What a great way to spend Easter weekend the Irish Open poker festival has become. I've always been fond of the city west as a venue and you have to hand it to Paddypowers they put on a great show. Luckily enough theres enough entertainment on offer to keep you occupied if you exit the tournament early as my 2009 IO appearance was rather brief.
We canceled the golf due to bad weather Thursday so six of us went to the Asian restaurant for dinner. Keith McFadden drew the short straw for the €300 bill and immediately proceeded to do a grand playing pitch n toss to Flipper trying to win the dinner money back.
I stuck to my no hangover plan and was in bed by 1.30 having drunk one pint. I woke at three, my body under attack by some virus or reacting badly to the oysters I had at dinner. I put in a horrible night of sickness and got back to sleep about eleven the following morning for two hours. Bops who I was rooming also put in a different type of sick night doing his total konkers in the supersatt and later the cash games. He was heading down home to reload when I was finally getting some kip.
I dragged myself down to the poker area about 1.50 and thought very strongly about unregistering. If theres one thing experience of playing these multi day events has thought me its that you cant win them on day one. With that thought in mind I decided to try and just get through the day. I get to my seat and know two players at the table, Mick Muldoon and Jamie from Limerick. I'm not exaggerating here when I say if I was asked before the game to pick a player that I would least like to have direct position on me, the player I'd pick without hesitation would be Muldoon, but that was where I got him.
My Open consisted of two hands. About 30 minutes into level one six players see a raised pot, I hold 3h5h on the button. The initial raiser bets 575 on a 4d 6h 9h flop and I raise to 1825 quiet happy to go to war with an over pair. Muldoon throws a spanner in the works by shoving from the small blind. As much as I like a gamble I'm not calling them off in this spot, I was thinking 7h8h which was murdering my hand, he told me a couple of days later he had AhJh which was just killing it.
My exit hand was 60 minutes later, I'm playing 7k and pick up my first starting hand of the tournament in QQ. I smooth a 300 open and the 500 raise from the BB, flop of 2c3x4c goes C/C, I call 1500 on the turn and a river shove to be shown AA. I don't mind how I played the hand as I didnt think my opponent had a small range pre and I was happy to get them with the Queens at any stage in the hand.
By 6 O C the bar was littered with most of the top poker players in the country. I'f I had to do a list of 20 Irish players I gave a chance to in the tournament about 17 of them were out by level four. Maybe the novelty of having the bar open on good Friday was just to enticing.
Saturday consisted of a hugely enjoyably game of golf with Marty Smyth and Paul Spillane from Boyles. Bruces came out well on top in this one with me winning 14 skins. I spent the rest of the day having a few beers and watching the Masters.
Played golf again Sunday with the same three ball. I asked Jude Ainsworth if he wanted to join us but he said that he was going to spend the evening trying to qualify for the SCOOP $10K that night. As he went on to win $963,000 and the title of SCOOP main event champion over the next two days he probably made the correct decision re the golf. I'm friends with Jude by default through his best mate Derek and its Derek that has for a couple of years now been telling me just how good Jude is. I think the whole world knows now, what a performance it was after watching the hole cards on stars tv.In the golf we played for percentages in the €1500 event. Marty, not a man that will be kept down for long owned myself and Paul in this round. It wasn't all bad though as although Marty got 10% of us we still got 5% of him which is never a bad thing.
The €1500 game started at five and I intended to start aggressively and try get a big stack together. We had the novelty Jamie Gold on the table in full wsop waffle mode. He was good craic actually and played well enough except one retarded over shove over Cairan Burkes Queens open with A5os. Two aces later Ciaran was out and I was eyeing up Jamies stack. After three levels I had over twice my starting stack, felt on top of my game and was really getting into the tournament.
Ten minutes into level four I was out. Andy Black whom I hadn't played with before had joined the table. I raise AKos under the gun and get two callers, Andy shoves for circa 7k from the sb. I insta shove as I'm very happy to take on his range here with th AK, his tens hold. A couple of hands later I'm playing 8k and 3-bet to 2500 with JJ from the button and call a shove. This time I lose to AK. I'm not 100% about the call with the jacks as this guys range was narrow enough tbh but I had set out to play aggro so I'll chalk it down to an aggro call.
I was dissapointed not to go deeper in that game as I felt good about my game but these are the joys of tournament poker. As myself and Paul settled down in the bar to watch the last round of the masters we comforted ourselves with irony that although Marty won the golf he was the one that could end up handing over money. I also had 10% of my Brucepoker boss Paul Smallwood who was accumulating a nice stack.
I hadn't had much to drink up to that point of the weekend but put that right Sunday night. The last thing I remember was about 5.30 A M telling the TV production people that every poker tournament has a story running through it and it was up to them to capture it. I hope I went to bed shortly after this as I can only imagine the level of bullshit to follow that.
Monday was spent hungover railing Paul and heckling ( in a nice way ) Jamie Gold. Every time Jamie took down a pot he got a rendition of the chorus of the above Spandau Ballet song. Paul played a stormer in the €1500 finishing 5th for just shy of €20,000. He can be very proud of the finish is a brilliant field, he even managed to win two races against Jamie, WP m8 great result.
Although the tournaments were very disappointing for me the IO is such a great social weekend you cant not have a good time. It was great to catch up with friends over the weekend esp my good bud Gavin 'Valor' Kelly who was home from Argentina. Bops won back the money he lost Thursday and had a miraculous cash in the PLO tourney for €1600, he had one bigblind when the bubble broke. Flipper did his stones but returned to Mallow confident in the knowledge that he is still the best poker and pitch n toss player in the country. All in all a great weekend but alas I'm going to have to wait at least another year before I become the IO champion.