Wrist Wear

When Phil Ivey plays two tournaments at once he leaves his enormous stack at the final table, wanders languidly to the other end of the casino, glances at his cards in some event where a completely different form of the game is being played, and goes all-in, seemingly disregarding the consequences. He effortlessly triples up, and without stopping to stack the chips, strolls back, and continue his domination of the final.

I’ve also seen Roland, casually playing an enormous stack in two events, flopping sets for fun, and making it seem easy. It seems I may not be quite so good at dual-eventing.

I managed in the PLO/PLH to have a depressing and disappointing time, virtually anteing myself into the dust. I then ran hurriedly over to the $2,000 NLH where I was even less active.

The weekend was spent playing the $2,500 and $5,000 NLHs. In both tournaments I felt I played really good poker in places. I finally managed to lose with aces full against quads after ten hours of play on Saturday before getting tired and making a couple of errors eleven hours into Sunday.

On Monday I was straight back to The Rio for the $2,500 6-max NLH. These six-handed tournaments are the domain of the young internet whizz-kids, and us live dinosaurs are really not supposed to intervene. I do quite like playing them though, and always try to learn and improve, while making some money in the events.

I arrived at my table just as they dealt the first flop. With 7,500 starting chips and blinds of 25/50 one guy didn’t seem to mind sticking the lot in with KK on a flop of AKQ. The other guy left quite quickly and with the six seat currently unsold, we were left playing 4-handed.

The other three guys were all from a slightly different generation to me. I know the rules, so I tried not to feel left out while they totally ignored me, and communicated only with each other, and in their own language. They spent some time dissecting the play of the guy who had already departed.

You would think that overplaying KQ in a tournament was a serious crime. The poor geezer’s whole existence on the planet was questioned. His character was assassinated. It seemed extermination from the human race would be a good option. These people, who understood about the mechanics of deep-stack poker, clearly felt themselves totally superior.

My plan was to simply bide my time. The three of them turned on me with their relentless aggression, taking turns to attack my limps and calls. I was planning to check and call numerous bets, turning over very weak hands to exploit their over-eagerness.

In the end I played too weakly. I checked and called, only to fold when scare-cards showed up on the turn and river. They were getting ready to start criticising me after my exit.

A few years ago my parents bought me a lovely new watch as a birthday present. Compared to the watches of most poker players it is modest and understated and I love it. It does however, have a gold strap that, when the watch face slips round, makes some people confused.

"What is that?" the young kid on my right asked, after one pot I particularly mangled.

"It’s called a wristwatch. In England we use them for telling the time," I replied helpfully.

"Only I thought it might have been a bracelet." he added after a small pause.

I left it exactly the right number of seconds before muttering quietly, almost to myself:

"I never wear that."

He wasn’t really sure what he’d heard and questioned some more:

"So you have a bracelet that you never wear?"

I paused again for effect.

"I just keep them in the safe."

The bloke looked totally confused.

It was day two of that event when I reshoved 45k with 77 and lost to an AK who had raised to 4,400 with 100 people left.

This old live pro does know a little bit about aggression. I could do with brushing-up my racing though.

It was a shame that my min-cash meant I would miss the $1,500 PLH, an event I always used to consider one of my favourites. I commented to another player in the shootout tourney that the PLH could be one of the easier bracelets to win, with a smallish field and a lot of big names busy elsewhere.

An unlucky hand early on meant I had almost no fun in the shootout. I’d simply have to get through another 2,600 NLH players in the latest $1,500 nutter-fest.

It was during that tournament that people kept asking me whether I had a piece of JP.

I’d been watching JP Kelly in the pot limit during my breaks. He’s a player that’s always impressed me, and a guy I like. I’d taken pieces of him several times in the past, including when he cashed in the main event last year. We’d been out to dinner earlier in the trip and I had pieces of my other dinner companions Karl, Jeff Kimber and James Akenhead. How on earth did I miss JP out? Even with forty players left, he looked so focussed it felt like he was due a big score.

Eventually Jeff came up to me to chat to me as I nursed a small stack after dinner. As I busted out he suggested:

"Must be nice being you having 15% of JP."

It seems I’d gotten a bit drunk that night and taken 15% of JP and Jeff in all WSOP events. I found out just as they got 3-handed with JP holding 50% of the chips.

I’m not an enormous fan of watching poker but it was fun to rail the last half hour.

About time for Jeff to pull his bloody finger out though.

Neil "Bad Beat" Channing will be spending the rest of the WSOP at the Black Belt Poker Mansion, hoping that he or the Brown Belts can get a new wrist band.