You know you’ve been playing poker a long time when what you consider the “new” casino undergoes another refurbishment to make it bigger and better.
Grosvenor Casino Luton has done just that. I remember going to the old Luton on the other side of town, one of the first casinos I played poker at in the UK. A few years ago the new and much improved new casino was built in Luton town centre, and now the card room has undergone not just a facelift but a full transformation.
What was the cardroom is now part of the casino, and a whole new spacious designated cardroom has been added to the back of the casino.
When I turned up for the GUKPT Luton main event, I was loving the new cardroom. I hadn’t played a hand of poker for more than a month for one reason or another, and now I was getting to play a £1k event with £200k guaranteed in a sumptuous new room, what more could I ask for? Well, to win a hand would be a start.
To be fair, I did win the odd hand, but I had one of those days that just makes you shrug your shoulders and resolve to run better another day. In all, I played 10 big hands on day 1b before busting half an hour before the end of the day. I won just two. The fact I still had a stack to be involved in big pots that long was testament to how well I played without showdown, but it wasn’t to be.
Here are the nine significant hands I played:
1. Call a raise to 350 with 56 suited, button squeezes, raiser calls 950, I call. Comes A55….he had pocket aces. Lose a chunk, would have been worse if he hadn’t made quads on the river.
2. Raise with KJhh, peel the small blind’s 3bet. Flop is ace high with two hearts. She checks, I bet, she calls. Turn brick, she checks I bet 3300, she check raises all in for 10,700. I calculate the price I’m getting, and the damage it would do to my 18k stack, and fold.
3. Under the gun player, who had limped a lot but had limped aces and other big hands as well as suited aces, small pairs, limps. Next to speak limps, I limp with 56 suited, button comes along as does the big blind. Flop Qxx is checked round. I bet the 9 turn, the button calls and the two preflop limpers both check call. River T, checked to me, I bet 1800, the button makes it 4k, first limper folds, second limper all in for 28k! Fold.
4. Call a raise in the cutoff with TT, button squeezes to 1800, raiser folds I call. Flop JT4 all spades, I check, willing to check raise and call it off, but he checks behind. Turn is a fourth spade, I check he bets 2800 I call. River fifth spade, I check he bets 4700. Fold.
5. Finally find aces in the big blind. The action has gone raise to 500 in mid position, sb call, so I make it 1500. Raiser folds, sb calls again. Flop QJ9, I check behind. Turn T, sb checks again, I bet 1700, not even sure with, guess I have the blockers to AK. He folds…I win a pot!
6. Second hand at a new table, I raise UTG with AQhh. Three opponents call. The flop falls jack high with two hearts, I bet 2550 out of my 13k. Next to speak makes it 7k, I know I’m losing but am drawing to the nuts so stick it in. He had KJhh, so is winning with his top pair, but I still have three aces, three queens and seven hearts, and I find a black ace on the turn to double up. Win first decent pot!
7. Find pocket kings UTG. Raise to 1400, get two callers. Flop AQT, I bet (the blockers!), get a call. Turn T, I check fold to a 3500 bet.
8. Last hand before last break I have TT UTG. I raise to 1500, next to speak calls, cutoff, who has just doubled up the other guy in the pot, makes it 5200. I call with the intention of calling if it’s squeezed all in by UTG2 and the 3bettor folds. He calls though. Flop 983r, we check to the 3bettor, he bets 9400. I have 32k left and give it up. Don’t love how I played that but don’t think I was winning either.
9. Halfway through the final level I raise with A6ss on the blinds of the weakest players at the table. Both call. Flop 988ss, checked to me, I bet 2750, sb calls, bb makes it 6500. I shove for my 25k total, sb dwell passes, bb calls with J8o and holds.
All in all I flopped one set and lost with it, flopped trips twice and lost both times, lost with kings, won one bet with aces and had no other premium hands!
Tough game. If I sat and studied the above hands for too long I think I would end up going mad, such is the frustration of poker sometimes.
Of course there’s the odd mistake (I don’t like how I played the pocket tens late on for example) but in general I just had day of not running very well.
There are two positives to take though. Firstly, I won’t run like that all the time, and it will be far more fun when I run a bit better! And secondly, when I think back to the guys I played with back in the old Grosvenor Luton, before this new one was even built never mind refurbished, not that many are still around. Some have given up poker, either moved on to better things or some sadly to a better place, while others have lost their love for the game.
So the fact I’m looking forward to heading to Edinburgh for the GPS and can’t wait for the next GUKPT, one of the absolute favourites, a week in Blackpool in November and all the fun and games that brings, means I’ve no problem loving the game….I just hope the game shows me some love back soon!