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Friday, April 28, 2006

when will it end...

... this is getting VERY tiring now... Having had a great start to the year, making the top 10% in basically every tourney I played in, the last two weeks have been absolutely disgusting. I've played the Fitz Sunday €30 shorthanded, the Fitz €50 DC, and a handful of online tourneys and cash games. The results have been similar in every game....

bad players, bad beats, no $$$.

It all culminated last night when I played the $15 rebuy on PPP in the hope of bagging a ticket into the Drogheda game. I didn't plan on re-buying, so I had to build a decent stack from the start. Only 20 players started, so it was looking like there would only be one or two tickets.

As it is with rebuy tourneys, the play was very aggressive from the start, and I doubled early on when my house beat a flush. All the chips went in on the river, which is what I love the most... O% chance of being outdrawn... the only odds that seem to hold up for me!

I doubled up again soon after, again on the river, when I made a good call with middle pair against a super-aggressive lad. He had Ace high (?) and I was soon up to 8K. I stayed out of trouble until the we got to the FT bubble, and knocked the last lad out to start the final table on 15K, 2nd in chips with the CL on 22K. The shortstacks got knocked out fairly lively and soon we were down to 5, with 2 tickets on offer (nothing for 3rd...). Exactly $600 in the prizefund.

I hung back a bit, robbing blinds here and there, and not wanting to get involved too much. I doubled up and knocked out a shortstack with the nut straight, and was soon up to 30K with 4 left. A few hands later picked up J3 on the BB. The SB completed and we saw a flop of J45 rainbow, I raised about 4K, and he hesitated for a bit and flat called. I felt he didn't fancy his hand too much, so when the turn came an offsuit 2 i pushed. He had about another 10K left and took a while to call with J9. Nice play. I think he did think he was behind, as he took a while to call my all in, but there was 10K in the middle and he was getting pot odds to call. I think he would have folded if he had more behind, as I had a tight image and he was a good enough player to fold top pair.

Anyway, baack down to 15K four handed, and I soon took out another player to bring us to three handed. I had 30K and the other two had about 25K each. With only two tickets and nothing for 3rd, it was bubble time...

A few lads off boards came to watch at this stage, and I was confident I could get a ticket. I just missed out on a big cash the last time I played Drogheda, and was looking forward to getting another chance. My plan was to hold back and not make any stupid moves, and hope the other two would clash. There was a yoyoing of everyones stack and after a failed bluff, one of the lads was shortstacked at about 10K. I was on about 32K, and the other lad had moved up to about 38K.

Finally the shortstack pushed, and the other lad called. Shorty had KJ and the other lad had AK. "no Jack no Jack!" I shouted at my screen... Unfortunatley he caught one and doubled up...ffs. A few hands later they are both on about 30K and both push. Lovely! One of them has to go out! It hink it was 10 10 vs AQ or something, but it didn't matter as the board brought out a flush...SPLIT POT...jesus thats twice now the ticket has been grabbed out of my hands...

Nothing happens for a while but two of us have been stealing every blind from the AK lad, who is soon shortstacked to 15K. He eventually pushed and is called by the other lad. I cant remember the exact hands but the shortstack was behind. Now it was his turn to get lucky and a miracle river AGAIN stopped me from getting my ticket... three times now...

I have been staying out of the action for the most part, and the other two have been respecting my raises, but when I pick up KK, I am left with a decision. I was going to slowplay, but I was SB and the BB was super aggressive and I felt he would be annoyed if I min raised. I did, and as expected he pushed. Lovely... please dont have an ace...

He flipped over AJ, and my stomach turned knowing that if he got lucky again here, I was down to 2K. "no ace no ace no fcuking ace please, one fcuking time LET THE BETTER HAND WIN!!" I was out of my chair shouting at the screen...

First card out....a big fat Ace... When is this horrible string of bad beats going to end!

AGHGHHGHG!! No more help and I'm down to 2K. Next hand I pick up 10 8 and as im big blind I'm basically all in already. I get called by 64, and a six on the flop ends my tournament.

I was really looking forward to Drogheda, but yet again, luck is the deciding factor in me not winnig. Jesus I would love one bad beat free day... just one day of normal poker. So sick of getting rivered out of tournaments on bad beats. All week its just been one after the other. ..How can I play against this!

Cheers for the support at the final table lads, but you can see now what I'm up against... you just cant beat luck sometimes.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Another day another dollar... or not

Another report, I'll make this a short one. Made it down for the 50 DC in the Fitz, hoping for a decent game against a decent standard of players. I spotted a few boardies as I was registering which is always a good sign. I started off at table 4 but was moved to form a new table after a few minutes.

I recognised the player to my left from the Fitz €270, and Will from boards joined the table not long after, so it was looking like the standard would be good enough. Unfortunately, I think the bus for clown college broke down outside because the table then filled up with a crowd of them! Of the eight players at my table, 4 of them had never played in a casino before, and for one of them it was his first time playing live. Lovely...

I knew that all I needed to do was build up a nice chip lead and then slowplay the big hands to get maximum value from these players. After a bit of table banter at the start, it was instantly obvious to myself, Will and the player to my right, that these players would be a rollover. I tried to keep my head clear, and accumulate chips early. However, some of the stuff happening with these beginners threw me completely...

Within the first half hour, the girl at the table, one of the newbies tried to cash in her chips... Then we had this hilarious hand..

Player 1: how much are the pink chips?
Dealer : as I told you earlier, 500
Player 1: emmm...check
Player 2: see check
Player 3: i'll raise 200
Player 4: i'll see your two hundred and raise you 200 more
Player 2: your 200... 200 more... how much are the yellow ones?
Player 3: I'll call you all in...
Dealer: you cant raise only 200...actually Player 4 you just flat called... emm...Player 3... emm... ffs...
Player 1: how much are the pink chips?

The poor dealer was havin a field day trying to explain the basic rules of poker to these people...Unfortunately, I lost a good chunk of my stack from basically giving to much credit to one of these fish. I called a preflop raise with 66, and saw a flop of A43. The pot was about 700 at this stage and the original raiser bet... 50. I could see Will grinning at me at the stupidity of the bet, and as expected, I raised it to 500. He instantly folded, but then fish number two decides to call... Shit, I'm probably behind here. Theres no flush draw, and I dont think she would bet without a pice of the flop. She has about 700 left, and thers about 1800 in the pot. An ace hits the turn and as I'm first to act I check it, thinking if she pushes Im gone. I dont think she's good enough to pull of a bluff without it showing, as she has been unbelievably easy to read up until now. She checks too so I'm confident now she doesn't have the ace. Almost definitely a 3 or a 4.

Unfortunately a 4 lands on the river, and she thinks about it for a while before betting 500 (out of her stack of 700...). A lot of the time I will pay off an ace here to get info on the player, but as I was confident she would show I saw no point in paying her off. I folding showing the sixes saying "nice hand", and as expected she showed her hand.... 3 9! I was about to say very nice, thinking she had totally fooled me, when I realised something. She may have thought her 3 was good... I couldn't really put her on 39 after calling for almost half her stack on the flop... with bottom pair 9 kicker! My own fault for giving her too much credit I suppose.

She was knocked out a while later, mainly due to donating most of her stack to Will who raised all the way to the river (with NOTHING by the look of it) and she folded after blatently missing her draw. I caught up with her at the break and as i had thought, she did in fact think her threes were playable. I then pointed out that because there was already two pairs on the board all she actually had was aces and fours with a nine. So my sixes were good.
"Ah I understand... so it was a split pot? "...D'oh! I've nothing wrong with beginners playing poker, its not too long since my freeroll days... but why do I keep running into them!

I don't know how to play against them...I lost another 600 trying to bluff into one of these and was down to 1200 at the break. My own fault really... never bluff into a beginner! Its such an obvious rule of thumb. Don't try to bluff a bad player, as they will call you down with bottom pair, as in the above hand...

I caught up with Will and DocO at the break, and found out DocO had been knocked out..haha! Ah sure I was on the way out too...

Came back after the break and was ready to push on any playable hand. Picked up 10 10, pushed and took the blinds. Then I picked up AJ in the BB, and called the SB's all-in. He held J9, and of course flopped a 9. Yet another showdown I go into ahead and lose.. ah well! i cant wait for all the positive variance that's on the way!

Down to 200, and I have my jacket at the ready. I doubled up to 400 with Ace high, and then tripled up to 1200 when my 85 flopped two pair. Doubled up to 2500 when I pushed with 77 and was called by the chip leaders A6. No luck and I finally win a showdown! Robbed the blinds and the table was then broken and I was moved to the table where Mark (kinaldo on boards) was dealing.

It wasn't long before he commented that I was easily the best player left right? ... ok, now I realise that my previous post makes me sound like a cocky fucker, but the standard last Sunday was actually that bad... and there was only 20 odd players, so its not really saying much that I felt I was the best player there. It was more because I was annoyed with not cashing in a tournament where the standard was that bad...

I would never make the same claim in the tournament I was at last night. Fair enough, my starting table was pretty terrible, but for the most part the standard was what I would expect from a €50 game. Mark's table was a much better standard than the previous two, and thankfully it looked like most of the donkeys had been knocked out. I sat back for a bit, and didn't play a hand until I pushed with AQ. My raise was respected and I picked up the blinds (600). Up to 3500 now, and still a bit shortstacked but definitely in with a chance. Sat back and observed the play for a while, waiting for another hand to make a play with. For the most part, the standard was a lot better here, and I could see that I could start to build a table image, something that is pointless at a table full of donkeys.

The blinds passed over me, and i soon picked up AQ. I think there was two limpers, and I pushed for around 3000. It was folded around to the last limper, who thought about it for ages and decided that K10 offsuit was good enough to put 3/4 of his stack in the middle...

The pot was about 7000 so all I had to do was avoid a bad beat and I would be right back in with a decent stack. The flop came J9x... turn x... (at this point I asked Mark nicely not to fuck me over on the river. He reads this blog, he knows I am a moany cunt when I get rivered out of a tourney, ESPECIALLY after the week that I've had...). Unfortunately Mark decided to add insult to injury, and flipped over a nasty fecking King on the river. Cheers Mark!

So... another tourney, another bad beat, another blog entry without a win... hello variance... I'll have you now please.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Here we go again...

I had a few weeks of 'normal' poker but it looks like its back to crap again...

Played the Sunday €30 freezeout in the Fitz. Absolutely amazed at how bad the standard was. Oscar runs a good tournament, and there was nothing wrong from that end, but jesus christ... this was probably the worst standard of players I have ever played against! I started half an hour late, but turned my starting stack of 3000 into 9000 within 15 minutes without showing a hand. The players were actually that bad...

I then got a beaten on the river by this donkey with a two outer and this knocked me down to about 2K, but I soon built my stack up again. I moved table and soon enough we were down to 3 tables. I had built my stack up to about 14K and was probably tourney chip leader. 3 more bad beats and I'm out. I went into every hand ahead and didn't make a single mistake all night, so I'm happy from that end, but I won't be playing this tourney again. Its not worth the effort of having to get by so many idiots for just a few hundred quid. The thing that annoyed me the most was that there was a few players there that I actually thought were good players, but they made some absolutely terrible plays which I just couldn't make sense of.

I like to think I've improved a fair bit from my freeroll days, but I never thought I'd see the day when I'd sit down at a tournament and know I was a easily the best player there. I absolutely walked all over them yesterday, the only thing stopping me from taking it was the usual bucket load of bad beats. Its so annoying when you play the best you can and get your chips in ahead 100% of the time, and still get outdrawn by some donkey... ah well, I just have to learn that luck plays such a huge part in poker sometimes. The unfortunate thing in poker is that the best player will not always win a tournament. In fact, as tournaments get bigger, the chances of the best player winning gets smaller and smaller. What are the chances of a pro winning the WSOP this year? I wouldnt bet on it. Hopefully it will be a decent player, and not some luckbox (wouldnt be the first time...).

Its probably my own fault for playing such low limits. From now on I don't think I'll bother with tournaments under €50. I'm also going to start playing more €100-€200 games. Anyway, with this in mind I went home and jumped into a cash game. I've moved up to 50c/$1 and have yet to find any decent players. It is so easy to make money playing abc poker... Dont limp in with anything. Raise with big hands. Go all in with the nuts. There are so many donkeys online that the only thing that will stop you making money doing this is bad beats... as I found out. I wont bore you with the details but suffice is to say I have lost three huge pots in the last two days, all on the river, all to one or two outers.

I am embarrassed to say that I have never won a pot over $100 in a cash game online. To my recollection I have been involved in about 9 or 10 pots over $100 (three in the last two days), and I have lost them all either on bad beats, or marginal hands such as the one below, where I get it all in with KK and run into AA.
The money went all in here on the flop, and maybe I'm just not good enough yet to fold KK on this flop, but the fact that the A6 went all in first says it all... I really worry about the intelligence of some of the people I play against. I dont know whether its just a side effect of pokers growing popularity, or whether pub players are starting to venture into casinos and online, but it seems that the general standard of players has gone down immensely. Has everyone moved up and left me behind?

What am I meant to do? Move up to $1/$2? $2/$4? I am dying to play against a decent standard of player. I know everyone loves to play against fish, but it just does my head in... I win pots, build up a big stack, but it always ends the same way. I run into a donkey that has somehow built up a large stack, I manage to get all the chips in when I'm a mile ahead, and lose to a bad beat. I don't mind this, but I can count on one finger the amount of tournaments I have been knocked out of where I have gone out with the worse hand...

Its times like this when I wonder why I play online. I still get zero enjoyment out of it, but for some reason I think its worth the miserable few euros that I make from it. It just really annoys me that luck has to play such a big part in poker. Id estimate that Ive lost about 90% of the profit that I should have made because of bad players getting lucky against me. The whole luck thing does my head in. What is it people say.. Aces lose to Kings one in 4.5 times... bollix, it should be more like one in 20... I know its ridiculous to moan about odds but why does luck play such a big part in poker? You cant fluke a 147 in snooker, you cant fluke a 9 dart finish in darts, you wont see Saudi Arabia fluke the World Cup... yet the biggest donkey in the world can walk into a casino and fluke his way into 1st place... what a game.

By the way it embarrasses me to say I can actually relate to Phil here...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

BSOP final and Fitz €20 rebuy

BSOP March Final

I organised the March Final of the Boards Series of Poker for last night. We were obviously due to play this in March, but its so hard to find a time and day when everyone's available. I think the structure of it is going to have to be changed if we are going to keep playing it.

Anyway, I sorted it out to play it last night at 8pm in the Fitz. Myself, Ollie and White Knight had made it through our heat, and we were meeting Iago, Hyzepher and Davey Devil in the final. The other heat never managed to get their heat played. I tried to find a day to suit all 6, but unfortunately Davey couldn't make the day that was easiest for everyone else.

So last night, I set up the table and decided to make it deep stacked to get a decent game out of it. I gave everyone a starting stack of 3000 with 20 minute blinds starting at 25/50. I thought this would make for a decent game. Unfortunately, it didn't really turn out as planned...

The FIRST hand of the night, I pick up 5c6c and limp in. Everyone limps in and we see a flop of K34 rainbow. Not a bad flop for me, but I'm not planning on risking a lot with just an open ender. Hyzepher opens with a bet of 100, which is quickly called by Iago. I also flat call, and I think Ollie and White Knight fold. I don't think I was calling any bet over 200 here.

Anyway, the turn brings a beautiful 7. Lovely! At this point I thought Hyzepher had a decent hand, maybe AK. I felt Iago had two pair, maybe K3 or 34. It didn't look like either had hit the turn, not that it really mattered with me holding the NUTS! The river was a 9, so now it was just a matter of maximising value on the hand. Hyzepher opened for 300, which was raised to 600 by Iago. I felt there was no point in messing about, and pushed. Hyzepher quickly called, and the decision was now on Iago. Ollie and White Knight were having a great laugh at this stage! Two all ins on the first hand! Iago finally ended up calling aswell...

Hyzepher KK
Iago 44

Absolute madness... I set up a deepstacked game with decent blinds and we get 3 all-ins on the first hand! Sorry lads... I'm rigged. Was looking forward to a decent game too. Ah well! Down to three and we were already on the 'bubble' after only one hand! Deal anyone? lol! I had a 3:1 chip lead over the other two, and the obvious thing to do was play aggressive. I did this, raising almost every pot (sometimes before looking at my cards!). It was working until I went over the top of White Knight with an all in holding J3... he called with JJ! D'OH! I almost got lucky with a straight, but unfortunately my aggressiveness and stupidity doubled him up...

We messed about for a while and I was pushing every few hands when I felt neither of them had anything. I was picking up the odd nice hand and doing the same, pushing hoping one of them one think I was stealing. Eventually this worked when I pushed with AJ and got called by Ollie's K10. My hand held up and we were heads up. I took control from here and pushed White Knight off a few hands with super aggressive play, and soon enough it was all over, with me taking 1st. Not the most exciting game I've ever played, but I'll take the glory anyway! And the €250 ain't bad either...

Fitz €20 re-buy

This had just started when we finished the BSOP game, and because there was only 4 tables, I said I may aswell give it a go. I started off very good, making some good calls against weak opponents. Other than Norm, the standard at my table was terrible. I've never played this tournament before, as its got such a small buy-in, and because I'm not mad about re-buy tournaments.

In one hand I picked up K7 in the BB and got in for cheap. The flop came down KK9, and I threw in 300 after in was checked around to me. It was folded around to Norm who pushed for about 2K. Normally this would be an insta-call, but Norman knows me, and knows I won't push with muck. Also the check-raise screams of AK or KQ. I already had 300 out of 1500 in and I still had outs to split or win the pot. I eventually called with the usual line "sure its a rebuy... I may aswell!" (I'm pretty sure in a decent buy-in game I'm folding this here). As expected, Norm turns over K10. I actually thought he was stronger than this, but he's still ahead. I can tell that everyone at the table is pretty surprised with how long I took to call... so at least I've gained something if I lose the pot. The turn brings an 8, and I hit one of my 6 outs on the river (9) to split the pot.

Im motoring along nicely now and triple through against two very loose/weak players when I slowplay my trips into their obvious overpairs. I lose two big pots with AQ, both times vs KK on a Queen high flop, although I should have gotten away from the second one, as he was a total rock. I got my top up at the break, and came back with about 4K. Unfortunately, the cards dried up again, and for over an hour I couldn't find any sort of playable hand. This happened the last time I was in the Fitz at the €30 f/o, and it really tests your patience...

There was a young Indian lad at our table that clearly had somewhere better to be, and he started raising blind every hand. This is fair enough, it makes the game a little more interesting! However, its not cool to announce every hand "I'll make it 1000 on the blind.... I'll make it 2500 on the blind...". What, are we meant to think your cool because you can put you chips in without looking at your cards? omg your brilliant...

This idiot kept on doing this and grinning as if he'd just re-invented the wheel... I was dying to pick up ANY hand to take him on... He sucked out on someone with muck and doubled up to table chip leader. A few hands later I look down at 44, and I'm saying that I'll probably push if this idiot raises, as he could have any two cards, and I'm willing to race against two overs as I need a double up to be in contention for a good cash. As expected he does his usual "I'll make it 1000 on the blind...". I'm about to push when Norm gets in ahead of me! Shit... I look at Norm and I know he doesn't have a strong hand. He's giving the impression of strength, but I can tell he's not holding much. After a LOOONG dwell up I finally fold, mainly because I know that the other idiot will call with anything, and while I would fancy my chances vs Norm or the other lad, I don't like my chances with 44 in a three way pot.

The idiot calls with 79o... Norm has 33! He is ahead until the river when a nasty 7 falls to knock him out. He's not too happy to be on the wrong side of a bad beat (for once!). This lad continues raising blind until a big stack moves to the table and knocks him out. I'm annoyed I didn't get the chance to double up off him...all I needed was a hand. Ah well...

I still don't pick up a hand for another half hour, and my stack dwindles down to just over 2K. I find A8 in LP and its an autopush. Unfortunately the BB wakes up with AK. We see a flop of AK4, and it looks like Im leaving the Fitz early after another card dead night... I put my jacket on, and we all have a little laugh when an 8 hits the turn... This laughter turns to shock when another 8 hits the river...ffs. The smallest buy-in tournament I've played all year, and I get the luckiest I've gotten in a long time! Why couldn't this happen in a big game!

I'm up to 5K after that lucky hand, but unforunately the cards don't improve. I get up to 10K on an all in bluff, after a raise and a reraise from two medium stacks. I knew that due to my being card dead, these players thought I was a rock, and I must have the goods. Also they were medium stacks and my stack would do a bit of damage. We were down to 10, and just about to break for the final table, so it was a calculated move on my part that paid off.

I was looking forward to the final table, because even though I was shortstacked, I had built up an image of a tight player, which I could start to use now. I also had respect from a few of the players who had been on my table all night, as i had guessed a few hands right, and it just so happened that I was right every time! I correctly guessed the exact hands of three players who had ended up all-in earlier, which definitely earned me respect at the table. I think reading players hands is easily the best part of my game, which is probably why I don't like online play so much. If only I could improve the other parts of my game, I think I could be a much better player. I'm not great at spotting betting patterns, and I've no real clue about bet sizing. These are two aspects of my game I HAVE to improve.

We had 9 at the final table with 6 being paid, from €70 for 6th, to €800 + €100 credit for 1st. I had about 12K, and the chip leader had about 40K. We were soon down to 8, after the two chip leaders clashed with QQ vs A9, after he spiked an ace on the flop. The CL then knocked out 8th, and we were on the bubble. Gecko from boards was a railbird, and the shortstack was his Dad (i think!). Unfortunately he went out on the bubble!

In the money now, but I was aiming for top 3. I doubled up with KK against the chip leader and was now up to 20K. A while later I picked up QQ and beat AJ all in preflop. An Ace on the flop had my heart racing but a Q on the river sealed his fate. The very next hand I look down at AQs, and the other shortstack pushes ahead of me! When it rains it pours eh... He has AJ and my hand holds up and we're down to 4. Im second in chips now, but feel I can bully this table if I am aggressive. The remaining players are good enough, but I feel I can outplay them, as I have a fair idea of how they play. I start raising big preflop and steal the blinds for a while and buld my stack up to over 50K.

Unfortunately I then get a visit from the stupid fairy... I pick up A8h and limp in for 3K (blinds 1,5K/3K). The flop comes 982 rainbow, and the SB pushed for about 20K. I picked up a tell on this lad earlier where he tapped his chips on top of each other when he didn't fancy his hand. I had seen him do this twice earlier, and both times he had a medium holding. I felt he had J8/Q8.
With 9K already in from the blinds, and him pushing for another 20K, I felt I was ahead.

I called and he flipped over K9, saying "you're ahead... A9 right?"... emmm, no... What was I doing? I think I was right in my read on him, as he really did think he was behind when he saw me debating a call. However, what I didn't factor in was that I had only shown premium hands, and the chances were if I was debating a call I probably was ahead. A bit confusing I know, but basically I mean that I never thought about what image he had of me. I was right in thinking he didn't want me to call, but I never thought of how my tight image would raise my hand value in his mind.

Anyway, I din't hit my A or 8, and I'm down to 30K. The next hand i pick up 99 and raise it up to 10K. The BB thinks about it, and eventually flat calls. The flop comes KQx, and he bets 10K... ----! I think he's gone in with K5 or some muck, and have to fold. Down to 20K now, and when I pick up 66 I instantly push. Not a bad move 4 handed, but totally tilt induced. The CL calls with AK, an ace on the flop and thats all she wrote. Out in 4th for €200, and very annoyed for not getting further. Probably the worst final table I've ever played. Sure, I came back from shortstack to get to almost chip leader, but I should have walked all over them 4 handed...

Ah well, €450 profit for the night, and a few points on the BSOP leaderboard!

I then went over to the roulette wheel to donate some money back, but strangly I actually won... In a moment of madness, I tried to put the whole lot on red (€450!), but unfortunately the max bet was €250. Taking this as 'bad luck', I ended up throwing €200 on 3rd 12, €200 on 2nd 12, €25 on the middle column, and €25 on...... black :) Oh and of course €1 on 7 (lucky number!) and €1 on zero...just in case! Total outlay of €452...

The ball spun around and I was beginning to regret putting any money on in the first place..."WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING RISKING ALL MY WINNINGS!".... I was about to reach for the chips and take them off when the dealer shouted those fateful words "NO MORE BETS!"... its in the hands of the gods now...

around and around it spun.... bouncing from red to black... finally landing on 1! aghghh Ive lost it all! No wait!" Its bounced into 20! I've won on everything! The dealer fetched my winnings, €725, and I realised how close I had come to losing it all... one little bounce of the ball and I'm €725 richer... one bounce the other way and Im down €452... crazy

The thing that freaked me out the most was... what if the croupier had allowed me to put the €450 on red? I would be cursing my luck that the ball rolled out from number 1 into horrible number 20, and cursing and my stupidity at making such a bet... Instead, I'm driving home with a smile on my face, and €725 richer... funny game that...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Irish Open Final

I've been following the Irish Open on Antesup and boards over the weekend, and was lucky enough to be invited to the final last night in the RDS. I arrived at about 7:30, and left my phone in the car, as you weren't allowed have one inside. The security was very tight, as you would expect with €1 million at stake! The final table was being televised live on Sky Sports at 9:30.... oh... and there was free beer! We were greeted at the door by this...

Met up with a few boardies and had a good laugh at the prerecording of the introduction to the programme. I wasn't sure as to how the game would go, as I had never heard of any of the players, although I had watched John Wong play on Sunday, and he seemed to be a decent player. He had netted 4th in the €400 rebuy on Friday, so he was definitely one to watch out for. I also found out the the shortstack Paul Daly, was the uncle of a girl I know...

The game kicked off just after 9pm and there was a good atmosphere in the hall. The free beer helped that along! It's weird watching a televised game when you can't see the cards, and a lot of people became bored pretty easily. The blinds were so small that it left a lot of room for play, and when you can't see the cards it can become boring. However, myself and a few of the other boardies were enjoying discussing hands, which I found a lot more interesting because we wouldn't know the answers until we watched it back!

One major hand which we were discussing was where Melinn and Smyth saw a flop of 52Q (2 diamonds). Melinn bet out 50,000 which Smyth called. The turn brought a Q, and Melinn bet out 100,000. Smyth thought for a while again and flat called. The river brought another 5, and Melinn bet out a finall 100,000. A clear value bet IMO. My thinking was that Melinn had AQ and Smyth had 99 or 10 10. I discussed this with Rob who felt otherwise, based on Melinn's earlier play. However, as it turns out, Melinn had AQ and Smyth had 99! Hit the nail on the head there :). We analysed a few hands like this, but its tough to come to a result when you never see the cards!

There was a break every 10-15 mins, for the ad breaks, or when someone got knocked out. It wasn't too long before Daly was knocked out, after his A2 failed to hold up vs Ruane's QJ. We lost Smyth not long after, after he got a visit from the stupid fairy, pushing with 53o. Unfortunately he ran into Ruane's AK and out he goes in 5th. I think he'll be regreting that today... there was absolutely no need to push, the blinds were small and he had enough chips to wait for a hand. This is me in the white top... Down to 4 and I was waiting for Wong to get involved. He is a very aggressive player and by the looks of things was just card dead. He made a few moves but Melinn kept on going over the top of him, forcing a fold. Unfortunately, when Wong finally did pick up a hand (A10) he discovered that poker can be a cruel game... He went over the top of Melinn's 80,000 raise, trying to force a fold. Unfortunately, Melinn felt that A9 was good enough to throw the extra 500,000 in with! We can all guess what the river was.... I felt truly sick for Wong, who had to give an interview straight after. Terrible play by Melinn IMO. Looks like the best player at the table won'r be the winner...

We had another break after Wong got knocked out, another chunk of the audience made for the exit. I knew I was up early for work the next morning, so I didn't plan on staying much longer. Hopefully there would be some more action soon! Only myself and Rob remained from the boards contingent, as the rest of them had headed down to Jury's to watch the game. I thought about going down, but felt I could learn more if I didn't see the hands!

I bumped into Roy Brindley on the way out tho the toilets, and had a chat with him for a few minutes about the game. Nice bloke. I also spotted John Wong sporting an oversized cheque for €70,000! I congratulated him, and made my way back into the hall. The game dragged on a fair bit, as there was nothing between the last three players. Each had about 1 million in chips, and with the blinds at 15k/30k, there was no need to make any silly decisions.

Rob left at about half one, and I said I'd stay on for a short while longer. Unfortunately, there was no major action for the next hour, and I left at about 2:15am, and raced home to catch a little bit at home. By the time I got home, Ruane had just been knocked out and we were heads up. With work at 8am, I couldn't stay up to watch the end, but found out this morning that Melinn went on to win it. Fair play, a nice return off €3K! Although I still feel Wong was very unlucky not to get further. Had he won that hand, he'd have had over a million chips, and with his aggressive style, I think we'd have been in for a much more aggressive game!

Still a great night. Good experience for next year when I make the final table...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Mike Caro in Trinity

I've been looking forward to this all week, Mike Caro - the 'mad genius' of poker- goving a seminar in Trinity College. Raced into it after work, but due to horrible traffic on the way in, didn't make it until 6pm. The talk started around 5:30 but I dont think I missed much.

He gave a very good presentation, including a slide show, and answered some questions at the end. I took a lot from what he said, although I think his example's were above a lot of the audience!.... "say you have $4,500.... say on any given night your down $20,000.... who did he think he was talking to! Most of the audience were students mate! Knock a few zero's off the end of those figures if you want them to be able to relate!

I bought both of his books at the end, and managed to get him to sign both. I got a laugh out of him, telling him I'd have them up on e-bay by that night! I look forward to reading them, and putting some of his tips to practise.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Patience pays...sometimes

I decided to head down to the Fitz Tuesday night €50 DC game. This suits my bankroll nicely at the moment and I plan on making it my regular weekly game. I think I have a better chance of cashing in the €50 DC in the SE, as the players are A LOT weaker there, but unfortunately I'm in work at 6am on Fridays, so Thursday night poker is pretty much out of the question.

Bumbed into Careca before the game, and I spotted a few other familiar faces as I went to take my seat. I wish I could write an interesting report, but unfortunately it was the most uneventful game I've ever played! Didn't really play a hand other than the blinds up until the break. Just kept on looking down at 24, 37, 23, 46... etc... you know the feeling! Its very frustrating having to fold EVERY hand, but patience is a virtue needed by any good poker player. You wouldn't see Andy Black losing his cool over getting a bit card dead!

Still, I'm an impatient fecker at the best of times, and I was finding it hard to stay focused. The more frustrated I got, the worse the cards seemed to get! The main thing that was keeping me in some way focused was the fact that the same thing happened to me in the SE a few weeks ago, totally card dead... down to 1 big blind... ended up winning it. "Patience Pays! Patience Pays!", kept running through my head...

Eventually the break came and I went downstairs to cool off. I bumped into the lad that I split the Team Event with a few months ago, he told me he was captaining the Anglers Team for the next game. Looking forward to this one!

Anyway, came back after the break with a clear head, ready to take all the positive variance Pokah had for me! He was a bit late and I still didn't get a hand for the first hour after the break... I had built up an image of SUPER-ROCK at this stage, which is funny because I'm usually pretty loose in these games. The cards I was getting were just too bad to play. I limped in a few times with muck just to play a hand, but never hit anything or was raised. I was beginning to get annoyed now, and was down to 1800 from the starting 3300, purely from the blinds. I was ready to push on any A, K or Q, when lo and behold I look down to see aces! lol go figure, the best hand I had seen up until then was Q2o. Ah well, I'm not gonna complain! I was going to push, but decided a limp might be valuable, as everyone was expecting me to push on any decent hand! We had already had a bit of a laugh at my constant folding, and I'm sure some of the players had noticed my frustration by now!

So I limped in, and it was folded around to the blinds. The both completed and we saw a flop of J44. The SB led for 500, the BB raised it up to 1500... ah shit! I pushed, thinking that one of them had to have the 4, and cursing myself for letting them in so cheaply. I didn't care at this point... The SB folded and the BB reluctantly called, turning over J7... ok.... no help for him and I'm finally in the game on a decent 4K.

I go over the top of a bet and a raise a few hands later with 35 or something, feeling that neither player had much, and knowing that as both were decent enough players, my super tight image would get me respect. They folding, the secong player showing JJ... lovely!

Up to 6K after playing two hands, I was doing ok now. The only problem was I was still getting absolute muck! I tried to ignore it, reassuring myself I still had 6K and was above average in chips. I didn't play a hand for another half an hour until I picked up AJ. I raised it up to 1200 (blinds 150/300) and folded to an all in from a tightish player who I had picked up a small tell on. Thankfully it was a good fols, and he showed QQ.

Nothing more until I picked up QQ and was thinking about how to play it. I was EP so I limped in, probably a bad play, but it had paid off on the aces earlier, and i felt if I had a good flop I would be in great shape for another double up. I think we had six limpers! It got around to the button, who decided to go all in. The SB called in a shot! damn... it was folded around to me, and I thought about it for a while and eventually folded. The button showed 99 and the SB had AK. Feck I really am playing too tight...

Fortunately the 99 rivered a straight, so I would have lost. Still terrible play on my part though. I thought I had a decent read on the SB, thinking it was AA or KK, but was off the mark there. Even if I had raised preflop, which I should have, I probably would have isolated with the AK and doubled up... D'OH!

Nothing more until I picked up AK UTG and stole the blinds with an all in. Card dead for another long period, with the blinds now eating up my stack. I know it sounds like I was getting nice cards, but other than AA,QQ, AK and AJ there was NO OTHER HANDS! I usually play any two picture cards, suited Ace or King, suited connecters etc.. but I was getting NONE of these. Just had to try and be patient and wait for a hand.

Unfortunately, with the blinds going up I couldn't wait forever. I had dropped to 3K, when I picked up K3 in the SB. It was folded around to me, and the BB already had 600 of his 1600K in the pot, so I felt he would call with anything. I pushed and he called with 89. An eight on the flop and now I was down to 1500. With blinds at 300/600 i was looking for any good hand to push on. I picked up K10h and pushed. Folded to the BB, chip leader who called with Q7. Flop came KQx. Turn Q...ugh. river x. Ah well. A bad end to an uneventful night!

I had a brief comeback with the aces but never had a chance to get going. Patience got me to 19th, but unfortunately being card dead for so long made me play tight when I did pick up a hand. I am learning to be a more patient at the table, but nights like this still frustrate me a bit. I play poker mainly for the enjoyment and the challenge, so I don't like sitting at the table feeling like a spectator. Ah well, hopefully next week will be better!

On another topic, I got a refund this week of $54 from Paddy Power during the week. This is from the $100,000 gtd game I won a ticket into. There was a problem somehwere in th system which caused the site to keep crashing, to the extreme annoyance of a lot of players. Thankfully PPP kept up their tradition of excellent customer service, and it looks like everyone that deserved a refund got one. I'm happy as i had won my ticket in a $3 feeder, so I'll happily take $54!

My account had been empty as I had withdrawn all but $50 last week, and had lost that $50 in a cash game (the $300+ pot I lost... D'OH!). I hadn't been planning on lodging more money in till next week, so I was happy to have another bit of $$$ to play around with. I had a good run on the STT's and soon had this up to over $100. I decided to have a go at a $6 speed tourney last night. I know these are a total crapshoot but they are fast and the prizefund can be big enough for a $6 game! Sure enough after rebuys the prizefund was good, with 1st taking $1,300. I had a great start quadrupling up with JJ, but the blinds go up so fast you have to keep doubling up, doubling up etc... once the cards dry up your fcuked! i was in the top 10 for most of it, but unfortunately didn't get the cards at the end and finished 43/350 with top 27 paid.

Just as this finished another $6 opened, smaller amount of players, not a re-buy. I joined this and planned on playing the same, super aggressive. There's so little skill involved in these... Anyway I was playing an STT at the same time and wasn't really concentrating on the MTT. Whenever I saw a good hand it was all-in! Soon we were down to the bubble, with top 27 paid. Squeezed into the top 27, then top 18, then final table.

Sitting at the FT, I noticed that with the blinds at 5K/10K, only 4 players had above one big blind! lol ridiculous... Players were dropping like flies, and I made a few pushes with AQ and KJ to knock out shortstacks. Top three was decent money, so I started to take this seriously now. Soon we were down to three, and after the shortstack got kncoked out, we were heads up. Blinds were 20K/40K, I had 60K he had about 130K. First hand I was BB holding 6 10 or some crap. All the chips went in and he turned over KK. haha ah well.

No help and I finished 2nd for about $175. Nothing to be proud of poker-wise, its a total crapshoot, but I'll take the money anyway! Finished 2nd in another STT, and ended the day with over $300 in the account. Not bad from $0! thanks PPP!

Monday, April 10, 2006


Think its about time I start evaluating my play, and recording how I am getting on. It would probably be best to do this every three months, and see if I am in fact improving! I will split this into both a live and online update, as I see both as being such different games.

I couldn't be happier with how my live game has been going this year. I've made the top 10% in every live game I have played this year...until last Sunday when my 'record' was cruelly cut short with my AA getting cracked by J10 in the Fitz €30 shorthanded game. Ah well!

The only problem I seem to have at the moment is not playing enough live poker. I'm lucky if I play one game every two weeks, which is doing my head in... The Sporting Emporium is becoming an ATM machine for some players, and if I hear about Paul winning any more money from there... Other than my disastrous debut, I've only got down there twice since it opened, spliting the €50 for €1K and getting fifth the other time for €100. After the nice win at the Anglers Rest Team Event in February, I'm up about €2,500 so far this year from live tournaments, although I dropped €350 of this to a super-fish in the Fitz when I STUPIDLY decided to give a cash game a go after a night on the piss... a costly mistake.

I'm still missing a big win to set me up nicely for the summer. Last year I hit the jackpot when I split the Fitz €270 for €4K just before the summer. I haven't even played this game in months... I'm facing a BIG decision in the future, because it doesn't look like I can continue the job I'm in and play as much poker as I want to play. I'm only in this job a few months, but it has cutback HUGELY on how much live poker I can realistically play. I'm not talking about 'pulling a Nicky' and quitting my job to play poker, but I feel like a job in the poker industry with more night hours would suit me better. I'm NOT a morning person... and definitely not a 6am morning person! (as I'm writing this it is 6:34am... COFFEE please!) I won't be doing anything about this for a while, but it has been at the back of my mind since getting this job.

Overall, I am very happy with how my live game is going, and I definitely feel as if I'm improving in leaps and bounds. I am placing well in almost every tournament I play in, and I am starting to notice that I am a lot more suited to shorthanded play. I noticed this last week in the Fitz shorthanded game, but I've always known it was one of my strengths. I have never placed 2nd, 3rd or 4th in a big live tournament (other than freerolls!), yet I have 6 wins under my belt. I feel a lot more comfortable when there are fewer players at the table.

Online 'poker'... where to start? After I took a long 3 or four month break from this I decided to give it another go, with proper bankroll management. The first week of my 'comeback', I managed to pull in about €500, easily my best week ever online, which says a lot! Since then, I have been making a steady profit, although I lost a good chunk of it last week when I couldn't fold the 2nd nuts on the turn in a $300 pot... I'm obviously not THAT good yet to fold this! I didn't have a great week last week, finishing 6th in the Drogheda feeder (two tickets), and also finishing 288th out of about 900 runners in the $100,000 gtd on PPP last night. This was in some way down to the servers on Tribeca constantly crashing.

There was uproar on boards.ie as players were losing chips due to play continuing while a lot of players were away from the table. This was ultimately how I ended up losing. I was sitting shortstacked on 4K and the blinds were just about to hit me (600/1200). The system crashes for about 5 minutes, and I come back to find myself with 1000 left, in the small blind... my K7 doesn't hold up against JQ and Ive gone from being shortstacked with a chance of a comeback to gone. Fair enough, I din't have much of a hope, but I'm still angry about not even having a chance to comeback. What is more annoying is TWICE during the game, I went all in with the nuts after a raise... connection gone,... hand doesn't count! Grrrrr... I only lost $3 from this, as I won my $54 ticket, but A LOT of people will be angry this morning. Ken Powell won't be one of them though, the fecker bagged a ticket for the Irish Open amidst all the confusion!

I'm still playing as much satellites as I can, still hoping to bag a big ticket. I haven't played a decent game since Drogheda, and I'm dying for a game against a decent standard of players. I feel like I play my best poker against a tough field, and I have to be due a win on my decent live form... we'll soon see!

until next time...


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Decisions Decisions...

Played the Fitz 30 short handed on Sunday. Had a great tournament, going out in 14th to a pretty harsh cracking of my aces... but I won't bore you with that (for once!).

I writing this because of a very interesting hand which occured about halfway through the tourney. It was against another lad that posts on boards, Dom, and I've already got feedback from him on the hand. Anyway it goes like this...

I pick up JJ in late position, I think the blinds were at 100/200. I'm thinking a raise of 500 will be enough to scare off any limpers, and I'd be happy enough with the 300 in blinds. Before it gets to me Dom raises it up to 500... Now I had a fairly good idea of the type of player he was, and my read on him thought this was either 99-QQ or AK/AQ. I felt he would respect a decent raise from me, as I had only re-raised with decent hands up until that point.

So I raised it up to 1500. We both had about 5K each at the start of the hand. I could see I had put a tough decision on him, and he took a while to make his mind up. I was willing to see a flop, although I would definitely be wary of a flat call. It was looking like he was in fold or push mode. Eventually he bit the bullet and pushed.

Now the decision was on me. I felt my read was strong enough now to put him JJ-AA. I don't think he would make this move with AK. It didn't take too long for me to muck. He flips over...... JJ.

Fair play, he made the move and took me off the hand, but I feel that position was the key here. If I had been in his position I think the hand would have played out the exact same way. I had been planning on making an initial bet of 500, which I'm sure he would have raised to 1500/2000. I then would have had the same decision he put on me, all in or fold.

A very interesting hand, mainly due to the fact that I'm still not sure whether the fold was bad. My read on him was that he was playing a high pocket pair, which turned out to be correct. Because it is so hard to differentiate between JJ and QQ, I would presume it is QQ or above, mainly due to the fact that JJ is highly unlikely due to my holding.

However, I don't think he would have made this move with 10 10. It is surprising how differently most people view 10 10 and J J. Therefore, based on my read, which turned out to be correct, surely folding is the right decision?

As from Dom's point of view, he played the hand perfectly. He was thinking about the hand the same way I would have been in his place. He knows that by pushing, I can only really call with AA or KK, as he has built up a tight table image up to that point. He may even get me to drop QQ here, that would have been a very tough decision for me.

In the end, I came to my decision to fold quite easily based on the fact that he had built up a tight image, so I was almost certain he had a hand. He in turn knew that I would not raise him without a hand (most of the time!). Therefore, when he pushed I was 99% certain I was behind. Obviously the thought of him having Jacks never came into it.

What is even more interesting is the fact that I think JJ is the only hand that would surprise me in this situation. AA and KK is basically an autocall. QQ is a tough decision which would have needed some thought. Anything lower and I wouldn't have gotten myself into that situation, as I would have either folded or flat called the raise.

As it happened, this hand was only in the early stages of a small tournament, but had this happened in the later stages of a big tournament, it would be quite interesting....

EDIT: Just won a ticket into the $100K game this Sunday in a $3 feeder. I think this game is huge, and gets a few thousand people. Would have preferred the $37 for 6th, but some little fecker beat me to it!

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