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.

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