Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Dusk Till Dawn Visit at Last

Have never yet been to Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, so in view of my failure to qualify for their £250k Guaranteed last week, I decided to have a pop at the online qualifier last night for the £80K Guaranteed this weekend. A €20 tournament with 90 minutes of rebuys, and 50 - yes - 50 seats worth €375 (£336) guaranteed, and I figured if I qualified I could square it away with the girlfriend later. Dont know when I last got a chance to play on a Saturday (the GUKPT Newcastle weekend doesnt count cos I got knocked out on the Friday and just spent Saturday nursing a seriously bad hangover). Anyway, 227 starters, and I spent a long time grinding away with nothing. Had to take a rebuy at one stage when something I tried didn't quite come off and I ran into a non-believer when representing a flush (I got him later), but then settled into a decent routine and was around or slightly above average by the second break, at which point I took the add-on, because everyone else was bound to, and duly did. I was quite happy to be sitting in the top half of the field, because there weren't too many dropouts before the end of the rebuy stage, so a lot of play still left in the competition.

Eventually started to get opportunities to build my stack and got up to about 13k when the average was about 9k, then I got another chance to knock someone out when I had AK UTG+1, and the UTG player with about a third of my stack pushes. Mmmmh, I decide I need to win these races to improve in the competition and so push to isolate. If he has AA or KK he wouldn’t push unless he is very stupid or thinks the rest of the table are; if he has a lower pair and I miss, I’m below average, but no worse damage than that. Luckily I get it heads up with him and he showed AJ which didnt improve. Kicked on from there, I think the highest position I reached in the competition was 7th, with about 100 left, and I began to think I could probably fold my way to a seat. Although I didnt intend to try that, I must have jinxed myself with such thoughts because I went card dead for SUCH a long time it eventually became squeaky bum time as I kept falling down the leaderboard, and the blinds started to get huge to the point where it was a push or fold game for virtually everyone - 20th with 80 left - 36th with 64 left - 45th with 58 left - and every player was letting the clock run down, taking the maximum time before folding, in the hope that action on the other tables would see some more casualties.

It wasn't long before I was out of the magic 50 and desperate for something to push with. With a monster stack sitting two places to my right, who was raising just for fun, I had hoped for something with a little meat on the bones before I put my tourney down the pan, especially having bubbled for this tourney back in January. With just over 10K left in my stack, and blinds at 2000/4000 with a running ante of 400, I should have pushed long before this situation but really had been dealt nothing that I could put any faith in preflop, particularly in the face of a big raise from mid position (the “Hijack” apparently having moved to about seat 5!), and I finally find myself in the BB with K4os. So, naturally, all fold to the big stack on the button who raises to 18k, as expected, and the SB hides under the duvet with his eyes closed, also as expected. If I fold I have 6k left and will lose 2400 of that in the SB, and within a hand or two I'll have less than 1BB, so I'm pushing anyway, but a non-participating player types "odds" in chat box, to try and entice me to play it, for his benefit naturally, and I dont like that - I have found quite a bit of that sort of speechplay on DTD chat - but in fact he’s not wrong, I’m getting 3/1 and since they say you’re never that much of a dog with “any two” (the liars) I'm pushing anyway - so I let rip with both barrels of my spud gun and find the original raiser has JQos. Bugger me, I'm ahead. Then I hit my 4 on the low rainbow flop, even better. Sadly the turn and river complete a straight on the board so its a split pot. Survival is good enough at this stage, and that small profit from splitting the SB and the antes is enough to catapult me back up to 46th!

On the next hand i get pocket 9s in the SB, and all fold to the button who decides to fire it all in and he has me covered by 39 chips. Having just achieved a modicum of safety, he probably expected me to fold, but I was having none of that as there is nearly 12k in the middle before his bet, so just under 24k in total, so with just under 7k behind, once again I’m getting over 3/1 to call, so a medium pair is a godsend, and I have to ship it. I certainly wasn’t intending to faff around for another orbit only to find myself in the same position as before, so in goes my stack and I'm relieved to see he has pocket 7s rather than overcards, and my 9's hold, much to his despair. There followed a 2 minute rant about how that’s typical, the site hates him, he can’t win anything, always gets set up, been the same for months. Poor puppy. Grow a pair. So now I'm back up to over 33k, in about 14th position, and my seat should be safe. With 51 left, bubble time, I'm rooting for Stokie player Kev Bloor who is all in on his Big Blind on another table with about 2900 chips. The whole world is watching ..... well, everyone left in the tourney …… there is talk of collusion when another friend from AWOP, who is on the SB on that table, says he "can always fold". But someone else on the table doesn't like that kind of friendly talk and raises. Martin folds his 10 2 in the SB, and it is revealed that the raiser has AKs, with Kev holding 93 offsuit. Delighted to see Kev hit a straight to survive, unbelievably, and within a minute or two there is a car crash on another table and the bubble is burst. Instead of finishing, the game continued, so we had to keep going all-in till it finished, which is always a pain (and why do people fold their hands in that situation?), but after the all-in fest I ended up in the same position - 14th.

So, roll on Saturday, as I am looking forward to my first visit to Dusk Till Dawn having heard nothing but good things about the place. Shit, better tell the girlfriend. I'm just a little worried that they may have overstretched themselves recently, with big guarantees for their tournaments, resulting in big overlays, and big guarantees in the satellites into those tournaments too. There were 50 seats up for grabs last night, 227 runners, and another overlay. It cant go on - people may say the owner has loads of money, but it's not a bottomless pit and unless he's running the place as a tax loss operation he won't - indeed he can't - keep subsidising it forever. The place has earned itself a huge reputation, so I dont know why they go and shoot themselves in the foot with this apparent financial folly. For the £250k GTD "Main Event" last week, they clearly expected a better turnout, rather than having to underwrite a £70k overlay, and people have said perhaps the timing was wrong, but more importantly I think they relied on two big Super Satellites - one in April and one in May - each with 50 seats guaranteed - to pull in the crowds, and assumed the guaranteed prize pool would ensure direct buy-ins from all the usual suspects - surely enough top professionals (who weren't potless, or in Vegas already) would fancy their chances against a big field of amateurs? Well, apparently not. When the numbers failed to materialise they put on another "last chance" super satellite on the Bank Holiday Monday only two days before the event was due to start, but that smacked of desperation. So in three Super Satellites I think I'm right in saying they guaranteed 115 seats. But if they had spread those seats over two or three months at the rate of say 10 or 15 a week, they may have had a better chance of covering their costs, especially if they had opened up the satellites to the whole Boss network, rather than just their own skin. (If we can play for events in Estonia, or wherever, surely the whole of Europe could have a crack at coming here?)

They announced the three events in their Grand Slam series early enough, so why in God's name did they not follow the well-trodden route that Grosvenor and Gala use, of having two or three Super Satellites per week, pitched at say £50, £100, and £200, with loads of £5, £10, and £20 feeders into those for players with a limited bankroll? At least the registration fees from the feeders and satellites would generate some cash and may help to make up some of any defecit, and people would no doubt get into the way of playing them every week, the way they have with the established tours. Nothing to stop them throwing a "50 Seats Guaranteed" mega-satellite into the schedule somewhere if they feel like it, but plenty of people play for GUKPT seats with only one or two seats guaranteed, so why wouldn't they do that for DTD, regardless of where they live? It's no harder to get to Nottingham than, say, Thanet, Bristol, or Newcastle ....

Since everyone seem to be agreed (apart from a few Londoners who would get a nose-bleed if they came north of Luton) that this has the potential to be the best poker venue in Europe, it would be a real shame to see it fail as a result of less than perfect marketing. Let's hope they get it right for the next one in September, and start some satellites and feeders before the end of this month.