Firstly, huge kudos to John on his magnificent run at the WPT Championship. I know John will be gutted, but he can take great pride from such a brilliant performance.
With John's drive and talent, it's only a matter of time before he scoops a major title on the world stage.
The Celtic Poker Tour grand final had a €1,100 buy-in and 130 starters, with a 20,000 starting stack and one hour clock. For the top players in the country there is no greater value event on the poker calendar.
As I write this, it's down to four players including Dara, Jason Tompkins and Sean Prenderville with Donal O'Connor finishing an unlucky seventh. I think any knowledgeable person looking at the line-up would have the four lads in there top ten to run deep.
The CPT is more or less a rural tour and has a big following of a similar demographic, who more or less play the same style. Basically plenty of limp calling and never folding top pair.
The early levels were a bit of a minefield. Every open got 4/5 callers and every limper is calling 100% of their limp range. This is fine when you're hitting flops but if you're not, the best policy is probably giving up. The early levels here are about getting value from your made hands, I feel bluffing is not wise.
Couldn't get anything going until level three, where I picked up a good pot when I raised A6 and hit top two and another with the bullets.
Was cruising along nicely with 45k, when I get QQ in the small blind. Short stack pushed for 1600 and he was min raised from mid-position. I was fairly sure the raiser had a big hand, so I gave him a bit of talk about how his kings were in big trouble. His reaction confirmed to me that I was right.
I probably should have just folded the Queens, as I wasn't getting the odds to mine for his 23k, I just didn't want to and hit a Q33 flop. The other player had 5k left by the time the river King hit. I was so sure of his hand that I actually check called the 5k reluctantly into the 40k pot.
Had the king not hit, I'd have been on 70k with two hours play left, the chip lead at the end of play for the day was under 80k.
I buckled down for the rest of the day and managed to finish on 34k ahead of the average.
I had a great table but unfortunately it broke early on day two. My new table was harder with Sean Prenderville, Donal O'Connor and Bops on it.
Third or fourth hand on the table, I four bet Sean light. My following button I opened KdQd and Sean 3-bet me again from the BB. I peeled a low flop and floated his C-bet. My plan was going fine when he checked the turn but became unhinged when he shoved over my bet.
Gutsy move with the A8, for ace high which he showed, I would have called very light, just not K high light (just see result now and Sean went onto win it so at least the chips were put to good use).
This dropped me just under the starting stack, which was decimated further in a race AK v 99. I wilted away soon after.
I enjoyed the event; it was well run with a great structure and good atmosphere.
With a third of the year over my results have been woeful. I suppose I should be a bit worried about this, but I'm not. I've really only played a hand full of tournaments this year. I have a decent understanding of what variance can do to you from my STT days and I'm not panicking just yet.
I'm actually in a very positive place with the game mentally. I've been playing a bit more the last few weeks and I'm really enjoying playing. If I'm honest my enthusiasm for the game had weaned seriously for about a six months period.
I can't put my finger on the reason for the inertia in that period. I guess it's just a natural cycle. When you've spent as much time doing anything, as I have playing poker over the past five years, there's bound to be a flat spot. I'm just very happy to be hungry to play and still enjoying it.