Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Reviewed

2009 was a very enjoyable year for me. It started January in Galway grinding a shortstack into the money in the IPC and funnily enough ended doing exactly the same thing in December. In between were a couple of decent performances, horrid beats as well as the odd mind numbing mistake. A standard enough year I guess for a live tournament specialist.

Galway in January was fun. I finished 20th in the main event which was my first ever cash in the city busting a perceived jinx. I didn't have to wait long for my second as that night I won the Simon charity event. This was a lovely event to win for me personally as my bro Pat Storan had won it the year before and the tournaments founder Parky is simply one of my favorite people.

The two other tournaments that month were the CPT grand final in Clonmel and the Lakes of Killarney Festival. I Managed another minor cash in Clonmel, €1750 for 15th and picked up an additional €3700 for 10% of Flipper who put in an excellent performance to win it. I never thought I'd see a trophy bigger then Flippers ego so its only fitting that he should be the one to win it. No cash in Kerry but managed to nick a few quid when I backed eventual winner Derek Murry at 14/1 two tables out.

February was the Deepstack and a couple of beats in main event and monkey side. AA cracked by AK day two of main event and getting four flushed just shy of final table in side. March was a nothing month with no decent game, a nice little ante post bet on Zaynar at 33/1 for the triumph hurdle made it a profitable one, thanks again for that one Ciaran.

April was my forth Irish Open and my shortest going out slow playing QQ while Jamie from Limerick was doing likewise with AA. I played well on a difficult table in the €1500 side but exited early enough also. Still had a great weekend anyway though, it's a deadly social occasion and even managed to get a few rounds of golf in where a lasting healthy golf rivalry with a mister Paul Spillane was formed. The weekend was semi saved financially by the 10% I had of my then boss and good mate, Paul Smallwood who put in a top performance coming 5th in the €1500 game.

May is JP masters month. Played well in main event but exited close to end of play on day one. I did somehow manage to win the PLO event here. It was my first live PLO tournament and 100% fluked but felt good non the less. The other game I played in May was the GUKPT Newcastle. Myself big Pauly, Keith McFadden and Chris Dowling headed off by road for this one, although we had a good craic the car was noticeably light on Stirling on the drive home.

June/July was the highlight of the year for me as I found the perfect mix. Loads of golf with great company and the greatest poker festival in the world. I was in Vegas for a month and think I spent more time on the golf course with Marty Smyth, Paul Spillane and Julian Gardner then I did playing poker. This may sound stupid to some but believe me, I wouldn't be in the right frame of mind for the main event if all I did was play poker everyday. As it worked out, although I did nothing in the other WSOP events I played, I don't think I could of entered the big one in better shape mentally.

Although never in great shape through the four and a bit days I lasted in the ME, the only time I was all in at showdown was my exit AQ v AK on Day five in 353rd for $30k. Its the pinnacle for live tournament players and every morning of the 12 days -because of breaks- I was surviving in the tournament, I woke ten foot tall. The experience I gained this year will stand me in good stead for future WSOP main events and I've been chomping at the bit ever since to sit again in that arena.

Back home the inaugural Waterford Masters took place in Tramore. I was involved in putting this one on and it gave me great pleasure to see the top players from all over the country playing in my home county. I made the last five tables before losing a race to go out. Over all the Festival was a great success and boasted a top class final table. Marty put up a great performance to finish second and in doing so gave me my biggest golfing win. I got €2,100 and a funny story. On the previous Friday we played for percentages in Tramore and Cork the following month. Having destroyed Marty on the front nine we doubled down on separate bets on the back nine winning one each. Being the gent I am I allowed Marty pick what tournament he wanted me to have a percentage in. His reply " you can have the Tramore one as I wont be trying " :-)

August has the Irish Classic in Cork, I was disappointed to see the buy in reduced this year as I felt it took a little prestige from a tournament that's close to my heart. Didn't matter much as I went out in 24th just off the money. I had managed to make the FT of the PLO earlier in the week but also shy of the cash. Had a great weeks golf again so wasn't a total wash out.

The previous week to this was spent in Barcelona at a EMOP event with Connie. No joy but a nice week as Connie is always the best of company.

Other notables in August were making the final table of TCOP in city west and finishing my association with Brucepoker. I made the final table second in chips but only lasted four hands. Felt I had left my team down after the performance as we were still well in with a chance of place money at least. As for finishing with Bruce's. Well I felt I had a good year with them and gave good value for their investment; I certainly had no bad feelings towards them as it was purely an understandable business based decision.

The only thing I played in September was the TV LNSP. My table was epic for the wrong reasons and I didn't cover myself in glory. Got much slagging post this one about getting knocked out by Bernard Dunne so it was fun seeing him go onto to win the thing outright.

October was always going to be a big month with three major festivals. Broke another hoodoo getting a nice touch in Killarney, doing a deal heads up in the €300 event and collecting €13,000. This was followed by the IPO, no cashing but a social weekend that rivals the IO for the criac. What an achievement it is to gather 1,440 players in a tournament in a country as small as Ireland. Eight of us headed of to the K club for a couple of days for what hopefully becomes an annual event, pokers ryder cup. There's a return leg planned in Celtic Manor this February.

The winter festival was the last of the October treble. Looking back on the year this is the one that hurts. I had myself in a super spot with 27 player remaining and think I should of at least reached the final table. I was probably a little hard on myself after the event but still have regrets re that one finishing 22nd for €4,400.

November saw a new addition to the calendar, the JP mini WSOP. No joy here but as ever JP put on a great festival. For me this guy is the best around at what he does and I always look forward to his events.

December had the Macau winter and a second no cash in cork which meant I went a year for the first time since I started playing not taking home some lolly from either of of the big Cork festivals.

I played really well in the second IPC of the year in Galway. For a while there at the end of day two and start of day three I thought I might get to the final table. In the end I never caught a break, finishing 15th for €4,200. Another €5k was picked up for the percentage I had of mister Parkinson who put on a master class to take it down. It was a real pleasure to see Padraig crowned as Irish Poker Champion.

The other major happening for me in December was becoming a Boylepoker sponsored player. With all respect to Bruce's it felt like a step up to me and was a major confidence boast and compliment to secure the deal. While I still consider Paul Spillane my nemesis on the golf-course I also see him as a good friend and a person with a great understanding and visionary approach to the poker industry. I hope in 2010 I can live up to the high standards set by Paul, his team and fellow Boylepoker pros Marty, Padraig and John O Shea.

All in all I think I can say 2009 was a reasonable success. I probably played 18-22 significant tournaments with eight cashes and a very good ROI. I didn't manage a major final table but had semi decent runs at three of the five greater then €1,500 buy ins in the country and a WSOP main cash. Throw in a few nice side wins and I gotta be happy overall. I've always said the major luck factor in the tournament game is which ones you run good in. If I ran like I did in the sides in Killarney or Galway at the last three tables of either IPCs or IWF then it would of been a magic year. Maybe next year.

On a more pragmatic note, reading back over my 2008 review before I started this blog. Sentiments like improved work ethic and better focus were splashed around liberally. I was however realistic to only state one objective for the upcoming year; to make more then had I been working. This I achieved for the fifth year running. The hendon mob data records show a marginal better year then last but only an uninformed person would take that database as a reflection of a poker players P&L. In 2006 I had two small cashes on the HMD amounting to $7,000, in each of the last two years I had over $80,000 on it. The fact is I made more profit in 2006 from poker then either the last two years.

My inertia towards all aspect of the game apart from the relatively larger live events grew deeper over the last twelve months. In fact to the degree that the only real poker I've played have been bigger events in Ireland and a couple of trips overseas. The fact that I was/am sponsored, means I'm lucky enough not to have to worry about buy ins but I've no doubt its also added to my inertia to the grind. The way I've being playing the last two years is OK for someone that has a bank account containing a mega tournament touch but not for the journeyman player that I am.

So goals for 2010 are, to make more then I would of working and I'll include a hope to get some kind of grind on. I do feel there's a decent chance of this happening in a default kinda way as I've knocked the sports betting on the head which was keeping me preoccupied between festivals.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

IPC (GUIPT) 20??

I headed off to Galway for strangely enough, my second Irish Poker Championship of 2009. I don't know the official line on whether it was the 2010 championship, so we'll go for the 20??

Fintan Gavin has a big say in how comfortable your stay in the smashing Radisson Hotel in Galway will be. As poker players take over the whole hotel, a number of suites on the executive 5th floor are available at very reasonable rates. Last year he gazumped me for the Devilfish at the last minute, but after much slagging throughout the year I ended up with a very luxurious room, so thanks for that Fintan.

I was up two days before the main event for one of the now famed Eglinton Casino parties. I couldn't miss this one as it was for my bro Derek Murray, to celebrate his recent great win in FTOPS 24.

We had a great night and Thursday was spent lazing around nursing a hangover. I did venture down to the Stars party to do an interview with Iain and Dara for Irish Poker Radio, but didn't take advantage of the free bar.

Day one was one of the hardest, most miserable days of poker I've ever played. Although I only knew Eoin Olin, it became apparent early that there was literally no value to be had on the table I was playing. It was definitely one of the hardest starting tables that I've encountered. This, coupled with the fact that my only hands over the day were Unkown suit J Unkown suit J in level two and Unkown suit A Unkown suit Q in level 3, meant for a very difficult day's poker. I scraped through with chip_icon.jpg8400 over 13 big blinds.

I actually felt good about getting through the day and commented to a few people that while I was very low I didn't think I was finished with this one by a long way. It was my first outing for and I wasn't giving up without fight. I felt I could claw my way into the tournament.

A redraw saw Marty Smyth and big Al at my table but that broke after about one level. The new table had Mick McCool and JP Kelly and it was here that I caught a couple of hands. First, doubling up with Unkown suit Q Unkown suit Q v Unkown suit A Unkown suit 7 and then doubling again over three streets, having raised Unkown suit A Unkown suit 8 and hitting trips. This saw me reach 35k, which I was able to protect without much to work with over the next 90 minutes until I was moved again.

My new table had some good players - Matt Perrins and Jerome Bradpiece on my left and leader of the Irish rankings Francis ' Wally' McCormack and John Duthie to my right.

I caught a few hands here to get to 60k and then hit a nice double with Unkown suit K Unkown suit K to break the 100k mark. We were heading for the bubble where I'll be aggressive normally but some times you just can't. Perrins was on my left and being chip leader, it was his show. There wasn't a lot I could do except sit tight because of my position and hope for a premium, which never arrived. The day finished with 36 players in the money, I had chip_icon.jpg100,500 in chips, the equivalent of just over 25 big blinds.

I fought the good fight on day three and lasted into the end of the 4th hour of play, seeing off 20 of the 36 players that began the day. In that time I saw a few people that started the day with similar chips to me hit a few hands and win their races allowing them to gather final table stacks. I on the other hand, was hanging in on crumbs all day.

My exit was a straight race - Unkown suit 8 Unkown suit 8 v Unkown suit A Unkown suit Q. I had 11 blinds but got it in with dead money in the middle so got the value of racing for 30 blinds, which was just under the average at the time. I can't but be happy with the performance here. I got myself in a position of racing for 5% of the total chips in play, when in all reality, with the hands I was dealt I shouldn't have made it through the first day. Would have been nice to win that race and run good, but if I keep putting myself in that spot I'll get my turn.

I stayed to rail an epic final table. Big Mick and Cat have been serial final tabling all year, so a big well done to them again. When the dust settled it came down to Padraig Parkinson and Paul Marrow heads up, both are great friends of mine so I was obviously thrilled for them. The lads chopped the cash shipping a generous amount to the dealers and charity, but still had a great battle with an EPT London and the small matter of being crowned Irish Poker Champion on the line.

Padraig took the title; people forget with all his other media functions how great a player this guy is. I never have and over the years when asked who the best player I have ever played is, I always answer Padraig Parkinson. The man is a wonderful poker player and a great guy who has helped me enormously with advice over the past few years, so it was great to see him take this down. He played a textbook final table and there was inevitability about the direction of the trophy from a long way out.

Having said that, if ever a tournament had two champions it was this one. Mister sartorial elegance himself Paul Marrow, is a huge character on the Irish poker scene and it was great to see him rewarded here. The memory that will stick with me is chatting with Paul after day one. He had made it through the day with 17k but his joy at this had to be seen to be believed. The guy was absolutely buzzing, I've never seen a person more happy getting through a day's poker that didn't involve lifting a trophy. I guess it says how much this guy loves the game.

Monday night was a brilliant craic in the bar. Overall the entire tournament was great, brilliant structure and I loved the way it was played over four days rather than the usual three. That's me pokered out for 2009, I'll do a review blog of my year some time over the holidays, have a great Christmas and a winning new year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thoughts on becoming a Boylepoker Player

Below is a blog entry I did for the Boyle blog. I'll be blogging on the Boyle site and will duplicate the posts here as I've always kept this blog as a kinda personal poker diary. I'll still be using this blog specifically for some stuff. Hopefully get my yearly review done over the holidays.

New Boylepoker pro Nicky Power has a nice ring to it - well I think so anyway. I was delighted to secure the deal with Boyles as quite simply, it feels like getting picked to play poker for Ireland.

I've been lucky to get to know Marty Smyth and Padraig Parkinson well enough to consider both good friends over the past few years, but they are still heroes to me. Becoming a Boylepoker-sponsored player and wearing the Boyle colours alongside these guys, really is a dream come true.

I visited Boylepoker HQ last Tuesday to chat about my role with the company and had a great day. The poker team at Boyle's made me feel very welcome. While I've gotten to know Paul, Ciaran, Lisa and Gerry socially, seeing them in their working environment was a great insight into the reason has been so successful. They seem to work together with an exceptional harmony and it's clear that their mission is 100% customer focused.

We went out for a great meal Tuesday evening and then onto the pub, where Lisa totally owned me at pool. I worry a little for Marty at times; he lost money to Ciaran Corbett - in a pub called Corbett's - at some hoops game they play there. Obviously great game selection by Ciaran though.

I stayed over at Paul's gaff and we chatted into the night, mainly about golf handicaps for Vegas this year. A bit like the recent government/public union meetings, after protracted negotiations no agreement could be reached.

It was at this late night drunken chat that Paul revealed it was between Flipper and myself for a sponsorship deal. He said he couldn't decide between us and cunningly hatched a plan for a secret poll. The question Nicky Power or Flipper was added to the heads up interviews. Thankfully I was picked seventeen to one (I can't believe Boyle's gave Noel Hayes a heads up).

I feel this is a great opportunity Boyle's are giving me and hopefully I can repay them with some decent results over the coming year. I'll certainly be giving it my all anyway and can't think of a better place to start than this week's Irish Championships, which will be my first outing in the colours.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bounty Tournament at 8 Tonight.

To celebrate the announcement of Nicky Power as our new sponsored pro we are going to run a $10 + $1 Nicky Power Tournament with $1,000 ADDED tonight (Wednesday 16/12/09) at 20:00. The tournament will also have a $250 Bounty on Nicky Power himself (Nickname: NickyP0wer), and 3 x $50 Nicky Bounties. The $50 bounty names are WaterfordsFinest, NickysJumper and NickyLuvsFlipper

The Tournament is a No-limit Hold’em Freezeout with 1.5K Starting Stack, and 8 Min Blinds.

Friday, December 11, 2009


It was announced Wednesday that I'm now a Boylepoker sponsored player. Obviously I'm well chuffed about this development. I did a blog here. I'm going to be blogging for the Boyle's site but intend to keep this blog going in some form. IPC starts tomorrow and really looking forward to it, hopefully bringing my A-game. A big thanks to everyone that wished me well on boards, facebook, and text.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Really not much to post about. Played twice live since my last post, both small local games. The monthly game at Olympus where I never got going and winning an €80 buy in for a grand on my first visit to the skyline club in Clonmel yesterday. Smashing little spot there if anyone gets the chance to visit.

My most enjoyable games in the last two months have been a local pub game where I meet up with two of my brothers on a Wednesday. The great thing about this one is the lock in with ashtrays out at 11. I've always loved a good pub game and this one is the best in Waterford since the legendary nineteen game back in 2006.

I haven't had a bet in about ten days which is for the best. Went a bit nuts for about a week after the winter festival ( was definitely tilting after that tournament ). Did some serious damage but took a pull just in time. History generally repeats itself with my punting. I can go for months betting astutely using a good bankroll/staking plan and then boom all hell breaks loose. I end up doing my stones wagering way bigger then normal on basically anything without rhyme nor reason. A particularly sickener was having a grand on Mickelson to win in Singapore and not backing him the following week when he wins in Shanghai.

The only upside to this is I'll probably have to start playing online soon out of total boredom. Really missing the old game of golf. Spent the week railing Isildur on full tilt. Interesting stuff and the Pill Babb angle is hilarious although I'm unsure if its healthy for a 40 year old to be trolling 2+2 as much as I have been on that.

Probably not going to bother with the Fitz festival this week. I've never played it as card room festivals in the capital just don't appeal. The Macau festival is on the week after, was a little disappointed to see the buy in reduced from €1100 to €550 but I guess its a sign of the times, should be a good festival as ever eitherway.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Focus

Played three events at JPs mini world series the weekend before the last without a result. The main event I went back Saturday with a healthy 40k. Had a rush of cards that I havent seen in ages; AA twice KK QQ, flopping a set and was out within an hour of play. Funny old game. Played the €250 game and ran kk into Ak in about level seven I think and no good in the Sunday shootout either. A great addition to the calendar and as ever with JPs games, ran to perfection.

I'm playing no poker outside the big festivals in Ireland since the summer and really need to find some focus and get some kinda of grind going. Be better off playing STTs or something online then doing my stones on betfair anyway.

Big congrats to Derek Murry on wining FTOPs24 and a cool $125,000 last night. Was railing and chatting on msn with Derek for about the last six hours of the tournament and he put in an awesome performance. He hit the chip lead about 150 players out and was in total control all the way to the finishing line. Derek has hit the last 2/3 tables and run bad in similar events a lot so it was great to see him hit a big one, one for the good guys, WD m8

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blow Up ? Probably

Home for two days then back to Dublin for the Winter festival. I finished 13th in this one last year and I entered the weekend with the out look of having some unfinished business. I was feeling good about my game after the recent little touch in Killarney and with this in mind I kept swaps to a minimum.

My first big game since parting ways with my benefactor so back to what I always did; satellite. After a major hiccup just post rebuy stage, I was left with seven BBs but a quick treable with AA and double shortly after saw me back comfortable. I didn't top 18k through the game but cruised to the ticket handy enough with 50 of the 200 starters getting in. So in for €450.

I had a great starting table but unfortunately it was an early breaker. Had Channing to my right playing well on my new table. We clashed with me holding AA, unfortunately he held the same hand; plenty histrionics from both of us before we got our circa 20k stacks in over five bets pre. I had a bad level six and dropped to 9k when we had our last break of the day.

I felt I played very well in level seven chipping up to 25k; I was very happy with the way I played one marginal spot. Into the last level of the day I had taken a little hit and was playing 20k when I raised K9s in mid. Flop was a lovely K99 and got a full double up, getting my stack in over three streets against the unfortunate John Hennessey. Was happy enough going back day two with 40k.

Day two went very well until the third last hand of the night. I was just tapping away for 3/4 levels, then I hit a big double. Ali Mali who was living up to his reputation for the unorthodox shoved his 52k stack over my EP open of 6k with 1010. Playing 50k I was happy enough to get them in here, he held A7 and Tony Cooney informed me he folded an ace so a great spot for me. With a few more chips to move now I stepped it up a bit and was gathering chips. I won two races against a shortish Coo and even shorter Bops.

Up to about 200k now, about 20 off the money my plan was all out attack towards the bubble. However that plan took a major setback in the following hand. The impressive Paul Dooley, whom I hadn't seen since he finished 8th in the 2007 Irish Open limped, blinds 1500/3000 and I bumped it to 12k with 46os which he called and checked shoved over my 20k c-bet on a 3 4 7 flop. Getting almost 3/1 and fairly certain I've nine outs I'm always calling but there was a few raised brows when I turned my hand.

That cost me over 70k and a raise or two snapped of brought me back into the pack as we closed in on the bubble. By this time Marty Smyth had moved to my right and we were on the feature table. Marty had just had about four openings snapped off no doubt by big hands when he opened the button, I've KQ in the SB and shove. Marty's 99 doesn't look great when I hit the nut straight on the flop but I think I'm dead when he turns a set. Luckily the river bricks and were one off the money. I had 9% of Marty; one of my three 5% swaps ( Jude and Danny the others ) and had won the other 4% on the golf course the previous morning so probably not the smartest move getting lucky against the most proven winner in the field.

I had 150,000 now and although only average chip I was big stack on my table which was passive with a few hanging into the money. Basically, the perfect spot to take advantage of the bubble. Thankfully the bubble lasted a good while and I was able to more then double my stack in that period. I won a blind on blind race shortly after this to hit 400k when a strange one occurred.

The eventual runner up Micheal Murphy raised in EP I'm BB with 66. Just as the SB folds he turns his hand face up, AK. Obviously misunderstanding I'm still in the hand. Anyway I call and hit my set on a 10 6 3 flop. Its a horrible spot for him and I just shove and show as I think its the fairest thing to do but I think he may of shoved the flop had he not of turned his hand so probably a little unlucky for me and as things turned hugely lucky for him.

We thought we were playing to 27 player all day but when we hit that number we were told that we had to play until the end of level 11 another 40 minutes. A fight in the poker area was a little off putting around the same time. Three new players had joined the table as we broke to three tables and around this time I lost a bit of momentum dropping back a bit in chips. The third last hand of the night I raised AQ in early and the BB repopped me to 70k; I straight away decided to fold but 30 seconds later there was 600k in the middle and I needed to hit an ace which never arrived against his KK.

The hand has haunted me all week. I looked at the guy before folding and he was wearing a hairband. When I looked at the guy he was nervous, I somehow decided fuck this I'm not having some dude with a hairband push me around. I also misinterpreted something Stevie Devlin said about the guy when he came to the table. I've been beaten myself up about the hand but tbh I'm not sure if the push was as bad as I've been thinking and I'm just being result orientated. It could certainly be deemed as unnecessary as I was getting chips handy enough but I had no real hands through the tournament so got most of the chips I had playing unnecessary hands. I'm definitely folding out all but 4 hands and maybe all but 2 and had 4-bet shoved air a couple of times through the tourney so I guess you live by the sword.....

I came back the next day with 10 BBs but still hopeful. As the blinds were so big It wouldn't take much to get back into it. I couldn't get a spot the first 13 hands but luckily got a walk on my BB. second orbit I shoved Q10 when its folded to me in the cut off, unfortunately the BB woke up with AA; out in 22nd for €4,400, GG.

I really enjoyed the tournament, Its the first time in a while I've had a good stack to play with in one of these and generally I thought I played very well although I think from the spot I was in after the bubble I make the final table a high percentage of the time. I donno how bad the AQ hand is but my initial inclination was to fold so that tells me the shove was a mistake, then again if your going to win a 400 man tournament, your going to have to come out on top in a big pot 30/70 spot like this at least once.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

IPO Weekend

It's been a busy two weeks with two very different but equally very successful festivals. The IPO was a great weekend and everyone involved from Boyles and PokerIreland deserve a lot of praise for producing such a great event for at an affordable buyin. I was one of the bounties so had the weekend comped by boyles which is always handy.

My tournament only lasted about 4 levels eventually going out with top pair on the flop to an overpair. I lost most of my chips earlier when I flopped top pair and flushdraw and got it in against a Frenchman's second pair and over-card. I played the PLO and got a good stack together but went out in the last three tables in a huge pot holding top and bottom pair and nut flush draw verses a set.

The premise of the IPO is to bring big time poker to the masses and an amazing turnout of 1,440 says there doing something right. I had Andy Black and Neill Channing on my tables over the weekend and while I'm a little past being starstruck by poker players. I'm also sure that if I was just starting out like many of the field, I'd of been very grateful of the opportunity to mix it up with two of the biggest names in the game.

Eight of us headed from the Regency to the K-club for an Ireland verses England ryder cup type challenge, playing both courses. We slaughtered them in the fourballs on the European course. Myself and captain Marty Smyth winning 8&7 with Paul Spillane and John O'Shea winning 7&6.

We basically thought we just had to turn up the next day but Julian Gardner rallied his troops and to my amazement anyway, the English took the first three matches. It was down to me to win my match against Tristan McDonald to save us from having to give the old enemy a free weekend at the K-club. One up going to the 18th on the magical Smurfit course I wrapped it up with a super 8 iron to eight feet to the island green. Marty had priced up the matches and I had €450 at 4/6 on myself while Julian had a nice little monkey double on me, 4/6 and himself 10/11. Looks like there's a rematch planned for Celtic Manor early next year so looking forward to that.
18th green on the Smurfit course

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Side Event Specialist ?

I've had three nice results in side events this year. The Simon charity, JP PLO and Killarney a couple of weeks ago. A number of people have commented to me over the last couple of months that I'm a side event specialist and that tag must of spread because to my surprise Neil Channing commented the same thing to me the other day at the table. His comment got me thinking and if I'm honest Irked me because the tag does annoy me. Why ? because since I started playing the major festivals in Ireland 4 years ago I haven't played that many side events. Mainly because I've bloody well still been in the main events.

For me over the Irish poker calendar there are four major festivals; IPC, IO, Irish Classic and the winter festival. Since I started playing four years ago, I've played, four opens, four ipc, four classics and two Winters. A total of 14. Of those I've cashed in seven; final tabling the open, two last three tables in the IPC, a chop and 12th in the Classic and a 13th and 22nd in the winter. I'm a little pissed off writing this having busted today in 22nd in the winter festival as I lost a hand for a healthy chip lead with 24 players remaining, but those results look to me like a main event specialist rather then the few scores I've had in side events. It's not easy to make the final three tables of these events as anyone who plays them regularly will tell you, so to have made at least that stage 50% of the time, I must be doing something right. Now I just need to figure out how to start winning the fucking things.

I'll stick up a report from the last two weekends tournaments during the week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crying Baby gets the Bottle

More people have commented to me in person on my last post then any other I've made since I started the blog. I didn't think it was that negative but I guess it can be seen that way when people are used to me being generally upbeat about poker. In level five of this years IPC I went card dead and it feels that I've been looking at 94os for the last nine months since that point. I don't care who the fuck you are you cant win that much at this game if the only ammunition your getting it tripe to play with, hence the last post. Subjective perspectives in poker are the reason so many bad players keep playing the game. I like to think I'm objective and realistic about having a terrible distribution of starting hands all year but could be just kidding myself without stats to back it up; either way I definitely ran much better then I have been in Killarney the weekend.

I have yet to play in a better venue for a poker tournament then the INEC Killarney and a fantastic 750 players started the main event. I would rather of not had Paul Lecky with direct position on me but apart from that I had a good starting table. I ran top two into a set early, shortly after flopped two set in quick succession. It was all rather insignificant though as the hands occurred in the unnecessary 25/25 level and none of the pots were bigger then 4k.

For most of the day I wasn't above 17k or under 13k so pretty uneventful stuff. I got a table move just into the last and picked up a good pot with aces. Heading into the last 30 minutes I knew many players would be locking up for the day so decided to up it a gear and chip up. I raise 5h3h in early position, two callers including BB. Flop comes 662, I lead for 2200 get re popped by BB to 7100. Now I think I can fold out a lot of hands here but when my 26k shove get called A6 isn't one of them. Its one of those ones that when you walk into a hand you look tick but I'm happy enough with it. So off to the bar for a very long night.

It was touch and go weather I even entered the €300 side event; I was glad I did in the end. Didn't seem like I was going anywhere in this and dropped to 6k into level two. Twice in that level I was all in on the river with total air. The first when I double floated a scandi and shoved the river when he checked. Second one was a triple barrel against an older guy chasing down a flush draw. Got a table move and cant remember any hands but got the 13k i arrived with to 50k by the end of play when 60 of the 275 starters remained.

Fairly good table coming back with myself and Derek Murry being the most active but in general not tangling with each other. I got a good stack when I cracked aces with kings for 50% of my chips but gave them back as soon as I got them, running into aces again. When the money broke I was short enough but that average blinds were about 15 so it was about running good from here on in. I won a race against Oz three tables out and one against a young lad from Tralee on the second last table.

When the final started I was one of the lower stacks. Vivian Hyland and Derek were on the FT which being the superstitious fool I am; I took as as good omen as the last time I shared a FT with both I won ( winter festival Cork 05 ). When my first raise was snapped off I was left with 89k, blinds 6k/12 2 ante. Easy stack to push and by the time we hit 8k/15k I had pushed to about 230k. I then doubled when I pushed over Paul Carr from Limericks open with AJ and ran into a good Scottish lads KK; sweet A on the flop.

I then take out Paul when I raise 8h10h utg, he calls from the blind and I check behind a 10 5 2 flop. The turn is an eight giving me top two, Paul check raises me all in with a flushdraw and I hold. The Scottish lad Richard got Derek in a race and shortly after knocks out the 4th and 3rd leaving him with about a 5/1 chip lead for the heads up which was pretty epic if over quickly. In the space of six hands I turned around the 5/1 disadvantage to a 5/1 lead and was back to where I started, when he offered a 15/13k split in his favor. It was about €1,200 more then my chips were worth and wining the title didn't mean anything to me so I was happy enough to deal. All in all delighted with the result. 13k is a decent result in an Irish tournament, Its the equivalent of what 4th got for the Irish Classic this year and over twice what I got for 13th in the winter festival last year; so a super return for the €300 entry.

My heat of Late Night Pokerstars heat went out Sunday night. I missed it as was still playing in Killarney but caught it Monday. Happy enough with how I came across, I was a bit worried as I had been on the beer before they shot it. John Higgins got a load of stick on boards for being pissed. John made the mistake of thinking he could out drink Parky. I arrived in the city west at 3 and the lads were having a few at that stage. The filming of our heat was to start at 7 but didn't get going until nine by which stage a few of us were well oiled but John was twisted. I went for a piss about 15 minutes before filming started and John was asleep on a sink in the jaxx. John was great craic all day and hey, who hasn't got a little caught up in the beer at a poker event in the city west from time to time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

No London

Was toying with the idea of going to London for a couple of the EPT side events but decided against it. I do not enjoy playing in England and when I weighted it up I just decided I didn't want to go. Inertia probably best describes my view on poker the last few weeks as I've had no real enthusiasm about playing. I wasn't even going to go to Killarney next week but its to much value to miss and I'll be there.

October is a good month in Ireland with the Killarney festival the IPO and the Winter Festival. Its been to long since I've hit a final table of a decent game so hopefully I can right that in October. I only played one other WCOOP event after the $1k NLH; a $200 NL O8 tourney and cashed for double my buy in. With the long nights and bad weather setting in I really should start some kind of grind online. There was a time I really enjoyed grinding online but seems these days I'd rather open betfair then a poker site.

In another two months I'll have been playing full time four years. I suppose when you've been at something as intense as poker full time, there has to come periods where you just don't want to play and thats where I'm at at the moment. However, I know I'll get the juices flowing again soon enough and be playing with the vigour that I always have.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Moving On

My Sponsorship deal with Brucepoker finished a couple of weeks ago. I had a great year with them and feel I added value for the monies I received. I would like to thank them for the sponsorship and wish Bruces and especially 'head of poker' my good mate, Paul Smallwood, every success in the future.

Haven't been playing much the last couple of weeks. I did play event 28 of the WCOOP on stars. This was a $1050 entry two day game with a 3 million guarantee. I felt I played very well on day one without getting much ammunition in the way of starting hands and managed to reach day two with a near average stack. 176 Players of the 3268 entrants started back tonight; unfortunately I couldn't catch a break eventually going out when my A6 was out raced by QK in a 40 BB pot.

Sick sick structure but you would really expect to be deeper then 87th after playing for 14 hours in an online tournament. I swapped a few % with three people, two of whom, ( Dara and Derek ) went deep in the money also but like me had no luck when it mattered. I satted in for $82 so guess I should be happy with the$4900 but the half million for first would definitely of come in handy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Whose the Monkey on the Box

Played the late night pokerstars which is going out on RTE late September. Didn't exactly cover myself in glory. My heat was changed from the original line up with Fintan and John Higggins swapping with Padraig and Ken Doherty to an earlier heat. I've seen the results posted so I guess I can blog my unspectacular performance. It's 100k starting with blinds 1/2 going up every 18 hands.

I raise a good few pots early with total rubbish and showed so when i picked up Ak I raised to 7k ( blinds 1k 2k ) as I felt there was a decent chance I'd get three bet so wanted to inflate the pot a little so I could four bet shove. Bernard Dunne called from the button. He had spewed about 40% of his stack in the first few hands and I had him pegged as particularly clueless. I miss the two club flop and C-bet 11k which he calls. When the flush completes on the turn, I shove, which in reality is a pot sized second barrel bluff because of his stack. Unfortunately he holds Ac3c for the nuts.

He gets more of my chips when he limps in early as do two others and I complete with KJ, blinds 2k4k. Flop Jxx and I check. Bernard bets 4k, 1 BB, I call. I check/call 8k on brick turn and the same river to be shown QQ. This leaves me with 5bb. I double against Fintan AQ v 89 but go out shortly after pushing 10 BBs with K10 into Bernard's A10. Definitely not my greatest 40 minutes poker and gonna look a bit of a monkey on TV but should have good metagame benefits anyway :-)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Team Event in City West

I'm not the greatest fan of team events in general. From experience they generally mean playing in above average fields for very little reward. Having said that I was happy enough to play for the CueClub team when Connie asked me last week as I had decided to travel up for the side events anyway.

Our team got off to a decent start and were one of two teams to enter Saturday with a full quota of players. Saturday started really bad losing three players almost immediately, through no fault of there own. The most unlikely of Kerrymen, Willie Clynes being the most unfortunate. The rest of the day went pretty well for us and the remaining three of fought our way back into the mix. As I said these events usually have well above average fields for the buyin and my table saturday was one of the best I played on in Ireland all year. O' Shea, BigGPimpMick, Tilty Taylor, Mouthy Masters, The Pirate, TD Donal ect ect; right craic but no easy chips.

By the time the FT was reached Sunday I was last Kerry Man standing, needing to win to secure second for the team. I was probably 2nd in chips when I raised Ah9h from the SB into the chip leader from Leeds and called his shove. Unfortunately he held AQ. Having seen the gent play the previous day I'm happy enough with my call; its not as marginal as it looks against this opponent. Chatting with Dara after he maintained its a mistake not to call here and although I had some doubt on my drive home, having digested the hand its a call alright.

I'm thinking I'll take the weekend off and I'm back to the City West next for the filming of late night pokerstars which goes out on RTE this Autumn. Here's my heat, should be good craic;

HEAT 3 19:00-22:30hrs
Celeb Ken Doherty Confirmed
Celeb Bernard Dunne Confirmed
Poker Player Nicky Power Confirmed
Poker Player Padraig Parkinson Confirmed
OnLine Qualifier Elizabeth Mullally
OnLine Qualifier Martin McDDonagh

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chin Up

Headed down for the Macau festival on the Tuesday for a round of golf before the PLO tournament that night; neither went well. Sideshow and Gavin Stevens taking out myself and Flipper. I made the FT of the Omaha but exited in eight before the money, nice showing from Bops who finished second.

The next three days saw more golf twice on the smashing Castlemartyr course with Marty, Paul Spillane and Paul's mate Tristan, who had won the Tuesday nights PLO. Got raped twice playing skins but got most back on Friday in a two man scramble playing with Paul. Had a nice meal and drinks Wednesday night which ended about 6 am in Flippers new Balla pad so decided to go for starting day 2, Friday

My main event starting table was great and I got to 40k in chips with two levels of the day remaining. I did spew a bit after that dropping to 25k before rallying to 33k at the end of play. Day two was going very well and I reached level nine of the game with 80k but that was as good as it got. Most of this came in a double where I raised the cut-off with KJos, SB called and the raise meant the BB was all in. Flop 7 8 10 with two diamonds giving me a double gutter; check/check. Queen on the turn gives me the nuts and I get it in with the SB who to my surprise is drawing to a jack for a chop holding KK.

I had a real momentum stopper in level three when I call a raise on the button with 44, the SB comes along and we see a JJ2, two diamond flop. The initial raiser bet 3.5k, I decided to float. The SB called also. When both checked the 10h turn I bet 66% of the pot. I was sure the initial raiser didn't hold a Jack and having played with the SB before was confidant enough that this bet would take the pot; the sb called leaving about 12k behind ( yuk) and the initial raiser folds. I'm not a happy camper when we check the 6x river to be shown 9d6d.

I get no real hands over the next four levels with a lot of raises snapped off and have about 50k when I play a hand with williamhill sponsored player, James Browning. Blinds 1/2k 200 ante, he limps as does one other and I make it 10k with 88 from the BB. He tanks gives some waffle and ships his 40k, The guy had limped called a ship by me in the gukpt Newcastle earlier in the year with 66 and he had shipped over about three openings earlier where i folded. I was sure he hadn't limped with a premium and think he thought I had him pegged for a total rock and thus will fold most hands to him. Anyway having made up my mind while he tanked, I snapped and was disappointed to be shown 1010.

This saw me drop to 10k; 5 BBs. I managed to get it back to 40k by the end of the 1200/2400 level but blew most of that again with a spewy call when the six of diamonds merchant pushed over my button Q9s raise. I exited in a 65k pot shortly afterwards with QQ v AJ, A on the turn. Think I went out eight off the money in 24th position. Although I didn't play particularly well I enjoyed the tournament and the week in Cork.

The pattern all year for me seems to be to get decent chips over the first 8 levels and then basically go completely card dead and scrape into the money or just miss it. Very frustrating but I'm not reading to much into it as in general I feel I'm playing close to optimally all year.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cork next week weeeeeeeeeee

The Irish Classic and the Macau festivals in general are one of, if not the highlight of the year for me. This is probably result based as I can usually dig out a result there but I really love playing the festivals in the Macau. I'm fairly sure if the hendon mob did a ranking on festivals there like they do for British casinos I'd be top of the list, fingers crossed I can continue to do the business there next week. I heading down Tuesday for the PLO ( really for golf Wednesday ) and will probably play day one of the main event Thursday.

Barcelona didn't go to well but had a good weekend with Connie who had no joy either. I exited the main event with A10 on a 1055 flop for 50BBs verses 95 in a raised pot in level four. I felt very good about my starting table as it was mostly filled with value. Without going into to much detail I'm happy enough with how my exit played out although it may seem marginal at best at face value. The tournament had 370 starters, the structure was a bit fast at the start for a €1000+150 game ( 1st 4 levels 45 mins , 10k chips) , there seemed plenty play later on and I'll have a few stabs at qualifying for the series final in Malta early September.

With Vegas and that I haven't had much time for online recently but I'm looking forward to getting stuck back into it after Cork. The little I've played on Brucepokers new platform since the changeover has been very encouraging and I really like the new site. I'm intending putting in decent hour over the coming months, probably playing STTs and MTTs and some low stakes PLO, trying to improve in that.

This weekend I'll play the Joan Vickers Charity event in the new Voodoo club in Dublin, a very worthy cause and give me a chance to check of the new club at the same time. Sunday the Brucepoker live show hits Carlow in Atlantis casino, another great spot for a game.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waterford Masters

I'm generally good with remembering hands from tournaments but last weekends have gone missing in my mind. I ended day one on 37k which was in good shape. Had a great first level in day two getting close to 60k, after that I stagnated and the rest of the day was a grind. I was eventually out in a race with Tom Kitt, A10 v 77 for about a 90k pot, with about 40 players left. I did have 15% ( 10 of it won playing golf :-) of Marty's action which was worth €2,100 to me; WP Marty. In fairness he put up a stunning performance to finish 2nd as he was ultra short coming back on Sunday.

My job of putting the structure together ( the quality of the final table tells me I did a good job ) for the main event and annoying a few people to come down was pretty easy compared to the work all the others put in over the weekend. Well done to all the dealers they played a blinder and floor staff ( Wayne, Robert, Gary, Keith, Kevin and Seamus ), they did a brilliant Job, Fox was pretty good in his ambassadorial role; also the Brucepoker team who did a fantastic job setting up the room. Biggest thanks goes to the players especially all those that traveled from outside the deise, the 197 starters for the main event was a super turnout.

This was everyone involved first major festival and overall I feel it can be considered a great success. There was a bit of a mix up with the food and one or two other minor area's that wont happen again but as I said for a first go I think it was a top tournament from a players point of view. I don't think we ever pretended the Grand Hotel was the ritz but in many ways, the rustic nature of the place gave the tournament a certain ambiance and uniqueness. Again, big thanks to all that attended and congrats to all who cashed esp Jay and Marty, two exceptional players who are a credit to the game.

I'm off to Barcelona tomorrow to play the Spanish leg of the European Masters of Poker Tour. Total spur of the moment stuff stemming from a phone call at about seven tonight from Connie. Structure isn't anything to right home about but hopefully I can hit a few cards.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All Roads lead to Tramore

Almost back to normal after the month in Vegas. Sleep pattern has been messed up alright but that's to be expected. On reflection I'm happy with how the trip went, got a semi deep run at the greatest tournament in the world, had a great month in the sun and came home with a few bob so all in all happy enough. Of course I would of loved to have gotten my hands on a few chips on day five and been able to express myself but overall I played the hand I was dealt as well as anyone could and I have gleaned a lot of experience from the 35 hours play I lasted in the tournament. Hopefully this will stand to my benefit in future WSOPs if I'm lucky enough to be in a position to play them.

On a related note. Opened my case last Friday after leaving Vegas last Wednesday. Leaflet inside saying it was searched by US customs; assuming this was either in Vegas or New York as baggage was transferred to connecting flight. I had put the laptop in the suitcase and I'm assuming the customs never put it back in when they finished the search as it was in its own case on top of everything else when I packed. After three days trying to get someone at air lingus they tell me its not there problem and give me a number for Shannon and JFK airports. Anyone have any experience on what avenues I should be tackling to chase this down.

Finally this weekend sees the inaugural sponsored Waterford Masters. Bigslick had run the Waterford open the last few years but they had nothing planned this year with there focus on there big Killarney game. Myself, Fox and Seamus with Pronutz and Bruce's on board decided to put on the Waterford Masters to produce a quality event for the southeast. ATM it looks that its a sellout with the 200 capacity reached. Top class players are heading to Tramore from all over the country and a fantastic weekends poker is promised.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodnight from Las Vegas

I was disappointed after my exit yesterday but today its all history. In all fairness I was always just hanging in hoping to hit a rush so cant be that upset going out. Played golf with Marty yesterday afternoon and again today which was enjoyable as usual; the gambling has increased over the last few rounds but no-one getting that much ahead.

Tony/Flushdraw on boards asked me some questions on boards that were interesting, I'll post them below.

Before you played, you would have had an expectation from the tournament, did you exceed it or fall short?

When I started playing I'd go into tournaments thinking to myself I'm gonna win this or whatever but I never have any expectations entering any tournament these days so i suppose cashing does exceed what I'd expect.

Related to above, if you got a decent run of premium cards, would you have fancied yourself for a really deep finish?

Well I don't know, I saw some relatively big stacks come and go over the four days so I guess that could of been me, my stack was relatively easy to play without any big decisions. I felt going back yesterday if I could hit a few hands I could get to the last 100 or even 50 and then take it from there. With the blinds so big at that stage a big stack is never far away. A double and treble up would of put me well over a million. I knew going into yesterday that I would have to go to and win at showdown something I was able to avoid the whole way through. If I could of had the AK in that hand and picked up a hand or two after I could of went deep. I think there was loads of people playing once they made the money more or less thought that was there job done and were quiet happy to go home. I wasnt one of them, I wanted it and was prepared for the deep run.

How tough was it to stay focused for the duration?

I really just played in the moment, its just so big that I just kept telling myself all I can control is playing my table and my hand. I think I had a better sence of achievement half way through day three when all the players were in one room for the first time then when the money was broke

Any preperation you would change for next time?

None, I played the main event in 2007 and knew I got it all wrong preperation wise. This time I got it totally right "for me". I honestly dont think I could of sat down each day in better shape.

Who was the toughest opponent you faced?

A young swede who was 2nd in the masters classic last year was very impressive on day two when he had chips. He lost them to a guy that played a hand terribly against him and got lucky. Once he got shortish he wasn't a factor and rocked it but when he was flowing with chips he was very impressive. The table I was moved to at the end of day three looked very good but thankfully I was there for only 30 mins, during that time I saw Kenny Tran butcher a hand that cost him 400k, he may of lost the chips anyway but the way they went in was woeful.

Best hand played?

Hugely marginal re-re-steel on day three, 3-better had no F/E but I was confident all the planets were aliened. I have know doubt this hand was essential in me making the money.

Worst hand played?

The kd3d hand in level two of day one was the only hand I played badly but as Valor said it was a train wreck.

How much did Flippers bet with Hectorjelly spur you on?

I think Hector had slightly the best of it at 3/1 but only marginally, I'd say I was somewhere between 10/3 and 7/2 to cash. The table draw variance is something that cant be accounted for in such a bet and is a huge influence on the outcomes.

Whats next on the list?

Tramore, Friday week

Monday, July 13, 2009

All Over Baby

Just exited the WSOP main event in 353rd place for $29,911. The 8.5 million first prize would of probably killed me anyhow :-)

Got QQ on first orbit and no action, folded for 20 hands, got a reshove through exit hand -1 taking my stack back over 150k. Pushed AsQS over a 1.2 million stacks open, miles ahead of his range but unfortunetly he has AK. 330k in the middle and the only time I was all-in at showdown the whole game. GG.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Short Day Four, in the Money

So through the less then scheduled three levels of day four. With 158k going back I was pretty confident of cashing. My main focus was to cash as this is no ordinary bubble. With the amount of cash on offer and also how far away the finishing line is, cashing rather then chip accumulation with my stack was always the focus.

Having said that I kinda gave myself a cut-off point, If I dropped below 100k with less then 40 to go to the money I was sitting in. I got to that point when I 3-bet a Danish player called uffer's, open of 11k to 33k with Ackc, it was checked down after a nine high three spade flop, he had two red fours. I had a chat with him having a smoke during the ten minute a hand actual bubble and he told me he was sponsored in as he was a stand up comedian and tv star in Denmark and wasn't much of a player; no shit.

I was basically in sit out mode after that hand, I did open shove 90k with kings blinds 2500/5000 500 ante, not 100% if this is the right play but I felt I needed another round if I was to have any chance of getting back into it when the bubble broke. We got to hand for hand fast enough; five off the money. Lost the first four in five hands but I think the last one took 12 hands at about eight minutes a hand, it was painful stuff.

I busted the bubble with about 75k and had it up to 185k when my table broke going into the last 30 minutes of play. My new table looked horrific, I was way the smallest stack with about four monsters including Kenny tran on my button and the two guys on my left over a million. I folded to the end of play without seeing a semblance of a hand although one hand made me smile. UTG raise to 16k and got three callers, I held 84os in bb and wish I had made a spewy call as the flop was 888 and two guys went to war.

I'm happy to make the money as the last three days play have been an epic grind with very little cards. However I think the two major factors in making the cash were my table draws and one sick shove I made yesterday. My tables on both days were about as good as you could get as a shortstack with no big stacked Lags. The shove was halfway through level four when I was down to 50k and felt I was going nowhere. The cut-off who was a light opener bet 6k and I was sure the buttons raise to 17k was a steel; I shoved my 50k from the BB with 10 4 os. Now the guy was getting like 75 for 33 for the call but I had a great Image and my hand had to look a monster, it was also costing him 60% of his stack. Thankfully he folded quickly and that gave me the spurt into the last level I needed.

So I'm back for day five with 3k less then I started today, on the bright side I've 19 bigblinds which will be easy enough to play and I'm only four doubles off being a clear chip leader.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cliff Note-Day Three

was between 50/70k for the first 7 hours play. 50k half way through second last level, ended day on 158k. really had no cards all day, jj 88 level two, QQ 88 last level, no other pair over sixes or AK all day so delighted to finish on what I did.

Hopefully wont get a chance to do a decent review for a day or two anyway.

Anyone txting, I'm getting loads but not replying when playing or asleep:-) need to cash to pay the phone bill ATM which is redic

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day Two

So 33k going back; I had no real strategy going into the day, just worry about my table and make the next level is all you can really do I believe in a field of this magnitude. Level one was quiet I added 3k to my stack. The only hand I recall was when I picked up Queens on the button. UTG an oldish guy raised to 1100, I decided to play them slowly and called, the SB shipped for 17k which I was calling until UTG ships for 50k; SB held AKs and UTG AA. Felt good after the hand as I lose chips on an eight high flop if SB didn't ship. My starting table was ok, perljammer was the only player I recognized but he was short and lost them early enough.

Level two I got to 54k winning most of those chips in two pots. Pot one against a young English player when I called a raise pre with AJ and call an Axx flop, an Ace turn and a 5k bet on the river, he held A10. The second hand I played I had no idea where I was TBH. I raise early to 1500, blinds 250/500 with AQ and get min-raised by an oldish tight player. I call the extra 1500 and the flop is AKK. I check and he bets 3000, call and its checked down, he has 1010.

Level three the table breaks and my new table is tougher with lots of big stacks. Just after I sit down I spot one clear soft spot, Amerillo Slim shoves 50k into a 5k pot and shows AK for no-draw no pair. There's a 30ish American niggling him and he gave as good as he got so he isn't totally senile. I end level three on 56k.

Two hands of any consequence in level four both where I held AQos against two good big stacks. Hand one I call a bet on the turn with ace high which is good and hand two I connect with the flop and get two streets of value, ended level on 64k.

By the last level of the day there was some crazy hands on the table, about ten players had come and gone and there was 4 monster stacks over 200k. One hand a guy scoops 340k after flopping a straight flush holding 7d9d another a guy 3-bets a flop to 100k in a 4-bet pot and shows 32os for bottom pair. I picked up my biggest pot of the day early in the level when I raised the cutoff with KhQh and get a K two rag one heart flop. A guy who had lost about 100 of a 170k stack in the previous 30 mins check raises my 4k bet to 11k. I'm confident I'm good here so just smooth. The turn is the Ah giving me the nut flush draw and I check behind. When he checks the blank river I'm sure he has a worse king and get a nice 14k bet called after he dwells for an age. I found the last 45mins very hard with all the big stacks playing well and not getting a sniff on a decent starting hand. This saw me drop from my tournament high of 90k to a finishing 72k.

All in all I think I can be happy with my performance over the day. The Queens in level one were the only sniff of a premium I got over the day so, to more then double my stack in the 10 hours felt like a decent days work. This is a complete monster of a tournament and totally different from anything that I've experienced. By the time I sit down Friday it will be seven days since I was first dealt a hand. I'm just going in with the same frame of mind I've had so far; play my table and make the next level.

A couple of people have recommended that I shouldn't post hands I play while still in the tournament. While I appreciate the advice and have given it some thought, I don't think it's a worry in a field this size at this stage and if I'm lucky enough to get any deeper I wont have time for these type of reports.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

One Eight of the Way

Got through day one with 33k in chips which I'm happy enough with. This is a marathon and going back at 200/400 blinds, 33k is plenty. I was very happy with my play over the day except for one hand I played in level two which I didn't cover myself in glory but I'm still unsure about.

Level one went very well; the first real hand I played i check raised the turn in a 4-bet pot after leading the flop against a very good aggro Russian with 8 high and took the pot. The guy had already 3-bet me the first three times I opened so I had 4-bet him in the hand with 7d8d. Shortly after this I take down a big pot against the same guy. I open AKos and four see an AK2 rainbow flop, I bet 600, the Russian is the only caller. When he calls my 1200 bet on a 7 turn I feel I may in trouble but hit the King for the boat on the river. I lead for 2.6 and he re-pops to 7500, I raise another 11k and after an age he folds 22, for Twos full face up. I finish the level on a healthy 45k and know by this stage that the two best of my opponents ( a French and the Russian ) are on my direct left; of the others the two on my direct right are weak passive Americans next to them a capable Swede and one terrible and a so so yank at the other end of the table.

Into level two I chip up a little then lose a few K when I'm calling down the Russians bluff and he spikes a river. We had been playing eight handed until a young stars qualifier is placed between the French and Russian. He raises UTG +1 and about six see a flop. I have Kd3d in the BB on a 4x5d7d flop. The new player makes it 800 and I repop to 2300 when the rest get out of the way, he makes it 6200 and I go again to 16400. He tanks for an age and I'm sure he is folding but eventually he shoves and he just covers my remaining 27k. I fear Ad 6d and fold. I'm really not that happy with my 4-bet in the hand, I think I was to aggressive here and the hand is still annoying me. I just rock it up for the next hour as I need time to recover from the hand and finish the level on 25k.

Level three was very quiet at the table and very little happened. We were on the second last hand before the break when I play my first hand of consequence of the level. The retarded yank who had been open limping 80% of pots by this stage did so again. The Swede who was isolating about half of the limps makes it 1600 ( blinds 150/300 ) I make it 4800 from the button with AdKd and the Swede calls. I completely miss the flop and C-Bet 7200, he is in pain but after two mins shoves and shows Queens when I fold.

I'm chatting with Dara at the last break and he gives me a bit of a pep talk, just as I re-enter the Rio I tell him I'm the best player at my table and there's no way I'm not making day two. So into level four with 15k which drops to 11k after a bit. I get about 7k in a pot against the mong when I make a big call with Jacks on a KK99 board. I then chip up to 25k but drop back to 18 when I give up AK on a A 7 2r board ( young stars player shows set twos ). In my last big hand of the day I amazingly pick up about 15k without showdown. I open for 1k UTG with Queens and get five callers. On a 2 4 6 rainbow I decide this is it and check. The player next to me who has replaced the French player bets 600 into the 6k+ pot and a yank at the top makes it 2500, I make it 8500 leaving 8700 behind. He calls after a bit of deliberation which definitely confuses me but I'm fairly sure I'm good, he proceeds to fold to my shove on an 8 turn. All in all I'm happy to be going back with what I have but think I made the day a lot harder then it should of been by losing that 16k in the hand in level two.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ready for Action

Played the Wynn course yesterday, deadly course, a little pricey to play everyday but I recommend playing it the once anyway. It's such an awesome, unique setting for a golf course. Marty took the spoils in a five ball, hard to keep that guy down.

Really looking forward to day one of the Main Event tomorrow morning. Honestly don't think I could be in better shape mentally heading into it. I'll be bringing my A-Game that's for sure, lets hope its enough and I don't run bad.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Its all about the Main Event

I've played relatively very little poker since I've been here. To some this may seem a little odd as I could be playing a tournament every day. The last time I was here that's exactly what I did and by the time the main event came around, it just became another tournament. This year my initial plans were to just fly in for the big one. Through boredom I decided to come out early but I consciously decided not to play that much. People whom I've been spending time with here with lots more experience then me ( Marty, Padraig, Julian ) seem to be taking the same approach so I'm confident that's its the right approach. I registered yesterday for day one A which is this Friday.

Never got a look in in the $1500 yesterday, went out after 90 minutes AK v 1010 up to that point I had raised twice with small pairs and given up on unfavourable flops after multiple callers. The only other hand I played was raising 88 in cutoff and my C-bet getting shoved over. All in all a bad day, I didn't actually win a single pot. Meh that's the nature of those things, I've no doubt that there's a huge amount of value in the $1500s but you still need to hit a few hands and win the odd race.

On the golf front we play the Wynn tomorrow which I'm looking forward to.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Played the $1,500 yesterday, this was by far the easiest table I've ever sat on in a tournament with a buy in greater then €1,000. The standard in a regular €50 club game in Ireland is probable better TBH. Busted halfway through level six with about 1200 players remaining, got off to a decent start had 9300 at break one, no big pots. Had a terrible second session dropping to 1600 on break two, again no big pots, just lots of raiser and C-bets going astray . Got it back to 6800 when I go out in the following situation. Blinds 150/300 25a I'm button and raise to 900 with Qs8s, both blinds call, flop 5s7s Qx, sb leads for 1200, bb calls and I ship. SB calls with 55 for the set, I pick up extra outs when a 6 hits the turn but no joy. I play the $1,500 again tomorrow and a cash would be nice.

On the golf front I've come to the conclusion that Spillane and Gardner are total bandits. Played twice since I last blogged. Five of us played the TPC Vegas and Gardner romped it, I got out ahead winning side bets with Marty and Paul. Dave Callaghan did nearly break my thumb in a buggy smash. Today we played better balls on Bears Best course and team Spillane/Gardner murdered myself and Marty again, thankfully I wised up on playing for percentages and just lost a few bucks. On the drive out to the TPC course the taxi driver commented " look at that crazy running in this heat" obviously when we look out the window we spot Dara pounding the pavement in 100+ degrees.

Had an enjoyable few drinks with Jude, Derek, Jude's wife Ashling and brother in law Dave last night. I've acquired a taste for white russians made on grey goose vodka over here, smashing drink but they don't half kick.

Having discussed the starting day for the main event with a number of players whom advice I respect, I've taken a compleat tournaround and It now looks certain that I'll be playing day one A next Friday.

Friday, June 26, 2009


The next two weeks will be all about the poker. Since I posted Tuesday I played a small $125 buy in late night game in caesars cashing for a grand. Finally won at golf but it was more down to the opponents bottling it on the 18th and Marty's shrewdness then anything I contributed. Two points down at the 18th I got a point and Marty three while Julian and Paul both scratched, ship, glad I didn't lose another two percent in main event. I swapped 2.5 % with Jude and Derek so just about own over 50% of myself at this stage.

I played the $550 game in the Venetian today and just busted a very healthy 55k stack with 260 of the 660 starters remaining. I held Jacks in both hands I lost the chips. First one I folded the turn after putting in about 20k on a 9 high board to be shown Aces, second one I ran into kings on a queen high boards in a 3-bet pot. I had just been moved to the table which Derek was on and he told me later that the guy I checked raised on the flop was a total rock. Figures as he took an age to call, I thought during that time that I had the pot.

Little disappointed not to go deeper but was very happy with how I played up to that point and seem to be picking up a few decent hands which I haven't been the last few months. Mentally I don't think I could be in better form in the run up to the main event. When I got here my mind was filled with negatives about my game but the last week have done wonders for my perspective and I'm honestly looking forward to the next two with a great amount of enthusiasm and confidence. I just feel things are starting to click.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PLO 100% record in tatters

I'm very sad to report my 100% PLO tournament record lies in tatters after playing the $240 game in the Golden Nugget's Grand festival today. There was about 120 starters, 12,000 stack and I was going really well with about 50 players remaining having quadrupled my stack. I peaked at about 55k but lost a couple of hands against short-stacks. The most noticeable of these with QQ 810ds against Q 10 6 2 one suit for a 30k pot. I dropped to about 15k but had it back to over 30k when I exited about 8 off the money ( 18 paid ). While I don't know that much about omaha I'm fairly sure that Kh9x8h8x on a Ah8x4h board is enough to get them in, unfortunately my opponents AAxx held. The nugget is a smashing hotel and a lovely place to play cards, I'll definitely be back down there for another game.

Monday, June 22, 2009

On Holidays

Haven't played at all since Saturday, golfing, eating, and a few beers and golfing. I seem to have started the trip in holiday mode. I'm gonna get stuck into the poker soon and I'd imagine that I'll be on my game as I'm in top form mentally anyway. Nothing really to report, played Bali Hai yesterday which is a top notch course with the same crew. Dave Callaghan deputised for Julian today playing desert pines course, lovely spot. Just back to gold coast and think I'll pop over to the Rio in a bit and play a few stts or a satellite. Gotta end the holiday soon and do some work.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

fast exit

With a 90 bigblind starting stack the $1500 games are going to have a high early attrition rate, unfortunately I was one of the casualties today. I started very well adding almost 50% to my stack in the first 30 minutes, hitting a few hands and connecting with a couple of flops. There was four bad players at the table and two decent ones. Picked up AdAH in the small blind and bumped it up to 275 after two limper's. The second limper called and i doubled him up on a three diamond flop; he held 9d4d. I dropped to 2k by the end of level one. Near the end of level two I was back to exact starting stack when I raised A10 in mid position to 300, the BB who had been by far the most active player 3-bet to 1050. I know his range was wide here and I had a good image so shoved, unfortunately he had AdKd and I was busto on an all Diamond flop.

I have no real plans for the coming week, gonna just play small ones wherever I fancy on the day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

OMG there's hustlers in Vegas

Big thanks to Doke for getting me sorted online here. I shanghaied him in the Rio and dragged him to the Gold Coast where he wasn't allowed leave until he got me connected. Actually liking staying in the Gold Coast which is very important seeing as I'm gonna be here for a month.

Poker wise I've played very little, just a $300 game in Caesars where I bluffed off my chips in a very bad spot and two stts in the RIO, chopping one two handed. The stts in the Rio are played with one place paid but there's usually business done. I might grind a few of these over the trip. Really just spent the last two days getting into the swing of things here and the poker really starts this morning with a $1,500 wsop event.

Had a few drinks in the hooker bar Thursday night, loads of Irish over here so plenty people to hang with. While at in bar myself, Marty, Paul Spillane and Julian Gardner, arranged to golf the next day. It was myself and Marty teamed against Paul and Julian, playing for percentages in the wsop ME. We were on the wrong side of a right battering, so lost 2%. Handicaps will be changing before the next game.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


yesterday was a hell of a long day but here now thankfully. Way to much taking off n landing for my liking. I'm having trouble getting the internet set up in the gold coast, doing this from a terminal. Met up with Derek, Jude, Silky, Chris Dowling and wally last night. Not playing in the rio until Saturdays $15,000. Think i'll play ceasers $500 game today, want to have a look at the structure and cardroom. Hopefully get things sorted so can do proper updates by the weekend

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bright light city

Off to Vegas on Wednesday for a month. Gonna play at least 4 bracelet events including the main event. The smallest field I'm going to play in the Rio is about 3000 players. While the field sizes are daunting, all one can really do is get your head down and play your table as best you can. One thing is for sure, many worse players them myself have maneuvered through such fields and I'll be giving it my all and relishing the challenge.

I played the redcow Bruce game on Friday and the WSOP satt in Carlow on Saturday. Two damp squibs, never getting anything going in either. In all honesty I've hit a down slump since early February. I've had many over the last four years and they end; fingers crossed the change in scenery can also bring around a change fortune.

I need to organise a laptop for Vegas, gave mine to my dad as I never use it but ill do lots of updates from sin city. Dreading the journey over Wednesday, I'm flying Shannon-New York-Vegas. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Couple of odd hands

At the Brucepoker game last Friday night with four tables left I raise the button with A8os 3x. I'm playing about 60k with the blinds 1500/3000 and badbeatJoe is the bigblind and has about twice my chips. Now Joe is at the opposite end of the table and dwells a bit about his action, during this time he is picking up his cards and putting them back on the table. I somehow catch a glimpse of one of his cards which is the four of diamonds. The Flop comes down 1098 no diamonds and Joe leads for 17k. I cant see how my A8 is behind any hand he calls with pre containing a four so shove ( which is a total brain fart as I have him drawing to 2(44) or 3(A4) outs ) to be shown 9d4d.

Thinking about the hand after I was wondering if there is an ethical dilemma for me here having seen one of his cards. Should I say something preflop when I see his card. I dunno, TBH it's up to him to protect his cards but it seems a little gray to me.

The second hand happened tonight in the Macau and is a bit of a moan about a terrible call someone made against me. I fancied a game and there was a three seat guaranteed satellite for the weekends shorthanded festival main event on. 26 runners and I hit some nice hands taking a chip lead to the final table. I had few setbacks most notable AA<84 but was still in good shape when we reached the bubble. There was 316k total chips in play and I managed to lose two 100k pots before I pushed 65k utg with KK. The blinds had hit 5/10k at this stage and the BB playing 75k called with 33. I don't like the call here ever but the fact that another of the four players held 30k at the time makes it really bad imo. I did get a Roy Brindley book for bubbling so it wasn't all bad.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Road Kill

GUKPT leg five Newcastle was the destination last weekend. Myself, Paul Smallwood, Keith McFadden and Chris Dowling headed for the ferry and long spin from Holyhead to Newcastle in Paul's jeep Thursday evening. We arrived in Newcastle about 5 am and I got a decent few hours kip before the 2 pm start.

I was feeling well up for this one and looking around my starting table there wasn't to much to be worried about. This dude on my direct right looked vaguely familiar but as you can see from the picture he had obviously been out drinking all night. There was a lot of action on my table early but it became apparent that it was down to big hands rather then aggression. The only two hands of consequence I played in the first session came at the end of level two. I picked up the aces in the SB and just call an early position raiser. Flop is J 6 5 and I check/call, I check/raise the blank turn which brings a second spade. The river brings the flush which doesn't bother me and I'm about to put a hefty value bet into the 4.5k pot. I decide to check call instead and he checks a set of fives behind, phew. Shortly after this the rough looking guy on my right raised the cut-off and I called from the button with AQ. Flop Q 10 7 call, turn low card bringing flush draw and I call. River brings an 8 which I call and am a little surprised to see 69 for the straight. Hmmm must be nice.

We hit the break shortly after this and when I reviewed both hands, I decided that I was lucky to have any chips left. I was quiet happy returning for the 75/150 level with 4025 chips. Shortly back I got a very soft double up with the aces and my stack stayed around the 8k mark until the dinner break at the end of level four.

Couldn't get anything going the next level and because of the poor turnout on day one ( they had to stop down to 14 players ) we were only playing 35 minutes of level six. I was looking for a spot to get my 6k stack in and found a pretty bad one; 66 v 1010, I did hit a 6 on the flop but it was false hope as the turn brought a 10.

That's four times I've played in the UK since last September and on each occasion I've exited on the last level of play on day one. The other three lads in the car and the vaguely familiar drunk looking guy all came back for day two but as Rob reported on boards they all exited before the money.

I played the €250 game on Saturday exiting in level 2 in a flopflip holding a unimproved flush draw and over card. So a pretty abysmal weekends poker and I added to the misery with some bad sports bets :-(

We headed home Sunday evening and the satnav decided to take the piss. It sent us off towards Carlisle then over the Pennines for about 90 minutes. If you were a furry animal in the area that evening you were in trouble. The fecker on the left took out two Pheasants about six Hedgehogs and more Rabbits then mixamytosis, there was also lucky escapes for a few sheep and a deer, horrendous stuff.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TLTD, Newcastle, Cake & Golf

I took on the very long drive of Waterford-Castlebar-Waterford last weekend for the latest leg of the BrucePoker live tour. A very decent turnout of 85 Including well known faces Keith Mcfadden, FatBoyDim and the best player in England Martin Silke. I never got going and my bounty was claimed when I got all my chips in on the flop in level six holding AK v A10 on a AQ10 flop.

Good Waterford player Colin Fardy traveled up with me and was going very well with two tables remaining. I've noticed Colin putting himself in a lot of good spots recently but failing to finish the job so took it on myself to give him a pep talk on aggression in later stages of tournaments, on a break. I'd say he was calling me a few choice words when he pushed his bigblind after the smallblind limped QQ.

The tour moves back to the Crown-Plaza Dundalk this week and another great game is promised. I'm off to Newcastle for leg five of the GUKPT on Thursday; looking forward to the game as I'm confident about how I'm playing ATM. There's a decent Irish contingency going over so hopefully someone(ME)can emulate Silky's great showing in leg 3.

I'm excited by the news that are moving to the Cake network. Cake have emerged as a very progressive and innovative outfit over the last two year. The company have been revolutionary in there approach to online poker, introducing elements such as weekly alias changes and blocking tracking software.

My confidence is bolstered by the news last week that former top man at pokerstars Lee Jones is taking over as poker-room manager at Cake. Lee is probably the most respected person working in the industry and nothing but great confidence can be gleaned from this appointment. I feel this is a fantastic move by and bodes well for the future.

One of my greatest disappointment of the year 2008 was when SideshowBob and Caoimh beat us in a cross-county Golf battle. Myself and Danny had been in practice all Winter and lured the unsuspecting Corkonians to our local course last Wednesday. I'm not one to brag but those boys took one hell of a beating.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One Trick Pony

The second JP Masters festival sponsored by Brucepoker was a super success the weekend past. Numbers up in all events by about 25% in these recessionary times is encouraging and a great compliment to the organisers. I played three of the four events on offer and feel pretty good about my game in the run up to the main event in Vegas.

The Main event started very well for me. With two levels to go on day one I was cruising on about 35k which was well ahead of the average, about fifteen minutes later I was out. I lost 33% of my chips when I raise A9, bet a 955 flop, bet the 9 turn and bet the river into flopped quads. My exit hand was the exact same as last year in this event, AK v KK all in pre-flop and as last year verses this opponent I consider the hand a complete cooler.

I felt I had played pretty good up until my exit. My starting table wasn't easy with Mick Stevens having direct position on me. I made one mistake early, not extracting enough river value holding 77 on a 10107 board against the chap that eventually took me out, knowing he held k10 or A10 but apart from that I was happy with how I played. The structure for this event was sick and I feel that increasing the time frame on blind levels as the tournament progresses is the way to go.

I enjoyed a few beers Friday night after my exit but was well up for the €300 game that started at six on the Saturday. This started very slowly for me and I had basically blinded down to 7700 when I decided I needed to make something happen in level four. Tom Kitt was on my right and was having more or less the same tournament as me, when he three-bet from the cut off I knew he had a fairly wide range so I shoved 4d6d. He knew I was probably at it but couldn't find the call with J9, what a nit.

Shortly after with a few short stacks on the table in shove mode I decided to limp after an UTG limp in second position with AQ, blinds 150/300-25 ante. A late position pushes 5k with A3os and I get a few more chips. I don't see a hand for the next five levels but hang in there until the last level of the night when I'm crippled KQ v KJ with about 30 of the 130 starters remaining. I exit next hand pushing five BBS with K9 into QQ. Enjoyed the game and figure I did the best I could with the shit I was dealt all night.

Sunday I decided to give the €250 PLO tournament a go for the craic. This was my first live PLO event and I've played very little of the game so didn't hold out much hope but amazingly went on to win it. Only 45 runners and just over €3k for the win but hugely enjoyable to win an event. I wont go into detail about my strategy during the game but it could be described as clueless. Paul Spillane gave some great advice during the game and I repaid him by getting the better of him heads up.

The final table was an epic grind and went on much longer then anyone expected but was good craic. I got to dog Noel BCB Hayes twice on it which was very rewarding :-), I also killed Scott Grays momentum in a very iffy played hand. Really enjoyed the game and it was great to win an event at a BrucePoker sponsored festival. This Friday sees the live tour move to Castlebar, hope to see you there.