One of my favourite albums growing up and going through primary school at the start of the Millenium was Robbie Williams’ third album, Sing When You’re Winning. Supreme, Rock DJ and Kids (in collaboration with Kylie Monogue) are all time classic songs that I remember screaming the words to (learnt by endlessly reading the lyrics in the inlay) as I was getting ready for the short walk to school.
My last (and also first) blog entry for Backdoor Quads was ten months ago. Whilst the title of this post gives a hint to the main contributing factor for my reemergence, the title of Robbie’s fourth album, Swing When You’re Winning describes rather well why I’ve been so lethargic and taking so many Lazy Days in writing since my last entry. I was peaking in terms of confidence, ability and bankroll and the truth is, I was as used to the multiple month downswings that would be endured by me and every one of my small stable of horses as Robbie Williams was used to releasing swing albums. I swung when I was winning. Down, consistently and rapidly. Eventually I had to say to Backdoor Quads editor, Will that writing just didn’t seem like a very fun proposition when surrounded by so much stress.
I’d like to thank everyone in my circle for being very understanding during that period. I can’t have been at all easy to deal with at times.
At some point around April, I sorted my life out to some degree and resolved that I had to try and take advantage of the upcoming SCOOP and WSOP series. I Feel like I played very close to the best of my ability in both for large periods. I played a very heavy schedule for both, which is rarely going to be optimal but as a primarily mixed game player, this is the one period of the year where I really, really go for it and whilst it’s nowhere near perfect for my body or brain, I have No Regrets. I finally snagged a COOP by winning the Medium Big O Rebuy as well as a few other final tables in mixed events. My big bet Omaha split games seem to have improved a lot, exemplified by two deep runs in 2k buy-in SCOOPs and cashing both WSOP events.
Las Vegas was a great experience this year despite not being particularly successful for me. After taking 4.5 hours to get through the airport, due presumably to the arrogant, Rudebox, obnoxious immigration man not liking my face, I decided to late reg a $400 HORSE tournament, part of The Venetian’s Deep Stack Extravaganza. I was fortunate enough to get the summer off to a perfect start by taking it down, beating the solid Nick Kost (who has a very strong Twitter game @kosteythoughts) heads-up, albeit by winning with Aces like a pathetic nit in Limit Holdem. I would go on to make nine cashes in WSOP events, fantastic! The trouble was, none of them was for more than 3x the buy-in. After a lot of consideration I’m going to allow myself to write this off to variance. My Summer was kept afloat through skilful swapping. My friend and often study partner, Benny Glaser played FL Omaha Hi/Lo undefeated for seven days in a row to capture two bracelets in outrageous fashion. I was fortunate enough to be there for both victories, as well as his 2-7 Triple Draw victory last year.
There were many more highlights on the trip, as many more of my friends made deep runs. Bart Lybaert, who was my room mate in an amazing house for the majority of the trip put together a fantastic string of results including a 2nd in the Turbo and “our” 6th place in the Tag Team event along with Benny and Owais Ahmed. We woke up one morning and refreshed the WSOP POY leaderboard to find we were ranked 1 and 2. This was an amazing feeling and created a good sense of friendly rivalry for the next week or two that we remained in realistic contention. Another Belgian hero, Michäel Gathy captured his third NLHE bracelet as well as making many deep runs in mixed events. Hopefully the main highlight will come on November 1st as my friend Kenny Hallaert goes for the ultimate prize in the Main Event. I’m very excited to rail this and to get out of line with the Belgians in Sin Sin Sin City.
And then Barcelona happened. The magnitude of what happened is still really yet to sink in. Basically, I ran amazingly well for Eternity it seemed. For anyone that may be harbouring the misconception that you have to play to the best of your ability at all times to final table an event that large, I can assure you that Day 4 was one of the worst days of poker I have ever played. Day 5 onwards I felt I played towards the best of my ability at most times, with my deletion of Morten Mortensen with ATdd against his AKo on the final table bubble being the one hand I strongly regretted. I thought I was shoving a big size of 41bb effective but when I bumped into Sam Grafton in the toilets on break, he berated me in his signature, entertaining style by gladly and enthusiastically informing me it was actually 50bb. Oops. I’ve always perceived Morten to be a fantastic player as well as class act and he showed this with the grace he displayed in exiting the arena after such a brutal equity shift. He was probably the Better Man of the remaining field, so him busting was amazing for my chances of making a very serious score, as well as now gaining a very large chiplead obviously.
Day 6, the final day was the best day of my life. I’ve been a fan of the EPT TV shows and especially the live stream for years. Whenever I’d dared to dream of final tabling and being up there myself, I’d quickly dismiss it as unrealistic and tell myself a WSOP stud or draw final table was way more likely and that the combination of luck and especially skill required to final table an EPT event was something I was so unlikely to ever possess. This was my 3rd EPT main event and in my two previous efforts, I hadn’t got close to the money. It’s pretty stupid but making each level break from ITM (late on day 2) onwards felt like an achievement.
The experience of being surrounded by many friends in Barcelona and being swamped by good luck wishes on social media was overwhelmingly fun and positive. A special shout out to Teddy Jackson-Spivack and Jamie Keeler, who were both absolutely twatted in London on the evening of Day 5 and both had to travel home to our hometown of Folkestone to get their passports before U-turning back to London Gatwick and bring my rail into competition with the boisterous Dutch rail of Thomas De Rooij. My rail was fantastic and made up of some of the best 2-7 single draw players the internet has ever seen (The TJS, Jamie Keeler, Kashmir_uzi, Rungodlike, Dejanaceking, Nkeyno, fish_san and fold_3_aces were all standing pat for me) and some noisy, big old Belgian bastards. Benny and Sander Van Wesemael were grinding the livestream for me along with some friends who were watching from home. I had to win most of my chips through pre and post flop bluffs (other than winning AQs > KQo against Andreas Halkiadakis) so am pretty happy with my play. The big hand against Uri Reichenstein, a very feared online player, where I held KQo must have looked very messy and I have had a lot of comments and questions about it, unsurprisingly. I’m not in love with the hand but it’s credit to him and his aggressive game that I thought it was appropriate in the moment to take such a non-standard line. If he has QTo or QJo there, a pair+draw or combo draw holding, I look like a genius I guess. Alas, a great Shame that I had two outs and didn’t get there. Win Some Lose Some. Congratulations to him and the winner, Sebastien Malec who I felt were fairly clearly the best two players at the table, Supreme.
The party afterwards began with a nice Italian meal and multiple jugs of sangria. I then had an interview for the TV broadcast where I struggled to talk or string coherent sentences together. After deciding to sack off Opium and the other clubs on the beach, we caught up with many of the dealers and staff who are always great fun, especially after working ridiculously long days for the best part of two weeks. I don’t remember too much but I know that many hundred Jaegerbombs were purchased and a large amount of bollocks was shouted, sung and screamed. The bar we ended up in, Kennedy’s showed their gratitude for our custom by handing us the reigns of Spotify, uh oh. The merchants of electric, flashing bunny ears and Barcelona themed hats received the biggest day of trade in their history, it must have been like taking Candy from a baby. There were a lot of tired brains and Bodies the next morning, afternoon and evening.
Thank you to everyone who wished me well, especially Jonathan Abdellatif, Koen “Mich” Lauwereys, Usman Siddique and John Field who provided a perfect environment in the apartment we shared. I enjoyed railing many laps of high stakes Mario Kart (HSMK) to relax in the evenings of my main event run, crippled by Strong belly laughter more than once by Jonna’s literal translations of Mich’s cursing in Flemish. I said before the main even started that I’d had an amazingly fun trip. I could have name dropped plenty of other heroes and I’m sorry for all those I’ve inevitably omitted from the story, you’ll know who you are.
I will be hiring a mental coach and working on my game more than ever before to give myself the best chance of winning and therefore singing in the future. Let Me Entertain You with what my schedule for the next few months is beginning to look like, after saying I would be taking it easy:
- UKIPT Birmingham
- WPTN Brussels
- IPT/EPT Malta
- WSOP November Nine (LFG Team Hallaert)
- WSOPC Lake Tahoe
- WSOPC Florida
- BPC Namur
- Eureka/EPT Prague
- England Cricket ODI tour of India