The Joey Del Experience: The Sydney Championships, Toothpicks And Three Outers

Posted at 17:38 2009-09-11
Well today is Friday, and the Sydney Poker Championships at Star City Casino are about to get down to the business end of proceedings and unfortunately my entire tournament play is done for the week.
I played in three tournaments, the “Toothpick Tony” Deep Stack Event, the Grant Levy Bounty Event and the Sydney Championships Main Event. For this article I am going to run through these three tournaments and offer my thoughts on them.
I thought it was quite a good marketing incentive by Star City to name these events after prominent Sydney poker players. It certainly did add an element of fun to the whole thing. The first event was named after Toothpick Tony. No, this is not his real name, but he is Greek so I am not even going to bother having a go at spelling his real name. Toothpick has been playing poker around Sydney long before cards were even invented. He has had some decent tournament results but this has nothing to do with his fame. Nobody in the history of the world has ever seen Tony without a toothpick in his mouth. It is always there, all the time. He is your classical older European gentleman. He walks around all the time with a nonchalant air of authority. He is a man of few words and the few words that he speaks are not in English, nor are they in Greek, more a merger of the two languages that he has put together, let’s call it Engleek? Whenever you go to a poker tournament regardless of what part of Australia it is in, Tony is the first person that you see. In my opinion a man who certainly deserves to have a poker tournament named after him.
With the above being said, I thought it was quite a nice surprise to see a toothpick sitting on top of everyone’s starting stack at the commencement of play. This gave us mere everyday folk the opportunity to see what it was like to be the great man as we all sat there chewing on our toothpicks during play. I have to tell you that it worked! I played close to the best I have ever played for about seven hours of this tournament and had built up quite a nice stack. I would eventually lose half of my stack in a race and then the rest of it by making probably the stupidest call I have ever made in all of my poker playing days. The call was in hindsight so embarrassing I am not even going to write about it out of fear of being banished from all poker mediums for the history of my pathetic existence. This is by far one of the cruellest things of tournament poker, how you can play so well for so long and do one stupid thing and it is all over. I was not too concerned though, I thought I had played well and if I could carry this form over to the next two tournaments I was playing in then this could be a good week.
The next event I played was the Grant Levy Bounty Event and it seems I was unable to carry on the above mentioned form. I would say I was card dead but I only lasted in the tournament for two hours which is probably not long enough to comment either way. Firstly for those of you who don’t know, Grant Levy or ‘grunter’ is a well know Aussie poker player, who came to fame when he won the final of the PokerStars.net 2007 APPT picking up a cool million dollars for his effort. This was no fluke win though; Levy has been tearing up both the live and online circuits ever since then. He is a regular in the PokerNetwork Forums and is always reliable for some sound hand advice or a quick joke whenever you need it.
Like I said, this tournament was not a good one for me. It all came to an end when in a four-way limped pot I happily checked my option from the big blind with {ac}{6s} and saw an {ad}{9d}{6c} flop. So far so good right? The action is on me and how do I approach it? It was limped preflop, so I don’t think I want to check and risk it being checked around on such a draw heavy board. I want money from people drawing and I want it now. I led out for 425 chips (600 in the pot) and it folded around to the gentleman on the button. He re raised to 1,200. Yes he can have hands that beat me but there are so many things in his range there that limp from the button and then raise a flop bet that I am a long way in front of, so I wasted very little time in moving my approximately 3,500 remaining chips into the middle. He called and tabled {ah}{9c} and I started shaking the other players hands. I had played on the same table as the guy that busted me out, only a month before hand at the Victorian Poker Championships and he seems like a nice, genuine guy so if my $200 bounty had to go to someone I am glad it was him.
This leaves us only with the Main Event as my final chance of redemption. The tournament had a great structure and I was ready to sink my teeth into it. Well yeah this went well for me. I nearly made it to the second break but yeah that didn’t happen. Things started off quite well, I had built my 20k starting stack up to around 25k. The table was your standard live tournament table. Some very solid players (including highly regarded online pro Daniel Kochan seated two to my left) and some live players who ranged from tight solid players to the “I need to see every flop so I can decide if I have a good hand” kind of players. The second type of player was the one who was last seen carrying my chips. Now I very rarely have anything bad to say about anyone and I am sure this guy is a great guy but he seemed to be about as competent at poker as I am at ballet. His modus operandi was to limp preflop every hand and to call all raises so as to see a flop. He then quite enjoyed donk betting into the raiser if he hit any part of the board and check folding when he missed.
So the blinds are 75/150 and my friend limps from middle position. The action is on me in the hijack and I raise to 575 with {as}{10s}. Our friend beats me into the pot with his call and we take on a {ad}{kd}{5h} flop. Our friend immediately bets out a little over pot. Ok, I have top pair which is about 600km in front of this guys range. There is no need to raise and get rid of him, I assume he has some kind of a week ace, maybe a king? I will call and see how much more money he wants to give me.
The turn comes the {8h} and he again bets out for a little bit more than pot. I am now more confident that our friend has a weak ace as I think he would have resided to checking his king. Once again I call.
The river is the {9h} and he bets pot once more. This is an interesting card for me. There are definitely things that he can have that beat me. Did he somehow luckbox a back door flush? His weak ace could have been A-5, A-8, A-9. Could he be completely sick and holding 6-7? I still thought there were more hands that I was beating than I was losing to, and he had already shown down three bluffs in three hours of play. So I called. He tabled {ax}{9x} and was pleased as punch about it. I congratulated him on such a well played hand and folded my now three-outered second best hand.
My tournament ended about 20 minutes later when I put my remaining 13bb stack with {7s}{7c} and was called by my aforementioned friend with {kd}{10d}. That was the end of that. I didn’t find any of the results I was looking for but so is the nature of tournaments so what can you do?
Wait till the next one I guess :-)
Have a great week and good luck in whatever it is you choose to do!
- JoeyDel


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Joey Del on the felt at the Sydney Poker Championships Joey Del on the felt at the Sydney Poker Championships

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