The Palm Beach Big Game

8 Jun

It’s been a fun 7 days!  After some early weeks shopping and some girlie pampering we were ready to get on a plane to Barcelona on Thursday to celebrate my friend’s 25th birthday.

I have never been to this part of Spain before and was looking forward to exploring this urban city with the girls. We were lucky to get a hotel with the most stunning view over the terrace and have a lovely start to our holiday.

Anyhow, after a few sunny days abroad, heaps of delicious tapas and countless jugs of Sangria, I was looking forward to heading back to London on Monday afternoon to play the Big Game at the Palm Beach casino.

A few days break from poker left my mind agile and desire to win as strong as ever.

This month the £1,000 freezout attracted a total of 65 runners, including a former Irish Open champion- James Mitchell, World Heads Poker Championship winner Nik Persaud and footballer turned poker player Teddy Sheringham, who was seated at my starting table.

I haven’t played Teddy before, but he came across as a good solid poker player as well as a nice friendly guy.

I was happy with my seat draw as there were a few familiar faces on my table and it was much easier for me to settle in and start playing having formed previous opinions about certain players I’d pitted my wits against down at the Palm Beach.

I didn’t get or made many hands in the first 3 levels or so and have formed a pretty tight table image until the following hand occurred:

Blinds 400/200

UTG2 and UTG3 players limp and the action is on me, seated on the button. UTG2 has been pretty active so far but he hasn’t been limping in a lot, whereas UTG3 was a new player to the table with a shortish stack.

I decided even without looking at my cards that this was a perfect spot for me to make a move. I made it 1,850 to go. I wasn’t worried about any of the blinds, as they were pretty decent players and I knew they are going to give me respect.

As expected, big blind and small blind both folded without much hesitation, whereas UTG3 followed the suit.  I received a smooth call from UTG 2 player only.  The flop brought K 5 9 of clubs and after not much hesitation he checked to me. I wasn’t very concerned about his call and his quick check after flop just reinforced my read that he wasn’t holding much in his hand.

I looked at my cards for the first time – K 3 of hearts. There were 4,700 chips in the pot and I had 6,500 behind. I decided my best move was to shove all- in to pick up the pot immediately or get paid if he was on a draw. So I pushed and he rather quickly folded. I was happy to get the bet through without resistance and avoid an annoying early outdraw.

Daiva Barauskaite

Daiva & Praz Bansi

A few rounds later the blinds have gone up to 600/300 and I was still going strong. I called an all in bet from a shortie for 10bb with my pocket 4’s and won a pot when his A10 failed to improve. I also managed to knock another player out with A10 v A7 just before our table was broken down.

The new table was fun, it had a couple of regulars, a solid player – Daniel Lackner seated to my right and one super gregarious guy, who made sure that all the poker room knew about his bad beat earlier on.

It was an interesting yet unfortunate hand where he lost with QQ v AK & JJ. He hit a set on a flop but the other guy (Louis Salter who came 3rd in the end) rivered a flush ( and the straight for good measure) with his AK to scoop the massive pot!

I wasn’t running well on my new table – didn’t get any premium hands or connected with any flops, so with my stack just below average I was looking for spots where I could either go all in on an unopened pot or 3-bet someone’s raise with a reasonable hand.

Luckily I didn’t get involved in any showdowns and yet managed to increase my stack just a little above the average before I was moved to a new table.

With 20 players left and 9 places paid, my strategy was to be aggressive and avoid bubbling once again! I was looking to building a reasonable stack for the final table or if failing to- busting out before money.

I took my time to evaluate the players on the table and to identify who was there for the win and who was just playing tight and trying to sneak into cashes. Hence as you can imagine I was 3-betting a lot and putting the right people under pressure.

My strategy seemed to have worked when I finally managed to receive a premium hand and double up with it.  I looked down to find AQ off suit on the big blind and just to see everyone fold up to small blind, who considering my aggressive style decided just to shove all of his 100k stack when stealing to avoid a re-raise.  I snap called and my AQ stood up against his K7.

After this hand I was in good shape-above average and with 13 players left, I felt that I was finally going to do well at the business end of this tournament!J .

Once we got to the final table things seemed to have started going my way. I was getting the right cards in the right spots and took a few of people out with AK v AJ,  AK v K7 and KK v AJ.

Then we were down to 7 and it was the longest 7 handed ever! It probably lasted more than 2 hours with 3 short stacks constantly doubling back up. One short stack even managed to come back from a half big blind with 9 players left and to finish in 4th!

Although it was 4.30am in the morning I had to keep my focus on in order to not to miss any opportunities to keep on building my stack and to try and knock the shorties out!

One of the toughest parts of this tourney was when playing 3 handed. I have not only had two very strong players on the table but was a short stack too.

It was obvious their strategy was to put lots of pressure on whilst stealing every blind of mine and the constant threat of 3-bettting my raises on the button.  At no point in the first 30 minutes did one of them not open raise.

I was not going to let this happen for long and very soon adjusted my play in order to fight back. I was 3betting & shoving  in places with any reasonable 2 and was lucky to find AQ when Louis Salter called my all in with A10.

It crippled him down to 100k and the very next hand he shoved all in with 7,9 and was called by Chris on the big blind with 44. Chris hit a set and it was game over for Louis in a respectable 3rd place.

Heads up battle didn’t last very long. I had 240k in chips at that point whereas Chris had 410k and with the blind being 16,000/8,000 there was no time to sit back. Chris was shoving every hand and was trying to grind my chip stack even to a lower level.

So once I found a pair in my hand (2,2) I was happy to re-shove his inevitable open raise and get all the money in hoping for a race if he called. Unfortunately he found 5,5 and hit a set to claim a victory.

A decent night/and mornings work:)

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