Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Irish Open 2012 - part 4

Tourney #3
€150+50+25 NLHE Scalps
Mon afternoon 3pm

After doing the whole deja vu thing of checking out of a hotel room for the second day in a row, I eventually decided to just stay for the €225 scalps event. I wasn't really in the mood to play, but I convinced myself that live €225 tournaments aren't on every day in Ireland and I'd regret not playing a few days later when I was stuck at home craving a live tournament.

A few hours in, and I was definitely happy with my decision. A few hours after that, I hated my decision.

The tourney got off to a good start and my flopped set ran into aces for a nice double-up. I was doing well at a slightly tighter than average table when Tom Hanlon and Paul Carr got moved to our table. Chips started flying and the dynamic of the table changed. My AJ manged to hold on a JT9 flop when I ran into Tom's J8. Carrie managed to amass a huge stack, but such is the nature of the beast, was out a few rounds later. Things settled down and by the time there was 4 tables left, I was in pretty decent shape. I had about 40k when the average was about 16k. First I lost a race to Doke when his 99 held against my AK, which cost me about 10k. Then, a shorty shoved for 7BBs from the CO and the SB called. I was playing around 27BBs and woke up with QQ in the BB. I shoved over the SB flat and he obv insta-called with aces. He just about had me covered and knocked me out.

It was a pretty tilt-inducing end to the weekend. I think you almost feel violated when you go from big chip leader to out in just a few hands. It's just such a shock to the system, one minute you're eyeing up first prize and thinking about making the final table, the next minute you're counting out your chips and realising he has you covered and you're out. The guy who had the aces was a total spaz who was open shoving 40BB stacks earlier in the tourney. I had a hand earlier when I folded 88 to one of his 3bet shoves (I didn't open, I just folded behind his 3bet shove). I was in good chip position at the table and didn't really want to play a big pot. That said, I felt I was ahead of his range and you can't really wait around in these fast paced structures. He showed 55 that hand so I'm left to wonder what could have been.

So financially, the weekend was bad. As always though, the Irish Open lived up to it's expectations in being good craic. I decided to go down a different route with the blog covering the IO so I hope any readers enjoyed it. I started this blog almost a year ago at this stage, but I never really had a clear idea of what I wanted the blog to look like. At the start, I was worried about writing too much (in actual words; sometimes I felt I had to be mechanical in trip reports and cover every little detail) or writing too little (in hands and strategy, I was hesitant to give much analysis for fear of 'giving anything away'). Now, I've come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is just write whatever I feel is 'right'. First and foremost, this blog is for me. Talking about stuff definitely helps your mindset, and it's always nice to have a blog to look back on in a few years. So the main thing is that I enjoy what I'm writing, and hopefully some others will enjoy it too.

So anyway, enough of that nonsense, the blog is what it is! So the Irish Open for 2012 drew to a close. There was no main event for me this year, but I hope to be back in 2013. Looking forward, I'm not really sure what's on the cards for me. I have exams starting next week, so I guess I'll be half pre-occupied with them for a while. Following that, we're heading into the summer and I'm really not sure what I'll be doing. Committing to things in advance is something I really do not like doing, so that naturally means it's tough to predict what lies in the future. Poker wise, the next big one is UKIPT Dublin. As it stands, I'm not sure if I'm going to play it. I think I'm going to take a break from the festivals for a while as they're simply out of my bankroll. Life expenses are piling up, and when you're not grinding consistently, they unfortunately eat into your roll.
Today (well, yesterday, technically) is the 23rd of April. William Shakespeare was born on the 23rd April 1564 and died on the 23rd of April 1616. So, not for the first time, I'm going to end this blog with a Shakespearean quote:

"If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow, and which will not,

Irish Open 2012 - part 3

Cash Session #5
Sat night 6pm-9pm

Maximize my sleep I did and didn't wake till about 5pm the next day (it's actually only an 8hr sleep so really it's far from impressive). The PLO tourney started at 6pm but I decided to pass on playing it. Had I not pissed away €645 the night before, I may have considered playing, but having done so, I wasn't really in the mood to give the omaha a spin. Instead I decided to sit in a 1-2 PLO cash game with the plan of leaving at 9pm for the €335 turbo.

I didn't really have much luck and left €140 down after a short session. I actually forgot to record any of the hands, but from memory, I remember sticking it in with decent kings with one suit (something like KK9J). There was an utg raise followed by a few calls and I was able to get over half my stack in. I didn't think utg was messing around, but I still thought it was a decent spot. We ended up getting it in and he had double suited aces (with my suit) and held.

The mentality you have in an omaha cash game can make such a difference in your sessions. There's plenty of spots where you can effectively get the money in with a mediocre hand and dead money in the pot. You'd think this is all good because, 'sure isn't every hand in omaha 60-40', so getting your 300 stack in the middle with 100 quid dead money must be good. It's not. First of all, for it to be +EV to wager your 300 stack to win the 400 in the middle (ie the 100 dead money, plus the 300 of whoever you're getting it in with), you have to be 43%, and second of all, you're probably not 43% as much as you think! This may seem obvious and borderline simple to good omaha players, but you'd be surprised how many people think this way. Anyway, the point being that, most of the time, you shouldn't be going out of your way to get it in with the kings pf etc. That's not where your edges come from when playing PLO cash!

I can't really remember any other hands from this session. I think I won one decent hand and lost one decent hand aside from the above hand. Overall it wasn't a great session. Was still a bit tilted from the night before and probably not playing my best. I wasn't on mega tilt, but was probably playing my C-game. I left the game at 9pm to play the NLHE turbo tournament. The game was actually pretty good so I'm not sure if leaving was a good decision or a bad one.

Tourney #1
€300+35 Turbo NLHE
Sat night 9pm

So off I went to play my first tournament of the weekend. I got off to a less than stellar start when I flopped a set and let a gutshot get there on the turn. I was happy with how I played it but unfortunately was always losing some chips that hand. I managed to claw my way back to around the starting stack by the time our table broke. Things were quiet at my new table, and as is the nature of turbos, there weren't many hands of note.

My bustout hand occurred when I had 4000 chips at 300-600 [details are sketchy, but this is roughly correct]. I was in the SB and a player in MP opened to 1600. This got two calls behind and I decided to jam with QJo. The opener himself is playing ~11k so it's very likely that he will shove, thus getting a heads up pot with lots of dead money. If I'm correct that close to 100% of the time it will go: I shove, BB folds, opener re-shoves, callers fold; then I need about 32% against the openers range. Of course, it won't always play out like that. The two flatters aren't much of a worry, so aside from the BB waking up with queens, the worst case scenario is that the opener flats (tbf, this would be quite odd, even for a turbo at the Irish Open) as do the two callers, in which case I'm playing a four way pot for my tournament life with QJ.
As predicted however, the opener shoved and we got heads up, my QJ vs his JJ. His JJ held and I was out the gate. I'm 32% almost exactly against the JJ so I guess if I think I'm +EV in the field I should avoid the breakeven shove :D. I don't have pokerstove on this comp, but I'd be surprised if I'm less than 32% against his range as a lot of pairs and A9 type hands make up his range.

Following this bustout I hung around a bit and eventually retired to the room. I wasn't in the mood for poker and for some reason wasn't really in the mood for drink either. It was Saturday night at this stage and we were due to check out at noon on Sunday. I was down money and wasn't thrilled with my performance. I wasn't really 'feeling the vibe', so I guess, at the time anyway, heading home Sunday afternoon was the plan.

Tourney #2
€1000+125 NLHE
Sun afternoon 4pm

By 1.30pm on Sunday afternoon, I was checked out of the room and the bag was in the car. Munster kicked off against Ulster in the Heineken Cup quarter final at 1.45pm, so naturally I hung around the Burlington bar to watch that. The €1k NLHE side-event kicked off at 4pm but I didn't really have any plans to play that. If I'm going to play a €1k tourney, there's probably more prestigious and more +EV options than the IO side event (not that I think I'm -EV in it, but there's no internet qualifiers etc so it'd probably be a bit tougher than the average UKIPT, Winter Fest, EMOP etc.).

Some of my fellow match watchers were convincing me to play the tournament, and after some messing with percentages, I ended up playing it. Ideally, I would have rathered invest less than I was in an MTT, but I guess it was just that type of weekend!

I started out well and was really feeling in the zone. I felt my focus was probably the highest it had been at any point this year, so needless to say I was feeling really good. Then this happened...

UTG opens to 400 at 75-150. HJ flats, I make it like 1100 or so with KK from the CO. The original opener folds and the HJ flats. The flop comes 772 and he checks. I c-bet and he clicks it back. This guy was creative and was definitely one to try to play you off your hand (I'd seen him min-raise the river on a bluff among other things, so he was definitely the ultra-aggro, levelling, borderline spewy type of player). Basically, never in a million years was I ever folding kings against him. I make a 3-bet on the flop and he calls. The flat call on the flop is a little suspicious, but 22 and 77 are basically the only two hands that beat me. Bluffs and worse pairs still make up a lot of his range at this point. The turn comes a blank and he checks. I bet half my remaining stack and he shoves. I obviously call. He turns up the 72hh!

Given that he ends up with the 72hh, I think I'm justified in my thinking throughout the hand, this guy definitely was capable of taking a lot of 'creative' lines. When he just flats my flop 3-bet, then it does start to look like he might have a hand. Checking back the turn may be better but I think that's just being results orientated. The guy is capable of all sorts of crazy shit and I have near the top of my range so I think I have to go broke there. With regard to his flat of the 3bet pf, as Liam said to me after the tourney, "sure obviously he's flatting you there. He knows if he hits his hand against a donkey who can't fold kings he's always getting paid off!".

Definitely one of the weirder hands I've played but I honestly can't say I regret my play in the hand.

As I was getting up, I nearly headed straight for the car in disgust. However, I felt I probably should let my investors know that their horsey didn't run too well. They were in the bar and well, I'm sure you know where this story ends up.

It was my first time drinking all weekend, and as always, the craic was good. The US Masters was on TV and the PaddyPower Beer Pong championships also took place. The beer pong got off to a good start and we made it through the 1st round but unfortunately fell in the quarter finals. The Masters on TV also provided some entertainment. I was playing with a chap in the €1k tourney who was saying he had some decent sweats for the Masters. He was saying how he had a lump on McIlroy last year and it was just torture watching him throw it away. He mentioned a few players, but I'm pretty sure one of the bets he mentioned was having £2k e/w on Bubba Watson at 100/1! Pretty sick scoop if what I remember is correct!

The night ended with me going back out to the car to get my bag and checking back into the hotel at 4am on Sunday morning.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Irish Open 2012 - part 2

Cash Session #3
Fri night/Sat morn 12am-6am

After getting some food and having a bit of a break, I was back at midnight for some more action ready to plough right through to the wee hours. I first sat in a decent 2-5 NLHE game but didn't really play any hands of note. There was a few huge hands at the table but they didn't involve me. Following a few big bustout hands, the game broke. I moved to another 2-5 table in the room but this game was playing very differently. The average stack was around 1.5k and it wasn't all that soft. I moved fairly quickly from that table and sat in a decent 1-2 NLHE game. I sat in for 150 (I generally buy-in short initially to gauge what the table is like. Getting in tough spots early on 200BBs deep isn't fun. Once I establish what the table is like, then I'm happy to play a bit deeper. Also, you can get some weird games where a 400 stack, may play like 30BBs, so in those games, you're actually better off having either 150 or 1000, stacks in between are just awkward to play). So anyway I buy-in for 150 and ended up getting a double up pretty early. There's an open to 10 followed by a few calls and I decide to just stick in my 150 with AQ. The original raiser called me and I won (he didn't show). I win a few small hands following this and am generally running well.

I then pick up 77 in the BB and flat following raise and a call. The flop comes QQ7 and I check. The player utg bets out and the player behind calls. It's an interesting spot, but given the table dynamic, I think a call is best. It's likely one has a Q, so I could get it in on this flop, but that said, if someone has a queen we're getting it in anyway, so I'm happy to try to keep it 3 handed for as long as possible. The turn comes a blank and the same action occurs as on the flop (ch-bet-call-call). The river comes another blank. At this point, I feel the utg player has a queen, and the mp player doesn't. Utg has ~120 left and I probably have around ~350 which mp covers. I can't remember the action exactly, but I think it was 25 on the flop, and 75 on the turn meaning the pot is around 350 or so. If I shove, utg will call with the queen, but surely mp will realise what I have and fold. However, if I check and utg were to value bet his queen again, mp will surely call and then will have to call my ~230 reship to win a pot of ~950. I feel this is the best way to maximise my value but unfortunately it gets checked around. I show my house, utg had QT and mp has aces. It's a funny old hand but I'm happy enough with how I played it. If I shove river, I surely get the utg's ~120 but I really can't see the guy with the aces calling me. We had some history and he def wanted to beat me in a hand so maybe he'll convince himself to call out of spite, but I really can't see how he can call it off with aces there. Expecting the utg to value bet the queen is pretty reasonable too, there's not much beating him but I guess I'm not too surprised with his check. Overall, I'm happy with the check as opposed to the shove on the river (anything between checking and shoving is definitely bad).

Following that, I played a hand against the aces villain from above. I 3bet pre with kings. The flop came ace high and he checked to me. I checked behind and called his barrels on the turn and river and was good. I left the game a short while later as I didn't feel there was too much point in staying much longer. Overall I finished up €480 with the majority coming from the 1-2 NL game (I think I was a slight winner in the first 2-5 game and a slight loser in the second 2-5 game).

Cash Session #4
Sat morn 6am-9am

Following that game, I walked around the cash room a bit. There was only about 5 games going so I decided to sit in a lively enough PLO game. The plan was to play for an hour before BbB and maybe get a bit of a spin-up.

Going up to the Irish Open, I was willing to treat it a little bit like a holiday. What I mean by this is, the IO is the one tournament where I'm happy enough to spend a decent bit of money on expenses. Usually I try to keep expenses at a minimum (ie. stay the least number of nights needed in the hotel, try not to spend money on expensive hotel food etc.). However, the IO has such a good buzz that I'm willing to spend that little bit extra. Also, I didn't play the main event, I was up solely for cash games. Basically, my mentality was to go up, enjoy the weekend and have a good time, and hopefully make a bit of money.

With this in mind, I was willing to take a shot at a few bigger games in the hope of winning a decent chunk of change - especially if I got off to a winning start. Generally speaking, there's not too much wrong with this. You give yourself a chance to either have a big win or a small loss. Obviously it's not very conducive to grinding, but it is what it is.

There's two types of decisions you make in your poker career. On-the-table decisions, and off-the-table decisions. There can be times, when it's okay to make a 'bad' off-the-table decision, but there is NEVER a time when it's okay to make a bad on-the-table decision (possibly with the exception of: if you win this pot, the guy will stab you, but if you're playing in that game, you've already made a bad off-the-table decision). So there are times when it's okay to leave a really good game or take a shot at a game normally outside your bankroll, but that does not give you permission to make bad decisions on the table. There is never an excuse to not play the most +EV poker you can play. It's ok to take shots and put yourself in a position where if a game goes well, you make a lot of money, but it's not ok to play a game with the sole intention of getting the money in the pot and hoping for the best.

You can summarize it by saying this: game selecting in a kamikaze fashion is one thing, just don't play in kamikaze fashion.

Needless to say, I sat in this game, and played like a moron (there's other words I'd like to use here, but I generally try to avoid bad or derogatory language in this blog :P). There's almost no strategic value in discussing any of the hands as it was just a case of me deciding to give money away. The worst of it was punting a ~500 stack in preflop with a double suited two-pair. It was a four-way all-in but I deservedly lost.
The whole incident was just terrible and totally unacceptable. It wasn't a standard case of tilt, it was just a total brain spasm with regard to attitude. I think writing and talking about stuff like this helps, and hopefully if the scenario re-presents itself again, I will identify it and deal with it better. Also, I hope it might help any readers that may find themselves in a similar spot.

So after that disaster, I got some breakfast and went to bed. The €560 6-max was on at 3pm the next day and the €675 PLO at 6. I had half considered playing these, but after such a horrible session, I felt maximizing my sleep was the best option!

Irish Open 2012 - part 1

The Easter weekend of 2012 was spent like every Easter weekend should be spent, poker-ing it up.

I arrived up at the Burlington late Thursday night and ended up staying the full weekend till Monday evening. For the craic, I've decided to give an almost "session-by-session update" of my weekend, along with thoughts on the session. Unfortunately, since there were a good few sessions, I won't remember all the specifics from hands. I jotted down a few of the bigger hands following a session in my phone, so most of these are based on four-line summaries of 6 hour sessions.

The "calm" before the storm

The night before the festival began (ie Wednesday night) I played the €330 satellite on PPP. I got off to another good start but unfortunately lost a 3-way all-in with AAvAKsvQQ for the chip lead. If memory serves, the pot was for about 30k with about 80 left (13 got tickets with a 50k stack being a comfortable stack to guarantee a ticket). As it happened, I still won the side pot and was still left with an average stack. Nothing really went well after that though, and I ended up shoving 30BBs over a 3x open with AQ. I don't really like the shove but I don't really see any better options (flatting AQo oop is bad, and so is 3bet-folding. Open folding AQ is also surely a non-runner). He had KK and I was gone.

Cash Session #1
Thurs night/Fri morn 3am-7am

I arrived up to the Burlo about 2am and dropped the bags off. By 3am I was down in the poker room ready for my first session. I sat into a 1-2 NLHE game. My first hand of note I pick up aces and 3 bet a C/O open from the BB. The original opener folds but the SB hangs around. The flop comes perfect - A88. I play it slow and somehow don't manage to double up. He flats my bet on the river and shows an 8! Obviously if I bet the flop we prob get it in, but against his range, there's almost no point betting on that board. The board blanked out so even on the river I can't believe he's not willing to get it in! Anyway I couldn't believe I didn't win a bigger pot there but it was still nice to get off to a good start. That game broke fairly early so I decided to sit into a 1-2 PLO game.

I started off badly losing my first two bullets. The first went after I shoved pf with AKQ7ds and lost a race against a run-down hand (can't remember exactly J986 or something). There was dead money in the pot, and the way the game was playing, I was happy with my shove. The next bullet went when I check raised Q977 with a fd on a T83 flop. I check raised for something like 170 and had 120 behind. The player just flat called so I obviously shoved the blank turn. He ended up calling and the river came a blank. He said he missed but unfortunately his miss was better than my miss. He had J994 for a pocket pair of nines which beat my pocket pair of sevens! Thankfully, I managed to undo these two hands by having my aces hold in a 3 way pot. A short stack raised pf and got a few calls. I managed to get about 40% of my stack in with AA67ss and got the shove from the short stack and a flat call. The flop came 953 with a fd and I jammed. I got called and the board ran out pairing the board and completing the flush draw. Thankfully, the aces held against the KKJJ of the short stack and the other player mucked. Following this, things quietened down a little. A new player joined the game around 6am and the game started playing a bit bigger. One hand I bet-folded top two on a Q932 flop after the flop was checked. I wasn't sure I was making a good fold, but thankfully I was shown 33. Following that hand, I decided to call it a night. The game was still good, but I decided to take the lower variance route and just leave. The game was playing quite big at this stage so I decided I didn't want to risk doing half my tank in a good game, when there could be better games throughout the weekend. I finished the session, got the obligatory 'breakfast-before-bed' (I'm coining this, the BbB), and slept till about 4pm the next day.

Cash Session #2
Fri night 6pm-10pm

My second cash session of the trip started very well. My aces managed to hold again in a medium-sized pot and I won a few other decent hands I can't remember. I played a huge pot at one stage with KKJT on K79 flop. The turn came the 8 and I got check raised. I shoved and we got it in. We were both probably the deepest at the table so the pot was big. I was obviously hoping for the total freeroll but unfortunately was up against JT99 with a flush draw! Talk about two monster hands!

After doing some business, the flush draw filled on the river and I think I ended up losing about €100. The deal was we took back most of the money and played for what was in the pot. I'm not sure if the initial turn bet  was included in the pot, but after counting my stack after, I think it was roughly a net loss of €100. He probably would have accepted a total-split without seeing the river, so in one way I cost myself €100 but obviously no deal meant losing an almost 2k pot!

The session ended badly and I managed to lose a pot with a big wrap vs an OESD vs two pair. I can't remember the exact hands, but I think I had KJTx on a Q958 board. The shorter stack had the bare JT and the bigger stack had 85xx. The river came an 8 and I got slowrolled for the whole pot. It's kinda frustrating when you think you're probably freerolling on the turn, then seeing the board pair, then thinking you split the main pot and win the side, and then see that you actually lose it all! I decided to end the session shortly after that up €170.
The bottom line was similar to the session the previous night, but the proverbial graph was obviously a bit different. Either way, I was quite happy with my play in both sessions so was looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

little bit of cash action in Norway

Tried to fit this post in at the start of the Irish Open post but obviously waffled on for way too long so decided to put it in its own post. My time at the Norweigan Poker Championships:

I did play twice since my last post and the first day of the Irish Open. A few hours after my last post, I headed up to the City West for the final day of the Norweigan Poker Championships. Between college and some other commitments I was pretty tied up the previous 12 days so didn't make up it up during the peak of the festival. Still, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. My first hold 'em table wasn't exactly bad, but it definitely wasn't as crazy action filled as I had expected. The first few hours were swingy with several coolers. I got off lightly on the last cooler (A2 v TT on a T22 flop, thankfully the turn came a T also, so I managed to get away without losing my whole stack) and decided to switch it up and play some PLO. If the NLHE table lacked crazy action, the PLO was worse, it was 8 handed, and I wouldn't have been surprised to hear that 5 of them were pros. The game was very disciplined and there was definitely no easy money. Being somewhat in shock (I spent the entire week prior hearing about money and lunatics), I managed to run well after losing my first bullet and came out with a profit.

It was after 3am and the hold 'em table behind was starting to sound a bit rumbustious. I decided to give one last shot at playing with some crazy Norweigans and thankfully I found them. It was classic enough drunken play with players happy to gamble. Getting stacks in pre-flop with 87o etc wasn't exactly the norm, but it wasn't uncommon either. The game played very slowly (as is common with drunken games) as a few players were taking 5 minutes to make a decision every hand. Personally, I don't really mind this as it's a trade-off for the game you're in. If people are there and basically giving their money away, I'd rather 15  hands an hour in that game rather than 30 hands an hour in a much tougher game. I guess it's personal preference, but some people get very annoyed at drunk players. People acting slowly and generally being a mess isn't ideal obviously, but if it effects you that much, leave the game. Otherwise, suck it up and continue playing in the +EV game. The point at which I draw the line is if drunk people start getting abusive, either to dealers or other players. I can stand people acting slowly, loudly or messily, but being drunk is definitely no excuse for being abusive.

Anyway, that rant aside, I didn't pick up a card in the drunken hold 'em game and ending bleeding about €150 away. It was literally just blinds and calling pf (with hands such as KQ etc - ie hands not strong to just shove it all in pf with). I did get it in once with ATs but ran into the top of my opponents range (ATo).

When all was said and done, I came away €100 euro poorer, losing in the two softer games, and winning in by far the toughest game. It was a pity I couldn't make it up during the main festival but hopefully it'll be back in 2013.

Also, I was obviously confused for a Norweigan for most of the night. It reminded me of a few years ago playing cash at the Irish Open when I pretended to be a Swede who couldn't understand English. After playing with a Dubliner for much of the night, I put some bad beat on him. Following the hand (and believing I was a non-English speaking scandi) he started bitching and insulting me. The dealer (who had recently just arrived at the table) looked at him and told him to relax a little bit. He simply replied "Ah it doesn't matter what I say, he can't even fucking understand me!"

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Some cash action, throwing away €4600 and a tragic loss

I've been thinking about changing the style of this blog a bit. So far, it's mainly been tourney reports with a few other things thrown in. I've been thinking about spicing the blog up a bit and throwing in some more random stuff. This could be anything from more pictures and links within blog posts, to extra blog posts about stories that don't quite fit into any other one blog post. We'll see how it goes, but hopefully it'll make the blog a bit more interesting to read.

The Norweigan Poker Championships has been taking place over the last ~10 days in the City West in Dublin. The event kicked off with the JP Poker Masters last weekend. The tournament drew 88 players and the general consensus was it was probably the toughest field ever assembled in Ireland. My buddy Peter "Knuckles" Higgins managed to take it down so big well done to him.

Interview with Knuckles from about 1.15

The above video is the new UKI Poker Show presented by Iain Cheyne (forgot to say, short interview with me from 7.03 in episode 4!). I think the show is a fantastic idea and it's something that actually would encourage new players to play in bigger tournaments. It's professionally made with enough entertainment and information to appeal to the recreational players and the serious players. Huge credit to Iain, and hopefully the show and his other media projects continue to go from strength to strength.

I haven't made it up to the Norweigan Poker Championships myself yet, despite planning on heading up today. The plan was to leave around 6pm, arrive for the €150 ROE each tourney at 8pm, and then play cash for the rest of the night. A few pals, one of whom who has been out of the country for the last year, called round at about 4pm. They knew I was heading away at 6, but when the subject turned to football trivia, that pretty much finished the idea of leaving at 6pm. The question that stumped me was: Who is the only player to score a hat-trick in the FA Cup, the Premier League, and the Champions League, all with the same club?

By the time we finally got the answer to that question it was 7pm and the ROE tourney was no longer on the cards. Instead the plan changed to watching the Munster-Leinster match and the Barca-Ath Bilbao match. When all was said and done, it was almost midnight, so I decided to pass on heading up for some cash action.

Tomorrow is the last day of the festival but I think I'll head up then anyway. The action seems to be crazy so hopefully there's still some money floating about at the end of a long, and by all accounts extremely successful, 12-day festival.

Some tweets describing the cash action during the week:

Going to miss these vikings,1-2 game and guy decides to ship 750 blind til he busts it, then reloads and goes again!

It just went 2-5-10-20-40-80-160 and on to me and I shove for 2.2k lols... Awaiting results....
... A high scoops cha ching... Only got the short stack tho but all d dead money #yumyum

In a €1-€2 plo game in citywest battling the Vikings again. Avg stack €2k #normal #rungoodrequired

Since my last post, I've been playing a bit of poker and it's been going ok for the most part. I've been playing a bit of cash in Limerick and been running fairly well so hopefully things will continue like that. I also played the PPP super-sat for the Irish Open with 30 packages guaranteed. With 47 left I was coming 20/47. Playing 25BBs, I ended up calling off all my chips from the SB with AK following a C/O shove. The C/O had 33 and held. It was sick not to win the race as it was effectively a €4600 pot but I was pretty pissed off at my play in the hand (my tweets following this were evidence of that!). I realised I probably had to win at least one more decent pot to be guaranteed a package. That said, if I fold, I can probably win these pots without showdown (the table wasn't too tough, so I probably could pick a few spots to maintain my chip stack without much drama). However, by calling, I guarantee myself having to win a showdown if I want to win a ticket. It's a big mistake to make at such a crucial time in a tournament, and the simple advice I have for myself is to just slow down and think about everything before making big decisions deep in tournaments. One mistake really can ruin a whole tournament, so think long and hard before you put all your chips across the line when you're deep in a tournament.

Not winning that package was pretty sickening as it definitely was the best spot to grab an Irish Open ticket. As it stands now, I'll probably play the 10-seat guaranteed on Wednesday night on PPP and maybe the live satellite the night before the main event starts on Thursday. If I fail to bink a seat in either of those, I doubt I'll be playing the Irish Open this year. I still hope to be around the Burlington at some stage over the weekend, because as I've said before, the atmosphere is second to none.

I'm going to finish this blog on a sad note. News came in during the week that a regular member of Fitzpatrick Casino, Francis Kenny, died whilst on holiday in Las Vegas.
I didn't know Francis very well but I had played with him a few times in the club. Any time I played with him he seemed like a very pleasant and respectable type of guy, a gentleman. There's not much I can say other than my deepest sympathies to his friends and family. The following post was made by Alan Martin during the week on IPB:

Its being a surreal couple of days.
Francis arrived in the club not really knowing anyone. We got to know him quickly. Limp and call any raise, he was as likely to show up with aces as J3 sooted. You never knew where you were with him in the hand but he loved the game.
Francis was very quite for a long time. Before christmas he arrived down on the break for a pint (had never been before) and sat and listened with his pint and peanuts without ever saying a word. The next night he had a few comments and he grew confident in company and banter over the next couple of nights. It did however take him at least a couple of weeks before he bought a round .
When Vegas was suggested and around 15 punters declared an intrest, Francis asked could he go. 15 quickly turned to 4 and for the last couple of months its being brought up every night about the plans. He became a bigger part of the community. The slagging was great. "The Hangover part 3, with old guys"  Francis was our Alan.
A quick Francis story. He had got a 2nd passport (after losing the 1st one) but could not find it. He did however find the original lost one and entered all those details into the system for his Visa. As you can imagine he was refused. A 3rd passport and another application and letter and eventually he got his clearance.
I met him the day before he went. He excitedly told me he had x amount in Sterling (Manchester stop over), x dollars and that he was going to buy clothes but would be coming back with more than he had from the tables. He also promised a chip..
The lads will be coming back over the coming days god willing. 
Rip Francis, the most fearful limper I have met.

R.I.P. Francis Kenny