Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dry run continues and ends, and the latest Doke scandal (Tiegate)

This blog entry could also be called same old same old I guess, since apart from a few ties it's mostly going to be about more live flops and online scores.

Live first. I played the Bruce sponsored Leinster Champs. Day 1 went grand although I definitely had a much tougher table than average, featuring the very aggro Michelle "Gaviganator", two good solid players Val Gabriel and Donal Mullally, and a few others who knew what they were at. I didn't get a lot to play with but made the best of it and finished the day around average. It was the first time I'd played with Michelle live (we've crossed virtual swords online a few times) and she ran amok for much of the day and finished with the most chips, and it was no surprise to me she ended up on the final table, a second good result for her after her recent deep run in the Poker in the Pub grand final. It's great to see more good female players appearing on the scene. Michelle plays more like a mad Scandi than your typical female player: in fact I'd say some of her moves would be make Annette15 blanch, and has massive potential once she adds a bit of technical nous to her game.

Our table also featured brief cameos from the legend that is Nicholas Power. Nicky turned up a couple of hours late and announced his intention to sit tight til the 200/400 with an ante level and then start reshipping, which is more or less what he did. Unluckily for him, the first time he reshipped a suited jack it was straight into Donal's waiting kings. Always good craic with Nicky at the table even if he often seems to see it as a diversion from following the golf these days.

Day 1 ended rather surreally with a very drunk Reggie Corrigan telling me what a great guy I was but how I needed to lose the tie, and me mounting the Marcel Liske defence for the tie.

Day 2 got off to a bad start and went downhill from there. I did quarter of my stack when I raised AJ over a late position Gaviganator limp and cbet a KQx flop. When that got called, I shut down and she won the pot with Q9o. Another 25% instalment went when I raise a raggy ace in late position, got called by the BB, checked an ace high flop and turn and called a river bet to confirm my worst fears of being outkicked. That left me in ship or fold mode and my first called ship, a wheel draw suited ace got called by kings and that was that. Overall I was reasonably happy with how I played, although I should have tackled the Gaviganator earlier in the proceedings before she had a chance to chip up
. There was also one other spot where I made a weak/prudent fold. I raised the button for the umpteenth time, the lady in the BB made a very petulant looking reship, and the accompanying glare she gave me suggested my A5s was more than likely ahead. Getting 6 to 4 on the call I'd consider it totally std online but after a bit of reflection I decided there would be clearer or better spots and folded. The subsequent speechplay pretty much confirmed I was ahead. As I said, online I'd happily go along with the maths that says 6 to 4 is a call: maybe this is one of the reasons I seem to be a better online player these days? Great tournament though and good craic, with my favourite mood elevator Andrew Yates (the Anthony Soprano junior of my home town Enniscorthy) on hand to keep me entertained and enthralled with some wacky cash games tales and lines.

Next up was Cork. I got off to a good start before I leaked a few chips late in the day, and then ruined the parade by making a bad call. I called with A9s in the cutoff after two limps from loose players who could have almost anything. An older gentleman from Galway who was playing reasonably solid called behind. Five to the AT3 with two hearts (not my suit) flop. When it's checked to me I probe bet 1k into 1500. The Galway man called quickly and everyone else folded. Turn brought a 9 making me two pair so I bet 2K assuming I was still ahead until my opponent instaraised to 18K (effectively all in, he just had a few small chips behind). My gut reaction was I'm beaten here, but then I sat there thinking wtf, how did that 9 make his hand so much better? I ruled out AT/TT/99 based on previous form, he was raising or reraising all decent aces and pairs preflop. I thought 33 was unlikely on similar grounds although conceding the possibility that it might be too low a pair to be in his raising/reraising range (he had already 3 bet me with 44 however). All this plus the fact that he looked unbelievably uncomfortable as I tanked convinced me T9 was his most likely holding and I made the call. Bad read, as it was 33, and he explained the reason for his visible discomfort as a fear that he'd been set over setted. A few hands later I shipped KQ into AK and that was that.

Latest live outing was the Fitz end of month. Tough table draw on the atmospherically lacking balcony but I managed to get a decent start and built slowly but surely. I was short near the bubble but thanks to some optimal push/fold got through it intact before I caught my first real break. Teddy 5xed it on the button as he tends to with small pairs and raggy aces, I found jacks in the BB and shipped, knowing full well Teddy last raise folded some time in the late 1950s. Sure enough, he snapped with 55 and I held. I moved from there up to 200K as everyone clammed up but then a couple of doggings (tens v a3 blind on blind) and ill timed moves into rocks with big pairs knocked me back down. One hand I was particularly proud of: I raised on button, Mahmood (the eventual winner, a wild aggro player who benefited from multiple suckouts) defended. The way the dynamics were flowing I pretty much decided he had had enough of me and my crap and was going to check raise me on the flop come what may. I missed the flop by a country mile but went with my read: as soon as he check raised I clicked the shove button with the Nicky Power (no pair and no draw) and he snap folded. Sweet.

Final table was the usual Fitz "everyone has 6 bigs, chipleader has 9" affair. I clung on until 7th, then shipped a rag ace into Q8 and lost to the eight. Still, it was good to notch up a cash before flying out to Vilamoura for the EPT. My record of never getting into double figures in a no cash streak was looking in serious danger.

Fitz is always good fun if you can handle the unoccasional dogging and the Fitz EOM is a social occasion as much as anything else, a chance to catch up with old friends and new. Had a good natter with Barry Donovan and got the latest Rob Taylor bad beats. Highlight (or lowlight, I'm not sure) was looking up at the TV screens and seeing myself on Setanta's coverage of the Deepstack (the infamous AA v 72 hand). One of the resident wags remarked "Doke's wearing the same tie" and I laughed until I suddenly realised oh my God he's right though. Subsequent speculation on Facebook as to whether I have only one tie left me unsure: I need to consult with my wardrobe department on that one.

Online has been going, well, well. Yawn I know. I won a few more tourneys on various sites, shipped a few more packages etc. I'm currently second on the Merge's network's higher limit MTT leaderboard (I'd be top if I played everything) so basically it's been going, well, well.

This blog is being typed up on the flight to Vilamoura. I'm hoping to give my latest EPT tilt a good old ratlle: I'm certainly high on confidence at the moment as these EPTs play more like online tourneys these days and I feel my online mtt game has really clicked in the last few months. That said, your average EPT these days has all the top Stars MTTers so nobody can really have that much of an edge. In any case, I'm playing day 1b, Sunday, to give myself an easy day in Portugal before. Also expecting my friend and friendly rival Feargal Nealon to go well, so much so that I've swapped a percentage with him, something I rarely do these days. Well done to my other friend Mark Dalimore begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting who cashed in Tallinn. He was going well until he was crippled near the bubble but he got through it before bad luck struck again. Following on his WSOP ME cash, Mark's in hot form at the moment. He was hoping to make it to Vilamoura to room with me but couldn't get flights so he's probably playing Partouche instead although he may turn up by car. Otherwise I'll just have to endure my plush suite on my own for a week. Tough life.

In other news, I've launched a vlog (video blog) and the first edition with my thoughts on Vegas and a few other things is now available at The plan is to do one every couple of weeks so I'll probably record another one in Vilamoura: I'll try to twist Feargal's arm to liven it up a bit. I'm also tempted by reports of really good cash games in Portugal to try to overcome my aversion for live cash. In any case, I've brought a decent tank in the shape of a big bag of cash over to give it a lash if I feel so inclined. But my main focus for the next week is to give the main event as good as I've got. One time etc.

TIE UPDATE: According to my wardrobe department, I actually possess a considerable number of ties (a number so considerable in fact that there's an entire wardrobe given over to them), including several dozen "poker" ties. The poker ties are all red though, hence the confusion.



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