Monday, September 19, 2005

EPT Barcelona

It´s cool to see 5 comments on my last blog. I really appreciate feedback and it kinda fulfills the purpose of this blog, keeping in touch with my friends, family and loved ones. Davis is right and I´m really bad at keeping in touch with people but it doesn´t mean I love them any less.

I always want to sit down and write a novel for each blog but I think I´ll start dropping little posts daily, one paragraph or so, while on the road. There are 3 computers at the hostel we´re staying at and Internet is free. The problem is that everyone wants to use it and you always have to wait a little while before getting on then suffer through people constantly asking when you´ll be done and breathing down your neck. I got tired of it and I´m at a cafe that charges 2 Euros per hour. It´s a small price to pay for my sanity.

The tournament didn´t go too well and there were a lot of things that really pissed me off. They had 325 entrants after declaring that they were capping the number around 270. In order to get a winner in 2 days they had to shorten the blind levels to 45 minutes. This was extremely frustrating because usually you get a little more value for your 4,000 Euros. If I had paid to get in I would have been extremely upset. As is, I was merely a little disappointed.

My opening table was about as sick as you can get. I had a difficult table in Monte Carlo but I think my relatice position at this one made it worse. I had Gus Hansen 2 to my right and a young Finnish kid directly on my left who was capable of putting me to the test with nothing and probably calling me with Ace-high. He´s the kind of player that you absolutely need a hand to play against: unbluffable, fearless, and a seemingly insane lack of regard for chips. He was very good at sensing weakness and picked up a ton of pots. The other six players were all very good as well and nearly everyone I talked to speculated that the selection process had been rigged. All I know is that it was the toughest day of poker of my life and I had to fight for every chip.

I don´t think I made too many mistakes but I didn´t have very many hands at all and it was very frustrating. Gus doubled up early and with more big hands an aggression he had built a monster stack. He opened in middle position for 1250 and I called in position with 77. after this call I had about 11000 left. The flop came down T43 with 2 hearts and Gus bet 1150. This bet could mean absolutely anything and I called, planning to reevaluate on the turn. I could have raised here but I had no desire to play a big pot against Gus. The turn paired the 3 and Gus checked. I had seen him make flop bets then check-fold on the turn 3 times in the last orbit so the first thing that went through my mind was getting him to fold. In retrospect I think my bet of 3500 was my crucial mistake. I think I should have checked it through on the turn then called a medium sized bet on the river. As it played out, Gus instantly check-raised me all in. I had seen him play top set, Quad Queens and an overpair to the board earlier in the day where he check-raised his opponent all in. However he had always taken his time in those spots, counting his chips and asking his opponent how much he had before putting them all-in. This time he quickly jammed and I thought there was a good chance that he was bluffing. If he´s bluffing one-fourth of the time here then I think I have to call, rather than folding and leaving myself with just over 6000 chips. This was the last hand of the 200-400 level and blinds were moving up to 300-600 with a 75 ante. Leaving myself with 6000 chips in that scenario at that table is absolute suicide. I guess I´ll never be known for my big folds. Half the time people will be amazed at how I made such a big call and half the time people will be shocked at how I could make such a terrible call. Such is life and I don´t regret calling at all. I really wish that I had checked the turn through but there´s no going back. I was shocked to see that Gus had JT. I expected to see a big overpair half the time and some sort of semi-bluff the other half. It seems dangerous to check the turn with just a Ten but he probably knew I had a medium pair and planned on owning me, which he did.

It was a great experience and I learned a lot. The Finnish kid on my left, Ilari was incredibly difficult to play against and I enjoy learning from people who give me fits. I think he was a little too reckless but it´s hard to tone it down without losing your fear factor. There was one hand where he called an all-in from Christer Johanson, easily the tightest player at the table with Ah5h getting about 1.5-1 on his money. This can not be a good call but the image that it produced was very valuable. He was able to pick up a ton of smaller pots because people knew he was unbluffable. He called the 5 or 6K more without even thinking really and it really terrified me. Without that call I would have been more likely to test him with check-raises and whatnot. Anyway, he´s 22 and very, very good. Watch out for him soon.

Here´s a list of my starting table with a link to their tournament history. It´s pretty sick.

Seat 1: Pascal Perrault:
Seat 2: Christer Johansson:
Seat 3: Theo Jorgensen:
Seat 4: Really weird dude, ran KK into AA for Gus, 5th hand of the tourney.
Seat 5: Peter Eichardt:
Seat 6: Gus Hansen:
Seat 7: Daniel Larsson:
Seat 8: ME!
Seat 9: Ilari Sahamies:

I talked to Peter Eichardt at the club after the tourney ended and he said that in 15 years of tournament poker it was by far the tougnest table he´s ever had.

One last rant before I go. Being on the TV table really sucks. There are constant pauses while people fix their microphones or they ask for chip counts. We get way fewere hands per level that all of he regular tables. The worst thing ever was when we came back from dinner break all the other tables were playing and we had to wait 11 MINUTES for a CAMERAMAN to get back from dinner. The dealer dealt our first had with 34 minutes left in the round. I was irate and tilted for about 2 levels. I am going to write Thomas Kremser a letter and plead with him that he makes sure to have someone on his staff on the set at all times to make sure the TV crew doesn´t slow us down. It´s hard to blame anyone because everyone on the crew and tournament staff is really cool and they really are trying hard but it´s just insane to penalize us like that.

After I busted I went to a club called Razzmatazz with Will and Kat. The club is a marketplace during the week and a club on Friday and Saturday nights. It feels like an abandoned warehouse and there are 8 or so different rooms all playing different types of music. It was really cool and we had a great time.

The next night, after the tournament ended I went to a nother club with Noah and a bunch of Scandanavian kids. The club was called Sutton and it was one of the coolest clubs I´ve ever been to in my life. There was a huge line outside but Noah went to the front and we all got right in. They led us to one of the private tables where we got 8-10 bottles of Moet champagne and 6-8 bottles of Absolute vodka with mixers. These kids really know how to go all out. We had a great time and I felt a little out-of-place but I met a few really cool guys and it was a great night. We spent way too much money but every once in a while I think it´s worth it. It wasn´t even one of the top 10 amounts that I´ve ever spent at the bar.

I´ll post my reflections of Barcelona soon and also post my schedule for Japan. I have to email some friends who are over there so that we can meet up. Adios!


Anonymous said...

tough table. It'll just prepare you better to defend your title in Deauville. Good luck in the next EPT event.


Anonymous said...

Now brandon, when you say that comments fulfill the purpose of this blog, so you can keep in touch with friends, family and loved ones, which one do I fit into? Probably loved ones because remember that night in Jacksonville when we were drunk and... well never mind. Tough break on the tv table, a hard table at that. Have a great time in Japan, Hawks 1-1 after 21-18 win. Not the same without you there bro. Sean (original superfan)

Anonymous said...

gus 2 seats to your left??? weak, to say the least. sorry dude. good luck in the rest of your tournaments and i am way to jealous that you are going to the homeland. take care. knugs