Thursday, December 23, 2010


Headed off to Normandy on Friday night last for a Saturday start to the Forges Les Eaux French poker series 1.1k, really wasnt up for this trip, with the impending weather warnings and it being so close to christmas. Think i would have tried for a T$ refund on my ticket but for the fact that my amigo Mark, also managed to bink a seat. So we landed in beauvais around 11pm and made our way through snowcovered Normandy backroads to get to the hotel by 2a.m

My starting table was relativily tough compared to the field, the pstarsblog naming it "la table de la mort", it contained Ept champ, pokerstars pro and alround gobshite Arnaud Mattern, seated to my left, Elkys girlfriend to his left and some guy who was points leader in the series to her left, on my right was Alain Roy, a Partouche pro who shipped 1 million in their main event a couple of years back. So ya, there were softer spots out there to be had. The structure was for a 2day event, with 25k starting stax and 40 min levels, i had a poor first couple of lvls and hit a low of 14k b4 i ground it up to 40k. At this point Alian Roy had been replaced by a big staxed
Constant Rijkenburg, the Dutch lad, who looks a bit like Steve Coogan, he's well known for shipping the ept San Remo in 09.

So now im sandwiched between two Epts winners and we are all pretty deep, Arnaud had me covered by about 10k and Constant had over 90k, so at 250/500 we're effectivly over 80bbs deep. Constant is raising every other pot+calling most 3bets. Arnaud is raising alot utg, in late position and seems to enjoy defending his bbs. So Mattern raises his usual 2.2x utg, he gets two callers who both have me covered, so i complete from the bb with my heartbreaker of a hand 25dd....

I flop the flush, comes out k8x all diamonds, i lead out a chunky 3.8k into 5kish, Mattern makes it 10k, i ship he calls with k8, i hold...boom 80k+ he begins to lambast me for playing the 25. I held my peace, happy to be dragging in his chips.

A couple of hands later Constant raises the c/o, i flat the button with ajo, cause both Mattern and elkys gal had reshoving stax, also wanted to keep pots small with Constant until i firgured him a bit more and was happy to play a disguised strong hand in position vs him.

Mattern reshipped what i taught was around 10k, whilst Ryjkenburg was folding i noticed it was a bit more as he had a heap of green 25 ante chips, im not the best at getting stax sizes right and was slightly paranoid about getting everything confirmed in English before i made moves at the table. So I asked for a count and as the dealer was counting it out and it was clear it was closer to 12k, i naturally used this time to comtemplate the call, calling off 25bbs with ajo isnt a standard call for me, but since it was a late position sqeeze over a super laggy open and a deep staxed flat, and considering he was still steaming over the 25 hand and probably plays these regional events with a more cavelier attitude, i make the call.

When i turn over the aj, he accuses me of slowrolling him and procedes to insult me in French to the entire table. I flop my ace and he goes runner runner for a straight with his 78o, banging the table, he tells me that this was karma for my slowroll. Once again, i held my peace, my only comment being that it wasnt a slowroll for me. Staring straight ahead, my eyes meet his glaring down at me from a massive pokerstars promotional photo of him placed directly behing the dealer.

So the game continues,I kept my opens tighter then usual for a big stax at this stage of the tornie because i had 3/4 reshoving stax to my left,concentrating instead on getting in a few 3 bets on Constant which was proving quite profitable. On one such occasion from the sb, Arnaud taught for a while b4 mucking from the bb, Constant also mucked and Mattern luaghed and joked with Constant that he was considering doing something stupid like calling with 25. And that was it, i'd had enough.....

So i turn to Mattern, and tell him in a polite matter of fact tone that he was a professional representing pokerstars in his own country, and that as both a pokerstars player and a vistor to his country, i was very dissapointed with his unprofessional conduct and manner at the table. He goes off again about my slowroll, and this time is joined by Elky's lady. The whole room is looking over at this point, i again explained how it wasnt a slowroll, how i was using the time to consider whether to call or not and i again made the point that i was shocked by such behaviour coming from a professional who really should know better. At this stage the media appear, Ryjkenburg makes attempts to ease the tension and Mattern is wise enough to quieten down before any more of a scene is made.

Mark moves to my table with over 100k, taking the seat of Elkys gal. By this stage ive won a few nice pots, mainly off Constant and am up to round 120/130k, constant is still playing bizarre stuff but it seems to be working for him. In one particualr pot the table nit raises the button into Constants bb, he min repops it to 6k and nit boy makes it 22k. playing 80k, Ryjkenberg makes the call, flop was 102x, goes chk/chk, brick on turn, chk then nit boy makes it 20k into 40. Constant calls, rvr chk chk, constant flips over k2 for bottom pair and yer man shows aqss, Constant ships the pot telling me his plan was to chk/reship any low board

So anyways i naturally bust Mattern up when he reships 12bbs with antes over my k9ss with kq and of course his own karma dictates i send him packing with a 9 ball on the flop. The table became effectivly 3 handed with myself, mark and constant, chatting away to each other whilst we went at it, hammer and tongue. In one big pot, Mark 3 bets from the sb to 10kish over Constants open and my flat, when constant flats were deep enough to justify my call with 10jss.

Flop comes 448, mark leads for 15k, constant who i noticed loved to make plays at scary boards repops to 40k odd and mark jams in his 110k+, Constant insta mucks, Mark tables the a5ss to much applause and table banging from the rest of what is now effectivly an audience with chips
at the table.

300k pot

And so to the tornies biggest pot so far ...Our table is the next to break, and myself and Constant are def in the top 5 of tornie chips at this point with Mark not far behind. Average stax is around 60k and im playing 150 with Constant very closely staxed. Utg he raises, i repop utg +2 to 10.4k, he folds showing me q2o, saying how i always repopped his utg opens and he nearly 4bet me. After an orbit of the table, the td comes to table with the chip treys and spreads out the cards containing the details of our new tables just as the dealer starts dealing out the cards..

Once again Constant makes it 2.2x from utg, i look down at the auld RR(kks at a French table) and make the same sized 3bet to 10.4k, he flats...Flop comes aa3...he chks i bet 12k into 22kish, fully expecting him to repop it, he duly obliges making it 27k to go...Now at this stage i think im ahead, whilst its possible he has a suited ace or a10o+ i think he makes this play with any pp and even a fair amount of air.

Given his previous history on scary boards and our own personal battles i'm not considering folding here. I taught that flatting would look very strong from me here and he might shut down on his bluffing hands, looking to get these hands that i crush into the pot i attempt to min his raise of 15k and give him room perceived fold equity, the td whose at the table with the cards, informs me that i must double the bet to 54k, so i put it in and ryjkenburg instant jams.
I snap call, only to be shown the aq, no miracle of christmas on the turn/rvr and im left with a measly 2k....

Twas a rough spot, being the very last hand on the table versus the one guy in the tornie who can do such damage to me and the only guy who could bluff here so often . i'm always criticising my hands, but i cant see a better way to play this one given the opponent. Even if you take the complete air out of his range when he shoves and give him a range of any pp, suited a, a10+ im still a favourite here, have to call 100k to win 200k, getting 2;1 on my money i feel he easily is bluffing here over 50% of the time. Plus i felt that my mind was made up on the flop, i cant make the min repop unless im willing to call a shove because with the way he plays a shove is highly probable here.

So that was that, as the table broke, a middle aged French man who had been at our table throughout, came over to shake my hand and tell me he agreed 100% with me in relation to the Mattern situation and that i had spoken well about it.

Mark finshed up the day with 180k despite losing a few 80/20s, which left him 6th with 45 out of 278 left and 32 making the money. The following morning we woke up to a huge blizzard, the worst the area has seen in years apparently, we were told all roads out had been closed,with at least a foot of snow on the hedges and car roofs. Funnily enough the last time myself and Mark travelled away together was to Ept San Remo, where we neither cashed or made it home as scheduled cause of the Volcano , not a good omen...

Day 2

Mark built up his stax only to lose a 600k pot when he flopped trips and his opponent filled up on the river, he went out 2 off the money when his a5 lost to Elkys q9...i played a 240+30 turbo bounty and despite building a big stax up, sure enough i crashed out 2 off the money as well when my sb shove with a3o lost to the bbs k10.

Once the poker dream died down, the panic kicked in that we had a flight we didnt even know was goin early the following morning and had to travel on roads we were told were impassable..For different reasons we both needed to get home soon as... We did some inter webbing and discovered that there were no seats free from Charles De galle til tuesday and at that theyd cost a small fortune, Next ferry wasnt til tues night and it was a 14 hr job, so we had no choice but to hit the 55km of treachorus backroads at 2am and hope the flight was goin from Beauvais.

It took us half an hour just to get outta the car park and Mark had this worrying obsession with Bear Grllys survivor programme on discovery and seemed keen on proving how we'd be warmer in a snowtrench then the chevorlet rent a car. Hairy shit ... They were real small rural roads, in parts you wouldnt see any sign of life for 10km stretchs. At one point we drove into this eerily quiet town, all shutters closed, no sign of life whatsoever, obviously we concluded that it was haunted and would be a bad place to get stuck and sure enough on the hill outta town we get oursleves jammed in the snow, apparently the trick is to keep the momentum going whilst heading up snowcovered hills, so we reverse back into the haunted ville,with a fairly tense and nervous atmos in the car...Mark put his foot to the floor, i say a few quiet prayers to myself, the car takes a few too many slides but somehow we get over the hill and past the worse of it.

We made it beauvais before the airport opened at 6am and after a 3hr queue to get through security we found ourselves on the flight outta there and got into Dublin airport a couple of hours before they closed it for the day, after the rough time at the tables,think we were due that wee bit of airport luck!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ugliest hand of my year...

Like most players, I tend to beat myself up bad over mistakes i make in my game, there's nothing worse then blowing a potential decent score through a mistake of your own making, gimme a bad beat anyday of the week.

Thankfully, these mistakes have been decreasing in my game as time goes on but i did made a massive blunder last night in the rcoop 6max on stars. Feel i need to put it down here to get it outta my system. Was 2nd in chips with 22 left, when the chipleader came and sat himself down directly to my right, first hand he raises i 3bet and he flats my cbet + donk lead the turn, i gave up..the next pot in which we got tangled up in was one i really felt i needed to win against this big stax for momentum at the table, as i had been table boss before he came to town, so ya i got caught up in this needless muscle flexing nonsensical car crash of a hand

Ya, its pretty bad... i dont mind the 3bet pre, but his donk is very strong into a 3bet pot, something i often do myself to induce a spazz out reshove, so ya why am i floating here and not betting turn when he checks anyways? Also my line makes no sense on the river so most everything he donks the flop with should call me here, it such a horribly played rush of ego tilt induced feck my equity in the tournament out the window shove that i have to shame myself and post it here as a public reminder to myself that i know better. I know we learn from our mistakes and all that mullarky, but i've made these mistakes before and am playing long enough to know better.

Anyways playing as a big stack in a 6 max tornie i was constantly involved in hands for what was at that stage over 7 hours straight, this obviously contributed to the brain fry, but i gotta be able for that.I had got my stack up to that point by being gifted chips in much the same manner as i gave them away; most players, seemed to go into auto aggro mode just cause it was 6 max, but the structure was so good in this one + it was being played so aggro spewy, that you could afford to wait + would be rewarded for it. Which makes my spew all the worse. Was no suprise to me when i looked this morn at the results and the notes i had kept on the 1st and 2nd place both said "pot controller".

So, now ive cleared my head of that hand and confessed to my donkishness... Surely this gives me rights to future shameless brag + boasts on here? Nah, never does.... and dont call me Shirley (R.I.P Leslie Nielsen).


Unfortunatly had to miss the ukipt Galway last weekend due to family commitments but hats off to Doke for some great grinding to a 13th place finish, Eoin Olin who finished 5th and Maurice Silke for his 3rd place finish. Also had a bit of interest in Dan Rankin; DatwilldoPig on stars, a great young online player who forms part of the powerful Portlaois tribe with Gavonator and Laois Hammer. I met Dan at the satellite for the same Galway event last year, i was down the night before at the pstars party having a few drinks with Mark Walsh, owner of the Adelaide casino in Sligo. Having already binked a few seats online i wasnt too pushed about the sat, but when we heard word of an overlay, i figured that by at least playing the sat, id avoid getting in a complete mess with Mark.

So we played and sitting at the same table as Dan, we started chatting poker, i recognised his name from online and remembered he had been in the Galway sats every night without binking a seat. So really felt for the guy when he bust as i could see how much it meant to him to play it, been there before...

Anyways, I saw the sat as total freeroll as i was on a win win, avoiding a big night on the booze and i figured a young online guy like Dan would be great value versus the field anyways, so when he bust i said to myself that if i won a seat id stake Dan half the buyin, so with this decent motivation behind me, i binked the seat. Letting Dan know, we swapped numbers and he said he'd call me if he could come up with the other grand, so that was that.

I woke the next morning, with a bit of a sore head, thinking did i just offer a relative stranger 1k?? Holy shit, im not rolled for this!!! Had a coffee and relaxed safe in the knowledge that he was in no way gonna come up with his grand.. Well come up with it he did, throwing the last few bob he had on the first 7/1 shot he saw down the bookies!! I gladly passed him my stake cause with a story like that i was sure he was hitting the final table... shame it was a bloody year later,but fair play to him he made it, well played Dan...

Next Up

So next live outing for me looks like the adelaide casino xmas 3k on this Sunday the 12th followed by a return to France on the 18th for another leg of their regional pstars tour. Online i'm gonna try play a few more rcoops, ipoker nightlys and focus on sats to Ept Deauville and possibly the emop Gran Canaria.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Been a While....

Well its been a few months since my last blog,since which ive attended an Ept,a French poker series event as well as a number of irish events including the euro short handed, the ukipt Dublin, ladbrokes Killarney and the Iwf.

Looking back at this list im certainly disappointed that i only managed to cash in one of these; Killarney, where i finished outside the big bucks in 17th. Too much time has passed to properly review these events with hand analysis but i'll try to give a brief synopsis of how my events went to bring the blog up to date

Euro short handed
Great wee, very well run tornie and a credit to the D4 boys, Mike and Brian that they somehow manage to attract so many French players into one room for a 500 buyin, a typical table would consist of 5 frenchies + one paddy. It had a great deep structure, i rocked and rolled it up to 3 times starting when i managed to get a young French lad to commit over 100 bbs with aj on a 669 board v my kks, went runner runner flush for what would've been a chipleading stax. Baz Hand was at my table for this + he did a great job nursing a short stax into the $. Met Danny Maxwell here, who put on a one man blogging extravaganza over the weekend, a team of bloggers is one thing thats been missing from the irish poker scene, Danny and the ipb lads have expanded their operations since and would be great to see some backing for the lads to follow the Irish poker community here and abroad.

Ept Villamora
Bagged 3 packages for this one. Twas my 4th Ept and made my 4th day 2 and still i've yet to cash, had a very tough table on day 1, with no cards/situs but thanks to the great structure even though i was below starting stax, i still had enough to do damage on day 2. Was redrawn on the same table as Luca Pagano + David Williams , got an early triple up before Williams strolled in kool as a breeze over an hour late, didnt see him involved in too many hands to comment on his play but holy shit can that lad stare u down, between the stare, the fro and the tasche i was half expecting him to pull out a gun and belt out Ezekiel 25:17 any minute...I couldnt get over how nitty Pagano was, played really snug, and when his opens were 3bet he showed no interest whatsoever in playing back at the aggro foes to his right. Doke was on his table on day1 and noticed the same thing. The mans got a serious record of Ept cashes and final tables, he's obviously clued into how to beat these games. My theory after was that he's so aware of the continentals style that he can afford to nit it up against these guys; between their spews, the aggro net kids raising wars and the slow ept structure, he knows exactly what to do to get the job done. Which probably explains his many cashes yet lack of an outright victory.

So anyways i blew my stack with a foolish hero call against an italian all singing, all shouting nut job and that was that. One incident in Villamora cant go by without comment; On the last day a group of us headed to the local waterpark, here despite much peer pressure and slagging, Doke refused to go on any slides and ended up minding the bags/cameras as we all got to act like kids for the day. So we head for the big roller coaster at the days end, Doke delighted with himself that he's manages to stay bone dry throughout. As we walk over a foot bridge to get to the last ride, a cart comes speeding down under the bridge, splashing a huge wave up which soaks the whole bridge and leaves Doke completely head to toe drenched, i fell to my knees, in tears at the sight,still makes me laugh at the keyboard here, priceless...

Ukipt Dublin
While i did manage to bink 6 packages for this,it wasnt enough to topple sat master Dokes haul of 9 though!! Dave Curtis greeted us with some friendly banter about bringing down their player numbers, with the way things went i couldve done with 6 starting stacks mind!! Went out when i couldnt but go with my overpair and ran into a flopped set, least i got to sit beside Vanessa Rousso for a couple of hours.

Ladbrokes Killarney
Finally made the money at my third attempt down in Killarney for the ladbrokes Festival, it came whilst i was in the middle of a six week detox, I was off all dairy, yeast, alcohol, sugars + chocolate. Not sure if it's a result of this but my concentration and focus online + live was better than ever. It all seemed to come together here, managed to rock up to around 80k on day 1 and ploughed on through the bubble to finish day 2 with close to 300k + in the top 5 with 40 or so returning. The final day turned a bit crapshooty with 20 or so left the average was between 15-20bbs, which is a shame since the structure was fantastic up until this. I know they are appealing to the recreational player who has to be back at work on the monday but i felt that it was too good a structure for the second part of day 2 and maybe this couldve been sacrificed a little to allow for more play at the bigger payjumps. Anyhow i reshoved my 15bbs with aqs from the bb over the button who had ak and held, fair play to Paul Lucey who grinded a short stack on day 2 brilliantly + well deserved his 2nd place finish.

Irish Winter Festival
Satellite disaster; just like the Open i got somewhat obsessed with the added value of the sole survivor promotion and just as i did back before Easter i bubbled at least 5 satellites for this, if anyone remembers an Elturf faltering at the finish line nightly, well that was me, went way beyond a joke. Played anyways, no joy, out day 1, without getting going at all. Was on the final week of my detox, somehow i managed to resist the drop despite the rockin atmosphere in the bar over the weekend, wasnt easy though. Congrats to Tom Finneran on his well deserved 3rd place finish and to Nick Newport on his victory, he was also deep in Killarney and obviously has a top mtt game.

French poker series, Lyon
Myself, Doke and Danloulou headed over for this 1.1k buyin, a poker stars event. It was either this or Malta and i left it down to whichever i binked a seat for first. Just like the iwf, never got going here, and despite grinding my stack up above starting, i lost 3 flips in a row to bust, hopped into the €550 6max turbo which i was chewing up til i flopped bottom two in a limped pot in my bb when the other big stack aggro head flopped top two et cest la vie... Beautiful city, great food + architecture, took the Sunday off and despite trying four different Irish pubs, none were showing the Fai cup final over the premiership, so had to rely on text message updates, safe to say i fairly shatterred the peace and serenity of one otherwise romantic cobbled street when word of the rovers win came through :)

Online has been good the past month, started playing on ipoker midweek and shipped the ipoker 60k and came 2nd in the 40k a few days later, an eircom upgrade in my area cost me at least 5k in equity when my broadband went down at two decent final tables though. Still havent binked my Galway 3x package yet, lost to doke heads up, whose 2-0 up in packages at the moment, still time to catch him...

As i write John O'Shea is chipleader after day1 in Malta, seems to be a huge crowd of Irish out for this, best of luck to them, surely at least one final table sweat is on the cards here.

Had the pleasure of msn railing the monkeybudgie from 100 down during his Sunday Brawl win. The man plays fantastic big stack poker, always goes for the win,destroys bubbles, shows no fear nor stupidity. A beast of a player, gent of a man who deserves all the $ + credits coming his way, hats off Sean Prendiville...

Thanks to the ipb team for the photos

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lifting Las Vegas blues

A week back from my first losing Vegas, and like most of the Irish contingent i'm taking stock and making plans.


Had a frustrating WSOP; played six side events and the main, cashing in the first and bombing out in the rest. One of those runs where i didnt get any breaks, particualrly in the main, where i busted out late in day2, never getting above 45k, i grinded it out and anytime i threatened to break through towards a decent stack id get knocked back down to the 20s again, seemed an endless cycle of building back to the 40s and getting my flopped 2 pair conterfited or my set 4 flushed and right back down again. Never got going. I did end up on the same table as Bruce Buffer the UFC announcer, and yes i did annouce "lets get ready to rumble" when i button raised his mid pos limp, worth a chuckle, not quite 10k though.

At that same table was Alex Kostrisian, a very impressive young Russian poker wiz, who won the 08 Aussie millions and has 4/5 WSOP final tables to his name. Playing a large number of hands in position, i noticed his tendancy to over pot scary rivers. Mixing these bets as both bluffs and as value bets, it made his bluffs tougher to call and gained max value from his winning hands. Being very focussed on the table, he seemed to know exactly where he was at in every hand. Not being one to back down, even though a world class soul reader had position on me, we went at it, using his postion + skills he ground me down and he ended up crippling me when i hero called one of his river overbets with kks on an ace high board and that was pretty much that. Well played Feargal, could do better...


What im most annoyed about though was my condition during day 1 of the main, at the start of the day i was absolutly shattered, overcome with tiredness, i told myself to play mainly abc and was delighted to finish the day above starting stax. I heard this complaint from a few of the other Irish players particualrly towards the end of the series. Having hit a similar wall last year, i reckon its a problem with living in a completly air conditioned environment for such a long period of time, combined with the stress/pressure involved in playing.

I dont think its any conincidence that my best results here have come straight off the plane, the same can be said for Sean Prendiville who had a remarkale first week ever in Vegas, being very unlucky not to make a final table with a 15th and 17th in 4k plus fields, this after he spent 3 weeks cycling round France. Nick Heather's and Denis Murphys final tables occured early in the series and the Irish results gradually seemed to decline throughout the series. Next year, i'll definatly sacrifice some sides events and get outta the desert for a week before the main event.

Taking Stock

I did notice a definate improvement in the overall standards of play, with alot more players mixing in light 3/4/5 bets to their game and its no suprise that the two players i came across that impressed me the most; Carter Phillips and Alex Kostritsyn are 21 and 23 years of age respectivly. There is still undoubtably great value to be had out at the series but with every year bringing another wave of young guns to the tables, its definatly getting thinner every year.

Even though it was finacially a losing Vegas, i think in the long run it was a great investment. Spending three weeks surrounded by the worlds best players, just has to improve your game.I was lucky to have some great companions on this trip and gained alot from discussing hands/startegies with some great poker minds and good friends.

Ept on the Horizon

Once i busted the main, i was of course sick to my teeth of poker, wrecked tired and longing for home, reminded me of the lyrics in Bob Dylans Tom Thumbs Blues "He looked so fine at first but left looking like a ghost".

Since arriving back the only game ive been fit for is my old favourite flipping addiction the stars 3xturbo sats. Check out this epic run good to bink a Ept vilamora package

6 players finished itm which was 500$ and then 1st gets the 7.3k package, my roll on stars being low post seires i did something i rarly do in these and nitted it up to get the cash and having 1.5bb once the bubble bursts- Hand #132,my vegas run good came 3 weeks too late and i won every race, even when they had big head starts to claim top prize.

A big live score is my main motivation at the moment in poker and winning this package was a great way to lift those Vegas blues and dangle another golden carrot out ahead to chase.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Return to Vegas II

I flew in on the 21st and met up with Theos, was great to catch up, even though i wasnt sure it was the same man as he'd shed some serious pounds over the past year. Played my 1st event on the 23rd, a 1.5k no limit tournie. After a shakey start i managed to get myself up to 16k when a crazy italian shoved his 13k allin into a pot of 3k out of turn on a 358 rainbow board, i got a ruling just to be sure and checked snap called with my kks, he turned over 77s and i was rockin around 30k. Still great value in these 1.5k sides out here, very important to get off to a good start though.

Carter Phillips, a very impressive 21 yr old, with an ept and a wsop braclet already to his name came and sat down to my immediate right. He played fantastic small ball poker, and created such a maniac image that he actually induced a young internet player to 6 bet shove a 60bb stack with no fold equity with 55s, Phillips snapped with qqs. I noticed that everytime a new player came to the table, he would 3bet there open without fail, just to put them to the test and also let them know that if they were opening they have to get by him. Its not often i can say i learned a lot from a 21yr old, but playing with Carter Phillips certainly has helped improve my mtt game.

Hey Jude

Well when the next man to sit to Philipps right was none other then our own Jude Ainsworth bringing with him a well above average 50k stack, i knew there would be fireworks. We had a bit of a laugh about the fact that even though we were both west of Ireland men, this was the 1st time we played against each other and it was at the wsop!!

Sure enough the two lads went at it, blow for blow and it was setting itself up for a major confrontation before Jude got coolered bvb for most of his stack. He's certainly not a man who'll hang around for the bubble to burst and ended up shoving his 10bbs into my aq to bust late in the day. You gotta respect the way Jude doesnt shy away from the big pots, he plays every hand to win the tournament, which is right way to play these things, he might not get as many cashes as alot of players but guarenteed when he does make the money he's got a monster stack and up their with the leaders.

So even though i had great position on Philipps, i literally had very few spots to abuse this, the cards were telling me not to play back at him. Which didnt bother me too much as the rest of the table were gifting chips. I had a great image and at one point, Phillips had me pegged for a nit saying "man i dont get it, you never play a pot and your somehow on 40k?" So since the last level of these things is closing in on the bubble, i decided to exploit my image and position and managed to rock up to 50k by days end.

Day 2, we started 7 off the bubble, I leaked a little pre bubble and then lost when my a10 got rivered by a8s allin pre for a big pot, couple of hands later i shoved my 10bbs from the c/o with aj and lost a race v 66s. Was nice to cash in my first event and keep my 100% wsop record intact, but i just made 1 pay jump over the min payout and i certainly ain't out here for those kinda scores.

The Party

That night i indulged in my one blow out of the series, The Irish Party...Paul Lucey of the Atlantis casino in Carlow laid on a serious bash in a villa of the Mirage hotel. Major commercial online sites would do well to match what this man laid out of his own pocket, hats off to Paul, only met him the night i landed here and he couldnt have been more welcoming.

Was great to meet guys from round the country, that you hear off and follow online; the Carlow lads Jason Tomkins + Aidan Coonan, the Dublin crew of Rory brown, Dave Callaghan, Donal o Conner, Nick Heather, John O Shea, Albert Kenny, Rob Taylor. Marty Smith, Nicky Power, Mick Mc Closkey,Paddy O Conner,the Mighty Doke, Tom Finneran, Wally Mc Cormack, Paul Carr, Mick Foley, Jude + Derek, Dermot Blaine..the list goes on, thats some crew of top quality players and alround great folk around this year, between all of us we gotta get Amhrán na bhFiann belted out from the bracelet ceremony by the end of this thing. Funnily enough, Doke told me whilst we were standing up after a level 2 break to the usual airing of the star spangled banner that it was his grandfathers cousin, Peader Kearney,who composed our own anthem.

Play Resumes

Needless to say a couple of days off were needed after the party before serious action was resumed. Lost a flip early in a 1k, to shatter my perfect vegas record, bound to happen this year, as it was the first year i played more then one event!! Came back that night to ship a $325 sng, clean with no deal, really is great value in these sng sats, but as ever a bit of run good is always needed when down to the final 4.

The next day, i played a 1.5k, the Irish contignent is growing as a Dublin lad called James who just landed in town ended up moving to my table early in the day, and Sean Prendiville was busy amassing a monster stack a couple of tables away, I got myself up to over 13k before i got moved tables. Found myself 2 to the right of the most ridiculously hyper spewy sometimes passive/sometimes aggro in wrong spots scandi i come across yet. Taking a leaf outta Judes book, the very first time he 3bet, i 4 bet him and he put it down. He had over 20k when i sat down, and the rest of the table were of typical 1.5k standard, so i knew id have to go to war with the scandi before i could accumalate pre bubble.

So I chipped myself up to 21k and got the scandi chipped down to 12k as since the 3bet didnt work he kept trying to flat me in position and take it off me post. which wasnt happening, through either my stubborness or my having showdown value. I could see he was getting very frustrated and ready to crack, i flatted a mp raise with 77s at the 150/300 lvl and he shoved 12k, 40bbs from the button, the opener folded and i seriously considered making a call i normally would instantly fold, i really felt he was full of it but in the end decided to wait for a better spot as he was destined to spew again. I reluctantly laid it down and he showed 85o!!!

He spewed down to 6k and in the hand b4 the break he doubled when he called a 6k utg shove blind with a6 v ak and binked an ace. After the break @ 200/400, he told the guy b4 the cards were dealt "come on lets gamble, this hand...blind lets do it" i look down at kjs in the hj, i told myself that if i open here i cannot fold to the scnadis inevitable shove, or else i may aswell have 72o, same thing. so i opened 2.5x and sure enough scandi shoved 30bbs, i snapped and he turned over the top of his range in this spot 77s, he binked quads and i was crippled. lost aqs v kks to bust soon after. My only regret is not following my gut and making the call with the 77s earlier, i place a huge importance on being the table captain pre bubble and you can mulitply the benifits of this massivly in a live wsop event.

Irish Bracelet?

Theos had a great day, bagging over 60k in chips and just off the plane Sean Prendiville found himself on 110k, just met Sean for the first time that night, seems a real decent lad and obviously a seriously talented player of the game. Theos got a horrible beat post bubble day2 but as i write this Sean is 6th in chips going into the final day with 23 left, heres hoping the Kearney family will be getting a royalty cheque from Harrahs tommorrow!!

I played the 3k triple chance yesterday, raised ajs, got called from bb, flop came j6x, two of my suit, he had 66s, so it goes...

So my 100% record is shot, am 1/4 so far this year, but feeling and playing well; hitting the gym/spa in the mornings, eating my porridge and salads, saying my prayers and taking my vitamins!! Am taking days off in between events, I tend to leave a lot out on the tables and get really drained after a days play so its important for me to remove myself from the poker in between events. Been to the palms cinema, the past couple of nights with Paddy and Theos and gonna hit the gun store later and get back in time to rail Sean to the bracelet.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting Started

Well, i suppose i'll start from the start. I first played no limit hold em, online for play money on Party Poker in March '07 after a pal had introduced me to the game in Sydneys Star City casino the previous January. My parents had become unwell and i had returned home from Dublin to help with the homestead and take on the role of a full time carer.

Poker came at the perfect time for me; In my late twenties, stuck in a position where i was unable to commit to a 9-5 job and limited to our Sligo home, throwing myself into online poker satisfied the hunger for a challenge, for some form of career purpose to my life whilst also being able to set my own hours and do my bit around the home.

Learning the basics with play money i soon graduated to grinding the $3rebuys to their big sunday game. With help from Harringtons books, i was able to grind out a profit and enough confidence to hit the local casino, The Adelaide in Sligo town, which was at the time the only business situated on Ted Nealon Rd, so named after my father!!

The Adelaide was a great place to learn live play, having a great mix of the older characters who had moved over from the draw/dealers choice pub games and younger savvy online players, both the table banter and the action was great.

Around this time i joined the now defunct stoxpoker and learned the power of optimum sng strategy; push/calling ranges, icm and other such theories which both solved and also in my opionion destroyed the sng game. This revelation greatly increased profits online and caused great bemusment locally when id shove my 10bb sb for the umpteenth time, eventually getting called and putting my tournament life on the line with whatever garbage happened to be in my hand at time.

Viva Las Vegas

In the summer of '08, i took a trip to the States, the climax of which was driving down the west coast from San Fran to hit Vegas and playing a $1,500 wsop event. I remember approaching Andy Black at the dinner break, asking him for some advice for a fellow Irish man in the same tournament, i had only 8k at this stage and he had over 30k. He gave me some good advice and told me to play my cards and position and wished me luck.

After dinner i cracked an Aussie guys AAs with my 88s and pushed on from there to survive the bubble at the days end. Myself and the Aussie were on the same table the whole day and after i gave him a lift back to his hotel in my rental car, Theos was his name,a former chess player and alround decent guy, well he did take the beat fairly well anyways!

The next time i saw Andy was on day2, long after the bubble had burst, i came to his table with a monster stax and position on him, he laughed and said "remember everything i told you yesterday....well forget it, i was only messing with ya!"

I ended up going out in 65th losing a race for the chiplead. After experienceing this buzz of the wsop; the adrenalin rush of playing live for such life changing sums of money i decided to devote even more time to studying the game and fixing my leaks. I cut down on the formulaic sngs and focussed on the quest for the big score in mtts.

I joined PokerXfactor (where i learned the true power of the 3bet) and Cardrunners, lurked on the poker forums and kept expanding my poker book library. In early '09 i shipped the stars 5rebuy twice in a month for 10k scores, played my first Ept in Deauville, disastorusly blew a big stax pre bubble in the Lapt grand final in Argentina and binked two wsop main events packages in 4 days the week b4 the big one was due to start in July. And so, a year later i found myself back in Vegas with a ticket for the big one, the main event.

The Return to Vegas

Once again, in the full tilt poker lounge i bumped into Andy Black, i asked him which day1 would be best to play and in his Gandalf like manner, he told me to play whenever i felt ready, the morning i woke up and felt on form.

Aside from meeting Andy, another good omen was bumping into Theos again, having done the usual and swapped emails but never used them, it was genuinly great to bump into him, he was busy grinding the sng rooms in the rio but when the main event started he literally railed me right throughout my run, acting as he described it as a 2nd in chess. He was brilliant on the mental side of staying focussed and in the game, it was like having a top sports psychologist in my corner.

I also had a pal at home who was doing C.I.A like research on my table draws, waking in the morning i'd pop open my lappy to get detailed analyisis of each seat, he'd have photos pasted in, records of any cashes and if he couldnt find this even get their facebook page up. Along with the legendary Shauny Craig these were great guys to have in your corner.

Early Nerves

Taking Andys advice i waited as long as possible to get over the jetlag and played the last of the day1s, a day where many of the higher rolled pros eventually decide to sit down. I had the high stakes sng pro the Keith the Camel Hawkins directly to my right, Derek8 Lerner, a Stars mtt grinder to his right and most worringly of all an empty seat to my left for a full hour.

Any man that strolls into a 10k buyin an hour late is a man i felt i didnt want having direct position on me. David Oppenheim,a Full Tilt pro and a highly respected stakes cash game player sits himself down, gets a two hour long massage and devours the table of mttrs, being so ridiculously deep stacked we were firmly on his turf and drowning.

In one particular pot, i limped in from the button after 3 to 4 limpers with 88s, he completes the small, and flop comes all low cards to my 88s. Its checked round to me and i fired a cbet, he instantly repops me. It gets folded round and not feeling good about things at all, i look at him and say “i tell you if you tell me”. He stares right back into me with these big blue scarily intense pupils and says in his Californian drawl “You dont have to tell had pocket 88s”. Ok.... Shit.

Man up Kid

Eventually i knew i'd have to man up to David, if i was to get anywhere in this tournament. So after inflating a pot pre with 89s, i shoved the whole frickin pile in on a board of j9x rainbow and watched in shock horror, sweat dripping, “what the fuck am i after doing” adrenalin. My 10k buyin out in the middle of the table waiting to be gobbled up by the superhero soulreader with the Full Tilt badge....He folded, thanks be to God, he folded, i was up to 50k, the fear was gone, the rush was great, now i was playing poker.

I finished day1 on 90k, doubled up first level of day2 with a hand thats affectionatly known round my parts as the donegal nuts, the 47s. Mid way through the day i was up over 200k and in one disastor of a hand dropped to 40k, within 20 minutes i was back up to over 300k!!! Despite playing real seat of the pants poker, i somehow managed to bag a mountain of chips and finish the day in the top 10.

Day 3, saw a gradual steady increase to my stack with Blair Hinkle and myself having a great battle for role of table captain. The bubble burst early on day4 and i found myself on a great table to exploit this, with the knowledge from my investigative spreadsheets, i knew over half the table didnt have any significant cashes to their name. One particular guy had even posted “omg im sooo close to cashing the main event” as his facebook status, this same guy folded qqs in an unopened pot in late positon pre!

The Cooler

I doubled my stack during this time to get up over 700k, which wouldve been right up there near the chipleaders and well above average at the time. Then this happened....Soon after the bubble burst, i looked down at AKs on the button, the c/o raised, i repopped, he flatted. Flop came aa9 two tone, he checks, i bet, he reraises and next thing i know my 700k is in the middle covering his 550k. He turns over 99s and holds.

I somehow managed to grind my measly 150k stack back up to 330k by days end but went out early day5, gifting half my stack to eventual final tablist Antoin Saout and donking off the rest with a needless 3bet reshove. I Finished in 380th for 27k.

The Epilogue

The dream was over and i was absolutley drained, shattered right through and about 1/100th of the man that sat down on day1. Still when the dust settled and i regained some form of clear thought, it sunk in that I had cashed in the W.S.O.P main event and had a hell of a time doing it.

I gained massive confidence in my game from my run in the big one and had a great year of it pokerwise some highlights being a 3rd in the ecoop for 45k, a 2nd in the ipoker montly million for 110k and the holy grail of all Irish poker players, the crystal vase from Celtic Poker Tour Longford!

Its kinda daft that its taken me nearly a full year to write this down, so starting this blog before i head back again to the promised land makes alot of sense. Ill try to update it after every event i play. Im going out with enough to play 5/6 1.5k side events, starting with event#42 on the 23rd.

Am flying out Monday and having followed the reports online for past few weeks am itching to get back out and have another shot at the big one, hopefully going 379 better this time.

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