Poll of The Week

A betting heat which is close to my heart is the League Managers’ Association (LMA) Manager of the year award. Lots of firms including Paddy run a book on this for the whole year and I reckon there is value to be had all year long right to the end on this market.

Now I know you’ll be thinking “this has to be Mourinho’s year – Chelsea will piss the league by April and anyone who can flog David Luiz for €50m deserves a medal” but please remember this: no foreign manager has ever won this award apart from Arsene Wenger. Mourinho has indeed won two league titles before and in one of those years he did the double and still didn’t win. Pellegrini did the double last year and he wasn’t even in with a sniff. As you might recall Brenton Rodgers held off Tony Pulis to win. Both of these men are very British you’ll notice. Joe Kinnear won this award once, I kid you not. Perhaps that’s where he got all those delusions from? Steve Copell won it two years in a row. Even Alan Pardew won this in 2012! I tell you this is a local award for local people and foreigners need not apply. Wenger did win it back in In 2003-4 though. Arsenal didn’t lose a league game so it would have been pretty hard not to give it to him.

The best way to look at the LMA as an organisation is to consider how they dealt with the Malky Mackay issue earlier in the season. Some of those texts messages were pretty bad but the LMA’s line? JUST BANTER mate. LADS.  Harry Redknapp rightly pointed out that he hadn’t killed anyone and that he wan’t a paedophile and the LMA might as well employ him as a spokesman.

So if Jose Mourinho isn’t going to win this would appear to rule Ronald Koeman out as well wouldn’t it?  I remember last year Pochettino was as short as 5-1 but faded away and I suspect a similar thing will happen here even though Koeman is certain to do a bit better.

So this year I dutifully stocked up on punts on all the British managers at massive prices: plucky Sean Dyche and Nigel Pearson hoping they would do a bit better than relegation. Even Sam Allardyce, Garry Monk and (God this is embarrassing) Brenton Rodgers. Trouble is I can’t see any of them winning. I still don’t know who will. So for this week’s question I’m asking you: Who will win this year’s LMA Manager of the year award?

Answer this week’s poll and leave a comment with your Twitter username to be in with a chance of winning a token for my Bounty competition.

There’s such a long way to go of course but like I said, there’s value in this market right until the last week of the season. No team has even played their Tony Pulis get out of jail free card so he could yet be a runner. And I know you’ll laugh but you can get 66-1 on Stuart Pearce. There’s a lack of English candidates this year and if Nottingham Forest win the Championship (not a 66-1 shot) he will be small single figures.

Congratulations to @fiercelyacute for winning last week’s poll.

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Hand of The Week – Week 142

You’ll like this one.

I was doing my usual “just-bored-playing-12 tables-of-Speed-poker-at-2-o’clock-in-the-morning” and I managed to get my straight flush outdrawn.

I’ll repeat that. I got a straight flush outdrawn. This had never happened to me before in my entire life and to put this into perspective, I’ve had 13 or 14 royal flushes playing Texas Holdem but never, ever, have I had a straight flush outdrawn before. Until last night that is.

It’s a good job I only play speed Poker for “fun”, although even at the 0.02-0.05c and 0.05-0.10c stakes I managed to lose $60 in about 20 minutes. That’s what happens when you 3-bet 12% of your hands preflop (with a VPIP of 41.2%….in Speed Poker….oh deary me). All I can say is that it’s a good job I don’t play poker drunk any more. Mind you, who needs to play drunk when your hand selection is so refined you re-raise with 3-2s while playing 11 other tables?

That’s how I managed to achieve this never-to-seen-before feat (or to-be-seen-again feat I hope). Poker pursists look away now, this gets ugly.

Four handed I was on the button and I decided to 3-bet the raiser with my powerhouse of 3-2s. Well 3-2s is a monster, right? So you go ahead and raise that hand. No need to wait for a better one because I’m only getting dealt 1500 hands an hour.

He then proceeded to 4-bet me – and seeing we know from this picture he is only holding K-Q offsuit I’m sure we can agree with is a bit cheeky of him. But that would be the pot calling the kettle black I suppose – plus I’d probably 3-bet him seven times already this session and he might just be on to me.

St FL outdrawn 1 of 3 - 25-11-2014 15-26-40 (2)

Having called his 4-bet with the intention of just folding the flop, or shoving all in on the flop – or whatever bone headed play came into mind at that split second – I managed to hit my miracle flush. I say “miracle” because flopping a flush is in fact 118-1 and that’s pretty darned unlikely. What’s even better is that he has the King of hearts and even better still is that the beautiful 4h falls on the turn when I decided to call his c-bet.

St FL outdrawn 2 - 3 - 25-11-2014 15-28-11 (2)

Aha! I now hold a straight flush so have summa that – Mr “I like to 4-bet with KQo out of position”.

Observant (and persistent) readers might remember last week’s hand of the week when I said Andoni Larrabe was drawing to the “idiot end” of the straight in the WSOP final table in a slightly bigger game than this one. Well I suppose in theory I have the “idiot end” of the straight flush. There is a potentially higher straight flush but you know what, I’ll take the idiot end of a straight flush any day. There’s only one card in the deck that can chin you. Now deal me a river !

The only hand that beats me is one containing the 8 of hearts and seeing as he 4-bet me preflop I just can’t entertain that idea. We both checked the turn. He could be trapping me, which is funny seeing what I’m holding. Perhaps he didn’t want to lose me by betting the turn. I’m planning on shoving the river of course.  Speaking of the river, the absolute worst card in the deck completed the board.

St FL outdrawn 3 of 3 - 25-11-2014 15-29-07

Well bugger that for a laugh. A split pot! I suppose it could have been worse – he could have held the 9 of hearts for a bigger straight flush but even when he shoved I wasn’t too concerned about the 9h for the same reason I wasn’t concerned about the 8h.

Luckily we were playing tin pot stakes I suppose. Much as that irked me, I’d really hate for that to happen in a proper game.

Poker eh? The game that keeps throwing up these surprises even when you think you’ve seen it all.

OK, for my NEXT trick: consecutive royal flushes. Or….how about being dealt AA three times in a row? No I’d probably get them all beaten. How about a hand where someone calls an all in on the river with 3-2 offsuit for a split pot because he correctly works out his opponent has the same hand, announces “I know you’re bluffing”….”BUT I’M POT COMMITTED!”

Surely that’s never happened before? Probably best I don’t try to be the first.

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Shah Athar Wins the PaddyPowerPoker MADchester Main Event (£27,000 & a €3,500 Irish Open seat)!

Shah Athar - PaddyPowerPoker MADchester Winner 2014

Madness! The PaddyPowerPoker MADchester festival has concluded, with Shah Athar winning £27,000 and an Irish Open seat after three days of poker-based shenanigans at the Manch235ter Casino, Manchester’s newest and fanciest gaming wonderland.

The £500 + £50 NLH Main Event took place November 21-23, with two start days running one after the other on November 21st. The tournament boasted a 40 minute clock, a 30k starting stack and a single re-entry format, with players who busted out on Day 1a permitted to take a second shot on Day 1b. The combined start days garnered a total of 169 entries, just shy of the £100,000 guarantee, with 18 places officially paying out (although an agreement between the players on the bubble awarded £500 off of first place to the 19th place finisher to speed up the proceedings). Players included garrulous Irishman Padraig Parkinson, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi and 2008 WSOP finalist Chino Rheem.

The casino was decked out in Alice-themed paraphernalia, including slightly disturbing Cheshire Cat grins on every available surface and a whole laundry load’s worth of the ubiquitous green PaddyPower lucky pants, almost all of which mysteriously vanished during the first day of the tournament. They can’t all have been doing their job, though, as by the beginning of Day 2 only 73 players remained, with David Gomez in the lead on 210,500.

Down to 19 players shortly before the end of Day 2, a secret ballot among the players decided to take a saver off first place to award the 19th place finisher their money back, meaning that Andrew Probyn, who’d taken the bubble-bubble spot after running K-J into David Gomez’ A-5 which flopped a full house, technically became the bubble. The chips were bagged and tagged, with Soleiman Masud Janjua leading the field into Day 3 on 489,000, just a shade ahead of Robert Roper and Gerald “Skullman” David.

Nineteenth place was swiftly claimed by Doig Rudling – another victim of the silent but deadly David Gomez. He presumably collected his 500 quid from Shah Athar after the tournament’s thrilling conclusion. On to the official ITM exits, and former big stack Leonard Townsend was the first to go in 18th place for a grand sterling, his Q-J dominated by Guy Taylor’s A-J. Robert Roper, whose incessant whistling had been entertaining his tablemates all day, soon followed – but no sooner than he had collected his 17th place winnings from the cash desk than he reappeared in the tournament area to rail the remaining players, to the delight of everyone. Richard Kellett soon took 16th place, the victim of Gerald “Skullman” David’s pair of queens, and the remaining players all moved up a pay bracket.

Positions 15 to 13 were soon claimed by respectively Daniel Charlton, Mark Wilding and Mark Dyson who each received £1,250 for their efforts, and another pay bracket thus passed. Mark Stott in 12th place received £1,500, as did short stack ninja CK Lee, who had put his chips in the middle more than any other Day 3 player and survived every time until his pocket sevens were out-flipped by Shah Athar’s A-J. Athir Ali was the last player to cash in the £1,500 bracket when his A-5 failed to outdraw Desmond Marsh’s pocket jacks; his 10th place exit also signalled the condensing of the remaining field on to a single – indeed, the final – table. Day 1 chip leader David Gomez was by now back in pole position.

The Final Table:

Seat 1: Mark Davey – 130,000
Seat 2: Soleiman Masud Janjua – 301,000
Seat 3: Gerald “Skullman” David – 350,000
Seat 4: Shah Athar – 540,000
Seat 5: Sue Benson – 380,000
Seat 6: Desmond Marsh – 670,000
Seat 7: David Gomez – 1,400,000
Seat 8: Declan Connolly – 300,000
Seat 9: Guy Taylor – 1,100,000

Mark Davey in his corduroy jacket and collared shirt may have a sartorial advantage over his opponents but certainly did not have a chip advantage. His microstack went in with Q-T against David Gomez’ K-5, and although he hit a queen, Gomez hit a four-flush to send Davey and his jacket to the rail in ninth place for £2,250. Declan Connolly was next, getting the lot in with pocket kings on a ten-high board but getting a call from Gomez holding a Q-J flush draw, which hit on the river. His eighth place finish netted him £3,000. Not too shabby.

Guy Taylor, short-stacked after getting his kings cracked by Sue Benson, got his last in with Q-T against the A-K of, surprise surprise, David Gomez. Taylor failed to hit, and had to settle for seventh place and £3,750. Benson didn’t manage to hang on to his chips for long, either – she soon took sixth place for £5,500 when her A-3 failed to hold against Soleiman Masud Janjua’s K-Q.

It was only by some sort of divine grace that Gerald “Skullman” David was still in the running at this stage – he’d been nursing a teeny tiny stack for most of the day and had already doubled up several times, on more than one occasion with the worst hand, when his A-Q was suddenly outdrawn by Shah Athar’s A-4. He netted £7,500 for fifth place. Start-of-day chip leader Soleiman Masud Janjua was the next hapless bustee, getting it in good with pocket sevens against Shah Athar’s A-7, but an ace from space sent him packing in fourth place for a tidy £10,000, and three players remained.

Desmond Marsh came in third, making his last stand with K-Q but becoming David Gomez’ final victim (pocket tens did the deed). Marsh took home a rather tasty £12,750, and Shah Athar and David Gomez were heads up, Gomez holding a big chip lead.

Athar soon doubled up to even with a humble pair of threes on the flop against Gomez’ open-ended straight draw, and not long after the two got it in on a massive coinflip – Shah’s K-T (apparently his lucky hand) against Gomez’ pocket eights. The flip went Shah’s way, and mere moments later Gomez took a desperate short-stacked shot with T-6 and was finished off by Athar’s Q-J. Gomez had to settle for the bridesmaid position and £17,000, while Athar got £27,000, an Irish Open seat and eternal glory.

Full Payouts:

1 Shah Athar £27,000 Plus Irish Open seat worth €3,500
2 David Gomez £17,000
3 Desmond Marsh £12,750
4 Soleiman Masud Janjua £10,000
5 Gerald “Skullman” David £7,500
6 Sue Benson £5,500
7 Guy Taylor £3,750
8 Declan Connolly £3,000
9 Mark Davey £2,250
10 Athir Ali £1,500
11 Chun K Lee £1,500
12 Mark Stott £1,500
13 Mark Dyson £1,250
14 Mark Wilding £1,250
15 Daniel Charlton £1,250
16 Richard Kellett £1,000
17 Robert Roper £1,000
18 Leonard Townsend £1,000
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David Gomez Finishes as Runner-Up (£17,000)

Could have run better

Could have run better

…and Shah Athar is the Paddy Power Poker MADchester Open champion!  He takes the top prize of £27,000 and the bonus added Irish Open 2015 seat worth €3,500, after a formality of a last hand hoovered up the chip dust that David Gomez was left with (Athar’s Js-Qh finishing off Gomez’s 6d-Th).

Congratulations to our valiant finalist fighters, a good game all round!

Stay tuned for a full tournament report and Final Table recap.

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Crucial Flip Goes Athar’s Way

After some back and forth action, the Big Pot arrived.  The blinds are now 60k/120k, and button Shah Athar raised to 250k, set all in by David Gomez.  Athar made the call.

Athar: Ks-Ts (“It never loses,” he confided in me afterwards)
Gomez: 8h-8s

The flop brought the 7h-4s-9h, the turn a Kh (“corazon!” requested the rail), but it was the 7s on the river and Gomez was left with dust…

The last 50k was returned when the next hand brought them both 3-5, but you know what’s coming next…

 

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Athar Doubles Up; Stacks Now Even

David Gomez vs Shah Athar Heads UpShah Athar checked the 4s-3d-8h flop over to Gomez who bet; Athar then check-raised all in. After a moment Gomez made the call.

Athar: Td-3c for bottom pair
Gomez: 5h-6s for an open-ended straight draw

Turn and river: Jh and Ts, neither of which brought in Gomez’ straight

Athar doubled up to 2.5 million, and they are now roughly even in chips.

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Des Marsh Busts in 3rd Place (£12,750)

Desmond MarshThe three-way dance is over!  Des Marsh got his short stack all in with the plenty pretty Kh-Qh vs. Gomez with pocket tens.  Gomez vocalised a request to win an all-in today, and his wish was granted.  Marsh, who announced, “I’m off to play the £20 rebuy tomorrow!” picks up a healthy payday and has to have been the most cheerful bust-er we’ve seen today.

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Gomez Suffers the Chop (Again)

Button Shah Athar (780k ish) shoved, and David Gomez made the call.  He had his opponent dominated with Ah-Jc vs. Ac-5s but the flop was pretty bad for him, you might say: 4s-3s-2h.  Athar flopped the wheel and some celebrating may have ensued if the 5h didn’t pop out on the turn for the chop.

“So sick,” Gomez allowed himself, but isn’t showing that many outward signs of tilt…yet.

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Athar Pays Gomez

A rare small to big blind limp from David Gomez started this hand, checked by big blind Shah Athar.  Gomez led out 100k on the 6d-3s-5c flop, called by Athar.  Both players checked the 4c turn, and then Gomez bet 260k on the Kc river.  After a think, Athar called, and was shown 9c-3c for a backdoored flush.  He drops to 700,000.

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Athar Teeters on Brink of Elimination

Shah Athar… all in preflop with Kc-Qc vs. Des Marsh’s Ks-Kh, no less!  In pretty much awful shape here, Shah Athar nevertheless managed to squeak a double up when the board ran out with four clubs: Ad-6c-8c-5c-Qc.

“How can you hit four running clubs?”

“How can you have kings in that spot?”

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