Sky Poker Tour Leeds Final Table

Tikay insisted on capturing this rarest of sitings.
I haven't played live poker for about 7 or 8 months, mainly for both book and family reasons, but an invite to the Sky Poker Tour in Leeds was more than enough to awake me from my hibernation. I have nothing but good things to say about the tour – the team at Sky are second to none, the atmosphere is always fantastic, and the action is always very loose.

I was in a unique position mentality wise for this tournament, because I brought my fiancee along and we met some old friends beforehand. So I decided very early I would gamble for a big stack, because if I bust out, I got to catch up with some old friends. To make sure I did just that, I necked five pints in quick succession at the table.

I won the very first hand and after that, I reckon I was pretty much the chip leader or thereabouts for the rest of the tournament until the final table. It was a very liberating experience, playing with no fear of busting because I wanted to see my friends, and I was much looser and more aggressive than I can remember ever being. I was playing pretty crazily, but in a measured, considered kind of way.

The second interesting dynamic occured a couple of places off the bubble. My stack had just took a hit, but I was still easily in the top 5 or 6, but I had another dilema. Knowing full well I was gambling from the start, I didnt book a hotel, and I had about one hour to catch the last train home. So even though I was in a position where I probably should sit back, I started pushing every hand. Very liberating feeling again, no fear and the net effect was I was also creating a very good table image, and I accumulated a ton of chips.

The bubble burst, we soon made the final table, and again, I was pretty much the most active player from the get go. I ran really well throughout the entire tournament so I cant really complain about running into a few coolers near the end. The first pot I had AK vs AQ vs AA and lost to both hands, which damaged my stack. Soon after I shoved with AQ, the guy next to me didnt see me enter the pot and announced 'raise' as he was on the button. The dealer declared the raise had to stand, and his 8-6 hit a straight on the river to bust me in 7th place. Not much you can do about that.

Running into Thewy with a hand for the 9th time in a row
But it was great fun as always, especially sharing a final table with Julian Thew. Thewy is such a nice guy he makes you forget he is hoovering up your chips with no remorse, you almost root for him when he is in the pot against you. The event was televised and I did quite a good exit interview after (At least I think I did, I was pretty sozzled by then). The best part was that after years of wanting one, I actually got a genuine trophy, albeit just one for making the final table. I have always vainly wanted a trophy – for anything, not just poker – so that was a nice one to tick off the bucket list.

A great weekend indeed and I may have the live poker bug again, I'm just a bit gutted in my drunkon stupor I completly forgot to plug The Mental Game of Poker on TV.


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