08/02/2010

I Met a Strange Lady

Neil Channing 'Bad Beat'

I was quite deep into the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em rebuy tournament when I received a text from Marty Smyth. I’d spent $8,000 and there were 24 players left competing for a first prize of $130,000. I now had a slightly below average stack.

“Are you still in?” Marty inquired.

“I had 88k with avg 22k when we both put in 55k pre-flop with blinds 200/400. Me AK, him AA. Back to 20k”

I soon got a text back:

“Apologies. Seem to have texted Andy Black in error.”

I lost another pot to James Obst a bit later. He had aces there as well.

I was a bit disappointed with 17th place, especially as only 10 got paid. The worst thing about it was that while I was sitting with a fifth of the average, waiting for the end, it became obvious that nine people were all simply playing to come tenth.

I gave the $100,000 event the swerve. Actually, I didn’t get up until the evening or I might have been tempted. Despite just 24 runners and the presence of a few of the world’s best, it looked like a fairly good value proposition. Instead I ended up playing some cash, which was probably more lucrative.

I chose to play the Main Event on Monday. With the time difference here, I figured that all the big online names would be busy elsewhere. The half of Full Tilt that came all seemed to have played on Sunday. I’d probably get a nice easy table.

It’s always nice to see Annette Obrestad, I just hadn’t particularly wanted to spend 14 hours trying to play her out of position in this field. She wasn’t directly to my left, and nor was Erik Seidel, there was one other person in the way.

I’ve always been in awe of Erik. He knocked me out of my first ever WSOP event in 17th place back in 2001. He went on to win the bracelet that day. I’d been too scared to talk to him, although we sat next to each other. I talked directly with him once on this trip and he laughed at my light comment.

There was a guy on the table called ‘Crazy’ Mike. I already hated him for giving himself a nickname. It turned out ‘Certifiable’ Mike may have been more appropriate. It’s always hard to judge if someone will be the most annoying person you play all year when it’s still January. I think I can state with some confidence here though...

If the nickname thing wasn’t enough, he did the, “Look, I’m really stupid and bad at poker, but actually I’m really winking at the audience and making a joke because we all know I’m really good” thing. I might have thought about punching him, but he was pretty tall, and they’re really strict on the phone rules here, so I’d imagine punching is probably frowned upon.

Mike asked Annette if she was always going to copy him,(she made a raise of the same size), and asked if he jumped off a bridge would she? “Take one for the team” I muttered to her. Erik laughed out loud.

I played well that day and got to 45,000 with the average at 28,000. I then got the kings against the aces, fell to 7,000 and got it in with the Q-6 of hearts against the kings to double up. The woman with the kings hated me.

For the next five hours she went on about a beat that was really minor to her tournament. She was very rude. If she had concentrated on not giving Annette 5 big blinds a round then the K-K bad beat wouldn’t have really mattered.

With 20 minutes to go I called a raise with T-9 of diamonds and the woman squeezed all in. At that exact point Tom Dwan came and said hello, stopping to shake my hand. I had seen him there and wasn’t sure what the drill was. I really like Tom, but I know how certain famous players will only speak to other players of a certain level in the hierarchy. With Durrrr at the top of the hierarchy, I was definitely prepared to only speak if spoken to.

Tom saw I was in a hand, apologised for interrupting and let me make my decision. I could knock out this woman, I was getting 2:1, it was 10 percent of my stack and Durrr had touched me. What was I waiting for?

She turned over pocket threes and when the ten dropped on the river, I told her I only called out of spite as she’d been so rude to me.

I got to Day Two with 55,000 which put me in good shape. I was still in good shape with 130 players left when I three-bet with K-K against an under-the-gun aggro player. The guy that cold four-bet all in probably didn’t truly understand the concept of being pot committed. He knew to celebrate loudly when the ace hit his A-Q of hearts though.

I must admit, I wasn’t totally graceful in defeat, and it took a while for the towers of chips I’d smashed down to be counted. It didn’t take so long for my remaining two big blinds to go in.

The rest of the trip was fun. I hung out with Action Dave, who still loves being in Oz, five years after he went to the Aussie Millions to play a couple of events, and Amanda, who has a bit to do with that decision.

One day I was leaving the pool, when a Scandi I recognised from the Vic stopped to chat. He asked me if I knew which were the best nightclubs in the town. I told him I was too old for that, and that at my age I generally search out the nice restaurants. I told him I thought nightclubs were no longer for me. He began to protest and I was about to be flattered by his declaration that I was still plenty young enough when he uttered the killer line:

“What about Devilfish?”

Marvellous.