Archive for October, 2009


Posted: October 28, 2009 in General

Big win this week, £2,400 from a ten hour session at the Empire on Friday night. Unfortunately the primary donators to my bankroll were two of my poker buddies, the Baron and Chan, rather than the intended tourists and gamblers – however a win is a win, and anyway I can’t feel too sorry for the Baron as he was already nearly 5K up for the week, courtesy of the Thursday night Banker’s game.

Not too much to note on the poker front, I guess the win was really earned over dinner when I elected to stick to sparkling water rather than joining the boys on a wine and Champagne binge. While they all seem able to play profitable albeit high variance poker at almost any level of inebriation, my own game consistently drops off a cliff as soon as I take even a sniff of booze. I guess I’m destined to spend my life at the table choosing between profitable poker and ‘partytime’, consigned to the fact that all losses during the latter are just part of the cost of a big laughs night out.

First two hours pretty flat, despite playing like a bit of a lunatic from the start. The Baron, bored of terrorising his table, pulled his big stack across the room to join me around 10pm. Within ten minutes we both manage to get it all into the middle, my top set versus his dangerous open ender; however my set holds and our stacks equalise around the £600 mark.

The next two hours pass uneventfully for me, however the Baron in his usual style is swigging pink Champagne and 3-betting 50% of pots blind.

Around midnight we get it in again, this time my JJ versus the Baron and some poor bewildered chap that he’d been attacking all night. They’re conterfeiting each other both holding AK, and once again variance runs clean and my stack pops to £1,600.

By 4am I’ve quietly taken back the role of table captain from the Baron. With a stack that’s up to £1,800 I have everyone covered, only Baron (£1,000) and Chan (£600) are remotely a threat. Both the boys have continued to chug Champagne all night, Chan repeatedly mixing it with old dregs of a pint of Guiness to make a gradually diluting ‘black velvet’. Chan has spent the last thirty minutes eyeing up my stack, and telling me he’s “going to get it”. I sense he’s still annoyed about being verbally induced to call my AA five bet all-in with QQ about four months ago at the LC, as this is the first time we’ve been stacked versus each other since. For the last ten minutes Chan has been drunkenly showing off his command of French to the dealer, announcing all his plays en français.

Baron unusually passes UTG, I’m dealt A4o in seat four and limp for £2 not really expecting much. As I’d said to Dave Two-Chairs (in the SB) just an hour earlier, the deeper the stacks the less relevant the hole cards. Seat five raises to £10 – a young Indian lad, I’d classify him as one of the Empire regular semi-pros; he’s been making small raises frequently and he believes I’m a fish from the play of a chopped hand earlier that he misunderstood. There are four callers including Chan and myself (I’d most likely pass if my £8 didn’t close the action), and five of us take a lovely flop of 449 rainbow.

BB checks, I check, seat five bets £30, and in a show of pizzaz Chan announces something in French that turns out to be ‘all-in’. I give it a little consideration, but to be fair am always making the call. We flip, my ace kicker has his 46s dominated, and I hold to take down a £1,300 pot. Chan immediately pales at his -EV play, I clearly don’t need to explain to him why this is such a bad move (but for the readership he’s winning a small pot the 90% of the time he’s ahead, and (very often) losing his stack the 10% of the time he’s behind). My stack is a monsterous pile of pink £100’s and black £25’s, and thankfully I manage to hold onto it for another hour before summoning my carriage home.

Empire Friday

Posted: October 20, 2009 in General

The first six hours of my Empire Friday night (7pm to 1am) continued Thursday night’s run of terrible cards, 90% of hands being offsuit six gappers or worse. Against this comparatively less tricky field (relative to the Loose Cannon Thursday night game) I was able to make a few advertising plays, however not ever getting a reasonable hand meant that the bluffs I did show were just balancing my TAG image. I could have adopted an approach of keeping cards close to chest and stealing from time to time, but honestly I kept expecting the tide to turn and the big hands to start coming. They never did.

Unlike Thursday night, the hands where I did get involved in general did not stand-up. I managed to get my stack in good twice, flopping two pair with my rubbish, but both times was outdrawn my some nitwit or other.

Eventually around 1.30am and circa £500 in the hole I threw in the towel. Elected to get pissed instead and short-stack a few hopefully more enjoyable hours to try to rekindle a bit of interest in poker. An old buddy ‘Dave Two-Chairs’ had unexpectedly made an appearance at the Empire following a non-poker related email discussion that afternoon, so I dragged him out of his seat and over to the bar.

Three pints of Asahi later and everything was looking marvellous.

We returned to the table around 2.30am, and I switched seats to a new soft looking game, in the end not able to downsize my stack from the £250 I had left on the table as had forgotten to take my chips with me. The run of bad cards continued, and true to my usual drunken form I managed to get the whole stack in with middle pair within about ten minutes. A young scared looking Chinese lad made a good call and my deficit opened-up to £750. Put a short-stack £50 in play, and made that last all of another ten minutes, this time going bonkers with 58s on a 67x board.

In short, my image was excellent however my ability to actually play poker rather than bingo was waning. Sod it, I rebought for £200, leaving just a final £300 in my pocket for a final shot (yes, I started the night with £1300, planning to go big or go home – it firmly looked like being the latter).

By now it was around 3.30am, and Dave had just got bored with his tight/passive full table and switched to sit in the seat to my immediate left. We’ve not played poker together for years, however he’s heard stories about our game, and so I imagine had probably been waiting for that particular chair to open from his vantage point across the room.

I’d stopped drinking by this point, but still remember being somewhat loopy as I found JQo in late position. I opened to £12, and took the button and two early position limpers to a flop of Q64 with two hearts. Now from the perspective of an Asahi riddled mind that had just come from a twenty hour cold streak, top pair third kicker was THE NUTS!! A bet, a call and I open shoved for my stack. The bettor agonised for about three minutes before making the call, flipping up 64s for bottom two. “Whups, top pair!!” I yelped.

The turn came a third heart, giving me what I thought was a flush draw to go with my pair (it turns out I actually had black cards, woo hoo!!). “Sorry mate” I yelled down the table, apologising in advance for hitting my (non-existent) flush. However victory was still to be mine as the river came a smiling queen. I flipped-up my cards and claimed the sizable £450 pot.

“He apologised before the river came”, the button exclaimed loudly across the table to the reeling outdrawee, and the rest of the players fell apart laughing. Deciding to capitalise on my good fortune I may have drunkenly claimed psychic powers, however nonetheless they were not going to forget this one in a hurry.

By now it was 4am, and despite only having £500 or so on the table I had the table captain’s peaked cap firmly planted on my head. The terrible cards continued apace, however now I was in there mixing it up with all sorts of rubbish. Probably partially fuelled by a slightly drunk desire to ‘show off’ to Dave, which in retrospect is a big -EV approach to the game, I got away with a fairly magnificent series of floats, bluffs, semi-bluffs, stop-and-go’s, value bets and the rest; pulled out the whole poker arsenal against a table that had just fallen apart under my onslaught.

Will relate just two hands I look back particularly fondly on. In the first I found myself able to call down a bluff’tard young lad wearing huge red sunglasses and sporting absolutely transparent body language with just ace high on the river, to leave him bewildered at how I’d made the play. In another I played 95o on the button for a pre-flop raise and a bet/check/bet line, taking an Indian gentleman off of top pair on a scary looking board for a £100 pot.

And then finally around 7am I found my first big hand of two long night’s of poker. Black aces in seat 7. Sunglasses was UTG and opened for £12, one caller and seat 5 min raised to £24. A pass, and I elected to disguise my hand by trap calling, hoping to find an unconnected board against what was likely to be quite a few players. Another caller behind me and four of us took a flop of A84 rainbow. Sweet. Sunglasses bet again, seat 5 raised again, I called again and the fourth player called behind.

By now the pot was up to about £200. I had another £300 behind, sunglasses had about £350 and the other two players had under £100 each left. The turn was a red queen, making a flush draw and a couple of gutshot straight draws possible. Sunglasses checked, seat 5 shoved his remaining stack and deciding that enough was enough I reshoved. Short-stacked fourth player made a crying call, and unfortunately sunglasses found the pass.

The river blanked and I took down the biggest pot the table had seen all night, pulling my stack up to just over £1100 and back into break-even territory. In retrospect, with two players already committed to the pot, perhaps I could have continued my trap, letting sunglasses in for the last card. His turn check looked a little like he’d given up on the pot, so maybe he didn’t have one of the draws I was worried about. In fact he would almost certainly have called with these anyway (despite not having the odds), so perhaps by playing it just a tad slower I could have stacked him also and banked a sizeable profit rather than just a break-even on the night.

Played out another hour through to 8.30am as Dave and I tried to stack the remaining players; but eventually tiredness got the better of me, and so I bid the table adieu and jumped in an Addison Lee home, relieved that I’d at least managed to undo the bankroll ruin of the first ten hours at the table…