The most recent visit to Star City in Birmingham was last year in September for the second Genting Poker Players Championship. Here I was back again-this time for the first leg of the Genting Poker Series and my excitement was palpable!
If you haven’t been to the Genting Club in Birmingham, you are honestly missing out. It’s one of the largest casinos in the UK with a huge card room and a great sports bar for the football enthusiasts. It was the perfect place to start the series!
I arrived at the casino on Thursday, so I would have just enough time to settle in & warm up before playing the Main Event day 1b next day.
After a quick catch up with some poker buddies & fellow Genting pros, I decided to wander around the tables and check out my potential opposition and their respective stack sizes from the Main Event day 1a.
One table provided more entertainment than most; poker veterans Andy Bradshaw & Paul Jackson were playing against some young guns including Steve Warburton & Helena Brett with suitable banter attached.
Whilst I was sipping my tea and trying to pick up some tips from Andy’s famous speech play I was approached by Mad Marty Wilson, who invited me to join him in the commentary booth.I have never done commentating before, so if any of you were listening, hopefully I was making sense;)
It was fun being able to see the hole cards of the players and follow their thought process on each street and of course start to work out who you would like to play back at, if you were sat down.
Anyhow with free time and a poker tournament available it was time to jump in the £100 one day side event. We got underway with our 10k starting stacks and 80 players. I had a dream start when I nearly doubled up with the full house in the second level of the game:
I raised utg 2 with JJ and received 4 callers. The flop brought Js8s6d. I led out and received one call. The turn was 5 of hearts and I bet again. My oponent thought about it and made a raise. I flatted. The river was a lovely 8.
I bet half the pot for value hoping he had made flush or straight and he instantly shoved all in. I snapped and he showed 5,9 for a bluff. I was confused to say the least!
I’d kept the momentum going, but then things started going wrong. I lost 25% of my stack against a shortie with A10 v 77 and then had to make a lay down on the river for a big chunk of my stack when missing a huge draw and was set all in by my opponent.
In the end as I got low in chips I shoved on the button to help keep my stack respectable and playable, but ran my A,3 of hearts into the SB who had AQ. With no help on the board I busted in 20th.
I’m glad that that Main Event day1b didn’t start till 1pm:) I love sleeping in and I’m at my best when getting 10-12 hours kip;)
A short stroll from the hotel, and I arrived with 10 minutes to go and the place was buzzing! Quite a few UK poker pros were about & the dealers were already set at the tables ready to shuffle the cards.
A prominent table held the trophies and it was as good an incentive as you could wish for. I was sat downstairs in the room two where was a little more quiet & relaxed compared to the main poker room upstairs (including the feature table).
The nice deep structure meant barring disaster I could look forward to some decent poker play. I didn’t have the best start and was down to 20k from a starting stack of 25k. I bricked the river in a couple of drawing pots & then got out-kicked on a pretty dry Ace high board.
I was being really patient but somehow every time I got involved in a pot I seem to lose it by the river…So when after 3 levels I was told I am being moved to a new table I was more than happy; until I found out that my new seat was the seat of “death” where 3 players had got knocked out already-sigh!
2 hands in on my new table and I find AJ suited utg2 and proceed to raise. I receive 2 calls including the BB. The flop brings K, 7, 5 rainbow and the BB checks. I decided to lead representing AK or another premium pair. The guy on the button elects to fold and the BB just flats.
The turn is a 7, which does not change much and BB checks to me. Once he checks, I know it is unlikely he has a King, however a lower pocket pair such as 99, 88 is more likely. I decided to check the turn with position and the chance to take the pot away on the river.
The river brought a Jack and my opponent fairly quickly made a decent size bet, which was around 70% of the pot.
Hands I am beating: missed straight draw, 88, 99, 10s
Hands I am behind: Kx, A7, 87
With around a 50/50 chance of being right, so I decided to take my time and observe my opponent whilst trying to pick up some live reads…He seemed a little edgy and the more I thought about it the more I was leaning towards a call, so I did and he mucked. Always nice to get the call right.
The seat of death seemed to have been abandoned by the grim reaper for the moment and I soon picked up another decent pot when missing my nut flush draw but hitting two pair instead. 6 levels in and I was ticking along just fine with a just above average stack of 60bb before the following hand occured:
The Level was 200/400 and it folded round to the button who is a capable aggressive player. He makes it 1,150 to go, SB gets out of the way and I look down to find QQ, and I make it 2,850 and action is back on him. I just about have him covered.
He dwells for a bit and decided to ship it for 26k. I snap and he reluctantly rolls over 10,9 of diamonds. I am dead by the turn when he picks a diamond flush and down to 7bb….GUTTED!
I double up the very next hand with AA v KQ (typical!) and then just lose another race to bust. Sometimes you do nothing wrong but the poker gods abandon you!
Luckily the late registration was open till the end of level 9, I was kindly offered the 1 permitted re-entry by Genting and I was back in the game. I re-entered the tourney some 30 minutes later with with 25k in chips and the average at that point was 38k and had around 2 levels to increase it before day 2.
I was moved to a totally new table which was located at the back of the main room upstairs. There were a couple of familiar faces but no-one who stood out to be fearful of. I built my stack up to 31k before the day was over and it was time to bag and tag the chips.
I was back Saturday and managed an early double up, just what I needed. I raised UTG to 3.7k on 1,600/800 blinds amd got 3-bet to 9.5k. I decided to dwell up for a while, check my opponents stack, before shoving all in with my aces. The guy snapped me off with AQ and I was up to 63k and not far off the average.
There were a few more orbits with not much action, before I ended up with the following hand:- UTG raises x 3 to 6k on blinds of 1/2k binds and antes too. In late position I found myself with AK suited.
Now I thought about a 3-bet, but then that would open up the opportunity for a 4 bet and leave me with a tricky decision to fold. Plus putting around 25% of my stack in to fold with a premium hand didn’t really stack up.
So I shoved for my 65k stack, happy to take a 10k pot, make 99,10′s and even JJ fold. I’m also happy to race against QQ for such a decent pot. The raiser thought for a brief while but called with KK. The flop brought a K and flush draw for me, so some solace that even flatting or a 3-bet call by the raiser would have stacked me off.
A disappointing exit, but another day I hit my flush and go on to go deep. A very enjoyable event and fantastic turnout with over 350 runners for the Main Event.
On to the next GPS at Fox Club in London and look forward to seeing you there;)