Monday, July 26, 2010

Waterford Masters

We had the second instalment of the Waterford Masters over the weekend. This is my local tournament, and with some personal involvement in putting it together, it was great to see it filled to capacity again this year.

I more or less missed the first two levels. I was out spanking Marty, Paul and Ciaran on one of my local courses, Faithleg, which made me an hour late. The second hour was spent just catching up with people when I got to the Grand.

At the break my first table broke and I was moved to the Irish Elky's table, JP McCann. Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know the esteem I hold JP as a tournament director/operator in, but JP seemed to think he had suddenly become a world class poker player.

In fairness, he was doing a great impression of it for a while! He had more moves than Michael Jackson on a Friday night. It was the best craic I've had on the poker table in a few years, with about ten epic hands between us.

I doubled JP up three times over four levels and finally got rid of the fecker early on the Saturday.

I had ended the Friday on chip_icon.jpg19k having peaked earlier with chip_icon.jpg30k. On Saturday I hit a bit of a heater early, knocking out three players before I coolered Richie Lawlor (Cork) in a big pot - Unkown suit AUnkown suit A v Unkown suit QUnkown suit Q. This gave me about 90k and I kicked on to about 120k, taking the chip lead a couple of levels during the day.

I played well over the next six levels but wasn't adding to my stack. I lost a biggish pot to a Mark McKeever set, with Unkown suit AUnkown suit Q on a Q 9 2 flop. It seemed standard enough but I could have gotten away from it.

I managed to chip it back up over the next three or so hours but it just turned on me then. Late in the day, I moved tables and went out playing about chip_icon.jpg70k blinds 1200/2400, in a blind on blind situation.

Carl Fitz-the proud owner of 20 pro V one golf balls and a renowned economist, raised from the sb 7500 and I called with Ah 5h. Kx 10x 2h flop, went check-check. Carl bet 7500 on 4h turn. I over raise to chip_icon.jpg29k, basically committing myself to the pot and call his AK when he shoves.

I'm a bit ambiguous about my play in this hand. I don't think it's good but I don't think it's bad either. I suppose I could have just called the turn but at the time this felt a little weak with my holdings.

I had been on the previous table for nine hours over the day and lasted three hands on my new table. To go out in 36th was disappointing, continuing my run of semi-deep runs in tournaments without a conversion.

The Boylepoker sponsored pro's were put to shame by VIP manager Ciaran Corbett, who put up a great performance to make the money and last two tables, so kudos to C.

Well done to everyone who worked hard over the weekend to make the festival a success and a big thanks to everyone who travelled to the event and all the locals for the support.

Also, it was good to see the title stay at home this year! Congrats to Chris Frisby on taking it down.

Going to head to Galway for the racing festival. There's a 1k buy-in exhibition STT Thursday night in the Eglington Casino which looks like easy money, so I'll probably play that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegas Review

When you bust the Main Event - it's get out of town time. It's an odd dynamic really. One minute you're plugged into the biggest of them all, then one hand and ten minutes later you're looking for the fastest way out of the place.

Vegas in June/July is a magical place for any poker player and every time I go I feel lucky to be there. I may not have done much on the felt this year but I still had a great trip.

I didn't play as much as I thought I was going to, but when I played I thought I brought my best game to the tables. I played five bracelet events and saw off 75% of the field in all of them without cashing.

I remember back in 2008 after getting knocked out of a string of high level tournaments in the first level, being asked by Connie O'Sullivan what I was doing wrong and whether I was worried. My answer was, "Nothing, as I thought if I play long enough, I will see every sequence of finishing position."

Stevie Devlin asked me a similar question in Vegas this year and got the same answer. I don't think I've ever bubbled a big event and generally when I see off 75% of a field I'd convert to cash most of the time. So, to hit a run like that at the WSOP is pretty unlucky I think.

Once you've seen off that amount of the field, you're generally emotionally into the tournaments. To have a run like that also hurts that bit more each time you exit. Having said that, all you can really hope for at any given tournament is to play well and I feel I played to the best of my ability for the trip.

My exit hand in the Main was very standard. I was way ahead of the guys pushing range and maybe slightly unlucky not to be dominating. I think I would have kicked onto the money at least had I won that race, but thems the breaks. It was only the second time that I was all-in during the event and the first time I was a huge fav.

Over the two and a half days I played, I hit some lovely hands and felt I was running well in general. Funnily enough I had no cards the previous year but never at any stage this year had I more chips then last. It's not easy to cash in the main and it just brought home to me how well I must have played last year.

Apart from the bracelet events I only played poker three other occasions. A $500 STT that I chopped with Derek Murray for $2350 profit. I also pulled $6,700 profit out of a satellite; had a saviour with two of the lads and slight deal done at the end. These covered a lot of my expenses for the trip and are where a lot of value can still be found. I really should of ground a bit more of these types of games readily available in the Rio.

The other game I played was late one night in the Rio, when I was hanging around waiting for Tommy Finneran. I somehow let Dara, Rob and Cat talk me into playing the €100 nightly tournament at midnight - a truly surreal experience.

I really enjoyed my time in Vegas this year. I spent a lot of time with very good friends and not enough time with other good friends. I enjoyed my poker, the few nights out and the golf, so a big thanks to everyone who shared the trip with me. Also big thanks to Boylepoker for the support, disappointing I couldn't convert for those who won percentages in the WSOPieces promotion.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Busted but not broken

Derek Murray said to me earlier in the week that the day you bust the main event is the worst day of the year for a poker player. He's right, but you have to put it perspective, If the worst thing that happens to you in a year is busting a poker tournament then things ain't to bad.

I got back yesterday with 66k and on paper what looked a handy enough table, by the end of the first two hours I though the table was better then it looked on research.

The first two hour session didn't go well, lots of raises snapped off and no continuation bets getting through. I did three bet twice light over the two hours which allowed me keep my stack at 50k at least, which was over 40 bigs.

When we returned after the break I got over the 60k again when I picked up 1010 in the SB. UTG raised to 3k blinds 600/1200-200 ante , something he seemed fond of doing and got one caller. I usually flat here but my read was UTG was weak and the caller was folding 100% of the time having seen him fold QQ face up earlier to late position raise and three bet.

I raised to 11k fairly sure it would take the 9,600 in the middle. To my surprise the initial raiser pushed. My read was that the tens were good but my head said calling for 42 bigs with 1010 was nuts so I folded. I kinda regret not going with my gut.

Soon after playing 52k and with blinds 800/1600-200 ante. I'm BB holding AK and the button opens for 3900 and I make it 11,000. It's the forth time in an hour I've three bet him, once from the BB with AA and twice from the button with dirt. The guy has also dropped from 150k to about 70k in the previous hour.

basically I'm expecting him to four bet, so when he shoves, I cant get the chips into the pot fast enough with the AK. He held 44 and won the race. While I'll three bet light in position, I'm never doing it from the blinds with over 20 bigs, so his shove is questionable I think. My three bet range here is crushing his hand and I don't think I'm ever folding once I do it.

It's a pity as I felt I had a really good handle on the table at that stage and if I won the race I'm confidant I could of built on that for the rest of the day.

Obviously I'm very disappointed to exit, but pragmatic enough about it at the same time. I'll do a review blog on the trip when I get home later in the week.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last of the Mohigan's

Gutted to see Derek and Tommy whom I'm sharing the house at 2367 Mohigan drive with, both bust today, however it did make me the last of the Mohigan's.

The day is a bit of a blur at the moment but there were some great hands. I got lucky early when I picked up AA and the big blind checked raised me on a k 10 6 two diamonds flop. I called and folded when another King hit the turn. He showed 1010 and I'd of lost more chips if the second King didn't come.

Shortly after I raised 43os UTG, blinds 200/400, one caller and we saw a K 6 4 flop. I bet and think I was finished with the hand until I binked another 4 on the turn. He called again and also a pot sized river bet. Poor guy was fairly dejected when I flipped my hand but it didn't do my table image much good and I was snapped off about the next six times I opened.

I was happy enough when the table broke towards the end of the forth hour of the day. The new table was interesting, a guy to my right sporting a bracelet, to his right a Norwegian who seemed to be getting a lot of press attention, turned out he was a double Olympian gold medal winner at cross country skiing. There was also two older guys who were bad but were hitting everything.

The first hand I played on the table I called 66 on the button, the 876 flop looked good, the 6 on the turn looked even better. The UTG raiser had check called flop and turn, when the checked his remaining 18k on the river, I decided to chance a shove. The fact that he tanked for five minutes with AK for ace high told me it was probably the right move.

At dinner I had 43k within 4 hands after dinner I was down to 22k. I had raised all four and connected to three flops. Unfortunately the old guys were calling me down and I knew I was fucked when the river four flushed two of the boards and another four straighted.

The next hand I picked up 88 UTG but decided to just fold them as I didn't fancy the fifth open in a row, obv the board came 8 5 3 rainbow and two guys go to war.

A bit steaming now,I knew I had to buckle down and hang in to pick the right spot and try double. I was quiet over the next 90 minutes, picking the odd spot to maintain my short stack. Coming towards the end I shoved 33 on the button for 22 bigs after two limpers. Then with five hands left I flatted 44 after a raise and call from the small blind, the big came along. The Q 8 4 two spade flop brought a tear of joy to my eye, the 10k bet from one of the older guys wasn't half bad news either. I knew he wasn't for folding so put my remaining 28k in and was delighted to see a red QK. The Q on the turn did give a bit of a fright but thankfully I didn't take a bad one.

66k at the end of the day and looking forward to Monday.

We never did find the car keys after, so decided to ring the rental company. Within an hour they had towed away the key less car and replaced it with a new one Including an apology for taking so long. I was impressed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Through Day One

Finished Day one of the main event with 33,925 in chips, which is coincidently within 50 chips of what I finished day one with last year.

The day got off to a disastrous start as we were set to head to the Rio about 11.40, but the car keys decided to disappear. Twenty minutes later, after ripping the house apart we rang a cab and arrived with 50 minutes of the first level over. We still haven't found the keys :-(

The first level went really well, almost immediately upon sitting down I picked up a nut flush and won 5k. I ended the level on 37k.

Early in level two I flatted an open with eights and three of us saw a A 8 4 two heart flop. I called the initial raisers 900 continuation and the button min-raised, when the opener re-popped to 4800 it was time to pump it and that took down the pot. The hand saw me hit my high for the day at 43,000 chips.

Level three was uneventful. In level four I lost 8k when I got of line against a guy who flopped a monster and dropped to 25k, but got them back soon enough when I hit an 8 8 4 flop holding 44.

We played half of level five and I lost 6k in the last three hands. When I left the amazon I felt that I hadn't played well over the day. Having reviewed the day I think I played all right, I can only think of one mistake where I 3-bet KK when a trigger happy, relatively short would probably of shoved had I smoothed. I guess I just felt I should of had a lot more chips then I did when the day finished and was being a bit hard on myself.

Anyway I'm back Friday for day two. Table draws are going to be a major influence from here on in, so hopefully I get a good one.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A dummies guide to hookers

Somebody really needs to put together a 'Dummies Guide to Hookers in Vegas' for the Irish. Every year out here you hear three or four stories of Irish poker players being fleeced while pissed.

There's been a huge amount of strokes pulled by these 'ladies of the night' but the stories generally fall into three categories. The simplistic pocket dipping in a strip club. The basic robbery in the hotel room and a few times I've heard of the more sinister modus where lads thinking they've pull while at a strip or night club and waking the following day realising they've been spiked with a sedative and totally fleeced.

I did hear a pretty funny one this year. One of the more senior members of the Irish crew procured the services of one of these lovely girls in the aptly named hooker bar in the Rio and they both retired to his room.

Monies changed hands and the Brazzer- we'll call her lolly for the sake of the story - asks can she take a shower to prepare herself. Mick (oops didn't mean to name him) is waiting patiently on the bed reassured that his needs will soon be catered for, listening to the shower running in the background.

After about ten minutes, he calls for Lolly and when there's no reply he checks out the bathroom to find it empty and realises she's done a legger with the $400 he's given her. Not being one to be taken for a sucker, our hero dresses quickly and hurries back to the casino floor where he quickly spots Lolly working on another trick.

Mick creates a bit of a scene and is about to call over security. Lolly pleads with him not to and quickly hands him a bunch of notes, his refund she calls it.

Twenty minutes later when Mick is relaxing in his room, there's a knock on the door. When he opens it he's quiet surprised to see it's Lolly. She tells him that she's actually just give him $600, instead of the $400 she meant to and could she have the $200 extra back. Only in Vegas!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Main Event

It's all becoming a bit blurred here at this stage with the head unable to differentiate between tournaments and such. How the hell some players play everyday for the series without going bonkers is beyond me, but I guess they all go a level of nuts.

I did manage to cover a lot of my expenses for the trip in a mega satt yesterday so that was nice, also gives me the feeling that I'm running ok.

I play the main event tomorrow and this is what the trips all about for me. I'm looking forward to it hugely and feeling quietly confidant I can get something going in it.

At the start of this year I don't think I got above starting stack in a tournament for about three months. More recently I been getting off to good starts but not getting any real depth. Hopefully this changes in the main. It's all variance but fingers crossed I can get me some positive.

On the golf front I took out misters Smyth and Spillane at Paul's home course Bali Hi. Two gentlemen with very different sporting ethical/morale philosophies on the course.

We have bets on front/back and overall. At the ninth Marty was 2pts up looking a lock for front nine until he hit his shot into the bunker at the easyish par 3 . As I was about to play he told me to dump the seven iron in my hand and play a nine. I obviously nailed it and he scratched. Paul would of told me to take a six.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Getting out of the blocks

Just busted another shallow starting stack WSOP event a couple of hours ago. Again I broke well out of the starting stalls, amassing more then 3x starting stack after two levels but again couldn't kick on.

That's four events now I've started well with zero conversions. I honestly don't think I'm doing a whole lot wrong, just not getting the rub of the green. In fact I think I've played some very good poker over the last week.

I regged for day one C of the main before I left the Rio tonight. My original plan was to play one A on the fifth but as were planning a big night out on the third ( UFC + piss up ) I've decided that at my age I need a few days extra to recover.

Myself and Marty's nemeses on the golf course seem to be flying at the poker out here. I railed Julian Gardner putting up a great performance in the 5k PLO last night where he finished sixth and Mr Spillane is cleaning up at the support festivals. Hopefully we can relieve them of some of their hard earned over the coming two weeks.