So on Friday I headed down to Manchester for the first ever UKIPT PokerStars tour in the UK. I took the day off work and set off early so I could check in to my hotel before hand and freshen up before heading over to the casino. I got into Manchester and found the hotel easy enough. I had arranged to stay with Dom, a local player and NPFer from Newcastle who was also playing the event. The hotel was pretty basic and the location was less than impressive but it was only a stone’s throw from the casino and cheap as chips so I wasn’t complaining. I got changed and was shortly joined by Dom. We had a bit of catch up and talked about expectations of the tournament before I headed over to the casino to soak up the atmosphere before things got underway. As I arrived in the casino I’m blow away by the set up. The place looked amazing and very professional. I spot a few well known faces in the crowd including Vicki Coren, Jake Cody, John Duthrie and Teddy Sheringham to name a few.
So the seats were drawn and the announcer gets the game underway. He informs us that we are all part of history as this is the first ever PokerStars tour in the UK and biggest field ever in Manchester. It really did have a big game feel and I was really excited and ready to get started. I get seated and quickly scan my table to see if I recognize any faces or names. I’m pleased to see that I appear to be seated without any big names but quickly realize that I have three Scandinavian players at my table. I’d read before the event that over half of the internet qualifies were from outside the UK and I was fully expecting these guys to put to me to some big decisions. These guys are notoriously aggressive and they didn’t disappoint. I’d made a conscious decision before this event to not let these guys push me around and fight fire with fire if need be.
So the cards are in the air and within a few minutes I’m involved in my first pot as I call a cut-off raise (from a Scandi) on the BTN with Ah7h. The board is QJ2-X-X and we both check it down to showdown. The Scandi shows down K2o and wins the small pot strengthening my belief that these guys will play any two cards even in the very first level. The only real surprise was that he didn’t 3 barrel me. I then take a 1,000 hit to my stack with Th7h when I play my BTN and call a small pre flop raise & flop a FD which doesn’t get there. I get my stack back the following orbit when I again call a raise from mid position, this time from the cut off with 4d5d. Flop drops 5 high and I call a C-Bet. Another 5 hits the turn and villain check folds when I bet fourth street. The first level comes to an end and I’m pretty much where I started on 15,175. I am surprised to see how active the table is considering we’ve only played one level.
Level 2 was a complete disaster for me. Honestly I’m never had a level like it in all of the games I’ve played at this level. Everytime I made a big hand somebody had a bigger one. It started when I again called a cut off raise on the BTN this time with QJo. The flop is Q9Xr and the cut off C-bets. I’m happy just to flat call here and play a small pot. The turn is a brick and he checks to me. I try to take the pot away there and then and bet the turn. Surprisingly the villain re-raises me. I’m confused and can’t really put him on a hand. Maybe AQ, J10,99 or nothing. Nothing else makes any sense. I call the re-raise with the intension of re-evaluating my hand on the river. The river brings a Jack and gives me top two pair. This time villain leads. With about 5,000 ITM he leads for 2,400. There’s no-way it’s KT or T8 but I just can’t think what I can beat with his river bet. In the end I decide it’s either a set or a very thin VB with top top. Anyway, I make the call and sure enough he tables 99 for bottom set. In hindsight I think I could have folded this hand on either fourth or fifth street and saved me some chips. The next time I get involved I open the pot from mid position with AsJs and get called in 3 spots. The flop falls AAXhh and I lead with a pot sized bet. I called by one of the Scandi’s and another heart hits the turn. I check call his turn bet and another heart hit the river. I again check the river to him ready to give up my hand. He checks back and tables 7h8h for a turned flush. Things were not going well and I tried to regroup before getting involved in my last pot of the level. I got involved in a multi-way raised pot with 7d8d & I flop a straight as the flop drops 9TJ. I bet my hand straight away not wanting to get out drawn and I’m called in two spots. I decide to check call the turn just in case I’m already behind. The river brings a potential back door heart flush and I again check the river. Villain checks behind and shows down KQ for the nut straight. FML. I couldn’t believe my luck, the deck had been pretty cold and by the end of the level I was down to about 4,500.
We have a short break before settling back down for level 3 (75/150). I’m quickly involved in the FTP GIM;
FTP GIM: I defend my BB and call a BTN raise of 600 with A8o. The board falls 665, I check and the villain bets into me for another 600. I’m pretty happy I still have the best hand and call his C-BET. A brick hits the turn and I again check. He checks back this time and an 8 falls on the river. I don’t believe he has a hand so I check the river to him to induce a bluff. He bets out 1,200 and I make the easy call. I table my hand and he insti mucks and shakes his head.
Probably annoyed that I’d caught the 8. Although to be honest I already decided I was calling was his river bet and was prepared to call him down with A high. I had a depleting stack and needed to make a stand against these players. I’d risked over half my stack with that hand but things worked out and I was back up to over 7,000. I’m quickly involved in another pot. There’s a few early postion limpers before I find TT in the cut off. I decide to raise to 750 and try and play a HU pot. Not wanting to play a multi way with TT. I get the blinds out but I’m looked up by both limpers. The board is 7 high and both players check to me. I lead for 1,750 and get one caller. A Queen hits the turn and the villain checks to me and I check behind. A brick hits the river and villain again checks. With about 6,000 ITM and 4,500 back I consider my action. I’m sure my hand in now good and vs a small pair. I consider shipping but because of villains small stack I’m not sure he’ll pay me off so I decide on 2,500 leaving myself only 2,000 behind. He can’t resist the price and calls. I table my hand and he shakes his head as he shows down 99. SO just like that I was back up to 13,000 and right back in the game. I lose a few chips from my stack before ending the level on 10,950 and felt pretty good all things considered.
Level 4 (100/200) passed by without much to speak of really. I kept out of trouble and tried to pick my spots carefully. No real big hands or pots to speak off but I’d slowly chipped up and by the end of the level I was back up to 13,025 as we broke for lunch. I was over the moon. After a terrible start I was right back in the tournament and feeling really good. One thing that did strike me was how aggressive and fearless these Scandinavian players were. Considering they had flow over here from another county just to play the event there disregard for their chips was astounding. I had my lunch and had a catch up with Dom and Jnr. Lataif who had made the journey down from Teesside, we talk about our tables and stack sizes and stuff and I listen to an amusing story about a Newcastle lad who 5BET bluffed Jake Cody with 9d6d and showed him the bluff.
So after a nice lunch and long break I was ready to rock again and sat down for level 5 (150/300) with my 13,025 stack. Not surprisingly the table was the same as I left it with plenty of action from the get go. I watched as one Scandinavian bloke proceeded to open and or 3BET five of the first seven pots. Getting looked up a couple of times but getting his C-BETs through. I give up my BTN & BB to him and watch again as he opens another pot for 1,000, this time from the cut-off. I’m in the SB with AdKd and consider my options. I’m licking my lips at the chance of a double through from the table captain. I don’t like the flat call here vs such an agro player and don’t want to check fold the best hand if I air ball the flop. I also don’t really like to or want to play this hand OOP. I make a pretty standard 3BET to 3,000. My thinking here was that he would most probably flat call here with almost any two or maybe even 4BET me if he thinks I’m defending my blind with air. I really don’t expect him to fold. He takes a look at my stack size and proceeds to 4BET me to 9,750 total. He basically asked me the question for my full stack. Great play really because he knows I now have to risk my tournament life to continue in the hand. I go into the tank. I check the chip average and re-count my stack. With the chip average at 18,000 I can fold and still have just over 10,000. Not a bad fold really but I just don’t like it. This guy could have anything and AdKd plays well vs virtually anything. I figured he most likely had a pocket pair but there was a good chance I had him dominated. I just decide that it would be a mistake to fold this hand to this player and decide to gamble my chips to get back into the tournament. I 5BET shove for about 3k more with obviously no FE and I’m quickly called. FML. The mad Scandi villain shows up with two black Aces. I couldn’t believe it. What a rack. Earlier on in the tournament he’d already shown down Aces twice and a set of Kings. I couldn’t believe he had them again. The board brought no help and I was dead by the turn. I stood up, shook the blokes hand, wished my table good luck and headed out the door.
Needless to say I was not in the mood to hang around. I drove back to the hotel, packed up my stuff and headed back up the motorway. During the drive home I thought about my exit hand and wondered if I’d made the correct decision. Looking back I think I played the hand ok and I think I was just unfortunate that he had the hand. I think If I’d passed I’d it would have tilted me and I’d always think back to the fold. I know poker is about making good lay downs as much as anything else but I just didn’t feel like that was the right spot to fold AK.
Overall I was very impressed with the set up and from my own experience I found standard very high. Some of the players were absolutely fearless. I’m really looking forward to my next UKIPT. As I’ve already said it really big have a big game feel and despite my short time on the felt I really enjoyed the experience.
The final table pay outs and positions are listed below :-
1) Joeri Zandvlient £63,200
2) Jack Ellwood £37,500
3) Mike Hill £23,500
4) Tony Millan £15,100
5) Dean Lyall £12,100
6) Chris Brammer £9100
7) Dan Owston £6500
8) Tim Brown £4800
9) Julian Hasse £3650
10) Ryan Lavery £2850
Well done to the eventual winner Joeri Zandvlient (below).
Next stop for me is the March deep stack down DTD the first weekend in March. It’s my first trip down there & I’m hoping to follow in the foot-steps of fellow Newcastle lads Alex Joblin and Neil Harvey who had both had success down there in recent months.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment.
3 months ago