Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lots of Driving, No Cashing

Traveled to Killarney on Friday for the Cues Clubs 10th anaverasry tournament. This was a €250 buy in , 108 runners and a structure to rival the WSOP main event. As ever Connie was a wonderful host catering for the players every need.

I exited the tournament in the last level on day one. Picked up AA in the BB and played it well to get an opponents stack in on the turn drawing to five outs, however him hitting one of those outs wasnt in the plan. Got my remaining chips in with top pair on the flop against a flush draw and lost.

Enjoyed a few beers on Friday night and played the €150 on Saturday. I started well in this but a few misplaced flop 3-bets saw me out early enough in this one also. Congrats to Connie on ten years and may there be many more, the club is one of the best in the country and I've always loved playing there.

Sunday morning set off on the long drive to Moy Vally where the hugely successful Brucepoker pub league finals weekend was in progress. It was imperative to me that i didn't exit the €150 game early after the four hour drive to get there. In the end I made the last four tables before I was crippled in a 2x average race AJ v 88. I really enjoyed the game and Bruce's put on a fabulous weekend by all accounts. Big congrats to Anto O Callaghan on taking the main title and to everyone who cashed over the weekend. The Brucepoker live tour goes from strength and the next games are in Castlebar on the 15th I think and Friday 22nd May Crowne Plaza Dundalk - Friday 29th May Glenroyal Hotel Maynooth.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You are Gold

What a great way to spend Easter weekend the Irish Open poker festival has become. I've always been fond of the city west as a venue and you have to hand it to Paddypowers they put on a great show. Luckily enough theres enough entertainment on offer to keep you occupied if you exit the tournament early as my 2009 IO appearance was rather brief.

We canceled the golf due to bad weather Thursday so six of us went to the Asian restaurant for dinner. Keith McFadden drew the short straw for the €300 bill and immediately proceeded to do a grand playing pitch n toss to Flipper trying to win the dinner money back.

I stuck to my no hangover plan and was in bed by 1.30 having drunk one pint. I woke at three, my body under attack by some virus or reacting badly to the oysters I had at dinner. I put in a horrible night of sickness and got back to sleep about eleven the following morning for two hours. Bops who I was rooming also put in a different type of sick night doing his total konkers in the supersatt and later the cash games. He was heading down home to reload when I was finally getting some kip.

I dragged myself down to the poker area about 1.50 and thought very strongly about unregistering. If theres one thing experience of playing these multi day events has thought me its that you cant win them on day one. With that thought in mind I decided to try and just get through the day. I get to my seat and know two players at the table, Mick Muldoon and Jamie from Limerick. I'm not exaggerating here when I say if I was asked before the game to pick a player that I would least like to have direct position on me, the player I'd pick without hesitation would be Muldoon, but that was where I got him.

My Open consisted of two hands. About 30 minutes into level one six players see a raised pot, I hold 3h5h on the button. The initial raiser bets 575 on a 4d 6h 9h flop and I raise to 1825 quiet happy to go to war with an over pair. Muldoon throws a spanner in the works by shoving from the small blind. As much as I like a gamble I'm not calling them off in this spot, I was thinking 7h8h which was murdering my hand, he told me a couple of days later he had AhJh which was just killing it.

My exit hand was 60 minutes later, I'm playing 7k and pick up my first starting hand of the tournament in QQ. I smooth a 300 open and the 500 raise from the BB, flop of 2c3x4c goes C/C, I call 1500 on the turn and a river shove to be shown AA. I don't mind how I played the hand as I didnt think my opponent had a small range pre and I was happy to get them with the Queens at any stage in the hand.

By 6 O C the bar was littered with most of the top poker players in the country. I'f I had to do a list of 20 Irish players I gave a chance to in the tournament about 17 of them were out by level four. Maybe the novelty of having the bar open on good Friday was just to enticing.

Saturday consisted of a hugely enjoyably game of golf with Marty Smyth and Paul Spillane from Boyles. Bruces came out well on top in this one with me winning 14 skins. I spent the rest of the day having a few beers and watching the Masters.

Played golf again Sunday with the same three ball. I asked Jude Ainsworth if he wanted to join us but he said that he was going to spend the evening trying to qualify for the SCOOP $10K that night. As he went on to win $963,000 and the title of SCOOP main event champion over the next two days he probably made the correct decision re the golf. I'm friends with Jude by default through his best mate Derek and its Derek that has for a couple of years now been telling me just how good Jude is. I think the whole world knows now, what a performance it was after watching the hole cards on stars tv.In the golf we played for percentages in the €1500 event. Marty, not a man that will be kept down for long owned myself and Paul in this round. It wasn't all bad though as although Marty got 10% of us we still got 5% of him which is never a bad thing.

The €1500 game started at five and I intended to start aggressively and try get a big stack together. We had the novelty Jamie Gold on the table in full wsop waffle mode. He was good craic actually and played well enough except one retarded over shove over Cairan Burkes Queens open with A5os. Two aces later Ciaran was out and I was eyeing up Jamies stack. After three levels I had over twice my starting stack, felt on top of my game and was really getting into the tournament.

Ten minutes into level four I was out. Andy Black whom I hadn't played with before had joined the table. I raise AKos under the gun and get two callers, Andy shoves for circa 7k from the sb. I insta shove as I'm very happy to take on his range here with th AK, his tens hold. A couple of hands later I'm playing 8k and 3-bet to 2500 with JJ from the button and call a shove. This time I lose to AK. I'm not 100% about the call with the jacks as this guys range was narrow enough tbh but I had set out to play aggro so I'll chalk it down to an aggro call.

I was dissapointed not to go deeper in that game as I felt good about my game but these are the joys of tournament poker. As myself and Paul settled down in the bar to watch the last round of the masters we comforted ourselves with irony that although Marty won the golf he was the one that could end up handing over money. I also had 10% of my Brucepoker boss Paul Smallwood who was accumulating a nice stack.

I hadn't had much to drink up to that point of the weekend but put that right Sunday night. The last thing I remember was about 5.30 A M telling the TV production people that every poker tournament has a story running through it and it was up to them to capture it. I hope I went to bed shortly after this as I can only imagine the level of bullshit to follow that.

Monday was spent hungover railing Paul and heckling ( in a nice way ) Jamie Gold. Every time Jamie took down a pot he got a rendition of the chorus of the above Spandau Ballet song. Paul played a stormer in the €1500 finishing 5th for just shy of €20,000. He can be very proud of the finish is a brilliant field, he even managed to win two races against Jamie, WP m8 great result.

Although the tournaments were very disappointing for me the IO is such a great social weekend you cant not have a good time. It was great to catch up with friends over the weekend esp my good bud Gavin 'Valor' Kelly who was home from Argentina. Bops won back the money he lost Thursday and had a miraculous cash in the PLO tourney for €1600, he had one bigblind when the bubble broke. Flipper did his stones but returned to Mallow confident in the knowledge that he is still the best poker and pitch n toss player in the country. All in all a great weekend but alas I'm going to have to wait at least another year before I become the IO champion.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whose a Star in Mullingar

Made my debut in Mullingar at the Brucepoker live game Friday night. I did a little better then my previous two outings reaching the final four tables. Pat who I traveled up with finished 7th for €750 and Paul Smallwood who took over bounty duty bubbled.

Numbers were a down a bit at 103 but a respectable turnout all the same. I went out pushing 50k over a cutoff 12k open from the button with QK but the BB woke up with AQ. The bigblind in the hand did a great Jamie Gold impression on the night knocking out a huge percentage of the field a looked the winner from a long way out, WP.

I played the IO satt in Olympus today Sunday. God I played bad in this going out with about 26 of the 64 starters remaining with a miss timed re steal. The highlight of my play had to be when I called off 8k over the turn and river, holding a massive ten high while my opponent held quads. The table got a right buzz off that, I had misread my hand and thought I held a straight. If I play this badly next week I'll be minced meat.

One thing I do have going for me next week is I owe my mate Derek Murry a few percent of me since he played the EPT in France. Derek is so lucky for those he has a piece of that people are actually giving him a few percent for luck. Unfortunately for Der he broke his leg and wont be playing himself.

I'll head up to the City West Thursday, a few of us have a round of golf booked for around 3.30. A nice dinner in the Asian restaurant in the golf hotel and a couple of pints is the plan for the evening. I wont however be giving a re run of the last three Irish Opens and playing day one with a massive hangover; famous last words.