Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some thoughts on this years Irish Open

Below is the tournament part of my IO this year that went up on the Boyles blog yesterday. Basically just had a bad  tournament, 20k to zero in six hours. That's the way it goes sometimes, wasn't anything I could of done differently. I just want to add a few observation here on my personal blog; well moan a bit I guess.

My starting table included Dara O'Kearney, Faraz 'the toilet' Jaka and eventual winner Kevin Vandersmissen. I had a miserable tournament. I lost 25% of my chips when Jaka got there on the river in a hand I played well bar him hitting a three outer. Another 25% of my stack went when I raised KQ; hit a lovely QQ10 flop but lost to a turned gut shot. 

It was a very interesting table with 'The Toilet' running riot over the first four levels. He was playing about 70% of hands and hit a lot of lucky rivers when barrelling to amass a 70k stack by dinner. One level later he was out after getting smashed up by an excellent Australian player whose name I never got to know. 

Vandersmissen was having a similar day to myself until he made a sick call for his tournament life. He held pocket sixes, on a paired board with all over-cards facing a river bet that effectively put him all in. It was a hugely impressive hero call and he amassed chips with ease after taking that pot.
My own tournament ended in level seven. I got 17 blinds in pre-flop with AK verses AQ to no avail"

A few observations on the event.

The antes

It may seem a small thing in the overall scheme but It's inexcusable to have ante's of 1/16th & 1/20th of a bigblind in a major tournament. Like who the hell produces the structure because it's certainly not someone that understands tournament structures. How hard can it be to consult someone on what a proper ante to BB ratio should be. As I said it may see a small issue but its unprofessional and looks bad to oversea visitors. Having said that it's something that's easily fixed and the overall structure has come on heaps with the increased starting stack. I remember playing the IO in 2006, with a 10k starting stack, no repeat 150/300, or 500/1000, 1200/2400 levels.

The Field: size reduction and demographic 

these are the numbers from recent years
2007 = 708  
2008 =  667 
2009 = 700         
2010 = 708
2011 = 615
2012 = 502

Big reduction over the last two years, a number of factors in play here, the recession and a saturation of tournament's would  be the major ones. I'm sure PPP are doing everything they can on this front but it's just a sign of the times. It's worth noting that finishing second in 2008 got you the same money as winning in 2012.

As for the make up of the field. Someone commented the field this year was if 300 bad players were taken out and replaced with 100 top class online MTT players. Again this is a sign of the times, black Friday and in general online grinders realising the value in this event.   

The Hotel 

I'm not a big fan of the Burlington. I booked the poker rate for 4 nights, went for breakfast the first morning and was told that there wasn't a breaky included with my booking. On a normal week it's €69 a night to stay there with breaky included, poker players rate €79 with no breaky. It's not a huge deal but an example of players being screwed over. I think the food in general and pints in the hotel bar are over priced slop. I had a few nice pints in a pub across the road on Saturday afternoon and the difference in quality was huge, clean the pipes pls, drink is important. 

 Final Table Atmosphere

This is a trade off, we saw it in 2006 when the FT went live on Skysports and again this year for hole cards to be shown on the stream. The quality and coverage available on the stream production over the event is second to none and ground breaking.  However, below is a video from the 2007 final, watch the last 20 seconds or so. The atmosphere was electric, compare that to the sterile offering this year. This is what made the tournament special for a lot of people. I think the tournament is probably giving up too much for the viewer at home to be allowed to view the hole cards.       

 These are just a few observations and areas where improvements can be made. Overall I think PPP do a great job on the tournament.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More City West

I travelled back to the City West Friday to play the €500 side event. What a contrast from the previous week, the place was hopping. The Norwegian Masters itself had over a thousand entries and there must have been nearly double that amount travelled over from the Scandinavian country.

There were up to 45 cash tables running at peak times, with games running round the clock. These guys certainly came to gamble from some of the stories I was hearing, crazy action by all account.

My table in the €500 8-handed consisted of seven Norwegians, two decent players; the rest weren’t up to much. I lost 90% of my chips in the 75-150 level when I hit a set of two’s on a 932 flop. I check raised heavy into multiple players on the flop, and put in a chunky bet on the 5 turn to one player.

I hated the 4 on the river and blocker bet 3k. The opponent shoved for 10k, it was now 7k to win 40k. After deciding this person was capable of spazing in the spot, I called to be shown pocket sixes. I was at least proved correct on my assumption on the player later. A guy bet 3k on the river on an AAJ83 board from 7k and she put him in with air, he had quads.

Anyhow, that hand in level three left me 3k. I still felt I had a chance to get back into it; the table was just so good. I ground a micro shortstack for the next three levels nursing it up to 12k and then won a race, 88 v AJ.

Just as I hit the dizzy heights of 25k into the last level of the night I got coolered blind on blind, AQ into AK. Disappointing as I had fought very hard for the resurrection.          

JP deserves a medal from Failte Ireland for bringing this event to these shores. It was without doubt the busiest poker festival I have ever seen outside Vegas. The income statement for March in the City West resort’s books must look very healthy indeed.

All roads lead to the Burlo this week for the big one. If I told you I was confidant it would be a lie. I don’t feel I’ve played well in recent events, but the Irish Open usually brings out the best in me, so fingers crossed. I should arrive relaxed anyhow. Keeping with tradition, I’ll be spending this week at the Kclub in preparation.