Canterbury Poker Champs

Yesterday (March 28 2009) I played the Canterbury Championship Poker at the Christchurch Casino and came a creditable 40th out of a field of 80 starters, chasing the NZ$23,000 first prize.

I say creditable because the only good pre-flop hand I had in 5 hours of Poker was KK.
With this hand I went up against probably the smallest stack left in the event (1800) with about 2800 myself.
I still could have lost this hand as he was holding AQ. I hit a set of Kings on the turn but this then gave him the chance of a straight on the river, needing a jack, which he missed thank goodness.

Poker Glossary of terms

My other best pre-flop hands were A10 L(lost), 10-10 L, 9-9 L,7-7 W, 3-3L, 2-2L and that was it, so as you can see I was doing it very tough.
The 9-9 cost me about 3000 early against J-J, against a local player Adam McClean from Iconic, where I often used to play, against a player I knew reasonably well.
There was a story in this itself as the Iconic group have a strong poker scene happening with about 8-10 people forming a social group. They also dominated the last Canterbury NPPL Regionals (3000 1st) with a Win and 2 others in the top 5 recently.
They had gotten together and played a series of events to allow the winner to play in the Canterbury Champs and so he had plenty of support. He got about 25th in the end.
Losing 3000 to Adam got me down to 4000 from 7000 straight away and I never fully recovered from that and had to do a lot of folding, for 90 minutes straight at one point.
I did win 8 hands, 3 of them all-in pre-flop KK, A2, 77, one early bluff on the turn, I hit 2 other flops to win two hands and I stole the blinds twice from position.
All these hands were calculated bets based on betting and timing (and cards) so I was pretty happy with that aspect of my game, it allowed me to survive and give myself a chance of forming a run to get myself in the event as I was looking like going out about 75th early on which I wouldn?t have liked.

The Aussie champ went out in hour 3 somewhat unluckily but he could have folded, although this would have only left him about 5000.
He went head to head with the eventual winner (I believe) and the same guy who got me in the end.
This chap was directly to my left so I was the Rose between two thorns. I felt very comfortable and not imtimidated at all and didn't expect to feel that way based on my experience which is essentially that you cannot dominate Poker, except perhaps by fear, and that players who go hard fall hard eventually. These chaps folded enough hands to show the cards are what matters.
No fear on my part re the opposition, only of losing chips needlessly. Respect is always there of course?
Back to business. Aussie Millions champ made a semi large raise on the flop of 77K which Mr Lucky to my right called after about 2 minutes or so and time being asked about.
Aussie Millions had A7 with a board of K77 so he had a set of 777 with an ace kicker to attack with, 2 cards to come, super strong position.
Unfortunately his post flop bet wasn?t big enough for the fold although Aussie Millions probably wanted a call.
Mr Lucky gambled half his stack and called the bet.
The Aussie Millions champ had the guy on the hook well and truly.
The turn comes out a 4. K77-4 one to come.
Aussie Millions calls a medium bet to see what Mr Lucky will do, either way Aussie Millions is all in, as he still thinks he is favourite with one to come, he just wants to fully pot commit the guy now.
Mr Lucky calls All-in and Aussie Millions has a perplexed look on his face with just a tinge of fear as his event life is now at stake.
Only 3 hands can beat Aussie Millions.
I could tell he was thinking about folding, and in a huge event he may well have.

However he called relatively quickly and Mr Lucky turns over 44?for a 44477 boat vs 777A, one card to come.
Aussie Millions needing a 7 or an ACE, pretty much resigned to his fate.

Mr Lucky got moved to another table soon after but I was to meet him again a couple of hours later for my last hand.
My whole table got broken up as we were down to 4 tables of 10 so I met up with him again.
Mr Lucky raised to 1800 one seat after the posted blinds so I knew he had Ace-picture or similar.
I looked at my cards and saw 8-8.
I immediately decided to go for it even though I was going to struggle as if he hit either card he would win most likely, and he wouldn?t fold to my 4000 bet, no way no how.
However if my 8's held up I would double up plus blinds plus antes which would have given me about 9500 and finally put me in the tournament.
Of course he called my All-in and he had A-Q, exactly what I thought he had.
I show my cards and some jerk goes...I had a 8, I had a 8* shut your head mate*
Flop comes down, 10-9-A so hes got a pair of Aces immediately.
I called for a straight for some outs but the next card was a 3 so I had to hit an 8 on the river, which didn't happen.
All in all I was pretty happy how I held in and played with the little that I had.
I was also pretty happy that nothing majorly untoward or *sick* happened which is a bad feeling I was able to avoid on this occasion.

What this event and my play showed me was that yes Poker is all on the day, you cannot dominate it except by fear, and that no one is unbeatable.

I was also able to establish that I need to work on the part of my game where I don't hit the flop as I managed to lose quite a few chips over both events through folding post-flop.

Definitely need to work on that the next 12 months before next years events.

So the upshot for me was, very few cards, superb discipline and picked my few moments well.

I did make two mistakes on the day where I could/should have folded or flat called but I take many positives out of it, and some serious experience of playing with players who have been successful on a major scale.

There were some well known aussie's in the event, 2 at my table, including the 2009 winner of the Aussie Millions Stewart Scott (2Million 1st) sitting directly to my right who was kind enough to show everyone his diamond studded bracelet.

For an aussie he was very friendly, modest and a really nice guy actually.


"First theory proven, no matter who you are, no cards, no result"

Stewart Scott

Stewart Scott holding the Pocket Aces with which he won the Final Hand at the Aussie Millions in January this year.