Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homeless and demented, courtesy of Paddy Power

One of these days, or years rather, I'll get a run in a one of the two big annual Paddy Power live events. Just not this year. I'd prefer if it came in the Irish Open, but at this stage I'd settle for the Open's less attractive sister, the Winter Festival. Pretty much nothing went to plan in this year's version, even my wardrobe. I'd qualified online for the Sole Survivor online so had to wear the Sole Survivor gear. In previous years this consisted of a top and optional hoody, so I bounced into the Burlington in my usual poker gear thinking I'd swap my shirt for the tshirt and keep my jacket. Unfortunately there was no tshirt this year: just a hoody. Matters got worse when it emerged the hoody was far too hot to actually wear in the room. And got even worse again when having got permission to take it off and put it on the back of the chair, I found that the inside of the jacket had molted onto my black shirt which was now covered in green fluff. There's a rather horrible photo of this floating around. I look homeless and demented. Dealer Izzy tried to convince me it looked like a cool designer shirt from a distance. Sick bluff, but I appreciated the effort. Andy Grimasson on the other hand couldn't stop chuckling and pointing out "the shirt just looks ridic Doke" at regular intervals.

The poker didn't really go much better. I moved a little up from starting stack but after dinner everything went wrong. A series of small pots and minor setbacks left me short and having to push, and when I did with AJs, I ran into AK.

Undeterred by my exit, I was back the next day mainly to rail some friends still in. Rebecca McAdam also grabbed me for this interview:

There was some debate with the cameraman as to which side he should film from, a debate I settled definitively when I pointed out that it really made no difference as I have no "good" side, and Rebecca no bad one.

I also played two side events without troubling the scorers. I got a good start in both. In the last one, I 4 bet shoved kings into ace king which pulled ahead gamely on the turn. That pretty much summed up my weekend on the poker front, but you can't expect to cash every tournament and claim to be sane, and given that this is already my best ever live year nobody should be expected to put up with me whining about going a few games without a cash. My good friend and Irish Eyes teammate Mick Mccloskey told me that one of his many fans told him recently that his 10th Hendon mob cash this year made him the most consistent Irish player this year in terms of numbers of live cashes. Mick was feeling chuffed about this until I pointed out I have 15 on my Hendon mob for this year. All the best friendships are based on ruthless honesty in my view.

A few of my good friends went deep in the main event. One I tipped to Neil Channing as one to watch for the future was Daragh "Other Daragh" Davey. Daragh has a tremendous attitude and has all the skill discipline and patience needed to get to the very top in this game. He went deep in the recent European 6 max, and again here. He always seems to get horribly unlucky in the end (this time he got it in with AK v A4 in a massive pot with 20 left) but if he keeps getting into position it's only a matter of time before the big one comes. Feargal "MidniteKowby" Nealon got even unluckier, losing twice to an underpair. Other honourable mentions to Colette "Smurph" who went deep yet again, Niall "sicko" Smyth who looked like a rather unique treble was on for a while, and Chris Dowling who keeps popping up at these final tables. I did some live stream commentary on the final table with lovely Rebecca, the inimitable Emmet "epic" Kennedy and Downtown Rory Brown. Chris was particularly unlucky not to finally claim an elusive big title. Former WSOP main event final tableist, the great Scott Gray, left a message saying how much he enjoyed listening my commentary, which I thought was very nice until he added that he now had a better idea of how I play and the thought process I go through, very handy free information he will no doubt hope to use next time we play. Cheers Scott :)

I read an interview with a famous cartoonist once (Gary Larson I think) where he was asked what advice he'd give aspiring cartoonists. When probed further after answering "Become a dry cleaner", he pointed out that as a professional cartoonist himself it wasn't in his interest to help anyone become competition to him, but there was a shortage of good dry cleaners where he lived. I often think of this whenever players come to me looking for poker advice. My natural inclination is to help when asked to do so, but I've had other players saying I'm hurting us all by doing so.

In the bar of the Burlington drowning my sorrows after busting, a man who was still very much in and would go on to win over 50 grand in the tournament was telling me how much he likes the weekly advice letters I write that are sent out to everyone who signs up to my sponsors Irish Eyes. A big well done to Noel O'Brien who has only been playing at this level a couple of years but showed himself to be fearless and unfazed. Noel's on a bit of a run at the moment too and I expect to see him at more final tables in the future. It's fair to say I get a good bit of (mostly) friendly stick over the Letters from Doke, so it's nice to hear at least one person appreciates them.

The ultimate winner was popular Northern Irish bookie, John Keown. John's been a good friend of mine for almost as long as I've been playing poker and like everyone else he's had to ride through his fair share of lows so I was delighted to see him land a big score. John recently bought me breakfast in Cork so good karma I say. Anyone hoping to bink big: just buy me breakfast some time.

Theos Rippis is an Aussie mate of mine (and also Feargal Nealon). A self described recreational player, I spent a good bit of time with him in Vegas at the WSOP last summer, and he came up with the idea of doing a bankroll challenge grinding 180 mans. I gave him some very general guidelines and strategy tips to get him going (mostly around bubble play, effective stack sizes, bankroll management and push/fold) and off he went.

Theos has written an excellent blog report on how it's gone so far and his thoughts here

My 180 man experience and knowledge is well out of date at this point and I think Theos has gone past the point where I can give him much useful input, so I'd be very grateful if any guys with current experience of grinding the 180 mans could have a look and give him some feedback.

As an aside, there was a lot of talk about Martin Stasko's chess background recently. Theos is a much better chess player, genuine near IM (international master) standard. Imo, this manifests it most strongly in Theos very disciplined and methodical strategy/game theory based approach to poker.



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