a “free” meal now and then.  So it’s really £6.30

The first bit of bad news is that the 10% rebate on reg fees in the form of player points is being reduced to 2% so my £7 reg fee will now earn me 14p instead of 70p. By any standard that is a huge % drop.

The news gets worse!

Well unless your name is Jamie Bott it does, because the player point earnings on cash games is being reduced from 100 points per hour to 60 per hour.

So going forward your cash back instead of being £1 per hour is now going to be just 60p an hour. This equates to a 40% earnings drop.

When it comes to session charges the earnings will also reduce. It’s going down from 10% per hour to just 4%.

Now if what I’m told is correct these changes will come into effect on the 25th September (just 5 days from now)

On a slightly positive note, poker will count towards the next “Every Visit Counts” (EVC) promotion at Grosvenor that starts from October.

I think several vocal complaints went in about poker not counting towards the last one and that is possibly the reason for this. Though if they are dropping the rake by these huge amounts just for the EVC promotion I think I’d rather they left us out of it and gave us the higher point earnings back.


Goliath costs on the rise also

Not only is this happening to us all at our run of the mill comps/cash games the price of playing the Grosvenor’s flagship tournament the Goliath is also on the rise.

The next one will be £100 + £25 reg fee (up from £20) which is a bit steep in percentage terms. I’ll continue to play it though as it’s still the best comp of the year in the UK by a country mile. In fairness it must cost an absolute fortune to run the Goliath event with literally hundreds of top notch agency dealers etc so I’m sure they are not making much if any on the event.

I sincerely hope though that they don’t ever start taking a percentage from the prize fund like the WSOP do as that is absolute robbery and I think players deserve transparency in what they are being charged.

What do people think?

I like to get 2 separate sources before posting this type of story as I have been misled by people in the past but due to the importance of the story and the fact it starts taking effect so soon I’ve taken it on the fly and posted it. If it’s proved wrong then I will own up to being “Fake News”.

Things can change though, so even if true Grosvenor may change their minds if the feedback is negative? What do you think? Please leave a comment below.

If all these changes do come into effect Peter Djiallis will blow a gasket ๐Ÿ™‚


Poker players valued?

This new blog post has a similar theme to one I wrote on the 30th October 2010. You can read that here after reading this one.

*In fairness Walsall valets are very good and deserve high praise. 

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Grosvenor Customer Service All Sausage, No Sizzle

Grosvenor Customer Service All Sausage, No Sizzle
Not best pleased with Grosvenors customer service at the moment. I had to go to Spain unexpectedly due to a family emergency just before the Goliath festival started. That messed up my plans of firing multiple bullets at the Goliath like I normally do.

As it happened I arrived back on the last day 1 with 20 mins of late reg to go so I only fired one bullet. (I feel like a winner).

This meant that I was left with 3 x Goliath £120 online tickets.

Now I know I can use them next year but having £360 of my relatively small poker bankroll tied up for 12 months isn’t the best idea.

With that in mind I approached Grosvenor support asking if I could use a ticket for the upcoming Summer Sizzler and maybe put the other two together to use in a 25/25 event.

They just flat out said no. 

I didn’t even care that the sizzler is £110 and the 25/25 is £220 I would happily have forgone the change from the £360 worth of tickets. It’s not like I was asking to use them for a GPS or DTD event.

So not good Grosvenor and I have to say I was shocked they were as inflexible, as normally they are pretty good. In my experience the people you deal with in the bricks and mortar venues always try to be helpful.

Expected Numbers for the Sizzler?

This time around the day 2 Midlands Venue is Nottingham and I feel that it may have an effect on the numbers. The best supported venues for these multi-day one events are usually Walsall, Hill Street and Coventry with Leicester and Nottingham not normally doing quite so well.
I wonder if so many Brummies will be too keen on travelling up the M6, M42 Motorways on a Bank Holiday Monday and as much as I love all my friends at Walsall most of them get lost if they have to drive 20 miles outside the Black Country.
So it will be interesting to see.

I can confirm that as I have to pay £110 in cold hard cash to enter, I will not be firing multiple bullets on this occasion.

Part 3 of “Getting the Balance Right”

For anyone waiting to read part 3, (Part 1 Here and part 2 here) the main reason I haven’t posted my 3rd part is, although it’s complete I don’t feel comfortable posting it up.
 

I can write quite objectively about others but it’s tough to do so about myself. Secondly I’d been “running like a drain” from 2009 till July 2016 so my results were nothing to write about.

More recently I’d run so well from July 2016 till the end of 2016 that I thought I’d wait till the run good was over before writing about it so as not to jinx it.

I was always slightly reluctant to write about my own game as it will just look like I’m showing off and I am well aware of my limitations as a player. I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of better players than me in the Midlands who don’t write blogs about themselves.

So there it is it is done, but I might never post it.
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Who would be a Casino Valet?

Who would be a Casino Valet?
I played a few days at Walsall through last weeks GUKPT festival and the one thing that struck me was how good the valets were at Walsall compared to other G Casinos I play at.  As a poker player I always moan (virtually non-stop) about something so credit where it’s due I thought they were really good at Walsall.
They actually come to the table and ask if you’d like a drink and go round the table in order to ask everyone. At G Cov they never do that and if it wasn’t for Delma who always looks after me at Cov (when she’s on duty) I’d die of thirst before I ever got asked.

Delma
At Grosvenor Hill St it’s a bit hit and miss as they’ve had some great valets there and some pretty terrible ones over the years. In fairness I have to say I’ve not been there lately so not sure what the current group are like, though the car park jockeys who do the valet parking there have always been excellent.

It’s so bad at Cov that even if someone calls a valet to the table they just take the order from that one person and F off. I remember one night a player asked the floor for a valet and when she came she just took his order and disappeared in an instant before anyone else could ask her.

It turned out a few other players on the table, me included, wanted a drink so we were chatting/moaning about it while she was away. When she brought the drink back for the original player another one sat by him asked for a drink and off she went again before I or anyone else could catch her attention.

So this time while she was away we (the other thirsty players) decided that we would all deliberately order a drink from her one at a time every time she came back. After the 3rd time she finally had a light-bulb moment and asked if anyone else at the table would like a drink. Hooray!

DTD Valet
Other Venues
I’ve been to the new Genting Casino at Resorts World up at the NEC a couple of times and the valets come round quite frequently there and seem pretty good.
Dusk till Dawn have efficient valets who work really hard when the big comps are on but as most of them are younger than my daughters I always feel slightly uncomfortable with the skimpy clothes they have to wear. It’s almost impossible not to notice them as they look like they’d be more suited to working at Hooters, so I’m sure they do OK for tips. 
Though looks are not in my opinion the main factor. A valet who is efficient and friendly is far more deserving of a tip than someone who is as dim as a 3 watt bulb but just happens to have big tits.
I think the best dumb valet quote was this one. 
Player: Can I have a glass of hot water? Valet: With ice?
Hooters!
Do I have the right to moan?
Personally I feel I have every right to moan about valets who are useless because I am a habitual tipper so I feel I’m entitled to a decent level of service but these days people like me are few and far between.

Generally I believe that poker players do not tip the valets anywhere near enough so if the valets stay in the pit area and don’t come into the card room then poker players only have themselves to blame.

While I was at Walsall this week there were loads of times a valet came to the table and took 5 or 6 drink orders and when he/she came back with them I was the only person that gave a tip. That’s terrible it really is. Most cash players think nothing of tipping a dealer so why not a valet now and then, and why should tournament players not tip either?

In my opinion if you play a tournament and spend 6 or 7 hours in a card room and during that time someone fetches you a tea/coffee or soft drink several times throughout the night because you’re too lazy to walk 20-30 feet to the drinks machine to get your own then if you don’t tip you are a tight arse and should be ashamed of yourself. If I was a valet and had to deal with cheapskates like that I’d be stirring your pint with my cock before I brought it over.

These people are on minimum wage and working hard being on their feet all shift long so a £1 tip now and again is hardly spoiling them is it? It has to be the worst job in the casino it really does. 

I’ve seen players in cash games empty the clip with an ill timed 3 barrel bluff spunk off £200 who are then too tight to give the girl who fetches him a coffee a £1.
Valets: The Good Old Days

When I used to play poker in the Rainbow casino in Brum in the late 70’s and early 80’s it was accepted that every player tipped the valets at least once or twice a night. (It was illegal to tip dealers in those days). Also it was normal when you got down to the 3 or 4 players in the comp and were discussing a deal the conversation always included a discussion about how much we would leave for the valets. (I used to win comps in those days)

One thing that made the Rainbow valets so good was that they kept their own tips and didn’t pool them with other staff. This always makes a HUGE difference to the level of service that players get in my opinion. In the Rainbow in those days the valets did not get any wages at all and in fact PAID the casino to work there!

They paid a fee for a uniform and a tray and worked 100% off their tips alone so if they were not good/friendly and working with a smile on their face they didn’t earn much. Back then not only did players get free soft drinks but also snacks like sandwiches which you could have toasted if you wanted. So to be honest if a valet brought you a free cup of tea and a toasted ham sandwich or a couple of rounds of toast and jam most people felt duty bound to bung them a quid.

I was told, and I can well believe it, that the top earning valet at the Rainbow casino used to earn more money than the general manger.

What do I get out of tipping?

Well I don’t do it to get something in return but there certainly are benefits that’s for sure. Here are two examples that spring to mind of when its helped me.

When I go to Hill St I always use the car jockey (Valet Parking) service and without fail I give the guy who takes my car and the one who brings it back a £1 every-time. Not everyone does and in fact most don’t, but I do. 

Now I remember once turning up just before start time of the monthly £50 comp at Hill St and the jockeys were rushed off their feet and cars were backed up out onto the road. 

They have double yellow lines there so leaving your car on them at 4.45 pm on a Saturday night is asking for trouble. One of the jockeys saw me as I pulled up (having recognised my car) and he immediately came jogging straight down to me at the back of the queue and I just got out of my car without even needing to turn the engine off.

Also I remember once at the Goliath there were about 900 people in the room and when I looked up from the table I noticed Delma who was about 50 yards away and she waived at me and made a “T” shape with her hands and I gave the thumbs up. 3 or 4 minutes later she arrived at my table with a nice cup of tea in a mug. Some of the other players at the table commented that I must be special as everyone else in the room had to make do with a paper cup if they could get a drink at all.

Best looking waitress ever?

They really know how to look after you in Vegas. Back in 2003 I went to Vegas with 5 friends. I used to run a pub in a nice village in Worcestershire and the five guys who went with me were 5 of my regulars. They were all millionaires as 3 of them owned huge sheep farms and one them owned an abattoir and the other owned a transport firm that basically took all the sheep to the abattoir. 
So anyway one night we are in the Bellagio playing blackjack before going to have dinner. I F’ing hate blackjack with a passion but as they all wanted to play I did as well. After 10 minutes “they” get invited to play in a more private area. I don’t think the pit boss realised I was with them as they had been betting $200 or more every hand. (I was betting $5 or $10 ha ha)
So off we trot to this side area which has a $100 minimum bet for higher rollers. When we sat at the table I realised the size of the min bet so said something along the lines of “F this for a game of soldiers lads” so my mates said “oh OK lets go back in the other room”. When the pit boss realised the situation he said no wait it’s fine” and he dashed off and got some $5 chips from somewhere just for me. 
So we are playing 2 mins and the pit boss says “let me introduce you to … she is going to look after you and get you some drinks”.  Step forward the best looking young lady I have ever seen. She was absolutely stunning. If you picture a young (before all the plastic) Pamela Anderson well she was better looking than that. 
Pamela Anderson. 
She smiled sweetly and took our order and off she trots. I’m sat there thinking what the hell is she doing working as a waitress in a casino?
Anyway 3 minutes later she is back with the drinks and my 5 mates tip her a $25 chip each (the smallest chips they had) and make pretty pathetic attempts to chat her up. I never felt so cheap in my entire life than when I put a $5 chip on her tray. 
Then I think “Now I know why she’s working here”. She must have been earning an absolute fortune if she just collected $130 in 3 minutes for one round of drinks. To be fair she was really nice and was chatting to us and asking questions about living in England etc so she was nice to talk to as well as look at.
We were supposed to only play blackjack for 20 minutes or so but my mates didn’t want to leave the place. That valet must have earned the casino well over 10k in the space of 2 hours from my mates alone. Eventually I had to virtually drag them out as I was starving.
No one ever said guys were intelligent when a pretty girl is involved. 
Finally 
A quick mention that Walsall did well at this weeks festival as it beat the £100,000 guarantee for the £500 main event, which I didn’t think it would, so hopefully G Casinos will allow Walsall to have a main event next year as well.
And finally please tip the valets now and then because for the most part they really deserve a bit more than the crappy wages they get for doing what must be one of the worst jobs imaginable. Serving moaning poker players all night long for no thanks must be as bad as it gets.
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Poker: Getting the Balance Right Part 2

Poker: Getting the Balance Right Part 2
If you’ve not read part one you can read it here. Part 1 
Firstly let me apologise for the HUGE gap in time between parts one & two, I won’t waste your time giving excuses as to why that is. Glad to finally get it done though as at least it will stop Daz Stather (G Cov dealer) from asking me every time I go in there when it’s going to be ready.

Daz Stather
My last post (Part 1) stirred some reaction. Normally I get about 100 visitors to the blog a week and that number goes up to 800 – 1,000 in a week when I put up a new post. When I posted part one though I had well over two thousand people read it inside 5 days.

As part 2 is about dealers for the next four or five weeks after I posted part one every time I went into a cardroom three or four dealers at least would ask me when part 2 was coming out!

Regarding Part 1, I was pleased to receive a great many positive comments about it via Facebook, Twitter and some via the blog itself, and also a great many FB messenger, and Twitter DM’s from people who don’t want their views made public. The privately sent messages in the main were from casino staff from a variety of different pay grades who’d rather not voice their comments publicly.

Also for the first time (as far as I know) Rob Yong and Simon Trumper both read the blog and even though I wasn’t 100% glowing in my praise of Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) Simon kindly put a link to the blog from his DTD Facebook page and was more than fair in his comments about my post. I think they (DTD) may like this post a little more.

Getting the Balance Right: Part 2: Dealers

The 2 main things I’m going to talk about on the subject of dealers are “Competence” (Competence = Knowledge & Skills) and “Attitude” (Their Authority, Table Management & Personality). Then I’m going to look at how players behave towards them.

Competence

Competence is simply the mechanics i.e. speed and accuracy of shuffling/dealing, knowledge of the rules, being able to spot the winning hand at showdown, and handling all-in side pots and split pots correctly etc. etc.

So let’s just briefly look at the 4 stages of learning that we all go through when we take on a task we’ve never tried before.

So the Four Stages are 1. Unconsciously incompetent 2 consciously incompetent 3 consciously competent and 4 unconsciously competent.

If we look at the task of walking, a new born baby is “unconsciously incompetent” when it comes to walking as although it can’t walk its blissfully unaware of the fact.

When the baby is a little bit older it starts to realise that all the grown-ups are walking around but it can’t and that fact starts to bother it. At this point it’s “consciously incompetent”. Otherwise known as the “you’re shit and you know you are” stage.

As the baby becomes a toddler and starts to take the first few steps it’s now at the “consciously competent” stage, where it can walk as long as he/she gives it their full attention. 

Finally the “unconsciously competent” stage is where most of us are (except after a few beers) where we walk around without thinking about it. So to put the kettle on we don’t have to think “left foot, right foot” as we walk into the kitchen, it’s just auto pilot and we can concentrate on more important things like wondering if there are any biscuits left?

All new dealers go through these 4 stages of learning, some quicker than others.

Think of someone who has never played cards and not dealt a hand of cards in their entire life. Stage one for them is before they ever get a job in a casino they can’t deal but it doesn’t bother them as they don’t need to. Then they apply for a job in a casino and get offered the position and on day one they see an experienced member of staff shuffle up and deal for the very 1st time and they suddenly think “Shit I can’t do that”.

So now they suddenly realise that when it comes to dealing they are totally incompetent.

Once they have been shown how and practised it over and over again they can deal but maybe quite slowly and they have to be fully concentrating all of the time otherwise they are likely to make a mistake. (Consciously competent)

It’s the same with side pots etc they will need to concentrate hard to do it correctly at first, and it becomes very difficult when 4 players are offering 5 different opinions (3 of which are wrong) on how it should be done!

Finally if they stick with it they become so skilled that they can shuffle up and deal very quickly and efficiently whilst wondering what their plans are for their next day off etc. (Unconsciously competent)

When it comes to just shuffling and dealing there is no excuse for not being competent at this within a reasonable time period because they can practise over and over until they get better at it. If they are determined to get better they will, even if they need to take a pack of cards home and practise on their days off it can be done.


Training for Staff


Sink or Swim?

This is an area where 99% of all casino cardrooms are sadly lacking in my opinion, though let me say that DTD are the 1%.

Away from my hobby as a poker player I’m a qualified training and development consultant so it does annoy me when I see so many casinos have little or no training in place for new poker dealers.

It’s down mostly to total apathy from casino management at the top levels. When I’m blaming management I’m not talking about cardroom managers (CRM’s) level but higher up the food chain that that. Most CRM’s at the casinos I go to are dedicated advocates of their cardrooms and do their best, but the higher management’s lack of interest in poker is the root cause of many of the poker room problems.

Their failure to invest time/money in staff training does them no favours in the long term and it’s therefore left at a local level to organise dealer training which means a HUGE variance in what’s on offer to a new dealer.

As far as I’m aware only DTD has a consistent structured approach to the training of new dealers and that fact shows if you ever go and play there. Considering how many dealers they have there the level of consistency is outstanding.

How Much Training Do Dealers Get?

The phrase “How long is a piece of string?” comes to mind. Different chains of casino vary as you’d expect but even casinos within the same group will vary wildly depending on the venue and who is CRM.

In the last twelve months I’ve asked literally dozens of dealers, supervisors and CRM’s “how much training do dealers get” and one thing I can tell you is that the answer to that question varies HUGELY depending on who you ask. If I ask a supervisor or CRM about training then ask dealers in the same venue the answers are MASSIVELY different.

I’ve chatted to one CRM who would have me believe he was practically running a poker dealers academy with in depth boot camp training methods lasting months. Strangely though when I’ve asked dealers who actually work there they paint an entirely different picture.

Now nearly all the CRM’s I’ve ever asked know I’m writing a blog about dealers so I guess they want to show their casino in a good light so I tend to give a little more weight to the answers the dealers themselves have given me.

The best training I’ve been told about was from DTD as you’d probably expect and also the person I asked doesn’t even work there any more so I guess they had no reason to oversell the training offered.

I was told the new dealers there get about 40 hours training prior to being “let loose” on the public which is probably about 36 hours more than your average casino gives its new poker room staff. As DTD is so busy they often take on groups of dealers together so I guess it makes training them more cost effective.

Also having a group start together means they can shuffle and deal to each other as practise and the supervisors can also have chips at the practise table to deliberately do things wrong that the dealers should be picking up. The good thing about them all being trained together is they get a consistent message from the supervisors and they can discuss scenarios as a group and learn from each other.

So DTD offers the best training but what of some of the others? When I asked one dealer at a G casino “when new dealers start here, how much training do they get?” I was given a very illuminating one word answer, and the word was “minimal”.

I shouldn’t have laughed at that answer as it’s quite serious but I did. It turned out that dealers with no previous experience whatsoever were starting work on day one about 4 hours prior to the evening’s tournament starting and when the tournament started they’d be dealing it.

Basically most West Midlands casinos I play in if they take on a new dealer who has actually played the game before they get hardly any training at all before being let loose on a normal tournament. Once they can do that OK they then get a bit of training on the rake and off they go to the cash game!

A non-player new dealer will get a bit more help but still not nearly enough. This sink or swim attitude is very short-sighted as well trained well motivated staff reduces the high turnover which all card rooms suffer from.

Don’t Blame the Wrong Person.

Some players annoy me when they get on the backs of novice dealers; this is totally out of order in my opinion. When casinos allow untrained or incompetent dealers to be thrown in at the deep end it’s important to remember that it’s not really the dealers fault, you should be aiming your complaints at management not the individual staff member. It’s the cardroom management who have deemed that person competent to deal, so speak to them about it

I never take it out personally on a novice dealer, as I know the training has probably been either non-existent or inadequate. Also it’s important to remember that they are in the “consciously competent” stage at best but they will become pretty skilled pretty quickly. Most dealers after dealing 20 – 40 hours per week for a few weeks have improved beyond recognition and if they haven’t then maybe the job isn’t for them.

I also firmly believe that a novice dealer is always preferable to me or any other customer having to deal that’s for sure. In fact if a casino has any self-deal tournaments throughout the week, like an afternoon comp for instance, then that’s the best place to start them in a live environment as a slow dealer beats no dealer every time.

Please Cardroom Managers! 

One thing card rooms should do when they have a ratio of 4 experienced and 1 novice dealer working a five table comp is rotate the dealers much more often than normal. It’s isn’t fair on one particular table to have a very slow dealer for two hours or more whilst the others have very quick dealers. By rotating them frequently it makes it fairer for all and reduces player frustration levels.

As a general rule the average cardroom doesn’t rotate dealers nearly enough and this is something that there is no excuse for in my opinion. So please CRM’s rotate the dealers more often. It’s pretty standard practise (DTD aside) for dealers to start a comp and remain on the same table until the first break which is usually 2 hours. How much trouble is it to push the dealers around at the end of each level?

Breaking them in Gently

Most new dealers are blooded in tournaments and this makes sense and the lower the buy in the better. It really does annoy cash game regulars, with some justification I feel, when they get stuck with a newbie. It really isn’t fair on the players if they are paying a session fee to get about half the number of hands in per hour that a really good dealer could handle.

I always question the logic of casinos putting slow dealers on “raked” games as it’s costing them money in the short term and possibly future business as well if players just get fed up and go and play elsewhere.

I always feel a bit sorry for new poker dealers as they really are at the mercy of how good, bad or indifferent the cardroom manager is. As players I think we owe it to them (the dealers not managers) to be as understanding as we can. Personally I do try and offer some help and encouragement to new dealers wherever possible.

Recently at the G Cov one of the valets became a dealer and she’s a very bubbly character and I remember her saying something like “I’m not very good yet” to which I replied “well you’re dealing with a smile on your face so in my opinion that puts you way ahead of most dealers already”.

That leads me nicely on to “attitude”.

Dealers: “Attitude” ie: Authority, Table Management & Personality

Once a dealer has been doing the job full time for 6 months their competence should be a given, but what about their attitude?

This is the area of being a poker dealer where the biggest variance is in my view. As I said earlier competence is based on knowledge and skills, which can all be learnt and practised. Attitude though is a whole different ball game. Getting the balance right with this aspect of being a dealer is often where it goes wrong. 

The dealer’s (and floor managers) attitude/personality has a HUGE influence on the game in so many ways and I’m going to try and cover some of the key areas as I see them.

Referee/Umpire

Without doubt the most important aspect of table management is keeping the game straight. The dealers and floor staff are the referee’s/umpires and they should be making absolutely certain that players are getting a fair roll of the dice.
The reason why players play in a casino and not in some dingy illegal gambling den is because they want to feel safe and not worry they will get cheated. You have to remember that whenever there is money involved some people will always be looking to pull a stroke if they think they can get away with it.
It’s very much up to the dealer to be the eyes and ears for the whole table and indeed all the other players in a tournament and make sure no player(s) are bending the rules, colluding, marking cards, or just generally trying to angle shoot in anyway.
So let’s look at an example of a dealer ignoring their responsibilities.  I played at a casino that I rarely play at about a year ago and the dealer basically dealt the cards and then went into dreamland until it was time to deal them again.
Two players who were sat in seats 3 & 4 and the guy in seat 9 were constantly talking about the hand in progress. That’s bad enough when they are just talking strategy or asking a player something like “are you flushing?” but their conversations were including things like what they’d folded and worse still they were getting dangerously close to saying things like “Shall I call him or are you going to?” 
It wasn’t quite that blatant but I knew exactly what they were doing inside two minutes. The dealer never even noticed, or if she did she couldn’t care less.
The first time I was in a hand with two of the three I had to say “is this a team game?” and they took the hint and cut it out. (well against me anyway) Now it didn’t on this occasion but a situation like that could easily have escalated into a row but it would never have even got to the point of me having to say anything if the dealer had been on the ball.
If the dealer or floor staff is the person who steps in and says something rather than a player to another player it diffuses any potential arguments. I could imagine in the later stages of that comp (I wasn’t there then obviously) that if those 3 had still been in at bubble time etc other weaker characters at the table would not be getting a fair game.
I haven’t named the casino as I was only in the comp up to about 5 mins before the 1st break and this was the only dealer I encountered that night so maybe the others are better? But this sort of thing needs to be stamped out or players who don’t play very often will simply not return there as they will feel there is a “clique” in the casino and they are not getting a fair game.
I would guess that cardrooms the world over have regulars/locals/friends that to a greater or lesser degree have a “clique” within the room. Sometimes it’s just because it is a friendly place and the regulars all know each other and engage in friendly banter. However if the cardroom management and staff don’t keep a grip on its room then it can become something more sinister.
I’ve visited some cardrooms round the country over the years though where the management has gone AWOL and the lunatics are running the asylum. All that happens in these situations is that normal decent punters stop going and the cardroom ends up with just these vermin in the card room and no one else.
The reason I go to G Coventry more than any other card room in the Midlands is because in my opinion it is the fairest, friendliest card room around. A sure sign of this is the fact that G Cov has a pretty high percentage of female players in their card room, certainly higher than any other Midlands casino.

It does happen occasionally and I’ve even had it happen to me a couple of times recently, but it’s still very rare to see anyone angle shooting in the Ricoh and first time visitors are generally treated well and get involved in the table banter quite quickly.

Dealers Controlling the Pace of the Game

Let’s deal with the simplest element of table control, keeping the game moving at a reasonable pace.

It’s up to the dealer to clearly indicate who the action is on, and if a player is reading a magazine, chatting to someone, asleep, ordering food, or just drunk out of his mind, to give them a gentle “Action’s on your Sir” type of prod.
Actions on your Sir. (pic from Rob Yongs blog)
The type of game it is should decide just how much emphasis they should place on this. If it’s a “session” cash game then they owe it to the players to be really on the ball. If it’s a “raked” cash game they owe it to their employer to keep it moving and of course for all cash games the more hands dealt generally means more tips.

If it’s a tournament there is a scale of urgency based on a variety of factors and this is where some common sense needs to be applied. How serious is the tournament in terms of buy-in, how long or short is the clock and at what stage is the tournament? Is it a table where everyone is there just to have a good night out, have some table banter and play a bit of poker or is it serious stuff?

No one size fits all in terms of how strictly the game needs managing but really good intelligent dealers have a feel for this aspect of the game. A great dealer has to be able to adapt to the situation and act accordingly.

During the Goliath the tables at the start of day one are for the most part some of the most sociable tables you’ll find anywhere for a £120 comp. Some of the agency dealers dealing them also deal things like EPT’s etc but the really good dealers amongst them know when it’s OK for the table to have a good laugh about something even if it means the action pauses for a moment or two.

When it’s really sociable the dealers should be prepared to ease off just a little and let the game flow at its own pace.  Players playing socially don’t want to be admonished like naughty school children. Nothing sucks the fun out of the game quicker than a dealer who only became a dealer because they couldn’t get a job as a traffic warden.

On the reverse side of the coin, one thing that shouldn’t happen is the players shouldn’t have to be telling the dealer when it’s time to deal the turn or river no matter what the game is. Its bad form when they are half asleep or looking away to see what’s happening on a nearby table or chatting to another member of staff so they don’t know the action has finished.

Poker is a Social Game

Poker, certainly at the level I play at, is a social game and the only reason I play the game nowadays. My days of making any money, serious or otherwise, at the game are long gone.

I could go to the pub on Friday night to socialise and spend a hell of a lot of money on drinks a meal afterwards and a taxi home which can be quite an expensive night out. Or I could play a variety of £20 – £50 comps in the Midlands and have something to eat/drink and drive home. (I personally don’t drink alcohol while playing)

A poker night out like this is often a lot cheaper than going to the pub, but it shouldn’t be any less “social”.

When it comes to the average £20 – £40 comp dealers and floor staff would sometimes do well to remember they are in the entertainment industry as well as the gambling industry.

Now this is only my opinion but I think before they start giving players a telling off they should ask themselves “is this guy trying to deliberately cheat” if the answer is yes then by all means knock yourself out, but if it’s clearly a novice player who’s transgressed then the next question they should be asking themselves is “has anyone been disadvantaged?”

If the answer is again no then just a friendly explanation of the rule and why it exists is all that’s needed. Dealers often tell them the rule but hardly ever “why it’s the rule”. So the player is none the wiser as he/she doesn’t understand the logic.

For example we often hear dealers say to new players “big chips at the front please”. The player is being told off but doesn’t know why so just moves them to the front but has a puzzled look on his face. If the dealer just explained that it makes it fairer if the other players can see roughly how many chips they have rather than having some big chips out of sight he could understand that and see the logic to it.

Don’t get me wrong rules have to be enforced to keep the game straight, and even the most sociable game gets a little serious as the money bubble approaches. However I believe that the rules are there to protect players and should never be used just to beat players over the head with.

5 Hand Penalty
Dealers need to be careful not to get more power crazy than Kim Jong-un and give off this “my word is law attitude”.

Without the social aspect, poker would quickly lose its allure with recreational players as let’s be honest no one plays £20 – £50 live tournaments to make a living do they? It has to be enjoyable.
Personality
Normally I say it as I see it and name names but on this occasion I won’t be naming the good or bad. I enjoy playing live and generally have a very good relationship with all the dealers I interact with so I’d rather not cause ill feeling.

However things need to be said about getting the balance right between “cold” dealers who sit like stone and do/say nothing other than what their job requires and have an absolutely rigid interpretation of the rules, zero personality and a downright bloody mindedness when they can clearly see what a players intentions were.

I know one of these dealers.

Then at the other end of the scale there are the dealers who think they are the ones on a night out with their mates (not the players) and are there to have fun, very often at the expense of a player they don’t like. G Hill Street has had some of these over the years.

Equally annoying is when I’m clearly talking “semi” privately to just one player sat right by me and the dealer thinks they are entitled to voice an opinion on the topic being discussed.

I remember once at the Broadway I was drawn side by side with an online phenomenon, (the guy had won over $1million playing cash on Pokerstars inside 3 years and was at the time a “supernova elite”.

He’s from Exeter and no one else at the table knew who he was as he was in town visiting and had never played there before. He is a very modest and shy person and I was talking quietly to him and I was obviously totally enthralled by what this guy had to say.

We were just talking to each other in little more than a whisper and to my total annoyance the dealer butted into the conversation. The poor guy just got embarrassed and just clammed up as he didn’t want to be talking loudly about his play/winnings etc. I was so annoyed with the dealer I can’t tell you.

Hill St Blues

Let me say right away that I’m a big fan of the G Hill St and Jon Baker/Mike Swann in particular but the dealers at Hill St have on occasions needed to be reined in a bit.

Things change of course and dealers come and go and I’d have to say things are better there now than they have been in the past.

At Cov a lot of players ask me where is good to play in Birmingham as they know I play there occasionally and I always recommend Hill St as their comps are good seven days a week with around 100 runners each day.

They have 2 tournaments a week that are 8 Max and one that is 6 Max and I think that’s terrific. I personally hate being crammed in 10 to a table. When players from Cov go there they always say to me afterwards how good it was, that its well run and the dealers are great etc.
So what problem do I have at Hill St? Well one of its great strengths is also its weakness in my opinion.

Hill St has a very loyal customer base and they have lots and lots of regulars. I only go once a month at most but when I go I see loads of the same players there every single time I go. They have lots of players who go there 3, 4, 5 or even more nights a week.

There is an old saying that “familiarity breeds contempt” and this I believe is true at Hill St.

Now on average the dealers at Hill St are top class and when they have their mind on the job they are as good as any around but occasionally some of them are just taking the piss and F’ing around.

I think this comes about because the same dealers deal to the same players night after night and the “familiarity” causes a loss of respect.

I have a degree of sympathy with dealers the world over as some poker players are complete arseholes and they fully deserve to be treated with total and utter contempt, but as a member of staff they shouldn’t be the ones doing it.

Some of the players at Hill St behave like nursery kids in the sandpit when they can’t have their way but even so the dealers should never be taking the piss out of players or goading them in anyway. I saw a dealer give a player the rub down there once when he busted a comp and that is just bang out of order even if the player is a knob.

It’s a difficult thing to judge exactly where the line is sometimes and in my opinion it’s very good that a dealer can have a sense of humour and be pleasant when spoken to and join in with the banter. That definitely makes the game more sociable, but there is a big difference between a dealer joining in with the banter or being the one instigating it.

G Walsall

Now it’s been a year since I wrote my last blog update and if I’d done this review at that time then G Walsall would have got a total savaging from me. When I played the £100 Bank Holiday comp there about 18 months ago I was just appalled at how bad it was. When you have a player at the table swearing, being racist, sexiest etc it’s the dealers job to step on it but what happens when it’s the dealer who is doing it? It was without doubt the worst behaviour I’d ever witnessed from a dealer.

Mainly for that reason I didn’t go again for well over  a year but I’ve been to Walsall twice in the last month or so and thought things had improved dramatically, though in truth they couldn’t possibly have gotten any worse. 
They had a lot of new dealers and although they were in the consciously competent stage they all seemed keen and pleasant so I was really quite impressed.
There were plenty of valets, the comp was busy and they had 3 full cash games and the dealers were being rotated every 20 minutes or so which is great.

G Coventry

G Cov’s dealers over the years have for the most part got the balance between approachability and authority just about right. One or two of them are right up there with the best dealers I’ve seen and as I’ve said it’s my favourite place to play.

Consistency with rulings isn’t Cov’s strongest point but generally speaking they are a good bunch. If I’m honest there is only one dealer who makes me a sigh a little inside when I see them approaching my table to take over dealing.

NEC Resorts World

I made the effort to go and see the new Genting casino on opening night and I played in a decent 50p/£1 cash game. The standard of dealing was good and the big difference there for the dealers themselves is that the dealers (who are on minimum wage) actually keep the tips they personally get given rather than pooling them.

Resorts World
Not sure how this will work out long term but I suspect that the best dealers will get the most tips and the bad ones with zero personality won’t get any and they’ll leave.

Dusk Till Dawn
I’ve not been there for ages (about 2 years) but I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone moan about dealers or rulings there so I guess it’s still up to its usual standard.

So Dealers in Summary

On the whole I’d say the standard of dealers throughout the Midlands is about 8/10 and although poker players moan like F about dealers truthfully we shouldn’t.

Regarding supervisors I would say that inconsistency is the number one thing that annoys players. What really pisses players off is if they get called on a ruling then a few weeks later someone else does the exact same thing and gets away with it. 
Other than that I’d say they do a very difficult job extremely well as lets remember poker players are never happy unless they’re moaning.

I would say that generally standards have improved in recent years and probably DTD has had a lot to do with that as they have forced other operators to raise their game.

What do Dealers think about Players?

In the interests of balance let’s try and look at this from their point of view. When we hate a player at the table with a passion we can just get up and walk away but dealers can’t. They have to sit and suffer it.

Some players are downright obnoxious; one legendary player who I won’t name is such an arsehole that I think he should just be banned from every cardroom in the country. If I ever see him come in to late reg I do a fist pump if I’m sat at a full table.

Once he famously threw his hole cards in the dealers face and shouted “YOU’VE BEEN DEALING ME SHIT ALL NIGHT LONG”. (At the time he was heads up in a 100 runner comp having won about a dozen consecutive flips.)

For those players that don’t know let me tell you that the dealer doesn’t care if he’s dealt you 9-4 off suit 3 hands running and when you start telling him bad beat stories his head is just screaming inside.

Players please don’t moan or berate them because you think a particular dealer is unlucky for you, as I have to say that pisses them off mainly because it’s utter nonsense. Most of the players at the buy in level I play at are pretty bad players and the fact that they are complete fish is a much bigger factor as to why they are losing than who is randomly generating the cards.

Ranj Ferlance, one of my favourite dealers who has sadly left G Hill St, had a guy on our table once who was continually moaning that he always lost when she was dealing. He then lost a HUGE pot she dealt when he defended his BB with 6,2 off-suit and caught a piece of the flop
So again he starts berating her, going on and on and eventually she said “it’s not my fault if you call raises pre-flop with 62 off suit, I’m a dealer not a magician”.

Time-wasters are a particular irritant to dealers (and me) so just stop Hollywooding, it’s a £30 comp you’re not on the telly and EVERYONE at the table knows you’re not going to call.

Antes difficult to remember for some as once they come into play you only have to post them every hand!

Also it annoys dealers if the big blind is 400 and some twat puts in 16 x 25 chips in and then 2 hands later asks for change for the ante. How do dealers not throw something at that guy?

Don’t go on about a hand that happened 3 hours ago, the dealer probably can’t remember a flop he dealt 3 hands ago. Because he/she isn’t invested in the hand like you are they just deal the cards!

Dealers hate players who CONSTANTLY ask who raised? As a player you really should be able to work it out for yourself.  Just look at the player to your right, and if they have no cards it wasn’t them. Keep going around the table till you see someone with cards that has pushed more chips over the line than the big blind. (That’s the person who raised)

Finally they REALLY DON’T CARE that you “would have won that hand”. Doh if only you’d called that 3 bet out of position with 8,3.

Thanks for Reading
OK so that was Part 2 of Getting the Balance right. I make no promises about when the next post will be done as I originally said part 2 would be done in “a couple of weeks” and it has been over a year.

Hopefully I won’t have upset any cardroom staff too much.

Since I started playing cards in the Rainbow casino in 1977 I’ve met and interacted with literally thousands of dealers over the years and I think 99.9% of them do a pretty difficult, poorly paid job, with little or no thanks very well indeed. So I’d like to thank them. 
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Poker: Getting the Balance Right (Part 1)

This post deals with “getting the balance right” in relation to several different aspects of poker. 
Originally it was going to be all in one post but it’s too long a subject so I’ve decided to split it down.
1)     Card Rooms
2)      Dealers and Valets

3)    My Own Play
Card Rooms

OK so “Poker Rooms” first. I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating that as a player in the West Midlands there has never been more choice for the live poker plodder like me.

When I first started playing (1976) one of the biggest poker skills required was actually to be able to locate a game to play in! I’d often go for miles to a venue because I’d heard there was a game only to find there wasn’t one or it was invitation only, or the one and only player in the game who could vouch for me wasn’t actually there tonight etc. etc.

People used to travel all over the place to get to play in virtually any game no matter if it was terrible. I was only 17 when I started playing poker so I played exclusively in private games in all sorts of weird and wonderful places. Home games, pubs, social clubs, snooker rooms, taxi offices, hotels, the storeroom of a shop, under the grandstand at Cheltenham racecourse (with a load of pissed up Irishmen) a nightclub, a burger van, and even sat in the back of a black cab taxi, if there was a game I’d be there.

Most of the games I played in were pretty straight but I’ve played in places where I was worried I wouldn’t get out in one piece. I had to climb out of the toilet window to leave a game on one occasion. (In those days I was about half the size I am now or I’d have had no chance.)

The first casino I ever played in was “The Rainbow Casino” which is Birmingham’s oldest casino and I joined as soon as I turned 18 in 1977.
Rainbow: Circa 1998/99. Thanks to Mark Smith (the dealer) who allowed me to use his photo.
To my knowledge it was one of the first casinos in the country to play the new form of poker called “Holdem” (well it was new then). I’d certainly never seen or heard of Holdem till I went there as I’d previously only played games like Stud (7&5 card), Draw, Razz etc.

Apart from the Rainbow there was NO OTHER CASINO with a poker room in the Midlands at that time playing Holdem and I doubt there were 3 or 4 other casinos in the UK playing the game.

A few years later I started going to a small casino in Walsall (not Junction 10 the old one in the town) which used to have a “strip deck” 5 card stud tournament one night a week, and afterwards they would have a Holdem cash game. Wow things were looking up.

So where else could you find a straight (well straight-ish) game of Holdem to play with house dealers, card room supervisors, valets, free food and drinks. Yes free food in those days!

All the things we take for granted today, (and moan like F when we don’t get them) were a bloody luxury back then.

You would think if it was the only true poker venue for over 50 miles in any direction it would be packed to the doors every night, but it wasn’t because poker was so “underground” it was practically invisible in the late 70’s, there were just so few players.

Look at the Midlands now. If you check out the MidlandsPoker Forum they have 16 card room schedules listed on it. If you want to play afternoon and evening then with early bust outs and trotting between, Star City, G Hill Street and the Broadway someone like the legendary “Poker Doctor” Peter Djiallis could play 20 comps a week!

Joking aside the reason I mention the Doc is because the Facebook Group “POKER DOCTOR” has over 830 members. There weren’t 800 people that played poker in the Midlands in 1976.

Fast forward to 2014, the number of poker players has exploded but also the number of card room venues has increased more than 20 fold. This increase in venues means competition to attract players is greater than ever.

Guarantees: Getting the Balance Right

Back in the early Rainbow days any old tournament would attract runners and the word “guarantee” wasn’t in the card room manager’s vocabulary. Structures were bad, and starting stacks were worse, typically 3k for a freeze out and 1k for a re-buy. No wonder I played tight in those days, with just a 1k starting stack you had to give a lot of thought to calling a 150 raise during the 1st level as it was 15% of your chips.

Now card rooms are frankly going bonkers with guarantees in a desperate attempt to attract players from the competition. 

The best in the close vicinity of Birmingham (for players) is currently being offered by The Grosvenor Hill St (GH) though I think it’s a policy which is just madness from a business point of view.

GH offers very good guarantees and a reasonable structure 7 days a week, but not content with that they have something called “Progressive Guarantees” which means that if the guarantee gets beaten then the next week they put it up by £100.

This is AMAZING for players but daft for the casino as all it guarantees for them is that no matter how successful it is, at some point there will be an overlay.

During the summer months of hot weather, barbeques, world cup etc. GH was adding £500 – £600 a night 3 or 4 nights a week at least. No card room can sustain £2,500 of overlay a week unless they have more money than sense.

You have to admire them, but I’m staggered they don’t stop it. Just last week they announced the new £30 Monday night comp that replaces the 25/25 satellite and the guarantee is £1,800 (60 entries).

I played this new comp on Monday thinking there would be an overlay for sure but it had 79 runners. I loved the comp btw as with its 8 max format all the players were sat very comfortably round the table rather than being crammed on a 10 seat table. It also makes the game a bit quicker and juices up the action a bit.

Guarantees: Getting it Wrong

Look at the Broadway casino as a text book example of getting the balance completely wrong. For so long they had a great number of players for comps 7 days a week with NO guarantees at all so what do they do? They start offering them to fight back as GH had started to pinch some of their customers.

Unlike the Grosvenor group though they don’t have money to throw away so when they got their fingers burnt they immediately stopped the guarantees altogether. The tournament numbers there have plummeted ever since.

A great example of spectacular imbalance, guarantees too big followed by none at all. It beggars belief.
I’ve said before that card rooms need to “tweak” things and just make small changes slowly over a period of time as they gently edge towards getting the balance right, otherwise they risk having the lot come crashing down.

So currently the GH and Star City are killing the Broadway in terms of tournament numbers but we all know that it’s the cash games where the profit is for the casino and currently the Broadway still has a strong hold over the competition in that area.

All it needs now is for Jon Baker and Daren Brain to launch some sort of killer cash game promotion and the Broadway could be sunk without trace. If they lost their early bird cash games it really would take a monumental effort for the card room to ever recover.

Personally I’ve always liked the Broadway it’s a lovely venue that has a lot going for it and I like a lot of the staff there, in particular Mark Smith, Jess and Tom, (I know Tom isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve always liked him) but for me the tournaments have not offered me what I look for in a comp for several years.  I genuinely wouldn’t want to see it totally fail though as the competition is what’s driving GH, Star City and Walsall etc to keep coming up with better deals for us players.

If I was the GH General Manager though I’d be suggesting to Jon Baker that it was time to stop the progressive guarantees as they seem to have won the tournament war with the Broadway. I’d just pick a sensible figure for a guarantee that gives us players and them the casino a fair chance.

I believe that people go there in the main because the card room is nice, the structures are reasonable and it’s generally well run by competent/friendly staff not because it has XY or Z guarantee.

I love overlay as much as the next man but I know it can’t be available all the time else the games eventually cease then nobody wins.

Guarantees: Jiggery Pokery

Another thing that really annoys me is when card rooms pull stunts to make up the guarantees. They want to offer an eye-catching guarantee to “entice” players into playing the comp but they know they won’t get enough unique runners to meet the G’tee so what do they do?

Well they do things like multiple re-entries, re-loads, add-ons, double add-ons, forfeiting chip stacks and late entry till the end of level 9 or more.

Late Entry “till infinity & beyond”

“Upselling” is one of the biggest sales tricks in the world and it annoys me. Go to McDonalds and order a burger, the first thing they say to you is “Do you want fries with that? Ask for a burger and fries and it’s “do you want drink with that”.

Go to some poker venues and its “do you want a re-load, double buy-in, triple add on with that”?

“NO” I just want to come out and play a straightforward poker tournament.

Guarantees: They Really Don’t Matter So Much

Players generally just want to play in the best tournaments, in the best venues with the best staff, where they feel welcome and the guarantees are not as important as everyone thinks.

For example in August the Goliath at the Ricoh G Coventry had 2,374 entries plus 1,020 re-entries. This year while I was playing it a guy on my table asked me what the guarantee was for the tournament, so how bothered was he about it?

I understand that for something like the Goliath it needs a big guarantee just for the promotional side of things but to be honest if its £200k or £300k next year I’ll still be playing it and so will thousands of others.

Also look at the Titan at G Cov, its £10,000 guarantee is an attraction but for me I play it because of the fantastic structure. To get the opportunity to play a 2 day comp (I did make day 2 once) with a 40 min clock for just £50 (+6) is a rare treat. Normally (APAT aside) you have to pay £220 + to play a 2 day comp.

Simple to Understand Comps

Again to make up the guarantees and squeeze the pips out of players bankrolls the tournaments in a lot of card rooms become ever more complex to understand.

Here is an example of a card room going out of its way to make things difficult. The following tournament was advertised in the Midlands Poker Forum Facebook group by someone from the Alea card room at Nottingham. Most of their comps are similarly easy to understand. 

In case you can’t see the image so well.
“£14 with 2 x £10 reloads and a £10 add on. 10k/10k/10k/20k and a 3k early bird if registered by 7.50pm.”
The last entry is 9.50pm but please note if entering at the break (9.35pm on) then you have to enter for the full amount, £44, which gets you 50k.

Simplicity itself!

I must be getting old but I think it was easier to understand in the days of £xx to enter and when you bust out you have to play cash or go home.

Also you will notice that the Alea offered a CONDITIONAL guarantee but has to get 40 runners or they guarantee that well known stately home “Sod Hall”. 
It’s not a guarantee it’s a piss take and I told him so on the Facebook post, as you can see he took it well!

In fairness to Paul Moyce he didn’t ban me which was good of him, perhaps he understands that in business and life for that matter you can’t please all of the people all of the time so you just shouldn’t take it personally. 
Getting the Balance Right: Social Media
It’s my belief that if card rooms go onto Facebook, Twitter etc and spam (sorry advertise/inform/educate/enlighten) us with their stuff they have to expect that not everyone is going to be a fan of what they are offering and how they do things. 
Poker players are consumers and they (the casinos) are in the entertainment business, I think some card rooms lose sight of that occasionally.

I also believe that if/when us poker players have a bitch and moan (I’m yet to meet the poker player who doesn’t moan) about things we should be able to post those things on Poker Forums, Facebook Groups etc without fear of being banned from card rooms for airing our views, especially if we can back up our points with reasoned arguments.

Admittedly my “feedback” to Paul Moyce was pretty blunt but I should still be entitled to it bearing in mind that it was not directed at him personally. 
I now know of three different people who have been banned from casinos for comments made on social media. What makes it ridiculous is that if all three things said were done so face to face it wouldn’t have ever got to the point of anyone being banned.

For my work I set up and promote websites for small businesses and I also help with something called “Reputation Management” which is for when they get bad Trip Advisor reviews and similar.

One of the first things I warn them about is acting hastily and replying to negative comments in the heat of the moment. DTD’s Rob Yong seems to do things in his own unique style.

Nicholas Banks
The latest to suffer from this is Nicolas Banks whose one simple throwaway line posted in the Poker Doctor group was enough to get him banned from DTD by Rob Yong. (See Poker Doctor Thread dated Sept 19th 12.01pm)

The Question posted by the Doc was “why don’t DTD allow deals at the final table? Nics “humorous” reply was “it’s cus they’re a bunch of tossers” or words to that effect.
Now the Q is a reasonable one and several people posted some good arguments for “Deal or No Deal”. None more so than Nic himself, who later in the thread gave a detailed and well thought out reply.
Rob Yong though as soon as he saw the initial reply banned him on the spot. So just in case you are wondering and for the avoidance of doubt they don’t allow deals at DTD if;
” Guaranteed… in excess of £50,000 where we have contributed to the prizepool via promotons / satellites” (Simon Trumper in the thread)
In a totally unrelated topic I’d like to congratulate Ellie Biessek for her success in the GPS main event held at Dusk till Dawn 2 days later.
Ellie Biessek
The Tweet says (if your viewing on a small screen and cant see it) “Made a deal 3 handed and I take a bit over 50K. We play for the trophy now:)”

Normally I say it as I see it and if I got banned from DTD for comments on this blog it wouldn’t really affect me that much as I rarely go there. The drive up the M42/A42 takes well over an hour and a half in traffic and tilts the hell out of me before I even arrive.

However when the new Genting “Resorts World” super casino opens in 2015 at the NEC in Birmingham I believe that although the Casino will be a Genting, the card room inside it will be a “Dusk Till Dawn” (DTD) card room.
Genting Casino, DTD Card Room?
Now that is somewhere I probably will want to visit very often as I only live 20 mins away from it door to door. Assuming the offering is to my liking I could end up playing there 3 or 4 nights a week. 
So therefore I’d like to go on record and say that Rob Yong is a wonderful human being and the saviour of the poker industry in the UK and I agree wholeheartedly with all DTD’s policies. In fairness I do like a lot of what they do there, we all know its a brilliantly well run venue that has a lot going for it but it is a little worrying that Rob can ban anyone on a whim.
In summary

I think that the choice for us players in the West Midlands has never been better and in 2015 it will improve still further when the huge new Genting casino opens at the NEC.

However I think that card rooms are pushing themselves too far too fast in trying to innovate new super king-size guarantees and are forgetting that players don’t only decide on where to play based on the size of guarantee.

What about; structures, starting stacks, being packed in like sardines 10 to a table, a valet who comes round less often than Halley’s Comet and allowing players to smoke those e-cigarettes at the table without the consideration of non-smokers, and venues that have the décor, warmth and charm of a medium security prison.

Also what about the standard of dealers? Don’t get me started!

Well I’ll give my views on dealers (good and bad) in my next post.
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Dis-custard with myself

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been throwing my toys out of the pram again and going on tilt over things that really don’t matter. This blog post starts off with the story behind my latest childlike tantrum but if you read on past that you’ll see some far more important stuff later in the post.
There is no logic to it

As a relatively intelligent individual I’ve always known it’s not important in the grand scheme of things if you take a bad beat in a £30 MTT but it still doesn’t stop me momentarily losing the plot.

Even worse, this week I’ve gone on tilt over some custard which is a new low even for me. (Hence the daft title of this post)

The build up to the dummy spitting episode was the slightly annoying fact that of all the places I play live poker at it’s the place that I visit the most (G Coventry) that I seem to run the worst at.

At G Hill Street in Birmingham I seem to do reasonably well, not so long ago I cashed 4 times out of 4 in their monthly £50 comp and only last Friday I made the FT there and was still in at the end when an equal chop was agreed.

If you look at my results at Star City it’s insane that I ever play anywhere else. I’ve only ever played there 4 or 5 times since the place opened and yet I’ve chopped it twice there! One of those was the last time I was there just over a month ago.

DTD, a place I don’t like going to, is another venue where I’ve made a decent number of cashes/final tables considering the low amount of times I’ve actually played there.

Good start

So last Sunday I went to the G Cov (I’ve stopped going on Friday nights as I hate the 15 min Turbo) and was doing really well early on. Then I lost a couple of pots and got moved to a new table with three very good players on it. At this point I was sandwiched between two of them (student types) and the one on my left was the CL (He eventually won the comp).

I played a couple of pots versus the three of them and did really well to identify when they were opening light and I successfully 3 bet them in good spots to pick up a lot of chips.

I moved from a short stack to one of the CL’s inside 30 minutes and was going great till I got moved tables again.

Now after really enjoying the chance to play against some good players I find myself on a table surrounded by the terminally bewildered. At this point with a huge chip stack I let over confidence get the better of me and I order some food.

Usually I’m reluctant to order food after the re-entry point has past as I often seem to bust before it arrives.

Anyway I wanted the Chicken Linguine but I can’t see it on the menu as a separate item so I order it as part of the “2 courses for £9.95” deal.

I don’t actually want a pudding as I’m not keen on any of the options they have but when I do this I just order something that comes with custard, which I love, and eat that.

Anyway I give the valet a £20 note and ask if she could request that the chef puts some extra custard on the pudding for me and off she goes.

When she comes back instead of giving me £10.05 she gives me less. When I ask how much it was she said they’d charged me 50p for the extra custard!

I thought that was a total piss take to be honest, especially bearing in mind how much money I’ve spent in there in recent years. It’s not like I said put a portion of chips or bacon on my pasta I just wanted an extra splosh of custard which would have cost them about 2p.

So I was slightly miffed about it but let it go as I didn’t want to get into an argument over 50p. So I eat the linguine which was pretty good and then it all goes wrong.

I lose 3 hands in quick succession and bust out from hero to zero in no time at all. In simple terms I lost AdQd to Q9 off, then 55 to A5 and finally Q9 to 10,9.

I’ve had worse beats than that of course but the pain was caused by the fact that bad play was rewarded on the first two hands IMO.

At 1k/2k/200 there are 5 limpers when it gets to me so I make it 12.5k (AdQd) expecting to just pick up the pot then and there.

However someone who limped with Q,9 off with ¾ of the table behind them then decides to call the raise of 10.5k extra out of a 30k stack.

The flop comes 9 high with 2 diamonds and he ships all in. I can’t fold 2 overs and a nut flush draw in that spot so I have to call and it bricks twice.

As I’ve said many times if a short stack shoves in to steal the blinds with garbage is called by a dominating hand and gets “lucky” I have no problem with that. In my view they’ve done nothing wrong, it’s when people make questionable calls or just down right bad plays and get lucky that’s what tilts me.

So at this point my temper was simmering nicely though I’d held it together and even managed to tap the table a give him a “nice hand Sir”.

Custard-gate
At this point my pudding arrives. It’s the wrong pudding and has no custard on it at all!

I ask the valet “what’s that?” she has no idea, and I say “I don’t either but that definitely isn’t custard”. (it looked like some sort of cheesecake crap with cream on it)
She takes it back.

At this point I’m tilting even more and get 55 UTG+1 and shove my last 12 bigs into the middle. Then a woman to my immediate left who hadn’t played a single hand the entire time I was on this table snap calls.(She has 1k less than me) I figure she must have AA.

It turns out she has A5. I’m staggered she made the call in that spot after playing so tight for so long, but I’m happy to see what she has and figured I’d double up and be back in the game. She rivers the Ace and I have less than one bb left.

So next hand I make “Custards last stand” and shove in with Q9 and lose to 10,9 to bust out.

Totally Dis-Custard

I leave the table but have to wait in the card room for my custard to arrive which is why I don’t normally order food whilst still playing. If I want to spit my dummy out I find that going out into the casino for 5 minutes calms me down best.

At this point my pudding arrives and I’m REALLY annoyed as there is not in my opinion “extra” custard on it. It just looked like a normal amount and I was at this point so steaming that I couldn’t have been more annoyed unless I’d put my knob in it and been F**king Dis-custard.

In a childlike temper I tell her I don’t want it and make her take it back. I even embarrass myself at times.

Things that really do matter

A philosophy professor once stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him.

Without saying anything he picked up a very large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2″ in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So he then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly so the pebbles rolled into the open spaces between the rocks. He then asked again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

He then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family and friends, your partner, your health, and your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter less – like your hobbies, job, house, car etc.

The sand is everything else, the small stuff, the parts of your life that don’t really matter at all.

Dreadful News

Just under 2 weeks ago Maz (a great guy who is a regular at G Coventry) suffered the tragic loss of his beautiful wife, killed in a car crash on her way home from work.
On the night when the custard episode left a bad taste in my mouth (sorry) I bumped into Steve Owen who told me about a collection they were making to help Maz get over to Zimbabwe as his wife was being buried there.
After the tournament exit and custard episode I’d played some cash which was fun and splashed a bit of cash on the roulette so I just had £15 (3 x £5 chips) left when I bumped into Steve, so I gave him those. I felt bad and wished I hadn’t just wasted £25 on roulette, and its times like this that you realise how unimportant it is to take a bad beat in some low buy-in comp.

Kelly Jackson

I’m guessing Kelly is about my daughters’ age, and in May last year she was really badly injured in a car crash suffering awful burns and she also needed to have her right leg amputated above the knee. Read all about it here on her blog here. 

I’ve never met Kelly but have been reading her blog for a while and for those of you who’ve not heard of her she is Paul “Action” Jackson’s daughter.  I only know Paul on nodding terms but like most West Midlands poker players I’ve been on his table a few times over the years. I used to play at G Walsall and the Broadway about 10 years ago and Paul was always a big winner there.
I can’t imagine how I’d feel if anything like this happened to either of my daughters but all credit to Kelly she has not let this get the better of her.
She has recently started a website called www.kellyssmile.comwhich is aimed at supporting other amputees and burn survivors by creating friendships. It’s still in its infancy but I’m fairly sure she will drive it forward to bigger and better things.

To help promote her website she’s getting people to take a photo with the website name in all sorts of odd places. See below. If you could do that for her I think she’d be grateful and it’s certainly a worthwhile website to promote. I wish her well with it.

My not so exciting effort whilst working away last week
Slightly more exciting than mine
Don’t put the sand in first

When it comes to filling your “life jar” if you put the sand in first there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. So don’t sweat the small stuff, be glad that those nearest to you are happy and healthy. Spend time playing with your kids, or in my case grandchildren. Tell the person you love most in the world that you love them.
There will always be time to go to work, do housework, pay bills, mow the lawn or fix that leaky tap. Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter.

I’m so lucky to have two happy and healthy daughters I can be proud of, two fantastic grandchildren and I take pleasure from the fact that my parents who are both about 85 are still happily married after 60 years together.
Set your priorities straight, as the rest is just sand… or in my case custard.
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Don’t Piss Down My Back and Tell Me it’s Raining

More “innovative” developments at DTD to “help” the poker community have been recently announced. The announcement goes as follows;

DTD Club Tourney players – from next week we will be returning to our previous system of deducting 10% from the prizepool instead of charging up front registration fees on tournaments. We strongly feel that this system is best for the huge majority of DTD players resulting in cheaper buy ins for all our comps, especially our lower buy ins, (eg. XXL 15 is £15 inclusive, XXL 25 is £25 inclusive and Super 50 is now £50 instead of £50+£8).We expect the Club to be worse off revenue wise in the short term – unless we get an uplift in player numbers (eg. 10% of £5K prizepool for a super 50 is £300 less than 100 x £8 reg fees) and we will still need to hit the same number of players to make our GTD prizepools BUT we believe the return to this pricing method benefits the overall long term ecology of the club over 52 weeks – by keeping more money in the majority of our players pockets. I have discussed this with all levels of players and recognise that some of the pros players /repeat winners do prefer the existing system but I feel this works better for our DTD business model which is mostly targeted at the majority/recreational player base. Cheers Aces

I totally disagree with this business model for a couple of reasons and strongly believe the “Old” standard model (£50 + £5, or £50 + £8) gives the charging structure total transparency. Players can see exactly what it’s costing them under the old/standard model and make a decision accordingly.

The first thing to say is with the old standard system is that re-buys and add-ons are not raked (though re-entries are) but with the new system the whole prizepool is raked no matter how it’s made up.

Now I fully understand that it’s virtually impossible to charge around 10% rake and make a profit out of a poker tournament and the casino only really benefits from MTT’s when it gets lots of runners in the venue who buy food/drink, spunk money on roulette and then play cash. (sounds like a typical Friday night).

What’s real the danger with the New System?

If they never increase the rake there is not too much wrong with it at all, as the only disadvantage is the add-ons and re-buys, but what worries me is when they then start to quietly increase the rake.

What if you played the next Grand Prix at DTD and in the small print it said something like due to the high cost of “X” we’ve had to deduct “Y” from the prizepool on this occasion.

With this system players will ultimately end up paying more without realising they are doing it and that’s what worries me the most.

If you have 2 card-rooms next door to each other, one with each system, and they both increase the rake over time it’s like someone who does his weekly shop at the supermarket and buys his petrol on the way out.

Every week he comes out and moans that the price of his shopping has gone up but the £50 per week he put’s in his tank always cost’s £50 and he doesn’t notice that the petrol has gone up every week as well until one week he runs out of petrol on the Wednesday!

Value For Money is the Key.

Because she’s worth it

I’d still pay the extra if DTD wanted to increase the rake because it’s worth it. The thing is it’s like Lidle versus Sainsburys you know you are going to pay less/more depending on where you shop but it’s your choice.

£20 + £2 for self deal, shit conditions and a bent game or £20 + £8 for a top class product in a safe environment with the best TD’s around and big prizepools? It’s a no brainer for me and DTD shouldn’t be afraid to increase it’s rake in a transparent manner.

DTD and all other UK casinos must look at Vegas and wish they could get away with charging what they do.

The last time I looked the Aria’s daily $125 tournament deducts $25 from the prizepool and the Caesar’s $70 comp takes out a whopping $20 per player! So it’s effectively a $50 + $20 comp or $50 + 40% extra or equivalent to a 28% rake on the total prizepool!

I’d like to see anyone in the UK try and get away with that! The truth is that currently things are so much in favour of the player that Casinos are in a no-win situation; they know if they start charging what they should charge to make it pay they lose all their customers in a heartbeat.

There is so much choice and competition in the Midlands that we don’t have to play any old shit comps any-more we just go somewhere else. I went to the G Cov last Friday (see previous post here) and hated the comps structure so this week I went somewhere else, it’s as simple as that. As a player “we’ve never had it so good”.

I seem to disagree with a lot that DTD does/says but generally speaking I’m glad it’s there. It’s a bit like Harrods, none of us go there that often but we’d be sad if it shut.

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G Coventry Friday Night Megastack Turbo – No Thanks

Let me say right away that I don’t like 15 minute blind levels and avoid playing them whenever possible but when a friend of mine who works nights gets a Friday off I feel duty bound to go with him as he can only play on a Friday about 4 times a year.
This week was one of those rare occasions so I suggested we go to the G Coventry even though I knew it was a 15 minute clock. They have low stakes cash games there which suit me and if I busted out 1st I’d have to wait for him so it seemed the better option.
I really wish we’d gone somewhere else as poker wise it was a complete waste of time. 
The structure
5 x 25 min levels (which is fine) then after the break 15 min blind levels and an ante structure deliberately designed to waste as much time as possible. 
The blind structure at the G Cov is without doubt the best in the Midlands (if you ignore how long the clock is) but since the recent student championship they held there they seem to have adopted an ante policy that beggars belief.
In all honesty with a 15 min clock I would question whether it needs ante’s at all but if you are going to have them then 25, 50 and 100 and so on are as complicated as they should get.
For a 15 minute blind level to have ante’s start at 25 then 50 then 75 then 100 then 150 wtf is that all about? 
When I was there last night my table was full of your typical social night out beer fuelled poker lads. I had at least 4 “pub poker” guys on my table who were downing pints with alarming regularity and to be fair it was pretty friendly stuff with some decent banter.
I made my mind up I wasn’t going to take it too seriously when I realised the structure was bad and the standard of play was worse. 
For the pub players the structure was absolutely perfect but for anyone taking the poker even remotely seriously it was a nightmare.
When the ante’s were 75 the dealer wasted so much time collecting them in that the value they had of speeding the game up by creating bigger pots is negated by the fact that so few hands an hour are dealt. With at least 4 players on my table who were more interested in ordering the next round than posting their ante we were playing about 5 hands per level. 
The dealer was constantly having to badger people for their ante’s and that was even with me doing the 4 at my end of the table for him.
Nikki
So I won’t be going to the Ricoh on a normal Friday again for a while which is a shame as I do like it there. The staff are on the whole excellent and I was in seat 1 and was therefore able to talk to Nikki for the first few levels which was nice as I’ve not seen her for quite a while.
My Suggestion
Drop the ante’s for this comp it will make it easier for the dealers and the inexperienced players. I know it’s tough for them to remember to post as it’s only every hand!
Or maybe don’t bother with them till you’ve raced off the 25’s and then start them from 100 ante.
The comp was well attended so I wouldn’t change the blind levels leave them at 15 minutes, I realise that I’m often in the minority with my views on structures as I take the game way too seriously most of the time.
For the average player there on Friday night the game seemed just about perfect as it gave them all a fighting chance. 
The Titan
Next weekend the Titan returns but sadly due to work commitments I’ll have to miss it again. 
Even though the normal Friday night comp is now awful it has to be said that the Titan is IMO the best structured £50 comp in the UK. 
Sure DTD have bigger guarantees for £50 but the blind levels and structure are far superior in the Titan and it’s winnable.

To win a Grand Prix at DTD you’d have to run like God but I believe that the Titan offers a realistic chance of getting a decent cash.

The last 2 months the 10k guarantee has been smashed (£17k and 13k I think) and players really seem to like it.
So GL to all playing the Titan this coming week.
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Back to The Future


This Blog has a few elements to it.
It’s all for charity!

Poker room of choice
Playing like the old days!
Byron gets a mention
2015 Its all gonna change!
Charity event

Firstly I’d like to mention an up and coming charity poker event that I’m hoping to play on Tuesday 3rd December at 8.30 pm.

Graham Dockerty
I say hoping as it’s during the week and I often don’t get home till gone 9.00 pm these days and I would really struggle to have a late night as I’m up at 5.30 am most days.

However if I don’t manage to play at all, I plan on at least donating the buy-in to the event. (I’ve donated plenty of buy-ins over the years so I may as well do it for a good cause this time)
The event has been arranged by Graham Dockerty in aid of cancer research. The event is being held at the G Casino in Coventry (Ricoh), where many of the locals know Graham and are well aware of his fight against the big C.
I don’t really need to publicise this event as I’m sure it will be a sell-out but for those of you who can’t attend could I ask you to visit Grahams “Just Giving” page and make a donation?

You should check out Grahams one and only blog post here.

I’ve written dozens of posts and many thousands of words on my blog over the last few years and it doesn’t add up to this one post. I recommend your read it if you haven’t already.

I’m sure it will be a fun night so I really intend making a big effort to play it. There will be a raffle as lots of prizes have been donated and I’m sure there will be bounties on certain player heads so it will be a great night.

Poker room of choice

This may well be my last blog post for a while. I started writing this one weeks ago and due to the ridiculously long hours I’ve been working I’ve only just got around to finishing it.

In fact it’s taken so long that some of it I’ve had to change a couple of times because events have made it inaccurate. I wrote originally about some disastrous things a couple of casinos have tried on their schedules. However they were so bad and my post has taken so long to write that they have had chance to realise their mistakes and change them back again before I even had chance to tell them how bad it was!

My Casino Of Choice?

“You pays your money and you makes your choice.” That was supposedly Barry Normans catchphrase though it may just have been his Spitting Image puppet that said that. (Google him if you’re under 25)

Anyway there has been much discussion of late on the Midlands poker scene as to which venue people prefer to play at.

Although I have venues I prefer over others, I do things slightly differently to a lot of players. I don’t actually pick a venue, I generally choose the tournament I want to play and then go to the casino that it’s on at. I have an advantage in that I live an almost equal distance (time wise) from several good Midlands Casinos.

There are a great many factors that enable me to come to my decision and how much I like a venue and the people in it is certainly an important factor, but not the most important one.

I recently went to the G Walsall which I don’t like very much at all these days because the comp looked good. If I was prepared to put up with the way that place is being run then I can pretty much stand anything if the comp is good enough.

I used to like the G Walsall and was a regular about 10 years ago prior to the Broadway opening. I used to run well at Walsall and had one of my biggest ever cashes there when I chopped a £100 re-buy event.

The last time I went (28th Sept 2013) was for their monthly £50 comp which was well structured with a decent guarantee etc. It was one of the softest £50 comps I’ve played for a long while but I didn’t really enjoy it. Some of the players were using dreadful language at the top of their voices and not just towards players on their own table but shouting across the poker room.

The sexist comments directed at some of the female players/dealers/valets were outrageous and made me think I’d revisited the 1970’s.

When you have a player sat at the table who thinks he can get away with shouting out stuff at the top of his voice you know the lunatics are running the asylum. The supervisors and staff certainly weren’t running it.

So which live tournament to play?

The choice is almost endless these days. With so many poker rooms in the Midlands there has never been so much choice. Gone are the days when card rooms could serve up any old shit and expect poker players to eat it up gratefully. If you look on the Midlands Poker Forum (MPF) there are 17 card-rooms listed which is a hell of a choice.

There has been a fair amount of discussion of late on the “MPF” and Twitter etc by ex G Coventry regulars who now for one reason or another prefer to visit the Grosvenor Casino Birmingham Hill Street. (Ex-Gala)

I can see their argument(s) and for the most part they have some valid points but in my view it isn’t that simple. The thing is, as the saying goes you cannot compare “Apples and Oranges”. The two casinos are vastly different and cater for a different clientele.

The Gala will (for the foreseeable future) always have more runners than the G Coventry. That’s just a fact of life due to where they are located. They both have “Die Hards” the 4 or 5 nights a week players and they both have “regulars” the once a week merchants. But if you look at the Gala they have a real strong hard core of players that can virtually guarantee you 50 runners before any casual “once a month” player decides to turn up.

Also just look at the average spend in the two casinos at the gaming tables. By dividing the take by the numbers through the door the Gala average spend per head is £100 where the G Cov is about £30. So that also shows you that gala just has punters with more money to spend.


Guarantees

Guarantees are a big factor for me and most other players but there is a danger that these will end up sending some card rooms to the wall.

Recently the Gala has increased all its guarantees and the G Cov has reduced theirs. That’s no big surprise and I fully support G Cov in reducing theirs. In my view a small guarantee is an awful lot better than none at all.  Let’s be fair it’s a business it can’t just keep throwing money down the drain. If they didn’t reduce them they would just end up stopping them all together and that really would be a disaster.

I believe that now the Gala has limited itself to a max of 1 re-entry it will struggle to make its guarantees so easily. They have many players there who wouldn’t hesitate to re-enter 5 or 6 times if allowed to. I realise that the decision to stop multi re-entry is a nationally taken one by the whole Grosvenor group not by Jon Baker. That’s the trouble with big companies they often insist on uniformity and these blanket decisions although generally good work against this particular venue.

Once I went on a Wednesday (£20 comp) and I saw a guy I knew. He said to me “I went to the Broadway but didn’t realise it was their monthly £100 comp. I don’t want to spend that much so I thought I’d come here instead” He entered the comp (£20 + £5) and then re-entered 9 times for a total spend of £250.

Now with the new rules that person regularly enters, re-enters and busts again within 2 levels and then heads off to the Broadway to play their comp! That’s not good for the Gala. Ideally you want the players to bust when it’s too late to go anywhere else so they stay and play cash in your casino not someone else’s.

Personally I like the max 1 re-entry rule as it stops people from saying “fuck it I’ll re-enter” and then throwing their chips in with any old shit. I prefer the Freeze-out element of the game where I can put them under pressure for their tournament life. Which is way more valuable to them than £20 -£40 for a re-entry. People with deep pockets always have an advantage in unlimited re-buy/re-entry tournaments.

I know they are often just dead money and are bloating the prize-pool but they always seem to get lucky against me. So personally I like the limit on re-entries but I’m not the typical Gala player and it’s them the management needs to consider not me. I think on the whole the average punter there will not like the new rule. I wonder if the Gala will be allowed by Head Office to change that rule back?

In truth the G Cov is not in competition with the Gala it’s just trying to outperform the Genting Coventry. Could they ever “outnumber” the Gala on a regular basis? Well yes of course it could but it would take some time, brains, effort and some careful planning.

Firstly let’s remember what the G Cov does well.
The Goliath is probably the best live £100 comp in the world.

Also the Titan monthly comp is an absolutely fantastic £50 comp. Played over 2 day 1’s (Fri & Sat evening) with a final day 2 on the Sunday (afternoon). Outside of Dusk Till Dawn I don’t know any other UK card room that has attempted anything like this for such a low buy in event. To get the chance to play some real poker with a 40 minute clock & virtually the GUKPT blind level structure plus a 20k starting stack should be praised and supported. I was thrilled that the last one broke the guarantee after failing to do so in the first two times it ran. It should now become a regular monthly event.

Getting back to the Apples and Oranges theme, this structure wouldn’t suit the average player at the Gala as they want a more “crash bang wallop” type of poker. The average player at the Gala hasn’t got the patience to play sensibly for 2 hours never mind 2 days!

The 3rd thing that’s really good about G Cov is the blind structures. If you ignore the clock and just look at the blind structure itself, the G Cov’s is the best in the Midlands by a country mile.

25/50

50/100

75/150

100/200 (1st break)

150/300/25

200/400/25

300/600/50 Etc

This offers so much more play at the early levels; something which I personally feel gives me a bit of an edge over the average player in a £20 -£30 comp.

If you look at the Galas normal structure it goes

25/50

50/100

100/200

200/400

So your stack has half the number of blinds after just 4 levels. Now the reality is that the Gala gets so many runners for their standard midweek comps that you couldn’t really improve the structures or the comps would never finish before 7.00am.

I’ve had very limited success at the Gala when I’ve played their standard comps in the past but my record in the monthly £50 comp is so much better. That comp starts at 5.00pm and they add in the 75/150 and the 150/300 and there are also added levels during the later stages.

The £50 monthly comp has run for the last 5 months (I think) and I’ve played 4 of them and cashed in all 4. I genuinely believe that the better structure and longer clock improve my chances of success considerably.

If it isn’t broke.

Personally I wouldn’t change anything about the Galas schedule it’s pretty much perfect for their regular clientele. Though I would allow multi re-entries. 

What about G Coventry?

There is a lot that could be improved at the G Cov though I’ll refrain from listing all my gripes on here. I like the place and I really like a lot of the staff. There are some though who for a variety of reasons are letting the side down. I won’t say who as lifes too short to make enemies needlessly IMO.
But if I was GM there for a month the staff wouldn’t know what had hit em. Seriously some of them do need a rocket up them.

Talking about good staff, I always liked the casino back in the old “Isle” days, they had some great dealers. Such a good laugh in the old poker room, though I wouldn’t have enjoyed trying to supervise these four!

Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble
What I will comment on is when G Cov have made dramatic changes to the schedule.

To improve things I personally would just make small changes to the comps and see what that does, then tweak them again over time until you get it just right.

Take what happened to the Saturday 8.30 comp. It used to be freezeout (FO) with a 50k starting stack and a 15 minute clock. It actually got decent runners. I only played it occasionally but it always seemed to have about 50 entries.

So what small “tweak” did they make? They changed it to a re-buy with a 5k starting stack!

That comp lasted a month and now it’s been changed back to a FO with a 25k starting stack with a 20 min clock. But it has an add-on for 15k so effectively a 40k stack.

I would have changed the 50k down to 30k and upped the clock from 15 to 20 mins for a month or so to see what that did.

One change that I do dislike at G Cov is the number of comps that have an “Add-on” at the break. Other casinos are doing this more and more these days and I personally hate it. They are so scared of not making the guarantees that this is becoming more commonplace. I think it’s 6 out of 7 nights at Cov now. 

Star City in Brum does this for every comp now.

One of the reasons I go to Cov on a Friday so often is that it’s a relatively cheap night out for £30 (+£5) for an excellent structure. But when it becomes a £65 comp I may as well drive up to DTD and play a £100 comp. Also £65 gets a bit steep for the casual player to play in week in week out.

The last time I played on a Friday I started well and went from the 10k start up to 20k, but all that hard work went out the window when nearly all the players at my table took the add-on and I was left with no choice but to take it as well to maintain my advantage.

So the Gala is limiting it’s high spenders from spending and the G Cov is asking it’s low spending clientèle to spend double what they used to! It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Back to the Future

Another topic that’s had more comments than most on the MPF Facebook Group was the Genting Stokes decision to stop late entry to all their poker tournaments. This was like a trip down memory lane for me.

I remember the days of racing up to the Broadway about 10 years ago driving like the Stig to make sure I got in before the comp started.

Late entry for poker tournaments was a big step forward for the game. DTD, not my favourite place to play it has to be said, is responsible for so many improvements in the game over the last five years and this is certainly one of them.

Genting Stoke reversed the decision pretty quickly, I think that lasted about a week before they realised their mistake. They had so many people moaning about it on Facebook etc.

Playing like the old days!

Just a quick mention of when I played the Gala £50 comp for the 4th time. I really did want to cash so I played quite “defensive” right from the start. I played so tight in the later stages I was ashamed of myself to be honest. I’ve haven’t folded so much for years.

I wasn’t bothered about the £80 min cash but I just wanted to say I’d cashed 4/4 as I’d posted about it on Facebook before the tourney started.

I was a very short stack from about the time we were down to 30 players. I folded 99 pre fortunately as someone had JJ and I folded 44 in a spot when normally I’d have taken a flip to try and double up.

With 17 paid I was quite nervous when we got down to 20. I somehow managed to limp to min cash when I finally busted shoving my 4bb’s.

I remember when I used to play like that all the time!

Byron gets a mention
Byron Sugars

Finally he made it onto the blog, but only because of a comedy hand in the Titan last month. Normally I don’t name check people unless it’s something positive. No one has made more mistakes at the poker table over the years than I have, but I checked with Byron and he’s cool about me relaying the hand. So credit to him for that.

So the hand: Prior to the comp we were chatting and he told me about a hand recently when he folded KK face up versus huge action pre-flop and was right as his opponent had AA.

We start off at the same table for the Titan which has a 20k starting stack. I’m opening too many pots for my own good and getting 3 bet lots by Byron (with I suspect not much) a lot of the time.

So I figure I might catch him if I get a real hand. Not to long after I pick up QQ. Nick Smith opens and I 3bet. Byron 4 bets with KK (Nick folds) and I 5 bet convinced I’m ahead. I’ve left myself an amount of chips that showed I could never fold.

Byron folds the KK face up. Obviously I couldn’t resist showing my hand!

Nick posted a great tweet after the hand. 

2015, Its all gonna change!


Genting NEC

A big factor in my choice of where to play is “how long will it take me to get there?” I rarely go to DTD as it’s an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half away. I hate the drive home from any casino when I’ve busted but driving back from there just makes it seem worse.

G Cov I can do comfortably in 35 mins, Gala and Broadway should be less but the traffic is always terrible in the centre of Brum and Walsall & Star City is about 40 mins.

But from 2015 there will be a casino that will take me just 20 mins to drive to and I feel if they do it right it will suck the life out of every Midlands poker room.

When this opens it’s all going to change!
The New Luxury Genting Casino at the NEC should change the face of Midlands gambling once it opens. If they get the right card room manager (There is only 1 choice for me) then it will mean I rarely need to go anywhere else to play after it has opened.
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Goliath Gets Even Stronger

Final 3 In the 2013 Goliath

So the Goliath 2013 is over and done with. What an event this is developing into. This year saw an incredible 2,568 entries over 4 day 1’s.

“This was the best poker “Event” ever held in this country bar none.” I actually wrote those words in my blog report about the very first Goliath in 2011. (Blog entry dated 2nd Sept 2011 if you want to read it all.)

I also wrote “I think to describe the Goliath Poker Tournament as a Poker Tournament does not do it justice and does not give anyone who didn’t attend it, a true picture of what this was all about. It was an Event.”

I feel that anyone who was at the Ricoh for this years Goliath would have difficulty arguing against that statement. I didn’t think it was possible but it is getting even better and better each year.

It is now the Premier amateur poker event in Europe by some distance. For all DTD’s and APAT’s efforts they simply cannot compete with this event’s atmosphere and big tournament feel. Yes DTD can always offer bigger and better guarantees and indeed they have proved where that’s concerned no one has bigger balls (ISPT) but they simply cannot seat in excess of 1,100 players in one flight inside DTD.

Also I have to say that this event for the most part is played in a terrific spirit. I took my decision making about the poker very seriously and tried to play the best I could throughout but I really had some great table banter during the 2 days I played. This sort of friendly enjoyable poker is normally only to be found at APAT events but most people came to Coventry intent on having a good time regardless of the outcome of the poker.

The agency dealers were all excellent and the floor staff were superb. As an added bonus since the Grosvenor takeover of Gala casinos it means that we had Jon Baker (of Gala Birmingham fame) as one of the TD’s. Any poker player who has met him will know what a huge asset he will be to the GUKPT.

Jon Baker (even helpful to Scots)

It should have more runners in 2014!

1,139 Runners for day 1d

I am absolutely sure that the event will have more runners next year as news of this years event spreads. First of all I’m sure that even more low stakes buy-in amateurs are going to want to get involved as all the feedback has been so positive and secondly with first prize so big and the field so soft I’d expect more “pros” to enter next year.

It probably was not the right time to ask him but I spoke to Karl Johnson (card room supervisor) on the Saturday night and was asking him what he expected for next year! Karl is the guy who originally came up with the idea for the Goliath so all credit to him for that. 
My own suggestion was to lose the Tues Day 1 but have Saturday as a day 1 instead. (Wed 1a, Thurs 1b, Fri 1c, Sat 1d). That way although you’d still have just 4 day 1’s the Friday and Saturday alone could generate 2,500 runners!

I would also just add 1 extra level on the day 1’s so the field would be further thinned out so you could guarantee everyone who makes day 2 that they have cashed. Hand for hand isn’t easy to organise when you have 360 players on 40 tables, and apparently on the bubble 7 players busted (on different tables) in the same hand!

Day 2 on the Sunday would then be allowed to run straight through to the final 9. The way players were busting out on day 2 that could easily have been achieved.

Improvements

Very picky of me to mention negatives but I am a poker player so here goes;
Valets, we need more of them or we need to be able to get our own drinks from a machine inside the room. Even just a water machine would have been a help.

The food offering was poor (again).

I went to Subway both days on the dinner break as that was the only viable option. On the 2nd day I really wanted to eat in the casino to save time so I went to see what was available on the buffet in the bar. However they had curry which I didn’t fancy and when I said to the girl “don’t you have anything that isn’t hot?” she said “chilli con carne”.

So I went to restaurant inside the actual casino and they had exactly the same menu on. I asked if I could order from the normal menu and was told that option wasn’t available till 7.30pm. The tournament dinner break was 6.30 – 7.30pm! So it was Subway 2 days running.

The cards they used were difficult to see. I much prefer the Black jack type cards that have the big numbers etc they are so much easier for people with bad eyesight. Sadly since the Goliath has finished they have started using them in the normal card room for the comps and cash games. I have signed a petition, started by one of the players to get the old ones back.

Use these please!

The side events had mixed fortunes, for instance the Kings and Queens event looked like fun but it was changed late on to allow any mix of players to play as the numbers were so low. I’d have liked to have played it but I’d just been KO’d from the Goliath at the hands of a complete donk just before it started so I was not my usual sunny self.

I’m never a good loser at the best of times and with this event being so big and being held at one of my favourite local casinos I really wanted to do well. It took me 2 days to get over the disappointment of busting out. Upon reflection my “bad beat” wasn’t that bad at all but it really hurt.

Day1 a

Edited highlights and lowlights

Arrive late and sit down for the first hand of level 2. Lose with KK very first hand.

Lose with AQ after 3 betting pre, versus 2 villains who both have 33. The pocket 3 guys chop the pot!

Biggest maniac I’ve ever played with sat to my immediate right. We had lost 7 players from our table at the end of the 150/300 level pretty amazing when it was a 25k starting stack.

The maniac had personally knocked 6 of them out and by the time he’d left he must have busted at least 10 players.

I was down to 16k early on and really played exceptionally tight for several hours till I finally got moving.

The maniac had over 500k in chips before anyone else in the comp had more than 100k.

The maniac called my cold 4 bet shove (I had JJ) with 55 and my Jacks stood up! At 32k I was back in the game.
Not long after I made the right move at the wrong time and got really lucky!
I crack Aces with A2hh to double up to over 60k when I hit a nut flush, and for the first time in the day I am above chip average.
I had 100k when the av was 84, and then I shot up to 300k when the av was just 100k.
Two hands got me to 300k in quick succession. The maniac raised with KQ from UTG and I just flatted with 10,10 from UTG+1. Everyone else folded.

The flop was K,10,x and it went bet/call bet/call check/bet/call for a big pot.

Then literally the next hand I bust someone who stared the hand with 100k

Then I lose with KK (again) and I ‘m down to 250k.

Soon after the maniac departed which meant I was the only player left who started at that table. The maniac went from CL of the whole tournament to busto in about 40 minutes of indescribable poker.

I’ve seen people tilt of big stacks before but he basically murdered nearly 600k chips in cold blood, it was something to witness. By this time we’d been joined on our table by a couple of young internet players who clearly knew what they were doing and they were literally sat there with their jaws wide open too astonished to comment. After the hand when he fianlly busted people were sat shaking their heads in stunned silence for several mintutes.

When the GUKPT blog updater came past and saw the empty chair he couldn’t believe it.

I was only sorry I didn’t get more of his chips, but in fairness he doubled me up twice in the day so I can’t complain.

Ended the day on 319k with the av at 203k.

Day 1a

Day 2

Dream table, everyone was folding like nits. I was opening quite a few pots and taking them pre.

The bubble burst without incident for me and then I lose with KK for the third straight time. This time to 44 when he hits a 4 flush. FML That cost me a lot of chips.

I get them back by just opening pots and taking the blinds, and things are going OK.

I have 350k versus somone who had about 300k, I open with 88 UTG+2 and he and 2 others call me. The flop comes Ac8c6d. I lead out hoping to catch someone with an Ace but he ships all in with QcJc. Everyone else folds and I call.

I hold my breath and manage to hold. That puts me to 650k and now I’m starting to believe it’s going to be my day.

Not long after I win 2 more decent pots one with KK (4th time lucky) and I am only the 3rd player in the comp to pass the million chip mark.

At next break I have 1.2 million, av 380k

Then it starts to go wrong. I double up several short stacks in the same way. I open the pot, they shove, I have no option but to call. I lose 77 < KQ and AJ < 33 etc.

So by dinner break I am down to 630k with the average at 760k. I know I don’t need to panic at this point but then I get more bad luck. They break my table.

Not long after I bust out in 79th place.

I’m in the small blind (20k/40k/2k) and someone UTG +1 throws in a single 100k chip and says “raise” but he said it a millisecond after it hit the felt.

The dealer says it has to go as a call.

The donk to his left decides to call with 4s5s. Bearing in mind the guy next to him wanted to raise and there is still half the table behind him he thinks that limping for 40k is a good idea out of 680k stack.

2 others limp and it looks like a great place for a squeeze. However what worries me is the raise that wasn’t a raise. The guy could have anything.

I look at my cards and have A2 off. I have 640k counting the 20k already in which is 16bb’s and I genuinely would have shipped the lot in to try and pick up the 8bb’s in the pot if it wasn’t for the “raise”.

I just make up the 20k and effectively seal my fate.

The big blind checks and the flop is As2h9s giving me 2 pair and the donk 4 spades and middle pin draw.

I check hoping the “raiser” had a good Ace but he checks as well. Then the donk leads out for 120k so I figure he has the Ace. The other 2 limpers fold and I shove for 600k (480 more).

The bb and the “raiser” both fold and it’s back to the 4s5s man. For a very long time he tanks and I’m hoping he has an Ace and is drawing thin.

After a few minutes I figure he’s folding as players rarely think that long and then call. I’m pretty staggered when he calls and obviously not thrilled to see what he has.

He hits the flush on the turn and I miss the re-draw on the river.

I was not happy, partly because I knew I had brought about my own downfall. I could/should have shipped in pre-flop and I was annoyed to lose my chips to someone who had (IMO) played his hand even worse than I had!

Not the worst beat I’ve had by a million miles but it still really hurt. I’d have been back to over 1.5 million with 79 left in and in great shape if I could have held there. 

Mathematically it was about 60/40 on the flop so I should have no complaints but I was desperate to do well in the event so it was really tough to take.

Still there is always next year.

Local boy done good

Dan Cullen
All the staff and local players at G Cov hope one (at least) of the regulars do really well in the Goliath and this year we were not disappointed.

Firstly a mention to 5 or 6 night per week local player Steve Buckley. Steve won the first of the side events.

Steve Buckley, accompanied by
the lovely Emma 
But HUGE congrats and respect to Dan “One Direction” Cullen who was the biggest money winner in this years Goliath. The GUKPT blog (Where I took a lot of these photos from btw) loved calling him 1D or Harry Styles but I think “Action Dan” is a better name for him.

Dan, who is a cash game regular at Cov, banked an incredible £38,710 when a deal was struck at the business end of the tournament.

Reading Dan’s tweets since his win it seems he has spent almost the entire time since the win in an orgy of eating the best food, drinking jäger bombs & tequila whilst chasing girls in Coventry night clubs. Which coincidently was exactly what I’d planned to do with the money if I’d won it.

Dans aggressive style won him a lot of admirers at the tables throughout the week and one of his tweets was absolute class.

Just 4b shoved pre. Win the pot. Afterward OAP to my right exclaims ‘I’d have called him with 22, he’s been looser than my ex wife’

It would have been nice to see Dan lift the trophy but things didn’t go his way after the money deal was done and he ended up officially in 3rdplace. The official winner “only” got £29k. It would have been different if we were talking WSOP bracelet but common sense says I’d take £9k extra over the Goliath trophy all day long. As Rod Tidwell says in the movie Jerry Maguire, “show me the money”.

Dan’s success was a hugely popular result amongst the regulars as it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Anonymous

We had several other locals run deep and look like they were going to do really well but like me they just ran out of steam or blew up. One of them who is itching to get a mention in my blog finished between 40thand 50th place for the second year running. I won’t mention his name as I know it will wind him up even more!

Small World.

Although I’ve never met the Goliaths 2013 official winner, Jake Skidmore, I know his Dad Terry really well. I played day 1a on the Tuesday and on the Wed night I went for a few beers and a curry with Terry and another long-time friend of mine. Neither of them plays poker but they always ask if I’ve won anything lately. I explained about how big the Goliath was and the fact that I’d made day 2 which was on Saturday.

Terry didn’t even know his son had entered the Goliath and Jake only told him on the morning of the 9 man final table that he had made it through. Terry rang me late Monday and said “you know that poker tournament you told me about, my sons just won it!” Small world.

I should play more.

I feel I should make the effort to play a few more slightly bigger tournaments. Although the lows are devastating when you bust out, I do enjoy the highs of playing the better comps.

Obviously my bank roll doesn’t allow really big buy in events but I may take a stab at one or two of the 25/25 GUKPT events. At £200 + £20 I ought to be able to justify taking a shot. 

Who knows if I mange to bink one I could end up shit faced in some Cov night spot with the Dan and his posse. 
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DTD Has a Big Tournament Coming up.

My thoughts on the DTD/ISPT.
This will come as no surprise to anyone who plays poker in the UK but DTD has taken over the running of the ISPT event which is being played at Wembley stadium soon. If you are a UK poker player you’d have to be a tramp living in a cave with no internet connection for the last few months not to know that fact.

F me, this ISPT looks good.

They are offering all sorts of satellites and freerolls that people can enter and some of the super sats have been terrific value. Last Sunday’s 200 seat guarantee had approximately 480 runners which is just ridiculous value.

DTD seem determined to get the runners for this into the thousands even if they have to practically give the day 1 seats away.

Now one of the freerolls that I could have entry into is a special one for the owners of blogs. DTD posted this up on their Blonde Poker Forum a while back.

Dusk Till Dawn has announced an exclusive free roll for media and bloggers to win one of ten day one seats in the International Stadiums poker Tour.

The freeroll takes place on Monday May 6th at 8:00pm GMT on DuskTillDawnPoker.com and is open to anyone with a blog or website who promotes the ISPT satellite schedule. The tournament has a starting stack of 15,000 and there are 10 x €300 ISPT seats to be won. 

As this is a freeroll exclusively for poker bloggers and poker media, the field is small, meaning your chances of winning a seat will be much greater.

Simply create a post about the ISPT and share your thoughts on the event. Then at the end of the post copy and paste the HTML code below promoting the event. You can tweak the post a little as long as the core message remains. 

Then simply email Nicola@dusktilldawnpoker.com with the link and we will reply back with the password. Please don’t share the password as we will be matching off the winners with their blog post to make sure eligible bloggers win. 

So if I wanted the chance to win one of 10 free Day 1 seats all I had to do was do a post about it (which I’m doing) and ask for the password. (Which I won’t be doing)

Well call me nuts but although I’m writing about the event I will decline the offer of free entry to the satellite.

Why you might ask? Well I don’t have adverts on my blog, I don’t have Google AdSense, or any other form of sponsorship. When I write about something it’s because I think its worthy of being written about. Usually I write about stuff that interests, amuses or tilts me. (Usually I write about stuff that annoys me).

If I “publicise” a poker event it’s because I think it warrants it. I usually promote the APAT events because I totally agree with their philosophy about poker. I will sometimes just mention up and coming events that I intend to play, but whatever the reason there is no ulterior motive for me doing so.

I always try and just put my own thoughts down about stuff and I’d hate to be influenced by the fact that I was effectively being paid to promote something.

As I regularly get 200 people a week read my blog, a lot of whom are Midlands based poker players, it may come as no surprise to you that I’ve had several cardroom managers offer to comp me a drink, meal etc over recent years. I’ve declined on virtually every occasion because I know that at some point in the future I may want to slag off their cardroom and I don’t want to feel indebted to anyone.

I have in the past both praised and criticised DTD when I think it’s been warranted and I will always continue to do so. So thanks DTD for the kind offer of free entry into the satellite but no thanks.

So here are my thoughts on the ISPT.

When I first heard about it, long before DTD got involved, my first worry was that it was a scam! I’ve seen other poker events in the past advertised where people where encouraged to buy-in in advance only for the event not to go ahead and all the money disappear.
When I first looked at the website set up for the event it looked amateurish in the extreme and I was therefore very sceptical. So even allowing for the fact that I was seemingly wrong about that and the people were in fact genuine I still seriously doubted this would ever have had a chance of success if Rob Yong and DTD hadn’t got involved.

One thing DTD can do really well is promote the shit out of an event that’s for sure. (See my last post)

Rob is either very brave or mad to take this project on and then to go as far as guaranteeing the 1million Euro 1st prize. Lol, I’m currently leaning towards mad, but it certainly guarantees that on some level this will be a HUGE success. It will/has got huge attention and will continue to do so.

I doubt there will be a serious poker player in the UK who will not have a DTD online account by the time the Day 1’s are finished. Let’s be honest you’d be bonkers not to try and satellite in and every amateur player with 30euros and a dream will be trying to win a seat.

Even though I’ve refused the offer of a free seat I will play some “paid” satellites in the coming week(s) and I’d advise anyone else who normally plays a £30 comp at their local casino to use that money for this coming week to try and win a seat as well.

If I read the rules correctly you are better off playing Day 1’s online as you carry your chips forward. However the “high rollers” who just rock up to Wembley just get given Chip Average. If you blitz day 1 online you could start with a big advantage for day 2 (which is the real Wembley day 1 if that makes any sense)

So below is the link to the ISPT site that DTD wants promoting. 
I put the link on here for no other reason than I think Rob Yong on this occasion deserves support for what he’s attempting. Britain is famous for having people who are eccentric (mad) and they should be encouraged. If he does his bankroll on this event I may offer to buy him a drink!
As a matter of interest on Bank Holiday Monday instead of playing the bloggers freeroll on DTD I will be at the Gala Birmingham playing their £50 event. Details below.
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Pokers Social Media Explosion and Bloody Students

Not blogged for a while as shock horror I’ve gone and got myself something close to a real job. This means I’m getting out of bed to go to work about an hour or so after I used to get into bed. Consequently I’m unlikely to play midweek poker any more  and because I’m pretty knackered when I get home I don’t want to sit on my computer writing blog stuff either.
Just wanted to say something about two aspects of poker that are bringing out the grumpy old man in me lately. The abuse of Social Media and Student Poker players.

Social Media

I’m in danger of being the pot calling the kettle when I moan about the over use of Twitter when I’ve posted in excess of 2,500 tweets of which 95% are poker related. But here goes.

The way the poker industry is using social media these days has both pluses and minuses but they need to be careful not to alienate their “Facebook Fans” and Twitter “Followers” by over doing it.

Like most poker players I “follow” and “like” various poker businesses and players and on the positive side if there is something extra special going on then I’d like to know about it. However I do think that some companies are doing themselves a disservice.

Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) were probably the first casino to use social media as an out and out marketing tool and they did it (like most things they do) pretty well. However after a while I just got fed up with a constant barrage of emails, tweets, FB updates etc.

It got so bad that after a while I just deleted all their emails without even reading them as I just didn’t need to read them as they were plastering the same messages all over the poker forums I frequented and my twitter feed etc.

Back when DTD first started doing this they were pretty much the only ones but just lately my Twitter and Facebook timelines were awash with tweets and updates from card rooms I used to “follow”.

I say used to because I’ve deleted two for various reasons.

I’d follow more card rooms if they all used it sparingly, but when I get 6 or 7 tweets a night telling me there are 2 seats available in a cash game I’m not the slightest bit interested in, it gets a bit much.

One of my follows used to be the Broadway casino which was always my poker room of choice. Around 2003/04/05 I used to go there at least once a week. Back then it had the best tournaments/cash games around. The old £20 re-buy on a Friday used to make a prize pool of anything up to £15k which was immense. I used to run really well there and won or chopped it many times.

Even now the tournaments get good numbers and it always has thriving cash tables but I just don’t enjoy going there as much as I used to. Back then I used to really look forward to going there as I had a lot of good poker friends there and it was quite a social as well as profitable place for me.

Even though I still know and like a lot of the staff there I have “un-followed” them on Twitter as I only go there about once a year these days and they were constantly bombarding me with tweets about stuff that is of no interest to me.

Regarding tweets and updates a monthly special tournament is something that interests me but bog standard stuff on schedules that haven’t changed in years is of lesser interest.  

To be honest if I want to go and play a tournament I usually just check out the Midlands Poker forum for the listings and decide from there. 

Just lately my twitter and FB feeds were going into SPAM overload as I’d get (used to get) 30 – 40 Tweets/Facebook updates a day from card rooms.

What card rooms don’t seem to realise is that if someone is following them it’s probably because they go there and like the place anyway. So they have to remember they are often preaching to the converted. 
I’m far more selective about who I follow these days.


You cannot control the Interweb

Some companies need to be aware that once they let the genie out of the bottle with social media it isn’t possible to put it back in. Recently Starbucks caught a lot of flak over their UK Tax affairs or rather the fact that they weren’t actually paying any UK tax.

They used the hash tag #spreadthecheer for their own marketing but obviously protesters started hijacking it to spread support for local coffee shops and small business rather than endorsing the tax dodgers.

Too Little Too Latte
Also when Starbucks sponsored the outdoor Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum in London prior to Xmas they had a huge screen in the café that people could tweet messages on if they used a special hash tag.

Of course it didn’t take long for tweets along the lines of “tax avoiding MoFo’s” and “Pay your F****ing taxes” to appear on the big screen.

Earlier in 2012 McDonald’s Twitter campaign in the US was dubbed a “McFail” after the hash tag was ambushed by campaign groups and angry customers who used the hash tag to rubbish McD’s.

The G Casino Coventry has had its own small issue regarding social media when they ended up banning someone from the casino for comments made about a member of staff via twitter. Read about it in the Coventry Telegraph here

As a result of that episode the casino has started to strictly enforce its previously ignored social media rules on members of staff. I and a lot of other regulars have been un-friended from FB by members of staff as the management have told them they have to do it.

I think that’s total bollocks really. As if being FB friends with a customer is going encourage a member of staff to collude with them to cheat in the casino. Besides they can stay friends on FB with people that they knew before they started working at the casino.  Which I’d guess they’d be far more likely to collude with in any case!

Anyway in my own mini protest I no longer “like” G Covs FB page or “follow” them on twitter, as I think it’s too much for a company to try and tell their staff who they can and can’t be friends with.


Students Poker Players

I have never worn headphones at the poker table as I think it takes away a lot of free information available at the table as well as some of the social aspect of live poker but I have to confess I have seriously considered buying some recently.

On a few recent visits to various card rooms I’ve had the misfortune to be on the same table as some student players. Usually being on the table with just one is OK as they think there is no one on their poker level who will understand what they are saying so they generally stay quieter. But heaven help you when you are unfortunate enough to get 2 or 3 on your table.

The verbal diarrhoea that pours out of them is often too much to stand.

One thing I would say is it is testimony to the way the game has changed over the years that they are able to totally disrespect other players at the table and still be able to walk away from the table without the need for medical assistance. The game is so much more main stream now.

Back in the late 1970’s when I first started playing poker as a fresh faced 17 year old the game was a lot more “underground”. I’ve played in some pool halls, snooker clubs, taxi ranks, hot dog stands and private games that were in some pretty dangerous places. If trouble broke out you were pretty much on your own.
In those days I kept very quiet at the table unless I knew my opponents really well. It (poker) was more like playing in a wild west cowboy film where fights would break out occasionally. It wasn’t a regular occurrence but it happened enough times to make me more than a little wary. Unlike a John Wayne western I’ve never seen anyone shot at the poker table but I have witnessed some pretty violent incidents.

I have seen someone stabbed with a flick knife, though luckily for him he managed to move fast enough that it only caught him in the shoulder.

I saw someone glassed (he needed a dozen stitches) in a pub game once over a £5 pot and worst of all I was playing poker in a Cheltenham hotel during festival week and two Irishmen started fighting. It turned very nasty very quickly. I thought it had calmed down as they’d been separated but the one went and got a screwdriver and stabbed the other one in the neck with it.

He was collapsed on the floor when the medics arrived with the screwdriver still in his neck right up to the handle.

I’m not normally squeamish when it comes to seeing some claret but I have to say I nearly passed out, I thought he was dead. Fortunately they were able to save him. That argument started out as banter and a few rub downs/slow rolls later it erupted into a near death experience.

If these students that are giving me earache these days were playing 30 years ago they’d be lucky to survive a week.

They obviously play a different game to the way nitty old timers like me do and that’s fine. I think they are generally good for the game as they create action and big pots. I personally think they bluff too often to make it a profitable strategy long term. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were smart enough not to show when they bluff.

Later on in the night they usually end up moaning saying things like “how could you call that bet” and accusing the guy who called of being a total donk. What they don’t realise is that he probably just spite called them desperate to KO him from the comp so he doesn’t have to listen to the BS any longer.

They seem determined to give advice when it hasn’t been requested and worse still talk about players openly in derogatory terms as if they are not even there. What they don’t seem to grasp is there is no point in giving advice as the smart don’t need it and the stupid won’t heed it.

Besides why do they want to educate players to be better players?

I’m very pot and kettle here also as I’ve been guilty of voicing my opinions on peoples play at the table, though I tend to do it only in times of utter frustration. Only a couple of weeks ago I told a guy I folded the winning hand to him as “I gave him too much credit for intelligence”.

I can’t understand why they (students) play live in a field of 95% old farts like me and then moan about the way we play. They could always go and play on-line and leave us old timers to our game. That way there would be less chance of them waking up in an ambulance with a screwdriver in their neck.
APAT WCOAP

Anyway one poker festival that I’m happy to promote via twitter or FB actually needs no publicity as it’s a total sell out.

The APAT event currently on at DTD is run like a mini WSOP with a stud event, PLO, HORSE etc. There are bracelets to be won for each event. The whole thing is run brilliantly and Des and Leigh etc. deserve so much credit for what they do.

I played the 6 Max on Good Friday and I am playing the Main Event day 1b today (Sunday 31st March). Fridays visit was my first to DTD for over a year I think. It still run as well as ever. The dealers and valets were all very good.

Not that this fact influenced my opinion of the valets but the girls wear the skimpiest tops and shortest shorts imaginable. The one in the picture (Rose) approached me and said “They are £5 each” which I thought was very fair, but it turned out she was talking about raffle tickets. She said she needed my phone number in case I win a prize but I think it may have just been a ruse to get my number.
APAT Main Event

Obviously there are many tournaments that you can win more money in, but being a keen amateur player I’d be chuffed to bits if I could even make the final table of the APAT main event, yet alone win it.

Anyway thought I’d do a quick blog update before playing the main, as if I do fluke it then that will require a whole blog write up to itself. 
I can dream. ME Champion or a phone call from Rose, not sure which is less likely?
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Pokers 80/20 Rule

A couple of things about this post.

Firstly it’s mainly about online poker and secondly it’s about what separates the really big poker winners from everyone else.

Now for those reading this who know me you will immediately be thinking are you kidding us? Because the facts are, I know next to nothing about online poker and I’m not now or am I ever going to be a big winner.

So how can I write a blog post about this then? Well for two reasons, firstly I have access to some of the best UK online poker players through friendships made over the years via a particular Poker Forum and in my “day job” I’ve helped with the training and personal development of some of the UK’s top performing salespeople.

Working with top salespeople has given me an insight to their mind-set and it’s their mental attitude that differentiates them from the rest of us. Top money earning poker players have a great deal in common with top rated salespeople and indeed anyone who is successful in their chosen field.

So if you do read this post it will certainly help give you an insight into what you need to be doing in order to be successful though actually doing it is another matter as you will discover.

The 80/20 Rule

In sales or poker, as in most things in life, the 80/20 rule can be applied.

Every sales force follows the 80/20 rule; it simply means that 80% of the sales are made by the top 20% of the sales force. This therefore means that the other un-productive 80% of the sales force only manage to generate 20% of the total sales between them.

The 80/20 rule is sometimes referred to as the “Pareto principle” and is applied to many things in business.

Although I have no factual evidence to support this claim I’m totally convinced that of all the money won via online poker, 80% of it will be won by 20% of the winners.

Something which is even more remarkable for sales people is that the 80/20 rule can work within itself as well. What I mean by that is, if a company analyses its top sellers (so just the best 20%) they can often find that 80% of their sales are in fact done by the top 20% of them. These guys are the real cream of the crop. The best of the best.

Again I’d put my mortgage on the fact that this will be the case with online poker winnings. The best of the best in poker terms are the top 2 or 3%.

The 3 things needed for success

Conventional sales training wisdom says you need 3 things to be really successful, and they are “Knowledge, Skills and Attitude”.

I can tell you that the first two elements, knowledge and skills, although important pale into insignificance in the grand scheme of things when compared to the third ingredient. “Attitude”

Dealing with skills, you cannot give somebody skills you can only show and explain to them the “technique”. It only truly becomes a skill when they practise it repeatedly. To practise something repeatedly hour after hour you need the desire to succeed, you need the right positive mental attitude or you just won’t do the work.

“Gary Player”

We’ve all heard the golf story from way back in the early 1960’s when Gary Player chipped into the hole from a greenside bunker and a guy in the gallery said “you lucky devil” or words to that effect. Player turned to him and said “yeah it’s funny, the more I practise the luckier I get”. People rated Gary Player as one of the most “skilful” players in his era; if you read his autobiography you’ll find the truth was he just worked harder than everyone else.

Regarding knowledge, again as a trainer you can impart some pearls of wisdom on a training course but for the learner to really develop and improve they also need the right attitude to want to learn more and more even when the training event is over. So again it’s down to having the right attitude.

Simply put, if you really want to succeed at anything in life you will attain the required knowledge whatever it takes.

So it all boils down to having the right attitude. If you really want to do something, you really can do it and nothing can stop you if you just work exceptionally hard at it.

So what separates the real big poker winners from the rest of us?

Well talent and natural ability some of you might say but for the most part it’s really not that. It’s true that very often people are just naturally good at some things. But to become a true superstar there is no substitute for hard work.

Just look at Mohammed Ali, who in my opinion is the greatest boxer who has ever lived with so many natural gifts but, without hour after hour of gruelling training he would never have had the career he did.

Ali’s famous quote on training is as follows: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’

The very best professional poker players devote many hours a week to poker but what may surprise you is the ratio of time spent playing poker and the time they devote to working to improve/develop their game. Why do they do it? Because you have to if you wish to stay ahead of the game. Even players who are naturally gifted need to work at their game otherwise everyone else is just going to catch up.

What makes a true winner? It’s just plain hard work, the determination to improve and a will to win.

What do winners do to improve?

Anything from watching video tutorials, reading, going through their “hand histories” (HH) looking for “leaks”, discussing strategy with other players, etc.

So if improvement and working on their game is such a huge element for these top people where can you get help with your game?

Based on the old adage “birds of a feather flock together” it’s no wonder that a lot of these top players gravitate towards each other. There are many poker forums where you can discuss HH’s with other like-minded players.

Also there are a whole host of poker training sites available these days with flourishing memberships.  I’d like to mention a relatively new one in particular.

RunitOnce.com




There is one simple reason why I mention Runitonce.com rather than any of the other training sites and it is the fact that someone I know, Jono Crute, has been signed up as one of their Pro Trainers.

Runitonce.com which is owned and run by Phil Galfond who if you know anything about online poker you will have heard of him. If you don’t I can say he is one of the more well-known online players who consistently plays nose bleed levels. ($200/$400 blinds and above)

His lifetime net profit is anybody’s guess, my guess would be somewhere around $10 million dollars.

Galfond reckons what separates runitonce from all the other training sites is that it makes it easier to digest the material and it also involves a lot of discussion by like-minded people.

It also has the feature of allowing you to video your online poker sessions and up-load them to the website so the Pro Trainers and other members can comment on them to help you.

Jono Crute

Now when it comes to being a real big winner Jono is a perfect case study in what hard work and a determination to improve can achieve.

Jono (Screen name GAWA9) only started playing poker around Sept 2008 and since then he has rocketed up the winnings list. He doesn’t play cash, just Multi Table Tournaments (MTT’s) where the variance can be high but he is such a consistent winner it’s almost unreal.

Not only is he a truly remarkable player but he is an all-round good guy, a real class act. I’m thrilled for him; he certainly deserves the recognition of being asked to join Phil Galfonds team of Pro’s.

When Jono started he just grinded his ass off at micro stakes and worked his way up.

He is now one of the hardest working MMT players around. He could actually play at even higher levels than he does now, he certainly has the ability and the bankroll, but he has worked out the fact that if he plays around the $55 – $60 average buy in level he can actually win more.

He feels that at higher levels “the rake structures and nature of the small edges at the highest stakes it’s hard to produce any consistency because when your ROI is small the swings are huge and you just end up with a lot of variance … in return for little extra expectation.”

So how can he win so much money? The reason he wins so much is purely down to hard work and the HUGE volume he plays.

His improvement from his early days wasn’t achieved alone though. He joined a poker forum called EatMyStack (EMS) in 2008 and got a lot of help from the other “young internet wizz kids”.

Trust me EMS has had some of the very best UK internet wizz kids as regular posters over the years.

EatMyStack was quite busy back in 08 and 09 though it’s never been one of the bigger poker forums but what it lacked in quantity it certainly made up for in quality. What I liked about it was that even old gits like me who only ever really play live poker could post on there without getting “Flamed” which is what happens with a lot of other forums.

The young players would have “sweats” where they’d watch each other play and discuss HH’s etc as a group that really must have helped them.

So with the help of others including one of the young stars of EMS called Jon Spinks, Jono improved dramatically through 2009 and turned “professional” from 2010.

To give you an idea of how hard Jono works, he tells me that he expects to play 15,000 MTT’s in 2013. (That’s fifteen thousand) I expect to play about 100 live MTT’s in 2013.

Each session he plays is never less than 10 hours long and consists of around 70 MTT’s. It’s no wonder these guys can think quickly when multi tabling as they have encountered virtually every conceivable scenario hundreds of times over.  

He explained to me why he likes to play long sessions, “I much prefer playing longer sessions since with MTTs your hourly (rate) is at its best when you have a lot of tables and at its worst when you are playing a few due to starting or ending the session so prolonging that middle stage is great.”

Just think if you normally visit your local poker room and play a live comp once a week then Jono will play more tournaments in 1 day than you will play in a year and a half.

During the last 6 months of 2012 I ran terribly where I literally didn’t win any race that mattered. When you play just twice a week it can seem like forever, but for Jono that bad run would have lasted about 4 hours.

When he isn’t globe-trotting he lives in Belfast (he’s been in Canada for about the last 6 months I think) and about 2 years ago (Nov 2010) I had to go over to Belfast for two days to do some sales training for a well-known bank.

I was pleased that while I was there he and his friend Cory took the trouble to meet up with me for something to eat (Nandos obv) and the pub for a few beers. What struck me was what a quietly spoken, unassuming guy he is.

Without giving too much of his personal business away I can tell you that during 2010 (his first year as a Pro) he made well over £100k, at the age of just 20. It’s also no secret that lifetime he has cashed for in excess of $2 million dollars. It’s seems funny to say “lifetime” when he’s been playing Pro for just 3 years!

According to his Bio on Runitonce his speciality is “pre flop maths, and specifically ICM related situations”. (Whatever that means?)

When I mentioned to him I was writing about the training and improvement side of the game I asked what helped him the most when he first started, he said;

“I try to watch a couple of videos a week but mostly developed my game by doing HH reviews with people and by just thinking a shitload about poker and when something kept popping up that I couldn’t quite work out I’d just ask someone smarter than me to explain it! I think the best way to improve is to have some people playing similar games with a similar level of experience to discuss the life out of spots with”.

As for Runitonce he said “it’s definitely the premier poker training site imo, the Pro’s they have in the line-up is amazing and Galfond videos are obviously incredible”.

Now personally I don’t play online poker and I’m far too lazy to be bothered about working at improving my game but for anyone who is interested I would recommend Runitonce purely because if Jono is involved it must be A) 100% reliable and B) Really very good.

Eat My Stack Forum

Eat My Stack Poker Forum

Now as I mentioned Jono got help from several players on EMS and one in particular I remember him mentioning while we were in Nandos as being a great help to him was “Bas” (real name Jon Spinks) who along with his brother Chris are 2 of the more successful players from EMS.

Jon being a big tournament player has had a bit more coverage, but his older brother Chris is largely unknown even amongst poker players.

Jon “Bas” Spinks

Jon has several big live cashes to his name, most notable 2 WSOP final tables and an Irish Open side event win in the 6 max, but he is probably more well known for his online exploits.

In December 2012 he was ranked in the UK & Ireland poker rankings top 10 (7th) with such players as Chris Moorman, Toby Lewis, Rick Trigg etc.

After getting KO’d from the GUKPT Grand Final in 5thfor £22,250 at the end of November Jon then goes online and wins the SuperSonic tournament on PokerStars for $46,397.47. His other notable scores in Dec were for 3rd place in a $1k buy-in on Full Tilt which netted $46,351.25 and he also had “smaller” cashes of $18,351.24 and $10,982.92.

But the player I really want to highlight from EMS is Jon’s older brother Chris. Chris I believe started playing poker after Jon did and originally joined the EMS forum just to follow Jon’s progress. (In those days Jon was a prolific poster on the forum.)

Chris Spinks, (AKA Blackshuck, Pokerstars screen name Pobolero)

People who follow online poker a lot and study the regulars in the Mid-stakes cash games will definitely have heard of Pobolero. But relatively few players would even know his real name or what he looks like. 

Chris Spinks “pobolero”

The real reason, in my opinion, why Chris is a superstar of the game is all down to work ethic plain and simple.

Now when most players start playing poker they play loads initially, make lots of mistakes and then they either decide to do something about it and work on their game or just carry on as a fish forever. (I could name dozens, lol) 

Chris must have decided even before he started playing to do things properly. He had his own unique version of the 80/20 rule. When he first started out with poker he actually studied and worked on his game for 80% of the time and played merely 20% of the time. That takes discipline and a very analytical mind.

So for every 10 hours devoted to poker 8 of it was spent watching videos, reviewing HH’s, watching and learning from others and having strategy discussions with other players etc. Chris has been playing for 5 or 6 years now and over that time, as he improved, the ratio of playing/training changed around. But even now as one of the most successful $2/$4, $3/$6 No Limit cash players in the world he still spends 20% of his time working on his game.

I’m fairly confident that there can only be a handful of people worldwide who have won more money on Pokerstars playing those sorts of stakes in the last three years. You’d think if you were one of the very best in the world at something you’d take your foot off the gas a little right?

Well not the real big winners and not the best salespeople that’s what keeps them as a breed apart. Chris still works harder on his game now than anyone I know.

He was a “Super Nova” on Pokerstars at the end of 2009 even though he was working full time, but he gave up work and set himself the target of getting Super Nova Elite (SNE) for 2010. To achieve this it means amassing 1 million VIP Player Points (VPP’s).  (For those that don’t play online that’s like Tesco Clubcard points!)

If you read the post he put on EMS on 30-12-2009 he says that will need something like 60k hands of poker a week at $200NL ($1/$2 blinds) Read Post here: Supernova Elite the Climb.
As he got even better and better through 2010 – 2011 he moved up to $400NL and $600 NL ($3/$6 blinds). In 2010 and 2011 he would play 18-24 tables at a time. He now says that Stars has got faster so he usually just plays 12 – 14 tables at a time.
Most live players when I mention that I know someone who plays and wins big online ask what stakes he plays. When I say $3/$6 blinds they aren’t that impressed as they don’t think it’s that high.

But when you are sat playing anything up to 14 tables simultaneously loaded to the max ($600 x 14) that is a big deal. His win rate is exceptional considering the number of tables he plays and the level he plays at.

The usual way online players rate themselves is bb/100 which simply means how many big blinds they win per 100 hands played on average. (It needs a big sample number to be accurate) Most very good players have decent win rates but the more and more tables they play or the higher blind levels (where you’d be up against better players) their win rates drop considerably.

Indeed there are a great many players who play huge volumes of hands at “break even” just to get the “rake back” and other VPP type bonuses.

Chris however plays really good winning poker for the Mid-Stakes games at around 4-6bb/100.

You might say that isn’t tough to achieve if you’re playing 1 table and it’s very easy to achieve at 5c/10c but try doing it at 14 tables at $2/$4 or $3/$6 over one million hands.  

It will take some time to read through them all but Chris’s “challenge” threads for anyone really interested are well worth reading. (Just skip everyone else’s post in the thread and read his updates)
He has done a similar thread for 2011, 2012 and has just started this year’s 2013. Setting goals/targets is something that really separates the big winners from the rest of us.

An often used quote that top salespeople use in relation to setting themselves targets is, “Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep.”  

If you do take the trouble to read his threads you will see that he post’s up graphs of his progress and its pretty incredible stuff.

For each of the last two years Chris has played about 1.5 million hands each year, with winnings in excess of $250,000 a year plus a further $100,000 – $120,000 in bonuses each year for making SNE.

The fact is he totally deserves it because he earned every penny of it through sheer hard work.

He sets himself goals and then works hard to achieve them. There is a Denis Waitley quote which I like and it’s fitting for Chris. “Winners are people with definite purpose in life.”


Eat My Stack

Sadly EMS is very quiet these days with only a handful of regular posters but to anyone UK based who wants to become or improve as an online player then I would recommend checking it out. Though please don’t go on there and pester the hell out of Chris (EMS Forum Name Blackshuck) as he won’t be best pleased with me!

There are other interesting/entertaining posters on there who are well worth a look.

Summary

Opinions vary as to the percentage of online poker players that actually show a profit over any significant amount of playing time. It is my belief though that of the money that is won, 80% of it is won by 20% of the winners.

So could I become a successful online poker player? Well yes I could, but I won’t because I’m a lazy bugger and I won’t put in the effort required. Will I ever improve and be a better player than I am currently? No I won’t because I’m a lazy bugger and I won’t put in the effort required.

Learning, developing, and improving at anything in life is all about something known as “Kolbs reflective cycle” (it’s a training technique). I’ve simplified it in purely poker terms in the image below.

If you want to improve at poker, then just playing poker isn’t enough.

I started playing poker in 1976, almost 37 years ago. I was exceptionally keen to learn and improve when I first started playing and I had some natural ability at the game. Therefore I improved rapidly over the first year.

However my “attitude” to work stinks, so as soon as I could beat the game (very easy back in 76/77) I just stopped working/developing.

Therefore the reality is I don’t have 37 years’ of poker experience, I’ve merely had 1 years’ experience, 37 times.

For players like Jono, Bas and Chris the realisation must be that the minute they stop working/developing they don’t necessarily become a lesser player, it’s just that everyone else just catches up.

If you want to become a big success at online poker or anything else for that matter it’s really easy. You just have to work exceptionally hard.

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Practise Makes Perfect.

3 Mini Topics in this Post

1) Genting Coventry Dealer Issues
2) I’m back to winning ways
3) Gala B’ham £100 freezeout


Genting Coventry Dealers
For those of you looking for the YouTube video it has been removed.

I was slightly uneasy about putting the video on my blog and YouTube in the first place as I was worried that the dealer in the clip might get sacked because of it. After further consideration I’ve decided to take the video down for several reasons.

Firstly 2012 has been a tough year for me work-wise and I’d hate to be the cause of 2013 being equally tough for someone else.

What made me re-think was feedback from a few people who’s opinion I respect and the fact that within the first two hours over 200 people had viewed it. Apart from the people who normally read my blog others were seeing it as a result of people posting links to the video via Facebook and Twitter etc.

People love a bit of “gossip” and having the opportunity to poke fun at Genting would no doubt be a motivating factor in this  However even though stuff like this may at first glance appear “funny” it can actually turn out to be anything but funny if it ultimately has a detrimental effect on peoples livelihoods.

If the link to it had been posted onto a few of the busier poker forums, which it undoubtedly would have been in the next day or two, it could have been viewed by a couple of thousand people inside a week.

This would have undoubtedly have caused a bit of a stir and Gentings higher level management wouldn’t have been happy about it.

Upsetting them wouldn’t really bother me because if I have criticisms I’ll make them regardless but often these days it’s so easy for the higher management to just sack the foot soldier and say “yeah but he doesn’t work here any more” problem solved. When in actual fact the individual employee is not at fault it’s management that decides when a dealer is deemed competent to be let loose on the public.

So to re-cap the video has been taken down but there are definitely issues with dealer standards at Genting Coventry. I’ve said all along that these will surely improve overtime, I think though that it needs a bit more urgency about it.

I spoke to Mark the Genting card room manager (CRM) when I bumped into him at the G Coventry on Saturday, and to be fair he knows things need to improve.

Training can only take them so far though. What they need is the right attitude to work hard and practise. These dealers should literally be taking a pack of cards home and practising on their days off if that’s what it takes to get to an acceptable level.


Winning Again!

I actually cashed in a tournament last night for the first time in a while. I posted on FB recently how bad I was playing/running and Simon Deadman put a reply on it and that gave me a bit of a boost. So when I went to play Friday I was really feeling confident. Initially things went well and I even managed to knock “Luckbox Pete” out for the first time ever. (he’s KO’d me a dozen times at least usually with a 2-outer).

As the night turned out I got a bit unlucky on 3 occasions to bust out but I felt good when I went home as I’d played pretty well throughout the night.  There were two or three hands in particular that I was very pleased with.

Because of this I went back and played the Saturday night super stack (50,000 starting stack) which I’ve never played before as I usually play in a “home game” on Saturdays.

I was like a drug crazed aggro maniac for the first hour as I saw virtually every flop. Having so many chips made me go nuts, but after a while I sort of calmed down and realised that I didn’t need to play too cleverly to beat my opponents as the field seemed quite a bit weaker than Fridays.

I won two AIPF’s with 9,9 which is pretty amazing for me as pocket 9’s is my bogey hand. Many years ago I bubbled a £1,000 event up at Walsall and a £100 re-buy (also Walsall) within a week of each other with pocket 9’s. That was nearly ten years ago and ever since it’s stuck in my mind. I rarely win a flip with them even if I spike a 9 on the flop.

After winning those two hands when we were down to about 30 players I knew I was going to go deep.

Even on the FT I felt confident. On one occasion I call a players all in button shove when I was big blind and when the cards went on their backs I was 70/30. However he flopped a flush draw and normally the villain would hit it for sure but last night I held. (thank you Gareth).

In the end although I was 2nd in chips I agreed to a 4 way chop as the blinds were 20k/40k/4k at this point.


Gala Birmingham £100 Freezeout 
I would have preferred to play the £100 freezeout at the Gala in Birmingham but current bankroll restraints prevented it. It was a great success, as I knew it would be, smashing the £10,000 un-conditional guarantee.

Gary Phillips

I aim to play it next month though as work has picked up just recently. Gary Philips played it and was very unlucky to stone cold bubble it when he ran QQ into KK. He must be the unluckiest Irishman I know.

Just a word on when card rooms are run right, even though Gary bubbled he had nothing but praise for the venue, tournament and Jon Baker the CRM.

Gary said
Very good tournament with lots of play and loads of levels. Antes didn’t come in until 500/1000 level which I like as they only slow the game early on.


I bubbled at 3.00am with qq v kk when we were hand for hand. Sigh!


Anyway I just thought I’d give you a quick bit of feedback on what I considered to be a very good tournament in a very well-run card room. It is a marathon tourney considering it started at 5.00pm but excellent value for money.


Only my second time in the place.


Special mention must go to Jon Baker! Shook my hand and commiserated with me when I bubbled and was so helpful at every stage of the tourney. Right from my initial enquiries about pre-registration to finally busting out. People like him make the whole experience worth the effort!

Next £100 at gala is on Jan 12 and i for one will be in attendance and hope it gets the support it deserves and needs to make it a regular event.


Jon Baker goes the extra mile in my opinion.

High praise indeed from Gary but well deserved. The prize-pool made £13,500 and they also did a chop on the FT. Details below.

Finally
Thanks for reading, I must say I’ve had some nice comments from players recently who enjoy reading the blog. It’s a bit weird though when someone you’ve never met before says “Hi Dave” when I’m sat at the table. The guy who was CL when we did the 4 way chop told me afterwards that he reads my blog! 
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Genting Casino Coventry: Review

Where do I start? There are a hundred and one things I could moan about regarding the new Genting Casino Coventry in the Skydome and I will highlight some of them here but overall, taking all things into consideration, I liked it a lot.

Ola Jordan
Yes, despite them blanking me for a VIP pass (read about that here) I really did like the casino when I went to see it. Like some of my favourite people it is small but beautifully formed. (Ola Jordan) The casino has quite a friendly and intimate atmosphere to it.

Often when you visit a casino for the first time you don’t know many people there but obviously being in such close proximity to the G Cov I probably knew 40% of the players in the comp if not by name at least I recognised them. So that made it a good start. When I was waiting to get in I was queuing up behind 3 G Cov dealers and I could also see Dave one of the Broadway dealers inside also.

Then next I bumped into Ben Maregedze who I believe (plenty disagree with this) is the best regular player at G Cov. Tournaments or cash he is really good, most players are better at one or the other but Ben is adept at both forms of the game. I rarely know where I am with him in a hand and there aren’t too many players I feel like that about.

When it comes to cash I just find it easier to not be on his table or to sit on his left. In comps of course you don’t often get a choice (though I did at Genting).

Genting Coventry Issues

There are some issues with it which will never be solved and therefore you have to accept them or not go there. The biggest one for me is where it is. The location can be a positive to some but for me it’s a negative.

On the positive side, casinos best punters are often takeaway and restaurant owners. These guys generally have lots of cash and love to gamble. They are the lifeblood of lots of easy money in cash games and tournaments in places like the Gala and Broadway in central Birmingham. These restaurant owners when they finish work, often late at night, go into city centre casinos and punt the days takings.

On the negative side its city centre location right in the heart of “club land” makes me slightly nervous about visiting it over any of the weekend nights.

For the casino their bar will take a fortune over the weekend. It is well laid out so city centre drinkers can go into the bar area without actually having to enter the casino part of the operation. Though of course they can see the roulette wheels etc. so I’m sure with a few drinks inside them many will be tempted inside the gaming area.

What concerns me most though is leaving the casino late at night to get back to your car. Stepping over drunken slags strewn randomly on the pavement or avoiding eye contact with gangs of lads who don’t feel they’ve had a good night out until they’ve punched someone isn’t ideal.

The Gala casino right in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre solves this problem brilliantly with their valet parking service. Though I doubt this would work at Genting Cov as it’s not easy to pull up outside and the narrow street would quickly get blocked.

Seriously I wouldn’t want to go there on a weekend night. Even when I left on Wednesday night as I was driving off down the road there was a gang of about 10 young lads in hoodies who I wouldn’t have wanted to walk past to get back to the car park. Luckily I was parked right outside.

The doormen there were excellent btw, very helpful. In fact all the staff I spoke to were excellent. I asked about Wi-Fi and yes they have it which is a real plus for me as I like to Tweet and FB while I’m playing. There was also one particular stand out valet who was worth making the trip to see.

I thought the snack menu was excellent, I don’t want a huge meal at 3.00 am but if I’m hungry it’s nice to have a selection of smaller offerings. They do sausage and bacon baps at just £2 each and although I didn’t have anything as I’d eaten earlier they looked good.
Aaron who was running the card room (it was Mark the CRM’s night off) was totally snowed under yet still made time to speak to everyone who wanted to talk to him.

In fairness with the five tables in operation for the tournament all manned by totally novice dealers it needed a lot more than just Aaron to look after the room and man the card room desk. He was working his tits off trying to hold it all together, fielding questions, enquiries and moans and groans all night long.

The fact that the printer wasn’t working made it extremely difficult to handle the “Triple Chance” aspect of the comp.

In fairness I’m not going to highlight all the negatives that I encountered with the dealers and the running of the comp as a lot of them over time should cease to be an issue. As long as they receive proper on-going training and a little patience from the players the dealers will improve. Most players were understanding.

There were some players who were so unhappy with the standard of dealing, and the amount of hands per hour, that they just left their chips and left at the 1st break.

I actually did go and ask Aaron if the dealers could be rotated as at one point we really did have a dealer who was so slow shuffling and dealing that it was taking 5 minutes a hand even if the big blind got a walk. But if he practises and gets some coaching he will undoubtedly improve and I’d hate to see him lose his job because people started moaning about him.

All the dealers had faults and as with most new ones they lack the confidence to give the “ I’m in charge” air of authority to players that they need to. Though this will definitely improve and the fact that they have employed dealers at all is a big positive.

The fact that the printer didn’t work made it very difficult for Aaron to control the extra chips. As it was a triple chance tournament it meant everyone started with 6,000 but had another 12,000 chips in reserve.  This just made lots of extra (unnecessary?) work for him.

I actually think that the triple chance thing is good for novice players as it allows them to make a couple of mistakes or get unlucky and still be in the game. When you have the full starting stack and it goes horribly wrong that’s game over. Though if I was running a card room single handed, with five tables in use for the tournament I wouldn’t want to be running around dishing chips out all the time and manning the desk single handed.

It’s in stark contrast to the G Cov where these days it appears they have “more Chiefs than Indians” some days. The trouble with that is on quieter nights they have so little to do that they end up not even doing that right. Especially if they’re more interested in the quiz questions than what’s actually going on in the card room. Sadly at the Grosvenor Coventry, a lot of my favourite dealers have either left or been promoted over the last few months. 

Anyway overall I liked the Genting casino and the card room. The CR is small but it is fairly comfortable with 6 tables in it. Apparently they can get 8 in at a push but I think it would be a push. Wheelchair access to the casino as a whole is good as it’s all on one level but in the CR only about half the seats would be easily accessible to someone in a wheelchair.

Regarding the comp I think with a few minor tweaks it could be really excellent. It was 18,000 starting stack on a triple chance basis. (3 x 6,000).  £20 +£3 with one optional re-buy or add-on.

There were 3 x 30 minute blind levels then it dropped to 20 minutes. They missed out a lot of the early levels (75/150, 150/300 for example) but with so many runners and so many chips in play the comp was certainly going to run quite late so I wouldn’t actually make the structure “better”.

My advice would be to remove the option of an add-on, because for £43 you are effectively having a 36,000 starting stack and that makes it very deep for a mid-week comp. It should though have un-limited re-entries. That way the chip average wouldn’t be so high immediately after the break.

I actually had 30,000 at the first break but I still wanted to have the £20 add-on as it would have increased my stack by 60%. Tactically I won’t take an add-on if it doesn’t increase my stack by 25% or more but with a prize pool of £1,330 and over £500 going to the eventual winner I thought the extra £20 for 60% uplift was well worth it.

Sadly although I left my £20 on the table during the break I didn’t get given the chips. Aaron was snowed under trying to sort out those who hadn’t had the full 18,000 prior to the break and trying to get the dealers organised. So by the time I could have asked for them we’d been playing 10 minutes so I didn’t want to give him anymore problems.

Anyway after the re-start they broke our table first as we were down to 6 players. This provided a fun moment.
The six of us were given a card each with the 3 highest (I was one of them) told to go to one table that had 3 empty seats. I asked “which seat” and was told “just pick one”. LOL, how daft is that? This will cause so many arguments if they continue with this.
Musical Chairs
How do you decide who gets the BB if that seat is available? This will create players running and literally fighting like 8 year olds playing musical chairs at a birthday party.
Ben Maregedze
As it happened I got to the table first and quickly looked around the table to see where the empty seats were and who was playing on that table. The aforementioned Ben Maregedze was on the table and the seat 2 to his left was empty and it had the button on it. One of the other empty seats was 1 to his right and the other seat was about to inherit the Big Blind. Guess which one I picked?

Being on Bens table is normally good fun but we had a right twat on it who was tank folding hand after hand. Eventually the table lost patience with him and he had the clock called on him twice. He was so annoyed that he tilt shoved in with sh1t and was KO’d much to every-ones delight.

Sadly after a very good start to the evening my luck ran out as I went totally card dead and failed to win a pot after the first break. I really wish I’d been given the add-on.

When I left Ben had well over 100k after winning 2 successive huge pots with his high variance style.

I’m still not running well, and confidence is low. This generally compounds the problem as I opt for a low variance style because I just expect to lose any all-in situation.

When I busted they had about 26 players still in and it was 1.30am but the blinds were getting big. I had an important meeting about some regular work the next day (which fortunately I got) so I opted to go straight home and not play cash.

I really would have liked to have played cash as the game looked super-soft and more in-line with my current bankroll. It was 50p/£1 and full of very poor players. When you overhear one of the biggest fish from the Ricoh saying “I can’t wait to get on there as it’s full of fish” you know it’s a good game.

So going forward I’m not going to be playing very much mid-week any-more as I’ll be back to getting up early to leave for work rather than working from home and getting up at lunchtime. If I was going to play on a Wednesday night I’d certainly be happy to give this comp another go. I’d be tempted to give it a few weeks to allow the dealers’ time to improve, but overall I think the card room has a lot going for it.

Upcoming events

There is an awesome £100 Freeze-out (re-entries allowed if there is a seat open) at the Gala in Birmingham this coming Saturday (8thDecember).  

20,000 starting stack (2k extra if you pre-register) 25 minute blind levels throughout and an UNCONDITIONAL £10,000 guarantee. 

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I know when I’m not wanted.

It doesn’t happen very often but occasionally I get the chance to report some “exclusive” things happening on the poker Midlands poker scene. I’m proud of the fact that my blog was the first place to ever mention a tournament called the “Goliath” back in March 2011 way before most of the Poker News websites knew about it. (see original Goliath story here)

Also having been a member of the Rainbow casino in Birmingham since 1977 I was thrilled to be invited to their Grand re-opening night back in November 2010. (read about it here) I’ve also trailered other up and coming events of interest and also I once had over 4,000 people read my blog in the space of a week when I reported about someone getting a life ban for cheating.
I do really enjoy reporting “news” rather than merely posting up my bad beats all the time and I’m damn sure people enjoy reading it more:)

So with the new casino about to open in Coventry I was hoping to be there on the first night to be able to report what it was like before everyone was able to see it for themselves. (No point doing a review when everyone’s already been)

It seems that the new casino in Coventry doesn’t want me to give it any positive publicity at all.

After I gave their initial poker schedule a very poor review and reviewing the amended one as having some improvements this evening they had an opportunity to gain some really positive vibes from me.

The casino opens tomorrow (Friday 23rd) to the general public but tonight (Thursday 22nd) they have a special £30 poker tournament but its only open to those who bought in via the Tile Hill casino. You cannot just turn up on the night as it’s an invitation only evening. You know the sort of evening I mean, where they invite a load of local big wigs who’ll never set foot in the place ever again once the free champagne has run-out.
Anyway, I have tried to get an invite but it seems that I’m not welcome.

The first I heard about the tournament was when the card room manager (CRM), Mark, tweeted this late on Saturday 17th about it.

I have never been to the Tile Hill casino and didn’t really want to specifically drive and find it on a Sunday just to buy in. So I contacted the CRM via twitter (no reply) and via the Midlands Poker Forum to see if a seat could be reserved for me.

I obviously wanted to go along and see the place, review it and get it posted up on the blog before the poker room opens to the public on Tuesday 27th November.

Anyway the CRM’s reply was…

the comp is on the VIP night ( thursday ) and everyone needs VIP pass to get in , still couple seats left though … best thing to do would be to ring 02476 231234 to see if you can come in , cant promise anything though as it aint up to me , and we maybe near capacity for the building

Undeterred I rang the casino on 3 separate occasions and got nowhere. Each time I tried to explain why I wanted to come along and was told only the manager was able to grant the all-important “VIP pass” and she wasn’t there. When I rang again tonight at 6.30 pm for the 4th time, I was spoken to on the phone along the lines of “if you haven’t got a pass you’re a pleb and you aint getting one”.

Now I know how that policeman felt who was on duty in Downing Street recently.

So it appears that only the locals from the now closed Tile Hill casino are going to be playing in the comp this evening.

Weird really, you’d think they’d be keen for some positive publicity after the video review I gave on their initial schedule. 
The last time I looked 337 people had viewed it on YouTube in the last 18 days. (That figure will probably go up now I’ve posted another link to it here). See Video review HERE

So I guess if I want to go and see what it’s like I’ll have to visit like a normal “pleb”.

For not allowing me to come along and report on the evening I’m tempted to tell them where they can stick their new casino, but I prefer not to be bitter and twisted about itJ

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Genting Casino Coventry Schedule, Take Two

Genting Coventry Skydome
So Genting removed their poker schedule less than 24hrs after launching it and they have today, after a period of deliberation, posted a new one on the Midlands Poker Forum.(MPF)

I have put the new schedule alongside the old one in the table below to run a comparison.

In the original thread on the MPF quite a few people, myself included, asked why there were no comps on a Fri and Sat night but those questions were not answered. 
So there is still no official word on why the card room will not operate tournaments on a Friday and Saturday. Not having been inside the building I have no idea what the capacity is but if it’s small then they may not wish to be turning gaming floor punters away on  Friday or Saturday if it’s near the limit.

Also maybe they have other plans for the card room on Fri/Sat, such as functions, entertainment or private dining. I’m sure the reasons will become apparent when the club eventually opens.

New

Old

Better/worse?

Sunday

4.30 £5 rebuy , extra 1k chips at start for £1, 2k starting stack with 4k addon ,

4.30 £5 rebuy , £1 reg , extra 1k chips at start for £1 , 2k starting stack with 4k add on

8.30 No comp

Same

Mon

£20 Turbo Freezeout + £3 reg , 15k chips with 15 minute blinds

optional £20 re-entry or addon for 15k chips

£20 Turbo Freezeout , with 1 rebuy and addon , £3 reg , 10k chips with 15 minute blinds

Better with 15k stack instead of 10k. (But still a chip throwing contest)

Tues

£30 Deepstack Freezeout with optional 1 re-entry or addon

£4 reg , 20k chips with 20 minute blinds ,

£30 Deepstack Freezeout , optional 1 re-entry , £4 reg , 15k chips with 30 minute blinds

 

?

No idea more chips but less time. I suspect it may actually finish earlier.
Wed

£20 Triple chance with 1 re-entry allowed

£3 reg , 3x 6k chips , 20 min blinds

£10 rebuy , £1 reg , extra 1k chips at start for £2 , 2k starting stack with 5k add on

Much better. I’d be happy to play this.

Thurs

£15 Turbo Freezeout with optional 1 re-entry , £3 reg , 25k chips with 15 minute blinds

£15 Turbo Freezeout , £3 reg , optional 1 re-entry , 25k chips with 15 minute blinds

Same

Friday

No Tournament

No Tournament

Same

Sat

No Tournament

No Tournament

Same

The one big improvement looks to be Wednesday night which I would now prefer over the £15 Deep and steep at the Grosvenor Coventry that night. Mondays offering has also been slightly improved but the rest is all pretty much the same.

You can see my report on the original schedule where I compare it to the poker tournaments offered at the Grosvenor Coventry (Ricoh) : Read Report Here.

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Genting Casino Coventry, Double Oh Dear

Well the new Genting Casino in Coventry is due to open on Friday November 23rd 2012. The address and phone number are as follows.

Genting Casino Coventry,

Skydome, Coventry, CV1 5JD

Tel 02476 231234


The name “Skydome” sounds like a James Bond film but they’ve just released the poker schedule and it looks more like double “oh dear” than double 07.

I was expecting something to shake or stir the Grosvenor Coventry but instead of frightening the “living daylights” out of them they have left them as still Coventry’s “Casino Royale”. (OK enough Bond puns)

I’m frankly staggered that Genting have done absolutely NOTHING to try and entice players from the Ricoh to the Skydome. First impressions mean a lot and this smacks of “we don’t give a shit” before the place has even opened.

Where is the great promotion? Where is the fanfare? Where is the… well anything really? A glass of cheap champagne and canapés is hardly a grand opening.

As for the poker schedule it’s a half arsed attempt at best. I was expecting them to come on the scene and give Grosvenor Cov (G Cov) something to think about by trying to lure their loyal regulars away from the Ricoh.

I thought the poker schedule would be innovative or reg free or have guarantees or something but not a bit of it. I don’t know what their cash game rake or session fees are but if it was my club I’d be running them rake free for the first month to get players in and gets the games started.



If it was me I’d have a big (not buy-in big) tournament to kick it off, with some if not all of their sponsored pros in attendance. It would have been a great boost for the local players to have a chance to play alongside the Hendon Mob and players like James Akenhead etc. How much trouble would it have been to arrange something, Paul and Ben Jackson live in the Midlands?
Genting Sponsored “Maylis Boardman”
If they’d at least invited the Genting sponsored Maylis Boardman to the opening of the card room that would have guaranteed my attendance and I suspect a great many other poker players.

Anyway I’ve put a copy of the Genting Skydomes Poker Schedule below (Courtesy of the Midlands Poker Forum) and rather than write a huge long report I’ve done a quick video comparing it to the G Covs schedule with my thoughts on the relative pros and cons of each card room’s tournaments.


Can I just point out that the views expressed here are my own and I have no affiliation with either company.


Genting Skydome Schedule;
Monday 

£20 Turbo Freezeout , with 1 rebuy and addon , £3 reg , 10k chips with 15 minute blinds

Tuesday

£30 Deepstack Freezeout , optional 1 re-entry , £4 reg , 15k chips with 30 minute blinds

Wednesday

£10 rebuy , £1 reg , extra 1k chips at start for £2 , 2k starting stack with 5k addon, 3×30 min then 20 min blinds

Thursday

£15 Turbo Freezeout , £3 reg , optional 1 re-entry , 25k chips with 15 minute blinds

Friday and Saturday 

Cash Games available from 8pm 

Sunday

£5 rebuy , £1 reg , extra 1k chips at start for £1 , 2k starting stack with 4k addon , 3×30 min then 20 min blinds

  
To compare the two casinos poker schedules I’ve put them side by side in the table below.

G Cov

Ricoh

Genting

Skydome

Winner

Sunday

4.30pm deep & steep 15k 15m

8.30 £25 25k 15m

4.30 £5 rebuy , £1 reg , extra 1k chips at start for £1 , 2k starting stack with 4k add on

8.30 No comp

Ricoh. The Skydome looks to be catering for the lower end of the market with this offering.

Plus Ricoh does offer an evening comp.

Mon

Free Entry

£5 re-buys add ons

1,500 starting stack

3k r 6ka

20 min blinds

£20 Turbo Freezeout , with 1 rebuy and addon , £3 reg , 10k chips with 15 minute blinds

Ricoh.

Free entry a bit gimmicky but a nice touch. On balance if I was just looking for a cheap nights poker I’d probably opt for the Ricoh. 20m blinds over 15 would edge it for me.

Tues

£20 6 max 10k chips 20m blinds

£30 Deepstack Freezeout , optional 1 re-entry , £4 reg , 15k chips with 30 minute blinds

Skydome.

With the extra 5k chips and 30m throughout I make this the winner, even though I personally really enjoy 6 max.

Wed

£15 deep & steep 15k 15m £500 guaranteed

£10 rebuy , £1 reg , extra 1k chips at start for £2 , 2k starting stack with 5k add on

Ricoh (just)

I hate 15 min blind structures but I hate re-buys more! Also the Ricoh guarantee is a positive.

Thurs

£25 double chance 10k 20m

£15 Turbo Freezeout , £3 reg , optional 1 re-entry , 25k chips with 15 minute blinds

Draw.

Tough choice. A lot more chips at Sky but 20m levels and a great structure at Ricoh. If you’re on a tight budget maybe lean towards Sky

Friday

£30 10k 30m blinds

No Tournament?

Ricoh.

To be honest no matter what the Skydome put on it would be tough to beat the Ricohs new £30 comp which is one of the best comps I’ve played for that level of buy in for a very long time.
Sat

 £25 Super Stack 50k

 No Tournament

 No Contest!

Anyway I shall visit the Genting casino out of curiosity for sure and will post my thoughts afterwards, but I don’t think I’ll be going there too often going forward with the current schedule in place.

If you are ever really not sure which poker tournament to play in the Coventry area then it might be worth finding out where “Luck Box” Pete is playing and go to the other one ๐Ÿ™‚

Thankfully there’s only one “One Eyed Pete”
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Positive Changes at G Cov, but is it too little too late?

Coincidently not long after my recent blog post (21stOct) the poker room at Grosvenor Coventry has made some quite significant changes to the blind structures for ALL tournaments.

This is a very positive step in my opinion as the structure is now virtually identical to the excellent GUKPT main event structure.

Apart from the fact that they only play the 100/200 level once (they have missed the 2nd one where the 25 ante kicks in) and also the 500/1000/125 is missing, other than that they play every level.

Compared to the old structure having the addition of the 75/150 and 150/300 and bringing antes in from 150/300 (level 5) makes a subtle yet significant difference.

Subtle in the fact that the donks won’t really notice the way the game will change, yet players with some post flop ability will have been given a little bit more edge over the field during the early stages.

Also the nits that sit and fold round after round whilst waiting to get dealt a premium hand will be bled dry of chips a little bit quicker. At the 300/600/50 level for instance it will cost 1,400 chips per round rather than just 900 and this will mean that if you are still on starting stack (10k) you are now in the danger zone.

The players who, in the absence of good cards, are prepared to make their own arrangements will have more chips in each pot to steal.  So although the game should take longer, in many ways it won’t because this new structure will create multi way action deeper into the tournament and force short stacks to get busy when the blinds/antes start to hurt.

Under the old structure it was always very noticeable that when the blinds went to 300/600 the table would tighten up significantly. This was the level when I looked to start opening pots as often as possible because the average player at Cov would now stop calling small raises.
At 50/100 making it 250 is never going to win the pot uncontested but an opening bet of 1,500 at 300/600 would often get both blinds to fold.

(For all the Cov regulars reading this can I just say I’ve decided not to raise with garbage anymore so if I do make it 1,500 at 300/600 it means I have AA, KK, QQ or AK and maybe AQ but only if it’s suited).

The new structure means that on a Friday for example it’s an hour later before we even reach that level so there will be far more 4 and 5 way pots. These are the pots where people get busted out of the tournament by getting married to hands like “over pairs” or “top pair top kicker”.

So all in all the blind structure changes are terrific and should make all comps there a lot better even the 15 min turbo ones.

I spoke to one of the (many) supervisors, James Gillard, the other night and he is clearly very keen to improve the card room. I first met James when he used to be a customer like me a few years ago when the G was called the Isle Casino. He was a decent player and very enthusiastic about poker generally which is a great advantage.

He certainly understood my point that better structures don’t necessarily mean much longer running times.

They haven’t just stopped there either they have made some small alterations to the schedule as well. Tuesday see’s the first ever 6 max at Cov which I’d quite like to play; the problem is that Cov just doesn’t get many runners on a Tuesday no matter what comp they run.

Although I went to the G Cov last Tues for the satellite into the £100 comp, I wouldn’t normally go there on a Tues as the Gala Birmingham has a fantastic £25 comp on. This week’s Tues comp at the Gala had 114 runners for a prize pool of £2,850.

The results posted here are courtesy of the Midlands Poker Forum. The Midlands Poker Forum is free to join by the way and is totally dedicated to poker in the Midlands, with news and schedules from every card room.

They also post up the results if the Card Room Managers (CRM) provide them. These were the pay-outs on Tuesday night at the Gala. (They obviously did some sort of deal)


£25 Deepstack – £1500 guaranteed

114 entries – £2850 prizepool

1 – M. Brown – £800

2 – M. Abdelkader – £460

3 – S. Armer – £460

4 – N. Roberts – £460

5 – H. Bhayat – £195

6 – P. Pratt – £130

7 – N. Banks – £100

8 – A. McDermott – £70

9 – Y. Xiao – £55

10 – V. Novakovic – £40

11 – N. Chambers – £40

12 – A. Durall – £40

That’s just an amazing comp for £25 and is definitely my preferred option on a Tuesday night.
It’s worth mentioning btw that from November the Gala’s new £100 comp starts and it has an UNCONDITIONAL £10,000 guarantee which is just awesome. I’m sure it will be a complete sell-out.

Anyway back to the G Cov.

The biggest positive from the NEW schedule is the change to the Friday night comp. Friday has been for ages a totally dreadful £15 comp that was my biggest bugbear about the card room. Friday is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the week in any casino so to serve up this garbage has always been a huge mistake in my opinion.

They recently changed it to a £50 comp but that hasn’t really worked for the card room and they have changed it again from November onwards. Although it made close to the £2,500 guarantee every week it seemed to kill the card room.  The cash tables have been virtually non-existent during the 8 weeks the £50 comp was running.

It will now be a £30 comp with a £1,000 (progressive) guarantee.  This is basically what I’ve been suggesting for 2 years, so I really hope it works. I think that the average player at Coventry will be far more comfortable with a £30 than a £50 comp and it should get some decent numbers.

The only danger to it is the “Once a month” £100 comp which is on the last Friday of the month. This means that casual players that turn up on the last Friday of the month for a game of poker and find it’s a £100 comp will leave disappointed. I don’t think having the confusion of a once a month schedule change is a good idea.

It worked fine with the once a month £50 comp (£5,000 guarantee) as only a dozen players normally play on a Tuesday anyway. But messing around with a Friday may have more people turned away disappointed. Obviously at somewhere like DTD they can just run both comps but I doubt that Cov could really handle that.

The cash games on a Friday over the last few weeks have been almost non-existent partly because the £50 was getting 20-30 runners less than the old £15 comp and also some of the cash game regulars who would never bother entering the £15 did start to play the £50 one. This meant that even the almost ever present “Table 11” game folded when the £50 comp started.

I do think that the “re-entry” factor also plays a big part in the cash game numbers dropping. In a straight freeze out when you bust out you have 2 choices poker wise, either play cash or leave the card room. Now there is a third option of re-entry and this will inevitably reduce cash game numbers.

Previously husband and wife teams or lads who car share would normally play cash rather than just sit and wait for the other car passengers. Now they can re-enter it does boost the prize pool and helps the casino make the guarantee (if there is one) but to the detriment of the cash tables.

From a player perspective the really good casino cash players do rely heavily on the “casual” or “occasional” cash player boosting their winnings on the softer weekend nights. Now these less experienced players can just re-enter the comp it stops them from trying their luck with £50 on the cash table. From the casino point of view not having cash games is a total disaster as let’s be honest no one ever makes a profit running tournaments it’s impossible.

The Gala in Birmingham had no option but to allow immediate re-entry as players would just leave and go to the Broadway and late reg for their comp when they bust early so it at least keeps them in the casino. That way at least when they bust after late reg closes the Broadways will be closed as well and they have a chance they’ll sit and play cash in their casino.

At the G Cov though that isn’t currently a viable option as they don’t have another card room two minutes down the road. (well not yet anyway) I feel though that re-entries are here to stay as it’s what most players want.

It will take a few weeks for people to know what the new Friday comp is and hopefully the players who used to play the £15 one but not the £50 will give the £30 one a shot.

I’m confident the numbers would definitely increase considerably once people realise about the new changes.  Also the fact that Fridays are now fully dealer dealt is a HUGE plus that has gone largely unpublicised and unnoticed. I have some friends who stopped going on a Friday ages ago because they will not self deal.

So you’d think that things were all going to be positive in future at G Coventry, well maybe not.

Sadly it may be, as the title of this post suggests, too little too late.

If Coventry is “Rorke’s Drift” and the G Cov is the British army, I’ve got bad news for them. The Zulus in the shape of “Genting Casinos” are about to appear on the horizon. The new Genting club opens on 23rdNovember. See Here.

I’m not sure Lieutenant John Chard (Stanley Baker, aka Karl Johnson) and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine, aka James Gillard) will be able to stem the flow.

At this point in time, no one that knows what Genting have up their sleeve is saying much, but I doubt they will not launch without some sort of fanfare. If they have plans to dominate the poker scene in Coventry they will doubtless come up with something to give it a kick start.

Genting Coventry
I’ve asked Colin McTaggart (CRM at Genting Star City) if the new CRM at Coventry could let me have a copy of the schedule as soon as it’s available and he said he will. I’m looking forward to it immensely. I will undoubtedly go and have a look when it opens but whether long term I go there purely depends on the poker offering.

Personally, ignoring poker, just looking at the number of visitors to the G Coventry post Olympics I wouldn’t want to be opening a casino in Coventry right now as it seems to be struggling to support one casino yet alone two.

On the positive side there should be value to be had for poker players if the two casinos do get into some sort of promotion battle.

The new blind structure for ALL G Coventry tournaments is shown below.

Level  S Blind    B Blind  Running Ante

1              25           50           0

2              50           100         0

3              75           150         0

4              100         200         0

5              150         300         25

6              200         400         50

7              300         600         75

8              400         800         100

9              600         1200       150

10           800         1600       200

11           1000       2000       250

12           1200       2400       300

13           1500       3000       400

14           2000       4000       500

15           3000       6000       600

And so on up.

Anyway interesting times ahead for poker in the Coventry area I’m sure. See you at the tables!

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Never say Never

G Casino Coventry

It saddens me but I really don’t think I will be going to the G Coventry very much any-more.  I won’t say I’ll never go there as that would be daft, but unless they make changes it’s unlikely I’ll be going there much in future. Even though I love the place/people, there is just no tournament that merits going.

Looking at the schedule there just is not any comp that has everything I look for in a tournament. I want…
1 a good structure & a decent clock

2 decent number of runners (50 +)

3 preferably guarantees but if you get #2 it’s not so important

4 deep starting stacks

5 Freeze out format (I’m happy about re-entry, but don’t like re-buys)

6 Fully dealer dealt (though that is getting better at Cov)
7 Something decent to eat if I’m hungry

So for the following reasons Mon night is out (re-buy), Tuesday is just a satellite, Wednesday the laughably called “Deep & Steep” structure (i.e. 15 minute bingo), Thursday only 10k starting stack and 20 min clock, Friday I will talk about in more detail below, Saturday 15 minute clock, Sunday 8k stack and 20 minute clock. The Fri, Sat and Sun afternoon comps are all 15 minute clocks.

Just lately I’ve only been going on a Friday night to the £50 comp and I’ve come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t go anymore. I would have stopped a few weeks back when I first realised that the structure was shite.

It took me a few weeks to realise it was terrible as with a 30 minute clock throughout I thought it would be really good. However with only 10k starting stack and lots of missing levels having a 30 minute clock does not make up for it. There is no 75/150 or 150/300 so at level 4 after the break if you are down to 8k (which I often am) you have a mere 20 big blinds. That removes 90% of your wiggle room and 30 minutes later if you haven’t progressed you are probably down to 10 – 12 big blinds and looking for a hand to shove in with.

It’s not as if they are doing chip counts at 5.30 am because they are not. The tournament gets around 40 runners (plus some re-entries to make just about the guarantee £2,500) and the last two weeks they have been down to two tables at 11.30 and 11.45 respectivley. From then on it does slow up but only because of the style of play most of the players have. There are many who are willing to get blinded down to 4 or 5 big blinds waiting for AK, or JJ+.

I’m reluctant to moan too much about the way a lot of them play for fear of it sounding like sour grapes (I’ve never cashed in this comp and I’ve played it 8 weeks running) and yet I’ve seen people on the final table limping in early position when they have 6 big blinds and then folding to a raise.

A lot of the time casinos think if they give fewer chips it won’t take so long. I actually disagree with this assumption.  I tighten up my starting range, 3 bet less often and call raises in position less often with fewer starting chips because I have no choice.

What they don’t seem to realise is without these multi-way pots less people get busted at the early levels. What little edge I have over the Muppets in this comp is just lost if I can’t play pots with them.

Once the blinds are 300/600 (level  5) if it’s folded to me my normal opening bet will be 1,500 but if you only have 8k that’s just too dangerous without a real hand. You can’t raise/fold more than once with that stack size. So I just have to sit there and wait like the rest of them.

For this comp to only have a 10k starting stack it should have the same structure as a GUKPT event with the 75/150 and 150/300 added, plus play 100/200 twice the second time with antes. The antes come in far too late. For me the earlier the antes come in the better as I’ll be opening pots and taking them more often than the average player there.

If they don’t want to put all the levels in then the starting stack should be increased to 20k.

They are running a £100 2 day comp once a month starting on 26th October, but I definitely will not be playing it. Although the clock is 40 minutes it also just has a 10k starting stack. For a £100 2 day comp that is just ridiculous. I don’t know what levels will be in the event but if it’s like the normal Friday one it will struggle to last 2 days that’s for sure.

I’m fairly sure that they will be down to such low numbers by the end of day 1, that the players involved will probably ask if they can carry on and play it out rather than come back the second night. Personally I’d rather sit and play cash with £100 than play a structure like that.

As I say I realised some weeks ago that the structure/starting stack wasn’t great but I wanted to support the comp as I along with a lot of other players had been asking for a better comp on a Friday night for some time.

I always felt that the £15 was just so low as to make it hardly worth bothering with. It used to get about 60 – 70 runners on a good night but it was daft when you could play all night and min cash for £20.

Personally I was hoping that it would just be raised to £25 with a £1,500 guarantee which is enough to just make the prize pool more worthwhile and yet it would not price out the casual/social players.

There are 3 girls who played the £50 comp 3 or 4 weeks running but when two of them got busted the 3rd one would just shove in blind to deliberately bust out so they could go into the bar for the karaoke! But at £50 each that’s an expensive comp to enter when you have no real intention of playing it seriously.

I noticed that this week they didn’t enter the comp even though they were there.  Also there is a girl called Kayleigh (I think that’s her name) who didn’t enter this week as she said it’s just a bit too much money for her. Too be honest I think she was wise as she’s new to the game and that’s not meant to be patronising. She’s no worse than a lot of the players at Cov but to her credit at least she has the brains to realise her limitations.
It’s always entertaining to have her on my table as she’s as nutty as a fruit cake. She really makes me laugh with some of the stuff she comes out with.

Anyway Friday just gone I did say to a few people at the start of the comp that I probably wouldn’t be playing it again. Shame really as I really do like the people up at Coventry far more than any other casino I go to.

After busting the comp in the usual manner I just hung around and chatted to people rather than go home. The £1/2 game was way too deep for me to sit down at so I just had a punt on roulette (small win) and then sat on the 25p/50p PLHE table out in the pit.

Paul Hall

That was fun, I was sat with Paul Hall to my right and then Steve Owen sat down three to my left after about half an hour. He couldn’t resist it. Steve normally plays the bigger cash games at Cov six night s a week but tonight he’d suffered a couple of horrid beats on the £1/2 table. The second one I witnessed when he flopped a set of 8’s and lost a really big pot to a river straight.

Even though he’d still got lots of money on him he decided to leave the game. Steve had been stood behind me sweating my cards telling me I should be “raising the pot every time”. It’s only 50p big blind and most of the players on the table are very lose/passive so I prefer to see flops cheaply (unless I have a real premium hand) and then get maximum value if I hit something big.

Anyway the table is fun and when Steve sits down true to his word he starts making pots sized raises pre-flop every hand. I fold the first few hands (without even limping for 50p) as I know what’s coming, then 4thhand Steve is big blind and I get AKs and limp along with several others.

Steve Owen

I know he’s potting it and of course he does, everyone folds to me so I re-pot it and much to my surprise the lady to my immediate left who also limped for 50p now calls my re-pot-raise of about £12 and so does Steve.

We are 3 way to the flop and I miss everything and Steve checks to me, I check and so does the lady. On the turn Steve checks again but I’ve picked up a gutter ball Broadway draw so I bet the pot which is me all in except 50p. (Max sit down is £25) The lady calls though she has less than me and Steve calls as well.

I river the nuts and flick my last 50p in, Steve calls me. He had a pair of 9’s and was ahead on the turn. Ha Ha! See I can run well when it’s penny pots.

After that Steve tries to bully the other players in a few more pots but just gets mullered. Then a real funny pot happens when he raises pre, gets loads of callers and then when he pots it on the flop all 6 players fold. Normally he’d get 4 or 5 callers as they just hardly ever fold but this time they all did. To my great amusement Steve turns over pocket Aces in total disgust when they all fold. Paul and I rib him mercilessly.

It was actually really enjoyable poker as it’s perfectly acceptable to laugh and take the piss out of your mates in those sorts of games. Obviously at the £1/2 table it’s not the done thing to start laughing when someone gets unlucky ๐Ÿ™‚

The standard of play on the table in the main is terrible and it’s actually quite difficult to adjust to the way they play.  One funny hand that happened just before Steve sat down I tweeted about: My bb, 2 limpers then guy min raised. Small blind and I both call as do the original 2 limpers. So 4 of us call him.

Everyone checks to him on flop, so what does he do? …… He folds. I genuinely laughed out loud.

After I’d left Steve somehow managed to win a £130 pot with 63 when he turned a boat, not bad at a 50p table.

Anyway I shall miss Coventry and the people there. I’m sure I will go there occasionally but it’s back to the Gala for me from now on. Though on Fridays I may give the Broadway crap-shoot a try. The structure is as bad as Coventry’s but it makes £4 or £5k.

My blog gets just over 200 unique visitors a week nowadays and a lot of the regulars at Coventry read it so hopefully I’ll see you all before too long. The fact that so many of the regulars read it now has slightly changed the way I write it as I have to be aware that anyone I mention may read it or be told about it. Hence why I didn’t describe any of the girls mentioned. Suffice to say… “nice shoes”.

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Multi Buy-in Madness

Gala Birmingham has made a slight change to their re-entry rule and it’s turned the tournaments upside down. I don’t suggest for a minute that they change it back as the vast majority of players seem to like it, but my own personal view is it doesn’t suit my game as much prior to the first break.

That said if I can get off to a good start in the new style comps then I’ll probably have a much better chance of success in the later stages.

When they first started with the new card room they bravely put on unconditional guarantees 7 nights a week and were putting in lots of money to make up the short fall. So to help reduce these big overlays they started to allow re-entries but these were done in a quite controlled way.

The structure at the Gala is for all normal comp’s 4 x 30 minutes levels, 1st break, then 20 minute levels till the end. (Breaks every 2 hrs)

So the original re-entry system was if you got KO’d in level 1 you could re-enter at the start of level 2. KO in level 2, re-enter in level 3. KO 3 re-enter in 4. 
You could NOT re-enter if you got KO’d in level 4, even though late comers could still buy into the comp up to the end of level 4, which is the 1st break.

So max re-entries was 3 but people rarely did that many. The reason being, depending on when you bust out you may have to wait almost 30 minutes to re-enter, so the short stacks would try and recover and nurse their stack a bit rather than going nuts and throwing their chips in with any 2 cards.
If there was 20 minutes to go in the level they didn’t want to sit out that long, so you may as well nit up and wait at the table and maybe get dealt a genuine hand to shove with. Also when you have to wait over 15 minutes to get back in it gave those on tilt time to cool down a bit.

Now, sadly, they have made it instant re-entry up to the end of level 4, as long as there is a seat for you available on another table. This as I found out last night has made it into a bit of a mad hatter’s tea party. The carpet from the tables to the cash desk was in danger of being worn out as steady stream of players were up and down like a whores knickers.

I was on table 2 and we had a few bust outs prior to the break but it seemed that table 3 was losing a player a hand.

Because of the madness I felt compelled to gamble more than I wanted to. I made a raise over a couple of limpers on the button with KQ which I would generally do anyway. However I would normally be prepared to lay that hand down if I was forced to.

It was about 10 minutes before the break and one of the original limpers an older guy than me, yes there are some, decided to ship in over the top. He had me covered so it was for all my chips.
He was a truly dreadful player so he could have almost anything to make that move. With the old re-entry rules I would have folded and let the few chips go to wait for a better spot, but the chip average was already so high that I felt I needed to gamble and double up or just re-enter. So I made the call.

He had JJ which I was pretty pleased with until I remembered my race winning ability. Sure enough I was out and went to the desk to re-enter.

It was the first time I have ever re-entered at the Gala in all my times playing there, which is testimony to my nitty style and the excellent pre-break structure. 

With literally 3 mins to go I get put on table 3. Bearing in mind that the starting stack was 12,000 chips it shows what the table was like by the fact that the chip leader had 108,000 which equates to his starting stack plus 8 other players. Several other players had over 36,000. 
The guy who had all the chips was a complete poker pillock, a very lovely guy mind you, but didn’t have the first clue about poker.

Don’t think he folded pre-flop more than 3 times a round and it was impossible to make him fold once he’d put a chip in the pot.

On the break at the Gala the dealer counts the players stacks and then writes them on a card so everyone can see. I like this as I’m paranoid about it as I’ve had chips stolen from my stack at DTD once on the break. Anyway when I get back from the break I check the card and add up the total chips. Just on our table we had 360,000 chips.
So as we were just about to start the 300/600 blind level the chip average was 60 BB’s on our table. You don’t get that in a £20 comp very often!
Anyway very quickly I get moved back to table 2 to balance the tables and I’m really disappointed as I figured I was either going to get busted or win mega chips on table 3.

Anyway 5 mins later they move the lovely chip leader from table 3 to my table. Within minutes the action gets folded to me and I get AQs in mid position. (Still 300/600). I make it 1,500 and it folds to the BB the charming chip leader man.

He politely asks how much I have behind, and I reply 12k (I’ve taken the blinds a couple of times) so he puts the lot in. I call and he shows A,10. The way he’d been running I confidently predicted that he’d win and of course I was right. In time honoured fashion he didn’t hit his 10 till the river.

He very politely apologised to me in that well-mannered way our oriental friends do and I was away cursing my luck again. (running like a drain since 1976) 
What made matters worse is I couldn’t just flounce out the room like normal as I had to wait for my mate Derek to bust out or win me some money. (We always do 10%) So I just had to wait around and suffer watching muppets with chip stacks so big they needed a building permits donk them off to each other.

James Harcourt

Fortunately James Harcourt was there and having busted also I was able to sit and chat to him for a good while. I like the way James plays and we always talk “poker tactics”. I think we have some similarities in our styles of play, but players who don’t know us probably think we are very different. I actually think James is a bit tighter than his table image and I’m a bit looser than mine, so we sort of meet in the middle.

Anyway Derek sadly busted out in 11th place with 9 paid so a double frustration.

The chip average with 11 players left was about 55 BB’s which is very unusual for a small buy in comp but the staggering amount of re-entries bloated the chips in play and they were still playing the same way after the break and players were busting so quickly. 
When I’ve made FT’s there before the chip average is about 10 BB’s when the FT starts.
Counting the re-entries they had 71 runners, though I’m guessing they didn’t have many more than 40 actual people there. It had 80+ entries Tuesday night and they get nearly 100 on the Sunday 5.00 pm comp so it shows it’s what the players want.

They are going to be running a £100 comp there once a month (on a Saturday at 5.00 pm I think) with a £10,000 UNCONDITIONAL guarantee. Which sounds a lot better to me than the £150 monthly comp at Star City which has a conditional on 50 runners £10,000 guarantee.

Though this £100 comp has not been officially announced yet I believe it starts in November and they will be running £5 re-buy satellites with 5 seats guaranteed on Monday nights running up to it.

As most of you know I do not have any connection to the Gala casino and I’m not paid to write positive stuff for them, I just write it as I see it. If I was getting any financial incentive to promote them I’d certainly feel obliged to tell you.

Cash Game Sir!
The reason I stated that is it appears that someone (who is not a casino employee) is being paid to promote another Midlands casinos cash games for them. I have been told about this by three different people so I guess there is a good chance its true.

Apparently he invites his poker buddies along to play cash there and gives in a list of invites to the CRM. When these guys turn up he then gets a cut of the rake/session fees that these guys generate.

I run affiliate style websites myself (not gambling ones) and I do know someone who is very big in the gambling affiliate market. He makes a very good living introducing people to poker, bingo and casino slot machine websites. 
But I’ve never heard of a “live” casino having an official affiliate scheme, so I’d be intrigued to find out how they actually pay him. I doubt a casino would be paying anyone in used £20 notes in a brown envelope, so I’m sure it’s all above board.

Next time you do turn up to play cash or enter a tournament at any Midlands casino please say I sent you. I could do with some Brucie bonus points added to my membership card.
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Whoโ€™d Want to Run a Card Room?

Before I write about the main topic of this blog post I just wanted to mention Thomas French who like his brother Lee did rather well at the Ricoh during GUKPT week.
Thomas French
After finishing 5th for £1,060 in the £100 NL on the Saturday he then manages to chop the £100 NL Bounty tournament 4 way on the Monday but then played on to win the GUKPT tournament of champions seat. Well done mate.

Anyway Card Room Management.

So run a card room would you? It’s a tough job as lets be honest, 99% of poker players are not happy unless they’re moaning, me included. Get it right though and you will be turning them away, like the Gala Birmingham had to on Sunday.

The card room at the Gala can seat 90 players very comfortably, but Sunday they had 140 seated when the comp started and 65+ players on the alternates list and the list got longer and longer.

Every time someone busted they sat someone down on the seat before the guy had even left the card room. After 5x 25 min levels they managed to seat 188 and who knows what they could have seated with un-limited space and dealers, 250+ I reckon.

Gala B’ham
I actually had a bad seat draw as I was right by the desk and the whole time I had to listen to players on the list bleating. I had to laugh when one guy said “its shit I can’t get in, this card room will never do any good if they keep running it like this.” (He was being serious)

mmm. I wish I owned a retail outlet that was so busy people couldn’t get in it!

The Broadway must have benefitted from it as at least 20 players from the alternates list and several of the early bust outs also went up there to get a game. The Broadways afternoon comp only had 21 runners so I guess they were due a bit back in the evening.

The Gala casino added £5,000 to the prize pool to celebrate its “birthday” and I was one of 75 lucky people who won a seat into it for free. The other 113 paid £50 to enter and this was added to the pool for a total of £10,650. Awesome for a £50 comp.

Grand Prix Final
This is what low stakes recreational players want, an affordable buy in, a decent structure and with just a slim chance that they can luck box their way to a big payday.

This was supposedly a one off, though I’d bet good money that it will not actually be the case. At the Gala they traditionally run a £4k free-roll each month but it never ever generates the interest and buzz around the place that this did.


What about when they get it wrong?

Well it’s sad really as no one wants to see an empty card room, but sometimes they only have themselves to blame.

Too much of a Good Thing.

Card rooms make several mistakes and here is an example of the “too much of a good thing” mistake.

Take the Broadways Sunday afternoon £75 comp as an example. When it started it was a once a month comp and it quickly became successful. So what did they do? Obvious they started doing it every Sunday and immediately it died on its arse.

DTD always used to have the brilliantly successful £300 once a month comp and I won a satellite into it a few times and loved it. Then they had a great idea of the SUPER 50. A £50 equivalent of the £300, though just a 1 day thing.

Wow I thought I’ll definitely play that every month. It was a huge success initially so what did DTD do? They shoe horned a Super 50 into every available weekend day possible so they were jumbled up all over the place and you could never really be sure when they’d be on and soon it stopped being a big deal for me. If you can play an event every day there is always the thought “well I don’t feel like it today I play tomorrow instead.” So I ended up not going at all.

When its only one a month you really don’t want to miss it, and make a big effort to get there.


Garbage Structures and No Guarantees

15 minute blind structures, and piss poor prize pools are not going to encourage me to make the effort to have a shave and drive 30 miles to play.

I’ve often said on this blog how much I love the Ricoh (G Cov) but a lot of their comps are totally diabolical. Most of the normal comps have either 15 or 20 minute blind levels and no guarantee. For many reasons I prefer the Ricoh to the Gala Birmingham as a venue but I cannot in all reasonableness make an argument for not picking the Gala every time.

They have 4 x 30 minute levels at the start and the rest are 20 mins. They also have an un-conditional guarantee 7 nights a week. The blind levels could not be any longer as they get so many runners that mid-week comps finish way after 5.00am

I’ve been nagging Karl (Ricoh) for ages to raise the buy in on a Friday and Saturday to something meaningful. I love going there but when on a Friday night it gets 50 runners at £15 for a £750 pot. 1st prize is usually £220 and 7th gets about £20. It’s almost worse to min cash than it is to bubble.
To put that in perspective last night (Tues) the Gala’s £25 comp with a £1,500 guaranteed prize-pool collected £2,200 which equates to 88 runners. On a Tuesday!

So for ages I wanted it raised and I only meant to £20 or £25 then they could have put a £1k guarantee on it with dealers and I was confident that it would build up to the numbers it used to get in the Isle days. They used to get as many as 90 on a Friday then.

He’s finally done it and the new Friday night comp started last week. Crazily, I thought, they made it a £50 comp with a £2,500 guarantee!

I’ve got to be honest I thought he’d lost the plot. I turned up expecting 20 runners max and a £1,500 overlay but to my utter surprise they actually exceeded the guarantee.
The old excuse for not making it £25 was that “the locals can’t afford it”. My argument was, do you really want people in your casino who only come out on a Friday night with £15 in their pockets, drinking free soft drinks all night and making the place look untidy?
I think the turnout proved that if the comp has a good structure (it has a 30 min clock) and a guarantee players will support it.

Last Friday it was a really good tournament, fully dealer dealt with all of the better local players turning up for it. In fact I had a really tough seat draw surrounded by some right bandits. Comically though I manage to donate all my chips to one of the other players.

He limp/calls my raise 4 consecutive times. I lose them all, 99 < 44, then 88 < A8 then AK < K2. On the 4th occasion I was so short I just shoved in over his limp with 99 and he shows KK. (Running like a drain since 1976)

However I will be there this Friday for sure as it’s a really excellent comp. The play was just a little more “serious” than was usual for the £15 comp and the game was the better for it. The cash games looked busier afterwards as well; I’m guessing these players are generally more likely to sit at a cash table. So I hope it does well going forward.

The guarantee is a “progressive” one which means as they made the guarantee it will rise by £100 to £2,600 for this week.

When is a Guarantee Not a Guarantee?

The first joke I ever remember being told as a kid at school was “When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar.

Casinos offering guarantees that aren’t guarantees aren’t funny either. With the entire furore surrounding Partouche it’s been in the poker news quite a bit lately.

It’s not that long ago that DTD dropped there WSOP packages from 5 to 3 on the day of the tournament. I’m very surprised that they didn’t kop more flak from it than they did. I’m sure if it had been any other operator they’d have been flamed to death on various poker forums, especially Blonde. No one seems to dare speak ill of DTD for fear of getting banned but I doubt Surinder Sunar has too many kind words for them as he, so I was told, finished 4th.

Something else I’ve noticed recently is Guarantee’s being advertised with a * by them which says *Subject to 50 runners.

I don’t think this is right, it means if you turn up and they only have 20 runners then there is no guarantee at all?

For me the whole point of guarantees is to make sure that if I take the trouble to turn up there will be a decent amount of runners or the prize pool as if there was. I don’t expect ridiculously high guarantees as it serves no long term benefit to me as the comps just get cancelled.

However I’d be much happier with a reasonable amount say the equivalent of 30 – 40 runners.

Colin McTaggart has taken over the Star City poker room and is starting a £150 comp once a month with a £10,000 guarantee but it is subject to the 50 runner get out clause, so the worst case scenario for them has to add £2,500.

I think they would have been better off making it an unconditional guarantee of £5,000 and backing themselves to get at least 33 runners! 

Long term if they organise online and live satellites they should be able to generate seats for it in any case.  Personally I’d love to play it but with variance what it is I’m too tight to be stumping up £150 so it would only be via a satellite system.

The G Cov is running a monthly £100 comp stating from 26thOctober. Interestingly it runs over 2 evenings. 8.30 Fri night and re-starts 8.00pm Sat. It will have a 40 minute clock so it should be good and I hope they get some runners for it.

Taking Players For Granted.

I briefly mentioned the Broadway earlier in this post and that used to be my poker room of choice. (I still think it’s a fabulous casino) However I’ve played there once in the last 2 years I think. The title of this paragraph says it all really.

They have seen the Gala come along and take a lot of their regulars away and they just don’t seem to care. I doubt they’ve made more than few tweaks to their schedule in the last 5 years. Part of that is “if it isn’t broke” but a lot of it is complacency and a “don’t give a shit” attitude from the high up management team.”

I remember when Monday nights would get up to 150 runners. 150 on a Monday! All the other casinos in the Midlands added together wouldn’t have 150 punters in them on a Monday night.

A Rare PLO Tournament

For any Omaha players this is a rare chance to play a really good PLO tournament. Not sure if I can actually go myself but I am trying to arrange it so I can. It’s at the Gala this Sunday.

http://www.facebook.com/events/427462907294308/

The first one of these was run in memory of “Chief” who sadly passed away. It was such a success that they are having another one.

Competition is Good For Players
I really hope that the Grosvenor take over of Gala fails as the reduction in competition is bad for punters like me. When card rooms have to fight to grab their share of the poker players looking for a game it results in better offerings.
Long may it continue.

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Great GUKPT Week, Won Fek All but Loved it!

GUKPT and Goliath Report.

This is one of, if not the longest blog post I’ve ever written so for those that don’t want to read it all here are some cliff notes.

Played almost every event at my “home” casino the excellent GUKPT Leg 9 at Coventry including the Goliath.

Just had one min cash to show for it.

Got to play against some terrific players throughout the week, including Simon Deadman, Ainis Radauskas, and some internet superstars whose names I can’t remember.

Witnessed one of the locals, Lee French, produce a fantastic result finishing 3rd in the main event for £16,160.

On the whole the entire week was a very positive experience even though I came up short when it mattered most. Despite feeling knackered having played nearly every day (or is that every night) for over a week I am so enthused about poker right now.

Anyway for those who wish to, please read on?

£30 Re-buy Super Satellite

The GUKPT week at Cov started off as normal with me losing a flip to bust (£30 re-buy super satellite) on the Sunday night. I wasn’t bothered though as I’d already won a Main Event (ME) seat.

Just one negative about the event, they had the experienced dealers going round sorting out the re-buys and novices dealing. I’m not being funny but Delma (the valet) could hand out chips in exchange for £30, you don’t need to be a great dealer to do that.

However near the end of the re-buy period you need a dealer who knows what they are doing when players are spunking chips off like they are going out of fashion. Several times on my table I had to help the dealer sort out multiple side pots. Though I must stress I don’t ever put my hands in the pot when I’m “helping” I just verbally help, but one of the players at the table sorted their own side pot out! I had folded or I’d have had plenty to say about it.

£100 GUKPT Side Event

On Monday I played the £100 Freeze out Side Event, and sort of did OK. There were 133 runners and I min cashed for being KO’d in unlucky 13thspot, though not quite as unlucky as Gary Phillips and Baz McDonald who were 15th and 14th respectively.

I should have been cruising to a much deeper run as after a slow start I then took thousands of chips of a drunken guy who’d seemingly entered the tournament by mistake.

He wasn’t on my table initially but I was told some horror bad beat stories on the break that he had been inflicting on many others.

When he arrived at my table he had somewhere around 150k in chips when the average was about 15k so I think you can guess how he’d been running. I had about 10k and the guy sat next to me (immediate right) had 7k. Twenty minutes later when the drunk busted out I had 80k and the guy sat next to me had about 95k. Apart from donating thousands to us he also busted four players from the table in quick succession, prior to busting himself.

I saw the mistake everyone else was making against him, which was getting it all in pre-flop with a monster and getting muffed by him. The drunken guy KO’d 3 or 4 players on my table and also played some huge pots with the chap to my right. All the action was pre-flop as he just would not fold. However he never raised pre-flop no matter what he had.

I decided for the opposite approach to everyone else, and I just flatted everything to try and get to the flop with him as cheap as possible and hit something big. I’d seen him call people down on every street with 2ndor 3rd pair so I knew I couldn’t bluff him and I was determined to make a hand before getting involved with him.

This strategy worked like a charm as I limped pre with 55 in a multi-way pot and flopped a set to get my chip stack moving and even better when I flatted his bb with JJ he just checked with K8. The flop was J,8,6 and he lead out on every street. The action went bet/call, bet/call, and bet/raise/call.

After his bust out I tread water for a while but I was fairly comfortable after the next break with 80k and the chip av was 40k. I then lose a big pot that probably cost me a much deeper run.

When the short stack open shoves UTG for 8k (with 7,7) a lady 3bet shoves 34k with the blinds at 1k/2k/200 and I wake up with QQ in the bb. I make the call and find she has A,J.

Sadly the flop comes A,A,J.

So I’m down to 46k and instead of being one of the CL’s I’m back in the pack.

I asked two people about this hand on the next break, Steve Holden and Yucel “Mad Turk” Eminoglu. I know both these guys well and I really respect the results they have both had. Steve’s had loads of FT’s at GUKPT events over the years and I’ve known him since he first started playing poker in the £5 re-buy at G Walsall about ten years ago. Mad Turk recently won the GPS Stoke for well over £30k, and I’ve known him since he first started playing at the Broadway in the old £20 re-buy they used to run on Fridays.

Mad Turk
It was a difference of opinion from the two of them, Steve said he could have found a fold there (he said definitely call if he had already made the money) but Turk, perhaps unsurprisingly liked the call.
I really like the fact that my view on the hand was more in line with a player with a reputation of being a bit crazy! Mind you, I’ve played with Turk a lot and I know he is nowhere near as “mad” as he likes to make out. He is always great fun to have on your table as some of his banter is classic stuff.

It shows the direction my game has been heading over the last couple of years because the idea of folding never entered my head. I was playing to win the tournament and knew that if I won that pot I’d have been well on my way.

I’m not saying I would never fold Queens pre-flop, of course I would if my read was that I was definitely behind and in satellite play (which this wasn’t) it’s often the best thing to do near the seat bubble. But there was 47k in the pot when I made the call for an extra 32k and I’d have been up to nearly 130k if I’d won it.

I could have bullied the shit out of the table after that, as a lot of them were hanging on for a min cash. 13 got paid and there were only about 25 left at this point.

After this I managed to steal the blinds enough to stay afloat but people were busting very quickly and we were soon down to 2 tables and my chip stack in relation to the blinds was getting worse. I really didn’t give a monkey for the £200 min cash but I really wanted to finally cash in a GUKPT as this was about my 7th or 8th attempt.

When we got to two tables left we had a big CL who I also know from the Broadway (can’t 100% remember his name but its Chris I think) and he is a terrific player. He was opening for 9k at 2k/4k almost every hand and picking up loads of blinds and antes.

I genuinely never had a single hand that even looked remotely like a 3bet hand. By that I mean not even KQ or 10,Js or even a rag Ace etc.

The bubble bursts fairly quickly and when Chris opened again for 9k I found a hand A,9 and shipped in, he made the call (he had AA) and I was eliminated.

Marvellous timing as usual, because I know if I’d done that on any of the other occasions he’d have probably snap folded.

I remember several years ago at the Broadway when he opened a pot for the 20th time in the night and I thought “F this” and shipped in against him with 6h7h and the guy to my left had KK and Chris also called and he had AA that time as well, lol.

Sadly throughout the GUKPT this wasn’t to be the only time I managed to 3bet ship versus the player at the table with the widest opening range only to crash head first into AA.

So I was busted with the min cash, which was disappointing as I definitely could have gone deeper. Of the 12 left after I was eliminated I’d played with at least 6 or 7 of them on many occasions and didn’t fear any of them.

They all play the sort of comps I normally play apart from Chris who is mainly an online player. Sirous who plays quite a bit at Coventry went on to win it and Freddie “Happy 4u” Russell who plays there 5 nights a week was 4th. Another good guy from the Broadway Costas “Deano” Constantinou was 5th and another Cov regular whose name I don’t know came 3rd.

The best player left in when I busted, IMO, was Richard Sheils who is Michele and Matt Shiels’s son. I’ve only played a few times on the same table as Richard and not for all that long each time, but he has impressed me greatly.

I love the way he plays, he’s aggressive but in a controlled way similar in style to John Eames or Simon Deadman. Unlike some of the maniacs I played later in the week during the £1,000 Main Event he goes about accumulating chips without too much drama.

Richard understands the game like the really good online players do, but also has a great feel for the live game which some of the online players don’t. Though bearing in mind whose son he is that isn’t surprising.

Mark my words he will win a big comp in the next year or two if he keeps playing.

So the £100 went OK but I know I really could have gone very deep with just a little bit of luck.

£300 GUKPT Side Event

This was a good event, fairly decent structure, and a solid field. My initial table had some easy spots on it I felt, but I also had some players you’d perhaps rather not have on your table.

Simon Deadman was at the table but situated at the opposite end to me so it could have been worse. I have been aware of Simon for some while and have played against him before on at least two previous occasions.

The first time was in a small “normal” tournament at DTD when I’m guessing he hadn’t being playing too long. The second was in the £300 at DTD in August 2010 and he looked a lot better player by then.

The bad news for poker players on the UK circuit is he is still improving and just getting better and better. He was recently 2ndto Mad Turk in the GPS Stoke and though I love Turk (he is definitely one of my favourite players) to bits if they played HU a hundred times Simon would win 70 IMO he really is that good.
He’s had 5 cashes over £10k already in his short career and managed to finish 4th in last year’s Goliath which is higher than the legend “One Eyed Pete” managed so he must be good!

My decision not to fold the QQ in the £100 side event I’m happy with but I’m not so sure about the hand that effectively did for me in this event.

We’d played 25/50 and 50/100 and were now in 75/150. The starting stack is only 10k which for a £300 event was a little low I thought. In any case I was around starting stack when on the button. A lady player opened utg for 400 and 3 people called the bet.

When it got to me on the button I had JJ and looked at the pot and thought it would be a nice addition to my stack if I just took it down right there. So I made it 1,850 to play.

I figured no one would call that at these early stages and I’d just scoop 1,825 in chips which was close to a 20% increase in my stack without even seeing a flop!

Maybe I bet too much I’m not sure, but in any case the blinds folded as did the lady who opened. To my surprise though the 1stlimper then shoved for his entire stack, about 8k on top of my bet.

Everyone else folded and it was back to me. The guy had AK and it’s easy to say it now but that’s what I thought he must have. Who flats Aces, Kings or Queens there with 8 players behind who can all limp with small pocket pairs and rag Aces etc.?

I also figured he’d read me as rock of the 1storder and figured I’d be laying down hands like pocket Jacks (which I had) and AK type hands if that’s what I had.

I may be totally wrong but I didn’t think he looked clever enough to have limped with AA hoping for the 3 bet further round the table and even if he was that clever up till this point the table had been pretty nitty so the chances of it happening were remote IMO. So if he was that good, he would have deduced that fact!

As much as I hate calling off my chips, instead of folding I thought I’d stick it in his eye by calling him. Sadly I’d forgotten this wasn’t a £20 comp (where I normally run well) and I lost the race.

So I almost walk away but I ask the dealer for a count, and sure enough I have 125 chips left!

I must say that whoever had the idea of using the new trainee dealers for this comp wants shooting. Don’t get me wrong they are all doing well and they didn’t make any real howlers but they were just not experienced enough for an important event like this.

The long-time dealers at Coventry are excellent and they really should have had the “A team” doing this one.

During the whole week there were very few hands I wish I could have played again, but on reflection this is probably the one hand where I wish I’d made a different decision. Not sure if that’s just results orientated thinking but maybe it was too big a risk that early in the comp.

Anyway I’m felted with just the 125 and I make the table gasp when I folded my first hand afterwards. But I was in the cut off so had a few more hands before I needed to commit my last chips! I actually heard Simon say to someone “he’s got six more hands yet” so at least he realised what I was thinking.

The next hand I get dealt AQ and quadruple up to 500 chips and the very next hand get 8,8 and triple up to 1,650 which is over 10 bb’s boom!

The blinds go up so I’m back to 8bb’s but I shove a few times and get up to 4k, once I even doubled with Aces!

I get as high as 12k which is quite an achievement from 125 and I’m boosted by the fact that the AK man, who felted me initially, exited the comp before I did.

Sadly though as the blinds increase I’m effectively getting short again and shove with A5 and ironically run into JJ to bust out.

If’s and but’s with this comp I know, but I was very disappointed when I left.

Goliath

After previously saying I wasn’t going to play the Goliath I just couldn’t resist it. I’d got GUKPT Vouchers to burn and I decided to play the event. My idea was to play EXTREMELY aggressively and either kill or be killed.

My plan was to die in a hail of bullets or take dozens out and make day 2 with a shed load of chips then just un-register from the £1,000 ME. The card room staff confirmed to me that I could have £1k in vouchers and play a ME somewhere else if I made day 2.

I’m really glad I did this as I can’t ever remember having this much fun playing poker before. When our table started there were just me and 7 other players on it. In the first two orbits I think I won 12 or 13 of the 16 hands played.

I was VPP 100% and 3betting like a mad man. At first break I had increased my stack from 25k to 36k and I’d not won a pot with more than 1k in it and not turned my cards over once.

I got a little unlucky when two people joined the table (I was seat 8) in seats 9 and 10. They weren’t great but they were certainly better than the other 7 by a long way.

This sort of curbed me a bit, as they soon caught on to what I was doing.

I played one of the funniest hands ever when in the big blind at 100/200/25. The table folded round to the sb and he picked his cards up to look at them and I could see he wanted to fold them. Up to this point I’d pretty much been running over everyone and I just knew he wanted to fold. I said “there’s no shame in passing” and he just laughed and put them back down.

He thought for a while and made the call. 100% I knew he wasn’t acting and his hand wasn’t great in his opinion. He actually had Kh,8d and made the call for 100.

When I looked I had Ac6c so more for mischief than anything else I made it 1k to play. Four or five players at the table actually started laughing at this point and even he did to be honest.

“See you should have folded for a hundred” I said. “We won’t think any less of you, if you fold now” I added with a smile.

After digging himself into a hole and against his better judgement he stubbornly made the call. The flop came Jc,4c,6s giving me the nut flush draw and a pair of 6’s. He checked I bet 1.6k and he called.

The turn was a really bad card for him; it was the King of clubs giving him top pair and me the nut flush.

Now he decided he’d bully me and he bet 2.5k, so I just flatted after a dwell. The river card was even worse for him another K giving him trip Kings versus my nut flush. He bets 6k at me with only 8k behind and I love it!

To try and make it look like a bluff I shipped all in over the top and he was in a world of pain. It was agonising and funny to watch him in almost equal measure. He was in a right pickle and at the back of his mind he must have been thinking “why did I call for a hundred pre-flop?”

I was staggered when after being in the tank for a good 5 minutes he actually folded. I was even more staggered when he folded face up showing the table he had 3 Kings.

I felt cheated as I should have got the rest of his chips. If the situation had been reversed with what he put in/had left, I don’t think I could have folded there.

I didn’t show but said I had AA and did my best impression of a man who’d had a lucky escape.

That was the last decent hand I had all day and after that the best hand I had was pocket 10’s and I had to fold them pre-flop after 3 betting with them. The opener/4betor was Jon the card room supervisor from the Gala casino in Birmingham. Jon is a top bloke and totally brilliant at his job. After I folded he kindly showed JJ.

With one level to go they finally came to break our table and I was in the bb for the last hand. The tightest guy at the table made it 2.5x from the button and I figured even he must open his range a bit from the button so I shoved my remaining 10 bb’s in on him with Q,9.

He tanked for for quite a while before reluctantly calling with AK  !@**!! WTF.

Being the total gent I am, I asked “What the Fuck were you thinking about?” and it was the only downer of the day. The tank hurt more than the fact that I busted out. On the flop I hit a 9 and inside I was thinking “that serves you right” but sadly he caught a K on the turn and I was out.

Shame really as if I’d have won that then during the last level of the day I’d have had great fun 3 bet shoving all and sundry.

£1000 Main Event Day 1

This was the one I was looking forward to playing and it didn’t disappoint. 20k starting stack, a one hour clock, and playing against some players who were just different class. This was a real treat.

I adapted really quite well and I genuinely believe that if I was wealthy enough to play every one of these events throughout the year I’d have a chance of doing something in one of them. There were just enough players in it like me who’d won a satellite to get in or were playing it because they had more money than sense.

I think this one really represented good value for the top pro’s as 40% of the field were on the soft side.

The bet sizing from the good players is so vastly different in these events. In the normal £20 comps I play if someone min raises, half the table says “who did the gay raise?” With these players though the min raise or min + 1 chip is the norm as it’s actually the 3 bet that gets the action going.

Normally in a typical £20 comp a 3 bet means AK minimum and probably QQ+.

Also I’m surprised how “slow” the top players play their hands post flop. (I don’t mean time wise) Often the action goes check/check on the flop or bet/call on the flop & check/check on the turn.

River betting is weird as well, as they all seem to take great care not to get into a position where they can’t fold.

Anyway my initial seat draw looked great, a “normal” looking table against some players I knew, including Steve Owen a Cov cash game regular and several other qualifiers. Having Steve on the table relaxed me as it felt more “normal”.

Steve Owen
I was in seat one and seat two hadn’t turned up initially so it was a dead stack and things were looking good for me. Seat 10 was also empty at the start. It was filled by an Irish lad after an hour or so
Seat 9 was a young Chinese lad who was aggressive and he started raising my blind even at the early levels. I really wasn’t bothered and folded unless I had a genuine hand as I was happy to confirm my nitty image to him.

In one hand I got very lucky against him. He min raised me from the button (again) and the Irish guy called from the sb and as I had K,2 I made the call. It came K,Q,6. Both blinds checked and he bet. The sb folded, and I just flatted and the turn was a blank. I checked and I really thought I was ahead at this point and I expected him to suspect he’d been caught at it and would check behind. However to my surprise he bet again.

Now I started to worry as I thought he knows I’m tight so what on earth does he think I called with on the flop? I started to consider I was behind, but on balance I called still figuring I was ahead.

On the river I hit a 2 for 2pair. Now because I started to consider I was behind on the turn the chances are the 2 hadn’t changed that fact, so I checked to him thinking I was either a mile in front or a mile behind.

He put in quite a big river bet in on the board which was K,Q,6,8,2 rainbow.

I called and he showed Q,6 for a smaller 2 pair, I felt slightly embarrassed I’d muffed him on the river. Steve Owen called me a lucky donk!

Anyway after this good start with a relatively easy table things took a turn for the worse when seat 2 arrived; it was Mike Ellis who won a WSOP bracelet in 2010 and has over $1.5 million in tournament winnings to his name.

Me and Mike Ellis
Then seat three got moved who was a guy who I’d played against (successfully) a lot of times at Walsall and was replaced a little later by Mad Turk. Then as if having Mad Turk wasn’t enough the Irish lad who turned up in seat 10 (to my immediate right) was totally fearless and he was there to gamble. He seemed a very good player but like Turk he liked to project a really crazy image. Though I suspect that underneath that exterior of a crazy Irish gambler there was a crazy Irish gambler trying to get out. He could really play though.
He set up a few players by appearing to play very loose in a few hands then turning up with a monster and taking huge pots.

I did really well against him all day long as he tried to bluff me a few times and I made the call several times. On one occasion when he raised blind on blind and I just flatted with AK (he had complete air) and when it came A high I won a lot of chips off him as he tried to represent the hand I’d got!

I only lost one pot to him all day when I had A2 in the BB v his sb A6 and the 6 played annoyingly. He had loads of chips by now as he seemed to be beating everybody. I was the only guy who beat him consistently in pots all day.

Anyway about an hour and a half from the end of the day they break my table and I get moved to a new one and I’m put in seat 2. The Irish guy comes with me and gets seat 9 (9 handed now) so he is now the button to my bb for the last hour or so.

Our table by this time is totally and utterly ridiculous not one pot has gone without a 3 bet for about an hour. 4bets were coming thick and fast and I’m playing tighter than a camels arse in a sand storm for two reasons. 1st I’m scared to play a hand, and 2nd I was totally card dead and I was in no mood to call three or 4bets light.

I’m, by this time, surrounded by Internet nut jobs who are just trying to inflict pre-flop violence on one another.

On one hand about half an hour before the end of the day I thought I’d use my tight image to 4bet and pick up the pot. Great plan, till someone 5bet shoved on me, for fek sake!

I had AK and laid it down. I don’t think I’ve ever 4 bet folded before in my life. (Mainly because a 4bet from me means AA or KK, lol)

I lost a few chips with the 4bet fold and was not looking in such good shape.

The last hand of the day was a real sweat for me, partly my own fault because I let it happen and partly my Irish opponent putting me under an awful lot of pressure on the river.

It was a pivotal hand for me as the outcome would decide whether I would end the day on 25k, 40k or 70k.

I get the only premium hand I got dealt all day, KK in the bb. Anyway as it was the last hand of the night the table all fold to the button, (Crazy Irish Guy) and he raises it up. SB folds, I look and see KK so I 3bet but only small. (I’d got the hang of their bet sizing by now).

He 4 bets me and I dwell for a while then just call hoping to trap him on the flop.

BINGO the flop comes K,9,3 rainbow and I’m loving it!

I check, he bets quite small and I just flat call. The turn is a Q so it’s K,9,3, Q. I check again with the intention of raising but even though I’ve dug the hole and covered it with twigs he doesn’t fall into the trap and checks behind.

The river isn’t just a nightmare it’s a Weston-Super-Mare. River is a TEN for K,9,3,Q,10.

No flush but I’m feeling awful about this 4 card straight. As played, a Jack is more than possible here.

I check and inside I’m kicking myself for checking the turn. I was 100% certain what was coming I just didn’t know how much. He tanks for a minute then Boom he bets 15k. Oh sugar. I would have put my mortgage on him betting in this spot and he didn’t disappoint.

So here is my dilemma, I can fold and start day 2 with 40k or I call and lose & go down to 25k or call & win and get up to 70k.

I didn’t like it one little bit but after mentally counting the pot and my stack to arrive at the figures above decided that either way I had to call and just hope he was at it. (Again)

I knew that I was obviously beating any bluff, as he could have rivered 2 pair and turned his hand into a bluff so that made my decision easier.

I counted out the chips and slowly pushed them across the line. “Nice hand, you win” he said to my total relief as he insta mucked.

I showed my hand to claim the pot and he said “well played” to me and sounded very genuine about it.

We bagged up and left and about an hour later I bumped into him the main casino card room and we had a really good chat about the days play. I have to say he seemed a really terrific guy and though I doubt I could keep pace with him he’d be a great guy to have a drink with.

Sadly I didn’t think to ask his name but this is a photo of him.

Man with no name!
£1000 Main Event Day 2
After the craziness of the last hour of day 1 I’d gone home thinking I had absolutely no chance of going really deep. Some of the players were not only excellent but utter maniacs as well. However much to my delight my day 2 table seemed a 100% gentler place to be.

I was seat 2. Although I’d got the tournament CL to my immediate left and Simon Deadman to my immediate right it seemed much better than the night before.

Ainis Radauskas
The CL was a guy I’d played a lot of times against at Walsall so I was happy with that and all the rest seemed to be playing fairly ABC.  After an hour I began to realise that seat 9, a guy called Ainis Radauskas, was a really good player also.

Obviously Simon is different class but having him on my right was way preferable to having him to my left. Although as I said earlier I’d been on his table a couple of times before over the last 2 or 3 years but not for long. On this day though I sat next to him for many hours and it was an education.

His game is so much more suited to winning this type of event than the maniacs I’d played the night before. Yes he did open a lot of pots and yes he did 3 bet a lot but it seemed so much more controlled. I made him smile at one point when I said that his pre-flop “savagery” was far more pleasant than the stuff I’d been subjected to the night before. Though it’s actually more difficult to play against.

Simon Deadman, a class act.
He is very unlikely to make a complete hash of a hand and get himself busted in a spot where he can’t ever find a fold. He and Ainis played a hand versus each other that was intriguing to watch. It was agonising that we didn’t have hole card cameras as I’d have loved to see what they both had. I think Simon would like to have known as well, as he tank folded the river. I can’t remember the exact cards but on the river it was something like K,9,5,K,4 with 3 spades.

I’m sure Simon had at least a decent K and while he was tanking Ainis’s check raise on the river he apologised to the table for taking so long. To everyone’s credit there was no one the slightest bit bothered, we all knew it was a really tough spot.

Simons reads are generally awesome and I was very reluctant to reveal what I had in any hand I played against him that didn’t go to showdown as he’s good enough without extra info.When I got short I did 3bet shove a few times and they got through, but before that shove/fold point though I barely won a chip off him all day.
Just flopping a monster isn’t enough to win chips off him. On one blind v blind encounter he raised and I just flatted with A9. The flop came A,9,5, and he bet and I just called. He immediately gave up with the hand as he knew the situation. The turn was a worthless Ace giving me a boat and it went check/check. The river gave me quad Aces and he check folded to the smallest bet I could reasonably make.

Where was the Irishman when I needed him?

I can’t speak highly enough about Simon though, he’s a really nice guy and within reason was happy to discuss hands when I asked him. Scarily when I told him about some scenarios of hands I’d played the day before he guessed my hole cards without me actually saying what they were!

There are times when I take my seat in a £15 – £25 comp at Coventry when I can see a look on some players faces that says “shit I don’t want him on my table he raises my blind all the time”. I now have a little more sympathy for how they feel.

I really enjoyed the day, though I did feel a little aggrieved that the only pocket pairs I had all day were QQ and 88 (I folded the 88 to an all in shove). So I was slowly dwindling down from the 70k I started the day with to about 45k with the blinds at 2k/4k/500.

I 3 bet shoved on Simon a couple of times to stay afloat, then sadly when Simon opened another pot from the button I picked up AK in the sb and thought “this will do”. I said something to him prior to shoving and for the first time he clammed up and looked nervous.

I remember speaking to someone about 6 months ago who’d played against him before and he said he felt Simon was good at giving off “false tells”. Even though his un-confident demeanour looked a little odd to me to be honest I was never doing anything other than shoving in that spot.

He insta called and even though I hated it, I still hoped he’d got QQ or similar but sadly he had AA and I was out.

People who play against me in small games know I’m not always the best of losers, especially when I get KO’d by some donk who doesn’t have the first clue, but this was a different matter.

122 started the £1k and even though I was disappointed to exit in 19thplace, just 6 off the money, I was totally cool with it all.

I genuinely wished him well because when you’ve been out played all day you just have to give credit where it’s due. As the dealer dealt the river he showed his class by not only shaking my hand but also complementing me on my play through the day, which I thought was a nice touch.

After I was eliminated I was obviously rooting for Cov local Lee French to win it all but failing that I’d have been delighted for Simon to win it. He made the final table (his 3rd in these GUKPT £1k main events) but again came up short when the blinds got huge. Surely if he keeps making final tables in these big events it’s only a matter of time before he wins one outright.

Lee French

As I mentioned right at the top Lee French, who I’ve played against dozens of times in small £15- £30 comps at G Coventry made the final table and finished 3rd for just over £16k. I’ve always liked the way Lee plays but it’s often wasted against the typical donks in the normal Cov tourneys. He’s a “tricky” player but 90% of the locals are fairly basic so he often gets busted out by players who have no idea what he’s representing!

Fortunately for Lee though his style suits much more against the better players. It’s to his credit that he busted out 4bet shoving with 7,8 rather than trying to ladder up. My only regret is that as we both made day 2, I can’t believe I didn’t think to swap 5% with him. Just me running bad as usual.

Summary of the week


G Coventry and the GUKPT did a great job on the whole as ever, though they were badly let down by the Ricoh who were responsible for serving up some of the worst food poker players have ever been subjected to. Words fail me to describe the garbage we had on the dinner breaks. If they served that up in Dartmoor prison the inmates would be throwing tiles off the roof inside an hour.

The TD’s did really well and handled things very professionally. I only got to hear of one mistake, where someone apparently entered the £100 side event on the Saturday and when he went into the room they sat him at a table in the £1,000 event! He’d played 3 or 4 hands before they realised. Fek knows what they’d have done if he’d busted someone out!

It was nice to see Rueben again as he was up from the Vic to help out, and as ever all the management and staff made a big effort to ensure everyone was well looked after.

Going forward


Even though I was outclassed by a few of the players in the £1k, I genuinely believe that there were quite a lot in the field that were either worse or just marginally better than me. I got to play on the same table as 6 of the 9 finalists at some point throughout the 2 days and I certainly didn’t disgrace myself at any point. So I know I could have gone quite a lot deeper with some decent hands and a bit of luck on day 2.

I have to say though that for the first time in many years I really wish I was a better player. I’ve always been good enough to show a profit in the games I normally play in, so I’ve always been too lazy to work on my game.

Playing against some of the players I did during the week though has incentivised me to look to improve, so that can’t be a bad thing.

Anyway, already looking forward to next year’s Goliath/GUKPT so as soon as the satellites start running I’ll be there!

In the meantime I’m back to playing £20 comps again, but on the bright side I might win a flip or two.

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It’s Goliath Time Again

It’s that time of year again, Goliath week at the G Casino Coventry. (Sunday 19th Aug – Mon 27th Aug 2012) If there is a better £100 tournament anywhere in the world I’ve never played it. This is the one UK tournament of the whole year that I feel is a “must play”.

Sadly this year I’ve had to make the decision not to play it!

I’m not on holiday, I’m not busy working and I don’t have a family emergency. Not only that I will actually be at the G Cov virtually every day from Sunday 19th onwards.

The reason I can’t play it is that the GUKPT have decided in their infinite wisdom to hold leg 9 of the GUKPT at Coventry in the same week as Goliath week. Last year Goliath week at G Cov and the G Cov leg of the GUKPT were in separate weeks.

Because I have been lucky enough to win a seat for FREE into the GUKPT £1,070 main event (see “running good” below) which clashes with day 2 of the Goliath it means I’ll have to miss the Goliath. It’s crazy to enter a comp knowing I can’t play day 2.

I think it makes sense to play the main event, it will get between 150-200 runners not the 2k-3k runners the Goliath will get and the first prize will be about the same for both. Even though there will be literally thousands of easy chips on offer from the average player in the Goliath as opposed to the stronger field in the main event, I’d rather play the ME.

I’ll certainly learn a lot more being against the better players in the ME and the structure is awesome for me. (20k chips, 1hr clock). I’ve played these events before and I feel I can do reasonably well if things go my way.

G Cov Going Forward

On the positive side the Ricoh will be packed to the doors throughout the whole GUKPT/Goliath week and I’m sure that all the GUKPT side events will have increased numbers due to the Goliath being on in the same venue.

I’m guessing if you are a freelance part-time poker dealer, you will be working at G Cov next week! The Goliath will have approximately 1,000 runners for each of the 3 day 1’s and also there is at least one GUKPT side event every day and also afternoon satellites. In the original card-room there will be 20+ cash games going on throughout the busy times. The casino is open 24hrs throughout the week.

When I went to G Cov last Friday Ian Bryan and Deena were training dealers and it is the first time I’ve ever been in a casino that had more dealers than players. Apparently this year they are keeping on some of these extra dealers permanently after the Goliath so every comp at the G Cov will be fully dealer dealt in future.

It needs it, as this venue is so good it’s a shame to spoil it with something that infuriates players so much as having to self-deal.

There are things I’d change at the G Cov to make the poker experience better for players but on the whole I still enjoy playing there. Mainly it’s because the people (customers and staff) are so nice, it’s rare to play anywhere these days where quite a lot of the players are less interested in winning than they are in just having a good night out. For me I feel I’m having a good night out when I’m winning!

What I like about the staff is, for the most part, they have a smile on their face. Yes some of the younger/newer dealers could be better at taking control of the game, but I’ll take someone who has the right attitude and a cheerful disposition over a “Tip Top” dealer with their arse in their hand any day.

I don’t wish to name the “Good/Not so Good” for fear of offending but I feel it’s only right to mention a young guy called “Sam” who works F/T in an office based 9-5 job then comes and deals evenings/nights at Cov. The guy is always in such a good mood and frankly he can’t be right in the head. If I worked an 8 hour day job then came to deal cards for 8 hours I’d be as miserable as sin. Yet he is always smiling and does a great job.

Someone else who deserves a special mention is “Delma” who keeps the poker players fed and watered while we’re playing. Again like Sam she’s far too happy not to have a screw loose, but the card room wouldn’t be the same without her. She is always smiling and has a great sense of humour which she needs putting up with us lot. I always chat to her and she really looks after me. It will be a big advantage during Goliath week, with over 1,000 players in the room, to be able to give Delma a wave from 100 yards away and know she’ll bring me a cup of tea over ASAP.

Obviously, regarding the dealers, I don’t have favourites so it’s merely a coincidence that I’ve put a photo of Nikki in this blog post.  


Running Good


I do run well occasionally, and I’ve just had a very good run at G Cov winning/chopping 3 consecutive tournaments. Fri 10th Aug, Sun Afternoon 12th Aug, Sun Eve 12th Aug.  Details as follows.

Friday 10th.

I chopped the normal evening comp 3 ways with Tim Millward-Brookes (who, to no one’s surprise, has managed to get himself banned from the casino since then*) and Andy Bailess. This was fun and the 3 of us had a good laugh throughout the FT.


Sun Afternoon.

On Sunday afternoon (4.30pm) I played the £150 + £10 satellite which had 3 seats guaranteed to the £1,070 main event (ME). I’d actually won my seat into this satellite via a Free-To-Enter “step 1” satellite. There were re-buys and an add-on allowed in the step 1 but I didn’t have any!

There were 13 entries when the £150 comp started and 1 late comer. All of the entries bar 1 (Nic Markou) either won their seat via a step 1 like me or used GUKPT vouchers to enter. G Cov runs loads of comps that have extra or added prizes such as satellite seats or GUKPT vouchers which can be used for tourney buy-ins.

If you play there regularly and are a competent player it is relatively easy to accumulate a big stash of vouchers that you can use in the GUKPT week. Freddy Russell (who plays 5 nights week at Cov has thousands of them)

There were two tables to start with and Nic was the only player that I would rather avoid and luckily he was drawn on the other table. 4 players who had won seats via Step 1 Sat’s didn’t even bother turning up!

It was funny to start off with as on my table of 6 players 3 were empty chairs and I had position on the only 2 “live” opponents I had.

It meant I was able to steal the dead blinds quite often until the latecomer was seated to my left.

As we inched towards the final 10 players Nic and I were Chip Leaders on our respective tables. I had over double the average chips and Nic had even more.

Anyway when we made the FT Karl the TD asked if we all agreed to remove the dead stacks from the players who hadn’t turned up. We all agreed so there were just 6 left playing for 3 seats.

I had a terrific seat draw immediately to the left of Nic Markou and to the right of the shortest stack, who happened to be the totally charming Bill Maynard. Bill the actor best known for playing Claude Jeremiah Greengrass in “Heartbeat”, and the title role in “Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt!” is a regular at G Cov and he’s a real class act.

He suffers bad beats in a manner that puts most of us to shame and is great company at the table. Normally in one of the G Cov’s standard £20 comps I’m really happy to sit and listen to stories of his early career, he was originally a stand-up comedian in London’s Windmill Theatre, but on this occasion I was concentrating on winning a seat.

Nic and I were chip leaders and we didn’t play a single pot of any significance versus each other. He is more than good enough to know that there was no mileage in us clashing.

I’ve never had so many “walks”, as every time the short stacks folded round to us in the blinds he just open folded every time.

I KO’d a short stack who shoved in against my BB with A8 when I had JJ, so we were then down to just 4 players. I genuinely felt sorry for Bill as he really had no chance at this point.

With 4 left and 3 seats of the 105k chips in play Nic had about 45k, me 35k, Bill 5k and the other guy (whose name I can’t remember) 20k. Even though he hung on for dear life, eventually when he shoved for his remaining 2 bb’s he was called by all 3 of us and eliminated.


Sunday Evening Comp.

It was now just after 8.30pm and the evening comp had just started so I entered that. It was a special £15 “GUKPT Sharky” event with £1,500 of added GUKPT vouchers as spot prizes. Things like knocking Sharky out or getting KO’d by Sharky won you £75 in vouchers and the “High Hand” of the night was also worth £75 in vouchers, etc. All the pay-outs from the prize pool were in GUKPT vouchers.

I split it HU with Tom French and we had £345 of vouchers each plus an entry into the GUKPT Super Satellite to try and win another £1,070 ME seat on Sunday 19th. That comp has 10 seats guaranteed and will be terrific value.

The FT was funny as Tom KO’d all 8 of the players eliminated from it. The only player he didn’t KO was me! I feel I did quite well to carefully pick my way through the FT as I never had any big hands at all. I made a couple of light 3 bets over the top of some of the tables tighter players when in good spots.

Some of Tom’s KO’s were pure comedy, though Tim “soon to be banned” Millward-Brookes didn’t think so. He raised Tim’s BB with 10,J and Tim shoved with AK, at this point Tom was getting over 2/1 on his money so made the call. The flop was AKQ for Tom’s nut straight.

By this time Tom had so many chips he was just calling everybody’s all in shoves for fun. About 2 minutes after KO’ing Tim he cracked AA with the mighty 3,5.

Luckily for me on the first hand of HU play I get dealt QQ v 22 and double up. So we have a quick chat and agree to chop it. We’d already been dealt cards and it’s me to act, so Tom says “just fold then and we’ll chop it”.

So I muck my K,6s which I would have raised with and Toms shows A,7. Tom’s brother Lee asks the dealer to run the flop to see who would have won. At this point Tom gets his only bit of bad luck all night as he’d have hit Quad 7’s and not only KO’d me but also won the High Hand (someone had Quad 5’s earlier in the night).

So a good run of 3 straight tourneys for me and I now have a £1k main event seat and just over £700 in GUKPT vouchers to use this coming week.

I’ll probably play the £30 Super Sat Re-buy on Sunday, the £100 Side event Mon, and the £300 two day event on Tues/Wed.

If I don’t make day two in the £300 I can play the £250 PLO which should be fun or just have a day off and play the £200 (6max) on Thursday. That was the best/worst event I played last year as there were 8 paid and I finished 9th.

Also last year in the ME I lost a pot aipf with 10,10 v 9,9 for an above average chip stack and also finished 12th with 10 seats guaranteed in the £150 £1k super sat when 10,10 lost to the 7,7 of Peter Wigglesworth.

So I’m hoping for better luck this year and I just hope my recent good run doesn’t come to a bad end during this week.

*Footnote on Tim Pt1.

I don’t know all the ins and out’s but Tim has stupidly got himself banned. I know he’ll read this, so I’d say to him he will really come to regret it. Knowing Tim he will deny that statement and initially he may even believe it, but mark my words he will regret it given time.

Tim is his own worst enemy and even though a lot of people at Cov like him, he has upset an awful lot of people there recently. Life’s too short for that IMO.

When I suffer a bad beat I behave terribly sometimes, but it’s usually just a flash/spur of the moment thing. Generally I try to get on with everybody as I think that’s always the best way to approach poker. On those rare occasions when I’ve overstepped the mark and I always apologise after and regarding casino staff I have never really lost my temper with any of them.
Yes I’ll have a moan if I think it’s warranted, I’ll argue my case if a ruling is needed but I’ve never sworn at a member of staff in any casino ever. Only last Sunday during the afternoon super satellite due to 4 players not turning up we had 3 players and 3 dead stacks on our table and the other table had 6 players and 1 dead stack. Karl the card room supervisor said he was going to “balance” the tables by swapping a player who was there (from the other table) with one of our dead stacks. To even up the “actual” players who were playing.

I was picking up lots of easy chips at this point so understandably I didn’t want a “real” player to join us!

I argued they didn’t need balancing as it was 6 on ours and 7 on theirs. Karl and I had a discussion about it and I forcibly made the point that if some players were just away playing roulette, having a cigarette or in the toilet they’d never balance the tables, so why should they do it if players aren’t inside the casino?

I’ve never seen that done before and I still think I’m right but I had to put up with it. I didn’t spit my dummy out and let it affect my game and I didn’t start swearing at anyone and demand to see the manager.

Yes Cov has its faults but I’ve played all around the UK over the years and there is no casino in the country as friendly as Cov. When my daughter recently wanted to visit a casino to see what it’s like of all the places (probably 20) we could drive to within an hour of our house there was never any doubt in my mind as to which one I would take her to.

There are dozens of reasons why I like it, from the staff and players general friendliness and for me I feel I have a small edge over the average player in their MTT’s. The cash games are also on the softer side with stakes more in keeping with my bankroll.

Also Tim if you were going to get banned why on earth do it this week? The place will be buzzing and the total prize pools on offer will exceed £600,000 and like a lot of the regulars you had seats/vouchers for nearly every event.

Footnote on Tim Pt 2

Oh Yes he’s banned, Oh No he isn’t!

With all the organised chaos of a pantomime Tim’s back. Most of us hadn’t stopped cheering from the news that he was banned and he’s back! Apparently after a phone conversation with the manager it’s all been sorted. I’ve just spoken to Tim and I think he’s realised he’s had an escape and will be a little more considered in his approach to players and staff in future! Well for a week or two at least. So the good news is Team “Fold To Victory” has it’s captain back and there is more dead money in the place! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Value Hunter Update

Poker Freeroll

I’ve mentioned it in previous posts but for those that haven’t read it, G Casino Coventry have a Poker Free-roll with a £10,000 guaranteed prize-pool that you can qualify for. I have set myself the target of doing so.

It runs from June 1st to June 28th and every time you sit in one of the cash games for an hour or more you get a stamp on your card and you need 12 stamps. With 12 stamps you get entry to the comp and a 5k starting stack.

You get double stamps Mon & Tuesdays and on Sunday evening s after midnight you get an extra stamp as well.

I have been keeping track of my profit/loss and aim to win the seat while showing a profit so that when I play the tournament I really am free-rolling!

So far I have played 5 times but one was a Sunday and one a Monday so I have 7 stamps. After five sessions I’m winning just £155 not much of a return but I’m lucky to have any profit at all as I’ve not had any luck whatsoever and I’ve been grinding my ass off to just break even yet alone win anything.

Take last night, I sit down and flop a “Nut Flush” practically first hand and a guy has flopped middle pair. He hits 2 pair on the turn and a boat on the river so I’m stuck in a hole right from the start.

I do fight my way back and end up winning £23 on the night! Every session has gone virtually identically, I start off losing and then fight my way back. I have had a very small win on each of the 5 sessions so happy with that, but I feel like I’m soon going to have either a very good or very bad session.

Last night there were some huge pots and one with over £1,000 in it which for a live £1/£1 Pot Limit Hold Em game is going some.

Last night I also played the comp which was £25 + £5 with £1k guaranteed and fully dealer dealt! Wow careful Coventry, that’s starting to sound like a real poker room. I shall play it most weeks from now on. Fridays comp is a pile of pants with no guarantee and no dealers and just £15 buy in. The only reason I go on Fridays is because the cash games are much softer at the weekends.

I played like a tit in the early stages last night, mainly because I was on a very soft table and I was opening virtually every pot and 3 betting people light. Stupid really and I lost a lot of chips early. One funny one was when I tried a three barrel bluff versus a complete station. The river card was the scariest ever and I fired at it.

The board was something like Kc Jc 9c,10d,10c and after I bet about half the pot on the river she went into the tank for quite a while and then called with the 2 of clubs. She called me all the way with pocket 2’s and was good!

Oh dear I was annoyed with myself for trying to bluff her as I’d played against her before and she just never folds anything, as I think the above demonstrates.

So after this hand (and I’d already wasted other chips in similar pots) I decided to play properly as the field was only 28 players and I fancied my chances.

Sadly last hand before the first break I get QQ and get it all in pre versus AK and A2 and it comes and Ace and a King on the flop and I’m out.

Summary

One thing this playing cash has shown me is that although I have some qualities that are suited to playing cash (mainly patience) I am without doubt a much better tournament player than I am a cash player these days.

If I’m honest I’ve been playing the cash too cautiously mainly because I want to show a profit for this challenge, whereas I don’t play cautiously with tournament chips in front of me these days.

So cash challenge going reasonably well, I’m confident that I will qualify for the seat and still hopeful of doing it while showing a profit at the cash tables.

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Value is NOT a Dirty Word

Rob Yong and DTD have come in for some flak just lately and I have a big criticism to make though maybe not about what most would expect.

The club that portrays itself as the “White Knight” of the Poker industry has let its halo slip a little but I have no problem with that.

Firstly Rob had a prop bet with a couple of guys about how many chips he would win in the DTD Chip Leader promotion, then while he was playing live (UKIPT Dublin) it appeared that Rob was in fact also playing some of the online MTT’s trying to win chips.

Of course it wasn’t Rob but a friend of his who he’d allowed to borrow his online account to “learn” how to play. Apparently his wife won’t let him have his own account. Fair enough but did he need to play the CL sats surely it would have been better to ask him to play something else? Anyway whatever the ins and outs Rob apologised to all concerned and immediately paid out on the prop bet.

Now some people might question what the hell he was doing but for me I’m pretty cool about it. It wasn’t thought through by Rob but I would say all in all he is a pretty straightforward guy.

The second thing DTD has done to upset players was to reduce the Guarantee on the WSOP Package Events very close to the start time. This did cause some annoyance, as you might expect,  when several players had travelled a long way to play them.

I’ve read Robs long explanation and I have to say I have a lot of sympathy with his position on this issue. Though I do feel some people will think twice before travelling long distances to play “guaranteed” events in future. I do suspect that miserable bint (Yul Grinner I call her) on reception will have to field a few more calls than usual along the lines of “is the guarantee still on I’m travelling from xyz?” Serves her right, mardy arse.

But again I don’t have a major issue with this decision (though it may have been different if I’d been the guy in 4th or 5thwho didn’t then get a package). I’m sure if you look in DTD terms & conditions there will be a disclaimer somewhere so again I won’t moan too much about it, even though this isn’t the first time they’ve reduced guarantees on the day of a tournament. 

No my BIG criticism was a phrase he used when outlining his reasons for the guarantee reduction.

He used the phrase “Value Hunters” (VH’s) in the most derogatory fashion as if these people were the scum of the earth.

I was not at DTD when the WSOP thing happened and I have never requested they run WSOP satellites but I still take great exception to this remark. Mainly because I resemble that remark!

Yes I confess I’m a value hunter and I’m proud to be so.

When I go to any of the casinos I frequent looking to play cash if there is more than one table to choose from then I will be trying to get a seat on the table which I think gives me the greatest chance of success.

When I look to play a MTT at anyone of the dozen casinos I can drive to inside 45 minutes (DTD isn’t one of them) I always base my decision on a variety of factors but “value” is very near the top of the list.

In my opinion if you are NOT a value hunter, then you are a “mark” or a “fish” and you deserve to lose.  

Several things annoy me about the way we (VH’s) were referred to, not least whenever they look like having an overlay Simon Trumper spams my Facebook and Twitter time lines to death with messages calling on all VH’s to get in their cars and drive up and buy in. Thereby reducing the “value” and helping them out. 
They can’t have it both ways.

Where is my Current Value to be found?

For the next few weeks you will see me at G Coventry playing their cash games because they have a £10,000 free-roll I can qualify for. All I have to do is sit at a cash game for an hour and I get a stamp on my card and 12 stamps equals a 5k starting stack.
I have set myself a challenge of recording my profit/loss as I progress towards the Freeroll so I know exactly what it has cost me, if anything, to get the seat.

So far I have played two small sessions winning £40 and £27 respectively. So running total is £67 up and three stamps on my card. (If you stay past midnight on Sunday you get an extra stamp) Also I will be playing there on Monday and Tuesday nights as its double stamps. Yes Rob Yong I am ashamedly a “Value Hunter” and proud of it.

Also worth mentioning is the first four players at the cash tables gets a “Rake Free” voucher for the whole night. Steve Owen ( a habitual early bird) reckons it saves him £250 a week in rake which is not to be sniffed at.
Midlands Poker Forum

I am also playing the Midlands Poker Forum League as it offers some great value and the chance to win a £300 GUKPT seat and a Goliath seat. It seems pretty easy to qualify for the free-roll final as the first 2 weekly winners were me and Andy Bailess. If we can win anyone can!

I also won via the Midlands Poker Forum a seat for just £10 for the £10k guaranteed (£110 buy in) at G Walsall on Bank Holiday Monday and I went really close to a very deep run. It had about 120 entries and after some really eventful ups and downs I got down to the last two tables.

Sadly I then doubled up 3 short stacks when I could easily have KO’d them, losing one race and two others when I was 60/40. At this point the blinds were huge and I exited in 15th with 11 paid.

On the whole this was very soft field for a £100 comp. I had Paul Newman (not the actor the card player) on my table which is very tough as he is a class way above the average player at Walsall, but apart from him things were quite steady for me.

Things I sometimes say
I sometimes say things I don’t mean at the card table and here are a couple of examples, when I say “Nice Hand Sir” By hand I mean catch… and Sir means moron. Also when I say “Nice hand & wp” what I really mean is “you fucking jammy limp/calling wanker.”

Summary

So if I’m trying to get off your cash table you should take that as a compliment and if I’m saying “save me that seat next to you” your a fish.

If you are a card room manager and I want to play your MTT’s then you’re probably not going to make the guarantee tonight, or there is an added seat to something as part of the prize or the field is as soft as butter.

Yours truly.

Mr Value Hunter

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Donkeys Arenโ€™t Deaf – Ranting and Raving- More APAT Misery.



Three Part Blog Update.


Pt1, Ranting & Raving.
I’ve been guilty of many a rant at the poker table and I guess that’s something I have to live with as I’m never going to totally eradicate that from my game no matter how hard I try. (I do try) I really wish I could just take bad beats, bad play, slow rolls etc. and let it all wash over me but I just can’t.
Well not 100% of the time anyway. Sometimes I get unlucky and I’m fine with it and other times I have a bit of a rant. There is no real way of knowing what triggers it for me as it can be in a tiny buy-in or insignificant game where I have a minutes red mist and other really big games where I take it as I should all the time.
I’m very embarrassed by it often within seconds of doing it, yet still cannot stop myself. My language on occasions is just awful and if ever my mother was sat at the same table as me she’d be washing my mouth out with soap.

On a positive note I’m generally a good winner and don’t give people rub downs when I get lucky or on those rare occasions where I might actually outplay someone. (Unless I know them well enough then it’s allowed of course!)

Pt 2, APAT Misery

Played the APAT English Open at G Coventry last Saturday and it didn’t go well. I had a massively frustrating day right from the get go. I didn’t get above the 15k starting stack at any point.

I had one pretty tough opponent on my table and 8 others who I wasn’t the slightest bit worried about. Our table was very nitty and this was proved by the point that I was the first player eliminated from the table at about level 8 I think it was.

Based on what the APAT stands for I should just play and enjoy them, I’d just so like to win one that I end up taking it far too seriously. I put pressure on myself because I want to do well and when I made a bad call (well I told the guy the exact 2 cards he had, I was right & still called) versus some total nit who’s probably never bluffed in his life. I was furious with myself. My language was awful, though it was directed at me which made it slightly less terrible. I had to apologise to a lady player sat 2 to my right after I’d calmed down. What a dick I am sometimes. Bearing in mind this is an APAT event I felt really bad about it.

After exiting the main event at almost exactly 8.30pm I entered the £20 evening comp and actually enjoyed it a lot. No pressure on myself and I played well. I had a good table with some nice people on and we had some fun.

When I busted quite deep into the evening tournament it was more to do with the blinds/chip average than anything else, so I was totally cool about it.

I actually went looking for a cash game as I felt that after playing badly in the APAT I’d played really well in the evening comp.

I was totally card dead in the cash and just couldn’t get anything going but as the blinds didn’t go up every 30 minutes I was prepared to be patient. I thought I’d get a spot eventually. I moved tables 3 times to get on the easiest one which I managed eventually.

My last hand of the day was when I opened a pot in late position with 9,6. I know it’s not the best starting hand but I always seem to do well with it and I’d been very tight so thought I could rep a much bigger hand if I had to.

Anyway as I open the pot for a standard raise and the young kid to my immediate level says raise and chucks some chips in. Now I know 100% for sure he didn’t notice that I’d already opened so I knew he didn’t intend to 3 bet he just thought he was opening.

1 other player calls the 3bet so I just make up the difference and we are 3 way to the flop.

The flop comes 6h,7h,9h. I check the kid bets about 2/3rds of the pot, the other guy calls and I ship all my chips in for a pretty big over bet raise.

The kid tanks for a while and calls and then the other guy does the same.

So I’m all-in and covered in a 3 way pot but they still have chips. The pot is more than big enough to cover my whole day so I’m praying no Heart hits as I know I must lose if it does.

The turn is 3c and they both check. The river is the 8d and again they both check. This fills me with confidence as the flush doesn’t hit and their checks suggest weakness.

So I announce very clearly that I have” Two Pair” and the one guy immediately says “that beats me” and he shows the Ah and mucks.

The kid to my left say something like “what 2 pair have you got?” and Patrick the dealer says “Show and take” or similar, so I turn my hand over and show the 9, 6.

He still does nothing for a while then turns over his cards and says “I have a straight” and shows 5h,5s.

I was not a happy bunny. First of all that he could call a pretty big shove with an under pair to the board, and secondly for the blatant slow roll.

Now recently I played a shocker versus Tom French in a tournament at Coventry where I tanked for a long time with the 2nd nuts before calling, (it was a long story why I tanked so long which I won’t bore you with) but at least I flipped my cards over as soon as I actually made the Fekin call.

I told the kid what I thought of his call on the flop and suggested in some pretty colourful language that it would have been easier for me to take if he’d just said “I have a straight” as soon as he checked behind on the river.

That was the end of a not so great day for me.

Baz “God” McDonald on the other hand did rather better than most in the Main Event, and if you want to know why they call him “Run like God McDonald”, a perfect example happened earlier in the day when someone shipped in from the button for 25k with AK and he called from the sb with AQ.

The big blind folded and then all hell broke loose when it was realised that the buttons cards (AK) had been mucked by the dealer.

So Baz wins a 50k pot without the worry of having to try and outdraw the AK. Apparently the guy was moaning like F about it, but to be honest the way Baz runs he’d have binked anyway. Baz went on to make the Final Table on day 2.

Pt 3, Donkeys Aren’t Deaf.

I played the GUKPT £1,000 Main Event at Walsall recently and had a good day even though it all ended badly.

My initial starting table was pretty easy but throughout the day as players busted out it got tougher and tougher. All the empty seats were filled by better and better players and I was surrounded by professional players.

The table talk between the pro players I found amusing and annoying in almost equal measure, mainly because they were talking about me!

I had some good hands in some good spots and for the most part I didn’t need to show my hole cards. There were three or four hands when I put in a big 3 or 4 bets to take pots and I didn’t show my cards when they folded.

2 of the pro’s, (1 either side of me) would then start saying what they folded and what they thought I had and talking about me as if I wasn’t even there. Their comments were not complimentary and were borderline insulting.

Yes they are better players than I am, but I’m fairly confident that I am better than they thought I was. It suited me that they were underestimating me though. To win money at poker you do not necessarily have to be more skilful than your opponent. You can win with less skill, so long as you are just more skilful than he thinks you are. Underestimating your opponents level is a recipe for disaster.

Even though I could do, I will not name the pros that were guilty of bad mouthing me.

I think in fairness I’ve been guilty in the past of doing to others what they did to me. I’ve been on tables at Coventry or the Broadway or Gala with regulars that I know well and we’ve openly discussed the play of other players in less than glowing terms.

I try to stop myself from swearing or moaning when I suffer bad beats etc but it’s tough in the heat of the moment. However I will make a point of not discussing peoples play as if they are deaf in future having been on the receiving end.

On a positive note I had Chas Chatta sat next to me for a short while. He’s a sponsored pro for Genting and is something to do with Bankroll Supply I think. Without doubt one of the nicest guys in poker. I’ve only met him once previously; in the £250 6max at the GUKPT Coventry last year and he struck me right away as a good guy.

My GUKPT main event ended in a massive pot 20 minutes from the end of day 1. After playing all day and going from the 20k starting stack up to 64k I get moved tables and bust 1st hand. I 3 bet someone when I pick up 9,9 and he and the BB call me.

So even though I 3bet we are 3 way to the flop and I hit a set. Can’t remember the last time I hit a set in a 3 bet pot, it was probably 1987.

Sadly though one of my opponents hits a middle pin straight on the turn and I bust out in a pot that had 140k + in it.

At the end of the day the tournament CL had 170k so the 140k would have put me about 3rd in chips of the 55 remaining.

So dreams of winning a GUKPT or APAT are still on hold. Work to do on my Helmuth rants and must remember that Donkeys aren’t deaf.
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Satellites – Real Squeaky Bum Poker

Satellites have such different dynamics to normal poker comps that they make for some real interesting spots and a wide variety of tactics.

I went to the GUKPT super satellite at the G Walsall on Sunday (11th March)  to try and win a seat for the £1,070 main event which starts 2.00pm Friday 16th. Luckily I won one, but to say my evening was a roller-coaster ride was an understatement!

I went to try and win a seat as if you do get lucky in the main event you could win £30k, also I feel I have some unfinished business with the GUKPT after my 10,10 < 9,9 exit from the G Coventry main event in 2011. I felt that overall I played OK at Coventry and I learned a fair bit during the event and hope to put that to good use at Walsall this week.

The general standard of play in last nights super sat was pretty terrible from 90% of the players that I saw. My opening table draw was the easiest table I’ve played on for a very long time.

Apart from one player who was just the biggest fish outside of Coventry everyone else was folding like total nits at 25/50. If the starting stack had been a little deeper I could have seen loads of flops and probably won a lot more chips earlier than I actually did.

In my mind though, after paying £30 + £5 to enter I was hoping to get away with 1r + add on (double chips for add on) so I didn’t want to get stuck for 3 or 4 re-buys. I learnt a long time ago about stop/go limits on my roulette playing and it’s something I try to incorporate into satellite play.

In an extreme example I saw someone at DTD play a super sat for the £1k Monte Carlo and after the £50 entry he then had 10 re-buys and busted out before the add-on break! So he spent £550 and didn’t get a seat. He would have been better off just paying the £1k and buying in direct, or going to the nearest roulette wheel and putting £500 on red or black.

I have played satellites before and given up trying when I reach what I consider is a sensible amount to invest.

So I was a little cautious early on, but did well in the early exchanges.

Anyway almost every time I saw the flop I took down the pot as they were all playing fit or fold and I was soon going nicely. Then when someone shipped I over my raise I busted them with AQ < A,10 and that put me up to over 6k from 2k starting stack and I was cruising along.

Now it’s real agony to get near the seat bubble and be struggling with 10 bb’s so I was determined to try and build on this good start by keeping my foot on the gas.

Hence when one of the donks opened for 5 bb’s (he’d already done this several times with hands like 10,J suited) and the fish to my right called it, I called as well from the button with 2,2.

I could have easily folded as I haven’t flopped a set for 3 months but figured I could call 250 out of 6.5k so I did. The sb and bb also made the call so we were 5 way to the flop.

I hit the 2 for a set, on a flop of 2h, Ac, 9h. I wasn’t too keen on the flush draw so when the opener bet into the pot and the fish called I shoved all in. The opener folded and the fish called with 3h,7h for a flush draw which he hit on the river.

I wasn’t too impressed with his call but managed to just say “nice hand” when he spiked the river. That was a blow as if that had held I’d have had a shed load of chips. As it was I was back down to just above 2k.

I built up again as I started opening lots more hands especially from late position as the 4 players to my left were the tightest of the 9 opponents.

When we were in the last re-buy level (75/150) I had my first bit of luck of the evening when I opened 5,6 off from the CO for 350. The bb was the only caller and I had the thought “I’ve done this a few too many times” when he made the call.

Anyway I need not have worried as the bb had A,7 and when the flop came 7 high, he just insta shoved all in on me. Unluckily for him though the flop was 7,4,3 which went a treat with my 5,6 and I caused him to re-buy!

Now a new player had just joined my table to witness this hand and it would be significant later. I’ll refer to him as “Mr Unlucky” from now on as I get to play 3 key hands against him through the rest of the night.

I then take the add on at the break and feel in pretty good shape. I then open a pot with 5,5 and get 2 callers and flop a set. Wow I hadn’t flopped a set for ages now 2 in 1 night! I lead out and get raised by an over pair. I just flat and then we get it all in on the turn and I hold to go really big in chips.

I’m just starting to think this is going almost too well when it goes the way of the pear. I open a pot and someone 3 bets me all in, but it’s not much more to me. However someone else then jams in for lots.

Now I’d been opening more pots than anyone and they’d seen me turn over 5,6 & 5,5 and 8,9 suited type hands so people when they look at a hand feel that shoving is most likely a good thing as I’ll be laying down those hands to a 3 or 4 bet.

Now I have them both covered, the shorty had very few but the other guy had about 16k. I have AK and about 25k. The chip av is 9k so I figure even if I lose I’m still not out of it, so after a dwell I make the call.

I’m up against the short stacks 6,6 and the other guy has AQ. The flop brings an Ace so I’m in great shape to pick up 40k and go to 69k with blinds at 300/600. But the guy rivers a Q and I’m choked.

I’d already worked out that with the number of chips in play when the seat bubble burst the average chips would be 90k. So to have nearly 70k at 300/600 would have been HUGE.

The seat bubble actually burst when the blinds were 5k/10k/500 so I knew that was a hugely significant hand to lose.

Anyway I know these satellites are never a smooth ride and you have to sweat along the way right?

So I rock along but I can’t get going again and most of the rocks on my table have been busted and the table doesn’t look quite so easy now.

I cannot get a hand and struggle along on 9k for ages but with 20 minute blind levels I’m actually going backwards in real terms.

I now know I have to shove all in with almost any 2 in any decent looking spot. One donkey 3 to my right was the only guy limping now so I 3 bet shoved twice on him and he folded both times but I still couldn’t catch up the chip average which was rising rapidly due to loads of bust outs.

There were 135 runners initially but they were dropping like flies. Anyway as we approach the next break I make my mind up that the easiest bb on the table is the new kid to my immediate right. I saw what he was folding to raises on his bb so I knew I had to do it, even though it meant doing it from UTG.

I open shove for about 7 bigs and everyone folds and that buys me a round of the table. But I have to fold for a round due to the action so I’m back in the same situation again exactly 10 hands later and shove 7 bigs UTG again.

Now Mr Unlucky finds 8,8 in mid position and calls me. I hadn’t actually looked at my cards but I have J,5 (Motown). If you are in deep shit I feel it helps if you have a hand that has a name!

Anyway I river a Jack to stay alive and now I have 16 bb’s whoopee. I win a few more and go up to about 26k so I can start raising again rather than shoving.

So after the break I get moved to a new table. On it I’m sat to the immediate left of Steve Owen (cash game reg from G Cov) and to his right is a guy known as “Panfried” off the Midlands Poker Forum.

I’m in seat 8 and Tim Millward-Brookes who is the “Fold to Victory” team captain, (that’s his photo at the top of the post) ) also G Cov regular is in seat 3.

The other Coventry regulars Mark, Clive and “one eyed” Pete have already busted. I was actually very pleased that there were so many Cov regulars there as often in Satellites there are “Teams” entering to try and get seats and it’s not so nice if you are in strange casino where you don’t know anyone.

I used to be a regular at Walsall myself about 10 years ago so I do know a few of the players there but not many nowadays.

Anyway one of my downward roller-coaster bits comes next. Seat 2 is the bb (1k/2k) and it’s folded to “Panfried in seat 6 and he open shoves for about 8k. Steve folds and when I look at my cards I have 2 red Aces.

As I had quite a lot of chips and the bb looked to have a shoving size stack I just flat called hoping to get his chips. It’s folded to the bb and he thinks for a while but he just made the call. Now I know that probably every other player at the table would have shoved with Aces in my situation but I do try to do the opposite of what people expect now and again.

As I have 2 red Aces the flop stinks as it’s 3 clubs. About the only thing I didn’t want to see. So when the bb checks to me I have to bet big as I don’t want to let him hit an 8 high flush type hand for free. He duly folds (he said he did have a mid range club after the hand). Panfried turns over K,3 off suit but the 3 is a club and he rivers the flush.

I’m none too happy but I always feel it’s reasonable when a short stack shoves in and gets lucky. It’s bad calls that really tilt me not shoves that get lucky.

So I’m wounded a bit but it could have been worse. I then go really card dead and can’t do much as the preceding action means I end up folding a lot of hands.

The blinds are going ridiculous now and antes have kicked in, so I’m starting to get desperate again when they break our table and move me again.

Now there are 3 tables left and there are 11 seats and £350 for 12th but I have less than 10 big blinds again. Now for some players they were folding when they had 3 or 4 big blinds but I wasn’t going to go quietly if I was going.

Now at my new table I’m seat 10 and Steve Holden was in seat 9 (You can see Steve’s Results here:  http://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=77989 ) He has had some very good wins and is an all round good guy. I first met him many years ago when he first started playing poker in the Friday night £5 re-buy at Walsall.

Tim Millward-Brookes gets put in seat 8 and seat 1 is really tough for me as it’s a guy called Sammi (don’t know his surname) one of the very best amateur poker players around and he has a lot of chips.

Mr Unlucky re-joins me and gets put in seat 5. By this stage I’m really short stacked and I know I have to shove with any two the first time it’s folded to me. Unluckily (or luckily) it doesn’t get folded to me until Tim is the bb.

Tim has won some huge pots earlier on and so is sitting on a stack of 120k plus. We’d chatted earlier on the breaks and we’d discussed that it would be nice if we could both win a seat. He was well on the way and I was the one in real danger of busting.

So I shove in against Tim’s bb for about 5 bigs from UTG +1, I’m thinking I will almost certainly get called by someone round the table but amazingly it got folded round to Tim.

Tim was probably table CL at this point, and I guess the other players were thinking lets leave it to him!

Anyway he dwells long enough to nearly give me a heart attack, but he mucks.

Steve’s Holden, sat to my immediate right, let out a gasp of disbelief that was pretty audible and I can breathe again.

Now Tim gets a lot of stick from a certain G Cov regular (Mr Goody) about his rock like tendencies, who even set up a fake blog called “Fold to Victory” which I admit is funny, but on this occasion I think it’s to his credit that he folded.

Dave has put merchandise for sale via the blog and to be fair Tim’s took it in good part and has even bought a fleece off the website. See photo at top of the blog. Apparently one of the dealers at G Cov has bought the thong shown below. I think it’s one of the female dealers but I’m not sure.

So anyway the next hand Steve Holden is bb and I’m UTG and I still have a very short stack and Steve is giving me speech play along the lines of “if you think I won’t call you, you’d better think again”.

I’m giving it back saying “I know you will and I’ve got far too much respect for you to ship in on your blind with junk” type of speech. Anyway I say “I’ve just bought myself a round I can wait for a hand now”.

As I peep at my cards I have 9h,6h a favourite hand of a very good friend of mine. It’s not my favourite hand at all, but it always seems lucky for him. So I shove all in for about 7 big blinds.

It get’s folded to “Mr Unlucky” and he ships in over the top of my bet. Everyone folds and we are on their backs, my 9,6 versus his J,J.

I miss the flop but pick up a middle pin straight draw on the turn and river it! Boom.

Now I have 16 big’s approx and that’s a lot at this stage as players on the other tables are tighter than a camels arse in a sand storm.

Time goes by and we get down to 2 tables and the blinds are a ridiculous 5k/10k/500. Average chip stack about 70k.

I then pick up KK and shove all in again. It’s folded to Mr Unlucky and he shoves. He’d folded some big hands earlier and was playing pretty tight but he’d seen and been on the receiving end of my earlier shoves with 5,6 – J,5 – 9,6 etc so he called me with 10,10 and I held to go to safety!

Mr Unlucky is still in and gets a seat so I didn’t feel so bad about the wounds I’d inflicted on him through the night.

Anyway we are having lots of action on our table but the other one is in lock down. We lose Steve, busted by Mr Unlucky and then the player in seat 3 loses a lot of chips and is on life support as we get to 13 players the prize bubble. (£350 for 12th)

Seat 3 then tactically folds leaving himself less than 1 bb (Definite Fold to Victory Potential) as players are all in and called on the other table.

We lose a player from the other table so there are now 12, with 11 seats and the £350 cash for 12th. Blinds still 5k/10k/500.

Seat 3 is UTG and throws in his last 8.5k, Mr Unlucky flats for the 10k. I’m sb and call the extra 5k with J,3. I have loads of chips and I know that even though in normal comps Sammi is very aggressive in this spot he will never raise from the bb even if he picks up Aces. As I suspected he checks and we are 4 way to the flop.

It comes A,J,3, (2 diamonds)  I check my 2 pair, Sammi has Ad and checks. Poor Mr Short stack has A,Q for top pair, Mr Unlucky has 2 diamonds and also checks.

The turn is the 3 of diamonds giving me a boat and Mr Unlucky a flush and Sammi still has top pair and has now picked up the Ace flush draw. I lead out for the minimum 10k expecting them both to fold as I’ve as good as said I have a monster. I’m really surprised when both Sammi and Mr Unlucky call!

The river is a blank and I’m trying to work out if there is any scenario where all 3 players could have hit a bigger boat than me! I really can’t see it happening but check anyway just in case ๐Ÿ™‚

We turn em over and my hand wins and more importantly it’s all over. Phew.

We are all smiles then of course and all the 11 winners are friendly and chatting away merrily in the queue to pick up our entry tickets for the main event.

I have a chat to Mr Unlucky and he seemed a really nice guy, and he took the beats I put on him well. I walked out with Tim and Pete and we had a congratulatory talk outside.

It should be good on Friday as other G Coventry regulars have won seats for the main event, including fellow “Fold to Victory” team member Andy Bailess.

Summary

The structure and starting stack is dreadful for these events but it’s designed to get maximum re-buys and then finish it ASAP. So 3×30 min blind levels for re-buys + last 3 hands then 20 minute levels from then on. They even introduced ante’s which was just ridiculous as the chip average to BB ratio was so bad in the later stages that they really didn’t need ante’s to spice up the action!

I didn’t need to have a re-buy but took the add on, so I’ve won a £1,070 seat for £65 so I’m free-rolling which is always good.

It was a bloody tough win though and I felt knackered when I got home, though obviously delighted. I got lucky more times than unlucky throughout the night and had a real roller-coaster ride.

I posted on Facebook before I left the house for Walsall, “Off to Walsall for the GUKPT super satellite… why, why do I put myself through this torture?” 

Well on the rare occasions when it works out, it’s a real buzz, that’s why!

Lets hope I have a really boring day Friday and just steadily accumulate chips throughout the day without any drama.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen ๐Ÿ™‚

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APAT Season 6 – First Event at G Coventry.


APAT Season 6 Starts @ G Coventry.

All the information below is taken directly from the APAT website. I’m really looking forward to this!

The opening weekend of season six will feature the two day William Hill English Amateur Poker Championship, with a capacity for 200 players, which will take place at the G Casino in Coventry on April 7th & 8th, with play starting at 2.30pm on day one and at 1.00pm on day two. 



The event will feature a £75 + £7.50 buy in and players will start with 15,000 chips on a 45 minute clock. 


The full schedule of events for the weekend is as follows:-


Saturday April 7th:


7.30pm – Cash Tour – £200 maximum buy in + 10% – no rake
8.30pm – APAT Mixed Game Championship, NLHE – 5,000 Chips – £20 + 10%


Sunday April 8th:


1.00pm – William Hill English Amateur Poker Championship – played to a finish.
3.00pm – APAT Mixed Game Championship, PLO – 5,000 Chips – £20 + 10%


Satellites to the William Hill English Amateur Poker Championship will be available from 8pm on Monday February 27th, exclusively at William Hill Online.

Satellite Schedule
Monday February 27th – 8pm – £20 + £2
Tuesday February 28th – 8pm – £10 +£1
Wednesday February 29th – 8pm – £5 + 50p Rebuy
Thursday March 1st – 8pm – £75 + £7.50 Direct Buy In

Players will be unable to buy into the event via the G Casino Coventry and should utilise an ‘apatpoker’ bonus code when opening a William Hill Online account, for a 200% first deposit bonus of up to £1,250.


Please click one of APAT’s William Hill banners to download the software.

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