Friday, November 19, 2010

More Malta

Well, a semi-promising start to the trip here has ended like most of my year, cashless.

I played the IPT €1,100 side event last Saturday. I had a lovely starting table and was going along nicely, until I hit a major reversal. Unkown suit KUnkown suit K on a QXX flop versus Unkown suit AUnkown suit Q, Aces on the turn and the river left me with about 3k.

I hung around for four more levels grinding this back to about chip_icon.jpg10k, but a badly timed cold four-bet put paid to me when I ran into the Kings.

I couldn't really face the other side event but did play online on Sunday. My room had the best connection in the hotel that we were in, so the lads set up camp there for the big Sunday. Myself, Jude, Tom the Bomb, Derek Murray and Chris Dowling all played in a small enough place.

Having these lads at your disposal to bounce hands off can only improve your game.

The second major tournament of the trip was the EMOP at a €1,650 buy-in. The structure for the EMOP events are fairly fast, with the first four levels at 45 minutes and a couple of levels missing from the standard (75/150 and the 150/300 repeat). I wouldn't advocate this fast a structure for all events, but I did enjoy it here. You basically know you have to get in there from the start.

My starting table had Reesy and Chubs on it, luckily enough they were both to my right. The first hand of any real consequence I played was against Andrew, who had lost half his stack at this stage. It was a button on blind situation, where we got them in racing and my Tens held.

I played well over the next few levels chipping up to around chip_icon.jpg50k, but it all came unstuck when I ran AK into AA for an 80k pot, with the blinds 400/800. The rest of my chips went, when I ran into the Aces again.

Well done to John, who put in another super performance and never looked anything but the winner until coolered three-handed.

I enjoyed the two weeks in Malta, it's a lovely spot and my mate Alex made sure I didn't get caught up in the usual hotel casino loop that goes with poker trips, so big thanks to him.

I did however leave the island with a fairly sour taste in my mouth, after doing my stones in sports betting. I had been on a very good run since Vegas in that department, but it turned on me two weeks before I hit Malta.

Golf is where I do most of my punting and I always seem to do serious twine when the tournaments go to the Far East. Every year I tell myself to reduce my stakes when they move over there, but I always seem to end up chasing and punting higher. Throw in a few boredom days playing roulette on the nags and it turned into a disaster of a trip for the bankroll. Hopefully I can win the IPC next week to clear October's loses!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

IPT Main Event

I was well up for this, feeling great about my game and full of confidence when the tournament started. Four hours later I was thinking of the side events, but that's generally the way of tournament poker.

My starting table had some Italian team pro and an Irish one (Jude). It was an OK table with two definite soft spots.

There really wasn't much to report over the first three levels, I'd lost about 25% of my starting stack. Most of this went on a river bluff with air on a straight-flushing board and getting called by a pair.

My exit hand was interesting enough I think. There's an early position raise and one of the the soft-spots calls the button, I call from the big blind with heart_4.gif heart_6.gif, the blinds are 100-200. I like the heart_ace.gif heart_5.gif Unkown suit 4 flop. The initial raiser bets chip_icon.jpg1100 and button calls, as do I.

The turn is a black nine and the initial raiser bets chip_icon.jpg3k and is called by the button after my initial check. I'm confident the initial raiser had a big Ace here and I'm almost certain I'm ahead of the button whom I'm putting on big connecting hearts.

It look like the perfect spot to me as I'm picking up chip_icon.jpg11k in the middle for my chip_icon.jpg14k if I can fold them out, and while I think it's possible the button can call with his draw I'm happy enough to take that given my equity.

When I shove the initial raiser folds quickly enough, the button looked like he was in pain and seemed to be trying to fold on a number of occasions. However he eventually called and I wasn't pleased with what he showed up with, heart_jack.gif 9h. I had read it almost perfectly but hadn't accounted for him pairing his nine on the turn.

It was still a pretty big call on the turn by him for about 60% of his stack. I think the deciding factor in his call was being taken off a hand, not long before by the Italian stars guy. All in all I think I played the hand well and it was just a bit unfortunate he binked the turn. I hadn't seen semblance of a hand all day and it was time to try and force it a bit so can't complain.

There's an €1,100 side event today at five so I'm hoping for a better run at that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stones and Bones

I couldn't make JP's main event but I did head to Tallaght for the €250 side event on Saturday and the €150 Shoot-out on Sunday.

Saturday's game was good craic with some enjoyable hands but I never really got going, exiting level seven. I spent the rest of the night boozing heavy; culminating in a few old style JP Sit & Go's which were fun.

I bubbled Sunday's shoot-out. Cruised through my first table and all the other second tables were finished when I made a bit of a gambly call with Unkown suit QUnkown suit K on the bubble of mine. I had a couple of 70-30 reversals during the table and with the blinds rising had to get them in I think. As it turned out, I wasn't in a great spot as the big blind woke up with aces.

By this stage of the weekend there's fairly bad weather and I'm bricking it about the following morning's flight to Malta. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a great flyer at the best of times so you can imagine my state with a severe weather warning in place. Luckily it was wrong and the morning flight took off in very calm conditions.

I'm staying with my friend Alex Collier who moved here 18 months ago so I called around to his work place so he could drop me to his apartment on arrival. Alex used to build rally car engines in Ireland, so it was amusing to see him suited and booted in his new role (flogging up-scale time shares).

We went to the casino on Monday night and I managed to pick up entry to this week's IPT €2,200 game in a small 30ish field tournament. I ran pretty well here, betting all streets in two hands on the final table and backing into the nuts to the indignation of a few of the locals and Italian players. Nice start to the trip anyway.

Alex brought me around the whole island yesterday showing me all the sights. This basically involved seeing a number of very old stone structures. These included the oldest man made stone thing in the world and the third largest free standing dome, all very impressive.

We did go to catacombs which were interesting. We kind of got a bit away from the official tour and I had to stop Alex taking a piece of a skeleton which he wanted as a card protector. After some time noising around the lights went out, the tour was finished and it was the tour guide trying to give us a bit of a fright, it worked.

I'll move into a hotel tomorrow closer to the casino and Derek, Jude and a good few more of the lads are getting over Thurs/Fri so hopefully one of us can get a touch in the wonderfully sounding Italian Poker Tour.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cork still loves me anyway

I played the Macau monthly tournament on Friday night in Cork. This is a €275 entry, €10k guaranteed one night tournament that I try to make every month.

I almost turned back about a third of the way through the drive to Cork, traffic was at a standstill due to an oil spill before Dungarvan. By the end of the night I was glad I stuck with it, as I managed to take the lion's share of the purse and even got to suck out on big Al.

The tournament has a good structure but inevitably gets a bit fast as the night progresses. By about 4.30am a deal was suggested whereby the remaining six players get €1,500 each, leaving €1,000 for first and €700 for second to play for.

As the payment for 6th was a measly €400 and I was the shortest stack, I was only too happy to agree to the deal, I've never been one to turn down free money. I then proceeded to run like god and secure the extra grand for first.

On the drive home I couldn't help thinking that if I had run that good at the previous week's IWF, I could have probably wrapped up the three-day event in two.

Next up is JP's mini World Series festival. I'm heading straight to Malta after JP's game for two weeks, taking in the IPT and EMOP final. I'm also looking forward to catching up with my good buddy Alex Collier who moved there eighteen months ago.