Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our Trip to the Macau

It’s taken the best part of 2 days but I am at last starting to feel human again after my little trip to Cork for the Betfair Live event, and a cracking little game of cards it was too. 204 turned up to the Macau to fight for a piece of the €120,000 prizepool and Galway was represented by 6 of its best and me.

So the magnificent 7 headed for Cork lead by their beloved talisman Fintan Gavin, and I swear if he would just throw in the towel and lose the comb over he would be the spit of Yul Brynner. He travelled down on the Friday night with young Frank Dunleavy and the rest of us would follow on Saturday morning travelling in pairs so as not to spook the locals. I was paired with John “I am telling you I am going to start running good sometime real soon and then you bastards better watch out” Costello. John was only available to make the trip because he had recently been dropped from his Junior B football team just before their appearance in this weekends county final, apparently is was all politics or so he claimed. Anyway it was a delightful story that made the 2 ½ hour drive feel like a stroll,

in the desert,

without water,

for a fucking year.

We were followed by a couple of real live ass kicking poker players, Derek "The Dangerous" Murray and Ronan "Take this filthy beer away and bring me the champagne" Gilligan, with Kieran Loverboy Furey taking up the rear with his better half keeping him company on the journey. What a sneaky sly dog that boy is, bringing his little lady away for a romantic 12 hours watching him play poker, it’s always the quiet ones eh.

Little did we know but our doom had been sealed long before we even hit the road, a sinister plot had been hatched by the overlords at Betfair which was clearly put in place to benefit the Scandi contingent that seemed to make up the majority of the qualifiers. Upon our arrival key members of our posse were presented with qualifiers lanyards in the guise of a gift, these were the golden tickets to the Betfair lounge and the endless ocean of free beer and wine. Like sailors being lured on to the rocks by the haunting songs of the sirens we never stood a chance. These are the kind of bastards that would offer Samson a complimentary haircut just before he entered a strong man tournament. I can’t be sure but I think some of us may have been trying to get the €500 entry fee back in beer because a few of us came damn close.

By midnight I was sitting in the bar of the hotel with my fellow Galwegians, with the exception of The Furious One who I assume was off dancing and romancing, and a fine collection of other top Irish players, Tom Hanlon, Nicky Power, Chris Dowling and many more. The Crested Ten and Prosecco was in full flow at this stage as were the stories of how everyone got eliminated, which for the most part were bloody hilarious. I think my favourite was Nicky’s, after working hard for 10 hours he had managed to get a nice stack together when he flopped top 2 pair and a guy open shoved 80k into him, Nicky called, his opponent showed his 5 hit flush draw, bye bye Nicky. I think he might have found a way to get his buy in back though, I have a vague memory that sometime near sunrise I made a €500 bet to play him in a game of golf in which we can only use an 8 iron and a putter for the entire round, Christ I need to stop drinking.

It was John “Remember that thing I said about running good, I think it might not start until next week” Costello that ploughed the lone furrow into day 2 and by God did he do us proud, 6 minutes in he jammed with A,K and was called by A, 10.

 At least we got back to Galway early.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Irish Open

I’m getting to old for this shit, 6am and I can’t sleep due to the horrors of 2 days solid drinking. I would play some online poker to past the time but the internet connection in the bloody hotel room here is so bad you can barely check your email and the thought of going into the cash games in the poker room fills me with even more dread, so here I am reduced to updating my blog to keep the shadow monsters at bay.
I had to fight my way through a mountain of discarded cardboard in the delivery entrance of the conference centre when I got here at 11 am on Thursday to be greeted by the rather impressive sight of 100 poker tables spread out across the room. The smell of furniture polish was overpowering and the level of activity in the room could only be described as frantic with dozens of people scurring to and fro and up and down ladders taking care of all the last minute details to ensure everything was perfect for the opening day of the tournament. To be honest it all looked fine to me and I figure if anyone had stopped to take a look around they would have probably agreed, but after getting one eyeball of the adrenaline fuelled determination in the faces of the people here I decided to keep my opinions to myself.
A couple of arguments later and I had managed to get rid of the heads up poker machine that I had been shanghaied into delivering to the event, I'm still not sure how I got tagged with the job, it had originally been a couple of kids I was asked to drop off on my way to Dublin but the children had turned into a poker machine by the time I was leaving, quieter but a damn site heavier.
So there I was in the bar off the hotel, laptop and bag in hand thinking a shower and a couple of hours kip before the super sat at 6 would be the perfect thing, but in my usual style I had neglected to book a room before arriving and yes indeed the hotel was completely book out. Of course experience has taught me that hotels are never actually fully booked it just depended on who you were asking, but this was a problem I wasn’t going to be able to resolve until later in the day.
So plan B, get a coffee, no drink until after the super sat, we are taking this seriously, and play some online poker in the bar and chat to the hundreds of players that will be wandering by over the next few hours. I hadn’t actually managed to sit down before the first of these happened by, Lawrence Goussney an English player I hadn't seen in well over a year and one of the games great gentlemen.
“Manus ya big lump, it great to see you.”, he boomed “a Guinness I take it”
“Jesus no, trying to keep my head for the sat later, a coffee will do me”
I expected a look of either surprise or disappointment but I forgot how good he was at reading people and I got a look that said, coffee my ass, your getting a pint and you’ll be happy with it. So 6 happy pints later I am sitting in a €200 unlimit rebuy satellite and the only thought going through my head is, you have a budget for this asshole don’t go nuts and blow your whole tank. By the grace of god I hit some cards early, didn’t manage to win a seat but I did get through the rebuy stage without doing my entire role. Aside from a couple of brief but very successful visits to the cash games we have been at the bar since and man but it has been great fun, mostly hanging around with Lawrence because he hates talking about poker and will chase of anyone that wanders by and tries to share the bad beat stories, every tournament should have one.
Time for breakfast i think, the Omaha is next on the agenda at 6 this evening, so I will get back to you all after that to tell you how I won it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Who says poker isn't a team game
This weekend’s annual team event in the Eglinton casino Galway was an absolute blast. 102 players turned up to contest this year’s event, almost all of whom were jammed into the pub around the corner an hour before kick off. This did lead to a slight delay in the start time but this was no great surprise and the event was on its way by 8pm.
The event does usually lend itself to tight play, nobody wants to be the first on their team to be eliminated, this didn’t slow down the An Nead team by God, every man jack of them came out swinging. Now as much as I admire their aggression, they definitely lacked any control whatsoever and the end result, the entire team gone before the end of level 3. I think new leadership, or any leadership, may be top of the list for An Nead next year.
John Weafer’s team, The Cowboys, suffered a couple of early casualties when they lost the Bommer Nolan and Mattie Doyle in 99th and 98th place. But this did allow the Bommer plenty of time in the pub before he jumped into a cash game, ahh the Bommer in full flight in the cash game is such a happy site it damn near brings a tear to this old fool’s eye.
Paul Lecky was also a man that hadn’t wasted any of his time in the build up and he had a beaming smile on his face and a beer in his hand throughout the night. When his team 5 Men and a Muppet did lose their first payer Paul assured me that the muppet had been taken care of and now the men could get down to business. I asked him if I was to enquire of he teammates if the muppet had in fact been eliminated would they back up his assertion, he declined to comment and drew a veil over the entire issue.
The much fancied Galway Team, it turns out after a little investigation only by themselves, put in a pretty lack luster performance, with Pat O Callaghan, Donal MacAonghusa and Christy Morkan going out with more of a whimper then a roar somewhere in the middle of the field. Fintan “surely you have seen me on TV” Gavin was the only player to actually blind out of the tournament, letting his stack dwindle to almost nothing before sticking it in with Ace rag his was knocked out by Dave Curtis, captain of the Eglinton Casino team. I think this may have actually made Dave happier then the final result.
With 40 runners left it looked like it was between 3 teams, Team Bundy, The Eglinton Casino and Tailors on Tilt ( Team whoring ). Team Bundys chances of taking the title slipped away when Dave Curtis knocked out Noel Hayes and Adam Fallon in quick succession . Their chance of victory were completely gone with the loss of Rory Resse Brennan and Eoghan O Dea before the last 2 tables.
20 players came back for day 2 and the Eglinton team had 5 players still remaining, Dave Curtis had the chip lead and looked like they were in complete control, with Rob Taylors Tailors on tilt the only real danger. But the next hour shook things up with the Eglinton losing Keith McFadden, Ivan Donaghy and Chris Dowling in quick time. Ivan and Chris had been short stacked and didn't get any luck when they moved all-in early in day 2, but the loss of Keith was a big upset as he had started the day 4th in chips. He got himself tangled up in a few bad spots early in the day and just couldn't recover. But the worst part of Keith's exit as far as team Eglinton were concerned was that he gave most of his chips to Cat O Neill, part of Tailors on Tilt their biggest danger.
Tailors remaining 3, Cat, Rob Taylor and Ken Powell all made it to the final table. Ken went out in 10th, much to the relief of the Eglinton.
With 6 players remaining it was still all up in the air, Jaye Renehan and Dave Curtis were still in it for the Eglinton with Cat O Neill and Rob Tailors still there trying to claw back the Eglintons lead. John Weafer and John O Shea were the remaining 2 player and were battling it out for the 3rd place spot.
From here on out John O Shea really controlled the table, he played his huge stack aggressively, taking advantage of the fact that 4 of the remaining 6 were primarily concerned with the team result and were deperate not to get knocked out.
Dave went in 6th when he ran his A8 into John O Sheas 98. The 9 on the flop lead to some wonderfully colourful language in the smoking area, when we return to the playing area John assured me that Dave could have called him anything he hadn’t been called before, he dosen’t know Dave very well, I counted at least 3 things I doubt anybody had every been called before.
Jaye Renehan was short shacked and looked like he was next to go, and the Tailors were in with a huge chance now but then bang, Rob Tailor who was one of the few players to remain on the attack throughout day 2 got cold decked, Queens into Kings and Rob was on the sideline and John Weafer shared the chip lead with John O Shea. Jaye went out soon after, he put out a great fight but was card dead for the whole of day 2.
3 left and it was still to be decided, If Cat could overcome the 2 Johns she would take the title, but to roars and cheers from the Eglinton teams John Weafer got the Kings again when Cat, who played an outstanding game, got it all in with AQ. No Ace and the title was the Eglintons.
John O Shea and John Weafer had to battle it out in a long heads up to decide the individual and the 3rd place team prize. It was pretty damned incredible that Weafer’s Cowboys were still in there fighting for a place after losing 2 player at the very start but unfortunately it was jut to big of an ask and despite a great overall performance from John Weafer it was John O Shea who eventually took the individual title and putt Team Bundy into 3rd place overall in the teams.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tattoos and cold decks

GUKPT in Walsall was my first venture into tournament poker in England and it didn't take long to realise i wasn't in Kansas anymore Toto. Call me an old fuddy duddy but I was a little put of by the skinhead dealer with the tribal tattoo on his skull that was at my first table. In fairness, appearences aside, he was the best dealer I encountered this weekend, maybe thats why they cut him a little slack on his unique look. As for Walsall itself, I assume when it was at school with all the other towns it was voted the mostly likely to be called the asshole of nowhere when it grew up. It certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard.
Bitching aside they certainly know how to run a tournament, I just wish they used decks with fewer aces, during day1 I ran pocket Queens into Aces on no less then 3 occasions. This needless to say gave me plenty of free time over the rest of the weekend, during which our host Paul "Looking directly at me in natural sunlight could cause serious damage to your eye sight" Marrow ensured that Fintan and I were never without a drink. Fintan had freed up his time by being on the slow horse in every race he got into.
The side event went much the same as the main for both myself and Fintan but with a favourable bouncey ball we got out of jail and had a hell of weekend. I would definitely reccommend a visit and plan on making it to the 3 leg of the GUKPT in the London Grosvenor at the end of the month.
There is a satellite for this in the Eglinton this Saturday 7th of March at 8:30

Monday, June 02, 2008

Galway players on top again

Congrats to Jude Ainsworth and Keith McFadden on being part of the 3 way spilt at the Sporting Emporiums May festival main event, these 2 players are obviously in great form this year and we will need to keep a close eye on them in Vegas.
Also I think it is fair to say that this result goes to show that if you are looking for serious poker players you really need to look beyond Dublin. I mean Dublin is fine for some things, like traffic congestion, noise and dirty streets, but really what else is there.
I noticed lately that the Dublin players are traveling around the country to play a lot less then they used to, so I decided to ask a few of them, that still talk to me, why this was the case, and there was an almost unanimous excuse, there isn't any value in the tournaments being run outside Dublin. And I have to say, after thinking about it for a while, they are absolutely right, where is the value in playing a tournament your not good enough to win.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Legend Returns Home

A true leg end of Irish poker is returning to his spiritual home of Las Vegas this year during the WSOP main event, Vinny “The longlad” O’Toole had defied all the odds, the critics and even some of the more flexible laws of physics by rolling a €25 chip up into a ticket to Vegas at the roulette table in the Eglinton and boy was it fun to watch. I did miss the beginning of this wonderful journey and Vinny had already gotten as far as €500 and was trying to decide which of the outside bets to put it on, at this stage quite a crowd, that didn’t actually contain our hero, had gathered around the table. The Longlad was pacing the floor as the wheel spun, everyone waiting

“come on Vinny, you running out of time”,

“RED” , roars Vinny from the far end of the club.

“500 on Red” shouts the croupier.

Calls of ‘ get inta bed ya bitch’ and ‘go on, give the guy a break’ came from the crowd.

“3 red”, announces the croupier but Vinny can’t hear it over the cheers of the crowd.

“That’s it, book the flight” says Pat O Callaghan, “that was the deal, if you make the €1000 I book the flight for you”

“Ok, ok, absolutely , but ah wouldn’t a little spending money be nice.”, suggests Vincent.

For the next 15 minutes Vinny is sitting in the far corner chewing on an unlit fag shouting his bets up to the table, and boy what a show it was. Down to €500 five times he actually made it to the €2000 mark and pulled out, all to the cheers and congratulations of the entire club, even though I suspect that Fintan may not have been 100% overjoyed with the result but at least he managed to muster up a smile.

So congrats Vincent and best of luck in Vegas, that town may never be the same after the Longlad gets his claws into it.

As for everyone else, don’t say you weren’t warned. My advice would be to keep a well bankrolled gullible yank close at hand in case of a near Vinny experience.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Into level 2 and we have 2 casualties, Shane Keary and me. Ran my jj in AA and then lost the rest with 10,9 on a j 10 9 flop, monkey boy( same fucker that had the AA) had KJ and hit runner runner 44. Well fuck, another night down the toilet.
Here We Go Again

qualifier up for grabs I expect a good turn out, even without all those sad Liverpool supporters who are still desperately grasping for past glory, remembering back to a time when Liverpool were a team to be feared. Let it go lads, it's starting to get a little embarrassing. We're here in the Eglinton for yet another €100 freezeout, and with tickets to this Fridays WSOP .

So just before the tournament begins we are fortunate enough to have Christy “The Morbid” Morkan, winner of the most recent league in the Eglinton, join us and let us in on some of the secrets behind his phenomenal success at the poker table.

Q. So Christy, what single thing do you think has contributed most to your recent success?
A. If I had to pick 1 thing it would be my IPod, I find it helps me clear my mind and I can focus some much more on my game.

Q. Clears you mind eh, well tell me, were you surprised to find that there was anything in there that needed clearing?
A. To be honest, I’m as surprised as anybody, but apparently there is something bouncing around in there.

Q. I know there are some players that think you talk your way into the money, what do you think about this?
A. It’s true, I do love a bit of speech play and I think I’m getting good at it. I can definitely talk someone into folding when their ahead.

Q. There have been some rule changes in the club regarding speech play, a player can not longer mention specific cards when talking about their hand, does this affect your game at all.
A. You bet your ass it does, it a pile of cock. I mean how the fuck am I supposed to know what they have if their not allowed tell me.

Ok clock is starting, thanks for your time Christy, maybe we can finish the interview later. We’ll be back in a while with updates from the tournament.