Blue Blood at the Goliath - the results!

 
The results of the biggest poker tournament outside Las Vegas are in, and Blue Blood were again among the cash. So, over 6,300 people paid their £120 to enter and less than 900 made it to Day 2, of whom 11 were Blue Blood members. So there follows as comprehensive a write-up of all the trials and tribulations of the team as I can manage.
 
Unfortunately Stuart Sewell wasn't among those to make Day 2 but he sent me the following amusing hand which worked out well: the blinds were 1200/2400 so this is more than half way through Day 1 and Stuart had about 50 bbs at the start, and he defended K6 off in the big blind, and on a flop of J95 with one club he decided to float his opponent and called her c-bet. His thinking was at first to check raise bluff but on such a dry board he decided to just call and then think about leading any non-ace turn. The turn was actually a king so all of a sudden he had a value hand, he's now beating all the AJ, QQ and so on hands his opponent can have, although he does think his opponent has few bluff hands here he's beating some value hands now and decided to call her 17k bet into about 27k in the pot. The river was an amusing 6, so he's only really losing to king jack, jacks or nines or the super unlikely KK which he blocks, QT and 78 which she isn't raising in early position preflop, or a really unlucky 66. So, having analysed this, he led out for 31k. To be fair, she did think for a while before calling with her aces. By his account, she wasn't happy, and told him how badly he played the hand in some detail. He just thanked her and stacked her chips - and then trap called KK about 5 hands later knowing 'she was just itching to rip it in'. She did, he snapped, she lost.
 
From Blue Blood, Phil Stein and Susan Goldswain were the unlucky ones to make day 2 and not cash. Phil saw a spot to try and get a big stack and three bet shoved 28 big blinds with AQ in the very first hand of the day, and very nearly got it through, unlucky for another player to wake up with AK and eventually call.
 
It wasn't all that long to grind until the bubble burst and 682 people got paid.
 
A few were left short as the bubble burst, and John Burberry was the first to fall, 635th for £255. He had 11 big blinds and woke up with kings; there's only one course of action with an early position raiser, in it went and the guy called with tens. Exactly what you want to see ... until a ten hits the turn. Horribly unlucky. 
 
Di Farrell couldn't get anything going either but managed to cling on until eventually departing 533rd also for the minimum cash of £255. She was pleased to have even made Day 2 considering she managed to crack aces with a set of jacks toward the end of day 1, reinforced by managing to turn the nut flush right at the end of play in level 16.
 
Will Messenger had a horrible run and the big stack he had carried through to day 2 eventually passed to the other players as he departed 361st for £320, shortly followed by Mike Taynton who used all the experience that he's brought with him to Blue Blood membership, eventually grinding to 342nd for £320. His exit hand was another unlucky one - a 14 big blind stack shoved from under the gun, a microstack called (for all of 4 big blinds), Mike overcalled for 12 big blinds with queens, and a late position stack then thought and thought and eventually called three all-ins for half of his stack with ace-king offsuit. The other two had ace-ten suited and another ace-king offsuit respectively, so Mike was looking really good to more than triple up here. The board ran out ten-nine-seven-nine ... king. Ouch. There is some debate about whether the fourth player should be committing half his stack here; it's certainly close considering the likely card-removal issue.
 
Mark England was loving life inside the final 300. He'd already spun his 265k up to 500k and then been moved tables. Quickly getting a feel for the other players, he had one huge decision for most of his stack: a young player doing the hoodie-cap-and-sunglasses thing raised in middle position and Mark looked down at 99 on the button and flatted. The flop came jack of spades and two small cards and the young guy bet. Mark couldn't think about folding yet and flatted again. The turn brought the ten of spades, and the youngster almost instantly jammed his chips in for very nearly a full pot sized bet, and instantly hid inside his hood. Mark did what he usually does in these circumstances and had a little chat. He wondered if the guy had a spade flush draw maybe. And wondered why the guy bet his stack if he had a jack here, or two pair. Wouldn't a value bet be smaller? And maybe take a bit more time over it? And the guy looked more and more uncomfortable, frozen in his chair, and so Mark eventually tossed in a chip to call and the guy flipped over 66, and Mark held.
 
He knocked out a couple of smaller stacks and was sitting on 1.1 million chips when an aggressive opener made it 55k in middle position. With the blinds at 10k/20/k/2k this looked weaker rather than stronger, so when Mark looked down at pocket kings in the cutoff, a three bet to 145k seemed profitable, only for a guy on the button to cold four bet to 320k or so, almost half his stack. The original raiser agonised then eventually folded, and the chat began again. I'm not a fan of cold four betting half your stack here; opinion is divided but you're almost definitely committing yourself, you can't cold four bet-fold, so why not just shove? Was he trying to make it look like he could fold with aces? In the end of course there was only one course of action, Mark had the second best preflop hand ever made, and shoved it in. The young man instacalled and flipped over .... pocket tens. Really not sure about that, dude. The guy was adamant he was 'ahead of some ranges' whatever that means. I don't think he was ever getting called by worse except flipping with AK, possibly only suited, and is never getting a better hand to fold, apart from maybe, just maybe, pocket jacks. So this can't be right. While Mark had been aggressive he hadn't been three-betting wildly and hadn't shown down any bluffs. A pretty blank flop looked good for Mark, 85% favourite at that point to have 1.9 million chips and the absolute chip lead in the room with about 275 players left, but the poker gods had other ideas and decided to give the other guy a runner-runner four flush and that left Mark crippled. About 20 minutes later the blinds were up and he had about 13 big blinds so AJ suited was a perfect three bet shove, and unfortunately the original raised snapped him off with AQ and that's all she wrote, 259th for £385. Mark decided that he wasn't in the mood to play nicely with the others after that and left to lick his wounds [*Read: threw all his toys out of the pram and stropped off home without saying goodbye to anyone like a little girl - Ed]. A couple of days later he was more philosophical: 'It is what it is, I guess', he said, 'but I'm not gonna lie, that one hurt. I was just starting to think I might actually make a deep run at one of these. Never mind, on to the next one.'
 
Nic Rawlings was making his mark in his brand new BB hoodie, getting through day 1 comfortably at about average on 148k. He tells me that he had quads twice on day 1 - once managing to get a big pot by flatting 55 three ways and then flatting a short-stack flop shove and call on 865, and then persuading him to call again on a 5 river. Must be nice. He also flopped quad 8s and despite no-one else really having anything did manage to persuade his opponent to call a river bet. He also had the amusement of being on the right side of a 'never celebrate too early' moment late on day 1 - literally second last hand of the day - and he was pretty short, and shoved KQ of diamonds and was called by a big stack with AQ. The flop was K high (with 2 diamonds) but the turn was an ace, and his opponent gave out a yell and punched the table, only for another diamond to fall on the river and double Nic up. Apparently much smirking around the table.
 
He kept running consistently on day 2, not making mistakes - your correspondent chatted to him on the second break when he had 900k when the average was a lot less than half that, but it all eventually fell apart and he spent a couple of hours blinding away card dead and eventually shoved KQs on the button with only the blinds to play, and of course ran into KK. Super unlucky. Final position 86th for £670, so not a bad week's work. Well played. 
 
That left three BB players still in with the tournament well into its final 100. Reem Ahmed had gone super short, down to I think about 12 big blinds at the second break, but spun it up brilliantly until eventually getting it in against a short stack with 77 against AJ suited and the other guy hitting a flush, and finally, with two short stacks shoving ahead of her she woke up with A9 of clubs in the small blind and was priced to get it in, only for the big blind to make a very questionable decision and overcall with Jack Ten offsuit. Reem flopped two pair but the big blind somehow hit runner runner flush and knocked them all out. It really does seem that all the BB players got their money in good and got unlucky . Again, very unlucky for Reem who finished 72nd for £765. 
 
I'm afraid that I'm short of details from this point on! 2 players remained: Mark Cooper exited shortly after Reem in 68th for £895 but I don't have his exit hand. 
 
And that left just the one BB player to make it into Day 3, when the last few of the 6300+ players came back to play for the serious money. Jeremy Brown had fired five day 1 bullets but his persistence was easily rewarded once again as he made another super deep run, only to go card dead in the last couple of dozen players, eventually ending up with 3 big blinds and shoving QJ and getting called by A9. He hit his queen but the other guy hit his ace, and then his 9 too and Jeremy was gone in an excellent and impressive 19th place for which he earned £3510. 
Jeremy Brown, day 3, deep into the tournament once again. width=
 
And as a happy footnote, Grosvenor run a team tournament at the Goliath every year - teams of up to six, best aggregate finish wins - and for the second time in three years, one of the Blue Blood teams topped the list of 83 entries. So congratulations to Mark Cooper, Jeremy Brown, Reem Ahmed (for the second time!) and Susan Goldswain who all receive a free entry into the Goliath next year, a £220 ticket and a nice trophy each. It's worth mentioning that the team of Mark England, Nic Rawlings, Mike Taynton , Steven Frew and Phil Stein finished fourth too. 
 
So, an exhausting week for many topped off by some great results for Blue Blood. Considering that only 14% or so of the field got to Day 2, Blue Blood managing to get 11 out of 16 players into Day 2 and for 9 of them to cash was an excellent, excellent performance. Well played all.