Monday, June 27

Raphael Toledo on fire!

October 2008 I moved to Malta, and I knew really few here, only a very sweet Swedish girl called Emma, that you guys now know, she been in many of my blogs. Working from home as I did then made me crave for company and it turned out me going to the casino for some poker action 3-4 nights a week. Pretty soon I realized that some players are friendlier then others, and some are more interested in developing their games then others, and some, well let’s just say am not necessarily eager to spend time with them outside the casino. There is a handful Maltese players i somehow fear more then others on a table, one is for an example, Jacques Balzan Demajo and another one is Raphael Toledo
And people, this is my blog, I write what I want and this post is about him because I simply think he deserves it and I like him – a lot! He is such a cool person and Rafael very fast became one of my absolute favorite among all the Maltese players, he is the kindest soul ever, rarely complain and whine over hands and play completely fearless. If he get a beat he takes it very good, and knows it’s just poker, it evens out in long run. He also, more important, has 5 dogs, that’s a big plus in my book. Others show me pictures of their kids, Rafael show me pictures of his dogs, right there I knew this is someone I will like. And people, when I say completely fearless, I really mean that, with Rafael one never know what to expect card wise. 

We started to talk hands and discussed poker back then and I really sensed he wanted to be, still fearless of course but perhaps a bit more, to put it nicely, organized fearless :)  

nd now am so so happy to say he found his place and form and going better and better! He is a very good cash game player but its not until recently he been going very strong on tournaments too and during Peoples Poker Tour last week he took two satellite tickets (!) and busted just before the money in the main event on a very very unlucky hand where board double paired and made his 2 opponents splitt the pott with K high instead of the pair Rafael was holding. He recharged his energy and came back day after, signed up for a side event and spitted it 6 ways, well done!
I played that sideevent too, so did around 130 hungry Italians, and some of them really good respected  players indeed, so super well done to Rafael. I busted just before the money, but stayed around to the end and saw Rafael very patiently play very well and use his position to take down several nice pots; he was quite card dead but still managed to get a good chop of the price pot and put the Maltese flag on the finaltable!

This weekend it was the Emeraldbet tour at Casino Venezia and with a quite deepstacked tourney it was set for many hrs play, and am so proud Rafael kept his patient all the way and ended heads up, and here I got even more impressed as they played heads up for nearly 4 hrs, and I think they would continued even longer if Casino didn’t announce they have to close 04.00 so they have to be ready in 30 min! (yea weird I know) I was railing over live feed and its actually very very interesting how much more signs, tells and body language one realize about players watching careful as an outsider not focused on playing oneself. Maybe the security railing us behind casinos closed door is genius in tells? Perhaps. One never know!

They started the finaltable 16.00 and finished 04.00, that’s a long day in the office folks! It makes me extra happy Rafael made it all way to heads up due to this. He maintained his stack all the way and one point heads up he was holding around 70 % of the chips but as well all know, all it takes is a few hands that don’t go as planned and in the end Rafael finished second.

Still, this is a very good result for the Maltese poker community, and am very glad it was this particular player who claimed the second price! First position in Emeraldbet tour went to Ivan Barczi, who has a few prior results on Hendonmob and also did show a very strong game all trough the finaltable. Well done to him!

And to sum it up, lots of RESPECT to Rafael from me, and i sincerely mean this. He has really developed his game, he is always eager to listen to opinions, always ask others for how would you played this hand. If more players did that, it would just be so much more interesting to listen to everyone's bad beat stories!

And he is funny :), in a phone call in one of the breaks on Emeraldbets Finaltable, he ask me: Anna i got so much more chips then them now, is it ok to start playing small suited connectors? Haha and the way he said it really made me smile and i know he said it ironic to me as i always keep telling him that folding is a big key to the success in tournament poker, and one need to have a great calm mind and tell one self, am not bored, am NOT bored and as a cash game player that sometimes is not so fun to hear! But I really put my hands up, because he mastered these feelings and now really playing a very solid tournament game. Cant wait to get some big events over here again so he can show those espresso drinking, flat handbags nice smelling gorgeous looking  young boys, yeaaaa THE Italians, (that we all love of course), show them some kick ass Maltese Toledo poker!

Hep hep my darlings out there!
Do well, do good, have fun and remember, play all your spades, its really not harder than that!


Thanks to for the live blog during the event and the pictures. 

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