I love the APAT World Championships of Amateur Poker and look forward to that time of year, every year! However, when APAT announced that they were hosting the championships in Vienna, I was extremely disappointed. I was determined that I wasn’t going to attend and formed a mini-protest because they had decided to take it out of the UK. It was a mini-protest that didn’t last very long because by the end of the day, I had booked the time off of work, booked my hotel and my flights!! I had never been to Vienna before so my beloved hobby of poker was also fuelling my other hobby of travelling. I went to Vienna for a total of 8 days. I had laid out my schedule and ensured that I allowed some time for sightseeing too. I arrived in Vienna on a Sunday and as soon as I had dumped my bags at the hotel, I headed off to the Concord Casino and met up with some other APAT regulars. The casino was very dated and the punters were allowed to smoke. It was like being in the UK, fifteen years ago. They had dedicated a non-smoking room at the back of the casino but you had to walk through the smoking room to get to it!
The first tournament that I entered was the High Roller. The structure suits my game and I picked up a Bronze medal in this event last year. I was very happy with my initial play and I was slowly building up a stack. Then disaster struck. I picked up pocket aces, under the gun. I made a standard raise and four players flat called. A French player in the big blind, 3 bet my raise. I placed a large four bet, to force out as many players as possible. The four bet was for three quarters of his stack. He made the call. The flop was all diamonds and I looked down at two black aces. Not the best of flops for my hand. The big blind shoved his remaining chips into the middle and I made the call. I figured that he would do that with any two cards. He turned over K5 diamonds and had me crushed. I turned over my aces and he started to berate my play! I was totally perplexed as his play was questionable to say the least. He then went on to tell me that he had put me on Ace King. Anyway, I never really recovered from that and I crashed out of the event on Day one.
I decided to have the following day off to do some sightseeing as I wanted to be fresh for representing England the following day. I spent the day with a friend from the Essex Home Game. We did the open top bus tour and visited Schonbrunn Palace – We had a great time!
On the Tuesday, it was back to the poker. I was very proud to be representing England in the Team event. This was the third time that I had been picked to represent my country and I was hoping to improve on my previous silver medal. The team event consists of a number of sit and go’s, followed by an MTT. This is played over two days and the atmosphere is always fantastic.
England got off to a really good start and after the first round of sit and go’s, we were sitting in second place. We had a poor second round which saw us drop down the table but we picked it up again in the third round. It was all to play for on Day Two and every team had a chance to win the event. The MTT carries a lot of points but sadly it wasn’t to be. I finished as the overall top scorer for England and picked up a small bet that we had arranged between us.
On the Thursday, I played in the Main Event. Again, this is a slow structure which suits my game. The Austrians were very loose in their play and were calling bets very lightly. They were also very aggressive and this did cause me some frustration, as they were preventing me from playing my normal game. I struggled to adapt and crashed out in Level 5 which is unusual for me.
I re-entered the Main Event again, the following day but it was the same story again. This led to me returning to my hotel room and reviewing my overall game. I came to the conclusion that my game could do with refreshing and this would be something for me to work on when I returned home. I still had a couple of days remaining in Vienna and just wanted to have some fun. Fellow Blue Blood members, Dawn Cooke and Gary Lipman had been teaching me how to play Pot Limit Omaha prior to my Vienna trip so I decided to enter a couple of PLO tournaments. I had never played PLO in a casino before and I really enjoyed it! In fact, PLO was the tournament that I had my best result in. I finished in 13th place, 3 short of the final table.
On the final day, I entered the Heads Up tournament and the Tag Team Event. Again, fellow Blue Blood member, Dawn Cooke have been helping me with my Heads Up game. I played well against my opponent and I was ahead with KJ in the final hand. My opponent had J9 and she hit her 9 on the flop. There was nothing that I could have done about that.
I entered the Tag Team Event with Matt Carter. Matt is a member of the Essex Home Game. We did well and I played some of my best poker in this tournament. We ended up finishing in 15th place in this tournament.
In conclusion, I enjoyed Vienna as a city but the poker was disappointing. The Worlds didn’t have it’s usual atmosphere and there were a lot of APAT regulars missing. I do hope that they bring it back to the UK next year.
Upon my return to the UK, I decided to take a break from poker for a couple of weeks. Once I felt I was ready to pick up the game again, I got the books out and started to review my overall game. I have always enjoyed the studying element of the game and this instantly renewed my enthusiasm for the game. I have tweaked my game in a couple of areas and decided to test out my new game on some unsuspecting locals at Southend. My focus was 100 per cent and I played a very disciplined game. Much better than when I was in Vienna.
I established that whilst I was in Vienna, I was playing robotically and never really put any thought into what I was doing and why I was doing it. I ended up finishing in 7th place out of 63 runners. I was eliminated after making an ill timed bluff which was my only mistake of the whole night. I made a small cash but more importantly, I felt really happy with my game. This was lacking in Vienna. I will be continuing to work hard on my game and will continue preparing for the Goliath in August.