Having had a few relaxing weeks whilst spending Christmas with my family in Lithuania and then after joining my friends for New Year’s celebrations in Florence, I was very much looking forward to being back in the UK for some poker action.
First up in my 2012 poker schedule was the Palm Beach Big Game. Now there’s nothing like a few days in a beautiful Italian city full of Prada, Versace and more to provide a young lady with an incentive to do well in her next poker game!
Palm Beach London
January’s game not only attracted a respectable 68 players, but surely given the small field and number of great players, one of the toughest to be found in the UK in the last 12 months
Praz Bansi, James Akenhead, Matt Perrins, Sam Trickett, James Dempsey, Luke Schwarz- (I could continue- but you get the idea) were all ready to commence battle for the 20k approx first prize!
Inevitably I got a few quality pros on my table including Nik Persaud sitting 3 seats to my right and Ross Boatman 3 seats to my left.
The action was fast and furious with Nick being the table aggressor and subsequently taking the highest percentage of the pots down. Perhaps the most debatable hand at the table was when he got involved with Luke Schwartz:
Nick raised it up in late position and received a quick 3bet from Luke seated on the button. Everyone else got out of the way and Nick elected to flat. Mind you I should mention that Luke late registered for the game and this was his second or third hand he played at the table!
The flop brought 6,9,5 rainbow and Nick elected to check. Luke thought about it for a bit and before announcing “ooooops” after making a bet of 5k into around 700 pot whilst looking pretty cheeky… Was he bluffing or did he really have a decent hand, it was really tough to tell at the time.
Anyhow, back to the hand. Nick went into the tank and the clock was nearly called before Nick made a decision to go all in.
Now it was clearly obvious that Luke wasn’t happy at all! He only had about 3k behind, and although he was totally pot committed, he was very reluctant to make the call and was taking his time before his final move.
He did call in the end and tabled Q, 10 for a cold stone bluff whilst Nick showed 6,8 for a medium pair and a gutshot draw.
A brick on the turn and river and we had another casualty…Luke wasn’t happy with the call but didn’t get angry this time and peacefully left the table.
I was ticking along ok with no premium hands and had an action packed table I still managed to make the first break with just slightly below average chip stack under my belt:)
Downing a couple of cups of mint tea (NYE had been very messy) whilst catching up with familiar faces and a quick nip outside for some fresh air and I was feeling refreshed and ready to continue with the tourney.
Unfortunately my dry spell of cards continued and my stack was heading south when I failed to take a couple of entered pots in position after making some moves.
I was in a “sit out” mode for an orbit or so, before I looked down at my hand to find KK – FINALLY!
I had a funny stack of around 13bb at the time and when folded down to me in the cutoff I had to make a quick decision in terms of how to proceed with my cowboys.
I didn’t want to shove as it would be too much action unless someone was to find a decent hand behind me, but with my tight image at the time they would probably even fold a low pocket pair or A, 10, in that spot, so I decided to get either action, or preferably a 3-bet.
So I min raised and the button who only had 9bb stack only flatted which was fine with me and action was on Ross Boatman next who was sitting in the SB.
Ross thought about it for a bit whilst eyeing me up and has concluded he could make me fold. Therefore he proceeded to make a squeeze play by shipping half of his stack in the middle.
I was pretty sure Ross wasn’t folding now which the relative stacks, but still took my time playing it cool before putting the rest of my chips in.
The button guy quickly folded and I looked up at Ross’ face to see him kicking himself as he now knew he was calling behind, but couldn’t really get away.
He called and tabled A,5. I lasted until the turn before he spiked an ace, and I was on my way!
No regrets though, played as well as I could and hopefully it was not a sign of how I’ll run in 2012!
Well played to Philip Porter – online qualifier – who emerged a winner in such a high standard field.
If you fancy a shot at a big score and rubbing your shoulders against the UK’s best poker players, there is a weekly £27.50 qualifier into a monthly £150 buy in satellite where you can win a seat to the Palm Beach Big Game.
After that you are only one game away from that new Rolex or Prada handbag! Good Luck!