As well as online, I try to play as much as possible down my local Gentings casino in Westcliff-on-Sea - a plush looking place with a great view of the sea.  They have poker tourneys every day, all dealer dealt and all affordable.

I invited ArtysmokesPS to the party and was pleased he accepted!  If it's something you've never done I highly recommend it, not only to test your poker skills, not only to potentially win big, but mainly because it is so much fun.  The atmosphere, the adrenaline - there is nothing else like it!

On Monday they have a freeroll, save for a £3 registration fee.  You start with 3000 chips, or 4000 if you register before 8pm (when the tourney begins).  You also get 2 rebuys and one addon.  You get 4000 chips for rebuy 1, 5000 chips for rebuy 2, and a massive 10,000 chips if you make the first break after the first 4 levels (2 hours!).  This means your goal is to make the first break, as 10,000 is a playable stack.

The first 4 levels are 30 minutes, with them decreasing to 20 mins after that.  For levels 1 and 2 my main move is to fold.  My image there of late is what some would politely rate as creative, and others would more accurately say crazy, so I was looking to turn this around.

I have been blinded down 3700 chips and look at  UTG.  I made it 500 to go (just over 3x), only for 2 short stacks to go all in, each for about 1500 chips. The price proves too tantalising so I call, and am not to disappointed to see I am up against  and .  While a 10 on the flop cancels some of my outs, I pick up an Ace on the river to take the lot [EDIT - not a queen, thanks Taxi128!].

I soon picked up on the cutoff, raised, got SB and BB calls, hit my A on the flop, C-Bet and won another pot.

When the button reached me I had .  UTG raise to 450 (3x) gets 2 callers by the time it reaches me, which entices me enough to call.  SB and BB fold.  The flop comes , so I have a flush draw. With just over 2000 in the pot, and after 2 checks, the guy to my right bets 1500.  He was a young guy who earlier on went all in on a flop, then put his sunglasses on! His opponent folded and he showed a bluff, at which point the table wound him up about it for the rest of his time there.  If you wear sunglasses at the table, expect negative banter - you look like a right plonker!

Anyway I think he is bluffing, but want to slow him down a bit, so I look at him and say "his glasses are not on, so he's obviously pretty strong!" but I threw my calling chips in confidentally.  The turn comes , changing nothing.  He looks at me, smiles and checks.  I noticed that he stares and makes eye contact when he is weak (a common mistake, if you're weak, don't act strong!!).  I'm still happy to get the free card though and check.

River comes and it is a rather beautiful looking . The nuts! This time he bets 2000, so I reraise to 4500 after tanking a little bit. He then reraises all in for only 2000 more to me, which I snap in a second.  He only has K10!

I soon pick up 88 in the SB, call a 3x raise from the cutoff, and flop a set, which i get 2 streets of value out of before the villain impressively mucks 2 pair.

I hit the break with 18,000 chips, very much one of the chip leaders!  I use my addon only for a further 10,000 chips, taking me up to 28,000 and a very strong position.  How am I not going to make the final table?

Here is how!

3rd hand into level 5 I woke up with with  UTG+1, and UTG 3Xs it to 1200.  I reraised to 3400.  I then get someone who has played reasonable cards all night go all in for a massive 18,000 chips, then to my horror the small blind followed suit for 19,000 chips.

So I have to tank this! What is going on? I make a comment to the table along the lines of "have you not been paying attention? I am not to messed with, I only have the nuts!!"

In the end I announce "I'm not good enough to fold this hand preflop, in this casino, to you guys.  I call!" I was happy to see and were the hands I was up against, but kind of felt like I knew what was coming.  Flop comes !!!  Like there was any ever doubt.  I don't hit a king or a runner flush, so I am left severely crippled.

I did well to hang in after that, keeping my stack to just the right size to create fold equity, but ultimately pushed into a BB, then again into , where the villain hit trip aces.

Still I was happy with my play, and it was great to rail Arty.  He came back from 4 bigs to an impressive stack of over 50k!  Read his blog to find out the specifics, but he put in a great showing, and PSO should be proud!

Anyway, back to grind.  Just got over $3!! Good luck all!

ROB x