Monday, March 13, 2017

No friends at the poker table

Irish Open Online championship

Before I wind up my Unibet London trip report, first the Irish Open (which is always one of my favourite events of the year) is just around the corner, and for the first time ever there's an online event. If you fancy becoming the first ever Irish Open online champion, it's a two day event starting next Sunday at 8 PM GMT and concluding the following day. It's on Micrograming skin Guts and there's an Irish Open main event package (€1150 seat to the Open and 5 night accommodation) added to the prize pool! Unfortunately I won't be able to play it myself as I'll be in Brighton (fortunately having a great time at the Unibet UK tour event there) but I will be doing commentary live on Facebook and Youtube on day 2.


OK, back to London...

After busting the main, I went with Lappin and Daiva for some food. Afterwards we all regged the 300 buyin side event together, which meant we were all put on the same late reg table. A bit of a rookie mistake as these kinds of tables tend to be much tougher than random ones. I had Daiva to my immediate left, Lappin next to her, and the table also included two other ambassadors, Espen and Dan Murariu, as well as Stuart from Glasgow who ended up chopping the event. So in Ev terms, the table from Hell, but at least the banter was considerable.

I decided I'd better tread lightly out of position to the two pros who best know my game, my current study partner Daiva, and previous study partner David. As it happens, I got off to a good start, winning a big pot first hand. Second hand, Daiva min raised utg, and after everyone else folded I defended pocket fours. The flop was pretty good for my hand, j32r, meaning I can beat second pair and have a back door straight draw, so I called a small bet. The turn was an inconsequential low card, and we both checked. The river looked ok too, a queen, so I checked figuring whoever was ahead on the flop was still ahead, and there was no point betting my hand as Daiva won't call with worse. So I checked and she bet quickly. The bet seemed fishy as she has very few queens in her range (I didn't think she'd bet ace queen for example on the flop), and she looked unusually nervous as I considered the call, but again I figured this might be her cunningly trying to reverse tell me, so I let her have it. This is an exploitative divergence from game theory (otherwise known as a mistake), as it's hard to make a pair and I'm so far up my range on the river if I fold this hand I'm folding too much and Daiva can profitably bluff any two cards.

Daiva mischievously showed a nine as she raked in the chips, an odd card as I didn't think she'd value bet pocket nines. She admitted it was 98s. I happily laughed this off, I have no problem acknowledging when I've been outplayed, even by a close friend, so well played Daiva. I jokingly tweeted that I needed a new study partner. Daiva twisted the knife being quick to point out the lack of immediate applications for the position :)

I recovered my composure to make day 2, as did Lappin (who took out Daiva with his underpair to her overpair to prove he doesn't just run well against me).  After another sleepless night under duck feathers I hung on grimly with my short stack until I got a full double up through Renee Xie (my ace king held against her ace queen). Unfortunately that was as good as it got, and I exited four from the bubble in a standard blind on blind spot.

An Irishman, an American, a Lithuanian, and some lads from Oop North

The High Roller was starting and my original intention was to jump in, but I was really feeling the effects of the sleepless nights by now so decided to skip it. Instead I rested up for the Players party, which is always a highlight at Unibet events. I started with some predrinking Chez Daiva where I had the pleasure of meeting her husband John's Bury crew, a truly great bunch of blokes. They do that particularly Blokey thing of relentlessly taking the piss out of one of their number, then as soon as he leaves the room going to considerable lengths to point out the many great qualities he has. That continues until Best Bloke Ever comes back into the room and immediately becomes Bloke We Take Piss Out Of Nonstop.

The only other invited guest going on to the Player party was the ever charming Kelly Saxby, which meant that I got to walk in with the two most beautiful ladies at the party. Or at least behind them filming them walking in on one of their phones.


Ain't no party like a Unibet party


The party was truly epic and the personal highlight for me was emulating my friend Mick McCloskey who got to hang out and have his picture taken with Viktor Blom a few years ago in Galway. Viktor is easily the nicest and most down to earth poker God I've ever met.

We stayed until the end, at which point Lappin did what he always does in these spots: tried to assemble a crew to join him in his pursuit of late night chicken. We made a half hearted effort to find him a Chicken Cottage until we were reliably informed that they were all shut.

He took the news with profound sadness.



Estonian Jesus

The following day I played my last event, the turbo deepstack and never really got going. As I played that, news from the main event was that a player the media was dubbing Estonian Jesus was performing miracles. I quickly realised this was Estonian Ben, with whom I shared commentary duties in the last 12 months in Tallinn and Mazagan.

Around this time I was also getting trolled on Twitter by my fellow ambassador Lappin who had spotted a statue on his London walkaround he felt bore a certain resemblance to a certain someone.

Ben ended up busting his final table around the same time I bust the turbo. Unibet's livestream commentary A team of Marc Convey and David Vanderheyden were in the market for someone who could come in for a couple of hours to let them grab some dinner, so Ben and I jumped in. After Ben's stint, Lappin joined me for the next hour. Two pretty enjoyable hours for me personal with two very different commentators. My stint starts at around the 5 hour 9 minute mark:

Really feeling the effect of sleepless nights under duck feathers now, I was intending an early night, but the hospitality of Unibet at their events makes a quick getaway almost impossible to execute. I got waylaid to the bar, and then the staff tournament, which was great fun despite the fact I was so tired I could barely see the cards and I got outrageously nit rolled by eventual winner Marc Convey (just kidding Marc: well done and I certainly don't hope you fall off the new bike you bought with your winnings).

The following day Mrs Doke flew in to chill out for a few days. We went to dinner with Daiva, John, Sameer and his lovely wife Fran, and hung out quite a bit with Daiva. Whatever her downsides as a study partner, she can't be faulted as a hostess.

Roll on Brighton!

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