In todays diary you can sit with me as i work my way through 9 levels playing my A game including 2 hours on the TV table , learn how to never worry how your chips compare to the average or in relation to the other stacks on your table , stay focused and disciplined until your opportunity to build chips comes and then finally when you pick up KK for a 56,000 pot with the average around 40,000 it's all over and yet again you have to pick yourself up and start all over at the next tournament !
As there were over 200 players it was decided that Day one would be played in two sections , unfortunately everyone had to be present at 2.30 on the first day to draw , i got day one starting at 4pm so with 118 players i sat down to play down to 12 as per the schedule .
This being an EPT event we began with 10,000 chips and 45 minute levels , as in Barcelona they were using the final TV table and during the day whole tables were moved to it including mine at the start of level 5 .
As expected my table had a mix of players including Dave Colclough , Stuart Nash ( 2nd and 3rd in current European rankings ) , Richard Gryko , and the winner of the Barcelona leg of the EPT last week Jan Boubli .
With blinds at 25 50 i called in the SB with KQo , flop was 7 8 3 all spades , i checked , DC bet 100 and was called by the button , holding the bare K of spades i called , if another spade came i assumed i would find out if one of thenm held the A , i figured the button may have 78s for top two , turn was a K , looked like a good card for me but i checked to see what DC would do , he now bet 300 , the button passed and i called , i had DC on a made small flush or the bare A , river was another 3 , i checked and when DC bet 500 knew i was beat and passed , he showed quads !
Halfway through the level i picked up AA and raised to 175 , a young Scandanavian ( are there any old ones ? ) raised it up to 500 , i reraised to 2000 hoping he would put me on AK or a lower pair to his but he passed , i then won a pot with AQ having called a raise and led out on a Q high flop , i ended the level in front at 11,300
Level 2 blinds went to 50 100 , i started well calling flat a reraise from Stuart with JJ , flop was T high , we both checked , turn a 3 , i bet 1500 and won the pot . The reason i checked the flop is that Stuart had raised my 400 to 900 preflop , against me he is unlikely to represent an overpair with AK and i wanted to know if he held QQ or better .
Things were going smoothly so i decided to use my table image and nick the blinds with K4s , the Scandanavian who had raised me earlier when i held AA flat called as did Stuart , flop was A 7 7 with two of my suit , heads up i would have led out here but as i expect at least one of them to have an A or even a 7 i checked , the YS bet 500 and Stuart passed , so assuming he has an A i called once to hit the nut flush which i immediately did when the Q of hearts popped up on the turn , this time i check called 1500 not sure if he actually had a 7 instead and had me on an A , river was a perfect 3 , i sneakily trap checked and he bet out 3000 , unless he held A7s i couldn't see that my flush was losing after his bet on the flop with Stuart behind him , of course it didn't occur to me that my earlier reraise had forced him to flat call preflop with QQ and although he took a risk betting the A high flop the perfect card to get me in trouble had come on the turn so his Queens full took downa nice pot and i ended the level with 6600 ( moral here is dont try to nick the blinds when they're not worth nicking this early just to test your table image )
The 100 200 level was far less exciting , i had one hand AQ with which after 2 limpers i raised to 1200 only for DC to reraise 2000 more , i passed and was now down to 4700.
During the 200 400 level i was joined by Simon Nowab on my left , a great new player who finalled at this years EPT in Vienna , he was seeing a lot of flops and we eventually tangled in the blinds when an over aggressive Dutch player tried to nick them for the third time in a row .
But first i had TT and picked up the blinds and then when DC raised in FP to 1050 and Richard flat called , i moved in for a total of 3900 and both passed .
Ok so here was my only bluff ( yeh right ! ) The Dutch player raised , Simon called in the SB and as i was so short stacked in relation to the two i just flat called with ATo , flop was 6 2 5 with two two spades , i held the A , Simon and i checked and the blind stealer thought better and checked also , turn was the 4 of spades and Simon bet 1600 into the 6600 pot , i thought at best he had a 3 for a straight , the Dutch player looked like he was going to pass so i decided that i had two options , move in with two overs and the nut flush draw or dwell up and just call , the point here is i know Simon will then put me on either a 3 myself or the bare A and if he has a 3 will call for my last 3200 , i called , the raiser as i expected quickly passed , river was another 4 which i thought was a great card for me to bluff , Simon checked and i announced all in . When this happens the camera crew rush over to record your demise , this helped put extra pressure on Simon who on the turn has tried to pick up the pot with his pair of 6's , he cut the 3200 from his 12,000 stack and looked for a tell which i hoped wasn't showing , i am sure my deliberation on the turn and my all in switched his first read of the bare A to a 3 for the straight , he eventually passed showing the 6 , i showed my missed flush as this pot kept me in the game , i finished the level with 10,100 average was around 17,000 .
We now entered the 300 600 level and i had to remain focused as players were dropping out fast , i found TT in the SB and called a 1600 raise , flop was K 7 8 , i check called a further 1600 bet sure he held AQ or lower intending to move on the turn , unfortunately the turn was an A and i now had to pass to a 4000 bet , if i had reraised preflop i am sure i would have been out , my opponent had over 30,000 chips and would have called .
My patience was rewarded , Simon raised to 1600 and i made it 3500 with AA , back to Simon he made a good lay down with AK .
Richard who had been playing solid made a small raise , the BB called , flop was J high and somehow 40,000 ended up in the middle , the BB held TJo , Richard had AA .
Left with only 2800 in the SB they called preflop , Simon had been moved so i checked in the BB , flop was Q 8 5 with two spades , SB checked and holding J3 of spades i bet her last 2200 and she called , her hand was 85s , turn was the K of spades making my flush but the river was an 8 to make her full house .
Our whole table was now moved to the TV table , the empty seats were filled and i ended the level with only 5,675 about a quarter of the average .
On my first SB when all passed i moved in with 7 high , luckily Paul Roper who had sat between myself and DC all day and forever seemed to find AK this time passed and with a 25 ante and blinds of 400 800 i won 1425 .
The next hand on the button , the YS from earlier raised to 2400 , i called for nearly half my stack with KQs , the blinds passed and the flop was K J J , he checked and passed to my all in . Blinds went to 600 1200 with a 50 ante , i had 7,700
I was now second shortest stack , the smallest stack on my left moved all in for 2450 in FP , knowing he may read my diaries and be doing this with any two cards i reraised all in to get it heads up with KJo , all passed and he flipped up A6o , oops , he won and i was back to shortest stack , of course i moved all in on the very next hand in FP but i had a better hand A9s , all passed to the lady who had survived earlier with her 85s , for some reason she wanted to knock me out as she reraised in the SB to get rid of the BB , he passed and thinking i was well behind i showed my A9s , she had K8s but my A high stood up . I ended the level with 8200 .
We took a short break and with antes now 100 and blinds 800 1600 i knew the pace would change . Very first hand all passed to the lady in seat 9 who moved in for 9100 , in the SB i had AJs and decided that was good enough , i called , she turned over A2o and after the flop i was up to 18,400 !
One round later and again the FP on my left moved in but this time it was for 4600 , i had 88 but decided there was no need to isolate witha reraise as a call for this amount would indicate a hand , i called , passed to Richard who raised to 15,000 then the reraised to 21,000 all in , i of course passed , the FP had AKs , YS had QQ and Richard had KK , nothing came on the flop or turn but the river was an A , the shortstack quadrupled and Richard got the side pot .
A new player was brought to the table two to my left , he had over 30,000 chips and i knew he could use them , it was Ram Vaswani who i have always said is the best all round tournament player in Europe , this year he was second in the EPT in Copenhagen , last year he won the EPT in Dublin .
Maybe my luck was about to change , in the SB after Richard and Ram had limped , i called for 800 with Q9s , flop was A 9 9 , i bet 3000 hoping a decent A would at least call but all passed , with over 25,000 chips i could now change gear and i stole two nice pots ending the level with 31,600 .
It was now 11pm and the TV table was stopping for the night so with 27 players left they moved us to a normal table . Blinds were now 1000 2000 still with a 100 ante , the first round passed through , then i picked up a small pot finally after another round of blinds came the key hand of the day , with average chips around 40,000 Ram raised to 6000 from second position , i had KK on the button , with 9700 in the pot and Ram with 20,100 left i saw no point in making a 10,000 reraise instead i moved in for 29,300 , all passed to Ram , would he call me if he held a big A or would he be prepared to gamble all his chips for what might be no better than even money if i held AK to his under pair , he still had 20,100 enough for nearly 8 rounds , he called , i turned up my KK , he turned up 77 , i must admit i was surprised that with a shot at £280,000 he was basically prepared to gamble that he was no worse than even money and of course i was a huge favourite to be sitting with over 50,000 but this is how he wins , he is prepared to take the worst of it in order to accumulate chips , obviously he didn't want to see my KK but with blinds escalating he wants to get chips to be able to control the table .
They brought the cameras over to record Ram being knocked out but the flop had other ideas and rewarded his skillful call with Q 7 3 or something like that , i was feeling sick when the 7 appeared and the rest of the flop was a blur , a couple of hand later i was all in with Q9s v Richards A3 , couldn't hit and was out after 9 levels .
Ram went on to finish in the money and i drove home shaking my head that yet again i had played some great poker , put myself in a position to make the money and the second day only to be cruelly kicked in the balls by a two outer . It takes character to recover from these beats ready for the next event believing you can win and maintaining the focus required , fortunately i have it , next week i play the EPT in Baden , come back , pull up a chair and follow me on that ride.