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Barny Boatman
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Any Moody Goes

Poker Classics 2004, London
Report by Barny on Friday, 8 October 2004 at 7:22 pm

There’s no place like home. And there’s no home like the Victoria Casino during one of its major European festivals. This week at the European Classics there’s something different about the old place: An excitable end of term atmosphere. It’s not the new relaxed dress code or the anticipation of fame and fortune as John Duthie’s cameras probe the dusty corners of the card room finding poker’s ‘X factor’ behind new and familiar faces. Well, indirectly it is that, because to make the game more media friendly the Vic have taken the bold and brilliant step of revoking the ‘Moody rule’.

Like monks released from a twenty year vow of silence the players are chattering merrily, pushing at the new boundaries to see what they can get away with.
‘Well I’ve got Aces so I’m setting you in.’ ‘Call me I’ve just got a gut shot’ ‘I know what you’ve got, the cards are marked’ ‘Pass your hand or I’ll get you in the car park! Can I say that ?’ It seems that you can say just about anything that’s not abusive but moody actions still don’t go, and you can only threaten someone if you quite clearly don’t mean it. Neil ‘Bad Beat’ Channing has suggested an award for ‘Moody of the week’ and prices on the winner are available on request.

Yesterday I looked over and saw Tony G, Paul Parker and Simon Trumper all in a row. Anyone selling ear plugs on table ‘W’ would have made a nice few quid.
It’s a lot like being in Vegas, but I don’t think we have anything to fear from the Americans, we have been moodying for years in home games and spielers. I would say the yanks have the edge though in the subtle art of the ‘rub down’. The cruelly pointless practice of rubbing salt in the wounds of a defeated opponent. In a cash game at the Nugget last week one guy outdrew my for a couple of grand and followed up with a barrage of attempted wind ups designed to soften me up for the kill. A couple of minutes later I called him on the end with ace high and won the pot. ‘Did I give something away?’ he asked. ‘Yeah’ says I. ‘Five hundred bucks’. I have to admit that at that moment giving him the rub down was worth more than the money.
Don’t get me wrong though, I love the American way when it comes to talking at the table and it’s great to see the Vic regulars taking to it so readily.

Well, I’ve had a result. The £750 No limit holdem started well for me as I picked up some good cards and hit some flops. As much by luck as judgement I was just about chip leader with a couple of dozen left but in the last hour I lost a big evens shot and missed a draw I probably shouldn’t have gone for, leaving me as one of the shortest stacks going into day two. Thirteen of us came back and my great good fortune was not to be on Lucy Rokach’s table. She was chip leader with 150K and when the guy who was second gave her all his, she had almost a third of the chips in play. I did what I had to do and although finding no cards I was taking small pots here and there.

My good luck continued on the final table as I was drawn opposite Lucy who, in any case was avoiding big confrontations with me and Ash Parvais as she had no need to make us dangerous. I kept my stack steady as Lucy nibbled away at the rest of the table. I did not win a show down for four hours - it was a long tough final – but when we went six-handed I won two big pots and that was enough to get me to the last three.

By this time, I was looking at my watch constantly as the Omaha was about start and I was desperate not to miss it. Since coming second here three months ago I have been top of the European rankings and fancied that Omaha was my game. Looking back I feel I had things slightly out of perspective as I was playing for what would have been one of the biggest results of my life.

Throughout the final Lucy, it will surprise no-one to hear, had played faultlessly and effortlessly. She used her big stack to control the table, wearing her opponents down and never putting her position in danger. When we went three handed we all had chips, the blinds were big and it was time for a gear change. Maybe it was because I kept looking at my watch but Lucy suddenly seemed in a big hurry to end it and I took my worse beat of the tournament in a pot I wasn’t in! She moved all in for 220,000 with K5 and was called by Petro with an AQ. She was unlucky to find him with a hand but he and I were both unlucky when she hit a five. Two minutes later she had him in with the best of it and we were heads up.

Lucy is a very tough proposition in a heads up battle. You won’t get to play a lot of flops and I always felt it would come down to one key hand. So it was. Lucy raised to thirty-five thousand and I moved all-in for three hundred and odd thousand with Jacks. She had me covered and decided to take a shot with A5 knowing she could lose and still have a chance to come back. As the Ace hit the board I was racing up the stairs to draw my seat in the Omaha and it only sunk in later that that Ace was a twenty-five grand card.

Congratulations to Lucy - who totally dominated the tournament from start to finish - on yet another brilliant performance. It’s time people stopped talking about her as ‘the best woman player’ and just started asking whether she is simply The Best.

Full Result £750 NLH Freezeout
Victoria Casino London 168 Entrants
1st Lucy Rokach £ 50,000
2nd Barny Boatman £ 25,270
3rd P Petro £ 13,965
4th David Kaye £ 7,980
5th Steve Moreschi £ 4,655
6th Ash Pervais £ 4,322
7th Jonathan Cooke £ 3,990
8th Rumit Somaiya £ 3,658
9th Jo Handman £ 2,660
10th Torstein Iversen £ 1,500
11th Ron 'MadYank' Fanelli £ 1,000
12th Andrew Georgiou £ 1,000
13th Dan Samson £ 1,000
14th Jim Reid £ 1,000
15th Cameron 'Round the mountain' Angus £ 1,000
16th A Fowler £ 1,000
17th Mohammad Farooq £ 1,000
18th Nick Gold £ 1,000

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