William Hill Grand Prix Wales

This is the second year I have come for this event. The organizers put on a great tournament by getting all the best players from Europe to play here. The big thing about this event is that there is over $300,000 USD added to the prize pool, plus they pay your hotel, air travel costs, etc. The buy-in is 6,000 pounds or about $10,500 USD. With the added money this is a huge value event for all poker players.

I played my heat and needed to win to go straight to the final. There were a total of seven heats, with eight players each, with each winner going to the final where the prize money is 175,000 pounds for first, 100k for second. If you run second in your heat you get to play a semi final again with eight players and the winner goes to the final.

I started my heat slowly. The levels were slow – 40 minutes each and you started with 10k stacks. Blinds start out 50-100, then 75-150, etc., one of the best structures there is in the world for a single table TV heat event. Thomas Kremser was the tournament director and does a great job and everyone respects him.

Early on I was playing with around 11K, picking up a pot from Peter Roach. The table also included Juha Helppi and the Devilfish, plus a Swedish internet qualifier who played as good as anyone else. I kind of cruised to the dinner break and had 15K with six players left. I was average chips and felt very good about my chances of taking this down. Devilfish was still around and was the chip leader, Juha went early as did Steve Vladar.

I knew that after the dinner break, the fire works would begin and I wanted to take on the Devilfish right away. I picked up 5-5 on my big blind. Devilfish raised, on the button, to 2,000 and I had around 15K. I don’t like calling here because he could have a hand like 9-10 and I pushed all-in. He quickly called and showed me Q-Q and made me sick. Anyway it wasn’t over, the first card off was a 5 and I busted out the Fish and had over 34K in chips – 80k in play.

The game quickly moved on and I was left heads-up with the young Swede. It was a two hour battle but, in the end, things went against me. We had around 40K each and I held K-8 in the big blind. He came in with a raise and I called. The flop was K-6-9 and I check raised all in. He showed me A-K. No help and I was done. A grueling day – nine hours of play – and now I have to do it all over again so it’s pretty sick. But that is poker. It was a great event and fun to play, it’s just better when you win.

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