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 BrucePoker.com 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 Brucepoker.com 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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

JP Masters time

This weekend see the second running of the JPmasters. For me there isn't a better tournament organiser in the country then JP, Brucepoker come on board this year as sponsors of the event. The masters main event is a €750 buy in ( inc reg ) boasts a 15k starting stack, one hour clock for the first 10 levels and 90 minutes there after. I bubbled the final table of this tournament last year and hope I can run deep again. The €100,000 guarantee insured by Bruce's should be met easily; full schedule of the festival can be found here. This was one of the top tournaments in Ireland last year and I think it will be surpassed this year, I'd expect somwhere around 220 runners.

Myself and Pat booked Vegas during the week. Flying out 1th July unti lthe 15th. Basically I'm just focusing on the main event. The last time I was there I had played a load of events leading up to the ME and tbh it just became another tournament. It's every poker players dream to run deep in this one and I'm no different, hopefully the planets are allinged for me the first two weeks in July.

On the local front the Olympus club is going from strenght to strenght. The lads are running a festival in mid July and I said I'd give a bit of a hand permoting it. The main event is a €400+40 buy in and is capped at 100 runners for comfort, this will fill easily. Details.