Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sad IO and sadder taxi driver

It's pretty safe to say the Irish Open didn't exactly go to script (or at least the script I'd have written). I oscillated between starting stack and 8K for three levels, then towards the end of level 4 I ran kings into aces. It's ironic that in my last blog I talked about trying to move away from making standard decisions: since as soon as I got reraised my brain was telling me "Folding kings to a single raise with 50 big blinds is a big theoretical mistake" but my gut was screaming "Aces! Aces! Aces! Man have aces. Maybe red, maybe black, maybe one of each but man definitely have aces". Online I'd just move the slider all the way to All in and not even think about it before or after, but live I think I might have got away. I said to Nik Persaud immediately afterwards that I had seriously considered folding and he said "You can't fold Dara, not if you're trying to win the tournament which I know from playing with you before that you always are". I think most good players would agree but I'm still not 100% clear whether it really was that straightforward. There are very few opponents whose three betting range in that spot is just one hand, but I think my German opponent may be one of the few.

In any case, I was unwilling to fold (stacks ruled out calling to set mine unfortunately which might have been an option if the Irish Open wasn't just about the only big tournament left in the world with a miserly 10K starting stack) so I just shoved and hoped for the best. But got the worst. When the dust had cleared I was left with less than 2 big blinds, which I duly pushed in next hand over a limp with AJ. Pretty much the whole table called and it got checked down to the river until one guy hit the nut flush with his A7s and bet it.

It wasn't the easiest of tables with a very good online MTTer from Toronto to my immediate left and Nik Persaud next seat over. Throw in Ray Masters, a couple of very good Scandis and a French EPT final tableist and a super solid German and you had a pretty tough table with only one or at most two soft spots at it. I wasn't sure whether that was representative of rising standards in general or not: Rob Taylor who had an equally tough table draw reckoned we were just unlucky and there were lots of softer tables.

The Irish Open is one tournament I'd love to get a run in but it wasn't to be this year. I never like hanging round the scene of the crime so I just headed straight home and back to the online grind. I compensated for my Irish Open disappointment with a decent weekend online. I made the second last table of the 50K guaranteed on Bruce and also the 250K on Ipoker. It could have been an outstanding weekend if I hadn't been rivered in a race in the 250K, but all in all it added up to about 5K profit so that was more than acceptable.

I went back out to the Burlington on Monday to record an Irish Poker Radio show with Ian. My mate Mark Dalimore (who recorded a great interview for the show) was lying second in chips overnight in the 1500 event. I thought the Irish Open side events this year were a poor crop at best but the last one, a 330 scalp event with a 5K starting stack and a fast structure, looked right up my alley. Unfortunately I got mugged in the alley: familiar story this year of falling to a flush draw on the river.

There was good craic round the Burlington. I went to dinner with Phil Baker (dressed as a penguin for his announcer gig), Rebecca McAdams (dressed as a Goddess for her web commentary gig), Liz Mullally and Liz's friend Michelle. It used to be debatable as to whether Phil could be taken anywhere: the matter has now been decisively resolved as a resounding No. Bex in particular had to endure the fabulous Baker boy's jibes and innuendos but she took it very well with her usual ladylike poise and got in a few good ones of her own. All good healthy banter but Bex definitely won this round according to this judge.

Mark ended up on the final table of the 1500 event, going out in 8th after a succession of sick beats of the KK v J9o variety. We stayed around a while to drown his sorrows.

This morning I flew into Birmingham for the Coventry leg of the UKIPT. I'm playing Day 1A tomorrow. The cab ride from the airport was quite surreal. The taxi driver seemed to be having a constant crisis of faith, looking at the address of the hotel on the printout of the PokerStars email I'd given him, jabbering away to himself and sometimes me in Hindi shaking his head dubioudsly while rustling the sheet hopefully as if that would somehow change the address to something more familiar. Eventually we're parked outside the Coventry football stadium while he stream of consciousnesses "This is address, but no hotel here. No hotel, but this address. This address, no hotel......" like some sort of cross between Manuel from Fawlty Towers and Rain Man. As he continued to permute the same words into exciting and unexpected new combinations, I decided it was best to run for it, paying him off and reassuring him that I'd find it somehow. He drove off sadly shaking his head like a man who had just failed in his mission in life.

It turns out the hotel is the football stadium, and the casino is here too. But you can't check in til three, so I'm typing this in the mean time.

Wish me luck, I seem to need it live these days. And if you see a sad taxi driver in Birmingham talking to himself in Hindi, tell him that everything worked out fine in the end.


good luck to you !
Us french players will be playing the deepsctack open in Aix en Provence, France. same buy in and structure if im right ?
(nouveau blog, monsieur ! ) ;)

best of luck dara hope its a deep run

Merci monsieur. Nice blog, I add it to my list.

Thanks Ben

Yep, the very best of luck Dara.


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