Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008, guess thats a wrap

2008 has been a strange one for me poker wise. I stated two goals for myself at the start of the year. One was to make the transition to online cash; this I failed miserably because I never attempted it. The second was to make more cash then I would if I had been working, which I achieved. It's my fourth year running making a decent profit as a live tournament specialist. A fair achievement when most logic tells you that this is nearly impossible to achieve long-term.

One of my strengths as a player has always been my enthusiasm for the game. While I feel as eager as ever when playing a decent buy in, I have definitely lost the motivation for smaller games and grinding hard online. This loss of dedication eats into my bottom line and needs to be addressed. Playing poker for a living is not easy, drive and focus are required. The inertia and basic laziness of my disposition towards "my poker work ethic" needs addressing.

The soccer cliche of a game of two halves can certainly be used to describe the year past. I was more or less break even for the first half of the year and had a good second half. Online I made meagre €10,000. Most of this coming in a six week period from the start of July, when my declining bankroll dictated that I needed to "get the finger out". A €40,000 touch in Cork mid August saw me get lazy again and those six weeks were the only online poker of any consequence I played over the year.

The two key occurrence of the year for me were the sponsorship deal I signed with BrucePoker and chopping the Irish Classic in Cork. I was delighted to sign with Bruce's and it was a lovely confidence boast for me at the time. I subsequently found out that another site that I had been in contact with were about to table a larger offer to me. Again I found this very complimentary but I had no regrets as I was very happy with the Brucepoker deal and feel that we have established a good understanding/relationship where a mutual progression and growth is our focus.

The year started with the IPC, which was hosted in Galway for the first time. My exit in level one was on the TV table and involved trying to pull poker wheelies against Mike Sexton. I finished forth for the second year running in the Bigslick team event in my home town. As ever this has a very decent field so it felt as the year before; a deep run at a difficult tournament wasted.

I had decided not to play any satellites for the Irish Open but some how ended up playing about a dozen. This one was the most memorable as the player in the hand I describe won his ticket that night and ended up finishing second in the open itself for €400k n1 Donal.

I did manage to win entry but left it late, the pre event supersatt to be exact. I started well in the open getting a second level double against Conner Tate. The pivotal hand of my Open was against Liam Flood where blind on blind I flopped a set and he turned a flush. I managed to reach day two but it was desperate shortstack stuff after that hand and I eventually exited KK v AK for a semi decent pot.

May saw the inaugural JP Masters. I've tried to support JPs games where possible as I have always found him to run marvelous tournament; this was his first "bigger" festival and it ran seamlessly. I had a great run at the title but a bad last two hours on day two eventually running AK into KK saw me bubble the final table, a horrid spot to finish.

June and July were very quiet as I wasn't going to Vegas. A number of factors influenced this decision, the main one being bankroll. I could of went but it would of been a stretch and in the end I decided prudence to be the best option. There was a ten week gap between JPs Masters and the Irish Classic and I secured sponsorship in this period.

My first outing in the Brucepoker shirt saw me chop one of Ireland's most prestigious events. I had more or less the perfect tournament in Cork and while I played very well a lot of things also fell into place. I was never in danger of exiting this one until after the prize monies were chopped four handed. After the deal myself and Rob Tayler got 60BBs each in pre with AJos and Rob won the hand; this would never happen had a chop not happened. I really should be aware of the importance of taking the title as my profile increases and more so because of the fact that I'm sponsored. It was a mistake by me to treat the game nonchalantly once the deal was struck and its not a mistake I will make when I find myself in that position again.

I chopped the Waterford leg of the IPC tour the following week and it was great to get a result in my home town. The first week in October saw an amazing 800 starters for the wonderfully run killarney festival. This festival was an amazing achievement by Connie and Bigslick and although I didn't feature in any of the events I had a super weekend. Brucepoker were however well represented in the prize money with both my bosses, Paul and Thomas making the cash. I was over the moon to see one of my buddies lucky Jimmy take the event down for 100 large.

Another deep run came in the winter festival finishing 13th of the 427 starters. I lost a monster pot with KK v AA about 10 off the money, which wasn't reported on and subsequently won three or four shortstacked pots as a big dog which were. Once in the money I got my stack to a very healthy 268k before the end of play. I came back for day three ahead of the average, but never got anything going eventually exiting in 13th position.

November saw the Brucepoker.com launch festival at the greenisle hotel. This was a super weekends poker and I was proud of the show Bruce's put on. Paul put a lot of work into this and it was nice to see him pull it off with JP as ever doing a great job with the tournament logistics. I managed two small cashes here which was pleasing.

My last two tournaments of the year were across the water and both disappointed. I didn't play well in London for the GUKPT grand final. I did play well a week later in Bristol for the Gala final but both tournaments ended close to the end of play on day one and both were a small let down.

All in all I played around ten tournaments of any consequence over the year; to chop one and run deepish in two others has to be considered a success. I clocked about $80,000 on the hendon mob database and finished the year with a very respectable ROI. Not as good as last year but overall I'm happy with 2008. Last year I established myself as one of the top live tournaments players in the country and I think I have done enough this year to consolidate that position.

I am however very aware that the difference between a successful and losing year in this game is very fickle. So much so that winning or losing a specific race in any given tournament can mean the difference between a good or bad year. Because I've had a few good ones in a row means nothing and I need to stay focused and rediscover my work ethic for the game. Although some will see me as a veteran I still feel very new to the game. I've only been playing four years and I'm still learning all the time. I see 2009 as a crucially important year for me if I am to progress in this marvelous game we play. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gala Final Bristol

England for the second week running for the Gala final. I was looking forward to the game all week and was hopeful of a good run as I had been told that there would be many mediocre players in this one. Derek and Jude were flying in from Galway Friday morning and myself and my Brucepoker.com boss, Paul Smallwood decided to ferry over Thursday night. Paul was doing the driving; his assurance that he was a great driver became very debatable after he drove down the busiest trough fare in Bristol at 3 am Friday morning while we were trying to locate the hotel on the wrong side of the road.

We met up with the Galway lads Friday morning and discussed best strategy's for relieving all these bad English players of there chips. Lol, what a joke that turned out to be. My starting table had Neill Channing to my right and Roland De Wolfe two to his right, two to my left was Roberto Romanello and next to him last weeks GUKPT winner Pab Foltyn. Channing commented " last year he played this event he didn't know eight players in the field, looking around now I'm struggling to find eight I don't know". Guess the only value in this one was the WOSP, Aussie Millions and EPT packages added by Gala for the first three finishers; a nice added incentive.

Second hand of the tournament I pick up QQ and get taken to value town by an elderly Asian lady's KK on every street. Down 3000 of my 15k starting stack in the first minute. The next four hours were a continuation of the previous weeks tournament; raises and continuation bets snapped off and no premium starting hands. I was however enjoying the game and still hopeful as we broke for dinner.

Shortly sfter a very nice if rather rushed Chinese I pick up 1010 in the bigblind. Theres 4 limpers and the small blind bumps it up to 2700. I'm thinking my 1010 might be in good shape here as the SB seemed to be thinking of making up the blind before making the raise. So I push and after a long dwell the SB calls with AQ. After winning the race I'm above starting stack and start playing a few more pots.

I really started getting into the game and enjoying the table over the next 90 minutes leading to the biggest hand I played in the event. I raise two black tens to 1200 with the blinds 200/400; De Wolfe calls in the BB. Flop 8s5x3s, De Wolfe check-shoves his 14,000 stack over my 2000 bet. I go into the tank for a bit, I'm 100% facing the flush draw and some pair gutshot or overs combo. When I consider the money already in the pot and the fact that I hold a spade out I decide the maths say a call. Then I consider the qualitative aspect of whether I want to race against the best flipper in the world. In the end I go with it and he shows Ks9s, the turn brings a 6c giving him even more outs and the river king gives him the pot and leaves me with 4025 chips.

I grind the short stack back to about 10k and get a table move with about 90 minutes play left for the day. My new table boasted James Akenhead, Joe Beavers, The Camel, the frightening looking character in the photo and was joined by Marc Goodwin and Surinder Sunar. I was struggling to find any spots on the table when the following hand occurred. I raised to 1800 with QJos blinds 300/600 and get called in the BB by an American, Mark Friedman. Flop KK9 two hearts; check/check and he leads for 2k on the turn. I'm playing 8k and I'm obviously not calling 2k on the gutter but decide to go back through the hand before I fold. This guy was the bigstack and had been extremely aggressive especially towards the short stacks and 3 bet a number of times from the blinds. When I think about it I'm strongly weighing his range towards suited connectors and small ones at that. I decide that my Q high is good and decide to call and also call any non heart river. The river brings a ten giving me the straight but unfortunately he held the same holdings.

My exit hand came with 20 minutes of play remaining. I pick up 99 in the bigblind, Friedman opens for 2400 which is much bigger then what he has been normally opening for. Akenhead calls which worries me a little as he is three betting a fair bit but having seen pocket tens twice and QQ once in over seven one hour levels, the nines are looking very pretty at that moment. I go with them and push, Friedman immediately announces all in isolating me and I'm very happy to find myself in a 20k pot verses 88. The 6 8 10 flop gave me a little hope of the resuck but it wasn't to happen.

I really enjoyed this tournament, I dont get to play with class acts like Channing and De Wolfe often and I relished the opportunity. De Wolfe is a class player and always putting you in interesting spots; himself and Channing are real talkers and good craic to play with. The poker room was deadly and Bristol itself is a very nice city but if anyone tells you to go there for a poker tournament because the players are value, forget it.


Monday, December 1, 2008

GUKPT Grand Final

I was fearful going into this that with all the deep runs I've been getting lately something had to give. No matter how good you are at tournament poker you can only cash in a certain percentage of the tournaments you play. Something that has been on my mind for a while now is how huge a role luck plays in relation to the different buy in levels that I play. We hope that variance in the cards will even out in the long run but I wonder if variance coupled with a wide range of buy ins ever will.

For example; the Macau in cork is probably my favorite place to play cards. Every month this year I have traveled to that casino for the €250 monthly game and not cashed in it once. I did however manage to cash for over €40k in the only €1500 buy in tournament I played there this year. This in my mind is a huge slice of luck. I was unfortunately on the wrong side of this buy in differential variance in London the weekend in what was one of my biggest buy ins of the year.


With 180 starters there wasn't going to be a huge amount of value in the field. My starting table had my old sparing partner Marty Smyth and the only others I knew were Fran Egan from Drogheda and Micky Wennick. The table is introduced in this Video from the Nutz TV from 2.10 in and pictured above. I'd say it was one of the easier tables in the event but that didn't do me much good.

I really haven't much to write about the event itself. I started the tournament with 15,000 and lost them in small increments until I eventually got knocked out very short in level seven. There was no real hands of consequence and the tournament as a whole for me was disappointing but that's just the way it goes sometimes. I didn't make any mistakes, didn't take any beats or didn't get any starting hands. Even though the tournament was a non event in itself I will have gained experience from it and I'm totally confidant that although it was a very difficult field I still had a decent edge. The Victoria casino is a smashing job and I enjoyed a few beers with the other Irish lads there over the rest of the weekend as no side events were scheduled; I'm sure I'll be back there with a better result in the future.

On a lighter note, at the bar in the Vic the other night. The gukpt tournament director comes to the bar and says "Marty I nominated you for two awards, player of the year and performance of the year". Marty replies " oh right thanks, for the boards awards is it". TD " no, the European poker awards in Paris next month ".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Poker Wheelies

Traveled to the South Court Hotel in Limerick for the sixth leg ( my third ) of the Irish Championship tour on Saturday. The numbers were a little disappointing at 48. My starting table seemed to have a decent bit of value on it but I kinda got dragged into the spewey play and lost a third of my chips before I got this sweet hand. Three limper's and I limp behind on the button with 32s, 4 5 10 flop and a player bets tiny and four player see the turn ace - bingo. Early position makes it 600 gets two callers and I raise to 2600 knowing that I'm getting called which I did in two spots. I get my remaining 3600 in on the river with one caller; so a healty 15k return for my circa 6k which I started the hand with.

Not less then 5 minutes later I'm BB with 4 2 os, flop comes 3 5 X and amazingly the ace hits the turn again. I picked up about 5k in the pot; John Ward from Galway made an excellent river two pair fold here. I was cruising along nicely until I decided to gamble pre flop with 1010 against a shortish stack and his KK held. Very next hand I get KK in a pot against a guy I figured I could heavily value bet against. The hand played out with me having a King high flush on an unpaired board, I get all my chips in as I think top pair will pay me here but unfortunately he has the ace flush. So out early enough in a twice average stack pot.

Hung aroung and played a few sitngoes with Bommer, John Weaffer, Derek Murry, and a couple of the Galway lads which were great craic. Decided to head home on Sunday morning rather then play the €200 event as I just didn't feel like playing.

This weekend I'm off to London for the GUKPT grand final. This is a £3,000 + 150 event and will have a quality field. I dont have any expectations going into the game and as ever I'll be happy to just play well and bring my A-game, allthough it would be very nice if the pokergods choose this one to shine on me.

The following week its the Gala Tour final in Bristol which is a £1500 + 150 buyin. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm opiniated about structures. Having looked at the structure for this one I decided to complain a bit on the hendonmob forum here. Fingers crossed about getting a levelor two added.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Splendid weekends poker

I think all that played at the weekends Brucepokers launch festival will agree with the above sentiments. The Greenisle proved to be a great location and the room set up was excellent. With 170 players for Fridays, 220 Saturday and over 200 playing Sundays events, I personally thought the turnout was very good. I think general expectations about field sizes are a little skewed ATM because of the recent huge fields achieved in Killarney and the IPO but I was very happy with the amount of runners for all events. It was clear from the room set up ( tables and chips) and added money and prizes that Brucepoker.com spared no expense on the event.

Fridays game

Was €120 entry with a €50 rebuy/top-up. Generally in this type of double chance event I'll have a gamble with my first stack and did so in the very first hand when I got all my chips in on the flop with an open ender against the two pair of Paul Coyle and missed. Hand two I flopped at straight and got it in against a flush draw and hand three flop a set and stack top pair. JP was just announcing Nicky is all in again so most people in the room thought I was making an effort to get to the bar but this wasn't the case.

I was up to over 20k in level one and then back down to six when I was two outed on the river when I held AA. I then hit a rush of cards again after the break when the following hand occurred. I put a raiser playing about 25k all in holding JJ; after a blatant slowroll he has Kings but the poker gods hate slowrollers and I had the last laugh as a jack hit the river. I was very amused by ITTPat from boards reaction in seat one- he lept into the air roaring YES with the Tiger Woods fist pump- lol. That was as good as it got after peaking at 100k and the chip lead with 55 players left, I was gone before the last four tables. I lost 30% of my stack when I raised AJ against AA, I lost calling Paul Coyle button shove with QK Vs his A2 and my last 44k when I pushed A6 from the sb into JJ.

Main Event

I don't recall a whole lot of the main event; It started very slowly for me and the first real hand I played was level five or six when I doubled through Brian from GJP racing with AQ Vs JJ. I just maneuvered my way through the field without any real hands and had about 100k when I lost half of it with QQ against a limp callers A6. I was steaming after this hand for about ten minutes but luckily it coincided with a break. Just after the break I got my now customary Brucie bonus hand. A chap had just sat to my left and had proceeded to tell me that he had aces cracked twice in the last twenty minutes. He was only on the table a couple of hands when its folded to me in the SB holding KJ and I shove into his AA. Two kings on the flop almost double me up and I add another 40k by the end of play to finish on 130k with 33 players returning for day two and 22 paid.

I found it very hard to get any spot on Sunday with Keith McFadden on my right. Keith was all in almost every hand and played very well. He was either pushing over players or if he was opening pots he just shoved- he told me later this tactic was because I was acting after him and its a fairly unexploitable strategy when playing < 30 BBs poker. On one occasion I almost called a McFadden 3-bet shove with A10 but I thought the initial raiser was strong; he siad he folded AQ while Keith told me later he folded QK. I can only remember taking two blinds on the Sunday, both times with 109 and never saw a hand. I eventually shoved the cut-off blind with 8 BBs ( button wasn't in his seat ) and was called by ITTPat with A4os. Out in 19th for a small cash but I throughly enjoyed the game and felt it played like a much bigger event and as ever JP had the structure spot on.

Freeroll

I wasn't really up for the freeroll having just gone from the main event and after a chat with Paul and Thomas I decided to just sit in for a bit and donk off my bounty. One chap was unlucky not to get it when I was all in with 10 3os pre flop but a runner runner straight dashed his hopes. I eventually managed to go out pushing loads of chips with K4 into AA; thankfully I didnt bust them this time.

€120 Game

The last game of the festival with 96 runners was my favorite. The bounty paid off big time in this one with people just throwing there stacks at me. I got the chip lead with about 50 players left and held it until the final table where I made a number of mistakes and basically blew up. I was after having a few beers over the tournament so I'm putting my errors down to that and not beating myself up to much about it. It was my second cash of the festival so I was happy with that. I was also delighted to see Johnny, Chris and Dennis involved in the chop here.

Overall I thought the festival ran seamlessly from a players point of view and all involved worked there socks off. Paul and Thomas of Brucepoker.com, JP and both crews deserve a lot of credit for giving us such a wonderful event and I for one am very greatful. Also congratulations to everyone who cashed and to those who took my scalp.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Brucepoker launch festival

Really looking forward to this now, talking to the lads and the main event is filling up nicely. I reckon an €80,000 plus prize pool which is brilliant for a €250 event. There's going to be a bounty on my head in all tournaments which will make for interesting strategy decisions for me. I'll definitely have to think how I'm going to approach these games as the dynamic is certainly going to be different. Last chance to qualify for the festival are this coming weekend. On Saturday night at 8.00 there's a no requirement freeroll. The winner of this freeroll will get a €250 ticket to Saturdays main event and the 2nd will get a €100 ticket to Fridays event. Then on Sunday at 8.00 there a two package guarantee on the $49+5 game. You can register for any of the events directly on the Brucepoker.com home page.

Bruce's have also updated the scheme/layout on the site and I think its a huge improvement. The software is really after growing on me and I even won my first tournament on the site tonight all be it just a small one.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winter Festival

Day one

By the time Saturday came around I was very excited about playing the Winter Festival. I had played very little in the previous week and the whole week seemed to drag with my focus totally on the weekends game. Decided to go to city west on Saturday morning rather then the Friday for hangover avoidance reasons. It's very hard not to get caught up in the pre festival festivities in these events so I decided Saturday was my best option. Got there about 12.30 quiet relaxed as I left the driving to Pat. The room was set up exactly as it was for the Irish open earlier in the year and with a great turnout of over 420 runners there was a real top level tournament atmosphere in the main hall.

The very first hand of the tournament I lost over 30% of my starting stack when I turned the nut flush but lost to a rivered house when the board paired. I lost another decent size pot shortly afterwards when I called two bets with an over-pair and folded on the river. So I was down to half my stack in level one. Level three saw me rally back above starting stack getting most of the chips back with a call holding AJ on a KKJXX board against an aggressive Swedish player. It looked a good call but the way the hand played out it was obvious he was bluffing a missed draw.

Got up to about 14k playing small pots but then lost 4k when I folded queens on a dry jack high board. I think this was an easy enough fold, the guy flatted pre led the flop and check shoved the turn, I thought he had AA or KK at the time and he confirmed later he had AA. The next hand of any note was against Rooney_dives and he posted in the strategy forum on boards here, I definitely didn't get full value from my hand and I don't like my bet sizing much mainly due to a mistake I made on chip denominations. I also wouldn't have Dan on a small range here as raising under the gun light is fairly fashionable with stars tournament players so I didn't want to lose him if he held lesser holdings then he actually did.

I don't remember any interesting spots for the rest of day one. Dave Masters was moved to my immediate left and while I don't mind playing against Dave I was happy to see him go as he is a player you certainly don't want having direct position on you. He was however replaced by big Mick who is another excellent player so I had to be selective enough with my raising for the rest of the day.

Day two

I came back with 25500 which while well down the field was very playable at 400/800 blinds. Day two was to be one of the most memorable days of poker I ever played because I got my chips in bad so many times and ended up winning pots it was unbelievable. I was to record four major suck outs over the day. Now to put this in context over the last three years of playing these big events in Ireland I honestly only remember two hands where I won important pots from behind. The first was against Derek Murry at the final table of the Macau winter festival in Dec 05 when I four flushed him after getting it in bad on the flop and the second was last years Irish Open with QK v AK all in pre flop.

The day started quiet for the first two levels and I was playing a new table when I had my first all in of the day. A hijack raise and cutoff call of the 3100, I pick up 1010 in the bigblind and raise all in for about 22,000 and hold against the initial raisers AK. About an hour later after a table move I raise AJ on the button a Danish player re pops it from the small blind. I decided the AJ in a short corner against a scandi is good enough and push about another 35k in and win a pot for over 100k when I spike a jack on the flop against his AK. A10 no match for my A8

Table breaks shortly after this hand and I'm liking my new table; loaded with chips and minimal aggression. I'm playing about an hour on the table and on about 120k when I pick up KK in the BB and get a walk which was rather disappointing. When I picked them up again three hands later it was even more so as I got 100k of my chips in pre-flop verses aces. This hand leaves me with 20k, blinds are 1500/3000 and we are 11 places off the 40 to be paid. I'm looking to get my chips in fast and find that opportunity soon enough when I shove over the most aggro player at the tables mid-position raise with Ad8d. He tables A10 and I hit an 8 on the flop and nuts flush by the river. Shortly after this I push 40k 99 under the gun and the same player finds aces, I'm ready to leave the room four off the money when a beautiful nine hits the river.

I bust the bubble in embarrassing fashion


Soon after this were hand for hand and I raise from the cutoff into a short stacks bigbling to 12k and he pushes for his 30k. Now its 18k to call to win 67k and I've got 50k behind if i lose so I call and the following sickness occurs. My opponent has AA and I call for an aces on the flop which the dealer delivers with a 3 and 5; when the turn 4 arrives I go a bit blank and think I'm drawing to a 2 for a chopped pot. The river 6 leaves me unmoved until the room erupts and I realise I've put the sickest of beats on the poor guy to bubble him.

Looking around the room with 45 players left there was some real quality name players left; by the time we reached three tables we had lost most of them and I wasn't that disappointed seeing Mick Muldoon,
Rob Sherwood, Karl Mahrenholz, James Akenhead and Andy Black leaving the building.

I was loving my table and had my chips up to 170k when I got moved just into the last level of the day. My new table was much more aggro and I didn't see a hand until the last ten minutes of of the days play when I picked up QQ. The excellent Warren Woodall whom I have played with on two tables raised UTG to 25k I raise to 75k and the small blind whom hasn't played a hand sinced I've arrived tanks. After about five minutes he goes all in for about 90k and I hold up against pocket nines. Warren tells me he folded AK and was calling if the small blind folds. I guess I got very lucky again here as there was a king on the flop. This was the last action I saw on my luckiest days poker ever.

Day 3

22 runners returning with the blinds at 5k/10k an average of 19 big blinds. I'm sitting on 264k 7th in chips and 15/2 to win the tournament with the sponsors betting in running market. I'm fairly experienced at reaching this stage of a tournament but looking at the structure going into the final day I felt it was down to running good as quiet simply even though I was above average there was no room for the smallest error. It was my view that the tournament was fine up until the 3k/6k level but after that I felt the play was gone.

I have been critical about the structures at the Irish Open the past couple of years and lobbied a bit on boards for new levels that have been added (three new levels have been added the last two years). Last week when the structure was posted for this event, I implored the organisers to include a 1200/2400 level and they showed there willingness to improve these games by introducing it. These events are not solely run by paddypower and there are people/forces whom are less receptive to chance that need to be convinced that giving more play will improve the quality of the event. I thought the clock should of been brought back a level going into Sunday or for future events a 2500/5000 level introduced.

The fact that the field went from 22 players to a final nine in a little over 90 minutes is proof that the structure just wasnt good enough. As for the 70 minutes I lasted on Sunday, well it was a total non event for me. I received a walk on my first bigblind which was nice. I raised twice with k8os and Q10s and folded to a three bet each time. I was down to 134k without seeing anything resembling a hand and with each round of the table costing 25k I shoved my 12 blinds with 77 and lost a race verses AQos.

Afterthoughts

It was the least dissapointed I have ever been getting knocked out on day three of an event. Probably because of all the luck I had on Sunday I felt that I didn't really deserve this one. Also on Monday there was absolutely nothing I could of done with the muck I was dealt. The tournament itself was run excellently and had the highest standard of dealing and running of a floor of any event I've played.

It's another deep run In the Brucepoker shirt. The following is bragging so turn off now but its my blog and I'll brag if I want :-) I probably deserve two years bad luck for this. Looking back at my results since April 07 there have been 11 major tournaments in the country. I consider a major event to be €500 with greater then 200 runners and €1000 greater then 100 runners excluding side events. Of these 11 I didn't play the EPT Dublin last year or the GJP this year- of the remaining nine I've reached the last two tables in six of them. To find this level of consistency is extremely pleasing as I feel the edge in tournament poker is about putting yourself in position to win more often then others.

I'd like to thank my sponsors Brucepoker.com and I will be sporting my now lucky Brucepoker shirt at three events before the year is out. The last week in Nov and the first week in Dec I'm playing the grand finals of the GUKPT and the Gala tour in England. But first and more importantly theres the Brucepoker launch festival at the Greenisle hotel 14th-16th of November, this will be an excellent weekends poker and if you haven't already registered do so now as its gonna sell out. To finish I wanna give a shout out to Knuckles who took a bit of a detour on his drive home to Cork to drop me home on Tuesday, much app.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sweetspew

I decided against traveling to Dublin for the IPO. I Played this event last year and didn't enjoy it and the thought of traveling to a tournament where my hotel costs exceed then event buy in just didn't make sense to me. I'm not trying to take from that event, its a fabulous spectacle and a huge achievement for the organisers to set the largest field in Europe for the second year running. From following the event it seems to have run extremely well this year so kudos to PokerIreland and Boyles on a great and unique tournament.

Instead I went to Cork for the 4th leg of the IPC tour and I shouldn't of bothered because I played horrendously. The numbers were down but that was to be expected with the IPO running. I played like a bad Italian in the main event and spewed my chips over two levels in about four pots . My play was without rhyme nor reason and I honestly cant remember playing so bad.

I was pretty annoyed with myself on the drive home and decided to go back for the €200+20 side event on Saturday. This went a bit better but just after the dinner break I lost my chips all in pre in a decent pot to Namir ( who had won the main event earlier in the day ) with QQ Vs Ak; a king on the turn put paid to my plans for redemption for the previous days performance. A speeding ticket on the drive home topped off the weekend nicely :-(

Next week sees the Winter Festival at the City West. I expect a field of 350 to 400 runners for the €1500+150 event. The buy in is way down from last years €8000 because the ETP have ditched this event from the tour. I'm not sure of my feelings on this; I think Ireland should have an EPT but I also think €8000 was a bit ridiculous. I won entry into last years event but was given the 8k in cash after the live satellite which I decided to add to my bankroll rather then stump up that amount of cash for one event.

I'm a bit of a cynic at heart and I feel that someone at the EPT through choice of setting and upping the buy in over the last two years contrived to have the event fail and move the Irish leg to a more exotic location. John Duthie stating the reason we lost the EPT was that Ireland just didn't have a venue to hold such an event is total bullshit as anyone who has played in the City West or more recently Killarney will agree.

Anyhow back off my soapbox; I'm hopeful for a good tournament next week. I haven't cashed in a tournament at City West since the 2006 Irish Championship so a cash in my forth outing in the Brucepoker.com colours would be very welcome, but as ever I'll be happy if I bring my A-game and play to the best of my ability. I know I wont play as bad as I did in Cork this weekend thats for sure.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Killarney Festival


I've been traveling down to Killarney now for a few years to play poker and always have a great time. On one of my first visits there my friend Pat Storen who has been going for 20 years for snooker tournaments told me " give it two to three years and Connie will have the whole country down here playing poker". Well as the picture above shows his predictions certainly came through the past weekend.

I got down to the kingdom on Thursday and on arrival Connie gave me a bit of a tour of the set up. I was mightily impressed. The conference center at the Gleneagles is without doubt the most impressive venue that I have played poker at in Europe. It was a magnificent venue and the lads ran the event with a military precision, It was obvious from the off that a huge amount of planning went into it.

If I had any problem with the weekend it was the standard of dealer. Some were very bad, this could be just a result of variance and is something i have encountered with smaller fields and bigger buy-ins but some of the guys who dealt my tables were atrocious. Having said that I think its logistically impossible to ensure a high standard of dealer at this size of event.

I played the three tournaments over the weekend and never got going in any of them. In the main event I played two 10k pots early in level two, winning one when I made a good call with top pair and losing one with flopped top set against a flopped straight. I never got anything going after this and my chips dwindled away eventually going out in unspectacular fashion.

I lost a 35k three way pot in the €300 event at level 6 with QQ v JJ v AK and feel a possible deep run was on if I could of won the pot as there was a few very big stacks on my table who had no idea what they were doing. Finally in the €170 game on Sunday I went out with flush over flush in the third level. It was a disappointing weekend poker wise but when you play as many tournaments as I do you become pretty pragmatic about them and understand that 75% of the time you wont cash. On weekends like this where you cant get anything going, its like putting in the numbers of non cash events. With a fairly hectic schedule over the coming months I'm confident enough of getting another good result in before Christmas.

Probably more disappointing then my poker results was my losses at pitch & putt. My old sparing partner Sideshowbob was the opponent for foursome matches on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Bob is a cunning one and employed the ginger run good factor teaming up with lucky Jimmy ( winner of the main event ) on Saturday and Marty Smyth ( winner of everything ) on Sunday. Dis-spite playing some stunning stuff myself I couldn't out run these ginger luckboxes and lost a very painful €13.

All in all a brilliant weekend and this festival will run and run. Its like the Irish Open at a working mans buy in. I was thinking of what the whole setup reminded me of and its like a big Irish themed Vegas casino without the gaming floor. Well done to both my bosses at brucepoker.com Thomas and Paul who battled through the largest field for a European ranking event ever to cash. Also, my mates Sideshow and Pat who made the money and especially lucky Jimmy who took down first prize and in the process un-bankrupted the Cork poker scene. A big thank you to Connie/Matt/Bigslick for a great weekend

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Big up

To mister Fintan Gavin on his terrific performance in the EPT Barcelona. While Fintan officially finished in second place it is widely known that there was a deal done four handed and Fintan got a magnificent €900,000. This was truly a brilliant performance and he ran the star studded final table ragged up until the time the deal was agreed. I think this performance ranks in the top five performances by an Irish player in tournament poker so big kudos to one of the best known personalities in the game in this country.

The only time I've played live since Bolton was a €200+20 game in the Waterford Poker Club in Olympus casino. Only 25 runners and I busted early on the final table losing most of a decent stack AK v 33 all in pre. Enjoyed the game and the club put on a great night for the punters with every need catered for.

Haven't been playing much online just the odd MTT. Managed to blow a big stack with less then 50 players remaining Sunday night in a $250,000 guarantee in bad fashion. First I miss click min-raised over a big opening bet with Q3 and he had enough behind in his push that I could fold . Then tilted off the rest of my very decent stack with a retarded shove over a raise with A8os. I was disgusted with myself for a bit afterwards to go from 5th in chips to out in 47th over two hands, especially looking at a $55,000 first prize .

My next live outing is the €250,000 guarantee in Killarney with a €500+50 entry. This tournament will without doubt be one of the highlights of the year. To have a poker tournament of this size in Killarney with 650+ runners which it "will" get, is a huge achievement by Connie and Bigslick and knowing all involved I know that everything will be in place to make sure everyone has a memorable time in Connie's kingdom.

Monday, September 8, 2008

GUKPT Bolton


Played the Bolton leg of the GUKPT the weekend. You know your close to Manchester when you sit down at your table and Kevin Webster from coronation street is the first person to greet you. Bit of a non event for me as I never really got going. I lasted until level seven when I lost a race but it was just one of those tournaments where I saw very little action. I was down to 7,500 in chips after the first two levels. In the third level I thought I might get something going but I peaked for the tournament at around 13k.

I lost about four thousand of my chips when I played AQ three hands close in succession. A guy kept limp calling me and then betting huge when I missed the flop on each occasion. A bit frustrating but there wasn't much I could do as his bets were so big a move by me basically cost me my tournament if I was wrong and this guy wasn't folding any one pair hands. Actually I was surprised at the amount of limping that went on in this tournament even by supposedly good players and even when the blinds were like 300/600.

Through level five and into six I saw no hands of consequence and eventually got my last 6,200 chips in with AK Vs JJ. This was my first time playing in Briton and as such was a learning experience for me. I was a little surprised at how bad the general play was, although there is obviously many excellent players in these tournaments the amount of terrible players makes them huge value and I would recommend anyone to give them a shot. Having said that there's lots of bad players on show its generally good tables late on as the value gets weeded out and the final table was a good one with my good m8 Kevin O'Leary going a close fifth; would of loved to see him bring it home but he wins one of these soon without doubt.

I played the £300 side event on Saturday and bubbled the final table. There was to be nine paid but a bubble payment was agreed for £300 for tenth. At the the time I was a very bad third in chips as two players held 250k of the 400k in play between them. My exit hand doesn't sound great but TBH I'm happy with my call. Were five handed and I raise A8s playing a little over 40k and get two callers, flop comes 4 7 8 with two diamonds, I bet 5,500 and chip leader goes all in. Now generally its an easy fold but against this guy I'm 100% my call was fine. He had made the same move with third pair into me holding the nuts earlier and was making this move with any flush draw any eight or pair gutshot combo. Unfortunately he actually held 56os for a flopped straight.

If I hadn't lost that hand it meant rearranging my flights and staying in Bolton for the final table the next day which wasn't appealing to me but this didn't effect my decision to call and at least I got my entry for the game back. I'm a bit of a Bergkamp when it comes to flying and I was however really regretting that call when on the flight home to Waterford when the Capitan uttered the terror inducing words " we are diverting the flight to Dublin due to a slight technical error ". I'm going by boat for my next GUKPT event.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Call me butter I'm on a roll

Another chop, 5-way for an even split at this weekends Pokerevents €330+20 game in Waterford. As I was the short stack of the five remaining players it was clearly to my advantage to agree to the suggested deal and accept the €3200 on offer.

A high class field showed up for leg two of the new tour and it was great to see legendary Irish players like Mick McCloskey, Scott Grey, Don Fagan and Rory Liffey playing in my home town but the amount of runners was a little disappointing overall at 47.

This was always going to be a social occasion for me coinciding with my birthday and after doing my best Oliver Reed impersonation on day one I somehow managed to get back with 50,100 chips for Sundays final table which was in decent shape. I got extremely lucky in a hand against Rory towards the end of play on Saturday when I got all my chips in with a gutshot and pair against his bottom two pair, so I was drawing to three cards for the chop and four for the win. Luckily a rivered Jack chopped the pot for me.

I lost most of my chips allin pre with QQ against Paul Warrens AA early on Sunday. This left me severely short and when the blinds passed through me I had 6200 of the 470,000 chips in play with eight players remaining and five getting paid. I look at one card an Ace on the button and shove, the big blind calls with Kd9d, when I turn the other card it matches and I double. After picking up the blinds a couple of times I double up again winning my customary race against Sideshow with 22vAJs and I'm up to over 30,000, still short but the blinds are still low so back in it.

Paul finds the Aces again and knocks out Rory and Rob Taylors girlfriend Cat who held QQ and KK so were down to six and its agreed to pay the bubble €400. My good mate John Weaffer finishes in 6th next and I get another double up this time from Big Al shortly afterwards. I bet the cut off to 4500 with KJos and AL calls. Flop is 99x and its checked; turn brings a K and Al check shoves holding 44. It's a pretty easy call for me as I don't ever think he plays the nine he is trying to represent this way.

Play went on for another two hours generally very tight and with the structure being so good, ( 90 bigblind average at one stage of the final table ) it was a very cagey affair. An even chop was suggested and agreed, at the time the largest stack was Paul with 125k and I was the smallest with 77k so quiet tight. Sideshow made the chop this time which pleased me. All in all another good all be it very fortunate result for me but you take your luck where you find it in tournament poker. Off to Bolton for my first GUKPT this weekend so hopefully my decent run continues.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chop in Macau Classic part 3

Day 3, Final Table

Again I didn't sleep but when you reach this stage of a multi day deep stack it doesn't matter as your running on adrenalin. With €4,000 for 10th and €78,000 for first the chance for a big score is obvious. It's only natural for one to come up with a figure that constitutes a success for the day ahead and I was thinking if I could win €30,000 then the day would have been a triumph. The chips stacks were very compact with me having the third largest behind Jeff Duval and Sideshow Bob but there wasn't a whole lot in it.

We started back at four and the action started a little more aggressive then I had expected. The first hand I was involved in I lost about 100k of my stack needlessly. With the blinds 3/6k I call an early position raise of 16k with 910os and a bet on a 783 flop; the turn goes check/check and I bet the river about 80% of the pot hoping he has overs. I don't mind the river bet but I shouldn't be in the hand and I'm trying to make something happen which in reality there is no need to, he calls with JJ.

I knew I had played the hand badly but I didn't let it effect me which I was happy about and I showed great patience over the next hour when I went totally card dead. I then picked up circa 60k in a pot and hover around the 300k mark for a while. By now were down to seven players and I have two of those well covered.

My ideal scenario before the final table started would of been to get heads up with my good friend Bob but the final table hadn't been going well for him. He had a few raises snapped off, once by me in a blind verses blind spot and most recently when he was shown 910 by the pusher. After that hand Bob had open pushed three times in a row; I had folded AJ to one of his pushes as there was three to act after me and when the following hand occurred my impression was that Bob was steaming.

We were blind on blind and I'm playing just over 300k while Bob has about 170k I think, blinds are 5k/10k. Bob limps the small blind and I look down at A7os. After some deliberation I make it 50k basically making my decision that I'm not folding to a push by my bet size. Well Bob pushes pocket sixes and I call quickly and win the race in the most painful of ways for Bob; flop kk3, turn 9, river9 to counterfeit his pocket pair. As I said Bobs a good friend and I was sorry to see him out but theres no room for sentiment on the table however I'm sure we will see him back on a big stage in the future as his tournament game is improving all the time and the guy is a class act at the tables. The funniest moment of the tournament was when three tables out Bob started singing are you Bepe in disguise to Micheal Grecko, classic Sideshow.

Just before dinner were down to five when a shortstack pushes light and finds Rob Taylor's AQ to good. So at dinner the stacks are Me 500k, Ryan 550, Rob who has had a super day so far over 700k and Duval and a tricky French player around the 400 mark. The final two mentioned have been going at it hammer and tongs and already gotten it in twice against each other only to chop the pots, in my mind its only a matter of time before one takes the other out.

This more or less happens shortly after the break when Frenchy wins a big pot and the next hand Jeff Pushes his remaining 5 bigblinds into my bigblind. I call holding 33 and hit a 3 on the flop to bust his 88. I also had a good 20 minutes back after dinner so after that hand I was up to 640k. An equity deal was suggested and when we ran the numbers, it worked out as €42,000 for Rob and me, €40,000 for Ryan and €46,000 for the French lad.

I would of considered that I had a small edge on the four players left as a whole but getting 640k from rob would of been like extracting teeth and the edge was small so we were basically looking at €20,000 coin flips. All in all I was happy to deal and the €42,000 represented more then my €30,000 target at the beginning of play. We then took 1k each off to play for and the trophy. To say that the deal changed the atmosphere and loosened play a bit would be an understatement although having had a few days to digest it I think I lose most of my chips in the hand I did deal or not.

Simple hand I raise 50k on the button with AJos and Rob pushes for around 600k from the bigblind. I snap and Rob also has AJos but he four flushes me. Now if the deal wasnt done I dont snap but having thought about it I think I probably call anyway. Rob is a nit full ring but you don't make your online profit from high stakes 6man sitngoes without being able to really open up your game short handed, so knowing this I think I call anyway. Next hand I push my last 80k with AK and talk the French kid into calling me with 105os and he rivers a five.

Over all I'm delighted with the result on a number of levels. It's my second biggest cash after last years Irish open and in the intervening time I have put myself in a good position on a number of occasions but fallen short so it felt good to be there at the death. A chop on such close terms is as good as winning it in my mind and the way I played over the three days pleased me no end. I came as close as possible to the perfect tournament I think, never all in the whole way through and only raced for circa 50% of my stack twice. I'm also very pleased with the level of concentration and focus I achieved over the three days.

Probably most importantly it felt great to justify the faith Paul Smallwood and the decision makers at Brucepoker have shown in me through my sponsorship deal. It would of been very easy for them to go for a bigger name but I think it shows that Brucepoker.com is committed to supporting Irish poker by the decision to support me and I'm delighted to repay that faith in some way.

Finally once again the Macau have produced a brilliant festival, It's my favorite place to play cards and Ken and his staff through hard work have made the Irish Classic one of the top four tournaments in the country. The structure was magnificent and the average bigblinds never dropped below 40 and was over 60 for most of the tournament, it is truly a pleasure for any poker player to play such a fantastic structure. Also well done to fellow Waterford players Buda and Ray Kent on there chop in the €300 event

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chop in Macau Classic part 2

Day 2 continued

Guy goes into the tank and asks “ do I have Q10”. My reply was plagiarised and something I think I read in Dara O’Kearneys blog recently “wouldn’t it defeat the whole purpose of the game if I told you my hand“. Now Guy says he has a straight and asks me will I show him my hand if he folds? There was a little history to this and I tell him that I will show him as we have been getting on very well and that I liked him, which I did. Guy then proceeds to fold 107 for the second nuts face up. I keep my part of the bargain and show the flush draw. In fairness to Guy he didn’t let the hand affect him and he went on to cash, again I felt I had dodged a bullet.

We had a 30 minute break around seven and when we came back I immediately won two large successive pots. The first I raised to 3500 UTG with JJ and a French kid pushed for 34000 on the button. I was fairly sure that if he held a real premium hand he would of just put in a standard 3bet. In fact I was a little disappointed to see AQ when I called as I thought there was a decent chance he held an under pair. Luckily the jacks held and I was up to over 90k. The very next hand a cork player over raises to 6,500 from UTG and I look down to find the bullets and raise to 21,000 which he calls quickly. On a flop of Qxx I just open push and get snap called by AQ. I avoid the two outer and add the players circa 80k stack to my 90k.

At this stage there's about 40 players left in the tournament and the 170k represents over 6% of the total chips in play, a playable final table stack so I'm in great shape and must be in the top five in chips.

My stack stayed around this mark until the last level of the day. I don't really remember any major hands for the intermittent period but I folded AK twice pre-flop and I was well behind each time. Going into the last level I was playing very well and totally focused but I had a small dilemma in my head. Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that over the last year I've had a number of finishes between tenth and twelfth and I have been questioning whether I'm playing over aggressively at this stage of a tournament. I thought about playing passively into the final table but decided thats its just not my style. I also felt I was playing great and I was just in the zone and seeing everything.

So while others were tiring and looking a to make day three I really opened up and had a fantastic level. I got my stack up to 370k mostly taking down small pots. The biggest pot I won over the period was when Fatboydim pushed 55k over my 12k JJ raise with Q10 and I held. Just towards the end of the night a young aggressive English player came to the table and I had 3bet him twice in succession when the following hand occurred.

He bet and I'm bigblind with Ac9c, I considered raising but with our recent history I expected him to push over me so I just called. The flop was an innocuous 7x4x2x and he bet, I knew my A was good and called. The turn brought a Q and I suggested to him that it was a good card for him to second barrel which he did. I just knew he held KJ or K10 and called, the river changed nothing and he took an age to check and my A was good. If he fired again I was calling and when I was scooping the pot he gave me a bit of verbal about being a station which I enjoyed. These internet kids just don't get the soul read.

We finished shortly after and it was decided that the final table would be ten handed. Looking back on the day, I had gone from 26k to 370k and held nearly 15% of the chips in play; a super days work, we had played from 2 PM to 3 AM and I had enjoyed every second.



Monday, August 18, 2008

Chop in Macau Classic part 1

Irish Classic Festival 2008, Macau Casino Cork

I said in my last post that the Macau festivals have been very good to me the last few years and that run continued the weekend. I was fortunate enough to get a four way equity chop, we then took 1k each off to play for along with the trophy, I was happy to deal as the payout structure dictates a deal at times. It was a long slog over the three days and there was a huge amount of poker left in this if a deal wasn't struck. The €41,000 I brought home is a great payday and what a super start to wearing the BrucePoker.com shirt but it could of been very different as I narrowly miss being involved in a crash just as I left Waterford on Friday.

Day 1

I had just left town and was passing the Whitfield Clinic when a jeep lost control and bashed into a truck about two seconds in front of me. It was a pretty serious smash and the jeep hurtled off the road and through a ditch however it seemed no one was seriously injured. I'm sure had I been twenty yards down the road there would off been no poker for me last weekend. So with the accident fresh in my mind as I restart the journey about fifteen minutes later I decide that missing the crash constitutes running good.

Having checked into the hotel and grabbing some dinner with Paul from Brucepoker it was off to the Macau with great anticipation and a hunger for a poker tournament that I hadn't felt in a while. I had been playing a lot of small games recently but the previous Thursday having played like a donkey in New Ross I had decided on a no live poker policy until the Macau as I wanted to be fresh and eager to play. The plan worked as I was well up for it by Friday and its something that I will definitely do again in the run up to a big game.

I cant recall that much of Fridays play TBH but the day went reasonably well. In the first level I flopped a set of queens and won about 30 big blinds with them, which got me above starting stack, and my stack would rise in small increments for the rest of the day. I didn't play any big pots over day one but did hit some nice cards and won a lot of small pots eventually finishing the day on 26,000 chips just short of the average.

Day 2

I didn't sleep great and nipped back to the hotel for an hours nap after a light breakfast. When I woke for the second time that day I was feeling very good about the day ahead and it didn't disappointed. Day two of the event was just the perfect poker day for me and I will remember it well as everything just fell right for me.

The first hand of consequence was what I'll be calling from now on my Brucie bonus hand as I'm hoping I get a hand like this every tournament now I'm part of the Brucepoker.com team. Having worked my stack to over 30k I'm small blind with 47os and decide to complete. The flop comes a magical 3c5c6x, which I check, into three players. The bb checks and the first limper bets 1500, when the second limper announces all in its music to my ears and I get the chips in expecting to be facing a set or flush draw but its even better as he turns 4x5x more or less drawing to a chop. After the hand is over I'm up to about 60k and now I know a deep run is there for the taking.

I lose some chips against a very aggro Cork player when I raise 4.5k on the button with QQ the big blind who is a bit of a maniac re pops me to 10k. Now normally in this spot I 4-bet but because of the way he was playing I decided to slowdown, the flop comes k1010 Yuk. It goes check/check flop, check/check turn, he bets 10k on the river and I make a marginal call to be shown KK and although I lost 20k in the hand I felt rather lucky to have gotten away cheaply.

I got back most of the 20k immediately and was talking over my shoulder to Gavin 'Valor' Kelly about the QQ hand when a very strange hand occurred. I post the big blind and after a little confusion by me I realise that I've actually limped under the gun by mistake. The dealer should of noticed this but its still a stupid mistake. Anyway, just the blinds enter the hand and the flop brings 8s9sJx which fits rather nicely with my Ks5s. Peter Murphy an excellent player makes it 2200 and Guy a very nice English player whom I had been getting on well with raised to 5k. Guy was tight and could lay down a hand so after figuring he probably had two pair or a one pair hand and a ten, I decide to bump it up to 15k, as I'm confident I can fold him out.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Good advice

That's what I gave my buddy Danny on the golf course last Tuesday. Danny isn't a punter but was talking about having a few bets. Me having great wisdom on such matters proceeded to inform him that Galway and Goodwood made the last week of July a bookies benefit week and not to consider a bet. Off-course I proceeded to do my total bollix the next day.

Looking forward to the USPGA championship this coming weekend but a bit hesitant to have a decent punt on anyone, probably just pick four or five at big prices for a few speculative bets and if none of my picks get in the hunt have a punt Saturday or Sunday. I was tempted by the 25/1 available on Sergio which looks pretty big compared to his price in the recent Open but decided against it, the guy would break your heart with his putting.

Next week sees the Macau summer festival in Cork. I really love the Macau festivals and this one looks like being the best one yet. The main event has a 75 minute clock and 15,000 starting stack and having played the structure last year its magic. This will be my sixth festival in the place and I've had some kind of a score in four of the previous five I've played, my best result winning the winter festivals main event in Dec 05. That's a little over two and a half years ago and I remember traveling to the event with no doubt in my mind that I would win it even though it was my first €1,000 buy in. I'm a lot more pragmatic about the game these days, its fingers crossed for a good showing next week and hopefully I can bring my A-game in my first outing in the Brucepoker shirt.

Here's a cool Cork montage I found a while back on youtube, the tune is 'make this love right' aka 'ball and chain' by Romanthony and was a huge anthem in Sir Henry's back in the day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

4-bet shoving air

This is something thats been on my mind a bit and a play that should be in every players arsenal. It's a high risk play but if your continuously being 3-bet there comes a time when you gotta make this move. There should be a few factors in place when 4-betting someone most importantly folding equity. It's the type of play when it goes wrong you can look very stupid which is exactly how I felt when I pushed air into AA at JPs mini festival €250 game on Saturday.

There was about 30 of the 104 starters remaining when I shoved light and the fact that the guy facing the raise would of been getting 2/1 on his money regardless of his holdings made it a very retarded play by me. JP didn't help my spot as he decided to turn into bigslick Kelly and for the first time over the tournament grabbed the mike to declare that Nicky Power was all in with shit Vs AA, nice one thanks for that JP!

Truth be told I hadn't played very well and most of the 60k I had lost in that hand were won in a sick four flush suck out on the misfortunate Oz. I have a bit of record of sucking out on that guy but he is a proper player and always takes it very well. In general I feel that I'm playing fairly poorly for a couple of months now and it's something I need to sort.

The new casino in the city west looks a great spot for poker. The venue and facilities are excellent and hopefully JP is onto a winner here as in my book he runs the best show in town.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brucepoker.com

Well that's whom my sponsorship deal is with. Bruce are one of Ireland's largest independent bookmakers and are launching on the Ongame network. The following statement was posted on the Brucepoker home page yesterday

Brucepoker have signed Nicky Power to represent the New entrant to the online poker market. Nicky will be promoting the Bruce brand at all the major tournaments in both Ireland and the UK Including the upcoming Irish Classic, Irish Masters, the GUKPT final the IPC and Irish Open 2009.

A native of county Waterford, Power has firmly established himself as one of Ireland’s poker elite over the past three years. His biggest payday was when he Final tabled the 2007 Irish Open for 100,000 euro and Nicky has amassed a great number of tournament victory’s in a relatively short time playing.


Nicky’s popularity, enthusiasm and character at the table’s as well as his great skill made him the obvious choice for us”, said head of poker at Bruce, Paul Smallwood.


I’m excited to have signed with brucepoker.com and to have the opportunity to represent them” said Power. ”The poker software and choice of games on offer are excellent and being involved with such a trusted and innovative outfit as Bruce’s is a great honour for me!


The Brucepoker website will include Nicky’s popular blog with regular tournament reports as well as strategy advice and will serve as a place to follow his progress throughout the poker world.



I’d like to thank everyone who wished me well in both threads on boards.ie and in this blog, I’m very flattered by the amount of people who have taken the time to post and really appreciate it.

Thank you to Paul Smallwood and Brucepoker.com for this opportunity. I’ve known Paul for a number a number of years now and we have always been good mates so I’m looking forward to working with him over the coming year. I cant wait to get my teeth into my new roll for Brucepoker.com and cant think of a better place to start than my old stomping ground the Macau for the Classic festival.

It’s a great opportunity that Brucepoker.com have given me, I wish them every success in their new venture into the online poker market. I’m very proud to be representing such a well-respected and trusted Irish company as Bruce and hope to prove myself a worthy investment.

On a personal level being a sponsored player definitely changes things for me. While I feel the deal brings a degree of continuity to my progression as a player it also brings a number of different elements to my poker and how I'm perceived at the tables.

I think there is definitely added pressure on me to achieve results and It's also more important that I behave in a professional manner as I am acting as a branch of a larger entity. I like to think I always carried myself very well while playing but I need to be aware that its not just myself I'm representing anymore. As for the added pressure, well I have always produced my best game under pressure so maybe I can channel this to my advantage.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sponsorship Deal

I have been in negotiations with an online site for the last few months with a view to becoming a sponsored representative for the site at live tournaments. I'm delighted to report that a package has been agreed for me covering all the big Irish events for the coming year including the Classic, Masters, IPC and Irish Open and a number of events in Briton including the GUKPT grand final.

I'm not going to say just yet whom the deal is with as I think it's only right that the other party be allowed to release the details. I'm very happy about the deal and its a great boost to my confidence to be considered and approached for sponsorship.

On the WSOP front most of the guys are gone, my good friend Gavin in the most unfortunate circumstances. He had to return home because of a death in the family and his stack was blinded away on day two. I have no doubt that Gavin will have huge success in tournament poker in the future as he seems to have recently acquired real hunger for it. This off course will just complement his already mightily impressive cash game success.

I was delighted to see Reggie and Pat O' Callaghan make the money and was very disappointed to see Dave Murry and Gary Clarke just miss out. What a run Hawkeye in on, lets hope his money isn't stolen after this ride.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Goodfellas at the WSOP

Its been a good 2008 Vegas for the Irish, five final tablets including Marty taking down the $10k PLO championship event. I first played with Marty in the 2006 IO in Jury's and really like the guy but it's hard not to like him . I don't think I ever herd anyone have anything bad to say about him and the phenomenal success he has had the last couple of years is testament that the good guys can come out on top in this game.

With the first three day ones of the main event over many of my friends have played and seemingly the the Irish run is continuing. A number of mates who's blogs are linked here are going well. My bud Valor has an average stack and says he is probably Fav to win it now day one is out of the way, he is probably right. Rag2gar aka Gary Clarke has a healthy 80k in chips and what a story a deep run here would be after the saga on boards re the package he won a few months back. I think Dara is still in short but that wont faze him. Reggie has the opportunity to put the cardshark broke wind up merchants to sleep for good as he is in with an above average stack also and Dave roundtower Murry who finished 42nd in the event in 2006 has a near 70k stack. With Marty, Padraig, Ciaran and a few more I think also still in Hopefully the march of the good guys continues.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Random

WTF is going on with the boards.ie poker forum the last few weeks. I've been a regular poster/reader of that forum for the last couple of years and always found it a great resource on a number of levels but jesus its been hard to open a tread the last few weeks. There's basically been a number of people pebble dashing every tread with complete drivel. It's probably the time of year where the forum is most inactive generally but these guys are harming the place I feel. There are some great posters and very helpful people who are only to happy to give there time to new players or help oldies like me with poker software ect. However I cant help feeling that many quality posters will be lost to the place if the current trend continues.

On the poker front having left it to late to go to Killarney, myself Pat and Colin Fardy headed to the Fitz for the €120+5 freezout. The Fitz has seemingly been killing the opposition in Dublin lately for bums on seats and maybe the reason can be seen in my last sentence. A €5 reg for a €120 buy in certainly got my attention. It seems they have a policy in place to get you through the door and keep the place busy. There's a lesson there for other operators, tournaments will always be a loss leader but they are a must; theres nothing more off putting to go to an empty venue and many never return. The Fitz is getting them in with player friendly tournaments and going by the eight or so cash tables running there last night there reaping the benefit.

I ran kings into aces in the €120 early enough. Played the round of each with 4 rebuys which was good craic. Having exited that bought into the 1/2 plh game for €300 and got it in with Ks6s V 10s 3s on a 5s4s7x flop against some danish guy. When he hit a 10 on the river I decided that was enough poker for the night so had a nice feed from the very reasonably priced menu on offer.

On the local scene Seamus who has run caesars palace in New Ross for the last few years has expanded to Waterford taking over the poker room in the Olympus casino. I went down for the opening on Friday night and it looks great and really enjoyed the game there and wish Seamus well as he is a top bloke. I don't know how Waterford can support two card rooms so interesting times for players down this way. I hardly ever play cash but know that the games locally have deteriorated over the last year and as cash is where these places make a bob I cant see both poker rooms being profitable but who knows.

Was just looking at recent wsop results on the HMD when a bracelet winner and second in the last few days caught my eye. They cashed 3rd and 19th in this event which I cashed in last year. Fingers crossed it's an omen for my good mate Mr Murry who finished 5th in the same event.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Common spot

The following question was asked in the comment's section of my last post and its something that all mtt players have to deal with one time or another. My answer is anything but definitive, just some rambling thoughts on the issue but relative enough for a post I think.


Could I ask how you deal with the massive swings in tournament poker? I'm on my worst run ever of 31 games without a cash. From the last 18 I have busted from 12 despite being at least a 70/30 fav.


It's really starting to get to me now and I'm thinking I could be a donkey!

Matthew I don't think anyone has the answer and everyone reacts differently to a bad run. I've played thousands of stt and these give you some idea of how bad you can run as the variance can be pretty sick in them and there is even more variance in MTTS. It's conceivable that someone can run good or bad in mtts over there whole life.

The only advice I can give is if you feel how your running is affecting how your playing adversely then take a break. If you feel your still performing to the best of your ability then just play though it as its all you can really do, it can and has for me in the past changed very quickly.

I was asked my expectations for the coming year in a Q&A I did on boards .ie back in January and answered it "because the variance is so much in mtts i wouldn't be surprised if I didn't say have any results that register for all of 2008 on the hendonmob data base on the other hand i wouldn't be surprised to have ten results on it in 2008, thats the nature of being a live mtt tournament player". We have to expect to hit bad patches its just the nature of the beast.

I read an article by Tommy Angelo where he says something along the lines of downswings or upswings for that matter don't exist as you only play in the present. I like what he is getting at as the game your playing or even the hand is what really matters as whats gone before and the future is out of our control, what we should be focusing on is to play in the present the best we can. Anyhow keep the chin up.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Washout

Started the weekends Waterford open on Friday in a fairly aggressive manner. My VP€IP/PFR would of been about 40/38 for the first 90 minutes and I built my 15k starting stack to 20k in that period. After the good start I walked into a few hands and was chased down by a couple of bad draws that hit. I was down to about 8k by the last hand of level 4 and raised Ac9c UTG and got it in on A Q X two diamond flop which was a horrendous brain-fart. The hand was pure tilt and not like me. Seemed a quality FT and unlucky to my m8 Alex Collier who finished tenth. I think bigslick were a little disappointed with the numbers which were down on last year at 140 but i think this may of been a good thing for them. While the majestic was a nice venue it just about had space for the 140 runners and anymore would of been to cramped.

Decided to play the €250 event at the last minute having initially returned to Tramore to go on the beer. I was messing a bit in this and stacked a guy early in a 3 bet pot with 35os. Shortly after I made a pretty sick river 10k shove into a 15k pot with nine high which got through. I exited in level three in a huge pot for that stage. Three way limped pot with me checking my option with J9os, flop K99 and I go bust to the UTGs A9 . I think I might of gotten away from the hand but I'm not sure about it.

Played a couple of WSOP satts on Sunday. Had a run at the 20 package mansion tournament. AT $320 entry this was huge value as it needed 1070 players to meet the guarantee but only 515 started. I was going well with approx 140 left but got RR flushed for a really healthy stack. Hung around for a while but eventually went out 73rd pushing my 9 BBs with a button A10 into AK.

Also played the big stars qualifier busting out about three hours in when the average was circa 15k. Exit hand is below and the second i 3bet I knew I should of just pushed, not that I don't want to race here but I think 3 betting often folds out bad pairs where a push looks like AK here and I can often get called by a hand I dominate.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Me & Tony C

Never made it to Galway in the end between one thing and another. Pity really as €4500 added to a €350 entry event is phenomenal value. Fintan deserves great credit for these value added tournaments they have been running lately. Good to see my Bud Derek pick up one of the value added packages for Killarney. The Killarney game will definitely be one of the highlights of the year, with the €250,000 guarantee for a €500 buy in. I can see a field of 800 runners for that event.

Also great to see my good friend Gavin 'valor' Kelly cash in the sixhanded event at the WSOP. Gavin has a fairly hectic schedule of tournaments planned for the coming month so that good start should be a nice confidence boaster. I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit a huge score.

I was just watching some of the Irish Open 2008 on youtube and about 4 minutes in the segment below the presenter Laure Woods says something like "were 400 down but we still have some of the worlds best still in the tournament" followed by a montage of footage of some of the worlds best :-). These include Brunson, DeWolfe, Parky, me and Tony Cascarino. Obviously whoever put that together knew there poker players.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sporting Festival


Gamblers are peculiar creatures when it comes to superstitions. You see us believe in some strange rituals or behave in some odd ways to secure the affections of lady luck. Weather its turning up one cigarette in a box or carrying a lucky charm we believe these silly manerisms will enhance our chances of winning, while on the other side there's bad luck to be had from walking under a ladder, black cat crossing your path ect. Then there's the dreaded jinx, there's a guy whom anybody from Waterford who ever backed a horse will remember called Eddie Batt. Some gamblers wouldn't have a punt on a day they saw Eddie while most of us just did our bollix anyway and put it down to the fact that we were unfortunate enough to have bumped into him.

When I started playing poker I had this stupid superstition shit going on in my head all the time; I couldn't help it, it's how gamblers are. So I'd sit down to play and everything would be fine until that bitch of a dealer who always badbeats me comes to the table or Jasper the crow sits next to me or I get dealt JJ' I bloody hate JJ it my unlucky hand; you get my drift. Now I like to think I'm a fairly rational person and after a short time playing I realised that letting this stuff affect my disposition at the table was ridicules. After a while that dealer wasn't such a cow and wasn't deliberately putting those beats on me and I won the odd time with Jasper on the table and with JJ. Soon such nonsense would never enter my head again. Hmmm nearly, theres two things that I still have a bit of a bad luck cloud about that I never managed to shake, these are my jinx's my Eddie Batt ( well I am a dopey gambler after all ). The first is Items of clothing, If I notice that I'm wearing something that I never seem to get a result in then that item is disregarded and added to the heap of textiles never to be worn again in my spare room. The second superstition that affects me is venues/places that i feel I run bad in of which there are two, the sporting emporium and Galway.

My last visit to the SE for a festival main event ended abruptly when I got it in with a set of aces on the turn verses a set of fives. I've played about a dozen SATTs in the place over the last three years and never been successful, while over all I'd have over a 30% strike rate in live SATTS. So if I'm honest I wasn't that hopeful going into the weekends €1100 buy in.

I think everyone more or less knew that the field wouldn't be large and the 49 runners was about what was expected. Looking around at the starting tables it was obvious that there wasn't much dead money in the field and most of the better heads of the live scene in Ireland were in attendance.

I hit some smashing hands in the tournament, flopping three sets and a nut flush. Unfortunately I didn't get paid on any off them. I had about 20k at the end of level three and my stack stayed around this mark for the next two levels. John the card room manager was very impressed that I was still in at the end of level five However two hands ended my tournament abruptly in the sixth and final level of day one. First losing 8k to badbeatjoe calling his 6 high flush draw push with top pair and then losing my remaining chips close to the end of play in a 25k pot getting it in on turn holding AA on a KXXX board Vs Muldoon's KQ, K river lolmickmuldoonaments. Played the €250 event but it was a bit of a non event and eventually donked out badly in level 7 having never gotten anything going. Roll on Galway next week for the WSOP SATT.