Monday, May 24, 2010

Notts (another) UghIPT

I know it's more than a little self indulgent in these recessionary times to be whining about any aspect of playing cards for a living (or "living the dream" as Chris Fitz calls it) but I'd be lying through my teeth if I pretended I bounded over to Dusk Til Dawn with joy in my heart and a song on my lips to play the Nottingham leg of the UKIPT.

In truth it was more a case of thinking where's a cloud of volcanic ash when it's most needed. I can safely say the UK is my least favorite destination for poker (or anything else for that matter) and I even tried to get Stars to let me transfer the ticket to another leg but they were having none of it.

I flew over that morning and hung around at the airport waiting for Mick McCloskey. He showed up with a gang of the Northern lads, and we split up into two taxis to head into Nottingham. I did get off to great start more or less doubling up in a very strange hand against former GUKPT Luton champ David LaRonde. He limped under the gun, apparently steaming from the previous hand, his first at the table where he got called on three streets by a gutshot that got there. With steam almost visibly rising from him, I figured this would be a great time to find a playable hand against him, and ATo on the button was plenty good enough to raise to isolate. He called, and I flopped gin: KQJr. He checked, I made what looked like a continuation bet of 900, he raised to 4K. After a bit of a think, I decided to flat call. I was pretty sure he had total air as having played quite a bit with him both live and online I think anything on that board he raises pre, so I figured I was going to have to let him get the chips in first. The turn was a Q (pairing the board) and he instashipped the loot in drawing dead with 86.

Apart from that, I didn't play particularly well, getting a few of the marginal decisions wrong, including a big (wrong) bottom two fold to a triple barrel that culminated with a ship on the river (my opponent showed ace high). My mood wasn't elevated by there being no dinner break and the kitchen being totally overrun and unfit to cater for 500 hungry souls (it actually closed for a couple of hours at one point) so when I finally got knocked out late in the day (I shoved a suited ace into pocket tens) it almost felt like a mercy killing. I'm pretty sure this was the last UK leg of the tour I'll be attending. Not fancying hanging around Nottingham for a few days to play the side events, I booked a flight home for the following morning, meaning I was back in time for the opening of the new Parkside casino in Mulhuddart. My friend Dennis Reyes is working there and invited me to be one of the bounty players for the opening night tournament. There was a bounty of €500 on Tom Hanlon and €100 each on myself and three others.

My plan with the bounty was to flop the nuts a few times and shove. Unfortunately the nuts only turned up once and I ended up going out on the second last table shoving another suited ace into another pocket pair. The new casino is a lovely room and hopefully it will take off as it's easily the nearest casino to me.

On Sunday I headed up to Dundalk with Liz Mullally for the CPT game, ultimately going out on the second last table shoving, you guessed it, a suited ace into, yup, a pocket pair. Very enjoyable game though run very professionally in a very good atmosphere.

I also played the Westbury monthly game on Tuesday, bubbling it, or rather getting bobbed on the bubble, getting it in on the turn with top pair top kicker against local legend Bob's open ender and a pair. Keith O'Brien is doing a very good job there revitalising the club which was likely to struggle after Larry Santo's departure.

Other than that I've been potting away online. I got home from Dundalk in time to notch up my biggest ever score in a Sunday major (on Party) . I usually run pretty atrociously in the Sunday majors but ran so well on this occasion I found myself wondering if I'd fallen asleep and was dreaming it. Apart from that, it's been a very good week overall, shipping a few 45 mans on Full Tilt, and cashing in a bunch of WSOP 3x's on Stars. I had a near miss for a full package in my first 3x, getting down to the last 4 with 2 packages. The stacks were 2.5 million, 1.8, 1.5 (me) and 700K when I pick up AK. Blinds were massive so it's a standard ship. The chipleader flatted in the SB, and the guy with 1.8 million tanked, letting his timebank run all the way down before reshipping. The SB had AQ, the BB JJ and I was obviously relieved to be in decent enough shape, basically about a 35% shot for the package. As it happened, the board ran out queen high, meaning the chipleader scooped taking the 700K shortie off to Vegas with him. A subsequent attempt saw me get headsup (only 1 package this time) and it ultimately came down to KJs v A5s. I caught a k on a flop that gave him a flush draw, but he turned the flush. I've also been playing all the major nightly tourneys on Bruce, and on Friday night almost pulled off the double of winning the big two in one night. I got to the final table of both the $12500 and the $15K as big chipleader. I managed to bring it home in the $12500, but ultimately came up short in the $15K, busting in third after losing a series of races. If I'd won even won I'd pretty much have wrapped the tourney up, but I can't really complain as I'd run very well to that point. On Sunday night I went even better, winning both the 15K sand the $7K 30 rebuy, finishing fourth in the nightly turbo, and second on Green Joker Poker in the 20K.

Anyone who follows Irish Poker Boards will probably know that having announced at the start of the year that the person who topped the Irish rankings at year end would win a 10K package, Boyle's changed their mind recently and decided that instead the 10K will go to the winner of a two table live final. At the time of the announcement I was on top of the leaderboard with approximately 250 points, ahead of Fitz regular Paddy Hicks with about 190. I made my views known on Irish Poker Boards and elsewhere that I don't think it's kosher to be changing the rules and moving the goalposts mid season. Irish Poker rankings has an unfortunate history in this regard but in my view for a rankings system to have any credibility at the very least there should be no major changes mid season. Ultimately it's Boyles decisions as the sponsors and they have said the decision was made on the grounds of their own commercial interest, which is perfectly understandable.

I'm starting to get excited about Vegas now. I feel the fact that I've moved away from specializing in stts to mtts has greatly increased my chances of landing a big one outside Ireland, and Vegas would be a great place to do it obviously. I booked the Gold Coast for the first couple of weeks, I decided close proximity to the Rio is the main consideration. I'll be sharing a room with Rob Taylor for two weeks until Cat arrives to kick me out



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