Manchester Megastack experience so far…

27 May

The Manchester Megastack £200 + £20 tourney has proved to be a big hit with the pros and recreational poker players alike; attracting a field of 157 runners for the first tournament in April and 167 in May respectively.

Big names who made their way to the Mint casino in Salford included Dave Colclough, Paul Jackson, Marc Goodwin and Jon Kalmar. There was even a sprinkling of celebrity, with Coronation Street villain John Stape (actor Graeme Hawley) playing the tournament. He nearly made day 2, but busted late on the Saturday.

Mint Casino Salford

It was nice for me to have an opportunity to interact with not only a few familiar faces from Stoke and Manchester but to be able to meet new players from all over the UK.

I even ended up having a lovely meal in the casino restaurant ( I know! but it was actually pretty tasty!) and sharing funny Vegas stories with northern poker veteran Andy Bradshaw , one of the IPE Megastack event organiser’s Alistair Findlay and a couple of dealers – good fun preparation! I was hoping for similar banter when I sat down to play.

On both occasions there was a really nice atmosphere in the casino- all the players were really chatty and friendly and all the staff members seemed to make an effort to create a positive poker experience at the tables as well as casino in general.

The good structure in place and 20k starting stack assured that there was going to be some proper poker involved, alas I still managed to bubble in both eventsL 18th/157 and 18th/167.

I really feel that I played well to get through to day 2 both times as I didn’t really get involved in many showdowns or races and the majority of my chips were accumulated whilst playing my post flop game.  The fact that I was being moved tables at least 4 times on day 1 didn’t help either. It is much more difficult to make moves with not much when you don’t know what kind of players you are up against.

Because of this I was forced to focus on playing position and to look for opportunities to take down  uncontested pots when going through dry spells.  Towards the last couple of levels of day 1 I was fortunate enough to find a few premium hands and get some action with them- helping to keep me in decent fettle for the Sunday.

Going into day 2 I was a little above average in chips, hence I didn’t need to take any immediate gambles or play too aggressive. My strategy was to be patient; to get to know the players on my table and build on my tight image, whilst waiting for the right opportunities to play solid-aggressive poker and start making a few plays.

The biggest challenge or the toughest part of the tournament for me so far has been approaching the bubble. For some reason I always seem to be going card dead at this crucial stage of the game and end up running into a better hand when trying to steal the blinds or just making a move.

The end game is so important in terms of making the final table and you really need to keep on accumulating chips regardless of the cards, in order to keep up with increasing blinds and to be able to put some pressure on medium stacks and not let yourself drop below the red zone.( ie- my stack to blind ratio) This is really tough to achieve with no hands at all though.

In April’s tournament, I ended 3-betting all in with 10,10 – losing versus A4 when a player rivered an Ace, and last month’s game ended for me when I shoved all in on the cut-off  ( short-stacked) with KQ and got called by A9. No help on the board for me and I was out in 18th again.

Steve Warburton took down last month’s event and  as a result not only won the £11k first prize but also a fabulous $5,000 Las Vegas Package and £1,000 Palm Beach Big Game seat; great value from Genting. Yet another reason this tournament is attractive.

Well done to Steve, I look forward to pitting my wits against him next month!

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