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October 07, 2005

The Biggie - The Final Table!

I was one of the short stacks going into the final but I knew that a double up would move me into the top 4, so my plan was to take a shot a doubling through early on. I knew the play was going to be cagey from the outset and decided that I was going to be the one making the early action. I nick the blinds a couple of times (not easy when they belong to El Blondie!), the button passes and I post the money that I have stolen.

I am then the recipient of the AK of hearts UTG and decide there and then barring a huge sign that I am miles behind, I am going all the way with this baby. I have about 15 big blinds at this stage so an all-in would be a huge over-bet so I decide to make a standard pot-sized raise. Everyone folds to the BB, who is young Scandinavian and top bloke Henning Granstad. He thinks for a few seconds and pushes all in. I think for a while and although I put him on a decent pair, something tells me he isn’t that strong (i.e. Not KK or AA) and being one of the guys shorter chipped than myself I read him for a move and the worst shape I feel I’m in is 50:50. I don’t like to play potential coin flips but saw this as a great opportunity to double through and get in the game so I called. Henning showed JJ and I flip over my AK and we race for the now sizeable pot. The board comes all low cards until the river brings my King! – Henning out in 9th and I double through.

I’ve now got chips and the confidence flows like a river through my veins. I begin to play, taking on all comers, steeling, re-steeling and generally dancing like Fred Astaire – it feels like heaven.

The rest of the players begin to freeze and the odd hand develops between them and I continue to play and look to accumulate chips whilst everyone else is sitting quietly on their chips. We lose a few more of the short stacks including Trevor Reardon and Justin Turner and suddenly we are down to 4 players. I look around the table and I am just chip leader, with El Blondie in 2nd, Stuart Fox in 3rd and Chris Singh in 4th.

Stuart and El Blondie clash and an all-in coup develops with A-J versus 99 respectively. The first card down is the jack of spades and Stuart punches the air but running spades for El-Blondie gives him a 9-high flush and eliminates Stuart in 4th.

It all becomes a bit of a blur to me as player after player keeps busting out. I glance up at the clock and prize structure displayed on the screen and suddenly realise I am guaranteed £20k. This was the first time I had even thought about the money – I had deliberately not looked at the board to try and maintain focus, making a note on my own watch when the blind intervals were due to increase. I was ecstatic inside, this would be a life changing amount of money, which could rid me of debt and allow me maybe to leave my job that I so hated. I had to maintain focus though as 2nd was £37k and 1st a whopping £70k!


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