02/10/2009

I’ve had a few vivid dreams lately. The other morning I woke up early in a slight panic. I’d been dreaming that the bad beat story that Devilfish was telling me was so long that I was forced to go to the Gents even though I didn’t need to. When he followed me in there, without pausing for breathe, I was forced to make a continuation bet and go into the cubicle, although I had no physical need to be there. I woke when he followed me in, the story, seemingly, some way from it’s conclusion.

Last night I dreamt that I’d taken in a lodger. A guy, who was a total stranger to me, was sleeping horizontally across the bottom of my bed. When I stretched out and kicked him, he exclaimed in a public school accent:

“Do you mind? I’m paying a large rent to live here.”

The way it’s going I may have to consider taking in a couple of paying guests.

I went through my figures the other day. In the post-Vegas stretch I played five cash sessions, lost in four and had a big win in one. I also played six tournies and cashed in none. The fact that I’d gone eight weeks while having just one winning day at poker was getting to me. It shouldn’t really have done though as, with a break for the swine flu, and a couple of gloomy weeks off before that, I was dealing with a ridiculously small sample size.

I was determined to go into the craziness of September in some form.

The English Poker Open in Nottingham would give me an opportunity to visit Dusk Till Dawn for the first time. It’s pretty nice. It was only two hours on the train and so there isn’t really an excuse for not going again. Rob and Simon seemed rightly proud of how their big tournie was going and they did a great job. The dealers were good, the structure great and they really looked after me. I played the tournament for nine hours and the best hand I got was a pair of tens. That was also the biggest pot I lost and it wasn’t helped by me getting the chip colours wrong. I have to face the fact that as you get old your powers start to diminish. It could soon be all over. Even though I give high marks to DTD I was glad to be out 23 minutes before the last London train of the night. I was in the Vic and doing £7,000 before bedtime.

Not being required for Day Two, (I’ve started booking appointments for the second days of tournaments at the moment), I had plenty of time to get to the Vic and lose £7,000 playing Pot Limit Omaha. Nice change from doing it at Hold’em.

The launch of VC’s ‘For Richer for Poorer’ brought a load of nice people I haven’t seen for ages to the Vic for ridiculously expensive canopies and a chance to get pissed. I managed to read about a hundred pages sneakily during the night, and could barely find a bad word about me. I polished it off when I got home, so I’d obviously recommend it.

As it was a party night, I was keen to socialise and not play but somehow I couldn’t resist a mad £1/3 Pot Limit Omaha game. Three hands, twelve minutes, three all-ins, £1,500 and one two-outer on the turn and it was time to acknowledge that the party was over.

Lots of people had criticised the structure of the £1,000 No Limit Hold’em Event #1 of the WSOPE. You would think that it was a criminal offence to offer a tournament with an hour clock and a 3,000 starting stack the way people were going on about it. The more they moaned, the more I looked forward to it.

I enjoyed the 25/25 level and the way that people generally seemed to talk like they had no idea how to adapt to this “unusual” structure. Anyone who’s been here more than five years will tell you that all WSOP events used to look like this.

I was pretty sick then to exit on the second level, in a hand that I was unsure about. On later reflection I think I was just a little unlucky. I wouldn’t mind playing that tournament every day though.

In a recent correspondence my mum suggested maybe I should consider playing a bit smaller and booking a few winning sessions as a way of regaining my mojo (she didn’t use the word mojo, and now I think, I can’t really imagine her ever doing so).

Naturally I ignored her fine advice and got stuck into a volatile £25/50 game straight from the tournie. I put in a mere 14 hours to win my £23,000 and boost the hourly rate, and I followed it with two more long days where I booked winning sessions, despite running pretty badly.

By Monday I felt confident enough to enter the £2,500 Pot Limit Omaha/Pot Limit Hold’em. With JP Kelly busy in the £1,000 final, maybe someone else could have a shot at this one.

My first table was fun, with Padraig, Jeff, Marc Goodwin, Roland and my twin in attendance as well as Huck Seed, who always terrifies and impresses. It wasn’t a place to get a lot of chips from though, even though some people seemed to play the games quite poorly.

I managed to survive a long time without ever really being a threat, eventually getting knocked out in a small Omaha misdemeanour. I got it in with the dreaded kings against aces.

I must have been slightly steaming that night because I played very badly in four different cash games, finally finding one where I was settled enough to do my bollocks.

The next night I didn’t play so bad, but I was definitely on tilt. It was one of those days when people were just giving it away. I kept expecting a cake and candles to come round, as people were handed the most generous gifts. All I got for my trouble was a three-outer on the river for £16,000.

So demoralised was I that I decided not to waste £5,000 on Wednesday’s Pot Limit Omaha bracelet event. In order to stop myself succumbing, I planned to stay in the £5/10 game until 8am. Surely I wouldn’t be able to wake for 12pm and change my mind now.

It would have been a good plan if I hadn’t done £7,000 in the £5/10 game.

I often think about winning a bracelet, but I know really that I hardly ever think about winning a WSOPE bracelet. Maybe not playing the Pot Limit Omaha just told me what I knew. It wasn’t that important to me. If I had to choose I think I’d take the EPT London over the WSOPE Main Event. I know my final table at last year’s WSOPE doesn’t really feel to me like my first World Series final.

I was going to have to start getting hungry to have a chance in the final event.

Neil Channing, this week, will be mostly stuck in the Vic’s cash games, in between the odd tournament.