Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mancland ahoy

Busy week on all fronts. Started training again and felt sluggish as Hell until today, which tends to be how it goes. I think you're supposed to ease back into it after you take a two week break after a 6 hour race, but fuck that. First run in 15 days was a mile race at ALSAA. Had no real idea what time to expect, clearly PB's were not on the agenda, but I figured 5:40 would be decent and to be honest wouldn't have been shocked if I'd struggled to break 6:00.

In the event, I ran 5:35 for second so I was happy enough. I was 3 seconds behind the winner but in truth it was never much of a contest. He ran on my shoulder for the first lap but even then it was clear he was going easier, and he pulled away after that. I closed a bit on the last lap without ever really threatening to catch him. Newly crowned European Airlines champion Orla Loftus was a reasonably distant third behind me so largely it was more of a procession than a race. I've won this series overall last two years, but this year I missed the race the day I flew back from my third place in Central Park (in no condition to run), so that meant fourth place at best, which is what it was.

Rest of the week I felt sluggish, old, fat and useless. Norrie doesn't believe in easing back either: session of 12 300's on Friday, then 70 minutes yesterday, and 20 100's today. Today's session went very well though: I actually felt light on my feet.

Been very busy with the day job getting stuff finished before I disappear off to Manchester, so not played anything serious online. Just stuck to $1/$2 Limit in the background as I worked. Limit's easiest to play in Automode, and the players are so bad it's guaranteed bankroll boost. I ended up about $500 on the week.

Played my Wednesday night local pub tournament: usual mix of exhileration and frustration. Lost half my stack on a hand where one woman playing every pot limped from mid position, I called in the SB with A10s, flop came AQ2, I check, and she bets 5000 of her 5600 into a pot of 600. WFT is that, I wonder, before deciding it's not a big ace or a set since she'd be more encouraging of a call, so I have to call. I'm right: all she has is Q9. But another Q hits the turn and I've lost half my stack. Bad enough but what annoyed me most is everyone at the table seemed to think it was really great play on her part: really "courageous" and "that's what poker is all about". Hmmm, 5000 to win 600, 90% of your stack, with at best 5 outs if you're called.

Next hand, I'm still steaming a little bit, which explains why I raise to 1200 on the button over two habitual limpers (including my new nemesis), or 25% of my remaining stack, with AJ. By God if those fuckers must play their Q9's and J8's I'll make them pay, I was thinking, if I was thinking.

Flop's KKQ and I'm not going near it even when it's checked around. Turn's a 10 to make my straight so when it's checked around again I'm all in and ready to say "Well played" to either of them if they have KQ or K10. They both instacall so I know I'm out. Only I'm not. Two Ace 10's!!! So I triple back up into a chip lead until the final table.

Card dead at the final table, the blinds come racing like they're on the Balco list, and with 5 left and 3 paid, I 3 bet a limper with KQ for 30% of my stack. He calls, flop is A102, he checks, so I bet half the pot to find out if he has the ace. He instacalls so I know he has it. Turn's a 9, river's a 3, it's checked down, and he has Q9! Hand of the night clearly. Shortly after I lose allin with JJ against AQ.

Played the SE 500 Euro game last night and never really got going after losing nearly half my stack early in a hand I possibly misplayed. When it's button on blind and you have the novice's favourite hand (Top Pair Top Kicker) all the way, you're always going to lose some chips but I could perhaps have lost 2000 less. Action was check, check, pot, call, fold on the flop, check, half pot, min raise on the turn, all in, call on the river. The call on the river is the dubious part as even with TPTK I'm really only beating a bluff. But I was getting 2 to 1 on the call, there were busted flushes and a busted straight out there, and with my opponent so short stacked he could have been desperate so I ascribed a higher probability to the bluff than I would normally, based purely on his stack size, and his style. My read turned out to be accurate as he later pulled a massive bluff on Willie Clynes, and then went out of the tournament on a semi bluff rereraise for 100 BB. But not in this specific instance, as he'd flopped a set of 2's. The brother reckoned I played it fine but I think I could have folded the river. Busted draws and short stack desperation aside, I think I knew I was beaten from the way he played it but just made a stubborn call.

Actually recovered by the break after picking up 10's in the BB. Late position loose raiser raised, button called, SB called, I reraised big, and the button called with 3's suspecting a squeeze.

After the break just gradually withered away. Two double ups (KK against AQ, AQs against 9's) threatened to get me back into it but was followed by AJ beating my Q's, so was forced to widen my pushing range and my A8 from the CO ran into Adam "The Champ" Fallon's 8's in the SB. Adam really impressed me yet again: he was shorter stacked than me for a while but didn't panic and was right back in it when I left. Future poker superstar for sure.

Off to Manchester with the brother for a week to play the GUKPT.


Best of luck in Manchester Dara! This blog is consistently an interesting read by the way.

Thanks for the kind comment, Lloyd.

No luck personally in Manchester, but finished almost 2 grand up due to have a hefty percentage in the brother and him playing out of his skin in the side tournaments, making two final tables. Was very proud of him as he played brilliantly at the final table despite being the short stack for most of it.

Full trip report to follow. You playing the JP Masters this weekend?

I am Dara. Well done to the Brother. Hope he profited a few quid. Cya a the weekend and best of luck.


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