So needless to say our trip was well overdue. The lads from Newcastle have a good record down there with Alex Joblin and Neil ‘Buzz’ Harvey both finished 1st and 3rd respectively at the back end of last year. I was actually quite surprised Daniel ended up playing this game as I’d been asking him for a few weeks prior the event if he fancied it and he’d always refused. So when I awoke on the Saturday morning to get ready I was suspired to read a message from Dan on my mobile sent at 2am the night before which read ‘I’ll play DTD. Ring me in morning’. I gave him a call not really expecting him to answer never mind agree to go down there but sure enough he picked up and said he’d play.
So I picked Dan up on route and we make the trip down to DTD. A few hours on the road and we arrive at the Holiday Inn, Nottingham. We check in and have a quick change before making the 5 minute trip round the corner to DTD. We arrive at DTD for about 2.50pm for a 3pm start. We get parked and head inside. For those of you who have not been down to DTD yet it is unlike any other casino in the UK. Firstly it is not a casino, simply a big unit in an industrial estate. As you walk inside you enter a reception area and through some double doors into the card room. I must say the card room is huge, definitely the biggest card room I’ve been in and that includes all of the LV card rooms I’ve entered. As you walk in all you can see are poker tables. There’s about seven tables laid out from left to right and two deep. Then behind them there is a elevated tier with the same set up and behind them another tier with the same set up again. So the further back you went the higher up you sat. To the right of the entrance they have a closed off glass room with one poker table inside and swanky leather chairs. Kind of a like a Bobby’s room for anyone who’s seen the set up in the Bellagio. To the right there was a bar serving food and they have fruit machines and electronic roulette tables in both of the corners of the card room. Dan give’s a quick review on his thoughts on the card room which for the record don’t mirror that of mine;
“Thanks Mark. Yeah DTD;
Building & Room Quality - I really wasn’t impressed with outside of the building & described it as looking like a tin can to Mark as we arrived. The décor inside was a slight improvement but not to the standard I would have expected after hearing feedback from a lot of other visitors.
Competition Rating - Although I had a tough starting table in general I found the standard of play to be relatively soft & a lot of players reluctant to fold top pair even for their stacks, overall although obviously a mix of professional’s I’d say it was average or maybe below average.
Dealer Competency - Despite having 1 immediate error which cost me a few chips (explained later) I found the dealers & floor staff most accommodating, helpful, & capable of dealing with most situations.
Waitress & Valets - Good looking & friendly, although not exactly the quickest considering the place had 300+ players it’s understandable efficiency could suffer that said overall though I was most impressed.
Management - Simon Trumper was very hands on & clearly loves what he does, ran the tournament exceptionally well & after ruling on any situation he wouldn’t be pressured into reversing it.
In a nutshell I really wasn’t overly impressed, the value of the £300 deep stack will most likely see me make another trip down but I certainly won’t be rushing back.”
By the time we’ve registered and paid we get seated late as the game is already underway. I’m amazed at the amount of people I recognize. Without exaggeration I probably know at least 10% of the field. The north east has a big presence as I spot a lot of local talent including Milo ‘Omahaha’ McKenzie, Tom Dunwoodie, Zaffa the Gaffa, Newcastle’s very own John Juanda, Ian ‘Nemesis’ Bertram and loads of the Teesside boys. 317 entrants meant they smashed the £80,000 guarantee with a total prize pool of £95,100 divided between top 10%;
I’m drawn a seat at the back of the card room, I don’t remember the table number. I have a quick scan around the table to see if I recognize anyone but I do not. I do spot Dan on the table next to me though.
I’m involved pretty early as I pick up a lot of playable hands. I’m happy to get involved with speculative hands in the first few levels because you really can win some big pots with them. I play ‘fit or fold’ and give most pots up with little invested until I pick up AK. After an early position limp I raise behind from mid position. He looks me up and I air ball the 24x flop. I C-BET and he calls. He’s been playing a few hands and I know he’ll call me light so I decide to shut down and give up the pot. The turn is a 6 and puts a potential straight on the board and the turn goes check, check. A king hits the river and villain over bets 1,300 into the 800 pot. I’m pretty sure he’s over betting for value but with no previous and combined with how active he’d been I paid him off as he tabled 53s for a turned straight.
I lose a few more chips when I call a small raise from the BTN and get involved in a multi-way with 5h6h. The flop is 4x7xxx. I call two streets chasing my OESD but unfortunately brick and fold on the river. I played this hand quite passive to be honest but I think it’s ok to play draws like this in the early levels. I certainly didn’t want to play for stacks or be put to a big decision on the river after previously building the pot. Anyway I still manage to build my stack up winning little pots here and there and I’m comfortable with the dynamics of the table.
Anyway as the players are dropping off the table breaks and I’m moved to a new table. I sit down at my new table with just under my starting stack. I’m totally card dead at this table and spend the time listening to my I-pod and folding my hands. The first hand I eventually play on this table I raise with 44 from UTG+1. This was my first mistake as it’s usually a fold for me but since I haven’t played a pot on the new table I decide to play the hand. I’m looked up in two spots and make my second mistake when I decide to C-BET the K6x board. I’m flat called by one guy and the other caller moves all in over the top. I quickly fold and I’m a little mad at myself for getting involved. I really need to practice what I preach sometimes. Never mind. I get involved in a few small pots here and there which I end up giving up and combined with the blinds passing through me a few more times I’m down to 5,500 by the time the table breaks.
I’m re-seated at a new table and share the table with fellow Newcastle local Ian ‘Nemesis’ Bertram. I’m pleased to see he is doing well and has chipped up nicely. Taking a quick look at his stack he has over 30,000 and is one of the bigger stacks at the table. The first pot I play at this table I limp into a multi-way pot on the BTN with Ad4d. I flop a FD and flat call a bet from early position. I’ve read that it’s best not to raise with NFD as you often only get other draws to fold which you have crushed. Anyway I turn the nuts and again flat call a turn bet. By the river the pot is HU and villain checks the river to me. I ask the dealer to spread the pot and with about 4,000 ITM I ship my last 3,500 over the line. The villain tanks calls with a straight and I table my nut hand for a timely double up. I’m back up to 11,000 and feeling a lot better about things. I win another couple of grand when I turn broadway on a AJQ-K board with JT.
I’m amazed at how quickly the field is thinning. Only half way through day 1 and we had already lost over 100 players. I’m now sitting on just over 13,000 and about chip average when I basically blow up. Someone limps UTG at 100/200/50 and I raise to 800 from UTG+1 with AQo. I’m called off some kid in the SB and the UTG guy also calls. The flop is King high and both players check to me. I continue my aggression and bet a near pot sized bet into the middle of about 2,200. The SB flat calls and the UTG guy mucks. I’m a little concerned as this guy has literally passed every single hand since I’ve been at the table and appears to be playing very solid. A Jack falls on the turn and the SB leads out but bets really small. He bets 2,600 into a 7,000 pot and I consider my action. I sense weakness in his turn bet and really should have just folded but I decide to float his bet hoping to hit my gin card on the river or to try and steal the pot with some aggressive river action. Anyway the river is a low card but does put a potential back door flush on the board. The villain checks to me and I quickly summarize the pot and consider my action. I figured he had some kind of weak King and could probably not withstand an all in so with 13,000 already ITM I stacked me chips up and moved my last 7,500 into the middle. Villain goes into the tank for a good 5 minutes. He looks at his hand a couple of times and looks agonized by the decision. After what seems like an eternity he stacks his chips up and slides them over the line.
FML. Just like that I went from chip average down to the felt and was left with 1,500. I acknowledge the good call and wait for a spot to get my remaining chips in the middle. I don’t mind running a big bluff. I mean it’s part and parcel of poker and once he checked the river it was just too big a pot for me to give up without a fight. It was one of them where I didn’t set out to run a huge bluff in the hand but sometimes you just get to involved in a pot and you don’t want to let it go. Never mind, lesson most definitely learned. Poker is a mix of skill and luck but good timing is also important and that is something I have not had of late. I eventually bust when I move my last 1,500 into the middle from the BTN with KJo after the CO opens. The CO looks me up with KQ and I don’t improve and hit the rail.
I head over to the bar via Daniel’s table and tell him my fate. I catch up with Steve Holden at the bar who has also hit the rail and check the food menu out as I rue my bad play. I’m at the bar no less than 10 minutes and Daniel walks over signalling his exit from the MTT. FOL. 15 minutes ago we were both coasting and just like that we were both out. That’s poker I guess. Daniel recounts his event;
“Yeah as Mark say’s I joined him this weekend in his travels to Nottingham playing the DTD £300 deep stack, I was seriously hung over Saturday morning after being out around Newcastle on Friday & finishing up over Grosvenor playing £200DC (badly might I add) with some of the local mixed game players but yeah I soldiered on anyway. So I take my seat over T56-S9 & find Lawrence Gosney (5) & Reyaaz Mulla (8) are the only people I recognize, I was a late entrant & after reaching my seat after the hand was dealt & action had taken place from early position I looked down at K2c in the SB. Anyway 2 people limp for 50 & it’s round to me & I complete for 25 getting 7:1, the dealer shouldn’t have allowed me to play but after no objection from either the dealer or players we took a flop.
K2c vs. 78c: 25/50 “14575” (Anyway it was disastrous for me as flop is 689cc & I lead for 125 which get’s called in 2 spots behind, 10c on the turn & I lead for 600 which gets called twice again. Brick on the river & I lead 2100 into 2375, next guy 2BET’s up to 6100 & I call behind the other guy’s fold to be shown straight flush vs. my 2nd nut flush. Very 1st hand & I’m crippled down to 2700, FML but still 54BB’s with a 40 minute clock so I’m not throwing the towel in just yet. Interested to know other people’s line with this vs. unknown villain? Is he ever value raising Q/J high flushes in that spot? How often is he bluffing after I‘ve fired 3 streets?.)
Anyway I manage to keep things together & later joined by Newcastle’s John Juanda look-alike (anybody know his name? really nice guy) in seat 4 who tells me he travelled down with Syed “Zaffa” Zaidi. So break time & I’ve clawed a little back just short stacking & catch up with a few of the lads from up North including Milo, Nemesis, & a host of the Teesside contingent. I manage to get back to 10,000 without ever being all in with a bunch of well timed squeezes, value bets, & positional play. We’ve lost around 100 players by this time & our table is split & I’m sent to T22-S9 where I don‘t recognize anybody;
86d vs. ??: 100/200/25 “3650” (I open the C/O to 525 & get called from the BTN & out the BB. I CBET 875 into JxJr (no diamonds) & get called from BTN which I’m certain is just a float & BB folds. Blank on the turn & I don’t know whether or not to give this up, I think for a bit & decide I’ll check & expect him to check back a baby/medium pair in which case I’ll over bet the river expecting a fold & if he bet’s I’ll polarize his range to J or nothing & 2BET all in expecting a bluff to be more likely than a J. Anyway he duly obliges & bets but bets way over the pot which took me a bit by surprise, he bets like 5000 into 3650 & I’ve only got 8600 after investing 1400 of my stack so don’t have any fold equity after this over bet & left with only 8 high & no draw. I can’t put it in & fold despite feeling certain I’d been bluffed, if he has a J & bet’s 2000 then I move in & he knocks me out with that in mind if he was bluffing then well played but if he had the goods then he’s missing so much value.)
JJ vs. KQo: 100/200/25 “15,000” (BTN opens my BB for 4x to 800, I look at JJ & 3BET to 2500 he ships for his remaining stack (7,500 total) I call for about 75 chips less than his stack. Average is 15,000 so were basically flipping for an average stack & flop falls xxQ w/3 clubs I have the Jc for flush draw but it doesn’t get their & I’m out in the early 200’s.)
All in I felt I had my back against the wall from the 1st hand in but managed to stay calm & reassess the situation, something I maybe would have struggled with not too long ago so I guess all though no financial reward I’m pretty happy with how I played.”
Since were both out we decide to venture out for food and head over the road to Chiquito’s for some Mexican food. After a few hours food and chit chat we head back over to DTD for late registration for the £50 8pm game. We get to the cash desk and try to buy in but were told the registration closed 12 minutes earlier. Dan asks if I want to play cash but I can’t be arsed and we decide to back to the hotel for an early night. We bump into Lee Danaher from Teesside on the way out and have a bit crack with Lee about the poker up Teesside before heading back to the hotel.
The next day my bro checked the chip counts for the remaining players and I’m pleased to hear that Milo ‘Omahaha’ McKenzie is 8th in chips and on close to 100,000. He went on to make the money eventually busting out around 19th place for just shy of £1,000 after pushing A9 from the BTN only to be called from AJ in the BB. WP Milo and UL.
Finally Jono Beck ended up collecting a very meaty £25,100 after beating Ramazanali Abbassi heads up when his TT’s held up vs. A3 but not after having to go behind on flop A3x only to find a set on the river so well played lads. I’ll definitely be back down DTD. I think it’s a fantastic venue and to play in a European ranking event for £300 combined with the excellent structure makes this a very attractive option. I’m not due to play anymore at DTD this year as part of my sponsorship but I think I’ll try and get down there a couple more times off my own back and make amends for my disappointing first appearance.
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment.