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"The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket." 

As some of you may know Zeal TV were round at my gaff recently to shoot an episode of 'Barny's Home Games' for The Poker Channel  - a six handed game with The Boat himself! Assuming they can edit out all the bitch-slapping and profanities (that won't leave much for the viewers, but still...) it should be hitting your screens in the next few weeks, so keep 'em peeled. For those of you who just can't be arsed to wait that long (or like me, just don't have/can't afford Sky) what follows is a brief spoiler. Actually it's quite a long spoiler. Anyhoo. * STOP PRESS * We've gone to air! For those of you who missed it I will shortly have a copy on VHS and DVD - anyone wishing to rent it for 3 nights drop me a line...

   Barny Boatman - top bloke

I'm afraid it's mostly MY hands or the few other ones I remember with any clarity - my fellow players have memories like bloody goldfish and haven't been forthcoming with any juicy titbits. Maybe they just don't want to let on about all the junk hands they were playing (I'll find out soon enough!).  In any event, apologies for any omissions, inaccuracies or out-and-out lies - that vicious cocktail of lack of sleep/too much work/poor eye-hand co-ordination strikes again.  

Brad was in Vegas and it was too short notice for our secret weapon (Dale!) to make the flight from Scotland, and as the producers had told us we were only allowed four runners on the day we planned to field just Vincent, Matt, Nick and Woody. I (being the weakest link, obviously) was going to do exciting stuff like making the tea, re-indexing my CD collection and playing sad-arsed First Person Shooters on my PC, but the producers had a last minute change of heart and I got miked up and drafted in at the death to make it a six-handed table.

We elected to play a £20 buy-in freezeout for T2000 (15 minute rounds with blinds starting at 25/50) and paying just the first two. This of course meant that in order to 'bubble' I had to aim for 3rd rather than my usual 4th place. Other than this minor adjustment our game plan for the tourney was simple:

  • One of us was going to give Barny the old '7-2off treatment'
  • Woody was going to knock Barny out and/or take all his money, and
  • We were all going to enjoy ourselves and try and forget the cameras  

Barny did 'a Hellmuth' and arrived late (shocking behaviour, shouldn't be allowed) so filming kicked off a little later than planned. We get our 'briefing' from the Director - make interesting chit-chat with Barny, don't swear, don't show any brand-name items and don't look directly into the camera like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming 4x4. C'mon, we're old hands at this, let's move on!

L to R: Vincent, Matt, Barny Boatman, Nick, Woody and erm, Bubble-boy

After a few somewhat staged early exchanges (what game we're going to play, buyins, payouts et cetera) we get underway at just after midday. Blinds are at 25/50 and two limpers round to Woody who makes it 200 to go from the SB. We lose Nick and Vincent and Barny calls to see a flop of As, Qh, 6c. It goes check-check and the Turn is a 10c. Woody checks again and Barny bets 275. Woody agonises for a few seconds and eventually folds, saying "too many overcards", and shows his pocket nines, so Barny takes great delight in showing him his rags - first bluff of the day! 

Second hand in, I'm in the Big Blind and peer down at my hole cards and Get The Camera what-do-we-have-here? You guessed it - 7c, 2d - THE BEER HAND! So soon? Clearly some sort of sign from the Man upstairs! Vincent and Barny both limp, Nick completes from the SB and I decide to just check (I didn't particularly want to stand a re-raise if someone had thought I was on a steal, and who knows what the magical flop will bring?). All extremeties are crossed...

The - erm - 'magical' flop brought a 10s, a 4c and a Js - it completely missed me anyway. It gets checked to me by Nick and I bet the pot, 200. Vincent folds, Barney calls (Eep - I'm screwed!), and Nick folds. Just me and Barny, then. They come and shoot our hole cards.

Barny - "Are you the big blind?"

Me - "I am"

Barny - "I know exactly what you've got"

Me - "Really?"

Barny - "Yeah, you've got 10-4"

Me - "Hmmm. Interesting possibility I s'pose..."

I'm not one to argue with Barny, and I'm assuming from his telling me this that he's inferring that he's drawing to the flush, and indeed the Turn brings the third spade, the Qs, a potential straight flush. I lead out for 400, and Matt makes a comment that no doubt helps me:

"Is this where we tell Barny that you're the tight player at the table?"

He cracks me up. Barny, after a little pause and commenting something along the lines of "Well, you didn't seem too concerned about the flush out there - if you haven't made your hand it's a very brave bet. I congratulate you." he folds. Hoo hoo! I show my 7c, 2d (the table erupts!) and I don't particularly mind if I go out first now - my work here is done!

Woody - "Now you know why we're called seven-two!"

Barny - "It'll never make the edit!!!"

(Barny later confided I actually had him beat anyway - he had the powerhouse that is 6-3off)

Barny nicks several of the next few pots and has a habit of showing us just one (unrelated) card as if to say he's bluffing us all the time - is he setting us up for later? It's not long before we find out, as  a big hand develops between Woody and Barny. Blinds are at 50/100. Barney limps from the Button and Woody bumps it up to 300 from the SB. We lose Nick, and Barny (with position) calls the extra 200. The flop comes 8s, 10d, 5h. Woody leads out for another 300 and Barny quickly calls, and then something strange happens. As Barny's dealing the Turn (the 7s) he freezes for a few seconds and is silently looking at the board.

Barny (staring at the board) - "Hang on a minute..."

Woody (staring at Barny) - "What's up?"

Barny (still staring at the board) - "I thought I had a different hand to what I had...but I've called it's too late"

Woody (laughing nervously) - "Why do I get the feeling that I'm about to get absolutely annihilated?"

The board now reads 8s, 10d, 5h, 7s, and Woody checks.

Barny (stacking his chips) - "Well after all that speech I suppose I'm going to have to go allin. All In!"

Much deliberation from Woody as he runs through the progress of the hand. Just as he's saying "Now let's limped in, I raised...?" Barny interjects "Yeah like you can put me on a hand!". We all crack up of course. I don't know if this was what prompted him to decide to look him up or Matt egging him on from the sidelines ("Go on, Woody, do it!") but Woody (albeit with a pained expression) calls - with pocket Jacks - and Barny flips over 10-9 offsuit - 10s, 9h - for top pair and an open-ended straight draw.

Barny - "I fancy you had Jacks. That's very bad news for me."

Woody - "You've got plenty of outs..."

Barny - "Not really..." (burning and turning the River, the 9d, which gives him top two pair!) "...but that's one of 'em!"

We're about to push the chips to Barny when someone spots that in fact the 9 makes Woody a Jack-high straight, and Barny is in fact out!

Now we have a problem, because if we don't give Barny a re-buy they're just going to be filming US all afternoon (not that wouldn't make for GREAT TV of course, but still), so we decide to give everyone ONE rebuy (and Woody a second bite at the cherry o'course!), which Barny agrees is fair do's and we're off again.

Funnily enough on the very next hand this heppens. Blinds are 50/100, I'm in the BB and it's folded round to Barny, who checks his down cards.

Barny - "I've got my lucky hand" and makes it 300 to go

Woody - "I haven't got my lucky hand, which is henceforth a pair of Jacks!"

He folds, Nick (SB) folds and I (with crapola, and really quite unmemorable crapola at that) also fold.

Me - "Your lucky hand can have that one" Barny flips 'em over...

Barny (to Woody) - "YOU should know what my lucky hand is!"

The 10s and the 9d - 10-9 offsuit again! Fair play to him :o)

The next couple of rounds (50/100, 75/150) I can't catch. I limp with pocket sixes, miss the flop and check-fold to overs. Limp again with 9-10s, miss again. This syphons off about T700 of my chips. I find Kh, Qh and make a 3xBB raise from EP, which was admittedly somewhat jiggy. Matt flat calls, and Vincent comes back over the top of me. I maybe shouldn't say it here, but a re-raise from Vincent usually gets my respect, so I confess to having been 'at-it' and lay it down, but Matt calls. The flop is raggedy, with 2 hearts (hmmm, I should have perhaps paid to see that flop!), Matt checks, Vincent bets, and Matt (after some deliberation) folds, showing K-Q - snap! Vincent shows AA.

After this I go completely card dead. Now all I seem to find is crap like Q-7, J-3 (CBL!), 8-4 and other quality hands. Very frustrating, I fold, fold, fold, drop another 300 in blinds and and let the others duke it out.  And duke it out they DO - another big hand gets going 'tween The Boat and Woody...

Blinds are now 100/200. All fold to Barny in the SB, who completes. No raise from Woody. The flop comes 6c, Ks, 10c. Barny checks the flop and Woody leads out for 300. Barny pops him back for a total of 700. Woody shrugs and calls. The Turn brings another spade, the 8s. Barny checks and Woody checks right behind him. Meanwhile Barny is counting his remaining chips and stacking them up. The River brings yet another spade, the 2s.

Barny (in a whisper) - "All In" moving his chips forward quietly.

Woody leans back in his chair, crosses his arms and asks for a count. It's 1,050 more to him. He starts counting out the chips from his stack.

Matt - "Absolutely no respect!"

Woody - "No, I don't have any respect for anybody, as well you know, and I'm calling you"  

Barny - "Well that's got to be a good call - I've got a Queen high" and flips over his Jc, Qs (he was open-ended on the flop)

Woody (flipping over 10s, 7s) - "I've got a flush"

Oof. Backdoor flush! Woody knocks Barny out again! This time he's out for good, though, and generously offers to shuffle and deal. Now we're down to just five 7-2offers, just like on Friday nights. As Woody succinctly put it:

"It's all going to descend to the usual old mess now is it?" 

Play is now tighter than a mallard's fundament and conversation very thin on the ground. I think we're all a little conscious of the cameras and the fact that this probably won't be all that entertaining for the folks at home, but none of us particularly want to suffer the ignominy of being the first of our group to hit 'the rail'. Unfortunately one of us has to, and unfortunately for Riggsy it's him. Blinds are 100/200 and Woody makes it 600 to go from the Button. Nick re-raises AI to 1200 total and Woody quickly calls. Nick flips over Ah, 7h but Woody has Ac, Ks. The board brings some hope for Nick with 8h, 2c, 9c, and Jh on the Turn offering him a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw (15 clean outs), but the River is the 8d and Nick is on the rail. We're now down to four, with Vincent and Woody having the lion's share of the chips, Matt and me about even. 

Then a hand comes up where I got it aaall wrong ("well, quelle surprise!" I hear you chime). Bollocks to you, says I. Blinds are (I think) still 100/200 - I'm shortstacked in the SB with about T1000 left - Matt motions to bet out of turn and everyone points out that he's in the BB. He makes a comment about how he "was going to bet then" and for some reason (blame the psychic plimsolls, Innovations catalogue, Spring 2004)  I reason he might be 'at it'. It's folded round to me, I look down - finding 56s ("now there's a creative little hand!") - and say something along the lines of "Well you're going to bet anyway so I may as well go all-in" and move in for my last 900 or so chips. With the cards I have this looks like a ridiculous play, but my logic here was that if he was in fact angle-shooting he folds, and if not he still might lay down something cheesey like K-J or a mid PP because of my (usually - ahem) tight image. I think Woody maybe saw what I was up to, but maybe I'm just off in my own little world. Anyway, crap timing - he does of course have a hand and calls instantly with AKs. Oopsie. Now I have to show. Oh balls, I've just remembered I'm on TV. "I have just the hand to take that on" says I and flip over my cards, somewhat sheepishly. And then the dee-licious flop: first card off is a 5, second card off is a 6, and even though the Turn gives him a straight draw it doesn't come and I make an appallingly fishy double up - Matt makes his rebuy. As Matt put it so succinctly 'Bad man'.  

Still four-handed with blinds at 150/300 I find A8s (yeah, yeah...shaddap, it's a MONSTER I tells ya) and bump it up to 900, over a third of my stack. Matt folds. Vincent again comes back all-in over the the top of me - I again credit him with a hand but he has already seen me bet-fold once so I'm figuring to make a stand here, at least thinking my Ace might be good. Woody, after a bit of head-scratching, folds, I call, Vincent has QQ and I don't improve - re-buy! Woody, incidentally, made a very good laydown with 99 (again), which Barny congratulates him on.  

With blinds at 200/400 I make another rotation catching nothing, but the table is buzzing with conversation now. Vincent makes it 800 to go from UTG. All fold to Matt, who re-raises to 1600 from the BB. Vincent takes his time to have a good look at Matt and his chips amid the background chat.

Vincent - "How much have you got?"

Matt - "2175 extra"

Vincent - "I'm all-in"

Conversation stops.

Matt - "I call"

Vincent flips over Qc,Qh again (must check that deck) - Matt has Ah, Ks, so we've got ourselves another race. The flop is a nasty one for Matt, all clubs - 7c, 5c, 9c - which make him something like a 4:1 dog. The Turn is the Jh and the River is another brick - the 8d - Matt's now eliminated and we're down to the final three. We break while they change film and everyone grabs a drink. An abundance of sausage rolls are consumed. 

With blinds still at 200/400 I'm still the shorty with around 1600 in chips. In the BB with Tc, 7c. Vincent folds, Woody completes, I check (I should have perhaps moved AI, but for only around 1K more I didn't think I was going to push Woody off the hand, whatever he has). The flop is neither here nor there for me - 4s, Qd, 6c - but Woody checks it and I check right behind him. The Turn brings another club, the 3c, so now I have and inside straight draw and a four flush. Woody sets me All-In, which I decide to call. For some reason I actually thought at the time I was ahead even if he had a pair, but my math was screwed. Clearly I should have paid more attention during Mr Gent's class! In fact I'm only around 40% to win the hand, unless he has the Queen, in which case I'm about a 3:1 dog. Woody in fact has 2c, 6s for middle pair. Long story short the River is a blank, and I'm out on the bubble again! What the hey, at least I'm consistent... 

The final between Woody and Vincent was a good excercise in Heads Up play, with the perfect dramatic finish. Both were about even in chips, but out of the gates it was Vincent who was aggressively raising more or less every hand and Woody on the defensive doing the best he could to counter him despite being completely card dead. It seemed that whenever Woody came in for a raise (with junk, which was all he was getting), Vincent re-raised him (with - junk? Vincent???). We didn't get many flops, but those we did see Vincent was using his stack to take down. With Vince constantly raising pre-flop, Woody seemed to be just waiting for a hand to trap with, but would it come while he still had enough chips to do any damage?  

A couple of levels go by with chips moving backwards and forwards and neither player wanting to give up any ground. With blinds at (I think) 300/600 Matt says something along the lines of "C'mon, two monsters!" and it was like someone just flicked a switch - the very next hand Woody makes a small raise (to 1200) from the Button, and this happens:

Vincent - "How much do you have left?"

Woody - "3,500....4,300 more....5 and a 1/2 all in all..."

Vincent - "Everything? 5 and a 1/2 together?"

Woody - "Yep"

Vincent (moving forward chips) - "There ya go"

Woody (calling quicker than a very quick thing) - "OK, that was the wrong move to make...I hope!"

Vincent shows a pocket pair - fours - the 4d and the 4s. Woody flips over another pocket pair - Aces! The Ac and the Ah! Oops.

The Flop brings two clubs (Woody has the Ac) - 6d, 5c, 8c - and the Turn pairs the board - the 6c. Vincent can now win with any seven for the straight, Woody with any club for the flush, and of course Woody is still well in the lead with his Aces.

The River comes - and it's another club! Woody rivers the Nut Flush to double up and make a huge dent in Vincent's stack! 

But hang on a second, it's the four of clubs! Vincent has rivered a boat, fours full of sixes! It's over, Vincent wins!

Vincent - "That'll do!"

OK, Vincent picked up the wrong fours. You can stop emailing...

  • 1st Vincent  - £130
  • 2nd Woody - £70
  • 3rd Dave - Jack-shit (£50 bloody quid to the bad. Not that I'm bitter)
  • 4th Matt - Goose eggs, Nothin'. A handful of nothin'.
  • 5th Nick - Zip, Zilch, Zero, Nowt, Nada, Nil, Nought
  • 6th Barny - Cup of tea, Wooden spoon to stir it with

All in all it was a great game, and a very enjoyable day. Barny's a top bloke and about as down to earth as they come, although I do think with the amount of bluffing he does he should definitely adopt The Hammer as his openers of choice - I reckon it would serve him well. As he put it...

"All I can say is that seven-deuce off is the new Ace-King suited...

Quality. Any road up, Zeal are taking pity on my lack of a Sky subscription and will be sending me a DVD of the day's play, so if anyone wants a copy I'll burn one off (assuming I'm not infringing on anyone's civil liberties or intellectual property rights).

Just send money. Preferably cash. Lots of it. I still have £50 to find...

                         - "Behold the power of the Beer Hand!" -