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.


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.

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.