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 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