A while ago I posted this about my AKo getting beat on the bubble of a UK Tour ticket-only final. At the time I regretted moving in on the button and I was trying to digest the frequent satelite musings of Dara O'Kearney on The Chip Race podcast. I am, as I wrote it in that post, an experiential poker player. I have kids, a job and very little time for poker. Satelites for live events give me a focus - my aim has been to get to one of these events, even though I'd be astronomically out of my league.
Well, not to spoil this post, but in a few short weeks I shall be flying to Paris to play in the final Unibet Open of 2019.
In the time between that UK Tour bubble and my Unibet Open final, I bought and read Poker Satelite Strategy, Dara's book. It's an enlightening read - after going over key principles a few times, I started playing more satelites and the results were so stark that I'm surprised Unibet didn't test me for PEDs.
I was playing up from €2 and €4 and accumulating a ton of €25, and€50 tickets and gradually a couple of tickets for the final.
I had played two Sunday finals and not made it past the second break. Then, one Sunday, I was clearing up after our family dinner and I realised the final was starting and that I had a ticket. I was on my second glass of red wine, REM's Unplugged double album was on the turntable, the kids were playing in the other room and I thought: why not?
Everything that followed was recorded on the WhatsApp group I have with my old university pals - poker is our way of staying in touch, 25 years after we met. We get together and play long, drunk games of hold em once every few months.
Looking back on the chat (as I have done a few times since) it's clear that there is NO CHANCE I would be looking forward to playing in Paris and hanging out with other Unibet players had I not read Dara's book.
First of all, we're having a wee debate about when REM stopped being untouchable, hall-of-fame perfect. It's New Adventures in Hi Fi. After that, lots of good songs, but no great albums.
Then at 20:55, we're at second break and I post:
Average is 7.2
31 players left
Top 5 go to Paris and sixth gets 125 cash
I am currently ninth
Big boost when I had pocket 3s. Called a small raise as did one other. Flopped a set. Checked. Original raiser all in for all my chips on K 5 3 (two clubs). Thought he might have a flush draw or pocket AA. He turned over top pair weak kicker.
Some folks crazee
My pal Craig posts this classic:
... which starts a discussion on Borat and then it gets on to Brass Eye.
By the next break...
11th gets 225
10th to 6th get another 250 ticket
Top 5 go to Paris
I also share the following information with the group...
Got the remake of Taking of Pelham 123 on in the background
Travolta v Denzel
Prompting Craig to respond:
Turn it off. Concentrate
THIS ADVICE WAS EVERY BIT AS IMPORTANT AS ANYTHING IN THAT BOOK. DO NOT WATCH DENZEL MOVIES WHILE TRYING TO QUALIFY FOR POKER TOURNAMENTS.
Just before the next break, I get JJ and raise 3bb but have to drop them when raised on a board of A-K-x. I'm 11th of 22, with 21 bigs.
After the break, I find myself in shove-fold territory. I find 77, 88, JJ (again) and my all-in gets through evevery time.
One away from the bubble, I'm short stack with 8bb.I have both tables open and there are SO MANY ALL-INS called at the other table, but the short stack survives every time. It's incredible.
Meanwhile, I go card dead. Key moment comes when I get a walk with 6-2o in the big blind.
There's now one micro stack at the other table and I get a hand straight out of Dara's book. 77 in mid position, down to 8bb. BUT there's a raise from UTG, who has been playing very tight. Before I picked up the book, in that spot I would have been all-in in a heartbeat. But now with the micro stack on the other table, a couple short stacks on mine and a raise that would likely put me in a race at best, I fold without giving it much thought.
Which soon found me short stacked at my table on the cash bubble (there was a long way to go before anyone got the Rough Guide to Paris out).
In two hands, the micro stack at the other table went, as did a shortish stack at my table. At the break...
Top five go to Paris
Rest get another shot at this level - 250 entry ticket
I have 4.7k
First Paris seat is at 26k
But you never can tell
I'm certainly not going to hang about and lose blinds though
Ejecting Denzel was the key
First hand after the break, I see A-10o. I move all-in and get called by 5-5. A river ace saves my bacon.
Then, at 23:04, this happens:
Called min raise
K high flop
Called c bet
And another on river
I was vs 88
Boys if I double it's croissant time
From a lot of shove-folding, there was now a lot of min-raising and limping. Blinds were 400-800 with a 100 ante. I had 12.5k.
After a couple of limps on my big blind, I jammed with K-6s and got it through to keep me solvent. Then did the same with 6-9s from the small after everyone folded (another play from Dara's book - I would have folded 100% before reading it).
As we dropped to 8 players I found a run of mid-to-strong aces that I could stake my hopes to and none of my shoves were called. I was now on 27k and sitting in one of the Paris seats.
As the pressure mounted, though, I was jumping either side of the bubble for a UO ticket. Then, at 23:50 I saw JJ in the small blind, with a min raise and one call in front of me.
Called by AJ
Craig: Oh my god
Say hello to your chip leader
Craig: No xxxxxx way
Folding my way to France, y'all
And that is exactly what I did. There are tables in the book that help you work out when you can lock it up and basically fold everything in the knowledge that the players below you will knock each other out. In the end - after my hearty Sunday-night rail accepted the drama was over and retired to their beds - I picked up AA and called an all-in that would not have damaged me too much. My opponent had QQ and that was the last hand of the tournament.
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to Paris. It's such a buzz. Hopefully I'll see some of you there. And if you don't have your ticket yet, I know a book you should think about reading....
PS - I'll try to write about Paris on here too, as real-time as I can.
A good and entertaining read @debaser_XIII and well done on the package win, hope you can keep us updated while in Paris.