Saturday, February 23, 2013

UKIPT Cork – A philosophical paradigm shift

My exit has been bothering me from the UKIPT in Cork last Thursday. It was the second last level of eight played on the day. I was low stacked (18 bigs) on what looked a tough active table with plenty chips. I decided to punt my stack in a bad spot with pocket two’s.

There’s nothing unusual there for me; you know the Father Ted episode set on the aeroplane where Dougal’s finger hovers over the red button with the “Do Not Press” sign. Well I’m a bit like that historically with the ducks. I’ve knocked myself out of so many tournaments with them over the years they’ve become a bit like my own red button, but it really was a bad spot this time.

A couple of things brought home to me how stupid it was to punt those chips. Firstly, Tommy Finneran winning the event having returned for day two with 7,500 chips, less then I lost in that hand. Secondly was remembering the only UKIPT I have cashed in to date, the first ever one in Galway which was a €2,200 buy in.

I described my starting table in that 2009 tournament in my blog at the time as “the toughest starting table I ever played on, and I didn’t know a player on it”. As it turned out it contained an unknown, Jake Cody, Toby Lewis and Chris Brammer. The table never broke and I got nothing going all day, scraping through with 40% of starting stack.

I finished 15th in that tournament, never having chips but losing a race on the last two tables for 1.5 times the average. Basically I gave myself a chance in an event I never really should have had. Fast-forward to last Thursday and I showed an opposite mindset because I considered it necessary to take a bad spot to gamble because “it’s a tough table”.

That may seem long-winded way of describing losing 18 bigs in a 400-player field but as I said at the start, the hand has been bothering me and represents to me how my mindset has changed for the worse over the intervening years.

The day had started well getting my 15k starting stack up to 32k on one of the more difficult tables in the room. It went wrong after the second break. I had lost a couple of small pots and then a big one when I picked up Jacks on the small blind while Aidan Connolly held the button and the boots. This brought me back to starting stack and over the next hour I had four table moves, which is never ideal.

I managed to lose small pots on all my new tables before arriving on my last table with 6,000 chips, which was 15 bigs. I got a temporary stay of execution when I shoved Fours on the button into the BB’s Aces and flopped quads. I then lost some raising A6s and betting two streets and checking back the river on an ace high flop, the bigblind held A10. My exit was within a couple of hands from this.

I did follow events closely online over the remainder of the event and was delighted to see Tommy Finneran take down a major Irish title. My first memory of Tommy is from the 2007 Irish open and him 6-bet shoving on, and showing A3 to Peter Eastgate. You have to remember this was 2007, when this wouldn’t of been that prominent a play, and Tommy was a quiet rural looking lad, so it made a bit of an impression on me.

We’ve been good mates ever since, travelling together and sharing a house in Vegas in 2010. Tommy has been a constant in the latter stages of big Irish tournaments over the last six year only to run bad late. To say he deserved this one would be an understatement.