So on Friday I took the day off work and set off for Bolton for the first major ranking event of my 2010 sponsorship package with Coral. Leg 1 of the GUKPT main event. A cool £1000 (+£70 registration fee) entry & with only one day 1 it was sure to be a packed card room. It’s the first time I’ve been on a long poker road trip without my brother and the drive down felt kind of weird. I arrived in Bolton early and checked into my hotel, I get changed before taking the ten minute drive down the motorway to the Bolton G. The car park is full and it takes me a while to get parked & by the time I sign in and walk to the back of the casino & into the card room the seats have just been draw and announced.
I’ve been drawn T11 S7. First impressions of the venue and card room are really impressive. It’s a big set up with a huge card room and nicely lit. I take my seat and notice Zach Ford sitting in S1. I’d bust him in Teesside last year but I doubt he remembers me. With 146 runners the pot was a generous £146,000. So anyway, the cards are in the air and after a couple of EP limpers I look down at my first hand of the MTT and find AKo. With blinds at 25/50 and a couple of limpers I raise to 300. I’m called by Zach Ford on the BTN and one of the limpers comes along and we see a 3way pot. With about 1025 in the middle the flop comes down Qd10dXx. EP guy checks, I check and Zach bets about 625 into the pot and EP guy folds. With an ISD and 2 over cards I make the call. A brick 2h hits the turn and I check fold to a 1250 bet from Zach. This was the first of four significant pots I played vs Zach in level 1.
Not long after I’m on the BTN with 5c6c and CO opens the pot for 200. I make the call and Zach Ford in the BB also calls. With about 625 in the middle the flop comes 45Kr and we all check as a J hits the turn. Again everyone checks fourth street and a 5 hits the river giving my trip 5’s. Again both players check to me and although nobody has shown any interest in the hand I VB my trips and put in a 375 bet. Zach Fold surprisingly re-raises me to 1100 and I go into the tank trying to put him a hand that has my beat. I eventually make the call and he tables 45o for a FH with 5’s full. FML. So after 30 minutes of poker my stack was down to 12,500 already. A few orbits passed without me picking up anything before I played my next pot.
FTP GIM: After an EP raise and three callers I joined the party on the BTN with KhTh. With about 1,000 in the middle the flop comes down KQ high with a diamond draw to boot. Zach puts out a bet out of 400 and everyone folds to me. I flat call and a brick hits the turn. We both check the turn and another brick hits the river. With about 1800 in the pot Zach takes another stab and bets 1500. Nothing got there and although it’s a big bet I feel confident my TP is still good and make the call. Zach folds face down and I scoop my first decent pot.
Nearing the end of level 1 I again get involved in a multi way raised pot this time with 9c10c. After an EP raise and a few callers I complete from the SB and the flop comes down QJX. Zach again takes a stab at the pot and again the table folds to me. I call and a perfect 8 hits the turn giving me the nuts. I again check hoping Zach will continue his aggression. He checks behind and an Ace falls on the river. Although I no longer hold the nuts it’s a pretty good card for me as it could well have improved Zach’s hand. With about 3,500 in the middle I fire out 3,100 and Zach tank folds saying he would have called anything up to about 2,000. NVM I scooped another nice pot and ended level one on just over my starting stack at 16,175. Considering my bad start I was very happy to be back up to average. After an up and down start levels two and three passed by without me getting involved much. I tried to sit back and re-group and spent my card dead period trying to pick up reads and tells on my opponents. So without playing any big or significant pots by the end of level 3 I was sitting on 14375, just below the chip average of 15500.
Level 4 (100/200/25) was a frustrating level for me as I picked up plenty of speculative hands and got involved with them hoping to flop something big. I was still pretty deep and thought it prudent to get involved with my baby pairs and suited connecters in the hope that I could stack someone. I couldn’t find a set for love nor money and I ended up check folding when I air balled every board. I did flop a few big draws with my suited connectors but in the end they just cost me chips. I played my draws quite passively remembering Mike Sexton’s age old saying of ‘never go broke on a draw’. In the end I paid to get to the river with a couple of OESD’s and NFD’s and bricked every river card. By the end of level 4 we were down to 132 players from the 146 that started and my stack was down to 11825, well below the chip average of 16600. We break for lunch and I join fellow Newcastle local & fellow NPFer Gary ‘Xenocode’ Brewer for some food. We have a bit of a catch up and talk about the event, our table opponents and some general online chit chat before getting back down to business.
Level 5 was a pretty quiet level for me as I tried to maintain my current stack size. Again I didn’t really pick up much and my stack had dropped a few thousand before I get my chips back when I picked off a river bluff from a young agro player who’d been at my table all day. By the end of the level I was sitting on 12800, still well below chip average which was 18700 as we were down to 117 players.
Level 6 (200/400/50) saw my luck turn around somewhat as I eventually win a couple of decent pots. The first significant pot came around when a short stack open shoves on the BTN for just over 4000. I have a little gamble with him and make the call from the SB with KdJd. He tables 56o and when the board brought him no help KJ high was good for a nice pot. I win a few small pots and my stack is all of a sudden back up to chip average. By the end of level 6 there was only 103 left and my stack was back up to 20175 with the average stack 21000.
Not long into Level 7 (300/600/50) our table is broken and I’m drawn in T8 S6. I gather my chips and move over to my new table. First impressions and I’m pretty happy with my position at the table. I have most of the shorter stacks on my left who appear quite rocky and all of the bigger agro stacks on my right. However, table eight looks a lot tougher than T11 and is full of accomplished players. Most notably Jon ‘Skalie’ Kalmer who finished in 5th place at the WSOP 2007 ME for a tidy $1.25M. Also at the table, to my immediate right was a very unassuming elderly gentleman who just happened to be WSOP circuit winner and subsequent WSOP ring holder Richard Bean. As well as a couple of other younger players who went on to FT the event.
So yeah it was going to be a tough table but I had a nice position and at the end of the day these are the calibre of players I’d better get used to playing against quickly if I’m to really make it at this level. So anyway, things started off pretty well for me as I open a pot with Ah3h from the CO and I’m looked up by Andy Purser in the SB. The flop falls 337cc and he checks to me. I fire out a standard C-BET and Andy calls. The Ace of clubs hits the turn filling me up and also completes any flush draw, again Andy checks to me. I again bet into the pot and Andy lays his hand down. In hindsight I maybe should of give him a free card. I mean I had the hand locked up but my emphasis at the time was to keep building the pot. NVM, it was a step in the right direction and I was happy. Due to my stack size and my position at the table in comparison with all the loose aggressive players my blind had been getting stolen on every single orbit. So I’m in the BB again and surprisingly the table folds round to the SB who completes. I look down on AKo and put in raise and the SB quickly folds. FML. These laggy players had been at it every round and as soon as I find a hand to play back with nobodies interested. Either way my stack was up to about 26,000 and I was sitting around chip average as the field was thinning I was content with my stack size and table position.
That was basically as good as it got for me as I then proceeded to play a couple of hands badly and my chips stack was starting to dwindle to a dangerously low level. Not long into the start of level 8 (800/400/100) Jon Kalmer raises my BB from the high jack to 2400 and I have AQo. I consider my action and strongly think about a 3BET. Not really wanting to face a 4BET or get flat called OOP Vs an accomplished villain in the end I elect to just flat call and see a flop. The flop falls xxJ. I know if I check to Jon he’s going to C-BET and I’ll be forced to fold what is probably the best hand. With 6100 in the middle I decide to lead at the pot for 3750. I prefer this line to check, calling or check folding for obvious reasons. Jon Kalmer almost instantly re-raises me to 8250. IDK why but I felt sure Jon was weak but I just couldn’t find the courage to shove AI OTT on him and in the end I laid my hand down. Jon shows me AJ and I regret my decision not to 3BET him pre.
The very next hand Andy Purser, who split the £3HUNDO side event four ways the previous night for £7,000 each and also went on to finish an impressive second in this event for a cool £34,900 opens from early position. Earlier in the level he’d been opening a few pots and had been getting shoved on quite a bit so he had recently resorted to shoving himself to prevent anyone playing back at him. So when he opens this time around its back to his normal raise. It’s passed round to me in the SB and I have 99. I am slightly concerned that Andy has a huge hand and having just lost a pot the previous hand I strongly consider folding the nines pre. I hadn’t been getting many hands since I moved to T8 so after a little consideration I decided to play the nines with the intension of giving them up if I seen an Ace or picture heavy flop or try to control the pot if the board didn’t look to dangerous and try to get to a cheap showdown. The flop is 7high with a FD and my hand still looks pretty good. I check to Andy mainly for pot control still thinking he could have a bigger over pair. Andy checks behind which now gets me thinking that I probably have the best hand. An Ace hits the turn which obviously I hate and again check to Andy. Curiously he checks back again. A brick hits the river and I again check to Andy. Andy VB’s the river and although I could easily fold the hand as I can’t beat anything that can VB that board I feel like I’m almost forced to pay him off due to the way I’ve played the hand. I call and Andy tables AJo.
I went through the rest of the level just trying to maintain my depleting stack size without picking up anything before I eventually found AQ in mid position. I put out my standard raise to 2200. It looks like it’s getting through as it’s passed all the way round to Jon Kalmer in the BB. With about 40,000 behind him he takes a look at him cards, thinks for a moment and moves all in. FML. I don’t like the situation at all. I consider my options and try to put Jon on a range of hands. In the end I can’t find the call. AK of course has me crushed and I don’t really want to or need to flip vs. a pocket pair so I lay my hand down again and begin to feel like I’m being owned a little bit.
Level 8 comes to end and I’m sitting on a mere 17,800 with a chip average of 30,400 and a little tilted. We break for 15 minutes before the last level of the day and I try to re-group and work out some kind of game plan for the last level of the day. With the blinds due to increase to 500/1000/100 I decide I’m going to gamble my remaining 18,000 stack and try to find a double up which would get me back to chip average going into day 2. I had a good re-steal stack and I intended on putting on some pressure on both the big and small stacks and go big or go home before the days play had ended.
Having played solid poker all day I again pass my rags and I’m soon in the BB again. With only 17BB’s left I’m starting to feel the pressure. I make a subconscious decision to defend my BB if the action is passed round to late position and I hear any noise from the CO or BTN. Sure enough the CO opens once again on my BB to 3,100. He been picking up my blind all night and I decide to make a stand before my stack got so small that I had no FE at all. I’ve already moved in on him a few orbits earlier when he tried the same thing & got it through. In between then and now he’d won a pretty big pot and his stack was a lot more intimidating than in previous orbits. He has me out chipped by about 3:1 and because of this I don’t think a 3BET shove has a lot of FE and I think it’s likely he’ll give me action with any pair or a couple of broadway cards. For this reason I decide a stop and go a the more effective strategy than a 3BET shove pre. So I pretend to look at my cards and make the call. The flop falls 233cc and with about 7,600 already in the pot I think for a moment before sliding my remaining 14,500 over the line. The villain doesn’t think for too long before finding the call and he tables 77. I sheepishly turn my hand over praying one of my hole cards is a three or I at least have a FD. I table Q4o for no pair no draw. The turn card is a 4 giving me a little hope before the brick king falls on the river ending my MTT. With 45 minutes left in day 1 I was out.
In hindsight I do think I put a bit too much pressure on myself to early and pressed the panic button at least an orbit or two before I really needed to. I did have 16BB’s left in a super slow structure but all said & done sometimes you have to be prepared to die in order to survive in this game & as they say if you live by the sword you die by the sword. Although I must admit nothing really prepared me for how gutted I would feel to go broke from such a prestigious event. I mean I was running pretty well going into the event and of course I by no means expected to win it but hadn’t really contemplated how I’d feel when I went broke. Honestly it took me all weekend to get over it and even now I still think about a few hands I felt I played badly in levels 7 & 8 which ultimately led to my day 1 exit.
So that was that. It just leaves me to congratulate the eventual winner Priyan De Mel who after winning the leg 9 of the GUKPT 2009 tour in Blackpool collecting a cool £85,000 only goes and goes back to back and takes down leg 1 of the 2010 tour scooping £40,000 in the process. Well done Priyan.
Payouts for the event are listed below.
£1000 Main Event
1st....Priyan De Mel..............£40,000
So that’s it from me. Next stop is the PokerStars UKIPT tour on the 12th February in Manchester. I’m still awaiting confirmation of my seat from PokerStars but hopefully there won’t be any problems and I can put in a deep run and hopefully return with some monies.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment.
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