Friday, February 10, 2006

Viva Las Vegas - The World Series 2005

Before I left for Vegas, I asked bookmakers Victor Chandler to give me odds on myself for reaching the final table. The odds were only 400-1 but I was able to bet on myself for a major sporting event. That felt good!
What was better was I then saw myself on Oddschecker, my odds had been cut from 400-1 to 250-1! LOL!

This was my first ever visit to Las Vegas. I expected it to be amazing and I wasn't wrong.
Littlewoods who were looking after me during my stay, where just absolutely fantastic.
From the moment I was picked up in a stretched limo from the airport, by the Littlewoods superstar Tony (The Athlete) Chessa. I knew it was going to be a great experience.

We were staying at the Rio Grande, where the World Series was being held, the whole place was magical.
It was not until I went down to the convention centre, that I actually realised how absolutely massive this was. I was introduced to some of the top players in the world and I knew just how out of my depth I was.

I was playing on day 2 of the main event. I sat down at my table, this was totally mental. What a way to start your live career! I was as nervous as hell!
We had an american national anthem before the event, by a female poker player, it was so terribly sung that it made me relax, I looked across at the dealer and he was laughing too!.

I was on the big blind first hand and had JToff, two limpers and me. Flop was J85, I bet and they both folded. I won my first hand, I was chip leader on my table! This was easy!
My first big moment came with QT in the big blind. The Flop came TT9. I checked, had one guy bet which I called. The turn was a Jack and gave me a straight and flush draw. I bet out, the guy raised me and I called. The river was a three. I checked he bet the pot and it was decision time, I decided to call and he turned over T3. The river gave him a full house! Damn!

My next significant hand gave me KK, again I was in the big blind. I had two limpers and decided to slow play. The flop was KK8. I had hit quad kings. There was no action on the flop, or the turn. I put a small bet in on the river, they both folded!

As the day progress I moved from table to table, playing on five different tables. Some I felt comfortable, others I felt out of my depth.
My end came in the fifth level (each level was 2 hours long) I had QQ and was down to about 4500 chips (started with 10k). I followed two limpers and a raise. I reraised and was called by the guy who had initially raised. The flop was 6 high rainbow (three different suits). I made my move and went all in. The guy called me and he turned over AJ. I was saying to myself - no ace, no ace. There wasn't an ace, but the turn was a Jack and then the river card came (after what seemed the longest pause I have ever witnessed between turn and river) it was another Jack. My heart sank.

Two lessions were learnt initially - one - playing live can be a cruel as online, - two - being knocked out of the world series was one of the lowest feelings you can ever experience.

During the time I was out there my wife Rachael and myself were looked after by Littlewoods and three of the most incredible people. Bruce Martin, Scott Richardson and Poker Tony Chessa (the best player I have ever played with). These three will be my friends for life and they are responsible for my desire to be successful in this game. I want to do this again.

I played in two other World Series whilst I was out there. At one point, I knew every single player on the table from seeing them on tv! I had Men the Master on my right and Ross Boatman on my left. I finished six off the money in the $1500 when my QQ lost to JJ with a J arriving on the river.
Queens are now my most feared hand, whenever I see them I expect my tournament to be over. 23 consecutive losses with QQ is my best record!

I will never forget this experience and will do everything I can to repeat in this year.

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