Genting Poker Series Leg 4 – Stoke

So far the Genting Poker Series 2012 has been going from strength to strength and the £400+£30 Main Event has proved to be one of the best poker tournaments in the UK attracting not only local stars such as James Akenhead & Paul Jackson but players from all over the Europe.

James Akenhead
James Akenhead

I was extremely happy to find that there were 4 Lithuanian poker players making their way to Genting Club in Stoke too!

A juicy final prizepool of £192,800 with over 40k for the winner for 3 day’s work meant that both amateur and professional poker players had flocked in droves to the Potteries.

My plan for this was pretty simple. I was going to arrive in Stoke on Thursday and play £109 side event as a warm up ( which I busted halfway) before entering the Main Event day 1b on Friday.

Having ran the last couple of weeks +EV even outside poker ( including when my Olympic Tickets for Basketball turned out to be for a Lithuanian v Algeria game:) I was hoping to continue my run good on table 10 – seat 3.

The most recognisable players on my starting table included a professional poker player – Charalambos Xanthos, better known as “Bambos” and the local hero – Yucel Eminoglu “Mad Turk”, who ended up winning the tournament.

I had a decent start and after two levels I had increased my 25k starting stack to 40k with no showdowns but one gutsy 6-bet:) I was feeling confident!

I used my first break to meet & greet the 4 fellow Lithuanian players and have a good laugh whilst talking poker.

The club was buzzing with excitement and anticipation and with the big screens showing Olympic games, we have decided to get our competitive juices flowing even faster by arranging a last longest bet between us.

Baltic Blonde
At my starting table

I was back to my starting table not only more refreshed but determined to win this event!

Jessica Ennis had destroyed the field in the Pentathlon field, and I had around 350 left to hurdle in my own quest for gold.

I was hovering around the 35-40k before we lost a few players and Ben Jackson was seated to my immediate left.

Although we represent the same team and are both Genting sponsored players, it didn’t take us long to get involved in a huge pot, where I lost nearly half of my stack when hitting top 2pair v Ben’s flopped set.

Immediately after I lost another small pot when missing all my draws and went down to my tournament lowest – 14k. I have to admit that at that point, things were not looking up!

Luckily dinner time was approaching and I was due much needed break.

We joined forces with my good mates Lee Atherton, Lee Taylor, Ellie Biessek + Lithuanian team and ended up dinning in the Italian Restaurant just round the corner. Some tasty pasta carbonara & a glass of wine sorted me out just right and I was back to my table still full of confidence.

A little bit of yo-yo and aggression and I was back to a healthy 40k before being moved to the feature table:)

It was all going well and I was steadily increasing my stack whilst looking for opportunities to see cheap flops and take down uncontested pots post flop. I even won my first showdown of the day when getting it all in with AK v shortie’s QQ.

It was approaching the last level of the night and I was up to 60k, when I raised on the button once again with pocket 10s. BB looked at his hand quickly re-shoved all in for 25BB – which was for around half my stack.

It was a pretty standard play by my opponent and a call from me considering the dynamics of the table and the stage of the tournament.

My opponent showed Q6 and was good when rivered a Q and I was back to grinding mode once again for the last hour. Sigh…

It wasn’t easy but I ended up making it through to day 2 with a little below the average stack and was looking forward to another day of poker.

Saturday saw 147 players making it back to the Genting Club to battle further. 42 got paid, but most importantly, only one was guaranteed the trophy +glory + 40k! I was hoping it was going to be me:)

I had a decent table draw and was looking forward to winning some pots. The premium hands never came, so I had to be creative. I managed to grind up to 110k (Avg 150k) with 80 players left, before doubling up when 4-betting all in with 33 and winning v AQ.

At that point I was in a pretty decent position approaching the bubble and was eager to use my new found stack to make even more chips.

Baltic Blonde
Day 2

No such luck tho! Shortly after the 33 hand I was moved to a new table and lost half of my stack to Ross Boatman, with set over set! Double sigh!

I was back to grinding again and with the tournament chip leader & probably one of the most dangerous players left – Steve Warburton – to my right, it was never going to be easy. My strategy was all about playing well and picking the right players.

I was back to average with 53 players left. I was almost smoothly into the money, although I regret losing 25% of my stack with medium pocket pair when fighting back v table captain on my new table – Simon Deadman- just right on the bubble. Oh well, good lesson I guess.

I ended up busting in 32nd when losing a big flip with AQ v Simon’s JJ. Was gutted not to go deeper but still very happy with my overall performance, considering how many time I had to built back with no premium hands or easy double ups.

As always in a deep field tournament, you need to survive the beats and win the flips to make the final table.

It was a fantastic atmosphere in the club, and although it was nearly midnight, the place was buzzing with poker players. I ended up having a few glasses of wine and catching up with everyone as well as railing a Lithuanian player – Marius Usas, who ended up chopping the £55 GPS side event.

And despite the eating and drinking being the antithesis of athletics, everyone was really into Team GBs awesome night at the Olympic stadium.

Ross Boatman
Ross Boatman
Stoke Anniversary Cup Winner

Sunday was another day and we were back to the casino for the famous Stoke Anniversary Cup, which has 6k added to the prizepool!

It was another extremely well attended tournament, which created £64k prize pool and provided 3 trophies up for grabs!

Not bad for a £150 buy in on a Sunday! I’d cashed in this last year, and was looking forward to trying to go deep again.

Unfortunately I didn’t go far in this tournament and after a few key pots didn’t land my way, I had my coat on and was heading back to London hoping to make the 100m.

Despite this I had an amazing weekend in Stoke. Met some great people and had an opportunity to catch up with some old poker buddies & happy to add yet another cash to my Hendon Mob player profile.

A huge thank you to all the GPS Leg4 organisers and contributors & congratulations on the success of another great event! The next GPS leg is Online, 30th September and I look forward to seeing you all at the tables:)