Tuesday 17 December 2013

UKIPT Nottingham 6-Max Trip Report

Just a few weeks after returning from the Isle of Man I was packing my bags for yet another poker trip. I made my first ever visit to Nottingham to play the final UKIPT event of 2013.

Considering that Notts is the home of the largest card room in Europe, Dusk Till Dawn, it's crazy that I hadn't been there until now. I'd heard nothing but good things about the club from fellow poker players so my expectations were high.


Before I travelled there I asked my Twitter followers to suggest some popular non-poker related things to do in Nottingham. The most popular suggestion was Grand Theft Auto. No, not the video game! Second was Hooters, the only branch in the UK of an American restaurant where young, hot girls with large breasts and revealing outfits serve you delicious junk food. I am rather partial to boobs and binge eating so it sounded like a winner.

I had barely unpacked my suitcase before I headed over there with the three skinniest guys that I could find - Neil Raine, Tim Davie and David Docherty. A plan that worked out well as I was able to consume way more than my fair share of chips with cheese and gravy and the onion rings that we ordered to share.

I was quick to suggest that we played credit card roulette for the bill. I can't remember losing one of these in years so I'm always up for it, knowing that even if I lose this one I'll still be so ridiculously ahead lifetime that it doesn't matter. Meanwhile, DD wanted to buy out, stating "Sorry to be such a nit guys but I've lost the last 5 out of 6 and I just know I'm going to lose!", but we were somehow able to convince him to join in.

I got heads up with DD so given our records it was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Neil had our cards in each hand under the table. DD got to choose left of right. "LEFT". I got to choose pays or doesn't pay. "ehhhhhh.................... PAYS". Neil whips out a blue card that doesn't belong to me and DD shouts "6 out of f****** 7, this is a bloody joke!"

I reminded him though that he got to make 3 of his friends very happy and if you look at it that way you're never a loser when you play CCR. Cheers for the dinner David. :)

Main Event

For the first time ever the main event of a UKIPT stop was played 6-handed. A £500,000 guarantee was placed on this tournament and for the third time in the last four UKIPT main events there was an overlay. This time they were 42 players short so that's £42,000 in extra value for the players who did attend.

I guess the lower than expected turnout was partly due to it being so soon (only a few weeks) after UKIPT Isle of Man, so there was less time for people to satellite in and maybe people didn't fancy another poker trip so soon. The fact that it was 6-handed rather than full ring could possibly have put off some of the more casual players from coming, but I'm not sure how big a factor that was.

As a player the extra value is always nice and the event organisers, while I'm sure they would like to hit the guarantees, don't seem worried about paying out the overlays so I don't think it's going to affect the sustainability of the tour or future guarantees.

I was very impressed with the Dusk Till Dawn club. They've got a lot of things right such as poker tables with no "legs", just the middle base, comfortable chairs, hooters-style girls serving drinks and plasma screens everywhere showing sports games. The piss basins in the toilets are plentiful so no queuing to take a leak on breaks and they provide free deodorant and mouth wash so that smelly poker players don't need to stink up the table with their smelliness.

At my starting table I had 5 opponents that I didn't recognise and a whole lot of legroom. I was feeling pretty good about my chances but as we started playing it was clear that there were some good players at the table. I didn't find out who they were until later.

The guy on my left was Jermone Bradpiece who's been a tourney grinder for years. To his left was EPT and Sunday Warm-Up winner Zimnan "Zimmy86" Ziyard and the pretty little Asian girl who played like a beast was CaiCai Huang who is well known and respected in the local poker scene. I'd say there was only one player at our table that I'd regard as "not very good". Not exactly a great spot when playing a UKIPT.

I didn't get off to a great start. I got coolered pretty hard in a few spots and lost a lot of chips to Zimmy by 3-barrel bluffing with the bare Ace of Hearts as a nut flush blocker. That move never works in PLO so I have no idea why I thought it would work here. Turns out he check-called me down with an open-ender and hit top pair on the river. So that didn't work out well for me.

At the BB300 level I had just 8,300 chips remaining from the 20,000 starting stack. I was sitting in the BB with 77 when a man who had sat down a couple of orbits ago raised UTG to 700. The HJ folded and the CO, BTN and SB all called the raise pretty quickly. When they called so fast and didn't even consider 3-betting I immediately discount premium hands from their range. They're never trapping.

With a pot of 10bbs, I felt like shoving 28bb there with sevens was a +ev move. Although I did consider taking the lower variance route of flatting to set-mine.

I chose to make the shove and the man called very quickly for 2/3 of his stack. I knew right then what he had. If he had AK he would likely have re-shoved for his full stack. It's a tell I see online all the time. Not that I can do anything about it when I'm the one with my chips already in the pot. Everyone else mucked real fast and he flipped over AA and held. GG.

After the tourney I ran the hand through a push/fold calculator (icmizer) to calculate the net expected value of shoving 77 in that spot. It's a good idea to review these kind of situations regularly, as they regularly occur when you play tournaments.

(I'm not saying these are the ranges that these players should have in this spot, only that these are the ranges that I believe they do have in this spot.)

I put UTG on an opening range of 13% (22+,ATs+,AJo+,KTs+,KQo,QJs,JTs,T9s) and calling it off with 3% (JJ+,AK). I think TT would be a tough decision for him. Online I wouldn't expect him to fold TT or 99 but live is a bit different, the average bloke travelling to an event is going to call it off a bit tighter.

For the other players who called the UTG raise I put them on a range that I thought each of them would flat based on how they were playing. There wasn't any chance in my mind that any of these players hadn't 3-bet AK and AA-QQ so I removed those hands. There were two hands that went to showdown where the pre-flop 3-bettor had TT and 99 so I'm not even sure about JJ-99 being in their calling ranges, but it's possible given that the raise was from UTG and he was new to the table.

I put the CO on 11% (JJ-22,AQs-ATs,AQo,AJo,KTs+,KJo+,QTs+,JTs). Calling my shove with 1% (JJ, TT)

BTN on 15% (TT-22,AQs-ATs,AQo,AJo,KTs+,KQo,Q9s+,QJo,J8s+,JTo,T8s+,97s+,86s+,75s+,65s). Calling the shove with just the TT, 0,5%.

SB on 18% (TT-22,AQs-A2s,AQo,AJo,K9s+,KQo,Q8s+,J8s+,T7s+,97s+,86s+,75s+,64s+,53s+,42s+,32s). Calling with 1.2% (TT,99,AQs).

If I've put my opponents on accurate ranges then shoving any two cards is +ev, although just by 0.5 - 1bb / +1.5% - 3.5% of my stack, for the bottom 30% or so of hands. This is based on chip ev, not $ ev based on ICM. In any non-'winner take all' payout structure the chips that you lose are worth more than the chips that you win. The impact of ICM isn't so important this early in the tournament but it's enough that I wouldn't make any shoves that would only be +3% chip ev.

As for 77, a shove earns me an expected value of +986.6 chips (over 3BBs and a 12% increase on my stack) compared to folding. Clearly a profitable move.

Of course I'm never folding so what really matters is if shoving is more or less profitable than calling preflop to set-mine. I'm not sure about that as it's hard to calculate what the ev of calling is with so many different things that can happen in a five-way post-flop hand.

When I shove I will either win the pot and increase my stack by 40%, which will happen most of the time, or lose all my chips most of the time that I'm called, making it a high variance play. If I'm still playing after this hand (won preflop or got called and won) then I have a bigger stack that I can use better to accumulate more chips. We were soon to move to BB400 so increasing my stack to 11,250 (28bb) when I take it down pre or 19,200 (48bb) gives me a stack I can open a lot of hands with compared to a < 20bb stack.

When I set mine I only hit my set 12% of the time (maybe a bit more since there's not that many 7s in the range of the eight cards that my opponents hold), but when I do hit I will likely win more chips than are in the middle, and when I don't hit I only lose the extra 300 chips I put in preflop. It's the low variance play, but 88% of the time I'm going to be left with just 7,675 chips, which after moving into the BB400 level will only be 19bbs. I'd end up having to ship my stack in pre-flop with a fairly wide range at some point after that, only with a wider range and less fold equity given my shallower stack. I may as well make the shove here and now with 77.

As soon as the man turned over AA I said to myself "damn, I knew I should have flatted" and was beating myself up for a few hours afterwards for not doing that. But it's easy to be results oriented in these situations. Having taking the time to think analyse the hand rationally I think shoving is clearly the best play.

Nottingham Castle

Since there was no Day 2 of the main event for me I decided to spend the afternoon visiting Nottingham Castle, which isn't actually a castle but a 17th century ducal mansion that's built on the rock where the medieval castle used to stand. The mansion is now a massive museum and art gallery with some cool stuff, it's well worth a look around.

More impressive than the mansion for me were the labyrinth of medieval man-made caves and tunnels that run beneath the castle. I was given a tour of them by a bloke who had loads of cool stories to tell about their history.

Players Party

On the Saturday night there was a big party for all the players with an open bar and big tent set up next to the bar in Dusk Till Dawn. It was decent...... until Devilfish took over the mic and started singing. GTFO Devilfish.

Daleroxxu, xxCelticFCxx, J-Rod Fett. - Photo © Danny Maxwell
After the party a gang of us went to what is apparently the best night club in Nottingham. I felt like the chances of a group of 20 lads getting into such a place at about 1:30am on a Saturday night were pretty slim. Most of us were wearing trainers. One of the Scottish lads was even wearing tracksuit bottoms and another Scot, the degenerate Kyle Maguire was literally rocking out with his cock out in the Dusk Till Dawn parking lot as we waited for taxis. You can take the lads out of  Scotland but.......

However Rob Yong, the owner of DTD, said to us "Don't worry lads, just tell them you're from Dusk Till Dawn, it'll be no bother". And right enough, we all got there, spilling out of taxis and the bouncers were like "no chance lads" then we told them we were from Dusk Till Dawn and we all got in and didn't even have to pay the cover charge. Result.

Inside was an absolute riot. Every inch of the ground was slippery and wet with spilled drinks. There was nowhere to move. We asked for a table / bottle service and they gave us two tables that were under the stairs, so if you stood up you'd hit your head. People kept trying to cut through our table area as a short cut and I had drinks spilled on me five times. People were getting thrown out of the club left, right and centre (none from our group, somehow). Then I was standing having a conversation with Jake Cody when right beside us this huge big heffer of a girl just punched and knocked down a pretty blonde girl and it took three big bouncers to get her fat ass up the stairs and out the club.

Galleries of Justice

I intended to play the PLO event the day after the party but woke up late and spent what was left of the afternoon visiting the Galleries of Justice. It's a museum at Nottingham Shire Hall which had been a courtroom, jail and place of executions since the 14th century.

There are character actors at several points in the museum, starting with a Sheriff of Nottingham who takes you into the old courtroom (that was still used until fairly recently) for a mock trial. It sounds like it would be quite cheesy but the actors are incredibly talented and charismatic so it was really entertaining. The cells in dungeons are laid out how they would have been back when they held prisoners waiting to be tried, tortured or executed.

One of the actors decided to shut the door behind me and lock me inside in the pitch dark. Fun..

Side Event

I played the last side event of UKIPT Nottingham at the same time as the final table of the main event was being played. We only got 45 runners and it was very, very soft. I had a few people completely punt their stacks off to me, then I got moved to a table with Simon Deadman and Jamie Sykes who are far too good to be playing in a small buyin side event. They had stuck around an extra night before driving back to Leeds so decided to jump in the game before going home together.

Jamie and I busted around 17th place and food is always my first thought after busting a tournament, so that's what we did. I found a nice family run French restaurant that was doing Christmas dinners even though it was only December 2nd. I hadn't had a Christmas dinner since 2010 as I was living in Thailand since then and didn't do anything for Christmas at all.

It was a nice way to end my trip to Nottingham, a lovely candlelit dinner with a handsome gentleman. We had turkey with all the trimmings which was very delicious, and slightly healthier than Hooters food.

The next UKIPT is in Edinburgh from January 16th. This is the one that I want to win the most as it's my home event and it's on my birthday. See you there.



  2. Hi man,
    Great blog. Do you coach plo ? I m looking for a coach playing zoom plo. I plan to play zoom plo 25$ on stars. Let me know yes/no & rate. Thx
    Cheers Jacques

    1. Thanks for the compliment. Sorry but I don't coach. glgl

  3. gl in 2014 Dale .... the Hooters girls have way to much clothing on :)