2009 was a very enjoyable year for me. It started January in Galway grinding a shortstack into the money in the IPC and funnily enough ended doing exactly the same thing in December. In between were a couple of decent performances, horrid beats as well as the odd mind numbing mistake. A standard enough year I guess for a live tournament specialist.
Galway in January was fun. I finished 20th in the main event which was my first ever cash in the city busting a perceived jinx. I didn't have to wait long for my second as that night I won the Simon charity event. This was a lovely event to win for me personally as my bro Pat Storan had won it the year before and the tournaments founder Parky is simply one of my favorite people.
The two other tournaments that month were the CPT grand final in Clonmel and the Lakes of Killarney Festival. I Managed another minor cash in Clonmel, €1750 for 15th and picked up an additional €3700 for 10% of Flipper who put in an excellent performance to win it. I never thought I'd see a trophy bigger then Flippers ego so its only fitting that he should be the one to win it. No cash in Kerry but managed to nick a few quid when I backed eventual winner Derek Murry at 14/1 two tables out.
February was the Deepstack and a couple of beats in main event and monkey side. AA cracked by AK day two of main event and getting four flushed just shy of final table in side. March was a nothing month with no decent game, a nice little ante post bet on Zaynar at 33/1 for the triumph hurdle made it a profitable one, thanks again for that one Ciaran.
April was my forth Irish Open and my shortest going out slow playing QQ while Jamie from Limerick was doing likewise with AA. I played well on a difficult table in the €1500 side but exited early enough also. Still had a great weekend anyway though, it's a deadly social occasion and even managed to get a few rounds of golf in where a lasting healthy golf rivalry with a mister Paul Spillane was formed. The weekend was semi saved financially by the 10% I had of my then boss and good mate, Paul Smallwood who put in a top performance coming 5th in the €1500 game.
May is JP masters month. Played well in main event but exited close to end of play on day one. I did somehow manage to win the PLO event here. It was my first live PLO tournament and 100% fluked but felt good non the less. The other game I played in May was the GUKPT Newcastle. Myself big Pauly, Keith McFadden and Chris Dowling headed off by road for this one, although we had a good craic the car was noticeably light on Stirling on the drive home.
June/July was the highlight of the year for me as I found the perfect mix. Loads of golf with great company and the greatest poker festival in the world. I was in Vegas for a month and think I spent more time on the golf course with Marty Smyth, Paul Spillane and Julian Gardner then I did playing poker. This may sound stupid to some but believe me, I wouldn't be in the right frame of mind for the main event if all I did was play poker everyday. As it worked out, although I did nothing in the other WSOP events I played, I don't think I could of entered the big one in better shape mentally.
Although never in great shape through the four and a bit days I lasted in the ME, the only time I was all in at showdown was my exit AQ v AK on Day five in 353rd for $30k. Its the pinnacle for live tournament players and every morning of the 12 days -because of breaks- I was surviving in the tournament, I woke ten foot tall. The experience I gained this year will stand me in good stead for future WSOP main events and I've been chomping at the bit ever since to sit again in that arena.
Back home the inaugural Waterford Masters took place in Tramore. I was involved in putting this one on and it gave me great pleasure to see the top players from all over the country playing in my home county. I made the last five tables before losing a race to go out. Over all the Festival was a great success and boasted a top class final table. Marty put up a great performance to finish second and in doing so gave me my biggest golfing win. I got €2,100 and a funny story. On the previous Friday we played for percentages in Tramore and Cork the following month. Having destroyed Marty on the front nine we doubled down on separate bets on the back nine winning one each. Being the gent I am I allowed Marty pick what tournament he wanted me to have a percentage in. His reply " you can have the Tramore one as I wont be trying " :-)
August has the Irish Classic in Cork, I was disappointed to see the buy in reduced this year as I felt it took a little prestige from a tournament that's close to my heart. Didn't matter much as I went out in 24th just off the money. I had managed to make the FT of the PLO earlier in the week but also shy of the cash. Had a great weeks golf again so wasn't a total wash out.
The previous week to this was spent in Barcelona at a EMOP event with Connie. No joy but a nice week as Connie is always the best of company.
Other notables in August were making the final table of TCOP in city west and finishing my association with Brucepoker. I made the final table second in chips but only lasted four hands. Felt I had left my team down after the performance as we were still well in with a chance of place money at least. As for finishing with Bruce's. Well I felt I had a good year with them and gave good value for their investment; I certainly had no bad feelings towards them as it was purely an understandable business based decision.
The only thing I played in September was the TV LNSP. My table was epic for the wrong reasons and I didn't cover myself in glory. Got much slagging post this one about getting knocked out by Bernard Dunne so it was fun seeing him go onto to win the thing outright.
October was always going to be a big month with three major festivals. Broke another hoodoo getting a nice touch in Killarney, doing a deal heads up in the €300 event and collecting €13,000. This was followed by the IPO, no cashing but a social weekend that rivals the IO for the criac. What an achievement it is to gather 1,440 players in a tournament in a country as small as Ireland. Eight of us headed of to the K club for a couple of days for what hopefully becomes an annual event, pokers ryder cup. There's a return leg planned in Celtic Manor this February.
The winter festival was the last of the October treble. Looking back on the year this is the one that hurts. I had myself in a super spot with 27 player remaining and think I should of at least reached the final table. I was probably a little hard on myself after the event but still have regrets re that one finishing 22nd for €4,400.
November saw a new addition to the calendar, the JP mini WSOP. No joy here but as ever JP put on a great festival. For me this guy is the best around at what he does and I always look forward to his events.
December had the Macau winter and a second no cash in cork which meant I went a year for the first time since I started playing not taking home some lolly from either of of the big Cork festivals.
I played really well in the second IPC of the year in Galway. For a while there at the end of day two and start of day three I thought I might get to the final table. In the end I never caught a break, finishing 15th for €4,200. Another €5k was picked up for the percentage I had of mister Parkinson who put on a master class to take it down. It was a real pleasure to see Padraig crowned as Irish Poker Champion.
The other major happening for me in December was becoming a Boylepoker sponsored player. With all respect to Bruce's it felt like a step up to me and was a major confidence boast and compliment to secure the deal. While I still consider Paul Spillane my nemesis on the golf-course I also see him as a good friend and a person with a great understanding and visionary approach to the poker industry. I hope in 2010 I can live up to the high standards set by Paul, his team and fellow Boylepoker pros Marty, Padraig and John O Shea.
All in all I think I can say 2009 was a reasonable success. I probably played 18-22 significant tournaments with eight cashes and a very good ROI. I didn't manage a major final table but had semi decent runs at three of the five greater then €1,500 buy ins in the country and a WSOP main cash. Throw in a few nice side wins and I gotta be happy overall. I've always said the major luck factor in the tournament game is which ones you run good in. If I ran like I did in the sides in Killarney or Galway at the last three tables of either IPCs or IWF then it would of been a magic year. Maybe next year.
On a more pragmatic note, reading back over my 2008 review before I started this blog. Sentiments like improved work ethic and better focus were splashed around liberally. I was however realistic to only state one objective for the upcoming year; to make more then had I been working. This I achieved for the fifth year running. The hendon mob data records show a marginal better year then last but only an uninformed person would take that database as a reflection of a poker players P&L. In 2006 I had two small cashes on the HMD amounting to $7,000, in each of the last two years I had over $80,000 on it. The fact is I made more profit in 2006 from poker then either the last two years.
My inertia towards all aspect of the game apart from the relatively larger live events grew deeper over the last twelve months. In fact to the degree that the only real poker I've played have been bigger events in Ireland and a couple of trips overseas. The fact that I was/am sponsored, means I'm lucky enough not to have to worry about buy ins but I've no doubt its also added to my inertia to the grind. The way I've being playing the last two years is OK for someone that has a bank account containing a mega tournament touch but not for the journeyman player that I am.
So goals for 2010 are, to make more then I would of working and I'll include a hope to get some kind of grind on. I do feel there's a decent chance of this happening in a default kinda way as I've knocked the sports betting on the head which was keeping me preoccupied between festivals.