Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The turbo king and the Athyminator

Was really looking forward to JP's mini WSOP, and it didn't disappoint. JP can always be relied on to deliver.

First event up was the shorthanded which I was particularly looking forward to. Tough starting table with Roy Brindley, Mick Stephens (with whom I played a number of interesting pots early) and Albert Kenny. Things scarcely got better when I moved to a new table with Dave Masters to my immediate left and TJ Tracy further down. I ran pretty well winning a big flip against Johnny L before ultimately coming a cropper with 11 left shoving 55 into AJo. I was one card away from the chiplead until a jack popped out on the river. That translated into a 500 euro cash.

Came back the following afternoon to play the turbo supersat. Had to endure a fair bit of slagging for jumping into an 80 euro super to a 350 game but you know me, I can't resist a turbo. Besides, what else is there to do on a Friday afternoon :) My degeneracy was rewarded when I got a ticket.

The supersat overran the start of the main so it was straight to the table which Emmet Gough, Ken Ralph, Gary Clarke and a few other faces I recognised as good players. I never really got going and when the table broke I got moved to a new table. Wasn't there long when I played the only vaguely interesting hand of my tournament. A loose player opened for 1400 utg. I had 17k of my starting stack left and queens in the cutoff. RAther than raising as I normally would, I flatted. Main reason for this was Marc McDonnell was lurking in the blinds and I've never seen Marc pass up a squeeze to that kind of action. He bumped it up to 5500 as expected and when I shipped he instamucked.

I lost half my stack late on in a rather annoying hand when my first 3 bet was apparently called by king rag which hit a king high flop. In hindsight and having discussed it with the brains trust, I misplayed the hand anyway. Most live players are unaware of stack size implications and call "normal" raises way too much while folding to shoves too much, so with less than 25 bbs you're better off just sticking the loot in pre unless you have a made monster. That meant coming back for day 2 with 13 bigs which lasted just two hands. George Power opened on the button for 2300, and I found ATs in the BB. No brain ship but I took a few seconds to think about. George had raised previous hand and folded to Danny Maxwell's ship so I thought it more likely I'd get a stubborn call rather than a disciplined fold. However, with 13 bbs you can't be folding hands you think are ahead, nor can you been flatting out of position or getting fruity with smaller raises so I pushed the stack in. George looked a little vexed to be shipped on again and said "You too Doke" before calling with KJo. Flop was king high and that was all she wrote.

Next up was the 250 side event. Maybe it's not a great idea to jump into a side event the same day as busting from a main, but for whatever reason this was by far my worst performance of the series. I lost a chunk trying to bluff a fairly typical calling station before shipping 88's into Cat's aces. At least I knew Cat would put the chips to good use, and she did, going all the way to the bubble before a fairly sick exit.

Cat had the decency to knock me out just before registrations for the first turbo closed. To be honest this one is a bit of a blur but I do remember I was flying until I ran jacks in late position into a shortie's aces in the BB, and never really recovered, ultimately bubbling.

So back again next day for the HORSE event, which I was looking forward to. Live HORSE turns out to be a lot less exciting than you'd think and a lot more like watching paint dry in slow motion. It was clear from the start of the event that old timers like Mick McCluskey, Kevin Fitz and Glenn McCabe had a big edge over the younger guns as they knew all the other games inside out. I didn't exactly cover myself in glory: I made a horrible Omaha HiLo mistake calling on the river pretty much sure my high was toast but thinking I had the low when there was no low. I played the Razz and the 7 Stud HiLo fine, but my inexperience told against me in the 7 Card Stud which I haven't played much. The only game where I felt I had any sort of edge in was the Limit Holdem (standard was fairly shocking apart from the aforementioned old timers: most of the younger guns having no notion of the readjustments needed from NL to Limit) but since the main skill in limit is recognising that certain hands that are playable in NL are not profitable in Limit (so basically fold more) there wasn't much room to exercise any edge.

Chris Dowling at least made me feel better about my novicey skill set by playing all the games like he didn't know which was which (and he freely admitted this at different points) but still had the pleasure of not just outlasting me but knocking me out when he raised A7o utg in the limit holdem and binked an ace against my pocket sevens. I lingered in the HORSE long enough to miss the Triple Shootout so next up was the Headsup. I drew the short straw that is Chris "Russh" Cooke. Chris is not the sort of man likely to make a big mistake or a rash move so our match was almost inevitably going to come down to skirmishes and minor chip movements until the blinds got big enough to see two big hands get it all in pre. So it proved: there was a whole lot of button raising and BB folding and not many flops and no allins until I picked up pocket sixes and decided it was a ship over Chris' auto button raise. Unfortunately for me he had the ladies and held.

My final outing was the last event, another turbo. Tough starting table featuring Martin Silke (with immediate position on me), Ger "JamieCarra" Harraghy, Noel Clarke and Danny Maxwell. There's always a strong possibility of decent banter with Silkey around and so it proved. After Danny asked me which of the HORSE games was my weakest, Silkey piped up "holdem" :)

Noel was an early casualty when he triple barrelled a guy who wasn't folding ace five once a five flopped come what may because "I put you on high cards". Once I heard those words I started to see a potential doubleup and sure enough I had found a customer. The same gentleman called my big threebet pre out of position with JTo and my shove over his lead when a jack flopped (I had the kingers). As the chips were pushed towards me, he confirmed that he "put me on high cards". I love it when a plan comes together.

I chipped up steadily until a serious accident two tables out. Stephen Mclean raised and I found kings in the BB. History between us led me to believe he'd call any reraise no matter how big and the bigger the raise the more suspicious he'd be so I just jammed for 40 bbs. To be fair he had a legitimate calling hand, AK. He binked an ace on the river and when the dust had clear I was left with 4 bbs. I'd spun that back up to 16 when I picked up AKs on the button with Stephen in the BB. At that stack size I'd usually just ship and hope to get called by something I dominate, but given the history I went with a small raise designed to induce a move. Stephen duly shipped 64o and I held. That got me right back into it when the final table formed. The big dangers were Bomber and Ger Harraghy. Ger got unlucky early on, while Bomber basically pounded the final table in his usual manner. Four handed I was comfortable with average stack, and my strategy was to sit tight apart from hopefully well timed shipping and reshipping to maintain my stack rather than looking to tackle the Bomber at that point. I was basically hoping he'd knock the other two out and then I could take him on headsup, but then I picked up aces on the button. I minned and Bomber defended as anticipated. Flop was AK2 and it went check check. Turn was a ten and I was trying to decide how much to bet to get a call from a pair or a gutshot when Bomber simplified things by open shipping. My chips beat his into the pot and I flipped over the aces expecting to have to hold against a flush draw or gutshot but it was even better for me: K5o drawing dead. Bomber went shortly after, I eventually got headsup with a 2:1 chiplead against a Parisian who was playing very well. He was anxious to chop and agreed to give me almost three quarters of the difference between first and second so I took the lion's share of the money and the title. I was happy enough to get out of there with the title and the "trophy" (no actual trophy, but Danny popped up again in his guise of Irish poker boards blogger and suggested we fake the following photo with the Triple Shootout trophy: note the strategically placed finger :)

Overall it was a great three days of poker so special kudos to JP and Christine. I thought the spread of side games was excellent with lots to choose from. The first ever live HORSE event in Ireland was very welcome, and the inclusion of nightly turbos to supplement the more standard side events was a great idea and one I hope other festival organisers will run with. One win and two cashes was a reasonable return although I'd have liked to have gone deeper in the bigger events. However, you can't really choose which events you're going to run good or bad in, so I'm just happy to take anything.

For the rest of the week it's back to the online grind. Last night I played Jason Tompkins (fresh from final tabling the main event at the weekend) headsup on Bruce as part of the Doke challenge. Apart from that, I'd a rare night off pencilled in as the kids were round and the Athyminator had assured me that the match wouldn't last long enough to represent a significant disruption to my evening. So it proved. Jason had the better of the early going but then the trademark Doke luckbox factor kicked in and it was all over in a few hands. Jason was on to me immediately after for a rematch but I think we all know I'm sensible enough to quit while I'm ahead :)

Next up is a trip to Lyon on Friday for the FPs. Fergal and Danloulou are travelling too so on paper it's a strong travelling Irish contingent. No doubt I just jinxed us all now and not a one of us will make it out of level one :)



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