Circus £50 (+£5) NLH F/O w/£500 Added

SUP Guys. So after splitting the Grosvenor 3-2-1 on Friday it was beginning to look like I had made amends with the poker gods in time for a deep run at the Circus monthly £50 freezeout. I’m a big supporter of this game & anybody familiar with my record will know I’m either out before 1st break or chipped up to make a charge for the win, so fingers crossed for the later on this occasion. FTP had Mark, George, & I all vying for a slice of the prize pool & as this game has become accustomed to 100+ runners (114 on this occasion) which including the added cash created a generous prize pool of £6200. I arrived around 19:45 & caught up with Arian Bahrami who shared his recent success over Absolute with me whilst having a bit crack before heading to the tournament area & I found myself up stairs in T10-S5 along with Roscopiko (1), Batman (2), Lataif Snr. (3), Gary Robinson (6), NRH (9), & Teesside Rocky (10) so accomplished but still very LAGGY table. I stayed here until table broke after the break & only have 1 hand of any significance;

AK vs. AT: 75/150 “15750” (I limp UTG to set up a limp/all in but nobody obliges with a raise so 5 people see a flop which fortunately is A high, I know with so many callers I could be beat but M’EH I’m not passing & lead which get’s called in 1 spot behind. Blank on the turn & I bet half my remaining stack, villain shoves & I feel for sure I’m beat but don’t care & would rather go bust before the break & get home rather than hang around 20+ minutes & go back with short stack so make the call & get shown AT for worse kicker & much needed double up)

Table was good crack & enjoyed the friendly jovial banter between Batman & Lataif both calling each other fish & Batman saying that’s how we play poker in Newcastle when he won a pot, anyway I was their till 22:00ish then we headed for a break. During the break Mark ordered a late dinner & all present FTPers gathered round the table joined by family friend Rob Flett & Mark’s fellow Radgie Alan
“Koyte“ Kirton, was great to catch up with Koyte who has been off the bottle since December & on route to recovery after falling ill not long ago which is absolute fantastic news. If I don’t see you again all old boy I’ll be waiting with the Cubs over Grosvenor in May for you, my brother, & the rest of your piss stained Radgies. Anyway shortly after returning from break our table was broke & I drew T3-S5 along with John Juanda look-alike (2), Stu Costa (4), Batman (8), & Anton (9). I was here until penultimate table & along the way joined by James Lewis, Tommy Dunwoodie, KQ4EVA, & Mark amongst others. Few important winning & losing pots that saw me turn 15,000 into 150,000 by the time I left;

JJ vs. A9o: 300/600/50 “14,000” (10BB stack shoving in from C/O & I moved AI out the SB to isolate)
AK vs. KT: 500/1000/50 “24,000” (I open 2.2x UTG+1, KQ4EVA flats out SB & open shoves the flop w/T2P, I call w/TPTK & fortunately for me but unfortunate for my good buddy I find a live Ace on the turn for suck out, unlucky Andy)
AQ vs. AK: 500/1000/50 “20,000” (I open BTN for 2.2x, BB jams for 13BBish, I call & spike Q on the flop)
AKo vs. 44: 600/1200/100 “32,000” (I open MP for 2.2x, BTN jams for 13BBish I call & find TPTK on the flop)
KK vs. A3d: 1000/2000/200 “35,000” (I 2.2x from the SB onto her BB & she jams for 9BBish I call & A high flop has me dead to 8%ish)

Again I enjoyed the company I was keeping at this table as I was joined by KQ4EVA who beat me out of £1 playing flop prop’s my 9-7 vs. his T5 but I quickly eliminated him before he bankrupt me. Shortly after James Lewis joined the table, who I haven’t really seen or played with in a while but he’s a really nice guy, had a bit of a catch up with him & also Peter Ashcroft along with brother Mark joined the party so lots going on & lots of talent. Around 23:00 I get the unfortunate news FTPer George has hit the rail when his 77 was no good vs. the J2 of NPF’s very own BO$$HOGG never mind though still 2/3 going strong & both feeling confident/chipped up GGWPUL Geordie. I eventually got moved with about 13 players remaining over T2-S1 with Ifrikher Ali (2), Chris Waites (3), Teesside Rakesh (4), Ian Bertram (6), among others I didn’t recognize. So joined with 150,000 & had some swingy bubble abuse;

QJs vs. 66: 3000/6000/400 “73,000” (Ali raised 3x UTG folded round to me & I make a light (rather fishy to be honest) call from BB w/QJs. Flop 69Tr & I check call 6000, turn T & I check call 6000, K on the river (making 3 card flush on board) & I check call another 6000 to be shown full house. Go easy on the criticism of how badly I played that hand, but after stupidly coming in pre I kind of lost the minimum so I don’t mind it too much)

AA vs. KK: 3000/6000/400 “250,000” (FTP GIM: Same orbit I lose the 73,000 to Ali I limp AA UTG+1 so all though very unorthodox for me I think this will be a good opportunity to look like I’m tilting & limping ATC to hit the flop. Anyway Ali make’s it 12,000 & Rakesh 3BET’s to 30,000 & the irrelevant BB (Ian Bertram) is all in for something like 7000. So back on me & I tank to disguise my hand before over 4BET shoving all in & the unlucky Rakesh made the call with KK after Ali folded.)

AA hold’s & it’s a case of bitter sweet as I know have a commanding chip lead to take to the final table but I see Mark get his remaining 50,000ish AIPF w/99 vs. James Lewis AKh & lose the race. Mark recounts his tournament & sweating my good self on the final table which by all accounts he should have been on;

"On Tuesday night I made the trip down to Circus for their flagship monthly MTT the £50 freeze-out with £500 added. It always has a huge field and the pots usually around the £5,500 mark representing tremendous value. I’d had a deep run last month in this game eventually busting out around 22nd place after getting it AI as a 70% favorite only to be outdrawn on the river. Was hoping to go one step better this month and make the FT.

I’m drawn in T4 S5 and share the table with Jnr Latif (S2), Zaffa (S3), James Lewis (S4) and some Irish lad who I think is called Mark Nicholas. There’s a few more inexperienced players sitting on the left of the table and one or two of them are calling stations. Since I’m OOP to these players I decide not to run any bluffs but I’m also recognize this as an opportunity to get three streets of value from my big hands. Sure enough things worked out perfect as I just generally played ‘fit or fold’ for the first few levels and got paid handsomely when I picked up a big hand or hit the flop hard. The biggest challenge was trying to get my bet sizes right as I tried to get maximum value from my holdings. Thanks to a flopped nut flush, straight and set. By the break I was on 16,000 and pop upstairs and have a catch up with my brother and Dad whilst I grab a BLT. I’m pleased to hear my Dad is 1st and 2nd in two of the leagues that Circus are running. Were also joined by Koyte who’s good company as always.

So back to the action and I continue to slowly chip up. As a few players drop off were joined by Buzz but unfortunately he doesn’t last two long, after flopping a set and betting out he gets action off villain chasing a gutter ball which gets there on the river to send Buzz to the rail. FHL, when your lucks out your lucks out I suppose. I have a perfect seat in that I’ve got POS on all of the established players at the table and have all of the more tighter players on my left. I’m not too happy when Gary comes and moves me onto another table. So many soft spots there I’d rather of stayed put. Never mind, he re-seats me at the back of the card room and I sit down with about 22,000. It was the same starting table as my old man who had recently went bust. I asked who got his chips and ‘The Hurg’ piped up and said he’d sent him to the rail with J3. He opens BTN and Geordie min 3BETs him from the BB with 77. Hurg looks him up and Geordie moves AI in on J high flop. The rest is history as they say. Only other notables at the table was Rocky from Teesside & Graham (Mono on NPF). I’m not seated for long before I’m involved in a pretty big pot. I don’t remember exactly what the blinds were but it was just before the 2nd break. I think about (300/600/50). Action passed round to the SB who raises my BB to about 2,400. I look down on 99 and re-ship all in for about 22,000 total. Not really looking for action. The SB, who has a similar stack size tank calls me with KQo. Oh well, I guess you have to play one of these pots eventually and for the first time tonight almost all my chips are in the middle and I’m at risk. The flop is AJ high and I sweat the turn and river which fortunately brick and my stack is quickly up to about 45,000. I briefly catch up with Daniel on the 2nd break before getting back down to business. I’m only at the table a few more orbits but picking up some decent little pots before again getting moved.

I’m moved to Circus’ new feature table. For those that don’t know Circus now have a camera build into the ceiling over one of their tables which is screened on the TV at the back of the card room. I must say it looked pretty cool and picture quality was razor sharp. I sit down at the new table with about 60,000. There’s a few familiar faces at the table but no-one I know by name other than Rob Flett and the impressive Ali whom I’m OOP to. By this point the blinds are now (800/1,600/100) and there have been a couple of limpers pre as it gets to me on the BTN. I look down at QhTh and consider my action. I think about a sqeeze but in the end elect to flat hoping to maybe stack someone with the right board. Also means I’m not put to any difficult decisions if I don’t like the flop or post flop action. Anyway, the flop is Txx with two diamonds. It’s checked round to hi-jack who bets about 5,000 into the 8,200 pot. I consider my action. I take a look at his stack size and re-raise to 22,000, enough to put the lad AI. It’s passed back around to him and he bemoans his luck. I ask him if he has diamonds. He hums and ha’s and eventually calls. He tables Jd8d for a FD. Again I’m in another spot where I’m not really looking for action but don’t mind the call. Turn brings a non diamond 9 giving villain a few more outs on the river. River is a non diamond Q giving me Queens up but completing a unlikely back door straight. FML, back down to 35,000. I took it on the chin and tried to view the pot philosophically. I’d won a big flip on the other table so I guess I couldn’t complain at losing this one. I was happy with how I’d played both hands which was my main concern. I put both players to the ultimate test as a slight favorite and a lot of FE.

As we get down to the last 20 players the feature table breaks and for the first time all night I’m on the same table as Daniel. Other notables were Tom Dunwoodie and Rob Flett. I’m pleased to see Dan’s chipped up nicely. With the ever increasing blinds my stack is now pretty vulnerable. It’s a perfect re-steal stack and I wait patiently for good opportunities to get my stack in. The first time I’m in the BB the action passes round to my bro on the BTN and the cheeky bastard sticks a raise in. SB passes and I look down at A9o. I’m pretty certain I’m ahead of Dan’s BTN range and re-ship AI. I know he won’t call me light and sure enough he quickly folds. I flash an Ace and scoop the pot. I slowly start to chip up as I try to exploit my POS. Things are moving along nicely for me and Dan also seems to be chipping up effortlessly and a double FTP FT looks on the cards. Only problem is I’m OOP to him which restricts my steal opportunities somewhat. Dan opens another pot this time from the CO. Passive BTN folds and I have KK in the SB. I shove and both BB and Dan both pass. I show the table my two black kings just to quash any thoughts of collusion from the other table members. As a few more players bust out Dan is moved over to the other table as we get down to some short-handed poker.

I continue to chip up nicely and with about 12 players left I’m on about 70,000. 6 handed I raise to 15,000 with AQo with the blinds at (3000/6000/300). James Lewis is in the BB & moves AI on me for about 25,000 more. I make the call and James Lewis tables 99. So were on our backs for roughly an 80,000 pot. Unfortunately I totally air ball the board and double said villain up. I’m back down to 30,000 again and with the blinds so high I waste no time in moving my stack about and don’t miss an opportunity to get my stack. I ship every CO, BTN and SB and combined with the odd walk from a tight player to my right in the SB I’m quickly back up to 50,000 without an AI confrontation. A bubble prize is agreed and not long after that we lose the lady to my left as she goes all in blind for her last 3 BB’s.

So down to 11 players now and James Lewis opens a pot from early position. Action is passed round to me and I look down at 99. Having previously doubling him up he now has me covered and I consider my options. As I’m in the tank I hear an all in and call on the other table. Dan and Rocky are all in for a huge pot with Dan’s AA v Rocky’s KK. Dan’s hand holds to double through Rocky and send Ian 'Nemisis' Bertram to the rail in the same hand and we are down to 10 players and ready to have a short break before sitting down for the FT. However, not before I make a decision with my 99. I need a double up to get back in the game ready for the FT and decide to move all in over the top of James’ open. He started the hand with about 65,000 to my 50,000 and tanks for ages. I’m now pretty sure my hand is good and figure he has a pocket pair which I have beat. He eventually makes the call and I ask if he has a pair. He says no pair and tables AhKh. 5 handed it was a bit of a nit roll but never mind. I wasn’t in bad shape and was due to win a flip from this lad having previously doubled him up with AQ v 99. The flop is all low cards keeping me in front but also gives James two hearts and the subsequent NFD making him a marginal favorite. The dealer wastes no time peeling off another heart on the turn giving villain nuts and leaves me drawing dead. The non heart 9 on the river rubbing salt in the wounds. So that was it. Although I officially made the FT placing in 10th place I never actually got to sit down there and the double FTP FT wasn’t to be. On a more positive note Daniel was sitting down with lots of chips and with his end game and stack size I knew he’d be the biggest threat at the table.

I sat on the rail and chatted with Gary Ramsey. He tells me about their plans for the coming months and things there looking at. His enthusiasm and ambition to improve the facilities and games down there is really impressive. I watch as Dan effortlessly cruises through the FT playing faultlessly and fearlessly. Must say I was really impressed with his end game. Constantly putting pressure on the short stacks and playing his POS to perfection. Two and a half hours later and he agrees a chop with Ali. He takes a deal slightly in his favor holding a near 2:1 chip lead on Ali.

So that was that. We hoped to get out the blocks flying in March and what better way to start than to take down the Nifty. WP Dan."

So although Mark didn’t sit down at the final table he still officially finished 10th for £125 so it’s kind of like a double final table for FTP but cest la vie. So the final table was set & I was familiar with all of the players;

1) James Lewis “4th £560”
2) Rakesh “Rocky” Gupta “3rd £730”
3) Tommy Dunwoodie “9th £185”
4) Rob Flett “5th £465”
5) Ifrikher Ali “Split £1445”
6) Peter Ashcroft “7th £310”
7) Mark Nicholas “8th £250”
8) Chris Waites “6th £370”
9) Daniel Trett “Split £1600”
10) Mark Trett “10th £125”

Quick shout out before I continue to extend my congratulations to Rob Flett who is a good family friend & after a good start gathering 60,000 before the 1st break he didn’t spew them away & managed to reap the rewards with a 5th place finish, well done Rob mate.

So after sitting at the final table with 250,000 & chip average 100,000 I pretty much just stayed clear of any big pots unless I had the goods, taking down a lot of pots uncontested which is why playing poker is clearly a game of skill & took shots at some of the short stacks with marginal’s;

QJ vs. AT: 4000/8000/500 “65,000” (7 handed I make it 2.2x UTG+1 w/QJo & Peter shoves all in for like 3BB’s more or something so I make the auto call & spike a Q)
AJ vs. A8: 6000/12000/1000 “150,000” (I open 2.2x on the BTN 4 handed & James shoves all in for about a total of 75,000ish, I make the easy call & AJ holds)
AJ vs. A8 10000/20000/2000 “250,000” (I make it 2.2x from the SB 3 handed & Rakesh shoves for 120,000ish, I make the call & find myself dominating only for board to run a split xKQ44)

Anyway eventually Ali knocks the short stack Rakesh out with Q4 vs. 78 & we make it heads up, I’ve got him approximately 625,000 to 375,000 which is only 1 hand & giving the volatile nature of heads up we negotiated a deal where I would get £1600 of the remaining prize pool & he would get £1445 which is maybe a little in Ali’s favour but M’EH I’m a nice guy. Thought I’d add this link to a thread from my friends from NPF who all go out their way to congratulate me which is really kind of them, 1st class bunch so if your not a member get signed up & receive the same great support & rail;

March 2nd 1st Tuesday £500 add on

Interesting Fact: Did you know I became the 1st person & only to date to bust out of the monthly Circus £50 the 1st hand (February 2010) & then the following month (March 2010) go on to win the lion share of the prize pool. I will be surprised if this feat is ever matched again in the history of the monthly Circus £50, zero to hero strange but true folks.

So yeah I guess I ran pretty good which you have to in order to kick on particularly in this tournament but feel after a long dry spell (12+ months) that I’m finally beginning to play some good poker again. Back to back wins/splits including Grosvenor 3-2-1 & Circus £50 have given me that little bit of self belief that maybe has been missing of late, so watch this space I’m off on a heater & next target is Circus‘s 2nd Saturday £75. Speaking of which I have some good news to report after moaning about the state of Newcastle tournament poker I caught up with Gary/Jimmy over Circus last night & have been informed they are no longer looking to drop the Circus £75 & I for 1 feel that with Aspers dropping their like for like game on 4th Saturday & moving it to 2nd Saturday to prevent it clashing with DTD’s £300 deep stack that this game is destine for success. Please get down their on Saturday 13th March people;

1) Best structured game in Newcastle (IMO)
2) 100% Dealer dealt
3) £500 Added

Oh & not to mention the new feature final table which has a camera hooked up to it which can be viewed over the back where they usually show the football for all you railers. This tournament & Circus in general deserve the support from the Newcastle poker playing community for their endless efforts to listen & act on players views, thoughts, & opinions so I hope to see lots of friendly faces a week on Saturday. Please introduce yourself to both myself & Mark if you’re a FTP follower but don’t know us personally I assure you we’ll both be very welcoming & accommodating.

Thanks for reading guys


  1. excellent job mate and nice blog. KUTGW ;)


  2. weeeeeeeee nice 1 dan and mark mind you its aboot time you won summit haha kutgw stumpy

  3. great read once again, welldone on the win x

  4. Thanks Natalie, it was overdue. x


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