#TeamGrosvenor say Adios Amigos to MPNPT in Madrid
We predicted months ago that a storm was coming, but we weren’t referring to Ciara! Oh no! Over 30 #TeamGrosvenor qualifiers were on their way to take on the Grand Finale MPNPT in Madrid. It was set to be a spectacular ending for the popular tour. Months of planning did not disappoint, as players, partners, bloggers, media crew and staff descended on the Spanish capital to have a fun few days of poker and entertainment.
As always, satellites had been running on grosvenorpoker.com for many months prior to this event. So, in eager anticipation of what was sure to be a big Grande Finale affair, I locked up a qualifier seat in one of the earlier satellites to guarantee my presence at the event. After surprising my Mum at Christmas with the planned trip, she then also managed to bag a cheap satellite seat and qualify too! We were set for our trip and the count down begun!
The run good began early for us, with one spare seat on the plane – smack bang in the middle of us – result! Within a short few hours we had landed and checked into our perfectly situated apartment, just a 3 minute walk from the casino. We set off to explore and settle into our new surroundings. Then after a decent first night’s sleep we were ready to take on day 1a of the main event.
My Mum bossed her way to being our first qualifier through to day 2 with a top ten stack of 113k. Unfortunately I bust after playing a particular hand questionably. However, every cloud has a silver lining and I was able to join the #TeamGrosvenor group at the MPN qualifiers exclusive Players Party in the ‘Bling Bling’ club, next door to the casino. We danced the night away, enjoyed a few drinks, some fun and lots of laughter. It was great to see some old faces and meet new ones too. It’s one of my favourite benefits of being part of #TeamGrosvenor – you know you’ll be having fun and be in great company both on and off the tables, and I really do adore being a social butterfly.
Back at our apartment, at 4am, my Mum disregarded her own tiredness to selflessly go through my game, patching some very clear leaks and giving me some advice. The endless love and support she always offers to me is amazing and I’m so grateful. Having the advantage of coming from a family of poker players, I’d be stupid to not welcome their honest feedback. Sometimes you simply need to be brutal with your own game, rip it apart and listen to constructive criticism in order to turn a corner and progress.
So with this all fresh in my mind I tackled day 1b better, stronger and was much more content with my game. Annoyingly, however, I couldn’t avoid a late cooler to bust again – clearly not the plan! I therefore spent my evening enjoying drinks at the bar with a fab group of females, chatting about everything and anything except poker! It was a unique trip, with so many females having made the journey to play the last ever MPN. We were spoilt for choice with company and I could easily have spent much longer with each individual, especially with the exceptional hospitality of MPN and the #TeamGrosvenor management too. Nothing was ever too much trouble and they worked tirelessly always with a smile on their faces, setting a great tone and atmosphere to all us players.
With one final bullet, I fired into the turbo flight. No break meant playing through the full 2 hours 45 minutes, the structure was perfect. I suffered a total of 4 table moves, which under normal circumstances can be difficult, but in a turbo I always thinks tests you fully. You just don’t have the luxury of time to assess the players and adjust accordingly. Despite an ill timed bluff and then losing a chunky bet by correctly raise folding AK suited, I managed to scrape through to day 2 with a stack of 47k. Again, not ideal, but workable especially considering the now new hour long clock levels.
After a brief lunch break, I sat down again to play, or should I more accurately say “pass”, due to being completely card dead and no spots! Not the plan! It was a welcome relief when my table finally broke, but as I walked to my new table, my Mum was walking towards me, having unfortunately busted after suffering multiple coolers and bad beats decimating her stack and sadly ending her tournament. It wasn’t long before I joined her at the ‘bust out bar’ for a cuppa, after shoving KJ on the button and unable to hold against the Q10 that called my small all in.
I just knew I could do better, so with the wise words of my Mum and a sense of determination, I registered for the evening €220 Madrid Cup tournament, which was about to start. Most of the #TeamGrosvenor qualifiers were attending a special VIP trip to watch Atletico Madrid play football against Granada, but some had opted to stay to play the side event instead. When the others returned, they headed to the bar area just behind where I was sat playing and were in great spirits, reporting back the amazing experience they had had. Another example of exceptional hospitality by Grosvenor and MPN.
I was lucky to have drawn a fun table with decent players, some I already knew and were friends with. There was lots of chat and a bit of ribbing about what conversations would be “making the blog”. A couple of obscure rulings were the subject of friendly debate, as well as the somewhat strange topic of Marmite. I merrily joined in the chit-chat, but remained deceptively focused on the poker being played, keenly observing players and chipping up quite early.
The structure was tough. As we approached the bubble, with an average stack of just 12 big blinds, it really was anyone’s game. At one point I had just 5 big blinds, but knew my spots, ranges and opponents pretty much perfectly to securely navigate my way into the money zone. Once the bubble burst it wasn’t long before we reached the final table, after a bittersweet hand saw me knock out my lovely friend and quality player, Lydia Cugudda, on what was the final table bubble. Showing her class, despite her disappointment, she stayed to rail me along with many other players and friends of mine. By the time we were 4 handed, I was clearly chip leader with more chips than the other 3 players combined. I was feeling good, but knew it wasn’t over yet. After declining a 4 way equal split that had been suggested by the short stack, I knew I needed to force the ICM advantage I firmly held. It started to feel at this stage that it was my tournament to lose. During every hand, the rail edged forward eagerly to see the action. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to turn the camera on them to capture it from my point of view!
Eventually I found myself heads up with another lady, Julianne, with over 2:1 chip lead advantage. From nowhere, my #TeamGrosvenor manager and friend, Tom, appeared with a supportive hug and a well done. It was nearly 6am, so most of the team had long gone since enjoying some earlier evening drinks at the bar after the VIP football match trip. I hadn’t actually realised at the time and couldn’t believe there were so many people still there railing and encouraging me. Even a couple of the bloggers and media staff were there with a supportive hug and a high five! I’ve never know a final table with such a cracking atmosphere at that time of the morning.
To my delight I won the first #TeamGrosvenor trophy of the year. Not only at such a memorable event, but at the perfect time, personally for me after giving my game a grilling. The squeals of delight from the girls, the smiles and the cuddles from all my friends who had stayed there for the duration, despite some of them having their own main event day 3 to play later that day! Luckily for me, my kind friend Suzie Williamson thoughtfully captured it on video, I was so thankful to have that treasured memory to keep. It’s the first time I’ve won a ranked trophy event abroad. I hope to repeat the experience. Perhaps I’ll keep taking my Mum along and maybe it will happen again! That trophy was without doubt because of her.
Managing less than 2 hours sleep, we headed back to the casino for the final day to play and support my good friend, Daiva Byrne, as she hosted the ladies event. Unfortunately I couldn’t repeat my previous victory, after receiving an unavoidable brutal beat which crippled my formerly healthy stack. After busting, I rapidly hit a brick wall of tiredness after all the past 24 hours worth of excitement. I headed off for the first early night of the trip before the journey home.
I’m sad I only managed to play this tour twice in its history. Both London for the 5th anniversary celebrations and now in Madrid for the Grande Finale, were brilliant experiences. There is a shared sadness amongst players. The MPNPT will certainly be missed. Thanks and special mention have to go to so many people for making this event fantastic. Firstly the top Grosvenor Online guys Tom Hudson, Kit Goodman-Edwards for always hosting the qualifiers and their guests so well, entertaining and engaging everyone always. To the MPN team that I finally got to meet and who welcomed me so warmly to Madrid: Alex Scott, Richard Cunningham, Clodagh Hansen. From gifting me and my Mum a special rucksack each full of special memorabilia, to going above and beyond the call of duty to help satisfy guests in side events. It was a pleasure to meet you all and I wish you well with the next chapter in your future careers. Blogging, photographing and recording seemingly so effortlessly were the fab media team of Mad Harper, Jen Mason, Dana Immanuel, Rod Stirzaker, and Mark Spurr. You guys never stopped working or smiling, and even stayed late to take photos of my final table and wish me luck, thank you. For anyone I have missed naming and/or didn’t meet, I apologise, but I thank you now for putting together a great Grande Finale – one that won’t be forgotten.
Even the disrupted and delayed flights home the following day, couldn’t take the shine off this trip for me. It appeared many of my fellow Brits and #TeamGrosvenor qualifiers felt the same too. Countless messages were flooding across various WhatsApp groups, all with the same sense of gratitude and appreciation for what had been an amazing trip. The sense of team spirit was faultless all weekend, something #TeamGrosvenor is renowned for each trip. From simply providing paracetamol, patches or plasters for poorly feet (thank you Paul!), to queuing for registration friends running late or safely accompanying me home after my win (thank you Suzie, Lydia, Kevin and Gary), everyone looked out for each other constantly. From start to finish everyone had a blast for sure.
There’s something unique about playing poker abroad having qualified as part of a team. A real sense of solidarity. Players become friends. The bond seems stronger. Support is genuine. The atmosphere is constantly buzzing, and everyone is smiling continually. Holiday mode is switched on for sure. Bad beats are forgotten almost as quickly as the beer flows! It’s because of all of this, that I can’t wait to be part of #TeamGrosvenor again in the summer at the WSOP in Vegas.
Yes that’s right, #TeamGrosvenor are taking on Vegas again this year, it’s officially confirmed! Online satellites will start on grosvenorpoker.com on Sunday 15th March, with the first package super satellite on Sunday 22nd March. The annual voyage has proved popular in previous years. With the exclusive VIP experiences and #TeamGrosvenor treats featuring strongly in the desirable trip of a lifetime. Our vision is clear in 2020. We want this to be our most successful Vegas year ever, as we play in the Mini Main WSOP event at the end of June. There are a huge 20 packages guaranteed, so register, play and win your way online to secure your place as part of #TeamGrosvenor at WSOP Vegas. Satellites step stages start from just 25p and run daily. Full details on how to qualify here: https://www.grosvenorcasinos.com/road-to-vegas
I’m excited to follow the satellites and find out who will be coming to Vegas in the summer. I will track progress and publish confirmed qualifiers across my social media pages, so please follow me for regular updates.
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