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!