Home for two days then back to Dublin for the Winter festival. I finished 13th in this one last year and I entered the weekend with the out look of having some unfinished business. I was feeling good about my game after the recent little touch in Killarney and with this in mind I kept swaps to a minimum.
My first big game since parting ways with my benefactor so back to what I always did; satellite. After a major hiccup just post rebuy stage, I was left with seven BBs but a quick treable with AA and double shortly after saw me back comfortable. I didn't top 18k through the game but cruised to the ticket handy enough with 50 of the 200 starters getting in. So in for €450.
I had a great starting table but unfortunately it was an early breaker. Had Channing to my right playing well on my new table. We clashed with me holding AA, unfortunately he held the same hand; plenty histrionics from both of us before we got our circa 20k stacks in over five bets pre. I had a bad level six and dropped to 9k when we had our last break of the day.
I felt I played very well in level seven chipping up to 25k; I was very happy with the way I played one marginal spot. Into the last level of the day I had taken a little hit and was playing 20k when I raised K9s in mid. Flop was a lovely K99 and got a full double up, getting my stack in over three streets against the unfortunate John Hennessey. Was happy enough going back day two with 40k.
Day two went very well until the third last hand of the night. I was just tapping away for 3/4 levels, then I hit a big double. Ali Mali who was living up to his reputation for the unorthodox shoved his 52k stack over my EP open of 6k with 1010. Playing 50k I was happy enough to get them in here, he held A7 and Tony Cooney informed me he folded an ace so a great spot for me. With a few more chips to move now I stepped it up a bit and was gathering chips. I won two races against a shortish Coo and even shorter Bops.
Up to about 200k now, about 20 off the money my plan was all out attack towards the bubble. However that plan took a major setback in the following hand. The impressive Paul Dooley, whom I hadn't seen since he finished 8th in the 2007 Irish Open limped, blinds 1500/3000 and I bumped it to 12k with 46os which he called and checked shoved over my 20k c-bet on a 3 4 7 flop. Getting almost 3/1 and fairly certain I've nine outs I'm always calling but there was a few raised brows when I turned my hand.
That cost me over 70k and a raise or two snapped of brought me back into the pack as we closed in on the bubble. By this time Marty Smyth had moved to my right and we were on the feature table. Marty had just had about four openings snapped off no doubt by big hands when he opened the button, I've KQ in the SB and shove. Marty's 99 doesn't look great when I hit the nut straight on the flop but I think I'm dead when he turns a set. Luckily the river bricks and were one off the money. I had 9% of Marty; one of my three 5% swaps ( Jude and Danny the others ) and had won the other 4% on the golf course the previous morning so probably not the smartest move getting lucky against the most proven winner in the field.
I had 150,000 now and although only average chip I was big stack on my table which was passive with a few hanging into the money. Basically, the perfect spot to take advantage of the bubble. Thankfully the bubble lasted a good while and I was able to more then double my stack in that period. I won a blind on blind race shortly after this to hit 400k when a strange one occurred.
The eventual runner up Micheal Murphy raised in EP I'm BB with 66. Just as the SB folds he turns his hand face up, AK. Obviously misunderstanding I'm still in the hand. Anyway I call and hit my set on a 10 6 3 flop. Its a horrible spot for him and I just shove and show as I think its the fairest thing to do but I think he may of shoved the flop had he not of turned his hand so probably a little unlucky for me and as things turned hugely lucky for him.
We thought we were playing to 27 player all day but when we hit that number we were told that we had to play until the end of level 11 another 40 minutes. A fight in the poker area was a little off putting around the same time. Three new players had joined the table as we broke to three tables and around this time I lost a bit of momentum dropping back a bit in chips. The third last hand of the night I raised AQ in early and the BB repopped me to 70k; I straight away decided to fold but 30 seconds later there was 600k in the middle and I needed to hit an ace which never arrived against his KK.
The hand has haunted me all week. I looked at the guy before folding and he was wearing a hairband. When I looked at the guy he was nervous, I somehow decided fuck this I'm not having some dude with a hairband push me around. I also misinterpreted something Stevie Devlin said about the guy when he came to the table. I've been beaten myself up about the hand but tbh I'm not sure if the push was as bad as I've been thinking and I'm just being result orientated. It could certainly be deemed as unnecessary as I was getting chips handy enough but I had no real hands through the tournament so got most of the chips I had playing unnecessary hands. I'm definitely folding out all but 4 hands and maybe all but 2 and had 4-bet shoved air a couple of times through the tourney so I guess you live by the sword.....
I came back the next day with 10 BBs but still hopeful. As the blinds were so big It wouldn't take much to get back into it. I couldn't get a spot the first 13 hands but luckily got a walk on my BB. second orbit I shoved Q10 when its folded to me in the cut off, unfortunately the BB woke up with AA; out in 22nd for €4,400, GG.
I really enjoyed the tournament, Its the first time in a while I've had a good stack to play with in one of these and generally I thought I played very well although I think from the spot I was in after the bubble I make the final table a high percentage of the time. I donno how bad the AQ hand is but my initial inclination was to fold so that tells me the shove was a mistake, then again if your going to win a 400 man tournament, your going to have to come out on top in a big pot 30/70 spot like this at least once.