Monday, February 23, 2009

The Live Tour

The Brucepoker Live tour kicks off Sunday at the Crowne Plaza hotel Dundalk at 4 pm. There's a guaranteed prize pool of €10,000 but I'd imagine this will be passed easily, has the makings of a good game so hopefully see you there.

There's not much action in the country in the run up to the IO and as the blog consists mostly of my tournament reviews I cant imagine many posts over the next two months. I wont go to Walsall for leg 2 of the GUKPT this week but probably will play leg 3 in London the end of March. I'm playing a little online but not any real volume. Live, I've been playing a couple of nights a week at the Olympus Casino in Waterford. Seamus and Brian have reopened the card room in partnership, its a lovely spot for a game and hopefully it takes off this time as the lads deserve support.

Cheltneham is only two weeks away and I cant wait. I have a couple of very nice antepost vouchers that I hope to be collecting. I'll have one more major bet over the four days and that will be on Kasbah Bliss in the world hurdle, 11/8 might seem short to some but value is a relative term and I cant see anything touching this one.

I mate informed me that I'm featured in the above book for the greatest bluff in the history of poker. Obviously I was straight on to amazon for a copy; small piece on the no cards hand from the 2007 Irish Open. Amusing to be in a Racingpost publication written by Graham Sharpe.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

GJPDS €500 side

I had no intention of entering this having just busted in the main event but had just enough time to clear my head before it started. I also realised that there isn't a decent game in the country until the Irish Open so I decided to dust my self off and jump in. A decent turnout of 84 players lined up.

My starting table had plenty regular heads from the Irish scene on it, so if nothing else, I was going to have an enjoyable game. I wasn't going to hang around here and was opening a lot of pots. I just called Mick McCluskey SB raise with KK and Mick did very well to just check call the river holding an ace on a AAKxx board. The last hand before the break I held 75os on a 467R flop and lead into five players for 400; Colly from Drogheda raised to 2400 and I pushed when it got back to me. This put me on 16k at the dinner break after three levels.

Shortly after the break I double through 5spin5 from boards having raised 33, hit my set and held against his nut flush draw. Willie "yultired" Clyness joined the table, I enjoy Willies dry humor and he came up with a beauty when a player at the table started complaining his luck. "there's no unlucky players at this table, in fact were all very lucky. Don't you know you beat odds of three million to one when you were sperm to reach the egg first". However Willie was a little unfortunate a few hands later to run his bottom set into my top one.

The table broke soon enough and I brought my now big 45k stack to a table that included Ciaran Burke, a player whose game I have a lot of respect for. With the blinds 200/400 myself and Ciaran managed to get 100k in the middle between us, both holding AKs which is totally standard with our history. The table was joined by a very active young French player. He had his stack up to 40k after a couple of outrages suck outs and had taken a particular liking to my bigblind.

Never one to shy away from mixing it up with this type of player, I got stuck into a good few pots with the guy. I had bluffed him off two pots and he had taken three from me showing air on each occasion. I get his 40k stack with blinds 500/1000 and calling his 2400 open with 97os in the bigblind and hitting a magical 977 flop. He hit a flush on the turn and the chips fly in on the river when he triumphantly flips his flush. Every-time you looked at this guy while in a hand with him, he would give a little wink at you and I couldn't resist a little wink back before I showed my boat. Sometimes poka is sweet.

This put me in a great position with close to 90k three tables left and about a 35k average. I lost close to 20k in a blind on blind with top pair against bottom two in a hand I should really of gotten away from and had 70k when the table broke with 18 remaining.

We only played a few hands on my new table before we broke for the night. I was very disappointed at this as it was only about 2.20 am and I really felt they should of played to the money and final table.

I lost a race to a shorty first hand of the day and then had to fold two hands I 3bets so was back in the pack. I dropped to about 30k but had it back to just 60k when I went out. Down to 14 players and into our forth level of the day with blinds 1500/3000 and 300 ante so average bigblind was 20. A young Asian/English player who was moving his chips in liberally and basically getting away with murder pushed his 100k stack and I couldn't get my 60k in fast enough with AJ. I was looking in good shape against his A5os until the Qd brought the flush for him on the river.

The €300 game was just starting but I'd had enough for one weekend, I was through the redcow roundabout within 60 seconds of the Queen hitting the river.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Battered & Bruised

I don't like whinging when probability decides to fuck with me but battered & bruised was how I felt on the drive home after playing two tournaments at this weekends GJP European deep-stack festival. I went out of the main event on day two with 70 players left, AA verses AK AIPF and out of the monkey side event four off the money in a double the average pot AJ verses A5os. While the second one was only a 70/30, when the forth diamond hit the river, I was gutted as I felt a hold saw me in a super spot for a top three finish.

A 50k starting stack was new territory to me and I wasn't that sure of how to approach the dynamic change if I'm honest. I didn't know anyone on my starting table which had three French players and a couple of English ones. In level Two I had pocket Queens four times in eight hands and ran into three flopped sets without an Ace or King on the board. I lost about 7k chips over those hands and soon dropped to 30k. I rallied back to 60k and was then back to 40k in the last hand before the dinner break when a good French player bluffed me off a big pot with A high on the river in a pot that that I would never of let get that far if we were shallower.

Over the next four levels I found no hands and was having difficultly finding spots with a very laggy, stacked up, English player two to my left and the good French player next to him. I remember 4-betting the English lag with AK suited and folding to a push; he showed Kings. I won a race with AQs v 99 for my remaining 20k just into the last level and a couple of late squeezes saw me finish the day on 59600 which I was very pleased with as It had been a gruelling days grind. I was however disappointed that there was a seat redraw as I felt I had a good read on the betting patterns of the big stack on the table.

I started playing fairly tight on day two but picked up some chips in small pots when I floated the flop against eventual second Jason and a few more with a thin river bet on a 4 flushed board with the 8 of suit against good English pro Stu Rutter. I was playing close to 80k when I made up the small blind with 34os in a five way pot. A French player bet half pot on a 9 5 2, two club flop and I called and blinked the non club 6 on the turn for the second nuts. The French player was well stacked so I lead the turn for 10k. The river paired the nine which I thought might be a good card for me to get paid so I lead for 20k. He goes into the tank for a decent amount of time and makes the call; I turn over my straight fully expecting to see the pot shipped my way and I'm surprised to see him flip over fives full of nines.

I exit the tournament about ten minutes later to the same player. He opens in early position and I pick up the rockets in the SB I think. The raiser has had two opens snapped off in the previous couple of hands so I'm sure he has a hand and decide 3-betting is my best option. He puts me in for my stack of 43k and I'm looking good to win a 90k pot against AK until the boards comes QQJ10 to see me exit in 71st position. Donal commented as I left the table that, " at least I had a good story" hmm I rather have had the chips.

I'm not sure about the structure TBH and certainly wouldn't like to play it every week. There is an extraordinary amount of play early but I was watching the clock closely and once it hit 50 players left it played out like any other tournament. For long periods leading to the final table the average bigblind was less then 30. So, for example at that stage of the event, the structure was actually a lot worse then the Irish Classic or JPs masters where the average bigblind never fell below 60 bigblind at any time before the final tables. I think the structure needs tweaking; a suggestion would be run a 45 minute clock for the first ten levels, then increase to 75 minute levels. I think this would bring balance to the event.

I'll do a review of the €500 game later in the week

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Lakes of Killarney Festival

My favorite online site, teamed up with my favorite tournament organiser to bring us this years Lakes of Killarney Festival. With €5,000 added by Brucepoker and 145 starters, a tasty prize pool of €77,500 was on offer for the €500+50 buy in.

I started very well and had my 15k starting stack up to 20k after the first three levels leading to the dinner break and I was feeling pretty good about my game and table. My disposition was changed by external factors when a dope tried to cause trouble for me in something that had nothing to do with the game in Killarney. When I returned to the table my focus wasn't great and I played pretty badly losing all my chips before level six.

I played the €300 side event on Saturday which had 50 starters and enjoyed my table although again I didn't play well. I did manage to get my chips in good on my exit hand; AQ v A8 AIPF. Pat managed to grind his way into 5th for €1500 which was a good achievement given the stack he had the whole tournament.

There was one or two rumblings about the quality of the hotel which I thought were ridiculous. It cost €31 a night PPS, served breakfast til noon and the bar stayed open til 5 am. The carvery was available in the bar all day into the evening and was top class so no complaints from me on the hotel front. The tournaments were run to an excellent standard, with great structures but you know your always going to get this with Connie and Matt at the helm. I think Killerney is the only spot in Ireland where major tournaments are run that I have never had a result. If I was told that I would never get a result there, I'd still be first registered for any event the lads run because your always guaranteed a great weekend in the Kingdom.

Although the poker was no good for me I still managed to sneak a profit on the weekend. Flipper set the under/over for the number of starters at 138 and I jumped on the over. I also had a couple of bets on the event when 20 players remained, namely Derek Murry and Paul Coyle both at 14/1, €100 each way on each ( 1/5 odds 4 places ). The lads did a deal on chips heads up with Derek taking the Trophy and a few quid more then Paul.

Mr Coyle first came to my attention at the JP Masters last May and has impressed me every time I've seen him play. Paul took a huge hit early on the final table losing a 600k pot AK v AQ but showed great character and resilience by not letting it affect him. Myself and Derek have been good mates since we Both final tabled the winter festival in Cork 2005. Derek became predominantly an online player in 2006 but has in the last year rediscovered his love for live tournaments. That's two victory's in the last three big tournaments in the country and an IPC final table in between for Derek so he is definitely making his presence felt. Both lads are smashing players but also great blokes and with young players of this nature, quality and temperament coming through, the future of Irish poker is in safe hands.

The starting table I was on at the IPC was the focus of last nights show on RTE, These were my thoughts on the table after the tournaments; "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". So if you want to watch a very boring hours poker show then heres the link. I should be back on the show this week or next week and it should make for better TV.