Cards, song contests, anything but work
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Well, I didn’t go out on day one of the London EPT. I went out late on day two, in 38th place for £11,419. (TT v. KK on a small flop. Given the pre-flop betting and the relative chip counts, an inescapable coup). At the time, of course, I was gutted – only 37 people away from a historic double and an undeniably useful £1,000,000.
But, by the next day, I was very happy that I’d played good poker, and able to appreciate with my restored sanity that £11,000 is a serious amount of money. However much poker I play, I really am keen not to lose touch with the real world. We all scrape the last butter from the rim of the tub before opening a new one; the day I remain miserable for more than a night about winning “only” £11,000, it’s time to stop playing and invent a device for slapping myself round the face.
I was back today for the PokerStars High Rollers event at the Vic. I hoped as always for a soft table and, indeed, there they sat: Scott Fischman, Sorrel Mizzi, Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu. William Thorsson and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier. Good. The six horsemen of the apocalypse.
According to Poker News, this was officially named “the table of death”. Some people say they “prefer to take on good players than idiots”. They’d have been welcome to swap with me…
In the end, it didn’t make much difference. In the middle of level two, I raised up to 700 with AK. Fischman and Mizzi called behind; Negreanu raised 3000 more from the button. I could have stuck it all in then and there, but I hate to do this with AK. Especially in this situation: I thought it not unlikely that these players might look at me as the soft touch on the table, and I had always planned to play a little gently, in order to give them the opportunity to keep betting at me if they missed their flops.
The flop came Ad 4c 7d. I bet out 8000 and Daniel moved all in, just covering my remaining 15,000. Obviously I was calling: he rolled over 2d 5d, and smacked into his flush on the turn. No waiting for Kid Poker.
But I’m fine with this – it feels nothing like the misery of my Tuesday night exit from the WSOPE. Nobody did anything wrong. Daniel was trying, reasonably enough, to nick the raise and the calls from the button. I had a good reason to flat call. Post-flop, we both had legitimate hands to get it all in: I’m about 11/10 favourite but there’s not much in it. I have to bet, Daniel has to move in, I have to call. It’s his lucky day not mine, and the pain came too early to cut deep. I left this event feeling very philosophical. I’m sad that we are coming to the end of such an amazing, enormous poker week in London, but I loved having these events so close to home and I was very happy to cash in my favourite event (or at least, by the next morning I was).
A quick check of the watch, and I was home in time for the official announcement of the X Factor finalists and the market going live! I won’t win a million here, but I’ve won a few thousand in the past.
I’m not so keen on Daniel Evans the single father now. His voice probably just isn’t good enough. But I had a value bet on him at 40/1 anyway. I’m “trading” rather than betting: trying to back the people whose prices will come in, and lay the people whose prices will go out. I can always change my position later.
For now I am betting on Austin to win. He’s got a fantastic voice, he looks all right; his only problem is that he cries too much. Once is fine, every five minutes is annoying. I hope his canny mentor, Simon Cowell, nips that in the bud.
The market has put Alexandra in as favourite, spotting her as the next Leona Lewis. I don’t think so. We’ll see how it pans out: for now I’m on Austin to win, and Daniel to last longer than the other punters seem to think. There’s no price yet for the first eviction, but I’ll be on Ruth the Spanish soloist, and Girlband, as the first to go.