Playing for a £1million prizepool is always something that whets the appetite of any poker player, so the addition of the Sky UKPC to the poker calendar has been most welcome.
Of course I play every GUKPT and love the UKs oldest and best poker tour, but I’m a great believer in the market being big enough for all of us, and support all the UK tours where I can.
Each is a little different, and take some adjustment, but it seems I’m not great at adjusting to the DTD way of doing things. One thing I’m sure of, the home players definitely have an advantage, playing this style regularly.
I’m no expert on tournament structures but the DTD innovations, 50k starting chips, blinds starting at 100 200 with a 25 ante, seem to make the punters antsy to get their stacks in the middle.
With no research of study done, it’s hard to know why this seems to be the case, or whether it even is, but it certainly feels like a quicker structure. Blinds are only 45 minutes long on day one as well, although maybe it’s better to play more levels on the starting day, given that you never make the money until day two, and anything that reduces expenses and overheads must be worthwhile.
My personal theory is that having lots of bigger denomination chips encourages people to make bigger bets. If you started with 50k in 100 chips, I’m sure pots would be physically bigger, with the number of individual chips in them, but numerically smaller.
If nothing else, having antes from the start does seem to encourage everyone to get there on time. Having half a table of empty seats is no fun for anyone, so that’s one positive, but because of the minimum chip, and therefore first ante, being 25, blinds have to start at 100 200 and the starting stack has to be 50k.
It may be that I’m just more used to playing 15/20/25k starting stacks with opening blinds of 25 50, but I just don’t enjoy the DTD structure as much.
Of course it may also be born of run bad.
I didn’t get much going early on in the UKPC. I made a big fold which I think was correct in hindsight, which is always nice.
I called a button raise from the big blind with the Toby Lewis (810ofclubs). The small blind was also in, and the three of us saw an eight high, two club flop.
We checked in flow, but the button, who had been quite aggro (and who I was looking forward to check raising on that flop) checked behind.
The turn was another under card, so the board read 8532 with two clubs.
I led out for two thirds of the pot. I felt like I should bet, for value, for protection, to build a pot if I made the flush, any number of reasons!
The button called, which I was a bit surprised about. I thought maybe he’d checked two overs on the flop and would be giving up. The small blind then over called, making this a bit of a confusing situation. I was hoping just to improve on the river to make life easier, but it wasn’t to be, an off suit jack falling.
I didn’t see much point in betting, and thought I could probably call a bet if anyone tried to nick it.
The small blind, who I presumed had some kind of straight draw that bricked, quickly checked, and I checked behind, hoping to just get a showdown.
The button now had a think before putting together a big bet, something like 3800 into 5000.
I couldn’t work out what he had, but I didn’t think it was a bluff. Maybe he’d checked behind ace high on the flop and hit a gutter on the turn with A4?
Who knows, I just felt like folding was prudent, so that’s what I did. I hope my opponent reads this and puts me out of my misery!
Just when I needed a little rub of the green, I didn’t get it.
I felt I was playing well, the above hand felt right, and I also managed to find a 4bet preflop when a younger guy 3b the big blind.
I felt like I’d fumbled in my chips and looked weak, and even though I was, that wasn’t why, I’d just not picked them up right. So when he 3b I felt like that’s a good move, I’d have read me as weak and done that, so I 4bet him and he passed quickly.
Two hands later I picked up aces and hoped to get 3bet again, but it didn’t happen, I just picked up the blinds, and it felt like if I was running well, my good play with nothing would be rewarded by someone picking up half a hand and thinking ‘he can’t always have it’, but no.
As if to confirm my run bad, soon after the dinner break, I shoved my 15bb over the top of an UTG raise with pocket kings.
The raiser called for half his stack with AQ of hearts, and managed to find a heart on the flop, one on the turn and a third on the river to send me packing.
Packing is something you get used to as a poker player, and next up is a trip to Manchester for the GUKPT. There’ll be familiar faces, a familiar cardroom, a familiar structure and hopefully a familiar feeling, given I chopped this one for £40k 18 months ago.
There’s been overlay here in past years, value is guaranteed whether it’s in the form of overlay or the number of less experienced players who get in through the extra satellites this year. I can’t wait!
Photo credits – Sky Poker