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!