VentureAce - Professional Poker Player

Blackpool Bonanza

Outside the casino, People Are Strange, the song that opens the 80’s film The Lost Boys, is my memory of Blackpool. Inside, it’s the usual gathering of gamblers, crooks and degenerates looking to hit that eternally elusive victory. Which group I fit into I’m not sure, probably a mixture of all three. The tournament was a 1,000 freeze out with T10,000 starting stacks. I couldn’t help but laugh after the first hand, the man in second position open raised the T50 big blind to T800, and then showed pocket Queens. Oh … nice hand.

The skeleton-figure of John Falconer was in seat 2. In my eyes, one of the most over-rated British poker players on the circuit. I knocked him out of the 2005 EPT Barcelona event, mainly due to his inability to put an opponent on a hand. In seat 3, A fat guy who looked like he wanted to eat me. Seat 5 was the Asian man who final tabled at the EPT Monte Carlo event, the rest of the players were the usual tight passive suckers that turn up to these events.

I stole a few pots and raised T225 under the gun with jacks only to see everybody fold. Same occurrence with Ace King the next orbit. Mix it up, 78 of Diamonds bumped up to T225. 3 players to the flop of 28J. My continuation bet of T400 gets rid of one player, the pocket Queens fish calls and a King hit’s the turn. I bet, he folds, easy.

I kept winning small pots and finished the first break with approximately T13,000, down from a peak of T14,500 after making an unsuccessful play on the fat man with 24 off. After the break it was more of the same, small pots mount up.

I was moved to another table, that included Trevor Reardon, a decent poker player with a notable record in UK poker tournaments. He warmly welcomed me to the table. In seat 5, was Rory Matthews, a big online player who’s screen name is Mafews. I’d played against him in $25-50 NL cash games a few weeks prior. Funnily, later that night he was talking about how he only played $50-100 NL cash games on PokerRoom.com these days. My friend Sam, a regular high stakes cash game player on the OnGame network, who’d made the trip up to Blackpool but missed the tournament registration and decided to play blackjack, said that he’d never heard of Mafews.

I played tight for the first few orbits, observing everyone. To my left was a young posh-spoken guy who would attempt to explain his actions on each street in every hand. He was very active, limping in early positions, raising near the button but played pretty standard post-flop. After a while, the guy in seat 7 told him to stop yapping and start playing. He did for a while until he put an horrific beat on Mafews, who was visibly sickened by the posh guys call. The action went something like this - Blinds were 100/200, Mafews with about 28,000 chips raises in early position to 600, middle position flat calls, posh guy, who has about 25,000 chips bumps it up to 2,400, only Mafews calls. Flop produced 24Q with 2 clubs. The flop action went check-check. Turn was a complete blank, which Mafews lead in to. Posh guy speedily raises to 7,000. Mafews pushed. The posh guy started talking to himself, then he told the table, he had to call the 16,000 bet because he wanted to win the tournament. I did the same thing when I first started playing, it's simply an excuse, meaning "I know I'm behind, and shouldn't call. But, I will anyway!". Posh guy called and tabled Ace Jack of clubs for the nut flush draw. Mafews turned over a set of Queens. The river fell a non-pairing club. Mafews jolted in his seat, and looked disgusted at the posh guy, who's face had turned bright red. From that point on, the guy never shut up.

My chip stack began to sink as the button circumnavigated the table.

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