20 August 2007

Big win in London - and an online review

On my flight into London from Rome, I was really looking forward to getting back to what I do best, playing poker. I had just spent eight days in Italy without placing one bet, which could be a record for me. On all my previous visits to London it has been raining and I have just never had any fun. I was hoping that this trip would be different.

After landing at Heathrow I caught a cab and headed for my hotel, the Montague at the Gardens. I had a nice room and unpacked my things and headed to dinner with my agent. We had a great meal with Liz Lieu and Shannon Elizabeth, two of the nicest girls in poker.

The next morning, I was more than ready to play some poker. The game was to be played at the TV studio with blinds of $100-200 with a $25 ante. The minimum buy-in was $25,000 and the max buy-in was $50,000 so it was going to be some deep stack poker, my favorite!

Once the cards got underway, I found my groove. I was playing a lot looser and more aggressive than normal. I was going to mix it up for awhile and apply the pressure.
We were playing six handed most of the day and sometimes four and five handed. I ended up a winner the first day. There were quite a few big pots and a couple of huge bluffs. I was fortunate enough to win the largest pot of the three days.

The game was full of good players and two online qualifiers who rotated in and out throughout the day. Tony G was also in the game. His behavior has sometimes been a little over the top, but I think he is a very intelligent player and businessman. He has always been nice to me and we get along quite well.

My very good friend Ilari "Zimund" Sahamies, Martin de Knijff, Juha Helppi, Jan Sorenson, Tobias Person, former CEO of 24 Hour Poker Per Hildebrand, and Rene Mouritsen were in the game. Rene finished second in this year’s $10,000 PLO when I got third place at the WSOP.

It was a lot of fun to play with old friends from Europe, especially Ilari, one of the funniest poker players I know. He pulled out a couple of moves; if you have heard about his recent play in the Bellagio "Big Game" he is never afraid to put his money in the pot.

He managed to play very well against me, and he got me at least one time to lay the best hand down on the river. Tony G immediately said, "show a bluff, it’s good for the game," and Ilari showed the table the bluff while he raked in a nice-sized pot.

As I promised, I am going to review a hand I played online against ‘sbrugby’ a few months ago. A little background first. Before this session, we almost never played HU NL Hold ‘em for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time. We were finally playing for a while and I was up two buy-ins when this hand developed.

I started the hand with $212,033 and he had $99,297. Brian was on the button and made his standard raise to $1,800, I re-raised out of position to $5,400 with the 5 6 of clubs, he put in another raise to $16,200. I felt very strong that he did not have a monster hand like AA or KK. I decided to call and see if I hit any piece of the flop. I was also ready to try to bluff him out of the pot.

The flop came 3c 8h 6s. I obviously liked the flop since I hit a pair with two backdoor draws. I checked with the intention of check raising all in if he bet. Even if he had AA or KK I had a backdoor straight and flush draw and five outs to hit two pair or trips, and if he had two big cards I was ahead.

He bet $18,800 into the pot and I came over the top all in and he called with – I could barely believe it – 8 9 off suit. So he raised me pre-flop to $16,200 with 8 9 off suit and I called with 5 6 suited. It is pretty funny we managed to get over $30,000 in preflop with nothing better than 9 high. I just caught enough of the flop to keep me in and caught my flush to take a nice pot of $198,593.

I’ve just got home to Vegas, and am enjoying some time with my family. It was the first time being away from my daughter and it’s amazing how much she has grown in the past few weeks.

It is going to be a short stay at home before I head back to Europe for the EPT Barcelona and the EWSOP, both of which are going to be a lot of fun and hopefully very profitable! My whole family is coming with me to Europe, including our amazing nanny, who has turned out to be an incredible chef.

Even my mother and sister are coming to visit from Finland to see our baby Mila for the first time, so it will be a family affair.

Good luck at the tables.