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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Vegasnights Team Event 3

Other than the Fitz game I played on the night of the All-In meeting, I hadn't played a game of poker in almost two months. So when the Team Event showed its head again, I jumped at the chance to play. This has been the most profitable tournament for me, and I almost held a 100% record in it. I had only played it twice, winning it first time, and losing heads up to Iago the 2nd time. In a tournament that attracts almost 150 players, Im very happy with those stats!

Anyway, the tournament had only been on three times previously (I had missed the last one, which Marq won), and it had been played out in the Anglers Rest, a nice little pub about 5 minutes past Heuston Station.

However, that pub had been sold, and seeing as the new owner didn't want poker being played, VegasNights had to find a new home for the Team Event. And this new home was the Grasshopper in Clonee, Meath. This was a good 40 minutes drive for me, but I had a good feeling about this, so the drive wasn't so bad.

Now, in the last two events, I had played for Fistful of Shamrock (FOS), but seeing as most of the lads were in Vegas, I felt it was best to play for one of the other boards teams. I put myself 'for sale' and within a few hours I had gotten offers from 3 other teams! Obviously my luck in this tournament was well known I decided to play for 'the Culchies' as I knew Brian (ntlbell) bell enough, and they had won the first Team Event, so they were proven winners! Interestingly, I don't think we had one player from ouside Dublin, so the 'Culchies' tag was pretty apt! The entry fee had been bumped up from €20 to €50, so the prizepool looked set to be big enough.

It was a team event, so a percentage of the prizepool (and the VN trophy) would go to the winning team. It worked like this; Every team had 8 players, all sitting at different tables. The top 24 finishers got points ( 1pt for 24th, 2pts for 23rd... 24pts for 1st), and the team with the most points wins. The top 9 finishers also get individual cash prizes from €80 for 9th to €1150 for 1st.

Anyway, I made my way out, and took my seat at the tables. There were about 20 tables, so it looked like there were about 150 runners. I looked around my table and immediately recognised Damien Kavanagh, who finished 2nd to Flipper in Citywest last year, earning €70k. To my left was a student from DIT, and Olly's brother was two to his left.

So a decent enough starting table, which is something I actually prefer. I seem to play better against a better standard of players, and don't tend to go on tilt as much! Nothing much to report in the first hour, my stack yo-yo'd a bit but no major hands. I had grinded my starting stack of 5k up to about 8k, when I got three huge hands in a row.

First hand, I picked up AQ and threw in a small raise. Two callers and the flop comes a juicy 10 J K rainbow. I bet big, trying to make it look like I'm trying to steal with a low pair. I get one caller (Damien), and when a Jack hits the turn, I check, hoping to god he hasn't made a house. The river brings a Queen, so now its likely Im either behind or splitting the pot. Damien only has about 5k, so I throw in 2k to see what the crack is. I may be willing to fold to an all in, but it would be a tough decision. Luckily, he flat calls, and turns over probably the best thing I could have hoped for, 8 9 for the lower straight.

Not sure if I played this hand badly or not. I know if I had bet the turn I would have got rid of him, but what were the chances of him having 8 9 after calling the flop bet? It was much more likely he had a pair with a Q after the flop, or possibly two pair off the flop which made a house on the turn. Either way, I think the turn and river were both nasty cards for me, and I was lucky to win the hand the way I played it.

The next hand, I picked up 10 10, and quickly checked. Not usually how I play tens in a multi-way pot, but I felt if I hit a set I could definitely clean up, as I felt this lad down the end was slop-playing something. He hadn't limped into a pot in a while, and had raised every pot that had 3 or 4 people limp into. So, with about 5 limpers in the pot, the flop came down a ridiculous Q 10 10 ! It got checked around, and we saw a J on the turn. I bet out at it, hoping to god the other guy had AA, KK or AQ. Something told me he had QQ...

As expected, everyone folded except this guy who called. I was about to see the river, when I heard 'raise'! Another young lad to my left, who I hadn't even realised was in the pot had decided to raise! I called the raise, as did the other lad. The river came a blank, and when the young lad threw in 1k I raised it to 3k. He only had about 3k more behind. The other guy thought about it and also called the 3k. The young lad folded here, and it was time for the showdown. I looked at the lad and asked 'you got QQ?'....'Yeh' he replied. Lovely, what a read by me I thought! So why did he look so uncomfortable? He answered my question...'You got quads yeh?'

What the ----?? How can he put me on quads here! I showed the table and raked in the pot, but my head was spinning by this lads excellent read. 99% of players would go broke here, but he hadn't re-raised my 3k because he had suspected he was beat. I take my hat off to you sir, well played. I gave this lad a lot of respect after this hand, although unfortunately he never recovered from that hit and went out soon after. Still though, great play.

Before I could get my head around all this, I looked down at my next hand... JJ ! It was folded around to one player who threw in a small raise. He had been playing uber tight up until now, and I figured him for AA or KK. I had worked up to almost 20k after the previous two hands, so I didn't want to piss away everything so fast. I was actually willing to drop this if he bet big on the flop. I don't like playing JJ, and it usually gets me into trouble. Obviously the flop came Jack high, and I nearly fell off my chair! I composed myself, and on the basis that he had an overpair I pushed. He only had about 5k so I had him well covered. Anyway, he called and flipped over QQ! Unreal... another suckout by the luckbox! No help for him, and my stack grows a bit more.

A few hands later I pick up AK, and when it's raised to 1k (blinds 200/400), I re-raise it up to 4k. The student lad behind me pushes for 6k and its folded around to the original raiser. He folds and its decision time for me. Its only 2k into a pot of almost 12k, but Im kicking myself for raising so big. The student was actually a very good player, and I knew he wasn't doing this without a hand. I reluctantly called, hoping he had QQ, or at least KK. Nope, he had the bullets and I had to dog them! A king on the turn gave me some hope, but the aces held out and he raked in the big pot. This dropped me down to under 20k, but still one of the tourney chip leaders. Amazingly, this guy picked up aces again the VERY NEXT HAND. Even more amazing, a while later he picked them up twice in the space of three hands!

A few hands later, I knocked out Damien when my AK was too much for his AQ. He was unfortunate that he didn't pick up the cards to build up a stack, but he was a pleasure to play with.

At the break, I had around 20k, and was close enough to the chip lead. I found out that only three of the original 8 players on my team were left! So, like all Team Events before this, the Team part went out the window pretty fast, and I was playing for the win! It looked like the glory and silverware was again out of my reach. Ah well, looks like I'll just have to win it again and settle for the money!

I came back after the break, and there was about 70 players still in it. We were only back a few hands when I picked up KJ. I called a small raise from the student and saw a flop of K K x. Something told me he had something good, and he bet out strongly at it. He threw 3k into a 1k pot, with only the two of us in it. A huge overbet, but he must have figured I had a hand too, because it looked like he wanted a caller. I felt my best move was all in, and did this. He groaned, shouting 'I knew you were gonna do that!... He didn't insta call so I knew then it wasn't AK or KQ, so I was ahead.

I could see he had a tough decision which meant it had to be AA or QQ. I tried to talk him into a call, but eventually he folded showing AA face up saying 'anyone else I'd call here, but you're hitting everything today'... Indeed I am! Great fold. He looked very uncomfortable, so I showed him the K and I could tell this made him feel a lot better. Normally I wouldn't show, and let the player sweat here, and put them on tilt, but he was a decent enough, and I had been talking to him all day and gave him a bit of respect for folding. This bumped me up to about 25k and I was cruising now.

I moved table soon after and went down to table one. There was a big stack of about 40k, and another lad to my left, another student, had about 30k. There was a foreign girl at the table, who had somehow amassed a stack of about 20k, although she clearly had no idea what she was doing! After seeing her call off 10k on the river with Q high, and suck out numerous times on other players, I wisely decided to stay out of her way! These players scare me!

My stack yo-yo'd a bit, and I grinded up to just over 30k, mostly through stealing with mediocre hands. Eventually I picked up 77 and saw a raise. It was myself, the foreign girl and the student guy (another good player, I thought students were rubbish at poker!). So the flop came 7c 7h 9h... hold on a minute... wtf?? Quads again! I checked it to the foreign girl, who also checked. The turn came the 6h, so now I could lose to a straight flush!... god no.. I checked again, the foreign girl checked and the student guy bet 5k. I flat called and the foreign girl pushed for an extra 2k. We both called the under-raise and I prayed for no 8 hearts on the river. The main pot was close to 30k, and I had about 20k behind me. The student lad was sitting on about 40k.

The river popped out the Qh, a safe card if no-one already had the straight flush. The student threw in 5k to the dry sidepot, and I pushed for 20k. He thought about it and eventually called flipping over the King high flush. He was amazed to see the quads, but in fairness, he should have given me credit for at least a house, if not the ace high flush. I raked in the 40k sidepot, then turned my attention to the main pot. The foreign girl still hadnt shown her cards so I asked her to flip them over. The first was the 8h (oh shit!..) and the second one was... the 2 of clubs! Emmm... ok! Bye now! The table broke right after this hand, and I went back to table 4, the one I had started on.

I dropped down a gear at this stage, as I was sitting on almost 80k, about 15% of the chips in play with 30 players left. With the average chip stack at about 20k I was easily tournament chip leader.One very funny hand happened around this time. Olly's brother was sitting on about 28k, and had been talking about it being 'make or break time', and that he had to make a move soon as he wanted to make the Fitz game which started at 8:30. Olly had been knocked out earlier, and I think he was on the way out to it.

Anyway, he had been pushing every few hands, and obviously wanted to either build a big stack and make a play for the win, or die trying! With this in mind, I joked that if he raised my big blind I wasn't going to let him away with it, and I would push in the dark if need be! It got round to my big blind, and I just threw a chip on my cards without looking at them. He raised it up to 6k (blinds 1k/2k). I threw in a white chip (20K), virtually pushing him all in. He instantly called flipping over A2, eagerly awaiting what the gods had given me! I slowly turned over the first card... an ace! The table groaned loudly, and shouted when I turned over the next card.. a king! What are the chances, I call off almost 40% of my stack in the dark, and pick up AK! go figure! No luck for him and off he went. Sorry mate, at least you outlasted your bro!

Down to two tables and we were in the points... well, OTHER people were in the points, the 'Culchies' were still sitting on Opts! As players got knocked out a lot of people tensed up as they weren't just fighting for a decent cash prize, they were fighting for their team! Luckily, I didn't have this problem and started hoovering up chips and knocking out players, climbing up to over 130K. I had over a quarter of the chips in play with 15 players left! It was about this time that I noticed that the 'Culchies' actually had two players left, and it wasn't long before I figured that another guy at my table was on my team! As I didn't know everyone on the team, it wasnt surprising that I hadnt realised this!

So now we actually had a chance at winning the trophy! all we had to do was both finish really high! I knocked out a lad in 10th and we broke for the final table. I had about 160K, and was just about chip leader. Another guy had about 150K, so between us we had over half the chips in play! We had all made the money, but with €80 for 9th, I was aiming for top three at least. €1150 for 1st looked mighty inviting, but I was more interested in keeping up my record in this event! I looked around the table, and noticed that the student I had beaten with the quad sevens had worked his way back to the FT.

The other lad off my team was there too, just about. We had a small break before the FT kicked off and I went out to stretch my legs. It was about 9:30pm, so we had been playing for almost 8 hours. I took a quick walk and I got myself ready for the FT. I couldn't believe that for the 3rd time in a row I had made the final table from such a huge field. It seems like I get all my luck in this tourney!

We took a look at the points at the break, and it wasnt looking good. To win the trophy, myself and my team-mate had to come 1st and 2nd, and another guy had to come 9th. no pressure then! It reminded me of the first team event when I had the same task when I hit the final table. Me and Paul had to finish 1st and 2nd, and the other guys had to finish 8th and 9th. Me and Paul got 1st and 3rd...

Anyway, the FT started and a shortstack got knocked out pretty quickly, ending our chances of getting the trophy. I wasn't really worried about anyone at the FT except the student. He was the only one with any concept of how to play at this stage, and was playing super aggressive. I decided not to get involved with him without a hand. There was another very aggressive player too who kept raising, but I found it easy enough to figure out when he had a hand or not, and he stopped playing so aggressive when I pushed over the top of his raise with muck.

Down to 6 players, I soon had almost 200k and was dominating the table. I lost about 30k when I had to drop QQ to an Ace high flop, and then lost a huge chunk on the only true bad beat I suffered all day. I picked up AK, and raised it up to 20k (blinds 3k/6k). The student pushed for about 50K total, and I called in a flash. He groaned loudly, flipping over AQ, and wasnt surprised to see AK. The flop brought a pair, giving him outs for a split pot. The turn was a blank, but the river brought the nasty queen. I lost the pot which was over 100k, but was more annoyed at doubling up this lad. He was the only player I was worried about, and he now had chips to play with!

I dropped down to 120K and was feeling super TILTY! I thought about going out for a walk, but with the blinds so high I had to sit there and try to put it out of my head. A few hands later I picked up 99 and this guy raised it up to 25k. I was all over the place, and instead of going over the top of what I knew was the worse hand, I flat called. Bad play by me... The flop came A K 9, so again, my luck saved me! I check raised him all in, and he called with A 10. No help, and I knock him out and move up to about 180k.

The student and the other guy off my team got knocked out soon after, although I cant remember who got 5th and who got 4th. I do remember that I knocked out my team-mate though! Sorry mate, we cant win the trophy, its every man for himself!

Down to three, and a good crowd had gathered to watch. The winning team still had a player left, and he had a good bit of support. I absolutely destroyed them 3 way, and almost knocked each of them out a few times, but they kept hitting cards to stay alive.

I was soon over 300k in chips when this hand occurred. I picked up 6h7h and raised it up to 30k. The other guy raised it up to 70k, and I had a dilemma. He had 200k so he could definitely hurt me. I stared him down a bit, and went over previous hands in my head. He had slow-played all his big pairs up until now, but he hadnt reraised with muck, so it had to be AK or AQ. I called, planning to push on a raggy flop. The flop came 2 4 10, and I briefly thought about the possibility of him holding A 10. I had been watching his eyes as the flop came down, and was sure enough he hadnt hit. I pushed and he took a full two minutes to fold, showing AJ. A little worse than I had thought... how would I have acted on a J high flop?

So now I was up to almost 400k, well in control. I had planned on letting the other two clash and knock each other out, but twice they ended up all in and the pot was split! I picked up KQ a few hands later and called the same guys all in. He flipped over A9, and hit two pair to double up to almost 250K... a big hit for me. The other guy was short-stacked on about 60k, and was staying out of our way.

A while later I had another good hand. I had 36 in the BB. The flop came K 4 9. Check, check. The turn came a 3, but put three spades on the board. I bet out 20K, the short-stack folded, and I saw the other guy check ONE of his cards before calling! Got a spade then? The river came a Qh so I checked into him, guessing he was going to try a steal. He bet 50k, and I got ready to push until it occurred to me... Even though I had him on a missed flush draw, I hadn't taken into account that he may have a piece of it anyway, like As 4c or something. I knew he had crap, but his crap might just be higher than mine. Instead of pushing I flat called the 50k, and he instantly mucked. I showed my 3 6, and he couldnt believe I had made the call, but in fairness, there was some thought behind it.

Anyway, that brought me back up to about 370k and I was big chip leader again. We played on for another 20 minutes before finally we got the chips in. I had dropped to about 320k, and the shorty had about 50k. I picked up 4c8c in the BB (5k/10k), the other guy folded, and shorty made up the blind. We saw a flop of 6 7 A, with one club. check, check. Turn was the 3c. I now had the straight draw and the flush draw. I was going to bet but with blinds at 5k/10k, and he only had 40k, any bet was committing him, which I didn't want to do with 8 high, regardless of the outs. The river came a lovely 5h, giving me the second nuts.I checked it to him, and after some thought he pushed. I called and he flipped over K5. I turned over my straight, and shook his hand. Good game mate.

Heads up now! I was sure I could beat this guy heads up, and with an almost 2:1 advantage I was very confident. 1st was €1150 and 2nd was €850. He offered a deal, where we would take €1k each. I was tempted as I was in work at 6am on Monday, and it was 11:45pm. I told him my past record and said I would like to try and win it... for the glory! He told me if we split it, I could take first place, which was all I was after! So I agreed. Probably not the best deal, but I was wary about spending half an hour grinding him down when I was in work so early, and he gave me 1st place. Anyway, I could have ------ up like I did against Iago and lost it altogether. So Im happy with €1k and 1st.

Another Vegasnights game, another win. I don't know what it is about these tourneys, but I cant lose in them! 3 games; 1st, 2nd, 1st, and over €3k profit from an outlay of less than €100... nice one!


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Who needs poker!


An update at last! I havent posted anything in over a month, mainly because there is nothing to write about! I've only played poker live once this month...thats right ONCE. That was the Fitz game which i played after the All In poker meeting which was held. They paid me in so I couldn't say no could I?

The game went disastrous after a luckbox kept sucking out on everybody. Eventually I lost my starting stack to this goon, and realised I had absolutely no interest in rebuying, even though the rebuy was being paid for by All In! I just wasn't bothered sitting through such a low buy in tourney that was being dominated by such clowns...

That was the first game I had played since getting 3rd in the Regency a few weeks beforehand, and I havent played since. Basically, there was a little football tournament on which has taken up most of my time, and tbh and just havent been bothered wasting my evenings playing little €20 and €50 games.

Not to sound like these are too low for me, they aren't, but I'm saving for Thailand and cant afford to piss away money on poker at the moment. If I am going to play I would prefer it was for a buy-in of at least €100, as I think this would get me motivated.

As for online... I think Ive played about 20mins overall over the last month. Totally and utterly lost interest in it, and I cant see myself playing online over the next few months. I just dont see the point in sitting at home, stressing out over online ''''poker'''', trying to grind out a profit, when there is so much more to the summer.

Although the weather is still variable at best, Ive been taking advantage of the days when we do get sun. Barbeques, trips away... theres so much more to life than poker. Yet, when its got you in its grips, you feel like you are having the time of your life. You count the hours until work finishes and you can get home and get a game of some sort... Its not until you go cold turkey that you realise what you were missing...

I took advantage of this, and went to a car show in Birmingham last weekend. Here's a few pics... Who needs poker eh?

There were cars there too.... apparently

I havent even thought about cards, and to be honest, dont really miss the regular games. I think I'll leave off playing until I go to Thailand next month, and once I come back, think about getting a decent BR together for live poker. I think €2K would be enough to have a crack at the Fitz €100 game every week, and maybe finally venture into the world of cash games on a regular basis. Its a long way away, so Im not worried about it just yet.

Overall, Im actually enjoying not playing poker. I miss the extra income, but the summer is too good to waste, so until September it looks like there won't be much to write about! I'll keep the blog updated on any games I do play, and there promises to be a big post after Thailand!


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