I was looking forward to this one. The IWF boasts the second largest prize pool of the calendar year and with good runs at the title the previous two years, I was confident entering the tournament.
My plan was to arrive late to the Burlington on Friday night and get a good night kip. I checked in at ten and was in the bar at 10.05. Wally told me he'd been playing cash all night and asked could he use the spare bed in my room for a kip the following morning. I got to bed about five, Wally woke me about 7.30 carrying a bag that suggested he intended to stay longer than the original nap time requested.
I started the game a little hung-over and a lot jaded, after my two and a half hours kip. My starting table had Derek Murray, Pauric (Digiman on IPB) and a decent American player who recently won the UKIPT Scotland.
The first two levels were just feeling out the table. In level three I lost a few chips to Pauric, trapping into his turned flush. There was a decent enough Latvian player on the table whom I got a very lucky double from playing about 12k.
He had call numerous three-bets showing up with hands like Q8, so I wasn't that worried when he called mine while I was holding Queens. I got very worried when we got it in on the Jack high two-club flop, with him holding top set. I picked up a flushdraw on the turn and rivered a Queen.
The rest of the day went very well. I gradually grew my stack all day without playing any big pot or ever being in danger of going out, eventually finishing with 78,000. This was a top twenty stack with 110 left, so I was in a very healthy position.
It had been a very long twelve-hour day's poker, so I decided to skip a post play drink and retired to my room for that over due good night sleep but I hadn't factored in Wally. I was awoken from a coma state about six, as he had decided to watch the Malaysian Grand Prix at full volume.
Back to the tables and not as refreshed as I hoped, the first two hours were spent protecting my stack, as I wasn't finding any hands. When I eventually found AK I got it in with a shorter stacks . The Queen on the river was unfortunate. It meant the difference of having 50 or 25 big blinds nearing the period, where people are thinking of making the cash.
I did chip back my losses in the hand fast enough, by upping my aggression but was out soon. While playing something between 70-80k, I raised the small blind and Funkymonk from IPB over shoved from the big. I more or less snapped with and lost to his Tens.
I'm sure my hand played well against his pushing range and if I had known his hand, I think I would have taken the race anyway. The implied advantage of getting my hands on 150k in chips, twenty-five from the money in a tournament with a huge amount of satellite winners is fairly massive.
Ultimately, it was another disappointing tournament, continuing the run of getting my hands on chips but exiting with around 20% of the field remaining. I wouldn't be human if I wasn't finding this run frustrating. However, I'm playing well and getting my hands on chips, so I'm actually feeling very good and positive about my game.
I was unlucky not to get a draw out of the tournament in the end, as I had backed eventual third, Tom "The Bomb" Finnernan at 50/1. Tom's a top player but couldn't catch a break on the final table, having entered it 4/1 favourite to take it down. It was still a great and well deserved result for Tom.
The weekend wasn't a total washout, as I was lucky enough to back Jonathan Byrd in the PGA event in Las Vegas at 60/1. It was some buzz seeing him get a hole in one to wrap it up on the fourth play off hole.I'll spare everyone the story of Wally waking me up at six that morning.