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Hi all,Had the pleasure of spending most of this weekend at the Empire Casino in London watching the WSOP Europe, £1000 NLHE event. Basically the baby brother to the 10k main event - which is in a couple of weeks. Most of the pros who'll play the main event turned out for this event aswell, which was awesome. However the main reason I was there was to watch and support my friend Said, who qualified for this event via satellite a few weeks ago.Within 30 seconds of stepping into the casino at around 2pm, I clocked Antonio Esfandiari at the tables, wearing bright luminous orange as usual. His stack was nothing special and he was nowhere to be found an hour or so later...busted! As I arrived at table 1, where my friend was playing, I noticed a large portly man with a crutch and a cowboy hat standing accross the room...clearly none other than one of my idols Doyle Brunson himself! He was chatting to another player, long dark hair, moustache and also in a cowboy hat, Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson. Doyle was obviously not playing (or already bust) but Chris Ferguson was, and in fact he came and sat down on table 2, right next to John Juanda. It was like a who's who of tournament and high stakes pros, freaking awesome. But no Daniel Negreanu! Whatsup with that DN? :ts. Chat around the casino also indicated that Phil Helmuth went bust on the Friday, so no high profile temper tantrums for me to witness ;)My friend Said had doubled up early with a straight, but was tempering his usual LAG style by playing a cautious Kill-Phil poker, shoving whenever he thought he had the best hand pre or post, but folding anything else. Noteable hands included:-AIPF with AA vs JJ - doubled up-Lost a large chunk of chips calling a river value bet with the short end of a straight vs the nut straight-AI on the flop wih KK vs J9 2pair (yes the villain had called a preflop raise to defend his big blind with J9o). Said hits a king on the turn to double.So at about 10.30pm Said is sitting fairly comfortably, just above the tourney average in chips. Players had come and gone as the tables broke up throughout the day, but we were soon in for a shock. A guy in a large black hoody and sweat pants quietly slips into the seat opposite Said, and it takes us all a few seconds to realise its Phil Ivey! Said's face says it all, as do the faces of most of the other amateurs at the table. No sooner has Ivey sat down than those eyes are all over the table, sizing people up and taking in everything. I settle in for an hour or so of watching the great man himself. Ivey's first played hand is nothing special though, mucking a bluff to his opponent's ace-high. Hmm.About half an hour later, Ivey and another player both limp. The board comes J-7-6 Villain checks and Ivey bets strong, Villain calls. The turn is an Ace and Villain donkbets into Ivey who stares at him for what seemed like 5 minutes, before quietly saying "all in". Villain insta-calls and shows A6 for 2pair, against Iveys A8, and that's it! Ivey picks up his hoody, says "nice call" or somthing like that, and strolls away, busted! Villain can't hide his glee and is beaming for the next ten minutes. By the way, any thoughts on this hand!? Looks ot me like Ivey thought Villain had paired the Jack or the ten, and figured his ace was good. Expect A6 was the last hand he would've put the V on.Anyway my buddy made it through day 1 staying around the chip average. On day 2, I arrive after he's already made it into the money (top 65 places) and I can't help but think how much I would love to be in his position right now - playing poker for the rest of the day knowing you already made over £2000 for the weekend :club: . He goes on a run of pre-flop All-ins to take 4 rounds of blinds & antes in a row, showing AKs on the last one to gain some respect from the table. Using this respect, he builds up his stack further and then doubles with a great read, JJ vs 99 AIPF. He now has 80k chips, average is 40k. He represents a flush (I dont know yet whether he had it) to push a guy off a hand and rake in another 20k. Unfortunately I then had to leave, but I followed the action on betfair's website fo the rest of the night. By then he is in the top 15 and the game has turned into 2-card ship-it poker, which is what I hate about tournaments. He doubles again with AQs vs AKs when the queen hits the turn. So close to the final table, he finally busts out to the chip leader (a frenchman - Fabien something) with AQ vs 77, the sevens hold. Said finishes in 13th place, for a payout of just under £7000!!It was a great weekend, great to see some pros in the flesh and great to see my friend playing some solid positional poker and cashing deep, earning himself 6 months salary in one weekend (he is a barman/waiter so this is literally true!). My only sour note is simply that watching the game, at all stages really but especially deep in the bubble, just confirmed to me why I don't really like tournament poker. The push/fold ship-it mentality means there are coin tosses for stacks every 2 minutes, and all you're really doing is trying to get a read to catch someone in a blind-stealing bluff, or waiting for AQ+ or a decent PP. In the last hour I think I saw 2, maybe 3 flops . Anyway, congrats to Said and despite my reservation about tourney poker, I do rekon I'll try to qualify next year just for the buzz of playing a live tourney with some pros.Thanks for reading.

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