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Monday, March 10, 2008

Forgot I had one of these...

So first update in… over a year? Unlike most blog writers lose interest in writing a blog, the main reason I haven’t posted in so long is because there has been nothing to post about! By this I mean nothing ‘poker related’, which is in essence what this blog was started for. I have had many things to write about over the last year, new girlfriend, new house, new job etc. but felt that as this blog was started to keep track of my poker related stuff, I wasn’t going to fill it with anything non-poker related, ill leave that to Rounders et al!

So why the sudden change of heart? Well for one poker has crept back into the picture… only this time im on the other side of the felt! I’ve started running poker nights around Dublin since November, with moderate success. Im running a game on Thursday nights in Smyths, Fairview, which is getting decent numbers so far. It’s a €25 rebuy with the first prize usually hovering around the €400 - €500 mark. It’s handy for one night a week and gives me a bit of experience in setting up and running tourneys. We had started off with 3 nights in Dublin, but had to cancel nights in a pub in Portmarnock and Sandymount due to lack of interest. The Dublin pub poker scene is pretty packed with Vegasnights/ JP Poker already having an established client base, so rather try and encroach on their territory, I think getting one venue on board at a time is the best approach. Nick and JP have actually teamed up in a joint venture casino in Crumlin over the last few months, I haven’t actually had a chance to drop in but good luck to them and I’ll try and drop in over the next few weeks.

The website for our Poker nights is very good, www.IrishPokerLeague.com, and the plan is to branch out around Ireland over the coming year. We already have a game set up in Roscommon and Galway, and hopefully should have a network of games set up by the end of the year. The games run on an inter-pub League basis, with the top players at the end of each 10 week period getting through to a Provisional Final to play for a place in the Grand Final at the end of the year. The idea is to guarantee a ticket to a game in Australia or New Zealand, worth about €8k. It all depends on getting venues on board though!

On the playing side of things, I’m probably one of the many people who lost interest in the Dublin poker scene. Not sure why really… I know that I don’t have near as much time on my hands as I used to with my evenings taken up with either girlfriend/gym/ football training etc… and I also have a longer commute to and from work than I used to… but I have a feeling that perhaps the novelty of poker wore off a little bit, and I realized that unless you’re a taxi driver/ student/insomniac or just downright degenerate …. its not really feasible to play live regularly while working full time… I don’t think Im the only one either, as it looks like most casinos have seen a drop in numbers over the last 12-18 months. This can be down to a number of factors – too much competition for a steady declining pool of players being the main one in my opinion. The opening of Irelands first ‘Super Casino’ in the form of the Sporting Emporium, attracted a lot of new members who enjoy the location and fact that beer is served!! While this has no doubt attracted new members by making casinos more ‘mainstream’ and acceptable in today’s society (due to its location + owner), it has also pulled players from a limited pool causing a slight decrease in all Dublin casinos…

Back to the issue though, why are the numbers decreasing? While everyone knew the ‘boom’ since 2003 wouldn’t always last, it seems that, similarly to the Irish economy, the powers that be were too busy enjoying the present instead of looking to the future… Constantly raising buy-ins, while attracting bigger name players and generating large prizepools, scares away the ‘play for fun’ players, who were happily donating to these games for years. On that same point, a lot of these players realized that they were consistent losers, and coupled with the attitude of some of the ‘regular’ players in some casinos towards them, felt that the cons outweighed the pros and seem to have packed it in. Even pub games seem to have dropped in numbers over the last year (a great time to enter the market I hear you say!), but I think that the players that are still playing today will keep on playing regardless of any other changes.

While some people feel that the expected ‘mini-recession’ will cause an even further drop in poker players, I don’t think this is the case. Most casual players are spending very little, maybe only €25 - €100 per week. Unless the economy comes crashing down I can’t see numbers decreasing. Would pubs expect to see a decrease in numbers due to a downturn in the economy? (I actually don’t know the answer to this but would presume the answer is no!) And the average punter would probably spend a lot more on socializing in pubs etc than on poker.

On the online side of things… I reckon I’ve played about 5 hours in the last year. In reality I wasn’t even surprised it was that easy to give up! I never really caught the ‘online bug’ and enjoyed the social aspect of poker moreso than the actual monetary gains… although they were nice too!

I do miss playing live though, I’ve only been in a casino once in the last year, this was for the EPT ticket giveaway in Cool Hand Lukes. I was chipleader for most of the tourney but managed to throw it away and only finished 9th for €100… Put this mainly down to my being so out of practise… It did relight a little something inside me though and I have been looking to maybe start going to a game once a week/ fortnight… or even just hitting a festival every now and then!! I have a bit more expendible income now due to the new job and added income from running the poker night, and while Im saving up for a year long trip to Oz and the rest of the world in early 2009, I can start to look at paying into some of the bigger buy in events (€500-€1000) in the meantime. While my skills are still definitely ‘rusty at best’, I think the lure of a medium/ large buy in event would be the kick up the arse I need to get me back in the hotseat!

Will hopefully update this again before the end of the year J


Friday, January 19, 2007

I had a blog once...

Well I havent updated this in a while! Crimbo was good, the usual month of mayhem which has hit my credit card big time and left my poker BR destroyed.

I headed over to Edinburgh for New Years, or Hogmanay as they call it. The main street party was called off due to bad weather but with a group of twenty Irish there was no stopping the party!!

Online, Im still playing on PPP and at last seem to be making a steady profit. I realised that my problem was I was playing at rubbish limits. For the last two months Ive been playing at 1/2 and 2/4 cash games only, although I dabble in 3/6 when Im on a good run. I havent played lower than 1/2 in a while, and at last I feel as if I can actually play proper poker. 10c/20c and 25c/50c are full of such ridiculous players, you just cant follow any set game plan. You can make a profit but the players are so loose, they invariably suck out on you with frightening regularity that its just too stressful for the small profit you make. I used to stay at these levels because Id only ever have a few quid in the account as I preferred spending my cash on live rather than online poker.

I find at 1/2 you can build up an image and actually pull a few moves. Ive been steadily making $100 - $200 a session, and other than one big losing session the other week Ive been grinding out a steady profit. I still seem to be getting unlucky a lot in big pots, but where I used to turn off the laptop in frustration moaning about 'my bad luck', I now reload and most of the time make the money back. So this is that variance everyones been talking about then...

I bought Pokertracker and pahud, although I havent really been using them all that much. Also, pokertracker seems to have stopped working since I got a new hard drive on my laptop.

A few things I have noted at this level;

Im getting outplayed a bit in big pots, as Im still playing scared a bit, mainly because I still find it hard to look at the figures on the screen without seeing it in real terms. Whenever I get into a large pot with a marginal hand or a draw, and Im facing a big bet, I keep getting pushed off the pot because I find it hard to throw a weeks wages in without a made hand. I need to follow my instinct more and stop worrying about losing a few hundred quid here and there.

One such example is this hand which I discussed on boards.

Also, Ive noticed that the different styles of play are a lot more obvious at these levels. I find it best when Im at a table with one or two deepstacked maniacs (always good for a double up), and a few tightish shortstacks. I can push the TAG players off a lot of flops by firing out every time they check, and when I hit my hand against one of the maniacs I just keep betting out huge and once he doesnt hit Im sorted. Im still buying in short, usually between $100 and $200, and usually leave once Ive doubled this. Probably not the best method but at the moment Im bankroll building and will happily leave once Ive made a decent profit.

Ive a $500 bonus on PPP which is nearly cleared, and hopefully I can turn that into a few K. I plan on doing a bit of bonus whoring next month, probably start off on Doyles Room which is offering a 100% deposit bonus up to $500.

As for live play, Ive only played once in the last three months since the EPT feeder. That game really messed my head up, as I was in a great position to get the 5k ticket before that 3 outer on the river. It really took the thrill out of live poker for me, and I just havent been bothered going back. Im sure Ill go back eventually, but for the moment a few hours a week online is all Im doing.

I want to start playing decent live games though. I still havent played in any ranking event, which is pretty crap. I reckon Ill build up a bankroll online and use it to fund a few side events and feeders into big events. I cant bring myself to go down to the Fitz or the SE for a €50 tourney anymore. Im not sure when the next big ranking event is but I plan on playing a few side events.

Anyway it might be another while before I update this (if anyone even reads it...)


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

VegasNights EPT Feeder

This was being held out in the Spawell in Templeogue, was guaranteeing at least one ticket to the EPT, worth €5000. It was €130 + €20, so they needed at least 40 people just to break even. I was in two minds about whether or not to play this one, as on the one hand, I blew a good bit in Kerry and didn't really have the money for it. Also, there was most likely only going to be one or two tickets, with nothing leftover.

On the other hand, if Im ever going to play in a big ranking event, the most likely way is that Im going to win my ticket in. I decided to go out and play an STT for a ticket, and if I lost I'd head home.

So I arrived out in Templeogue at 1pm, with the game due to start at 2pm. I was one of the first out there but eventually we had enough for a one table STT. Just as we're about to start a huge group of people stroll in, and decide to join in and play. So instead of having full table STT's we decided to have 6 seater €25 games, with one ticket on offer. I sat down and in jumps Peter (Halfbaked), who had just come straight from the jackpot after winning a €2k pot... nice!

Anyway, we kicked off the game, and I asked if the lad to my left wanted to deal. He said he would then said I may aswell seeing as I was in the middle of the table. As usual, I prefer if a game is dealt as it makes it go faster, and I will normally offer, but Ive noticed the last while that it does affect your play as you are concentrating more on dealing than playing. So I agreed to deal, as it was only an STT, but there was no way I was dealing the main game if I played it!

So we kicked off and I noticed right from the start that Peter and this other guy were more interested in knocking each other out than winning the ticket! After I noticed he was pushing almost every hand, I joked as to whether he was related to Dave 'lucksack' Masters, and it turns out it was his uncle! I found out Dave had brought his whole family along, brother, mother, father, uncle.. etc. As if the field wasn't tough enough!

Dave arrived in soon after and I congratulated him on winning his ticket over to Singapore Open. I think its worth €8000, so wp Dave.

Anyway, the action was pretty one sided, as Peter and Daves uncle were clashing in pretty much ever pot. I thought my best choice of action was to wait for a decent hand and check raise one of them. I rivered a flush against Peter, when the Qh gave him trips also, and took a few chips off him.

I was playing pretty tight until eventually I picked up QQ and managed to get it in vs Peters Q2 and Daves uncles Ax. Unfortunately for me the A flopped and Daves uncle trebled up. I still won a few chips off Peter, knocking him out. Then the VERY NEXT HAND i look down at QQ again! I couldnt remember if they were the same ones but Dave Masters seemed to think so! Abyway, AGAIN an ace flops and I double up this guy Eddie (may have been Eddie the Eagle).

What are the chances of getting QQ twice in a row and losing on both of them??

Soon we were three handed and I pick up another monster, KK. Im debating whether or not to call, when Eddie pushes all in. I call in a shot and after a long thought the other guy calls too. Eddie has 22 and the other guy has AJ. I have them both covered so if my hand stands up I have the ticket.... no ace, no ace....

The flop comes.... K K x ! Go on you legend, he flops a poker! The other lads are basically drawing dead, and take it all in good spirits. What can I say, the deck hit me in the face! One thing that did annoy me was that I was getting a few looks from people who obviously thought something 'wasn't right' simply because I had been dealing.

Fair enough, I did get some ridiculous hands, but if I was cheating I think it would be a bit stupid to give myself QQ twice in a row (losing both times I might add...) and then throwing in quad kings for good measure! Talk about drawing attention to yourself!! Anyone watching would have noticed that Eddie had AA and KK, and there was a few other big hands shown.

Hopefully no-one did think this and Im probably being paranoid, but its not the first time this has happened. I was accused by a guy in UCD before aswell. Even down in Kerry last weekend there was this drunk guy in our STT that was convinced we were all cheating...

I think Im going to stop offering to deal because you get nothing out of it and if you do happen to hit a monster, sore losers will look for someone to blame, and if the guy who flopped quads was dealing... easy target.

Anyway... everyone knows Im rigged :)

So I went up and registered, and took a quick look around to gauge the numbers. It looked like we would barely have 40 players so it was definitely going to be only one ticket with a bit of cash for 2nd. This meant that I would need to play aggressively in order to have a chance at the ticket. It was first or nothing!!

So we sat down to get started, 43 players which meant a ticket for 1st and €590 for second. I recognised a few players, obviously Peter, Dave Masters and Co. but I also spotted Joe 'Show' O Neill and Willow among others. Both of these are good players and I owe Joe a beat after he sucked out on me in the Fitz €270 a while ago. I was close to the chip lead, and I lost half my stack in a huge pot when I flopped middle set and ran into top set. The very next hand I pick up JJ and Joe pushes. After a long dwell up I call and he turns over tens... needless to say he flops his set and out I go... I OWE YOU ONE JOE!

So back to the tourney at hand! Right from the start people were playing very aggressively looking to build a big stack or go bust. The structure was great so there was no need for this, but with everybody aiming for first it was an understandable style of play!

I didnt get off to a great start, my luck didnt carry over from the STT and I was pretty card dead. No-one had offered to deal so the deal was changing hands every time, which does my head in. Ive nothing against people that cant deal but when you have 9 people at a table, chances are only 2 or 3 can actually deal. The rest just box the deck and most get confused with side pots etc. I was going to offer but as I said already I wanted to concentrate on my game and not on dealing, so I just let them get on with it and helped out where I could.

I didnt do much at the first table, moved up from the starting 8K to about 10K after I flopped the nut flush but no-one played. I moved table then and noticed straight away that this table was a LOT more aggressive. It wasn't long until my first big hand of the night.

I had Q6h and limped in (the blinds were still small).

Flop comes K48 all hearts. Its checked around to a LAG player who bets out 500 (blinds 100/200). He has about 7K or so.

I usually flat call here and raise a non heart turn, but this time I felt he had hit the flop and decided to raise. I knocked it up to 1500, which he quickly called. The turn is a blank, and Im now convinced hes hit either a set or two pair. I want to keep him in but want to make it expensive. Im pretty sure he thinks I have AK with the A hearts, so I think if the river is a blank he will call a push.

He dwells up for a bit and eventually calls. The turn is a brick and I instantly push. He thinks for a few seconds and says 'you cant have the flush...'. I keep quiet and he quickly calls, turning over 44. He looks genuinly surprised I have the flush shakes my hand as he leaves. Im really happy at how I played the hand, as this is how I would play AhK a lot of the time. I have to start betting my monsters more often, rather than simply check calling and pushing the river....

I get moved soon after to table 1, just to Mr Masters right.... I recognise Duke, Willow and Peter who are also at the table. Tough draw!

I dont play many pots until I pick up A10. I decide to limp in, as Ive no idea how a lot of these play, and I dont want to commit too many of my chips. As it turns out someone steals what turns out to be a large pot with A2, and if i'd raised at the start I would have taken it.

With this in mind, the next time I picked up a hand, AJs I raised it up. Duke was the only caller, and the flop comes 998 with two spades. I raise it up a bit and Duke calls. Turn comes the Q, giving me the straight too. I check, Duke bets big and I call. River is a brick, Duke checks and I push... he calls in a second with Q9!

I think I played every street as badly as its possible to do so... im an idiot....

I lost about 80% of my stack on this hand, and got moved AGAIN pretty soon after. I go back to the first table with about 4K to find an indian guy with a monster stack. I soon doubled up when i picked up KK vs Damien Kavanaghs JJ. Soon after I made a good all-in call on the river with K10 on a AK976 board vs the indian lad. He had 56.... It was so obvious he had muck and I explained this to another guy, Paddy, at the break. All you had to do was hit your hand, check it to him, let him bet and check call his all in. Easy money!

A quick chip count at the break showed the indian lad was leading on 60K with Willow in 2nd and Joe O Neill in 3rd. About 30 still in it...

I would have to make some plays after the break, and I had planned on doubling up off the indian lad ASAP! He was a wild player, calling all ins with 57 and A4! All i needed was a HAND!

Unfortunately, I just couldnt pick up a monster, but he dutifully doubled up 5 of the other 7 players at the table! His stack had dropped to 15K when this hand happened... (Down to 10 players so we were on the final table bubble now)

I have 18K, and pick up AJ on the button. Its raised in EP by solid enough player to 3K (blinds 500/1000). Folded around to me, and I flat call, hoping hes raising with a medium PP. crazy indian guy calls too in SB (surprise, surprise...)

Flop comes A 10 4. Crazy indian immediately goes all in, original raiser makes a tough fold (he had JJ), and I think for about 2 seconds before calling! Anyone else I would porbably fold here in a three way raised pot, but this maniac?? My chips were nearly in before his...

He flips over A5!! Ship it.... 33K pot..

Turn 10.... still good... emmm ship it please??

River Q... split pot..

aaaagggghhhh you fcuking jambag!!!

A few minutes later another lad gets knocked out and we break for the final table. Im still fuming about the runner runner... everyone else got their double up off the nutter, but could I? nooooooo....

The only people I recognise at the FT are Willow, who has a HUGE stack after sucking out on Dave Masters, and Paddy, who I was talking to at the break. I found out later the guy to my right was Daves dad.

I was one of the shortstacks but was playing pretty solid and still fancied my chances of winning. We lost the first two shortstacks pretty fast, and were now down to 7. The indian guy had a huge stack but lost it all in two hands to Paddy when he had a monster both times. After he was gone, Paddy thanked me for the advice Id given him during the break. Wait till you have a monster and let him pay you off! Easy money! Out he went and we were down to 6. A guy off boards, Russh went out next, and we were down to 5.

I finally got my chance to double up when I limped in with 10 7. the flop came a juicy 779.... i checked, the BB tried a steal, i pushed and he called with A9. No suckout and Im up to about 40K.

At this stage it looks like this;

Paddy 100K
Willow 90K
Ray Masters 50K
Me 40K
Paddy Walsh 25K

The blinds are 1K/2K, so theres a lot of preflop raises taking it down. I pick up AQ, raise it up to 6K and take the blinds. Two hands later I pick up AQ, and decide to limp in, feeling that I need to make a move if I want a realistc chance at getting the ticket. So I limp in, so does Willow, and Ray makes up the BB.

3 way action and the flop comes Qh 3s 6s

Beautiful flop for me, and I plan on betting strong to look like a steal. Ive been playing very tight so I know they think I would raise with a good hand, so i try to use this against them.

Ray bets 2K, I slam out 10K trying to show strength, knowing Willow will most likely see this as a bluff. She goes all in and Ray folds. I call in a second and she happily flips over KQ. She is genuinly shocked when I show AQ, as she definitely would have thought I would raise with that.

Turn is a brick, and Im already counting up the chips. Theres just over 80K in the pot, so Im now 2nd in chips! Oh... wait theres the river to come yet! But surely I have nothing to worry about... Im a 93% favourite here... Of all the times I have been dreading a river card this was the easiest. I was SO SURE i couldnt possibly get done over this time... not this time. I had been imaginig myself winning the ticket, playing the Irish Open.... Theres NO WAY im going out like this...

Somebody tell that to pokah who decides to land a king on the river, fucking me out of the tournament... I have never been so shocked at getting a bad beat in my whole life. I nearly fell off my chair in amazement! I mean, I would consider myself an incredibly unlucky poker player, but losing $10 STT's is one thing... losing a very good chance at a 5K ticket, on a 3 outer on the river???

That is absolutely sick.... I was literally in shock for about 20 seconds... I just could not believe that it happened AGAIN... it is simply mind boggling how one person can consistenly get unlucky at the exact wrong time over and over and over again...

I flop a poker in a shitty little STT but 9 hours later when it really matters, I cant get a 93% edge to hold up.... If this was a once off I could understand it but....

Everyone at the table was genuinly sorry for me, and Willow shook my hand telling me I played the hand perfectly, but that is poor consolation when theres a 5K ticket up for grabs. I felt physically sick getting up from my seat, and felt like punching a brick wall...

I nearly crashed the car on the way home through frustration, and I dont think ill be playing live again for a while.

Willow went on to win it, and to rub salt in the wound the other three split the 590 between them.

good luck... god knows i need it

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cue Club Team Event, Killarney

So.... an update!

Ive been meaning to write a long one for a while so here goes...

I may aswell start with the most recent report, the Team Event down in the Cue Club in Kerry last weekend.

This was being organised by Connie, a fellow boardie, so there was a group of us heading down on the train. I was teamed up with Ehsan (Gholimoli) and Tom (DeVore), so we had a strong chance of winning it. Both of these had won over €5k in tournaments recently so I was in good company! I have a great record in Team Events so hopefully I'd go the distance...

Anyway, the Degenerate Gambling Brigade met up in the train station to get the 11am train down to Kerry. There was myself, Ehsan, Tom, Ian, Brian, Peter, the brothers Niall and Dave O' Callaghan and the infamous lucksack that is Dave Masters...

No sooner had we left the station than we kicked off a card game... just to get things going. What started off as a €20 rebuy round of each, turned into a crapshoot after about... 5 seconds ;)

Dave Masters had rebought about 8 times by the time we hit Kerry, and I managed to go through €100 without winning a single hand. Now Im clueless about Omaha but thats bad even for me! I thought Dave was pissing his money away, but he managed to suck out on enough people to end up splitting the €780 pot with Tom. Yes thats €780...30 rebuys between the 8 of us! So down €100 already and I havent even reached the casino yet! The game itself was costing €170 and the hotel was €55 so Id have to watch the cash flow situation!

We arrived in Kerry and made our way to the Cue Club. Killarneys a great place, I was down for a 21st a few years ago and always wanted to head back. The Cue Club itself is a great little place, its got a real club atmosphere about it, even moreso than the Fitz. Half snooker club, half poker room, I got the impression that the poker had only become a regular thing pretty recently. Its a really comfortable place to play poker, and I was looking forward to a good game.

Ive played three team events in the past, all Vegas Nights games, and every time they have gone the same way. I get onto a team with good players but unfortunately things go pear shaped and I never win the Team prize. Each time I have been battling for individual glory from pretty early on, due to other team members getting knocked out... this game was to be no different!

There was almost 100 players, and unfortunately Tom was 2nd out! In fairness he got very unlucky running big hands into bigger hands, and didnt really make a mistake, but it still meant that me and Ehsan were at a huge disadvantage straight away. Other Team Events Ive played have been 8 players per team, with points starting with final 18. So if you got knocked out 150th, you got the same as finishing 19th... 0 points. Unfortunately this game was different. Each Team started on 300 points (100 per player), and you points depending on where you finished. So because Tom got knocked out so early, he recieved -100 points! You only got 100 points for finishing 1st so we were pretty much dead and buried unless we both finished very high.

Another thing which was disappointing was the split between Team and Individual prize money. In other games Ive played its been pretty much a 50/50 split, but this was more like 85/15 in favour of the Team prize. This is probably better as it is a 'Team Event' but it meant that I had to finish top 4 just to make ANY profit (it was money back, €150, for 9th to 5th).

I started off great, flopping a house and getting paid off, and reraising with muck in a four way pot for a nice steal. Id gotten the 8k starting stack up to about 12K after the first few hands, and was in just getting into the groove until I saw Tom getting knocked out. I went on tilt a little after this, and I ended up going card dead and pissing a good chunk of my stack on terrible calls. I didnt see a decent hand for a good two hours and was getting very impatient. The first hand was against Ian. I picked up A10 which was the best hand Id seen in hours so I raised it up. It was flat called by the player to me left, and to the left of him Ian pushed for about 7K. I felt Ian was doing this with AK, AQ,AJ, A10, KQ, or any pair 99+. I didnt think the other lad was calling and was pretty much priced into calling due to my raise. Unfortunately the other lad did call and we checked down a Jack high board all the way to the river. Ian had AJ for TPTK and the other lad had AQ. Ian tripled up and I think the other lad won a side pot with the AQ. Stupid play by me....

I stole a few pots to hang about on 14K until my second brainfart. I picked up KQ and raised it up to 2K. It was called by a player to my left who was pushing EVERY hand, so he could have had anything. I think the rest of his team were out and he wanted to jump into the cash tables because he didn't seem to care. Anyway he called the 2K and it went around to Conor (Lazare) who pushed for 6K. Again I was willing to call the extra 4K for a heads up but there was the other lunatic to worry about. He had about 20K and could knock me out.

I thought about pushing but the lunatic looked interested in his hand for once so I thought he might have something. I flat called the extra 4K, leaving myself about 8K behind. The instant I called the lunatic pushed and I was left cursing myself for my stoooopid play. I couldnt see KQ winning a three way pot, so I folded leaving almost half my stack in the pot. It turned out to be a good fold as the lunatic had AQ, but I should never have called Conor's all in. I think he had AJ and got knocked out, but as it turned out a K fell on the river so I would have sucked out if I had called!! Ugh!

I was struggling on about 6K when we got to the dinner break, and by the looks of it none of 'the dubs' were faring too well. Tom, Dave O'C and Dave Masters had all been KO'd, and the rest of us were pretty shortstacked. We checked into the hotel on the break and I left all my gear there. The room wasnt too bad, and they told us the residents bar was open all night, so I was happy enough there!

After the break I nursed my shortstack but wasn't getting the hands and dribbled down to only a few big blinds. With the blinds at 1k/2k, I was sittin on 5.5 and was willing to push on ANYTHING, but unfortunately both of my blinds there was numerous all ins and I had absolute muck. I was going to push on anything but a lot of blinds were getting robbed so I felt I might have a chance waiting for a decent hand. Unfortunatel I saw nothing until my big blind again. I had 2.5K and 2K of it was in the pot! Obviously Im pushing anything here but I noticed the SB wasn't really paying attention so instead of making this obvious I covered my *chip* with my hands and kept quiet. Sure enough it worked and he folded it to me! I had 36o by the way :)

I doubled up the next hand and was now sitting on 7K. I soon built this up to 15K and finally felt like I had a chance. We were down to 30 at this stage and it was only myself, Ehsan, Ian and Brian left. Unfortunately Ehsan got knocked out when his QQ's ran into KK in a huge multiway pot. Ian on the other hand had the chip lead at just under 100K. If only I had called with that KQ!!!

I grinded away and was sittin on about 18K , when I had my first all in of the night. I had A10c and flat called the 2K blind. There was four of us in the pot and it came out 10 4 2 with 2 clubs. One lad raised it up to 5K and I pushed for another 10K or so. He thought for ages and eventually called with 77. I needed an Ace or a club to survive and the board agreed and sent out one of each on the turn and river! Thank fuck for that....

Up to 35K now and I was motoring along nicely. I had my eyes on the €1k individual first prize, as the team prize was out the window. Down to 2 tables now and we were nearing the money (top 9 paid). Brian was knocked out soon after, and it was only meself and Ian left out of the Degenerates. He didnt last much longer though, going out in a HUGE pot which has been discussed in detail on boards. She made a great call at the end and he was unfortunate to go out.

The team part of the game was hotting up now as players started working out who was still in the running. A young lad beside me was knocking people out almost every hand, and had a massive stack in front of him. I was hanging back as we neared the bubble, and didnt want to make my usual bubble fuck up!

I decided to pick on the shortstacks who were trying to squeeze into the money, or just stay in to get more points for their team. Eventually I got my chance when the only other remaining boardie, 'Rogue Trader', decided to push for his stack which was less than 1 BB! I obviously wasnt worried about him, but I saw a chance to pick on the BB. He was on the only team that still had two players left, and I didn't think he would want to get into a pot without a hand. He had 25K to my 35K.

With the blinds at 2K/4K, I raised it up to 10K in the SB with J7. Somehow the dealer messed up on this and declared a min raise. He thought for ages and eventually called the extra 4K and we saw a flop of 5 7 8 rainbow. I felt this was as good a flop as any and he could only call a push with a very good hand, so I jammed it in.

Amazingly he called with 9 10 for an open ender!! I couldnt believe he would gamble his teams chances of taking the main prize on such a mediocre holding. If I was in his position I was folding the 4K BB leaving him with 21K left, and just try and get as far as possible. His mate had a big stack and he didn't need to play to win, just finish high.

Anyway, no suckout and he gets knocked out in 12th with his team-mate berating him for the play. Amazingly, 'Rogue Trader' had 46 for the flopped straight and tripled up!

I was up to 60K now, but barely had time to stack my chips when I picked up my second big hand of the night... QQ. A serial raiser raised it up to 15K and I had a quick look around the table. I was third in chips beside the young lad with the huge stack and a drunk lad who had just moved to the table. I had the raiser covered and decided if the young lad folded, I was pushing. All I had to worry about was the drunk lad, but he could be holding anything!!

The young lad folded and I pushed for just over 60K. I could tell the raiser wasn't happy about this and I couldnt see him calling, so now I just had to dodge the drunk guy. He had about 70K, so it was a call for everything. I was happy enough to take the pot there, with blinds and ante's there was almost 90K in the pot. Anyway, he starts fumbling with his chips for a good two minutes and eventually mutters call, throwing in about 15K. I tell him its gonna cost a lot more, to which he shouts at me "I said CALL didnt I"... cheers dickhead. He was too pissed to count out the money so the dealer does it for him. The original raiser quickly folds pocket fives and I think at worst Im up against AK. Nope... the slowrollin fucker had AA all along... I thought he may have been acting to get the other lad in but it was plainly obvious he was folding.

Either way, an Ace on the flop sealed the deal and out I went in 11th feeling like Id been punched in the stomach... I hete getting that far in a tourney and getting nothing out of it.

I couldnt handle a cash game so headed back to the hotel with to meet up with the lads. They were pissed at this stage and had taken control of the pool table at the end of the bar. After poker, my next best game is pool. Im out of practise, but back in college I could wipe the floor with anyone! Myself and my brother started up the pool society in college, and organised going down to the All-Irelands every year. I made the quarter finals my first year and almost made it onto the Irish Team. Unfortuantely my brother did one better and just about made it on!

So I was looking forward to showing off my pool skills, but didnt realise when you dont play the game for a year, you aren't as good as you were when you were playing over 50 games a day on the free tables in college! I still had a bit of skill in me, and myself and Brian challenged the 'champios', Ehsan and Niall. Unfortunately a 'bad beat on the black' lost it for us, but we were destroying them so we challenged them to a rematch. Everyone was pissed at this stage so they were rubbing it in our faces! Didnt last for long though when we 8 BALLED them and sent them packing! Didnt even pot a single ball lads... Me and Brian destroyed the rest of them and finished the night unbeaten.

We left the bar at 5am, briefly attempted to chat up a few girls outside DENJOES (boggers McDonalds), then went to bed. Sorry did I say bed? Obviously I mean we went to get the cards and chips for a 10 man €20 Sit 'n Go in the Hotel lobby!! DEGENERATES!!!

I was down almost €400 from the weekend so this was a must win game for me! We had nine boardies and one local degenerate playing, and the game couldnt have started any better... The lucksack Dave Masters, who had sucked out on EVERYONE on the train journey game, was knocked out my Niall on the first hand!! And on the river too!! Perfect!!

Ehsan didnt last too much longer, and either did the local lad, who was convinced it was all fixed! Soon we were down to 4 and the rest of the lads had either gone to bed, or back down to the casino to see if there was any games going! We had decided on prizes for the top two and finally I started to hit hands. I picked up KK twice and hit a set both times, then 99 again hit a set. Even when I was folding pairs they would have hit a set! Finally the deck hits me in the face for a change!

We got down to heads up, myself and Conor, and we agreed on €130 for first and €70 for 2nd. He had a 5:1 chip lead so I didn't count on lasting too long... but somehow the game lasted over an hour! Eventually we were about 60:40 and I pushed with J7... eventually he called with 38! and rivered a straight!! aghg luckbox!! Good laugh though... I went to bed soon after and the lads headed down to the casino.

Although I bubbled the tourney and ended up down a few hundred euro, I still had a great laugh with the lads. Think I'll start going on these trips more often!

Thats the only live game Ive played in a while, as for online...

I recently bought pokertracker and HUD to see if I can improve my game. Pokertracker only works with cash games so Ive copied all my tournament stats onto my excel sheet. It shows that Ive made a decent profit in STT's but Im pissing most of it away in MTT's. At the moment $15 STT's are my most profitable, and for some reason Im messing up on the $20's. The $25's are profitable but I dont think Ive played enough to give realistic figures. Ive an average ITM of 48%, which isint bad but can probably do with some improvement. Still though, Im up $1654 so I must be doing something right!

As for MTT's, the figures are probably worse than the -$984 if you realise that of the $1,570 that Ive won, most of this was with three of four $200+ wins. Ive an ITM rating of 12% in MTTs which is pretty bad. 27 cashes out of over 200 games just isint up to scratch.If you compare this to the fact that I make the top 10% in about 80% of the live tournaments I play in, there is huge room for improvement there.

My worst loss in playing MTT’s above $20. I just don’t have the patience for these and im down about $800 altogether

As for cash games, im still trying to navigate around pokertracker and see what I can take from the stats. I havent played that many hands, about 3,500 or so, and Im still getting through the manual that a lad off boards sent me. I can see that my VPiP is probably a bit high, so I need to tighten up a bit.

One worrying thing I found was that I am unfortunately getting sucked out on a lot! (Just because Im paranoid doesnt mean they're not out to get me...) In the top 20 pots Ive lost all in preflop, Ive gone in ahead 18 times, with the other two running KK into AA preflop. I seem to run big pairs into little pairs A LOT for my whole stack, and unfortunately they dont seem to be holding up.

But when I look at my stats for the hand I am winning with the most times, AA tops the list at 72%. Now I think this should be about 80% but its close enough not to worry about. KK is 2nd on about 69%. So how come I am winning on these hands the most, but they are the two hands that Ive lost the most money on?? I thought it might be through not being able to let them go etc. but it turns out that I just seem to be losing with them at the worst possible times! Anytime I seem to get my money in as a huge favourite in a big pot, invariably THAT is when variance decides to stick its ugly head in!

Now there's no point just concentrating on how Im doing on AA and KK, thats pointless. But tbh I havent had PT long enough to analyse all the stats. It has a good feature of being able to replay your hands, and Ive gone through all of the big pots that Ive lost, although it is pretty sickening! Having to sit there and watch river after river kill me... it aint good!

Ive been trying to see if I could have played the hands any differently, but it looks like I was just unlucky... and excuse Ive been stuck on for years and cant seem to get away from! Hopefully by the time Im finished analysing my PT stats I'll find out how to change my play. I think two major things I have to do is stop buying in short to cash tables, as I will just keep getting called by big stacks looking to suck out with worse hands. Secondly, I need to get my VPiP down, and finish reading the manual to find out what all the other stats mean!

My balance was looking good until I had to withdraw most of it to finance my trip to Kerry. I left $50 in it to fund a few $15 games and hopefully work up a few hundred for a decent BR. I had built this up to $92 and was just about to head to bed last night when I decided to jump in a cash game. I jumped into a 50c/$1 game, and tried to click the box to type in how much I was to sit down with. I was going to jump in with $30 and try and grind a bit. Unfortunately I clicked the top box by mistake and took my entire BR of $92 (hey big spender...) into the game. I was about to leave and join another when but I thought now that Im here I may aswell just play a few hands. If I lost a big pot I'd leave... (you can see where this is going!)

Anyway FIRST HAND I get dealt AA... (yes its one of THOSE...) I raise to $20 and get 4 CALLERS! The flop comes K82 rainbow, cant ask for much more. Im first to act, I push and get called by one player holding 88... aaaggghhh. No luck and the $240 pot is shipped to him. As I said, this is just bad variance, but its the incredibly bad timing that sickens me. The ONLY way I could lose my bankroll would be in this situation. I accidentally enter a table with my full BR, pitiful as it is, and last one hand!

So... back to the start...


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Short tourny report first.

I havent played live in a while, and as I want to do well in the upcoming Team Event I decided to get a bit of practise in. Ehsan split a game a few days ago for €5,500 so I have to try and compare well to my team-mates!

The Fitz €30 freezeout on Sunday seemed a good game, and it suits my budget well after Thailand... Im beginning to dread those credit card bills coming in...

Anyway! Ive only played this three times before, and placed 1st, 1st and 3rd, so I was confident enough to make a bit of cash.

To cut a long story short, I split it for €330 each with another boardie Rngr. He was the only person I was worried about all night (standard v.poor overall), so i was happy enough to split it with him. No major hands of interest, except when Rngr sucked out on the final table when we both got it all in preflop, his eights sucking out on my tens... I was more annoyed about doubling him up than losing chips, and even as the shortstack he was the only player I didn't want to clash with.

So another win, the money is nice (spent already...), but Im happier that I dont seem to have lost any form, even though Im only squeezing in one game a month. I reckon Ill try and play this €30 game again next Sunday.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Football and Poker...

God my blog is going the same way as Dublin Bus... nothing for ages and then 2 in quick succession!

The last post was purely about my trip to Thailand, so I thought Id give a quick poker update.

First though, I thought I might comment on how Ireland have been getting on lately, soccer wise... Now I'm a diehard fan of the Irish Team, I havent missed a home game for as far as I can remember, and Ive travelled abroad many times to watch them play. You wouldn't believe how hard it was to watch the Germany game in Thailand. We were on Phi Phi, a tiny island with only 700 people living on it, and 1 Irish bar! At two in the morning, all of the Irish tourists on the island packed in while the owner searched through hundreds of channels trying to find the game. The fact that it was on RTE meant we had to look through all the foreign channels to see if we could find it. So at 2 in the morning about 50 of us, all wearing the Irish jerseys, watched expectantly while he went from channel to channel.... Finally Steve Stauntons face flashed up on screen and a roar went up from the bar! We had found it on some small German channel, 'UltraSport' or something... Either way, we got to watch it!

We lost that game, but Im happy at least that I got to watch it. The Irish team have really gone downhill over the last few years, I think the turning point was not being able to beat Switzerland in the run up to the world cup.This led to fuck ups against Israel which led to us placing 4th in a group we could have won. At the time we were 14th in the FIFA rankings while Switzerland were in the mid 40's. How the tables have turned.... We have basically switched places now in terms of rankings. The reason Im talking about soccer all of a sudden, is that the new rankigs were out a few days ago, and I had to scroll down quite a bit to find Ireland.... 43rd... can you believe it? Irelands lowest ranking since the 90's.

Switzerland on the other hand, have taken over Irelands old 14th spot, which we had hovered around for a few years. Scotland have overtaken us.... as have other 'giants' such as Equador, Bulgaria, Tunisia, and Guinea... The only Team I'm happy to see overtake us is Australia, who thoroughly deserve it after a fantastic performance in the world cup. If those diving scumbags Italy hadn't cheated them in the world cup, who knows what would have happened?

I dont know what annoys me more, Ireland dropping down the rankings faster than anything ....., or England... in 4th.

Anyway, enough about football, lets talk poker! I havent really played live in about 2 months now, since I won the VN game, and I gave up on online a while before that. Id like to get back into playing live, but Im pretty broke after Thailand, so I won't be able to get a bankroll together for a while!

Ive a Team Event coming up in October, with Ehsan and Tom. Theres only 3 players to a team, and with a €150 buy-in it should be a decent tourney. I'll try and get one or two live games in before then, probably the €50 DC in the Fitz, usually a good game. Team Events have easily been my best tournaments, things just seem to go right for me in them! Hopefully I can get a good result from this.

As I said, I haven't really played online since May/June, the odd game every few weeks has kept up my hatred for it. Still though, when I arrived home I was dying to play poker, but I was still wrecked from the holiday and wasn't up for heading into the casino. So I logged onto PPP... why oh why!

I stuck in €50 and jumped into a few games. After about 10 minutes I realised it wasn't really working... I mean, I wanted to play poker, not a computer game! And thats all it is to me now. Its as much 'poker', as Fifa Pro Ev. is a game of football. Its just a computer game. Its not actually poker. I needed to actually have a real game of poker, feel the cards in my hands, have the buzz that goes with it... none of which I get from playing online. It was too late to hit the casino so I logged off and watched TV. I have absolutely no interest in playing online anymore, and look at it in the same light as the playstation or XBox. I just cant bring myself to take it seriously, which is why I dont think ill ever make it as an online poker player. Anytime I sit down, i cant just sit at one table and play a serious game. Ill have the TV on, ill be watching poker vids on U-tube, reading boards etc... so Im basically just pissing money away on it. Luckily not a lot, I play micro-limits online! No offence to all the lads who are cleaning up online. Its clearly working out for you guys!

I might still play the odd game out of boredom, but having only played about 10 hours overall since May, I think Ive successfully overcome any attraction I had to it. I used to play out of sheer boredom, with every weeknight being basically empty. But Im now playing soccer Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and going to the gym every other day, so my freetime is limited now. I think I meant start having a regular live game, like the Tuesday night €50 Double Chance in the Fitz.

Its annoying knowing that so many others are making thousands online, but a mix of very bad luck (causing TILT), and a short concentration span, mean I dont think i'll ever make much online! I dont mind losing small amounts now and then, but Im glad Ive no real interest in it anymore. Otherwise I might be logging on every night pissing away all my money! Im down a few hundred euro online for the year, but luckily some nice live wins more than cover it. I didnt realise that online poker was actually causing me the most stress... more than work/ family issues... how ridiculous is that??

Anyway, I'm probably going to hit the Fitz DC next Tuesday, and I look forward to this Team Event next month. I havent met up with all the poker lads in a while, should be good! Until then,


Tuesday, September 12, 2006


People have been bugging me for an update on this blog so here it is...

Unfortunately it has f-all to do with poker, so all those looking for bad beat stories can stop reading now!

I just got back from a long break in Thailand, what an incredible country. I've never been outside Europe before so you can imagine its a bit of a shock to the system when the plane touches down in Bangkok. Total culture shock, its just so different than our little Emerald Isle!

Anyway, six of us left Ireland on Aug. 19, and got into Bangkok on the 20th, via London and Qatar. We didnt hang around Bangkok for too long, only stayed one night for obvious reasons... So armed with little more than our backpacks, we headed for 'the islands'.

We started off in Ko Samui, and stayed there for a few days. The nightlife here was great, and the beaches were just what I was after. Lovely sandy beaches with that greenish water that you just have to swim in!

The plan was to head north to a much smaller island, Ko Tao, and do scuba diving. Unfortunately we missed the only ferry due to a bad hangover, so we could only go halfway to Ko Phangan. This island is famous worldwide for hosting the biggest full-moon party. I think this is the biggest beach party in the world, and attracts over 20,000 every month. We had planned on going here for Septembers full moon on the 7th, so we didnt mind having to stay a night here. As we checked into our hotel, we were told that the black moon party was on that night! Of all the nights to 'accidentally' be on the island!

The black moon is pretty self explanatory, its the opposite to the full moon! We made our way down to the beach, and were greeted by about 5000 ravers with neon everywhere! Had my first taste of the infamous Thailand 'buckets', full of vodka and red-bull, only the red-bull is different to what we get at home in that its laced with amphetimines... Suffuce is to say my memory got a little hazy after bucket number three!

With sore heads we pulled ourselves out of bed at 9am to catch the boat to Ko Tao, and get back on track. We made it over to this tiny island for some well deserved scuba diving and detox! This is a much more relaxed island, which centres mainly around scuba diving and boat tours. There wasn't much of a nightlife here, but it gave us a well deserved break from the madness of the previous week! We stayed here for about 3 days and spent our time scuba diving and relaxing. Although we did go quad biking around the island aswell so it wasn't all chilled out!

We left Ko Tao, and headed back to Samui to catch a plane to the other side of Thailand, to the well known Phuket. 'Welcome to the dark side....' We met up with a few friends here who had just arrived over from Ireland. They were dying to go out and 'see Thailand', so we went into the town centre to get dinner. I dont think we had prepared ourselves for what was in store... Without going into too much detail, lets just say any stories you have heard about Phuket are probably true!

So we stayed in Phuket for a few days, doing Jet-skiing among other things, before heading to the paradise island of Phi Phi. This was about an hour boat journey from Phuket, and was one of the worst hit parts of Thailand by the tsunami in 2004. 70% of the population was wiped out of this tiny island, and we weren't sure what to expect. Fortunately, it seems as if the island has recovered well, and there wasn't much trace of any damage, with the buildings all appearing to be pretty new. Still though, seeing this sign is enough to scare you a little! A tsunami evacuation procedure sign in your hotel room...

Phi Phi is an amazing island. Theres only 700 people living on it, and with only 5 or 6 hotels, this only rises to about 1500 with tourists included. It was a really secluded paradise, so its no surprise that it was where the famous film 'the beach' was set. We actually rented a longboat out to the actual island where 'the beach' was filmed. Its a huge uninhabitated rock in the ocean called Phi Phi Lay, about 2 or 3 miles from Phi Phi. Its literally just huge cliffs going straight up out of the sea, but as you go round to the side, the sea actually cuts in and forms a beach. Heres a photo from the beach showing the only entrance. Absolutely amazing!

We did this trip twice in the longboats, and went to 'monkey island', where monkeys live wild, but are so used to tourists that they will eat the food out of your hand! We also did cliff diving, snorkelling but mostly just sat back and enjoyed the views. These 'sunset cruises' lasted about six hours, and you have your own boat so you just tell the guy where to go and he'll take you.

We were on Phi Phi for the 'half-moon' party, which was only small enough but definitely worth it! Set right on the beach, with fire jugglers and a decent DJ, made for a great night, and of course the infamous buckets were on offer! I decided to give these another go, after almost losing my mind at the black moon.... well the next thing I remember was swimming in the sea with a load of English and Israelis at four in the morning! STAY AWAY FROM THE BUCKETS!

Three of the lads went home after Phi Phi, two weeks being the most time they could take off work. This is the main reason we travelled so much the first two weeks, just so we could get everything in for these lads. I had managed to get the extra week off work, and although it meant having to fly home on my own, I think it was definitely worth it! The rest of the group were staying for the full month, and are coming home this Sunday, Sept.17.

So after a hectic first two weeks we had decided to stay in the same place for the last week. Seeing as my last night would be Thursday, the night of the full moon party in Ko Phangan, we said we may aswell head over on Sunday and stay for the full week.

We couldnt make it from Phi Phi to Ko Phangan in one day, so we stopped off in Phuket for one night. This gave us enough time to go to a firing range which I thought was great! Whats not fun about firing a shotgun!!

Anyway, after another night out in the madhouse that is Phuket, we got back on a plane back to Ko Samui on Monday morning, and from there got a boat to Ko Phangan. The full moon party is the biggest night in Thailand every month, and Ko Phangan is where the biggest beach party is. So as you can imagine, there was a LOT of people heading that way! It was a bit of hassle to get a hotel but eventually we got some bungalows right down at the beach.

As I said, my last night was the full moon party on Thursday, and with only 4 days left of my three week holiday, I was planning on enjoying myself! In the week running up the the full moon, there is always 'warm-up' parties, so in other words the beach is packed every night and steadily increasing until finally the madness of Thursday finally arrives!

You cant really describe the full moon properly unless you've been there. All the clubs open out onto a beach, which is about 1k long. At one end you have 'mushroom mountain', so called for obvious reasons... At the other, you have an open air club, and in the middle, you have over 20,000 screaming lunatics, most with buckets in each hand! It was an amazing night and the perfect way to finish the holiday.

So Friday morning I packed my stuff and said goodbye to my remaining friends who were staying on. As I left I stopped to think what lay ahead of me. A taxi, then a boat, then a taxi, then a plane, then a taxi, then three more planes, then drive home from the airport.... on my own.... ugh

Well theres no point giving out about it, just grin and bear it! So I jumped in a taxi to the port, and got the boat over to Ko Samui. Once there I got a taxi to the airport for my flight to Bangkok. My flights home were not until Saturday morning, but I had to leave Ko Phangan on Friday or I wouldnt make it to Bangkok on time. It meant having to stay overnight in Bangkok but that didnt bother me.

Luckily I got talking to two English girls in Samui airport who just happened to be on the same flights as me all the way back to London! So I had someone to talk to on the flight to Bangkok, and we went out for a few drinks that night. Much better than having to travel alone! We parted company in London, and I headed to get my flight to Dublin. It was delayed an hour (well done aer lingus...), and when I finally arrived they had lost my baggage!! I got this back eventually, but it was very annoying at the time...

So thats it. For all of you that actually read this far I hope Ive made Thailand sound good, because it really is an amazing place!

Next post should be back to normal, hopefully a big win in poker!


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