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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


nice to see you back in the bloggersphere again roryc good post. Get your ass down to the sporting Aquarium some night!!

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