Poll of The Week

When Doyle Brunson miraculously recovered from cancer his luck really did turn. As he tells the story in his book “The Godfather of Poker” he’d been told he was terminally ill and sent home to die in the comfort of his own home. But the cancer somehow disappeared in one of those rare and unexplained cases and he made a complete recovery.

The poker feat he accomplished immediately after recovering was probably just as long a shot as the disappearing cancer itself.  He won his next 53 poker sessions! Fifty three winning sessions on the bounce.  Most people probably can’t even conceive of such an unlikelihood and be chuffed with a run of three or four, no matter what the standard of the game.

Becoming hung on up winning streaks is not to be recommended however. In his brilliant book “Shut Up And Deal” Jesse May tells the story of an acquaintance who treasured winning every day above all else. When he’d a winning day this character loved to chalk it off on his calendar as a win, no matter how small that win was. One day he was in the third or fourth week of the month and he was desperate for a whole month of wins in his calendar. But he started losing one session. In his desperation to get a dollar ahead he got on the chase, upped the stakes….and you know what happened after that. He lost the lot.  Busto.

This week’s question is: what is your longest winning run of poker sessions? 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.

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

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Friday’s Caption Competition

It’s that time of the week for another caption competition. But first of all, the password for the Freddie Mays Bounty tournament at 9pm tonight is:


How’s your luck? Having publicly declared Tony Pulis “safe” from the sack on Tuesday he leaves by “mutual consent” on Thursday! Of course he was safe from the sack and left entirely of his own accord but that doesn’t count for much in the “next manager to leave market”, does it?

So my Tony Pulis saga continues.  I’d backed Palace +46 on the Premier League handicap, Palace to come top 10 at 9/2 and I’d also backed them in numerous match bets, the ONLY reason being because they were managed by the mighty Tony Penis.  Jeeeez. Those betting slips are all confetti now and all because Pulis wanted more money for transfers.

If only he knew how selfish he was!  And as for Steve Parish…well there are no words for that badly haircutted buffoon. How can he let the T-Bone leave? If Tony Penis asks for more money for transfers then you just….

Now I’ve got to rely on someone new like Tim Sherwood or Neil Lennon with the added knowledge that Steve Parish is so tight he won’t even fork out for decent toilet roll in the players’ bogs (he makes them use that really rubbish tracing paper, it’s really no wonder Pulis didn’t stay.) Anyway, for this week’s competition here’s a pic of Tony Pulis leaving the ground with his wife:

Tony Penis with wife

Submit your caption on Facebook for your chance to win a token to my bounty tourney next week.

Congratulations to Gary Martin (gazza7375) for winning last week’s competition with : “This is how we roll”

Nick Clegg

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Hand of The Week – Week 132

It’s been a while since I played any live poker but I got myself down to the casino the other week to play a session of the old live stuff. Nothing special – just 3 or 4 hours of low stakes cash with £1-1 blinds and a £200 buy in.  I even finished up ahead for the night although it would be a close battle between my win rate and minimum wage.

Having not played live for ages I’d forgotten one particular delight of the game when played “mano a mano”. I’m talking about the angle shoot and there’s actually nothing “delightful” about it at all.

Angle shooters are the lowest form of scum – well perhaps not lower than the aggravated burglar who uses your bedroom as a toilet, or Max Clifford – but you take my point. I suspect I’ve been spoiled by playing so much online poker where there aren’t people trying to dishonestly have your money off you by acting out of turn or using sleight of hand, but I really resent having to be on guard while I’m playing just because some devious little scrote is trying to con me. Why should I have to be looking over my shoulder all the time? There are enough other things legitimate things to concentrate on without these added nuisances.

The following example of angle shooting didn’t occur at the table I played at.  It didn’t even happen in the casino I was playing in.  The hand was explained to us by the dealer, an experienced guy of about 50 who had just moved to our table, and he’d been playing himself in a different casino while off duty the day before. Must be a sort of busman’s holiday – I guess our man really loves the game.

“Oh, I saw a good one earlier. It was goooood. So slick”

From his tone you’d think he actually admired the play and as you could tell this chap had seen a lot of live poker in his time you had a feeling this was going to be interesting. He’d seen the following situation develop.

The game was £2-5 and two players had got to the river in a £400 pot. We don’t need to know all the action as it only got interesting on the river.

A-K-9-Q-9 were the cards on the board and the first player, let us call him Mr Honest, bet £25

I know a bet of £25 into a £400 pot sounds small but this is the figure the dealer told us and as he’s a professional poker dealer I believe him. Besides people do sometimes make these titchy bets, either as an intended “blocking bet” or because they’re trying to induce a raise.

This is where his opponent, let us call him Mr Angle, made his play.

Mr Angle thought for a while as if he had a decision to make. In front of him were several £25 chips and he played around with these, picking them up and putting them down again.

Having mulled it over, he finally made a decision. He picked up a £25 chip and with a little shrug, he  plonked it down on the table without a word. His body language was the key here. It was an action which made you think it was a “ah, OK then, I suppose I have to” call.

Mr Honest turned over his cards: K-9 for a full house.

To which Mr Angle shot back immediately.

“What are you doing?”

Mr Honest probably wasn’t worried at this point.  He’ll have just wanted to see Mr Angle’s cards to see if his hand was good. “You called my bet and I’m showing you my hand.”

“Oh I didn’t call. I’m raising you”

This was news to Mr Honest but when you looked at the table Mr Angle’s hand had not moved and was covering the “chip” he’d just put down. He lifted his hand up and – shock horror – there were indeed two £25 chips on the table. Somehow he’d picked up two chips not one and no-one had realised. But like it or not, this was a raise, there was action pending and now Mr Honest had shown his cards….as mentioned, with action pending.

Mr Angle got the floor supervisor over and successfully had Mr Honest’s hand killed for exposing his hand with action pending. With his hand dead Mr Honest had nothing to play with and Mr Angle won the pot by default. We’ll never know what he had.

The sneaky bastard had deliberately said nothing when he put his chips in and waited to see if his opponent would expose his hand. Fortunately for the little weasel Mr Honest did just that and allowed him to pull his move.

Obviously he couldn’t beat K-9. If he could have then he’d have simply shown his winner and there would have been no need to call the floor over. Perhaps he had AK or AQ but let’s face it when would AK or AQ (or any other hand that isn’t a full house or better for that matter) ever raise a £25 bet to £50 when there is £400 on the table?

We all agreed this was a pretty low down thing to do but the dealer who was telling us the story made a interesting distinction. He said that, in his view it wasn’t a “moody” but an “angle shoot”. Well that was all lost on me. “Moody”, “angle shoot”, it’s all the same to me.

I just couldn’t do that to someone and I’d sure be upset if someone did it to me. There’s no place for that sort of manoeuvre and in my humble opinion people like that need dragging outside and given a good kicking.

Because when you think about it, it is highly unlikely that this character has figured out to do this on the fly. Which means he’d planned it previously and sat there for hours waiting for this exact situation to develop. And to repeat, there is practically zero chance the £50 raise on the river was a legitimate play. With what hand would anyone raise to £50 other than one that wins? If he could beat K-9 he would have shown.

People might say “Well Mr honest is a fool for showing his hand”. I disagree. When people call you on the river it’s time to show your cards and that’s what he did. He’s not a fool. He’s just playing straight and he’s entitled to think he’s playing in a straight game.

I’ll go further – he’s entitled to think the floor will do the right thing by him and in this case, doing the right thing would mean the floor declared the action was unintentional and ask Mr Angle if he can beat K-9. If he can fine if he can’t then piss off with the silly games and find another place to play.

By the way, the way to combat this is you are in Mr Honest’s shoes is firstly do not show your cards. Second, ask the player to confirm “is that a call?” and he will indeed have to say yes or no. If he says “yes it is a call” then it’s fine to show your cards.

Mr Angle lost his whole stack within an hour so there was some justice done but he didn’t lose it to Mr Honest so that was no real consolation.

I don’t like the way the casino dealt with it. As we left I told my brother about the hand and he didn’t either. “Yeah the dealer told us that story too when he was at my table. It’s a bullshit ruling. They didn’t have to give him the pot”.

Perhaps the people making the decisions get too absorbed in their own rules and start to think ” well yes, technically the hand is dead”. As the guy telling us the story was appearing to, perhaps they even have a grudging respect for the angle shooter.

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Poll of The Week

Still limbering up for the new Premier League season :).  Almost there now – just a few more days to go to kick off on Saturday.

Last Week’s question was “Which team will come LAST in the 2014/15 Premier League?” Well this week we’ve got another question where the winner is in fact a great big loser: “Which Premier League manager will “win” the sack race in 2014/15?” 

Well who wants to look at League winners and chart topping goalscorer bets when there’s so much misery and schaudenfraude to be enjoyed on the negative markets? Besides, if you’re finding that most of your bets are losers anyway why not start betting on people to do badly? (Er, does this work?)

I didn’t think it possible but the sack race is a phenomenon which is actually getting more ridiculous as time goes on.  I thought it had reached a peak years ago but last season was the maddest of all, with two clubs sacking their manager twice!  It could be carnage again this year as well.  When clubs are facing relegation they get predictably twitchy but with as many as 11 clubs in with a shout of going down that leads to quite a long dole queue.

This is how the logic goes: “If we sack our manager we’ll get a bounce in form. It always happens. It will be enough to lift us out of the relegation zone”

The some bright spark pops up and says “it only costs 3 million to change the manager but if you get relegated it costs £60m£70m (insert whatever figure the animated Sky presenter is currently screaming from the nearest television set).”

To which everyone says “HE MUST GO!” and the poor bloke gets fired even though he is actually performing better than all the bookies and judges had expected pre season.

This is pretty much the model that West Brom work on.

It got me to thinking that if you take this approach to the pathological extreme you end up with a situation where by about February or March…….”you change the manager EVERY SINGLE GAME!!!”

Yeah, that’ll keep the players on their toes. They’ll always give 100% then. Ha! A brilliant and most cunning plan. In fact I’m copywriting this idea so that clubs can only use it with my express permission and for a modest fee. I’m going to call it the “Pepe Mel advanced recruitment system” or perhaps “Rene Meulensteen” for short.

I anticipate it becoming very popular. If you run out of managers because there just aren’t any left then you can rehire old ones after a period, no-one will notice – or just put a wig and glasses on the current incumbent and hope no-one will be any the wiser.  You could even start a cloning programme but making ever so slight adjustments to the subject, such as hair colour or swearing frequency in English clones.

So for this year’s sack race?

Well Sam Allardyce is a big favourite, as short as even money. But I think that just makes the prices better on everyone else. I think he’s actually safe until the end of the season and that if they were going to sack him they’d have done it already. The fact that David Gold didn’t sack him after the “accidental” retweet of the “is this the day we fire BFS?” suggests to me he is safe for a while. (Isn’t jet lag a real pain?).

Next favourite is Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert at 13/2 and this is interesting. I was looking at the fixtures last night and I spotted this horrific start to the season for Aston Villa: Stoke City (A), Newcastle United (H), Hull City (H), Liverpool (A), Arsenal (H), Chelsea (A), Manchester City (H), Everton (A).

They could easily be bottom after 8 games if they don’t beat Newcastle or Hull. They’ve got the added pressure of Roy Keane’s moodswings so it could be grim place to be around indeed. (Villa are worth backing at 3-1 to get relegated if you fancied trading out of it later on.)

Alan Pardew is only two years into an eight year contract (lol) and after last year’s headbutt seems unsackable so I couldn’t back him. Likewise I think Harry has cast a spell over Tony Fernandes and won’t get sacked no matter how badly they do. Harry will leave of his own accord, most probably very soon after bankrupting QPR and Tony Fernandes. I think even the Southampton board might consider it a bit unfair to sack Ronald Koeman after selling all his players but you never know.  Similarly you’d like to think Nigel Pearson and Sean Dyche would be shown a degree of gratitude after getting Leicester and Burnley into the Premier League but gratitude is not the quality that chairmen tend to bring to the table these days. Gus Poyet actually seems pretty safe by comparison, as does Tony Penis.  I’d say the same for Steve Bruce but you can’t say that about a bloke who has managed 1000 clubs.  And don’t think Pochettino is safe. Not with Spurs’ track record he ain’t!

There is one other bet I like. Given West Brom’s modus operandus I’m tempted to back Alan Irvine at 10-1. I’ve nothing against the man, but seeing as I expect West Brom to be relegation candidates it’s hardly a long shot that the board brick themselves (again) and push the ejector seat button (again). So, “Which Premier League manager will “win” the sack race in 2014/15?” 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.

PS – I’m omitting the managers I consider “safe”: Arsene Wenger, Louis van Gaal, Tony Pulis, Brendan Rodgers, Roberto Martinez, Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho (insofar as a palpably insane candidate can be considered “safe”)

Congratulations to @BenBulben40 for winning last week’s poll.

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Friday’s Caption Competition

It’s jolly old caption competition time.  But before we do that, the password for the Freddie Mays Bounty tournament at 9pm tonight is:


Well Sharknado delivered everything it promised to last week and much, much more more. Oscars surely abound for the film of the decade.  But will Nick Clegg be able to do the same?

I don’t mean “will Nick Clegg save New York from sharks falling out of the sky?” Of course he won’t – he’s an absolute nebbish. No, I’m referring to his decision to become a heroin addict in a final effort to get a few people to vote for him. No! I’m not saying that either, that’s not true.  In fact what the most ineffectual man in Britain is doing is promising that drug users will not go to jail under the Liberal Democrats and that he will abolish jail sentences for people who only use drugs as opposed to supplying them.

And we all know how he’s keeps his promises, as any fee paying student can attest. The likelihood of this actually happening means him keeping to his word needs to be combined in a double with the 40 trillion to 1 chance they get elected in the first place. So if you’re reading this from your cell in HMP Wakefield whilst doing a stretch for ingesting a wee bit of skag, then don’t celebrate too soon. You’re probably dreaming you’ve got wifi in your cell. Lay off the drugs, man.

Here’s a really hastily cobbled together picture of Nick Clegg appearing to be a junkie. What could he be saying here? And like a tree falling in a forest, when Nick Clegg talks, does anyone even give a shit?  Submit your caption on Facebook for your chance to win a token to my bounty tourney next week.

Nick Clegg


Congratulations to Billy Dalton for winning last week’s competition with “Redbull gives you WINGSSSSSSSSSSSS” (billyboy178)

Sharknado - 2013

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Hand of The Week – Week 131

I’ve got a rag bag of miscellaneous hands for you this week. I played these last and seeing the low quality of the action amused me I thought it might have the same effect on you too. While being a long way from being “the worst play I’ve ever seen” category, you do have to wonder what the owners of these particular hands were thinking when they made these plays. Here’s the river action on the first hand, where I tripled up with the nuts. (Why can’t poker always be this simple?) KQ call how bad - 07-08-2014 15-18-21 The player with Q-10s bets every street, including the all in on the river and he finds himself getting called in two spots. He’s unlucky because I’ve got A-5s for the nuts. I thought about raising on the turn because we all  know how the board always pairs up when you’re holding a nut flush and you lose to a full house? But then I thought “there’s a guy calling behind me and I might lose both of them if I raise“. So I took the chance the board didn’t pair.  Happy days. But I’d like to draw your attention to the player with K-Qo. How bad is that call? Bear in mind he was last to act on every street so he saw all the aggression in front of him. In poker people talk about different levels of thinking. It goes something like this: First level thinking – what do I think he’s got? Second level thinking – what does he think I’ve got? Third level thinking – what do I think he thinks I’ve got? And so on. If you get to 4th level thinking your brain could very well explode. Most people think on level one or level two at best. But you won’t be surprised to learn that none of these depths of thought were going on here. This hand is an example of what is known as “0th level thinking” or “zero level thinking”. All the player is interested in is the strength of his own hand. “I have top pair and second best kicker and that is a strong hand” (even then it’s not worthy of calling a double all in though) If he thought on “level one” for a moment and asked himself what either of us could be holding, in view of the fact that there are a) three spades on board b) the player’s three bets have all been called c) two players are all in ahead of him, then he would realise: “I cannot possibly be winning here. At best I might be beating one of them but there is no way I can beat them both.” I thought maybe he had a set which he just couldn’t lay down. I was amazed to see his paltry one pair. For our second hand we had a very optimistic raise all in. (All these took place in six man double or nothing “sit n gos” by the way.) The action preflop was pretty strange as well as the all in. The player with KK just limped, the button called with 9-7o and the small blind didn’t raise with QQ, just calling the extra half a bet instead. Weird stuff indeed. When QQ led out KK just called, keeping up his slow play and the 9-7o steamed all in with his mighty top pair. Top pair with a seven kicker is rarely any good on a flop with three players in the hunt. You’ve got to admire his optimism I suppose. Also, imagine QQ’s surprise to see his slow play had been out slow played? :) 9-7 ALL IN - 07-08-2014 15-45-34 The last one was an absolute shocker. Just to remind you these hands are from Double or nothing sit and gos. Here we were on the bubble so when the next man was out the prizes would be hit. We  had a giant stack of 5420 and a titchy one of 615. Moreover the giant stack was the big blind and had already put in 300 chips into the pot. So when the titchy stack put in his remaining 615 and it was 315 to call for the big stack, my eyes widened with shock when he FOLDED! TERRIBLE FOLD 07-08-2014 16-07-36 From a purists point of view then if anything this is worse than the previous two hands. Although he incurs no damage by folding it’s still a colossal blunder. How can you not call there for 315 and try to win the game there and then?  It doesn’t matter if you are only 40% likely to win the hand, or 30% or even 10% – it’s just such an obvious call. “I had 8-3o” he said when I complained about it being a call with any two cards.

Zero level thinking at work again. All he was looking at was the strength of his own hand. If he thought what his opponent was holding for a second and even if he concluded his opponent had a monster in the top 20% range of hands, it was still a call with 8-3 offsuit.

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Poll of The Week

As a new Premier League season approaches thoughts inevitably turn towards predictions and more to the point, all those lovely BETS to be had!

Everyone in the whole world knows who the Top 7 will be (possibly with the exception of the odd deluded Newcastle fan.)  Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd, Everton, Spurs would be my preferred order but I’ll surely get shouted down for having Man Utd in 5th there. About 90% of people are seriously overestimating Man Utd’s chance I reckon.  They’ve 20 points to find with Liverpool, who are admittedly without Suarez, but swapping Patrice Evra for Luke Shaw and Fellaini/Cleverley for Ander Herrera ain’t gonna cut it! Especially when RvP gets injured or if/when van Gaal falls out with Rooney (please happen!).

It’s infinitely more interesting down the other end. No-one seems to know who the relegated teams will be. Last season there were eleven teams in the shout at the half way point and it should be more of the same this year.

Promoted sides Burnley, QPR and Leicester head the market as expected but they’ve got plenty of competition this year. Southampton, West Ham, Sunderland, Swansea and Hull range from 11-2 to 7-2 to go down. (Burnley are the only odds on shot to get relegated at 4/7.)

Then there’s Aston Villa, who have made some ropey old signings, Crystal Palace and West Brom.  Crystal Palace are shorter than Leicester to go down in places (and were even shorter than QPR a month ago). Don’t make me laugh! Have these odds compilers never heard of Tony Penis? His teams don’t get relegated full stop. Never ever ever!

I’ve been backing Swansea to get relegated for a while now from 11/2 downwards. They’ve got an inexperienced manager in charge who seems a decent bloke but he did underachieve once he got the job and now he’s losing all his best players, namely Michu and Ben Davies. Their very best (and perhaps their saviour last season) will surely be next to go. Wilfried Bony’s suggested exit will be the last piece of the jigsaw, if by “last piece of the jigsaw” you can imagine a jigsaw that was already completed before an annoying person appeared and removed the most crucial pieces one by one.

I can’t very well ask which three teams will go down because there’s a zillion permutations so this week’s question is “Who will come LAST in the 2014-15 Premier League?” 

Burnley are favs for this and have the least resources but they finished a long way ahead of QPR last year and surely one team out of all the others will collectively have a nightmare.  Tell you who I think that team is and a good shout at 10-1 for this market – West Brom. West Brom were the 18th team last year and as such the worst team not to get relegated. They faded badly, have appointed a low key manager (Tim Sherwood would have been funny but alas it wasn’t to be) and Joleon Lescott is their only big signing. Their twitchy Board’s pants collectively turn brown at the first sign of trouble and then they change the manager, which they think helps but actually doesn’t.  10-1 is big :).

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.

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

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Friday’s Caption Competition

It’s caption competition time again.  But before that, the password for the Freddie Mays Bounty tournament at 9pm tonight is:


As well as playing the Bounty I’ve also got a little appointment with some sharks at 9pm.  Yesterday I heard the best news in the world EVER. Sharknado 2 is on the Syfy channel at 9pm tonight! Now you can’t beat that for excitement.  I’m going to have to do some serious multi tasking tonight.

If you didn’t catch Sharknado 1 the plot is simple. A load of sharks get whipped up in a huge tornado (hence the snappy title “Sharknado”) and they fall to ground in Hollywood unleashing mayhem and chaos. This time, in Sharknado 2 they get to terrorise New York. Don’t worry that sharks can’t breathe out of water or that they can still attack people on dry land – these are trifling little details and not worth worrying about.

I’m so excited :) . This is going to be the film of the year, if not the decade. Part 2 of this epic promises to pose deep questions into the very meaning of life itself and its richly interesting plot will shine a light on that multi million year old issue – the battle between man and flying shark. Just look at these reviews:

“Raises the Bar” - Time Magazine
“Psychologically traumatising, I don’t know how I survived the full 38 minutes” –  Daily Mail
“Richly deep and interesting, taxing at times but worth the effort” – Daily Mail (again)
“F**KING GREAT” – The Sun
“Watch this film and you HAVE WON AT LIFE” – Barry Norman
“Anthony Ferrante has smeared faeces onto celluloid and sold it to the Syfy channel” – Jonathan Ross.

Roll on 9pm that’s what I reckon. Here’s a picture of a shark about to land on this vulnerable young woman – and remember this hasn’t been photo shopped – this is all 100% REAL. Look out love!! What could she be thinking here? Submit your caption on Facebook for your chance to win a token to my bounty tourney next week.

Sharknado - 2013

Congratulations to Michael Larkin for winning last week’s competition with: no wonder Tom Dwan is good at poker he’s used to sucking out things” (mickalarkin)

Dwan lookalikes

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Poll of The Week

Romelu Lukaku lacked the motivation to fight for his place at Chelsea apparently.

That’s according to Jose Mourinho, aka the “Special One” who I am starting to think acquires his nickname on account of all the Special Brew he must be drinking.

Yeah jose, I’m sure Lukaku was terrified about having Torres or Drogba take his place and decided “you know what I can’t get motivated, I’m just so not up for this I want to leave”.  That’s clearly the unambigous truth of the situation.  Oh how I laugh at you Jose. He’s the best 21 year old striker in Europe by a mile and granted, Diego Costa is a phenomenal player but young Romelu is hardly going to be hard up for a place with all the garbage Chelsea have got up front. You’ve got to laugh.

Before they blew it Chelsea were 4/6 to win the league at one point last year. Had Mourino not offloaded Lukaku to Everton  they would have won the league, almost certainly. If he’d picked Mata and Lukaku consistently , then they would have won with absolutely certainty.

I could be accused of talking through my wallet here. I backed Chelsea to win fortunes last season and Mourinho single handedly blew it by loaning out Lukaku and alienating Juan Mata (before Abramovic insisted Mata be sold – Mourino would have happily let him rot in a World cup year). I also had 33/1 on Chelsea winning in 2013/4 AND 2014/5 – a huge rick from William Hill. So you just know that they’ll win it this year to rub salt into my wounds. But who knows? Should Costa get injured Chelsea could be playing Drogba and Torres up front and the pair of them basically aren’t even fit to play in Stoke’s team.

I don’t know what goes through Mourinho’s head but I do know that he is stark raving bonkers. This kind of thing just proves it.  (Read Diego Torres’ new book “The Special One” for a close of up Mourinho’s insanity from the point of view of the Real Madrid dressing room. It’s a brilliant read.)

This week’s question: Which of the following is the worst piece of transfer business? 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.

Congratulations to @djdoc2001 for winning last week’s poll.

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Patrick Clarke – Irish Open 2014 Final Table

Final table time…

Finally made it but the job wasn’t done yet, not by a long shot. I went into the final table pretty confident actually, I had played with most of the players throughout the tournament and had a good feel I thought for what they were doing, and I had my own game plan as well.  I started off the final table in 3rd place but there was so little between 1st and 6th places. It was actually pretty unusual because normally there would be 1 or 2 guys with a significant chip lead but that wasn’t the case here, so it started off like a sit n go in a way.

I decided I was going to play pretty snug starting off and pick my spots to chip up and hopefully get some hands as well. The 1st hand I really played at the final table was I defended my bb from a min raise from Thomas O’Shea who seemed to be the most active player at the table. Maybe he was just picking up hands, I’m not sure.  Anyway I defended with 55, flop comes Q73 rainbow. I check, he checks back, turn pairs the board 3 and I check again, and now he bets 100k. I call and the river comes a K which I didn’t love but wasn’t just gonna give him credit for it either. I check he bets 200k so am thinking he’s either slow played a monster from the flop maybe hit the K or he’s bluffing. He just didn’t seem comfortable at all. I think a few hands before that he won a pot and was all chatty on the river when the other guy was tanking, and he showed a card at the end of the hand. I was pretty sure he had it that hand, and now in this hand I was tanking for quite a bit and he didn’t budge so I eventually made the call and was right, it was an important pot at the time as it gave me a nice boost as well.

The next big hand I played was QQ utg, I open for a min raise, and Antone Smitts shoves all in for around 700k, I call and the QQ holds v his 1010, and that gave me a nice chip lead then.. We were down to the official final table now of 8 and I was a chip leader and growing in confidence.

We went on a short break and then were straight back into the action, this time there was hole card cam so the players could find out what you had 15 mins after a hand.  I don’t think it really affected my play at all, I just played as I normally would. I was pretty active when we came back after the break, raising a lot in position and trying to use my chip lead to my advantage.  I wasn’t just gonna shut down and try ladder up a few places, I was going for the win,

I played an interesting pot with Barry Donovan were I had AJ and I was raising a lot at this stage so I felt someone was gonna play back soon enough, so I opened for little over min raise 130k and he 3bets me very small to 255k. I didn’t wanna just give up on the hand yet so I decided to 4 bet him to 620k and he kind of snap called it, which had me kind of suspicious straight away, and I decided in my head I was gonna give up on the hand.  I checked the flop of Q92 and he shoved.  I found out later he had AA!! Dodged a bullet there, 2 bullets even.

Next man out was John Lundy who I was told to be careful of, that if he got chips he would be hard to stop, he got kind of coolered when his AK ran into my AA

Then after that came maybe the hand of the tournament, Donovan raised utg with and it folded round to me in the bb and I just called with 1010, I had about 2.6m and he had around 2.2m we were the 2 chip leaders.. Flop came J 10 9 all clubs, I checked raised Barry on the flop and he went all in. I call and he turns over KK with the K of clubs for a mountain of outs and the ultimate sweat, any Q club or K, 15 outs he had. It bricks out thankfully for me and I move into a bigger chip lead.

Another sole survivor was out next Micheal Gilligan, he was getting short stacked and shoved from the hijack and I called with A8 from the button, he had Q10cc. I flopped an ace and he flopped a flush draw but never improved. Shortly after that Olly Lynch was out in 5th when his AK got outdrawn by O’Shea’s J10 all in pre flop.

O’Shea was next to hit the rail in 4th, he made a large open utg and I shoved on him with A10 he called it off with Q9cc, Ace high held and we were down to 3.

It felt like we were 3 handed for quite a bit before the next exit, and there was quite a few different dynamics building between us all. Anyway, the hand began with Liam raising from the button to 250,000, I then made it 725,000 from the small blind, Pollock folded and Liam then pushed all in. I called and he had 44 and I was in a good spot with 88, no improvement for Liam and I was heads up for the title and also the sole survivor.

We took a short break and then got back into it, I had 8.5 mill starting heads up and Pollock had 2.5mil, after about 10 or 15 hands he had clawed his way back to the point that we were almost even.  I had barely made a hand the whole heads up when the final hand happened, he limped from the button and I checked my option wit K8, flop came down K72. As soon as I seen it I thought this was gonna be a big pot, I checked and he bet, I raised him there and then, and I got the reaction I was looking for, he went all in. I called and I was he a commanding position to take the title. He had Q7 and the board bricked out and I was the champion. It was one of the best feelings I ever had in my life, a dream come true. Even now when I see the trophy sitting in my sitting room I still can’t believe it.

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