The last side event at EMOP Barcelona was a deepstack turbo. I like a good crapshoot and since you can't play online in Spain anyway, took my place at the start.
First shock was the chips. They looked like my cheapo home set, but with more colours. Closer examination revealed no less than 7 different denominations in play, from a 5k chip all the way down to, wait for it, a few 10 chips. Yes, 10. I've never seen that particular denomination before live and before I could ponder what we were going to need them for, I caught sight of the clock. First blind level: 10/20. Another first for me live: I've only ever seen that level online before.
The blind levels got madder and madder (70/140, seriously) and because they'd only given us all a couple of 10's and 20's, the dealer spent ages every hand making change. Not good in a turbo crapshoot with 15 minute blinds! Matters were made worse when the table hyperlag kept winning all the small pots and as a result started to monopolise all the small chips. Clearly feeling that the mountain of chips in front of him demonstrated his manhood for all the world to see, he refused all requests for change at point blank, and the tournament director (or at least someone in a suit: this tournament was such a shambles it's difficult to believe there even was a TD) had to be summoned to get him to do so. So we all breathed a sigh of relief when this action junkie peacock lost a massive confrontation with another big stack and had all but a few of his chips taken from him. The table felt confident our new chip overlord would be more benevolent in the change department.
Unfortunately, we never got the chance to test that theory as almost immediately the guy in the suit popped up and escorted him and his chips to a new table. Just as the blinds were going to 70/140. Oh what fun that level was on a table with few small chips.
At the break, another Irish player told me he was trying to work out if he could size a bet so that because of the amount, nobody on the table would be able to call it (as the requisite change could not be made). After the break, things went from bad to worse in the change department with the introduction of a 30 ante, making it necessary in theory for everyone to put in a 20 and a 10, or three 10's, whereas in practise 8 of us would put in a 50 chip and the dealer would spend an eternity trying to solve the "How to make change" puzzle. The one hand we managed to play at that level descended into total farce when two guys exuberantly pushed all their chips into the middle with the (shared) nuts, meaning the dealer now had to work out what the smaller stack was, and how to split the pot.
I eventually managed to bust this farce of a tournament and to be honest I was never as happy to bust a tournament. Back in the hotel, I heard that Daragh Davey was deep in the 888 Major. Turns out that in Spain not only can you not play on non-Spanish sites, you can't even rail (at least the Americans let you watch) so I had to rely on Skype for a direct link to Daragh. He gave me the blow by blow as he took it down. It's been a pleasure to watch Daragh turn from a predominantly live cash grinder this year into a proper online beast. On that note, a big well done to Jaymo, another member of the firm (stable is such an ugly word so I try to stick to firm) who came close to claiming a major with a second on Ipoker.
Since returning from Spain, apart from one very unenjoyable day playing French people in the Winamax European Shorthanded championships in the Regency, I've been sticking to the online. I'm not enjoying live poker much at all these days. It probably doesn't help that I'm on the worst run of my career live since Vegas but for whatever reason, trivial stuff like rude opponents and incompetent staff that I normally take in my stride seems to annoy me more than it should these days. So a bit of a break is no harm at all (I skipped recent live events in Cork, Carlow and Dundalk that I normally would go to).
Finally, this blog is up for an Irish Poker award so if you're a fan of the blog, please feel free to vote for it. Or if you're a bigger fan of one of the others, vote for that instead.