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Poker In The Caribbean - Trip Report

by Ian Simpson |  Published: Feb 09, '13


The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure was a mixed bag for me. If you read my previous blog you’ll know that I and a number of other players had their wire transfers for the main event lost in limbo.

Apparently an intermediary bank put a halt on the transaction and even now I still have not been given an official reason for this. I suspect that after Black Friday the Department Of Justie are on the banks backs to watch for money laundering and halted the transactions thinking thats what was going on.

It meant I travelled to the Bahamas, at considerable cost – $4,000 for flights and accomodations not to mention expenses when I was over there, and couldn’t play the main event. I didn’t play any poker at all for the first 4 days since I was so stressed out about my $11,300 going missing and just couldn’t focus. I have now got the money back, after over 3 weeks of waiting and investigating by my bank, which I had to pay for as well.

Eventually though I did play some poker, and I have to say the atmosphere in the card room was the most positive and friendly I’ve seen since the Irish Open.

At EPT Barcelona, the table chatter was very minimalistic, and the game taken very seriously indeed. Snore! There’s no reason you can’t play good poker and still have a laugh at the table, and the PCA atmosphere offered the kind of poker I like. Good banter generated by friendly players and fantastic floor staff that had the perfect balance between professionalism and humour.

I played the $5,000 no-limit hold’em and felt myself being pushed around a bit. A few threebets went awry which affected my table image. The thing I’ve found at EPT’s is that for every player who can execute a well-timed fourbet, there’s players who will simply fourbet because it’s cool rather than because the situation dictates it to be correct. I shipped my J-J vs. one such bet and the guy called with A-Q to send me to the rail. I got my money in good so no complaints.

I busted in a number of other events, but despite that I was really happy with my performance since I was consistently getting my money in good. I was back in the zone having had a bit of a stinking run online. I’d recently had some minor success after plugging a specific leak in my game which really improved my confidence and I could feel how much better I was playing.

I won a $640 Ssit ‘n’ go for $3,000 which was all the sweeter by my snap call vs. a river all in with second pair to get me the win.

That’s when I got close. Oh so close. The trophy was literally sitting right in the middle of me and Affif Prado who I was heads up against in the final event of the festival for me, the $300 turbo.

Don’t give me wrong winning the SNG was sweet, but it’s nothing compared to a multi-tournament trophy. Now threehanded I split a pot with Gabriel Landoli when my A-10 was out kicked by the board vs. his A-5. Prado then eliminated Landoli and went into heads up with a considerable lead. I think he had about 2:1 on me. I’m on 13x the big blind and I get dealt A-Q and raise it. He had fourbet me off two pots already, so I was really really expecting, nay praying, for him to ship on me. He flat called and took a flop of 9-7-5. He checked to me and everything went blurry again.

I hate that blurry moment about half a millisecond before you make the wrong decision. He called my all in very fast and that horrible sinking feeling in my gut told me I was in dire trouble. He flipped his 68, for the flopped nuts and took the trophy. Fundamental theorem Ian: if a better hand can’t fold and a worse hand can’t call what on earth are you shipping for!

Still a second place finish for $9,000 was very tasty indeed. I was disappointed to not take home the trophy, but it was well earned by Affif Prado. I was very happy with my performance, except from that last hand. I’m raring to go for EPT London in March; maybe I’ll get a second chance at a heads up duel for a trophy there.

After spending a year sponsored by Paddy Power Poker through their Sole Survivor promotion, Ian Simpson went on to win the 2013 Irish Poker Open to take home €265,000 euros. He currently plans on doing some work in schools in between travelling the tournament circuit and writing for Card Player Magazine. You can find him on twitter @IanSimpsonPoker

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


5 years ago

I had 13x when I started the hand, so just over 10x when I shipped. I see what you mean about not letting him have a free shot at 6 outs, I just think that his flat calling range here is made up of mostly speculative hands a lot of which have a piece of this flop. Then again securing a pot which is approx 6x the blind when I am on 10x the blind is obviously a good thing!, 16x would give me a good shot at coming back and winning that trophy.

If I had more than 15x the blind when I started the hand I agree that I could probably bet then fold. But bet folding my stack in that instance would leave me with 6-7x which is a gross spot to be in heads up!