Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Running bad, running good, running long

Not a great deal to report pokerwise. Played another IO sat in the Emporium but never really threatened the scorers. Got little or no cards but still managed to work up from the effective starting stack of 8.5K to 17K just after the break through decent enough play without doing anything brilliant or spectacular. I did make some good laydowns, unusually for me. I'm learning to be a better folder.

I'd drifted back to 8.5K without even seeing a flop (thanks to some of the aforementioned good laydowns pre-flop) when I called an allin from a very loose player UTG with AK. He had QJ, but he spiked a queen. That's tournament poker. Funnily enough, with just over half a big blind, I almost got back into it. After folding two hands (thereby losing 20% of my stack in antes!) I picked up AJs. UTG raised, two callers before it gets to me, I call, small blind calls, so now my 425 is in a main pot for over 3K! It gets better when the flop comes QJx with two of my suit. No club, but an ace arrives on the river and I'm briefly thinking I might be good until the initial raiser bets 7K, another guy raises to 21K, and now I'm pretty sure I have the worst hand of the three of us. And I have: UTG has completed a set of Aces, and the other guy has K10 for the straight.

I still maintain these sats are good value. I certainly saw some bizarre plays last night that probably won't be going in my playbook. Like on a board of A 10 5 4 with 3 spades, the turn betting goes check, bet, reraise all in, insta call. The insta caller had KJ with nary a spade. I guess he felt a queen was coming.

Online I've been doing very little, just faffing about really. Most of that faffing has been in $5 6-seat SNGs. The idea being to improve my short-handed play, which seems to be my largest remaining weakness, and one I think that's cost me lots late on in MTTs. Too many times I've blown promising positions with 25-30 left through weak short-handed play. Even in Drogheda it was notable that I drifted back from a very good position (over 1 million in chips for chip lead) to being the 3rd shortest stack at the final table, although there I think I played the short handed section ok. Funnily enough when it gets short-handed at final tables I have a great record, probably because my ignorant aggression at that point works more often than not as people tense up. But in situations like 6-seat sats where everyone is forced to play for the win rather than nudge up the money table, I'm not so good.

Anyway, my play has definitely improved thanks to the SNGs. The main flaw I identified was playing too many marginal hands, and pushing them too hard.

I was thinking of going up to Drogheda tonight but don't feel up to it. Might go Saturday instead, if I can persuade our friends Sean and Anne to reschedule our social night. Sean's a novelist, one of the few professions even more precarious than poker. Sean was thrilled with my recent win in Drogheda, telling me he reckons it's now good for his CQ (coolness quotient) to be associated with a poker shark, as opposed to when I was just some loon running ridiculously long distances. My other novelist friend, Michael, sent me a hilarious congratulations on my win in Drogheda which I won't repeat here for fear he'd sue me for breach of copyright. These novelists, they sell a book to Anthony Minghella or get Booker-listed and before you know it, their emails and grocery lists are copyrighted.

Spent some of Sunday evening with my friend and mentor Tony Mangan (great 4 page feature on him in last week's Sunday Tribune) talking about our forthcoming trip to Brno, where we're hoping to do Irish ultra running proud. Tony's going for the 48 hour race he won last year (in which he broke the world record, running a mind-bending 10 full marathons plus in 48 hours), and I'm going for the baby version of same (6 hour race). Tony asked me what my aims for the race and I told him I'll be trying to win, and also break his Irish record. Tony smiled and pointed out that many have tried but nobody has ever succeeded in breaking a TM record. Good banter. Tony's a total legend in my eyes. In my opinion, he's the greatest Irish athlete operating at the moment. What other Irish athlete can claim over a dozen national records, 3 world records, a dozen major race victories? It's just a shame he's operating at the end of the spectrum where the media here doesn't really pay much heed to. Tony's known all over the world and is better known in most countries than he is at home.

On a more positive poker note, Poker News are going to publish a piece from me on the European Deepstack Championships. I think it'll be in their April edition. Also, Richard Donovan is interviewing me for a piece for Irish Runner, which will focus mainly on my running but also on my recent conversion to poker. The idea of me being interviewed by the legend that is Richard Donovan (Pole explorer extraordinaire, conqueror of Dean Karnazes, and the only man who could keep running through kidney failure in the Amazon jungle) is vaguely ludicrous but flattering nonetheless.



Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More