Thursday, May 26, 2011

Busting tournaments and ribs in Cork, and a free tenner

I quite fancied playing the shorthanded side event in UKIPT Cork, but we got there too late for it so instead Mick and I headed to a very good Italian restaurant in Douglas. Mick was very tilted by the 2 minute taxi ride that set us back seven euro, but the food made up for it.

Two of my best poker friends Jason Tompkins and Feargal Nealon got headsup in the shorthanded. I think they chopped the money and duly played on for the title. Feargal was pretty happy to get a 1st on his Hendon mob at last. He also asked me to mention that Tony Rafter wished him luck during the event.

I had decided to play 1A for a number of reasons, principally because I thought it would be a softer day with less travelling pros. My two tables were grand, some good players but overall the kind of tables I'd have expected to do well at given any sort of rub of the green felt. As it was, I really couldn't have run much worse. I ran the nut flush into a flopped house for a third of my stack. I could have done the lot but with the paired board and it being early doors, I went the cautious pot control route. Other than that, I was pretty card dead. The one flop I hit (a set of fives) saw my opponent, the preflop raiser, check fold an 852r flop. Sigh.

I also had to make a very unorthodox raise fold of jacks with just 21 big blinds, something I'd never countenance normally. After an under the gun limp at 100/200 and a call, I jacked it up to 700 with jacks in the cutoff, thinking I was calling any shove. A very loose foreign guy called on the button, then a good English player in the blinds made a tiny reraise to 1700. This immediately set off alarm bells: he can't think I'm raise folding with my stack and the foreign guy had shown no ability to fold to a raise previously. So I folded. The Polish guy called and folded the nine high flop (the English guy showed aces).

I tried to tell myself that after my disciplined fold I'd get a deserved break but of course it doesn't work like that. After hanging around with the short stack for a couple of hours I got it in in a very good spot, holding tens against eights and King ten suited. When the flop came with two spades (the suit of the Kt) my heart sunk thinking I now needed to fade spades as well. Turn and river bricked but to my horror the dealer started pushing the chips towards the eights. I hadn't even noticed the 8 on the flop :)

Cork was also the event when my money stopped running good: I had shares in a number of people, not even one of whom cashed.

The following day I was walking down the ramp in the hotel with Mick when my ankle went from underneath me in a divot in the carpet. I fell forward and didn't manage to get my hands down in time, so I basically bounced on the ramp. I was winded but felt good enough afterwards to continue on to dinner with Mick, Jason, Alan and Nick (Newport). After coming back and playing the triathlon (two hands: I raised AQs and gave up after most of the table called and the flop came jack high all one suit not mine. Then I reshoved jacks with 19 bbs over a raiser who unfortunately had queens), I lay down for a while and suddenly started to feel very bad indeed. A trip to A&E seemed like a good idea so I went to ask reception to arrange it. As I was doing that, both Steven Merrick and Phil Baker materialised with offers of lifts. I went with Steven's superior local knowledge.

Initially things looked like they were moving along nicely. A nurse asked me a pile of questions and prodded me to see where it hurt and how much. Then they did some sort of heart test. The last time I had one of these a few years ago the doctors reported that I had an abnormally large heart, so they suspected a rather horrible disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. After a few months of tests they concluded the abnormally large heart was just the healthy result of genetics and the extreme amounts of cardio training I was doing for ultra marathons at the time. So this time I was well prepared for the "your heart is way too big" result. Unfortunately, I may have done too good a job convincing them I was in no immediate danger. They sent me back to the waiting room with the promise of an X ray. After 6 tilting hours there watching people come and go and rereading a sign that said "your position in the queue depends on the severity of your situation", I realised they'd basically lost interest and I might very well be bottom of the queue for eternity. Phil rang to ask how I was and came to rescue me around 2.30 AM (he was back playing in the main the next day but still went out of his way to get me: what a legend).

I also played the 300 side event. I got off to a pretty good start but then basically just hung around through a long period of card death. Late in the day I should have doubled up through Nick Abou Risk after opening AQ on the button and calling his KQ shove but the board straightened up and we chopped. Right before the end I shoved 18 bbs from the small blind with A8s into Nick's A5o in the BB and he binked a five. That's poker baby: at least the chips went to a good home (I think Nick ended up 4th). Nick's not only a great player but also a gentleman so nobody should begrudge him any luck he might get.

It all added up to my first losing trip in a while. I wasn't too bothered to be honest: I was due a losing trip and I think it was down to how I ran rather than how I played. A few of my friends did very well: Jason not only chopped the short handed with Feargal but went deep yet again in the main AND cashed in the triathlon, and Phil and Chris (Dowling) both final tabled the main event. The same names keep popping up deep in Irish tournaments which I think proves my point that anyone can luckbox a big result (or two) but the real class players get deep over and over again.

When I got home my own doctor gave me the rather gloomy news that the damage from the fall was a bunch of strained muscles (the biggest of which is the diaphragm: something Phil had guessed using his kick boxing experience) and damage to the rib cartilege and joints that'll take 4-6 weeks to clear. All of which unfortunately means going to Vegas carrying an injury. This was the norm when I was doing the extreme running, but it's a first for poker.

I've been tipping along online, nothing major to report. I'm still enjoying how soft the Irish Eyes evening tourneys are.

My daughter graduated from her secondary school today (and gave a great speech at the ceremony: well done Fiona). I had to chuckle when the priest presiding over the ceremony advised us all to take our kids computers away and ban them from Facebook. When I was that age the standard advice was similar,with the result that my parents basically never allowed me to play video games. Now I look at my young grinder friends who sharpened their ease with technology and trained their decision reflexes with thousands of hours of video games, perfect preparation for them as they now 40 table their way to fortunes. Meanwhile, my brain starts to fry once I hit ten tables. That's what you get when you waste your youth on history books and science projects, instead of the really useful stuff you can learn from video games :)

I'm playing the Fitz EOM later today, and heading to Carlow the weekend after next for the CPT Grand final. After that, it's Vegas baby.

Finally, news of an Irish Eyes offer. Irish Eyes Poker are in the process of looking at launching a new poker platform to compliment our existing site but would like to test it.

Called Terminal Poker, the game very much resembles Full Tilt's Rush Poker but is also designed to be deployed in casinos and other physical places, where we can operate our cash in cash out service.

Anyone interested in trying this, signup to the site and let us know your username - email, and then we will send €10 to your account so you can play a bit and look through the software.

We should say this is a very new plarform and there may be 10 or less players online when you log in.

So, to do this you need to do the following:

1. Sign up with the cardroom CardClubGames through this link:
2. When your account is created and verified, email us your username.

3. Your account will be credited with a free €10 instant bonus within a few business hours*.

* The bonus is only valid for poker (not casino).
* The minimum amount that can be withdrawn is €20.
* In order to withdraw you must have played at least 250 raked hands. Stats will be visible in your account
* Only one code per account allowed.
* General bonus rules apply.



Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More