Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Drive

Living at the bottom of the country means a recurring conflict when traveling to  poker events. Do you go alone, thus allowing a quick exit upon busting, or do you travel with a friend. This offers company on the often long drives, but brings it with the risk of either of you having to wait around if one bust early and the other goes deep.     

From experience I've become to favor the drive alone option. Too often I've found myself in the position of railing a travel companion. When these friends are in showdown situations, I'm ashamed to say I'm usually hoping they bust.

I had arranged to go check out JP McCann's new card room in Tallaght Village with Pat Storen for a €120 buy in €10,000 guaranteed tournament. I rang Pat early on Saturday to say I'd drive up separately rather then accompany him just in case one of us bust early and the other goes deep. Pat's reply was " sure thats not going to happen, I'll collect you in twenty minutes".

The tournament started at two and sure enough I got knocked out after 90 minutes and Pat went on to cash in the 100 runner field. I had a few beers and a few trips to the bookies but eventually I had to succumb to partaking in a pastime I despise, live cash.

I used to play a lot of live cash back in 2005 and 2006 before I got a real turn against it. I formed the opinion that the whole premise of it was rather predatory. Most of the money won is either from drunks or vulnerable people with very little chance of winning.

I spent about six hours playing cash Saturday and my thoughts on the pastime haven't changed. I'm not preaching to anyone here just saying it's not for me.

The only saving grace was the venue. The Village Green card club is a smashing spot for a game  of poker. It's a bright and spacious card room, tastefully decorated with a very nice bar area and enough space too easily hold major tournaments.

About ten hours after my exit I herd "all in and call", I look across to where the tournament was running and Pat was involved. I'm ashamed to say my feelings didn't involve disappointment when he grabbed his coat.                 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Southern Open

The third leg of the Irish Tour, The Southern Open took place at the Macau in Cork over the weekend. The organisers have adjusted the structure slightly from the previous legs to allow the tournaments to run over two days.

The guys who run the tour were pretty sure that they would 'not' reach the €30,000 guarantee in the run up to the €300 buy in event. A number of other games were on the weekend and the host venue didn't have much time to fill satellites with this event coming right on the tail of the Irish Classic.

In fairness to the Irish Tour they could easily of pulled the guarantee or even the tournament, but they decided they would take the hit and run with it. This looked like a very costly decision early on as only 25 players were seated at the start of the tournament, which would of meant a €24,000 overlay.

At this stage the powers of social media kicked into full swing. Twitter and Facebook became awash with the news of a massive overlay. By the time the 6 levels of late registration closed the field had increased to a respectable 93 players and the overlay was reduced to €5,000.

My starting table was packed with good players. Chris Dowling, Tim Farrelly, Ken Ralph, Tony Collins, Jamie 'brutal' Flynn. You get the idea, no easy chips. I slugged away all day and every time I looked like getting a stack to play with I'd hit a reversal.

I don't think I'm one to complain about how I'm running but one instant well into the day brought home to me where my mindset is currently at. I had needlessly slow played aces as I got all my chips in on the turn against kings. As the dealer counted out the pot, Chris Dowling asked me do you have the aces because the look on you face says you have the kings.

I'm sitting there 95% favorite to win the showdown and instead of fist pumping in my head, I'm fully expecting to be sent packing, This really is not a good place to be as a poker player.

Into level 12, I lost half my stack to Kieran 'the croc' Walsh in a QQ v 1010 cooler. Then another few chips when I decided not to call off with a flush draw while having odds to do so if the draw was live. A few people said I should of called here but I'm happy enough my decision not to. 

My exit came shortly after with three tables remaining in the tournament. Gary Clarke raised UTG the SB made it 10k, I shoved from the BB with QQ for 38k. Gary folded and the SB called with Jacks and hit one on the flop. Pity as it was an above average pot and I'd have fancied a deep run if I could of held.

I felt very rusty in the Irish Classic two weeks ago. I wasn't making glaring mistakes but just wasn't plugged in and on the drive home a couple of hand stuck in my head where I definitely gave up too easily and missed spots. I guess you can't just expect to turn up once every four weeks and be on your A-game. Time to get the finger out and put in a bit of volume for the rest of the year.