I left Namur after the end of the PokerStars Belgian Poker Challenge yesterday morning after staying up until 5am, sleeping 3 hours and getting up early again to be sure to reach Charleroi Airport in time with the strikes announced in Belgium.
I passed this flip amazingly well and I land in Prague around 3pm with my PokerBelgique buddies José and Leandro.
We go to the Corinthian Hotel where we're staying and where the Prague King's is in order to drop off our bags and I insist to rush to the Hilton where the EPT/EUREKA festival takes place to be sure to register in time for the Prague Cup. Good move as there turned out to be a waiting list of +150 players for this tournament.
Mission accomplished! We are registered by 5pm (the tourney starts at 8pm). We are well in time an leave for diner in a typical small Czech restaurant. Good times ahead... and beer!
We come back at 8pm to find out that our tourney has been delayed to 9pm because of the insane numbers of participants in the Prague Eureka events this year.
By 9 we are finally good to go for 10 levels to be played in order to qualify for Day 2 on wednesday. Sunday's Day 1A had +/- 300 runners and 377 showed up yesterday promising another 1k player field in this tournament with a Day 1C today which many bustos from the Eureka Main Event that might be tempted to enter the tourney in late reg.
Unfortunately, I had a crappy tournament :( I was really looking forward to play cards since I had been working a lot lately not really getting the chance to play much Poker myself. Nevermind.
I start the tournament by checking who's at my table and what the player profiles might be: German TAG, German TAG, German TAG, ohhh... an Austrian TAG and his friend the Austrian nit... It's a tough table with players I don't know. Apart from the 'you-will-never-get-value-from-me-except-when-I-bluff' Germans and Austrian, I have a French/Algerian 'N'importe-quoi' on my right and a Russian total maniac on my left who kept limp re-raising all night. From the start I have a feeling that it's not gonna be the best Poker game of my life but I try to deliver some quality Poker.
We start with 10k and 30 minutes levels. The structure is not deep at all and I try to play hands from the start opening KQoff for instance from MP. The Russian guy re-raises me x5 and I opt for the fold in this very first hand I play for the night.
A little bit later, I find AA in front of me with two limpers to 100. I raise it up to 450 in position. Everyone folds. Nice value... :/
Not seing much for almost two levels, I re-raise 89off on the button after a limp and a small raise from my French/Algerian friend on my right. I get 3 callers in total as someone comes along in the blinds. It's checked to me on a AK8 flop that I c-bet 1/2 pot in position. 2 calls. Turn: T. Check-check- I bet and only my French speaking colleague on the right calls. The river shows a Q on a rainbow board and I am ready to abandon the hand but he checks. After reflecting a little bit, I decide that he is probably not gonna fold anything he hit on this board and I opt for the weak but stack protecting check behind. As I am the last aggressor, I am asked to show my 89off first and my opponents mucks... ?!
I keep battling through this Day 1B with no good starting hands and bizarre setups of hands. An hour later, I open Ah2h UTG (the nuts considering all the T6, 93, 82, J7... I am getting) on 75/150. There's a call on the button from a new Asian guy who already re-entried and who doesn't look like he has come to play tight and wait for a good spot. My intuition tells me that he is rather there to play all the hands. My French neighbour also calls in the BB. I c-bet on a Qh2sTh board and I hear two calls. 5c on the turn and I bet again. 2 calls again. A heart would be nice now... heart, heart, heart, heart... it's a Jc :/ The board really doesn't look were nice now with four cards to a straight and two opponents who have called in position all the way. I decide to abandon my hand and hear two checks behind that muck when I show my 5th pair. I suspect they both had a flush draw. If that's the case, what a river a heart card would have been!!
These were more or less the only playable hands I got in 8 levels of play. Card and spot dead with my other T4s, Q3s, 82s and 94s I dwindle down to 5.2k to go back up to 7.5k with a re-shove with AJoff than back down to 6.1k with blinds and antes rising quickly.
I finally decide to get it all in for the second time by re-shoving 9bbs with AToff in MP after a standard open UTG. It's a stupid flip against 66 and the board sends me home on 234 8 2.
Quite a frustrating first tourney for this challenge in Prague. It's sad as this is the most expensive and prestigious event I was planning to play during my stay here...
The good news is that my buddies both qualified for Day 2. PokerBelgique PowerrrRRR!!!
I have regrets regarding two hands:
-> I flod Ah7h with 16bbs in MP after one of the German TAGs opened in EP. Don't know whether I can push against his range...
-> I also folded AToff with 18bbs on the button after an open UTP and a 3bet in MP. Probably too tight but really not THE good spot in my opinion.
All in all, I think I played ok but probably lacked a little bit of COME ON!! :)
I will try to do better in my next event, the RedBet Open PLO event that I am planning to play... not so tight...
I might also be playing a turbo satellite for the RedBet Open Main Event tonight at Corinthians...
Right now, the PokerBelgique PoweeerrrRRR is not powered up and is rather chilling in the pool area on the 24th floor after a looooong night out in Prague :)