Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Can't win em all, or any with Anna Kournikova

AK is sometimes called the Anna Kournikova, on the basis that as pretty as it looks it wins nothing. My Dublin UKIPT experience consisted of an endless repetition of waiting to get all in pre with AK.

Exhibit 1: the supersat. Was in two minds about playing this and maybe shouldn't have bothered but the deciding factor was the chance to win a tenth ticket, getting into double figures in a live event for the first time. Tough enough starting table that included Mark Buckley, Frankie Carbin and Danny Maxwell. I escaped from this table after the break with about 17K when I picked up AK in early position with blinds 150/300/25. I raised to 700, got called behind, and then the elderly gentleman on the button unexpectedly bumped it up to 6500. This might look like a squeeze but judging purely on appearances I figured it wasn't. My initial impulse was to play safe and fold but after due consideration I convinced myself that it might be AQ or a small to medium pair that might fold to a shove, so I shoved. Called by AKs, which rivered a flush to scoop. On reflection, I should have gone with my initial impulse and just folded on the basis that I could probably keep chipping up steadily to a ticket without taking any major risks for my entire stack.

Exhibit 2: the main event. Got off to a good start in this. Was up to 19K before I lost almost half of it calling down Tony Cascarino's JJ with QQ on a J high board. Not my finest moment as again my instincts were to fold the river because he was very strong. I'd drifted back to 8K when I again raised to 700 and 150/300 with AK, this time in the CO. A foreign player playing tight flatted the button, then an English lag raised to 3200 in the BB. I shoved, the button folded (AQ he claimed) and looking pained and asking if I had a pair the BB made the call with 44. His fours obviously held so I was heading out the door before first dinner break, a rather unusual experience for me in a deepish stack event. No regrets about the exit here though: raise folding AK in that spot with that stack would be awful.

Exhibit 3: A turbo supersat the next day for the first side event lasted until I again found AK in the cutoff and raised an early position limper. The button reraised. Folding wasn't really an option with my stack in this structure and I didn't have enough to make him fold preflop so I decided to stop and go (just call, with the intention of shoving almost any flop). Flop came 887 and my shove was called by KK.

I got off to a good start in the side event until I lost a 17k pot when average was about 12k with aces v JP Kelly's queens (no queens, I got four flushed). Hand was totally standard, JP wasn't deep enough to consider folding QQ pre. I recovered from a low of 5k to get through to day 2 with almost 18k, slightly below average, but day 2 was a short one. Just for a bit of variety, I was holding AQ this time rather than AK, failing to outrace Mick Stephens tens.

Exhibit 4: In the second side event, I had a lively starting table featuring three Belgians and Keith McFadden. One strange hand found me in a Belgian sandwich. The Belgian guy was raising the blinds of the Belgian ladies every time, so when he did it for the umpeenth time, I reraised his 300 open to 1100 with K5s on the button. One of the Belgian ladies now reraised to 3500 and proceeded to stare me down, ignoring the other Belgian who was tanking. He eventually shoved for less than 5k, I obviously folded, and getting about 6 to 1 on the call so did the big blind! Hmmmm. Keith reckoned she hadn't noticed the opener and thought she was just dealing with a button raise from me. I eventually exitted with AK yet again. I reraised a Dutch serial raiser 3.5x on the button, putting in almost a third of my stack. He tank called and then check called my shove on a T64 flop with 33.

Exhibit 5: Wasn't feeling that enthusiastic about another side event but it was for a good cause (Poker For The Homeless) so I decided to donate with the intention of taking all marginal gambles early on to either get a stack or bust in time for the Sunday majors. I don't seem to be able to just chuck them in though and ended up falling between two stools, flitting along well below average until I shoved AK over a Phil Baker's late position raise with A9o. The A9o got there on the river thanks to a gutshot. Another standard hand: Phil was getting nearly 3 to 1 on the call as my stack was decimated by a call with J3s I was priced into making against bounty Reggie Corrigan.

So pokerwise personally, the UKIPT pretty much fell flat on its face. I did manage to get out for a few runs around Herbert Park, met a normy friend for a very pleasant lunch and a natter (it seems a guy we both used to work with recently had to stump up 100 grand over comments he made about someone on his blog: ouch), and had a few other fun meals and other social occasions. Feargal and I ate out one night with Jason Barton and his friend OT. Two very interesting guys with a lot of interesting thoughts on poker. Jason was on his way to snooker superstardom (he was Ronnie O'Sullivan's practise partner) until a serious car accident. Now in property but also an extremely good poker player with some very deep runs in the Sunday majors, meeting him answered a lot of questions in my head as to why snooker players seem to make such good poker players.

The following night I ate out with Mick McCloskey, my friend Michelle and two English pros, Paul Parker and Parvis from Brighton. A chat with Paul about EPTs confirmed my decision to give the London EPT a miss on the basis of it being lacking in value.

Well done to JP, John Scanlon and all the dealers for another well run event. Also well done to local lads Ciaran "Tag" Taggart and Tom "Ugg" Kitt for their deep runs, and to Cat O'Neill for maintaining a 100% cash record in Irish UKIPTs.

Next up is the European shorthanded championships, which I'm looking forward to. Mike and Brian always put on a good show. Hopefully I'll be saying the same for myself afterwards.



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