It seems that every year I start with my main New Year's resolution being *more online, less live". This year's good intentions haven't amounted to any more than previous attempts, with practically all of January being devoted primarily to live poker. And February's not looking much better.
I targeted the first leg of the Spanish Estrellas tour primarily as an easy supply of tournament dollars. The online sats are particularly soft so after multiple binks I was effectively better than freerolling in the tournament itself. Just as well, as despite a late rush on day 1 that saw me up in the top 10 in chips, it went south faster than a Ryanair flight to Madrid on day 2. Still, Madrid's not an unpleasant place to find yourself having to pass a few days in January, so with Mrs. Doke in tow for once, I diverged from my normal routine of playing side events and just chilled for a few days. Mrs. Doke is a very gifted linguist who is fluent in four languages and can get by in several others, but sadly Spanish isn't one of them. It was striking to watch how fast someone like her can learn though: by the end of the trip she was gabbing away in Espanol.
My travelling companion to EMOP Prague was the less linguistically accomplished Daragh "Mongoose" Davey, fresh from a number of recent online triumphs. With a very strong travelling Irish contingent that included Connie O'Sullivan, Kieran Walsh, Jason Arthur, Richie Lawlor, Daragh Davey, brother Noel and Duncan Keane, Damien Collins, Rebecca McAdam and her boyfriend Niall, Francis "Wally" McCormack, Kevin Spillane, Gary Clarke, and Mick Rossiter, there were sound reasons to be optimistic that at least one of us would make the final table. In the event, we got two on, my Irish Eyes teammate Connie O'Sullivan, and Kevin Spillane. Connie, one of the most popular figures in Irish poker, played brilliant disciplined poker with a short stack for most of the tournament and was unlucky not to go further than 8th. Kevin, who went deep last year in EMOP Lisbon, also got unlucky on the final table after making a brilliant call with sixes on a 98x flop against two overcards. Unfortunately, one of the overcards hit the river, but it was a great performance by the very likeable Kevin to finish fourth.
This was my first ever trip rooming with Daragh, and you never really know how you're going to get on with someone in that context til you try, but from my end it was a very enjoyable experience. Daragh's good company with a sly sense of humour and a good sport. He even endured having to walk round the same sights of Prague twice to show me around on my day off (we played different day 1's so he'd already done the tourist thing the night before). Better still, and I don't want anyone to think this comment is directed at them personally (even though it is: hello Mick Mccloskey!) Daragh is a very silent and sound sleeper. Maybe a little too sound: getting him up in the mornings was something I felt might challenge a nuclear bomb. But as he pointed out himself, it's a well known fact that the mongoose likes his sleep.
Next few weeks are very busy on the live poker front with the European Deepstack championships being followed by Galway UKIPT. Galway's always great craic and will be a chance to catch up with lots of people. My good friend Keith McFadden who has been off doing other things is making a comeback for this. Keith has a great record in Galway and will be lodds on for a deep run.