Traveled down to London on the train, checked into hotel, showered and shirts ironed myself and Ben made our way across Mayfair, past the Palm Beach Casino where I'd be playing the following day, and on towards Movida nightclub. First impressions were pretty ridiculous with the six of the biggest men alive managing the door, and a lingerie model as hostess. Making our way down into the club we were delighted to find it was a completely free bar for the night, which Ben definitely made good use of. After seeing umpteen poker celebs, including Durrr, Kara Scott and Liv Boeree I point out to Ben that that's Mike Sexton over there. "Oh yeah, yeah it is!"
"Mike! Mike! Where's Vince?!? Where's Vince Mike??!"
At this point Mike was getting well into some 18 year old golddigga (yo!) but took it awesomely and was a complete legend chatting and taking the piss with us for a bit. He was obviously completely shit faced but must have seen a twinkle in my eye as he predicted I would final table. Now I'm obviously gutted he didn't predict I'd win it!
The RTR staff did an absolutely superb job on the night, granted mainly because the CEO is borderline alcoholic and complete social magnet, but still they did so well in helping people mingle and meet what little girls there were floating around. As you know we'd have probably all sat in the corner texting. Online poker social retardedness ftl.
After more beer than I'd planned but less than half of what Ben had consumed, we attempted to walk home but ended up at Trafalgar Square and flagging a taxi. Should have done that an hour ago because we were back at the hotel in 5 mins flat nipping through the empty side streets.
Saturday Day 1A:
Was seated with Freddie Deeb and after the first break was moved to the TV table. I had already chipped up a bit but missed out on a huge early chance to double on a technicality. I flopped a set versus the table soft spot and donked out, he threw in a 1k chip aggressively meaning to raise but it was unfortunately correctly ruled as a call. I am then kind of forced to check the turn and couldn't get many chips in the pot. Once moved to the webcast I can't remember but I think I was barely involved at all, maybe stealing a few times and taking a few small pots to stay around average. Actually I've just come back and remembered I 3b right before the dinner break OOP to tournament chip leader. I cbet an Axx flop and check folded the turn. I had QQ and just didn't want to do anything marginal for a hefty proportion of my chips versus someone who can afford it. Towards the end of the day I'd been getting floated behind quite a lot by Freddie, and when he did it again in a 3b pots I twice maneuvered for ~80% of his stack. After this he played quite frankly horrible poker, limp folding 4bbs and other things that may be justifiable only in a 50k HORSE champions mind. Finished the day right around average.
Day off Sunday:
Slept in. Went to the Science Museum, which is totally awesome and I could easily spend a week on each floor. So much knowledge to soak up and some superb exhibits. Feet were knackered by tea time so sacked off more sightseeing and just ate and moped around rest of the day.
Day 2 Monday:
Some ridiculous seat moving from other tables saw me sandwiched inbetween horrible spots for pretty much the whole day. Was gradually chipped away down to around 8bbs with Fabian Quoss impressing me early on day 2 with some great poker but even more so seriously impressive table presence.
I played the TV table for most of the day again, with Liv Boeree but before her I had sat with Brandon Cantu and Sebastien Krul. After I'd moved to the TV table the two of them played a huuuuge pot for ~20% of chips in play with AA vs KK, Sebastien making a straight I think with KK, though my information could be wrong here.
News was also filtering back to me that some "mates" had been emailing in a load of dirt about me to the webcast. Like tons of stupid nicknames, my car being shite (true) and some that I have no idea about - I have never been afraid of spiders and as far as I can recall never sick down the side of a chair! It seems I amassed a great following though so thanks to all my mates (and their mates) for watching. Also a huge special mention to the NPF for a great rail and support throughout, and a very special
Then in the final two hours I went on a mini heater shoving AJ but finding QQ behind, but I make a four flush on the river to stay in it. The bubble bursts shortly afterwards in no time at all really. Soon after I'm getting AK in preflop twice in super happy spots only to find I was unfortunately racing - but hell that doesn't matter I don't lose races in this tournament! My AK beats 99 and QQ in two spots for some decent chips. Then right at the end of the end of the night I find a near treble up in what turned out to be an awesome spot with JJ vs 42o and TT. I finish the day above average and am clearly quite pleased about it.
Day 3 Tuesday:
After not getting as much sleep as I'd have liked (about 36 hours would have done it) it's final table day. Ideal for some embarrassing press photo poses where I had to stare down the camera in a 'poker face' type moment. Anyone who has played live with me before knows this is not at all my style. When involved in any kind of pot I have a habit of just grinning ridiculously, whether I be bluffing or crushing.
After a few inane early orbits of little activity, suddenly we're down to five players, with myself claiming one scalp. I had a pretty solid bet sizing tell where I deduce he has made it a jillion BBs preflop because he has AK or JJ, and with QQ in the BB I crush this range so I make a small 3b and insta call his jam. Unfortunately it's AK but I've already said I don't lose these spots and a Q is the first flop card. Followed by a brick and then an Ace. Then a Ten on the turn gives my opponent four outs. Despite him still calling out for an Ace on the river I dodge a Jack and have a healthy amount of chips.
Five handed I then play the worst poker I've played the whole week. Fabian and Matt have tons of chips and are playing a huge levelling game between themselves, fully expectant to crush the remaining internet qualifiers. My plan was to just stay out of it, and find a good spot where their sheer amount of chips and perceived table dynamic could work in my favour. I defended a few blinds to Fabian, c/c, c/f once. Then a c/r/f to a flop b3b. This spot was weird because it screamed out very little credit (742hh) and I was hoping he'd see that as an opposite. He'd never seen me bluff though and I guess I outlevelled myself and then couldn't shove air giving him 7/1 on a call on my biggest final table to date, with all my pals watching - when he has a lot of draws he has to call off with. Hated this hand so much. Shortly after I defend vs Fabian and c/c, c/f again when I miss a gutshot + overs. Shit. An orbit later I 3b squeeze shove from the sb vs Matt open and Fabian button flat and take it down.
Another orbit and I post my BB knowing that Fabian is going to open anything that's folded to him and anything I do will reak of BS. Folded to Fabian and he opens, I look down at 99 in the BB and
I was immediately grabbed by Grub Smith for the webcast interview which I've not seen and can barely recall, all I know is the adrenaline was rushing around madly and with my voice was breaking up I was struggling to string a decent sentence together. As is evident in the interview I did immediately after that one with TheNutz.tv. Was obviously gutted with how the exit played out and felt a bit "floaty" for the rest of the evening. Got the last train back home and crashed out.
Now that some time has passed and my account shows that the £40k cheque I paid in has entered the clearing process, I can say I am pretty happy about things. My share portfolio also had a 15% day today! Delighted to have done something in a reasonably major tournament, delighted with how I played (barring two hours on the final table) and delighted to be able to give something back to my investors. I sold 28% of myself in this tournament so still a very nice pay day.
A huge heartfelt thanks to the following:
Ben for his support in person down in London.
All my investors showing their support pre-event.
All my mates and family for the kind texts I received and not-so-kind messages to the webcast :-)
The NPF for an awesome virtual rail.
Karim, Glen and Jackie the RTR staff who did an absolute first class job.
All the staff and dealers at Palm Bach Casino, Mayfair. Top job.
Cheers all, still got some sleep to get caught up on....zzzzz