Circus £50 (+5) NLH F/O w/£500 Added

Yo Guys. Before going into the synopsis of Tuesday’s £50 tournament I’d like to reflect on my bank holiday, mainly Friday (May 28th) evening which was spent over Circus for their £15 (+£2) +1 Rebuy. I’m detoxing from the drink for a couple months to help my body (particularly my liver) recover from the damage I put it through in Asia in March, so to relive the boredom I’ve been loitering around the casinos regular on the weekends lately.

£15 (+£2) +1 Rebuy
Both Mark & I were in the small field which included Darren Knaggs, Carol & Craig McDowell, Mustafa ‘Sugar’ Haghighat, Brian & Janice Povey, Fred Mulvay, amongst other friendly faces. One guy particularly who I noticed over the table opposite after about half an hour of play was Harry Reid, who really is a blast from the past. Seeing him gave me an overwhelming nostalgia of my early poker career (2002) playing over Grosvenor having only just turned 18, & legally being allowed to enter a casino. Harry without doubt is the guy that influenced me the most during my opening year in the world of poker, he’s a veteran of the game with decades of experience & was a regular at the big seven card stud in the old Tiberius & Greys casino during 1990’s. This game included all Newcastle poker veterans such as Steven Liu, Hamid Rowshanaei, James Browning so needless to say the standard was pretty high. I owe him so much as he took the time to chat with me during tournament breaks, although I was imperceptible to it at the time it was these discussions that fast tracked my process from being a losing player to turning a profit. Harry was crushing the Grosvenor tournaments at the time, which helped supplement my very small student bankroll as he very kindly took me under his wing swapping 10% of each others action. I have the up most respect for this guy, it is to him I credit for all my past & future success across the felt. I don’t have any photo’s of him but he’s a slightly short version of Dr. Emmett Brown from the ‘Back To The Future’ trilogy, this is something I often joked about all those years ago;

I of course went over for a chat & he vaguely remembered me, but I didn’t have the affect on him as he did me so couple that with his old age & the 7+ years since we last saw each other he can be forgiven. I caught up with him & found out he’d been out the area travelling the world collecting stamps, which I then remembered was a hobby of his even back then. Without rabbiting on I’ll just close by saying I for one hope Harry plays more regular now he is back in Newcastle, he really has so much to offer & the new crowd of regulars could learn so much from him. Anyway after a deep run I unfortunately bust out 11th on the final table bubble after running a total unnecessary bluff vs. chip leader ‘I Call’ (nickname of one of the Circus regulars, I’m not familiar with his real name) with Q9 on a xxxA board & ran into AK, sigh never mind. I stayed to sweat Mark on the final table which was a good laugh with Darren Knaggs, Dave Hall, Lewis Clemmet, Jan Povey, & Mark Brewis (Dealer), all present. Mark went onto split three ways with Darren & Dave for £240 each, so congratulations to those three & of course everybody else in the money.

Circus £50 (+5) NLH F/O w/£500 Added
So moving onto Tuesday, both Mark & I were sporting our new Summer FTP range which were polo shirts, on this night Mark wore the black whilst I wore white but the pair of us have both colours. We arrived approximately 20:15 after registering earlier in the day, as always the casino is brimming with hopefuls & by the end of the buy-in period 117 people had tabled the £55 ready to battle for a slice of the £6,350 (including £500 added) prize pool. As soon as I arrive I have a brief chat with Looseman & Farmer Dave who occupy the table adjacent to me & whilst their Chris ‘Machine’ Gillott introduces himself to me, who I understand had travelled from Bradford to play but mainly to meet a few NPFers so it was nice to finely put a face to the name.

I’m drawn T2-S8 along with Teessiders Kieran Appleby (9) & Rakesh ‘Rocky’ Gupta (3), & NPFer Adam ‘Jnr. Bomber’ Matues (6), I’m familiar with all of these guys & as well as talented players their all 1st class kids. Later on in the evening I’m told by Jnr. Bomber that NPFer 'rubes' (NPF screen name, I’m not familiar with his full name) was in S7, however he’d already bust before I got a chance to introduce myself or speak to him properly. So a great starting table with the banter flowing, not to mention the beautiful Celia Liu dealing who I have a lot of time for & not for obvious reasons.

Things get off to a good start;

55 vs. QQ: 25/50 “7,500” (I open out front at 25/50 level to 125, which gets called from the BTN & out of the BB. I have nothing to worry about as flop falls 556 & BB leads for approximately 2/3’s of pot, I flat call hoping for BTN to come along but he goes away. Blank on the turn which goes check/bet/call, making pot approximately 3,300. The same line on the river as it goes check/bet(2,100)/call & BB shows up with QQ, MBN to flop quads vs. over pair.)

During opening four levels before the break I’m reasonably active looking to accumulate before the unforgiving ante structure kicks in post break, I don’t make my desired 20,000 but still on a healthy 14,000ish after numerous hands including the FTP GIM;

AK vs. TT: 75/150 “12,000” (I 3BET Jnr. Bomber from the BTN holding AK, which prompts him to 4BET AIPF which I call. Pretty standard given the structure, I lose the race as board runs xxxKT.

KT vs. QT vs. KQ: 100/200 “17,000” (I open C/O to 500 which gets called by Emma Fullarton (BTN) & out both blinds, Celia peels another dream flop TKT. It’s checked to me & I CBET 1,000, Emma Fullarton moves her short stack over the top for 3,000+ & small blind cold calls. By now he’s priced in to call my shove for 7,500ish total & it’s on their backs, I have the hand almost locked down as Emma (QT) is dead & small blind (KQ) is drawing to minus 1% for running queens which doesn’t come.)

MBN to flop full house vs. trips vs. two pair, now you see why I have a lot of time for Celia?. Moving onto the tournament good instinct moment;

93o vs. 8x: 150/300 “2,100” (FTP GIM: It’s folded around to small blind who completes & I check my option from the big blind holding 93o, board runs KJ5T2 which we check down to the river. Villain leads river for 750 which didn’t make any sense as I expect to hear from any K/J on either flop or turn, he could be light value betting 5/T/2 but IMO it would be more optimal to check/call these looking to pick off my bluffs. Anyway I figured a bluff is more likely than a value bet in this spot & with 3 over cards he’s unlikely to be bluffing with the best hand, I make the call & table my hand after villain declares eight high.)

During the break I catch up with an old school friend Stewart Timlin who is relatively new to the Newcastle poker scene, he tells me about his impure adulterated bank holiday weekend which I won’t repeat. This conversation brings us almost until the end of the break & we head back to the felt, it’s get rich or go broke time now as the short clock ante structure demands it. I’m in the same seat until the penultimate table when we get broke, during this time I chip up to around 80,000 usually by sucking out:

AA vs. Unknown 66 (AIOTF K6Q & I find A on the turn)
JJ vs. Farmer Dave AA (AIPF & board ensues xJxxx)
AQ vs. Tom Dunwoodie KK (AIPF & board runs Axxxx)

Appears like I played terrible but all of the above were pretty standard considering stack sizes & only AA vs. 66 hand had me all in, they other two were for between 20%-50% of my stack. So after briefly moving to what was a terrible seat during the final two tables, to the right of Jnr. Hamid & Kris Lawrence who both had huge chip stacks. I have to change my game plan for the moment as my standard 2.1x is being moved on very light, so I begin to open shove & 3BET shove pretty light as the average stack approached 10BB. This works out as I go from 70,000 to 130,000 through bubble abuse without taking a hand to showdown, this is slightly above average as the final table bubble burst. Back on the final table only three months after taking it down, I was in good spirits & reasonably confident;

1) Anthony Howes “4th £570”
2) Kris Lawrence “Split £1,645”
3) Jed Conway “5th £445”
4) Hamid Toghyan “Split £1,500”
5) Denes Csaba “6th £380”
6) Anton Isozen “3rd £760”
7) Martin Turnbull “8th £255”
8) Gaz Walker “9th £190”
9) Stephen Salter “7th £320”
10) Daniel Trett “10th £175”

I’m not on the final table too long when;

AQ vs. AK: 5,000/10,000/1,000 “360,000” (Gaz Walker opens 25,000 out front, I have 150,000 from the BTN & go over the top all in to isolate vs. Gaz short stack. Unfortunately Kris Lawrence finds AK behind & of course makes the call, to my surprise Gaz then folds leaving himself with just over 4BBs. Anyway the board runs xxTQJ giving Kris broadway & a huge chip lead as I hit the rail, I shake his hand & wish the table good luck as I head for home.)

Again chips in behind, but with an average stack of 10BB (M-ratio of 4 for those familiar) I’m just simply not folding AQ unless their has been some serious action before me. Anyway another final table but unfortunately the wrong end, never mind that’s the way it goes sometimes & I had a great laugh in fantastic company. Over to Mark now as he summarizes his evening;

“On Tuesday I headed down to the Circus with my bro for nifty. I always look forward to this game and was hoping for a good seat draw and a decent table. I was drawn T6 S8 which was right at the back left of the card room. It was a tough starting table but fortunately had plenty of good lads seated so I knew I’d enjoy the company before I even sat down. I shared the table with Circus regular ‘Batman’ in S2, Teessider Martin Turnbull S3, Joe Peel S5, Dave ‘Teamdobbs’ Collins in S7 and James Browning in S10.

My MTT didn’t last too long as I lost over half my stack in either the first or second with KK. After half the table limp I raise to 500 at 25/50 and I’m called by unknown player who had limp called UTG. The flop was T86ddd. Not a great flop but I had Kd for the 2nd nut draw and was still happy I was ahead. I wanted to get value from my hand and with about 1250 ITM I over bet the flop to 1,500. I’m quickly called by Mr. UTG. The turn pairs the board with the 6h. It’s a good card really. I don’t think the six is in his range and with 4250 ITM I lead turn for 2,000 still wanting to get value from the Ad. The river is the 2d and I slow down a bit. I’m worried the Ad has got there, even though the board is paired I’m not really worried about a house because villain only flat calls on the 3 diamond flop. The way the hand played out it felt like AdTx. I have the 2nd nut flush and with 8250 ITM I put a stopper bet of 1,000 ITM. Villain insti moves in on me. Hmm, does he shove with the Qd? Nope I say to myself. I tank for a little while but in the end I let it go feeling very confident he had Ad. I’d stuck 5,000 of my stack in there but had to let it go. Villain shows me 88 for 8’s full. Wow, I didn’t expect to see that hand. It he’d played the hand properly and raised on the flop then he gets all my chips so in a way I felt pretty happy to get away with half my stack intact. I could have controlled the pot a bit more and not put as much in on the flop and turn but I was happy to build a nice pot thinking I had the best hand. There certainly wasn’t many soft spots on the table and this looked like a good opportunity to get off to a nice start. Pretty happy though, I think if this same scenario happened again in next month game I’d play this pretty much exactly the same.

So I sit short stacked and limp into a few pots with speculative hands but c/f when I air ball not wanting to get creative. In the main I just wanted to preserve my stack. Given the unforgiving structure I wanted to make sure I still had fold equity after the break when the blinds move to 200/400. I spend the early levels having some really good craic with mainly James Browning and Teamdobbs. We spend the first four levels talking about the world cup, the dangers in South Africa & New York and about some of the great heavyweight boxing fights, Tyson, Holyfield etc amongst many other interesting discussions. I really enjoyed the company and it helped me to stay patient during a card dead four levels. Teamdobbs keeps me entertained as he opens UTG with the azbo and gets it through.

Break time and I head upstairs and order some food. I notice Macheen sitting with TD and Dave ‘Chipmunk’ Stephenson and head over to introduce myself. I sit with them as I wait for my food. Macheen wasn’t what I was expecting, he was a lot more jack the lad type of character than I’d imagined. I kind of expected him to be a bit more quiet & reserved type of kid. Anyway he seemed like a really sound lad all the same. So back to the action and after getting my stack all in first hand with AQ at 200/400 over the top of a limp I pass everything until the 300/600 level. I’m down to under 4,000 and basically give myself one more orbit to get my stack in the middle. I pick up nothing and end up shoving with 97 UTG not wanted the blinds to pass through me again. I was as patient as I possibly could be but draw the line at hanging around with 5 bigs in that game. I’m looked up by Batman’s QdJd. His hand holds and I hit the rail. I get up shake Batman’s hand and wish the table good luck. I go find my bro tell him I’m out and head to the cash table.

I sit down at the 0.25/0.50 to the immediate left of Tony ‘240’ Douglas aka ‘Team Tony’. Tony’s kind of a ‘Tim nice but dim’ kind of lad and commonly regarded as the worst player in Newcastle. I always have fun on his table and this session was no exception. I was also sat to the immediate left of a sound kid who I later found out was Rubes from the NPF. I wasn’t at the table long before the sharks swarmed as Teessider Kieran Appleby, Circus regular Lewis & Adam ‘Junior Bomber’ Matues all quickly took their seats. Although it was a tricky table it didn’t bother me too much as it was just as important to me to have a table with good craic as it was to have a winning session. I was only really killing time waiting for my kid so I was happy to spend the next few hours in the company of a few sound lads. It was the first time I’d really had any serious table time with Junior Bomber. My kid knows him pretty well and has a lot of time for him and after a short time in his company it was easy to see why. He’s a great lad with a good sense of humor as well as a very good cash game. He was playing really well making some good calls and lay downs including correctly folding a set of tens. Adam was taking the piss out of me saying I was an MTT player and couldn’t play cash etc but all light hearted fun, although there was an element of truth to what he was saying lol.

He also tells me about Dan’s 9 high river call. Now there’s not much if anything people can tell me about my kid that I don’t already know or that would impress me as I already regard him as one of, if not THE best player in Newcastle. However hearing about him calling with 9 high on the river and being right was seriously impressive. I done him an injustice when I said very few people in that card room could make that call. In hindsight I don’t think anybody in that card room could find the call. WP bro, take a bow.

I spend the next few hours laughing and chatting with Bomber, Kieran and Lewis which kept me out of trouble and stopped me from playing shit cards as I got dealt a lot of crap during the session. We were later joined by Circus regular George Lawson who was also a really nice kid and the first time I’ve shared his table. With regards to the pokers, I lost a buy-in vs. Rubes blind on blind when we both flop trip queens on a QQJ board. We get in all and my Q2 looks good for a chop vs. Rubes Q6. Turn and river is a 3 and 5 and unbelievably Rubes kicker plays. Sigh. After constantly praising 240 Tony’s game he found the balls to pull off a couple of crazy bluffs. The first one was vs. me when I raise with AK and C-bet a Q high flop. 240 moves in on me, I fold only to be show 89o for the 9 high. I take a bit of shit from the table but it doesn’t last long as he soon finds his next victim in Bomber. Myself, Bomber and Tony are in a 3way pot and all check a picture high flop. 240 bets the turn and I call with ace high & Bomber calls behind. 240 fires again on the river and because Bomber is behind me and I know Adam will have ace high beat I have to fold. If he’s not in the pot I think I definitely find the call. Bomber also passes and 240 shows him 53o for the 5 high. It was all very funny and 240 Tony felt like a king as we all swelled his ego knowing it was only a matter of time before he give his money back to the table. He duly obliges about an hour or so later when he goes broke. He had every penny to his name on the cash table and when he went broke he grabbed his coat and headed out the door. I asked him why he wasn’t reloading and he said he was skint, didn’t have any money for a taxi and was about to take the 4 mile walk home to West Denton. FHL. See you in a fortnight Tony.

Anyway, I end the session at about 4am when Dan goes bust from the MTT and I’m about £35 up, which was a nice bonus having previously been stuck for about £75. Most of my profit from the night was largely down to rivering a straight vs. Bomber’s set. More importantly I had a good laugh and the funniest cash session I’ve had outside of Vegas."

So now just left to congratulate the guys who joined me on the final table, I’m good friends with six of them & always nice to see them cash. Special congratulations to Kris & Hamid who are both nice lads & went on to split the lions share £1,650 & £1,500 respectively, keep up the good work guys. This tournament was the beginning of an extremely busy month of June which includes 18+ interesting events across 4 festivals;

Circus World Cup Mini-League
Aspers Poker Festival
Newcastle GUKPT Summer Series

I’m 50/50 about whether or not to travel to Leeds for the CBMPT main event, I would have for sure if there wasn’t two festivals on both weekends after. However Mark is persistent with his requests & it’s only two hours down the road, I’ll likely make a last minute decision regarding that. I'm really excited & geared up for this busy month, I feel like I'm playing pretty really well right now and I can really focus on poker without any distractions. Maybe this will be the month that I capture a UK festival main event win that has to this point eluded me, I'll be looking to playing approximately 10 events across the month 2 of which are £300 main events. I expect to be playing 50+ hour weeks for almost all of June, but I know what I'm getting myself into & I’m cool with it. It's pretty draining but I like the idea of really grinding it out and pressing value for a month, then hopefully back to my lighter schedule for the rest of the year.

Let the fun begin


  1. once again great read and well done x

  2. Thanks Natalie, nice playing with you as always. x

  3. great pic of Machine

    Dan... little confession of mine but when I started playing in town Harry was always the guy I didnt want on my table. Always knocked me out no matter what I held and a real character of the poker scene that to be honest was never really appreciated imo.


Thanks for visiting FTP, we hope you enjoyed the article & your feedback is important to us. Please comment & we will endeavour to reply.