Thursday, 21 March 2013

Nordmennene er lyd gutter

To be honest, the title is completely google translated so I dunno if it actually makes sense in Norwegian.

It's roughly at the half-way point of the Norwegian Championships and it's been an absolutely phenomenal event. Tables and tables and tables of poker players playing poker.

The occurrence at pretty much every table I've sat at this week is the assumption that I'm Norwegian until I start speaking. When someone asks me a direct question though, the jig is usually up and I have to admit I'm Irish. When one player realised I was Irish, he asked me what I thought of Norwegian poker players. I replied that the Norwegians are very nice people (which they are). He chuckled and said: you are here to take Norwegian fish's money so? I replied "at least the Norwegians have money to lose, the Irish don't even have any money!"

And that in essence is why the Norwegian Championships is such a massive boost to the Irish poker calendar. It's not necessarily that Norwegians are bad poker players, it's more that there just isn't any money in Ireland these days. At any given festival (perhaps Irish Open excluded), generally, you'll find a few small 1/2 NLHE games and maybe a couple of decent sized PLO or 2/5 hold 'em games. At the Norwegian Championships, it's looking like 10 days of non-stop action with good cash games running around the clock. In addition to this, you've dozens of tournaments to choose from if you're so inclined.

My own results so far have been mixed with the bottom line being in the red. I've played 6 cash sessions and 5 tournaments so far. If you're to look at it from a strictly hourly-rate point of view, there's probably almost no point playing the tournaments. My reason for playing the tournaments is nothing more complicated than I like to play live tournaments.

I've made some mistakes in the tournaments so far and definitely am not happy with how I've been playing. I made a similar mistake in two omaha hands in two different tournaments. Simple advice like take your time and think is often the answer in a lot of cases and I think if I had done this, I wouldn't have made these mistakes. It's not been all bad as I did manage to chop the ROE turbo heads-up. This result has been just about the only saving grace this week!

I decided the bring back the lucky green Celtics top for St. Patricks Day

More worrying than perhaps playing below par in the tournies has been the cash games. I've played 6 cash sessions and only won once (and a small win at that). I haven't been running great but I'm always hesitant to blame losing on bad luck. I've got my money in twice this week drawing to one out (set over set in PLO). In both spots, I think it's tough to avoid to going broke, so do I just chalk it up to bad luck?

I'm not really sure tbh. I haven't felt I've been on top of my game at all times this week. Yesterday especially, I didn't feel great at all and decided to call it a day early and take today off. 
The festival is only heating up though, so there's plenty of time to get some money back yet! Day 1A of the Norwegian Championship main event was today so I expect today until Saturday to be the busiest days of the festival. There's a €350 8max tomorrow that I think I will play and we'll see from there. 

The title by the way translates to "The Norwegians are sound lads". I have to say, every Norwegian I've met this week without exception (and I've surely sat with 100 unique players so far this week) has been well mannered and nice. I'm also somewhat astounded that every Norwegian seems to have absolutely perfect English. There's been some funny conversations this week with the Norwegians. One Norwegian was talking to an Irish player and said to him "Bono, he has a great reputation in Norway", "Bono? He's a tosser", "You are not the first Irishman I hear to say that. Two taxi drivers, a delaer, the bar man, they all also say Bono is a c*nt!"

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Continuing from where we left off...

I meant to write a follow on from the last blog a bit sooner but didn't quite get around to it!

Well unfortunately, Cookie Jar Carr just fell short and finished in 36th place in the 7th Anniversary Sunday Million. For 36th, Carrie got $8800. A nice touch indeed, but with $1.2mil up top, you can't help but wonder what may have been. He went out on a flip for average stack as his AK couldn't outrun pocket fives. The flip must have been worth AT LEAST $100,000 in equity, so it was a pretty sick one to lose.

Afterward, Nicky Power remarked on Twitter "probably for the best, the 1.2 probably would've killed you".

Paul came 3rd for $2500 in a tournament the night after. I text him saying, "jesus, that $10k could cover a trip to Vegas for a week or two this summer". He text back saying "ya for most people, for me it would probably last about two hours!".

The week after Cork was the Super Poker Event. I wasn't aware till 3 levels in, but the Super was actually a re-entry. 11 minutes before re-entries closed, I picked up aces in the BB. DK Lappin's favourite poker player opened to 1100 from the HJ, the button flatted, I made it 4k. Both players called and the flop came TT4hh. I check, HJ bets 10400, button folds and I shove for 14k total. The HJ calls and I'm up against 89hh. The heart hits on the river forcing me to make the decision as to whether to re-enter or not.

I decided to re-enter but was bust again a few hours later. Playing 24k, I limp the button with K9dd and it's 5 way to AxJdTd flop. The BB leads for 2k followed by two calls. There's 11k in the pot, so I decide to (effectively) shove 20k. The BB calls and so does one more player! I knew when the 2nd player called it had the be the dreaded Ax of diamonds. It's an avoidable spot - you could argue the limp pf with 30BBs is bad - but I'm fine with how I played it.

After the Super Event I was back down to Limerick and back up to Belfast the next day. I was in Belfast for the week with UL soccer team in my role as assistant manager. Unfortunately, the tournament didn't go brilliantly and we had to settle for a place in the Plate final. That weekend I was back representing UL in poker at the Student Masters.

I won this event in 2011 but had a disaster last year after having come within 500 metres of the venue, and then managing to take a wrong turn and not arrive for another 2 hours. It was probably the most tilting drive of my life to date. So after last year's disaster I was determined to give it a good go this year. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and I ended coming 29th of 148 runners with 18 getting paid.

I'll leave it there for now. It's a really big two weeks for poker in Ireland with the JP/Norwegian Masters and the Irish Open taking place. I'm planning on writing another blog very soon looking forward to the next few weeks so hopefully I'll get that done over the next day or two. For now though, it's off to Dublin for the first session at the Norwegian Championships...hopefully I'll be a in good enough mood to write a blog when I get home :-)

Monday, 4 March 2013

Busy busy busy

I think I can safely say that the last few weeks has been the busiest I have been since I did the Leaving Cert. I'm sure on the grand scale of things, I'm still one of the less busy people in the world, but for me, it was a fairly hectic few weeks. Three treks up and down to Cork, two trips to Dublin and a week in Belfast with organising, college and a bit of cash action in between meant I didn't really get enough time to fit in a blog post. (And as I said at the start of the year, I think it's better to wait and make a proper post instead of rushing it or just making a post for the sake of it).

Going in chronological order, first up was UKIPT Cork. I played the main event in that and ended up busting the 2nd last hand of the day. I grinded the whole day but lack of hands and spots meant I could only do so much and eventually the blinds crept up. With a 15k starting stack, I had a low point of ~6k, and a peak of ~20k. As it happens, my last hand shove may have been a little light. It was one of those spots where I shoved the hand before and picked up A8s the very next hand. I hadn't quite worked out exactly how much taking down the blinds had increased my stack and how slightly it changed my shoving range. I looked at the numbers after and it looks like A8s is right on the edge of being +EV depending on exact calling ranges. Given that it was the last few hands of day 1, we'll say people didn't want to get involved and chalk it up as a +EV shove!

I busted the main on Thursday, played a cash session at home on Friday and went back down for the side event at 8pm on Saturday. Live tournies haven't been very fun so far this year so the only aim was to get 2x starting stack (for the first time in 2013) and go from there!

Neil Raine, who is currently lying top of the UKIPT leaderboard with one stop to go, was on my right for most of day 1. Neil's definitely one of the nicer guys around and it's always nice to see the good guys doing well. I did get lucky against him in one hand (well two, I won a race early on for my tournament life too!) where he flopped a set and I turned a set with my overpair. I'll admit, had I not turned my set, I was happily putting all my money in anyway so it was quite a fortunate turn card!

Overall, Day 1 was up and down but it was fun.  I made one really bad mistake when I somehow ended up calling a shove on the flop with 33. I opened, a player flatted, and had the BB just shoved, I probably would've just gotten it in pre with him. As it played out, the BB 3bet a large % of his stack and I should have just folded there. There was also another hand where I check-raised the river with air and ran into a house! I'm actually ok with hands like that. One of the new years resolutions was to go with my gut more, and well, sometimes your gut is wrong! I finished day 1 with 62k (50k ave) with 20 left and 12 getting paid.

Day 2 started really smoothly as I hit a few hands and built up to 170k by the time the bubble burst.

My chip stack around the bubble

The final table played out very slowly and it took a long time to lose players. Bar a retarded-looking (hey, it wouldn't be retarded if he folded!!) bluff, the final table played out standard enough. I was all-in with 8 left and hit a very important ace on the river for AQ>99. When we eventually got 4 handed, stacks were 110k (me), 140k, 140k and 610k. So basically, whoever ran the best was probably going to finish 2nd. I got my shot  but K2dd lost out to QJdd and that's all she wrote! 

€2550 was a very decent cash and I was happy with it, but there's been a few cashes in the €2k-€4k range over the last 12 months and despite it being a nice chunk of change, it's not going to really change much in terms of bankroll/life/games to play. First was €9600 and had I won that for example, it probably would've been enough to convince me to book the flights to Vegas. As it stands, I'd probably be wanting another semi-decent touch to be comfortable going over (as I said before, I don't want it to be a case of going over under-rolled, or risking more than I feel comfortable risking just for the sake of "being in Vegas"). 

On that note, I'd say the chances of Vegas at this point are less than 50-50. The JP Norweigan Masters is coming up, and I'm hoping to grind a lot of cash at that, so maybe if that week goes really well, I'll be in better shape. Other than that, you'd be relying on an MTT score, and as we know, you can never rely on MTTs! We'll keep the faith anyway and hope something pops up! (The online MTT grind route is an option, but tbh it's not in the plans right now)

Right, this blog is looking pretty long already so looks like we'll be making it a two part-er. 

I had a bit of an online session today also. I busted the Sunday 7 million at around 11pm. After doing a bit of college work, I started writing this post around 2am and since then have been railing any Irish going deep in the Sunday tournies. From the 49287 that started the PokerStars 7th Anniversary Sunday Million, there's only one Irishman left. With 182 players left, Paul Carr is 89/182 sitting on an about average stack. There's definitely another big one in Paul and with $1.2mil for first, this would be the one to do it in! No sleep now...Best of luck Paul!!