25/09/2006

I got back from Vegas after this year's World Series adventure in mid-August and tried to settle straight back into my "normal" routine of home-Vic-home-Vic-sleep-poker-sleep. After a couple of days of sitting in the game, listlessly dribbling money away without really caring too much, I found myself looking over at Michael Arnold.

I should state that I'm very fond of Michael and that if I ever get to three score and ten having crammed in so much living, and having achieved as much as he has, I could be contented. While I was trying to work out what flavour of soup had caused the stain on his lapel though, I found myself thinking that this could easily be me in 30 years time. I only hope I get the power to flop a set every 23 hands that goes with it.

I guess it was never going to be easy moving from one of the World's most glamorous towns, a truly 24hr City, playing against people who now have celebrity superstar status, to coming in day after day to a slightly gloomy room in Central London, where the air conditioning is slightly dodgy and an all-day breakfast can't be had until 6pm when the chef arrives. It certainly was different going from playing Layne, Jesus, Scott and Howard to sitting down again with Frank, Colin, Andrew, Michael and Fred. There'd be no loose money lying around here for sure.

This sudden realisation caused me to flee to Devon for a few days and after a short break spent betting mostly on horses and football I was back to HQ with renewed vigour ready for another Vic Festival.

After winning the tiddly last event at the previous festival I felt slightly less pressure to perform on home soil this week. Despite that though, it's still The Vic, the toughest place in the Universe to win and it still means more than anything with only the possible exception of the WSOP.

Jeff managed to think of a brilliant new idea for a satellite in this festival, only five months after I first suggested it to him. For a hundred quid and rebuys you could win a seat in all the supporting hold 'em events during the week in one go. I had to play in "my" satellite and it meant I was in for a "cheap" week whatever.

The only tournament other than the EPT event that I hadn't won a seat for was the 200 rebuy PLH event that got things going on Monday. (the festival had a rather dissapionting start with a couple of omaha events that hardly anyone played at the weekend. They probably should consider starting with NLH next time).

I was amused to notice Roland, Keith and DY on the next table and it tickled me to see that DY had the most rebuys of this three-ball. That would have been a big price at the off. The other two must have gone skint.

My table was ok and I was happy to stick in 800 and have a gamble. After one particularly big pot where I made a difficult call I got to double the average soon after the rebuys.

The best thing about getting to 6 times the average with just 40 people left in a competition and then finishing on the bubble in 19th is that it gives lots of really nosy bastards the chance to ask you what happened for the next three days. I went with The Camel's standard reply of:

"I ran out of chips."

and most of them cunningly came back with:

"You had loads. I thought you'd make the final."

Luckily for me there was a nice 1000 double chance freezeout to take my mind off it. I struggled to focus early in this event although I did make a particularly good read on Andrew Georgiou at one stage. Having put him on JJ it was simply a question of what I was planning to represent. Originally I settled for the King on the flop but I soon abandoned that in favour of the straight that came at the end. I don't know why I bothered. In the end I gave away my chips to Danny Samson, who's a deserving case, when I tried to beat his AQ with my KK.

My favourite quote of the week at this stage was from Alan Vinson who was deep in the event and fancied just one more cup of tea before the end of the night.

"...and put it in a clean cup this time please Beverley."

Very Vic that.

Wednesday was a bit of a fun tournament, a 300 NLH freezeout. I sat next to Matt Arnott and the two of us made the rest of the table wish they'd brought their Ipods out. We both messed about with a lot of whacky hands until I got it all-in with 9,9 on a flop of KQ9. I wasn't surprised at the AK moving in but after I called you'd think the Q9 might smell a rat. Just while I was busy funking for no queen the dealer produced a King and an Ace to send me into the cash games.

The 250 NLH side games have been buzzing this week but I stuck to a more traditional 100 PLH and got some wages. I did have a quick break to eat with Vicky and Rory who were both still in the tournament. I hadn't seen Rory to have my regular %% swap with him so he had a swap with my other horse Vicky instead.

After Vicky managed to scrape into 8th I was delighted to receive news that I'd be getting a nifty. Rory would be happy to roll his money on to a share of the EPT event. My fifty came with an apology that it wasn't more and the comment that it was a nice change to pay me out on one of these. She was right, she'd definitely been slacking a bit, and our arrangement was leaving me out of pocket. With only the Main EPT event and the consolation monkey event to come, however, it was fifty quid more than I'd made for myself.

Neil Channing is sponsored to play Poker Tournaments by BetUK.com and BetUSA.com.