Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Irish Open

Easter weekend is the most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. For poker players in Ireland, it means one thing; the most important tournament of the year is upon us.

The Irish Open is Europe's longest running poker festival. The significance of the event in Ireland can be gleaned from the fact that the prize-pool on offer is greater than the next five major Irish events cumulative prize pools totalled.

The tournament has two major changes from last year; the structure and venue.

The structure for the Irish Open this year sees a couple of needed extra levels added. Also, those lucky enough to make day two will see an increase in the duration of each level from 60 to 75 minutes.

While these are major improvements, I still can't understand the resistance to an increase of starting chips from ten thousand. Sooner or later the stakeholders will have to fall in line with every other major poker event in the world and give a larger starting stack.

This year's tournament sees a return to the 2007 IO venue, the Burlington Hotel. I'm not aware of the reasons for the move from the City West, but both are great locations, so another fantastic festival can be expected.

The last time the Burlo held the event, I was lucky enough to be part of an epic final table. The final nine in 2007 included Peter Eastgate, Roland De Wolfe, Sorel Mizzi and eventual champion Marty Smyth.

I finished sixth for €100,000 having entered the final day 2/7 in chips, I was so disappointed upon my exit, that I drove straight home and didn't leave the house for three days! I somehow don't think I'd be as disappointed now about nicking 100k.

2007 was also the last time an Irishman kept the title on home soil. Hopefully we can see off the raiders this year.

If the budget needed for the Open is beyond your bankroll, the Bank Casino Cork are running an alternative festival. This have a main event buy in of €275 and hosts three side events, so something for most pockets on offer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tight Kerry men

Kerry men have in general attained a reputation for playing tight poker. I saw this taken to a new level at the Paddy's day Deep Stack extravaganza at the Macau Casino Cork.

In the main event a Kerry player smooth called the river with a royal flush, in the round of each side event I saw another check behind the river holding the nuts. Loosen up lads.

The Main Tournament was a €440 buy in with 73 runners and boasted a 50,000 starting stack.

I was critical of the recent European Deep Stack's structure and this wasn't much different. I'm not saying these tournaments don't have merit and deserve a place on the calendar, just that the structures need to be a bit more balanced.

Of the 73 that started day one, 68 made day two, so we lost just shy of 7% of the field on the first day. This isn't enough and playing the day just all seemed so pointless to be honest.

I feel leaving out the 25/50 and 75/150 levels while introducing the ante at 100/200 would improve these structures no end.

My tournament itself was going fine until we hit level nine (500/1000-100 ante) when I lost a bunch of chips to a chap who considered 42s a profitable hand to play out of position. I had raised his limp pre and stuck in a good flop bet with my Queens on a Unkown suit J Unkown  suit 7 Unkown  suit 2 flop.

I suppose I could have folded the river after checking behind when a second two hit the turn, but I'm a bit of a station.

Shortly following that hand, I lost the main chunk of my chips all in pre holing Unkown suit A Unkown  suit A v Unkown suit 10 Unkown  suit 10. After a minor rally I went out two levels later in a button cut off exchange holding Unkown suit A Unkown  suit K against stalwart of the Cork poker scene, Zeke Tuits Aces.

I did play the round of each tournament, but no good. Shout out to the three lads from my local club in Waterford; Shamu, Eric and lucky Colin Fardy who chopped it three handed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poker For The Homeless

The Jackpot was the venue for this wonderful event. Its a great testament to the players that numbers were up on last year in these recessionary times and €15,000 was raised for such a worthy cause.

Padraig Parkinson deserves a lot of credit for the work he and his team put into to these events. It's pretty unusual to see Padraig getting players out of the pub to start the tournament as we did on Friday night.

Fridays game was €100 freezeout and had a tremendous atmosphere.

There was a virtual horse race where the entrants were auctioned off. Eddie Walsh's horse won and Eddie proceeded to donate his €1,600 first prize to the charity; a super gesture.

Top trainer Philip Rothwell gave an impromptus preview of the Cheltenham festival which was well received by all the players, I'll reserve judgement until his tips run.

Former international prop-forward Reggie Corrigan was one of the celebrity players. It was quiet funny seeing the bouncer refusing Reggie entry when I was leaving. Reggie being the easy going type he is; thankfully for the bouncers sake, also saw the funny side of it.

Twenty seven teams turned up on Sunday for the four-man team event. My team consisted of Ray Kent, Pat Storan, Marty Smyth and myself.

It was touch and go whether Marty made it as he was still in the blackbelt tournament in the Vic in London late on Saturday night. Being the Champ he is he managed to lose his chips just in time before play ended.

All to no avail though as Marty exited early on Sunday, he did however stay in long enough to win the last longer bet with me.

All in all a great weekends poker, its not often that the participation is more important then the winning where poker events are concerned, but on this occasion that's certainly the case.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Marty brought a bandit to the K Club last week for the golf, but he didn't do it right. Kevin played off twenty and did what all good golf hustlers do, just scraped home for his team on day one. Then on day two when the stakes were up, he shot the lights out, hitting a magnificent 38 points on the Smurfit course to secure a 14 point victory for his team.

What did Marty do wrong? He teamed Kevin with me, TY TY Mr Smyth.

Over dinner he told me the story of how the week before he laid his mate 50/1 on Marty to win an arm-wrestle. The mind boggles that he actually went on to win it, the arm-wrestle, not the bet.

I woke last Sunday refreshed after the two days at the K Club and mad to play poker. I was very happy about this, as it's a zest I've always had, but has been sadly lacking a bit lately.

I had a good look at Irishpokerboards.com to see what was on live. My choice was a €50 game in Tramore, or a €100 game in Dundalk. Instead, I decided to give the bigger online Sundays a spin.

Played about $1,200 worth of buy-ins and got a decent sweat in the warm up for a while, but ultimately died in 72nd for $1,600.

I travelled to Cork Friday night for the €275 Macau monthly tournament. Played well enough and hit the final table with the chip lead. With nine left and six paid, a few of the lads wanted to pay an extra three places for their buy-in.

I refused, as it just gave the three short stacks free reign to launch their chips. Within twenty minutes, I had doubled all three up, dropping from chip_icon.jpg180k to a shortish chip_icon.jpg60k. Over the next two hours I managed to chip it back to chip_icon.jpg220k and at 6 AM with six players remaining, I agreed to a chop based on chip counts.

This is always in favour of the big stack and I picked up €3,000, which was the second place money. Not going to retire on it, but always nice to hit any type of result when you haven't been making the first break for two months.

I had hoped to get to Dublin on Saturday but the late finish killed that plan. JP was running a tournament with a new innovative structure that by all accounts, was a great success. Hopefully I make the next one.

Not much on the calendar over the coming weeks. I won't go to Galway for the PLO, as I don't play the game and can't see the point of throwing grands away.

Friday the 12th sees the Simon charity game in the Jackpot and everyone should really try to get along to support this worthy cause.