The City West is a great venue for as poker tournament. Located just outside Dublin, just off the N7 it is easy to reach. There are many conference rooms and bars to accomadate any size of function. The craic is always good as there is usually a good mix of golfers, wedding parties, poker players, conference delegates and holidaymakers milling about consuming copious quantities of alcohol.
One day someone will take advantage of all this and run a good tournament here.
The traffic was not as bad as it could have been at 5.30 as I arrived as registration opened considering I (and most other players) have to negotiate the Mad Cow roundabout at peak time to register in time. I arrive to find a queue wind it's way down the staircase that leads up to the room used for this event, the Pokerevents €275 Freezeout.
As the queue moved I entered the room itself and I have to say I was very impressed with the way the room was layed out. There were plenty of tables to the left for non-players and for the players to eat on the break. The tables themselves were covered in VC branded cloths and each table had it's own freestanding lamp over it creating a 50's style club atmosphere. All the tables were of the round variety apart from two in the centre which were the real deal. All in all there were 22 tables and dealers were provided at each one. Two screens flanked the set up, one for the blinds etc, and one advertising future events.
I filled in the 'membership' application with the provided pencil. Name and telephone number seemed to suffice, not ssure if this meets the legal requirement for running a tournament but it wasn't my head on the block. I was able to register Sean Paul without him having to sign anything also.
As with all tournaments it was unable to meet the 7pm start time even with registration being open 1 /12 hours before kick off. As everybody took their seats half an hour late I looked around a room full of the usual local suspects and Ken Doherty who had a €400 bounty on his head. Most of the well known Irish players were there including Scott Gray, Roy Brindley, Andy Black, and Don Fagan. Boards.ie was well represented with myself, Biteme Dave, Bigdragon Dave, Lenny Leonard, NickyOD and Iona Paul. The home game also had a few players; Sean, Sean Paul, Declan, Stevo and Paul. There was a high number of Cork & Galway raiders and a good smattering of women and younger players.
All the tables were named after the Counties and towns of Ireland. Spookily enough I had drawn my home table of Louth. Vernon, Eamon and Adrian Walsh were the only players at the table I knew. There were a few players from Galway and Cork and a young goth looking lad with black painted fingernails. With Eamon and Vernon there it was going to be fun!
I had only come down to enter this because of the fact that it was advertised as a 2 day event with 8000 starting chips and a 40 minute clock. Plus the fact that unlike the €50 rebuy at the Red Cow, this Pokerevents tournament prizepool was not capped.
With the blinds at 25/50 there was no need to hurry and I played a very tight first round. I flopped a nut straight early on in a 4 way pot and was disappointed to find my small bet caused everyone to fold. Level 2 I won the blinds with AA and missed a couple of flops with suited connectors and was comfortable at 7700 chips. Level 3 the blinds were 75/150 and players seemed to be dropping out quite rapidly around the room although we were still at 11 players. Did I mention that they crammed 11 players and a dealer round the table? There were spare dealers and spare tables so this was unacceptable in my view. Anyway back to the event, Just before the break I found KK on the Big Blind and 4 players limped ahead of me. I raised to 1000, I didn't want 4 oppponents. I was only called by the shortest stack who had another 2000 behind him. The flop cam AKx rainbow. Putting him on at least an Ace I put him all in. i wa not surprised when he called. I was however surprised to see Q10 offsuit! He didn't get lucky and I had 10,700 by the time the break came.
The break was a healthy 40 minutes and a nice selection of food was offered up for the players. I partook in some of the chicken and caught up with most of the people I knew to see how they were getting on. Bigdragon & Declan had gone to bad beats, Dave flopping top two and his oppo hitting a gutshot straight. Declan moved All in with KK after the flop and was called by second pair who hit a runner runner flush. Don lost a big pot when he got all in with AK vs 77 on an A 5 5 board, another runner runner four flush for the 7's. Sean Paul and the other dave had almost doubled their starting stacks. Sean Snr ran his AQ into KK and was also gone. Iona Paul had 7500, Dave O'callahan and young O'dea were sitting comfortably. Amazingly Vernon & Eamon were both playing steady rock like games and both had improved their starting chip count.
Sitting back down after the break is when things to started to go wrong for the reputation of this event and I began to see that the negative comments about this Pokerevents company I have seen written by many are true. Remember this is a two day affair. Thay have approximately 20 hours of playing to finish this tournament, maybe more as I heard that it was restarting at 1pm the next day. Gobsmacked was I when the next level was announced. 100/200 with a 25 Ante, almost tripling the cost of a round. I looked round at the display and saw that the next level was due to be 200/400 and a 50 Ante. In two rounds the cost goes up 5x !! 225 a round at level 3, 1100 at level 5.
This escalation started an explosion, literally. In quick succession two of the lamps blew up, sending glass and the lampshades crashing down onto the tables and giving more than one player a heart attack. On the table next to me the hand was declared dead, one guy muchly annoyed having been dealt QQ.
It was obvious to me that quick chip accumulation was necessary and must have been to everyone else as the chips started to fly. A guy from Galway who had been playing a steady game suddenly decided to move all in for 15,000+ with Q4 preflop with only 1200 in the pot. The A10 that called surprised me even more, he claimed he was pot committed but 20% of your stack is not committed in my view, maybe he knew the player. It held up anyway. Eamon raised preflop to over 2000 and got one caller. Eamon was Small blind and moved the rest of his chips in before the flop was dealt. The A10 caller called with pocket 4's on a QQ6 board, Eamon had the bullets.
Then I saw the worst play I have seen for a long time.
Young goth guy raises 2000, a third of stack, from second position. 3 people call incuding myself from the Big blind with 89s. The flop is KJ7 giving me a gutshot. There are also 2 hearts out there. How do you play this from the small blind if you have a set of Jacks with nearly 10,000 in the pot and four players? Do you check every street and call an all in bet on the river when a Q turns up? The young goth was delighted as he was allowed to hit his gutshot for free and more than treble up.
This play was to play a part in my downfall. Young goth surely would not have called a big bet on the flop or turn here and accumulated his tidy stack. In turn he would have maybe hesitated about calling my all in a while later if it was for all his chips too instead of 25% of his stack. I had been card dead since the break and was dealt AQ UTG. With 4000 left and blinds now at 300/600 with a 75 ante I only had one move. Gothy tried to raise this to 5000? It was ruled correctly as a call and I was delighted when no-one else got involved (his attempted raise maybe indicated a strength that was not there) and he flipped AJ of hearts. Of course a bad play here is what I wanted and what I got. As usual however bad plays are often rewarded by the gods of poker and after a safe looking flop of 10 high he lost 3 outs and gained 3 when a K appeared on the turn. As if by magic his 6.81% hit on the river and the crapshoot is over !
I was about 120th out of 241 entrants. By the time I exited, Don was gone as was Iona Paul, Stevo and Lenny. Dave had a reasonable stack, Sean Paul had dropped back a bit, NickOD was looking uncomfortable with about 8-10,000, Ken Doherty had rocketed from 2,500 to 80,000 chips, Roy the Boy was lingering and there were still 5 of the women left including Willow who took most of Sean Paul's chips. I only mention the women as the organisers decided to give a €400 ticket to the one who lasted longest. It is if to say, you are not going to win females so we will have a little prize for the one of you that lasts longest. Plus it is reverse sexual discrimination :)
I hung around to see what developed. there was no copy of the structure available so I had to just note it down as it appeared on the screen. When I left there were 30 players left. the blinds had hit 3000/6000 with a 500 Ante. This meant that the average stack had 4 rounds of the table left. Any preflop raise means you are committing all of your chips. Right before I left I saw Willow's stack decimated as she reluctantly called a re-raise with AK to find herself up against AA. However she was not the longest lasting female, there were still 3 left. I they finish 1,2,3.
A final glance around the tables I saw that Roy the Boy had a large pile of chips as did Ken Doherty. Kevin Williamson who chopped the Fitz tourney the night before was hanging in there and the young lady who finished second in that one had a nice pile too. Goth was still in too. All the boards guys and home game players had fallen by the wayside and the bar had finally closed.
Talking to Don & Scott, they both agreed this tournament was great practice for the WSOP where muppetry abounds and is a minefield for the decent players. Everybody I spoke to thought that although it started off smoothly enough the blind and antes were madness given the time they had to finish the event. From my own experience the dealing staff were of mixed quality, some were very good and others were awful. Sean Paul had to get the dealer changed on his table after there were mistakes on three consective hands.
Will people return? They probably will. At the moment there is no one offering a tournament with a comparable prize pool and you can't fail to enjoy yourself at the venue. Is it a good tournament? Not really. A great opportunity to create a tournament that is free from the time constraints of a one nighter and with the space to accomadate a big field has been wasted. More time spent on the actual poker instead of making things look nice is the key. Both would not have been too difficult. Not for great minds like Fintan & Donal. NickyOD summed it up when I asked him how he went out - 'I was Arse-raped'. Poker was too Nicky.
On my out a guy walked past me and said ' you and your fcuking pair of eights!'
' I wasn't at your table all night', I replied, 'Plus I never had a pair of eights tonight!'
'It wasn't tonight, it was last year...'
I vaguely recognised they guy. It turns out I knocked him out of the €300 rebuy at the Merrion with 88 vs K9.
Just for the record this was the structure up until I left:
40 min clock.
100/200 with 25 ante
200/400 with 50 ante
300/600 with 75 ante
500/1000 with 100 ante
800/1600 with 150 ante
1000/2000 with 200 ante
2000/4000 with 300 ante
3000/6000 with 500 ante
or you can look at it like this:
Thankyou and goodnight (or morning as it is now).