we had 3 players representing the TPL in this fantastic tourney at the very impressive Dusk til Dawn venue just outside Nottingham town center. We all met in Manchester at 9.30am but didn’t finally set off until around 10.10 for our 2 hour journey for cards in the air at 12 noon. apart from my sat nav sending us down a dead end we didn’t really get held up on the way but we still arrived half an hour late but all 3 players quickly found the table & seat. After i had found the bar i found our 3 boys all on different tables within the 266 runners.
I went for the stelth look and tried to blend in with all the poker wannabe’s so i could get my camera out and get a few snaps of the guys in action, but the managment frowned upon this so i had to just snap a few quickies before a doorman pounced on me telling me he would insert my camera into a part of my body that i didn’t really want to take photo’s of!! well not after a curry anyway!!
With 15,000 chips to start with the 1st level was 25 / 50 and all levels were 1 hour long so plenty of time for sitting back & taking it all in. not for our March final winner Stu Magrath! no nerves or being bowled over by the occasion what so ever! raising pre flop, Stu gets 1 caller & the flop comes, 7 A 2 Stu bets out and his opponent takes a few moments then makes the call. another 7 on the turn sees Stu check & the other guy spots this as weakness and bets out, Stu then raises him, makes the guy fold, scoops in the pot and shows his QQ! check / raising an Ace high board with QQ…. NICE!!!
apart from losing a good few chips in a pot where his big blind of Q4 hadn’t been raised for once, so checking the flop of A 4 4 there was some action on the turn & river with Badger calling the river bet from the small blind only to see him holding K4! But still his very lay back look had the table struggling to get any sort of read from him. Badger soon got to grips with the event though and didn’t let the occasion get the better of him as i watched from the rail he slowly got the chips back that his Q4 had lost him.
Our Feb. Champ, and in my opinion “Mr Poker Face” Graham Richardson seemed well up for this, as i asked the question to all 3 players on the journey down, “on the first hand there’s an all in & a call, you look down at AA what do you do?” Badger wasn’t sure, Stu said “i think i’d call” Graham said “there would be smoke & skid marks on the table my chips would be in that fast!” Graham took the 1st level to try and sort out the players at the table and soon found 2 or 3 he could pick on with that wicked poker stare he has and kept his chip stack just above the average.
the end of level 2 (50 / 100) came round and this was the first chance i could get all 3 of the guys together and get there thoughts & stories of the event. all 3 seemed to be enjoying it big time and Badger was impressed with the play of PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth who was sat on his table. Jude was to leave during level 3 after losing about a 3rd of his stack raising As 8s pre flop and seeing the big blind make the call, the flop comes down with Qs Js Ks and the BB checks.. Jude with the nut flush bets out and after a bit of Hollywood the BB calls. 2h on the turn sees the same pattern of check, bet from Jude, Hollywood…. call. the river comes 7d and this time after the check Jude bets big style, the guy in the BB says “well your pretty much putting me in so i might as well put them all in” Jude insta-calls only to see his nut flush battered by 9s 10s his opponent was holding.
level 3 started with the blinds at 75 / 150 and Stu seemed to be playing every hand and for the 2nd time in the day this photo shows him all in against AK. there was a pre flop raise and from the BB Stu calls with A4, the flop comes A Q 4 and Stu checks, his opponent bets out and he moves all in, after some time in the tank he finally gets the call but the Jack on the turn gives the other guy a lot more outs but the 4 on the river fills Stu up and he’s back to about 12,000 chips.
After 4 hours of play we reach the half way point and all 3 are still in with a shout of making it to day 2 if they can last another 4 hours. there’s 220 runners left from the 266 that started and the average chip stack is 17,500. we have Graham on 17,700, Stu with 10,500 & Badger on 11,500.
Level 5 gets underway with 150 / 300 blinds and after a short time into this level we have a man down when Stu raises his AK to 1,400, he gets re-raised to 2,800 and when both the blinds muck Stu decides to shove his 10k+ pre flop. the re-raiser holding AQ calls and hits the queen on the turn after an ace high flop sending Stu to the rail. or in his case and to everyone else’s misfortune Stu hit the bar, i mean if it was a nice drink they wouldn’t call it Sambuca!
Level 6 comes round with a repeat of the 150 / 300 blinds but now with a 25 ante off each player. Badger has had a bit of bad luck with a few small pots being out-kicked & the other guy rivering 2 pair, the worst being a short stack moving all in for about 5,300 into Badger’s BB when he has pocket Queens, he calls to find he’s up against KK and they stand up. But i really felt for the guy when he called a raise with 10 10 and checked the flop of 4 10 7, the other guy bet about half of Badgers stack so he moved all in. he gets insta-called by AA and he missed the turn but hit the Ace on the river! gutted for the man who looked so cool & in control all day.
It’s now about 8pm and day 1a will finish at the end of level 8 (300 / 600 75 ante) and Graham just has to hang on till 8.45pm when everyone left will come back with the chips they have left. Graham had took a pretty bad hit in the last level when he raised up to 2,600 with AA after the table chip leader had limped in. the small blind folded but the big blind put in the extra 2,200 as did the limper, flop comes a rainbow 9 10 J and they both check to Graham, he bets hard with a pot size bet of about 7,400, after a bit of Hollywood-ing they both call to see a queen hit the turn! at this point the big blind leads out with about 6,000 & the monster chip leader moves all in, Graham looks down at his 13k+ stack and knowing his bullets have been busted he mucks them, to make it worse the big blind folds leaving the chip leader scooping the pot without showing. Graham now goes card dead until he finds A 10 in the big blind, he pushes pre flop with 9,200 and the 2 limpers get out of the way leaving the small blind the only one left to call, after a long time he calls with 88 and the first card out is an 8 even though an ace came on the flop it was still the end of the day for Graham with only 30 minutes left on the clock.
So to sum up, all 3 had a good few hours of poker in a big event and all 3 went out fighting, A really fantastically structured event in what i will now be calling the Mecca of poker at Dusk till Dawn. The worst 3 hours of my life was to follow in the car journey home…….. but that’s another story. T1L.
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