17/06/2004

Heads Up in Barcelona

Ross Boatman

4th Annual World Heads Up Championship, Barcelona
Report by Ross on Thursday, 17 June 2004 at 6:14 pm

The first tournament this week was Euro 250 No Limit Hold-em. There was a field of 108 and I made the final table second in chips. It was one of those really frustrating final tables where every time a short stack was forced to move in they always had the worst of it and every time they would get lucky. We must have played for at least an hour before anybody got knocked out but with the blinds going up every 30 minutes it wasn’t long after that that we were down to the last four. At this point three of us had similar chips, about 30,000 each with the fourth player holding about 17,000. The time was 4.30am and with the casino closing at 5am we were getting dangerously close to a chip count. The blinds were 2,000 / 4,000 so when the short stack moved in under the gun I knew it wasn’t necessary for him to have a big hand to do this with. I had K, 7 suited and decided that now was the time to take a chance to eliminate a player and give myself a chip lead that might see me through to the 5am deadline. My opponent turned over A, 10 o/s. The flop bought no improvement for either of us but when the turn came an ace I was drawing dead. Now it was me that was the short stack. Four more hands and I was out, another three and it was heads up. Fifteen minutes later it was all over and Smokin’ Steve Vladar, who played a rock solid game right through the final, picked up the trophy and a prize of Euro 20,000. The time was 5 to 5. There was no chip count. Did I make a mistake calling with the K, 7 ? What do you think?

Day 2 was the first round of the heads-up and I was drawn against Lee Nelson. Lee is an American pro was lives in New Zealand. I first met him 2 and half years ago in the final of the main event at the Aussie Millions. Lee knocked me out. I remember it was a flop of 3,4,5 (two clubs). I had pocket 6’s and Lee had the Ac, Jc. The chips went in. I don’t remember which one of Lee’s 15 outs he hit only that he did and I was sent walking. So, maybe this match would be a chance for me to have my revenge. I knew it wouldn’t be easy though having played with Lee before I was already aware of just how tough he is. We started with 5,000 a piece. Lee took an early lea, within 20 minutes Lee had half of my stack, but I battled back and one hour later Lee was facing defeat. He had 800 left when in an un-raised pot the flop came down A, 2, 4 all hearts. I had an Ace with the six of hearts and set Lee in. He checked his cards said ‘I think I’m going to call’ and turned over the nuts! Three hands later Lee raised with pocket Jacks and I called with J, Q. The flop came 4, 10, K rainbow and Lee doubled up again. Before I knew it he was chip leader, again I battled back. This time I had Lee down to his last 1,000. Again Lee came back and took the chip lead. It was a great game and very evenly matched but eventually things went my way. The final hand came when I had 7,5 on the big blind, Lee limped on the button, the flop K 7, 2. I checked and Lee, who was short stacked , moved in. Lee had J,3 – it was a stone cold bluff and with second pair he didn’t have enough to make me pass. My sevens held up and I was through top round two.

England are currently beating Switzerland 1-0, it's half time, and I have to dash to the Casino. I’ll tell you about round two and how the others got on tomorrow...