I love this festival - JP puts a huge amount of work into getting every detail right and constantly strives for improvements.
Chatting with him after last year's festival, he wanted to find a way of finishing earlier without any compromise of the great structure.
The previous two years the final table ran into early Monday and he wanted to give the finalists a chance to celebrate. His solution was to introduce ante's at the 100/200 level and to go eight handed as early as possibly; it worked a treat.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to play eight handed for long. I lost a quarter of my stack to a Silky set. Another quarter not connecting with multiple cheap flops over five hours and the last half pushing a flopped flush draw verses top pair.
The two side events went no better. In the €300 I slowed played Queens expertly - unfortunately my opponent held Kings. The €150 saw another early exit getting it in pre flop with the boots verses the Fox's tens.
Similarly to the recent Celtic poker tour game, this is filled with players who are used to playing much faster structures. Hence, a huge amount of value for players who play the better structures regularly.
Amazingly, Sean Prenderville went back to back. Some performance again, I'm sure there is a bit of run good involved to achieve such a brilliant feat, but Sean must be doing a hell of a lot right at the same time, so a huge well done to him.
Another three that are showing great form are Jason Tompkins, second in the CPT and bubbled the final table here in a couple of coolers, Donal O'Connor who had double final tables and Dara O'Kearney with a forth and FT in the main side at JP's game. Well done to all.
Well done also to the Waterford lads who managed to cash. My friend Pat Storan who is getting back into the grove with a double cash, Jim Ringland and Gally who was second in the €150 for a nice €4,000.
I had another good chat with JP Sunday. I think he was disappointed that the numbers were slightly down on last year. I told him I thought breaking the 200 mark in these recessionary times was a great result.
As we rambled on about how the recession was affecting the poker ecosystem, it really struck me why I've always been so supportive of this guy. It was clear that the cash wasn't good over the weekend, this obviously means less profits.
JP's distress was focused on the fact that dealer's tips were down and his main thoughts were about counter-acting this next year, to ensure the high quality is maintained for future events.
He told me his hierarchy of objectives when running an event are:
1) make sure everything is spot on for the players
2) ensure he has the best dealers and it's worth their time to work his events
3) make a few quid for himself.
This ethos is exactly why I've always said JP is the best tournament operator in the country.