Macau Millions 2011

April 2, 2011

Greetings poker fans, it has been a while since I’ve blogged, over a year in fact… While that is a long time between posts there has been good reason. I’ve been working as the deputy editor for Baller magazine, an Asian-based poker lifestyle mag and simply have been too busy to do any blogging and freelance work for the last 15 months. After all, when you are pulling 70+ hour weeks writing all day every day the last thing you want to do with your spare time is more writing…

However, I missed the free and easy freelance lifestyle so have gone back to the ways of a roving mercenary and am now working for myself once again. Got some funky features in the pipeline – an upcoming article on a recent interview I cut with Patrik Antonius where he talks at length about playing poker in Macau for sick sums of money. I’ve sold that to Poker Player mag in the UK and it will be their cover feature in a couple of months – I’ll post the link up when it gets published.

However, I have decided that Asia is where it’s at currently, both economically and poker-wise – the game is taking off out here in a big way. This means my first port of call is obviously Macau (where else can you get poker action this crazy in Asia?)  and I am in the midst of covering the Macau Millions for Poker Portal Asia. Day 1A is about to get underway and I have me a ring side seat writing about all the action.

With a HK$1.5 million (roughly £119,642 or US$192,850) guaranteed prize pool and seven (yes seven…) starting Day 1′s and an estimated 1,000 entries it’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty exciting tourny to cover. The thing that makes it most interesting is that players will make the money if they make it through to Day 2, and if they bust out on one Day 1, they can just take another shot the following day. If that’s not enough even players who make Day 2 but are not happy with the size of their stack can ante up again and take another shot at building a bigger one on another Day 1. Should they be fortunate enough to make Day 2 a second time then they play with their biggest stack and receive HK$8,000 for the smaller stack, which is then taken out of play.

Some of Asia’s best and brightest  are going to be in attendance including PokerStars Team Asia Pros Celina Lin and Bryan Huang so there should be plenty of fireworks, tantalising tournament action, and of course, some sick bad beats to cover. Watch this space for more updates – I’ll post up the links to the live tournament coverage on Poker Portal Asia just as soon as things get started.

Right, well tournament director Danny McDonagh has just got on the mic and action will be getting underway in around 15 minutes so I have got to get to work. Until later folks.

On the Road Again…

October 16, 2009

Greetings poker fans, it’s been a long time, too long in fact since I have posted anything on the old blog front. Far from slacking however, I have been working hard writing my arse off.

Poker Player

So, to business, I have a Luke ‘_FullFlush1_’ Schwartz feature out in the latest copy of Poker Player magazine – Issue 53 with Vicky Coren on the front cover.

This was an interesting interview, it took me a while to pin young Mr Schwartz down but it was worth it and true to form, the UK’s latest internet phenomenon had some entertaining and often controversial stuff to say for himself. I’ll stick up a link to the article if they post it online, but feel free to check out the Poker Player website here.

PKR

I’ve been doing a bit of work for PKR recently and have been writing strategy articles on beating PLO and PLO8 SNG’s for the ‘Raise Your Game’ section of their website. I don’t think that the PLO8 articles are up yet but you can check out the three PLO SNG articles here:
•  Pot-limit Omaha Sit & Go strategy (Part 1): Basic PLO strategy
Pot-limit Omaha Sit & Go strategy (Part 2): PLO early and middle play
Beat pot-limit Omaha Sit & Go’s (part 3): PLO bubbles and beyond

Baller

A lot of the writing I’ve been doing recently is for a new Asian-based poker lifestyle magazine called Baller – check out their website here.
You can download a PDF copy of their pre-launch issue where I have an article on the APPT Macau and an interview with WSOP 2005 Main Event Champ Joe Hachem.

Joe was a pretty cool guy to interview, and I found him a genuinely friendly fella, very chatty and down to earth. We talked about all sorts of stuff but mainly focused on the Asian and Australian poker scene and his life after his World Series win. Feel free to check it out folks.

The mag launches next month (November) and I also have features on the PokerStars Team Asia Pro Bryan Huang who tells me all about the Singapore poker scene and with fellow Team Asia Pro Celina Lin who is currently leading the PokerStars Macau Poker Cup tournament leaderboard. I think they should be posting up some more content on the website after the launch so will keep you posted.

International Man of Mystery

I’ve become something of an international man of mystery recently (only with better teeth than Austin Powers, obviously…) and have been globetrotting with reckless abandon. My only regret is that with all the travelling I missed the GUKPT Cardiff leg.

Now while Cardiff is not as exotic as say Macau or Vegas it is my hometown and I was genuinely gutted to miss the GUKPT tour when it visited last month. Local boy Iwan Jones did us proud finishing in second and he was unlucky not to win. However, it was the Hit Squad’s Karl Mahrenholtz who took the honours along with his first GUKPT title, and being as Karl is an all round nice guy and an excellent poker player, this is no bad thing.

After covering the APPT Macau back in August/September I hit up London for the WSOPE. The final table there was a great one to watch and I found myself chatting with Mr Mahrenholtz about his GUKPT win while we were watching his fellow Hit Squaders Praz Bansi and James Akenhead get to work.

The Hit Squad boys are winning everything in sight at the mo, and the fact that Mr Akenhead has done a Demidov after making the WSOP Main Event final just shows how hard those boys have been working on their games. Praz was unlucky not to finish higher than third, but with Daniel Negreanu and eventual winner Barry Schulman on the final as well as Jason Mercier who is also running red hot, it was far from an easy final table.

Obviously I found some time to do some ‘networking’ (aka drinking) with GUKPT tour manager Jon Raab and had the pleasure of meeting JP Kelly, fresh from his second bracelet win. As well as being a very capable player and rising young poker star he struck me as a thoroughly nice guy and I hope I have the pleasure of interviewing him in the near future.

WPT Marrakech

The World Poker Tour makes its African debut

The World Poker Tour makes its African debut

I was barely home 5-minutes when it was on the road again, this time to the exotic location of Morocco where I am currently in the midst of covering the chilipoker.com WPT Marrakech. Feel free to check out some of the live updates from the Chilipoker blog or Poker News.

Despite a heavy French presence – both Morocco and Marrakech have strong French ties and French is one of the more widely spoken languages here – I have befriended a trio of Italians from PokerTexano.com and have been hanging around with them for most of the time. They have kindly provided me with a couple of pics for my blog so a big thanks to Stefano and the guys. Check out their website here (warning – it is in Italian, strangely enough…).

Me with the Poker Texano boys at the WPT welcome dinner

Me with the Poker Texano boys at the WPT welcome dinner. Image courtesy of Poker Texano.com

Chilipoker are the masterminds behind the World Poker Tour’s first foray onto African soil, and we are enjoying the hospitality of the lovely Hotel Es Saadi and the swanky Casino De Marrakech. Day 1 is currently underway as we speak with over 400 players from 32 different countries coughing up the €4,500 (£4095) buy-in to create a monster MD 18,720,000 prize pool, which is the equivalent of around £1.5million.

With high calibre players like Tony G, 1996 WSOP Champ Huck Seed, WSOPE Champ Annette Obrestad and fellow Betfair pro’s Sorrel Mizzi and Jon Tabatabai, Andrew Feldman, Chilipoker’s own Liz Lieu, Antonio Esfandiari, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Bruno Fitoussi and international tournament director Matt Savage, it’s shaping up to be a great tournament.

It didn’t take long for the sparks to fly and on just the second hand France’s Anthony Lellouche

Winamax sponsored player Anthony Lellouche

Winamax sponsored player Anthony Lellouche. Image courtesy of PokerTexano.com

managed to iron out just under three-quarters of his 20,000 starting stack after running a set of Twos into his opponents set of Nines on a Ten, Nine, Two board. What’s actually impressive here is the fact that he managed not to go broke in this spot.

I bumped into Barny Boatman during the first break who is off to a shakey start; a fellow player managed to cover him in scalding hot coffee before he had even taken his seat and then he took a big hit on level two when his Aces were cracked by his flush-drawing opponent who hit runner, runner two pair to leave Boatman senior with around 8,000.

Jon Tabatabai has been shown the door unfortunately, running his two pair into his opponent’s rivered gutshot :(
After chatting to the friendly Welshman I learned he very nearly didn’t make it here at all – when he went to fly out from Heathrow on Monday he realised he had forgotten his passport… Doh!

The Hendon Mob's Ross Boatman and second place finisher, Germany's Dominik Nitsche at the WPT Marrakech High Rollers event

The Hendon Mob's Ross Boatman and second place finisher, Germany's Dominik Nitsche at the WPT Marrakech High Rollers event. Image courtesy of Poker Texano.com

Other highlights so far include the Boatman brothers success in the High Rollers event with Boatman junior (Ross) taking down the tourney for a tasty €135,535 (£123 338) with big brother Barny cashing in 4th for €41,017 (£37,326). Not to be left out, fellow Hendon Mobster Joe Beevers came 14th in the €1,800 NLHE event for €4,000 (£3,670).
All three Mobsters are currently playing in the WPT Marrakech Main Event.

Wales’ Dave ‘El Blondie’ Colclough is also out here and has managed to bag himself a cash as well, finishing 8th in the €900 NLHE event for €4,927 (£4,483).

Not to be out done I figured it was time to get my name out there as well and I managed to bag second place in the WPT press tourney for $300 – while it’s not going to allow me to retire to a life of luxury just yet, free money is always nice. Not only did this give me bragging rights in the press tent with my fellow media types, but also allowed me to uphold the good name of WPT magazine, who I’m out here covering the tourney for ;)

I should be interviewing both Tony G and Liz Lieu later on today so will let you know how that goes, I’ll see if I can grab and interview with Antonio Esfandiari a bit later on as well.

Right, well I’m off to grab me a V6 racing camel and a small monkey in a fez, tune in tomorrow for more updates folks…

APPT Macau Day Two

August 28, 2009

Action is fast and furious at the APPT Macau: Play started at 12:15 with 196 runners out of the 429 who ponied up the HK$40,000 (around £3,170) buy-in.

97 players have since fallen by the wayside including  GUKPT 2007 Grand Final champ Leo Kam who was unfortunate to have ElkY sitting two seats to his left. Elky’s table is an interesting one with a lot of chips flying around – a deep-stacked Tom Hall from the UK is giving as good as he gets, as is the tournament’s starting chip-leader Norway’s Kristoffer Myhre.

The Hit Squad’s Karl Mahrenholz is still chugging away, he’s on the same table as PokerStars pro David Saab who’s stack has yo-yo’d from 8,000 back up to 72,000.

Blackbelt Poker's Sida Yuen, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Blackbelt Poker's Sida Yuen, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

PokerStars pro Celina Lin (whom I managed to bag an interview with) managed to run Ace Queen into Ace King and has been knocked out, but the story of the day for the UK is Blackbelt Poker Brownbelt Sida Yuen. He’s run his starting stack of 73,000 up to over 270,000 is sitting on a mountain of chips and is currently slapping his table around in the process. After raising UTG Sida four-bet Joshua Ang off a hand when re-raised, effectively putting Ang to the test for his tournament life. He also smashed an opponent’s Pocket Eights with the mighty Ace Nine of spades, tabling two pair to take him over the 270,000 mark.

With Blinds about to go up to 1,200/2,400 with a 200 ante and the average stack at around 80,000 it’s starting to get near crunch time for many players.

The brothers Hachem are still in it and going strong, though Hachem senior (that would be Joe) just got runner, runner two paired – his King’s and Eight’s losing out to Aces and Tens leaving him a distinctly unhappy camper. He’s sitting on around the 55,000 mark.

Full Tilt’s David Chiu has just doubled up with Pocket Nines at the expense of Eric Assadourian to bring the Chinese American pro back into contention.

Poker Stars pro Daniel ‘rekrul’ Schreiber has just taken a hit at the hands of online Aussie whiz kid Jonathan ‘xMONSTERxDONGx’ Karamalikis –flush and gutshot straight draws losing out to the Australian’s top set leaving Schreiber on 79,000 and elevating the Monster to 115,000.

The tourney is on break for the next ten minutes so I’ll be posting again at the end of the day.

Those of you who want to keep abreast of the action can follow it on the Pokerstars blog or the Poker News live updates.

APPT Macau Day 1C Summary

August 27, 2009

Well play has finished for the day and the chips are in the midst of being tagged and bagged as I type.

The official player count has yet to come in but the tourney screen is showing that 86 players look to have made the final cut, though that may drop slightly once the dust has settled.

The official Day 1C chip leader is UK player Tom Hall who’s sitting pretty on 120,700, Blackbelt Poker’s Sida Yuen

Liv Boeree, image courtesy of Poker News

Liv Boeree, image courtesy of Poker News

is sitting on around 72,600 after busting the lovely Liv Boeree, her Pocket Eights proving no match for Sida’s Pocket Queens when all the chips went in. Still a cash of HK$35,500 (£2,826) in the HK$5,000 7-handed event yesterday should take the edge off.

Vic regular James Mitchell also failed to make the cut unfortunately; he was last seen heading for the cash tables with a determined expression on his face. Tournament steamroller JC Tran was also one of the players who just couldn’t get anything going today and he is also out.

Josh ‘JJProdigy’ Field is sitting on a stack of 93,700 though is strangely registered as a UK player rather than a US one, though this may have something to do with the fact he is currently calling Blighty home at the moment.

Brothers Hachem made it through to Day 2 both on around 50,000 chips and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier also made the cut finishing the day on 65,000 after his Pocket Kings held up against an opponent’s over-enthusiastic shove with a gutshot on a 2h 2d 3c board.

After eliminating David ‘Chino’ Rheem Theo Tran was one of the big stacks for most of the day before taking a hit 20-minutes before the end of play after running his Nine-high flush into the nuts leaving him with a stack of 62,600.

The current chip leader is Kristoffer Myhre from Norway who has 183,400. In second place is Peter Nielsen from Denmark with 141,500. In third place is PokerStars Online Qualifier Roel Pijpers from Netherlands with 125,500. They all played Day 1B.

The total prize pool is HKD $16,130,400  (£1.2 million) which makes it the biggest prize pool ever in Asia. Play resumes for Day Two tomorrow at 12:15pm (5:15am GMT) with 196 out of the 429 runners making it past the respective Day 1’s.

Bryan Huang, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Bryan Huang, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Work-wise I managed to squeeze in an interview with Asia Team PokerStars pro Bryan Huang who was in a remarkably upbeat mood despite being knocked out of the tournament after being horribly outdrawn by second pair, which effectively crippled him. His short-stacked shove with Pocket Sevens a few hands later lost out to Ace Queen to see him hit the rail. Bryan took down the APT Macau just a scant two-weeks ago and was voted ‘Rookie of the Year 2008’ by Bluff Australasia after cashing in three back-to-back APPT events last year.

Tune in tomorrow for more updates and action, it looks like my interview with Joe Hachem is scheduled for then as well so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Right, I’m off to hit the cash tables up and hopefully make me some money, laters people…

APPT Macau Day 1C

August 27, 2009
Image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Image courtesy of PokerStars blog

The growing popularity of poker in Asia is evident and players and press alike were treated to a flashy opening ceremony featuring a traditional Chinese mask-changing performance complete with Team PokerStars pro Chris Moneymaker as the Chinese ‘God of Wealth’. But then, with a name like Moneymaker that has also become synonymous with poker’s sudden rise in popularity, this is quite apt, if slightly ironic being as Chris was eliminated on Day 1B yesterday.

As is often the case with poker tournaments, it’s the last Day 1 that is always the busiest and Day 1C in the APPT Macau is no exception with 185 confirmed entries.

That makes a total of 429 players, which despite being 109 players down on last years field makes for a record prizepool of HKD $16 million (around £1.2 million) due to the HKD $15,000 increase in buy-in from the 2008 APPT Macau leg. Top 48 get paid with the winner taking home a massive HKD $4,194,000 (£333,246).

It looks like this is shaping up to be one of the toughest starting days so far: Tournament steamroller JC Tran and brother Hien are in attendance as is 2005 WSOP champ Joe Hachem and brother Tony who is also the recent winner of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour.
2008 WSOP final tablist David ‘Chino’ Rheem is here as is New York’s Amnon Filippi in addition to WPT winners David Chiu and Russia’s Yevgeniy Timoshenko.

The UK’s Liv Boeree is also playing today and Team PokerStars sponsored pro Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier is

Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier

Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier

actually sitting right behind me at table 18, sporting red hair and matching red and black shirt along with trademark sunglasses.

Despite all the high profile American, Australian and Asian players it was first blood for the UK though – Blackbelt Poker’s Sida Yuen enjoyed an early double up to take the chip lead after flopping the nut straight and open-ended straight flush draw holding Five Six of diamonds against his opponents trip Sevens. Needless to say all the chips were in the middle on the flop and with no pair up his unfortunate opponent was the first man to hit the rail on level one… Ouch!

‘Chino’ Rheem has also hit the rail on level three – his flopped set of Fours rivered by Theo Tran’s open-ended straight.

As with the other two starting days there will be seven levels of play today, scheduled to finish at around eight o’clock.

I’m hoping to get that Joe Hachem interview in the bag today, as well as one with Chinese Australian PokerStars pro Celina Lin and hopefully one with another up-and-coming young Asian poker player by the name of Bryan Huang who was voted Bluff Australia’s Rookie of the year 2008.

I’ll let you know how it all goes and keep you posted with a summary of the action a little later on.

For full coverage of the APPT visit the PokerStars official tourney blog here or the Poker News live tournament updates here.

All images courtesy of PokerStars blog.

APPT Macau Day 1B Updates

August 26, 2009

Well, play has just finished for the day and the tourney staff and players are in the midst of bagging up the chips.

125 players ponied up the HK$40,000 for Day 1B with 65 players making it through to Day 2, but unfortunately the UK’s Paul ‘Pab’ Foltyn was not one of them – his Ace Three losing out the mighty Nine Four off-suit on the very last hand of the evening…

Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker failed to live up to his name this time around, his short-stacked shove with Ace Four running into the Pocket Queens of Kazakhstan’s Darkhan Botabayev just after play resumed after the day’s last break. Ironically it was Darkhan who had decimated Moneymaker’s stack just 30-minutes earlier after flopping a set holding Pocket Threes.

Chip leader for the Day is Norway’s Kristoffer Myhre who finished on 183,400 after cracking Pocket Aces twice, eliminating Team PokerStars Asian Pro Tae Joon Noh in the process the second time around.

Unless someone runs ultra-hot tomorrow Myhre will go through to Day Two as chip leader as he’s ahead of the USA’s Brandon Demes (Day 1A chip leader). Denmark’s Peter Nielson is currently second on 141,500, Holland’s Roel Pijpers in third on 125,500.

They will be joining the Hit Squad’s Karl Mahrenholz who made through Day 1A.

It looks like I’ve managed to arrange an interview with 2005 WSOP Main Event Champ Joe Hachem for tomorrow so I’ll let you know how that goes.

Right, after watching people play poker all day I’m off to play some poker myself. Fingers crossed…

Asian Poker Scene – APPT Macau

August 26, 2009

Razor Sharp Pro Poker
Greetings poker fans – I know it’s been a while since I last posted, too long in fact. I haven’t been slacking on the work front though so I’ll bring you up to speed with what’s been going on in Razor Sharp Pro world:

The Asian Pacific Poker Tour

The Asian Pacific Poker Tour

I’m currently out in Macau, China, covering the Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) for a new Asian-based poker magazine called Baller, which is launching in late October. While you guys in the UK won’t get to read it (being as it’ll be circulating in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia etc) I think they’ll also have a website so I’ll provide links through to that as soon as it’s up.

Travel-wise it was a real ‘Planes, Trains and Automobile’s’ job with a couple of boat rides thrown in for good measure as you don’t seem to be able to fly here direct. That meant I had to train it from Cardiff to Heathrow, fly into Paris, change planes in Paris to fly into Hong Kong and then get a ferry over to Macau. That added up to nearly 24-hours of travel time, which was about as much fun as it sounds…

Still, I’ve only been in Macau 24-hours and love the place already – it’s pretty much the Chinese version of Las Vegas, chock full of fast and furious cash action, sick, sick gambling and you can still smoke at the poker tables out here as well – my kinda town :)

I couldn’t resist checking out the cash action and managed to win me HK$4000 (around £315) in about an hour – the players out here love to gamble so it wasn’t like I even had to work particularly hard for the money, which is always nice. Hopefully in addition to all the player interviews and tourney coverage I’ll be doing I’ll also get the opportunity to pad out my bankroll at the same time – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it ;)

Follow all the APPT tournament action via the Poker Stars video blog and live updates here.
I’ll also be posting some updates throughout the day myself, just summarising some of the action and adventure.

I’m looking to try and bag me some interviews with Joe Hachem and a few of the other Poker Stars sponsored Asian players in addition to some of the Brits that have managed to make their way out here so will keep you guys posted.

Joining the Dark Side
I have diversified this month and in addition to all my poker writing have begun to dabble in the dark side… that would be poker PR folks, not degenerate gambling (interestingly still more socially acceptable in public than smoking and masturbation, go figure…).

Littlewoods Poker have asked me to help promote their offer open to all new and existing players for the $1 million English Poker Open (EPO) on at Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn 15-17 September.
Check out the EPO website here.

Rather than just shamelessly plug it on my blog I’ll just include some of the links to the PR stuff I’ve been pushing and the various websites it can be found at:

Visit the Littlewoods Poker website here for more info on the offer and promos they’re running here.

See the press release in all it’s glory on the Inside Poker website here.

And also on the Poker News UK website here.

_FullFlush1_
Writing-wise I’ve got a couple of features forthcoming from an interview I did with the UK’s most controversial internet phenomenon Luke ‘_FullFlush1_’ Schwartz. Not only has Luke been beating some of Full Tilt’s top players (including Tom Dwan, Phil Galfond, David Benefeild, Brad Booth and Patrik Antonius) but he’s also up $1 million this year playing in the $100/$200 & $200/$400 six-max and Heads-up cash games. Mr Schwartz also been providing the railbirds with a lot of entertainment with some quality rub downs and trash talk and the forums are a buzz with his table antics. It was a pretty good interview chock full of Luke’s trash talking gems and confirmation that he is definitely looking to take on Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan at his 50,000 hand challenge.

I’ve got to thank Barry Carter for the interview really, as it was him who hooked me up with the contact details and asked me to cover it for Poker News UK – view the feature here.

I’ve also sold a Luke Schwartz feature to Poker Player that will be in the next issue of the mag, out sometime next week I believe, I’ll include a link if they end up putting it on their website.

The Unabomber
My Phil Laak player profile is out in the latest WPT mag (Issue 46 with Doyle Brunson on the cover) and they’ve also posted my ‘Get down with the Six-ness’ six-card PLO feature on the WPT website, so for those of you who didn’t get to read it when it was in the mag you can view it here.


Retro Rhetoric

Double or Nothing

Double or Nothing

I’ve also been doing some strategy articles on beating Pot Limit Omaha SNG’s for the new PKR website so will post up the link as soon as they’re up. I really enjoyed writing these and made the switch from playing Texas SNG’s to the PLO ones a while ago, generally because there’s more action and the pace of the game is faster, but for the in-the-know player the edge is huge. Not only do these teach you the importance of position and pot control but they also improve your post-flop playing skills as the pot limit nature of the game means you can’t just pull the all in trigger. Seriously worth a blast if you are a big SNG fan, especially if you find that the Texas ones are getting too formulaic and a little stale.

Also on a SNG related note, I have a Double or Nothing SNG strategy guide up

On the Rampage

On the Rampage

on the UK Poker News website – feel free to read it here.
Mr Carter has decided to get in as many retro 80’s themes as possible in relation to all the features I’ve been writing for the site, including the Commodore 64/NES Rampage computer game for the Running Rampant cash strategy feature I wrote for them last month. View it here.

Right, well I’ve got me a tourney to cover so will keep you guys posted, watch this space…

GUKPT Summer Series Walsall

June 30, 2009

Greetings poker fans, and let me welcome you to another exciting instalment of the happenings of the UK poker scene.

It’s been a busy last couple of weeks for me both on and off the tables and continuing where I left off on Sunday let’s get right back into the thick of the action:

Congratulations are in order for Birmingham’s Vincent Price on taking down the GUKPT Walsall leg of the Summer Series.

Read the full feature here on Poker News UK.

After seeing off a tough field featuring the odd poker professional that included Mickey Wernick and Liam ‘the gentleman’ Flood, Vincent also saw off challenges from seasoned UK tournament circuit players like Maria Demetriou and GUKPT Champion of Champion’s winner Ash Hussain.

Several Cardiff players were in attendance including 6-card PLO sickos Marco Clarke and Rana Gurnham and Neil Channing and Nik Persaud’s stable of Blackbeltpoker.com qualifiers in the form of Henry Griffiths (another South Wales boy) John Lundy and Toby Lewis were also on hand to give Mr Price a run for his money.

The price it seemed, was right for 21-year-old Birmingham native and Broadway casino regular Vincent, who was playing in his first big buy-in live tournament (note, not his first live tournament just his first tourney with a buy-in over £100).

After eliminating four of the nine players on the final table, crushing each in quick succession Vince found himself heads-up with 19-year-old Blackbeltpoker.com bluebelt Toby Lewis after Toby dispatched third place finisher Simon Wickenden with the mighty Ace King; which beat Simon’s Pocket Sixes in an all-in pre-flop race.

An epic hour-and-a-half heads-up battle ensued where the chip lead changed hands several times, but it was victory for Vincent when his turned full house on a 6-4-9-4-8 board proved too strong for Toby’s King Nine when all the money went in on the river.

“I’m over the moon, shocked still really, it still hasn’t sunk in yet and I can’t believe it. This is the first big tournament that I’ve ever played in and the first big tournament that I’ve ever bought into before for £500. This is the first real big cash that I’ve ever won,’ confirmed an ecstatic Mr Price, who has been a regular on the Birmingham live circuit for the last three years.

GUKPT Walsall leg winner Vincent Price. Image courtesy of the GUKPT/BlueSquare

GUKPT Walsall leg winner Vincent Price. Image courtesy of the GUKPT/BlueSquare

“My heads-up opponent Toby [Blackbeltpoker.com blue belt Toby Lewis] was solid and was the one player going on to the final table that I didn’t want to get involved in many pots with. He was a very solid player and heads-up went on for an hour and a half – it was a brilliant match against him and all credit to him he was very persistent and he raised my blinds like 90% of the time. He’s played in almost all of the GUKPT’s and I’m sure he’ll win one later on down the line; he’s definitely got the talent for it.”

Both Vincent and Toby agreed to a deal where both took around £16,000 for there troubles and played out for the prestige of the trophy and a seat in the £100,000 Champion of Champion’s tournament held at the end of the year in the Vic.

“I’m really looking forward to December, the Champion of Champion’s event. Funnily enough, when I actually bought into the tournament I didn’t even know that there was a seat for that tournament. It will be a very tough event with all the winners of the other events so it won’t be a walk in the park at all,’ confirmed Vince.

MBN…

Needless to say, while I played in the £200 side event (where I managed to run my Pocket Kings into Pocket Aces in a blind v blind battle on level three… doh!) my cash return for the weekend was somewhat less than £16,000.

I did however manage to make £300 playing in the casino’s local £50 triple-chance deep-stack on Sunday after we all agreed to a 12-way chop.

What? A twelve way chop… Now while deals are part and parcel of tournament poker, I usually like to play them out to a conclusion, but… well being as the tourney didn’t start until 21:30 (after I had finished all my work, obviously…) by the time 03:30 came around with 12 very evenly stacked players left, and still facing a two hour drive back to Cardiff, when someone mentioned some quick, easy money the mercenary in me jumped at the opportunity.

Working nine till five

Well, more like twelve till six by the time I crawled out of bed after arriving home at 05:30am, but I have been cranking out the features this week.

I’ve just sent off my tourney report to Poker News UK so you can read in more detail about the GUKPT’s fine Summer Series.

On a juicy gossip note, after chatting to Jonathan Rabb, the GUKPT tour manager it seems that we might not have seen the last of the Summer Series:

“We have recently bought the Isle of Capri casino, which is in the Rico Stadium in Coventry, that’s now going to be turned into a G-casino and we will be hoping to have a GUKPT event there soon… it’s quite possible that there may well be a Summer Series event 4 in there in September, but we have yet to finalise those details,” teased Jonathan.

He also hinted that the GUKPT maybe Europe bound next year, with a possibility of a leg or two in Belgium as the Rank Group own two casinos out there that have recently started spreading poker games.

Remember folks, you read it here first ;)
SCOOOOOOOOOP!!

Visit Poker News UK for the full low-down.

Right well, I’ve got me some feature to write for Poker Pro Europe as well (I’ll let you know more details closer to the time) and still have to put some work into my Micro-stakes Mission as well as conquer the world of online poker.

Super-stardom here we come…

Summer Shoving, Having a Blast…

June 28, 2009

While Walsall may be a long way from the poker Mecca known as Las Vegas (5137 miles to be exact), poker is a universal game and fortune, glory and the small matter of the £60,500 prize pool at the last leg of the GUKPT Summer Series is enough to inspire any poker player to great deeds at the felt.

While the £19,520 on offer for first place is not quite as mouth wateringly juicy as say, $9 million for winning the ‘Big One’ it’s still a pretty good payday for two days of ‘work’.

With 121 runners turning up to pit wits on the baize, including GUKPT Champion of Champion’s champion (that’s a lot of champions ;)) Ash Hussain, Black belt poker blue belts Henry Griffiths, John Lundy and Toby Lewis, Liam ‘the gentleman’ Flood, Maria Demetriou and UK poker stalwart Mickey Wernick it was a pretty tough field duking it out for the title.

Also in attendance and hoping to topple the Hit Squad’s Sunny Chattha from the GUKPT leaderboard top spot was the winner of the Newcastle leg Tony Phillips, fresh from winning the £300 event yesterday [Saturday 28 June] for a cool £9,400. With this win he moves into 3rd place on 190 points, just behind Irishman Martin Silke (winner of the GUKPT Vic leg) on 225 points and Sunny Chattha on 230. If the likable ex-poker dealer finished in 3rd place or better he will top the GUKPT leaderboard.

29 players made their way back for Day 2 including all the Black belt qualifiers, although Henry and John were eliminated before the bubble burst as was Ash Hussain and Maria Demetriou.

After a 3-player bust out in one hand the money bubble burst and the final table was underway:

Seat 1 – Tony Phillips with 92,400 in chips
Seat 2 – Gordon Gainford 59,700 in chips
Seat 3 – Simon Wickenden 41,800 in chips
Seat 4 – Jeffery Buffenburger 26,800 in chips
Seat 5 – Mickey Wernick 35,000 in chips
Seat 6 – Abed Eid 123,300 in chips
Seat 7 – Richard Connolly 126,100 in chips
Seat 8 – Toby Lewis 181,900 in chips
Seat 9 – Vincent Price 315,500 in chip

With blinds at the final starting at 3,000/6,000 with a running ante of 400 action has been thick an fast and likable Brummie Mickey Wernick was first to fall; his all-in shove for 26,100 over the top of a Toby Lewis raise of 16,000 found two callers in the form of Toby and fellow Birmingham native and chip leader Vincent Price.

An 8h-8d-Jh flop saw Toby check-fold to Vincent’s bet to take the pot heads-up. Mr Price’s Pocket Nine’s were in front of Mr Wernick’s Ace King and stayed that way as the 3c and Qd hit the turn and river to see Mickey eliminated in 9th with £1,210 for his troubles.

Blackbelt busts Buffenburger

Next to fall at the hands of Blackbeltpoker.com blue belt Toby Lewis was Jeffery Buffenburger, whose Ace Ten of diamonds was well behind to Toby’s Pocket Jacks.
The 5d-10s-7d flop made things interesting, but with no diamonds forthcoming Mr Buffenburger was eliminated in 8th for £1,820.

Next up on the chopping block was Isle of Mann based Poker Stars business analyst Richard Connelly. You’d think working for the world’s largest poker room would guarantee you a good run, but in true live poker style Richard’s Ace King was no match for the Pocket Jacks of Vincent Price (obviously if this was the internet Mr Connolly would have pinged his Ace on the river ;)) who is currently on a bit of a heater.

Just a scant 15 minutes later and Tony Phillip’s dreams of a GUKPT leaderboard top spot were dashed when his button shove with Pocket Fours lost out to the Ace Nine of clubs of Brighton (well Bognor Regis really) native Simon Wickenden who turned a flush to see Tony out in 6th for £3,020.
While young Mr Phillips looked disappointed to finish his tournament prematurely his weekend has seen him net a tasty £12,420 and he currently sits on 206 points on the GUKPT leaderboard.

The Price is Right…

Players began to fall thick and fast and 25 minutes after Tony hit the rail Gordon Gainford shoved all-in for 97,000 over the top of another Vincent Price raise.
Vincent duly made the call flipping over Pocket Threes, which were racing against the Queen Nine of Gordon. Young Mr Price (who is just 21) is in the zone at the moment and true to form won the race in style; flopping a set on the 5-2-3-10-2 board, eliminating Gordon in 5th for £3,930.

Just four minutes later (and on the last hand before the dinner break no less) Vince put Manchester based building consultant Abed Eid to bed after calling Abed’s 132,400 shove. Abed’s Pocket Seven’s were in front for all of about 30 seconds until the 10c-6s-Kd flop put Vincent’s Ace King miles in front. With no Seven rearing its ugly head My Eid’s tournament dream was over and he bit the dust in 4th with £5,440 as a consolation prize.

So with three players left we go on dinner break.

Current chip counts:
Vincent Price         630,000
Toby Lewis             430,000
Simon Wickenden     160,000

Right, I’m off to grab some munch but will update you all tomorrow with the results and a link to the feature I’m currently writing on the tournament for Poker News UK.

Summer of Shove

June 24, 2009

In the summertime when the weather is high, you can stretch right up and touch the sky. When the weather’s fine – you got poker, you got poker on your mind….

While the worlds attention maybe focused on some small town poker tournament called the World Poker Series or something held in the depths of the Nevada desert (it’ll never catch on if you ask me…) there is still plenty of poker out there in the UK for you discerning poker junkies to sate your urges.

Both Grosvenor Casinos and Coral are keeping Britain as the land of poker hope and glory with their GUKPT Summer Series and the Coral British Masters Poker Tour for those of you not flush enough to pony up $10,000 or just plain not lucky enough to win a WSOP seat online.

With the events ranging from £100 freeze-outs (at the CBMPT), £200 Freeze-outs (GUKPT & CBMPT), £300 freeze-outs (GUKPT) and the £500 main events (both the GUKPT & CBMPT) this summer is a pretty good one for you British poker players.

British Master Class

After being fortunate enough to win myself a seat online at www.eurobetpoker.net for the princely sum of $75+5 (well, technically nothing as this was just a small fraction of my online profit this month after a successful assault on the Pot-Limit Omaha tables courtesy of Rolf Slotboom’s short-stack PLO strategy ;)) I was in sunny Leeds last weekend (19–21 June) for the Coral British Masters.

While I was unable to convert my online success into a cash – I busted in 50th out of the main event when my short-stacked shove for 6,500 at the 300/600 level with Pocket Kings ran into the mighty Ace-Jack with all the money in the middle pre-flop (guess the first card out…) – another Welshman in the form of Carl Williams managed to cash.

Admittedly it was only for £250, but being as Carl had qualified online for next-to-nothing (around $10 I believe) this was still a pretty decent ROI, and being as I had 10% of him I managed to earn myself £25 as well. Granted that’s not quite as impressive as winning a World Series bracelet, but money won is still twice as sweet as money earned.

CBMPT Leeds Champion Tom MacDonald. Image courtesy of A World of Poker.

CBMPT Leeds Champion Tom MacDonald. Image courtesy of A World of Poker.

Congratulations go to 18-year-old Tom MacDonald who saw off 93 other players to reach heads-up with over a 3–1 chip lead. After seeing off a spirited challenge from runner-up Jamie Sykes he bagged a bankroll boosting £15,400 for his troubles, with Mr Sykes earning himself a cool £10,000 in the process for second place.

My disastrous run of tournament form continued in the £100 freeze-out and after getting down to the final 20 with around 35k in chips at the 800/1,600 level the wheels fell off…

I managed to lose two massive back-to-back pots, both while holding Ace Queen; the first was pretty standard, a guy with around 20k shoved my blind from the button and being as he had looked eager to get his chips in the middle for a while, when I looked down to see Ace Queen of spades in the Big Blind I was pretty sure I was in front.
Sure enough after making the call my big chick was dominating the gentleman’s Ace Four of diamonds, until he flopped a Four…
Running Ten’s and Seven’s saw me chop the pot (apparently I’m the lucky bastard here…) so one 72% v 23% (the other 5% is a chop) down, one more to go…

Just a scant two hands later I find myself on the Button with… Ace Queen. I raise to 4,000 the Big Blind glances at his cards and instantly moves all-in. Now personally, I don’t think that he’s doing this with a hand here, maybe a rag Ace or small pocket pair at best so it doesn’t take long for me to make the call.

‘Fucking hell, I’m in bad shape’ mumbles the gent in question as I call and he’s sees my Ace Queen, and he turns over Ace Nine off…
Blank, blank, blank, blank… Nine on the river sees me left with just one Big Blind and a bad taste in my mouth and I’m out in 19th on the next hand when my bag of spanners fails to connect with the flop.

But then, that’s tournament poker for you…
You can read all about the action and adventure at uk.pokernews.com as I’ve just submitted a feature for their website.

On the plus side I managed to come away with a £500 profit from my escapades on the cash tables (£350 of which I made in 10 minutes at one table…) so life’s not all bad.

The atmosphere surrounding the Tour is as friendly as the Gala Tour, and with a lot of the same faces and the fact that you can play in all three tournaments and pay for your hotel for the price of just one GUKPT, it is a pretty good value poker weekend.

The next leg is 24–26 July in Teeside, followed by the Nottingham leg on 14–16 August. Qualify online at www.coralpoker.com, www.galapoker.co.uk and www.eurobetpoker.net for as little as nothing as they are running a series of freerolls from 6pm every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or visit www.britishmasterspokertour.co.uk for more details.

GUKPT Summer Series

GUKPT Aberdeen Summer Series Champion John Angus. Image courtesy of BlueSquare/GUKPT

GUKPT Aberdeen Summer Series Champion John Angus. Image courtesy of BlueSquare/GUKPT

Not to be outdone, Grosvenor Casino’s are also running their Summer Series. Their second event was held up in Aberdeen last weekend (yes, an unfortunate schedule clash with the CBMPT which probably explained the low number of runners) where retired accountant John Angus (insert Burger King joke here…) saw off the 41 other runners to win himself £7,870. Congratulations to Black Belt Poker blue belt and Poker Player Strategy Editor Nick Wright on his third place finish for £3,780. It’s always nice to see a fellow poker journo win some glory, and Nick is an all round nice guy anyway.

The last event of the Summer Series will be running this coming weekend (25–18 June) in Walsall so you can still get your Summer of Shove tournament fix here.

Needless to say I and several other members of Cardiff’s poker mafia (the Tafia ;)) will be attending and will be writing an article on it for Poker News.

The quality of play and the value at these tournaments is immense, so while the majority of the poker world focuses on Las Vegas, don’t forget there is still poker to be played and money to be made on this side of the pond as well.

Visit http://www.grosvenorukpokertour.com/summer_series.shtml
for more info or qualify online at BlueSquare.com.

Micro-stakes madness…

Unfortunately as my focus both online and live has been on the above I have not had a chance to play any poker relating to my Micro-stakes Mission, but as this is a work in progress, rest assured I will be grinding it out at the lower levels in an attempt to win fortune and glory in the coming weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Well I’ve got me a few features to write before the weekend so I’ll sign off until Monday where I’ll let you know all about the GUKPT Summer Series in Walsall and probably bitch about my bad beats ;)

Keep it real folks, and if all else fails… try Wales.

Tidy.


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