It’s easy to fall out of love with poker, especially when you’re running bad, but sometimes you get involved in hands and circumstances that remind you what a fun game it is.
Even though I got knocked out of GPS Edinburgh late on day 1, my exit hand was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but leave not in my usual ‘woe is me’ strop, but with a smile on my face.
It does help to exit with a smile when you’ve been knocked out by the biggest, scariest bloke at the table, but fellow Geordie Tommy Dunwoodie is one of my favourite people to see at a poker table. He’s always having fun and ordering drinks two at a time, and last week was no different.
We’d been discussing whether it was a sensible financial decision to travel up to Edinburgh. The competition was £440 entry so we needed to be fairly lucrative. but Tommy said he thought of it as a £1700 comp as he expected to have the full four buy–ins!
He was playing every hand, had won big pots with J2 off and Q4 off and was, unsurprisingly, on a roller coaster, with his chip stack peaking and troughing at regular intervals.
I’d been fairly card dead
But maintained my stack around the 25k–35k with some well–timed aggression in position, plus getting the better of Tommy by adjusting my opening and defending ranges accordingly!
I had pocket jacks early on, which lost to 34 suited, and AK once, which won me a pot pre-flop.
With blinds at 400 800 I raised UTG2 with AT suited, and was 3b by a local lady who had been on a card rush since joining our table. Tommy cold called the small blind so I felt priced in to peel, check folding to a c–bet on a KQQ flop.
Next hand I finally found my first premium of the day, two red kings under the gun. I made the same raise, to 1800, and the lady, Tommy and the big blind called.
The flop came 844 with two hearts and I felt if I checked, which I’d done a lot on flops I’d missed, mindful that Tommy might take a stab on that flop.
Sure enough, after the lady checked, Tommy bet from the button 3000 into the 8k–ish pot. As the big blind folded I was thinking about what to do to get the most money in.
I felt like Tommy probably had nothing.
He could of course have a four, in which case I’m losing, but I wasn’t folding this hand and if he had a four so be it. It was far more likely he had either an eight or nothing, so I called and thought I’d decide how to proceed on the turn.
As the other player folded, Tommy shouted to his mate, Mark Lane (the reigning champ of this event as it goes) that he had Mark’s favourite hand.
Mark was sat on the next table with his back to ours, and obviously didn’t know we were in a hand.
“What, J7?” he replied! He then turned round and saw our 844 board and corrected himself. “Pocket fours, you got quads then mate?”
Everyone on our table laughed, but the J7 conversation rang a bell with me.
I’d played with Mark a couple of times before, definitely at the GUKPT Manchester final last year and probably elsewhere too, and J7 being his favourite hand was now ringing a bell!
I was pretty sure he had been genuine when Tommy said he was playing Mark’s favourite hand, and now I was pretty sure Mark had reminded me what it was.
In short, I was sure Tommy had J7!
The 844 board wasn’t much help to J7 so I thought there was little point in raising here, and rather hopefully let Tommy continue bluffing.
The turn was a 10, which gave J7 a gutshot, so if I was right and that was Tommy’s hand, he now had something to bet…his bluff just became a semi–bluff. I had a think….would he just check behind and try and hit a disguised straight rather than get check–raised off his draw? It was unlikely, plus I’d played my hand like I had something like two sevens, possibly AK, which could check–call the flop but may fold to a second barrel.
The turn was a third heart, but with two red kings I wasn’t too scared of flushed.
I checked again and Tommy bet 7000.
With under 20k left I felt like I could get it all–in here and get called by a draw, and if I just got a fold, so be it.
I moved in and Tommy quickly called. I said to him I was pretty sure he did have J7, and he flipped his cards…J7hh for the turned flush!
Of course I was still fairly live, drawing to a heart, a king or a four, but it wasn’t to be, and the big pot went towards my old mate and I went towards the bar!
It’s a tough game when you can’t even win when you know your opponent’s hand, but it’ll come I’m sure of it…hopefully at GUKPT Blackpool starting November 9!