My attempted defense of my Students Masters title went just about as bad as it could have gone. With the tournament starting at 2pm, I found myself by the canal in Dublin about 5 minutes from the Burlington at 2.15pm - being twenty minutes late would have been no big deal. Somehow, 2 hours later, I still had not arrived. What started as simply taking a right turn one later than I should have, somehow descended into me driving around Dublin city for two hours. It was definitely top 5 worst drives of my life. Just as I got close, I somehow managed to take some other wrong turn and end up at somewhere that wasn't the Burlington. I eventually ended up somehow heading towards Inchicore. Even I knew this was a really bad sign. I eventually saw a sign for the N11, got on that road, and ended up back at the canal - the exact same place I had been 1hr50mins previously. I took the correct right turn this time and finally arrived at the Burlington at the first break.
The tournament actually meant a lot to me and I really wanted to win it again. Freudian mistake or not, arriving 2 hours was far less than ideal. A 10k stack and 40 mins blinds (which is a phenomenal structure for a 100 freezeout btw) still doesn't really give much breathing room for folks that are 2hrs late. All was not lost anyway and I arrived with 9300 at the 100-200 level. Not much really happened and I hovered around this amount for a while. With blinds of 150-300 and a 25 ante, it only takes losing one or two hands to put you under serious pressure. Two failed raise/c-bets later and I was left with just under 6k at 200-400. I shoved my 14BBs from the CO and the player on my direct left didn't take much time before calling. My pocket fours couldn't outrun his QQ and it was sayonara until next year.
It was definitely a pathetic performance and I really would have liked to have given a better go at defending it. It's a unique tournament that I didn't really appreciate till after winning it. You could win any other random €500 tourney in Ireland, and despite getting more money, you'd probably get more recognition for winning the Student Masters. Part of this is the well oiled PR machine of PaddyPower, but the other part is that for any student thinking about getting into poker, the student masters is the first event they'll think about. I've had friends from school etc. who would be part of their poker soc in college and despite not knowing who Patrik Antonius was, they'd ask me about the structure of the students masters and what kind of a tournament it was etc. It's a great way to introduce players to the game and offers students a pretty decent tournament for a pretty affordable buy-in. It wasn't to be for me this year, but as far as I'm concerned, that's my title and I want it back next year!
They played down to 9 last night and the plan is to come back the night before the Irish Open to finish it. As far as I know, three UL students made the final table. It would be nice to keep the title in Limerick so good luck to Kevin, Seamus and Alan! Having three players (and three pretty good players at that) out of nine, you'd have to be confident UL can continue their dominance of the Irish collegiate poker scene! (btw, part of this dominance included Seamus and Kevin finishing 1-2 at the inter-varsity competition earlier in the year. First and second in the IVs and a final table at the Student Masters is a pretty good achievment!).
Paddy Power were running a satellite to the Irish Open as a side event at the Student Masters. Without really thinking, I decided to put my name down. It didn't look like it was going to run as it was only myself and one other name on the list. As the clock approached six, the three resident pros in the form of Doke, Darragh Davey and David Lappin arrived in. Playing a five handed SNG with that lot didn't sound too appealing but thankfully a field of 15 players somehow managed to manufacture itself.
I didn't really get too out of line in the sat and was playing well. Following the add on period (4k starting stack, with 7k add-on) I was in for €300 (plus the €15 reg) and sitting on about 13k. I lost about 3.5k one hand with KJs vs A9s when I was priced into calling a 3-bet shove. With the blinds at 200-400, a bit of a funny hand occurred. I was in the BB with pocket tens. The CO put in one 500 chip and a 100 chip (he obv meant to make it an 1100 raise) which was ruled a call and it folded around to me. There was a lot of confusion with the dealer first claiming the 600 was a legal raise and then just as he was about to deal the flop I had to tell him I hadn't decided on my option yet. After all the commotion I eventually made it 1200 total. The CO called and the dealer dealt the AJ9 flop. I fired a c-bet and the CO called. J on the turn, ch-ch and another ace fell on the river. I ch-folded to what I was told was AQ. Apparently, if the hand plays out as normal (CO makes it 1100 and I shove from the BB), the CO folds and I take down the pot. The way it played out, I was left with just under 6k.
In what's becoming a scarily familiar scenario, I shoved my ~13BBs from the CO and the player to my left insta calls. Again my little pair (fours this time) couldn't out run the QQ. In something like my last 6 tournaments, every time I've shoved my 10-15BB stack, the player on my immediate left had insta called me every single time. There's no worse feeling than shoving with a marginal hand and getting the insta call behind you!
So thus ends my reign as Student Champion of Ireland. I was disappointed not to put up a better fight but the only consolation I can take from my attempted defense of the title is that I'm still a better defender than that gowl David Luiz. Until next time.....