Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Not a Hiatus...but a European Poker Tour! BIG NEWS INSIDE!!!

Hope that you are all well. I haven't updated since my internet connections over in Europe were a bit spotty, at best. But thanks for sticking with me. Here's the data dump. In a wink and a nod to Iggy, this will be in Uber-post form.

I played all of my poker in London, as that was the only weekend time that I had. Hard to play during the week when you have work. Damn work. I played at two (tried at three, but we'll get to that) clubs in London, the Gutshot and the Sportsman. The third club, the Grosvenor Victoria (aka the Vic) I went to but never played at, for good reason. That's the big news, but you will have to wait and read on. Here's my notes from the trip....

Day 1 - Friday
Well, I was thinking I would be able to post more often, but that's not the case. Internet connection at my hotel isn't working, except in the lobby on wireless, so I might post from there later.

No poker until I got to London yesterday. Should have been here by 4pm local time, but the train from Newcastle had a whole slew of issues with the track signals, so we didn't get in until 5:30. Wrestled my one huge piece of luggage onto the Tube, one train change, into the hotel. 6:15 then. Checked in, went up to clean up a bit and off again about 7:15. Asked the front desk for the address to the Gutshot and they couldn't find it. I knew it was on Clerkenwell, and I thought it was in the 40-50 region so I told the taxi to shoot for 44. Would have taken the tube, but I wasn't sure where the place was and thought I'd be safer in a taxi to get there.

Taxi driver had never heard of it. (Hmmm...seems to be a theme here) He dropped me off at what he thought was the 40-50 block, which it was on the south side of the street. The north side was still in the 60s, so, off I hoofed it....and there I was, finally. Got there about 3 mins before the 8pm £10 rebuy event. So finally, some poker!

Got seated at a table near to the back of the new room....for those who don't know, the Gutshot is a "private" club that attests that poker is a game of skill, not luck. Therefore, as a private club they have to reinvest all profits into the club. They have made enough that they were able to buy the storefront next door and open that as a tourney area. It's really nice, non-smoking except near the front and the bar.

Okay, time to play. They are set up where the players deal and so areound we went. First hand, I'm in MP and the guy in front of me raises to 325. I look down to find 10-10 (my favorite hand). You start with 500 chips and 25-25 blinds. I figured it was worth the shot and tried to isolate by going all-in. BB hemmed and hawed and folded. Player flippled up A-10 suited and I was damn happy. Only a three outer. No A for him and I'm now at 1050. Next hand I get A-10 suited and figure what the hell, and raise to 300. Guy two to my left reraises all in and I actually think for a second, then call. He shows 6-6. Flop is Q J K. And I'm on my way to getting someone else to rebuy. Turn is a K....uh oh.....river is a 6! Runner-runner full houses aren't just an online phenomena!!! WTF? Ah well, I'm still okay with 550. Next hand (yes, we are only 3 hands in) I get AK off. People are now thinking I'm nuts, so I go all-in again UTG. Two call. One has A-5 off, one has QJ off...heh. Now I'm back to 1500+ and two more fish have to rebuy. That was the end of my streak, but a hell of a way to start a tourney.

I make it to the first break without having to rebuy, but I'm the only one at the table who didn't have to rebuy. I have 2500 in chips(Had QQ hit a set and then a flush). I do the £10 add on for 500 more (probably shouldn't have, but I was a middle-sized stack at the table and everyone else did). So after the break I have 3000. After the break the action slows down. Guy to my immediate left however tried to pull a fast one after the break and went all in immediately, and said.."I can get one more rebuy, right?" Uh, no...and we aren't falling for your "fake drunk" escapades...everyone folds, he laughs and shows AA.

I few hands later I have A9 sooooted in MP and decide to raise (since I've been showing premium hands...well, other than the A-10 which is marginal to good) I make it 350 to go in the 50-100 blinds and have two callers. Flop is 9-8-3 rainbow. Girl in the SB who has been very tight goes all-in for 600 chips into a 1000 chip pot and other player mucks. I decide to call and hope she doesn't have an overpair (hoping 7s, or A-9 or A-8 suited)...but she has 10-10 and I can't hit any of my few outs. I take it easy for a bit and when the BB comes around to me again I find A-J spades. Button min-raises, and instead of pushing back, the SB and I just call. Flop is J-3-6 with 2 spades. SB bets, I decide to push the button all-in (leaving me with about 1050 behind) since I have the TPTK and flush draw outs. Button insta-calls (not a good sign, his chips almost beat mine into the pot) and SB folds. Button shows 3-3. SB says "Wow, I had that other 3". My flush misses. Sigh....

I finally get moved and am card dead. I finally get a soooted Q9 UTG and decide I'm tired (still a bit jet-laggy). So I go all in. LP guy reraises me all in to isolate and everyone else folds. I know I'm in trouble. He shows A7 sooted (but a different suit than mine) and the flop comes J-10-4 rainbow. Turn is a blank and neither of us can flush, but I have a ton of outs...any K,Q,9,8 and I win it. But none come and I head back to the hotel.

That's it for now. I won't have pics until the wife gets over next Saturday, since I forgot the cable to transfer pics to the comp, and I have no connection yet at the hotel anyway. I'll update after I play some this afternoon. They hav £25 max PLHE with £0.25-£0.50 blinds that I'm going to try out. I'll cya all later.

Well, now I have's the new cardroom at the Gutshot.

Day 2 - Saturday

9pm update. Played the £1-£1 £25 min, £50 max PLHE cash game. Moved it up to £90. Used that to buy into a £11 SnG for the £110 freezeout. Got to heads up with 3000 vs 7000 in chips (10-handed, 1000 chips each) offered the guy £70 for the seat. He said he wanted to play for it, so we did.

Got all the way down to 1250. Had J5 Soooted and said f-it and pushed. He called with Q9...uh oh. I flopped a 5. He turned a Q. I rivered a 5. Doubled to 2500. Next hand I had KJ off. 200/400 blinds still. I pushed, he called and had the Q9 AGAIN!!. I knew I was done, can't beat that magic twice in a row. He flopped a 9, and I was done.

As soon as it was over he said he couldn't play in the big buy in and offered me the seat for £70. Said he just wanted to play it out so that's why he didn't deal. No biggie, I paid the man and took the seat. Paid £81 - £40 profit earler and I paid £41 for the £100 freeze out. Starts with 4000 in chips and 25-50 blinds, 25 minute levels. Not too bad.

So that started an hour ago and here I sit. Talking with you all again. I did well, moved my 4K to 5K with a few hands and a good bluff. Only had to show two hands, AK suited and AQ off. Came around to me in MP and I looked down to see JJ. I hate JJ. Blinds at 50-100 so I raised to 500. One caller from BB. Flop is all low cards, 9 hi. Caller bets out 500. I stopped to think about it. I've noticed that most Europeans tend to like the check-raise on the flop (how I got knocked down to a low stack last night) when they have a monster, so I am thinking he may have AK, AQ, or pairs down to 10s since he's betting into me. I raise 1500. He thinks for about 3 mins, then pushes all-in. I feel like I'm commited now and have him coved by about 800, so I call. He's got QQ. Ah well, I should have known better.

So I sit and wait and wait and wait. Now into 100-200 blinds, so my 800 is now 600 and I find Kd8d in the CO. Decide to gamble. Two callers. They both check it down to the river and I've missed everything. Same guy who had the QQ vs me has 55 and I'm done.

Now on the list for the £1-£1 game again. I'll let you know how that goes when I come back later.

Still having fun, at least. Here's me in the cash game.

The Saturday Midnight Update-A mini-novel

Okay, the latest from the other side of the pond.....

One word....WOW

Okay, so when we last left our hero, he was down from his early exit in the £100+10 buy in freeze out after his JJ lost to QQ. I was down £41 for the evening. I got on the £1-£1 25min/50 max game list and waited around. Meanwhile the £0.25-£0.50 game with a £25 max started up. Also known as the "pony game". Apparently, Raymer, Hatchem, and Moneymaker were there on Monday for the end of the big week-long European Open and Raymer sat in on this game and it got a little nutty.

It's hard to describe this game. Only good way is that it is 1) NUTS, and 2) a "Gentleman's Game" where there is no dealer from the club (you pass the deal) and no rake. It is Pot Limit Hold Em. It was juicy. However, I got knocked down a bit when my A-10 off in the BB was caught by A-8 suited that turned 2-pair. Such is life. I got called up to the bigger game and left, but might try it again tomorrow. Sat with £25, left with £8.

Took the cash over to the other game and bought in for £25 more, giving me £33. I was up and down a bit until I finally had AQ off on the button. I have to digress a bit here so that you can understand my play.

Side story-skip if you just want the poker

Okay, this table was absolutely nuts, there was a young american punk and a polish guy that were going after each other like they were at war. There was an english guy that has three hands earlier really started to mix it up and put the polish guy on tilt by calling a DOUBLE straddle (made by the young american punk or YAP) with 2-4 offsuit. Yeah, you read that right. Hell, there was so much action I even played my 5-6 SOOTED in that hand cause I could have easily trippled or quadrupled up if it hit. Anyway, the englishman called it and the flop came down A-5-8 with no hearts. Checked around (Europeans HATE to bet the flop..they prefer to check-raise....remember that info if you are playing in a casino over here) and the turn came a 3. Check to the polish guy who bet pot...I muck, another mucks. English reraises pot. Folded to polish. Reraise is enough to put him all in. He calls. At the Gutshot, you don't turn over the cards until the river is dealt in a cash game(like cash games online at some sites, might be all of Europe for all I know) so they polish didn't see he was beat until the end. And he went balistic. I think I might have learned some really really good swear words in Polish, if I could understand the guy. He was close to going over the table, but his buddy talked him down and he finally went to get more cash from the ATM.

End of side story-back to poker

Okay, so I have AQ on the button. Young american punk (YAP) bets the pot in big deal. I've been pretty tight and not mixing it up much, and have seen a few monsters go down to this kid (He called an £80 PREFLOP bet with 6-6 and flopped a 6 to crack Qs, so I know he could have anything). Polish's buddy calls. I reraise the pot to £18. English reraises me pot. Fold fold to me. His reraise is enough to put me in, I've got about £35 left. I think about it and he says "Well, at least it will be a race I guess" which makes me think he has a mid-PP, like 7s to 10s. I call. He has 10-10. He asks the table if anyone had an A and they all say no. Polish's buddy says he had J-10 off so one of his 10s is gone if I can hit.

Flop is beauty. A-4-9. Turn is a J. River is a 6 and I scoop a £95 pot. Sweet! I wait through another orbit and see a few flops, but it is getting late and I need to catch the tube back to the hotel. I know I could stay and pay for a cab, but damnit, I'm tired and I paid for a daily railcard, so I'm gonna use the thing more than once. I get up, cash out for £91 and realize....I'm dead even for poker at the Gutshot for the day. Like 8.5 hours of playing, and I'm dead even. Sure. I paid for drinks, and dinner, but that was it. One hell of a day.

Tomorrow I'm debating looking for other casinos to hit. There were a few that were advertising in the Bluff Europe that I hadn't seen online, so I might check them out. Of course, dummy me left the mag at the Gutshot. I'll have to swing by and pick one up or just Google and hope to get lucky, but what the heck.

-Side note- Found the other places, as you can see from the start of the article.

Day 3 - Sunday, the day I met a WSOP Champ!

Just played a £30+3 freezeout . 44 entered, I finished 12th when I was on the SS UTG with Jc10c and pushed it. BB called (I would have crippled him, he would have had 1200 left with 300/600 blinds) He thought hard about it. Wish he would have folded he had JJ. J on the flop, paired the 6 on the board on the turn (full house for him) and then another 6 on the river just to dig it into me. I had 666JJ, to his JJJ66. Ah well. What was really interesting was that English from last night was there. This was at a different place, the Sportsman out by Marble Arch.

One interesting side story from this game. The dealers were not very good at all. There were quite a few string bets, etc that the dealers were not calling. I saw one pot pushed to a player that should have been split, but since I wasn't involved, I didn't say anything about it, as I don't want to get into a fight, being the "ugly american" and all that.

Anyway, here's the story. 20 left, I have the big stack with about 8K (started with 1500). I look down to find AJ suited on the Button. I decide to play bully. SB calls, BB goes all in for 500 more. I call, SB call. Flop is A 8 5. SB bets 500 into the dry pot and I decide to bully again, and I go all-in.

He shows 5-5 for a set. I ask him how much will I owe (as an A to help me will fill him up) and the dealer says "Wait till the end".

Turn is a K, river is an A and everyone goes nuts. A few were saying "He sucked out!" The guy starts to get up, the dealer starts to push me the pot and I hear a voice say "He's got a full house". And realize that voice is mine.

Everyone stops, and looks.

Would you have done the same? I just can't see letting that happen, I think that there should still be some class in poker.

Anyway, back to the main story. Sorry for the digression. I left the Sportsman with time to get to the Gusthot for their 8pm...the story continues...almost to the good part, trust me!

So I sat in the £30+3 for about 15-20 mins before a donk took me out. He was going in with any A, any pair. He had sucked out on 4 other guys in 20 mins. I looked down in MP and found AsJs and decided to raise. If he reraised again (which he would with any A) I would go over the top. Everyone else respected the 3.5X BB raise but him. I went over the top, he called with A10 off. One guy said "You've got him, I mucked 10-4 offsuit" and I knew that those words sealed my fate. Sure enough, the 10 came on the flop and I was out. I did have a shot as the board paired Ks and gave me a gutshot str8 draw as well, but alas, I couldn't suckout a gutshot at the Gutshot (and what the hell is up with that? would have made the story better) In fact, the board was K 6 10 K on the river, so any A,K,Q or J would have given me the win (or split with the K). Such is life. He can hit his 2-outer, but I can't hit my 10-outer.

So I went back to the £50 buy in, £1-£1 blind PLHE game. Made 38 back. And then decided I wanted to try a new club and took the tube over to the Victoria Casino.

Wow, what a difference. Much more Vegas-like with the glitz and glamour. The Gutshot is definietly a better place to play for the action, but the Vic was a lot nicer looking and cleaner.

And it had Greg Raymer. Yep, you read that right. I'll give you a minute to let that sink in......

I came all the way to the UK, decided on a whim to try a third card club, and ran into a WSOP champion. He was sitting with about £3K in a £250 min, no max buyin with £5-£5 blinds that was a mixed game. They were playing all kinds of stuff, some that I had never heard of nor seen before. I didn't even notice him at first as people were leaving him alone. I put my name on the list for the £1-£1, min £100 buy in PLOmaha and sat down out in the lounge and was waiting for my table. I was looking around the cardroom when a guy got up to adjust his chair and thought "hey, he looks kind of like Raymer" followed immediately by "HOLY SHIT, THAT IS RAYMER".

So, knowing that he's a nice guy I walked over to the table, and waited until he was not in a hand and chatted with him for a bit. I asked for a photo with him and he agreed, but they don't allow cameras in the Casino, so we would have had to go downstairs. He wasn't ready for a break, and I was still on the list so I just stood there and we talked. Looking back, I think I missed a golden opportunity (I was tired and a bit shell-shocked) as he said he was hungry and asked if I knew a good Thai place nearby. I bet if I had found one and offered to buy, he would have taken a break and I would have a much, much cooler story about the time that I bought Raymer dinner in London. Instead, you get this tale. Such is life, again....sigh....

So I waited for a bit. It had been about an hour and they hadn't called me. I was tired and had a flight on Monday morning, so about 11:30 I asked if he was ready for a break and he said he was stuck, and one of his vices in poker is that he won't get up for a break until he's even (I think that was his polite way of saying no), so no picture with him.

I did get a nice autograph that is personalized. He carries a deck of Pokerstars trading cards (look like baseball cards, kinda) that he autographed for me. I asked if he would be around next weekend and he said "Maybe" so I may try to head back on Friday night when I get into town. If he's not at the Vic, I'll be heading back to the Gutshot to make a little cash. I'll post again when I get back off the business trip and onto my "Holiday" (vacation for you in the states....Europe is starting to sink in too much)

Day 5 - one week later

Well, I didn't get in until late on Friday, as there was bad weather in London and my flight from Frankfurt was delayed. Wife came in on Saturday, so I had to keep her up and moving to get her adjusted to the right time. So on Sunday, I went back to the Sportsman to try my hand at the £30+3 freezeout again. Did okay, made the final two tables but the cards just weren't there. Finally had to get all-in vs a guy from the week before who I'd been chatting with prior to the game start when he raised my BB from MP. He stuck in a 3XBB raise for 600, and I only had 1600 left after posting (M of about 5) and I found A8 suited. I reraised all in but my flush didn't come and his AK had me outkicked. Such is life.

So that's it for the European Adventure. Now I'm back to my limit challenge, and I'll post updates to that again.


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