01/12/2005

I had a new plan for Wednesday's $3000 tournament. I'd felt I'd played a little too fast in one or two of the earlier ones and that with 6000 chips and a lot of bad players maybe I should take it a bit easier.

The plan was helped by my starting table which was dominated by The Great Carlos Mortenson. This is the player I fear more than almost any. He takes super-aggressive to a new level but always seems to have a hand when anyone makes the decision to stand up to him.

Today we weren't helped by him playing well and having gifts galore. In one pot a player raised under-the-gun to 450 and Carlos made it 2000 out of 12k. A player who had not put a shilling into this pot now went in for 4500 with AJ which was instant called by Carlos' AK.

Total fruitcake David Mehmand gave him a gift when he just called a raise with his KK and check called the flop. He decided to check raise all-in when the Ac that gave Carlos aces-up arrived. You'd think they had enough complete lunatics in this country without needing to import them.

I managed to be patient and make some hands. I was very pleased to milk Carlos for the maximum with my two flopped sets and got away from him with some chips. My new table was entertaining as I got to answer a lot of Mark Teltscher questions; ("what would you have bet? Do you think that was a good bluff?" etc). After a couple of good hands I was going along quite nicely.

Padraig was on the next table and pointed out that by lasting past 8pm we had avoided playing he 2nd Chance thus saving a monkey. We both got to the dinner break and enjoyed the comped buffet saving even more.

With 30 left from 500 starters aiming at a first prize of $283k I had 90k. The chip average was 45k and some were clinging on to get into the 18 who would be paid.

What happened next was pretty ugly and representatives of BetUSA.com, my mum and anyone I owe money to may want to skip a bit. With blinds at 600/1200 and a 100 ante position three bet 10k from his 35k. I read this as a weak bet and was contemplating on setting him in from the big blind. The button who had been quite a wild player and played a lot of hands called the 10k leaving himself 50k. I now decided that the button probably had a pair, most likely less than my 8,8 and that the first raiser was probably on an AQ or that sort of strength. I pushed the lot in and as quickly as the first guy passed the second guy called. He declared:

"Looks like an early night for me."

There was 130k in the pot and I was left with just 30k when his AK hit. I was amazed that he turned over this hand as 99% of players would have just pushed with it in the first place - giving me an easy fold.

I was out soon afterwards trying to make jacks beat aces.

The next day I was desperately disappointed and as I hadn't scheduled the $5000 I went to The Wynn for their $300 freeze-out. They had a record 143 runners and an excellent structure. I was low stacked until the final where I took the lead four-handed. Eventually I managed 3rd after 10hrs play for $4600.

Just before the final the card room manager told me a funny story. He had told a novice player to take his chips over to the adjacent final table. The guy didn't understand so he gesticulated telling him the final would be "next door". Forty minutes later the guy called the card room from The Venetian where he was now walking about with his chips.

On Friday, despite it being my birthday, I failed the basic criteria for the Seniors and headed back to The Wynn. This time the tournament was $500 and had 96 runners. Again I lasted 10 hrs and grafted hard but this time I only managed 6th for $2700.

In this final I managed to upset three people in short succession. I told the person who moaned at me for blocking a deal to give a 10th prize that he should have thought about getting himself a few more chips earlier like I did. Another bloke thought we were on the TV table and wouldn't turn up his cards during the showdown which annoyed me. The third punter was a railbird who insisted it was the worst standard of poker he'd ever seen and accused us all of being rocks. After my 8,9 off suit got cracked I rounded on him and asked him if he was satisfied. I then pointed out that it was no wonder he was skint and on the rail.

After a few birthday drinks with my same day, same year twin Joe Beevers I strolled off to bed.

Neil Channing is sponsored by BetUSA.com and BetUK.com.