Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cork trip report

OK, I don't want to become someone who just moans about how bad they run so let's just start the report by saying I had aces cracked 4 times and two flopped sets outdrawn by gutshots in the main event and leave it at that. I only managed to survive those setbacks until my exit hand (all in on a jack high board with kings v. ace queen, ace from space on the river) because the boards either came so scary I wasn't willing to invest much, or the cracker underrated his hand. Also, I played one of the flopped sets pretty weakly, thinking I was trapping rather than letting someone catch up, but it was one of those occasions where weak play was rewarded in the short term as I lost less than if I'd pushed the hand against that particular station.
Most bizarre hand: I have aces in late position. Bizarre local guy calls from mid position (range here is almost anything remotely pretty, including the likes of Q2s), local kid who overrates and overplays small and medium pairs raises, I reraise, and they both call. Flop is 433, and it goes check, bet 1500 (well more than half pot), I call deciding he's most likely got a medium pair and this is the best way to milk, bizarre guy calls. To be honest he's playing so strangely I'm not thinking too much about him. Turn's a 6, and it's check, 2700, call, call. Now I'm petty certain the kid has a medium pair and the other guy has two face cards or a pair. River's a king and the kid clearly doesn't like it so I know he's afraid his "overpair" has been outdrawn. They both check and I decide to value bet 3K. Only I get the chips mixed up and only bet 300! Colour blindness is such a bitch sometimes. They both call and I know I'm good. Only I'm not! First guy has kings so he rivered the nut house.
Gavin (Valor) is at the far end of the table and not surprisingly can scarcely believe his eyes that the guy just called my 300 bet (or that I bet 300 into a 10K pot on the river) to the point where he suspects collusion.
So anyway, no joy. Rob was playing and running brilliantly though, so much so that I joked to him that we must have swapped luck when he came over to chat just before the start. I was thrilled for him that he won: he was overdue a well-deserved big result and he was clearly thrilled with himself after, as he should have been. He was magnifient throughout from what I saw, particularly on the final table (which he started as the short stack), and heads up against a French guy who clearly underestimated him.
Also thrilled for sponsored pro Nicky Power, the nicest and funniest man in Ireland.
I played the WSOPE satellte side event and made an early exit too. Basically James McManus (Hawkeye on boards) got all my chips in three big pots. Very first hand he raised a bunch of limpers in late position, I reraised with aces in the blind, he called with apparent reluctance after some thought, which looked like a medium pair or something ace queen suited to me. Flop came three low diamonds, I led out for almost pot, and he called quickly, exuding strength. Let's just say I was pretty confident he wasn't floating here. Queen of hearts on the turn, I checked, he bet strongly, I knew I had one red ace and one black one so I checked back to see if the red was a diamond. It wasn't which pretty much convinced me he had flopped the nut flush, so I folded. He showed AQ diamonds.
Next big hand, James raised utg, I reraised with jacks, he shoved, and I folded as I had enough behind to do so. He told me at the break he had aces.
Last hand, I'm on the button with kings and twenty big blinds. Bunch of early limpers, James makes it 800 (4 big blinds), I reraise to 2200 (pot committing myself, but hoping for another loose call from an ace), he shoved, I have no decision but call, and he has the aces again. Not just that but he flopped quads! Just wasn't my day and it was good to play with James who played very well, mixing it up nicely and changing gears a few times.
My loudmouth English roommate Mark who made the third last table of the ME went straight from that to win the satellite (he paid off 4 others including Big Al and Mick McCloskey in a deal to secure the package). Great result fo him: he's playing very well at the moment.
On Sunday I played a couple of satellites for that evening's side event with no joy. Standard was, well, best explained by example. Short stack shoved utg, I shoved on the button with AKs, small blind called for 80% of his stack with QJ. Shortie had ace 9, flop's AQx, but another Q on the river kills me. Alternative example: I'm playing AQ on the button and see a Q94 flop with 2 diamonds. Small blind leads out for 700 (into a pot of 600), limper shoves, I shove, small blind thinks and calls with Q8, no diamonds. The other guy's on a flush draw which doesn't come, but a jack and a 10 scoops the lot for Q8.
I played the final side event and was at Annette Obrestad's table. She played pretty good solid poker mostly but got sucked out on a few times and then waited patiently for a hand to shove with. When she eventually did I had 9's in the SB. I took a bit of time to make the call (or rather shove - not wanting to give the BB odds to play) as I was pretty sure it was almost certainly one of those racing at best situations (taking into account how patient she'd been rather than shoving first chance) and since it was for over half my stack I'd be short and in shove mode if I lost, before eventually deciding you can't back off from races in these spots as the blinds escalate. When I turned over 9's, Annette snorted "You took that long to make the call?" so I guess it's really an automatic call (in her mind at least). But us old folks think a little slower, clearly.
She flipped over ace king and won the race. Now I'm the shortie and when I eventually push for 12 bbs with AQ utg, the very loose chipleader calls with K10 in second position and hits a 10.
After my exit, I went to watch Rob continue his masterful display, headsup by now. He asked me if I had any GJP stickers. I thought I had one back in the hotel room so I walked back and found it, just in time before Rob closed the deal. Afterwards I hung around a while drinking with a very interesting bunch: loudmouth Mark, Gavin, Nicky, Mick McCloskey and an English friend of Mick's who has lived a checkered life. Nicky was in great storytelling form as ever.
Mark missed the train back to Dublin but I met Gavin who is a very interesting and smart guy with a tremendous attitude and approach to the game and life in general. I like to believe that poker is something which rewards intellectual rigour and a disciplined approach so it's reassuring to see young guys (scarily, he's younger than my son Paddy) like him doing well.
Mark arrived by plane later and he watched me play online a bit and then I watched him. It was very educational because while on the outside it looks like we're almost total poker opposites, with me playing a standard TAG game to his non-standard wild LAG game, there's actually quite a lot of similarities beneath the surface in our approach.
Afterwards we somehow ended up playing headsup for rollz and I got totally pwned. I'd never admit it to him, of course, instead pointing out that in the two big pots I was a big favourite when the money went in (JJ v. 109, KK v A10) but he sucked out both times, which of course proves beyond all reasonable doubt that his game is based entirely on sucking out. Mireille was none too impressed as she doesn't think friends should play each other for money.
Played Vera's birthday tournament last night. Amazing turnout and fun tournament, even if it became bingo very fast. Afterwards myself and Mark stayed drinking with a nice couple of young lads from Cork who were up for the Metallica concert. We were joined by Gary (rag2gar) and Mellor for some top quality poker chat.
Next up for me is JP's monthly game on Saturday (and hopefully Sunday), then on Monday we're heading down to Waterford for a week's family holiday taking in the IPC satellite there too.
Finally, I promised someone, myself I think, that I'd put some retarded strategy tips occasionally along with the bad beat whines. Today's relates to a defense against opponents who rely almost entirely on Poker Tracker (the multitablers in particular). The best defense is to deliberately play sessions that are totally atypical. In tournaments, I use freerolls for this. It takes a few seconds to sign up, after which you can either allow yourself to be blinded away in the background while you play your regular game elsewhere, or just go all in every hand until you bust out, depending on preference. Next time you run into anyone who played you when you got blinded out will have poker tracker insisting you are nittier than Nitty McNit of Nitsburgh, while anyone who has eve seen you go all in every hand will think you're he biggest mniac in cyberspace.
In cash games, the equivalent is to deliberately play sessions where you buy in for the minimum to a whole bunch of tables and follow one of the standard short stack approaches (Chris Ferguson or Ed Miller, for example) to screw up your PT stats for the regulars.



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