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Challenge James - UKIPT Coventry Report

James Atkin

So last week I took in my first live tournament of 2010, the £500+50 UKIPT stop in Coventry. The journey there was kind of eventful as I gave Mick McCool and Richard Trigg a lift, and Mick was having fun berating my driving because of my slight pause before jetting down the tiniest slip road in the world feeding into a dual carriageway. He also told me not to bother setting the Sat Nav up on my iPhone up for directions as he would tell me the way, before proceeding to take about 6 different phone calls, providing me with only confusing hand gestures resulting in me not knowing where the hell I was going!

After flicking the Sat Nav on whilst he wasn’t paying attention we arrived at the casino fine. It was my first time at the G-Casino in Coventry, and it turns out that it is lush. It almost has the feel of a Vegas casino, with a fountain as you walk in, and you actually ‘walk on water’ (albeit on a glass floor) as you enter the casino floor, which is quite posh. For décor and spaciousness there's no doubt this is the nicest casino I've been into in the UK.

The first half an hour of play was a bit trying, as the dealer on my table was an elderly gentleman who, bless him, had no bloody clue what he was doing. There was no pitching of cards as he dealt, instead he would slowly and methodically pass each card individually to each player. He would continuously ask people who had folded 3 streets ago whether they wanted to bet and check, and he had trouble deciphering whether top two pair beat Queen high when deciding who to push the pot to. He was a nice old bloke so we were kind of patient with him, but when someone asked if he was new to dealing he tried to claim he'd been dealing poker a long time and was even a teacher of it! God help us all if there is a new breed of dealers out there like him. With the amount of hands taking place 397 of 402 players will make Day 2 and the average stack on the final table will be 3 big blinds!

Things picked up when we got a new dealer, but sadly my stint in this tournament didn't last long, as I was pretty unfortunate to lose my stack over two key hands. In the first hand I open raised JJ, receiving 2 callers including the only noticeably terrible player on the table. I flopped middle set and fired 3 bullets as the board fell AJ927 with a possible backdoor flush being only a vague worry. When he flat called my bet on the river and waited for me to showdown my hand I was literally reaching out to scoop the pot when he casually said “straight” and slowly flipped over T8 offsuit!

Challenge James - UKIPT Coventry Report 101

After moving tables I managed to get my depleted stack all-in in a pretty good spot in a level or twos time. 3 betting the cut-off with KK I was 4-bet by the button, which the big blind proceeded to cold call. The original raiser passes, I make the obligatory shove, and the 4-bettor also folds. The big-blind claimed ‘he had a feeling’. I almost thought this speech meant I was getting slow-rolled for the 2nd time in the day, but when he chucked in his call he flipped over the ol’ AQ offsuit. With 1 card to come I couldn’t manage to duck an Ace and I was busto.

I play so many tournaments a day online that beats like this don’t really phase me anymore, but I was obviously a bit dissatisfied that I couldn’t at least make the dinner break in the tournament (although I had a rather awesome Olympic Breakfast at a Little Chef on my way home so it was more the stigma of busting before the break than the buffet that was disappointing). Still, it was nice to catch up with a couple of friends of mine on the circuit, and I was happy to see two mates of mine make the final table, with Dave Jones and Dan Carter coming 2nd and 4th respectively.

It looks like my next live tournament might well be in Vegas at World Series time, as although I had vague plans to go to the EPT in San Remo, it is my son’s Christening smack bang in the middle. The missus didn’t appreciate my suggestion that I could ‘appear via satellite’ for the Christening (for satellite, read Skype), and obviously this isn’t something I would want to miss. So the next few weeks it looks like I’ll be trying to grind out a bankroll to take with me for strippers tournaments in Las Vegas!

Join James in Vegas by following our guide to getting to the 2010 World Series of Poker.

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