Monday, 8 April 2013

Irish Open and no more poker in Limerick

They say no one tournament should mean too much, but I, along with many other Irish players I'm sure, can't help but feel a little more pain than usual when getting knocked out of the Irish Open.

As poker players, you know you can't control luck, but Good Friday is the one day of the year you really hope for luck not to go against you. Unfortunately, the one day of the year you don't want to have bad luck, I got some, and was knocked out after 3 hours. I don't particularly want to relive the hands so suffice to say after losing some pots early on, my bustout hand involved getting 20% of my stack in pre, another 20% on the flop, and the remaining 60% in on the turn. I was roughly 80% to win pre-flop, 86% on the flop, 70% on the turn and 0% on the river.

The pot would only have brought me back to starting stack so equity wise it wasn't a ginormous pot but it still definitely hurt to lose it. The table was really good so I felt winning that hand would have put me back in the game.

This was my second Irish Open with the first being in 2011 having won my ticket via winning the Student Masters. I wrote a blog for Paddy Power after that tournament and I remember remarking "At this stage [having just busted], there’s really only two options, sleep for about 16 hours, or drink (and then probably sleep for 16 hours)". The craic in the Burlington bar is usually so good that drink is the automatic option, but this time I just wasn't in much of a mood for anything so sleep won out. When I woke up, I contemplated heading down to the poker room to play a side event. That really didn't sound appealing either though, so in the end I just bolted early and headed home.

In leaving early, I did end up missing PokerPalz' Shave or Dye in aid of the Irish Cancer Society (where I committed to getting my head shaved - apologies for missing this!). They ended up raising €7,500 for what is, needless to say, a great cause. The donations page is still open so any blog readers that feel charitable, you know what to do!

So, Irish Open specifics aside, the last few weeks (the Irish Open along with the Norwegian Championships) were a bit of a make-or-break for me. Unfortunately, it was break. The Norwegian Championships didn't get any better since the last post and obviously the Irish Open was a brick. I think that's pretty much the nail in the Las Vegas coffin so unfortunately it'll have to be Vegas 2014 I'll have to look forward to! 

The plan for the next while is pretty boring and doesn't look like it will feature much poker. Exams for college aren't too far away so I'll have to put some time into studying for them. Having finally waved the white flag for Vegas in the summer, the alternative is now co-op (i.e. working placement) which I have to do as part of my degree. (I don't need to point out the irony or the polar opposite nature of playing poker in Las Vegas and working in an office!)

Another reason for lack of live poker in the foreseeable future is due to the only card room in Limerick closing down. Funnily enough, this has probably been the longest stretch in the last 18 months that I haven't been in so I may not be up to date on all the details. First and foremost, it's definitely a shame that somewhere the size of Limerick has no card room. There's a thread on IPB with plenty of examples of poor management, poor decisions and total unfairness to players and lack of any business sense whatsoever. There's dozens of specific examples I could go into but I think the root of the problem is the lack of poker people involved in the running of the business*. Management see the poker room as an inconvenience, not as part of the business model as a whole (all imo of course). Obviously I don't know the ins and outs of the finances but I'd struggle to believe that, if managed properly, the card room couldn't, at worst, serve as a good loss-leader for the casino, and, at best, make enough money that it'd be foolish to close it down. I can only assume that the poker room closing also means some staff will be let go and for me that's the biggest shame. I actually really liked the club and the dealers (along with poker-man Jude) are some of the best in the country. I don't know if another club will open in Limerick any time soon, but I imagine it's more a case of when rather than if.
*(btw, for those unaware, the make-up of the club was a casino/card room all in the one building)

To finish this blog, there's just a couple of things that I think deserve to be mentioned. First is the 2013 Live Irish Poker Rankings. Ciaran Cooney (aka Dice75) is compiling this ranking system which includes all live events in Ireland with a minimum field of 25 and minimum buy-in of €200. Ciaran is doing this on a non-commercial basis and big credit is due for the effort he is putting in. 

The second thing is, I'd like to wish UL Poker Society the best of luck as they are nominated for the Best National Society Event for 2012. The event in question is the 2012 Student Masters. This event was run to top-notch standards (with a reg fee of just 10% may I add!) and gave students a proper taste of what a top class event is like. Best of luck to everyone involved, hope ye win it!


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