Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Long Drive

Following on from the deep stack festival, I was heading across the water for a week. Monday to Thursday was spent playing golf in Celtic Manor, then onto Manchester for leg two of the UKIPT.

I drove to Dundalk to collect Paul Spillane, then to Dublin for the ferry to Holyhead. Leaving the ferry for the long drive across Wales, my sat nav jacked. I was driving in rush hour traffic without a clue where I was going, so I decided to stop at a garage to get a map.

Tired and a wee bit stressed, I somehow managed to mistake the services entrance and went the wrong way onto a slip road for the motorway. Luckily, I copped it and got into reverse just in time to avoid an on coming truck. Paul was of course obliviously snoozing through the lot and will never know how close he came to an untimely end.

Good craic at the golf, although that Ryder Cup course has way too many 430 yard par fours for my liking.

Headed off to Manchester, refreshed and determined to put my abysmal record in England right. I lasted four levels over two tournaments.

I played three hands of any consequence in the main event. The first, I flopped top two with AK and should have folded by the river, against Rob Taylor's flopped set of kings. The second I folded Jacks as an over pair on the turn and got shown kings.

The third, and exit hand was rather unique. I started the hand with chip_icon.jpg5500, blinds 75/150 raising AK to one caller. When I C-bet 700 on a 10 7 2 rainbow flop, my opponent asked how much I had behind. He then proceeded to push enough chips to cover me over the line, but announced call while doing so.

It was deemed a call of my chip_icon.jpg700 bet. Obviously I was finished with the hand, until I paired my King on the turn. I bet small and he put me in holding pocket nines and blinked another on the river, GG!

My performance in the £330 side event can be best described as embarrassing.

I was happy enough to get out of Manchester by Sunday. The generic Grosvenor Casino isn't my favourite place to play poker; if I'm honest I find them rather depressing. I'll probably play the Scottish and maybe Brighton leg of this tour but won't be rushing back for the £500 legs.

Global Warming

The buy-in for the 2010 European Deep Stack saw a major shift downwards; €1650 to €550. Personally I wasn't a fan; however who could argue with a 200% increase in numbers.

It's a strange affair to see 80% of the 465 field made up of non Irish, playing a tournament in Dublin, but that's what we got. I personally don't get all the hate towards French players; I find them cordial and generally good fun to play against. I'd love to see them here in these numbers every week.

My tournament went well for the first five levels adding 40% to my stack. After peaking at around chip_icon.jpg70,000 - I then lost a couple of decent pots holding big over-pairs; once folding and once calling. This left me relatively short with chip_icon.jpg30,000 which I got in spectacularly bad. I held 55 and pushed after I had 3-bet pre-flop on an AJ7 rainbow flop. I looked pretty stupid when my opponent (Alan Fleming) showed up with AA, ah well!

The structure for the deep stack boasts a chip_icon.jpg50,000 starting stack. I'm not a fan and feel it's a bit of a gimmick, as inevitably the average big blind gets pretty low when the meat of the tournament is reached.

The structure came in for a bit of stick on the Irishpokerboards.com forum, when it dropped to eighteen big blinds average approaching the bubble. Mike Lacy the founder of the event came out with one of the most bizarre statements I've ever herd, 'It was nothing to do with the structure why the average stack to big blind ratio got so low'. So I suppose it must have been global warming or planet alignment.

In fairness, Mike has done great work for Irish Poker over the years and has always been innovative and trend setting in his events, so I shouldn't be too critical. As I said, I just found the statement totally bizarre.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Exotic Clonmel

Marty Smyth may be scuba diving on an island off Oz and John O'Shea at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but I think I drew the long straw getting to go to Clonmel for the coursing festival.

The first coursing NLH festival was in 2006. Two English gents sat into a cash game and threw a party, it was their first time playing, I bought in for €300 and cashed out €12,000.

I had only been playing a year at the time and it was a huge score for me. One of these gents was at my table Sunday and it was amusing to hear him telling me he has progressed to playing the biggest cash game in London, with some of the best players in the world.

I only played the main tournament where a decent 158 started. My starting table had Eoghan Lyons and Silky at it. I shared a house with Eoghan in Vegas in '07 and he's a top player but has been off the scene since moving to Australia in early '08, it was good to see him playing again.

I played reasonably well through the tournament and had an average stack, 18 big blinds, when I ran Unkown suit A Unkown  suit K into Unkown suit A Unkown  suit A with 26 players left and 20 paid. I raised Unkown suit A Unkown  suit K under the gun and the button, who had been steady, pushed just covering me.

If I'm honest, I maybe could have folded, but in general I'm not folding Unkown suit A Unkown  suit K very often with 18 blinds.

I'm looking forward to the next two weeks. The 'European Deep Stack' should be interesting if a bit strange, as its mainly populated with French players. I think the field is expected to reach 460 starters with roughly only 60 Irish.

The following week sees leg two of the UKIPT in Manchester. I've never cashed in about six attempts across the water, so hopefully I can right that.

It's only been about six weeks since the IPC and I think I've played four tournaments in total since, but it feels like ages since I hit the money in a tournament.