My 2011 Part V - Late Night Poker
Dec. 16, 2011
Only a couple of after the GUKPT in Luton I had my Late Night Poker heat in Cardiff and I was feeling on top of the world. Everything went great in Luton and was in such great spirits to continue this positive energy into my LNP. My heat consisted of James Dempsey, Padraig Parkinson, Liv Boeree, Ross Boatman, John Taba, Luke Davies and Richard Ashby. My thoughts were I was the strongest player at the table and had the most experience in this format previously winning the UK Open and felt that Dempsey would be my biggest threat. In about the 5th hand I already put in over 30% of my stack as a semi bluff and got Ross to fold which was a nice start and then began to feel that this Luke Davies had been told by his friends to constantly 3bet me, and even 4bet showing a deuce.
James Dempsey was opening a vast majority of hands and this time he opened early position to 500 and I was in the cut off with 40 BB with ATd. I could three bet here, but I also think calling is ok too. John Taba who was the short stack with about 22 BB also called in the big blind which was quite surprising, as I felt he would shove or fold most of the time so I figured he probably has a small pair. The flop was T 6 4, 2 hearts so pretty wet to say the least and although I had TPTK, I feel if I get action here I will either be flipping against multi combo draws, or drawing pretty dead against made hands. John checked, James checked so I figured I had to bet here and would prob vomit if Dempsey raises but it was in fact John Taba who instantly check raised all-in 4300 total. Not even a thought. If I called and lost I would be down to about 10 BB so naturally I asked for a count and really was not in love with this situation. I thought there's no chance he has a worse ten, maybe KT, but even if he made a looseish defend with a suited ten I certainly think he should give it some thought before shoving his last 20 BB in – i mean he gets called I am either flipping with a flush draw or he has 5 out (20%) at best. I also put him on a small pair when he completed, so figured there's a reasonable chance he can 44 or 66 but because I thought he has a draw more often than a set I made the call and to my surprise had had JT – only three outs against my hand and I was an 85% favourite to win this hand.
I hate his call preflop with a short stack, and he now has a tough decision on the flop, and I'm sure he knows my reputation to be a conservative player so what he put me on when I bet the flop only he can tell you. For him to comment in his blog that I 'tank called' and it was a 'pained' decision seems harsh to say the least, and it was because I actually thought he was a better player than to play his hand so terrible. Oh well I guess I was the one with the last laugh...like I was with Luke Davies as I waited for my spot to get his chips in as a three to one favourite when he three bet jammed with A5o blind on blind and I snap called with the Kings, but again they never make it easy for me as the flop bought three clubs and he had the 5 clubs, but I end up back dooring a flush and before I knew it we were three handed – Ashby and Dempsey.
I had about a 2-1 chip lead on both of them but that was soon about change as I went through a level of no cards and constantly being re raised. This years format of Late Night Poker was certainly an interesting one – the top two players of each heat go through to the final table of 8, if you win your heat you start the final table with 50k and if you come second you start with 30k, with 5 out of the 8 players getting paid. So I was certainly beginning to feel the pressure three handed and really wanted to get to this final table so badly. It was the first hand after the break that probably was not one of my better hands I've played where I've min raised the button with KJ, Ashby has three bet me, and he had a 2-1 lead on me and Dempsey so I felt this was a great spot for him to do this light and very uncharacteristically I 4 bet jammed for value and did feel I had some fold equity if he was doing this with a rag ace, suited connectors, any two cards...but I got my read wrong, he surprisingly asked how much more it was which made me think I was winning unless he had a small pair and made the correct call with KQ. But for a change I was the one getting it in bad and flopped the joint A Q T and subsequently Ashby went on to bubble. I must have lost count of the amount of times I have been all-in as a 3-1 favourite and being three outered, so it certainly felt good being on the right side of it now. I then went on to beat James Dempsey heads up for the 50k stack going into the final.
In the final I had a pretty tough seat with Luke having position on me. I felt I played a pretty strong final table, three betting quite often and opening a lot of pots and always kept my chips about average. Ram was the first to depart losing with AQ allin pre vs Roberto QQ although Roberto then was next to hit the rail when he came over the top of Luke with AQ on a J 3 3 and Luke made the correct call with KJ which subsequently held. So 6 handed and the next one would leave with nothing....certainly the pressure was mounting. Luke had an unassailable chip lead and was playing very strong poker, Simon and James were the shorter stacks and Dempsey decided to make a question over the top shove to Luke's UTG open with 22, Luke snap called with QQ and the bubble was burst. Trumper was next to bust losing the inevitable coin flip with JJ to the inform Holdens AQ with the deadly Ace coming on the turn.
One thing I will say the Internet qualifier played with unbelievable heart and although clearly had a lack of tournament experience with his body language giving a lot away, he certainly had a lot of moves up his sleeve that neither Luke or I could believe and outplayed us both in a couple of pots to him and that deserves a lot of praise. 4 handed and with the blinds going up, having around 9 BB looking at an Ace I shoved, the internet qualifier made the correct call in the BB with the suited A5. My hand was A8 and was hoping for a couple of low cards for the double up, the board ran out an interested Qc T 3c with the Jc on the turn with me having the Ac. So most of the time I will win outright, chop around 40% and lose 5% of the team and unfortunately it the 5% that happened with the cruel red 5 hearts on the river which left me shell shocked. Still this is poker and he made a perfectly standard call and still cashed for $30k in my back to back final table so when I put that all into context it was a pretty decent week. Sam ended up beating Luke heads up and like James Akenhead a couple of years ago, I'm sure this guy will go very far in poker and was an extremely polite and friendly person and wish him all the luck in the world when he sits down on November 9th for the biggest final table in Poker.
Looking back at this week, it was probably the most satisfying for me in my whole poker career and although I took a cooler and a bad beat, the two winners in both events were top guys in UK Poker and that is a great thing to have to develop poker players in this country and can only use them as inspirations to what two very liked, polite friendly guys can do with a smart brain and total dedication. And I also hope that people follow the footsteps in donating money they win to charity as if like me you believe in karma, then good things will happen to good people and I'm sure your luck will turn around. I'm in a very positive state right now, feeling very refreshed and about to take a couple of weeks of with some friends in Israel to digest this past week and when I come back travel France to play the WSOPE and Partouche Poker Tour and extremely excited for EPT London and hope I can continue my good run of form.
Edit - The previous last 2 paragraphs of this blog which have now been removed were incomplete and un-edited. I hadn't finished off the blog in which i wanted to expand further on the subject and unfortunately due to mis communication the blog was posted. I will be returning to this subject along with some other issues that have been in the public eye which a fuller and more frank insight into my views on those specific topics in my next blog.
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