20/07/2006

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Neil Channing 'Bad Beat'

Events #21 $2500 NLH (short handed), #22 $2000 NLH, #25 $2000 NLH Shootout, #26 $1500 PLO Freezeout

I love the Gold Coast. I'm always happy if a place I'm staying in has its own 24hr 70 lane bowling alley even if little kids do run up and down the corridors screaming at 7am. It's so cheap too. I got my laundry done there on Wednesday and it came to more than the cost of the room for two nights.

After Tuesday's disasters the people of BetUSA and I made a mutual decision. I went to The Wynn rather than play the H.O.R.S.E. They had their normal $330 NLH freezeout at noon and I played well in that to come 11th. I wasn't too disappointed and had a nice time chatting to Mark McCluskey and Richard Pipe who both outlasted me. I then had a lovely (very) late lunch with my good friend Alphonse who still pretends to me that he has a job, although everyone knows that he spends 90% of his time in The Wynn poker room (leaving the other 10% free to go to The Palms). It was nice to take my mind of my WSOP disappointments and get recharged ready for the next one.

Thursday was another short handed tournament and I started well getting up to 8000 with the average at just 3200. I had survived several disasters that could have eliminated me and was very pleased. (lost twice with KK and once with a set I flopped). From there though it all went wrong. Most frustrating was a hand in which I called a raise with 6d5d and failed to push on an A,4,7 flop. I held back because the short stack looked set to push and this would let me see the reaction of the rest of the table before acting. Two people called the all-in and so now I could just call, but playing it this way meant I had to pass on the turn. I had actually put one of the guys on a set of aces but would have won on the river. I managed to lose a coin flip when my 5,3 couldn't beat AsQs and was soon out.

By not making day two I gave myself a chance to play yet another massive field NLH freezeout. This one was as annoying as all the others and I went short early losing a race (I flop the ace, he rivers a set). When I bumped into Ian MacDonald on the break and he told me how Devilfish had got to $10k on his table by flopping two straights with funny hands. I should have closed my ears. Instead I decided that that was an excellent way to get into the tournament. It wasn't long before I was limping with 8,5, catching an A,8,5 flop and giving all my money to a bloke with A,5.

I was so disappointed with the way things were going that I practically took a day off. Apart from coming third in a couple of one table satellites and playing the 11pm tournament (rapidly becoming the early night tournament) I barely touched a card. Sunday would be my day. Instead I enjoyed seeing John Shipley and Julian Gardner make the final of the $2000. Couldn't see Robert Varkonyi there though.

I always like the Shootout. I lost heads-up from an enormous lead a couple of years ago and last year got beat after flopping a full house to come third. It has, therefore, always provided me with the full $2000 worth of agony and disappointment. This year I really got my money's worth. I was on a very aggressive table and I played very passively. I tried to get into the game but it just wasn't happening. I cringe at the though of one particular hand and in the end I was glad to leave. Normally I'd have enjoyed playing in a tournament where I got to witness close up the sight of Harry Demetriou standing on a chair and shouting like a madman, but I left this one feeling embarrassed by my performance. I couldn't blame any of it on the late change of format although when I heard Daniel got his money because he didn't show up I thought about asking for mine.

At least Monday would be PLO and a nice change of pace. I went over to play some satellites for that (three more thirds and no chips won). It was here that I found out that Harrah's had really fucked things up. Some high profile players who hadn't managed to win the $10k PLO decided that they wanted another shot and so, with no regard to the little guy, the tournament was changed to rebuy. Many Europeans had changed their travel plans specifically because of this tournament and, faced with being out-muscled by those with huge sponsorship deals trying to buy a bracelet to boost the value of their Internet poker sites, they weren't going to play. I don't know why I was surprised that Harrah’s should change the schedule that had been set out months in advance to help benefit some large players and poker companies without any consultation, but I felt sick about the whole thing. I remember what a dump Binion’s was and am not particularly nostalgic. I would rather play in The Rio than Becky's Horseshoe but this made me feel sick.

I hadn't even planned to go near the Rio on Monday until the 'phone woke me and a friend asked to meet me there at noon. When I got there the queue at the cash desk was because the tournament had now been changed back to a freezeout and an extra rebuy bracelet would be held four hours later. Stupidly I chose to play, and at $500 a hand I didn't particularly enjoy it.

I left for The Bellagio and a cash game. I didn't win, but ended the day eating some wonderful food at the fantastic Michael Mina and enjoying some great laughs with Mr Big who has thankfully got back to town.

I have had a bit of a tough time in the comps here but I did laugh at one guy I overheard speaking into his cell phone to the wife (or it could have been the bank manager):

"...Yeah. If you don't count tournament entries I'm about level..."

Neil Channing is suffering daily on behalf of BetUSA.com and BetUK.com