Thursday, October 7, 2010

Planes trains and automobiles

These days I always seem to be writing these blogs on some mode of transport, and this edition is being written on a plane to Venice. Early morning flights are just the best.

The ultimate destination is Porto Roz in Slovenia for the Mediterranean Deepstack. A long way to go for a monkey game with a sick good structure, but this is doubling as a romantic getaway with my better half (think of it as a kind of reward for being the only woman mad enough to not only put up with my insanities but positively glory in them) and Mike Lacey got us a sweet deal on the whole thing. Given the way I've been running live since Vegas, sick structure or not, the poker shouldn't take up too much of my time once it starts on Friday

So it was in Killarney. After a good start which saw me breach 30K by the end of level 2 (mainly thanks to being on the right side of an AA v KK cooler: I played it in such a way as to avoid being all in by the river if at all possible but was near enough to all in as it happened), nothing went right and I'd fizzled down to 12K when I thought I saw a good reshipping spot with AK (I should have known: see recent Anna Kournikova blog). A young aggro from the North raised to 1650 utg at 300/600. He was opening a very wide range from any position (he'd already turned up with J6 in a similar spot) so with 20 bigs and the Big Slick it looked like the perfect reship until my immediate neighbour chirped "All In". He was playing so tight I immediately feared the worst. I thought even QQ was unlikely so I was basically hoping to see KK but my worst fears were confirmed and I failed to bust his aces. He went on to win the tournament: I seem to have the knack recently of busting to the eventual winner.

I hung around for some raucous wine drinking with the likes of Sean Prendiville, my friend Michelle, Mick McCloskey, (no, he did not buy me a drink), Bruce teammate Wally and the IPB blogging team (who once again did a wonderful job). I was undecided as to whether I wanted to stick around for the side event: in the end the fact that the first one up was a 2 day event and I really wanted to be back home on Sunday for some online tourneys tilted the balance towards a Saturday afternoon train home. A solid profitable Saturday night session followed by a mildly unprofitable Sunday was a reasonable result. I made the second last table of the Merge network's 50K before going from hero to zero in a few hands. My style deep in online tourneys depends very heavily on not running into monsters when I make the big move, and on this occasion there was always a KK or an AA out there. That's poker as they say.

Most of the rest of Sunday was spent anxiously following the updates from Killarney and getting texts and calls from my amigo Feargal. I was praying to the poker Gods that this would be the day he finally won a big live tourney he so richly deserves to go with his prolific online record, but alas he was coolered again. I know myself the awful pain of the second last table exit when you can smell the final table and the big prizes and when I got the news of the exit it was like a kick in the stomach. Mrs Doke, bemused at the sight of her self centred lesser half getting so upset over someone else's misfortune, asked what percentage we'd swapped. When I told her we hadn't swapped on this occasion, she was even more bemused. I honestly don't think there's a better tournament player in the land and it's only a matter of time before Feargal lands the big live one, but unfortunately you can never be sure in this game where live is always far too small of a sample and I know several brilliant players who never won a big one. All you can do is keep playing the best you can, and Feargal played brilliantly on the final day and made some massive calls. A lot of people go to pieces towards the end but like all true champions that's when Feargal comes alive. Well done to Paul Lucey for his deep run too: Paul's a gentleman I have a lot of respect for.

There was a bit of soul searching after my only early bath. Bad running is an easy excuse to fall back on, but you always have to be on guard that there's not bad playing involved too. One hand in particular troubled me as I realised afterwards that I'd play it totally differently online (where I continue to crush), and I couldn't help but wonder if I should just play exactly same live as I do online. But I'm also conscious that live plays differently and you have to adjust for that. Having taken the hand round my most trusted poker peers, one plays the hand exactly the way I played it and while the other two play it a bit different, they both felt my line was a more than acceptable alternative. Nevertheless, I feel a bit like a golfer who has decided to remodel his swing: he may be better for it in the long run but in the short term it seems at times he'd be better off just forgetting about it and going back to the old swing.

Special thanks to Carlo Cretaro for getting myself and Feargal plugged as "online superstars" in the Irish Indo. The journalist may have misinterpreted his remarks though, in which case it's the first time I've ever benefited from a journalistic misunderstanding. But it won't stop me badgering all short term visitors to Doke Manor with the clipping

There's quite a few good tourneys coming up in Ireland in the next month or so. As I've said previously, I've already satellited into the Winter Festival, and I'm particularly looking forward to JP's WSOP mini series. Some of the side events in that look particularly juicy, including a HORSE event. JP's s great man for trying new things and I hope he gets a good turnout.

Hearing that 5 Irish cashed in the London EPT gave rise to a slight pang of regret that I'd decided not to try to qualify for it, but I still think there are better value EPT stops out there and I hope to hit one or two before the end of the year. Well done to the 5 who did cash, particularly John O'Shea who proved himself to be the man for the big occasion with his deep run to the second last table. It'd be nice to see an Irish player final table one before the end of the year. And even nicer if it was me :)



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