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More City West

I travelledback to the City West Friday to play the €500 side event. What a contrast fromthe previous week, the place was hopping. The Norwegian Masters itself had overa thousand entries and there must have been nearly double that amount travelledover from the Scandinavian country.

There wereup to 45 cash tables running at peak times, with games running round the clock.These guys certainly came to gamble from some of the stories I was hearing,crazy action by all account.

My table inthe €500 8-handed consisted of seven Norwegians, two decent players; the restweren’t up to much. I lost 90% of my chips in the 75-150 level when I hit a setof two’s on a 932 flop. I check raised heavy into multiple players on the flop,and put in a chunky bet on the 5 turn to one player.

I hated the4 on the river and blocker bet 3k. The opponent shoved for 10k, it was now 7kto win 40k. After deciding this person was capable of spazing in the spot, Icalled to be shown pocket sixes. I was at least proved correct on my assumptionon the player later. A guy bet 3k on the river on an AAJ83 board from 7k andshe put him in with air, he had quads.

Anyhow,that hand in level three left me 3k. I still felt I had a chance to get backinto it; the table was just so good. I ground a micro shortstack for the nextthree levels nursing it up to 12k and then won a race, 88 v AJ.

Just as Ihit the dizzy heights of 25k into the last level of the night I got cooleredblind on blind, AQ into AK. Disappointing as I had fought very hard for theresurrection.          

JP deservesa medal from Failte Ireland for bringing this event to these shores. It waswithout doubt the busiest poker festival I have ever seen outside Vegas. Theincome statement for March in the City West resort’s books must look veryhealthy indeed.

All roads lead to the Burlo this week for thebig one. If I told you I was confidant it would be a lie. I don’t feel I’veplayed well in recent events, but the Irish Open usually brings out the best inme, so fingers crossed. I should arrive relaxed anyhow. Keeping with tradition,I’ll be spending this week at the Kclub in preparation.

Finally won one

Don't be silly, of course I didn't win a poker tournament, I'm talking about Tiger.

I did like him at Bayhill and took some 8/1. However I hadn't the heart to go in as strong as I did on his last outing at Doral. I was on such a terrible run and hadn't the confidence or balls to really pull the trigger again. Nice to book a winner and break the bad run anyway.

I put in a poor showing in the JP Masters. I called a 50 blind turn shove in Level 5 with AK on a KK107 three-spade board. I read the guy as being terrified of the call, when he was just terrified I had a bigger Flush. In reality it was an awful call as his hand was pretty transparent the way it had played out.

The tournament itself was packed with good players and offered very little value. Every good grinder in the country had turned out with the promise of loads of Norwegian value to be had. The Vikings never showed, and the result was a field of only 88 players with five or six recognisable players on every table.

JP seemed pretty gutted with the turnout for his flagship event and more or less said he'd got it wrong and should have held the tournament back until this weekend. Hindsight and all that, but thankfully the numbers have picked up since, and the masses have arrived from Norway, just a little bit later then expected.

My good buddy Knuckles from Cork took the event down. While the prize pool was down, it certainly played out as a hugely difficult tournament to win. Peter is a top player who never complains on a bad run, this is a well-deserved victory and hopefully the start of a good run for one the games nicest people.

I thought about playing the €300 game on Saturday but with the poor numbers opted for the golf course instead. Golf is such a frustrating game, I was on fire a few weeks ago, at the moment I'm hitting the ball like an eighty year old. At least the weathers good and the lads are generous with the handicapping.

I'll be back to the City West Thursday for the €150 shootout and hopefully play the €500 game Friday. Badly need to get some practice in for the Irish Open the following week.

I'd love to be able to drive the ball like that

No poker to report on over the last two weeks so it'll have to be a drinking and gambling blog. I missed the Western Open as it clashed with my youngest brother - Anthony's - stag. About twenty of us hit the stag mecca of Kilkenny for a good day and night without to much damage.

Last weekend the WCG at Doral was the center of my universe. I try to avoid lumping on pre event these days unless it top ten or twenty markets. However I got stuck right in here, I felt that Tiger would be punted hard for the event, so decided I should be able to get a nice freeroll before kick off by taking the Monday prices 

As the week went on I got stuck into a lot more bets. Westwood 6/4 top ten looked huge, Kaymer 40/1, I'll have some of that EW, and it went on. Meanwhile the big tipsters who have a huge say on how the golf markets develop, totally ignored Tiger. I decided to run with him and go for the touch.

By Sunday I was buried. I punted Bradley to get out, and that looked good for the front nine before he surprisingly imploded. It was a disaster of an event for me.

With Cheltenham on the horizon, I felt I could dig myself out of a hole. I was interested in the leading trainer market. I made it a dead match between Mullins and Henderson, and priced it 4/5 n' 5/4. I thought getting the 5/4 Mullins when I made him 4/5 was great stuff altogether, and punted it accordingly with numerous firms. Oh how I wish I had decided the 2/1 Henderson when I made him 5/4 was where the value lay.

Most other bets I had for the week involved 'Hurricane Fly' in one form or another, so it was all pretty grim. By 3.30 Thursday I rang my brother Robbie and asked if he fancied a few holes of golf.

Anyone who has ever played golf with me will know I'm the worst driver of a ball in the world, historically I hit my 5 iron further then my drives. I started using a new driver recently with much better results.

We were only playing 13 holes and played up the 18th with another two ball. After I pinged my drive, a chap in the other group commented, " Jesus, I'd love to be able to drive the ball like that". It brought some grin to my face, the loses of the previous seven days faded to a distant memory.

Back to the poker next week with the JP Masters Friday, this is the start of a fantastic 12 day festival in the City West with an amazing 51 tournaments scheduled. 

Galway Washout

I went to Galway full of expectation last Wednesday and left late Saturday night with empty pockets and broken dreams. Now that may sound a bit depressing, but it happens to thousands of people every year on Galway race week and I've been doing it for years. One thing is guaranteed in the 'City of the Tribes' you'll of had some fun blowing your hard earned.

I had initially registered for the Friday but a big gang had planned a piss up to cerebrate Derek Murray's  birthday post play Thursday. This meant a change of starting day and a three hour drive on Wednesday with the early noon start. Tom 'the bomb' Finneran convinced me the best hangover avoidance option was to play the rebuy satellite. I managed to do €300 for a €770 seat, not lasting long after the first break.

This set the tone for the rest of they week, if there was a hand to be lost, a bet to go down or a dinner bill to pay, I found it.

My main event was fast; the 15k starting stack was my peak chip stack. I got no hands and didn't play well. Firstly I bluffed off 40% of my chips, I luckily got these back in a hand against Limerick native Jamie Daly. I raised pre with 2h7h, totally missed the flop but kept firing on a 7 turn and a two river. Jamie's fellow county man, Paul Carr seem to get more pleasure from the hand the myself when I relayed it to him later, perverse crowd those Limerick lads!  

This got me back close to starting, but I dribbled to 8k in level five (150-300) then lost them in a blind on blind situation. SB limped, I raise 88 and we get it in on a 10 7 5 two spade flop, he held Js 9s and hit his nine on the turn.

At least I had plenty company at the bar as Derek, Jude and Tall Michéal were also out at this stage. A nice meal and plenty drink followed Thursday. Friday was more of the same although I did venture back to the poker room for the fun €100+50+10 turbo scalp game.

It wasn't that much fun, I think I was at the table 40 minutes before any of the players even spoke. I did hang in until the last three tables of the 150 field but lost a race to exit.

Saturday was spent in the company of Marty Smyth on our laptops punting everything that moved, it didn't go well. We went for dinner and when I lost the gamble for that one, 'well' it was time to surrender, Marty just doesn't win dinner flips ever.    

I couldn't face the €300 game so just chilled watching the golf before driving home about eleven in the evening. It all might come across as a little miserable but in honesty I had a great few days catching up and socialising with friends. The Radisson Galway is in my top three venues for a poker event in Ireland and produced the goods yet again; I can't wait for the next time.                         

Euro Deep Stack - D4

I was saying to Bops on the drive up to this on Wednesday that I felt veryrusty and hoped for some kind of run to blow off the cobwebs. I managed to makethe money for a min cash, meaning I got the table time I felt I needed anyhowso I guess we can call that a small success.

I played day one A as I tend to do at €550 events, it keeps the expensesdown should I bust and means a refreshed start for day two should I make that;so win-win.

My table on day one had some very good players, Ross Johnson impressed andEPT London second Stephen O'Dwyer seemed decent, although one player stolethe show. Watching the Chief crush dreams for a full day was a pleasure to seeat close quarters.

The man is obviously a poker genius and was operating on a level so farahead of anyone else that we hadn't a clue what he was at. He amassed a top tenstack over the day mastering spots that would make Durrrr a nervous wreck.

My own day went ok, I was going along nicely and had more then doubled thestarting stack when I dropped about 30k to Ross in a hand he played well and Ididn't. I locked up for a bit after this, got going again to110k and thendonated another 50k to the same man AK v KK.

 This was into the last level and my 60k were looking very measlyamount when I got a table move. First hand at new table I get a double, raisingKQ utg and getting it in against a flush draw on a queen high flop. I pick upanother small pot two hands later when the table breaks and I’m allocatedback to the seat I had left three hands earlier with a much improved 130k. Wefinish shortly after this and I bag 160k.

Day two started very slowly for me I don’t think I played a single hand inthe first hour. I got a bit more active after this but every time I seemed tobe getting ahead of the game I lose a decent pot. Two 100k reversals spring tomind; AK v AJ in pre, and a blind on blind with Jacks v A7 where the acefloated and spiked the turn.

 I was grinding a re-shove stack on the live stream table for the twohours leading to the bubble and just as it bust I picked up AQhh and shove 23blinds over a late position raiser. Unfortunately the bigblind woke up with theboots.

I enjoyed the tournament and look forward to playingthe UKIPT Galway this week a little less rusty. DaGunman O'Shea has kindlyoffered me a loan of his crush hammer for the tournament so a deep run isalmost certain. 

Do you want to hear a sick one?

This was the question I was asked returning from a smoke in Clane Friday night from a random person I didn't know. Usually I just listen to the persons badbeat, nodding away with a numb brain. This time I just said "not really" as I was a bit steamed on Guinness and thus not at my diplomatic best. I hope the gentleman involved didn't take offence, but I think I was doing him a favor long term.

The tournament was good craic. My starting table had great potential with John O'Shea, Chris Dowling & a few notable heads IPB heads, unfortunately none of them were on the Guinness buzz with me.  

There was six levels played on day one, I spent at least four of those in the bar, making it through the day with an average chip stack. I think my best play of the time I spent on the table was to come up with a nickname for Chris 'showdown' Dowling.

Having had my fill of the black stuff I staggered off to bed about 3am and thought that was it for the night. Imagine my surprise to wake about 5am and find the legendary Mark Reilly on the bed beside me. Now I do like Mark a lot and was regaled by his story of how he went from being on the lash in  leixlip to ending up on my bed, but I did ask him to please %&$% off  to the poker room when he starting discussing PLO strategy.

 The next day didn't go well poker wise. I got my last 20 blinds in preflop with 66 v AK and if I'm honest, I wasn't that gutted to lose the race. My intentions this year are to win races in big buy in events and lose them in the smaller ones. 

It was an excellent tournament in a really nice venue but once I was out I headed home. It was a big weekend on the sports betting front for me. To cut that story short I should of stayed where I was.  

Irish Poker Championship 2012

I think we've seen this event change in one way or another every year since it's inception in 2006. I never would of foreseen it playing out as a side event, but that's what happened this year. The tournament had a €750 buy in and over 200 starters, add to this the title and it was still a tournament well worth giving your all for.

Contrary to the ribbing I get, I'm not really a great one for side events. Usually after getting knocked out of a main event, I find it hard to give a side event my full attention. This wasn't the case last weekend as my early exit from the WPT meant I felt as I hadn't really played, so was well up for this.

The Bomber
My starting table had a few familiar faces, Including Bomber and Andrew Grimason. There was a real nice atmosphere on the table with everyone in good form.

I started steady enough, then hit a bit of a heater just before and after the dinner break trebling my 20k starting stack. We were only playing six levels and the table broke for the last one. I ended the day with a top ten stack of 66k with around half the field still in.

Day two was an odd one. I loved my starting table but it was first to break. They were breaking tables down one of two lines and every time I drew the next table to break. I'm the type of player ( well i guess most are ) that likes time to settle into a table. Subsequently I was three hours into the day and had broken 5 times.

My stack was maintained until I lost a third of it with AJ v KK, it was a shortish corner and I was happy enough calling the 18 big blinds it cost to call the 4bet shove. Again just after this, I get moved again to the next table to break. I know it shouldn't bother me but it was doing my head in at this stage.

I needn't of worried though as the poker gods were soon to put me out of my misery. I was only at the table a couple of hands when I picked up QQ. First to act opened, and I 3-bet from a 40k stack with blinds 500-1000-100, The button shipped for about 120k holding AQ. An ace on the flop meant no fourth life time cash in the IPC.

It wasn't too disappointing, we were about 40 off the money and, well you want to get them in in that spot every time. I dont know where the IPC as a tournament goes from here, but I think we can assume it wont stay the same as this year. The tournament has a good legacy, and needs to find a stand alone berth.              

WPT Dublin

The general vibe leading up to the inaugural WPT Ireland was that the tournament would not be a success. My gut told me differently, I had told the man behind bringing the tournament here ( Ian Langstaff ) a couple of months ago that I thought it would work and we'd get 300 starters.

I thought the event had three big positives going for it; 1, Ireland has a history of a big field buy ins the first week in January. 2, the City west venue, overseas visitors like it and come back. 3, the brand, every poker player in Ireland would fancy a crack at a WPT title.     

As it played out, the event was a resounding success attracting a field of 333 starters, including a host of big name stars from around Europe.  In fact it could well of been the best field ever assembled in the country. Dom Hever who blogs for irishpokerboards described the field as " being like the Irish Open, without the 300 bad players". 

One area where the WPT people got it very wrong was the chips. Each denomination of chip was a plethora of colors with the 5000 and 100 chip closely resembling each other. Barney boatman was the main sufferer of this when he mistakenly opened for 15,000 instead of the intended 300 and a player put him in holding QQ. Barney call with 1010 for a very unfortunate exit.  

While the tournament itself was a huge success, my own display was an abysmal failure. Looking at some of the starting tables I had definitely drawn a good one. However that wasn't much consultation exiting in level five.

all the cool kids are wearing these
In honesty I made no mistakes so cant be too disappointed, it was just one of those days where my opponents kept having the goods or got there as hands progressed. On four occasions I had to fold after putting a decent percentage of my chip into pots, and each time was shown the nut flush. Just a bad day at the office.

As the tournament progressed  Dave Shallow became the dominant force. The home contingents performance wasn't great with the notable exception of  Ronan 'Gilly' Gilligan, Ken Doherty & Dan Smyth.

The 1997 World Snooker champ taking down a major poker title would of been the biggest headline grabber. However, the talented Doherty's run would end in a creditable 16th place finish.

Dan Smyth, owner of a surname that's synonymous with taking down major Irish events looked like making a big challenge for the title, when he grabbed the chip lead two tables out. Dan has a fantastic online record but a number of reversals saw his commendable challenge peter out in 11th.   

This left Gilly as the remaining Irish hope. A Galway based player Ronan was rooming with my mate Derek Murray. Derek has mentioned to me on a number of occasions that he rates Gilligan very highly as a player and relayed to me pre-tournament that Ronan had won entry in a $50 satellite and his intentions were to play the event as it it was a $50 buy in rather then a €2,500.          

True to his word, Gilly got his full 300 big-blind starting stack in verses two sets (one folded ) in only the second hand of the tournament, pushing a flush draw and never looked back. His third place finish was a swashbuckling display and is a fine addition to his 2nd place finish in the 2010 UKIPT  Dublin for his CV.

In the end Shallow was a worthy winner of a fantastic tournament, which is a wonderful addition to the Irish poker calendar.   


Back to Work

Hope everyone had a good Chrishmas and got over the New Year without too bad a hangover. I must admit to being a bit of a Christmas grouch, although I hide it well enough and the feast of sport on over the holiday keeps me some way sane.

It's back to work this week. 1st up is tonight's fantastic $10,000 added Festival Frenzy tournament at Boylepoker. I'm sure most of you will have qualified for this non-direct buy in event already; if you haven't satellites are running all day today ending at 6.45 with the main event starting at seven.

On Thursday I'll be at the City West for the WPT Ireland. When I started out playing the game, this date was always filled with the Irish Poker Championship at the same venue and that event returns to it's spiritual home as a side event of the WPT starting the Friday.

The WPT is a hard one to call turnout wise. On a negative its relatively big buy in for a country where disposable income is at an all time low. This makes it hard to see where the walk in buy ins will come from. There's also the clash with the PCA, which could affect overseas visitors.

The positive is the brand, every poker player in the country will fancy the title of WPT champion, so a few mattresses will be raided to come up with the buy in.

I've herd people predicting very low turnout for the event, but personally I think the numbers will be decent. I'd call anything over 150 starters a relative success for this type of buy in, in its first year. Hopefully it gets over 250 and establishes itself as a permanent way to kick off the poker year.

I, as every other Irish poker player, kinda like the ring of " Irish WPT Champion".                     

State of the nation

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. I usually do a long annual review but I'm just not in the writing rambling mode ATM and feel it wouldn't be interesting for me to write or for anyone to read. 

I didn't have a great year poker-wise, but I didn't really play that much poker over the year compared to previously.

The Hendon Mob database will show six cashes for a total of $30,000. I probably did about $20,000 in buy-ins over the year if even that, and wouldn't have played more than 15-18 tournaments that register on the HMD.

 It's not as abysmal as last year anyway, and the fact that Boyles sponsored me for my tournament entries mean that at least the $30k was profit.

The highlight of the year was a semi-deep run at the Irish Open. I had a lovely stack deep into Day 2 but made a big call, which was wrong and saw me return day three with a playable 30 bigs. I got unlucky in a hand with four tables remaining and bar that a final table was a definite possibility.

The year was going very bad for me punting wise and doing €25,000 in May sports betting more or less meant no Vegas - I really couldn't face doing another 25k over there and I'm sure that's what would have happened had I went as the noggin wasn't in the right place.

I hit a punting downswing for six months in the middle of the year that was character building. Thankfully things picked up significantly from October on or I could have been busking to get over the Christmas.

In general I think 2011 was a very good year for Irish poker, mostly down to Eoghan and Dermot final tabling the WSOP & WSOPE main events. There were more events than ever played in the country and generally numbers held up well in very difficult financial times for people.

Hopefully, this remains the case for the year ahead - I'm really looking forward to kicking it off with Ireland's first WPT next week, what better way to start the year then a major buy in at City West. Anyhow, thanks to everyone who read the blog over the year, I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
Nicky Power
Nicky Power
Country: Ireland
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