Luckyblind's Poker Blog

Random thoughts and reports from a relative Poker newbie.

Name:
Location: Drogheda, Ireland

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Stalled

Well the $1.71 challenge has stalled anyway. After hitting a peak of $160 it now is back down to $98. After bad beats then more bad beats at the NL ring games I decided to give the $27 Multi a shot, I figured the play would be a bit better. How wrong I was. In the low limit games players will call with a gutshot nearly all the time, usually this is good, but when the cards are not running for you it can cost you a lot.
In the main tournie, A large buy in for VC players I expected different. But no, they will still call with virtually anything even after the rebuy. A group of players were berating another for calling with a 4 outer. One of them promptly called an all in after the flop with nothing but bottom pair and runner runner straight draw. Guess what the runner runner hit and his mates were congratulating his excellent play!
As it happens my exit was pretty undramatic, with less than 5* the blind I found KQ in late position and with no callers so far raised all in. I was called by AJ, no complaints, no help and the challenge is hit again. earlier I had made the final table of a $12 tournie and went out on the bubble! My mistake looking back, I played too soft and when everbody folded to the SB on my BB he made a min raise. I had AJ and just called. The flop came J 5 5 and when he bet half my stack I raised all in, I couldn't put him on a 5 after raising so thought my top pair top kicker was good. Not against 9 5 offsuit though!
On a happier note all is going well on Eurobet. I started with $64 and have grinded it up to over $600 playing the NL tables. So far I have had 16 sessions totalling just over 20hrs and have made a profit in 12 of them.
Also I made a suggestion on The Hendon Mob forum about running a private forum tournament online and it seems to have been well recieved. The mob are talking about getting some added prize money going so get on over there and register on their forum if you want to play!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

3 for the money

All in all a quiet week on the poker front. I only managed a couple of hours online mainly in NL cash. Managed to win $160 overall. There never seemed to be a decent tournie on when I was able to play, I entered 2 $10 Pokerstars tournies and after being card dead for the first hour in both I managed to get AA cracked in both - once by Q6 suited and once by KK which made a flush! In fact if you include the cash games I had QQ or above 8 times and only won one hand ! Sometimes these things happen, my best starting hand was 910 which I made 2 straights and a full house with, each time getting the max from the hand.

The Friday game had a couple of entrants in the Merrion €100 on Tuesday but neither Steve or Kev ( last weeks winner ) made the break. Steve had it all in on a Q high board with KQ and was called by QJ - J on the river sent him packing. Not sure what happened to Kev as I was a bit worse for the drink when he told me!

Thursday's end of the month €270 we were only represented by Declan and his Dad who managed to both finish in the money - 16th and 13th respectively out of over 120 runners. This event seems to get bigger every month. I feel if we could get one of the Dublin venues to run one over two days with a decent clock we could have a great tournament every month. The current one is too much of a crapshoot with a 20 min clock.

Friday there was no home game as it was Declan's 21st Birthday. A good night was had by all, was not so great having to work the next day though. Sean had entered a $30 limit tournie on Party poker while he was waiting for everyone to get ready and when it was nearly time to leave he started playing aggressively with a view to losing his chips and ended up very near the chip lead. A phone call to his brother and Donald signed in and took over the game. Now Donald was in the last 13 when it was time for him to leave so he phoned his son who logged in and took over the game. Anthony managed to get 3rd for Sean worth over a grand! I feel sorry for anybody who had started to get a read as all three play different styles of poker!

I also heard a great story which shows poker players in a great light. I can't mention any names but it invloves a well known European player and a very well known American. The American was down on his luck in the late 90's and borrowed $5000 from the European player. The next year when they met up again the American handed back the $5000. The European asked him how much he had left in his pocket. '$1000' was the reply. He promptly handed the money back and said ' I only want it back when you can really afford it.'.
Moving on until recent times and the roles have reversed. The American is in a very good financial position and the European is not doing so well. Remembering how he was treated the American has paid the European into the last few WPT events.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Memories of Mullets

It's not often I post about anything other than poker. This is one of those rare occassions.
Today I was humbled by small statement.

Please remember this day all of your lives. It's Important.
Remember the day you wanted to help.
Remember the bands and crews who did it. The professionals who made it an extraordinary technological feat.
Remember the dying who were allowed to live.
Remember the day you die, there is someone alive in Africa 'cos you watched a pop concert.
Remember your tears and your joy.
Remember your love.
Remember on that day for once in our bloody lives WE WON.
Remember the dying goes on and remember so that as time passes you can tell others 'its possible, I know'.
What a day, what a lovely day.

Bob Geldof July '85.

I was reading this whilst also watching children dying at the beginning of the new Live Aid DVD.
I was a fresh faced 14 year old who loved music when this all happened. Along with 1,500,000,000 other people, every TV and radio in our house was tuned to this momentous occasion. It is a day I will never forget. But to be honest at the time I don't think I really understood the magnitude of the event. I was enthralled, because the cream of the world's musical talent at the time were playing one after another. All the talk the next amongst my friends and I was about the bands. How Freddie Mercury rocked, how nobody but the Quo could have opened the show, how the generators packed in and we missed part of the Who's set. We were more worried about how we were going to get our hair to look like Simon Le Bon's and how we would afford an electric guitar to become rock stars. As 14 year olds I think we can be forgiven for not thinking too much about the starving children.
Deep down I think it had an effect on me back then even though I probably didn't know it. I have always had a positive outlook on my own life no matter what I have been through. I believe that events like this helped instill in me the philosophy that 'it could be a whole lot worse'. There are many people in the world who would glady swap a life full of my low points for their own.
I am not sure if I actually have a point to make here, other than that if you think things are bad then watch something like this and you will soon realise it is not really that bad at all. I would urge anyone to buy this DVD. There are some great performances on it and it is a reminder of how if people pull together they can make a difference, however small. Also you will be giving something to a deserving charity ( not that other charity's aren't just as deserving ). Try also to buy it from a retailer who is selling it at cost price, everybody else involved is doing their bit for free so why should the retailer make any money out of such a good cause? As a retailer I can tell you that the cost price is €36.50 plus VAT. Many stores near me are selling it for €60. That means they are making over €15 on every copy they sell! To me (a businessman who is always looking for a quick profit) this is wrong and goes against all something like this stands for. As long as I can get stock it will be on sale in my shop ( The GamePad in Drogheda - have to plug it somehow) for €44.

By the way I am proud to say that by the time I was 17 I had got my hair long enough to have it permed at the back and crimped every night before I went out on the town!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Challenge takes some beats

The $1.71 challenge has take a couple of beats to slip below $100 temporarily. However a 2nd in a freeroll has put it back up above again - only just. I had got as high as $145 but 2 out of the money's in $10 STT and a buy in loss at a .50/1 NL hurt like hell. Both STT I went out having Aces cracked and the cash game loss was KK vs AJ on a K high flop and I called an all in bluff only for runner runner straight to appear! All this just after setting myself a time limit to reach the $1000 goal.
At the same time as I started the challenge I also opened an account with Coral Eurobet which is the European skin to Party. I did this as I was offered a rake back deal and saw it as an opportunity to get some ring game practice in. I started with $64 and so far have it up to $374. If the $1.71 challenge was on Party/Eurobet I may have already reached my target!

Excellent blog - http://wiseowlpoker.blogspot.com well written and covering subjects not touched on by many other bloggers.

Also about time I thanked all the well wishers for my trip to the WPT. With all the luck I have been wished I may go on and win the thing! It is aslo good to see a few more europeans have joined the qualifying list including someone else from Ireland. So far there are over 140 quailifiers from Pokerstars and a few direct buyins listed including Barry Greenstien. Last I checked online pro Ackbleh had also made it. Dont know how many times he tried but he always seemed to be in the double shootout qualifiers and he knocked Sean Paul out of one.

Finally one of my customers dropped in Rounders on VHS so I am looking forward to watching it soon.

Stay Lucky !

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Finding the time

I am finding it difficult to fit in any poker at the moment. I want to play as many live tournaments as possible in the run up to the WPT, but things keep getting in the way. I have made only 1 Friday game in the last three and am going to miss out this week as well as I have family visiting. Mind you I can't complain really as usually I can play as much poker as I like thanks to a very understanding Catherine.
I wanted to play the Merrion €100 tonight but have to miss that due to other commitments. Hopefully I will be able to get to the Fitz tommorrow and play the €20 rebuy, not my favourite tournament as it can turn into a crapshoot quite quickly.
I have only managed one online session in the last week which was last night on Pokerstars. I found a 1/2 NL table and was up almost $100 in no time and then all my good hands were getting beat and I ended up down $5 after an hour and a half. Thrice I had trips beaten by runner runner flushes and straights. Considering this I was glad not to lose all my buy in.
In the abscence of my own play I will try to update with reports from the others in the Friday game. More success on Sunday as Sean Paul's Cousin won $16,500 in an Ultimat Bet Tournie after qualifying in a $5 satellite. We are currently blessing some lucky shamrocks with our fortune as we speak. They will be on sale in a poker store near you soon!

Watch this space!
I am currently involved in setting up a new poker website which will contain links to all the best poker content on the net, updated daily pointing to all the latest articles, blogs and forums. You will also be able to follow the fortunes of five relatively new players as they progress in the world of live and online poker tournaments.

$1.71 update
Not been able to play much but up to $130. have set myself the aim of reaching $1000 by the WPT to use as spending money so will have to find the time to start playing again!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Two maidens

Back into the usual Friday home game last night after shaking off the hangover from Thursday. I was looking forward to playing some live poker, but for the most part it turned into dealer practice for me! At least I wasn't as unlucky as Joe who after paying his €100 entry found himself eliminated on the first hand! He was the victim of playing it cute and allowed Declan to draw a monster. Declan had raised with Pocket Kings and Joe had called with AJ. Joe chose to check the flop of AAQ and Declan bet slightly more than the pot and Joe called. Next card was the Killer King and this time Joe bets out and is put All in by Declan. No help on the river and we were down to 10 straight away.

There was one other exit before I managed to put all my chips in on a read when the river took away my chances of only splitting the pot. There were four players in the hand an I was on the button with K 10. It was unraised pre-flop. The flop was J 9 x with two spades. After the flop was checked around, the turn brought the Q of spades giving me the nut straight. Sean Paul led out with a small feeler bet which was called by John and then raised by Peter. I was sure Peter didn't have the flush made, more likely a J or a Q with an Ace. Sean Paul would have waited for someone else to bet if he had it and John usually makes a small raise if he has a hand. I decided to push in and Peter called announcing he expected to be behind. Unfortunately for me he was holding the same hand as me, only with the King of spades. One of the 9 remaining spades hit the river to allow me to deal the rest of the action!

I am glad I got my reads right but I really should have just called and made sure the spade never came. I could have gotten away from it then and although I would have been extremely short, at least I would have still been in. Well done to Peter though, he went on to win for the first time in only about his tenth game.

One big pot that he won almost had Declan and his Dad coming to blows though. With five left, four getting paid, Peter raised to 2000. Blinds were 300/600 I think, He was called by Jerry and Sean snr. Declan thought for a while before folding. Then the flop came J 7 7 and Deco got up from the table cursing. Peter bet All in. Jerry folds and Sean thinks for a minute. He announces that he heard Declan saying something about folding a 7 ( in fact he had pocket 7's), although he considered it unfair it had him convinced that Peter was on a bluff and that his Ace high was good. He called and Peter flipped over JJ ! This gave Peter a large lead he kept all night apart from when Steve doubled through on him heads up. It also set the Fagans on tilt. Declan was affected more than his Dad and made a massive error on the bubble. Jerry had only 1000 chips left and the blinds wer 500/1000. It was his BB in two hands. Declan had called a small raise with AK vs Peter. The board flopped K rag rag and Declan immediately put all his remaining chips into the pot with TPTK. Peter had K rag and had been on the steal but his rag gave him 2 pair and no Ace saved Declan, Jerry delighted to slip quietly into the money.

Jerry then Sean were next to leave. Peter was a big chip leader when up against Steve and managed to hold on despite going behind at on stage.

We had a €50 game afterwards, there were 10 for this one as only Joe had left when busted. We had to play with shorter levels and higher starting blinds as it was getting late. After slipping down to 1500 chips from I ended up heads up with Huey. I was a way behind in chips but managed to get him outchipped 2:1 by raising almost every pot. Huey is relatively new to the game and it showed as for the most part he allowed himself to be dominated during heads up play. The only problem with my strategy was that whilst he would fold most hands to an All in, including A 10 at one point, he would call a large raise with virtually anything so I was have to put my chips at risk quite often, but it was working so far. After winning 4 or 5 pots in a row uncontested I decided to limp in with 6 8 and the flop came 6 2 2. Now it is pretty difficult to read Huey in unraised pots as he could have anything, he had previously shown down High Aces and pocket queens in similar pots. He would call anything less than all his chips with overcards in this situation. The mistake I made was not checking to him, as he only ever bets when he has something. I would have then laid down my hand. Instead I put him all in and he called with his 2 6 and even made a poker on the river. This put him almost level and a few hands later, after everyone else telling him he needed to stop waiting for premium hands he called one of my All ins with Q 8. I had only 10 5 and no improvement saw me down to just 5000 with blinds of 1500/3000. Next hand I was all in and my J 3 was beaten by Huey's K 7 so there was another duck broken.

I should have won this one so I am a bit annoyed with myself. Never mind though I was only down €50 for 9 hours entertainment!

Friday, November 19, 2004

And now for something comletely different...

Oh dear my head hurts!

Last night I was invited to play in local charity event to raise money for a school. It was being held in a pub in a village a few miles from town. The local rag had run a story the previous week about my trip to the WPT in January. Apparently it is good story, or thats what my girlfriend's brother told me ( The editor of the paper! ). The organsiser of the event is a customer in my shop and she had sent someone in to sell me the €25 ticket. I have had more response from the article than any advert so I am glad I did it now.

Anyway back to last night. Catherine dropped me up to The Harbour Bar in Clogherhead a few minutes before the tournament started so I could get in a quick pint and read the rules. I have never played 5 card draw before and the betting rules were also a bit foreign to me. The dummy money looked like the kind you get in monopoly and we were given 1000 units each. 47 people turned up in the end with half the money going to charity and half in prizes. First got 300 second 100 and the rest of the final table got their money back. It started off with 7 tables, my table had seven players, most who knew the rules thankfully!

The betting was 20 in by the dealer and openers were jacks or better. Nobody could open for the first 4 hands so the pot was building up nicely. You were allowed to open for upto half the pot and I never saw anyone open for less. The maximum raise was 100 and the maximum bet was 200 but nobody seemed to pay any heed to this. I found a few high pairs to start but never improved them and was losing money fast. The expectation on me was high because of the article and I sensed nobody believed I hadn't a clue with this game. After about 20 minutes I think they started to realise I was telling the truth as I had the least money on the table!

The guinness was flowing well and as it started an hour late everyone was in great form. It was played in the spirit of the event and the only pot that wasn't taken to a showdown was one that I opened and bet after the draw with only my opening Aces! At one stage 4 hands in a row were won by boats and 2 by flushes. There was a king high straight split pot but nobody on our table managed a poker for which there were spot prizes of a bottle of whisky. One table had two! After just over an hour of great fun it was time to count the money and see who made the final table. Amazingly enough with the looseness of the game two players on our table tied with 1830 each and i dealt them 5 cards each and Michael O'Niell won with King high!

I proceeded to lose another 30 euro's in a cash version of the game afterwards and plenty more on the Black stuff, Finally at about 2am it was time to get a €20 taxi home. Apologies to some of the guys who were playing pool and were to share my taxi. Neither the driver or I realised it was to be shared until the driver was radioed asking where he was. By this time we were almost at my house, I hope they didn't have to wait too long for another!

All in all it was a great night, but I don't think draw poker is for me unless it is for very low stakes. If I can shift this hangover I will be playing in the Friday game tonight and there will be a report tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Athgoe Aces are on a roll!

Things are finally clicking into place for our Friday night game players. Last night Kev added to our successes by chopping the $100 at the Merrion for a $1500 profit. Joe who plays on occasion with us went into the final table with a massive chip lead but managed to blow it off and finished 6th. Kev had better luck with his Aces than on Friday night when he got them twice early on and both times found himself up against Kings. They held up both times and he got to the final table in average postion whithout finding anymore big hands. A key hand that got him down to the last two was when becoming short stacked he made a move with pocket 8's and found himself called by both the chip leaders. Joe with AJ and another guy with 7's. They held up and he tripled up and cruised to the final two.

This caps off a great week in style for us. just to recap the month so far:
Sean Paul won $5000 in a Party $50 MTT
Kev €1500 in Merrion €100 and also €1100 in Merrion €150 rebuy during festival
Steve had a 3rd in Merrion €100 for €500
Declan had a 7th on Party for $770 and turned $130 into $2000 in a cash game on Party this weekend.
I had a $2400 in the Merrion festival, €1100 in a Fitz €20 rebuy, a seat in a WPT worth $11000 and $5000 in Pokerstars $215 on Sunday.

Not to mention occasional players like Ciaron's 3rd in Merrion and Joe's 6th. Plus Sean Paul's dad made a top five in the Fitz €270.

Keep the cards coming!

Ps. Strange 100NL cash game on Party last night. Doubled up first hand when my AQ made Q's full then after 2 rounds of junk I raised with AK suited and someone made it $50 i called and hit another boat! after another hour of junk I left with a nice profit from 2 hands!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Milestone reached

For any of you who are still following the $1.71 challenge a landmark has been reached. After hours of labour in the torrid world of low limit poker, mixing with the best the poker world has to offer, the bankroll has moved into 3 figures. The princely sum of $100.34 now sits proudly in my VC account. I am going to give it a well earned rest before pushing it to the limit and aiming for the magic $1000 mark.

For all the hours I have put in to achieve this ( Brian, I am not forgetting your contribution coming third in a $.10 STT for me!) you may think it has not been worth my while. However, the patience and discipline in required to achieve this without busting out has improved my overall game considerably. I have no doubt that it helped in coming 9th for $5k on Sunday night. During that tournament I correctly laid down many more hands than I would have previously and also managed to control my sometimes mistimed aggression.

I would recommend that everyone attempts something like this to enhance their game.

The challenge will continue, be afraid anyone who meets me in my next game as I am determined not to let the balance slip below $100!

It took a hit and run to push it slightly over the $100 as after winning a $5 STT I was sitting on $99.84. I dived into a .5/.10 game and got AK second hand. Raised, one caller K on the flop with two spades, All in, he folds and I collect and leave. Bad form I know, but I just wanted to get the magic figure on the board. Next up will be some more low No limit ring games to get up to $120 before hitting some more $10 STT. I have multiplied my initial bankroll by over 50x and only need to get it up another 10x to hit my target. Somehow I think it will take more than a fifth of the time so far!

Stay Lucky !

Mike

Monday, November 15, 2004

The weekend rush continues.....

After not playing any poker all weekend I managed to get some game time in yesterday afternoon. I played a $6 Multi to get back into the swing of things and give the challenge a boost. All was going well until I lost a big pot with kicker problems and I ended up 13/100 to increase the fund by $2.40! It seems to be treading water a bit now, I think a few sessions in the low limit ring games are required to give it a wee bump up.

I fancied a shot at the Pokerstars $350,000 Gtd later on so I entered a $10 turbo satellite and although 78 seats were up for grabs my crapshoot luck fell short with 150 left. I hate paying in to any tournament over $50 unless I win in or am up for the day so I opened up two NL50 tables on Eurobet with a view to getting at least half of the entry paid. On one table I had Aces three times in 20 mins and every time I saw the flop they held up. Unfortunately the other game was killing me as I was outkicked and outflopped constantly and I ended up losing nearly all I won on the other table!

Still I had a feeling about entering the big one. Catherine and her brother were there about to watch a film on DVD and I was umming and ahhing as to whether to enter or not. By the way do not watch Boat Trip, it is the worst film ever, why they picked it out of the 600 other films in my shop I do not know! In the end Brian's comment of 'he's gonna enter in anyway' rang true and I payed my $215 along with 2092 and sat down with $2500 chips.

Pokerstars early levels are among the best on the net and I was confident that my game was up to accumulating a healthy stack to enter the more crapshooty levels later on. I spent most of the game folding and folding, the odd hand I played missing completely until I was down to 1400 chips and finally I hit the flop with AK and managed to get back up st starting level. By the first break I still had only $2600 although about 700 of the field had gone by this point.

At the halfway point as far as runners were concerned I had seen my stack dwindle down to $800 then I was dealt 10 10 on the button. I called Catherine over and showed her my hand and announced this could be it as whatever happened I was going All in. As it was I was the first to go in and managed to get a call from the BB, a mad man who had bluffed and called off a stack of $17000 down to$6000 in the last few minutes. Unsuprisingly he turned over 8 6 offsuit and I was still in. A few hands later I picked up JJ and tripled up vs 2 AK's and then I eliminated the madman when my A10 suited which I raised him with, made a flush to beat his pocket jacks. I had gone from being in the last 20 in chips to the top 50 in the space of 10 minutes.

The rush soon dried up and I was also moved table. Every thing after this was a bit hazy as it was getting late and the blinds had increased to a level where almost every contested hand was an All in unless contested by large stacks only. Key hands though include my Aces holding up and eliminating a small stack when my 33 hit the flop to bust his aces, by the time it got round to me to call his bet the blinds, antes and stack size gave me 3:1 which when I explained this to him didn't calm him much!

I was leaking chips to the player to my left. His name was Rich_Fish. Everytime I was in position to steal the blinds I was rereaised back by him. The 3rd time he did I had the weakest hand that I attempted to steal with K9 suited - The sawmill as Mike Sexton loves to say. We had just scraped into the money by this point. It was about $7200 to call with abot $24000 already in the pot. I was convinced he was bullying me and figured at over 3:1 I was only a big dog against 10 10 to AA and also AK. Well it turned out he had AK but the poker gods were smiling and a lovely nine came to my rescue. This guy actually took it well, a fact i think that saved him from some abuse later on when he was up agianst AQ with A8 and the flop came A Q 10 and then runner runner 8's to fill him up!

I managed to double up once agian with Big slick suited vs AQ, A Q on the flop but a King on the river to save my skin. By now I had over 50,000 chips and was in the top 20 out of 180 left. There was only one guy on the table who had me outchipped and he had been playing well for the time he had been on our table. It would be wrong to say I feel sorry for the guy because what happened next has happened to me more than a few times. I picked up the rockets, Bigalspo ( i think that was his correct name ) was on the button, I made a raise of 4 times the blinds and he re-raised. Well I wasn't going to call and be outplayed on the flop so moved in. He called in a flash with his KK. No help for him and I was now 3rd in chips for the tournament. The odds of this guy seeing this are small but he was the best loser I have seen in a long time. He popped up 3 or 4 times later on to cheer me on from the rails. I would also like to thank DesD and others who were funking for me. I don't even think I have played against these guys before and I was up on my own now, Catherine long ago in bed. A bit of support can give you a little bit of extra confidence.

I stole a few blinds and took out another shortstack to put myself in the outright lead with 86 left. I was not naive enough to think that this gauranteed myself a final table so tried to keep my play as solid as possible. In the end I got fed up of folding my blinds with semi playable hands and called a minimum raise with J10 suited. The flop was J 8 8 and I checked only for him to bet $16000. I called and the river was a 7 I think. Anyway I check called another $16000. The river brought a King which made 3 spades on the board and again I checked. When he check I thought for an instant my J was good enough but alas he showed AJ and I was outkicked. I was however happy not to lose all my chips here as I have found myself check raising in this situation before.

I forget what hand I had that doubled me up a short while later, but after that the cards dried up and i was gradually slipping down the leaderboard as the blinds and antes ate away at my stack. By the time there were 24 left I was 17th. The prize money jumped up to $3300 for 18th an increase of $1500 dollars. When my blind came up the Hand for hand message was displayed and I looked at AK of spades. It was raised in early position and to call would have put me All in. I thought for while and even went into my time bank. I called reasoning he might not have anything special as most would be wary of commiting their chips so close to big prize increase. I have another blank as to what he had but it wasn't enough to beat me and I now went into the last 18 with just about average chips.

The prize money stayed the same until 9th. I presume this was the reason for the aggresive play that followed. The only pots I won was when they all folded to my blind and one steal. The blinds were now $15000,$30000 with a $1000 ante and very shortly I found myself at the biggest final table of my short career! However I was the shortest stack by some way and knew that any move I made would be called by someone. I started the final table on the button and was dealt JJ straight away. I folded them after a raise and a re-raise. I was hoping the shortest stacked guy would lose but he had a better kicker to his Ace and won when another A hit the board. I folded 10 10 later a few hands later for the same reason and the short stack won again. Both hands would have eliminated me if I had called.

By now I was down to less than $100,000 chips and was next for the $40,000 blind. I didn't want to be ante'd away and moved in with A5 suited. The big blind called with Q 10. Unfortunately although 2 of my suit came, a 10 appeared on the flop and I was out in 9th. Still it was a good feeling to beat over 2000 other players and the profit of $5200 is not bad either.

I am not sure if there are many repeat final tablist's in this one as it is a bit of a race from 200 out. If you are going to play a hand from then, and you need to play some, it is likely to be for all your chips. When I was chip leader with 86 left I had only 20 times the BB and average stacks had less than 10x. However I will have another go soon. Thanks again to all those cheering me on and by the way for any europhiles out there, the final nine included 3 Irish, 1 Welsh, 1 English and 2 French players. Not a bad result considering the overwhelming majority of players on stars are American.


Sunday, November 14, 2004

Seanie Short Stack Fagan - The Rock of Gibraltar

Due to my social diary being full this weekend I have had no chance to play any poker yet, apart from a quick half an hour for the challenge in which I took $4 to a cash game and had it up to over $20 in half an hour. If I had more time I'm sure I could have ran it up much further as the table was so loose and full of calling stations.

The weekend however belongs to Sean Paul who is a co-host of the Friday game along with with his brother Declan. After the rebuy and top up fiasco of last week a freezeout structure was decided on and they managed too fit in two games one €100 and one €50. The only details I know so far are that Kev was busted out on the first hand in the €100 when his Aces were beaten by J 5! I believe his raise was called by one of the blinds who hit two pair on the flop. All the money then went in and he had a long wait for the second game. Sean Paul it seems managed to nurse a short stack through both games and end up victorious, hence his new long winded nickname. It was a good weekend for the tightest player in the world as he did exactly the same on Party Poker last night in a 400 runner $50 tournament taking $5000 for first.

The trip to the Bahama's is slowly beginning to sink in as I was contacted by Pokerstars to reserve my room, however for some reason the website they use was unable to book my flights. These however have now been booked through British Airways and I decided to pay a little bit more for flights that only stop in Heathrow before Nassua instead of stopping at Manchester and Miami. This gets us there a few hours earlier and gives us the whole day after we check out to ejoy the last rays of sun before heading back to Mid-Winter Ireland.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Pete Tong....

All has gone wrong in the $1.71 challenge! After steadily climbing up to $64 without finishing out of the money more than once in a row the cards have turned on me..,.. 3 out of the moneys in $5 tournies and two bust outs in the low limit ring games have seen the bankroll almost halve to $34. In earlier posts I mentioned that some of the play at the extreme low limits is not actually that bad, however step up to $5 sit and go's and it is terrible! Early in one game a guy went all in UTG and I was sitting with AA on the button, all fold to me and obviously I commit all my chips. To my delight the crazy player has gone with 7 2 ! Horror set in as the flop was 2 7 K and no help on the turn or river. All of the other games I witnessed similar plays by other players. Other examples include a guy calling for all his chips with K high against a flushing paired board - he was second chip leader out of 5 left before this hand, two other stacks including mine barely enough to cover the blinds! My own play has also been the downfall, two exits almost identical, with AA and KK my raises were called and both times the flop was rainbow, unsuited and unstraightening. Both times checked to me. Both times I bet too much and am pot committed. Both times I am up against a flopped set. Both times no ace saves me! In a tournament last night the same thing happened against the only player at the table who could bust me and I was only 4 from the money and well above average chips. All the players who busted me I had seen bet and call into boards far too dangerous for their hands.... How come they managed to hit one when up against me! Damn those poker gods!

I played stud Hi/lo for the first time last night as pokerstars had a $1 tournie going. For the first hour or so I was doing well. I won 17/19 hands that went to showdown, although none were full pots. Then all of a sudden I was getting beaten by Nut flushs with a low against my K high flush and 8 low and found myself short stacked. I decided to bet all my next hands as it was getting late and managed to win 4 in a row before taking it a step to far against a large stack. I had a low but his wheel took all the chips and i was gone 100 out of over 400. I will definatley have another go as it was fun but I don't think I could play stud for serious money.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Beats, beats and more beats !

Went to the Merrion tonight for some more live game practice ahead of January. I was joined by three of the Friday game regulars and we joined over 40 others in the $100 freezeout. I have always been impressed by the Merrions structures in my previous visits and it is the scene of my 2 biggest live wins. Unfortunatley I have a false impression as I have only played there during festivals. These tournaments are just like the ones in the Fitz with only 20 minute doubling blinds.
I was never able to really get going and every time I won a small pot, I lost a bigger one shortly afterwards. One that springs to mind is where a small stack went all in after the flop and I called knowing my second pair was best. It was, however he hit one of his 5 outs on the river to stay alive and knock me down another peg.
I managed to steal my way down to the last two tables along with Kev and Ciaron from the game. Steve went out early when his K high flush was beaten by an Ace high one. After raising with pocket eights I was reraised by a player who had double me up a few hands before calling with A2 vs my A9 and had also called an all in with pocket 5's. I quickly called and was right to do so as he had pocket sixes.
Then the cruellest thing happened. The flop came 10 9 7 meaning if he hit his 6 I made a straight. This was my only thought and was stupidly thinking the pot was mine when the turn brought an 8! obviously the board never paired and his straight (2 outs after the flop!!! excluding running 6's) knocked me out.
Kev had a similar beat when his pocket pair hit the flop only to be cracked by a straight.
Ciaron however was hitting cards all night and managed to cash in 3rd for a healthy profit.
I moved over to the cash game and twice had all my money in with the nuts on the turn only to be outdrawn on the river. Both were 5:1 shots but when your luck has gone it has gone!
Never mind it will be back sometime, hopefully soon.

Something I probably have no right to comment on, but will anyway is the flaming that goes on amongst the Hendon mob forum. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but lately there are whole threads ridiculing someone who posted a stupid question. I see no need for this and think the flamings far more annoying than the stupid questions! It just creates a mess to look through and find an interesting discussion. Sometimes people just need reassurance that they have done the right thing and posting a question in forum is a good way of establishing this. What seems futile to some is important to others. If you don't like the topic just move on too the next one!

Also look Hendon Mob cos when we think of a name our mob will be after your crown. Ciaron's cash was about the 6th or 7th time in a row one of us has been in the money when more than one of us enter a tournie!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Patience

A few steps forward and a few more back yet the challenge fund is moving forward slowly but surely. I had Kings full beaten twice in one day. Playing $3 sit and go's I have never finished out of the money twice in row. However it is getting a bit frustrating waiting for tables to start. I am used to Party where if you register you are usually playing within a minute. Having waited for half an hour for a table to start to fill I left my lonely seat and took $4 into a .05/.10 ring game ind 1hr later I was $10 up. Now the fund is at $55 I can start to play the $5 sit and go's and hopefully we will see some rapid upwards movement.

Although this is really just a bit of fun, now I have got this far I intend to see it to the end. It has also added to my game overall. When you have a very limited bankroll, patience starts to become a great factor in success. I find myself passing middling hands that have been my downfall in cash games before and taking much more notice of other players at the table instead of just playing my cards. Spotting the players who are willing to put all their chips in on top pair in a flushing board or with A low kicker is far more profitable than waiting for the rockets. It is amazing how many of these kinds of players abound the net. To be honest I have been gulity quite often in the early stages of my poker career, but gradually have tried to erode these maniacal plays from my game.

Since starting this quest I have also been playing 25NL cash games on Eurobet and I think it is no coincidence that I have had 4 winning sessions out of 5. Beforehand it was usually the other way round in cash games, ie: 4 losing out of 5. If this keeps up I think I will stick to these rather than the sit and go's. I have a good record in STT on Party/Eurobet but I think per hour there is more to made in the cash games.

Other Blogs

You may have noticed I have updated the links section to include more blogs. Some of these are well worth a read if you have'nt already. Iggy is a bit mad but collects a lot of articles from all over the net. Felicia Lee is great for inside views on events. Paul Phillips is a bit hit and miss. Simon Trumper has great tournament reports. The Camel puts across some fine points ( the ones about poker anyway). Doubleas is another part time player like myself. Andy Ward is another who brings up some interesting topics. The internet pro is. Suited Aces are a group of young poker players from ireland, there are so may of them that one of them is bound to have a big success at somepoint. Eye of sauron is new and adds something different. Milkybarkid is unfortunate if he looks like his namesake!

Monday, November 08, 2004

The challenge takes a beat......

Not really a bad beat as I was behind all the way once the flop came, but time out is needed to chill. I have KK and blinds are 50/100, I have average chips. It is raised 500 UTG. Everybody folds to me in the big blind and I flat call. The flop comes QQ2 and I put out a tester 400 bet out. It was called and the next card was the 7 of diamonds. This made two diamonds on the board and I was sure now he had a Queen. This time he bet 400, I called thinking if a diamond came I could take him off at the end. The River was the King of diamonds, giving me Kings full of Queens and now I think I have him beat I go All in. He calls straight away and then I am dismayed to see the money slide over to him! He had QQ, It had to happen sometime, but this is the biggest hand I have lost with so far! I am sure there are many of you out there who have had bigger hands beaten but it is still a sickener!

Luckily for the challenge I had just come second in the previous Sit and go so we are back to level for the day.

$1.71 challenge update

I played 3 more $3 Sit and go's last night, managing a 1st,3rd and 5th. This puts the bankroll up to $38. This 22x the starting level. For all the slagging VC gets on the forums for its bad play, the standard is not too bad at these low levels. The win was a long drawn out affair and the heads up lasted over 15 minutes, an eternity in a VC sit and go! It all came down to a lucky draw out for me, I had double the chips of my opponent and when he raised all in, I called with my A4. It seemed like the titanic struggle we were in was set to continue when I saw he had A5. However a lovely 4 came on the river and we are a couple of wins away from moving up another level.

I have decided not use freerolls to try and obtain my objective as I feel it will take away from the pureness of the quest.

Trying to make real money last night proved very difficult indeed. I played in a couple of $30 STT on Pokerstars and finished nowhere as first Aces and then Kings were cracked. The Aces were in the 3rd hand of the game and my initial raise was raised again, I pushed in, got the expected call and was horrified to see a King on the flop to make the guy a set! Second game I made it a bit further until the same thing happened with my KK vs 77.

I bombed out of a $11 rebuy satellite for the $350,000 Gtd when shortchipped I found AK and my all in was called in two spots by AA and A8 - Goodnight Vienna.

Whilst watching Paul Phillips throw away victory in the WPT at the Bicycle I managed to regain some money in NL ring game on Eurobet, turning my $25 into $75 in an hour. If a multi-millionaire can crack under pressure, what chance for me? Although you will not find me playing J2 suited in any game unless forced in the blinds! Well done to Paul though for not letting it get to him and winning one later in the series.

I have had offers to sell a piece of my action for the WPT in January and am still in two minds as whether to accept or not. whilst $3200 for 40% would make a nice bit of spending money, if I made the final table, giving someone $40,000 for every $100000 seems harsh! I think if I had paid into the tournament my feeling would be differerent. I think in the end I will not give into temptation and keep all of myself.

Stay Lucky!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A long way to go...

Last night I had the priviledge of getting some poker advice from a very experienced poker player. More than that I actually got to play in an online tournament with him looking over my shoulder. I should mention that this player has made a WPT final table and played in some of the biggest private games in the world.

It was uncanny how he managed to call other peoples hands correctly so many times. A lot of the time we were not in the pot but every time he called someones hand and there was a showdown he was spot on. Some of the things he told me I could understand but most of it just seemed to be experience. He reckons he can read players better online than in a live game and from what I saw I have no reason not to believe him. If I can bring even a few points into my game from this it will give me a better chance in January.

$1.71 Update

Due to a technical problems the challenge stalled yesterday as I had no internet access all day. However since the first day things have moved forward slightly. I have played 6 STT for $1 and won 2, come 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th once each which although increasing my hefty bankroll by about 20% still left it at just short of $20. I decided to move up early to the $3 levels. Now I know thats sounds like I am getting out of my depth, but I really felt inside that I was ready for this leap. As it happens my confidence was well placed and I tore through my 8 opponents to claim top spot and move my balance to just shy of $30.

There is something I am having trouble with. I am accrueing action points which can be used to enter freeroll tournaments. If I use these am I cheating my experiment?

Anyway, once I have reinstalled VC's software back onto my PC on Monday the challenge will continue full steam ahead. Beware Luckyblind is on a roll, bankroll up 1500% and showing no signs of flagging!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The $1.71 challenge Part 1

Not satisfied with playing in a WPT event in January I have set myself another challenge....

To turn $1.71 into $1000 dollars.

I thought I had cleared out my Victor Chandler balance, but lo and behold there is this princely sum sitting in there going to waste! I was at Catherine's brothers last night, he plays a bit of poker at home and watches it on TV so I was trying to convince him to start playing online. I told him to deposit a small amount and start at the micro limits and see how he gets on. Whether he does or not is up to him, but I am determined to show that you can start with a little and roll it up nicely. I may not succeed, especially as VC is full of novice's at the lower levels who can bust you with a multitude of suprising hands, but it will be fun trying.

I will only be playing during work, so I will be at a disadvantage as my customers must come first. However at the low limits I think I will still have an edge. Here's the plan :-

1. Take my humungous bankroll to a .05/.1 NL table and work it up to $11
2. Most people would quit while ahead with 500% profit. Not me! I will then use to enter $1 Sit'n'Go's.
3.On reaching 10 buyins for the next level of buy ins I will move up.
4.Wake up!

The First round

Shaking somewhat I found a full table and stuck myself on the waiting list and within a few minutes my hard earned wad was at the mercy of a table full of seasoned VC sharks.

My first hand was a monster. It had been raised in early position and although I was sure I had the best of it, I overcame the desire to max raise all in and clicked my 7 2 off suit into the muck.
10c down already and the blinds were coming round to me. The bullies on the table stole both and I had lost over 10% of my stack already. Not to worry, AJ next hand, raised 4x blinds and now they all fold to the new master of the table.

99 next and again I raised. Respect does not last long amongst these streetfighting players and I am called in 2 spots. Flop contains a magic nine but also 2 diamonds. My mouse hovers over max and I close my eyes and pull the trigger. When I open them I see that I now have $5.07. Dunno what they called with but I saw a diamond on the river!

Too much confidence can be a dangerous thing and a few hands later I am left teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Having raised with AQ suited before the flop and been called by two players, I was first to go on a board of A 9 7 rainbow. Before I could resist I was all in again. This time I was called by a psychic with 10 6 who hit his 8 on the river.

Now only 60c left I sat out a few hands whilst having a ciggie to calm my shredded nerves. I decided to go back and wait for AA and quadruple up. However when dealt KQ hearts my finger slipped and I was all in and my life was on the line as two riverboat gamblers called and proceeded to bet in a side pot after the flop which contained the A of hearts. Imagine my suprise when the turn and river were both hearts and I scooped a pot worth $1.94. Back into profit. Ker-ching!

KK late position, 3 limpers, ALL IN, not one measly caller - chickens.

Miss a few flops, down to $1.50

AJ - raise gets two callers, A high flop, ALL IN, two callers! back up to $4.73

Limped with 5 5 checked down by 3 others, 4 overcards on board, 5's held up.

5 8 in big blind. Flop checked giving me a free 9 on the turn to make my str8. Put low stack ALL IN. He called, now up to $7.54

Nothing for a while and the pick up AK off suit. Raise it up to .5. Low stack calls. J 9 7 flop. Bet half his chips and he called. Turn 2d making 3 diamonds. Put him ALL IN. At last someone folds a hand after the flop!

Only $3 off my target to reach stage 2. Playing poker of this quaility and against such world class players is exhausting, but I manage to hold myself together until this happened :-

A2 clubs, limped UTG. 3 other limpers and blinds see flop of A 9 2, two hearts.I bet .40 and was called by one player. Turn is 2 of hearts. BINGO. I use all my hyena like cunning and pause then check. He throws out a $1 chip and I pause again before raising up to $3. With a zen like belief he has me like a rabbit in the headlights of his 4*4 he re-raises me ALL IN. Quicker than a flash of Janet Jackson's nipple, I am in the pot and now my treasure trove stands at $15.69! I am dealt the next hand before I can leave the table and decide to see the flop with Ac 8s. When the flop comes three clubs I call a $1 bet before folding to a $5 on the turn which is red.

Enough! I said to myself, my basket is full - no need to be greedy. I left the table and made my self a cup of coffe to celebrate!

If you are able to stand the suspense, please tune in for the next episode soon......

Completely off topic but hers's a plug for Anthony's website. A must for any one interested in the mythical history of Ireland. Newgrange in particular. http://www.mythicalireland.com


Monday, November 01, 2004

Long shots.

Since my last blog I have had a little time to take in the possibilities that lie ahead after winning a seat in the WPT Event in January. It would be wrong to say it has been a lifetime dream as I only really found out about poker in March. It has however been a long time dream to be rich - as I am sure it is most peoples!

I know that winning this event will need me to have a little bit of luck, but the Moneymaker and Raymer wins show that it can be done. Not that I can compare myself to either player. I am sure they had been playing poker for a lot longer than I have. But I am still in a no lose situation. The worst I can come away with is a cheap luxury holiday for Catherine and I. However, I cannot help but think what a difference winning this would make to our lives. It is also hard for me to write off my own chances . Three times this year I have played in tournaments with some of the top european Pro's and finished 1st and 8th in two of them. I have won tournaments online and live.I have an advantage as I can watch the top players and learn how they play. Nobody knows me, so at least for the first while they will be a bit cautious around me ( hopefully!). I figure that whilst I won't be the best player there, I won't be the worst either.

In reality, from now until the last card is dealt I am going to be living in a state alternating between heaven and hell. At the moment I have have my own business and it pays the rent and a little bit more, It also gives me the freedom to do what I like ( to a degree). I have plans to expand but it would take between 5 and ten years to earn what this tournament paid out to first place last year ($455,000 to Gus Hansen). Yet I have a chance to do it in 5 days.

I am under no illusions that it is a long shot. But how often do long shots come in? How often are you beaten by a 2 or 3 outer on the river? The lottery is 14,000,000 : 1 but invariably someone wins every week. I have seen my home town non league football team, Weymouth, beat Manchester United. Greece won the world cup. I had money on Last Suspect when it won the Grand National at 50:1. I saw Boris Becker win Wimbledon at 17.

My aim : To join that list and be another winning long shot.

If not, a suntan and plenty of weak american beer will have to do!

I am sure my feelings about this will change over the coming weeks and I am going to use this blog to try and make sense of them. Also when I get there I will post updates during the competition. Hopefully you will have a lot of updates!