£100 Monthly Freezeout – Stoke, Nov 2010

11 Dec

Six days later and I was heading north to play in a monthly £100 No-Limit Hold ’em Freezeout event held in the Circus Casino in Stoke.
Although I arrived at the venue 1.5 hour before the game was due to start, I was nicely surprised to find myself in a bustling casino with a Sunday Roast buffet running and a good number of diners chit chatting over their meals. It was a good opportunity for me to interact with the locals and to get to know more about the game as well as the players.

stoke casino

Apparently this tournament has been running for over 3 years and is attracting up to 150 poker players every month. The majority of tourney participants are loyal regulars, however from my experience I can tell that the new players are very welcome too 🙂

This time there were around 120 runners. With everyone seated at the tables and a 10k starting stack placed in front of each player, we were ready to begin.

Although there were no familiar faces on my starting table, I felt at ease and was going to play some solid poker at first whilst observing the fellow players.

My first proper hand I got involved with was a pocket 10s. I opened early position x 3 to 300 and got 2 callers including BB. The flop comes 7,Q,5 with two clubs. BB checks and I C-bet just over half the pot to find out where I am at. The late position caller gets out of the way, however the BB just smooth calls. The turn brings a 2 of clubs. The BB quickly bets out 1,200 in to a 2,050 pot…hmmmm. Surely the 2 could not have helped him, however it is very likely that villain is on a flush draw with an A or K of clubs in his hand or slow playing a queen.
I elect just to call and re-evaluate my hand on the river. The next card comes a blank 9 and a villain automaticaly bets out 1,200 again. Interesting… I didnt know much about the player and it was only the second level of the game, so I decided to play coutiously and just fold. I had a feeling he hit a Q on a flop and was trying to extract more chips out fo me.

One hand played and my 10k starting stack is down to 7.5k:(

Not long after I managed to pinch the blinds with Q 10 off and then to steal another pot with 8 9 suited when c – betting on a co-ordinated flop in order to get back some of my lost chips.

I am up to 9k and sitting on the button when I look down to find 99 in my hand. With one mid position limper and a raise to 1,600 from a cut off, I quickly push remaining of my stack in the middle. No-one wants to play and I collect my biggest pot of the day.

Then I was dealt A J and I open raised x 2.5 to 1000 in mid position. The button, with a smallish stack of around 8k, just smooth calls and so does the BB.
The flop brings 7c,Ac,Qd. It is a good board for me and I am ready to lead out, however to my surprise BB takes the initiative and fires around half the pot. This puts me in a tough spot as so far, the girl in a BB has been playing pretty passive and tight and I doubt she called my initial raise light, plus there is a short stack to act after me. All of a sudden my AJ does not look that strong anymore. However with such good odds and a top pair on board it would be silly to not just call and re-valuate on the turn.

So I call, and the short stack tags along. The turn brings a bad card for me – 8c – which completes the flush draw. Check, check, check and we get to see the river card, which is another Q. BB checks, and I elect to check too as I am not sure I have the best hand here, however the button quickly moves all in for the rest of his stack. So I am getting a little more than 2:1 on a call, however if I call and lose, it is really going to damage my stack and perhaps cost me the game.
I decided to fold, based on the fact that I couldnt think of many hands I was beating and the tell that the guy looked super relaxed considering his tournament life was at stake. I was just going to look for a better spot to put my chips in.

Few hands later and with the blinds going up to 400/800 a very similar scenario as before occurs. The agressive guy on the button open raises to 2,400 leaving me with no other option but to shove over the top with AK and pray he is going to interpret it as a steal this time and call. No such luck however second time on a trot I sucessfully collect a nice pot and increased my stack to 14k.

Another couple of rounds passed by without any joy as I kept on mucking my junk cards and looking for another re-steal opportunity which never came.

I came back after the break with an intention to double up as my stack had slipped to 12 BB and to around half the average.

First hand in and I find myself in a very familiar spot once again. The cut off guy makes another open raise to 3,200 and I peek at my cards to find A J. Considering my stack size and my evolving agressive image, I had no alternative option but to jam. Firstly the guy first went into the tank and then started giving me a speech about me bullying him and finally called my all in bet. He flips over AJ and after an unharmful board we split the pot.

The table was getting really busy. There was an open raise nearly every hand and players were rightly jamming wide and numbers dropping quickly. I knew I had to get it in a great deal wider than average starting hands a few times from all spots in order to increase my stack and survive.

A few hands later and I found myself to be presented with a perfect spot for this. With K J on the button and with no prior limps or opens,without the slighest hesitation, I announce all -in!
SB mucks his cards instantly, whereas the new player on a table – BB – starts questioning me…
Although my lips are sealed for the next minute or so, the guy decides to call with his A 5 and wins the pot when my K J fails to improve.

All in all it was a good experience for me. I got to explore a new casino, to meet some nice people and chat to familiar faces whilst having an opportunity to practice my live poker skills.

The Big Game at the Palm Beach Casino in London next and hopefully more hands for me:)

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