Revisiting and recalling Berlin, by Julian Thew

julian-thew-thumb.jpgIt's been about fifteen years since I last visited Berlin; my former life,working in Frankfurt and we decided to train it over there for the weekend. I can't remember much other than really hot days and very sore feet from all the walking we did.

Oh, and the beer was very good.

Cut to 2010 and the EPT has found a new German base. First prize was a guaranteed one million euro's and I think every seasoned EPT player expected a big field. With 945 players showing up, PokerStars added 50,000 euro so that the first place money wouldn't compromise the payout structure.

The tournament started off very slowly for me and it wasn't until we returned from a break at the beginning of Level 5 that I actually got out of the blocks. As often happens, I think we were only three or four-handed as most hadn't made it back in time for the re-start. With the blinds absent, first to speak limped for 300, and with 9-9 I made it a 1,100 to go.

The player called and I bet 2,000 on the 10-6-5 flop. The turn was an eight and this time he check-raised my 2,000 bet to 6,000. Folding here normally wouldn't present too much of a problem, but given the short-handed nature of the table, my raising his limp could easily be a right out steal. I just really sensed he didn't think I had anything. So I called and hit my gutshot on the end when a beautiful 7 arrived. He led for 4k, I made it 10k and he eventually called with 10-7, an unlucky two-pair.

I made it through the rest of the day with an above average 70k. Day 2 went pretty smoothly as well, despite an early dip down to 16k. With the help of some aggressive play around the bubble, I finished with a double average 410k.

Day 3 saw me get off to reasonable start, taking out short stack John Kabbaj, but after that hand I just couldn't manufacture a hand for rest of the day.The real problems started when I moved tables to uber-stacked Ketul Nathwani's right.

Card dead, sometimes you just have to make a play and hope for the best. Ketul had raised, someone called, and I took a look with 9-10 from the BB. Ketul bet something like 36k on the K,7,3 flop and it was folded to me; I had about 340k in front of me and 3-bet him to 110k. Unfortunately after a short dwell, he called and a ten hit the turn.

Now a couple of years back I know I would have followed through with an all-in push....but I'm in my forties now and those moves, well, I just find it a lot harder to pull the trigger these days. So I checked, Ketul bet enough to put me in. Hating life, I folded.

That left me in a bit of bother and when the next level began I was down to ten big blind territory. I pushed 10-8 suited smack into the big blind's aces.The 8-9-10 flop was most pleasing, but the dealer messed up the turn and put an ace out there. I was done.

Tournaments can be really hard work at times and my 44th place finish was a much needed boost to my confidence. In the following day's 1,000 side event, I got off to great start but, unfortunately, what initially looked like a scuffle in the corner of the ballroom turned out to be an armed raid. Whilst no one was hurt, it did cause five minutes of chaos as everyone ran towards the nearest exit.That resulted in the 1k being cancelled and we all got our money back. I'm hoping that's not the end of my upswing!

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Brad Willis
@BradWillis in