Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Northern Open

I travelled up to Dundalk last weekend to play the Northern Open. I'd been running well live so had been thinking about going to Newcastle for the UKIPT. By the time I'd decided I would, prices for flights were €150 so I figured paying so much in expenses was not worth it for a £550 event. I also saw there was a ticket on IPB for the event (free ticket, 50-50 on winnings) and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the horse. I don't really care how +EV in an event you are, getting to play for 50% of your winnings for nothing is a savage deal and one I'd take any time.

So I travelled up to Dundalk and about 4hrs into the event I was starting to regret not having 100% of myself! It wasn't the strongest field ever assembled to say the least (obviously with the UKIPT and WSOP on, this was to be expected some bit). I finished Day 1 with about 40k, average 30k. Day 2 didn't start the best and I dwindled down before doubling with TT v A4. I busted with about 80 players left. I raise 55 and the BB calls. Flop comes 5dKdJd and we get it all in, he shows up with 6d7d. Standard, no way I can get away from it. 

I busted around 5pm and got a bit to eat. A big attraction of the Northern Open was the potential cash games. The punters from the north usually give good action, and even though I missed the Western Open, I heard it had some pretty juicy cash games. Busting at 5pm however was a tad inconvenient as I wasn't too thrilled about hanging around till about midnight when the games got decent. There was a €200 side event which started at 5pm so I decided I'd jump in that. Overall, I've been pretty disappointed with my side event results. My mind is usually still in the main event so I play way less disciplined and much more gamble oriented. There's pretty much no excuse for stuff like that, so I was determined to play well.

There was 47 runners to start. I start decently and by the time we got down to the final table, I was around chip leader and was feeling very comfortable. I knock out another big stack with KK when he check raises all in with 78 on a Q76 board (tbh, I think he made the play out of tiredness more than anything). So that puts us on the bubble. Bursting the bubble is suggested and the TD is about to go stop the clock to let us discuss it. I know I don't want to burst the bubble so before he goes to any trouble I say that I object to it. Thankfully, he does say to the table that often when people don't want to burst the bubble it's not because they're being mean, but because it's a good time to gather chips, so don't take it wrongly if someone objects to the deal.
It's not the first time that I've objected to bursting the bubble, in fact, I've seem to run into it very regularly! People have often been very unhappy with me and taken my objection to it personally. My stance on it is fairly simple, if it's +EV for me to burst the bubble, I will, if it's not, I won't. You meet a lot of nice people and there's good banter at the tournaments, but at the end of the day, poker is about the moolah. 

So anyway,we play on 7 handed for quite a while. I did play one huge pot 7 handed. The player second in chips raised from the button. I look down at JJ in the SB. I'd say well over 80% of the time it's right to reraise with JJ from the SB when the button raised, but here was a case where I think it's right to just call. I was very comfortable at the table and had a decent read on the button. Reraising and possibly playing a big pot was not what I wanted. I felt very comfortable flatting with the JJ and playing it oop. The flop came J4s2s. I check-called. The turn comes an off suit 8 and he checks out of turn. The plan was to again check the turn, and maybe reraise depending how much he bet. The check out of turn definitely threw a spanner into the works. In hindsight, I should have asked if he is allowed raise should I bet. That definitely makes the bet look a bit weaker and more like a flush draw. Anyway, I decide to fire out a bet which he called. The river comes another spade. Then he does a 'sorta almost tap the table check but realises half way through that he's out of position so doesn't actually check' move. This again confuses me. I'm not sure if it was an angle shoot or not, but the fact he acted out of turn the street previous definitely made it strange. Maybe it genuinely was just lack of experience. So I assumed that the check was genuine and it wasn't an angle shoot with the nuts. Therefore I lead with a very chunky river value bet. He calls and turns up KsJs. He said he thought he was ahead before the river but thought I could've had AsXs. After losing so much on the hand, the out of turn check(s) did tilt me slightly. I guess I was actually lucky enough not to get it all-in on the flop as it played out. 

The bubble did eventually burst when a player 3rd or 4th in chips check raised with K8 on a king high flop and ran into KT. Definitely another tired play imo. Played ended for the night and I was 3rd in chips. 
Seat 1: 7k
Seat 2: 37k
Seat 3: 195k
Seat 4: 15k
Me: 52k
Seat 6: 164k
Was how we were coming back for day 2.

The two short stacks busted early on, with the slightly bigger one going first. Down to 4 handed with the blinds getting big, either me or the other short stack were pushing almost every hand. He got lucky first when his K3 out ran AK. A hand later I shoved A8 and ran into his 99. I flopped two pair and managed to get lucky in that one. A while later, my JJ holds to eliminate a player with A4. 3 handed, I raised pf with QJ and he shoved all in. I'm getting 1.6/1, so I need about 38.5% to call. Against a range of 55+, AJo+ and ATs, I'm 34%. Against a range of any pair and any ace, I'm 40%. He shoved pf with K3, so I didn't think it was unreasonable for him to have a semi-wide shoving range. It's actually pretty close, but usually in these spots, you're supposed to lean towards calling. I was in such good shape that folding and waiting for a better spot was a viable option, but I'm happy with my call here. As is it happened, he had AQ and my QJ call appears like somewhat of a donk call. I get lucky again and river a straight and we're heads up.

First hand heads up, he shoves for about 28BBs and I fold A5s. He proceeds to shove a good few hands pf for well over 20BBs. Eventually, I pick up A4hh in the SB and limp in. Again he shoves for just over 20BBs. The temptation of ending it right there proved too much for me so I called. It's a pretty horrible call to tell the truth. When you're running good, there definitely is part of your subconscious that thinks you're going to win anyway. Obviously that's not how the real world works and when he turned over his 55, even though I thought I still might win it, I knew I was a substantial underdog. The board blanked out and the 55 held. It's a shocking call pf because A4 is just a bad hand against his range here. With 20BB+ effective stacks HU, I definitely have time to wait for a slightly better spot. The heads up match finished swiftly after that as I check raised all in with 82 on a 873 flop and ran into K8. I was pretty short stacked so the hand played itself. 

So I bust out in 2nd place for €2,000. Not bad, and overall, have to be happy enough with the weekend's work. Obviously it would've been nice to win it outright but I only have myself to blame. It's another tournament in the books, and another decent showing, so happy enough with it.


  1. Nice blog Jamie, and good score. Sam and anyone else I spoke to said you played really well in Cork, great run there too.

  2. Cheers Owen. I think Sam definitely got the better of me in Cork. Looking forward to seeing the hands on TV, hopefully he didn't re-bluff me every time!