I didn't have high expectations when I headed off to Galway last Thursday. I did a post last year of how Galway has never been the happiest hunting ground for me. I had been asked if I wanted to play on one of the feature tables. Now I knew this would mean playing on a very difficult starting table but the fact that I'm sponsored meant this was a good opportunity to promote the Brucepoker.com brand so it was an EV trade off I was happy to make.
Although I envisaged a decent starting table I hadn't expected as strong a line up as I got. Have a look at these five beauties lined up together. From left to right, Ciaran O' Leary, Marty Smyth, Mark Goodwin, Sideshow, Julian Gardner. I started very well and was up to 17k in chips by the end of the second level. The only hand I remember from those levels, I raised 99 and got two callers. My C-bet on an A23 rainbow flop was called by the chap directly to my left and I gave up on the hand. However the turn was checked back and a beautiful 9 sprang on the river where I got I nice pot sized value bet paid.
The next hand I played of any consequence was against Maria Maceiras. Maria had been by far the most aggressive player up until this point, we had clashed a few times in the previous levels and I was looking to try win a pot against her and slow her down. I'm still not sure about the way I played the following hand but it worked out very well. Maria raised from early position which ment nothing as she was probably opening about 40% of pots and I called with 6c7c in the big blind. Flop is 10cJc3x and I check raise her C-bet. Now I think she is calling with a lot of one pair hands here with the intention of re-evaluating on the turn when I act because at this stage my hand is transparently enough a draw I feel. I lead hard at the turn expecting her to fold most one pair hands, certainly AJ A10 and when she calls I'm finished with it. Another lucky river gives me the flush. Normally I just shove the river here but i didn't want to lose a big bet; I'm playing just short of 9k and she has 12k. I throw a 5k chip in which is 25 big blinds and Maria calls after a long dwell, my gut tells me I got maxim value.
This years IPC is scheduled to go out in eight one hour episodes on RTE and when we moved to the TV table the production guys were hoping to get an episode from the table by the end of play. Well if they do achieve this it will be the worst hours TV poker of all time. While there was plenty of banter I don't think there was one interesting hand occurred during our two hour plus stint. The table was broken as the last level of the day started and I had maintained my 25k stack until the second last hand of the night went i dropped 8k with QQ against a well played KK.
After a redraw I had a very interesting table for day two. Legends, Padraig Parkinson and Donnacha O'Dee, my good mate Derek Murry who was well chipped up and Maria who exited early and unluckily in a monster pot with a flopped top set verses a combo draw.
We were moved to the TV table early enough in the day and not long in Mr Parkinson got most of my stack. Standard enough hand given the stacks with Padraig pushing the cut off for about 9k with K9 and I call in from the BB with tens. This left me very short. I managed to get a couple of pushes through and then added a decent few chips when Derek raised 4.5k over a limper and then folded fours to my additional 9k push with AQ. We were on the table for about 90 minutes and I managed to maintain my stack without seeing any hands. Neill Channing and Jessy May were commenting on the session and both were very complementary on my play later with Channing saying that he ran out of superlatives to describe how well I played the shortstack. It's great to hear this from these guys but in all honesty its not that hard to play a 10-15 BB stack. My thought after the chat with Channing was I hope to god I get a chance later in the tournament to show you what I can do with a big stack.
My new table has Derek two to my left with the impressive Rory Rees Brennan next to him. It becomes apparent immediately that there is a few soft spots on this table. I get my now customary Brucie bonus hand with about 60 players remaining in the tournament when I push my 16k from the SB with Ac4c into KK and spike an ace. This gives me a few chips to play with and I get my stack to over 50k without showdown before I play my biggest pot of the tournament thus far.
I raise UTG and Derek who has taken a few hits pushes for 41k; I think I can get away form the Jacks for a number of reasons but dont and Der has the Rockets. Back down to 11k I double through Rory with 44 Vs AJ and get a steal through to get up to 31k. I then hit 70 when I get it in against Breandan Ruane with AK V AQ.
The table breaks shortly after this and were heading for the bubble. Chris Dowling the eventually second is the bigstack on the new table and played an excellent bubble. I was totally card dead for this period and couldnt find a spot but luckily enough the bubble burst fast enough.
At this stage play was stopped and we were informed that extra chips were being added to the tournament. This was a disaster for the organisers and I gave my opinion on the situtation in the boards.ie forum
" I think the situation was handled commendably. The physical chip management security system was obviously breached. But there was audits in place to identify the breach and the organisers acted swiftly and decisively once the problem was identified. I was very impressed whit how it was handled.
People will argue that there shouldn't of been a problem in the first place but if someone is intent on breaking down security, it will happen. As northern banks improved there security after they were relieved of 40 million, the system in place here will also be improved in future".
I feel Donal and Fintan handled a horrible situation in an exemplary manner and deserve a lot or credit for this. Play was eventually stopped for the day with all the chips in the tournament being substituted.
So back for day three with 18 bigblinds and hoping to run good. Were on the TV table again but its a little strange as with the unscheduled early start the cameras aren't running. I lose most of my stack in a race to Johnny Weaffer with Jacks V AQ early enough, get a double up with A5 V Q9 a couple of hands later and exit next hand pushing 910s from the cut off into Pete Murphy's AK. So another deep but ultimately disappointing run; I'm happy with my performance overall, I gave myself a small squeak when in all honesty with the cards I was dealt over the event I should never of had one.