Wiped out seems like a good way to sum up my every Irish Open ever (or WSOP for that matter) as I always seem to end the weekend considerably poorer and physically drained. This year's was a little better at least, if only because I bought way less pieces of other people than I normally do, I only played one side event (and managed to cash in it), and one of the few people I did buy a percentage of in the main cashed (well done Albert). A few people suggested to me over the weekend that since I ran well in satellites (winning 7 seats/packages) I was effectively freerolling the event, but that's not how I look at it (I believe in a clear separation of Church and State, and online and live). Maybe I'm also getting better at pacing myself too, as I ended the event awake enough to watch the live stream of the headsup with excellent commentary from Emmet Kennedy, Feargal Nealon and Calvin Anderson.
I was aware of the need to pace myself going into the event as it followed hot on the heels of the fullest week of live poker on the calendar outside of Vegas, the Norwegian championships. As it happened, an online PocketFives triple crown sweat kept me away from Citywest for much of the week, and I ended up playing only the JP Masters and a couple of side events. I didn't trouble the scorers but did end up giving up a Saturday to rail Daragh Davey all the way to the final table.
As we walked in to reg the event, David Lappin asked me where Daragh was. I told him he was still in bed after an all night cash session. David then jokingly suggested he wasn't happy with our standard 10% three way swap in live tournaments that we all play. My response was
"I am. He's still Daragh Davey!"
So it was no surprise to learn after my demise that Daragh was overnight chip leader. It was a very high quality final table featuring Daragh, Dermot Blain and Andy Black. Daragh ran pretty badly on the final table but it was another great run from one of the most consistent performers in Ireland.
More often than not in the past year or so, major final tables in Ireland have featured at least one Firm member, and with us fielding a full strength side of those in the country (Jason is still in Oz and Kev in Mexico) we went in to the Irish Open full of hope. Unfortunately it all went pear shaped pretty fast. Daragh and David were early day one casualties, and Clayton went right at the end of day one.
I won a few pots early on but then just drifted back and hobbled into day 2 with just over half starting stack. My table was the feature table for a while (forward to 2 hours 10):
I managed to double up early on day 2, and was looking good to double up again when I got it in with AQ v A2dd on a A45dd flop until my opponent rivered the flush. I guess it's a testament to how good the structure is now that even though nothing much went right for me I lingered into day 2 and had a shot to be in the mix with an average stack at that point.
I hopped straight into the €800 side event. This also had a ridiculously good structure (1 hour clock, 15k starting stack, which makes it a better structure than the first few Irish Open main events I played).
I did at least record a cash in this (I busted in 11th after surviving a torturous 4 hour bubble as the shortest stack), although after paying off my swaps it basically meant I'd played 2 days to make €100, not the best of hourlies. It's fair to say it was one of most subdued (or withered) Firm rails ever too.
Pokertube has a few more videos featuring Firm members from the weekend. Late on day 2 the rest of the lads made a drunken invasion which was quite amusing (50 minutes in):
The following day I made a cameo with David who then proceeded to give a master class after I left (44 minutes in):
I also did some commentary with Emmet, Daragh and later Nick on the final table:
The fact that all my best memories are from doing livestream commentary kinda sums up how poorly I've fared in the Open down the years, but then again commentating with Emmet, Rebecca and Channing on the entire final table culminating in the epic headsup battle between Niall Smyth and Surindar Sunar is one of my favourite memories period. Parky said in a recent blog that while he hasn't won the Irish Open yet, he will go on trying til he dies, and I feel exactly the same. Feargal mentioned on commentary how much it would mean to win the trophy, and while I generally take a somewhat more mercenary view that poker is about money rather than trophies (don't get me wrong: I take genuine pride in the trophies I won in running or chess or other feats of pure skill, but given the overwhelming role that luck plays in any one poker tournament, I measure success in poker more in terms of consistency and long term profit), I totally agree with him on the Irish Open. It is the one trophy in poker I'd happily make space for between between my World Indoor 6 Hour Running trophy and my New York Ultra marathon one.