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Back In The Saddle At The Irish Winter Poker Festival

by Ian Simpson |  Published: Nov 13, '12


I had some good news before I went to Ireland for the Irish Winter Festival as I managed to get myself a nice 2nd place finish in a $55 online game for a $4,300 prize. That and my recent small cash in Latvia certainly boosted my morale as I’ve been in a pretty dry spell lately.

It was brilliant to go back to Ireland. I got a fantastically warm welcome from the familiar faces that frequent the Irish poker scene and it was great to be back at the Burlington where my poker career took off at the Irish Open in April 2012.

The main event attracted 385 players and saw Tim Hartmann win €100,000 after he managed to win his heads up duel with Patryk Pietnoczko. It was a frustrating game for me. I just couldn’t seem to hit a hand and every bluff or continuation bet I made just seemed to run into a hand. The €335 side event seemed to go better for a time. I had identified a few calling stations (he called three barrels and a preflop raise with 4-3 suited having hit bottom pair) so I adjusted well and doubled up shipping all in with my rivered top pair having read him right for a pocket pair he wouldn’t let go.

I then moved tables and my J-J ran into A-A and I stupidly paid him off on every street. Then an announcement came over the tannoy stating that Paddy Power had put €1,000 behind the bar. Naturally I soon shipped my 10 big blind stack all in with 8-7 but I ended up tripling up versus A-Q and J-J having hit a gut shot straight on the turn after the J-J had flopped top trips. You just can’t stop winning at poker sometimes!

Figuring my 30 big blind stack was too precious to ship all in, despite the free Guinness on offer, I buckled down and started playing some good poker. It came to an abrupt end however when my K-K got rivered by pocket tens making a flush on the river. And the €1,000 behind the bar had run out. If I hadn’t managed to win a free pint of Guinness taking on a friendly Irishman in a game of beer-pong I might have jumped into the Liffey there and then.

Upon arriving back in Geordie land Full Tilt opened its doors again and I had $600 left waiting for me which was $400 more than I had remembered. I almost withdrew the money but their bonus offer tempted me in. Suffice it to say that $600 has all but disappeared. It’s okay though as their bonus deal means I’m close to earning $20 from them. Easy come easy go eh?

Next up is the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. With a $10,300 buy in it’s going to be the largest game I have ever played in and is sure to attract a very tough field. I will be in Las Vegas for two weeks and there are plenty of side tournaments on offer. Not only that but me and my dad are going to see Aerosmith at the MGM Grand Garden Arena which should be awesome.

Well it ain’t easy, livin’ like ya wanna, and it’s so hard to find peace of mind, but hopefully a big score is round the corner waiting for me. I will probably take a short break from poker and do some volunteer work then dive back in and see if I can find that big score in Las Vegas. ♠

After spending a year sponsored by Paddy Power Poker through their Sole Survivor promotion, Ian Simpson went on to win the 2013 Irish Poker Open to take home €265,000 euros. He currently plans on doing some work in schools in between travelling the tournament circuit and writing for Card Player Magazine. You can find him on twitter @IanSimpsonPoker

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