Friday, December 30, 2011

State of the nation

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. I usually do a long annual review but I'm just not in the writing rambling mode ATM and feel it wouldn't be interesting for me to write or for anyone to read. 

I didn't have a great year poker-wise, but I didn't really play that much poker over the year compared to previously.

The Hendon Mob database will show six cashes for a total of $30,000. I probably did about $20,000 in buy-ins over the year if even that, and wouldn't have played more than 15-18 tournaments that register on the HMD.

 It's not as abysmal as last year anyway, and the fact that Boyles sponsored me for my tournament entries mean that at least the $30k was profit.

The highlight of the year was a semi-deep run at the Irish Open. I had a lovely stack deep into Day 2 but made a big call, which was wrong and saw me return day three with a playable 30 bigs. I got unlucky in a hand with four tables remaining and bar that a final table was a definite possibility.

The year was going very bad for me punting wise and doing €25,000 in May sports betting more or less meant no Vegas - I really couldn't face doing another 25k over there and I'm sure that's what would have happened had I went as the noggin wasn't in the right place.

I hit a punting downswing for six months in the middle of the year that was character building. Thankfully things picked up significantly from October on or I could have been busking to get over the Christmas.

In general I think 2011 was a very good year for Irish poker, mostly down to Eoghan and Dermot final tabling the WSOP & WSOPE main events. There were more events than ever played in the country and generally numbers held up well in very difficult financial times for people.

Hopefully, this remains the case for the year ahead - I'm really looking forward to kicking it off with Ireland's first WPT next week, what better way to start the year then a major buy in at City West. Anyhow, thanks to everyone who read the blog over the year, I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Macau Winter Festival

If I'm ever feeling poker isn't going great, the answer is always to go and play in Cork.

There's number of factors in play here, good banter at the tables, I generally run well and I pass the accounting practice I used to work in on the drive to Cork.

An office environment was never really for me, I'm much more suited to gambling and golfing everyday, and passing that place always brings into perspective how lucky I've been to be able to do what I like everyday for the past six year since I left that job.

I arrived at about 45 minutes into level one and proceeded to add 30% to my starting stack the very first hand I sat for. I raised Qc10c, hit queens full of tens, and got 120 big blinds of value from the hand.

My starting table was decent with plenty of banter. John Keown & Lucky Jimmy McSweeney are always great craic and good action players so it was a very enjoyable table for me.

We were only playing seven levels on day one and I got a big double in the last level where I made a call for all my chips on the turn with top top against Tony 'the coo' Cooneys 75 big blind check shove. I felt I was good and this was the case, so I had a nice stack to head back with on the Saturday.

I had played Thursday and after Friday's Day 1B play 45 was returning of the 94 starters with me lying third in chips. With15 players left I had a 1/4 of a million and was feeling pretty good about things. I had a steady enough day without ever being under any pressure. I then lost 170k pot to the eventual second AsQs v his KK, the QSS flop looked well but I didn't improve.

It had bee a long day and I was anxious to watch the golf from Dubai the next morning so I suggested to pay two extra places so we could get finished for the night at about 2.30am. Everyone seems happy enough with this, our table was very closely matched in chips and no one was really going to be able to run over the bubble.

I was home at 4.15 and up at 8 for the golf. I got a nice little scoop from Quiros on a spread market, but that was to be the highlight of the day. I had 153k returning, which was above average, but I just couldn't get anything going in the first two levels of the Sunday.

My seat draw wasn't great, Albert Kenny on my direct left, the shove happy Mark Spellman next and then eventual winner Jamie Flynn. Spellman must have shoved over 80% of my opens in those first two hours and with the blinds rising I was left with a shoving stack myself. My 19 bigs went in over a Jamie min open holding 33, he had 1010 so out the gap.

Obviously disappointing to bubble the final table, but it hasn't changed enthusiasm for playing poker in Cork and nice to end the year with a cash. I still had an interest with 10% of Bops who put in a good performance to finish 5th. Well done to Jamie on the win, I flagged him as one to watch earlier in the year in the blog and know the [W] meant a lot to him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's an addiction

I suffer from a golf watching addiction, if there's golf on the TV from anywhere in the world I cant not watch it. This time of year it's all from Asia and the Southern Hemisphere so I'm pulling a lot of all nighters. 

I had a good bet on Germany each way in the world cup last weekend. They looked a bit off the pace going into Fridays third round, which suited me as I had to head up to Dublin early Saturday morning to do the commentary for the IPO Final table.

I went to bed about two, was reading for a bit and decided to check the scores on the phone before I slept. Germany were -6 through nine holes and joint leaders. This meant getting up to watch the rest of the round, and heading to Dublin with no sleep.

I enjoyed covering the final table with the legend that is Padraig Parkinson. The three Irish lads put in great performances, huge well done to Rory, Paul and Mark. Considering they were the bottom three in chips going into the day, to finish, 6th, 3rd & 2nd was super stuff. Also, congratulations to 2011 IPO champion Luke Martens.

John took over from me at around six to allow me head into the Fitz for their festival main event. If I'm honest I'd have rathered go home to bed as I was fairly shattered. As it turned out this would of been a good move, as I never got going in the event.

I exited in the 300-600-25 level shoving 22 big blinds with 22 over an UTG raise. A very questionable shove and staying with a trend in recent tournaments for me, I walked straight into the aces again. I got home about 1 am and there was only one thing to do - stay up all night again watching the golf!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


It seems there's been a poker festival in one form or another every weekend for the past four months in Ireland and quiet frankly something had to give. Unfortunately it gave at one of the best value, best structured and most professionally run tournament of the year, JP's mini WSOP.

JP must be puling his hair out trying to fathom why his numbers are down so much; he really does focus on players needs first and provides excellent events. Having said all that, and even with a 40% reduction in numbers, I can't praise this festival enough, such a great weekend.

My tournament went the way of recent events for me and I walked into aces again early enough, so out the gap. The taker of my chips was very happy anyway going by the screaming and hollering she did after the hand, , it’s was exactly the reaction I always wished I could get from women, WP Michelle.

I did indulge in a lot of alcohol after my exit and had a great night. JP is some man in fairness, I left his room at 9 am after a messy drunken sit and  go and he was still playing with the lads. Yet he was somehow like a new pin in his TD roll at two pm just five hours later.

I on the other hand was spent and couldn't face playing any side events, so I headed home to watch the breeders cup & the golf from China. Thankfully Kaymer rediscovered his form and booked me a nice touch.   

I feel I've definitely played two many low buy in festivals over the last few months and it's something I'm going to have to look at. I love the game, however you need play with enthusiasm and you need a competitive drive, I have been going to tournaments with neither. I'm not playing badly but I do feel I'm just going through the motions a lot of the time recently, and not giving 100%.  As I said it's something I need to think about.

Like every other poker player in the country who wasn't in Vegas, I was glued to the live stream as Eoghan O' Dea lived out all our dream at the WSOP final table. Eoghan can be very proud of how he played and how he carried himself through out the event and especially last night. He showed a lot of class and was a great ambassador for Irish poker players.     



Wednesday, November 2, 2011


The weekends Irish Winter Festival was a bit of a non event for me, disappointing as it's one of the best chances of a touch each year.

I knew 2009 IWF champ Micheal O'Sulivan and Tom Kitt on my starting table, the rest were a mixed bunch, but none were throwing their chips away. There was an active German who was in a lot of pots and I still cant decide whether he was good or not but apart from him it was a stagnant enough grind of a table.

I lost two decent pots in the early levels. Pot one I lost the least with a flopped set against a turned flush.  The second was more expensive with AJ on an AAxxx board verses the Germans AQ. This saw me drop to 6k, but I chipped back up to starting in two hands where I pulled fairly dangerous tournament ending moves if I got called.

I dropped to 12k in the level after dinner and the table broke. My new table looked a different preposition with a chipped up Mick-G on my right and Niall Smyth and a busy English player I had played with at the IO on my left, both with stacks.

I'd say the average stack on the table was 25k and after two rounds I had 10k and an old American guy open shipped 24k UTG, I look down at AhKh in the cut off.

It's an 80 big blind shove that I really don't have to call and my gut says no. I then start thinking this is the best hand I've seen in six hours and I need a chip at this table.

I've seen some funny shit at the tables in my time so talk myself into the call, sure enough the guy turns over the aces and I'm out.

Great to see an Irish 1-2-3 in the event and a big Congratulations to John, Noel & Chris on their performances.

This weekend it's the JP mini WSOP  game in the Maldron Hotel, This event is the best structured mid-low buy in of the year with an enormous amount of play for the €360 buy in. If you want to experience a tournament run like clockwork with a major events feel for a fraction of the price, do not miss this.    




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh what fun we had ....

I think  it's fair to say that last weekends IPO was a resounding success, it certainly ticked all the boxes for my own criteria for a magic poker festival.

The team IPO deserve huge plaudits here as amazingly the main event produced the 2nd largest field ever assembled in the history of European poker, just falling just shy of IPO 2009, which holds the record. Almost 1400 souls turned out in the Regency, which just goes to show how much the poker community love this event.

My own tournament didn't go well, I started badly dropping to 10k, I rallied to 30k fairly quickly, and then lost them as quickly going out in the 300-600 level.

Cal McCarty my mentee in the Boylepoker mentor challenge involving John and myself; thankfully managed to hang in a good bit longer and we scooped that one at least - so big well played to Cal, great working with you through the event.  

My early exit freed me up to do some promotional duties for Boylepoker. I suppose some may question whether drinking copious amounts of the black stuff constitutes a duty. However I feel it's very important to meet people at the various bars during the event.

I did partake in a number of commentary stints over the weekend and if I say so myself, we did a jolly good job on that. The stint I did Saturday night with John and Ciaran will probably go down  as a benchmark moment in live streaming poker history. We certainly moved the goal posts from what is the norm; it was some craic doing it with the lads and the feedback was very good so hopefully we didn't offend too many.

One deplorable incident I witnessed while in the commentary booth on Saturday evening needs to be brought to people's attention. Mick McClosky coolered Iain Cheyne in a hand to knock him out. Upon Iain leaving the table Mick leaped from his seat and performed a number of pelvic thrusts. A truly horrid scene and one I hope to never to witness at a poker event again.

I do have to apologies to one punter over another incident in toilets. I was entering a cubicle and chatted briefly to a lad at the sink when John made it known that he was in the cubicle next door, with cottaging references.

Aghast at such a suggestion I decided while washing my hands, I'd throw some water over John's door. At the exact time the water flew over the right cubicle, John emerged from the left one. We obviously legged it.

It really was such a great few days and after a plethora of nondescript events, this was an Irish poker festival at it's very best. A huge well done to team IPO for producing a tremendous event, and congratulations to the final eight, all who cashed, and indeed all who partook -  roll on IPO 2012.          





Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It’s the IPO !!

Well it's time for another Boylepoker IPO festival, or 'the peoples tournament' as I call it. This is probably my favorite poker weekend of the whole year.

The tournament is simply a celebration of the game of poker and a wonderful time is always assured. Win or lose this weekend, everyone goes home with a smile on their face.

If you haven't gotten you place already there's 10 IPO Seats guaranteed tonight in the IPO mega sat at nine and direct buy in registration is open until Thursday.

After the glut of events in September I've been taking it easy last couple of weeks. I did play the John Hennessy memorial tournament in The Poker Lounge, Waterford on Saturday night. This was a €110 freezout with €20 of the buy in going to charity.

There was a good few faces from around the country in attendance, including Jason Tompkins, Paul Lucy and Derek & Phil Baker. I flopped a couple of early sets in the game and got a good stack, eventually chopping it four way for €900.

It was a really good atmosphere in the club, and on the nights over €5,000 was raised for the local Hospice, a fantastic effort and well done to everyone involved, it just goes to show the generosity of the poker community.

Phil Baker deserves a special mention as he did a super job as auctioneer on the night and definitely added at least 25% value to the items sold with his harassment of the bidders.

One class moment occurred when the bidding was on an overnight stay with Dinner for two at the moorings Dungarvan valued at about €160. Someone was slagging Tommy Walsh, and Tommy gave them the two fingers; Phil snapped in straight away with sold to Tommy for €200.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I got to play Killeen Thursday for the Kerry mans price of €30, thanks to Keith Cummins for organising it. The extra €30 I lost to him was still well worth it. Derek Murray had booked one of the apartments for us at the Gleneagles complex and this was definitely the way to go, they're a great option and 10 times better then a hotel room.

Obviously the large fridge needed to be filled with beer and when Derek arrived down about midnight and we decided on a nightcap. Unfortunately we seemed to find plenty to chat about at it was pretty late and lots of beers before we turned in.

My day one was an odd one, I can't remember many hands but I did run about eight chunky river bluffs without a single one getting through. Quiet simply this is bad play by me as a large percentage of the field is of an over fifty demographic that come from pub or club games. Everyone knows the way to play this type of player is chunky value betting not bluffs, however they seemed such good spot to me at the time, I guess they put me on AK!!

I managed to get through the day with 32,000, but day two wouldn't last long. About twenty minutes in I raised AK and Larry Ryan 3-bet to 6.5 bigs, I shoved my 27 blinds, which he just covered. Larry went into the tank for a decent while, I knew he had a hand and more or less had his range at AQ JJ or 1010.

There was a bit of banter an I could of induced a fold - Larry told me later that he would of folded if I said yes when he asked would I show - but I was probably optimistically thinking AQ was a decent percentage of his range. Anyhow Larry's Jacks held and I was on my bike to the €300 side event.

This had 200 runners and I had an average stack with 60 players left. It was shallow enough but a lovely game and any bit of run good at that stage and I'd of given myself a right chance. Unfortunately a missed Flush Draw with me as aggressor left me with 10 bigs. I hung in until around 40 players left but my A4 shove found Trevor Dineen's AJ.

The Killarney Festival is such a great event and I do love playing in the INEC, it really is like playing in a poker arena, and outside of the RIO it's probably my favourite venue. Numbers were down this year but clashing with the EPT London and EMOP Barcelona this was to be expected and had the bonus of the absence of a lot of top players. I think all things considered 560 players was a very respectable turnout.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

UKIPT Dublin - I'm an optimist

Maybe its the fact there's so much on these days but the thought of staying in the Ballsbridge Inn for last weekends UKIPT just didn't appeal to me. With this in mind I decided on playing day 1-A hopefully returning on the Saturday for day two.

My starting table was nice enough but I couldn't get anything going early. It was quiet a strange first four levels as I in fact doubled up four players but never had more then starting stack myself.

A table move in level five when my stack was at 8k saw a change of fortunes. It looked a more difficult table with the guy who won the Cork leg and an Edinburgh finalist but a good rush of cards saw my stack hit 40k within 30 minutes on the table.

I coasted through the rest of the day and bagged up 57k which was just shy of 50 bigs and ahead of the average for day two.

One thing that really pissed me off on day one was that they cleared the main room floor of 20 tables for €100 side event meaning 12 tables from the main event were dumped in a sweatbox room upstairs with no AC.

When I saw the redraw its was obvious there would be plenty action on the new table with the Thomas 'Bomber' Nolan dynamic in play. Bomber is an action player, but he also seem to effect action from others on the table and that was the case here.

One had in the first level of day two, I actually managed to chip up 30 bigblinds ( 60% of average chips ) Pre-flop. Bomber opened, I 3-bet to 7.5x - Padge Barry made it 15x - Bombers calls and I jam to win the pot; I didn't have it.

This brought me over 100k but my momentum was stopped soon after when a relatively shortstack shoved 910 over my A9 button open and got there.

Level 3 of the day with blinds 1k/2k was where my pivotal hand of the tournament occurred. We were about 35 off the money and I was playing about 75k at the start of the hand. Bomber opened and a young polish player who was clearly steaming after been shown a bluff from Bomber a few hands before flatted, I called the button with KdQd.

The flop was 9 7 4 with two diamonds and Bomber lead for a near pot 15k and the Polish player shoved for 40k. My thinking here is Bomber had a hand with one pair probably a nine and was just trying to take down the pot while the shover range was wide enough considering his disposition and contained many worse draws to mine.

I felt I could fold Bomber out and would have 15 outs twice a lot of the time or could even be possibly ahead with King high. Anyway being the optimistic I am I went with it, bomber folded and I was 54.5 % favorite against my opponents pocket tens getting 2/1 for my 40k.

If I had hit it would of given me a lovely stack to attack the bubble with and was well worth the risk, unfortunately I didn't and would exit soon after shoving AJ over the same players AQ cut-off open.

That's the second UKIPT in a row I've basically done for my tournament in a big pot with a draw. I've been entering them with the intention of gambling to get a stack because of the field size and flat payout structure so I cant complain.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm no Jessy May-Unibet Dublin

The City West is in my top two favourite venues for a poker festival in Ireland, so I was happy to see a major event back at the venue after a two-year absence.

I met John O'Shea, Tom Hanlon and Marty at the K Club on Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed our game, although I didn't bring my best. After nine holes I looked like getting stuck a monkey, but a better back nine and an impressive partner in John got me out.

I played the turbo on Thursday night, where I got a hell of a lot of big blinds in pre-flop holding KQ with about half the field gone. Well, you can't really fold a hand as pretty as KQ in a turbo I feel.

In the main event, I was a bit surprised to see EPT former grand final winner Pieter De Korver sitting two to my left on my starting table. One of the commentators described him as the best player in the tournament. In reality he wasn't even the best player at the table and was schooled freely on numerous occasions by Ian 'Bops' Ronan.

My tournament ended at level seven, playing 30k, blinds 300-600-75 ante. A relatively new player to the table who was frankly awful had been there four orbits and on each orbit had limped called a raise from UTG, and did so here. UTG + 1 called and I made it 2600 from the button with QQ; both called to see a 1022 rainbow flop.

First to act check-shoves covering me after UTG+1 had raised 4500 and I had called. I folded QQ on a nine high board the previous week in Cork but I just couldn't get away here. In my head I could see this guy showing up with 10J or even under-pairs to the ten, although I did consider the A2 he did show up with. I'm happy with my call.

I was asked to commentate for the live stream for the last two levels play on the day and had to endure watching the guy butchering his healthy stack. I'd done some live commentary in the past but I really didn't enjoy doing it here. I think it was the fact that it was a very dead table and I knew none of the players, along with having to watch my chips being spewed made me jump ship to the bar after an hour.

I didn't play poker for the rest of the weekend but had a decent sweat from percentage swaps with Marty Smyth and Derek Murray. Marty fell just short of the Money after losing a healthy stack in a couple of coolers. Derek had a great run finishing 15th for €5,000, and but for a beat with twenty left would of went very deep.

The button shipped 20 bigs in the hand, which was nearly average stack for the tournament at the time. Derek said he didn't like risking the chips with 88, as he felt he had a good edge on his table but after observing the pusher for a while, read him as very uncomfortable. It was A4 os and seeing fours land on both turn and river was a horrid way to lose the hand.

All in all I enjoyed the weekend; you can only run deep in a certain percentage of tournaments you play and just have to suck up the inevitable ones you exit early.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Irish Classic

The Classic festival in the Macau runs all week and is Ireland's largest casino based poker festival.

I just played the PLO and Main Event this year. The Omaha was on Wednesday night and had a poor turnout with a field of only seventeen.

I finished fourth for nought at five am, which made for a depressing drive home. The tournament was won by Alex 'The Prof' Lopez, with Chris Dowling taking second after some business heads up.

A sign of changing times could be gleaned from the weekend's prize pool; in 2008 the winner's prize for the main event was €81,000, this year the 'total' prize pool was less then that figure. The Macau had decreased the buy-in as a reaction to the current economic climate and a saturated calendar of poker events; they also added a re-buy option this year. The tournament was a still a great success and with 17 players choosing to buy in twice, that seems to have worked well also.

I said in a blog recently that I was unsure about these tournaments that give players the option to re-buy, when multiple day ones are in place. It's clearly an advantage to the top players who have large bankrolls, however is it fair to increase such players edge? I still haven't made my mind up, but it's definitely a topical subject as this type of event is becoming more prevalent.

My Main Event was going well for the first half of day one and into level four I had almost trebled my starting stack. Things turned on me after this however and I had a serious of unfortunate reversals which saw me finish the day with less then what I started. I rallied early on day two but was out just before dinner in a flip against the impressive Nelius Foley.

Seven on a Saturday night isn't the worst time to get knocked out of a tournament in Cork, and a big gang of the tournament causalities including Big Al, Paul Carr and Eoghan O'Dea hit the town for a messy night's drinking.

I returned home early Sunday morning but followed what looked a cracking final table online. Two of the south's favourite poker players; Peter 'Knuckles' Higgins and Brian 'The Fox' O'Keefe had good runs but fell short of the real money finishing 9th and 7th respectively.

Limerick player Con Collins followed up his recent 4th place finish at the JP Masters by filling the same position here. Upon Con's exit, the three remaining players agreed to deal, where Pat Curran took home €19,000 and the trophy, Tony Collins and David Croke both picked up a very healthy €15,000.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


No, I'm not plugging Google +, rather circles casino Clonmel where I played a €275 summer game last Sunday.

51 players turned out for the one-day event and I got the most in a 4-way chip equity chop at 5 am. I took home €3,300 which was 26% of the total prize pool, so not a bad day's work.

I was treading water early on in this event, but got lucky three tables out when I squeezed KQ into a limpers AK. I never really looked back after this and although I was short enough going to the final table, things fell my way.

One sweet hand that I'll remember from the tournament occurred six handed. I raised 10 7os in the cut-off and hit the old 89J flop. I got it in on the flop against the BB's top pair. This gave me the chip lead and I was happy to chop shortly after, when we lost another player.

It was an enjoyable, well-structured game and the staff at Circles were top class, I'll be back for their Winter Festival in early December.

My next poker outing is the Irish Classic in the Macau Cork next week. You have the option here to play Day 1A and if it doesn't work out, you can buy back in on the second day one. I'm not sure how I feel about these tournaments that you can buy back into, but I don't think I'll be availing of the option. I just don't like the idea of being in for a grand in a monkey game, where realistically a maximum of 10% of the field will only have re-entered.

On the golf front, it's the last major of the year this weekend. I had a nice touch out of Kaymer in this one last year but I haven't really gotten involved pre tee this time - I'll see how the first two days go and have a punt Saturday. TBH my confidence in doing anything-right punting wise isn't great. I'm in a trough for about ten weeks on the golf and not attacking this major with my usual vigour.

Not up to much this weekend, the highlight will be a trip to Killarney Friday to play Killeen. Just looking at the forecast now and it's not great but I'll put up with some rain to play this smashing course.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

EMOP Dublin

Clontarf Castle Hotel was the venue for the inaugural visit of the European Masters of Poker tour to these shores. It proved to be a fantastic venue with a top room for a poker tournament. Having played a few of the tours events overseas I knew what to expect- 200 or so Scandinavian online qualifiers most of mediocre ability and hopefully boosted by a good turnout form the home team.

Connie O'Sullivan's, Cue Club events team were running the show and as you could expect with these guys, all targets were met. 300+ players sat down over the two starting days to fight it out for the title. I opted for day one B and my starting table seemed tough enough initially but I warmed to it as the levels progressed.

At the first break I commented to a friend that I expected an Asian kid on my left to start playing back at me soon. First hand back he did, I can’t see how I could of folded my jacks after just making this prediction and his aces held in a 28k pot. Thankfully I doubled immediately after with kings to get back to starting stack of 20k.

Over the next few hours I hit a brilliant run of starting hands, unfortunately they kept getting smashed. I had to give up on Aces three times over the next four levels, costing me plenty on each occasion.

Seven levels into the ten level day I got a table move, I had only about 15k at this stage but was stagnating and hoping the move could ignite me into the tournament. My new table covered the spectrum of Irish poker. On my left was tall Michael Graydon, Mick is having a sick year online and is topping the pocket5s Irish table for 2011. On my right, legend of Irish poker, former WSOP main event finalist George McKeever, so quiet the contrast.

Funnily enough I had never played with George before. I must of impressed him somewhat as after two hours of playing on the table he asked me if I'd like to swap 5% in the event.

I was going along OK and had doubled my stack when I ran AK into A9 just before the last level of the night. I'm well used to losing 30-70's, so it wouldn't bother me generally. However, the fact the dealer burst out laughing when my opponent hit a flush on the river had me steaming I must admit.

Just into the final level with ten big blinds left I got a lucky double shoving A5 into A10. But it was to no avail as thirty minutes later I lost a race for 60k, which was average stack, AK v JJ.

It was a difficult days poker for me as every time I looked like getting something going the deck swung against me. I feel had I won the late race I could well of have had a run at this one, but wasn't to be. I'm never too disappointed once I've played decent poker and I was very happy with my game over the day.

I'll be writing on the event for my columns in the star and bluff and will have a more macro-based sum up of the tournament in those. But big well done to all the Irish that cashed, especially The two Micks and Doke who nearly held off the invaders.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Other Stuff

This isn't a blog that's going up on Boyles. I seem to be getting caught up a lot in writing over the last year - the bluff column and more recently for the poker supplement in the star and while I enjoy it - I need to be a bit more reader focused then having a good old waffle like I used to here. I always liked blogging but never envisaged my bull being published in magazines and newspapers. The only real conclusion I can come up with on those happenings is the community is severely starved of literary talent.

I never made Vegas this year which I dont really regret, there was a number of factors why I didn't go but the main one was I hit a bad run punting and didn't have a spare 25k lying around. I could of went down the road of selling action but just didn't fancy it, the enthusiasm just wasn't there and I have no regrets of not making a better effort to get over.

The few games I did play over the last month were more piss ups then serious games. Not very professional I know but the buyins were small and killarney and tramore - well its hard not to hit the beer in those spots. I'm a bit involved in putting on the tramore tournament so I'm not 100% comfortable playing it for that reason and might not play it next year.

There's a couple of really good games on the horizon and you wont see me touching a drop at these starting with the EMOP this week.

There's a real change in the landscape of Irish poker this year and while I'm happy to see tours like the emop and unibet hitting these shores. Along with the ukipt They're definitely squeezing the traditional events that existed but if it gives players shots at bigger prizepools then I suppose that's what we want.

The other side of the coin though is I hate seeing tournaments like the winter festival and the Irish Classic dropping buy in to try compete. The classic had a near 300k prizepool in 2008- it looks like it will do well to have 100k one this year. I guess its survival of the fittest and if you dont have a way of mass producing qualifiers your going to suffer in the current macro-eco climate.

On the punting front I lost the plot completely on the golf for a while- punting in grands pre tournament on outright market is just too high variance for my liquidity and that's well reined in. TBH if I spent the time I spent watching and punting golf on my poker game over the last 18 get the picture.

I'm not sure if anyone still drops in here anymore but I'll try post here the odd time with stuff that I feel falls outside my role with Boyles just to keep the old blog going.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Open Time

On the poker front I played twice the weekend- the monthly game in the poker lounge Waterford where I came third and the summer game in the Cue Club Killarney where I lasted about a third of the time it took me to get there. Still Killarney's always great craic to go out in this time of year so wasn't a wasted trip.

A couple of great event coming up - we have the Boylepoker Waterford Masters next week; the Masters is always a top class little tournament with a great atmosphere. Then the following week the EMOP visits Ireland for the first time. This takes place in Clontraf Castle and a good purse is guaranteed.

This weekend will be spent watching the Open Championship. I'm punting Kaymer; he's been going through a swing change and watching him play in France two weeks ago he looked nearly right to me. He's on record as saying he doesn't love links golf but in reality has a superb links record, he's also one of the best ball strikers in windy conditions which we can expect over the four days. All in all 25/1 looks a very decent price and well worth a bet. I should add however that this tip comes with a public warning, I'm very much out of form punting wise the past two months.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Celtic Poker Tour Grand Final

The Celtic Poker tour has been running since 2004 and every year has a grand final.

Initially you had to win one of the many tour games to get into this, but they opened it up to all comers since 2008. Every year more regulars of the wider Irish scene find their way to Carlow for the finals and one inevitably wins- this year was no different.

The CPT is predominantly a rural tour and the demographic of the tour regulars would be mainly over forty. The events are a social night out for them and an enjoyable atmosphere to play poker is always in place. However over the three day excellently structured Grand Final the regular's style of play just isn't up to it.

The Final table was littered with recognisable 'names'. Colette Murphy and Mick McCloskey both had good runs but fell short on the final table. Alan McIntyre followed up his 5th place finish at the JP Masters by filling the same spot here.

With four remaining, Tom Kitt took total command in a massive pot with AQ v KK, the ace on the river added to Tom's already impressive stack and sending Noel 'twang' O'Brien to the rail in cruel fashion.

After a few hours sparring and the stacks levelling up measurably the three remaining players, Kitt, Tommy Walsh and Dimitri Pembroke decided to deal with Tom taking 19k and the trophy, Tommy and Dimitri getting a healthy 15k each.

I managed to increase my side event specialist reputation (which I hate) over the weekend taking down the €220 game for 4k and was very close to getting the best deal of my career in the process.

Three-handed, with me holding a huge chip advantage, the two lads discussed chopping second and third place money and giving me first. A ticket for a future event included in the second prize eventually killed the deal but it would have been fun to get full first place money in a deal with three players remaining.

Monday, May 23, 2011

UKIPT Cork & Senior Moments

I was regged for day one A of the UKIPT Cork, which would mean a free day Friday if I managed to make day two. I decided commuting was my best option as stars had monopolised the hotel and a free day spent in Cork means a hangover for day two anyway.

I should of known it wasn't going to be my weekend when on the Thursday morning I put two Weetabix in an ashtray for breakfast; my first senior moment of the weekend.

I felt this was always going to be a sell out and a capacity 602 souls ponied up the buy in for the inaugural Cork leg of the tour, 320 played day one A.

I had a nice steady starting table and was still on my starting stack into level five when things got a bit busy. I was on the wrong side of a set over set incident early in the level and dropped to 6k; before the level finished I was playing forty.

My upward spiral continued for the next five levels and over a few table breaks until level ten when I came unstuck.

Playing a little over 70 bigs I called a 3-bet out of position with AsQs. When I checked raised the Js10c8c flop pot sized c-bet, I was committed. The two red kings my opponent held left me with 37% equity which was ok by me, I was dreading AcKc which would of been much worse.

I was left with 6 bigs after the hand and hung in for about an hour eventually losing a 25 big race in the last level of the day to eventual forth, young Limerick player, Jamie Flynn. I had played with Jamie before at a Macau festival and he has an impressive game and is one to watch out for in the future.

I still had a lot of interest in the event as I had taken percentages of about ten players ranging from 10% to 50%. Thankfully this didn't go unrewarded, I managed to recoup €70 as one of my 10% had a min cash.

I stayed at home- played golf Friday- and returned Saturday for the €330 side event. I was toying with playing the high roller event but Nick Newport told me not to as there wasn't enough money for winning it.

This turned out to be good advice as I played like a numpty in the 300 game. I went out having my second senior moment of the weekend. My 5 bet shove might not seem terrible on the face of it, as it was small blind verses button. In reality it was horrid, the chance my opponent was betting light was about the same as bumping into Elvis in Tesco’s.

My other moment over the weekend involved golf punting. The last time they ran the Volvo Matchplay was 2009 and it was by far my worst losing week on golf ever. After that event I have steered clear of matchplay events,

With this in mind I proceeded to have my biggest pre tournament outright bet of the year on Lee Westwood. Westy was on fire and finished his two group matches in 27 holes total. In fact he was -19 for 45 holes in the tournament after his match with Poulter Saturday morning.

I'm sure this was of great solace to him on the flight home that afternoon; it wasn't much consolation for me. Fuelled by a deep hatred for Poulter I was going to get him for Lee. I proceeded to martingale against him for the rest of the event. There was only ever going to be one outcome- I'm not backing matchplay anymore.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The JP Masters

While the Irish Open is a wonderful event and I wouldn't swap it for all the EPTea's in China; but it does bleed the Irish poker economy.

With Easter falling so late this year, we poker players had just eight days to dust off our Open hangovers and head to the Ballsbridge Inn for the fourth instalment of the JP Masters. Unfortunately many never made it!

It was a very disappointing. 175 players turned out for the main event with all the side events suffering too.

I guess with a congested calendar something had to give, it's such a pity it was the turnout for this fantastic event.

Quite simply JP McCann runs the best show in the country and his tournaments need and deserve to be supported better then this.

The tournament itself was a classic with many of the country's top players fighting out the latter stages.

I cruised through Day 1 with a lovely stack but came a cropper early in Day 2, losing a massive pot to eventual winner, Tony 'The Pirate' Rafter.

Mark McDonell had amassed a huge stack and looked to be unstoppable until the poker Gods decided he was, well, stoppable.

A series of beats saw Mark eventually finish just short of the final table but it really is just a matter of time for this guy.

The class of the final eight was testament to the fantastic structure and Tony can take great satisfaction for seeing off that lot.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

IO 11

This was my sixth Irish Open and having done nothing in the event since 2007 I was determined to make some sort of run. In the end I finished 36th for €7,500, disappointing in the end, but definitely a decent showing.

The pre tournament preparation involved three days in the wonderful surroundings of the kclub. The first two days it was the usual suspects; Marty, Julian and Paul Spillane. Yet again Smyth showed his philanthropic side by covering all our expenses for the coming weekend with his loses on the course.

Thursdays outing was organised and bankrolled by Mr Liam Flood; thanks for the inclusion Liam. The four-ball I played in consisted of myself and three legends of the game, Bellagio Tournament Director Jack McCelland, WSOP finalist George McKeever and Mayo's finest Danny McHugh.

I was a great honor to spend an afternoon with such greats of the game. I do sometimes worry about Marty, he managed to lose money to 13 of the 20 players in the group; obviously the other six were unlucky he hadn't a bet with them.

After some grub in the Kclub it was onto the Burlington and straight to bed. Hmm not, the best laid plans and all that, I did manage to get to bed by six though.

My starting table was christened the table of death on the reporting sites. I'd imagine we killed off a few viewers from the live stream anyway for the two levels we featured. The table included Johney Weaffer, Doke, Reesy, Mark Spellman, dutch sensation Paul Berande.

Every chip won on this table was like drawing blood, except for the 5k I spewed to John early that is. No idea what I was at in the hand but It had me on the back foot for the rest of the day.

At one stage on the feature table I dropped to 10k and remember thinking thank God they increased the starting stack to 20k this year. I was really just hanging in most of the day until I won a race with Queens in the second last level.

I ended the day on 30k, a bit behind the average but 30 bigs going back was fine by me. My only goal going into the day was to be still in at the end. I've been having a lot of good day two's in recent tournaments and was hoping for another.

The first level on day 2 I added about 15k to my stack, then early in the next level I caught a beauty of a hand that got me right into the tournament.

Jason Tompkins min raised the cut off and the button called, I decided to see a flop with 6d3d giving Jason some verbals " blame the button when smash this flop". I think 334 flop could be considered smashing it. I checked, Jason raised 4400 and button flatted, I bumped it up to 13,400. Jason got out of the way but the button shoved 99 covering me.

This put me on about 95k and I was able to add to this steadily for the next 5-6 hours without setback until this table broke.

I had 170k ish when I moved to my new table. On my left on this table were two very aggro well stacked players, eventual finalist Finn Aleksi Savala and a good young English Lag. Whit most opens getting three and four bet I figured tightening my opening range optimal.

I added a handy 50k to my stack when a player shoved AJ and I woke up with the Aces. Then added another fifty when I opened 88 to 13,500, the English lad flatted and the Finn bumped it to 27,500. I felt it a good spot to 4-bet and my raise to 65k took it down.

We were on the bubble at this stage and I was about to pull my move of the tournament. David O'Neill, the tournament director announced over the mike while standing behind me that the sponsors would be giving the 65th place finisher free entry into next years event.

I said, " God bless Paddypowers", Dave obviously though this was a nice statement and asked would I say it over the mike. Always happy to oblige I got my hands on the mike and proceeded to say, " I play on, you should to". A few choice words followed from Dave, which are unrepeatable here.

With the bubble broke the chips started flying in as usual. I raised 77 in early and a player called in the big. This gent had been all in numerous times and his modus was to flat and shove the flop. Sure enough he shoved the k55 flop, it's 100k to call but I feel I'm ahead of his shoving range here.

I tanked for a good while and my gut was telling me he had a small pair. I gave it some verbals but made a mistake, I said, " I have pocket tens and think I'm good here". His face visible dropped and I called to be shown 99. Why I didn't say I held eights is beyond me.

This was a very important pot to get wrong, It meant coming back for day three with a grinding stack of 180k and thirty bigs instead of a possible 380k stack with a lot more manoeuvring room.

My starting table for day three had Tureniec and Earmes and another few big stacks. I wasn't going to be opening to light but felt I could hopefully get a few chips 4-bet shoving as there was bound to be a lot of levelling going on. As it turned out the table broke after one level and I left with what I had started.

My new table looked light on chips and a lot easier, I had direct position on the Finnish player from the night before and relative stacks meant I was a threat to the players with position on me.

I was quiet comfortable for a level on this table and really felt if it didn't break I could of manoeuvred my way to the last two tables easily enough. That was until the last hand before the break.

Aleksi opened the SB and I decided to take a flop in position with Kh Jh, and what a flop I got Kx 5h 3h. He leads and I bump it up, which he flats. Ac on the turn went check/check and I called a bet on a blank river to be showed A2os. It was a bit of a sicken-er and left me with 8 bigs, which I shoved blind when folded to me in the cut off just after the break. I was racing J6os v the buttons A9 and although I hit the front on the turn the river sent me to the rail.

I hung around railing Marty and then Jude but wasn't in any mode for celebrating and headed home upon the two lads exiting.

I was happy to get some sort of run on reflection, I feel I played well on the whole and that's all I can do really. I think it was the best Irish Open I've played, the increase in starting stack made a huge difference and I think It showed with the quality of field left in on day three.

From what I saw Niall Smyth put in a fantastic performance and was a deserved winner. We needed to keep the title at home for the first time in four years so big well done to Niall for achieving this.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Looking towards the Irish Open

It's nearing the big one! The Irish Open once again becomes the focus for every poker player in the country. The tournament quiet simply dwarfs everything else that plays out over the year here.

An idea of the magnitude can be gleaned from the fact that a fifth place finish will guarantee a bigger payday then winning the next biggest tournament in Ireland for the year.

I first played the Open in 2006 when it was a bit a benchmark year, as this is when the game really exploded in Ireland.

I had won a one-seat satellite in Waterford and headed for Dublin full of naive confidence. I had only played a couple of ranking events at this stage and was totally blown away by the whole set up when I arrived at Jury's Inn for the event.

No such thing as a super satellite the previous day back then, we had a €400 re-buy with 2000 chips per buy-in and 4000 for the top up. I thought it better for my pocket to give up after four buy-ins and just hit the bar, having not reached the add-on.

My starting table the next day included Mike Caro, Marty Smyth, Rob Young, Simon Trumper and Steve Jelinek. Caro had been brought over by the sponsors as a "star" player and a hand I was involved with him in level two, is still the weirdest I have ever played.

With the blinds 50/100, three players including Caro on the button limped into my big blind, I checked my option holding Q7. The Q77 flop looked very nice and I checked, as did the next two players.

At this stage I'm thinking to myself, the best way to extract a thousand or two in chips when Mike suddenly announces all-in. It took a few seconds to register what had happened but sure enough he moved his 8,600 stack into the middle to win a pot of 400.

I obviously called and Mike turned up A2 off suit, for no draw no pair. Caro is known as the mad genius of poker and was clearly operating on a different planet to the rest of us mere mortals with this advanced play. It went way over my head anyway.

I remember accumulating a lovely stack for the next few hours, but I was to become unstuck before the end of play. Eventual sixth Paul Daly was moved to my table and we played a monster pot with all the chips going in on the turn, where my set of Jacks looked very healthy until the King on the river matched the two he held.

The beat haunted me for months afterwards, but a lasting addiction with the tournament had been formed.

The 2011 Irish Open will be held in the Burlington Hotel from the 21st to the 24th of April; one time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No cigar in Castlebar

The Breaffy House Hotel, Castlebar, was the venue for the inaugural Boylepoker sponsored Western Open.

It's the type of event that epitomises every thing that's good about Irish poker. A well-run, excellently structured main event, plenty of support events, crazy cash action and a 24-hour bar, all in a self-contained arena.

I really like these types of games coming to new regions. They're generally very well supported by the natives and give regulars who travel the country from that area a well deserved break from pounding the road to the more familiar destinations.

A knock-on bonus is that for probably 50% of the field it's their first taste of a major poker festival and a lot of these will subsequently travel to other events in the future.

Martin Silk was our host and as is Silky's character, you'd expect something a little different; he didn't disappoint. On the Thursday night, celebrity boxing brought the crowds out in force.

The heavyweight bout between Fintan Gavin and Liam from Celtic Poker was the main attraction. Fintan never ceases to amaze and I was shocked to see some serious boxing skills on show in the match; check it out on Youtube.

The other quirk was taking 10% from the prize pool and splitting it between the chip-leaders on day one and two. I'm all for innovation and trying new things but I'm not a fan of this one. Giving ten times the buy-in twice, was too much and while everything was transparent here, I think it can lead to possible skullduggery if it became the norm.

My tournament went well enough. After scrapping through day one with less then the starting stack, I managed a good day two, getting my humble 13k to a respectable 220k by the time the bubble broke and we finished for the day.

There was 24 returned for day three and I made the final eight with about average. With five left I still had average chips but walked into a few hands here and exited for €3,000. A little disappointing to only get three as there was close to €50,000 still in the pot when five of us remained.

I went out pushing 14 blinds over a cut off raise, but the big blind and eventual winner Aiden Culllinane, woke up with a hand. I had played with Aiden for the three days and there was a Jamie Gold type of inevitability about his march to the title.

All in all, an enjoyable weekend with a satisfactory showing in the tournament so I can't complain. Well done to Aiden and everyone else who cashed and everyone involved in putting the festival together.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Some Superbowl Run Good

I had some pretty funny run good during the superbowl. Its half time and there four of us in a group conversation on msn (John O'Shea, Marty Smyth and Paul Spillane), I'm fairly drunk and that lads are saying the under line at 54.5 looks good at 10/11.

I decide to have €330/300 for an interest, I then think this isn't enough and go in for another €770. I relay my bet to the lads and John asks can I get 1100 on for him as he can’t get on where he is at the moment. I do it and cut n paste the bet receipt in to msn. Marty cops that I've actually done the overs by mistake.

I get straight onto live chat to try reverse the bet, its taking time and when the operator gets back to me; I've actually done the €770 on the overs as-well by mistake. I decide now this is a total mess and I'll just take the hit myself so I inform John the bet is cancelled and tell the live chat to just leave the bets stand.

Now I'm left with 1440 net on the overs line, which I don't want. An early second half Steelers touchdown then changes the line to 57.5. Eureka, I have another 1440 on the unders at 5/6 which means I'm out for a tiny loss and freerolling 55-57 pts for €2,500. That field goal two minutes from the full time to bring the total points to 56 pts was very sweet indeed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

European Deepstack Poker Championship

The fourth installment of the European Deepstack Poker Championship took place in Dublin at the weekend.

I've always felt the structure for this one a bit gimmicky, you get a mass of big-blinds on day one to mess around with, but the subsequent days play out like any other tournament.

However, you can't argue with a turnout of 740 players, of which amazingly only about 15% were Irish.

The majority of overseas visitors to the event were French, with a healthy sprinkling of Danish, Belgium and Germans. I really don't understand the bad press French players get, I always enjoy playing with them as there generally funny, cordial and make for a very active table dynamic.

I played Day 1A, which as it turned out was good idea. The day ones were a gruelling fourteen hours, so a day's rest in-between was a benefit.

The day went well over-all. I started fast, dropped a bit, got lucky to cooler Dennis O'Kane and played a good last level to finish on chip_icon.jpg110k, which was average.

There was one rather odd occurrence on my first table.

I was chatting away and a chap standing behind me, whom had been talking to the player sitting beside me, asks me am I from Waterford? I reply, 'I am', thinking he's picked up on my accent.

He then proceeds to ask me do I know Nicky Power and was he playing today. Now I'm a little taken aback by this but I tell him "He is and I think he's on table two", (I'm sitting at table two). The gent proceeds to tell me that he knows Nicky well and must go over and have a chat with him. It was all rather confusing.

The first two levels of day two were quiet. I then lost 66% of my chips in an Unkown suit AUnkown suit Q v Unkown suit 10Unkown suit 10 flip leaving me rather short. Luckily I was able to double shortly after with Unkown suit KUnkown suit J v Unkown suit QUnkown suit 10 in a short corner and never looked back for the rest of the day.

In about a four-hour period I managed to get chip_icon.jpg90k to over chip_icon.jpg700k without ever having more then a small portion of my chips in at showdown.

Again, with about two levels left my table broke. The new table was a different proposition, with many big stacks held by very good players including the unstoppable Sean Prendiville.

We were approaching the bubble but it was a funny dynamic as the table was stacked and mostly by "players", so no-one was able to take control and abuse the bubble.

I finished the day on a healthy chip_icon.jpg640k, with the average 500k and 72 players remaining.

Going back for day three I felt I had a right shout at the title. Instead, I had one of those days where it just went against me.

It started brightly when I called a chip_icon.jpg150k shove with Jacks and got to over 800k but that was to be my peak.

I was bet off a few pots and lost two 40/60 for smallish showdowns. With the blinds rising, I was left with a shoving stack.

I hung in for two levels but just never found a hand to double and inevitably I eventually ran into a hand, when I shoved 10BBs with Unkown suit 4Unkown suit 3 into Unkown suit AUnkown suit K.

So, out in 27th on a split pay bubble for €1425. It didn't feel like a lot for over two days hard work, but its good to play well and get a cash on my first outing of the year.

In general I think the Irish put in a good showing over the tournament, we had 33% of the field with thirty players left. It went a bit wrong for us from there on in, last men standing were Sean with another great performance to bubble the final table and Fergal Cawley who came sixth.

The Irishpokerboards forum live updates are getting better every event they cover. The lads are doing super work and certainly adding an enjoyable dimension to these events. They're covering these voluntary and deserve big thanks from us all for the fantastic service they provide.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Soft launch 2011

The Irish poker calendar used to kick off with a bang, but with the Irish Poker Championships and the Lakes of Killarney both moving from their traditional berth, it's a very quiet start to the year.

A new tournament I will be playing is the Irish Premier Poker Festival (I.P.P.F), with a buy-in of €250, and €50,000 guaranteed, this looks like a decent game.

The festival is held at The Westgrove Hotel, Clane, County Kildare, from the 20th to 23rd of January. A smashing venue and a full programme of support events ensure a great weekend of poker.

I've been pottering away a good bit online for the first time in ages. I have been cashing in a lot of MTT's but no real joy as yet.

The Winter Promotion series of tournaments on Boylepoker seem to be going great. While the potential for overlay never materialised, there seems to be great value in the events and it just goes to show what can be achieved with a pro-active satellite schedule in place for the nightly guarantees.

The best run I got was 75th in Sunday's $200,000 guarantee losing a big flip heart_ace.gif heart_king.gif v Unkown suit 7Unkown suit 7 to exit. I'll definitely have another go at that one this Sunday.