My Irish Winter Poker Festival Part I
by Niall Smyth | Published: Nov 21, '11
I was going to start off with a good whine as I like to do from time to time but thought it would be more appropriate to congratulate Eoghan O’Dea on a great year in general but especially on his magnificent yet unfortunate 6th place finish in the WSOP main event.
He is a true gentleman and a great ambassador for Irish poker. I know he has inspired me to stop being so lazy and play more and I doubt I’m the only one so this result should be great for the Irish poker community in general. So well done again and thanks because that was the most exciting final table I’ve ever watched well until your exit.
The Irish Winter Festival happened on the October Bank Holiday weekend and I have to say I thought it was a great success. The lads in Paddy Power do a great job of bringing new and fun events, like the blind mans bluff and beer pong championship while also running a great main event and side games.
Unfortunately my plea to make the beer pong a 3-day event and run the main as an all in or fold tournament were turned down. Oh well, maybe next year.
Day 1 started off well for me and I was chipping up nicely for the first couple of hours, the only hand that really stood out was against a guy who seemed intent on playing hands with me and who also as the saying goes was “keeping me honest”. So when I hit a flush on the river I went for max value and got paid (always nice). Well we all know what blind squirrels do with their nuts… Hmmm, maybe that’s not quite right but you get my drift.
The strangest hand of the day didn’t even involve me. I had been moved table so I have five hands on it, when the guy under the gun open ships for 80 bigs and Nicky Power ended up calling with A-Ks. The UTG guy has A-A and I’m just thinking wtf – I hadn’t seen a play like that since I stopped playing $1 tournaments… about nine months ago!
Nicky was short and card dead for most of the day so can’t blame the call, I think I’d have trouble folding in that spot even if he showed me because I’d think I was hallucinating.
After 6 levels it’s onto the feature table and cue some run good, some questionable plays that worked out, and people not wanting to play many hands. My stack jumped from around 50k to 120k. There were two hands that really stand out in my memory. The first hand I call with K-Ts from the big blind from an active early position raiser. Flop comes Q-9-2 and it goes check bet call.
The turn brings a 9 I think it’s a good card to rep if I want to win this without hitting so I bet over half pot and am practically insta-called. Now I know sometimes a quick call can be weak but sometimes it’s a one fingered salute saying I’m not folding unless you shoot me type call. Well wouldn’t you know it I bink the J on the river. I give it the old “think for 3 minutes and overbet the river” and get snapped off again for a very nice sized pot.
The next hand happened near the end of the 2nd last level the reason I mention this is that my plan was to try run over the table for the last level and it was against Marc Foggin who was 2nd in chips at the table, a very good active player who I wanted to quieten.
I raised the button with A-J and he makes the call from the small blind. The flop comes T-9-2 (all hearts). He check-raises me on the flop and I decided to call just to see what he’ll do on the turn. I have no hearts in my hand. He leads out the turn, a lot of the time I’m done with the hand here but he still has a very healthy stack and could still be semi-bluffing so I put in a good size raise and after a good ten minute deliberation he ends up shoving and I insta-muck, he’d later tell me he’d a set.
I ended the day on about 120k, generally happy with my play and had folded A-K, Q-Q and J-J preflop these were all big achievements for me as I hate to fold and I was right on 2 counts, got the Jacks wrong and in the process also butchered the hand.
It was onto the bar after this after a long day of cards like that I need to unwind or I won’t sleep. There was six of us up from Clare. Well as often happens a few pints turned into a few too many and it was about six in the morning.
I’d told Conor he could crash on our floor so we headed up to the room, while laying out a few sheets on the floor I remembered seeing a couch in a lobby on our floor so we went back to borrow the cushions just for the night, this idea quickly snowballed into us taking the big 3 seat couch and making it a permanent fixture in our room for the weekend.
My apologies to the Burlington if ye missed her but she was well looked after in fact I’d go as far to say as she hasn’t had that much action in a long time.
Part II to follow…