From a Small Seed

From a Small Seed

“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.” – Aeschylus In 2017 I hit the ground running. Overcoming 766 other players to take down Grosvenor’s ‘Mini Masters’ online—a €5 rebuy tournament— netted me €1800 and all but secured my top spot in the ‘Passport’ leader board promotion. It also took me back to my […]

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Goliath 2016: Europe’s big one

The Goliath is back for another record-breaking event at the Ricoh in Coventry The Goliath has been breaking records since 2011, when 1,765 runners battled it out in the £100k guaranteed event. Actually, to be more specific, it’s been breaking it’s own record, again and again. Each year the Goliath has grown… In 2012, 1,954 runners…

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2016 Grosvenor 25/25 Series Schedule

Grosvenor Casinos’ 25/25 Series is the fastest growing poker tour in the country! Check out the 2016 Grosvenor 25/25 Series schedule here All 25/25 Main Events follow the below format: £200 + 20 buy-in Each player starts with 25,000 chips Unconditional guarantee of £25,000 A player can re-enter up to a maximum of twice per…

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GUKPT 2015 Blackpool: Gray climbs the tower

Huge field at the 2015 GUKPT Blackpool as Jonny Gray captures his first title and the £69,000 first prize The GUKPT Blackpool has always been the party leg of the tour, but the poker got serious this year as 275 runners meant the £200k guarantee was smashed. That’s over 100 more runners than the 2014…

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GUKPT Blackpool: Build a tower of power

Or bust out and go up a real one. Blackpool offers everything including world-class poker this November The GUKPT has been going to Blackpool since Season 1 of the tour and the last leg before the £400k guaranteed Grand Final is always one of the most fun-packed festivals. If you’ve not been to Blackpool before it…

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Records smashed at the 2015 Goliath as Miikka Toikka slays the beast

IT professional by day, poker player by night – now Miikka Toikka takes down his first big live event The 2015 Goliath managed to beat its own record and maintain its crown as the biggest live-only poker tournament outside of Vegas. 2,764 unique players took part in the £120 buy-in Main Event and, after combining the 1,446…

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GUKPT: Leeds up next for the UK’s biggest live poker tour

248 players smashed the guarantee at GUKPT Reading – Qualify now for the next leg in Leeds Last month we reported on Julian Davies, who won the GUKPT Cardiff for £25,000. He was back in the thick of it at GUKPT Reading, threatening to become the first man to win back-to-back main events. He made…

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LIVE STREAM – GUKPT 2015 Leg 6 from the Grosvenor Casino at Leeds Westgate

Watch all the live action from the latest leg of Grosvenor’s GUKPT 2015 through this live stream. Starting on Sunday 26th July and continuing through to the GUKPT Main Event Final Table from 12pm on Sunday 2nd August To read daily updates from Leg 6 of the GUKPT you can click here to visit the…

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GUKPT Manchester: Ali brings the magic

Leg 2 of Season 9 of the 2015 GUKPT sees a tour regular win from the front in Manchester You might not have heard of Ali but if you’d ever played with him you’d never forget him. A veteran of the UK game, Mallu has been cashing with unerring regularity since 2002 and hasn’t missed…

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GUKPT kicks off the new year at the Victoria Casino

The GUKPT – the UK’s longest running poker tour – is back for its 9th season with total guaranteed prize pools of over £1,500,000 Hot on the heels of the UKIPT London, playing out at the Hippodrome Casino now, the new GUKPT season kicks off next week at The Poker Room above the Grosvenor Victoria…

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The GUKPT hits the beachside beauty of Blackpool for its penultimate event of 2014

It’s the last £200,000 guaranteed main event (£1,000+80 buy-in) of 2014 and it’s taking place among the old-school pleasures of Blackpool Located right on Blackpool’s iconic promenade, the Grosvenor Casino has seen its fair share of action inside as well as out. The GUKPT returns there next week as the £1k main event kicks off…

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2015 GUKPT and Goliath dates announced by Grosvenor

Grosvenor Casinos confirms 2015 dates for the ever popular GUKPT and the massive Goliath  The ever-popular GUKPT is back for 2015, taking in the length and breadth of England, with one stop-off in Scotland for good measure. It kicks off in London in late January with a £1k buy-in, with four £500 buy-ins and a…

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GUKPT hits Leeds for the final £550 buy-in of 2014

The GUKPT heads to Leeds for the first time and the PokerPlayer Tour stops off in Manchester This week sees the 8th Leg of the Grosvenor Casinos’ 2014 GUKPT, as the tour heads north to Leeds for the first time in the GUKPT’s eight year history. This will be the last £550 Buy-in GUKPT Main…

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Large turnout for GUKPT Cardiff, won by Vaidas Sirionas

Vaidas Sirionas, from Lithuania via Bristol, captures his first GUKPT Title in Cardiff and the PokerPlayer Tour teams up with Goliath PokerPlayer Tour partners, and the UK’s leading poker tournament series, Grosvenor Casinos’ GUKPT tour made a triumphant return to the Welsh capital last week after a four year break. 177 players entered the £550…

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The Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) returns to Cardiff for the first time in four years

Grosvenor Casinos prestigious GUKPT returns to the Welsh capital of Cardiff After a four year hiatus Grosvenor Casinos’ flagship tour, the GUKPT, returns to Cardiff’s Grosvenor G Casino this week. The last time the tour was in Cardiff it was PokerPlayer columnist Karl Mahrenholz who took the title, nearly £40,000, and the coveted trophy back…

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Andrew Teng becomes a double GUKPT champion after winning Edinburgh main event

In the seven years of its existence, only five players have won multiple GUKPT titles. It’s an illustrious bunch including WSOP bracelet winner Praz Bansi, Sunny Chattha, Priyan de Mel, Paul Foltyn and former international footballer Tony Cascarino all with two victories. Julian Thew currently stands alone as the only player with three titles. After…

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Become the king of Scotland this weekend when the GUKPT travels to Edinburgh

Do you like haggis, Guinness, castles, whiskey or big bags of cash? If the answer to just one of these is YES! YES! YES! then you need to get yourself up to Edinburgh this weekend for the latest leg in the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT). Remarkably, this is the first time that the UK’s…

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Ryan Spittles: My first Las Vegas experience

About a week passed after my horror show at GUKPT Walsall before I started playing online again and during that time I’d invested in a new PC and monitors to help me play more tables online. I instantly went from playing a maximum of eight tables to 12. It was a huge boost and despite…

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Karl Mahrenholz looks back at his favourite poker moments of 2013

In 2008 I had the chance to play on Late Night Poker. Part way through the sixth level I found a pair of Aces under the gun. I blew the cobwebs off my chips and threw in a raise. Action was folded to the big blind who, upon noticing my relentless aggression (ahem), decided to…

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Sam Grafton secures a rare Isle of Man Hendon Mob flag and attempts to defend his GUKPT grand final crown

Poker isn’t everything. That’s the rumour doing the rounds, anyway! I remain sceptical, but I have invested a little of my time in other pursuits over the last couple of months. The pace of my online grind has slackened to its lowest level of the past few years and I’ve been enjoying a little better work/life balance. Of course, taking time…

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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.


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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Donkeys Aren’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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