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EPT Dublin 2004

On my final full day in Dublin, I decided to see more of the city and sample the jovial Irish culture. Having had a good day I headed to the casino just before the end of the supposed registration close. Paid the 165 euro entry fee and randomly picked seat 1 table 1, exactly the same as the first tournament. Fortunately the guy let me change and I picked up seat 2 table 6, which was a matter of metres away. One by one my opponents came. The first, sat in seat 3, I thought it was Eddie Irvine the former F1 driver but he turned out to be Scottish not Irish. Next to him was a scruffy looking young Irish guy, baseball cap, sunglasses and headphones. Then a mischievous looking middle aged Irish man. Next to him was an empty chair who's occupant later turned out to be a red haired Irish guy with a pony-tail who had split the Omaha first prize two days before. Then it was the blonde American guy who had an argument on with the Asian guy the day before. Next to him was an old lady, it might have been Beryl from Late Night Poker, but I didn't recognise and cannot be sure whether it was her. In seat 9, was a guy with a cap, but my view of him was obstructed by the dealer. The starting chip amount was T2000, you had to lose all of your chips before you could re-buy which seemed very strange as it didn't help increase the prize pool, there was also no add on period which caused a minor debacle.

The action began, the two players on my left started off very aggressively, alternatively raising 6 or 7 times the BB from early position. After about a round of play, in strolls a Chinese man with waitress in tow carrying his plate of noodles. Willie Tann sat down on my right, didn't bother to play just slurped his noodles on a small table directly to my right. I could feel his presence he had an exceptionally warm aura. After he had finished eating, he sat in, the long pony-tailed Omaha tournament came at this time, and there was a very friendly atmosphere at the table. I picked up pocket jacks in the BB, the button raised T400 and I went all in for T1600. Quickly called, I was up against kings and the flop produced a king. "CHIPS", T2000 brought over. I rummaged around in my pocket and produced a couple of 5 (really Euros but they hadn't updated them yet), flipped my net in to the other pocket and produced the goods. Changed by the cheeky looking Irish guy. The next half hour was pure comedy.

It all started when the Omaha winner had his pocket rockets cracked by A 4 all in pre-flop by the Scottish guy who made a straight, A to 5 with a 4 on the turn. He had less than T100 left and was on the big blind. Folded around to Willie Tann who put in a big raise, there was no more action and the cards are turned over, 23 off suit for Willie and Ace King for pony-tail. Willie sits there laughing as does most of the table, the laughter got louder when the flop produced a 2 and the hands didn't improve. A few hands later pony-tail had his Ace King beaten by KQ all in pre-flop. After having refilled again and a 3 x BB raise with Ace Queen from early position by me he raises all in again, I call. Low flop with 2 diamonds, diamond, hand in the pocket when I make the nut flush with a diamond on the river. I sit back down, he smiles at me then hangs his head in a playful manner and then calls for chips, and he did this no less than 6 times during the re-buy period, just gambling with mid suited connectors trying to get some chips. By now Willie Tann was raising every hand and losing nearly all of them, he was in competition with pony-tail for most re-buys.

The loud speaker came on and the softly spoken blonde lady announced that there now would be an add-on period. A couple of people (especially the Scottish guy) were outraged by this. I had never experienced this occurrence before so it didn't really bother me and at this stage I was perhaps a little below the average stack so it would have been a benefit. The next hand of significance I played was 3 handed with the two kamikaze players, pony-tail and Willie Tann. I had Ace King suited under the gun and raised 4BB's, the flop was low, checked by Willie Tann, I had been taken a long time over most of my decisions and I decided to check because I was in the middle of a re-raise or a check raise I was pretty sure of that. Pony-tail pushes all in, Willie Tann is not really paying attention and folded, I had no inclination of what the player had as I had not seen him go all in on the flop before. It was an easy fold as I had around T5000 chips and it would have cost half to call. I mention this hand as the next round when I am first to act, I pick up KK, once more a raise of 4BB. Pony-tail calls and Willie Tann makes up his blind. The flop was 245, checked, I pause and check hoping to induce a steal from pony-tail, he checks. Big mistake by me, maybe not as the turn produced a king to make my set. Willie decides he's had enough of the weak play and goes all in for around T1500, I pause and flat call hoping for some action from pony-tail, but he quickly mucked. I turn over my kings and Willie shows TJ, no draws just a stone cold bluff. He turned to me and said, "Nice hand". I don't think he was too bothered as he seemed to enjoy pulling his wad of Euros out of his pocket.

Prior to the first break Howard Plant was moved to the table as players were changing tables at a quick pace. By this time the two guys who were on my left had been knocked out, I can't recall the hands but I was not involved. The only action at the table involved Pony-tail going all-in most hands in an attempt to get some chips which he eventually did with 78 h versus KJ s. The re-buy period finished.

Returning from the break, I find Lucy Rokach seated on my left, from her appearances on TV, I gathered she was fearlessly aggressive bordering on reckless when it came to playing cards. Her stay was short lived as she soon was on the short end of the stick, by being in the big blind she was moved to a different table after 15 minutes. I believe her husband was on the table she was originally set to go on, however after protesting that this would be unfair to her competitors, managed to swap with Howard Plant who was also being shifted. With the human traffic slowing down, I picked up pocket rockets in the big blind. Everybody folded to Willie Tann, who raised as if it's his duty. I made the call, hiding my hand; I really should have raised due to his aggro nature but wanted to trap this masterful player, aptly nicknamed Mr. Miyagi. The flop was quite scary, KJT with 2 diamonds, he fired out a pot sized bet and went into the tank (pretend). I had to find out were I truly stood and raised 3 times his bet, committing just under half of my stack to the pot. He rubs his eyes, places his hand on his forehead and sighs. My tight play previously hampered any chances of getting a call, at the time I didn't really want one. He mucks success! Talk about inner fire, an insane feeling rushed in to my body, my brain evidently triggered the production of some reward enzyme, ahh sweet satisfaction.

After this point I can't remember any hands until I was moved to a new table, this included Jac Arama. He had amassed 50K+ in chips, when I was around average or just above at 12K. Pony-Tail was also there, on Jac Arama's right in seat 4, Lucy Rokach was in seat 3 and the rest were all unknowns. I was in seat 9. The tournament had rapidly increasing blinds, every 40 minutes. I tightened up trying to get a feel for the table before moving up gears. Inevitably I went in to my shell as Jac Arama started murdering the table. The blinds had increased 400/800 when under the gun, a really young Irish guy with odour problems went all-in for around T2500. I picked up AJ hearts in the big blind and added the extra T1700ish to my blind. The cards were flipped over, he had 99. The flop was K95, making him a set, the turn was another heart but the river was fruitless and he took down the pot. Down to about T9000. I picked up AT in mid-position a round later and raised to T3200, bad mistake as it was Jac Arama's big blind and he was likely to play any two cards, he called. The flop came 9 high and he instantly put me all-in, hmmm quite a quandary. Leaving me with under T6000 after the pre-flop raise was a big mistake, a push would have been the correct play. Anyway, perhaps my AT may be ahead, I decided for a better spot to try and double up. Arama showed 92 off suit, which brought a surprised smirk to my face. The reason he didn't trap check because I had checked a hand the whole way to the river with top pair earlier, hoping to release the serial bluffer, who resisted temptation and checked down his ace high.

The end was nigh as the blinds made there way around to my dilapidated stack, I received all rags and didn't have the courage to push without a semi-decent hand. Ace Seven off suit, big hand :), I felt it was time to make a stand, only to run in to the tightest player in the world who picked up pocket kings. No help on board, and I walked the plank again, out in 25th but happy to have enjoyed a great night of poker.

EPT Dublin 2004 souvenir, Merrion Casino Poker Chip

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