AngusD’s experience at MPNPT Tallinn…
Like many people, poker is a passion. I love to play poker and, of course, I find myself thinking about poker. Anyone who has read my articles knows I particularly like to think about how we think about poker – the psychological aspect of the game fascinates me. While there’s more psychology in online poker than people might consider, the ‘live’ format presents us with a different set of questions and situations because we can both see and hear our opponents (and, don’t forget, we’re also exposed).
Not surprisingly I always look forward to poker festivals which, fortunately, also tend to take place in some interesting parts of the world. Tallinn was no exception, the pleasant-on-the-eye Estonian capital being the perfect setting, and the Olympic Casino Olümpia, part of the luxury hotel, Radisson Blu Olümpia, where our players were staying, the perfect venue.
After an enjoyable evening with my fellow 32Red Poker players and indefatigable 32Red Poker Manager, Nick Diaz, the evening before the Main Event, I sat down at my table the following afternoon and had a look at my opponents, who all hailed from Estonia and a couple of other former Soviet countries, with the exception of a Scandinavian and an empty chair. As it happened this chair proved decisive, because while it remained empty I couldn’t have been happier. However, the late arrival of a talkative, dominating Swede, seated to my left, seriously cramped my style. The dynamic of the table changed completely due to a combination of his endeavours to steer it his way and the table’s apparent willingness to let him, despite what seemed to be almost cliched behaviour on his part. His big river bluffs were believed and his big river bets with the nuts were called, and he gleefully engineered a mountain of chips.
I sat there trying not to get too frustrated. A couple of attempts to get involved with my potential benefactor/nemesis backfired. In one particular hand with the Swede and one other I had Ac, 6c and the flop brought Ad, 6s, 7c… There was no point my being aggressive as previously the table bully had backed off completely at the sniff of trouble, so I let him build the pot as the Turn delivered the very welcome 2c, and the third player stayed in. My two pair and a nut flush draw, conveniently out of position, was looking very promising whether or not I hit the flush. I wasn’t thinking about the other player too much; I simply put him on a decent hand – AK, for example, which he should have been raising with, but perhaps he was concentrating his efforts on trapping the Swede rather than scaring him off. The River was the 8d, and I again checked. The bet inevitably came – not all-in this time – and was met a call from the third player. I smelled a rat and called with my two pair. I was right about the other player – he had effectively misplayed AK. Alas the Swede had been sitting there with 9d, 5d and had filled his gutshot on the river. He got lucky but, to be fair, he had also made his own luck for much of the day and had been reading players well.
But in a poker story reminiscent of Icarus (who flew too close to the sun, remember), after building up loads of chips and putting himself well in contention, our ‘hero’ saw his stack(s) dwindle as poor river bluffs contrived to secure a fairly rapid demise, thus demonstrating that a failure to adjust can have serious consequences. Having said that, copious amounts of alcohol won’t have helped him, either, and therein lies another lesson.
I was eventually eliminated just before the end of Day 1 when, finding Aces for the first time, I managed to get all-in against a big stack, but his pair of fives found a third playmate on the Flop.
And that, as they say, was that.
I went out of a side event with another good hand, this time my Q-high straight running into a K-high straight. C’est la vie.
A nice festival, in a nice place, with a good bunch of 32Red Poker players.
Good luck at the tables!
Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)
32Red Poker Ambassador