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How Not to Win a Poker Tournament -- Part III

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Feb 16, '09


After having way too much fun in Galway, I was delighted to get back to Paris and intended to follow through on my New Year resolution to take things a bit more seriously and to play a lot of side events rather than just piling straight into the bigger tournaments.

I was going to play just about every event at the Paris festival but due to a family bereavement that wasn't possible, though I did get back in time to play the main event. I didn't think it would be huge value as there were a lot of big names around for the poker awards but the French love satellites, so I was wrong again.

I turned up in good shape for once, got a great draw and was chopping away happily for a few hours. Then the trouble started, the guy on my immediate left got knocked out and was replaced by Theo Jorgensen, a Dane who thinks he's Irish and acts accordingly.

A few years ago, when both Denmark and Ireland played in the Poker Nations' Cup, Theo and Jan Sorensen got a little drunk on the final night and proposed that Denmark and Ireland entered a joint team in these events to save us the trouble of trying to nobble each other every night in the bar.

It seemed like a good idea to me at the time. As soon as Theo sat down, I asked him how his training for his upcoming fight with Gus Hansen was going. Gus beat Theo at squash several months ago and was rubbing it in in the dressing room afterwards, while playfully shadow boxing. Theo wasn't too impressed with his style and before either of them really knew what was happening, they'd had a $ 25.000 bet on a 3×3 minute round boxing match between them, the event to take place in a stadium in Copenhagen the night before the EPT event there.

Theo's face didn't look the best. He explained that his coach had had the brilliant idea to have him spar with a guy much bigger than Gus, who hit pretty hard, so that on the night Gus would seem a much easier proposition. That's a great theory if you're not the poor b*****d getting the shit beaten out of you in training before having to go home to your girlfriend looking like you've just been mugged.

He offered me a VIP invitation to the fight but I told him I'd rather go and watch the sparring. I should probably have kept my mouth shut because Theo started getting his own back by picking off my raises and using his big stack to push me around. I should know better.

With Theo strangling me, I badly needed something else to keep me amused and got it when the Devilfish was moved to the opposite end of our table with a short stack. Theo and I started politely requesting that he double up so we could knock him out in a decent pot. That didn't work so I started telling Theo a story from Galway.

We were having dinner with the Fish and his girlfriend during the course of which, she told Véronique that she'd always wanted to do social work at some stage. Véronique replied that she thought she'd started already!

Theo loved it so I told it again because the Fish wasn't listening properly the first time. The Fish was in flying form and starting hurling abuse and smart comments at the two of us. One of the French guys got upset and complained to the tournament director that we were speaking in English. Theo told him that he and I were guilty but he wasn't sure what language the Fish was speaking. Strangely enough for Paris, the ruling was that French and English were the two official languages of the tournament.

I thought I had the Fish by the balls twice, but being the great tournament player that he is, he managed to get away from his hand both times. I think he was having too much fun to get knocked out. An aggressive young guy raised the Devilfish's big blind, and after calling and check/passing on the flop, he proudly showed that he'd called the raise with 10 4 suited and said he was going to write a book called "Walking on the big blind" that was going to revolutionize poker theory.

After calling a raise in the very next hand from the same guy, he checked/raised on the flop, won the pot and said that "Defending the small blind" was going to be the sequel. The Fish got out of trouble, Theo's stack kept getting bigger and mine was getting smaller when our table was broken with a couple of hours to go on Day 1. I suppose I should have been getting on with the job rather than having the craic, and by the end of Day 1 Theo was chip leader, Dave was in great shape and I was in a bit of trouble.

I was a little disappointed when they announced that play would be starting an hour later than scheduled on Day 2 because the starting time coincided with the match between United and Bolton. I knew I'd have to get busy early and would have been quite happy to either get some chips early or go home in time to listen to the match on the radio.

From the football end of things, things worked out fine, I lost all my chips to a guy whose play I knew too much about for my own good and was home in plenty of time for the second half. The Devilfish won the tournament. Theo made the final. Next time I'm at the same table as them, I'll pretend I don't know them.

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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