Thursday, March 5, 2009

Defending the crown....European Deepstack 2

Despite having already snagged a ticket online, I played the supersat the night before. Partly to familiarise myself with the room and some of my competition (first impression: madder and more French than last year), but mainly because these things always represent major value if you're any way proficient in ICM and general satellite concepts. Nothing really went right until the crapshoot started, but once it did, nothing went wrong. First I ended the dreams of one of last year's choppers when my AQ outraced Baz Hand's TT, and then a succession of big hands that held put me in great shape. With 17 left and 16 tickets, and no really big or small stacks, a deal was done whereby everyone chipped in 100 euro for an extra ticket (or those prequalified like me took 100 less as cash alternative). So a good morale boosting start to the weekend meaning I'd be in profit no matter what.Before kickoff the next day, I chatted with Rob, Rory Brown, Paul Coyle (in whom I took a 10% stake Paul's someone I believe is going to be a superstar and who I'd happily take a stake in in any field), and KP. People were asking me how I was going to approach it this year and the truth is that while I'd put a lot of thought into it, I had no rigid predefined strategy as it always depends on what the other guys are doing. I did say that it would be tougher for me this year as more people knew my basic game.Last year, I doubled up in the first level, and I managed to repeat the same feat again this year, albeit in very different situations. I made what my brother would have called a "fruity" utg raise with JTs, and got 2 callers, the very capable Benjamin Gallen and a Czech guy apparently tilting from the previous hand. The KQ9 flop gave me the current nuts. I led at it for 500, Benjamin flatted, and the Czech made it 1600. I decided to flat to keep Benjamin in but being a colour blind fool I threw a 10K chip in instead of a 1K one, effectively raising to 10600. Benjamin folded (bottom set reportedly), and the Czech called. I led at the turn as there was a flush draw on board, the Czech shipped, and seemed genuinely surprised that his KQ wasn't ahead when the hands flipped over. 5 minutes in and I'm now sweating no king no queen. No king no queen and I doubled up.I then got moved to what looked like a dream table but unfortunately it was a flying visit. My third table featured James McManus (Hawkeye), eventual winner Francis McCormack, John Weafer and later last year's runner up Gary Clarke. As bad as that sounds, the real nightmare was two uber maniacs, a French $25/$50 online cash game player, and a Scot who I freely admitted to afterwards was the hardest guy I've ever had to play against opening every pot. A typical pot at 100/200 went one of them opened to 1500, the other one raised to 6K, so you were having to put in a huge chunk of your stack just to see a flop. Deepstack me arse, basically. I went card dead and the two hands I did play lost me chunks. One I had perfectly disguised tens in the blind and stuck in a big check raise on a 9 high. The Scot instaflatted (he never seemed to fold once he had a chip in the pot which was pretty much every pot, presumably because folding is a sign of weakness), and when the turn completed both a flush and a straight, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and check folded to the inevitable 25K bet which coulda been a flush, a straight, random two pair, bottom pair, or air. Next one I raised the Scot with AKs on the button only to get reraised to 12K by the French maniac in the blinds. After considering all three options (fold, call, ship), I decided to just call on the basis that I had position. Or thought I did: the French guy shipped another 20K into the pot in the dark (a very frequent occurence on the table: in fact often maniac number 1 would make a big bet in the dark and maniac number 2 would call, also in the dark). I missed a queen high flop and had to fold again.In the end, I "escaped" from the table with just 40K of my 100K intact. My fourth table was a short lived affair (I don't think I played a hand), meaning I was coming back the next day with less than starting stack looking to hit the ground running.I managed to do so in one of the most talked about hands of the whole tournament. Steve Basri, an old school English pro that I've played with a lot online on Ipoker, limped in late position. I've seen him fold a lot in those spots to raises (in fact, he'd done it the previous hand, folding his limped button when Ghostface Ste raised from the SB) so decided this was a good spot to raise atc from the small blind. Paul Jackson was BB and not overly attached to his blinds, and would have quite a rocky image of me, as would Steve, so I figured this was a clear plus Ev spot. In the event, Steve called this time, and the flop came 865 with two hearts. I had 93 of hearts so that's a pretty good flop for me. I led, Steve raised, I assumed he thought I was on two high cards so I shipped, and he snap called with top set. Ouch. I sucked out a flush on the river.I then got moved to a new table that featured Padraig Parkinson, Scott Gray, John Eams, Mick McCool, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ken Corkery and a French guy Vannak Tok who was the chipleader. Mick was good company as ever playfully taking the piss referring to me as "the champ" and was destined to be in my first big pot at the table. Padraig raised utg, Mick shipped, I reshipped QQ, Padraig folded (JJ he said), and I won a race against Mick's AK. A short while later I moved into second in chips in the tournament when I got it all in pre with AA v a French guy's KK and held, and with position on Tok was in a truly great spot. Till now he'd bee running over the table opening nearly every pot, but he folded to my first few reraises, showing AQ on one occasion and remarking ruefully I was the one stack he couldn't tangle with.Unfortunately, it didn't last two long. First I lost a 150K pot to Ken when I raised on the button with ATs. Ken shipped and getting almost 2 to 1 on the call I felt I had to eventually. John Eams immediately remarked that it was the correct decision even if you never like it, and usually I think it would be, but there I think the call was actually a mistake. Ken's so tight I'm pretty much always playing one card there so 2 to 1 ain't enough. Furthermore, it would have been better to preserve the extra 60K all the better to get some more steals and resteals through rather than lose a significant chunk of my stack and steal effectiveness.Shortly afterwards, I misplayed a hand against Kevin Fitz. I raised on the button with QJs. I saw him counting out the chips to see if he had any fold equity before deciding he didn't and just calling. I decided he was clearly going to pull a stop and go on any raggy flop and mentally committed to calling. The flop came raggy and he confused me by checking. I should just ship here every time but his check made me suspect he'd hit so I checked behind. Another rag on the turn, and now when he ships I don't have as easy a call with one card to come. Those chips I gifted him to keep him alive came to haunt me as I lost a 100K+ pot shortly afterwards when he apparently cracked my KK with Ax.A disastrous final session saw my chips dwindle to under 200K from their 500K high point, and with 23 coming back and 15 get paid, I was in the nervy 16th position overnight.That morniong I put some thought into it and discussed with Mireille whether I should play cautiously to ensure the cash or really go for it. She agreed with the go for it option, and early on I increased my stack by about 50% thanks to some uncalled shippage. That saw me through the bubble but with 15 left and an M of less than 5 I was still very much in ship mode, and eventually ran AJ into KK and didn't suck out. The old French guy (who incidentally ended up coming fourth - uber rocks took 3 of the first 4 positions which really makes you think that's the way to play this event) took an eternity before making the call, so long that I wondered if I might actually be ahead or at least racing and Eams suspected him of slowrolling (I don't think it was - having played with him throughout the tournament I think he was genuinely unsure of whether his KK was ahead there).Overall, I was happy to have made what Padraig Parkinson immediately described generously as a credible defence of the title. I jumped straight into the side event and went reasonably deep into the crapshoot portion until I shipped AJs from the SB after a series of limps only to get called by one limper with AQ. AJ is a hand I seem to exit at least half of my tournament shipping: maybe I should just take it off the list.I'd gotten friendly with JOhn Eams so hung around a while to rail him. John's a class player and human being who got very unlucky in the end. The final table effectively swung on one big hand that played itself where Francis flopped a straight, the French guy TPTK, and John two overs and a flush draw. Afterwards myself and Alan drank some of his champagne with two of his friends, one of whom had taken down the 500 side event (which Rob final tabled and Cat got desperately unlucky not to). One young local who haS a better record in raffles than he does in poker tournaments asked me if I was reliving old glories. Harsh. In the end, you're always disappointed when you go deep and don't win, but ultimately I was happy I'd given it my best shot and played as well as I could for the most part and that's all you can ever do. And any profitable weekend is a good weekend in poker.


"...any profitable weekend is a good weekend in poker."

Agreed, even if only €10... a profit is a profit.

I think you did a brilliant job in attempting to defending your crown, getting past the bubble is still impressive and reinforces your image as a good solid and consistent player. GG WD

PS I think the graduates from the same school poker, that French/Scottish player duo attended, play regularly in the Clonsilla Inn!


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More