Landed in Paris: It’s all about the poker
When you look at the poker calendar and see that the next event is at the Aviation Club in Paris, you face a decision that feels similar to the shock of dropping a five pound note into a toilet. You know what the right thing is to do financially, but to do so will be a pretty grim experience.
One of the things I love about poker is the opportunity to visit new places, but there is just one exception to that. I have just spent an hour at the only casino that could make you wait so long to buy-in, contemplating the irony that it is the only casino that charges an entrance fee. One hundred Euros is a sickening price to pay for being made to feel apologetic for wanting to buy-in for their poker tournament.
I have always said that success in poker is all about attitude, so maybe it is only right that the worst players in Europe play at the most unpleasant casino. None of the English contingent is here, and it’s a pokey casino whose only consolation is to remind you of the good our smoking ban has done. The trip really is all about the poker.
I’m here for two days, to take in the 1k Euro and 2k Euro events at the Euro Finals of Poker. I’m very excited to try to play some decent stuff, and make a good start to the year. After all, if I play anything like I did in Galway, I could find myself leaning over to get my fiver and dropping my phone in as well!
1k side event, Day 1
Wow. For all that the surroundings are not pleasant, the poker yesterday most definitely was. I had a rare day, where things went well and luck fell in my favour, and turned my 10k stack into 140,400. Not able to write much at the moment, as I’m going back for the re-start soon. I’ve got everything crossed, it would be wonderful timing to get a good result here. There was a roller-coaster of emotions in the middle of the day, here is how one 20 minute period unfolded:
I’m playing 22k, and raise on the cut-off to 2,400 with Kd10d. The small blind goes all-in for 11,200, and I decide I just about have the odds to call. He shows 77, and the flop comes an encouraging QQ9, but the turn and river brick to knock me down to 10,800. The French guy says “thankyou” sarcastically, and we have the bizarre situation not only of me correcting the manners of someone two generations older than me, but trying to do so in French.
Down to 8k, I pick up QQ second to speak, and the player under the gun raises to 3,200. I put my chips in, and he snap calls with kings. Flop J32 Ah, what am I doing in this miserable city? I’ve had to leave my girlfriend for two days, I should never have come. This is the same old luck story all over again……………
Turn queen. Wow, that wasn’t meant to happen! Back in it a little with 18k.
Just two hands later, I find AsQs on the big blind, and the hijack raises to 3,400. He has made some speculative calls, so I push it all-in, and he thinks for a while before calling with Ac10c.
First card Qs, next two 5c, 4c. Ahhhhhh! I see, they’re going to do it to me this way. But the turn and river somehow blank, and I suddenly have 38k.
Things went well from there, but not enough time to write now, dashing back over there.
2nd day update
It finished for me in Paris a couple of hours ago. I had a good run in the early part of the day, that enabled me to take 200k to the final table. On about the third orbit, I was a victim of the structure, as a spot came up where one player raised to 28k, two other players called, and with AQ I saw no option but to push in my 215k stack. The French player called with JJ, and we would be racing for a 460k pot. The board came out a devastantingly low 326710, and I was down to an almost comical 9,000 chips. This was gone within two hands, and I had finished 8th.
Poker is such an challenge of emotions, not just for the bad beats and bust outs just before the money, but for these scenarios. It was a day when the poker Gods had flirted enough to convince me that I might just be in favour. However, they disappeared when most needed. It’s just so important not to be disappointed on these occasions. I take a more balanced approach to realise that I had rode my luck and had a lot of fun, and am really happy with the finish. It’s good to get a score on the ranking points board at the start of the year, and that was a really exciting tournament for the best part of two days.
However, I do find travelling tough especially when I’m on my own, and now just can’t wait to get home, and to my girlfriend. I’ll be writing the mistakes up soon, but it’s nice with the last hand at least to be able to think “nothing I could do.”