Won Live Poker Tourney for £6150!

Well, I won the tourney a little over two months ago but haven’t updated my blog… as usual.  Here’s a photo from shortly after it finished:

Two friends from work and I went to Nottingham, England for the weekend to play the Dusk Till Dawn monthly (£300+36).  This was  a 2-day event which I ended up busting from on the first day (I played my bustout hand pretty bad…).  The next day, I was planning on playing the Sunday Million from the hotel room but decided to go back into the cardroom to play a 1-day £150+18 tourney with the guys.  We took a cab to the cardroom and little did I know that they have strict rules about attire… I wore beige cargo shorts and they would not let me in.  I had to take a cab back to the hotel, put pants on, take a cab back to the cardroom, and ended up missing the first level or so of the tourney.

It was pretty fun to play a live tournament because you can acquire so much more information.  On the flip side, I’m sure I gave away *lots* of information.  Fortunately, most of the players weren’t at a level to pick up on my tells and exploit me.  I also made quite a few slip-ups at the table including this really weird spot:

  • I was in the small blind in the 1-seat (to the left of the dealer).  Action folded around to a guy in the 9-seat (to the right of the dealer) and he made a raise on the button.  From my view — remember, the dealer was in my way — it looked like he was all-in.  Because of this, I thought my A7o was a pretty easy call, so I did.  The big blind folded and I flip my hand face up.  Everyone looks at me with really confused looks.  It wasn’t until then that I realized that he wasn’t all-in but just made a standard-ish raise.  Oops!  Anyway, the flop comes Axy with two diamonds.  I have the 7 of diamonds.  In addition to the disadvantages of being out of position with my hand exposed… I also wasn’t allowed to bet or raise.  I had to auto-check and if the opponent bet I would have the option of calling.  Luckily he checked.  The turn brought a low diamond.  Again, he checked.  The river also brought a diamond (now four on-board and I have 7d) but he checked behind and I won.  The action wasn’t exciting but I think the river is very interesting from both his perspective and mine.  If he chooses to bet, how large should his bet-size be?  All-in?  If he does bet, how often should I call based on my pot-odds.  I believe this is very similar to some half-street clairvoyant toy games in The Mathematics of Poker.  When I finally find some free time, I’d like to read through the whole book so I have more of an intuitive feeling for situations like this (not to mention the ability to solve such toy games).

Anyway, long story short: I ran pretty good in the middle of the tournament (picking up some big pocket pairs with raises or shoves in front of me) and probably hovered around the chip lead for a while.  I mostly maintained my stack until close to the final table at which point I started to make some plays in pretty good situations.  By the time we got to the final table, I was probably around average stack but that was only ~10-15 BBs.  I ended up shoving 98s from early position with an M of 9 or so and sucking out on KK :D.  After I won that pot, I feel like I really ran over the final table.  I was by far the most active and aggressive player and got to steal lots of pots.  However, I did win a super-critical interesting 3-way all-in:

  • Pokerstars Pro Julian Thew shoved UTG (he had done it a few times, mostly in late position) with an M under 10.  I had him covered and look down at 66  in middle position and decide it’s good enough to play.  I think he’s definitely shoving wider than optimal there.  Mind you, I don’t blame him — live players tend to call shoves much tighter than online and especially at final tables where the pay jumps between finishes becomes more substantial.  Anyway, I overshove and little do you know, the guy directly to my left thinks for a while and calls with AKo (I had him covered as well).   Julian showed 44, surprisingly, I’m ahead!  However, as it turns out, all 3 of us misplayed our hands according to the Hold’em Resources’ approximate ICM Nash Equilibrium link above.  I could easily believe that about Julian’s 44 and my 66 are wrong but I found it very surprising that AKo was a fold.  If we were playing a winner-take-all tourney, AKo would definitely be a call.  However, because of the pay jumps and the corresponding ICM calculations, it’s a clear fold!  I definitely have to start learning ICM because it’s not very intuitive a lot of the time.

Anyway, we ended up getting down to heads-up with £7k for first and £4k for second.  I was up against a nice young aggro kid that I talked to throughout the tourney.  Actually, we spoke on break before the final table and he was talking about how much the final table money meant to him.  I now had my friends from work railing me (along with a friend of a friend who chopped the £300+36 tourney 4-ways for about £12,000, not bad!).   My opponent immediately asked if I wanted to make a deal (just chop it based on chip stacks).   I knew how much the money meant to him and felt like I had a skill advantage so I declined.  With the help of my friends, I did offer him a deal were I would get more than my fair share.  He seemed pretty offended that I thought I had a skill edge and declined.  The next hand:

  • He raises on the button and I defend with 9d4d planning to make plays on quite a few boards because of how fit-or-fold he’d been playing.  The flop comes something like A62 with one diamond.  I check, he cbets, I checkraise and he thinks for a while… I thought he was going to fold but then he nods and says “I’m all-in”.  I obviously fold.  Now, he has more chips than when we started heads-up and he re-offers a deal but giving me the original proposed amounts (so that I get a little more than my fair share).  I accepted and won £6150.  After we made the deal, he told me that he had J5 (for no pair no draw) in that had.  Pretty ballsy!

They added my name and result to the Hendon Mob live poker tournament database.

Well, I’ve gotta wake up in 3.5 hours as we’re flying out tomorrow morning as I’ll be playing the 3-day £500+50 UKIPT Edinburgh poker tourney in Scotland.  Wish me luck!

Also, in mid-September, I’ll probably be playing the €500+60 UKIPT Dublin event here.  Fun times!

Thanks for reading,

7 comments Add yours
  1. What? You won a live poker tournament? That’s a crazy big deal! And £6150 to boot. That’s a lot of money. Is that the most you have ever won?

  2. AK is pretty shaky in that 3-way spot. Sometimes you’re in an AK-AK-pair situation (or the pair is KK or AA), which is seriously unfun in terms of equity. Regardless, you’re in a a game of chicken, where you want others to get into big conflicts. I call that stage of the tourney “push-pull” (push or dodge for cover — very common to fold hands you would have pushed with if someone hadn’t beaten you to it).

    Mind you, it’s hard to remember the theory when you’re in the heat of battle, I once failed to fold KK near the biggest bubble imaginable (very flat payout structure with a shelf of about 200 players, mostly inexperienced), and duly lost to AA, out of the money. “Oh ya, i remember that little tournament math tidbit now”. 🙂

    The Nash analysis is pretty funky, to see some objective ranges given their stack sizes. I think the kids and the software may have passed the analysis i did in the early 90s…

    Congrats on the win, and good luck in Edinburgh! 😉

    1. I agree about the AK in this spot in tournaments now that I’ve thought about it. However, I think it’s probably an overshove in this spot had it been a winner-take-all or a short stacked cash game (i.e. cEV instead of $EV).

      Yeah, your “push-pull” reminds me of what Harrington called “first in vigorish” in his NLHE books.

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