30/07/2006

If you are gonna cheat, cheat well

Neil Channing 'Bad Beat'

Events #32 $5000 PLH and #37 $1500 NLH  The $5000 PLH was quite good fun, but not really in the way I hoped. The last time I played Freddy Deeb he was a petulant child. He was absolutely horrible to a dealer who did nothing wrong, other than give him a bad beat. I regretted bitterly not sticking up for the poor girl, who was close to tears, and vowed never to ignore that kind of abuse again.  Today Freddy was charm personified, as were Mel Judah, Joe Awada, Scott Fischman, Hoyt Corkins and Ben Roberts. There was lots of banter with everyone making side bets on how many players would enter the Razz tournament. (note to self - never be afraid of making a side bet with Joe Awada). Freddy and Joe talked of far off days when they played small limit 7-card stud at Circus Circus together. Joe was a juggler in the Circus there but played between shifts.
 
They would stop for breakfast at the Flamingo ($1.99 for the best steak and eggs) and you could get two hookers, who actually appeared to like you, for $20.  I made a good start but when I first played a big pot with Freddy I chose to just call his flop bet holding AQ on A,9,5. I wasn't to know the seven on the turn would give him a set. I played a couple of hands really well including one I lost to Ben and I made a good laydown against Hoyt. I felt I played well but it was over after about 4 hours.  That tournament had really been the one I'd looked forward to the most, perhaps even more than the main event, and so for the next couple of days I was a bit down. I sat for 9 hrs in an excellent PLO game winning $50. The next day I played possibly the world’s longest one table satellite. These have been going very badly for me this year, but from the moment I flopped a third King when I was all-in against Aces after 5 mins, this one was gonna be OK. When we got heads-up I didn't want to chop but with three hours on the clock and a table at the excellent Prime in Bellagio booked I had to get it over.

The dinner was a nice treat by The Mob and a good time was had by all. Ram has a theory that beginners luck is rife in casinos. Apparently "they let you win" for 24hrs and then you're ruined, so on that basis he took his brother to play Pai Gow. You should never question "horse sense" and $50k later all doubters were silenced.   On Tuesday it was back to the madness of another 2800 runner NLH tournament. With Harrah’s desperately needing the extra 9%s we were jammed 11 to a table with 500 alternates squeezed in. The early part of these are often just a hand-finding contest where AQ and KQ run into AK and big pairs. I manage to manoeuvre myself with no hands to 4,500 before dropping a few
with an AK.   I now had one of those hands that I just wish I could take back and start again. I could have reraised pre-flop, I chose to call. I could have bet the flop, I chose to check-raise...he checked. I could have gone all-in on the turn and committed. I chose to bet and pass for the all-in reraise. I still don't know what I SHOULD have done.  By Wednesday I was a bit sick of The Rio and fancied a bit of a break from it before the Big One. I then remembered what good value the Mega Super is and 4 hrs later I was regretting getting my first flopped straight of the year. The bloke demonstrated to me again how easy it is to fill a flush - I really must work on that part of my game. 
 
These large supers are excellent because they involve so many strategic decisions that people are not familiar with from normal tournaments. One guy in the afternoon one made a risky play that I wasn't familiar with. The tournament had lasted ten hours and at 11pm 40 people were getting a seat. Among the celebrations an almighty row broke out as it seems that three short stacks had been attempting to outwait each other. The one that got knocked out soon spotted that the guy on the other table had seemingly grown his chips in the latter stages despite playing no hands. Apparently he had innocently asked his neighbour for change and during the transaction his meagre stack had miraculously tripled up. The stewards ruled that the camera was inconclusive and he got his seat.   
 
A day or so earlier I witnessed the first hand of a $175 one table. A guy made a tiny raise and a woman made it 950 of her 1000 chips to go. Everyone passed until two guys in late position went all-in. The woman now passed for the $50.

When the hands were turned over K4 beat 9,7 and the best player of the three friends had tripled up. The cries for the floor from the other players could be heard on Freemont Street. The floorman attempted to fudge the issue saying nothing could be proved. Eventually he came to his senses and became the hero of the piece. The "three amigos" were thrown out by security having been barred for life from Harrah's properties and all the other players got their money back. It was even good news for poor old Harrah's who copped for $525 on the deal.  After a nice quiet Thursday at The Wynn, where I squeezed a small profit out of 14th place in the comp and cleaned up in the cash, I had to get up early on Friday. I've now moved hotels to The Treasure Island and it was there that Pokerstars were holding a press conference for all their English qualifiers. I must have been bluffing well in the past as Tom Parker Bowles seems convinced that I'm one of England’s main World Championship hopes. We had a good chat though and I was reminded of what a good bloke he is.  The listeners of LBC will also be hearing my thoughts on the Main Event. I hope I don't disappoint them.  Neil Channing is sponsored by BetUSA.com and BetUK.com.