Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bragging, moaning, book reviews and voting....

It's been another few weeks since I last posted. This is becoming a trend eh? Oh well I guess I am getting lazy when it comes to blogging. Maybe I'm blogged out!

Played one live tournament so far this month up in the Green Isle Hotel for the Bruce festival, I was pretty happy with how I played although was a little disappointed at making a final table and nothing more. As always there is only 3 prizes in poker tournaments. 1st 2nd and 3rd. Any lower than that and it is place money in every sense of the word. Id much rather win one in 50 than to place in 15. Exotic Dancer has placed in every 3 mile chase imaginable over the last two years but nobody wants to own him. Everyone wants Denman.

Maybe I shouldn't be as pessimistic. We can't all win and we can only use the cards we are given. But then again a poor workman always blames his tools. But then again I'm not a mechanic.... Okay I'll stop now.

I'm playing in London next weekend in the GUKPT final which I'm v excited about. It is practically an Irish Open considering the buy-in. I satted in a few weeks ago with Paddy Power and this should now be my last major tournament of the year. I think I'll have a good chance as I am playing well at the moment and I have recaptured the feel back in my game which had been lost somewhere in the middle of the Nevada desert since last summer.

The reason that I say this is because I'm back playing online, properly. I've played 10,000 hands so far this month which is unprecedentedly high for me. I have not played as many hands in a month all year. I am trying to clear the $3000 bonus on Bruce and it is proving to be a very useful form of blinkers for me to get some hands in.

That's twice I've refereed to horse racing in this blog entry. I really am becoming a sick gambler. No seriously, I am. I have never felt gambling being an issue for me as strong as I have this year. Having money is a burden I wasn't used to and it seems to be burning a hole in my pocket at times. Gamblers anonymous seems a bit drastic but I certainly need to cut down on sports betting or I will be leaking out anything that comes in and more. It's like anything else in excess, it's just not good for you.

Hmmm I'm reading Barry Greenstein's book at the minute and he warns against complaining and bragging being the two dullest conversation forms. It's incredible how I've managed to articulate both so well in this entry! I must say I am enjoying the book. It is a most unique poker book that touches on the many things required for life as a professional before you even approach strategy. It is one of two poker books that I have enjoyed immensely this past while. The other being the Las Vegas big game cliff notes entitled 'the Professor the Banker and the Suicide King'. It is interesting that both books are non-theory based, I hope this doesn't say something about my appetite for improvement!

The last two theory books I read were both hugely disappointing. Dan Harrington's book 'Harrington on Cash Games Vol 1' and Daniel Negreanu's 'Power Hold'em strategy'. The former is a dull after-thought to a fabulous trilogy on tournaments. The latter is nothing other than a money spinner for Danny N and his chums. The section on small ball is merely "okay" with the rest rather awful.

This month's Poker Ireland piece is now up on the site. I take a look at something which has been annoying me continually of late, bad behaviour. It has crept in quite silently this past while and it seems to be the American TV producers who are encouraging this childish, classless behaviour. Dara O Kearney being one of the many victims of this nonsense upon his exit in the Green Isle last week.

Finally, there is now a poll on the site which I will be using for next month's final Poker Ireland article of the year. In what should be a fun piece I will be crediting the achievements of the year within the Irish poker scene with the performance of the year vote being the headline award. Get your votes in!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The quest to become Fintan Gavin....

Wow, its been a while! This could be a long one.... Its tough to give reasons for the lack of updates but I guess it is mainly because of two things. A) I haven't actually been playing all that much and B) When I have played I ain't really been winning. But as Gordon says blogging is mainly just for bragging and I have fallen soundly into that particular trap.

So where can I start this brag.....

I have played both the IPO and the Killarney festival since my last entry so I guess I should sum them up asap. In Killarney I had a dose of day two syndrome for the third time in as many tourneys. Absolutely bolted out of the traps once again and had a fabulous day one, then boom crash wallop another day two disaster.

I'm suffering from a very strange problem which I cannot really explain with out sounding like an elephant. When I get to day two of a tournament I have decided that everyone is going to be making moves, everyone is re-raising with air, everyone is 3-betting so light I would be surprised if they even had a picture card and by and large everyone is out to get me and in particular my chips. Everyone. I guess I am suffering from paranoid-day-two-syndrome. I wish I could just relax. I over-think when it gets close to the money in tournaments and really I am just second guessing myself rather than trying to play smooth solid poker (that I have often been doing the previous day).

So 135th in Killarney for €0 and then about 1135th in the IPO for €0. Truth be known I didn't play my best in the Regency and deserved to get knocked out early. I think I should either concentrate in such tourneys or just not play them. There's never a reason to play like a donkey which is what I was last weekend.

One positive I can glean from the past while is that i managed to qualify for all three October tournaments thru satellites. It was a mini-goal I set myself about a month ago and I achieved it. I think playing satellites and being successful in satellites is a most beneficial skill to have. Every decent tournament out there has online satellites these days and I should not be paying the €500's and the €1500's to enter them when I am capable of satelliting in. In the case of the IWF it took 5 attempts but it's all good practice for next year. See I would really love to play both the Irish Open and the World Series next year and the only way this is possible is thru sats.

My next goal is to launch an assault on the LECOOP on laddies. With over $500,000 in added money over the course of the event it is possibly the best series on the net. I bubbled the satellites for the ME a few times (grrrr) but I need to get my name on the lists for as many of these tourneys as possible. Hopefully the sats prove fruitful as I would particularly like a spin in the $1000 ME, the $500 short-handed and the $500 HU Championship. Not to mention all the other added money nighty's to boot.

Also I have and will continue to dabble on PokerStars tournaments in particular their EPT sats. The chance of being the next Fintan Gavin is an opportunity I have most certainly bought into. From the few $109 sats I have played they seem tough yet achievable. I have yet to give the $800 sats a shot but I have got a token for one which is something.

Elsewhere it appears my online cash pursuit is taking a back seat for the moment. I got immensely bored with it during the summer and haven't quite recovered even still. After the LECOOP and my bash at the EPT sats I will probably have no option but a return to grinding out the 1/2 tables on the net. Or else I could do a Fintan Gavin and go on the uber spin....

Finally my live cash is absolutely dead too it appears. I haven't played live cash at all since I went back to college and I must say it is for the better. Ross J maintains its a creepish existence doing the rounds on the live cash scene and I would have to agree with the big man. At least i can wake and sleep similar hours to my friends and family now! The only thing I miss is Duke and Sarah and the rest of the Jackpot crew. I love the banter in there when all the regs are in the house but I guess the hours just ain't for me.

So not much else to report I guess. I believe a few ppl saw me on TV at the darts cheering on Phil Taylor last week. He is the greatest sportsman alive and is an absolute Goliath in his profession. And If bookies keep chalking up 11/8 I will keep storming in :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Busted by Rob but he pays me back

Just back from Cork. Another interesting weekend in what is one of Ireland's premier poker tournaments. Ken and the Macau run a fine establishment and I must say the tourney as a whole was top class. There was a lot of griping about levels being skipped which should not have happened but by and large I could not fault the show put on. The casino itself is comfortable and spacious. The dinners were great and plentiful, easily the best I have gotten at a tournament to date. I would recommend this festival to a friend you could say.

The tourney itself was yet another learning curve for me. It seems every time I get home I realise how much I have to learn about playing perfect poker (if there is such a concept). For the third tourney in a row (Waterford 500, WSOP and Macau) I absolutely burst out of the traps and had a commanding chip lead within two levels. I would guess I was chip leader for most of day one and was certainly by the end of play with 73,000. (To give you an idea of how much that was, Rob Taylor made the final table with 90,000 in chips).

But alas, yet again day two proved to be unfruitful! Its always the same with these poker tournaments, you do need a nice slice of luck along the way. I'm not saying you need to suckout, I just mean you must win all your 80%ers which is running good in itself. For me it was races I couldn't win. I lost 40,000 in two AK hands and the rest on a bluff against Rob Taylor. I have no regrets about how I played. It just always seems to be day two that gets me. If I was a greyhound my form would read "early paced sort who should lead to the bend but stamina remains an issue. Trios?"

I was delighted to see Nicky chopping it in his first outing for Bruce Poker. He is such a quality player, I had no doubt he would be at the forefront of another tourney before long. Paul Smallwood will no doubt be delighted with his coup as will Mr Power in Waterford when he lodges his cheque during the week! The big congrats goes to Rob Taylor however. Having lost all my chips to him I can genuinely say I wanted him to go on and score (I told him as much before I left). To say he is due would be a huge under statement and I know this result will mean a lot to him. He also netted me €1000 as I had a small wager on him on Betfair.

LOL pokerbettingaments indeed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Swimming Upstream

An update at last! It's been a long time since I've updated this blog so i guess I better give an update from my bizarre world. Well as you might have guessed it ain't been going too well. I may be suffering from a case of what Gordon calls "only blogging when you are winning" syndrome. There's no doubt its much easier to blog when you are feeling triumphant, an emotion I am not familiar with en ce moment.

I made an error in my latest Poker Ireland piece. I let my emotions take over the theme of my article and that's quite a bad characteristic for a writer. I should be able to write unbiased and not let my emotions at the time affect the tone of the piece. Another area I am learning in I guess.

I've been playing a lot of live cash in the past few weeks and the results have been poor. I've lost 8 out of my last 10 sessions and 7 from my last 7. I have no idea what has gone wrong which is even more worrying. I have been running bad obviously but I played some hands quite sloppy too which is disappointing. Also thinking back over the hands I seemed to get in a lot of huge pots with OESF draws and the like. Essentially racing in circa €1500 pots. Of the four that I can remember off hand, I lost every one. For a live cash player in Dublin, you need to win these pots. Otherwise you will be having losing months like me.

In one of the aforementioned pots I got it all in with the nut flush draw and two over-cards against Troy's bottom pair and non-nut flush draw. We were racing for the pot basically. Flip a coin. He offered to take money out of the pot and I refused quite quickly. I then lost the pot. In hindsight I guess I should have taken money back but I can't predict the future (just ask Byron or Emmett Hegarty down the dogs). You have to let poker balance itself out I believe and if you start taking money out of some pots and not others you are interrupting the natural course of poker. Taking money back from pots is just not the way I operate but it was an interesting proposal none the less.

Speaking of interesting proposals, some of the regular lads (namely Seamus, Dermot and Marc) were in the jackpot last week and put forward the idea of playing dealers choice. I'm rubbish at every game (okay moderate at hold'em) so naturally I agreed. Blind man's bluff, 5 card Omaha, double-flop hold'em, double-flop Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Blind Omaha, Hold'em deuces wild, Crazy Pineapple, you name it. It's rather uncomfortable to note that this was one of my winning sessions from the last 2 weeks. Lets hope they get it going more regularly in the Jackpot over the coming weeks.

Poker loves rewarding the undeserving of late it seems. Take Tues ROE tourney in the jackpot for example. I had 6000 at the break (25% of the average stack) and ended up being heads-up with the chip lead a few hours later. Thanks to my sterling efforts in the Omaha no doubt. Fish are certainly swimming strong at the moment.

Another fish swimming strong at present is Micheal Phelps. The man was "born to swim" they say and he has been doing plenty of that in Beijing. Gordon, (who is playing pro Olympics tipster during the games) doesn't seem to rate him as not once has he tipped him so far. Fwiw he reckons Pieter Van Den Hoogenbend is going to be thereortherabouts in the 100 metres freestyle tonight and is a stonking each way bet at 16/1 with laddies. God loves a trier but I think the only thing Gordon is trying to do is take the weight out of our wallets with this one.

Not much else to report unless you want me to divulge each and every cent I've lost over the past few weeks. I'd rather look forward to be honest. I don't need to look too far forward either it seems with the Macau Festival on this weekend. I'm heading down tomorrow on the train with Dermot so I can be there in plenty of time before the ME starts at 7pm on Fri. I picked up a slightly-cheaper-than-the-normal-entry-price-ticket so no doubt Ken won't let me in. A big result would be welcome so one time plz dealer and all that nonsense. Or I could just shout at myself instead of the dealer. Wouldn't that be unique?


There we go.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Vegas Pt.10

No WSOP success this year. I came into the day short-stacked and vacated the building shortly into the second level when I had got to a stage where I needed a double-up to compete. The average was 150,000 and I had 50,000. Approaching the bubble with a short-stack was never going to be much fun and i made a stand with AK. I was racing against 10s and was left to race for the door with no pairing of my overs.

It's been a tough tournament which consisted of a great day one, a really tough day two and a standard day three. I'm out of pocket having refused all staking offers and footed the bill myself and this is what hurts now. But then again I'd look like a genius getting out if I had have scored big. Either way I have learnt a lot from this tournament. Ive a lot of hands I will be putting up on boards over the next few days .

My first WSOP over and I just hope I get another crack of the whip in the future. I will be older and wiser next time around, that's for sure.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vegas Pt.9

Very tough day in the RIO on day two. The wealth of riches which I was getting on day one seem a distant memory as I picked up very poor cards today. I finished the day on 69,300 which on reflection is quite reasonable. There was a lot of tough spots and some big stacks on the table which made play uneasy. I survived I guess is the best way to put it. There are still a lot of players below 40k so I suppose it could be worse. I could use a double up but with blinds at 750/1500 there is no panic just yet.

I've been told that Poker News didn't update on me today which I didn't realise. I'll be sure to say it to some of the guys tomorrow as I know some of the staff. Try Poker Listings for my progress perhaps. They seemed to be lurking around my area more and plus Chris and Rod from Blonde work for them and I do be talking to them throughout.

Day three is going to be one tough day. Even if I do get a double up early the chances are I'll still have a below average stack approaching the bubble which could prove to throw up a plethora of tough decisions form the table bully's and the short-stacks alike. Looking forward to a most interesting day tomorrow. I'll need some luck to get through to day 4 but there is no reason why I won't get some.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Vegas Pt.8

Through to day two with 79,300. Day one went very well and I'm pretty hopeful going into tomorrow. My table looks tricky with a Swede who final tabled in 2004 and a Swiss guy who has had plenty of cashes throughout the world. The latter has a nice stack with the former going into the day short. I'm not overly concerned about table draws at this point, it's out of my control. I'll have to face good players and big stacks throughout so I'm neither happy nor unhappy with the table I've drawn. One positive is that I'll go into the table as chip leader.

I have no idea what to expect/hope for tomorrow. I had a roller-coaster on day one so I may get more of the same on day two. I just have to play each hand as best I can and make good decisions throughout. Good decisions, stay focused and remain confident, if I can achieve these three things throughout tomorrow I'll be happy.

And again a bit of good luck would be nice :)

I have the same plan as the night before day one, tonight. A meal, a cirque de soliel show and then off to bed early. It worked as good prep for day one so would be delighted if it helps me perform well again tomorrow.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Vegas Pt.7

Have played exactly 0 poker in the last three days, hence the lack of blogging. Been trying to get my mind off the game so have been avoiding forums, blogs, everything. Just trying to get fresh before the main event as my head was totally messed up the last time I played. Noel thinks I should have kept playing but I think I've made the right decision taking a break.

So I kick off tomorrow and it's all a bit surreal. Still cannot believe I'm playing it, it is quite a dream for me. I am on table 10, seat 8 (Amazon Red) if anyone happens to be wondering around the RIO tomorrow. I most certainly hope I shall be there all day.

The one thing I'm extra happy about is that I'm now in for 100% of my action. It's the only way to fly imo. I still cannot believe that Marty sold so much of himself in the 10k Omaha. Madness. At least if I get a big scoop I get to keep it. Isn't that the whole point? I dunno.

The final-table of the Omaha was tremendous and it's difficult to add to the reports already written about it on boards etc. It was a great result for Marty and a huge result for the Irish. I cannot wait to see the TV coverage of it. Every Irishman in Vegas was there and it was a night I won't forget in a hurry.

Then last night was the ladbrokes party which was awesome. They put on some show for the players and kudos to them indeed. I enjoyed it a lot.

Not much else to report, I'm off to a cirque de soleil show tonight with Seamus which should be a good way of winding down before the main event kicks off tomorrow. I'm not going to discuss expectations for the ME etc, I just have to go in and play my best and let the rest look after itself. A bit of luck in-running would be nice though :).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Vegas Pt.6

Over half way thru my Vegas excursion and still no respite. Played two $525 sit and go's today in the RIO and cashed in neither. I don't think I played badly, it's just an extension of what has been a luckless period. At this point I think very little can be gained from playing stt's/mtt's/cash. I had planned on winning a few thousand $$$ in week one in order to cover some of my ME entry and naturally I ended up losing a few. I cannot undo what is done but I also cannot make much in the few days left before the main event.

I think I may be best served leaving well enough alone over the next few days as I have nothing to gain as such. Sure I might win some money, but I am going to be down for the trip regardless so why stress myself unduly in the run up to Day 1C? I can run well fresh and have done so before and this is perhaps my best option. Minimal poker should result in a clear head and that's what I need I reckon.

Saturday is a new day, a new event and a new tournament. It is by far the biggest of my poker career and win, lose or draw I have to consider it an achievement by just playing it. That's not to say I am just here for a day out and to make up the numbers . No no. I will be battling as much as anyone and I have no problem being first man out if it's the correct play. I think the tourney/structure will suit me and I am looking forward to it immensely. Form is temporary and irrelevent. I am gonna go in fresh and play to win, the rest is in the lap of the gods.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vegas Pt.5

Finally got a win under my belt today. Played cash up in Binions for 6 hours tonight and took $730 out of the game. It was much needed I can assure you. After another lightning quick elimination from today's $1500 tourney I was contemplating coming home as things have just been that bad. Getting it in after 10 minutes with Kings and I still can't get a hand to hold, I really felt I was destined for brokes-ville. I've had a real kicking this week. It's so easy to lose a lot of money here either on tourneys, cash, socialising and of course gambling that it takes quite some discipline to juggle them all successfully let alone relying on your hands to hold when you do get the money in good.

My plan of getting some money together from cash games is almost over before it even began. I'd be delighted if I was even by the World Series which is a far cry from what I had planned. I'm still going to give the WSOP ME a try as things stand but it's in the balance. I need money to play poker in the future and I could do myself a lot of harm if I was to head for home a huge loser on the trip. As it stands if I don't cash in the ME that is where I'll be and this scares me. Lets hope I can at least get a safety net from cash in week two.

Finally, I have a runner on the final table of the H.O.R.S.E event in Barry Greinstein. Should he go on to win it It would be huge for me as I've backed him @ 66/1 with PP pre-tourney. Take it down Barry G.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vegas Pt.4

Been steadying the ship the last few days after my abysmal start. Played in the RIO, the Venetian and Binions, the latter of which was the most profitable/enjoyable. I pretty much broke even over the 3 sessions which is a result I guess. I've been playing horribly in spots and making a lot of silly errors still which is most unlike me. In one hand in Binions I got in a pot with Mad Marty Wilson and rivered a gutshot only for me to call his check-raise with the nuts, much to the amazement the table. I thought I had a one-card straight and was behind to 9-10 and thus only called.

I have to improve my concentration levels. I'm taking no interest in hands other then my own and even with them I'm making mistakes. I'm actually playing some really sub-par poker at the moment. My gosh I just hope I can cut this out and start playing better.

Tomorrow I play the $1500 WSOP tournament. It's a gamble fest but I'm going to take a shot. Mansion have given me a nice incentive to play it so I think it's a sound decision. It being my first WSOP event I guess I'm kinda excited. I hope to run as deep as possible obviously but win lose or draw I shall be using this as one of probably two warm-up tourneys for the WSOP ME.

More updates tomorrow.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vegas Pt3

No more silly stories/incidents today, things have taken too sharp a turn. Having wasted the first few days blowing money, it was time to start playing poker. I've blown a considerable amount of money gambling, something which I rarely do. I am a gambler but the first three days in Vegas I gambled with elements of compulsion and recklessness. Going in to yesterday, my mindset was all wrong for poker. I was tilted, I was tired and I was unhappy.

Played three 2/5 sessions and lost a full buy-in of 500 in each. Once in the Venetian which was very tough, I was outplayed. The other two in the RIO which was a lot softer but I was defeated before I even sat down. I lost a full buy-in forcing a gut shot on the flop in one. When I finally left I was asked for money which I had owed and forgotten about from a friend, another 500 down.

At 11pm last night I returned to the Gold Coast exhausted. My body felt so drained and I was almost in a state of depression. This is an incredibly dangerous place and the utmost discipline is needed. Something I have been lacking.

The good news is today I feel much better. I'm not going to gamble, not once. I'm going to drop down to 1/3 and start afresh. I'm not going to let results affect me, I am going to play each hand as it comes. The HORSE tournament is on and I'm going to spectate at that, somewhat ironically I gambled hard on it before I left.

I'm hoping for a change of attitude by the end of today rather than a change in luck. I hope I can achieve it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vegas part deux

They always get startled. Every time, without fail. I mean surely they have walked into a room before and there was someone in there. It's a hotel after all, people tend to be in rooms from time to time. So why is it that house maids always launch the door of my room open and then say "oh my god, I didn't realise there was somebody in here!"? They don't really give you a chance to alert them of your occupancy. Perhaps they should knock. Maybe its a Gold Coast thing, launching into rooms. I plan on placing a collection of shoes at the door in time for tomorrow morning's arrival is all I'll say.

Was out last night with the Blonde poker people. Had dinner in New York New York's steakhouse Gallaghers. Very impressive portions it has to be said. Most certainly a few less cows in the world after our performance last night. They give you plenty of mash too so top feed all round. Chris, Mark and Snoops got their steaks cooked the wrong side of rare, which never fails to be off-putting. Ah yeah think you spilt another drop of blood there, careful now. Well done.

It was onto the Voodoo Lounge then which was incredible if not nauseating. You catch a glass lift in which you can see the whole of Vegas as you're shot into the air. Phenomenal view but theres still something creepy about being 50 flights up, looking over the edge to what would be certain death. Met more poker peeps there such as fellow blogger Graham f-badger Clarkson. We all then watched Dana drink some head-sized glass of orange stuff for her birthday in uber quick time. A short while after she was complaining of headaches and a tummy bug. Must have been something she ate.

On then to Spearman Rhino which I didn't enjoy quite frankly. The price of admission and drinks is pure madness. Screwed at every opportunity, especially if that's what you're after. I have no doubt I am in the minority but strip clubs freak me out. Some girl jumping on you blind-sided and saying give me $200 doesn't seem all that cute. All this while you over-hear form discussions between the regular punters as if they were weighing up the runners in the 9.15 at Shelbourne Park. Taxi!

Where would the tourists be without them? Taxis are vital for getting about Vegas in this heat. Because OMFG the heat. They do have to be considered a rake though and I'm feeling a bit like Gordon spending 1000's a week on taxis. I've met one cabbie a few times who does the Gold Coast runs who has been most helpful. Took me to an electrical specialist to get my laptop plug adapter, he even came in with me to help pick it out. Also took me to a cheap supermarket and all the while telling me about the best shows, eats etc.

Playing my first piece of poker action tonight. Going to venture down to the Bellagio for a few hours of 2/5 action. Should be interesting to see has the standard improved/dis-improved with the WSOP rolled into town. If the standard is the same as last November I shouldn't have a problem winning in the game.

Will update tomorrow on how I got on.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vegas Pt1

I've arrived in Vegas safe and sound. It was a long day travelling especially considering I played the Jackpot the night before leaving. I'm still glad I went in for a spin though as all the regs were in and I got a lot of well wishes which was pleasent. People seemed genuinely excited and hopeful of my adventure which was nice. I assumed I would sleep on the plane but was incapable which left me quite tired by the time I arrived in LA. The woman next to me seemed all set for a chat for the entire journey but as the feeling was far from mutual I ended up being quite short and probably rude with her. One word answers ftw. Had the usual crappy airplane food. The pretzels are pretty much the highlight of the journey as the meals are border-line eatable. The journey was 11 hours total before I arrived in LA.

Travelling through Los Angeles airport I was greeted by two seperate Americans who seemed eager to help me out and direct me to my connecting flight. Both told me I was a "good guy", both shook my hand yet both then asked me for money for their respective charities. Welcome to the USA. The airport itself was jam-packed with Chinese people. The surfer dudes were nowhere to be found and who would have thought that the only lasting memory I would have of LA was flushdraws and gutshots.

I gobbled down a McDonalds in the airport, the first I have eaten since my previous visit to LAX airport. I now remember why I haven't eaten it since. Such crap. The flight to Las Vegas is always a more enjoyable one than the first. Mainly because its tens times quicker but also because you get a good view of Los Angeles/the desert/Las Vegas en route. One woman fainted at the back of the plane just before the flight landed. She was treated quickly, carefully and confidentially by the United Airlines crew who screamed down the intercom. "Medical assistance needed immediately at the back of the plane". One Irish and 111 Chinese faces staring down the back of the plane at the woman in distress. Lovely.

Landed in Vegas and arrived in the amusement/theme park that is Las Vegas airport. It was quicker to find a slot club membership than a baggage re-claim. I had to get a tram in order to collect my bags. Naturally while waiting for the luas thingy I played some jungle rumble slots. Welcome to Vegas.

The baggage re-claim was particularly entertaining. Unbeknownstome my bag had actually passed by me around 15 times before I decided to turn over the "bag that looked like my bag upside down" bag which turned out to in fact be my bag. Elsewhere a small Chinese man who looked a bit like Kenny Ho was having trouble with the carousel. To be frank, I think he could have positioned his head better while he observed the passing bags. Staring straight ahead is -EV as by the time your eyes realise that it is your bag, the bag has gone someway left. Alas his strategy was found out when he was left clutching the wheels (easily the most ungrabbable part) of his case as it went further and further left dragging the other bags, the people to his left and himself along with it.

Got to the Gold Coast fine, $14 in a taxi incl tip. At check-in I tried the oul $20 "please upgrade my room" tip as the woman checked me in. This is where you squeeze $20 into your passport (which you need to produce upon check-in for i.d. purposes) and ask for a complimentary upgrade. It has a surprisingly high success rate and I have not lost faith. If they can't help you out they give you the $20 back so I shall be gambling again in the RIO in 10 days time.

Speaking of which I ventured over to that very Casino last night. It was as I expected it to be. Over-crowded, over commercialised and in general over the top. I doubt I will be in there much other than the Main Event, not my scene at all. Bumped into Jen and the rest of the Blonde crew over there. It's Dana's birthday tonight and they're all going out so I'll be making an appearance at that.

Back at the Gold Coast now typing this up. I must say I am very happy with this hotel. I was kind of expecting it to be a dump but it's far from it. Very comfortable little spot, dare I say superior to the RIO which is about three times the price. It has a cheap shop/off-licence and plenty of restaurants serving stuff-that-I-recognise-so-I'll-be-able-to-eat-it food. There is however a considerable amount of old people and it is hard not to notice that the entertainment hall (which seems to have a Butlins type theme where singing/waving your hands from side side to side is encouraged) is located right apposite the bingo hall.

Not much else to report, had to catch up on some sleep when I arrived obv so haven't been up to much. Played a bit of craps/slots for the last hour or so which was fun. Lost on slots, won on craps. Looking forward to blowing most of my money in such games this trip. Only kidding, all things in moderation etc etc.

More trip reporting laterz.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vegas Bound

In around 10 hours time I shall be in the skies en route to Las Vegas. After all the messing of being in and then being out, I am now in again. I've decided to take a shot. I am teaming up with Ladbrokes for the World Series and the package that they provide. Its probably the best package available as you get 10 days accommodation in the RIO as well as the much acclaimed Laddies hospitality. I have been told the RIO isn't the best hotel but I like the idea of staying where the WSOP is on. I'm not sure why it has a bad rep to be honest, it seems nice from the research I've looked at on the web.

I have decided to fund the WSOP out of my own money. It is a gamble no doubt but I believe it is one I have to take. I would not be able to sit through the WSOP this July and not be a part of it. The word destiny is a bit dramatic but I do think I was due to take a shot this year. Win lose or draw playing this tourney is an integral part of becoming a more complete poker player. I may not have such an opportunity again to just drop everything and jet off to the US with a fist full of dollars so take it I shall.

I had originally agreed a deal with 5starpool and a syndicate of boardsies. The offer meant a lot and re-stored a lot of my faith in boards. There are some good people on there after all. I am a little disappointed in myself in how I treated these people. I did agree to the syndicate originally and then backed out later. I should have thought out the offer more at the time, I rushed into a yes when in reality I was pretty uncomfortable with the proposal. I do not like the responsibility of playing for other people not least a syndicate of 40 people some of which I have never even spoken to. I had to back out and I am just sorry I didn't take time with my decision initially. Thank you again to those that got involved, this gesture meant a lot to me.

So I'm Vegas bound and very excited. It's my second trip having travelled over in November last for a week. The soaring heat should make for a big difference from my last trip as will the duration spending some three weeks in crazy town. I am looking forward to getting there and relaxing for the first few days. this is why I am going relatively early. I want to be able to acclimatise a little rather than just arriving straight into the action. My accommodation plans have changed a few times but I've finalised them now. I'm in the Gold Coast from 22nd June till the 2nd July and then the RIO thereafter. It seems that all the Irish are out of town when I arrive with Valor in New York and John, Chubs, Rory and Donal in Cali which is a bummer. The Blonde Poker crew will be there though so not all is lost.

As regards my expectations for the trip, I really don't know to be honest. My game is not 100% at the moment and I know it. The amount of errors in bet sizing I've made in the last month or so is astonishing. I just need to relax more and think before I act. My confidence is fine as i have no doubt that I can still play 100% in the Main Event should I iron out my game a little between here and then. I'm going to be playing around three warm up events in the form of Venetian/Bellagio $500 comps so hopefully I can put in some good performances there. i will try and keep this blog updated to detail how i got on in each. I've noticed I've said I about 1000 times so far this post which is rather disgusting. Hopefully my Vegas posts are more about the banter of whats going on rather than talking about myself.

I'm not sure if anyone actually likes planes. I am not looking forward to the flight purely because of the boredom factor. Being stuck in a claustrophobic seat for 10 hours is hardly going to be riveting. I'm hoping I can just sleep through it. I have to get a much more enjoyable one thereafter from Los Angelas to Las Vegas. Its only about 50 mins and is ironically a much more comfortable plane than the Aer Lingus one. Then its the short cab ride from McCarran to my hotel room in the Gold Coast. Viva Las Vegas.

More waffle then.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Character Building

Is how Nicky Power described my Waterford Open experience last weekend. I like Nicky a lot. Hes a quality poker player but more importantly he's one of life's nice guys, a real gem of a fella. I only chatted to him briefly over the weekend but the few words he spoke made a lot of sense to me and I'm grateful for people like him in Irish poker as there seems to be 25 idiots for every solid guy.

We were discussing my untimely exit from the Waterford ME in which I lost my whole stack with aces just as it appeared I might be on for a big hurrah. I finished up in 20th which I suppose constitutes as a success as only one week ago I felt my game was all over the place (as Keith quickly pointed out yesterday) but when you get nothing from a tourney it generally always feels lousy. An hour prior to my exit there were 25 left and I had double the average. I perhaps arrogantly believed at that point that I should be winning or at least final-tabling. I guess I can take comfort in that I most certainly didn't fold my way to elimination and my exit could well have spring boarded me to a win on another day had the cards fell right.

I have been quick to praise Big Slick in the past on the Poker Ireland site for their tournaments but I must say this year's Open was no doubt inferior to previous installments. The Majestic was not an improvement on the Woodlands, in fact i would consider it subordinate in comparison. The turnout was way down from the 275 reached last time which was also a pity. Even the chips and tables seemed to be of a lesser quality than previous efforts. Finally I missed Neil Kelly's running commentary throughout the tournament. This is what made Waterford unique in the past. Hearing all the key hands, the chip counts and all the general banter over the speakers made for great entertainment. In fact the only joke I heard Neil crack last weekend was about getting the residents to buy the non-residents drinks in the bar. I'm pretty sure the mic was acting up which was probably the reason for this but again it's kinda disappointing when things change from what has been the norm before. I like Big Slick and hope they recognise this for future events as it would be a real shame to see their (somewhat exclusively imo) standards drop.

So with Waterford behind me I guess I have played my last poker tournament before Vegas. I fly out Sunday morning on the DUB-LA-LAS route in what should be the most intriguing few weeks of my poker adventures to date.

I hope to update my blog regularly while out there (every day if I get the chance) as I'm sure there will be plenty of tales to tell along the way. I'll make one more pre-Vegas post before I depart so until then:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Losing with remarkable consistency

Very tough times indeed lately. In fact, the past 10 days have been my worst spell in poker since I started playing. I am getting killed both online and live. It seems like every time I log in I am losing money and the results of late would confirm as much. My ladbrokes account is merely one month old yet already i am beginning to re-think about the site. After an all too promising start I have lost about $5000 on the 2/4 tables over the past two weeks. During this time I have encountered some crushing beats (especially on the river-I'm not one for superstition but it is frightening how many pots I have lost on the river alone) and some real coolers. Despite this, I have been losing consistently over about 10,000 hands so something has to be up. My play has deteriorated too and its time to re-evaluate. The site is tough, that there is no doubt. Maybe I was getting an easy ride on Everest with their soft games saving my bacon. Maybe I am just running bad or maybe my game has slipped and I'm playing badly. Unfortunately I think the latter is prevailing.

Live play has been just as bad. I played the 3-day €1000 Sporting Emporium May festival ME and was first man out after 5 hands. To be honest I think my play in the hand was fine. I have no problem putting my stack in after one hand if I think its the correct thing to do and looking back I have no regrets. What I do regret however was playing cash afterwards. The nl game is tough at the best of times and for me is a game I should not even be considering unless I am feeling 100% confident in both my form and my play. On Friday last I was not confident in either so looking back i think it was awful game selection on my part. I found the game tough and I was uncomfortable. The game plays so big and even though I bought in for €800 I think I was the second shortest stack on the table. John O Shea was very mouthy and was trying to needle and unnerve the weaker players in the game (a group to which I was a part of). The conditions were treacherous yet I played on. In less than an hour I had lost €1000 and left with my tail between my legs. These are hits I am not used to and is the reason i should not be jumping into such games just yet. I did leave the game early which was the correct thing to do but my head has not been right since. I have played live 3 time since then all of which were losing sessions. I am down approx €3500 live in the past 2 weeks.

I am off to Bolton in the morning for the UK Open darts. I have been looking forward to this holiday since before my exams and it cannot come sooner. I get to relax and have some fun for the next 4 days and not think once about poker. A break might be just what I need. When I return next week I will drop down to 1/2 online and be playing solely in the smaller jackpot games for the next while. I need to get my game in gear before Vegas because as it stands I feel like i am very much stuck in neutral.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The final furlong

Summer is officially here. Well, for me it is anyway. Today is the first day of my three and a half months summer holiday. Having just finished doing 6 exams in college yesterday, its fair to say Im delighted to have this break. I plan to squeeze a lot in poker-wise over the next while with the pinnacle being a trip to Las Vegas for the WSOP.

Yes, the never-ending saga continues. The latest edition in this incredible story is a much more favorable one I'm glad to report. Since my sensational throw out of the WSOP, Dom (5starpool) has been busy trying to form a syndicate of backers so that I can indeed travel to Vegas this summer. I cannot thank him enough for this work as it has given me a warm ending to an all together forgettable tale. The syndicate is comprised of some reliable friends and a few new faces alike. When the plans are finalised (they are 90% there) I will thank each member individually for their support. I hope I can reward your commitment with a huge score in the Main Event.

I finalised my travel and accommodation plans for Vegas today. I am flying out on the 22nd June and returning on the 13th July, three weeks in all. My flights are with Aer Lingus from Dublin to LA with a connecting flight to Vegas. For the two weeks of the WSOP I'm staying in the Gold Coast. I chose it both for value and for its proximity to the Rio. They wont however let me stay more than 14 nights (as hard as I tried). I'm not sure to the exact reason why this is but methinks its a policy that will keep fresh gamblers coming in regularly. After all If you are there for more than 14 nights your propensity to gamble has surely diminished significantly.

My accommodation plan for week one has changed several times. I'm using the week to play some tourneys, play plenty of cash and overall acclimatise with Vegas before the WSOP starts on week two. The South Point was my first choice. Again great value but just a bit far out being 8 miles from the Strip. I was looking for somewhere more central. My second choice was the Monte Carlo. It seemed reasonable and was near the action being beside the Bellagio, Ceasers etc etc. There is a lot of construction going on beside the Monte Carlo however and my search continued. Nicky posted on boards that the Venetian was deadly and that their poker rate cuts a significant amount off the price. Indeed it did and now at only $250 dearer than the Monte Carlo for the week I decided to settle. I plan on playing some of the Venetians Deep stack tourneys while I'm in Vegas so I think I have made the correct choice in staying there.

The Gold Coast for weeks two and three should be an ideal spot for the Series as it's on the doorstep of the Rio. A lot of the Irish lads are staying there like John, Chub etc so I will have plenty of opportunities to discuss hands after (rather than during) play each day. It seems like a grand hotel even though its cheap in cost. Sure it even has a bowling alley for gods sake.

This will be my second time in Vegas, having gone last November for a week. The gentle chill of Winter will no doubt seem a distant memory when I arrive this time around. The soaring temperatures should prove interesting to say the least but then again you can always just park yourself in the casino. I plan on running a blog every day during my stay so that those back in Ireland can experience a taste of my adventure from afar.

More laterz.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Stewards Enquiry

My WSOP adventure is over. 14 days after I won my ticket on Everest Poker, I received the crushing email from support telling me I was out. They also advised me that my account will now be closed. For days I was longing for justice. A change of decision. A change of heart. Something that the powers to be were lacking.

Its ironic that I should grieve on this blog as this is the very portal which cost me $13,000 and my Everest account. But what happened is history. There is no point stopping this blog or my activity on boards. It is giving in. I toyed with that very idea since the faithful day. I wanted to give up on the Irish online poker community forever. But that would be conceding defeat.

This whole episode has been a defeat. I have been a victim of circumstance. If common sense was to prevail I would still have my ticket. I was FORCED to play in another house. I was FORCED to switch to a third house. I was FORCED to play with other people. I cannot emphasise this enough. As it happens I involuntarily broke the rules. As many people argued this is perhaps manslaughter rather than a murder case (bar the fact I didn't kill anyone). So why must I be given the harshest punishment possible? Account closure and ticket confiscation is a tough punishment for my "crime".

Try as I have, Everest will not budge. I can do no more. I have won the race against 52 other players and won the satellite. I won the package. The stewards enquiry that ensued is what I have lost.

It's now time to qualify again.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Me, in the WSOP!

Ship the World Series Of Poker ticket, I am going to Vegas!

Cannot believe it, I am just so chuffed to be playing one of the two tourneys I have always wanted to play since the very first time I played poker. That and the Irish Open. They are the two biggies for me and they have always been two huge goals for me. It is quite bizarre that I'm getting to play the WSOP first rather than the Irish Open. I always imagined it would be the other way around. In saying that, I have only been imagining for the last 18 months, before that it was just so incredibly out of the question playing either of them.

It's turning out to be quite the 2008 for me. No matter what happens between this and the end of the year, 2008 will forever be a massive year for me in poker terms. I got a text from Marc today about qualifying and he used the words "you deserve it". I must say that meant a lot to me as I often wonder if people are thinking I'm just getting lucky. In many ways the year 2007 was a real transition for me as a player. I started taking things seriously. I put in lots of hours on the net and read boards extensively, I studied the game offline as well by reading books and getting coaching off hectorjelly. I dunno about "deserve" as I haven't been playing the game that long but what I have done is put myself in a position to succeed. 2007 was the year for building and that was the spring board for success in 2008.

So how did I qualify for the WSOP? I played a satellite on Everest poker on Monday evening. There was 51 players with 7 prizes and one WSOP package. It was $500 to enter and I played it once before the previous week. $500 is not cheap, but I was willing to give it at least one more shot as it seems a bit softer than the Sat's on the US sites. It was effectively relinquishing the previous weeks profits from the sites cash tables for me.

So how did I celebrate? I rang my brother and then I rang Emmett Hegarthy. Then I went home and told my parents. They were all thrilled for me. Then I realised I had a project due for tomorrow. Yep, I spent my evening "celebrating" over a case study on Starbucks. LOL!

I still can't believe it. Even as I write this now I'm getting giddy at the taught of playing with the biggest names in poker, at the most illustrious tournament in the world. Vegas here I come.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Running so cold it's snowing

It's been an interesting little week for yours truly. I've been playing a fair amount of poker but unfortunately for me, I have been running ice cold.

I made the switch from 2/4 to 3/6 online this past weekend and I managed to get through 1000 hands unscaved. Despite being down $1000 in the first 30 mins without any huge pots, I ended up getting back on top by the end of my two sessions. The swings are going to be harsh at first for me so I just hope I don't get loads of coolers in my first steps into this new level. I am bankrolled for all eventualities though and if I am not feeling it I can always jump back into a 2/4 or even a 1/2 game should I wish.

The first live game I played was last Weds in Roy's new club in Newbridge. It was a satellite for the World Poker Open (something on the lines of the Poker Million only smaller, a TV event which will be shown on Setanta later this year). The turnout was poor at 19 which I'm sure Roy will be disappointed over but I think the day that was in it IE. Wednesday and the big Champions League game was always going to affect numbers. The one problem with the low turnout was the difficulty in generating funds for the $8000 package.

The players were made aware of this and were asked an agreed to a re buy/add-on in order to ensure one ticket on the night. Irish Open winner Marty Smyth was in attendance being as gentlemanly and decent as ever, along with Bops and Ken from the Macau. It was none of these players who went on to score the ticket as one by one they fell by the way side. With three left I squared off against Roy and an unknown. I was delighted with my play throughout the tourney despite being ko'd in 3rd place losing a big pot in a classic race situation. Roy went on to the win the ticket so congrats to him. Despite playing well and finishing high I was -€550 on the night such is the joy of one prize tourneys.

I played cash twice this week. Both times in the jackpot on Thursday and Saturday night. In what must have been 20 hours of live play, I can safely say they were amongst the toughest and most difficult I have played in some time. Lots of tricky spots, nothing straight forward. Getting shown bluffs every time I made a big lay down and similarly getting shown the nuts when I looked them up. I guess this is just variance/running-bad as I'm satisfied with how I played, I just seemed to have zero luck in-running. The games were unusually deep for the Jackpot with players buying in for €1000+. With some questionable players/play popping in and out of the game, I do hope this is a sign of things to come in the Montague St club as despite being down several hundred in the game I do feel I would be +EV in the long term should it turn into a regular game for these players.

Also this week I played the Poker Ireland Student Poker Champs in the Regency. It was a nice switch of venue from the RDS. I enjoyed the tournament coming 87th out of a near 300 runners but I would be lieing if I said I gave it 100% commitment. I seemed to spend more time chatting/catching up with players on the rails than sitting down playing some hands. I was glad to be there though to support Stephen McLean in his effort to get big fields for his tournaments. He puts a lot into the organising/running of his games and he deserves players to make the effort. That was my reasoning for playing for sure. Congrats to all the winners on the night.

An extended congratulations also goes to Joe (goodluck2me) and Dara (doke) on coming 1st and 2nd respectfully in the SE end of month game on Saturday night. I spoke with Joe just before the event and gave him the thumbs up on his recent play. Hopefully my compliment helped in some shape or form with his confidence going into the tourney and thus his victory.

I know this blog is becoming much more about me in recent times and less about poker but I think blogs will always swerve this way eventually. I have touched on other poker happenings in this blog and I will be making an effort to continue this trait in the future as it's nice to talk about yourself and others in tandem I believe.

I'll finish with my thoughts of Gordon/Trippie's latest blog entry. I went for some dinner with him last night before he wrote it and I knew a lot of what he was going to right. I guess I could have stopped him but I didn't. As far as I'm concerned if he wants to rant about things on his mind, let him. There is no doubt he has the most controversial blog on the Irish scene and whether you agree with the content or not (I must say I am n/a with most of it) it is unique and brings variety and I applaud him for that. I would not be able to write as ballsy even if they were in my thoughts.

That's my lot for now, hopefully next week will see a change in temperature for me at the tables.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Friendly with the enemy...

I didn't win a WSOP Bracelet, I didn't win the Irish Open and no I definitely didn't walk on water either. So why has my popularity soured in recent weeks? I must say it is very strange. I am struggling to come to terms with being "popular". There is nothing about me that should place me in this category. After all I am largely a dull, unexciting player. Also I have a quiet and shy personality. Yet everybody is talking to me and smiling and saying "hello". I even got 10 comments on my last blog entry, one of which was from Ciaran O Leary. Why does he care about me/or my blog, how did he even find it? What a gent of a man. Very pleasant to me at both the Irish Open in Citywest and the Irish Poker Championship in Galway and now I truly consider him to be one of my friends. It's all rather surreal I must say.

People who I have seen and known for years are suddenly calling me "Gary". Stormin Norman is a perfect example. I have played poker with this man for the guts of three years. Week in, week out. I would be lucky to get a "hello" out of him last year and now it seems he's known me for ages! (Which ironically is true but never before did he acknowledge my existence).

Don't get me wrong, I am delighted people are taking an interest in me. Poker is a game that is packed full of regular, familiar faces and i don't see why we can't be friendly with the people that we clearly know. I've known Norman for years and visa verse so I guess it really makes no sense that we have only spoken in the last few weeks. I do however understand and appreciate the people who liked/knew/was friendly to me back when I began playing in tournaments such as the Merrion freerolls. These are probably the friends I will have for life.

It does have its down-sides though, friendship in poker. Playing cash last Friday I bumped into Mellor off boards in the jackpot. I had only been thinking that day about his help and decency at the Irish Open the previous week. He really helped me out on what was an action packed day two and I thought that his help went a little unrewarded.

So 20mins after meeting and greeting a good poker-buddy I am in a pot with him for all his dough of circa €250 and I have him beaten. I am a poker player at heart and will optimise my profit against any player, in any situation and did so last Friday but I can honesty say it wasn't easy. It's not that I wanted to soft play, I just did not want it to be Mellor in the hand. I think there is an argument for those who believe you should have no friends from poker. Anything which involves solely the taking and receiving of money is risky business and theoretically you would be best served having no friends from poker. It just cannot happen in reality.

It is an interesting topic, "friendship in poker" and is being discussed on boards at present.

Elsewhere I am pleased to report that I've got my second ever article in Cardplayer magazine which is available for inspection now in this month's yellow edition of the popular poker player's mag. When it gets uploaded to the web, I will post a link here. I appreciate any feedback I can get so please feel free to drop me a comment if you have read the piece.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Irish Open on the rails

My Irish Open experience was spent on the rails. It's so much fun spending time with all the great players and faces of the poker world. They are an incredible bunch it has to be said. I hope I have many more days to come with them in the future.

I was doing the blogging for Paddy Power for the weekend and although fun, I was a little bit annoyed with how it turned out. We got a lot of stick on the site and it was largely unfair. The people who were giving stick did not understand the problems we were having on our end.

People ranted a lot about the lack of pictures. Fair point. Me and mellor went around taking loads of pictures but we could not get them on to the site. There was a technical error. This was not my problem, there was a problem with the site. I took the photos, just like I did for Blonde, just like I did for Poker News, if I could have got them up I would have. The blog would have looked better with photos but it was not to be.

The other thing people attacked me over were the hands posted. The suits didn't come up for me and I posted a couple of hands incorrectly. Big deal. That is just a simple mistake and one which I got far too much abuse on. Quite frankly, it would put me off doing blogging again. I like the job. I am a poker fan. I could well be one of the biggest fans out there. I know all the faces, who they are and what they eat for breakfast. This is why I like writing about the happenings and the charecters. I do not like getting attacked over mistakes though. It was the toughest blogging gig. All our team was amatuers, myself included. How can people expect it to run uber smoothly like Blonde when this is the case. Also I was responsible for updating both the production teams and the commentators. I was effectively responsible for running three blogs. Needless to say I didn't even have enough time to eat!

That is it for a while though I would imagine in blogging terms. I'm planning on getting loads of live poker tournaments in over the coming months now. I'm looking forward to three games in particular. I think these would be the smart place to invest some of the dough from Drogheda and it means I get several quality tournaments for less than an IO buy in.

JP Irish Masters. €750 main event. May 3rd

Waterford Open 2008. €500 main event. June 13th.

Irish Winter Festival. €1500 freezeout. October 25th.

Along with a selection of end of month games in the Fitz, the SE and the jackpot should they bring their back. Should be interesting times ahead none the less.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

BSB-esque tipping blog entry for today's races at Cheltenham

Back Master Minded in the 3.15 at 3/1.

That is all

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Don't Open it this year...

I have decided not to play the Irish Open. Thank you very much for the advise that I got with my decision, it was not an easy one. The reason this wasn't an easy choice is because my current form is very over powering. I have been both winning and playing well. It is at these times that its pretty easy to get carried away. Prior to Drogheda the Irish Open was a no brainer. After the deepstack game it was a resounding yes. I'm glad I didn't rush a decision though as I'm now confident I have chosen the right option for me.

So who or what swayed my decision?

I made the decision on my own. I got plenty of advise and for that I am grateful. I was in a position to take either path and was given good reason for both options. Either decision has its merits and downfalls, pros and cons. So I had to make a choice. I thought about if over the weekend and came to my decision on Monday. Here's why:

The Irish Open is a tournament that means a lot to me. As a poker fan, this is the most exciting time of the year for Poker in Ireland. Citywest will be buzzing amidst the players, the stars and the anticipation of a spectacular tournament. To witness this occasion the best seat in the house IS NOT table number 28 seat 3. Yes, it would be awesome to play but then it becomes just another tournament. The best seat in the house, is the one on the rail. After all Noel Gallagher has never been to an Oasis concert.

The buy in is steep and I am not bankrolled for it. This was the most obvious cause for concern and one which is important. One off or no one off if I was to lose €4500 I would find that pretty hard to take. No matter where I came in the tourney I would not enjoy the Irish Open unless I won it. That in turn ruins it as an occasion.

Another option was selling off a % of myself. Thank you very much indeed to the kind offers from Dara and Noel/Collie. Without them, this would not be an option. This was an avenue I really did not want to go down however. I have never borrowed money in poker and I have never, ever sold a % of myself. The reason for this being simple. If I didn't have enough money for the entry I didn't play. I hate the idea of selling % as it is selling some of your edge. If you are in a position where you need to sell a % then the tournament you are playing is too pricey. I was probably in that boat and I am now holding through to my word by not playing the Open.

I want to enjoy the festivities next week. The only way I can guarantee this, is by not playing.

So what are my plans for the Irish Open?

I am working for Paddy Power as part of their blogging team for the week. This is a job which I will enjoy as many of you know. It gives me a chance to witness the Irish Open first hand, and be given accommodation and expenses and meals and get paid. This is something I am looking forward to and a job which seems made for me. I've done it before and I will do it again. Thank you Noel Hayes for the opportunity.

There will be plenty more Irish Opens in the future and one day I hope to play one. I'm still only 21 after all. With my consistent success over the past 18 months I see no reason why I can't play and be bankrolled :) for this tournament in the future. Until then I am going to sit tight.

Over and out.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

To play or not to play, THAT is the question

This week has seen my first two adventures back into the world of live poker tournaments since the Green Joker festival. The first tourney I played was the €270 Fitz EOM on Thurs eve. Now the Fitz is a place I have never warmed to for some reason. I cannot put my finger on why that is, I just don't seem to feel comfortable there. It's very clannish with a lot of regulars and a community spirit which seems great if you are in the loop but a little bit distant if you aren't. Anyway it is an issue which matters little as I play poker and they run poker tournaments. I was very happy with my performance in what was a tough field for a €270 tournament. A lot of the runners will be in action again at the Irish Open this Easter which makes it all the more sweeter that I've hit another final table. The second was a trip to the Emporium last night for their EOM game. Isn't is just ridiculous how the three big EOM tournaments in Dublin are on three nights in a row? Nothing to write home about from the SE game. Standard tournament exit just after the first break.

My good form of late has got me thinking however (always dangerous I know). With the Irish Open upon us should I be so hesitant in dismissing the thought of playing it? It's been a manic start to 2008 for me and has turned my poker world on it's head. The IO was something I would not have dreamt of playing 3 weeks ago but I guess times have changed. The €4500 is a hefty entry though, that is the problem. They say to be adequately bankrolled for tournaments you need 100x the buy-in and this is something I most definitely do not have.

If i was to play it would be a shot. It would be a gamble and it would be a risky one at that. 90% of the players will be going home unhappy which is a big percentage. I do however have strong form on my side. My confidence is as high as its ever been and I cannot think of a better preparation I could have had going into this tourney. I have the money to pay the entry now without going broke or changing anything drastically. Is now the time to take a shot?

People have recommended satellites to me but I am not interested. The biggest waste of my poker adventures to date has no doubt been satellites. I have never qualified for anything, ever, in a satellite and I have spent a lot of money trying. Quite frankly i do not like them. They are often poorly structured and because they have the label "Irish Open Satellite" on them, the standard is infinitely higher as a result too than say a standard €250 tourney. My decision is whether I am going to buy in or not. I've already player my "satellites" as such the last few months and its now a decision whether to take the ticket or the cash alternative.

The last option I can think of is buying in and selling %. I have never done this before for anything and it is not something which I am up to speed with. (I have visions of me knocking on doors with a sponsorship card and all the old dear saying "Is it the Marathon you're running? For cancer research is it? How lovely. What do you mean poker?"). Is this advisable I wonder, i don't like running with out the ball so to speak IE not playing for myself 100% but it may perhaps be an option I am obliged to take should someone be willing to invest.

Would love some comments on my Irish Open dilemma, even anonymous ones!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jumping back into the sea, just like flipper

It's been two weeks since my last entry. A long time by my usually regular posting patterns. The reason for my inter web absence is that I simply have not been playing poker. I think I've played about 3 hours of live poker and less again on the net since Drogheda. There is no solid reason for this other than that I've been busy and a little dis-interested. My plan is to get back to my usual playing routine this week (ie a couple of thousand online hands & one evening cash session at the weekend). It is that solid base which has served me well throughout 2007 and I need to get back to this routine before I get rusty.

My plan is to dive back in for smaller stakes. Unibet have a great promotion on at the moment with a €2000 sign-up bonus. I estimate I'll need to play approx 20,000 hands at 50/1 withing the allotted time frame of 30 days. This will serve two purposes for me. Firstly I will get plenty of practice playing in order to clear the bonus. Secondly should all go well (ie break even or better) I will get €2000 for my troubles. It seems like a solid plan to get me back into the swing of things on the online poker front where I played around 70% of my poker hours last year.

I was in Waterford last weekend for the team event. It was my first time working for Blonde Poker which was fun. I got to work with snoopy who seems to be Mr. Blonde at this stage with the amount of work he does on the site. Hopefully after I get a few more of these Irish events behind me I'll be able to update some EPT's in the future. Congrats to Big Slick on another well run tourney. The team event concept is still one I'm undecided about although. It may well be the last one they run due to a poor turnout outside of Waterford players. It should be interesting to see how JP's team game goes down. Anything bar a great response from players could well see the end of team events and a return to traditional poker tournaments.

I only just realised why Flipper was calling me "Fogul" throughout the event. Grrrrrrrrrrr. Himself and Nicky Power took turns in jeering me and labeling me that spastic from Super Bad who I'm not like in any shape or form. The pair seem to be each others idols which I certainly wasn't aware of. Playing pitch and toss in his room for big books, the likable dolphin and his family guy compatriot are two sick gamblers and sick poker players to boot. They make an ideal couple you could say! Perhaps they could go on a date together?

Anyway that's enough blabbering for now. I'm off to order some poker books and some dvds off amazon for the afternoon. Feel free to leave me some suggestions..

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Locking up cash and daydreaming about blogging...

It’s been a couple of days now since the Drogheda ME yet I am still a little bit dazed by it all. It hasn't really sunk in I suppose. There are a lot of little things that I keep getting flash-backs of which make me smile. The weekend was packed with happy memories and ones which I'll look back on with joy for some time.

In response to the comments I received on my last post (a record nine for me!!) I'd like to thank Fran, Smurph, Lloyd, Glynn, Graham Clarkson, Nicky Power, Noel Hayes, Paul Mac and Dara for their congrats. I will pay you back your tenner Paul, don't worry but surely EW ftw (or is that a contradiction!)?? In relations to Dara's point, I agree my final table play was uber-tight and not one which I had planned. I was quite card-dead for the duration and needed to play my good hands ultra aggressive as a result. You pulled quite a nasty move on me when I had 66 and you may not believe it but I seriously considered pushing. I knew you were aware I couldn't play with you but I am never afraid to risk my chips if I think I'm ahead. On another day I think I would have but with your tight image and my increasingly delayed hesitation it became tougher and tougher to pull the trigger.

So, I've been thinking about what I'll do with the money. Winning that kind of money is obviously important but not as ground breaking as it may appear. I've been chatting with luckylloyd on boards about what he done after GJP1 and he seemed to make some good decisions. My decisions depend on my circumstances I believe. For instance, my online bankroll has never been better and I've pretty much been playing 2/4 exclusively for the last month leading up to Drogheda. It's a tough level but it’s one which I'm conservatively bankrolled for. I certainly will not be subbing my account in order to move up as I am yet to establish myself in what is a vital, transitional level in online cash. My live bankroll prior to Drogheda I would also consider perfect for what I do. That is, pottering around the 1/2 tables one or two nights a week with the odd €200 monthly tourney thrown in for good measure. I will bolster that a little with my win, but again I will not be going too crazy.

So what will I spend my money on? I could buy a new car perhaps. I could live out one of my dreams and play the WSOP Main Event. I could play in the Irish Open this Easter. Hell I could even try marry Jen Mason as Marc and Lloyd suggested! Quite boringly however I've decided to take the unexciting option. That is put most of it away in a savings account for the time being. It just seems like the sensible option to me. After all I'm still in college for the next two years at least and I don't want poker to turn me into a drop out. I still want to write article after article in the hope of getting my name in poker magazines and I still REALLY wanna be a top poker blogger (Jen Mason stylie-LOL). Its so mcuh fun giving some colour commentary. I will be putting money aside for a couple more blow-out tourneys with a leg of the GUKPT being top of the list. Other than that I don’t think I'll be doing anything out of the norm.

In a way nothing has changed. I'm still the same person despite a very tidy win. I'm still learning in all areas of poker and I still haven’t achieved anything substantial yet. I see this win more as foundation for the future. It cements my position for the time being and that to me is what is important.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A resounding success...

The last few days have been fantastic. The biggest tourney I ever played turned out to be my best so far in poker as I came runner-up in the Deepstacks Championships in Drogheda. The field was strong and the stucture sound making for a very interesting few days.

Paying a €1500 entry was a little nerve wrecking I have to admit and there was spots were I did not feel comfortable. But being uncomfortable obviously works for me as I believe it spurred me on for a strong result. I was jumping up and down like a rabbit for three days straight as things became gradually better. It was like as if everything was coming togther before me and I was finally going to prove myself. I knew it could happen though and those who follow this blog closely will understand. You cannot fight the luck element in a given tournament but if you continue to play solid poker there is no reason why it can't be you that gets lucky.

I never give HH's in this blog and I will not be making any exceptions here either. I don't want to discuss them almost as much as I suspect you don't want to read them. I know Marc will want me to discuss the massive hand we played at the end of day one but its just so boring. I lost the head 100% and put my chips in with the worst hand. The only important thing about the hand was that it gave me a wake-up call not to mess up again. I should have been eliminated for playing some woeful poker and I was adament I would not fall into the same trap again. I never did make such a big mistake for the rest of the tournament.

No secrets, no hero calls, no sick reads just three days of solid poker got me the biggest result of my life in poker and I'm just so damn happy! There was a number of people within the poker world that helped me stay optomistic and focused throughout the tournament and for them I am most greatful. Without their belief and confidence I may well have let my play drop and thus my result slip. Thank god for good friends.

Congratulations to GJP for taking the chance with the big stacks. I think it worked well and will be seen again very soon. Congrats also to the final table players who I'm sure we will see again and again. Dara played a tight game yet still appeared desceptive. Lloyd can finally shut up about being a poor poker player as his results play stark contrast. Tony Baitson has been knocking on the door for some time now and I suspect is growing frustrated with his near misses. I just hope he can take the positives from his performance. Fran/jackyback and I clashed alot it, I just kept picking up hands in his BB, honestly! He seemed overjoyed by all accounts and why shouldn't he. A fine result and having qualified for the Irish Open already this month it appears he is having a nice February. Marc however I have to stay was the star of the show. His fearless gameplay will no doubt lead him to BIG things.


What the hell am I going to do with all this money?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Don't forget your "A game", Oz wouldn't.....

So my last blog entry was a little silly. My short term form was a little hyped in my mind and I wrote very bullish as a result. I'm always reasonably confident by default going into any game I play and I guess that's what I was trying to portray with my last spiel. I do also think its important to get a strong result in events like these in order to be recongised and respected on the circuit. In a way I was using my confidence to drive me on. Lloyd's point was important though, you can't put a huge amount of hope or emphasis on one tourney and that's kinda what I was doing and it's that which I regret.

So the first tourney of the two I'm playing in the Drogheda festival took place last night. My opinion of my performance was that I played reasonably well without excelling. I had one very important hand against Lloyd which is being discussed on boards at present. I then made a massive mis-step in a hand just after that which blew most my stack. Finally I got it in with aces and was beaten to knock me out. A bad beat but the damage had been done several hands earlier.

The next stop for me now is the Deepstack ME which I have discussed at length on Poker Ireland recently. It should be a great event and one I look forward to playing in, win lose or draw. The massive starting stacks and the abundance of landmines posed by classy and not so classy players should provide some intriquing play. Hopefully I can play my best and not let my standards drop, an error which cost me in the side event.

The importance of playing your best was championed none more so than by Oz Poker who now brings a badge labeled "A game" with him to every poker tournament in order to keep focused throughout. You could say he's the first player ever that's gauranteed to bring his "A game" with him every time, As long as he remembers his badge that is!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two dark horses but are either correct?

Betting was suspended yesterday on Bluesq poker after they installed Micheal Muldoon as 200/1 rank outsider for the Green Joker Deepstack game next week. Needless to say those that spotted the value got stuck in straight away. I was one, mashing the keyboard at a hectic pace. The first bet I tried was €100 each way which was quickly refused. I went in again for €50 each way but yet again the computer said no.

Clearly I was not the only one steaming in as this was the stuff of dreams for poker punters. It was a sea of five and four euro bets from there in frantic desperation to get as much on asap. Just studying my account here I managed to get a full €220 on in the end at 200/1 which is a very tidy bet to say the least. I for one shall be cheering on Dr. Muldoon should the ME not go my way.

But will the event go my way? That is the question I've been asking myself this past while. My opinion is quite strong and quite positive. I think Drogheda could well be a big tournament for me and here's why.

By and large I would say I am about 40/60 in terms of the hours I put in playing tournament/cash poker. I like both and have had moderate success at both. To compete in next week's tournament you will need to have had experience in both disciplines I would suggest. The stacks are so deep with 1000 BB's in spots, this has simply never been replicated in Irish tournaments. Non-cash players will be at sea purely due to their lack of experience in deep situations. I am not one of those.

I have played countless hours of online cash in the past two weeks and am very much in training for next week's unique situations. I've played a hundred thousand hands over the last year of 6-max poker at 1/2 and 2/4 and have held a consistent profit throughout. This should stand me in excellent stead for the 1500 main event and to an even greater extent the 500 short-handed game. The short-handed tournament this weekend is tailor made for my game I would suggest.

The last few tournaments I've played I've been very happy with my play having cashed well in the process. I guess what I'm saying here is that I have the pedigree to win. The same way that hectorjelly must have a great chance. He has the breeding (albeit to a greater extent). The odds makers know this and that is why hectorjelly is 33/1 fav on both blue sq and paddy power. I am 100/1 and rightfully so. After all I'm the unknown quantity. I am the dark horse. It is next weekend however that I'm hoping to change that. Once and for all.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The handicapper can't spam my chances in Droghada...

It appears I've been hit by the spammers too. My last entry got one comment, not from Gordon, not from Keith Rooney, in fact I've no idea who he was. All I know is that he tried to sell me something or join a site, basically trying to take my money. On the topic of spamming, my yahoo email address gets about 15 spam mails a day. Despite me marking them as "spam" each time, they keep coming back. Is there any way to stop them or at least hurt the senders so they stop with the annoyance to our emails? I'm open to suggestions but not spammers.

Last night I played the Cash League Final in the Jackpot. Dermot scooped 1st place along with strong performances from Conor Broomfield (as predicted by Gordon) Duke (always nice to see him do well) and Troy (who has been on the scene a lot more lately and playing well to boot). I had under the average hours and an inability to play Omaha yet still put up a brave battle which I suppose is encouraging. 70 players qualified and I finished in 14th spot for €250. There are however two ways of looking at this.

The first way would be to say that it was my best finish in three attempts at this tourney. I played my Omaha hands reasonably competently and am getting a little bit more of a feel for the game. I was short-stacked throughout yet I sat patient and never made any desperation plays. Based on pre-tournament qualification hours my expected finish would have been around the 40-50 place mark according to the handicapper (hijacking a BCB type analysis there) so I guess I performed above expectation.

The second way of examining my performance would be to say it was really a waste of time. If I never turned up I would have still got €100 and if I got knocked out after an hour I would have received €150. Also going deep made pretty much no difference until you reached the final table where the prize-pool jumps dramatically. My performance was in vain you could say. It's these thoughts that flow through my head indefinitely as a poker player. No matter what the occasion is in poker terms I'm always battling the positive with the negative sides to my achievements. This is where confidence plays a part as those who look at the bright side excel as the others diminish.

I'm going to make a change today and behold the positive. I had a tidal wave running against me last night and in performance terms I gave quite a good account of myself. With Droghada edging ever closer on the horizon I'm excited about my chances. A Ralph Lauren structure, no variation in starting stacks and of course the absence of Omaha! We'll be going off under level weights in Droghada in both the €500 and €1500 tournaments and the stage is very much set. The handicapper beware, I might just spring a surprise when the balls in my court!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Some quick random thoughts

The cash league final has come round once again and takes place tonight in the jackpot. Round being the operative word as that's what it is, round of each. I'm not gonna dig up the old debate again about if the tourney should be pot limit hold'em as if anything the popularity of Omaha has increased. I;ve Been playing 50/1 Omaha today just for some practise and for the first time ever I kind of enjoyed it. There is something not right in my overall approach to the game. I feel so uncomfortable. It's a type of game I need to read up on and put in 20,000 odd hands before I'm satisfied. I suppose I'd want to feel comfortable by then although my wallet mightn't feel as nice!

Gordon told me this morning that he will win the league final. A man with confidence is twice the player you would imagine but it is Gordon so I guess that gives him an even chance. You may notice Steve Madden has been giving me tips on slagging Gordon so I guess I'm off to a nice start. But then again Madden is a pro when it comes to the slags so I must try harder perhaps.

Elsewhere Keith Rooney is a complete legend. His interest is dipping with our not so beautiful game which is quite disappointing I reckon. Lets hope he perks up his game and confidence over the next few weeks and comes back to his true self. The "Doctor Who" tapes may be just the remedy for the jackpot's most popular regular.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spot the Joker on GJP... (I'll eat my sat)

My errand for the day was a trip to the gym. Another simple task that requires a whole day of commitment. I've come to realise that if you eat loads and dont exersise, you put on weight. Simple. You are in a position where you've got to change one or the other. The truth is I'm not giving up eddie rockets or subway or four star pizza so it looks like the gym is the only option. Hell if all else fails I might look into Gordon's chewing gum diet.

Today I made a deposit into green joker poker, a site I have never made a cent on but have lost at least a couple 100$$. Today was no different as I donked away some money in $50 and $10 rebuy sats for fun. Not going to play on the site again till Sunday after that tat. Nice to see Adam Fallon (thechamp87) still permenantly resident on the site. ANY of the times I've logged on hes been there potting away. I'm planning on playing some sats to the GUKPT and the Sunday grand final sat should be my next adventure on the site.

I'm not sure on the optimal strategy for such online sats. That is any time I've played one I've never gone even close to the big prize. Maybe I'm playing too loose in the early stages as it's usually a steadily dipping slope of chip donations until an inglorious exit. Must try harder I believe.

Dave Callaghan added me as a friend on facebook today which was nice. His buddy Conor Doyle took several months and countless pleas before adding me. This time around also took time but with rather less effort. Maybe if I surround myself with name players, people might actually think I'm good too?

Heading into town now to play some Tuesday night jackpot fun. Could be a tournament, could be a 1/2 cash game, could be a 2/5 one. Tuesday night madness, you just never know what you'll be playing. The only problem for me is, avoiding the subway en route.

Till next time....

Monday, January 21, 2008

A death in the community

I got my hair cut today. How come I have to assign a whole day to what effectively takes 20 mins? The whole of last week I have been designating Monday as haircut day and little else. The joys of a week off college, don't I fill the days well. So with that job out of the way why not do a blog entry too for the entertainment of my devoted fans methinks. All two of them.

Been playing a fair bit of live cash as I'm sure all the regs have noticed thanks to their inflated pay packets this past week. No its actually been going well. Have had a lot of niggly sessions where I have been behind in the games from the offset and it can be tough to stay confident. Luckylucky has discussed the problem at length recently and I can relate to a lot of his sentiments. It can be very hard to chase the game in poker esp over long periods of losing sessions. Im glad to say that I did persevere in all sessions and got back even on what otherwise should have been a losing night.

So what's been happening on the tables I hear you ask (or is that the voices in my head again)? Well Mick Stephens had a particularly tough time at the tables this week thanks to some real coolers from the hit and run brigade. It's when you see them incidences before you that you really become content with a break-even night. Staying above water can often be a great result if the cards have gone cold on you. That is something I'll be drilling into my head more in the future. Gordon has gone the other direction lately, leading from the front throughout his sessions only to break even on the night. Marc and Ross have been they're usual unpredictable selves bouncing from one extreme to the next. John O Shea and Chub also made a late night visit which involved dancing on tables, relentless abuse, random shouting and general drunkeness. I have to admit though I did laugh more than once.

The most poignant moment of the week though was the death of Sean Jethi. I played with him quite a few times over the last few months and it is quite sad to see one of your fellow players pass away. He had a strong will and a big heart as Tony G would say. Good game Sean, RIP.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What's the story, blogging for glory?

Jeff (ditpoker) started a thread yesterday which basically ranted about people's inflated egos when it comes to poker. These sentiments are most commonly found in blogs it seems. In general, blogs are just an excuse for people to self-indulge and wax lyrically about their successes. Roy sums it up here quite well. Most blogs refuse point blank to discuss losses and only discuss wins when in reality most people (myself included) would rather read about people's losses. You learn more from losses than wins.

The main reason I write a blog is because I have several friends and family that ask me how I'm getting on as they are interested in poker. A blog gives me a chance to keep a diary of what I'm doing in poker for myself and a source for these people to read too. Like my last entry for instance. This really summed up where I'm at in poker and reads very much like a diary entry. To explain that to somebody it would take a long time as there is a lot happening. The blog is kind of the best method of communication for me personally.

Saying all this I'm more against them than in favour. I think the coverage they get is extremely limited and overall it would be much better to get a website where everybody can submit content. That I feel is the future of the situation.

Talk is rife about Chub and John O' Shea getting involved in something like this. A one-stop website which discusses Irish poker, particularly from an alternative stand-point. Eoghan O' Dea may also be involved in this project which would make for a particularly interesting addition. There is a lot of intriguing players out there on the Irish poker scene and some fine writers too. The market is there, I think its time for a change of pace in inter web discussion of our game.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Interesting times indeed...

The last 10 days or so have been challenging, rewarding, tiring, head wrecking and pretty damn interesting. That's a lot of funny emotions to go through in 10days! I can still feel each one as I think back now, it has been an eventful little period that's for sure.

It has been challenging because I'm getting involved in new ventures within poker. As some of you know (or perhaps don't) I was doing live reporting for last weekend in Galway with Nicky O'D. It sounds straight forward doesn't it? "Live reporting". Well to be honest I didn't view it that way. Yes, it was something I wanted to do but I was quite nervous about it. I'm not sure why that was the case, I guess it was cause I'd never done it before. Another thing that has never happened before is being commissioned an article for Cardplayer. Things like these make me apprehensive as I'm eager to impress. It's a challenge. Also I was going to be very active for the entire weekend in Galway which was hardly ideal prep for a Marketing Management exam that I had in Dublin at 9am on Monday morning. A challenge indeed.

The reporting work for pokernews was frantic. I could barely get a glass of water over the weekend! I would imagine that's down to lack of experience. I couldn't count chips accurately, I didn't know any ones name bar Mike Sexton, Roy Brindley or Smurph (hence the extensive reports-LOL!). By day three however I was feeling much better. I discovered that I was capable of doing live reporting and I actually can't wait to do it again! By the time I got home from Galway, it was a case of "out of the frying pan and into the fire". Last minute study was in order and I gave it as good as I got. The exam on Monday morning went really well and the last minute effort payed off. A very rewarding end to the weekend.

By Monday evening I was exhausted. It felt like the whole experience had caught up on me and I was quite drained. It was the type of tiredness that you get when you feel like you've been hit by an elephant. You just feel beat up rather than drowsy and sleepy. I'm sure there's a more impressive medical term to describe all this but I like my description better!

Now for the head wrecking part. Well I suppose my feelings in the previous paragraph should have helped my decision making process on whether to play a Monday night tournament or not. Nah no point methinks sure I just gotta be able to say things like "raise" "call" fold" etc. I'll be grand. To a certain extent, I was correct. I was chip leader at the break with 2 tables left from the 31 runners. Clever thinking indeed. Then it all fell apart. I started playing 3/10 poker and it was "good night Vienna" from there. It wasn't just the tourney that was annoying. My play in general has been poor lately. I've been losing live, losing online and generally performing way below par. I want to get back to winning ways as this is turning into somewhat of an unwanted downswing. In short, it's head wrecking. Especially considering what I have planned for next month.

Yes February shall be a busy month. As Big City Banker once famously said "November is not the month to run bad in". Well for me February is that type of month. I've decided to play the Green Joker Deep Stacks tournament in Droghada. I know a lot of people are unsure about this tournament but I'm a fan. Deep stack poker is fun and it really gives you every chance to prove yourself. With 50,000 chips I reckon you could make (under normal conditions) several tournament costing mistakes and still be in and have a chance.

I'm also going to play the €500 short-handed tournament on the festival's under card and will surely end up playing the Big Slick team event too later in the month. It's not a cheap project for me but I've been planning a blowout for some time and it's a shot I'm looking forward to taking to be honest. Any monies I make between here and Feb I shall be putting towards the venture so expect to see me busy on the cash tables over the next while. Lets hope I can recover some form in the coming weeks. Interesting times indeed.