Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Picture diary: Monte Carlo Day 1b

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The tournament kicked off for the day 1b runners at noon, Monte Carlo time. For most of the day I really felt like I was playing very well, and was soon chip leader on the table after no big dramas but a series of small and medium pots. We started with 30,000 and I was up to 70,000 while the chip average was still probably 35k. Then there was a horrible pot. With blinds of 100-200, I limped under the gun with aces. Two players called and the button made it 1200. I reraised to 5000 to shake off the other two players - which worked - and the button made it 15,000. I could have got clever here but I decided not to bother - 15,000 was enough for me - so I moved in. I might as well have waved a big red flag saying I’VE GOT ACES but I didn’t care, I was happy just to pick up the pot. But the button thought and thought and thought. And he said, “You might have ace king”. Let me tell you, there was no way in the entire universe I could have ace king. But he only had 20,000 left and I could see him seeking desperately for a reason not to pass. Persuading himself at last that I really might have ace king, he made the call and showed two tens. Of course, the ten was the first card off the deck. I was pretty depressed after that, as I should have accrued a lovely 120k stack (enough to be chip leader at the end of the day, never mind the middle) but I went for a little break and a walk around, regrouped, and was proud to fight back a little and finish the day on 48,000. I imagine around 600 players will be going back tomorrow (out of 900) and I’ll have a slightly below average stack.

  I was going to include a picture of my losing aces in today’s photo diary but decided that would be too negative. Instead, here are three positive-thinking photos. The first is the players arriving for the start of the tournament, including one of the celebrity entrants: Sebastien Chabal, the French rugby player. Look out for the guy with the 7 on his shirt, that’s him. He’s an enormous great hairy hulk of a fellow. Kirsty, PA to European poker’s Mr Big, has a huge crush on him. I’m not saying Monsieur Chabal is unattractive, but Kirsty and I could certainly go on holiday together without bickering about who fancies which boy.

  The second picture is of two lovely dealers, enjoying what is surely the finest place to have a fag on the international poker circuit.

  And the third is of me and Barny Boatman in the break. PokerStars like us to wear hats, so I decided to come along today as Frank Spencer.

Chabal et al.

Nice place for a fag.

Ooh Barny! The cat… [etc].

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malc at 11:00 am on April 30th, 2009

i was trying to think of words of motivation.

If you win i will buy you pie and chips…mushy peas…gravy!!!

Good luck! ...

Darren at 4:47 pm on April 30th, 2009

the beret suits you vicky. looks a very nice day there as well. ul with the aces, glad you stepped away from the table to compose yourself. go get ‘em tomorrow, good luck for the rest of the tourney!

Dawn at 6:03 pm on April 30th, 2009

Love you and Barney, gutted you went out today.

David Bodycombe at 6:22 pm on April 30th, 2009

Your sentence “15,000 was enough for me” brings up an interesting point that I’ve wondered about for some time.

What if you expose your hand immediately after your push? I understand that this is allowed (re: the famous guy who plays all his hands exposed at the World Series). The mathematics of this particular situation probably dictate that it’s worth the 80/20 shot, but given the additional importance of chips in poker, I wonder whether in a tournament situation exposing the hand might ever be the right play?

I’ve certainly had situations where I’ve thought “ok that’s enough” and - if the website had an option to allow it - I’d much rather take the pot there and then than allow him a chance to suck out on a 3-outer.

Victoria Coren at 6:41 pm on April 30th, 2009

Whether or not this is allowed (or whether your hand would be dead) depends on the rules of each specific tournament - you should always check all the local rules in advance anyway. But it can’t be a good idea. If you don’t want people to call all-in with tens when you have aces, you shouldn’t be playing poker! Over a lifetime, if you keep taking the odds in your favour, you have to wind up a winner. Having said that, i bloody wish I’d shown my aces the second time… (See “diary of day 2”...)

Victoria Coren

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