Monday, November 9, 2009

IDP Deepstack Classic Festival Report

After weeks of preparation, drumming for the festival, organising Satts, dealing with emails, texts, unavailable committee members... I was shattered when the Irish Deaf Poker’s Annual Deepstack Classic festival weekend finally descended upon me!

To address some of my critics first: I accept that hosting this event at Halloween was a bad idea – the event clashed with other Deaf Community events; Swedish and UK bank holiday weekend (which resulted in less players attending from abroad) and a lot of our ‘playing daddies’ assigned to Halloween Trick n Treating duties that they were forbidden to dodge by their Missus... Anyway I’ve promised IDP players that next year we will either push the festival back to early October or out to mid-November. The cost was another issue – at €70+5 the amount of complaints over the ‘high price’ was unreal! Deaf poker players are spoilt with all the low games on offer, IDP will always host one ‘big buy-in game’ to generate a huge pot worth playing for – and I am not going to change this. Swedish players turned up their noses at our Irish Deaf Open €40 game - they want to see the buy-in raised! Nowhere else will we get a professional dealer dealt game with food at the break for a low €5 registration that Denise and the wonderful crew in the Fitzwilliam Casino put on for us - we owe the poker team in the Fitzwilliam a huge thank you for the great service they gave IDP last weekend.

There was a total of 54 names registered to play the main event, but on the day 43 players turned up; the online list never exceeded 41 at any stage - several names dropped in/out while others would only agree to confirm at last minute. This was a disappointing reduction from the majestic high of 75 players we had last year. I wanted to open this competition to the general public i.e. non-deaf/non-signing players but the committee refused to allow me the opportunity to advertise... probably wouldn’t have gotten much more players with the tremendous Halloween parties/games on offer in Voodoo/Westbury/Poker Room anyway, but the €3,000 prize pool was well appreciated in the end. Another disappointment was the lack of female players – we have no less than 12 female IDP poker players on our member list. But I was the only one who showed up to play, along with Sweden’s Linda Hurtig – two females in a field of 41 men!

The festival started for me on Thursday night - some of the Swedish players were looking for a NL cash game. The Voodoo happily accomodated their request and we all sat down to a juicy €1/2 NL cash game with the pot hitting €200 nearly every hand. One of the Swedish players (Stefan) had €2750k at one point... I had AA in SB sitting on €250; one raiser in MP makes it €10, Another Swedish player (Christer)on button with €400 odd re-raises to €20. I re-raised to €100. MP folds and Christer insta-calls. Flop came 345 rainbow, I bet €100 Christer calls without hestition. Ace on turn look good for me, shiping my remaining €50 he insta-calls - I table my aces and he groans showing 77 then a horrible 6 comes on the river to gives him a poxy straight for €500 pot(!) Meh! I called it a night there and then...

Friday night started with a brilliant Team event in the IDP Card Room in the Deaf Club, which I was TD’ing – the structure was simple: Four tables were set up to host 10 players playing Sit-n-Go, with 4.5k starting stack and 20 minute blinds. Team points were awarded to each player’s exit place from their respective table. E.g. 1st player out got one team point, 3rd got 3, while the winner got 10 points. Paying €10 for each table prize and €10 to the team pot – all the players had two chances to win. We had 9 teams (the 10th team dropped out at last minute ) vying for the €260 team pot that eventually got taken down by the Swedish PTG Team lead by Richard Johansson. The Wexford Vikings team lead by Mark McLaughlin with Billy Dickens, Brian Griffin and Paul Waldron came a very close respectable second for €100. Total rocks they all were! As the laggiest players limped and called with horrendous hands, PTG and Wexford Vikings teams played skillfully inching their way silently into the final ¾ then woke up to dominated their respective tables. Excellent game plan boys! The Dublin lot should be taking notes from youse!

Sadly the Deepstack Main Event with 15k starting stack and 20 minute blinds (In my defence - the IDP committee refused to allow me increase this, next year I want the blinds increased to 30 minutes – no excuses please!) did not favour the rock players as we had hoped. It was the day of the LAGs.

Glen da Fish... LOL! He must have signed a pact with the devil; he did not miss the board ONCE playing on my first table! I give you an example: Glen was in BB. MP was a total Rock who was dangerously short, raised pre with AKs to 4.5xBB, CO calls with A10s. Glen has been calling ALL the raises if he is in SB/BB with any two. Flop comes AQ10, Glen checks, MP raises, CO re-raises all-in (he barely has Glen covered) and Glen CALLS with ... wait for this.... Q7o then hits another Q on the turn with to eliminate two players and make him chipleader before the end of level two (!) Glen da Fish played like this all day and ended up coming 3rd while one of the tightest uber-rock deaf player Michael Kelliher crashes out in the very first level to scoop the ‘Stefan Weitman Wooden Spoon Award’... WTF!? Poker gods have a sick sense of humour haven’t they?!

I had Albert Kenny dealing on my table for most of the day, laughing all the way to the river watching the play! He told me off for folding a couple of times when I mentioned what I had ‘That would have been an instant shove for me’ but then agreed that shoving wouldn’t have stopped these players who clearly hit better hands with the board. E.g. I was down to 16BB at one point and raised 4xBB in CO with 88, two limpers behind including old Andy Smith and Patrick from Limerick. Glen calls (quell surprise he was SB anyway...) Patrick calls and then Andy looks coolly around for a moment then announces ‘All-In!’ Urgh! I just knew I was miles behind, Andy is a dangerous player known for limp-re-raising with monster hands, I folded... Glen flat calls with A2o and Patrick folds (telling us afterwards he had J2), Andy tables QQ and hits his trips on flop of J8Q.

Next hand I get AA, raising to 4xBB with intention on pushing to a re-raise or after flop, I get two callers. Nicholas Dowling (SB) and Christy Parson (BB) – both decent players; flop comes Q high all clubs, both check and I just thought that’s it – I don’t have flush case Ace but hey, I’m down <9bb. style=""> Nico stares me down before folding but to my horror Christy insta-calls leaving himself with less than 3BB with KcQx for top pair flush draw... and thankfully the board bricks and I’m back in the game. I had AA no less than four times that day... a record for me and this was the only time my aces held... the other 3 times: they got cracked sickeningly. Raising with AA twice more, I got called by Glen da Fish holding K3o in MP once and another time with Patrick (one half of the mad Limerick Twins) on 105o (‘I had the button’ was his excuse...) and both hit two pair with the board that appeared. Meh!

Continuing to struggle, I barely held on with Glen da Fish and the Limerick Twins on my table calling all my raises with ATC all day. The final two tables had been playing for an age - I was playing short-stack-ninja for two hours before my eventual defeat. I shoved a lot with marginal holdings that I was willing to gamble with but got no callers just took down the blinds to keep me going for another orbit.

Apart from the cracked aces I played one hand really badly against Glen da Fish holding Ad10d for a nut-flush/straight draw on a KdQd9x 8x 2x board and praying for a miracle diamond or any jack to come. Glen check-called my flop bet then check-raised my bet on the turn which I called only to fold to his all-in river bet. He flashed K8. Should have folded to the re-raise... meh! That pot cost me a lot of valuable chips that I had just won in a sweet triple up 2 hands previous. Managing to outlast the Limerick twins, I went out in 13th place (wholly appropriate for a Halloween Game don’t ya think! LOL!) Shoving UTG with QJ (<5bb) style=""> Oh, Glen da Fish boasted afterwards how he would have ‘won’ that pot had he called... LOL!

After my exit, both tables played 5/6 handed for an age... then all at once there was three all-ins on one table AND an all-in and a call on the other tables simultaneously! So the final table started with 7 players. With payout favouring the top 5 players it was agreed among the final seven to take money from 1st, 2nd and 3rd place to create a 6th and 7th place €100 payout each. Starting the final table was Ivan Gryzlov (Lithuania) chipleader on 159k; Glen da Fish coming close 2nd with 124k; Justin Smith (Irish Deaf Open Winner) on 113k; Frank Grace on 80k approx; a very short Geoff Foy with 20k; Colm O’Connor playing with 26k and Wayne Reid on 60k. Wayne and Colm didn’t last too long with Frank and Ivan chipping away at them, while Justin accepted 5th place prize of €250 gracefully, conceding his flush to a two pair turned house.

My money was on Ivan Gryzlov to take it down – for a novice player who only started playing poker this year; it is obvious that he has worked hard on improving his game studying the various aspects of poker. It was a treat to watch him play solid-aggro all day ending up on the final table as chipleader before losing a huge pot to Frank Grace then bowing out in 4th for €325 with a set-over-set hand involving the biggest pot of the tournament to give Geoff Foy 70% of total chips in play...

Glen started leaking chips when his winning spree suddenly grounded to a screeching halt on the final table and only barely folded his way into 3rd place. Poor Glen, who was swelling with pride all day at his ‘successful game play’ all day, started to look pathetic towards the end when his game bottomed out on him. The €425 should console him big time.

Frank is one of the best LAG Deaf players capable of using position and stack control to manipulate the table successfully, he is well known and respected on the Tallaght poker scene. Frank played the final table in our first Deepstack Classic last year and came 2nd – he got to the final table 4th in chips, almost grabbed the chiplead during headsup only to be narrowly beaten into 2nd place for €700 again! UL mate – your big win is coming...

Geoff Foy was a well deserving winner for €1100, for a solid rock player to emerge as winner on a final table after starting with the shortest stack and outlast four LAGs plus two solid chipleaders is no mean feat! His cheeky all-in out of character bluff with J4o to push Frank off a huge pot holding flush draw or middle pair when down 5 handed was legendary stuff! I think this was the first time Geoff ever won an IDP game! Geoff and his brother Stuart play all the IDP games swapping % of each other – it is usually Stuart that cashes more than Geoff so happy days for Stuart to get a decent win back off Geoff for a change! WP Sir!

I heard great reports from several Deaf players who ventured to the cash tables afterwards and turned a sweet profit... Nice one! Congratulations to all who cashed!

I wasn't so successful - popping into the Voodoo afterwards got sucked-out really badly... I had AA (my 4th in 8 hours – what are the odds?!) raising to pot UTG+1 I get 4 callers – BB & UTG checked, I lead for a pot-bet post-flop on a K42 board with two suits and face 3 all-ins I insta-called for a monster €400+ pot (I had 45% of my money in that pot already!) one chasing flush draw, another for a gutshot and the BB holding a poxy 42o takes it down... Really sucks playing AA in pot-limit! I got up from the table totally disenchanted and angry with poker. Looking back through my blog for this year - I’ve been playing a consistent losing streak – even with all the self evaluations, re-evaluations, pullbacks and the odd small cashes: I’m down big time and starting to lose faith in my game.

Time for a good few weeks break methinks!