August 2006
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GSOP Main Event Day 1 – Bagged and Tagged

Clearly this is not the best way to adjust back to British time. It’s nearly 5am here, which is only about 9pm in Vegas. I’m somewhere inbetween really. Maybe if I was in iceland it would be the right time… My body doesn’t know what’s hit it. I’ve eaten funny food at funny times the past week, had more exercise than I usually get in a month just walking around London (my hotel is situated just far enough from King’s Cross Station to make it quicker to walk to both the Gutshot offices and the club) and tonight I’ve been playing poker since 8pm with almost no breaks (it’s a two hour clock with just ten minutes off every level). My body has tried to shut down on me several times, and I’ve not let it. It would be pretty bad form, and I’m also fairly sure that if you’re not in your seat – and awake – when the second card hits the button your hand is dead.

So now that I actually have the chance to go to bed, instead you’ll find me blogging about how tired I am, and also doing a little rampaging on Empire Poker with a free $20 they stuck in my account. It’s up to $61 so far…

The GSOP Main Event played to half way through level 4 tonight. Something of a compromise between being able to get enough levels played out before the end of the four days and not wanting to keep the players up too late. A 4am or 5am finish doesn’t make a whole load of difference if you ask me. Finishing in the middle of a level – particularly as we’ve also redrawn for seats – feels just a little bit odd.

Maybe I’m resentful of the fact that I just couldn’t concentrate for that last hour. I hardly played a hand. The only one I can recall was a QT in the big blind, a Q on the flop and I decided to raise the small blind to find out if I was good. She pulled the old stop-and-go on me, my one pair was way behind, so I took the opportunity to run the clock down a little before mucking.

Part of the experience I wanted from playing this four-day event was to see what it felt like to play endurance poker. I’d even given myself a head start with my useless sleeping pattern. I’ve very pleased that I’m coming back for day 2 (beginning at 3pm tomorrow – probably just after breakfast) but it could have easily ended in tears. I’d worked my way up to a reasonable 13k stack (not way ahead of the starting chips, but not a bad gain at all for the early rounds). I hadn’t really had many hands – most of my income came from a flopped two pair in the big blind with J6, and two players didn’t believe me. The action dried up when a third 6 came on the river. I also flopped a set and did OK from it.

Then I said hello to pocket aces. Hello. It’s raised, I reraise, and pocket kings moves all in. Fortunately he didn’t have enough to bust me when a the king popped up and I’m left with 4400 chips. Which is still plenty at the 100/200 level, but a serious setback. This tournament structure is great. You can get hit by a beat like that and still recover without having to switch to push-or-fold mode (I managed to draw to a flush and got a good payoff, putting me back over 10k). You also have to make decisions up to four times during each hand – the way Hold’em was intended!

This field is tough. I was amazed at one hand where AA and JJ both flopped a set, and JJ managed to get away from it. I’m really not that good. Yet. 🙂

I ended the night officially at 9025, with my chips safely stuffed into a ziplock bag. The next level is 150/300 plus 25 ante, so it’s still fairly comfortable even though I’m starting to fall behind the pack. There is plenty of time still, and anything can happen. 117 of the 187 entrants are still in the hunt for a first place prize of around £20,000. And a bracelet of course.