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....