05/07/2006

Still No Bling Wrist Attachments

Neil Channing 'Bad Beat'

Events # 3 $1500 PLH, #5 $2500 Short-handed NLH and #6 $2000 NLH.It is often said that:"If it was easy everyone would be doing it."When you look around the NLH tournaments at the Rio you can see that everyone is doing it.Pot-limit though is a different animal. It requires subtlety, finesse and, as a last resort, the ability to play some poker.The American people have some fine qualities but subtlety is not their strong suit. They do not turn out in force for this event.If they listened to the advice of one American I heard, they may have felt more comfortable with the format."Don't play a hand for the first three levels." he advised his young protege,"It's like No-Limit then and you can stick it in."I was easily able to make the neccessary strategy adjustments which mean you can play more hands. You don't have to fear being raised out and can small pot sized reraises as you're getting your odds.Soon I'd managed to weakly call a series of raises with 7s, 8s and 9s only to pass feebly on the flop when overcards came.I took my paltry stack to a new table and sat next to European poker's latest "overnight" sensation, ("I've played for 20 years but have only just discovered tournaments"), Marc Goodwin. He's tremendous fun and regales us with tales of golf games with his pal Phil Ivey. He also becomes the third person in as many weeks to say that he'd heard I was a rock. He doesn't offer any better suggestions of how to play my stack of 5 big blinds.

I soon find a suitably bad hand to lump it in with and that was it. Just before the end I did get a good laugh from the table. One guy had been very generous in doubling up four short stacks murdering his enormous stack. As the fourth guy counted his winnings the guy exclaimed:

"That's the worst hand I've played all tournament."

With no pause I replied "Oh, I wouldn't say that."

Thursday was a Limit Tournament so I decided to join 130 others at The Bellagio for the 2pm $1000 freezeout.

I won't try to describe the highly sophisticated play I made here with a pair of Jacks as some of you may not understand it. The lady with the two queens barely grasped it at all. Friday was back to the Rio and a chance to play Short-Handed. I never usually mind it during the four of five times a week that I play Mike Ellis at the Vic so I wasn't going to complain here. I was also pleased, for amusement value, to see a little red-headed geek called Adam. Some of you may remember him as the guy on the ESPN coverage of last year's Main Event who makes a smaller flush and then bursts into tears. I played with him that day and he was an arrogant little tosser. When I reraised all-in against him I saw the old bottom lip going.

Today Mike outplays him beautifully a couple of times but despite a minor sulk the table stays dry.

I'm soon moved, with a below average stack, to play on a table with former World Champions Berry Johnson and Huck Seed. Chip Jett is also on the table and has a massive stack.

When Chip knocks out Berry he shows a lot of class and respect, shaking his hand and telling him it's a privilege to play with him. I muse out loud that Berry is not a great one for histrionics. This mild looking old grandfather is a ferocious player and I suggest to Chip that he may be the least likely person to ever whoop, rub it in someone's face or high five after a hand. He'll probably add further to his 50 WSOP cashes though and take home a lump of money quite quietly.

I'm quite pleased when young, aggressive Chip agrees that this is the right way.

When Alan Goehring, who may be the best of the lot, joins the table I look at my tiny stack and decide I may need to gamble. When I flop a King to go with my AK I just check despite the flush and straight draw. That Chip Jett is too clever though and checks behind me so I don't put it in until the safe looking deuce hits the turn.

Chip Jett has a set of deuces. Marvellous.

I was mostly just dissappointed that I didn't get to stay for longer. It was brilliant fun and you can learn so much from these guys. There won't be a shortage of NLH Champions this year. Friday it's $2000 NLH and 1900 people turn out to play "The Cadillac of Poker".

I get a nice "pro-free" starting table and move up from 2000 to 6000 ("I'd like to be locked up with this lot"). There follows and incident involving a pair of 10s, a pair of Jacks and 8000 chips and I leave for my new table with just 900 chips and the right hump.

Although I battled away well and got in as the agressor with AQ v 77 for 5000 it just wasn't to be.

I'll have a few days break now before my quest continues with another NLH on Friday 7th.

Neil Channing is sponsored to lounge around poolside at Bellagio by BetUSA.com and BetUK.com.