One week, over 7500 entries, £100k first prize, one dream!
Pretty tall task isn’t it? Well you have to be in it to win it and that’s why myself and Gary queued up at 7am on a Friday morning to enter the biggest tournament outside of Vegas. We both had entered the day before and was close but no cigar so to try our luck one last time there we were at silly o clock to see if we could get another chance.
By the time we got to the front of the longest queue since Harrods New Year sale, we were given a ticket each with alternate 129 and 130, as we trudged off with a big sigh and waited and waited and yes you guessed it we waited.
At 1.30pm numbers 120-130 were called, wahoooo, which was short-lived when we find out that myself and Gary were on the same table. 1700 entries that day and we end up together arghhhh.
Neither one of us got off to a flying start and had a few car crash hands along the way. At level 3 we went and had a serious talk with ourselves and came back focused and ready to rock and roll!
I got into a hand where kings couldn’t beat 107 off and I found myself down to 7k when the blinds were 500/1000 with no choice but to get it in and spin and oh my did that happen.
When people came up to me with bad beat stories throughout the day I told them that I wasn’t interested as I decided to give 3 out myself in the space of 5 hands! My chips went in with 87 against 1010 and board ran out a straight in my favour, very next hand I get AQh and all in against AK and 66, board comes out queen (yay), king (boo) and a 6 (arghhhh), guy next to me tells me I am drawing dead as he has thrown a queen only for it to go runner runner hearts and boom treble up. Two hands later I am all in again with AQ against AK and JJ and yep out pops a lovely queen and in five hands we get to 80k. It was about this time they split the table and me and Gary parted.
He went out a few levels later, never quite able to get going and running his small pair into a bigger one with no luck on the board (his luck was to come later on the last day!).
So, we plod on and build up and at one point get ourselves up to 200k only for the 2nd to last hand of the day lose over 100k of it as folks gamble and I couldn’t put my kings down. BUT after being in the casino for nearly 18 hours we bag up 93k and make day 2 with the dream still alive.
11am on a Saturday is most poker players idea of hell and I couldn’t agree more, nearly a 1000 of us (with 3 Blue Blooders) trudged back with our stacks ranging from 30k to 1.1mil all looking at what laid ahead. 745 people were going to be lucky enough to get some return for their money, although the guy who had bought in 16 times was going to have to go a long way!
Average stack was 145k which was not good news for my 93k but in the first few hands I stamped my place on the table and got up to 160k never putting my stack at risk. Then those blasted kings hit again and whoosh back down to 100k, with the only good news being numbers were falling off very fast. Throughout the next 2 levels my stack went up and down matching my blood pressure until we got to the bubble. Seat to my left never turned up (they had 71k) and on the bubble he was left with one ante and as such was blinded out and there we were in the money.
The craziness persisted for the next level and all of sudden I had a stack with 400k in front of me as we went down to 600, 500, 400 and then the wheels came off. Two big hands AK and QQ would not hold up and I was down to a chip and chair. This time there was no miracle out and I left the comp in 320th position. Not to be sniffed at out of 7500 but still a long way from where I wanted to be.
It was not the easiest competition I have ever played and at times it was not enjoyable with some very nasty characters raising their head especially at the end of day 1 when the beer had flowed a little too easy for some. Would I play it again? You bet your backside I would but maybe with only one entry in. It is a minefield and not for the fainthearted or for those who get bored easy. I saw big stacks punt it off in minutes and small stacks come back again and again but ultimately you need luck and a lot of stamina but outside of Vegas there is nothing like it!
Now let’s get on to the last day! As if we haven’t had enough poker there are still 3 events to be played. We stood in the queue for the APAT Round of Each comp wondering if we should play the master’s event or even the last turbo one but in the end we stayed where we were which turned out the right decision for Gary. APAT games are one of my favourites for the spirit they are played in and that they are genuine freezeouts. The APAT crowd are fun, like-minded people who enjoy their poker with no hassle.
Off we go with a level of Holdem and a level of 4 card Omaha, which both myself and Gary are fans of, well saying that ‘I was’ a fan off as within 2 levels I am decimated and out, queuing at the desk for the turbo comp whereas Gary is stealthy building his stack.
Each level he had been building his stack but with the most improvement in the Omaha levels. All of a sudden he is up there with a substational stack waiting for the bubble to burst. 17 players were being paid out of the 175 runners and there we were ready and waiting for this to happen when someone decides it would be better if we paid all 18 and bosh they are in the money.
Gary lost quite a big hand in Holdem, so we are struggling a little when round came the PLO to save his day and whoosh next thing you know we are on the final table. A couple of players get knocked out but by this time the blinds are huge, and he is need of an urgent double up. Looking down at 99 there is the inevitable call of ‘ALL IN’ which couldn’t have been snapped off any quicker by a guy turning over AA, oops, well only oops for a minute as the flop comes 78, and he shouts out 10 (ping), jack (double ping) with instant service. Before he has a chance to stack his chips next hand he looks down at KK and again ‘ALL IN’ can be heard only for yet again someone to turn over AA, this time no miracle and off to the cash desk he goes in a brilliant 6th place! Watching him play was a great example of someone focused and, in their game, taking the beats and regrouping and never giving up. Really was excellent to watch (and no I am not biased!).
Goliath 2018 came to an end and whilst we went home with our wallets the same way as we came, sleep deprived, in desperate need of some normal food and our bed, we also went away knowing we had held our head high and not only did ourselves proud but also Blue Blood and really can’t ask for more than that.
2019 are we nearly there yet????