Monday, October 19, 2009

2 bubbles and a min cash

Purely results based thinking: played a lot of very good poker for very little profit this weekend (net profit about 200 Euro). Overall it was yet another weekend of frustrating nearlies the sort I've been specialising in of late. No point moaning though: the nature of tournament poker is that the nearlies will always outnumber the big scores in the long run, and it's all about keeping the head and staying in the game between the big scores.

Friday: IPO main event day 1. Tough table draw with at least four very good players. Very happy with how I played, moved fairly comfortably from 10K to 70K until a few setbacks at the hands of Paul Smallwood knocked me back to 35K. Recovered to 90K at the end of the day. A much bigger proportion of my chips came from pots that never got to showdown, something I was very happy with as it's something I've been trying to work more into my game. My traditional approach to tournaments has adhered fairly closely to the so called double up theory, looking to get all or as many of my chips in at possible where I'm as strong a favourite as possible (early on, ideally 80/20s, late on when patience is less of a virtue, 55/45s quite acceptable). Recently I've started thinking that showdowns are risky invitations to getting sucked out on and a better approach to stack building if possible is one that cuts them out.

Saturday: Played the side event bingo. No point complaining about the structure, it is what it is, something that has to whittle 200 starters down to a single winner in a single night. Bingoed with the best of them playing stack appropriately at all times before going out losing a 50/50 when a four big blind just below average stack push got called. Otherwise, the highlight was when one of those obnoxious bores that we Irish specialise in, you know, the kind who believe themselves to be phenomenal wits and "great characters all the same" arrived at the table determined to show off his razor wit and slow the game down to a snail's pace. After initially ignoring his attempts to engage in "banter" with me over the suit (always a source of raw material to these "wits") but faced with his insistence in perseverance, I decided to pull a McFadden and said to him "Je parle pas anglais", much to the amusement of the other Irish at the table who know I was not really a Frenchy. The other highlight was Derek Murray and Christy Morkan staggering in to take the piss out of j.thaddeus for playing a side event, with Derek Murray exhorting him to "grind it out now Jude, don't do anything stupid".

Sunday: Back for day 2, roared up to 300K but it all went wrong in one big hand. With the blinds 8k/15k/1k, having drifted back to 240, I opened QQ utg for my standard 38K raise. Round to the BB who decided to defend. This guy had been on my starting table on day 1 and was playing ubertight. Range seemed to be only big pairs and ace king when he had no chips in the pot. However, I'd noticed when he had chips in (from the blinds), he tended to defend marginal enough holdings like QT. From talking to him he told me he was a very occasiona player who played mainly in his local and had only ventured into a casino he couldn't name (from the description, it sounded like The Jackpot) once or twice, so it's fair to say my read of him was fairly standard ABC, and very tight. It's possible he had change gears in the mean time but he did still seem to be playing very tight.

Anyway, flop comes T82 with a flush draw which looks pretty good to a pair of queens so I fired in a standard cbet of 40K when he checked, which he called with apparent reluctance, feigned or otherwise. It looked more feigned to me so alarm bells went off and when a blank 6 hit the turn I decided to check behind partly for pot control and partly on the basis that I wasn't getting called by many worse hands or folding out any better ones, but if I held my fire I might get a small value bet on the river from a lower pair (99 or whatever). River is a ten, he checks quickly, I fire in a 40K value bet and to my horror after a bit of Hollywood get reraised to 150K. In my experience against this type of opponent. that's a bluff 0% of the time, so much as I hate folding an overpair having put half my stack in already, I eventually got there.

That left me with 8.4 big blinds which became 6 almost immediately when the blinds went up, 4.5 when the blinds went through, meaning the next half decent hand was getting shipped. That hand was pocket 2's, called by AJ, and a J high flop sent me packing. Obviously disappointed but the nature of a tourney like this is you have to run well at the death and once again I failed on that score. I've noted in past blogs how much Irish people suck as consolers: thankfully Poles are much better my immediate company after bust out was the always lovely Kasia who said all the right thing to sooth my aching soul. Every tournament organiser in the country should hire this woman.

Jumped straight and late into the PLO side event, had a rollercoaster ride to a good stack until my QQxx got done by QQxx blind on blind. I hung around for as long as I could on the short stack before finally biting the bullet on the bubble, my AQT9 double suited no match for JJ43. It's fair to say I'm something of a PLO tourney novice, I wasn't always sure how to play stack appropriately, but on the plus side I've now played two live PLO tourneys and built stacks and gone deep in both (albeit both bubbles). Amusing moment of the day: Neil Channing taking the plaudits and admiration of all in his stride until a Scottish player (The Mole) pointed out that he was his most despised player. After asking rather bemusedly why he despised him, The Mole helpfully elaborated: "Because you're a cock".

Great weekend all round, hats off to all the Boyle poker team. The new gay pin up icon of Irish poker, John O'Shea, fresh from his vanity piece on the cover of Vanity Fair, er, I mean Card Player (does anyone else think that pout on the cover is pure Zoolander? Blue Steel I think it's called), even sailed in at the end tanned from Marrakech to sneer at the little people as only he can. Rob (Taylor) was running around like a frenzied ferret as his better half did the business (well done Cat, another great performance), Nicky Power was around the place spreading bonhomie, Noel Magner was off doing a Heads Up for Boyle that should be a classic, and Jay Renihan was final tabling yet again. Jay deserves recognition as the most consistent live tournament player in Ireland right now. I wasn't feeling particularly sociable after my second bubble in as many days and the fact that John seemed to have me pinned as the designated target for his "banter" didn't encourage me to stick around to see if my mood lifted.

But great weekend over all, and now I'll just have to win the Winter Festival instead.


Dara, keep putting yourself in the frame & eventually........


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