Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My tournament Philosophy

I received this question in a pm from a member of the poker forum and well I had to answer after he said whats highlighted.

"Originally Posted by *****
hey Nicky,this is a completely random question but it is obvious to everyone that your a great tournament player and i was wondering what do you put it down to? the maths side of things? or is everything you would've read etc are thrown out the window and it comes nearly natural? i'm gonna try make some mark on the tourney scene next year but i dont like the whole over evaluating hands and starting to doubt your own instincts if you know what i mean. So i'm just asking questions to any good players i can get in contact with and try and find some kinda pattern to winning play feel free not to answer anything if you dont wanna bother

cheers bud ***"

*** its very hard to quantify what makes a good tournament player and many different styles can be successful. All I can really advise you on is to play as much as possible, no amount of books can teach you experience. Yes you need basic poker maths but people can get boggled down with all the literature out there. Learn how to win first you can learn why your winning later.

I think you will learn a lot more by making mistakes and thinking about where it went wrong then reading about what mistakes to avoid. I consider myself very much a situational player and can play hands very differently then the pure theorists will dictate. All I can advise is play as much as you can and go with your reads don't be afraid to look silly if you think your right. I still make plays that would be laughed at in $10 stts but its these same plays that have made me a winning player for the last three years now.

I know all this is very vague but you just cant put into a box what ultimately makes a winner of tournaments. I will say that understanding playing the player and understanding when to gamble are very important, again this cant really be thought you must learn it through playing. I think these two areas are what separates the OK players and the good to great players. When I talking about gambling I'm not talking pot odds but rather taking a shot at a race considering the holistic effect this will have on your chances of winning the tournament. Or if a player is running over a final table it could mean taking a stand with a marginal hand to slow them down and swing the balance of power on a final table in your favor.

My goal is always to win the tournament and I always think in this context rather then cashing or sitting up the money ladder. This year if I was a more conservative player in these areas I could probably of sat into cashing for €200k+ more then I have with the situations I found myself in, but I firmly believe over my poker life my philosophy is + EV.

Anyhow best of luck and if you have anymore specific Qs ill do my best to answer along the way.


Ps its not often I get my thoughts on strategy down on paper so I might use what I have written here in my blog, I wont off course use your identity if I do

Monday, November 26, 2007

EPT Prague for $24

How sweet is that

Was playing a few tourneys on stars but was fairly tired and was just off to bed when I noticed I was sitting out in the $8 re-buy double turbo one package guarantee. I had forgotten that I had registered for it and had 450 chips lol re-bought doubled up a few times then topped up. Got the chip lead 150 out of the 350 starters left and never relinquished it. Very happy to win the package as usually these one prize satts mean pain for me. Roll on the 10th of December.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

nicnicnic gets a sicsicsic one

Seat 1 : Liam Flood
Seat 2 : Roy Brindley
Seat 3 : Tom Kitt
Seat 4 : Cormack Delaney
Seat 5 : Reggie Corrigan
Seat 6 : James
Seat 7 : Wes Farrell
Seat 8 : Nicky Power
Seat 9 :

Above is my starting table for the Sporting Emporiums November Festivals €1000 main event. 72 starters and I didn't mind having Flood and Brindley to my left as I thought it meant a good chance if I picked up a big hand early they might pay me off. I had a load of action early and raised AA on the button into the boy to 300 re-popped to 800 and I went for 2300 fully expecting him to come back but he folded. I got the 15000 starting stack to 20k in level one. Then lost 8000 in a pot I played QQ over aggressively and rather badly on An AAX flop leading out and C/R the turn.

My exit hand was one to remember 20 minutes into level 2. I pick up AA again and get two caller and an A 4 5 flop. I bet 500 trying to look weak Reggie Corrigan ( the Irish rugby international ) goes for his chips and I see he is contemplating a raise so I thinking straight away I've got him he has a hand. When he re-raises my 1400 turn bet to 3400 I'm pretty sure he has a lower set and put my remaining 7k in he calls and tables pocket fives. So we've got AAA Vs 555 and I'm feeling pretty good until he hits the the river five, wp gg nh.

A year ago this would of busted my brain but I think its a measure of my progression that I honestly took it in my stride and I'm really looking forward to next weeks Macau festival. Now if I get another one as bad down there then that could bust my head :-)

WWF Back for Day three

Third time this year I hit a final day of a 3 Day or more event and like the last two ( 13th of the 13 that went back in the macau and 6th of the 7 in Irish open ) this one was also a disappointment. There was many of the top players still left in the tournament. I'd say any knowledgeable person picking 30 players against the 280 field would of have picked at least 8 of the 20 that remained.

I decided the morning that I was going for the win and would play aggressively. I also decided if I got very deep I wasn't dealing and that if I got the chance to race I would. Well I did second hand in when I raised to 23k and the BB pushed for another 70k I called and his 77 held. Shortly after this I lose another 75k when I called a raise from the button in the BB with KQ on a K1010 flop. So within the first 20 minutes I'm down to 12k.

I work this back to about 275k and then out in a half million pot to Jen Mason when My A10 couldn't suck out against her JJ. I posted the hand on strategy forum Some of the better posters suggest that I didnt play the hand optionally but I'm happy enough with my play given the situation. Mason has just knocked out two players and is playing 800+k. Were six handed and since the last knockout she has raised 4 of 6 hands uncontested so is basically mopping up the chips and good on her. I haven't seen her pass a cutoff button in two days. I'm playing 250k blinds are 6k/12k 1k ante. I haven't looked at the money and I'm looking to win the tournament. Anyhow she raises 36k from the cut off and I look down at choices as I saw them

1. fold
2. call and fit/fold the flop

I consider these weak and not the plays of someone trying to win the tournament.

3. raise to 110 or so and either call or fold to a 4bet

4. shove

its a lot to shove but I thought it the best option, I considered option three and decided if she put me in i was calling so better just get them in first. The consensus on boards was that 3-bet call/shove was the best option.

So out in 12th for €1700 pretty bad considering I was 4th coming back in chips and the story of the year for me really if truth be told . Close but no cigar.Its give me great pleasure the see these type of events being held in Waterford and great kudos the the bigslick crew they really have come a long way in the last couple of years. Two years ago I was playing A €5 rebuy with this crew in a pub called 19. To see an event run by the lads being the feature on sky poker weekly show gave me a great buzz

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Waterford Winter Festival part 2

The next table was the hardest I played in the tournament. Bomber, Smurph, Jen, Ollie, good northerner. I found it really hard to find a spot as the table was super aggressive. By far the best hand I saw here was A8os and Bomber pushed UTG for about 150k, I'm next to act but couldn't consider a call with the rest of the table to act. He showed KK to take the pot uncontested, a good move given his image and I'd of insta called him if it was blind on blind. Thankfully the table broke shortly after this.

I played on two more tables before the 14 hour day ended with most of my action coming in the last 20 minutes. By the final level I'm still playing 120k but by now its 66% of the average blinds are 5/10k 1k ante so its basically push or fold. I push A7os and Smurph calls for 75k with KQ and hits a K.

I then push my remaining 45k twice in a row with 73os and A3 and get through, the same player tables 66 then 77. Its quite clear to me that three of the four players to my left are just hanging in to come back tomorrow. There's 23 left and were playing down to 20.

The very next hand I look at an ace and push without seeing the other card. I get a called by AJ but hit my kicker an eight on the river. After that hand I have 160k and then the very last hand of the night I look down at KK UTG. I consider putting in a standard raise but decide I've been pushing so much it stands a good chance of getting called a little light. Unluckily for Keith from Kerry he wakes up with QQ on the BB and I'm coming back on day three 4th in chips with 325k.

stay tuned for day three

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Waterford Winter Festival

Anybody that knows me knows I like a beer or two. Since last November's green joker poker festival when I went to showdown twice after miss reading my hand I've knocked it on the head while playing. So when the cards hit air on Friday I was in my usual day one state of extremely hungover having given it a good lash on Thursday night.

On my starting table I had Vera two to my left and Kevin Hickey directly to my right. While both are good solid players you should really know where you are in a hand with them so I felt it was a good table until I realised there's a complete nutter directly to my left. The fox came to the table early enough and christened him the eccentric player. Got an early enough double through the eccentric player and peaked for day one on 40k ending it on 33k.

There was a bit of Deja Vu there for a while when Marty Smyth joined the table which meant three of the final six from this years Irish Open on the table.

Day two started with a bang when I double through the Longlad with KK on a J high board ( he put me on AK which is fair enough and I always respect someone who goes with there reads). In the first two levels I had aces three times, kings twice and queens and AK a few times also. Most of the time just getting small pots but by level three of the day I was among the chip leaders with 110k.

During level three I was pretty disappointed to get moved. But not before I got to play a slightly bizarre hand. We were nine handed and I announced raise from the small blind, Vera folds and I table my AJs. a few at the table get anxious and I immediately put my hands over the cards as I realise something is wrong. Rag2gar from boards had raised from seat one and I'd missed thus had to raise which I did to 6k. The Flop of k 10 4 was checked and I bet out 7.5k on the turn to which he folded. I asked what he had and he said AQ to the amusement of the table.

My new table had Pat Storen, Pat O' Callaghan and Connie in pushmode. Was on the table for at least three levels but saw very few cards and did well to hold what I had.

finish this later

Monday, November 5, 2007


Well I didn't play the EPT and have no regrets about it. I did play the €825 game and the charity event but never got going in either. My No 1 travelling companion and good mate Mr Storen took the title in the charity event and my % of him covered my buy-ins on the week. TBH swapping % with Pat is costing him a few quid lately and he doesn't seem to be in when i get a result. Hopefully I can put this right in one of the games over the coming month