Clontarf Castle Hotel was the venue for the inaugural visit of the European Masters of Poker tour to these shores. It proved to be a fantastic venue with a top room for a poker tournament. Having played a few of the tours events overseas I knew what to expect- 200 or so Scandinavian online qualifiers most of mediocre ability and hopefully boosted by a good turnout form the home team.
Connie O'Sullivan's, Cue Club events team were running the show and as you could expect with these guys, all targets were met. 300+ players sat down over the two starting days to fight it out for the title. I opted for day one B and my starting table seemed tough enough initially but I warmed to it as the levels progressed.
At the first break I commented to a friend that I expected an Asian kid on my left to start playing back at me soon. First hand back he did, I can’t see how I could of folded my jacks after just making this prediction and his aces held in a 28k pot. Thankfully I doubled immediately after with kings to get back to starting stack of 20k.
Over the next few hours I hit a brilliant run of starting hands, unfortunately they kept getting smashed. I had to give up on Aces three times over the next four levels, costing me plenty on each occasion.
Seven levels into the ten level day I got a table move, I had only about 15k at this stage but was stagnating and hoping the move could ignite me into the tournament. My new table covered the spectrum of Irish poker. On my left was tall Michael Graydon, Mick is having a sick year online and is topping the pocket5s Irish table for 2011. On my right, legend of Irish poker, former WSOP main event finalist George McKeever, so quiet the contrast.
Funnily enough I had never played with George before. I must of impressed him somewhat as after two hours of playing on the table he asked me if I'd like to swap 5% in the event.
I was going along OK and had doubled my stack when I ran AK into A9 just before the last level of the night. I'm well used to losing 30-70's, so it wouldn't bother me generally. However, the fact the dealer burst out laughing when my opponent hit a flush on the river had me steaming I must admit.
Just into the final level with ten big blinds left I got a lucky double shoving A5 into A10. But it was to no avail as thirty minutes later I lost a race for 60k, which was average stack, AK v JJ.
It was a difficult days poker for me as every time I looked like getting something going the deck swung against me. I feel had I won the late race I could well of have had a run at this one, but wasn't to be. I'm never too disappointed once I've played decent poker and I was very happy with my game over the day.
I'll be writing on the event for my columns in the star and bluff and will have a more macro-based sum up of the tournament in those. But big well done to all the Irish that cashed, especially The two Micks and Doke who nearly held off the invaders.