Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do you want to hear a sick one?

This was the question I was asked returning from a smoke in Clane Friday night from a random person I didn't know. Usually I just listen to the persons badbeat, nodding away with a numb brain. This time I just said "not really" as I was a bit steamed on Guinness and thus not at my diplomatic best. I hope the gentleman involved didn't take offence, but I think I was doing him a favor long term.

The tournament was good craic. My starting table had great potential with John O'Shea, Chris Dowling & a few notable IPB heads, unfortunately none of them were on the Guinness buzz with me.  

There was six levels played on day one, I spent at least four of those in the bar, making it through the day with an average chip stack. I think my best play of the time I spent on the table was to come up with a nickname for Chris 'showdown' Dowling.

Having had my fill of the black stuff I staggered off to bed about 3am and thought that was it for the night. Imagine my surprise to wake about 5am and find the legendary Mark Reilly on the bed beside me. Now I do like Mark a lot and was regaled by his story of how he went from being on the lash in  leixlip to ending up on my bed, but I did ask him to please %&$% off  to the poker room when he starting discussing PLO strategy.

 The next day didn't go well poker wise. I got my last 20 blinds in preflop with 66 v AK and if I'm honest, I wasn't that gutted to lose the race. My intentions this year are to win races in big buy in events and lose them in the smaller ones. 

It was an excellent tournament in a really nice venue but once I was out I headed home. It was a big weekend on the sports betting front for me. To cut that story short I should of stayed where I was.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Irish Poker Championship 2012

I think we've seen this event change in one way or another every year since it's inception in 2006. I never would of foreseen it playing out as a side event, but that's what happened this year. The tournament had a €750 buy in and over 200 starters, add to this the title and it was still a tournament well worth giving your all for.

Contrary to the ribbing I get, I'm not really a great one for side events. Usually after getting knocked out of a main event, I find it hard to give a side event my full attention. This wasn't the case last weekend as my early exit from the WPT meant I felt as I hadn't really played, so was well up for this.

The Bomber
My starting table had a few familiar faces, Including Bomber and Andrew Grimason. There was a real nice atmosphere on the table with everyone in good form.

I started steady enough, then hit a bit of a heater just before and after the dinner break trebling my 20k starting stack. We were only playing six levels and the table broke for the last one. I ended the day with a top ten stack of 66k with around half the field still in.

Day two was an odd one. I loved my starting table but it was first to break. They were breaking tables down one of two lines and every time I drew the next table to break. I'm the type of player ( well i guess most are ) that likes time to settle into a table. Subsequently I was three hours into the day and had broken 5 times.

My stack was maintained until I lost a third of it with AJ v KK, it was a shortish corner and I was happy enough calling the 18 big blinds it cost to call the 4bet shove. Again just after this, I get moved again to the next table to break. I know it shouldn't bother me but it was doing my head in at this stage.

I needn't of worried though as the poker gods were soon to put me out of my misery. I was only at the table a couple of hands when I picked up QQ. First to act opened, and I 3-bet from a 40k stack with blinds 500-1000-100, The button shipped for about 120k holding AQ. An ace on the flop meant no fourth life time cash in the IPC.

It wasn't too disappointing, we were about 40 off the money and, well you want to get them in in that spot every time. I dont know where the IPC as a tournament goes from here, but I think we can assume it wont stay the same as this year. The tournament has a good legacy, and needs to find a stand alone berth.              

Monday, January 9, 2012

WPT Dublin

The general vibe leading up to the inaugural WPT Ireland was that the tournament would not be a success. My gut told me differently, I had told the man behind bringing the tournament here ( Ian Langstaff ) a couple of months ago that I thought it would work and we'd get 300 starters.

I thought the event had three big positives going for it; 1, Ireland has a history of a big field buy ins the first week in January. 2, the City west venue, overseas visitors like it and come back. 3, the brand, every poker player in Ireland would fancy a crack at a WPT title.     

As it played out, the event was a resounding success attracting a field of 333 starters, including a host of big name stars from around Europe.  In fact it could well of been the best field ever assembled in the country. Dom Hever who blogs for irishpokerboards described the field as " being like the Irish Open, without the 300 bad players". 

One area where the WPT people got it very wrong was the chips. Each denomination of chip was a plethora of colors with the 5000 and 100 chip closely resembling each other. Barney boatman was the main sufferer of this when he mistakenly opened for 15,000 instead of the intended 300 and a player put him in holding QQ. Barney call with 1010 for a very unfortunate exit.  

While the tournament itself was a huge success, my own display was an abysmal failure. Looking at some of the starting tables I had definitely drawn a good one. However that wasn't much consultation exiting in level five.

all the cool kids are wearing these
In honesty I made no mistakes so cant be too disappointed, it was just one of those days where my opponents kept having the goods or got there as hands progressed. On four occasions I had to fold after putting a decent percentage of my chip into pots, and each time was shown the nut flush. Just a bad day at the office.

As the tournament progressed  Dave Shallow became the dominant force. The home contingents performance wasn't great with the notable exception of  Ronan 'Gilly' Gilligan, Ken Doherty & Dan Smyth.

The 1997 World Snooker champ taking down a major poker title would of been the biggest headline grabber. However, the talented Doherty's run would end in a creditable 16th place finish.

Dan Smyth, owner of a surname that's synonymous with taking down major Irish events looked like making a big challenge for the title, when he grabbed the chip lead two tables out. Dan has a fantastic online record but a number of reversals saw his commendable challenge peter out in 11th.   

This left Gilly as the remaining Irish hope. A Galway based player Ronan was rooming with my mate Derek Murray. Derek has mentioned to me on a number of occasions that he rates Gilligan very highly as a player and relayed to me pre-tournament that Ronan had won entry in a $50 satellite and his intentions were to play the event as it it was a $50 buy in rather then a €2,500.          

True to his word, Gilly got his full 300 big-blind starting stack in verses two sets (one folded ) in only the second hand of the tournament, pushing a flush draw and never looked back. His third place finish was a swashbuckling display and is a fine addition to his 2nd place finish in the 2010 UKIPT  Dublin for his CV.

In the end Shallow was a worthy winner of a fantastic tournament, which is a wonderful addition to the Irish poker calendar.   


Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to Work

Hope everyone had a good Chrishmas and got over the New Year without too bad a hangover. I must admit to being a bit of a Christmas grouch, although I hide it well enough and the feast of sport on over the holiday keeps me some way sane.

It's back to work this week. 1st up is tonight's fantastic $10,000 added Festival Frenzy tournament at Boylepoker. I'm sure most of you will have qualified for this non-direct buy in event already; if you haven't satellites are running all day today ending at 6.45 with the main event starting at seven.

On Thursday I'll be at the City West for the WPT Ireland. When I started out playing the game, this date was always filled with the Irish Poker Championship at the same venue and that event returns to it's spiritual home as a side event of the WPT starting the Friday.

The WPT is a hard one to call turnout wise. On a negative its relatively big buy in for a country where disposable income is at an all time low. This makes it hard to see where the walk in buy ins will come from. There's also the clash with the PCA, which could affect overseas visitors.

The positive is the brand, every poker player in the country will fancy the title of WPT champion, so a few mattresses will be raided to come up with the buy in.

I've herd people predicting very low turnout for the event, but personally I think the numbers will be decent. I'd call anything over 150 starters a relative success for this type of buy in, in its first year. Hopefully it gets over 250 and establishes itself as a permanent way to kick off the poker year.

I, as every other Irish poker player, kinda like the ring of " Irish WPT Champion".