Having suffered a day-one exit at the year’s first UKIPT at DTD in February, I was determined to put on a better show at the Manchester leg.
I’d seen all sorts of play in Nottingham, the odd really good player, but an awful lot of really odd players. People folding out of turn, mucking when checking was free, checking behind with the nuts, there’s certainly plenty of value about in these tournaments.
Eventually I’d run into a good player, Sam Razavi, fresh from his Aussie Millions final table, though quite how else we could play my A-K v his aces on an A-K-x-A-x board I don’t know!
So on to Manchester, where I pure bubbled last year, getting it all-in pre-flop with aces against 4-5 off-suit, bicycle time.
My starting table had a lot of players I’d never seen before, even though they were all Brits and Irish. Two of them looked really likely to do their 15k starting stacks very quickly given their early plays and showdowns, so I tried to target them before they went bust.
Both were out within 90 minutes of the start, but I felt a bit hard done by not to get as many gifts as I wanted.
I played one bizarre hand with one of these guys
He just called an early position raise, and I three-bet in position with A-K. The original raiser folded but this guy, as he had done an awful lot, called.
The flop came K-9-6 rainbow, and he check-called a bet of 600. The turn was another lovely king, and he checked again.
I bet 1600, and he fumbled in 2500, then said raise. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but the dealer said it had to be 3200 if he wanted to raise so I quickly got the other 1600 in there before a floor was called after his string bet/underraise came under too much scrutiny!
The river came an off-suit deuce and he now bet 2000!
I felt pretty sure he hadn’t flopped a set, and he was more likely to have a worse king, so I raised to 7000 and he dwelled a bit and called.
I was sure I must be best and victory slammed the A-K….he turned over the same hand! Safe to say at least I think I played mine better.
I did manage to bust him a little later though, once he’d called his way down to 7000 he raised with J-9 and we got it in on the turn of a 9-8-6-7 board, my 9-7 holding.
I hung round picking up small pots until I hit two big flops in a row from the blinds to send me up towards the chip leaders.
From the big blind I flopped a pair with 4-5 suited which improved to two pair on the turn and a house by the river, taking a nice 20k pot.
Then in the small blind, at the 300-600 level, a tight player made it 1300 UTG+1, and everyone passed to me in the small blind, where I had 9-T of hearts. I called the 1000, and the big blind looked at my 1300, asked how much to him, and put in the 700.
Because of the seats – the raiser was seat two, and myself and the big blind were nine and 10 – I got the feeling from the pre-flop action that the big blind thought I was raising and there was just the two of us in the pot.
I flopped huge, K-J-3 all hearts, and checked it
The big blind bet out 1700, and seat two, to the big blind’s obviously surprise, moved all-in for close to 20k.
I moved in to fold out any ace or queen of hearts the bb might have, and seat two’s K-Q of diamonds was all but dead – he did have some running fh possibilities, but even then they couldn’t include the queen of hearts, which would give me a straight flush.
Either way, he was dead on the blank turn, and as he wished us well, seat 10 confirmed he didn’t see the raise the other side of the dealer and thought it was just the two of us.
I’d had very few big hands – aces once when I picked up the blinds, kings when I three-bet and the raiser folded, and no sets – but I’d hit some big flops and run up a great stack, ending the day 700 chips shy of 90k.
I started day two quickly, but then made a bad play
I’d seen an older guy play one hand in 45 minutes, when he’d made a big raise pre to take a pot.
Now it’s passed to him on the button and he just over doubles my big blind. I defend with 9-7 suited and when it comes A-8-7 I call his bet, although I was suspicious about his bet sizing, betting less than his (small) preflop raise on the flop.
I hit a third seven on the turn and was briefly loving life. I checked the turn with the intention of raising but he checked behind, and I was hoping he had a big ace, A-K, A-Q, when I bet 8000 on the river.
After a bit of thought, the button said those words I didn’t really want to hear, “raise….with 20 more” and I called pretty quickly.
I think I should have considered the hand more here and found a discliplined fold
His hand looked like aces full, and when I called, that was confirmed.
However, I set about rebuilding, and flopped my first set of the tournament calling a raise with 2-2 and loving the A-A-2 flop. The big blind checked, the preflop raiser did likewise and I decided to give them a free card and let them catch up a bit.
That tactic worked perfectly, with me betting the 3 turn after two checks and the big blind moving in drawing dead with a turned straight, 4-5.
That table broke as we approached the bubble, where I saw some more of the bonkers play described earlier. We had one girl with a lot of chips on the table, and as hand for hand started I expected her to abuse the bubble.
She button raised against a shortish stack (60k at 2k-4k) and eventually found a call with A-T when he moved in. The all-in guy showed A-J and with lots of media and players watching with baited breath, found a safe board to double up.
Four or five hands later, UTG+1 raises to 11.5k and eventually folds A-K face up, being shown two queens for his trouble.
The 7-8-9 flop was a dream though, and when I checked, the raiser just shoved
I found a call, and was a bit disappointed he was so live, showing A-J of hearts for straight and flush draws. An eight on the turn put pay to any funny business though.
Soon afterwards day two drew to a close (for some reason). Having played 10 levels on day one starting at noon, we’d played just over six levels on day two starting at 3pm, and stopped with 54 left. We were then to come back to play to a final at noon the next day. Not really a set up I liked.
We started day three with a questionnaire from the sponsors, asking all sorts of nonsense questions. I was sat next to my mate Dan Owston, and I thought about copying his answers, but when I read the ‘most interesting thing about him’ was that he’d had his arms sewn back on after surviving a shark attack, I felt perhaps he wasn’t taking it too seriously.
Higher up on the sheet he’s also put his ‘favourite poker player’ as Jeff Kimber, so he obviously was taking it seriously then got bored.
Dan is very protective of his blinds, so I knew we might have some big clashes.
First lap we were in the blinds, it was passed to me in the small
I made it 18k at 3k-6k, and was prepared to call the rest of my 150k stack with K-Q offsuit….Dan eventually passed after a bit of a speech and I showed him my cards and said I’m only playing what I’m dealt.
Next lap it’s passed to my sb again, and I raise to 18k again. Dan shipped his 140k in and I found a call with my two aces. Dan’s K-5 suited was drawing dead on the turn and I had a well over average stack again.
With my newly acquired riches I played a little more aggro and picked up one or two nice pots, and eventually moved to a new table with 360k, with the average around 200.
There seems to be less play in UKIPTs than GUKPTs, I can’t really put my finger on why
The antes come in later, which doesn’t help, as bigger antes force short stacks to move quicker, and leave the average stacks at playable levels.
I’m not sure if they also miss some levels out due to the masses of runners, but something seems to affect the structure, and with about 35 players left, the average stack was under 30bb.
I knew building and maintain a big stack was imperative to a run to the final, and ultimately I came up short, finishing in 30th.
I lost a 250k pot with A9 v QT, making a good call against a German guy’s big blind shove, having seen him do similar to Dan on day two with A7o, when he got there against two queens. Indeed he got there again against me, and sent me down to average, about 220k.
A couple of raise-folds later, I was on about 175k when a new player, who had raise-folded the previous hand, opened UTG on my bb, and the manic German shoved again. I found two jacks and decided to go with it….on another day the UTG raiser will fold and the all-in guy will have an underpair – on this occasion though they had aces and AK and I came third.
I’m convinced playing these events, with the combination of random bad players and a crapshooty structure, means running up a stack is essential
So I’ll continue to take flips and play aggro in the upcoming UKIPTs, especially with £75,000 and more up top due to the huge number of runners.