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.