Full Tilt Poker
Roland De Wolfe
I played a satellite at PokerStars to try and qualify for the European Poker Tour event in Dublin. I started very cautiously, not playing any hands and just observing my opponents. After about 20 minutes of cautious play, my brain triggered the play 'stupid mode' as for some reason I thought I would need to dominate proceedings to have any chance of getting in the top 2, as only the top 2 received entry fees and $1000 spending money. Needless to say the plan back fired and I got knocked out prior to the first break (pathetic I know).
Being bored one night, I decide I am going to play the minor EPT events and try and win a satellite to the 1500 euro main tournament. I was thinking of asking my 'crazy' friend to come, but I was worried about him losing too much money. So I booked the flight and a hotel for one.
Dublin = Traffic jams. I arrived at the hotel after sitting in the taxi for a few hours, the hotel was quite close to the Merrion Casino which was a bonus. I got changed and had the huge dilemma of sunglasses or no sunglasses, I went with out which might of been a mistake. I arrived at the casino, which is incredibly easy to miss, signed a form, had my picture taken and was directed to put my jacket in an unlocked cupboard down under the stairs. As I had nothing to do and I knew no one I must of checked on my coat at least 3 times. After paying the registration fee for the 300+30 euros, I had a nice meal which the casino provided for all it's members each day of the EPT week. The main room was quite busy at this time, the biggest profile player I had seen was Marcel Luske, he was talking to Thomas Kremser leading up to the start. I avoided all the pro's as I didn't want to look like a rookie (only the second time I had played in real life) by staring at them.
I was allotted table 1 seat 1, drawn from a plastic box. Well, the Merrion Casino is a small casino and the tournament was being played on 4 levels. Table 1 was in the main room, where everyone had eaten and registered, all the other tables were blotted all over the place and the tournament started half an hour late. Thomas Kremser had to direct about 20 people to their tables, it didn't help when the list they were using was incorrect. So after all the confusion, it was time to concentrate on poker, "Shuffle up and deal". I didn't recognise any of the players at the table and there were 2 empty seats. No introductions. Play was extremely tight, especially for a re-buy tournament. I doubt anyone was up or down T200 at this point. I get my first big hand, AQd, raised in early position by a guy who had been limping in thus far. Called by myself and the big blind, I can't remember the exact amount in relation to the big blind T25, either 4,5 or 6 times. Flopped produced QKQ all different suits. First to act I check, check, original raiser bets a small amount about 1/3 or less of the pot. I sit there and fiddle with my cards. I figure this guys doesn't have a clue how I play, so I guess he thinks I'm a standard player. My thought process initially was just to call and slow play, but if I checked the turn I had no guarantee that he would bet again, plus I wanted to raise the stakes and maximise my takings. I assume the guy has got a piece of the flop with his small bet, I waited 20 seconds and announced 'raise 300', folded by the big blind and quickly called by the raiser. Blank on the turn, but I have control of the betting, I threw a T1000 chip in and said, "600". Again quickly called. I notice this guys hand hovering over his chips ready to call my bet on the river. So he pays me an extra T1000 to see. He goes to muck and then turns over KJ clubs. So I'm chip leader at this stage.
Enter the slightly drunk Irish guy, sitting two seats to my left, he was instantly recognised by the others at the table so I thought he must of been a relatively good player. His first hand about 5 limpers including myself in to his big blind, he makes a big bet which is called only by the guy I had just beat. In the hand he basically raped the guy for all his money without even showing down. It was pretty evident that the guy with T200 chips left was either setting a false image or a he was a fish, but he was cracking some good jokes that I couldn't help but laugh at even though I was trying to ignore everyone. In the end I decided he was a funny fish with not much game. He called "Chips" to re-buy, so the starting amount of T3000 was brought over in 3 T1000 chips which were busily being changed by the time the cards had been dealt. Over the next hour the Irish guy amassed a big chip lead, he was raising nearly every hand and showing his bluffs, he was using the Tony G method of pick one card most of the time.
The re-buy period finished after 90 minutes. In this time I had 3 other hands worth mentioning. The first I was dealt pocket 7's on the button which I raised after the guy in seat 8 had limped in. The blinds folded and the other player called T200, 4 times the big blind. The flop was J83 all different colours. I bet T450, this guy was taking time on every decision, but I couldn't see him because the bald Dutch dealers head was like the sun. He folded and I took the pot. The second notable hand, and probably the second most crucial hand of my tournament. I was dealt 55 in early position, I called, raised by the guy in seat 3, he had made a nice slow-play earlier on so I was a bit hesitant to call. But the funny fish called as well tipping the balance, the price to see the flop was T400 the blinds were 50-100. Flop comes 467, I can't recall what the suits they were. The guy leads out with a T1000 bet, the fish folds. I sit and think, I don't know what he is holding as he hasn't raised pre-flop before but my thoughts tended towards a high pocket pair. I decide to call and get more information, I saw his eye twitch as I called, whether this was a fake tell I'm not sure. The turn was a K, I checked and it was quickly checked behind me. The river card was turned up and it was an A. So now I'm in bad shape, I couldn't bet because of the board and no read on the guy, so I submitted and checked and gave him the pot which he took with a quick T1000 bet. I know my opponents could see my frustration at the way I played the hand. Next time I'm taking my sunglasses.
Last hand before the break I get dealt AA in the big blind. First time ever in real life, calm down, steel eyes I thought to myself. The first 4 players fold, concealed in my mind was a voice shouting ,"Raise". The Irish lawyer next to the button limped as did the button and small blind. I made it T700 to play (blinds were 75-150 at this stage). Only the Irish lawyer called. I can't remember the flop but it was three of the same suit and I didn't have any of that suit. I glanced at the board and then at the guy, and bet T900, he quickly folded, I was relieved but not happy.
The break started everyone left the room. I had nothing to do or say to anyone so I went and retrieved my jacket. On my way back up I had picked up a coke from the waitress, I felt a tap on my shoulder after I had sat down, "Hey lad, where'd ya get the coke?" Turning around to acknowledge the voice I see the recognisable face of Mike Magee, who I had watched a few times on Late Night Poker. I told him and he wandered off. Then I began talking to the guy who was in seat 2 on my left at the table. He was telling me about how he played at PokerStars, we also discussed his horrific beat, where he had flopped trip 8's with the nut flush draw only to be rivered by a 2-outer, when the bored paired Ace's and eight's. He had only played about 3 hands in the re-buy period and was quite clearly a fish. He was a really nice guy but he had the annoying tendency of brown nosing people. Roy Brindley was at the table directly behind us with a huge chip stack and the guy would not stop 'kissing ass'. Three days later, he instigated a conversation with the guy who won the main EPT event in Paris. I don't know what his intention was but at was as if he was promoting this guy for a boxing match.
The poker resumed after a 15 minute break, I decided not to add-on as I was not confident that I would be able to make the money. So perhaps I gave up to easily in the end, but I only had just over the original starting chips at T3,400, blinds increased to 100-200. It was 10 minutes in and 2 seats away from the button I find some nice looking crabs, pocket 3's, raise it up to T600. Called by the funny fish in the small blind. He had been playing the same as he had earlier limping in to most pots. At this point I'm thinking he's holding KQ, AJ or Ace rubbish suited. The flop was 66Q rainbow. He comes out firing, firing what? A T3000 nuke. So he has put me all-in, my thought processes were immediately he was on a steal, just hoping a hadn't caught anything. So at this point I knew he didn't have a 6 or a queen. I sat and thought for maybe 2 minutes, I just kept thinking 'you're not going to make a play on me'. In the end I called, which was a terrible decision as at best my pocket 3's were 75% favourite against 2 over cards and a big underdog against any pair. In the end I called, the guy flipped over pocket 9's and I was out. I got up and shook his hand, picked up my jacket and left. (Continued: EPT Dublin Day 2)