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You’ve Got To Start Somewhere…

The Christmas Cracker 2003, Luton
£150 Pot Limit Hold'Em
Report by Joe on Wednesday, 10 December 2003 at 12:34 am

Fourteen years ago I used to play a lot of blackjack. The game in the UK was all four decks and of the 23 London Casinos at the time there were 4 that wouldn’t take my action and 19 that wouldn’t take my late father's. We had to look further a field and working though a list that the Casino Association had sent through for my ‘school project’ we found that there were two in Luton. This was obviously pre-internet days and way before online gaming or virtual poker rooms. Luton is found at junction 10 on the M1 and as Hendon is situated very close to junction 2 the drive is only about half an hour door to door. At the time Grosvenor Luton was known as Sergeant Yorkes Casino and on this particular occasion I found myself playing blackjack on a table with two friendly gentlemen about twice my age. The shoe was good and the dealer was busting nearly every hand when these two guys pushed their big stacks of £5 chips towards the dealer to ‘colour up’. I asked them why they were leaving and they told me that the poker tournament was starting. I had played poker before, who hadn’t? But a tournament… How did that work? They explained to me that the entry fee was £10 and as I was winning nearly £400 I couldn’t really lose. They also explained that you started with 500 points and if you lost them all you could ‘re-enter’ for another £10 but you couldn’t lose more than £10 in any one go. What the hell, why not!

I sat down and the tournament started. We had to deal ourselves and I was thankful that one of these two guys was on my table. I passed the first few hands and after about half an hour I found a hand I liked (we were playing pot limit stud). I had 350 points left out of the starting 500. I called the 100 bet and then someone raised 400 more. I only had 250 left and didn’t know what to do. “If you want to play, put that in the pot,” I was told. So I did. My hand wasn’t as good as I thought and I lost. I produced a £10 note and re-bought. As I was given the 500 point chip I threw it to the last winner and asked him for 350 change. I thought that I ‘owed him’ the 150 that I couldn’t afford to call. The whole table burst out laughing. I had made the mistake of one of the biggest misconceptions that the public has of poker – that of ‘table stakes’. In organised poker events you can only ever lose what you have on the table but I was more familiar with the film ‘A Big Hand For a Little Lady’ where the lady player takes her hand to the bank to get a loan on it! And so the lessons began…

A foggy Grosvenor Luton tonight!

Luton has a few firsts for me. It was also the first time that I met Ram although I had spoken to him once before that. I was driving along with a friend of mine around about the same time as my table stakes lesson. He dropped me off at a William Hill betting shop in Harrow and told me to wait by a phone box. At 3.44pm the phone would ring and I was to answer it. I would be given the name of a dog in the 3.46 at Hove and I was to put £200 on it that my friend had given me. The phone rang and the voice told me ‘Trap One, but be quick and take the show.’ I did, I ran into the betting office and managed to get the 4/6 before it went 2/5 and the dog finished 5th! Marvelous! The voice on the phone was Ram and this was to be the start of a long friendship.

Ram has been in a bit of form recently so when he phoned me last Saturday telling me that he had been studying the Sunday’s American Football prices it was no surprise. He wanted us to bet on the home teams over the away teams (that is the number of aggregate points that all the home teams will beat all the away teams by). There were 14 matches included in the bet and all 14 homes were favourites. We had to pay a premium of 60 and Ram wanted to play for £100 a point. I explained that we could lose 100 points (£10,000) and if worst came to worst we could lose maybe 200 points (£20,000) and Ram wanted to play bigger. I had £20 a point with him and going into the late games we couldn’t lose. The home teams won by a total margin of 179 so we had won 119 points. Always follow the form horse, (neiggghhhhh). I wonder what price he is for the Aussie Millions on Betfair.

I left Luton early tonight when my opponent rivered a gutshot straight against my two pair but left all three remaining Mobsters with decent stacks. Updates later…

As you may know, if you have read the Hendon Mob forum recently, today (9th December) is my birthday and I would like to give a special mention to a very good friend of mine, Neil 'Bad Beat' Channing, who was drawn on the same table as me today but more importantly was born on exactly the same day and the same year as me thirty something years ago. Good luck tonight mate…

Update ...

Looks like the good from continues. Ram and Barny both made the final table of the £150 PLH event and Ram (yet again) knocked Barny out. Barny finished 9th and was just one of Ram's many scalps as he knocked out nearly everyone on the final table to take the trophy and a little over £15,000 prize money.

Full Result £150 PLH Unlimited rebuys and add-on

1st Ram 'CrazyHorse' Vaswani £15,180
2nd D O'Mahoney £7,230
3rd Frank Knight £4,700
4th B Viner £2,900
5th R Hamner £2,180
6th M Davis £1,260
7th R Skingel £1.080
8th T Sambrook £900
9th Barmy Barny Boatman £720

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