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How Not to Win a Poker Tournament - Part 2

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Feb 04, '09


After I got knocked out of the main event in Galway, I decided to do the sensible thing and go to bed at 9 p.m, to try to shake off whatever viruses were attacking me. Vero stuffed me up with lots of herbal medication and promised I'd be in good shape for the charity tournament the next day. It all went according to plan, well nearly.

Jesse phoned me at 11 p.m. to tell me that there was a problem with the tournament and play had been suspended. As I was responsible for a lot of the foreign big names being there, he thought it a good idea if I at least came down and found out what was going on. It transpired that there'd been a security breach and that on Day 2 the number of chips in play kept increasing. It's hard to imagine why one person or a number of people could just blatantly seek to cheat every single person that entered the tournament, particularly in Ireland where we have a great reputation for fair play and particularly in Galway, where the craic and camaraderie are as good as it gets.

Poker has come a long way from the bad old days, but on this evidence, sadly not far enough. This kind of thing has been known to happen elsewhere before. It is discretely swept under the carpet and the tournament players are usually treated like it is none of their business, even though it is their money, but that didn't happen here. Fintan Gavin, the tournament organizer, came up with a wonderful idea to repair the damage as fairly as possible. He paid up all the monetary value of the extra chips in play by allowing everybody who had played the main event to play the €330 Poker for the Homeless charity event for just €100, which was to be taken out of the prize pool for the charity anyway. Obviously the problem shouldn't have occurred, but Fintan is to be commended for finding a solution as fair and generous as this.

After this all got sorted out, I popped into the bar for a quick one, on my way to bed. I should have known better. The band was in full swing and two guys I spent a lot if time on the road with over the years, Scott Gray and Julian Gardner, were in flying form. So as Veronique showed no signs of wanting to go anywhere, we got stuck in again and stayed till the bitter end. Kenna James suggested we meet for breakfast at seven and we all went to our rooms to wait the 20 minutes for the restaurant to open. Of course that was the end of that for everyone!

After this late-night performance, we were all in great shape the next day. The good news was I didn't have to play the 500 event, just in case I was still in it when it was time for the charity tournament, so I arranged to watch the United v Southampton match with Julian and Mad Marty. Channing joined us, just in case anybody fancied a punt. Just before kick off, I met Nicky Power in the lobby and asked him if he wanted to join us, but he said he just got knocked out of the main event, had won €3000 and was going to the nearest bookies to put it to work. I used to be like that.

Thanks to Fintan's generosity, the charity event got good numbers and the craic was mighty. People were trying harder to buy each other drinks than to try to knock each other out. I got a fairly easy table, with the likes of Julian, Ciaran O'Leary, Surinder and The Bomber to deal with. The Bomber caught the first bad beat when he got knocked out just after buying a round for everybody. Julian loved the 20 minute clock and said it was the best structure he'd played in 6 years. So there, somebody has said it! This fixation people have with big stacks and long clocks, doesn't really add up. The good players may have more equity, but it may be at the expense of their hourly rate.

We may be trying to deal with a homeless problem in Ireland, but the foreigners certainly behaved as though it was their problem too and their generosity was amazing. A few days in Galway does that to people, they start thinking they are Irish! All kinds of nice things happened; the artist who designed the set gave us a painting, the massage girls gave us a good chunk of their earnings, but the one I liked the best was when the Connolly's son was going around the room selling Dublin Simon's card markers, some wise guy shouted out: "It's one for €5, two for €10 or three for €50! Straight away, Sideshow Bob whipped out a €50 and asked for three! It was that kind of night and it was encouraging that just 24 hours after a small minority tried to drag the game back into the gutter, the vast majority stood up to be counted and showed that Irish poker is all about heart and that when you ask for help, you get it in spades!

Padraig is currently involved with Jesse May in hosting Irish Pub Poker Tours for medium-sized corporate groups. For info you can contact him on Twitter @padraigpoker.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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