05/11/2010

The Tuesday Night Home Game Regulars Attend the BLUFF Academy - Part Two The Academy

Lee Davy

Tilt is any deviation from your A-game and your A-mindset, however slight or fleeting - Tommy Angelo

Again the walk from the hotel to The Vic is only a few minutes away. On our way there we decide to stop for another coffee, this time I order Black 4 a Macchiato. He didn’t like it. Then we stop in McDonalds for dinner. The Rock goes into Waitrose instead and returns into McDonalds with a Salmon and soft Cheese baguette and high energy drink because he is posh.

After food we get to the famous Vic. We sign in and go upstairs and sit in the bar. I hate waiting for things to start. Awkward silences. People sub consciously posturing for position. Trying to look cool but not too cool. I am nervous.

“I can’t wait to see Channing.” Says Black 4.

He gets so excited about the prospect of meeting famous people. The Rock goes for at least four shits. Black 4 smokes about ten fags.

The awkward waiting time finally subsides and we all go into the seminar and stick our nametags on. Fish Stickers. I look around my table and the guys seem a good bunch. Alex Rousso takes the stage. I notice that Neil Channing has entered the room and started to play around on his laptop. I nudge Black 4 and point to him. He nearly wets his pants.

Alex opens up the seminar by telling the group a story about a recent hand he played in where he was suffering from TILT and asked for the group’s feedback. This was good because it got everyone involved from the outset. There was also a little Hi my name is Ching from the Valleys part as well. There are 18 of us who have each paid £150 to learn more about TILT, Tells and Bankroll Management. It was another nice touch to have waitresses with over sized chests serving us tea. Nothing like a room full of blokes with semi lob ons trying to learn about controlling your emotions.

Alex follows his hand discussion with a few slides and a discussion about Tells and this is followed by a few hands of poker. The three professionals in the room deal to the rest of the attendees and we try to put into practice what we have just learned about tells. I found Alex’s talk useful and the practical session was excellent. I think because we hardly knew each other our male pride kept us away from playing poker like it didn’t matter. This was important because I felt the whole group not only got some valuable insight into reading tells and not giving any away but also some advice on some hands that were played less than optimally.

Neil Channing took the floor and Black 4 fell to the floor. Thank Christ the bird with the huge chest didn’t walk in asking for drinks at that moment because I think he would have exploded. Neil told us some stories about TILT that he had gathered through his playing career. He is a good speaker and holds an audience well. His session finished with a video of the recent Party Poker Big Game and a hand where Neil came up against a tilted Justin Bonomo and the analysis of the hand and build up towards the hand was good.

Next came another practical exercise. To be fair to the guys they did explain that this was an experimental exercise. We were to try and put the other person on TILT while we played cards, but it just did not come across naturally enough for it to be of any value to any of us.

We took a break and sandwiches were provided. There were even some salmon ones for posh people like The Rock. When we reconvened after lunch we had another practical session where we played cards and tried to put everything we had learn’t into practice. In truth this session became a lot more about analysis of hand play and I think the group enjoyed this more than anything. I have gone through plenty of online sweat sessions before but none live. You cannot get a better bang for your buck than having Neil Channing take you through a hand you have just played. The Academy could run an entire day like this and a lot of people would gladly pay £150 for the privilege.

Next to take the stage was Mr Rousso again and the subject was bankroll management. Alex used to some real life HEM graph examples from various professional poker players to show you the volatility of up and downswings. The visual nature of the graphs really hit a chord with me and I thought it was a well-conceived idea.

We finished off the session with Neil Channing taking the floor again. He gave the group a lot more examples of live tells that he has picked up over the years and then told us a funny story about an American tourist who had visited The Vic before. In this story Neil had used all of his verbal skills to try and pick up on some tells. It worked and he eventually got some money out of the guy. He then opened the floor up and took some questions. There were two women in the group and one of then asked the first question.

“Did you feel bad after you took the American Tourists money?” She asked.

You can make your own stereotypical thoughts up in your mind!

After the Academy had finished Alex and Neil hung around at the bar for a while and everyone got to talk to them. As ever in poker I found them both to be very approachable and nice guys.

We then entered the £50 freezeout tournament. This was a disappointing affair. You only got 3k in chips and after two hands I was gone. The Rock won our own little last longer bet. I was first out so I joined a £1/2 NLHE cash game table. My first hand dealt was KK on the button. As usual there were 3 or 4 limpers. I raised to £10 and a drunken Polish guy 3B me to £22. There were two Polish guys sat to my immediate left. The first one was pissed as a fart and the second one could not stop shaking with nerves. They later told me that they were here to play because poker was recently banned in Poland. What a joke. Anyway I 4B the drunk guy to £50 and he shoved and I called. The pot was over £400. He turned over AA and I tweeted on my phone that I had lost my stack in my first hand! As the night wore on I had to wake the Polish guy up regularly in order for him to play his cards and he was too my left all night. An absolute dream. Well it was more like a nightmare really as I ended up losing about £400 personally to him throughout the night! Only in poker could someone who cannot see his cards actually beat you every time. The food looked decent. One guy next to me had an Arabic Mixed Kebab that looked and smelt the dogs, but by that time I had already bought my BLT. The soft drinks, teas and coffees were £1 each which is unusual. Most casinos that I have been in offer these drinks for free.

I didn’t see Black 4 or The Rock all night. They were playing on the 50p/£1 table but I could here Black 4 all night long. The more alcohol he consumed the louder he got.

The night ended at 06:00 the next morning. Black 4 shoving with 85o during a moment of TILT. The lessons of the night before lost in the midst of Kronenburg. To make matters worse he was slow rolled by a guy holding KK.

We stopped in McDonalds on the way to the hotel for breakfast and we discussed the value of the Academy. Black 4 loved it and had gotten everything he had dreamed of and more. The Rock felt he had not gotten enough value for his £150 but he is the tightest bastard you will ever meet. I was somewhere in between. Black 4 does not play as much poker as The Rock and me and I think this is why he gained more value from it. Instructionally, I don’t think I learned £150 worth of new stuff but I had a great laugh and would have paid £150 to hear Neil Channing talk for 8 hours anyway. Maybe these Academies are for the less experienced players and here lies the problem. For the lesser-experienced players isn’t £150 too much?

Back to London Paddington…

“Well thanks for the story but you haven’t really answered my question? Can you make money-playing poker? Enough to live on? How much did you win last night for example?” Bill asked as he unplugged my I Phone and handed it to me.

“Well of course you can win money through poker. Last night did you say? Oh, I won £25.”

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