Nelson's column

5/11/2009 01:30:00 pm / The truth was spoken by Rich /


So then let's discuss the weekend shall we. I've just boiled the kettle if you'd like a drink. I'm on the builders tea - very little milk, seven sugars. I need to man-up see as I was lulled into almost enjoying a cartoon yesterday. I'll watch some sport and some porn later this afternoon to remind myself I do have a Y chromosome.

Saturday's £20 "deep-stack" tournament at the Isle casino - now a G-Casino - was surprisingly good fun and a proper deep-sack game. I'd expected a game of bingo with about 19 locals and Brummies, but with 56 runners, a 30 minute clock and 7,500 chips it was a proper game with lots of play and a standard rather higher than one might expect for such a low buy-in. With nearly £500 for first prize this was starting to look like one of the best value for money games I've played in in a long time.

I was able to lose half my stack in the first orbit which has become an almost obligatory tariff I pay to the poker Gods at the start of these kinds of games. After grinding my way up to 8,000 however, the poker Gods repaid my initial sacrifice.

With blinds at something like 200-400, a short-stack moved all-in for about 2,500; folded to the Button who also called, leaving himself with about 3,000 back. The small-blind also moved in with a similar amount to the first short-stack, building a pot of approximately 9,500.

I'm in the Big-Blind with Ace-King soooted. I have the Button covered by about 2,500. I decide he didn't look to have a big hand else-wise he'd have moved all-in initially in order to isolate shorty number 1. I also move my chips into the middle and Button man sighs. A very welcome sigh it was too. He reluctantly calls though and we have a total pot of about 16,000 which I very much wanted to add to the piffling 3,000 I had left.

I show my Ace-King, shorty one shows 7-7, Button shows J-J and shorty number 2 shows 9-9. Woooo. This was exactly the same situation I found myself in at an APAT national a few years ago. I lost that one when I failed to catch an Ace or a King. I won this one though when a lovely red King appeared on the flop next to two tens. The turn and river were beautifully low.

I had chips. More chips than I could ever dream of having at this level after my self-gelding manoeuver at the beginning of the tournament. I put them to use. I raised at every opportunity and re-raised the players I'd selected as baby-tea drinking cartoon watchers.

After a while there was some palpable frustration every time I announced a raise. One guy had reached over and punched me in the eye, but I shook it off.

These tournaments are generallly populated by people who just fancy trying the game, but have no real idea of how to play with a smattering of proper players. A "proper" player had had enough of me, he re-raised me.

He re-raised me people.

Fortunately I had a reasonable hand; 10-8 of hearts so I called. The flop had an 8 on it, but I checked. He bet. I called. The turn was an 8. Hooorah! I checked. He checked. The river was an 8!! Hooorah hooorah. I gave him my "oooh a stealing the pot opportunity" look. And picked up some chips. I then set them back down and checked it.

He bet 3,000. I drank some of my drink and ate some nuts. He stared at me. I had it my mind I should re-raise a lot since this bloke fancied himself as a player - one of those players who have to commentate on every sngle hand after it's over - and that would be the play that most looked like a steal. I felt he was a baby-tea drinker at heart though and wouldn't have the courage to call.

I wanted some sort of pay-off though so just doubled his bet. He folded after some diliberation. I showed him my 8 though in the hope that his respect for my raises would now be restored and he'd forget that initially I had raised with an 8 and couldn't have had a pair of 8's as the rest of them were on the board. He seemed satisfied.

From this point on nothing really too spectacular happened for some time. I small-balled my way through the levels and ate a nice cheese and ham sandwich. Earlier on in the evening I eye-balled two young lads who between them had a combined aged of about my age. They were wearing shorts and trainers for heaven's sake! I frowned upon the casino's relaxed dress code. As it turned out they were registered for the tournament and credit where credit is due, they could play a bit. More about them later.

With two tables left I finally get dealt a proper hand: Aces. The blinds at this time were 600-1,200. I have about 35,000 at this point. I raised it to 4,000 from UTG, which had become the standard bet at this level. A bearded chap in middle position - a hand commentator like the guy who bet into my quad 8's - flat called as he was quite keen on doing. A short stack on the button moved all-in for about 6,500.

I didn't want to play against bearded man. I don't trust people with beards and feared chaos. He looked very much like "The Bearded Woman" painting by Jóse Rivera. I moved all-in myself to isolate shorty. Bearded man called! Eeeek! I know I'm obviously winning, but bearded men are Satan's progeny so a bearded woman could be Satan him/herself. I felt certain I would lose.

Bearded Woman was not a short stack. It had about 25,000. It showed 10-9 hearts! Shorty showed Ace-Queen unsuited. My Aces looked some how very vulnerable against those suited connectors in Beareded Woman's hands. Everyone looked a little surprised he'd called off his tournament with such a hand. I just looked like I'd drank some sour mothers milk.

So with about 75,000 up for grabs we saw a flop. The first card out was a Jack. I didn't like that. I felt a twitch in my ball sack. I feared to look yet I could not turn away. The rest of the board was blur - of very small cards. Thank fuck for that.

* * *

The final table arrived soon after and I was seated to the left of one of the whipper snappers in shorts I had frowned upon earlier. I nicknamed him Charlie Brown as he was the only kid in shorts I could think of at the time. A far more appropriate nickname would have been Nelson. Nelson the bully from the Simpsons. The likeness is absolutely uncanny, and this little fucker was a bully too.


He bluffed me out of a big pot which still irks me. I was bluffing too, but that's beside the point. His bluff was better. I consulted with Kathryn over his play. "No doubt this boy is a virgin I said, but he can play a bit." "No" says Kathryn. "No?" I interupted. "Not a virgin you say? Hung like a race horse you think? One of those freaky kids who had hairy bollocks at 10 you think?"

I had long since lost Kathryn though. I had traveled on a completely different train of thought to hers. She just thought he looked like Cory Feldman from the Lost Boys and I should take care not to upset him as he kills vampires and with my translucent skin he might have targeted me. I spent some moments trying to erase all thoughts about this boys progression through puberty and returned to the game.

Nelson was stacking my chips. The size of his penis remained a mystery, but this column was impressive indeed. Frustration was setting in. I was able to get over it soon after however, when I flopped a King-high straight on a board of 9-Queen-King holding 10-Jack of hearts and a poor chap with an interesting hair-do shoved his huge chips stack in on the turn after we'd both checked the flop with 9-9 for bottom set. No help for him in the river and I was chip leader with about 115,000.

With 420,000 chips in play and about 6 or 7 left I felt like there was a really good opportunity for me to go on and fuck it all up instead of winning and a couple of hours later I made the most of the opportunity when it came.

As it happens, I was sort of unlucky. With five players left, a short-stack - the guy from way back when who had bet into my quad 8's on my first table - moved in for 28,000 which was nothing really at the time. I had Ace-9 and called. He showed Queen - 7. He missed the flop, but both turn and river were sevens.

The very next hand I raise UTG with King-Queen. The guy I just doubled up shoves his now 65,000 stack into the middle and I fold. He shows me Aces. I am now down to about 50,000. The very next hand I am in the big-blind with King-9.

Folded round to the small-blind who seemed reluctant, but just completes. I check. The flop if 9 high with two diamonds. Top pair for me and my King is of diamonds. The pot with just the blinds and antes which were introduced seemingly randomly some time after the final table began stood at something like 8,500.

The small-blind checks. Before I'd had time to think I announce all-in and SB calls before I've finished saying it. D'oh! He shows me Aces. Not sure why I did that, but what I did know, is I had definitely read his umming and aahhhing wrong.

I know that when some players hesitate and sigh before calling as this guy had done pre-flop it can indicate a big hand, but he seemed an habitual 'ummer and ahher.' He seemed like one of those people who just found cause to moan and complain and sigh at everything and we were in a casino located in a part of the country populated by the UK's biggest pound-for-pound moaners. So anyway, I took his apparent frustration at face value, in return he took my stack. I wished everyone good luck, they all said thank you. Nelson pointed at me and laughed.

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