I was honoured to be selected to represent England in the recent European Amateur Poker Championships. The championships were held in the beautiful city of Prague. This was a city that I had never been to before so I ensured that I would have a day of sightseeing before returning home to Blighty.

Our England team had a Blue Blood theme running through it. Our captain and illustrious leader was Dawn Cooke. Also selected to play was fellow Blue Blood member, Gary Lipman. Our final team member was Tristan Chaplin. A former member of Blue Blood. This demonstrates the quality of players that forms Blue Blood. Past and present. 

Once Dawn had revealed the team to me, I was very excited as I knew with the players selected, that we stood a very good chance of winning the event. The event consists of each player playing two Sit and Go’s and then all players compete in an MTT at the end. The Sit and Go’s are a mixture of NLHE and PLO. There was a total of six countries competing. 

There was the usual banter and APAT shenanigans before the event started. The first round of Sit and Go’s commenced and disaster struck. Gary, Tristan and I all exited very early and didn’t achieve many points for the team. Dawn put in a captain’s performance and finished in second place. She actually gained more points than the whole team put together! This proved to be very important at the end of the event. 

The second round of Sit and Go’s saw Dawn and Gary play PLO. Tristan and I played NLHE. This proved to be a better round for us. Gary and Tristan both achieved fourth place in their tournaments. I went on to finish in second place and Dawn went a step further and won her tournament. 

After several hours of playing, the MTT then commenced. All countries had a chance of winning the event. We discussed team tactics prior to the MTT commencing. We had a plan and each team member stuck to it. I played a very patient game that remained disciplined. I was folding hands that I would ordinarily play had it not been a team event. The players started to dwindle and once the final table was set, we found two England players remaining. Tristan and myself. 

The other nation that still had two players was the Czech Republic.

Ireland, Germany and Scotland all had one player remaining. 

I picked up pocket kings and re-raised the German player pre-flop. He called my raise. He had been loose aggressive throughout the tournament. The flop improved my hand even further to a set of kings but it also brought a spade flush draw. My opponent checked and I placed a bet for three quarters of the pot. He shoved all in and I couldn’t call quick enough. He was on a flush draw and showed Q/10 of spades. The turn gave me a Full House so there wasn’t even a sweat. Germany were now eliminated. Dawn established that the Czech Republic had secured the gold. It was between England and Ireland for the silver and bronze medal. England were in a very strong position for the silver medal as we still had two players remaining. 

Ben Burnhill of Scotland, a very talented and well respected regular on the APAT circuit, started to shove all in every hand. Scotland had nothing left to play for. Tristan picked up pocket aces and raised pre-flop. Ben shoved all in and showed AK of hearts. The flop brought three hearts and Tristan was eliminated. Ben continued to shove all in every hand and he was winning every hand. I eventually picked up AK of spades. I raised pre-flop and Ben did the inevitable and shoved all in. He showed Q/7 offsuit. The flop was K,Q,8 rainbow. The turn was a brick and the river was a 7, giving Ben two pair. This decimated my stack and I never recovered. Despite Scotland not having anything left to play for, they did seem to be enjoying subjecting the English to bad beats!

I had about 15 blinds remaining and shoved all in with KQ offsuit. I figured this was a reasonable hand as Ben was calling with everything. He called and showed pocket twos. His pocket twos held up and England finished in third place, taking home the Bronze medal. Ben went on to win the MTT. 

It was bitter sweet in the end. After our poor start to the event, we should have been pleased to pick up the bronze medal but realistically we should have won the silver. It was a great experience and one that I was pleased to be a part of. 


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