01/12/2005

The Biggest Spin-Up Ever

Neil Channing 'Bad Beat'

By Saturday night my spirits were a bit low. I had played badly in the Super-Satellite. I found myself on the same table as JJ. That made three times this trip, three times in the WSOP and three times during The Festa Al Largo. Between these she took time out to knock me out of the Celeb Poker Tournament in London. I told her I was onto her and knew about her "arrangement" with the management. If she didn't stop stalking me, I warned her, I'd be getting an injunction.

Having played her a lot I "knew" she had a big hand and just called with my Jacks on the button. It was only when the flop came three low cards that the Jacks grew into a hand before my eyes. I should have trusted my read. A low flop doesn't help them beat Queens.

I was going to play just one $1800 one-table for the main event and so I got into one immediately. Apart from David "The Dragon" Pham there were no pros and three guys from London with less experience of these things (15000 chips and time to play). I had a $500 last-longer with the "home team" and was feeling good as one was out and the others were down below 5000 and playing EVERY hand before I'd managed one.

I then got my 14k in with KK v AA and was forced to make a new plan. First leg of the plan was to win the $540 2nd chance tournament. Forty minutes later plan B was required.

Ram was sweating Ross in the Super and asked me whether BetUSA were putting me in the Main Event. I told him they'd been very generous but that the money I had for this trip was almost gone. I would need to win a seat if I was to play.

"We're gonna find out how good a player you are then."

He smiled at me as he said it and I knew he wasn't being mean. It might just have been the spur I needed though.

I got myself into a one-table $350 satellite for Sunday's Super Satellite and played some good poker. I was tight early and aggressive late on and easily won one of the two seats.

On Sunday I played aggressive poker and rushed into a good position early. With 500 players 47 seats would be given out. Starting chips were 3000 and 30k was about average when we got our seats. I was chip leader with over 120k.

Ram was on the next table to me when we started the event. I told him how I'd spun $350 into a $15k seat and he reminded me the job was only half done.

Day one started interestingly enough. After 30mins I called a raise of 125 from the big blind with 4d5c (blinds were 50/100 and we started with 30k). The flop was a lovely 3s6c7c. After the smoke settled three of us had put 90k in the pot before the turn. We all showed 4,5 but a club on the turn gave me a massive free-roll. The heart on the river ended that dream.

Nothing much went right after that and I went down to 3700 with 200/400 blinds at one stage. I did recover well but in the last two hours I only played one hand and fell to 14,700.

Day two was simply a case of raising and passing, raising all-in or re-raising all-in. I only made one flop bet all day with my meagre stack. Early on I was fantastically lucky when I decided that I was looking to re-raise any aggressive players and steal some chips. One guy made it 2500 to go with 5,5. I moved in for 18k and despite only having 40k he called. The flop was 5,J,10 which made it tricky for my K,2 until a queen on the turn and a nine on the river saved me.

Later in the day I got to 47k when I found KK on the button and David Pham decided he'd had enough of my constant raises. From there I hit a bad patch and ended on just $38k with the average now $120k.

With 121 players starting Day 3 and 51st-100th paying $24k making the money was now a priority. I found myself drawn to the right of Patrick Antonious who had $600k+. This actually worked in my favour as it meant people often didn't steal before it got to me. I moved in four times successfully taking 8500 each time and so could afford to pay the blinds a couple of times. I also restrained myself when passing KdQd and AsJd from under the gun.

Barry Greenstein lost a pot to chip leader Patrick and fell back to an average 150k stack. He had been very aggressive and now raised to 10k from 3rd position. I decided that with 110 players left this was my chance to make the money and from 5th position I moved in my 45k with AK. Barry called after a couple of seconds with AhQh and hit one queen on the flop and one on the turn.

It's now nearly five years since I last played Barry, when he knocked me out in 70th in Carlos Mortenson's World Championship. On the only hand we played that day I re-raised his 9k to $28k and despite just having 45k he called with A4. In those days you didn't have to turn your cards up and I'd expected my A9 to lose. I just didn't think a 4 high flush would do it.

It was a couple of years after that first hand we played before I knew anything about him - until then I thought he was an idiot tourist. Today He did nothing wrong the hands just played themselves.

I entered (350) into the tournament column and ran straight to the airport.

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