Saturday, December 16, 2017

Back to Back-arest

The day after bubbling the final table of the High Roller, I was trying to drag myself out of bed for day 1b of the main event after a sleepless night.

Day 1b

As most of you probably know already, I recently signed with ShareMyPair as a brand ambassador, and I shared the first hand of note I was unsure about to get reactions and feedback (I strongly recommend anyone interested in improving their game do to same and get Sharing, and if you join the Unibet group there and send me any hands you share I promise to get back with my thoughts). My overall strategy in soft slow structured tournaments with hundreds of runners is to avoid marginal spots for lots of chips and play as low variance a style as possible. In keeping with that I made a very nitty fold preflop.


I got off to a decent start without too much drama before I got moved to what I can only describe as the strangest table I've played on in years, and after a few dramatic orbits I suddenly found myself with eight starting stacks and one of the chipleaders in the whole tournament.

An older Romanian gentleman seemed to have most of the chips, and he was playing virtually every hand. The first hand I witnessed was an indicator of things to come. A short stack opened into my big blind from mid position, and was promptly threebet by the cutoff. The button flat called, and I threw away nines in the big blind. Somehow 88 and ace ten got in about two hundred big blinds on a Q82r flop with 88 and ATo.

I quickly found myself wishing I understood Romanian as the older gentleman babbled away and the other Romanians at the table were literally falling out of their seats laughing.

Then this hand happened:


After the hand, he was visibly tilted, so cue the tirade in Romanian. I still didn't speak Romanian but got the gist. When he realised I wasn't local he switched his complaints to broken English (no point berating someone if they can't understand you, right?). He didn't have many words but had the important ones: flop, call, two. After his neighbour pointed out I already had the nut flush draw on the flop, he added the words just and draw to that list. Don't you just hate it when some fish hits a fourteen outer on you?

I had already reached the conclusion this was one of the most bizarre tables I'd ever sat at when things got even weirder. The crazy old guy (as I had mentally tagged him) limped and that set off a chain of limps. One guy at the far end of the table rocking a twenty big blind stack seemed visibly excited at the prospect of limping along and seeing a flop, but found that prospect ruined when the guy just before him raised to 6x. He reacted to this frustration by flinging his cards across the table, one of which zinged Chris Ferguson style across the table, struck me on the shoulder and hit the ground. He then stormed off. On his return, TD Glenn Keogh told him he had incurred a one round penalty.

So a few hands later, it's his big blind, he still away on a penalty when another odd hand happened. The main villain had arrived a little while earlier and seemed inordinately happy to see me. I have literally never seen anyone smile as much, and after every hand he engaged in eye contact and more smiling. My memory for faces is as bad as any other old guy slipping into senility, so I assumed we must have played together before, and maybe even spoken. But it quickly became clear when I tried conversation that he didn't speak even a single word of English, or any other language I know. So we just went on smiling at each other.


Before this hand he hadn't played a single hand. Why he suddenly decided Q2o was good enough to commit almost 40% of his stack will remain a mystery to me until we find a language we both speak, but what surprised me even more when I made the call and we saw each other's hands was how happy he seemed to be for me. So much so that he hung around afterwards not just to congratulate me, but also to help me stack the chips that used to be his.

Shortly afterwards, our table became the feature, and can be seen here (from 2 hours 14):




For once I bagged up one of the chipleading stacks, so was pretty happy with my day 1.

Day 2 - Are you SlowDoke?

Day 2 got off to a decent start as I increased my stack about 25% without any major incident. Unfortunately the table broke pretty quickly.

Before it did, Tom Vogelsang got in aces against tens of another big stack to become chipleader in the whole tournament. As he stacked his chips, he looked across the table and asked the question I have been asked many times in my career:

"Are you SlowDoke?"
"Yes. You expected someone younger?"
"You still play a lot"
"Yes"
"That's awesome. I want to be like you when I grow up"






This hand at my new table did a bit of damage to my prospects of attacking the bubble as table chipleader:



Here's a crucial hand eight from the bubble that polarised opinion among those I asked afterwards:



After running the hand through HRC and PIO, I'm ok with how I played the hand. Bubble proximity makes it okay to sacrifice some chip Ev for lower variance.

I was card dead for the rest of the tournament but at least safely navigated the bubble. I did eventually pick up a hand, AQ, and shoved, only to run into AK. A disappointing end, but I was glad to have gone back to back in cashes on the trip.

Ladies main event

For the first time, the Unibet Open featured a Ladies side event, though from the atmosphere you would be forgiven for thinking it was the main event. The final table featured Unibet ambassador Daiva, Christin Maschmann and Dehlia de Jong. 




The rail featured a variety of boyfriends, husbands and friends, including mini Lappin, who had never looked as much like his old man.




Daiva has done a great job promoting Unibet to Ladies: her Unibet Ladies Facebook group goes from strength to strength and the weekly freeroll she runs on a Sunday is the biggest weekly online ladies tournament in terms of numbers.

You will always find us in the comms booth at parties

Unfortunately we weren't able to rail til the end as Lappin and I were wanted for commentary duty while the others headed to the party. It's always fun with Lappin in the commentary box, we have the chemistry of an old married couple at this stage, and there were lots of interesting hands, some of which were uploaded to the Chip Race YouTube channel afterwards:









We were very ably assisted by the world's most productive blogger Christian Zetzsche who as well as churning out a one man blog of all the key action for PokerNews was also tipping us off to incoming big hands, and keeping us informed of major developments on the outer table. The man is a machine. The action was pretty hectic and the bustouts thick and fast, so much so we even had time to make a late appearance at the Players Party. We walked into quite a scene with everyone well advanced on us in terms of drunkenness, but it was clear it was another epic Unibet party.

On the flight home I was lucky enough to have the company of blogger Josh Barker and Unibet ambassador wrangler Simon Steedman. I always enjoy the opportunity to bore new victims who haven't heard them before with my stories. I literally bored poor Josh to sleep, but Simon showed commendable professionalism staying awake and even feigning interest. Good times, even if Simon's choice of plane attire is a little on the eccentric side.





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