| World Series Diary
Day 1- 22/4/04
So here I am at the 2004
World Series of Poker. Binion's Horseshoe
has been taken over by new owners... at
long last. That is not the most obvious
change that greeted me though. America has
gone Poker mad, mad, mad. An astonishing
343 have just paid an amazing $25,000 to
play the main event at the Bellagio. And
yesterday I walked into Binions satellite
area and couldn't believe my eyes.
Last year there would have been maybe 3
or 4 tables running. This year there were
23 or 24 tables buzzing with excitement.
Hordes and hordes of new players. God bless
America , god bless the WPT on the discovery
channel, and god bless Chris Moneymaker.
This is Poker heaven !
I managed to win a seat
for the $2000 No Limit Hold em event in
a one table satellite. I got lucky when
I slow played pocket Kings catching both
blinds who both flopped top pair. As an
added bonus, I was given a poker lesson
by a very attractive young lady with a large
bosom. She explained how dangerous it was
not to raise with Kings before the flop.
Bless her !
Anyway I tripled thru and managed to outlast
the rest to gain a seat in the NLH event
for a paltry $230.
| Day 2-
23/4/04 - $2,000 No Limit Hold'em
Wow. Big Deal. So it only
cost me $230. I only lasted 28 minutes !
Some players were still signed up and hadn't
even sat down... and I was walking
Yet again, an internet
player got me. For years now there has been
a standard way of playing. The blinds are
25, 25 and players would raise between 75
and 125 to try and get a little action.
My exit was typical of how things have changed
recently. I am on the big blind. There is
50 in the middle, and the internet player
opens for 450 ! I have 1400 chips left an
AK in the hole. Everyone else has passed,
so I position all my chips in the middle.
And so does the original raiser with his
pair of jacks. The flop is low and
I skulk out the door... In the past this
would have been a 300 dollar pot at his
largest. Welcome to the future... or should
I say the present!
One advantage of getting
knocked out early, is that the failures
can play in the Super Satellite at 3pm .
And boy did I get lucky. I got personal
when someone raised my big blind for the
third time in a row. I called with 3,4 of
clubs, intending to bluff the flop. The
flop came, and hold on a sec, I can't possibly
bet this. A,2,5. The other player bluffed
again, and I called (after a small think
of course). Then the poor guy turned a 7
to match his pocket pair. And we proceeded
to re-raise until all our chips were heaped
in the middle. We turned over the cards,
he fell of his chair, the river didn't pair,
and I coasted into a $10,000 seat for the
big one. Not a bad start at all.
| Day 3-
24/4/04 - $1,500 Limit 7 Card Stud
I love playing 7 Card
Stud. I don't know why. God only knows why,
but I do. I did considerably better than
yesterday's tournament, lasting almost 3
times as long. Another embarrassing episode
in my 7 card career. How on earth did I
win 7 Card Stud comps in the early 90s ?
I'm buggered if I can remember how ? Off
to the 3pm super sat I go... And ran very
close again. The last 6 players remaining
get seats...I finish 7th. Ouch.
One thing I have worked
out. These super satellites are going to
provide about 700 entrants to the big one
at this rate. There is also a claim that
700 players will qualify thru the internet.
Will we reach 2000 players for the big one
| Day 6-
27/4/04 - $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em
Ok today I was determined
to make a little more effort. Pot
Limit Hold'em. The British game. But what
an opening table, Barney, Huck Seed, Scotty
Nguyen and Johnny Chan. Doh !
As it happens it was
Johnny who got me started. I raised his
BB (for the third time) with pocket nines.
The flop was Q92 and I checked even though
I was last to act. The turn was another
Queen and I bet weak. He called and we saw
a Jack on the river. He led out betting
500 on, what I assumed was a stone cold
bluff. But I raised him 500 anyway, and
he promptly went all-in with another raise.
I showed my 9s and the two times world champ
exited stage left... And my ego is now as
big as my mate Phil's.
I built big chips in
this event and almost made the dinner break.
But then the Lizard got me. Tony Bloom and
I were the two chip leaders at our table,
and as we are great friends, it was unlikely
that we would clash. That is until we picked
up a couple of monster hands. His J K suited
was way to strong for my 72 off-suit...
and off he went to the final table while
I played the 7.45 super satellite (without
any success this time).
| Day 7-
28/4/04 - $1,000 No Limit Hold'em
Wow. Over 600 runners
for a 1000 NLH with rebuys. Somehow Daniel
Negranau manages to rebuy 26 times. The
competition has cost him a paltry $27,000
in entry fees ! I start well, get a few
chips, and don't need to top up as I have
5000. Unfortunately, the field soon passes
me by. I hang on with a short stack for
hours, until Mike Laing arrives at the table
drunk with huge chips. He bluffs me out
of his first hand and shows me 6 3...and
then doubles me up twice and gives his whole
mountain away to the rest of the table in
less than 60 minutes. God bless Jack Daniels.
| Day 8-
29/4/04 - $2000 Pot Limit Omaha
Pot Limit Omaha, and
what a breeze. Every time I take on Aces,
I crack them. Lady Luck was with me all
day. I was never all-in, hardly ever put
half my stack in the middle and never had
one pressure crucial hand. I love Omaha
. Finished the day with second largest chip
stack behind the magnificent Robert Williamson.
| Day 9- 30/4/04 - $2000
Pot Limit Omaha Final
The PLO Final was being
televised by ESPN, so the day started with
an ESPN interview and surprisingly it went
well. For a change the interviewer seemed
to understand poker. This is America . Everyone
understands poker. The final was one of
my biggest poker disappointments. I couldn't
pick up a hand that even I would play. And
I play more than most. I finally found 7,10JQ
double suited on my big blind and re-raised
Robert Williamson's raise. He would probably
drop Kings and many other hands in this
situation, but of course Robert had Aces.
I made a flush but this was no match for
Robert's four aces. Fourth and $45,000 isn't
bad, but still I'm sad.
| Day 10-
One of those strange
'it's a small world' coincidences happened
again today. I sat down in the Super Sat.
and the geezer next to me sits down and
stares me out. 'I've got the same surname
as you' in New York accent. 'I've seen you
on Late Nite Poker !'. He rolls over his
players card and it says Sean Colclough.
(My daughter's name is Sian and everyone
insists on mis-pronouncing her name as Sean).
He is the only Colclough in the New York
telephone directory, and of course he qualifies
for a seat in the big one. And everyone
is asking me have I got a younger brother...
Day 11- 2/5/04 - $2,000 Limit Hold'em
I lasted a long way down
the field and went out around 45th, but
for no return. The highlight of the day
was sitting next to my mate Phil though.
And unsurprisingly enough, it didn't take
long for sparks to fly. I am assured, on
good authority, that he is a great guy away
from the table, and have no reason to disbelieve
this. At the table though, he just loves
to try and belittle everyone. Speech play
goes in America and it can add to the fun,
and the spectacle from a TV point of view.
But for some reason Phil insists on talking
down to all the players, telling them they
are idiots playing a certain way. Surprise,
surprise, this has a habit of happening
after he loses a pot of course. Eventually
I couldn't listen to him any more. After
making derogatory comments about the dealer
for the second hand in a row, I tried to
explain that the dealer had no control over
what appears on the flop. (and none of us
would want to play in a game where they
had !). As usual my timing was off, and
Phil blew his top. The self proclaimed best
player in the world, was now proclaiming
to the whole room that he was more of a
man than I'll ever be, and that goading
someone after losing a pot was totally un-excusable.
And I hadn't even realised I was goading
him. Well I was speechless (honest guv,
I was lost for words). This was one of those
times when American and English were completely
different languages again. I honestly had
no idea what planet he was coming from.
There are definitely some major cultural
differences here. I went to bed on a little
bit of a downer for the first time since
| Day 12-
3/5/04 - $2,000 Limit Hold'em Final
My close friend and fellow
Stokie, Paul Maxfield, somehow made the
final of the Limit Hold'em. This was the
first time Mad Max had played a Limit Hold'em
competition. So it was quite a stunning
performance. (He also knocked my mate Phil
out in the later stages of yesterday evening).
Paul had only $7000 in chips with the Big
Blind of 3000 just two hands away. Somehow
he survived through to a very creditable
4th place. And everyone still thinks he
| The big white board now reads
520 paid entries for the big one. It's looking
like 2000 runners!
| Day 13-
4/5/04 - $5,000 No Limit Hold'em
Well I spent the whole
day in the big event looking for a hand.
Eight hours of survival and the biggest
pair that I held was jacks...and they lost
! So I wandered over to the Super Satellite,
paid my 200 dollar entry, and promptly picked
up Kings three times in the first 20 minutes.
Oh my, how the poker gods laughed.
| Then the geezer next to me
asks me "what's spiderman play like ?" Now
is he about to tell me a joke ? No. Don't
think so. "Toby. Whats he play like ?". "Coby
?" "No, Toby. You were sat next to him in
the 5000 event. The actor who plays spiderman."
"What the young kid who doesn't even look
old enough to be in the casino ?" "That's
the one." Geez. I guess I am getting old.
Somehow I manage to make
good use of the chips I gained from the
Kings, and qualify for another seat in the
Super Sat.. Which means I get paid $10,000
in poker chips this time... I guess I'll
let the poker gods have their little joke
at my expense. They ain't so bad.
| And now there are 614 paid
up entries for the big one. It surely is going
to be the biggest tournament in history.
| Day 14-
My girlfriend, Rhowena,
has arrived and I take a day off. Just to
prove to myself that I am not addicted...Sick.
But not addicted. So after sampling the
best salad in the world at Hugo's, we wander
down to the Freemont Cinema to see Kill
Bill 2. Her choice, not mine. But at least
it's a change from Peter Pan... And of course
it happened. There was a trailer for the
new Spiderman movie. And I was staring at
the face I had been chatting about poker
to, for eight hours the previous day...
Another it's a small world experience.
| Day 16-
7/5/04 - Limit Hold'em shootout
240 players in the shootout,
which meant 24 tables. They paid 24 places
which meant you had to win your table to
get in the money, and of course I finished
second on my table. No reward for that day's
I also bashed away at
another super satellite before finding Kings
and running into Aces with them. By my calculations
I have Kings v Aces only 4 or 5 times a
year and will win with them once. So in
a way I'm lucky it only happened in a super
satellite. Well that's one way of looking
at it anyway. Nevertheless, I have that
slight worry that one of those little hiccup
bad runs, is in progress.
| Day 17-
8/5/04 - No Limit Hold'em shootout
| 400 Players in the shootout,
which meant 40 tables in the same format.
You have to win the table to make the money.
I had quite an easy table and was chip leader
with about 65% with 3 players left. Then I
tangled with an old adversary, Billy Duarte.
I lost 5 consecutive hands to him. 4 of which
he was all-in, and 4 of which I was a big
favourite in. Ouch. Now I am a little worried.
| Day 18-
9/5/04 - Omaha Hi-Lo Split
Yet again I managed to
run close to the money, but just missed.
974 runners on the board for the big one!
We are still on target for 2000.
| Day 19-
10/5/04 - Pot Limit Hold'em
Just to compound the
fact I was running a little bad, I decided
to start playing bad. Having not seen any
semblance of a hand, or an opportunity in
the first two hours of play, I somehow manage
to get myself involved with K10 suited,
and an exit hand of Q6 (on my big blind).
There's a new game in
town. The Bellagio is now spreading 1,2
limit Hold'em. That is, $100,000 / $200,000.
Minimum sit down 10 million dollars! A Texan
banker has flown into town and is playing
the worlds best in a heads up match.
Just to try and have
things a little his way, he insists that
each days play starts at 6am . A dozen or
so of the top professionals have clubbed
together so they have a bankroll that is
big enough to take him on.
| Day 20-
11/5/04 - $5,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split
I feel I played today's
tournament a lot better. The best way to
play most limit tournaments is to play very
tight and to select only the premium starting
hands. I survived a long time before eventually
hitting a sequence where I lost with Aces
twice. I then missed, after flopping 6,7,K
two clubs to match my A,2,3 nut flush and
unbreakable low draw. I don't get anything
out of this pot and I'm out again.
| Devilfish was on the same
starting table and struck a last longer bet
with Mike "I'm the best Omaha split player
in the world" Mattusow. Both convinced that
they will make the final. They reported to
the rail first and second out within three
hours play. If ever the Poker Gods get an
opportunity to cut us down to size, they don't
usually miss it.
| Day 21-
12/5/04 - $1500 No Limit Hold'em
Having flopped three
Jacks over Ross Boatman's three 6's, I got
off to another good start. Over 800 runners
again. I managed to get down to the last
100 within sight of the money when it happened
again. Did I say I only get Kings v Aces
four or five times a year? Bushey reckons
it happens to him every week. Anyway, Brad
Dougharty's Aces stand up and my Kings send
me to the super satellite, where of course
I pick up Kings v Aces again. But this time
I flopped a King. To no avail though, as
I went out about 12th short of the money.
I have a horrible feeling I may be eating
these words later. If my exit hand from
the main event is Kings v Aces, I will never
write a diary again!
| Day 22-
13/5/04 - $5000 7 Card Stud
| The slump continues. I make
a slight profit during the first two levels
but overplay and lose with Aces and then Kings
during the next two levels. I didn't even
make the second break, which of course meant
I was in time for the Super Satellite.
Super Satellites are
fun. I enjoy them more than any other form
of poker. I don't know why, but they keep
throwing up great situations and great stories.
And this one certainly brought a smile back
to my face. To add to the ambience, Gazza
'The Whacker' Bush was heckling me throughout
from the nearby rail, bemoaning the fact
that I seem to have 5 times as much luck
as him. 'Blessed, you are Colclough' is
his favourite quote. Anyway, it transpires
that we agree if I win another $10,000 in
tournament entry chips, I will enter him
in tomorrows Pot Limit Hold'em comp.
So eventually we are
down to the last 7 players. They are giving
away 6 seats. There are 5 huge stacks (my
friend Robin Keston having the biggest of
them all) and here are 2 tiny stacks. Me
and seat 7. One of us two will miss out.
When my big blind gets raised yet again,
I calculate I can just about throw this
hand away and the next two, and seat 7 will
then run out of chips in his blinds. Seat
7 passes each hand expecting me to make
a mistake, but I don't. And eventually he
is all-in on his small blind. I have only
3 chips left and would be all-in next hand.
Each of the big stacks calls to gang up
on poor old seat 7. Excellent, 5 v 1. I
like it... Then my good friend Robin from
London , looks down and finds two Kings.
And of course he does the stupid thing,
and raises. The other players are screaming
blue murder at him, while I am crying on
the floor. You don't get anything extra
for being the biggest stack. All 6 survivors
get the same. So of course, it makes sense
to gang up on one gu all the time... But
Robin wanted the glory of course... Fortunately,
this Kings story has a happy ending. They
stood up. Seat 7 was eliminated, and I won
another $10,000 with only 3 chips left.
And of course with Robin's 103,000 chips,
he also won a $10,000 seat.
| So I enter myself, and 'The
Whacker' in the Pot Limit Hold'em competition.
| Day 23-
14/5/04 - $3000 Pot Limit Hold'em
At last I hit a few flops,
start like a train, and probably produce
my best game for a week or so. I mixed it
up well and was probably chip leader after
four levels, having turned my 3000 staring
chips into 36,000.
Unfortunately, the dinner
break also signified a break in my luck.
I managed to lose a third of my stack in
a blinds skirmish (Jacks v Queens ). Eventually
we were down to 37 players and I was sitting
on an average stack of 25,000. We were playing
hand for hand, one out of the money, when
I picked up AK under the gun. I smooth called,
looking for a re-raise opportunity, but
was outplayed. The flop came A67, which
was a lot more help to the button's pocket
6s than my big slick. I somehow managed
to play badly enough to lose my whole stack,
and exit one of the money. Disgusted with
myself I left and went straight to bed without
the obligatory Budweiser or two.
| Day 24-
I chose not to play the
Razz and got up late... with a very nice
surprise waiting for me. The Whacker had
made the final of 3000 PLH. I spent the
rest of the day with The Camel and a dozen
or so other football hooligans on the benches
next to the final table. Unfortunately Ram
was out early, the Mexican wave was pathetic,
the crowd was too busy drinking to roar...
but Gary 'The Whacker' Bush was at his best,
finishing a very honourable second. Err,
landing the pair of us a hefty $120,000
to boot. Yabba dabba doo!
| Day 26-
17/5/04 - $5,000 Limit Hold'em
My personal playing slump
continues as I exit the event on the fourth
level. Ted Forrest was on fire beating me
up in 6 pots out of 6. Financially it has
been a very rewarding trip, but I really
would like to make one more final table
to be happy.
Generally, all the Europeans
are now in town. The board now reads 1100
registered entrants for the main event,
and don't go betting under 1800 if you like
| Day 27-
18/5/04 - $3,000 NoLimit Hold'em
It happened again! Level
2, 70 minutes in, I pick up my first big
hand : Kings. I don't think I need to spell
any more out. My, how the poker gods laughed
as my opponent turned over the two aces.
It looks like Bushey is right! Kings v Aces
four times in a fortnight. Ho, hum. At least
it happened early. I didn't get any opportunity
to build false expectations.
This tournament turned
out to be unique. Almost 650 players with
3000 chips produced too many chips to enable
a result in 2 days. For the first time in
WSOP history, the final three couldn't force
a result, and quit at 3.45 am after 2 days
hard labour. Unfortunately, the break worked
against the two remaining brits, Ram Vaswani
and John Kabbaj, who had to settle for third
and second respectively.
As there are now over
1400 signed up entrants for the big one,
I wonder if we may have to endure similar
long gruelling days. There is a common thought
around Binions that this years winner may
have to be young and fit just to have enough
stamina to last the distance. Who would
have ever thought fitness would come into
play at a poker table?
| Day 28-
19/5/04 - $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha
This was undoubtedly
my biggest disappointment of the trip. A
first prize of half a million dollars, in
an Omaha competition. I got started built
up to 35,000 chips quite quickly but watched
helplessly as I lost three times after setting
my opponent when I had the best of it. But
that's Omaha . In fact, that's Poker. It's
important to remember that 65% favourites
lose almost a third of the time.
So here I am winging
away. I have $50,000 more than I arrived
with. And all I am worried about, is the
fact I didn't get close to a girlie's bracelet.
What a strange breed we are.