A Chip and a Chair

Ever been short stacked and heard the phrase ‘a chip and a chair’?

Actually, have you ever NOT heard that phrase when you get left with the poker equivalent of a bowl of rice?

I must have heard it a hundred times, and each time it’s coincidentally when I’m steaming having just lost 95% of my stack!

For those wondering, the ‘chip and a chair’ phrase comes from the 1982 WSOP Main Event, or so the story goes.

Jack ‘Treetrop’ Strauss, on his way out having lost his whole stack, or so he thought, was called back when another 500 chip was found under his napkin. Strauss went on to make the massive comeback and win the title, and not only give eternal optimism to shortstacks the world over, but also give an annoying phrase for the rest of the table to repeat ad nauseam!

The reason my mind wandered to old Treetop and his spin up was last week’s 25/25 tournament in Newcastle.

tyne bridge

I’ve only ever played the 25/25 at the Goliath before, and while that one is always huge, really it’s a side event when you consider how big the main event is.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in Newcastle. My home town fell off the main GUKPT tour, and while I did my best to champion it, you couldn’t blame Grosvenor for putting tournaments elsewhere, the appetite just didn’t seem to be there with the Geordies.

Well, last week 257 paid their £200 for their 25k starting stack, more than doubling the £25k guarantee, and it seems the live poker scene in Newcastle is buzzing!

I loved the event, the structure, the setting, the buzz at the tables, but I just couldn’t get a stack going.

I liked my table, and fancied if I could find some hands and situations things would improve quickly, but it just seemed to be one of those days.

I found AK on the button, and a lively guy playing lots of pots had already raised it up. He’d made it 800 at 75/150, a big raise, and my 3bet made it 2500 to play. He quickly called, with just 3100 back, which was a bit of a surprise.

However, he must have known his gin flop was coming. K42 looked good for me, but it was better for his pocket fours, and I doubled him up.

I lost with pocket kings on an ace high board, and was finding the going tough when I found AK again, this time in the big blind. At 400/800 the action was passed to the small blind, who open shoved. I couldn’t get my money in quick enough, and felt a little shocked to be behind, although surely I could win a race against pocket fives.

It wasn’t to be, and after a count up, I’d just about survived, with 1200 chips left.

“A chip and a chair mate,” nine voices reminded me in unison. Annoying.

“Your small blind please sir,” the dealer’s voice reminded me. More annoying.

So there I was, 400 of my 1200 stack in, 800 back, and about to depart.

Under the gun raised, everyone passed to me, I stuck my 1bb in blind, and the big blind also called.

The flop came ace high and under the gun continued, getting a pass from the big blind. He flipped AQ, I found I had KJ, not a bad starting hand, but now no hand and no draw against top pair.

I stood up ready to leave, but the dealer found running KJ and my two pair won!

I now had a massive 5bb and could wait for a hand now I was on the button. I stuck it in with Q8 suited and actually got a fold from the big blind, before finding an ace a few hands later, and getting the double up, my A4 beating the big blind’s TJ.

I let the blinds go through me, but next big blind I found pocket threes and found my own perfect flop, K43 against the raiser’s KJ for another double up. All of a sudden I was back to 20bb and had more than when I lost that big flip.

With a new lease of life I went about building a stack, winning a big hand raising with KT and flopped two pairs against a gutshot and flush draw, before one final double up.

A guy made what he called afterwards a ’13 pint all-in’ after I 3bet his open, and my AK beat his A8 in a massive pot.

Having had 1200 a couple of levels before the end of day one, I finished the day with 130k, close to double the average and starting to dream about old Treetop and his comeback to winning the tournament.

I made sure I was there bright and early for day two, but I soon wished I’d overslept!

It was passed to me first hand and with A7 suited, I opened. The big blind was sat out, but three of the four players behind me called, and I check folded.

It was a bad omen.

I defended my big blind against Brett Angell with A4 and managed to get outkicked by A6 on an ace high board, and raise folded another, before my exit, just before the end of the first level of the day.

I’d made my mind up to play more aggressively, but in hindsight I think my aggression could have been better used, though I was a big unlucky with the run out.

At 1k/2k I opened the button with J9 of diamonds. The small blind, a young guy who had already looked quite lively, 3b to 11k, and with both of us having around 100k, I decided I flopped pretty well and liked peeling here best.

The dealer spread a Q86 rainbow flop, and the small blind quickly checked.

I could bet here, I have a gutshot, some backdoors, and this is a flop that should hit me well, but I also didn’t want to get check raised off my hand, especially from a hand I can beat down the streets.

The turn looked great, a seven, bringing two clubs, but giving me an up and down straight draw.

My opponent threw out a 25k chip, a big bet.

I looked at my stack though and I had about 80k back, which meant I did have some fold equity, especially as it was 90% of his stack.

I moved in and he quickly called, not good. However, I was pretty live against his ATcc, looking for a non club jack, 10 or five, but it wasn’t to be and after a brief count up, it was confirmed I was out.

I was looking forward to telling the next person who brings up ‘a chip and a chair’ about my great comeback at the Newcastle 25/25, but having dusted them off just as quick as I built them up, I don’t think I’ll bother!

Next up is the UKPC in Nottingham, then one of my favourite legs of the GUKPT (since I chopped it for £40k), Manchester.


Photo credits – Flickr (Creative Commons – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)








Leave a Reply