I was playing in the Fitz EOM the other night. Daragh Davey jokingly tweeted that I had staked 10% of the field (a slight exaggeration) which prompted Mark Smyth to tweet the following gem which gave me a chuckle.
In his PocketFives interview, Danloulou made an excellent point at the time that one thing he felt was holding Irish poker back was the lack of a genuine staking culture. In my view, staking is both misunderstood and regarded with suspicion by a lot of Irish poker players. There seems to be a sort of general view that stakers are almost parasites or pimps (I've actually heard us referred to as pimps quite a bit). The view seem to be that stakers prey on the young without bankrolls, introducing them to a life of servitude in cyber sweatshops and living off the fat of their profits. In some quarters, staking is seen as a form of cowardice. I recently sat through an attempt by David Lappin to explain the benefits of staking (to the staked player) to a very sceptical Irish poker player who was arguing that anyone good shouldn't need to be staked. This is a historical perspective: the view that the way you "make it" in poker is to grind up your own bankroll. This was possible a few years ago when lower and even mid stakes were so soft a player could grind their way up quickly.
In a future blog, I will try to explain the benefits of staking to all the parties involved so watch this space.
The night after the Fitz EOM (where I failed to cash but Jaymo at least notched up his first live Hendon Mob result) was originally meant to be the night that Team Old Nits defended our title won last year, but was cancelled due to lack of interest (or teams). It was replaced with a rebuy which I decided to skip. Was pretty happy that I did when I went on a mini rampage online winning the Night on Stars Fr, getting a second on Party and a few other bits and bobs all adding up to my first 10k night online in a while. A lot of Irish players have been celebrating binks lately. Marc McDonnell had a bink earlier in the week on Stars Fr (beating no less than Christopher Brammer headsup), while on the same night John O'Shea reminded us that he can still play a bit of poker , binking an IPOPs and a PLO tournament on the same night. Love him or hate him (and he's one of those unique individuals it's possible to do both simultaneously) few would deny that Irish poker without John O'Shea would be a much duller place. After a recent bad run that he has been brutally frank about on his own blog, it says a lot about John's character and resolve that he can come back and do this.
The following night it was back to the Fitz for the Main event of their festival. With a decent structure and many of the best players in Dublin otherwise occupied at a boxing match across town, our hopes were high as no less than seven "Firm" members lined out. Pride came before a fall: we fairly got our asses handed to us with no more than zero of the seven surviving to Day 2. After meeting up in town beforehand, we found ourselves shivering on a corner of Grafton Street while David Lappin queued for......ice cream. Yes. Ice cream. Only in Ireland could you find yourself shivering on a street corner waiting for someone who wants to make himself even colder eating ice cream. Speaking of David, check out his cameo performance about 8 minutes 20 into this video of UKIPT Dublin.
Colin "Hammo" Hammond stayed in my house for a couple of nights, so he was grinding on his laptop next door in the kitchen while I did my 10k session. Hammo has been beasting it online this year and I've already eulogised on this blog so I won't repeat myself. What I will say is that after spending a couple of days with Hammo and listen to him talking about poker and watching him play online and live, he's gone up even further in my estimation as someone who has all the tools and temperament to be a superstar. He takes everything in his stride: I can't imagine we'll ever see Hammo kick or throw a chair after taking a beat. In fact he's so calm that when I had dropped to a few tables and moved into the kitchen for dinner to find Hammo on the final table of the OnGame 50 rebuy, his reaction to his bustout was so muted that I had to ask him if he had busted. When I see people throw a tantrum after a beat, I don't think any less of them as people (we are all entitled to the occasional emotional outburst and we all have our own way of expressing ourselves) but it does make me question their long term future in a game that will keep serving up the beats for as long as they play it. In my experience long term success in this game depends a lot more on temperament and emotional control than it does on pure poker talent. The reason so few people have the capacity to succeed long term in this game is that it requires diverse character traits rarely found in the same person. You must be both patient and aggressive. Most patient people are not aggressive, and most aggressive people not patient. You need to be calm but competitive. You need to be able to get over the past, live in the present moment, and focus on the future. In mtts, the big money decisions have to be made in the emotional cauldron of the latter stages when you are most tired and distracted.
One person who knows all this and has all these characteristics is Nick Abou Risk. Just when you thought Nick couldn't possibly be any more legendary, he goes and posts this on Facebook. Enjoy.