MILTON KEYNES PART ONE
As expected Milton Keynes was an unsuccessful for me. But that doesn't mean a good time wasn't had! So here is part one of the trip report I know you've all been waiting for!
I got to the hotel at 3pm. I was to the north of Milton Keynes on Willen Lake as I had 6 months pregnant @Charl_xoxox and my 4-year-old son with me, so I felt it was a nice spot for them to relax and there was plenty for kids to do there. Nice view from the balcony in the room too!
I would usually get a train, check in and arrive at the casino a lot earlier than I did but given the tournaments later start time than usual I travelled a bit later. More of my thoughts on that below. This was the first casino I have ever been in where I just walked in and into the main room without even having to sign up. Safe to say I walked through a little lost before seeing @triceraatopp and @Causality who I sat down and had a chat with. A really lovely couple and very friendly! They explained to me where I had to go to get signed up which I did and then proceeded to go to the poker room where Leo, Tambet and Kasia were. Had an awesome welcome from those guys and a bit of help seeing as both the casino (and Leo for that matter!) didn’t have me down as a qualifier! A bit of searching from Leo finally found me and he joked a more apt name would be MentalWolf – a name that was sticking by the end of the weekend. Given my often questionable play I am starting to agree! Speaking of which the regular Unibet rabble was arriving and Maestro broke the news to me that it was him, incognito, I beat heads up for the seat. This made me happy as I have massive respect for him and what he has achieved in such a short space of time, and last time we were heads up (that I know of) I lost a €100 ticket to him when I started with a big chip lead and he crushed me.
On to the tournament and wait, what’s this?
No 25’s? How am I going to do my GTO raises?? There was a lot about the tournament that felt weird or I didn’t like. First is felt quite turbo. I had worries about a really late finish because of the 6pm start but the levels seemed to race by on a half hour clock. I don’t necessarily feel that having a BB ante sped the game up and allowed more hands to be dealt but it may have been because I had quite a few tankers on the table. I didn’t like the blind structure. I found myself having to constantly turn to the TV to remind myself of what I should be putting in. Levels such as 100/100/0 and 200/300/300 feel weird and unnecessary to me and I really think having 25 chips in play would have been loads better to play some 25/50, 50/100, 75/150 levels, and get more play out of a 30k stack. It felt more like a one-day generic monthly casino event rather than a quarterly ‘big’ event. I get that there has to be a balance between speed of play, average stack, number of BB’s and the length of the tournament but many Unibet regs ended up firing off 2-3 bullets each and I think the structure had a lot to do with this. Whilst the sat crushers online can do that, a rec is going to feel disheartened by it.
It was good for Unibet ultimately as the rebuys allowed them to just creep over the guarantee. For comparison, this tournament was over by 10:30pm on the Sunday and had a later start time. When I came 3rd in Glasgow it was about 3:30am and we started earlier but I heard so many comments from people who thought the structure was fantastic and I have to agree, it was. This tournament didn’t last very long for me - only 3 hours. So It’s possible I have a biased view because of that and I’m certainly not saying the set up was a disaster, but I honestly believe the structure needs some work.
So, moaning out the way in part two we will do some hand analysis from my brief time in the tournament!
Great blog as always @MetalWolf and really glad we finaly got to meet in person🤗
I do agree with many of your opinions about the structure. For me the biggest inconvenience was how the blind levels got set up. I dont remeber the levels exactly but it was something like
3. 200/100 + 200 big blind ante
4. 300/200 + 300bb ante
5. 400/200 + 400bb ante
6. 500/300 + 500bb ante
etc... I have never played with that kind of blind structure before where the small blind is so big every second level & dont know how much I should adjust bcs of that but it will definatly have an impact on the game and make for more multiway pots=higher variance in an already high variance structure. In addition the big blind ante where kept the same size no matter the amount of players at the table, which sometimes was 6 instead of 9 players. Im not sure but I do think that is how most casinos do it to make it simpler for the game flow so I dont think its something to adress on its own but when also having big small blinds the dead money in some hands get really carried away from what it should be. 🤔
I agree and it’s a good point about increasing The variance in a structure that is already pretty turbo. I was absolutely on the wrong side of variance throughout my short time in and even if I had multiple bullets to spend it would of made me think twice. It seemed unnecessarily confusing. I guess poker is about adaptation and its the same for everyone but it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
Down to hand analysis then and unfortunately, given my short venture, I don’t have many to choose from! The first one was very early on but cost me a decent part of my stack.
An active player in UTG+2 raises to 400. I am on the button with 22 and decide to call when it folds to me. BB calls and we go three handed to the flop of
2 4 4
BB checks. UTG+2 bets 1200. I call. BB folds. Turn
2 4 4 K
UTG+2 fires 2100. I call. No flush draws possible. River
2 4 4 K 4
BB tanks for ages. Checks. I check and lose to 66.
I thought about this hand a lot on the night. Should I have raised the turn. Should I have bet pot on the river. My problem was I showed annoyed emotion when he checked to me which instantly ruled out all other options I had except check. In hindsight if I reraise the turn I probably win the hand there and then. But do I want to? He MIGHT call 55-QQ. He obviously calls a K and (surely) we fold out all A highs. I could have A4. I could have 22. I could have any pocket pair which he will be cautious about holding 66. I could float the flop with a few kings in hand. When the river comes he tanks for ages. When he checks it feels like he has showdown value. I think if he has A high he barrels big and obviously he does that with a 4 (only A4 would make much sense) and KK/AA. I think I’m actually a lot more inclined to call a bet if he barrelled. I feel checking narrows his range to 33/55-QQ. If I put a pot size bet it’s going to look like I have a K, a 4 or complete air. There isn’t much air in my range so I probably would get the fold and in hindsight I think this is what I should have done. Checking still allows me to beat A high, but I lose to a few hands that I’d probably get a fold from if I bet pot (33/55-88, anything above 88 might sigh call out of spite if nothing else). Situation wasn’t ideal as it’s rare and not something you regularly prepare for but I can hold up my hands and say mistakes were made on my part. If it doesn’t come a 4 I’m value betting or moving allin over his third barrel.
Second hand was a bit later on but devastating to my stack.
Maniac player UTG 1 calls. I bet from the cut off to 1200 with 10 10. He calls and the flop is
3 7 9
He checks. I bet 2100 He calls. Turn is
3 7 9 7
He checks. I bet 5500. He calls. River comes
3 7 9 7 K
He bets 7k. I call and lose to KQ.
Should I call the river? It does look like a value bet but then if he’s willing to float KQ after two barrels he could play anything. Could also be a blocker bet with a small pair but unlikely. This guy must have been chip leader at this point and floated everything. He hit everything he needed and ended up busting a player in a 200+BB (blinds 400) pot moving allin for 30k on the river with 88, on a board of 23737 and getting called…. And winning?! He said he bet it for value cus he knew the guy would call with worse…. Ok then… Anyway, back to our hand it was clear in my head that I really could be up against anything from 10 8 to A3 and wouldn’t even be surprised to see 7 2. Sigh call, sigh muck, sigh curse of one’s luck once again.
I had no better luck with my bust out hand.
Blinds 300/500/500 (or something like that!)
It folds to button who raises to 1300 and has 18k behind. I move allin for 9k more from BB with 99. He tanks for ages and makes the call with A 5. An ace hits the flop and we bust.
Very standard. From me, not from him. Speculative call at best from him given stack size but I guess we were still in the rebuy stage so he had that as an excuse.
Short and not so sweet! My unmotivated mental state with poker definitely ended up playing a big part even though I said I would go in fresh and treat live as completely different. As soon as I had that first piece of bad luck with the 22 I couldn’t control my emotion which narrowed my range. Very unlike me and I’m annoyed at myself. I plan to take a couple weeks break now with the odd game here and there to try and work on my ‘A’ game. I wasn’t just there to play the main though and you can find out what else happened in MK in final part of the report to be written very soon!
1st hand I would play the same. Raising turn is bad. You basically have a lockdown on the hand and want to keep in all his bluffs. On the river I would not try and bluff him off a better hand. It's not going to work very often because people don't like hero folding full houses. And you still beat quite a lot of stuff: the K is a good card for him to barrel but the river is not. From his perspective it looks a lot like you have a medium pocket pair when you call twice and I don't think most players would tripple barrel this river in order to get you to fold a hand like 88. That's why I would check and expect to win quite a bit of the time. Also, by potting the river what exactly can you rep? You don't have any Kx in your range and the only quads are A4s.
Second hand I would play the same. Maybe raise slightly bigger pre, at least 3.5x / 4x. On the river it sucks that you have TT, as you block some of his straight draws. But, short of some read that this guy hardly ever bluffs I would call here. Bottom line this guy can show up with anything and you are getting an ok price.
@EndbossThanks for feedback it's great to get others views and all views are appreciated.
I totally agree that in hand one it is disasterous to play the hand any other way in which i did up until the river. I just ask the questions to drive discussion. I agree with your river analysis as the safest thing to do but I still don't think it's clear cut. I think i give him too much credit and think he may be able to fold a better hand. But, I also don't think you follow the blog very much if you think I have no Kx in my range I think a lot of expoitive players can turn up with a king here.
Me personally would call the preflop raise on the button with KQ,KJ and possibly even worse if I think the conditions are right. And having made those calls I often don't fold a 2 4 4 flop. I often float because a tonne of his range is going to check/fold a turn bet. As you say, played like it was it looks like I have a mid pair so by betting pot we are playing a game of whos mid pair is bigger and I think it's a risk I'd be willing to bet with, but is it a risk he'd be willing to call with? I don't know the player well enough to know the answer.
He was the guy that called down the 88 I mentioned for over 100+ BB's total with absolutely nothing so yes in hindsight he probably calls anyway. But then that also probably adds all A high calls to his range and I could be bluffing with the best hand lol
I certainly agree that the safest thing to do, and one which you are going to win sometimes anyway with is just playing it the way I did. I really appreciate your feedback as it makes me assured I'm not just being a fish lol
You made the final table didn't you? What were your thoughts on the overall blind structure?
Yep. Sorry forgot to mention that about sizing. I agree with you and Endboss that my bet sizing was pretty poor in that hand.
1200 raise wasn't enough.
2100 into 3400 wasn't enough.
5500 into 7500 I don't think is too bad in general with only a river to come and me having a pretty good board. Would keep in draws and possibly even a 3 but yeah given his style I may as well have just bombed it and gone for maximum value.