Blue Blood take on Goliath!

 
We are told that the Goliath is the biggest poker event outside Las Vegas. And it's in, ah, Coventry .....
 
Actually, the Grosvenor Casino under the Ricoh Stadium is really quite nice: it's got a waterfall that then flows under the glass floor on the way in and everything. The barn-like conference rooms out the back where the tournament is actually held are, well, as you'd imagine, but it's not their decor which is their most important feature. It's their size.
 
As we speak, on Friday morning, 4838 entries have been recorded in the 6 day ones so far. Today, Friday, is the last of the day ones and it sold out halfway through yesterday - so 800 more people are already in, and the queue in the casino to be an alternate - to sit down when someone gets knocked out - is around the block already. Madness. And of course, wherever there is poker madness, right in the heart of it is where you will find Blue Blood.
 
A lot of low-stakes players and pub part-timers treat the Goliath like their World Series; it's the biggest event that they play in the year at £120 entry and they make a day of it with their mates, having a drink along the way. More seasoned players who regularly play at the casino in £30 midweek donkfests can make a week of it, staying over in a hotel (though I did see a camper van in the carpark; a man after my own heart) firing multiple bullets and happy to re-enter many times to get a decent stack into day 2. Then there is a sprinkling of really decent amateur players and tournament professionals trying to pick their way through the minefield with an eye on the top prize which will be over £70,000 this year.
 
So on a starting table it's pretty important to categorise your opposition quite quickly so you can have a plan on how to exploit each individual player, and avoid being exploited in turn. And then when stacks get shorter and it's time to shove it all in, you need to know the range of hands your opponent is likely to have and how to exploit that too. And above all you need patience. Day one is thirteen hours long (including breaks) and sometimes you just have to keep folding for an hour. Fortunately, it seems that Blue Blood members are pretty adept at all this, because as we speak there are no less than 10 of us through to day 2. It's expected that the total number of qualifiers to day 2 might reach 900, with an average stack at about 150k which will be 30 big blinds, so anyone with a bigger stack than this is in an enviable position. 
 
Susan Goldswain (144k) and Phil Stein (139.5k) got through early in the week. Star performer on Monday, day 1C, was Will Messenger who bagged up no less than 432k, which is still one of the biggest stacks through. Mark Cooper (183k) and Reem Ahmed (209k) also qualified well above average.
 
Tuesday, Day 1D saw Jeremy Brown finally get through after several attempts on 202k. It was always going to happen and he got unlucky a few times. Mark England was pleased to bag up 265k. John Burberry got knocked out in the final level after 12 hours of play - just such a horrible experience - but duly got through Day 1E with 123k. Nic Rawlings had fired a bullet earlier in the week and ran terribly, and it looked like he was doing it again until the second last hand of the day saw him persuade someone to double him up to a healthy 148k. Mike Tainton had fired previously too and was running badly (apart from a spectacular double up when a lady on his table accidentally raised to 56,000 instead of 5,600 and he had the stone cold nuts at the time, must be nice) but then found the cards towards the end and eventually bagged a very healthy 224k.
 
 
John and Mark ended up sitting side by side late on Day 1D
John and Mark ended up sitting side by side late on Day 1D
 
Di Farrell is gracing us with her presence today for her only bullet. She doesn't really need to cash the Goliath though after a successful trip to Vegas in June where she cashed the Rio daily deepstacks in both Omaha HiLo and NLHE for over a thousand dollars. She met up just last week in Vegas again with Gordon McArthur who was going a bit old school and playing in the Orleans - he chopped the $130 bounty 3 ways and then overcame a 6:1 chip deficit in the $105 HORSE heads up against a guy using his WSOP 8 game bracelet as a card protector to take it down. He was only there a few days and ended up in the top ten of their monthly tournament league so there's another cheekly little payment to come there too. Very sadly Gordon won't be at the Goliath this year due to work commitments. 
 
So there's just a few members left to qualify in the madness that is Day 1G today. Dawn Cooke, Michael Kossov and Steven Frew have all fired a bullet or two already, and Di Farrell, Stuart Sewell, Matt Wood and I think Lindsey Rogers (hope I haven't missed anyone - anyway, it's your own fault for not updating social media) are all entering for their one and only chance. It would be amazing to get everyone through to day 2 so good luck guys! 
 
 And I'm looking forward to the next report of everyone cashing on Saturday afternoon sometime...