I probably should have written a blog in December but never quite got around to it. I played the Christmas events in both the Macau in Cork and Fitzpatricks in Limerick.
I won two live events in 2011 which meant I had two title defenses in 2012. The Student Masters title defense went horribly so I was determined not to let a similar thing happen again. The tournament only drew 45 players at 350 a pop (75 of which was a bounty, and 40 reg fee) which is obviously quite a bit down on the 96 players at 500+50 the tournament had last year. I managed to give a good account of myself and finished day 1 with the chip lead. I held 14% of the chips in play with 22 players remaining. Early on day 2, I made a big fold which ended up being completely wrong. I just moved to the table and UTG (who I'd never played with) opened, I flatted utg+2 with JJ, the player on my direct left reshipped, and UTG then shipped after some deliberation. I can't remember the exact stack sizes, but I think UTG had 25BBs and had the other player slightly covered (I think I had around 80BBs). Reading back on it, I'm actually ok with the fold. I think what's really important to note though, is the bounties worth 75euro each. Basically, I'm not just getting slightly over 50k to 25k on my 25k investment, I'm actually getting 150euro+50k to my 25k. Anyway, I ended up taking what I thought was the disciplined option and folded. Of course I was shown 77 and 99!
Following that, I ran into a few awkward spots where I contributed to a few CDUs. I actually think I played all the hands fine, and it was due to the €75 bounty I had to call it off a bit lighter than normal. (the bounty, esp one that accounts for almost 25% of the buy-in (when u exclude reg) drastically changes the game, and folding equity for short stacks tends to go out the window). I fell back as far as 70k when I could have had 180k had I called with the jacks. I grinded out the medium stack hovering around average most of the day. It wasn't until there was 8 left that I managed to get a double up and for the first time, have more than what I started the day with! I picked up aces in a fortunate position where it really looked like a good spot for a light 3-bet. Dion Burns opened and I 3-bet from the button. Nicky Power dwelled in the BB before folding. Nicky said after the hand that he was very, very close to shipping it in with 73o. The board ran out 73xxx so it definitely would have been a memorable way to bust!
When it got to 4 handed, all the stacks were getting short and it resulted in push-fold poker. The final hand, the button limped, I shoved with A4 in the SB, Bops called from the BB with KQ and the button (who had us both covered) insta-called also with AQ. In a vacuum, my shove may be a little on the big side (again, I can't remember exact numbers (the joys of writing a blog a month later), but I remember feeling this after the tournament), but I think I have enough folding equity against the button that it's certainly +EV. The AQ held up and both me and Bops were eliminated. I had more chips than Bops which meant I got 3rd place money.
Nicky went on to chop it heads up and win the trophy. Big well done and congratulations to Nicky. Also well done to Bops who final tabled this event last year and is on a streak of approximately 37 final tables in a row in the Macau!
My 2012 ended on a bit of a bad note as I played three times in Limerick. I played the Christmas Cracker tournament (250 buy-in) and two cash sessions. The night before the tournament I lost a decent chunk in what was a small-ish game. I ran badly and the big pots didn't go my way so shouldn't really be too disappointed. The night was summarized by a hand I played where I did the ole 'put him on exactly two cards'. I had A2, raised pre and c-bet the 348 flop into two opponents. One player made a big raise and I went with my read and shoved over the top. I was right with my read but unfortunately a 2 peeled off on the turn to give his 56 the nuts.
I wasn't the happiest after the session, and I think the reason was I hadn't played much recently. If you're playing every night, you take losses in your stride without problem. The cash games had really dried up (worst I've seen) in Limerick so that was only my second session in two months (I played once in Nov and this was my first cash session in Dec). So psychologically, I think my mind was maybe programmed back to real world money rather than poker money and I was just annoyed at losing money.
All that said, I was determined not to let that effect me in the tournament the next day. I played the tourney and it was "just one of those days". However, experience has taught me that if you're on top form and really in the zone, you can often navigate your way through "one of those days" and come out the other side, but if you're not on form, you inevitably bust. I don't think I did much wrong, but I definitely wasn't on my top game, and I busted quite early.
I was out with friends that night so missed what I presumed was a decent enough cash game. I did go in the next night however and booked a small win for €65 (99>JJ aipf being the turning point!). Even though it was a small win in a small game, I was very thankful for it! I had the feeling it could be the start of a bit of a bad run, so just logging any sort of a win felt good psychologically and hopefully ended the bad run before it even started.
I've played three times in 2013 with 2 winning sessions and 1 losing one. The 2 winning sessions were both bigger than the losing session so no complaints from me!
I didn't play the WPTN Dublin and didn't even head up to the Citywest for sides/cash. In 2012 I was a bit more selective about what tourneys I played and I expect 2013 to probably be even more selective. I absolutely love live tournaments but bar any type of staking deal or big bink, I think I'm just going to pick and choose what I play very carefully. Heading up to festivals to grind cash may also be an option I go for a lot more this year. So, next up is the 2012 review/2013 goals blog!