18/06/2004

River, Turn, Flop

Joe Beevers 'The Elegance'

4th Annual World Heads Up Championship, Barcelona
Report by Joe on Friday, 18 June 2004 at 7:48 pm

Poker in Barcelona is a relatively new thing. There is only one casino here, The Gran Casino, which is down by the marina and poker has only been played there for a little over 12 months. In order to get it past the necessary authorities they had to base it around a local Spanish card game which has slightly different rules. This meant that the cards have to be dealt anti clockwise and that the action moves that way too with the button acting first on each round! That is the way that poker has to be played in Spain for it to be legal but fortunately the casino here gets special dispensation for the World Heads Up (WHU) and what the staff lack in experience is made up with enthusiasm. The lack of experience coupled with the usual Spanish way of dealing back to front (flop, turn and river appearing backwards) has made it hard to adapt for even the most experienced players and tournament directors alike. The flops on occasion, not always, read back to front and Thomas Kremser has therefore called the board the wrong way around when certain all-ins have occurred.

I sat down to play in the first comp of the week a few days ago, the Euro 200 NLH event, to find nine ashtrays on the table! The WHU has been advertised as non smoking but this didn't carry over, to the displeasure of many, to the support tournaments. Even cigars and pipes were allowed. I placed my cappuccino on the table as there were no side tables around and I promptly got told 'no drinks on the table.' So you can smoke, ashtrays on the table, with a chance of burning the baize but my cappuccino would not be tolerated :-). I am pleased to say though that several players led by Casey Kastle and Dave Ulliot protested, the management listened, and now all the tournaments here are no smoking.

Following on from Ross's report of the Mob's success (or lack of) in the WHU both Barny and Ram took first round exits. Ram took the unfortunate title of the quickest tournament exit. Ross played Persian David in his second round tie and borrowed my I-pod for the match - anyone who knows David will understand why. It came down to a coin toss. David flopped an over pair to Ross's over cards and nut flush draw that missed which left me as the sole remaining Mobster. I took an hour and a half to defeat a young Russian who spoke no English in round one and then had the pleasure of playing PrimaPoker.com qualifier Jacob Bennett in round two.

Play was due to start at 5.30pm and by 6pm there was still no sign of Jacob. Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliot was sat immediately behind me and as I told Keith 'Bendigo' Sloan that I had a 'no show' Dave immediately piped, 'I've got a no show too' - He was playing one of Europe's greatest heads up players Poker Million Champion John Duthie.

Jacob had lost track of time and by the time he showed he has lost over 1,000 in blinds (you start with 10,000). It is a rule of the WHU that a no show posts a blind every three minutes - no exceptions. It was a tough match that swung back and forth and eventually I check raised Jacob on a flop of 10d, 7c, 2d with the Kd, 4d. Jacob called with Jd, 9d and turned a nine to guarantee his third round spot against Dave Ulliot. Dave won that match up too and as I type this he is in a marathon of a semi final match against Mark Banin that has currently lasted over 3 hours. Both have had chances and Mark now has a small lead. In the other semi which follows is Spaniard and ex world champion Carlos Mortenson who is playing Angel Puras. Whatever happens it should be one hell of a final.

Joe and Jacob Bennett (one of six PrimaPoker.com qualifiers)