Monday, August 24, 2009

The perils of multitabling in a car

Team event: We came, we saw, we were conquered. Plan going into day 1 was to try and get everyone through to day 2 and not worry too much about stack sizes. As it was, we were all down on starting stack at the break, and only myself above by the end of day 1, but it was main mission accomplished. I had an interesting table draw with Smurph to my immediate left, Christy Morkan (playing very disciplined stuff) to her left, and WSOP bracelet holder Lawrence Gosney (Dave "The Legend" Curtis was there briefly too). Gosney is basically a maniac, but a good one. Since I got run over by two maniacs at the European Deepstack earlier this year I've put a lot of thought into how to counter them early in an MTT and play them much better now I think. Gosney was running over the table, but I got nearly all my chips from or as a result of him (Martin Silke tried to counter his manic aggession with even more manic aggression and overshipped 99 into my KK waiting behind). I moved from 6K up to 30K only to drop 8 on the last hand in a spot where I probably shouldn't have got involved.

We came back on day 2 with only ourselves and the Kerry team fully intact. They lost three early on so it was looking good briefly, but then I lost half my stack when (as reported on Irish Poker Radio) I ran AKs into AA. Maybe I need to start playing AK a little slower live, online it's always correct to get it in I think because of the number of weaker ace calls you get, but live ranges are different. OTOH, if I start routinely folding AK to a reraise, I'll be folding too much of my early position opening range.

Shortly after that we started losing team members like skittles and by the time I exitted in 48th (to Frances McCormack, two pair v better two pair, blind on blind and shallow), we were pretty much out of the hunt, unless Rob pulled off a miracle and won. Rob gave his usual resilient performance, coming back shortest of all on day 2 yet going deep. By the end all we had to play for was a sidebet with Fintan's Galway team. Fintan, never a man to miss an angle, offered to cancel the bet with 18 left, but even though Rob was very short we decided to keep our collective nerve on the basis that Rob was better than 50/50 to secure 13th and most of our equity at that point resided in his chances of so doing. As it happened, he went out in exactly 13th to pip Fintan's team by 1 point.

So disappointment for us overall but very happy with how everyone played. Bottom line is we didn't get the requisite luck.

Great tourney though even if they must have been disappointed at the turnout, run as brilliantly as ever by JP (or rather JP's Christine). Delighted to see two mates of mine Dave Masters and Big Mick G get headsup. Particularly thrilled to see Dave notch up another win in both the team and the individual, amd Big Mick is on a sick run live, only a matter of time before he clicks a big live result. Top class young lad with the talent, attitude and work ethic to go really far. Was a moment when Mick came over while I was playing FT of the side event and made a comment to me that rubbed some others at the table up the wrong way. I explained it was playful banter between friends rather than malicious arrogance from an Internet superstar and nothing I wouldn't say to him (and in fact did later on when he was headsup with Dave).

300 side event: Jumped into this shortly after my exit. Tough table again with The Legend, Tom Kitt and Nicky O'Donnell all to my immediate left. I don't have a great record in side events, at least compared to main events, part of which I attribute to the worse structures, but part of which is probably down to it being hard to focus on playing my best stuff immediately after the disappointment of a main event exit. And to be honest, I didn't play all that well early on, finding it hard to focus on it with Rob still in the main. I compensated for it by running well (for a change) winning two flips against Nicky where I was on the marginally worse side. First one, I was down to less than 6K at 150/300 when I opened for 850 with AQ in lateish position. Nicky called on the button and we saw a flop of Q87 with two spades. With an SPR of less than 3 my main concern at this point with TPTK is how to get the rest of the chips in rather than protection, and with Nicky playing very well and very aggressively decided on the check raise all in approach. As it happened, Nicky was playing 9s6s so he had a monster draw that was actually favourite, but thankfully he missed everything. My other big hand (Nicky's exit) was a straightforward race: I opened in lateish pos with AKs, Nicky overshipped 88 in the SB, and I called. Given the way AK has been going for me lately I did think about it a little first, but was definitely getting the price against Nicky's range (the BB was absent so Nicky may have felt my range was wider than normal, meaning his was too). Was my first significant playing time with Nicky and he played extremely well (great four bet bluff early on that he showed). Obviously very unlucky to lose both those big hands against me, and even unluckier to lose another all in with a dominating ace.

The other big hand of day one for me was Tom Kitt's exit. Tom overshipped A2o on the button after I raised, I called with JJ and obviously held. I'd been a lot more active than normal so Tom probably felt my range was wider and I'd have to fold most of it.

Came back on day 2 with 38K, well above average. Early on, nothing went right and I'd pretty much open folded or cbet folded half my stack away by the time we got to the final table. There were a few marginal decisions where I was almost getting the right price to call but I erred on the side of caution as I felt I'd have a decent edge on the FT if I got there. As it was though, I had to get very lucky after I went card dead at the start. I shipped KTs for 6 bigs into QQ, flop AJx, case queen on the turn straightens me up. That gave me some chips to play with and I moved from 40K to 120K without showdown before the table dynamics forced me to tighten up. There was one monster stack to my immediate left, I was second in chips, and everyone else was very short, so I was happy enough to play the waiting game and let the big stack knock out the others. By the time I got headsup with Annette from Sligo, I was outchipped almost 6 to 1 with less than 10 bigs so there wasn't a massive amount of play. I told Annette I didn't think it would last very long and it didn't. I needed to double up to be able to play some proper poker. Early on, I did try to keep the pots small by limping my button, something I almost never do normally, but once the blinds went up knocking me down to 8 bigs, it was ship or fold and I shipped it in with two paint cards, got called by 88, and lost the race. So second for €3800, which I had to be happy with given I went into the FT as the shortie, and felt justified my earlier decision to make the marginal folds rather than gamble prematurely.

Online: The side event ended just in time for me to play the Late Night Poker Stars weekly final (and the Poker Million qualifier on Full Tilt), albeit having to play in the car as Mireille drove me home. Got off to a flier in the Poker Million and was among chipleaders for a long time until I went card dead and then squeezed with 88 over 5 limpers and got called by JT. The Stars thing was a real rollercoaster, good start, then virtually crippled, back up again, then misclicked half my stack away (the perils of multitabling in a car). Luckily I continued to run good when it mattered most and ended up on the final table with Big Iain (of Irish Poker radio). Was chatting on MSN to Iain through the tournament. Iain got very unlucky with AK v AJ but hung around to rail me to the win along with a few other poker buddies. Was glad he finally got to see me win a tournament after his slagging about my inability to close out. The headsup was a real slog as I got my opponent down from level to 5 to 1 in my favour before he came bouncing back into the lead. I got him down low again and overshipped an ace. He called with a king and an ace on the flop removed any sweat. Good craic with some mates railing me, and some Corkonians shouting "death to the jackeen traitor" in the chatbox, making the victory all the sweeter. Did feel sorry for my opponent though who played really well and must have been devastated to be so near and yet so far. By the end Mireille and my brother were watching me and they were a lot more nervous than I was. I love it every time my brother watches me these days: "Ugh, 72o, you're obviously folding. What, you raised, are you crazy? AKQ, he bet, now you give up obviously, what, you raised him again? Wow, he folded". Yes, I'm a bit different these days from the monkey he trained to play premiums only.

Anyway, great end to the night, delighted to have qualified for the RTE thing the hard way, and looking forward to my TV heat in October now, and giving the "seasoned pros" a run for their money (was joking with John O'Shea that I was hoping for another min cash and his reply was "the seasoned pros won't allow that to happen").



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