Saturday, 7 November 2009

Back to Black

Leg 1 of season 3 in the Black Country Poker Club last night so a trip to West Brom for that, and their £15 Freezeout. Failed to make the final table after my pocket eights were no match for Steve Redfern's AK - with three 10's on the board I had boated up on the turn but the inevitable King on the river sent me walking. Always get them in ahead, sigh. Hilarious night ensued with new attendee (and Peter Kay lookalike) "Scouser" keeping everyone in stitches, with his witty and sometimes near the knuckle trash talking -much chat also surrounded his APAT ban where he appears to have offended the wrong people - I don't attend APAT events but I'm sure the tables are less enjoyable with him absent!

Heard news that The Broadway Casino in Birmingham had poor attendance for the Main Event at their Festival this week - only 33 runners for day 1A and another 43 players at the tables for day 1B, so that was disappointing and resulted in a massive overlay of nearly £26k. I might have gone down for the live satellites - they went in my diary when the Festival was announced - but the Main Event (had I survived day 1) was going to clash with the Wolves v Arsenal match, and as a season ticket holder that just had to take precedence!

Apparently the Festival organisers caused some controversy on day 1B, the start of which was delayed for over an hour in the hope of more runners taking part, but more significantly when allegations emerged that the management had entered a number of players on a freeroll basis - with the players getting 10% of any cash - just to boost the numbers. It's been alleged that the casino had to withdraw these players when the “paying” players found out and threatened to pull out themselves. After representations from some of the players the freerollers were withdrawn.

In the run up to this I'm aware that the live satellites were running on Sunday afternoons, with NO seats guaranteed, so I assume they were not well attended. Contrast that with the 10 seats guaranteed in a live satellite at Walsall earlier in the year for their leg of the GUKPT - which actually generated 12 seats - and it demonstrates the lack of ambition or the fear of guaranteeing anything. Value for money is the key.

The nature of the game has changed for sure - I remember one long-time player talking of his nostalgic recollection of the days when he would travel some considerable distance for a £25 or £50 game. Now you can throw a stone in any direction and have a fair to middling chance of hitting a casino with a decent £50 or £100 comp.

The £1000 competitions such as Broadway's need to be attracting people nationwide, not just locally, and I believe that the independent casinos need to have a link up with an online network to drive satellite winners to their front door. If I can sit in my living room and play a satellite for Estonia, why can't I do the same for what should have been a major event at the Broadway, once a venue where everyone wanted to play? OK, they want the locals to play live, but they need to realise their target market nowadays is far wider than just the Birmingham postal codes. I guess they are just scared that if they promote the online game they may suffer in the long run, without acknowledging the fact that the game now operates on two levels which are totally complementary.

The success of the GUKPT and Gala/Coral tours has been due in no small part to the numbers generated by online satellites, and people will travel the length of the country for them. Part of the reason for the overlay at the big DTD event earlier this year - I think - was their reliance on a couple of online mega-satellites, rather than regular events, two or three times a week, run for at least a couple of months ahead of the event, as done by the more successful tours.

Although it was slightly disappointing to hear that the casino tried to cover their asses by having their own horses in the race, which was something DTD made a big thing about NOT doing in May, to the extent of (as I recall) someone linked to Rob withdrawing, lest any accusations be made that he was doing just that. But Broadway (and DTD) at least had the guts to put the guaranteed money up in the first place, so if the punters dont support the event aren't they entitled to try and win some of it back? That seems a lesser crime than paying players not to play, to avoid a guarantee being triggered, as has been alleged in relation to another event recently.

With £1000 events running every month somewhere in the country, and the GUKPT at the top of most people's lists, Broadway's Festivals will need something else to trigger the right volume of players next year, if they dont just decide to give up, which would be a real shame. Hopefully they will consider an online partnership.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Oneway Poker

Went to Junction 10 last night for the Oneway Poker tournament held to promote the Romanello family's new online poker site, as well as (theoretically) to celebrate the Walsall card room's 10th anniversary.

Great competition, £150 + £15 buyin, 10,000 chips, 45 minute clock, so plenty of scope for play, and it was supposed to be capped at 140 runners. They managed to squeeze a few more in for a capacity crowd, and with alternates the final total was 168 runners.

My table was pretty tight for a few hours, with the possible exception of Pete "The Bandit" Evans, sat on my immediate right, who featured on the original series of Late Night Poker, coming second to Devilfish. He claimed one pot last night showing 58 off suit, and eventually exited (shortly after me) when he disbelievingly ran pocket 6s into AA.

Not being quite so inventive as Pete, and with nothing much to play with, the only notable hand for me was when a Chinese lad lad raised UTG preflop, one caller in mid position, and I flatted with pocket Jacks. The flop was an attractive J 5 5, and the original raiser led out for 600, mid position folds, and I flat call. The turn is an Ace and matey leads out for another 900, which I repop to 2500, hoping he has hit his Ace, but he folds. I never got higher than about 12k in chips as I couldnt get going. Lots of nice playable late-position hands - but in early position, which had to be mucked, by and large, and the one time I got AA I was in the small blind - all fold to me, I min-raise hoping that he will fight back and he folds.

My worst spot came when the table "talker" raised in mid-position with what was essentially a bag of spanners, I called with AJ, hit the J on a seemingly innocuous flop, he bet 2800, I reraised to 5600, he called, and turned a straight. I slowed down after his call and he was trapping so it didnt prove fatal, but it was somewhat crippling. From going nice and steady I was down to 1675 chips and then had to go on a pushfest - four times in about six hands, luckily with decent cards but as it turned out, mostly behind, and sucking out - within 10 minutes I had AQ against a disbelieving AJ in the blinds and was back up to 8100 - a workable stack but still well below average as the numbers were falling as rapidly as a £5 rebuy.

After that little burst I went card dead again and tried a few things that didnt come off, so found myself down on 4500 and needing a couple of double ups with blinds now at 300/600. One of the pros at the table, Steve Jelinek, limped under the gun and all folded to me. I looked down at AsJs. Paused momentarily and pushed. Steve lazily started counting out his chips and made the call with pocket 4s. Two spades on the board gave me hopes of a flush but none of my outs came and I departed in about 67th spot I think. Good comp though, I enjoyed it. Dont know whether a raise and a bet on the flop might have been a better strategy in that last hand, but with an M of only 5 I was definitely in push or fold territory. He obviously knew he was flipping but had the chips to call.

Had a good chat with Antoni Romanello afterwards and spoke about an affiliate deal for the Oneway site, so hopefully will have a special deal available by the end of the week. Watch this space.