Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christmas laziness

I kept meaning to write a blog but never quite got around to it due to Christmas and it's associated events.
In my last post I said "The year isn't over yet though, and there is still some stuff to do between now and December 31st!". One of the those 'things' to do was win a tournament, and I'm happy to report that I can check that off the list. I was hoping it would be the $10mil guarenteed on Stars, but the 7 figure will  have to wait till 2012.


I took down the 2011 Macau Winter Festival Main Event. Obviously there was a lot of hands in this tournament, but since it takes me 5 paragraphs to discuss tournies that last 1 hour, God only knows how long it will take me to talk about three days worth of hands! I think I may write a separate blog solely on the tournament itself. Needless to say, it was a great way to end the year. We played the final table out without any deals etc. so to get the outright win is quite special to me as it's rare enough in tournaments these days. 


Coming into the tournament, I felt I had something to prove. I felt I had been playing very well the last few months but when it's approaching 20 NLHE tournaments in a row without a cash, it will affect your confidence. The tournament went pretty smoothly for me - it wasn't a case of running like God, but I did manage to avoid a lot of tough spots. Luck in poker tournaments is something I think a lot of people (even poker players) don't fully understand. The most obvious-to-see luck is winning races and sucking out. However, you need so much more than that to succeed in winning a tournament. I know talking about luck in poker is pretty irrelevant since it can't be controlled, but here's a simple example of the kind of luck needed to win a tournament. With 11 left, we were playing 6 handed and I min raise utg playing around 25BBs. Nicky Power shoves from the button for 19 bigs. I have TT, make the call and hold against Nicky's 33. I posted on twitter "big flip to win at crucial time". A friend text me saying "since when is TT v 33 a flip lol". Indeed it's true that TT v 33 is not a 50-50 race, but I still think the hand summarizes the type of luck you need to win a tournament. The roles could easily be reversed and I could be shoving my 33 over his min-raise and run into his TT. He could also be making this play with AJ or JJ and I could lose the showdown. I also get lucky to have the higher end of my range and get lucky for someone to make a move on me whilst holding the higher end of my range (and vice versa, plenty of hands where I held the lower end of my range and I didn't get shoved on). So now you can see all the external luck factors that impact what seems to be a 'standard' 80-20 hold!

The tournament was very much like that. When I got played back at, I had a hand, when I was light, it got through, when I needed a double up, I got one. I felt my focus was at an all-time high this tournament. When you get to know people at live tournaments, you'll often sit down at a table and chat away in between hands. Back in my 'early days' I'd sit down at a table and basically watch and digest every single hand. I needed to be more like this and I definitely 'worked' a lot harder when I wasn't in a hand during this tournament.


Since the live tourney bink, there's been plenty happening. I placed one of the biggest sports bets I've ever had on the Spurs-Shamrock Rovers match. I could not see how betting on Spurs at 4/9 was not printing money, I also lumped it on Spurs to be winning HT/FT. I nearly had a perfect bet as I had €100 on 3-0 at 9/1 too, but an irrelevant 91st minute goal cost me €1000! Oh well, I was still fairly happy with the day's work. That of course was until I played cash that night and pretty much dropped all of my winnings back. The cash games have Limerick have picked up even more and you're pretty much guaranteed a full ROE game now every night. It's great to see and hopefully it can last. I'm sure it'll last at least until the near future as I've been doing nothing but lose at the game recently. I'll attribute most of the losing to variance and running bad, but I definitely have not been taking it as professionally as I should be. 

I've also played two tournaments since Cork. I played Fitzpatricks Christmas Cracker and the cash league final. The Xmas Cracker was a disappointing one as I exited in 5th place. I was going well and at one point it looked like I could pull off the Munster-Xmas double. There's no denying that winning both the Cork and Limerick Xmas tournaments would've been absolutely unreal. It all came down to one hand 5 handed. I raised from the SB with Q8. Pat Coleman flatted from the BB. The flop came 852 and I c-bet. Pat called and the turn came another 8. I checked and he bet half his stack. At this point, he either has a set, or he's bluffing. There's not much point in shoving, as there's not really anything to protect against and marginal hands (stuff like 66) make up very little of his range. I flat and the river comes a 3. I check, he shoves and I call (I'm left with 3BBs, so we were both effectively all-in). Unfortunately, he turns over the A4. It's a bit sickening, because if I play it differently (shove the turn), he has to fold. However, I'm 100% happy with the play. He said he was shoving every river, so if I avoid the 4 outer, I win the huge pot. 5th place gave me €500 which was just over a min-cash. Pat went on to split it 3-handed for €2600 each. Pat would be a bit of a gambling legend in Irish circles, but wouldn't quite be known on the live MTT scene. Hopefully he can be convinced to play a few more tournaments in 2012!
The tournament got 52 runners which was down a bit on last year but still quite reasonable given that there was a few other tournaments on that weekend (the stars $10m no less). The only criticism I have (which a well known player from the club who will not be named (...again) insisted I put in the blog) is that there was a chinese buffet on the Saturday, but not the Sunday. Sort it out lads for God's sake!

I also played the cash league final. Nine qualified with €4,800 to play for. I came 4th after running pretty well early on. It was a ROE tournament, and my final hand occurred in omaha when we were pretty shallow stacked. I turned top two-pair with AJxx and got reraised. I pretty much ruled out him checking a set on the flop so given that I could beat any other two-pair and the fact I had bet 1/3 of my stack already, I called it off. He had JJxx and I was drawing to two outs. Can't complain too much, I got €500 for my efforts and I should have been eliminated 7th when my KJ got lucky versus AK.

There's been a lot of cash games over the Christmas period, but I haven't played since the cash league final on the 21st (I think there's been at least 4 good cash games since then). The main reason being I just wanted a break. A lot of my friends that had been abroad are home for Christmas so I've been spending most of my time relaxing and hanging out with them. My Christmas has pretty much consisted of doing nothing productive and enjoying every minute of it. I'm planning for a huge 2012, so right now, I'm happy to just chill and not worry about anything too much and just do whatever I feel like doing. Between now and the WPT, I hope to write one or two more blogs (the whole 2011 in review, goals for 2012 blog), maybe read a little bit about poker and just relax. 2012 is going to be big, and winning the inaugural WPT Dublin is going to be the perfect way to start it!


Happy Christmas everyone, and wishing you a prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

As we approach the end of the year...

I won't quite do the full year review post just yet. I'll save that for a bit later in the month, coupled with the 'aims for 2012' post! Right now, I think it's just time for a brief update on how the poker has been going.

It's been pretty quiet the last month for me. There were two games in Dublin since my last post, JP's mini WSOP and the Fitzwilliam festival, but I ended up skipping both. It was a mixture of not wanting to embrace the variance of tournament poker whilst on a downswing and also having other things to do. Primarily though, I just felt it was better to stick to low variance options until I got a bit of confidence back and hopefully won a bit of money back.

Unfortunately, sticking to the slightly lower variance cash games has not worked out very well. It's quite annoying too, because the games in Limerick have been really good lately. It definitely goes in cycles, you'll have weeks at a time where the best game you'll get is a 6 handed NLHE game where the average stack is €150, then other times you'll get ROE games with waiting lists and huge action! The games have been good, but unfortunately my results have not been. I was involved in a lot of big pots and didn't really win any of them. Most of them were classic omaha hands where it's set vs wrap/flush draw. The biggest pot I played was a €1500 pot which I lost. I had 578T with a flush draw on a 489 board. The SB had potted it pre, and led for the pot (€175) on the flop. I decided I had to shove (approx €500 total) and the button woke up with 99xx behind me. After the button shoved I assumed I had to be in bad shape as my flush draw probably wasn't live, and hitting two pair was probably useless. As it happened, the SB had TJJQ with no flush draw and the button had 99xx and I was in decent shape (35% or so). The TJJQ got there and scooped the lot. I've played a few other bizarre hands the last few weeks (one where a guy called my pot bet on the turn with QQQx on a paired board and rivered a queen) but there's not much point in giving a run down of all the pots I lost!

Despite missing the two bigger MTTs this month, I did manage to play one - the €250 winter festival main event in The Poker Lounge in Waterford. The main event got 50 runners giving a first prize of €4500. I ended up busting in 16th losing a pot for double the average stack. The blinds were 1k-2k and Tommy Walsh made it 5k in MP. I 3bet the button to 13k with TT (playing ~50k, Tommy had me covered). Tommy called and shoved the 89x flop. I call and he turns up JT. The jack comes and I'm gone. Needless to say, if I win that pot I'm very confident of cashing and hopefully winning the tournament. Despite this being one of the smaller tournaments, that pot was still worth at least €1k in equity and it's still frustrating to lose. Sometimes it gets to a point where the amount doesn't even matter, you just get sick of losing and need to win one. I'm getting to that stage where I just need to break the cycle with some sort of decent win and hopefully kick on from there.

It's coming to the end of the year and I'm looking forward to 2012. 2011 has been an interesting year and I'm looking forward to giving my full review on it. The year isn't over yet though, and there is still some stuff to do between now and December 31st!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Things can only get better

Things have not been going well lately. Since my last entry, I've been to Dublin twice for the BoylePoker IPO and the PaddyPower Irish Winter Festival. Neither have went well...

The IPO was a pretty standard affair. My starting table wasn't the best (relative to the field) as there was a few good players at it including Chris Dowling two to my left. The early levels were quiet enough but when the antes came in and the table got a bit softer, I kicked it up a gear. It was like playing a few years ago, half the time you opened, you'd take down the blinds, and the other half of the time, you'd take it with a c-bet, and if someone 3bet, you could comfortably fold knowing they  probably had a premium. I was doing alright until eventual final tablist  Rory Brown got moved to the table with a lot of chips. The hand that did the damage was pretty standard. Rory opened in EP to 5k, I look down at aces on the button and 3bet to 13k. Rory flats and the flop comes KK8. He checks and I c-bet 17k. He flat calls. The turn comes a 5 I think. He checks, and I check behind. The river is another blank and he fires out almost putting me all-in (I think it was a 35k bet, I can't remember exactly what my stack was to start the hand). It's a sick spot but I think I have to call. I check behind the turn to induce a bluff on the river, so not only am I betting a lot of bluffs in his range, I'm also beating a lot of value hands (JJ etc. surely value bet that river). I call anyway and he turns up the KQs.

That was pretty much that for the IPO and I headed home fairly shortly after that. I was tempted to stay and drink for the next night or two, but I had no where booked etc. so I decided it was just best to go home. Speaking of having places booked, I think it's probably time for another Paul Carr story. Paul was registered and booked into the hotel for Friday and Saturday night. On Thursday, he rings Nicky asking if he has a spare bed in his room as he's thinking of heading up that night. Nicky (not wanting to turn down the possibility of spooning with Paul Carr) says he does. Later on that night, Nicky rings Carrie asking him what he's up to and if he's coming up. Paul tells him that he's having a drink at home and he'll be up the next day. Friday morning rolls around and Nicky rings Paul again. "I'm actually in a pub.....in Amsterdam". Apparently, somewhere between Thursday night and Friday morning, he managed to get down to Cork airport, hop in a plane, and head over to Amsterdam!


I spent most of my Saturday at home watching football and rugby. While I was doing this, I did have the IPO stream on in the background. I can safely say, that the stream for the IPO was by far the best live poker stream I've ever experienced. Mike Sexton wouldn't get a look in on the Corbett, Power and O'Shea show.
Well done to all involved in running the IPO, an excellent event was definitely staged.


A week later I was back to Dublin for the PaddyPowerPoker Irish Winter Fest. The IWF is definitely one of the big ones of the year and I was determined to get a result. My initial table draw was very tough due to the ridiculous policy of seating all on-the-day buy ins at the same table. As it happened, my table draw didn't make that much difference. I was moved within half an hour to a newly formed table full of more on-the-day buy-ins (thankfully, this table was a little bit softer). Dermot Blain was at the table along with one or two other decent players, but there was still plenty of soft spots. All of this didn't really matter as about 80 minutes into the tournament, I pick up AA utg. I raise to 300, the CO makes it 1k, I make it 3k, he shoves, I call, he has kings, king on the flop, I'm out. Simple as that!
It was a pretty sick one. I guess it's good to get that type of beat out of the way. At least I now know what it feels like to be fully pumped for a big tournament, get it in with the nuts, and be the first player eliminated!

After that hand, I took it easy for a few hours and took a bit of a walk around Dublin. I came back a few hours later and decided to sit in a cash game. It was a deep 2/5 game with plenty of action. Ideally, you'd want to be buying in for a grand or more. I wasn't particularly rolled to be doing this and I really didn't want to face a scenario of being stuck €2500 about 5 hours into the festival. I bought in for the minimum and just decided to play the 'wait for aces' game. Eventually, I did actually pick up aces! I was utg and decided to limp in for 10 (it was straddled to 10 and I was playing 250). I could obviously raise here, but my stack size here is so perfect to limp, hopefully get a raise and some calls, and then shove in over it. The table didn't oblige and it was 6 way to the flop. The flop came 579 with two diamonds. It's not the best flop obviously, but I still think it's one I have to go with. I bet out 40, and the player next to me makes it 100. Zeke calls on the button and I shove. Both players call. The turn blanks and the river comes an 8. Zeke had 6d4d and the other guy had 9T. It would've been a nice pot to take down but it wasn't to be. After that, I opted for damage control and went home. The Paddy Power festivals are always brilliant craic so I was looking forward to the weekend, but sometimes when things are going badly, you're best bet is to just get out of dodge.

As it worked, I'm sure the weekend would have been immense. John Keown, the bookie from the north, took it down and I can only imagine what the session on Monday night would've been like! John is genuinely one of the best characters and nicest guys you'll meet on the Irish poker scene. He's put in the hours and there's no doubt he deserves this. A huge congratulations to John!


Unfortunately, not only have things been going badly on the tournament front, they've been going badly in pretty much every other aspect of life too!  I got a hair cut a week and a half ago and I'm convinced that's where the bad luck is coming from. I think I'll have to change it, the only problem is I got a 2 blade all over so my options are pretty limited. Included in this run of bad luck was three cash sessions in Limerick. These are the type of sessions that are invented just to frustrate you and try to beat you down. In all three sessions, every time I'd start to build some momentum, I'd get unlucky and lose some big hand. It was a case of seemingly never winning a coin flip, but then when I do win a coin flip, I'd lose a bigger one a few hands later.

Overall, it is just a case of running bad. I've actually been very happy with my play lately. I've been happy with my play, but my bankroll has still taken an absolute hammering the last few weeks. All I can really do is just just keep plugging away and hope that the luck will change. From experience, it does seem that when these bad runs do end, the other side of variance hits you and you can't lose. I'd be lying if I said I'm confident everything's gona get better straight away, but I'm also smart enough to know that past events have no effect on future events. If I keep putting myself in +EV spots, I will win. I guess I'll end this post with the cliche line of "Things can only get better!".

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Folding Kings pre flop

I've been taking it easy since Killarney and have only ventured out to play twice. Was a bit burnt out after a lot of weekends away so was looking forward to staying put at home for a while. Just had a look there, and I was actually away 6 weekends out of 7 from mid-August to the end of September. Throw in a few cash games along with that and you really do see the hours and the miles pile up. Obviously the fact that things haven't been going swimmingly does make the whole grind a bit tougher to deal with.

The first time playing since Killarney was the weekend after at the Octoberfest game in Limerick. It was a €225 tourney with 48 runners. I did manage to cross a major poker milestone in this tournament as I folded kings pre-flop for the first time in my career. A new player, Dom, had just sat down to my left. I played a bit of Omaha with Dom in Cork but I think it was my first time playing hold 'em with him. One of his first hands at the table, he 3-bet me to 1500 (blinds 100-200, we're both playing ~25k) and I decide to 4-bet to 4k. He instantly makes it 11k. At this stage, it's starting to look like he has aces. I think about it for a moment and muck the kings face up. He shows aces. All in all, it's not the most difficult fold in the world. The stacks are ridiculously deep and I feel I have a good table so really there's no need for me to put my stack in here when I think I'm behind. Thankfully, it was also a spot where it was all-in or fold. I have been in similar spots with jacks or queens where I've called having put my opponent on aces and thought 'sure if I flop a set I'll get paid off'. Usually the flop comes 9-high and I mysteriously change my pre-flop read and end up stacking off!

The theme of tournament definitely seemed to be aces vs kings. On day 2, with about 17 left, I pick up kings utg and raise to 3k (blinds 600-1200 I think). A tight player behind me makes it 7k. I can't remember exactly, but I think I must have been playing about 40k-50k. Whatever stack I had, I remember anything other than a min-4bet pretty much committed me. I really felt he was strong, but it never really crossed my mind to get away from the kings. It was a simple case of if he has aces, I'm going broke. That left me with the problem of getting all the chips in the middle. I didn't really want to flat oop so I decided to just shove it in. He calls with aces and they hold.

The only other time I've played during the last two weeks was in a pretty action packed ROE game. We were playing 5 handed and there was probably 4 or 5k on the table. I've made worse plays in my life, but I can't remember the last time I've been so annoyed at how I played a hand. It wasn't one of these marginal cases or one of these 'yeah it's bad, but it's not that bad', it was just a really, really bad play that is inexcusable. I had about 600 in front of me and called a raise of 75 pf with 9933. I'm okay with this play as the plan is fairly straight forward - flop a set and jam it (I was first to act post flop). The flop came 24X and it checked around. The turn came a 3 bringing a flush draw. I potted it for 300. It folded around to Pat on the button and he obviously sticks it in with the nuts. It's really just a terrible play on my part. When the 3 turned, my initial reaction was 'I have to protect my hand' and before thinking anymore about it, I had thrown my chips in the pot. It's just such an indescribably bad play. I honestly can't remember the last time I was so mad at myself for how I played a hand.
Other than those two sessions, it's been all quiet. There hasn't been much cash action in Limerick lately and I haven't been in the mood to do much travelling.


There have been some great results out of Irish players recently that definitely deserve a mention. Niall Smyth taking down Killarney is an absolutely epic achievement. I think anyone that gets a big score is always anxious to get another result fairly soon after to prove the first one wasn't a fluke. Niall definitely did that in style by winning one of the biggest tournaments of the year. Winning one of the biggest tournaments on the Irish calendar, along with THE biggest tourney, all in the same year is truly phenomenal stuff.
Dermot Blain also ensured Ireland went 2/2 for WSOP main event final tables in 2011. He finished 5th at the WSOPE in Cannes for €275,000. The quality of the field was absolutely sick and one look at the final table will show you how strong it was.


That's it from me. I played the IPO this weekend too, will update on that later in the week. Next up is the PaddyPower winter festival next week. I'm absolutely desperate to get a result and this is the one to get it in. It's been 15 Hold 'em tournaments in a row without a cash, so it's definitely time to change that!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Killarney

The trip to Killarney was probably the worst weekend financially of the year. I pretty much bricked everything and lost a load at the cash games aswell. All that said, for some reason I'm looking back on the weekend with somewhat fond memories!

There's usually a big Limercik contingent at this game and this year was no different. As usual we managed to cover ourselves in glory with the ole one min-cash courtesy of Ger Fitz. Limerick players only made up about 20% of the starting field (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration) so obviously we were delighted with the single min-cash. Thankfully it was somewhat made up for in the side events as Limerick player Pat O'Flaherty chopped the €300 side event and Shane O'Connor won the turbo. Shane had quite an interesting hand in the main event where he held AA on a K934 (with two flush draws) board. I'm not really sure how the action went but it ended with Shane shoving. Shane's opponent deliberated and eventually folded 99. I don't think there's much need for comment on that hand...


My own main event regrettably got off to a late start and even more regrettably an early finish. Nicky Power has been giving out to me for arriving late to tournaments and I think he's definitely right. I'm not the most punctual person in general, but I've been a bit overly disorganised with regard to making start times lately (between the usual traffic and getting lost, I've also gotten the start time wrong for something like the last 4 events). So to help me improve on this ridiculous leak, I'll make the following bet open to anyone. If I arrive at a tournament later than the end of the first level, the first person to say "O'Gara's better than Sexton!" to me will get a free 1% of my winnings in that tournament.

I arrived in Killarney at the 75-150 level. With a 20k starting stack it's by no means a disaster, but it is nice to have the 25-50 level or at least the 50-100 level to get a feel for the table. The tournament was short and sweet with only 2 real hands of note. The first hand consisted of me bluffing 3 streets with KQ on a 8d6x2xTdAd board and getting called by 99. It's really a bad play on my part as it was the type of table where there was really 0 point in bluffing. I seem to say it every single tournament, but most of the time, the most +EV strategy is to just wait for your spots and let them get it in bad against you. There obviously are plenty of people out there willing to make the hero calls, so I think it's time to let them make the hero calls against me when I have the nuts as opposed to nothing.

That hand brought me from 17k to 11k and I didn't really get out of line after that. I played fairly standard poker but never really picked up any hands. At the 150-300/25 level, I pick up 99 and raise to 750. The biggest rock to my left flat calls (he literally played two hands I think, one of which he had aces). The big blind also comes along for the ride. The flop comes 7h9sTh. The big blinds leads out 2k. I only have about 6500 total so I'm not sure what the best play is. I could flat and hope the rock comes along, but I think it's one of those spots where it doesn't matter what the rock has, he's either playing for it all, or he's not playing at all. If I shove, is he really going to fold aces? I wasn't really sure but it's marginal either way. If your not sure, it's better to just stick it in, I don't want to see the 8h on the turn and have to put my money in then. So anyway, I shove and the rock reshoves. The BB tanks it.

While he's tanking, I'm not really sure what to think. It is possible the rock has TT but that's about the only thing I'm worried about. The way the hand plays out, it's unlikely anyone has any draws so I'm feeling pretty confident I may only have to dodge a few outs to treble up. I am also preparing myself for the possibility that the rock does have TT and I'm drawing to one out. After an age, the BB finally calls. The button shows aces and the BB shows up what looks like 9T or something. To tell you the truth, it actually looks more like TT, but like, there's no way it could be TT. It couldn't take that long for TT to make that call.

Oh no wait, it is pocket tens. He did flop top set and take forever to call...

The turn actually came the 8h (I had the 9h) to give me a few outs but I missed on the river. I was quite shocked at the hand so pretty much just left the table straight away. It's absolutely shocking for him to have the TT there. I won't even bother getting into the strategic insanity of ever considering folding TT there, but suffice to say that the rock never ever has J8 or 86 there and my range includes a million hands that TT is a monster favourite over. Flopping middle set and running into top set is usually bad enough, but getting slowrolled when that happens, it is that extra bit annoying.

Getting knocked out of a tournament early on the Friday is tough as you do feel like the whole trip was a bit of a waste. My mind probably wasn't right to grind, but I still headed down to the cash room that night. It was definitely a case of my mind being in two places. I guess, I wanted to win money, but I didn't really want to wait and grind. Invariably, that combination leads to a disastrous session. I was playing PLO but I was more punting than playing. I wasn't buying in deep which tends to encourage the 'spin it up' attitude.I ran below expectation but I definitely wasn't playing my best poker. I did play a €250 winner-take-all SNG that night too. That was a short affair also. 6 handed, Fintan Gavin pushed from the button and I woke up with queens. Unfortunately the queens couldn't hold as an ace flopped pairing Fintan's A7.

I was back the next day for the €300 side event. For the first time in a while, I was pretty pleased with my play in this event and didn't make too may mistakes. Again, this was a table where it made 0 sense to bluff so I didn't. I waited for my hands and got paid off on them. I eventually busted 3betting QJ from the SB after the button raised. The push is marginal and one I definitely wouldn't make online because there's 0 fold equity, but in these tournaments, it is common for players to 3bet fold in these spots. Anyway, he made the call and his AJ held.

After the side event, the only option was to sample the bar facilities the Gleneagle hotel had to offer. It was a good night and the craic was what you'd expect from the Saturday night of a poker festival. There was one sequence of events that is definitely worth mentioning. I was at the bar and whatever happened, I overheard someone talking about rock, paper, scissors. I'm fairly confident in my rock, paper, scissors game and anyone that says the game is all about luck clearly does not know what they are talking about. So naturally this resorted to a rock, paper, scissors bet, first to three. I probably would have wagered everything I had on me but instead we settled on €10. I started out trailing and after 2 games I was 2-0 down. I'd adjusted to his game though and proceeded to claw back to 2-2. The final throw came and I choked. I went rock, he went paper. Immediately after this, another prop betting topic came up - arm wrestling. I was talking with Barry Foley at the bar and before I knew it, we were getting ready for an arm wrestling match. I knew I definitely had Barry in the weight stakes but I also knew that despite not looking like a weightlifter, he was still a fairly fit guy. What happened after this was not expected.

My plan was to sit at a table, get the match going and see what happened - without making too much of a scene. Barry had other ideas. Within seconds, his white shirt was ripped off and a navy brazilian tank top was his uniform of choice. From underneath his shirt also appeared lean, muscular arms with veins pumping. I was starting to realise maybe I was a bit of an underdog. The pre-match routine wasn't over yet as Barry started pounding the table (in the process knocking over my two drinks, rendering the possible €10 profit I could make from the match inconsequential). It was clearly not Barry's first arm wrestle and he clearly knew what the more favourable type of grip for an arm wrestle was. The match finally got underway and now the crowd that originally consisted of 6 or 7 people had multiplied to about 30. I was hoping to put up some sort of fight especially in front of this impromptu crowd, but I just couldn't handle the sheer strength of the beast.

The bar eventually closed at 6am, and with the Ireland-Italy match starting at 8.30am, bed wasn't an option. I decided to sit at an omaha cash table, and despite being at my drunkest point throughout the weekend, I still managed to book my only winning session of the weekend. I've been working on a theory with regard to cash games and drinking. In cash games, it's often important to just wait for a hand. But waiting can be so boring especially when you're playing a 10handed game that's moving quite slowly. If you introduce a few pints into the picture, all of a sudden, waiting becomes less boring thanks to wonderful effects of alcohol. This strategy may be not for everyone so use it at your own risk.

I headed to breakfast at about 8.15am and then onto the Ireland match. I haven't done much sports betting lately but I did think betting on Ireland at a big handicap could've been a good bet for this match. The stadium they were playing in had a roof which meant for the first time, they'd be playing on a dry pitch. Ireland's backs versus Italy's backs on a dry pitch I really felt could mean a good few tries. Unfortunately, I didn't place the bet, but I was still delighted to see Ireland run out convincing winners. It really sets them up nicely and gives us all permission to dream. A good friend of mine is currently living in New Zealand for 9 months, and I told him that if I win a tournament I'll go over. Winning the Sunday Million and heading over to see Ireland beat the All Blacks in the World Cup final, a guy can dream...

After the rugby, I got a few hours sleep. At 1pm, the cleaners were knocking to get us out of the room. I was wrecked so I rang reception asking if I could book another night. There were vacancies in the hotel alright, but the room we were currently staying in, was specifically booked. My theory was that it was an American couple celebrating their 50th Wedding anniversary and they were married on October 4th so wanted to stay in room 104. Regardless of the reason, staying in that particular bed for another few hours was not an option. Getting up and moving all my stuff to another room and then going to bed did not seem appealing so instead I just got up. Usually I'd just drive home at this stage, but upon the realisation that I had only gotten to bed 3 hours ago and was still drinking 6 hours ago, I decided it was better to maybe relax a bit before hitting the road. Thankfully the couches in the bar were quite comfortable and the sport on the TV was quite good.

After watching Arsenal lose 2-1 to Tottenham, I decided to log one more session before heading home. This session went a bit better and I was definitely playing better. That's how it started out anyway. I had built my stack from 350 to about 600 and then I lost two decent flips and also made a move that didn't work out. Being left with 250 I decided it was time to bust or go home. I took the probably slightly -EV proposition of playing a 4way all-in pf with As2s6h7h. The gamble didn't pay off and despite having a straight draw and nut flush on the turn, I only wound up with two pair good for a small side pot. I ended up getting my remaining stack in with top set vs a straight and didn't hit.

That was that and when all was said and done it was almost midnight on Sunday. Financially the weekend was a disaster, but aside from the huge loss of money, it was a good weekend. Thankfully there's a bit of a break from travelling, and I'll be at home for at least the next two weekends. There's been an awful lot of tournaments recently and the mileage really is raking up on the car. I went up to the cash game in Naas for the first  time last Wednesday (winning session thankfully) and if there's any travelling to be done in the next two weeks, it'll be to that.

Aside from that, the next tournament is the Octoberfest tournament in Fitzpatrick's casino in Limerick. It's a €220 tournament with a great structure. I find it strange that not many people decide to travel to this while they'd happily travel to other similar tournaments. If there's anyone out there in doubt, I'd highly recommend playing it. Obviously since it's my local club, I am more likely to say that, but I genuinely think it's a good tournament. You also have a €100 side event which Fitzpatrick's are adding €1000 to. That's not an overlay or a guarantee, it's a 100% added extra €1000 in the prize pool. It's very rare to see stuff like this these days so I think they deserve a bit of praise for that. There's always a bit of action too when these tournaments are on, so there should be lively enough cash action both nights also.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My short time in France...I mean Dublin

I was debating whether to give this it's own blog entry or just throw it in at the end of the last blog or the start of the new one. Due to my slight OCD I decided to just keep things proper and give it it's own entry.

I headed up Thursday and arrived 2 hours late (I thought it started at 2pm, it actually started at 1pm, I arrived at 3pm) which was not ideal. I thought I'd arrive about 40 mins into 25-50 but between getting the start time wrong and it taking slightly longer than expected, I arrived 5 minutes before the start of the 75-150 level. I bust in the 150-300/25 level and headed back home.


My first table was full of French players and it actually took me a while to realise they actually had no clue what they were doing. I knew from the off it was a soft table and they weren't great players, but I literally hadn't seen hands like this in a looong time. The best example was a hand where the board read something like T4387. It was checked and the player in position bet 3k. He got check raised to 6k and instantly called the min-raise with bottom set. The min raiser turned up JJ with the "hey, they hand plays itself" type of expression. There really was no method to the madness which is a tougher style to beat than the obvious bad players. I got moved just as I was starting to get a grip on the table and I had drifted back to my starting stack (20k) having peaked at around 35k.

My bustout hand was avoidable but not horrible imo. The blinds are 150-300/25 and the CO makes it 750, I make it 2k with T9 and he makes it 4.2k. There was some history between and I just felt he wanted to make a move. I was quite comfortable playing in position post-flop and felt I had a good read on him. I'm sure some will disagree but I can't see how you can fold for 2.2k in position when there's already 7k out there. So I call and the flop comes Q33. He leads for 3.8k. I really feel he is weak here so the plan is to call the flop and bet 5k on the turn. The turn comes a jack and he checks. I pick up a straight draw and now all of a sudden bet-folding seems really unappealing. In retrospect, I strongly think the 5k bet is the right play here. If you bet 5k and fold to a shove, you're losing out on drawing to (possibly) 8 outs. The board is paired so you could be dead already. Basically, picking up a straight draw here is not enough of a factor to deviate from the play that I originally thought was the most +EV. As it played out, I bet out 10k effectively committing myself to the hand. The guy tanked it and eventually stuck it in. I had slightly miscounted his chips (no jokes please, I know counting is not my strong point) and thought he had about 18k total. He actually had 20k total which meant it was 10k more for me to call. There was 47k in the middle so I need 17.5% to call. Thank God that is just about what my equity is against his range. I call and he turns up the AJ. The 5k turn would have looked less suspicious but I assumed he still would have called. The other obvious advantage to the 5k bet is that it probably would have only cost me 5k as opposed to 20k if I was wrong.

I can understand if people don't like the play but I don't think it's the worst play. My thought process was pretty spot on and the turn bet does work if it doesn't come a jack. The fact the tourney is 6max also means you have to make slightly more moves than normal. There is the little voice in the back of my head saying "you're in a field with a bunch of crazy french donks, don't bluff your chips off!!!!" but other than that, I think the particular play on this hand is ok. It would be very tough to win the tournament without ever making any bluffs!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Near miss in Maynooth

I managed to break my 11-in-a-row no cash streak by picking up 3rd in the PLO tournament in Maynooth. As always finishing 3rd is somewhat bitter sweet, you're generally happy that you went deep in the tournament, but you can't help but wonder what might have been. It was only a 23 person event but I still really wanted to take it down. There was a beautiful crystal trophy for first and it would have been nice to get my first live omaha win. Also the €2500 difference in prize money was hardly negligible :-)

The tournament was a €440 buy-in and took place on the Friday and Saturday in Maynooth. I was very pleased with my play on day 1. The two biggest pots I played weren't the classic omaha hands of top set vs a million outs, so I was quite proud of that. The first hand consisted of me check-potting the turn with one of those weird broadway/wheel draws + flush draw hands. I missed the river but thankfully the card did make another straight. I only had about 25% of a pot bet left in my stack but obviously I had to bet it. He deliberated for ages and eventually mucked what he said was one pair (a higher one than mine). I was lucky that some sorta gut shot had filled on the river, coz if a complete blank fell, I was probably getting called!
The second hand was another weird one. I can't remember exactly how it played out, but I flopped two pair on a two heart board. The river came putting a backdoor (nut) straight out there. At this point, my opponent bets 10k of his 20k stack. The way it played out I can't really ever see him having the nuts. The whole hand played out like he had a set until he makes that bet on the river. The bet looked so peculiar. If he has a set, he is most likely checking it or just shoving for value, the "blocker" bet does not make sense with a set here. I eventually call and he turns over the missed nut flush draw. Nicky was laughing after the two hands and 'sarcastically' posted on twitter "Woohoo down to 15 and have more chips then BCB - jamfly spewing". They really are genius/donkey plays. I made a similar play in Cork and ran into quads so obviously it doesn't work the whole time!

We started the final table 9 handed and the plan was to play 5 more hands before finishing up for the night. 5 hands later and we were coming back 6 handed the next day. The huge chip leader did most of the damage. This guy managed to get something like 160 big blinds in pre flop with J762 one suit vs Marty Smith's AAKK earlier in the tournament so it was safe to say he was a bit of a wildcard. The worst beat got dealt to Nicky when he check-raised all in with his bare aces on a 3s6hTh flop. Your man had the bare 45xx and managed to hit the deuce on the turn for a fairly huge pot. We finished 6 handed with the (approx) stacks as follows (3 got paid btw):
Seat 1 52k
Seat 2 55k
Seat 3 (me) 90k
Seat 4 25k
Seat 5 420k
Seat 6 58k

The next day started out fairly slow with a lot of pots trading back and forth. The structure was immense and it probably gave too much play if anything. We got 4 handed and I was still 2nd in chips. The inevitable coin flip came up on the bubble but thankfully I managed to win it. Half the chips went in pre-flop with me holding AAT6. The flop came T64 and we got it in. He had the 9TJK and I managed to dodge and double up. The bubble was burst when Adrian Mills was eliminated in 4th place. We played 3 handed for quite a while, with a lot of small-medium sized pots but not many huge ones. The blinds were 1200-2400 and the stacks were 370k-160k-160k so there was loooooads of play left in it. The critical hand came  when I raised otb with AsKsKcTc. For pretty much the first time 3 handed, the SB (the chip leader) 3 bet potted it. It was back on me and I have the chance here to repot it and get 80% of the chips in. There can be a case made for flatting, but I'm sure shoving is +EV so I didn't bother complicating things and just jammed it in. Surprisingly, he just flat called (leaving me 40k behind with 230k already in the pot). The flop came 964 with two spades. This looks like pretty much the dream flop for me. I have kings with the nut flush draw, and since he didn't jam it all in pre flop, I was guessing he didn't have aces. Unfortunately, he did have the QsJs9d4h for a flopped two pair. Obviously I was not expecting to see this so was definitely taken aback when he turned up his hand. I still thought I was probably favourite to win the hand [nope, 46% after flop, sickeningly though, 72% pre flop, in OMAHA!!] as I had spades, a king, board pairing etc. but alas, I couldn't hit. It was definitely a sour last hand to go out on. It was the first time he 3 bet potted it, so I assume he must have been getting frustrated. When I 4 bet potted, he obviously just decided to take a punt and hope to hit a flop. I got €2100 for my 'min-cash' so it wasn't too bad. Still, that first place trophy and €4600 would have been really f'ing sweet! 


I have played a few other things since my last entry. The cash league final took place in Fitzpatrick's the Wednesday before Maynooth and I managed to get €1k for my troubles there. You have to play 80 hours in 4 months to qualify for a free roll with the top 3 hours-makers getting a bonus. With about a week to go I was about 20 hours behind Liam for 3rd place. The 3rd place bonus was only worth about €200 (if Liam asks, it was €600 though) but I decided to do my very best to get it. Coming into the last night, I needed 2.5hrs to catch him. It didn't look like there was going to be a game that night but I convinced them to let us play 3 handed (usually you need 4 to start a game). We were soon joined by a 4th player so things were fine. Usually in these types of situations, you end up losing €1000 going after the €200 bonus. Things were on course when after an hour and a half I was down €600. Another player bust also meaning the game was 3 handed. If the game broke and I was stuck €600 and didn't even get the €200 bonus, that would've been funny. Thankfully, they allowed us to play on 3 handed. The night finished well as I managed to win back my money and get enough hours for the bonus, doing all this whilst playing 3 handed rake-free! After playing for 3hrs, I asked if they'd mark me down for 2.51 hours for the night so the board would read:
3rd Jamie Flynn 102.76 hours
4th Liam O'Donoghue 102.75 hours
they didn't, so instead I finished a less cool half hour (as opposed to 36 seconds) ahead of Liam for the bonus.

I also attempted to start playing a bit more online recently. I decided to take a shot at a $215 WCOOP and got a min cash in that for $369. I then genuinely had the best of intentions to start grinding but obviously that did not go to plan. It was bad discipline on my part and it really is something I have to improve. I won't get into it too much here as that discussion is for another day, but if you want to consider yourself a serious poker player, you have to be making money consistently online. I love playing the live tournaments and even though you can obviously make money on the live circuit, it's not feasible to think you can make a consistent living off it. It's very possible for you to play excellent poker and brick every single live tournament for a year. 

I also played the Winamax shorthanded event this weekend. It's getting late so I think I'll save that short tale for the next blog. Next up is Killarney next weekend.

Friday, 16 September 2011

UKIPT Dublin and the ghosts of UKIPT Cork

I was really looking forward to the Dublin leg of the UKIPT. I hadn't cashed in a tournament since Dundalk so I was hopeful to break that streak in Dublin. I opted to play Day 1B as the plan was to stay in the Ballsbridge Inn for the weekend rather than going up and down on Thursday and (hopefully) coming back for Saturday.

I had to be up fairly early Friday morning before heading to Dublin, so I got up at 9am and arrived in Dublin by 1.30pm. After sitting down at my first table, a couple of people recognised me from the TV broadcast of Cork which had aired that week. The discussion of UKIPT Cork remained a common enough theme throughout the weekend and I definitely got plenty of abuse over my performance in it!

My day 1 started off pretty well. I hit a few lucky turn cards to win two decent sized pots early on. I then went on a mini heater and built my stack up to 57k. Most of the hands were very standard and I was just running good. By the dinner break I had built my stack up to 80k. I don't think I was playing my best on day 1, I was just getting in some fortunate spots. Coming back after the dinner break I lost a few hands. The first hand I pick up AK on the SB. The blinds are 500-1k and the CO makes it 3k. I 3bet to 9k and he flat calls leaving himself with only 18k behind. The flop is J94 and I just jam it. He calls with TT along with the remark "I knew you had AK". The TT holds and I drop to 50k. I lose the very next hand also and drop to 40k. I get moved table with about an hour left in the night and the rest of the day is fairly uneventful. I bag up my chips with a below average 36,500.

I didn't feel I played my best on day 1, but that said, had I won the AK v TT flip, I'd be returning to day 2 top ten in chips. At the end of the day, in hold em tournies, you have to win your flips.
Day 1 was a long day and I wasn't working off much sleep so I was pretty tired. The plan was to have a drink or two and then head off to bed. That obviously did not go to plan. The crowd at the bar was brilliant craic and the banter was immense. BigMickG is usually a fairly nice and tame fellow, but after a few pints he went to town on me and my Cork performance. "I was watching it and I was like 'jesus, that's terrible, what is he doing' I thought you were a good player but after watching that it's obvious you just ran like God".
That was the general banter of the night and there was plenty of slagging back and forth between everyone.

I got a very reasonable 6 hours sleep and was ready for day 2. I had 36,500 at 600-1200 blinds so there was still plenty of play. My table draw seemed pretty favourable as I didn't recognise many names and there didn't seem to be any big chip stacks either. In fact, I was probably above average chip stack wise on that table. I won the first few pots I played uncontested and chipped up to over 40k. I then pick up QQ in EP position and utg raises. He made it 2400 and I made it 6800. He then reraises to 16800. It's a really sick spot but I can't see how I can ever fold queens. I do deliberate but there's really only one move that makes any sense - I shove. He asks how much more is it and actually thinks about it for a while. At this stage I'm obviously hugely confident I have the best hand and now want a call (tbh, after he started thinking, I thought it might've been a light 4-bet gone wrong and he was working out the odds now to see if he was committed). He eventually did call with the AK and we were flipping. An ace flopped and unfortunately no turn or river miracle for me. It would've been great to win that flip as having an 85k stack at that table (I would've been table chip leader) with the bubble in sight meant I could definitely put my chips to good use.

It was disappointing to be knocked out of the main event as I really wanted another deep run. If I do win that flip I definitely have a great shot at it. After getting knocked out, I decided to get a few more hours sleep before heading back down to play the €300 side event. The side event didn't go great and I ended up busting pretty early. After busting the side event, I headed back to the bar (the plan was to actually head down and play some cash, but you have to go through the bar to get to the cash game area, and so well, you know yourself). By about 5am I decided it was time to play some cash so I headed in. I ran really well and ended up winning a decent chunk. I headed to breakfast at 7am and then watched Ireland's uninspiring performance against the USA. I had debated going back to the cash room at this stage, but I decided the better call was to just go to sleep and wake up and play again in a few hours.

I woke up at about 3pm on Sunday and started playing some cash. I was also railing the main event and high roller event a bit. Mick and Paul were still alive in the high roller, and there were still a lot of good players left in the main, including the ever consistent Jason Tompkins. Paul ended up busting the high roller in 9th after grinding a short stack for most of the previous day (no seriously, I'm not joking, he actually did grind a short stack) and eventually losing a few flips on the final table. Mick ended up cashing in 4th. Jason went on a sick run in the main event and ended day 3 as the chip leader heading to the final table. The final table also  included previous UKIPT winners Joeri Zandvliet and the defending champion, Max Silver (needless to say, making the final table two years in a row would've been a sick achievement, not to mention winning it). As it worked out, things didn't go right for Jason at the final table and he busted in 5th. I can definitely relate to those days where nothing goes right and you seem to have a tough decision every single hand. It doesn't matter how good you are, sometimes you just get days like that. All that said, it's a fantastic result for Jason and he definitely seems to be the most consistent player in Ireland by quite a stretch. Zandvliet ended up winning it (his 3rd UKIPT final table and 2nd win) which is phenomenal and Silver finished in 4th.

I managed to log my second winning cash game of the trip which did go a long to covering the expenses of the weekend. I was still down overall, but it was a relatively small amount so I have to happy.
That seems to be it for the UKIPTs for this season (unless I get lucky and bink a ticket to EPT London) so all I can hope is that Stars continue to put their resources behind it and keep the tour going next season. It does have it's faults (eg. Dublin was effectively a 485+75 tournament which is 15% reg which is a bit ridiculous) but there's no denying it's a great tour. There's enough tournaments being lost in Ireland these days, so it does seem like these online sponsored tours will be the way of the future.

As for me, the next tournament is the €440 PLO in Maynooth. Next week is the €550 Winamax 6max in Dublin. I hadn't originally planned on playing the winamax, but I hear the field is supposed to be soft. I haven't made my decision yet, but I'd say there is a decent chance I'll play it. Then at the end of the month is Killarney which is definitely one of the highlights of the year so I'm definitely looking forward to that one. That's all for now!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Unibet Open

Unfortunately, there's not much of a report to be done on my Unibet Open experience. I arrived in the Citywest, handed over €1650 in cold hard cash, sat down, and within a few hours, I was standing back up again.

Heading up to it, I wasn't really sure what to expect from the tournament. It didn't have a huge buzz about it like other tournaments would, but it was still the second biggest tournament of the year so I was sure it had something to offer. I had a feeling the field would be a bit more international than most Irish tournaments, but I had no idea it would be as international as it was. I had to be back in Limerick on Friday, so for that reason I opted to play day 1A (on Thursday). I sat down at my starting table and the only player I recognised was Liam Flood directly on my left. I think there were only 5 Irish playing day 1A which tells you something about the diversity of the field. In one sense, it is bad for the Irish poker community to have so few representing at one of the biggest tournaments of the year, but on the other hand, I think serious credit has to be given to Unibet. They managed to create this tournament out of practically nothing (they probably would've been able to stage this event even if 0 Irish played) which really is a feat in itself. 

As for my tournament, it really was a case of struggling and never getting anything going. The first hand I pick up is pocket kings. There is a raise utg, a call from utg+1 and I 3bet. The flop is 942 with two spades and I get ch-raised. I think I'm probably behind here but I have to peel one. The turn is the 6h and utg fires again. Usually, this is the point at which I convince myself that either: 1) villain is a lunatic 2) villain is on a draw or 3) villain is overplaying QQ, and I proceed to jam it with my kings. Thankfully this time I decided to just take the sensible option and let the kings go. He showed me 99 for top set.

Just before the first break we were told that after the break we'd be moving to the feature table. On the feature table, my luck didn't get much better. Despite the table being one of the softest I'd been at, I still could not manage to get a string of hands together. A typical hand would include me raising with JT, cbetting the AQ9 flop, missing my draw, and showing down J-high against AT. I lost a lot of these small to medium sized pots and my stack began to dwindle. My last hand I pick up AK, the BB picks up QQ, and the rest, as they say, is history. It was very frustrating not to go further. It was a big buy-in event and the field was super soft. I couldn't believe the standard of play at my table and from what I've heard from others, that was pretty standard through out the tournament. I am definitely tempted to put some money on Unibet and try to qualify for other events on the tour.

I didn't play any more poker until the Saturday when I played both the 200 PLO scalp tournament and the 150 re-entry turbo. The PLO was going well as I built up my stack and managed to claim one bounty. With about half the field remaining (I think about 34 started) our table broke. I played one big hand where I wrongly paid off Darragh Davey on the river. I can't remember exactly how the hand played out, but it was a bit of a weird one. The backdoor flush hit on the river and I check-called with my non-nut flush. Initially, I thought I was actually good when Darragh turned over two low clubs, but upon further inspection, I realised I was actually up against the straight flush, woops! I think I'm definitely supposed to fold the river, so I've no excuses there, just a badly played hand on my part.
That hand left me somewhat short stacked (it was a pretty fast structure) and after several limps into my BB, I decided to commit myself with 5678 pre flop. The drunk guy (who was at my original table also) decided to play with me, and as luck would have it, he had just about the worst hand I could see. He showed up with TT56 with spades. Believe it or not, 5678 has only 25% against TT56 (against AAKK I  have 35%!). His hand held and I was sent off registering for the turbo.


In hindsight, the turbo went just about as bad as it could have. It was a re-entry meaning if you bust, you could buy in again. I ended up busting and buying in again the last hand before the break, and I then proceeded to bubble the final table. I ran decently (obviously you have to in a turbo) to get to the last 12 or so. I think we were playing 7 handed and the other table lost a player. Jason Tompkins (who had a big stack) was moved and I was left with the biggest stack on a table full of players playing waaaay too tight. As we all know, even if your edge is as big as it can reasonably be, in a turbo, you still have to run well. Unfortunately, I didn't run well. I didn't get any bad beats, but when you shove with 56s, and your opponent is only calling with the top 10% of his hands, and just so happens to wake up with a top 10% hand, that does sorta count as running bad. These players were never going to be shoving the T7o preflop and they were never going to make the K6 calls. They only way I was going to get caught was if they did happen to pick up a big hand after I shoved. The average stack at this point is around 10-12BBs, so all these shoves etc. must be done. You can't 'pass up a marginal shove with 56 because your edge will be bigger later on'.

So anyway, after the 56s<88 "cooler", I then get it in with KQ v KT but can only manage a chop. After that, I shove with KJ and run into the BB's AQ. If I can win this pot, it will bring me back up above average heading to a soft final table. The flop brings a king and the turn brings a jack. I'm almost home and dry until the inevitable ten falls on the river. For the first time ever, I was actually a little sick with how the board came out. I know when the money goes in pre, it doesn't matter how the board comes out, so if I do get KK v AA and the board is KK4AA, I'm actually not too bothered. This time however, I have to admit, I was disappointed the ten decided to pop up in that fashion. It obviously wasn't just that hand specifically, but it did sorta summarize the whole weekend. It was quite frustrating to run badly in a big buy-in event in which you think your edge is greater than it would in most other events. The feeling was the same for the turbo (apart from the big buy in part) but also throw in the fact that it's on the bubble.

Obviously overall, it was a bad weekend financially. But poker is a cruel fucking mistress and sometimes there's nothing you can do but keep plugging away. I am quite happy with my play. It's still not perfect obviously, and there are still faults that need fixing, but I do feel myself progressing and not making mistakes that I would have made only a few months ago. When you feel yourself improving, that's always a hugely positive thing.

Since the Unibet, I've been playing a lot of live cash. The games have been good and I've been running well so hopefully all that run-bad is out of the way for another while. Next up is the UKIPT in Dublin. I have a good record in these so I'm really hoping for a deep run in Dublin. Until next time....

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Cork Classic main event

Fresh off my omaha bubble and 7am bed time, I was ready to go again for the Main event at 2pm the next day. My starting table wasn't the easiest table in the room. There were a few players I recognised and it soon become apparent that the players I didn't recognise were well able to play. Peter 'knuckles' Higgins who won this event in 2009 and eventually final tabled it this year was two to my left and Cork legend Sean Coughlan was sitting across from me. Sean actually shared some genius strategic advice with me on the Satuday (I hope he doesn't mind too much if I repeat it). Sean has a rep as a bit of a rock amongst some of the local Cork players. Anytime he bets at a pot, they insta-fold with the remark "ah for fuck sake, sure you always have it". Armed with this reputation, Sean told me that he has started betting at more pots. "Sure I just smile at them saying 'ya I always have it but ye never pay me off!'"


The whole day seemed to be a bit of a grind from start to finish. I don't think I played a pot over 10k before the final hour. The first pot I played early on was when I was in the BB. Munster rounder "Muinteoir" was in the SB and was telling a story about about a hand where he had 82o. He limped in and I look down in the BB at......82o! I decide to fire every street. The board gets scarier and scarier and I keep firing. I convince myself that the board is getting scarier for him too and I could always have the ace of clubs. After my final stab on the river of the Jc9c4sKcTc board, Muinteoir calls and turns over the JxQc for the ole straight flush. It was early on so thankfully the bluff wasn't too damaging. I can also take pride that it wasn't the worst 8-2 loss this week!


Going into the last hour or so, I had managed to grind my stack up to 31k. It was a tough enough day as there weren't any great spots or card rushes to get me through. On the penultimate hand, I raise pre-flop and proceed to fire three bullets on a KhTh4cAh7h board. I think it made sense to make the bluffs though as I can easily represent the nuts on each street. My opponent made the crying call with the KT. I think it's one of those hands where I make the same play even if I can see his two hole cards. I'm now down to 19k and I pick up aces utg. I raise pf and get three callers. The flop is 2s5sTh. I lead out, knuckles calls behind me, and the button makes it 11k. It's one of those spots where if you do shove and run into a set, you're not surprised, but at the same time, it's very tough to justify folding the aces. If the board is 25T rainbow, I think then you can maybe make a case for folding (but not really), but given there's a flush draw out there, it's too often that one player has one pair and the other has a draw. Anyway, I shove, knuckles quickly reships for 45k total and the button dwells. Eventually the button mucks JJ and knuckles turns over 22. The turn is the 2 and the river is a J. A bit unfortunate but I really can't see how I can just give someone credit for a set and fold my aces on that flop.

This year, the main event was played as a re-entry tournament. This meant, should you bust, you would be allowed one re-entry to the tournament. This meant new starting stack and a new table (if you bust on Thursday, you could re-enter on Friday). There has been some debate whether this is a good or a bad thing. I know they got rid of the rebuy events from the WSOP a few years ago because it gave players with deeper pockets a better chance of winning the event, thus making it easier for richer players to win a bracelet. That being said though, players with deeper pockets will always have a better chance at winning at live tournaments (notice I said winning and not necessarily maximizing profit) because they'll be able to enter more of them. In theory, I think it's bad for poker, because it does give the players with bigger bankrolls a better shot at winning the tournament. However, in practice, anything that adds more money to the prize pool is a good thing for everyone. Especially in this specific format, if you don't want the hassle of thinking about a rebuy etc. you can just play the Friday instead of the Thursday. 


I availed of the re-entry option and sat down again on Friday. It's also worth noting that rebuying for another €500 doesn't mean you have to have €1000 equity in the tournament to justify your rebuy. After you get knocked out, your rebuy becomes a separate entity entirely and you only need to have over 500 equity to justify it. (in fact, since the €50 reg fee is waivered, it makes even more sense to rebuy if you think you're +EV against the field). As I'm at the reg desk, I draw seat 10. I ask if there's any other seats available as I was in seat 10 all day yesterday. I manage to get seat 9 and proceed to my table. As I'm walking there, my superstition gets the better of me and I regret not just taking whatever table I was given. As I sit down, I start to regret my decision even more as Paul Carr is directly on my left, while Zeik is two to my right.


I sit down but thankfully, within a round, I'm moved to a newly formed table. Before moving, I do get to hear Carrie's accomodation experience in Cork that week. He rang me up on Monday night asking where I was staying for the week. I said, chances are, I'll be staying with a friend but I know Liam is staying in some student accommodation for €50 for the week if he wants to ring there. I'll be honest, inherently, I knew there was a decent chance that Paul Carr and student accomodation may not be the best match, but due to the potential comedy that could arise from the situation, I gave the Paul the number and let him work away. 


So Paul arrives at Cork Student village at about 5am on Thursday morning. He goes to the accommodation "reception" and tries to check in. The receptionist tells him his apartment numer etc. and gives him the key to the room. After a bit of back and forth with directions, the receptionist decides to just bring Paul to the room. First problem when they enter the apartment block...the stairs. "Not a hope am I walking up them stairs everytime I go to my room". I'm not sure how they managed to solve the stairs problem but eventually they manage to get up to the room. At this point, your man from reception is carrying Paul's bags and acting more like a butler than a student accommodation rep. Paul is given a key and asks what door does this key open. He is told "that key opens every door in the whole place". "Are you fucking serious? So you're telling me that key will open every door? How am I supposed to leave my things here when anyone can just open my door?". At this point, living at Student Village Cork for the week is not looking a likely outcome for the Irish Open runner-up.  The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was when Paul finally got to see his room for the week. "So I walk into the room, and there's no blankets, pillows, sheets. Nothing on the bed! What do they expect me to do, sleep on the fucking mattress? I says to your man, 'look pal, gimme back my 100 quid and we'll leave it at that". 2 hours later, Paul was seen checking in at the Rochestown Park Hotel.




Back to the poker. This day 1 went a little better than the day before. I picked up a few hands and was on the right side of a few coolers. It did look like as history was about to repeat itself as I managed to play 4 big pots in the last level. Thankfully, I won 3 of the 4 (even though the 4th one was the biggest one) and managed to finish the day on 45k. I was happy with my play and felt confident heading into day two. 
I manage to chip up and have over 60k at my peak. I play one hand quite badly where I pay off a river check raise. I can't remember how the hand played out exactly, but I remember thinking on the river, surely he wouldn't bother check raising with bare trips here (the flop was 99x), after all, he can hardly expect to be called with worse? Obviously I did call with my turned top pair and he showed up with Q9 (bare trips). It was a weird one, because I actually tried to squeeze out a thin value bet on the river, and then when I got raised, I got confused. That said, it should be a pretty easy fold. If I just checked back the river, I would've saved both the bet and the call.


At the 500-1000(100) level, I'm playing about 40k. I raise utg+2 to 2500 with AJo and a player behind me shoves for 19k. The BB then calls 2500 not seeing that there was an all-in, he then proceeds to fold (effectively meaning there's an extra 1500 in the pot). I need about 38% equity against his range here to call. I was quite active and knew he was a competent player so he could definitely be shoving somewhat light. That said he hadn't really gotten out of line too much so he deserves credit for some sort of decent hand. I end up calling and he shows up with JJ and it holds. I did the sums when I got home and against a very tight range of AJ+ and 77-KK (I decided to rule out aces since I hold one and also, if he did have AA, decent chance he doesn't shove) I have 35.5%. Against a loose range of 22+, AT+ and KJs+, I have 44% equity. His range probably lies somewhere in the middle so I'm pretty happy with my call. You also have to factor in the whole gigabet stack playability etc thing. If I call and lose, I'm down to 18k which is an easy enough stack to play. If I call and win, I'm over 60k, which I think is a big enough stack to really put pressure on opponents. If I fold, I'm left with 34k which is neither a reshoving stack nor a steamroller stack. I'd still be comfortable playing 34k as it's still enough to be able to play poker with, but I think taking a race at this point in the tourney is fine. The next hand I pick up AsKs. Fox raises utg to 3500 and I reship my 18k. I run into AhQh which makes a flush on the turn. Obviously nothing I can do, that's just poker. 




Overall, it was a pretty bad week financially in Macau. I played an Omaha cash game on the Friday night which I won about a monkey in. I'd also won a ticket to the main event so it looked like I'd at least have my main event entries covered through that. However, I started playing a cash game on Saturday night. Long story short, come 7am Sunday morning, I have a 700 euro stack and manage to play a ~€2k with KT on a T42 flop. It's one of those cash games where I think only people that have experienced them know what the ranges are like. It ended up being 100 each 4way preflop. The flop came T42,  and the SB lead out 200. The player to my right shoved for about 400 and after some deliberation, I reshoved for my stack. Then unfortunately the player behind me started to dwell and eventually called with T2. It was quite unfortunate to run into his two pair as I was ahead of both other players and I had no way of knowing if he was strong or not. I was only in for €400 in the game but winning that pot would have put me into profit for the week!




At 7am on Sunday morning I leave the casino to head towards the car to go home. Paul is sitting in reception with Tommy the doorman. Paul had been drinking and was a little worse for wear. Upon calling every hotel in the city, he couldn't find a place to stay. The only option was for me to drive him back to Limerick and he'd come down to collect his car the next day. He also could've stayed at student village but unfortunately he had no bed clothes with him.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cashless in Cork

The week long poker experience in Cork did not go to plan. 5 days, 4 tournaments, 3 Chinese buffets and a bubble later, and I have very little to show for my week at Macau!

It started on Tuesday night when I headed down for the €275 6max. The tournament was quite uneventful and I ended up busting fairly early. Start the week as you plan to finish it! So at 10pm, not needing to be back until 9pm the next night, I decided to just make the ~1hr20min trek home. I managed to make it home just in time to catch the first episode of the UKIPT coverage of the Cork event. The first episode contained coverage of playing from 600 players down to 80. I did manage to have a 2 second cameo appearance along with my name being listed on chip count lists a few times. Oh the life of a TV star!

I head back to the Macau Wednesday night for the €330 PLO tournament. 17 players showed up and it's probably the most densely populated field of good players that I've played with in a tournament. I started out fairly well and got to the final table as chip leader. With about 5 left I made a bad read and ran into Chris Dowling's quads. This brought me from 90k down to 55k (which was about average).
4 handed, I got involved in a big pot blind v blind. The flop went check-check and I then turn two pair + second nut flush draw. Alex Lopez leads into me and I reraise pot (leaving myself with only 20k behind). There's about 100k in the pot after Alex decides to flat. The river brings the other flush (and a straight) and Alex pushes. It's a sick spot but all I have is top two, and he's pretty much never bluffing here. It's a pretty easy fold but it's still so sick when there's over 100k out there and you're folding to leave yourself with the starting stack with 4 left.

Nicky Power busted the next hand leaving us 3 handed and on the bubble, with me having 20k, and Chris and Alex having around 150k each. There was some debate at the start about whether there should be 2 or 3 prizes, but as Ken Corkery put it "look, there's going be at least 3 prizes coz they always burst the bubble. To be honest, I'd bet there'll probably be 4". Stellar read by Ken as always.

The bubble didn't last too long anyway as on the first hand I manage to get it in with A7xx on an A78 board having committed half my chips pre. Luckily, both Chris and Alex completely miss the board and my hand holds up, doubling me up to 50k chips. Alex raises pf the next hand and I decide to go with my 779T. I run into Alex's KKxx and despite a bit of a sweat I can't out run the kings. The two lads split it up and play for the trophy which Alex goes on to win.

I was staying at Alex's house for the week and I actually convinced him to play the omaha tournament. Despite being semi-retired now, he still seems to remember how to run good at omaha. He was previously a mid-high stakes reg on most of the European sites and also came 2nd at the 2010 PLO event at the Irish Open. He also (in)famously sat down at 100-200 PLO with Brian Townsend. Townsend knew "the prof" had game though, so sat out and refused to play him!

Next up on the schedule was Day 1A of the €550 Main event. This post is long enough already so I think I'm gona leave it there and continue soon. The Unibet Open starts tomorrow so I may not have part two of this blog up until after then. Either way, lots of writing, lots of updates and lots of poker to be discussed!

Also, you can follow me on twitter @Jam_Fly if you want chip counts etc from any tournies I play.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bit of everything

Felt it was a bit too long to go without an update but still didn't have toooooo much to talk about...

 Last time I posted was just before I headed off on holidays. Very enjoyable trip. Other than betting on every Irishman (except Darren Clarke obviously) to win the Open, there was no gambling or poker for the two weeks. I was kept entertained however, as I got to see Eoghan O'Dea make the November nine. ESPN showed live coverage (30min delay and you'd get to see hole cards after the hand) of the main event which was class. There aren't enough superlatives to describe how brilliant it is to have an Irishman at THE final table. The only way it could be topped is if he goes and wins the thing, and at this point in time, he has to be the favourite. I can't really say any more than what has already been said about this, so I'll just leave it with a "Best of fucking luck Eoghan O'Dea!!!".

I also read some of the updates from the Waterford Masters when I was gone. Was great to see both Liam and Carrie cashing. You also have to be delighted for Jason Tompkins winning it. I was looking forward to having a bit of a sweat with Jason in Vegas this year, but due to ill health, he couldn't travel. Needless to say, coming back with a bang with a win in your first tournament isn't a bad way to go!

While we're talking about tourney results, I also have to give a big congratulations to Fintan Gavin, the 2011 UKIPT Edinburgh champion! Fintan's obviously known as a bit of a character so I look forward to watching this final table on TV!


I have been playing a good bit since returning home. The cash games in Limerick have been good so I've been logging the hours. I've played 9 times in the last two weeks, and to give you an idea of the size of the games, I experienced both my two biggest winning nights, and my two biggest losing nights in that period! One of these nights, I witnessed one of these mystical players that I didn't think really existed. A guy sat down after coming from the black jack table and proceeded to play every hand, calling down with almost anything. Now you often say this describing a LAG player, but this guy, literally, called with anything. It was honestly like nothing I'd seen before at a poker table. Unfortunately, my hands didn't quite hold up so I ended up a big loser that night! But as the saying goes, that's poker. Can't complain when there are still games and players like that knocking around the place.

One thing I will mention while I'm on it though, is people either complaining/insulting/educating players like this. The guy obviously isn't a serious poker player and is playing for entertainment. Chances are, he's happy enough to have a good time, have a bit of a gamble and lose the money. I'll never understand people that insult bad players (after getting sucked out on, I can somewhat understand it, but after winning a pot, complaining about how badly your opponent played the hand....please explain that one to me). Anyway, I just think it's something aspiring players should really take note of. Let the bad players lose their money if they so please and try to make sure they have a good time while they're doing it. It will make them more likely to come back if they enjoy the game.

I've pretty much played zero online in the last month. I think I played a few satelittes alright but that's about it. I did play a sat to the Macau main event in Fitzpatricks though and won a ticket. It was a €50+5 with 1 rebuy so I managed to win one of three tickets there. Good game where I played well and won my races. My super-sat strategy was a little bit rusty and I think I may have made an error or two on the bubble.

I'll be heading down to Cork later on today and I think I'll be staying for the rest of the week . There's 3 events I'm definitely playing (€275 6max, €330 PLO and €550 M.E.) and  plenty of other tourneys (€100 turbos etc.) and cash games to keep me occupied. The weekend after this, is the €1650 Unibet Open which is a big one I'm definitely looking forward to. Should be a busy few weeks, and I'm really looking forward to it all. I'm very happy with my game right now and feel very comfortable and confident. Hopefully the next blog title will read "3 wins from 3 tournaments, no big deal...".


Last thing I'll mention before I finish is that I believe tonight will be my TV debut. The Cork UKIPT is on channel 4 at about midnight tonight. I think it's mostly day 1 in the first episode, so don't expect to see too much of me tonight. The final table should be next week and the week after though, so tune in then to see all my bluffs going wrong!

Friday, 15 July 2011

HOLIDAYS!!

Things haven't gone great since the last update. I lost a good chunk online the night before the Killarney game so I wasn't really in the mood to go down for the tournament. However, I did get a call from Paul Carr at about midnight telling me there's a 5-10 PLO game running and I should definitely come down. Despite having slight suspicions about his claims, I decided to head down anyway. I definitely wasn't going to sleep and I definitely wasn't in the mood to log another online session, so I said "why not, nothing better to do, I'll head down!".

I arrived down about 1.30am and proceed to play brutally in a 1-2 cash game. My head just wasn't there and I was playing undisciplined and quite frankly, bad poker. The game came to an end about 9am and I was a small winner. Given the mood I was in, I obviously did a blind flip with Paul at the end of the session to cost me the profit plus a bit more. If poker just got rid of the whole 'looking at your cards' nonsense, that guy would definitely have about 16 bracelets at this stage.

I also travelled up to Galway to play the Eglinton's end of month €150 game. I never really got anything going and busted fairly early. Those EOM casino games are unique ones to play. Usually, if you're playing at a table with 9 strangers, it's at a deep stacked tournament and you have a a few hours to adjust and pick up on their tendencies. However, when you're playing a relatively quick structured game against people you don't play with regularly, you often have to play a pot early before you get a real grip on the table. This happened to me and I lost some chips calling when I should have been folding, and folding when I should have been shipping! I eventually bust squeezing with QJs and running into AT.

I played a cash game after and again I played quite badly, more impatience and indiscipline. I was fortunate to hit some draws and get paid off. I ended up winning enough to cover the tournament buy-in and also a small bit of profit. Nothing huge, but I guess you have to happy with any win when you're not playing your best!

Online, I haven't really been playing much. I've been trying some satelittes on Stars for Edinburgh and some EPTs but haven't had much luck. I bubbled for a €530 Barcelona sat ticket and that has been the extent of my satelitte results of late! Definitely gona keep plugging away at them and hopefully bink an EPT package.


Today, I'm heading away to America for a 2 week holiday. Definitely disappointed that I'm missing so many good tournaments but I guess I could also do with the break! Some time to recharge the batteries is certainly needed. I'll be reading a bit and working on my game while away so I hope to return in August with a clear head ready to get some results! Some tasty tournaments on in August so I'm definitely hoping to run good when I get back and hopefully take one of them down!

All that's left to say is best of luck to all the Irish left in the main event! Take it down!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The times, they are a changin!

If you told me a year ago that in 365 days time, Full Tilt Poker would (for all relevant purposes) be gone, I would've said you were off your game. Yet we stand here today in that position. The whole thing is very interesting and if it's taught me anything, it's that you can take nothing for granted.
Luckily, I only had $14 which I received for rakeback on the site, so thankfully I didn't get stung too badly. There are guys that need to access money on the site in order to pay bills though. I feel really sorry for them and can't imagine what they are going through. Hopefully things work out faster than expected and everyone get's their money back.

I guess before I get on to the more micro-based blogging, the other macro event I have to comment on is the proposed super casino in Tipperary. Although right now, it is only planning permission that has been granted, it is still an exciting prospect. I do have to say though, that I believe I came up with this idea before anyone else did. After visiting Foxwoods about 5 years ago, I remember thinking "you know what, they should build one of those in Ballinahinch" - (probably more accurately I thought "you know what, when I become a billionaire, I'm gonna build one of those in Ballinahinch"). Anyway, regardless of whether it was me or Richard Quirke that came up with the idea, it is a very ambitious one and definitely something I'll be keeping an eye on.

As for my own life since the last blog, I guess it's been reasonably alright. I've been playing a bit online and live, doing a bit of sports betting and been keeping up to date with the WSOP.
I've been following most of the Irish's progress in vegas and unfortunately there's no bracelets to report on. Doke has had 3 cashes in bracelet events which is obviously very good statistically, but not great financially since tourney poker is so top heavy. He's running deep though, and if one of those lost races/coolers turned into a won race/cooler, he would've had a legitimate shot at a final table. Guys like Nick Newport and Tom Kitt have a few cashes too, but no big wins yet. John O'Shea as always is living the dream, and after casually winning 70k sports betting he's gona take a shot at a black chip PLO game in Bobby's Room. I guess someone has to pick up the slack since Ivey's not around.
As I'm writing this, the 50k Player's Championship is 4 handed. Hellmuth (who has already had a pretty impressive series with two 2nds in the 2-7 and Stud hi/lo championships along with 2 other cashes) is currently chip leader. The legend that is Minh Ly is also hanging around 2nd in chips. Minh is definitely somewhat of an enigma and seems to be the definition of robusto (if you look at his hendon mob for the last two years, all his cashes have been in $100-$500 tournies in LA). It's definitely going to be fun whoever wins it!


As for me, I've been gambling a bit. I've won a nice few bob sports betting lately. Although I do sports bet, I can't come anywhere near to claiming I'm +EV at it. If I see something that I think is value, I'll throw a few quid on it. I had Nadal in the French open and I also got Garcia at 16/1 ew in the BMW International Open. Garcia finished 2nd in a play-off but I managed to lay him off during it to book a reasonable win. Nadal in the French was great value as I think anytime you can get the king of clay at better than evens it has to be a good bet. I didn't have any outright bets on Wimbledon as I thought it was (literally) the toughest tournament to call in years, but I did have some match bets. I managed to get Nadal at 4/9 ONE SET UP against Del Potro. How they can give 4/9 on Nadal one set up I don't know. The other one was Nadal-Murray. I got 1/2 on that and honestly felt like I was printing moeny. I ended up with a nice chunk (I'm pretty sure the biggest single sports wager I've ever placed) on that. The next big one is the British Open and I can't help but put a few bob on McIlroy at 6/1 and Harrington at 33/1. PaddyPower are offering each-way on placing up to 7th which really is an attractive offer!

As for the ole bit of poker (which after all, this blog is supposed to be about), I have been playing a bit. Played some tournies online over the last few weeks but have ran badly. Losing the races and 70-30s at crucial times so no real results of note. I've also been playing PLO cash which has been (surprise surprise!) pretty swingy. I'm up overall but the swings are quite sick. It's the first time I've played omaha consistently but I'm definitely planning on sticking with it. It's a good game with a lot more bad players around so it makes sense to play it and get better at it. I've put some work in so I definitely think I'm +EV in the games I'm playing. Like everything though, experience is the best teacher, and when it comes to online PLO, I'm still relatively inexperienced. We'll see how it goes.
Live, I've been playing the 1/2/(5) cash game in Limerick a bit. It's good to have games back running as there was a few months where the games were scarce and you'd be lucky to have one or two per week. My recent results in the game have been decent, but I think I've ran poorly, getting unlucky in a few of the bigger pots the last few nights. I'm reasonably happy with my play though and that's really all you can ask for.

It's been all quiet on the festival front since Dundalk with the WSOP taking center stage I suppose. There are a few great games coming up in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, I'm heading off the America for a holiday so I'll miss them all! They're 3 tournament I would've 100% played so I'm pretty sickened to be missing all of them. The €440 Waterford Masters is by all accounts, a great game. There's a UKIPT in Brighton which I almost definitely would've travelled over for. I'm currently 20th in the UKIPT leaderboard, so I think it's well worth giving myself a shot at winning it before the season's over. And finally, the European Masters is coming to Dublin on the 28th. Day 1B is on the 29th and I'm coming home the 29th. I knew the flight arrived in Dublin at around 6am, but after getting a bit mixed up, I realised that'll be 6am on the 30th! The EMOP is a great event so I'm really annoyed to be missing it. There's a 500 (I think) side event on the Saturday. With jet lag and the aftermath of a two week vacation, I'm not sure if I'll be up for playing it, but I'll definitely keep my options open!

After I get back, there's some nice events coming up in August. You have UKIPT Edinburgh (£560), the Macau's Irish Poker Classic in Cork (€550) and the Unibet Open in Dublin (€1650). Definitely 3 events I'm looking forward to playing. Edinburgh is a great spot and I'd love to get another big result in a UKIPT. The Cork tournaments are always good structures and not having to worry much about accommodation and travel is always a big plus for me. The Unibet Open in Dublin is the inaugural event and one not many people seem to know much about. It's a €1650 though, which now makes it the second biggest tourney of the year (the IWF has dropped from €1650 to €1100). I'm not quite sure what to expect but all I know is that I want to win it!
This weekend, Connie is having a €225 game down in Killarney. I was probably going to play it anyway, but now I hear there is a crowd from Limerick heading to it and also it starts the Saturday (for some reason I thought it was on the Friday) which means I'm almost definitely going to play it now.


For the next few weeks,  I guess the plan will be to put in some hours online before I go, rest and relax on holidays, work on my game a bit, and prepare to have a big month in August!



Also, I will probably be selling some %s for the August tournaments. I'll probably post a thread up on IPB soon but if anyone wants to buy some before I post, let me know (PM on IPB or leave a comment) and I'll reserve them. Cheers!