Friday, 7 February 2014


On the face of it, the Deauville leg of the tour should rank pretty low amongst the others. It is out classed by almost every stop in almost every category. Its a massive hassle to get there, there's nothing to do and the weather is shite! 

After an 8 hour ferry, crazy golf in the rain
seemed like the natural choice of activity

Yet it keeps dragging me back and will definitely be the first date in the diary for 2015. 

Because there isn't anything else to do you end up grinding every day and the trip ends up being an actual serious poker trip! Prague, Barcelona, Vegas etc all carry numerous distractions so Deauville has that "appeal" of probably being the most +EV stop of the year (if you're into that kind of thing....) 

Bracelet hunting - the French way

Deadman, Stato, Keith, Mitch and I made the trip this year and as a group we all felt we were due a trip where we got the lot. We kicked things off with a 300 turbo in which I got my first ever French flag in style by chopping the bubble for €265! A winning start...sort of! Enjoyed it a lot (especially stalling antics near the bubble!) and Mitch got another 8th place finish on his hendon mob! 

The FPS main went pretty good, built up a big stack on day two, then lost a key hand to leave me short and having to grind into the money. Never recovered and although I kept my stack alive - I grinded 10-20 bbs for about 8 hours, well into day 3, but lost the first time I was all-in with 88 vs QTs and finished 44th for €3300. It felt great to run deep, get another cash/flag and was great for the confidence. However, in such a soft field it was an amazing chance at a huge score (€175k ftw) and it was kind of demoralising to think that it had been a year since my last cash in a 1k+ comp, I really didn't want to wait another year for a shot again.  

Luckily I didn't even have to wait a week... 

The EPT main was the next day and I was raring to go. In between these events Keith had shipped a €500 PLO turbo side for €15k and a trophy! Skill game!  

I busted EPT Prague in level one and had a nightmare start in this one too - down to 7.5k from my 30k starting stack. I grinded it back though and finished the day nicely on 71k.

At this point Deadman was on the final of the FPS hiroller (wait a minute, I thought he had 4bbs a couple of hours ago?!) so we went straight to the bar and got in a few rounds of €8/pint beer and got on it! Some excellent ladder and flip tekkers saw Deadman into 4 handed play where we were confident he was gonna smash it. Unfortunately our dreams of seeing our hero ship the trophy were dashed by the lame French laws that said we had to leave the casino at 4am. We weren't happy about this and, led by stato, protested that we should be allowed to stay and watch. Security man-handled us out and I snapped a selfie of me being evicted (for the blog ldo)! Alas, he caught me and made me delete it, then took my picture! I was sweating whether I'd be allowed back in to play my day two!

Deadman came back a few hours later and with tales of how this French guy had owned him heads up and how he only got 2nd. Just €87k. Pfff. What a trip this was turning into though! 

Luckily we had a days rest before day two to recover!

The days "rest" involved us playing some comedy €800+200+100 random bounty turbo where a randomly allocated 1/10 bounties were €1k and the rest €100. Pretty cool concept. Sadly bricks all round (including a Keith Johnson pure bubble!) except trusty min-cash Mitch holding up the fort with a strong 11th place finish.  

The next day, Mitch and Keith and I all made day three of the main, I had a healthy stack and I started well on day three, smashing every flop and that gave me a stack to abuse the bubble which was incredibly fun and useful! Mitch sadly busted 20 off the money but Keith cashed but bust soon after. I finished on 700k, and was to be on the TV table for day four. 

It was the toughest table in the room and I ended up getting involved in the biggest equity pot of my life (at the time...) in a huge AKs vs JJ classic coinflip. I'd be down to 10bbs if I lost, but winning it would send me to 1m - 100bbs. Ace in the window was so nice to see! It held up and I was top 3 stack now. Nice!

However probably the highlight hand of that table came an hour later, when I rivered quad nines and got a river raise to 475k paid off! Rivering quads, deep in an EPT, getting paid, on TV! I felt pretty blessed right then! 

I was chip leader for a while, chipped up to 2.5m, then ran QQ into AA to go down to 2m, chipped back up to 2.5m, then ran AQs into KK, back down to 2m. Then finished the day badly and bagged up 1.4m for day five.  

I'd struggled to sleep all week, but it was so hard to fall asleep that night. It was so exciting. I'd had problems during play of feeling really anxious and stressed. It's kind of hard to explain, during hands I was completely in the zone and played my best. But once I'd folded, every moment spent waiting around was so awful, I felt terrible. Like I wanted the next hand straight away, like I wanted whatever was going to happen to happen now- almost like i wanted it all to be over! It was strange. I went for walks during the breaks. I skyped people like Julian Thew who've had experience in these situations and that helped a lot. Having the boys all still around to chat to really helped too. I went for a beer with Deadman and Ben Jones that night and that really helped distract me, just chatting about anything except for poker- was really good. 

I had 2-3 hours sleep I guess. Not ideal but it was all I could manage. I went for a morning walk to the beach, listening to music that inspires me (don't ask!) and then did the morning ritual that we'd done every day of the trip at 1130. Walk to the same little shop and get une crepe with strawberry jam. 

As it turns out, all the preparation and advice in the world couldn't help me win the crucial flip I couldn't avoid. AQ vs 88 blind vs blind for 33bbs.

I came 11th out of 600+ players in an EPT for my 2nd biggest cash of my life. I'm proud of that. There's a lot of disappointment though too - I could never get this close to an EPT final / win ever again. This was the biggest sweat of my life by far. On days 3-5 I was involved in 7 allins and lost 6 of them. Of course the one I did win was absolutely massive, and I ran great in all other areas, but felt hard done by to come 11th. Especially when I saw 1m stacks on the final, a 2.5m stack 3 handed - a stack I had on day 4! 

It's weird how winning a side event for say €30k would feel so much better than 11th for €40k.  

I was very lucky to get there anyway, and enjoyed the run immensely - it gives me great confidence for the future, and great hunger to keep playing tournaments in search of more success.  

Just got back from a little break with Victoria in Riga. It's so gorgeous on the coast this time of year. 

Snow, Sea and Sand is an odd combination,
but makes for a nice photo!

I'm on the SKY Poker TV show on Tuesday being a guest analyst (!), then it's GPS in Birmingham then it's UKPC week in DTD with SKY Poker. Very exciting few weeks ahead!

Good luck everyone sorry this blog has dragged on so long!

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