Could you tell us about yourself please?
I am 22, single, and have just started a new job as a Team Support Officer for the Welsh Assembly. I just finished a 3 year course in Cardiff (Science in Health, Exercise and Sport).What is your previous poker experience? Do you play live a lot and if so where?
I do try and split my tourneys 50/50 between live and online but I consider myself a much better live tournament player. I play live almost exclusively at Cardiff Grosvenor Casino although I don't play there as much as I used to when I was based at the University at Cardiff. Online I mainly play on BlondePoker or BlueSquare but I also like to dabble on Mansion and the Crypto network.Do you have any previous poker successes?
I have had a couple of nice final table finishes at the local Grosvenor for around Â£1,000 but I would say my main success is in cash online, I consider myself to be a small stakes grinder but have seen some very nice weekly returns at times.How did you hear about APAT? You've played in two events previously haven't you? How did they go?
I have played in 3 previous APAT events, the English, UK and Welsh Championships. In the English and Welsh I'd say I played fairly well but never made the final table, but the United Kingdom event was my best result where I was up with the chip leaders from around 6pm on day 1 but on the last level of day 1, I went for a massive gamble with AK suited versus QQ and didn't hit, so sacrificed a walk in to the money for a chance to win it. It was not meant to be. What were your impressions of the G Casino Luton?
Absolutely brilliant, I can't say anything more about them, so organised, ALL of the dealers entered into the spirit and were just very professional, one of them even shook my hand and congratulated me on the way out at the end of the night which was a very nice touch and summed up the type of staff at the casino. The Tournament Director was also very professional and the Cardroom Manager was superb as well. Can you tell us your thoughts about the event?
First off, the event organisers must just be praised on actually starting on time and as many experienced players will know this alone is a rarity in the tournament poker world.
The event is unrivalled in the nice and professional manner in which players carry themselves and it was just great fun to play in.
As for the Organisation, I like to think I have praised and supported it right from the off and was there for the very first tournament of Season One and have looked forward to each one since then. What the Organisation has already given to the amateur poker player is unique and unbelievable and I can't praise the efforts of Richard, Des and Tony enough!
Also for the low buy in, you won't find many deep stack tournaments that offer the value and clock that APAT do for their series.Talk us through Day 1. You got to above average chips, what were the key situations that enabled you to achieve this?
I'd say I struggled a lot for most of day 1, getting as low as 3,500 at one point but due to the structure and being patient - I resisted the temptation to play borderline hands to the point of risking all my chips - I managed to get back up to around starting stack by about 7pm with a turned flush.
I was then moved off a tough table where people were chucking their chips around to a more experienced table and just hit a run of around 3 hands in a very short time, getting nice value on each. Then towards the end of the day I'd say I was around average chips but then came the bubble when we were about 2 knockouts away from the end where I made a few squeeze plays to take down the pots pre-flop knowing they wouldn't want to be risking their tournament life after lasting all day taking me to around 14,000, above average.What were you realistically hoping for when you came back at the start of the second day?
I worked out I would be coming back being 12th in chips and that I should quite happily make the money at least then just basically played to keep level with the average chip count once we had got down to 30, realistically I was hoping to place in the 10th to 20th money level.Looking on, you were playing steadily but the blinds had got big relative to stacks, you were in trouble with 15 or so players left. So talk us through the 10 4 suited hand! George Bedi pushed UTG, the chip leader re-raised and then what?
Basically I was down to 60K while the blinds were 10K/20k and had been looking and waiting patiently for something at least that resembled a decent hand to push in with but it was not meant to be, I kept getting hands like 23o,83o,75o and was just watching my chips dwindle. I had paid the 20K for my BB (so had 40 back) and George immediately pushes UTG all in, and gets called by Jon and I look down and see 10 4 of spades (the best hand I'd seen in a long time) and with the possible chance of being up against 2 big aces and not a pair I push in hoping to triple up. As it turns out George pushed with A10 and I only have 3 live cards. The flop brought nothing but the miracle 4 came on the turn and a blank river meant I tripled up and honestly I think everything fell into place after that!Once you made the final you were medium stacked. Again, what were your aims at this point? Looking around your competitors what were you thinking?
I was very comfortable being medium stacked here as my seating position was very good. I had Jon (the monster chip stack) 2 to my left which gave me a great opportunity to steal his blinds on the button as I noticed fairly soon he had tightened up hoping to walk into the final 3 and was happy with the stacks immediately to both my sides as neither were chipped up so couldn't risk pulling too many moves.Now then on the final table you turned into a crazed Loose Aggressive Maniac! Go on, the push with 7 2 suitedâ€¦I need the low down on that move!
Well the LAG style is in truth the complete opposite to how I had played the rest of the tournament but noticed no-one was trying to captain the table and take control. On the button it was simply a button steal knowing that Mike needed a big hand to call to risk most of his chips and Jon again was only playing premium at this point. As soon as Jon called I thought â€œthat's it, game overâ€ and chucked my cards down, seeing his 10 10 but I saw the first 7 come on the flop and thought at least I have outs, then the second 7 came as the third flop card and to say the least I was amazed. My mate was celebrating but I knew there were still two cards to come and didn't breathe out until the river had been dealt!To me, you were clearly in â€œdeath or gloryâ€ modeâ€¦It was all about the win wasn't it?
Absolutely, I felt I had thrown my chance away of winning an APAT tournament in Newcastle at the UK event, and was willing to risk everything to clinch this one, as it meant more due to being the biggest APAT field to date and anything less than a win would have felt like a failure on my part!I loved your play with J 10 suited against Allan Peers, raising the turn with flush and straight draws. Talk me through that handâ€¦
Well the hand just fell into place. I tried to talk to him a lot throughout the hand to put him off, trying to bluff and give me a chance to hit. He limped in from the SB and I looked down at J 10hearts but didn't bet as I felt he was trying to trap with an ace (bad read) and hoping to limp-raise so I checked. The flop comes down pretty blank and basically I'm looking to at least see the turn to perhaps take the pot away if it comes low so we both check the flop. The turn brings me an up and down straight draw and flush draw so now I start saying I am reraising if you bet - thinking I'm miles in front. He did bet and I re-raised as promised hoping to take it down but he called. Now I know he is slow playing and I need to hit, and the river brings me the stone old nuts. As he said in his interview he knew I was going to bet whatever the river came so he checked and I fired in around a pot sized bet (I think) to which he re-raised all in and I insta-called.
Allan was so unlucky as he hit the nuts on the turn with the lower straight and the lower heart flush draw as back up also, but it played out perfectly for me. That was my favourite hand of the tournament. Heads up was a long intense battle. How did you find it? Did you have to adapt your strategy?
Yes, very much so. I went into heads up being the table aggressor until that point where HU, Scott decided to become aggressive and to me, he was looking to play big pot poker which I didn't need to do.
I felt I could play this out and grind out the win but I did get slightly sucked into some very big pots early on which almost levelled us out in chips so I decided to start tightening up and look for some hands but found I was not hitting flops at all with big hands, so when I found a hand I decided to reraise and get the chips in. When the chips went to Scott on that A2 versus 99 hand, I felt I could still get the win and didn't panic too much and just continued to grind, doubling up with 88 against 22 and I had started to hit flops at that point as well. The time seemed to fly by but in went the chips on the 99 versus A8 and that was the end, phew!Finally you held on for the win. What are your thoughts now a few days on?
I still cannot believe it, but I had jokingly said before the tournament that it was fate I would win and after the 7 2 and 10 4 hand, it seemed to be coming true!And playing in the Â£3,000 GUKPT Grand Finalâ€¦presumably that will be a fresh experience for you?
Absolutely, easily the biggest buy-in tournament I will have played and I'm so looking forward to it. I have been dying to qualify for the GUKPT's since they started and the Final in November can't come quickly enough. Congratulations again, that was quite a weekend for all of us!Gareth was interviewed by APAT Media Director, Richard Prew.