My first outing as a Team PokerStars Pro, by Julian Thew
The second leg of the UKIPT took place at the G Casino in Manchester a few weeks ago. The event had sold out at 360 a fortnight earlier and luckily for another 160 players or so, the cap was increased.
The most apparent difference between the PokerStars UKIPT tour and other UK-based tours was the variety of players. I'd hazard a guess that the field was made up of 30-40% of overseas competitors, a truly international affair.
Considering that this was my debut as a Team PokerStars Pro I doubt I can remember a more lack lustre performance in quite some time. I mean a Level 1 cooler would have at least meant that I was shooting at a double the average 30k pot, but no, it seemed that I was destined to plod for nine one-hour levels. Every steal attempt was completely transparent for what it was, every draw seemed to improve on the turn and evaporate by the river... you get the picture. At some point during a tournament you do need to show up with a hand and I just couldn't muster one up.
Fellow Nottingham, UK, lad and EPT Budapest champ Will Fry got moved to my left later on in the day and we had a nice natter, all the while seeing who could fold more hands. I did have some fun later on in the day as my stack approached the perilous '10 Big Blind danger zone'. I moved all-in about 80% of the time it was folded to me; whilst this did give me a little breathing room it was only a matter of time until I ran into a real hand and then it would be a case of whether I could perform some sort of a suckout; K-6 on the button was at least live against the BB's A-A but it wasn't to be.
That disappointment aside, my first day as a Team PokerStars Pro was fun. As well a few photo shoots and some video blogs I got to help out Nick Wealthall and Michelle Orpe with an 'Introduction to Live Poker' seminar, free for PokerStars qualifiers. Nick's a pretty slick front man and if you get a chance to partake in one of these seminars you might recognise his dulcet tones from the excellent and informative EPT Live broadcasts.
Speaking of which, my next outing in Team PokerStars Pro colours is the newest leg on the EPT tour: Berlin. It's one million euros up top... fingers crossed for a good run at it.