Superstitions. They’re a load of old nonsense really aren’t they? I think so, though I had my fingers crossed as I said that so it doesn’t count.
After the first break of day two of the UKIPT Newcastle, I’d gone from table chip leader to short stack, having won one pot (despite countless attempts), and that being a squeeze preflop which got through.
So when I returned to my seat determined to spin up my last 12 big blinds, a shiny gold coin under my seat felt like a sign.
“Find a penny, pick it up, then all day you’ll have good luck,” I could hear my old Nan saying. This was my chance
I scrambled under the table, trying to hide my desperation, and found my lucky penny. I placed it atop my cards and found K-Q in late position.
A guy who’d been in a load of hands, and had proved his mad skillz by accidentally confusing his 5k chips with his 500s and winning a significant pot that had the whole table scratching their collective head, raised it up and I felt this was my time.
I shoved, he called and showed my Q-T offsuit.
Oh baby, here was the beginning of my bounceback, I grabbed my lucky penny in anticipation
The flop rolled off 8-9-J to give him the nuts. The turn was a three, and I’m not sure what the river was because I was halfway out of the casino, despite stopping to pitch my ‘lucky’ penny across the restaurant, where presumably some other sucker will find it and the process will start again.
To be fair I’ve never believed in superstitions, but I did break my collarbone doing the long jump at school on Friday the 13th the day after my dad threw out my lucky horse shoe, so you can’t blame me for trying.
It had all started so differently in my home UKIPT, my first event since signing a new deal with Grosvenor Poker as their sponsored pro. Despite a break for the summer, I’d started off playing and running really well, flopping sets, playing back at the over active players and running up a decent stack.
In fact, had I not had a good young Dutch player one to my left keeping me in check like a man-to-man marker, I would have won the world on day one. He three and four-bet me countless times, but one hand of interest nearly cost me the lot.
The Dutch guy had a similar stack to me, around 40k at 300-600, having doubled up against another young kid, kings v A-K.
I’d watched that hand intently, with it taking six bets pre for the chips to get in the middle. This was the only time he’d shown down a strong hand, and it was obvious from the amount of times he was playing back at me he was doing so lightly, so I decided I had to take a stand, if only to get some of my future raises through without him coming over the top.
In the hijack I found A-9 and raised it up, and as my Dutch nemesis dwelled, I thought about how I would respond to a re-raise.
I wanted to be strong not weak, and could hear Moorman telling me ‘you’ve got an ace mate, there’s only four of them in the deck, he can’t have much’
I made my mind up that I’d four-bet him, and if he played back again, the whole lot was going in, see how he liked them apples!
I’d made it 1400, he’d three-bet to 2500 and I’d made it 5600. He dwelled and made it 9800 and I was ready with the pile, but something didn’t feel right.
He’d acted exactly like he had with the kings earlier. Not just his bet size, as most people make them the same, but he put his chips in and looked exactly the same.
There was something not right. At the same time, I was overthinking things, and decided I probably had lost my bottle to pull the trigger and get 70bb in with just A-9.
I thought for two minutes and couldn’t decide whether I’d picked something up or I’d bottled it, but either way, I pitched my hand into the muck and got back to work, finishing the day on 55k.
As we bagged up I asked the Dutch kid about the hand, and he said he thought I was going to go for it that time. I told him I almost did but something felt not right and I changed my plan at the last moment.
I asked what he had, he said he couldn’t tell me, smiling
As we said well played he turned to leave and knocked my beer over. He was really apologetic and insisted on getting another, but I said it was fine, an accident, and I was only having one before leaving to meet friends. Rather than get me a beer though, he could tell me that hand.
“So sick,” he said. “You’re exactly right, kings again, what did I do?”
I was honest with him, I thought he looked overly strong and played it different to some of the other times he’d raised me, but at the same time I might well just have bottled putting my chips in.
He explained he’d an online player and aware that he might have live tells, but I assured him he played great and not to worry.
The day two disaster didn’t stop me turning up for the £200 PLO, but with only one table at the start and blinds slashed into a turbo structure, it wasn’t worth my while, especially when I was first out.
It was only five or six years ago you’d struggle to name more than me and Carlo Citrone as Newcastle poker players, but this week the place was buzzing with poker.
There’s so many excellent young online Geordies now who play really well, and there’s still the old boys who love it when the big boys come to town.
The festival was a success, but despite a great day one, my week wasn’t
The good news is September is full of big events in the UK and I feel like I’m playing great. Unless I walk under any ladders in the meantime, I feel a big score is on its way.