Thursday, July 28, 2011

Every hand revealed - Masters

I've decided this blog entry will consist of alot of hand histories and my thoughts throughout certain hands from the Waterford Masters. I have not had much drive recently to post up a blog considering I missed Vegas due to been hospitalized for nearly a month and still in recovery process but gladly things are on the up health wise and to get my first live main event festival win was just incredible start back. I pretty much thought about it everyday in hospital where at the time I did not know what was going to come of me before I went under the knife for major surgery for the 2nd time in my life. I guess positive thinking and concentrating on things you love can get you through even the roughest times but also family and friends play a huge part in recovery process too. My girlfriend Joy deserves the most credit through all of this, she left her job to go travelling with me only to have me hospitalized the next day and not to mention the mental aspect of the hole situation plus she loves Vegas as much as I do ha if not more. I owe it all to her for having such a speedy recovery, quite a remarkable woman, thank you.

Ok back to the pokers.

Day1
I arrived late due to the poor timing skills of my good friend Larry Brennan and this set the tone for everyday over the weekend, wouldn't you think we would have learned ay! Larry and Aidan I owe a shout out to for been sound blokes in giving me a lift to and fro from Kilkenny each day and night. Cheers boys.

I am gonna do roughly going to do about 10 of most interesting hands from Waterford Masters.

1.
First hand of the entire tourny I get JJ, what a welcome back to the tables after 2 months without playing poker at all. I have to say I got that little buzz and new I was back! I opened for 150 and got 2 callers, flop 7x8x4x, I c-bet 300 and get raised to 800. Folds back to me, right here I'm already thinking about dumping the JJ but it was draw heavy board so I decided to peel and re-evaluate the turn. It comes a blank 3x, I check, villain makes it 1,650 to go, I take a read that I am behind and fold the JJ face up to the table to see, great way to judge ppl's reactions on if they would fold in that spot or not. Always digging for info :). Later I find out he is a friend of Alan McIntyres so he kindly told me he flopped top 2 pair. Sweet.

2.
I began to feel right at home at the table and I was probably raising between 3-4 hands per round, accumulating nicely. This hand appeared, I open KsQs to 400 (blinds 100-200) youngish guy in the sb 3bets to 1,100 and folds back to me. He is well capable so I'm happy to take a flop in position. Flop 6s5s3d, he bets 2,200, pretty big and he only has 10k left behind, right here I kinda don't like it but I'm just never folding here so I make it try look like I have a big hand instead of shoving I raise to 6.3k. He goes into the tank for quiet sometime and eventually moves all in for 4k more, I call immediately and instantly he goes 'ah you got me', I'm immediately sceptical thinking uggh he has shoved with ace high but instead it turns out he has shoved with KQ off, oh lordy, how, why, are you crazy, eh I'm pot committed hello, all these entered my head and I did ask him how can you shove for 4k more like Ive to call with any random hand der and then I get the good speech 'ah well actually I thought King high was good there' I was like just stop talking buddy ssshhhhh your making it look even worse. Anyway it bricked out of course and we chopped the pot. I was shocked as he played aggro and seemed to have grasp of the maths of the game.

3.
I go on to loose 4 pots on the trot, top 2 loosing to a turned straight etc, dunno how I didn't manage to loose more. Suddenly I was back to just above starting stack. I believe Veira is her name, first hand after being moved to my direct right she opens and I look down at QQ, she is very tight player but I'm just never throwing away QQ here with my rep that she is very aware of. I 3bet and she instantly shoves, puke, but I'm not 3bet folding, I called and Veira tables AQ, board runs out and I'm back to where I was around 35k. Poor woman every time we play I seem to win big pot or knock her out. Guilt!

4.
Before I new it we were playing the last level of the night, I didn't actually realize we stopped at 1am every nite which I was delighted by. Last few hands of the night and I won the last 3. Paul Carr opens utg with shortish stack and I've QQ again so I just flatted I didn't think he would get it in pre. 3 way to the flop and comes 8x7x3x, Paul c-bets 1,400 I make it 3,200 and the bb gives the old well not coming back tomorrow with short stack and shoves for 10k. Paul folds. I make the call and opponent tables A3, boards runs out and a nice top up for me. I finished up day1 with 50k in chips pretty happy with that for sure. Before went back to Kilkenny had few chats with the likes of Doke and Bops ppl I hadn't seen in ages. Most of topics were about Vegas and we came to the conclusion I was lucky I missed out as I get to keep my 50k where most Irish lost theirs lol. At heart tho I still rather go and loose 50k than have the opportunity taken away from me.

Day2
Late again but ready to go after good nights sleep. Rough start tho to day 2 saw me once again drift down to 25k by misplaying a hand and also been hit in 2 others. Day 2 also began the rise of Paul Carr who came back with like 20 bigs and proceeded to spin it up to a monster stack within hours of the restart. Just before moving table won 1 or 2 big hands which settled me nicely, plus getting new table draw was good as big 100k pot with Paul would surely have played out. First hand at new table I was greeted by KK, turned out to be a simple raise, cbet and take it.
5. This hand I opened 7h5h and found a caller in Mark(celtic poker reg). He had position on me and we saw a flop of 2x3h4x, I cbet the flop knowing that Marks calling range does contain mid strenght pairs and he likes to raise them on low flops, it's sick enough as I saw this hand playing out as the flop came down. Sure enough Mark comes in with the huge size raise probably 4.5x my cbet but were playing quiet deep so it was a great spot for me to 'bring the pain' so to speak. I decided to make the big shove on Mark and was delighted to hear no snap call, as he took his time deliberating whether to call it off or not I knew I got this one spot on he has 77-1010. All I needed now was for him to fold and plan went perfectly ha probably the hardest part but thankfully after few mins he mucked 99 face up. Ppl should take something from this hand, the old school way of raising to see where you are is now outdated, it's become too easy for ppl to 'bring the pain' when your stack size acts accordingly, as the saying goes it just leaves you in a world of pain not knowing where you are. This also work both ways ppl should see more where you can be ultra aggressive these days and capitalize on small mistakes like this. I did not show the hand either out of respect and tbh I rarely show what I'm up too! Mark didn't die easily after that he's become a complete torment at these festivals because he is so wild and 99% of the time you need a hand to catch him. Also a gent that man, see n me at the Emop week later and immediately congratulated me on the win.

6.This one was v young guy who let on the entire tourny he is only playing poker 2 months or something redic like that, yet he knew all spots and was min raising preflop and seemed way to comfortable post flop to be a newbie. I cannot remember his name I know he plays a bit with Jamie Flynn so I can see where the good poker comes from. We played a big hand ridiculously deep, he opens ep and I'm in the bb with 44 so I flat. Flop comes down 346 rainbow, he is playing pretty aggro and prob whiffs alot so I just flat his cbet. Turn is 10 and again it goes check bet call, I have same line of thinking here he could easily be double barreling. River comes another 3 to pair up. I was thinking oh lord let him have aces, I check again as he vbets and bluffs all the time here. Sure enough he put out quiet a big bet, I took my time and made the raise to about 1/3 of my stack, almost immediately he shoves on me so you can imagine surprise by this, I for sure said something like ' wtf is going on here'. I took ages and ages as he actually had me covered at this stage I believe we were both chip leaders at the time. I eventually worked out there is just too slim a chance he is bluffing here cause he would just flat with aces. I said 2 hands you have pocket 66's or pocket 10's which is it, no response of course ha. So I folded as much as it hurt but was the right play I felt at the time. A round of the table went and he was kind enough to tell he he had 1010, bad read by me I thought he had 66 lol. We battled all day until end of the day, quiet a formidable opponent I must say! I ran one or two good bluffs but was also lucky to get paid off in a big pot which allowed me to take over the chip lead.

7. This hand was v the soon to be great Alan McIntyre, he's like a hidden gem stil Imo. He was pretty kind enough to donate half his big stack to me but it was not easy work for me to get it. Alan opened ep and I'm new enough to the table, Laois hammer flats in hijack and I'm on the button, as I'm watching Alan seems more interested in what George Power is showing him on his phone so I did the old fake look at my cards only seeing one 9, I was actually looking at the 9 when I spotted all this from Alan, on that basis I went for the squeeze hoping I'd find a muck from both players. It was such a spot as Alan would say. I made the 3bet and was back to Alan, now he starts to pay attention and realized that I've just squeezed so I knew Alan been Alan he prob won't let that slide and of course slides out the 4bet, Laois Hammer has been double squeezed at this stage and reluctantly folds. I'm thinking of the 5bet but I think it would have been a bit much at this stage. I look back at my 2nd card to find another 9... wooop de dooo. Now the hole hand changes. I have position so best course of action was to flat. Oh if I had looked back and found A9 I would have went for the 5bet. This is stil a very tricky hand and threading lightly will be key. It's good flop for me 10x3x5x, Alan cbets, I took my time and flatted. It was still worrying me that he still cbet after the flat as he knows I wont give up easily with half a hand. Turn comes a 6x, he thinks and now checks, I'm a bit shocked as he prob plays jj and qq this way. I check it back. River comes some sort of blank maybe paired the bottom card. He thinks for a bit and checks again. I know I good now but zero value in betting, he could be spooked with jj either. I check aswel, he announces a loan 6 and I roll over the two 9s to claim the pot. My self and Alan had quiet an interesting chat about the river, if he fired the river again after checking the turn it actually looks more like he has a real hand than a bluff cause I know good player would rarely take that line when bluffing. He might have got it true. Most of my read came from Alan allowing his attention been drawn from the hand at the start, I thought he never allow lapse of concentration with a big pair as watching the action pre is vital to picking up read and not going broke with your hand on certain boards. The turn was also huge, he has to jam for his tourny life and probably new with soft field it wasn't worth the risk reward ratio. At least 'collusion' will never be accused as Chris Dowling posted on boards ha. Interesting hand regardless.

Day 3
Yes you guessed right late again for day3, that late that we lost a player in first round of the table lol. Unfortunately Alan McIntyre got ko in the last level of Day2 which sucked but then again another good player gone is always a plus. Now it was time to settle in and play to my normal plan which is picking off ppl playing relatively tight then picking up the pre flop raises relentlessly and once again hiding until short handed play again to resume the constant aggression.

There was two ppl I was curious to see how they would play which was Paul Carr and Adam Earley. I have zero history with Adam only that I knew he was a very capable player. Paul was pretty much the same very limited history but I developed over time in Waterford how he played. Working out a few tendencies was great help but overall I don't think it factored huge in the game as we barely clashed in pots worth writing about. Overall these were the two I would be keeping my eye on.

The two tables left became one pretty quickly, was lightening fast. I did not mind as I had chipped up nicely and it was Adam, Paul and myself the three chip leaders going into the final table.

Adam was now clear chip leader after knocking out Fionn from celtic poker/joint owner of Atlantis casino in Carlow. Fionn got very unlucky but hand played itself once flop came down. Fionn and Liam did me a great favour when I missed the their grand final through being ill. I had won ticket previous year from finishing 2nd and now that I could not make it they informed me they would give me free entry next year. Very kind gesture so just said I'd give them a quick shout out, two very sound guys!

8. This hand took place v Adam, we were now playing 7 handed I think. This hand played out like it did because I noticed when raising utg (Adam on button) he paused for long period of time as if he was going to 3bet then let it go. Mistake by him as I knew now it was his game plan to start 3betting me or at least he was eager to do it. Sure enough utg again I opened 6h7h and now pause again from Adam. He 3bets me this time. I'll just make up some rough figures to give you an idea of how the hand played. I opened for min raise as usual to 16k and 3bet is 38k. Right now with having read I think in hindsight I should have 4bet Adam here but I'm very comfortable post flop and were quiet deep so I took a flop. It comes 10h3hJs, not bad start flopped a flush draw and my immediate thinking was to get check raise in at some point in this hand if I do not hit my flush. I was effectively hoping Adam would continue and continue very strongly so as I could polarize his range therefore making a check raise with air a profitable good play as with reads before he is more than likely at it. Adam c-bet 39k which I decided to peal, pealing gives me a few more options and plus it makes it alot harder for him that if I do not raise his flop bet he cannot jam on me forcing me to fold my hand, also flatting and actually hitting would be great as I would severely under rep my hand and hopefully get 3 streets of value other than that I can rep scare cards etc so I had alot of options and went with the flat. Turn comes Qc, this is tricky it is a scare card but ak is in his range, also I was thinking at the time ak is also in my range too simply because of how deep we were, tbh I was just worried if he had the old k9 or not. I check to Adam and he bets 68k. I had made up my mind after watching him bet so I took little time and went for the check raise to 156k. I think I had roughly 300k in my stack left behind but really here he has the nuts or nada, no way he bets and 1 pair hand so only afraid of k9,ak or qj. He took about a minute but then released his hand with bit of a sigh but I doubt he had much in that spot. At this stage there was loads of ppl gathered around the table so I showed the 6h7h. I wanted to make sure Adam would be quiet for little while so I could continue to chip up well and secure a decent pay day at least. Great hand overall. It's good to plays hands differently and always always pay attention to your table it helped me alot in this hand.

9. This hand was pretty much a quick one v Paul Carr. I'm putting this one is just so ppl remember to watch tendencies and do not get ambitious in hands when you know your opponent plays a certain way and does not 3bet very often unless they have a hand even tho they tend to open alot preflop, different aggression be careful. This is exactly what was going on here, Paul was not 3betting alot but still I could not release my hand. It was a needless waste of chips having a read he is always strong 3betting. I opened from mid position and Paul 3bet from the bb. I had the old A4 off and went for the 4bet effectively forcing Paul to play for his entire stack preflop. Sure enough thos after my 4bet he moved all in pretty quickly and I released. At that stage this was borderline stupid from me with my current read and chip position. I gave up quiet a few chips in that hand as the blinds had just increased. It was too tempting to think if my 4bet gets through it would give me psychological edge plus alot more chips to add to my stack, which normally is good thinking but my read trumps this so stick to your reads ppl its essential.

10. Finally my last hand to write about, it's actually a series of hands and a look at how important tipping the table dynamics in your favour is hugely important. All this took place 3 handed after great showing from Paul Carr finishing 4th. Another notable bust out was Jay, travels to most games in Ireland and was unlucky to run into my QQ late position open when shoving from bb with k10 to finish 7th I believe. 3 handed was left Adam, Michael Walsh (who went from being the tightest player in tourny to being the most aggressive once we went 5 handed) and myself. I had built quiet a nice table dynamic, Adam was dying from a lack of cards to even enter a pot with but also at same time I think he was happy to see Michael and I going at it practically every hand. Hands in between I was taking down preflop. Ridiculous amount of steal attempts I must of had and just as high success rate. The dynamic was this and was great the two boys played along. On the button it was Adam's bb I would open and Michael would be less involved as he was sb, at same time Adam being very card dead (understaement in his eyes I'm sure) was finding it hard to play back at me plus taking a flop oop with mediocre holdings would be tough so I got away with that a bit. Another was Adam folding quiet a few buttons and I was raising every hand sb to bb into Michael and playing him oop with some good success. I did my absolute best to keep this table dynamic going and eventually after 2-3 hours of 3 handed play I was very far ahead, 2mil playing 800k Michael and 500k Adam. I new at this stage Adam was in shove mode and now would pick up the pace. This I did not want. I was starting to feel the hole toll of the entire weekend as this was suppose to be my 'see if I can stand a day or 2 of play' I never thought I would end up 3 handed with chip lead going on 3 full days of poker. I hit a brick wall at this stage and was getting quiet claustrophobic with the lack of fresh air in the room. We played one or 3 more hands and I won all three so I decided to end it right there and offered the boys a deal. Michael was on board but Adam took some time and eventually realized he was getting a great deal after bit of miscommunication on our part. I think I presented the deal pretty well one of my better plays :). I took 12k and trophy I've been after for nearly 3 years and the other 2 guys split the rest, Michael receiving 500 more than Adam but trust me Adam got a ridiculously great deal considering. Trust me tho no brick wall, no deal. Remember tilt the table dynamics in your favour or at least to what your happy enough with to secure your progression at all times!

That's all for the Masters. Also mentioning I never once was all in for my tournament life throughout the entire tourny, normally the trend I set but this time I didn't get unlucky and won all the important hands.


A final special thanks to Fox for his kind words when I was being presented with the trophy. He's a top guy and know him good few years now ever since I use to grind 2 nites a week in what was formerly Blazin Aces but is now known as the Poker Lounge. Great place and learned alot from different talented individuals that played in their and still do. I like to think I took their best plays into my own game. It was fantastic to win the Masters on my bounce back game!

Other recent games I've played were Ukipt Cork finishing 20 something, but also cashing in 3 events in the one schedule, 6max, triathlon and the main event.

Emop was good to see finally landing in Ireland. Doke finishing 2nd was great to see, well deserved score no1 grinds harder than him. He slags Mick McCloskey quiet alot about his age so I'll get one in for Mick.... great to see the drive and hunger Doke has even at his old age :) culdn't resist! The Emop did however how some very poor rules in the game and it quiet infuriated me to say the least. All in all it's great to see bigger buy ins finally coming back to the Irish scene. All these monkey games are starting to make my head spin and I will be striking off at least 5 for next year as there just not worth traveling for with cost of expenses.

Cork, I feel the macau has lost all it's prestige. I ended up busting this one due to being colour blind. I was so infuriated and felt hard done by but at end of day it was my mistake that cost me. Yet I still fail to see how ppl buy chip sets with two colours of huge importance 500 and 5k chips being the same colour. Cost me a good chance at running up a big stack and challenging for first prize. Oh well.

Coming up is a few good tournys (it's just great to be back in action), the likes of Ept London, Irish Winter festival which I won my ticket to online late last month and Mike and Jp's 6-max event. Good looking games coming up and cannot wait for them to come around.

I tried to do short and quick blogs but I have seriously no interest in them it's like keeping a diary imo. I prefer to spend ages writing one big long detailed post than 5 small ones that really doesn't benefit anyone.....Till next time.