Tag Archives: Dara O’Kearney

Unibet Open London (Part 1)

7 Mar

I was very excited about the Unibet Open London Leg and had been looking forward to it since my return from their smashing stop in Bucharest last November.

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I was glad to learn that the festival was going to be hosted at the Grosvenor Casino better known as “The Vic” which is my favourite casino in London and my local poker room I visit on almost a weekly basis.

I am fond of this venue for a number of reasons; it is usually very well run and has a great floor staff , the vibe at the tables are friendly & welcoming.

The casino itself is placed in a very central location on Edgware Road surrounded by a vast number of restaurants & coffee shops, and only 10 minutes walk away from all the hustle & bustle of the world famous Bond & Oxford Streets.

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The poker room at The Vic

I had no doubt The Vic was going to be a big hit with the new visitors to London for the Unibet Open.

My own Unibet Open London experience started by me heading to the Hilton Hotel where everyone I know & previously met in Bucharest was staying.

It was a great night catching up with friends and meeting new people too but I was the most excited about seeing Dara, Dave and Ian and having a celebratory drink together to toast their success on officially becoming the new Unibet Ambassadors.

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Ian Simpson (left), Dara O’Kearney & David K Lappin

Congrats once again guys; all 3 of you are very kind, friendly and fun characters as well as very skilled poker players and I believe you are going to be the perfect representatives for Unibet brand.

I headed to the Vic on Wednesday. The place was buzzing on my arrival; there were satellites to the main event and cash games running, also there were last minute prep work being done for the invitational eSports & The Ambassadors Sit&Go’s.

It was truly great atmosphere all around and I enjoyed being a social butterfly once again:)

I ended up meeting a few professional online gamers including the European Hearthstone Champion Thijs Molendijk and the eventual winner of the eSports Battle Royale – Alan Widmann.

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Alan Widmann

All the guys were friendly and approachable regardless of their huge fame in the complex world of gaming (admission here- my knowledge of the world of eSports was zero prior to this evening), so it was interesting getting some insight into their world and understanding some of the parallels with online poker.

Then I got approached by Marc Convey to join him in the commentary booth for the Ambassadors Sit&Go which I happily agreed to.

Marc is always a fun person to hang around with and I was excited about bringing different perspective; female charm and some technical analysis to the table;)

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Enjoying commentary stint with Marc:)

The line up for this event was pretty incredible with many very talented & experienced players with staggering live results under their belts.

The Swedish online sensation Viktor Blom , Romanian superstar Dan Murariu and the Irish legend Dara O’Kearney to name a few. I was looking forward to watching them play some great poker.

My bet for the win was on my close friend Dara; he had the most final table experience and is one of the best ICM specialists in the world. I knew he was likely to play a mistake free session.

There was a £10,000 prizepool with top 3 places getting paid 5k,3k & 2k effectively.

Unibet was also offering some great odds on the players to win or bust first, and I placed a couple of bets on my favourites in each category.

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Unibet Ambassadors Sit&Go

I had a great time and some good banter with Marc in the booth; we even had some Sambucas and managed to send a round of tequila shots to all participants on the feature table:))

The shots were kindly accepted and I was pleased to see the players interacting with each other and having fun (drinking beer, eating bananas and sharing a box of Ferrero:):)

Congrats to Charlotte who eventually outlasted all the storied competitors at the table to take the tournament down.

Here’s the link to replay, the Ambassadors Sit&Go and guest commentary by me starts at 6 hours or so in the stream

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Ian & banana action (left), Charlotte and Espen

It ended up being another late night for me with lots of poker chat, laughter and drinks with both old friends and new.

I took Thursday off to catch up on my sleep, do some yoga and prepare myself a little for the Main Event day 1b the following day. I wanted my head to be clear and feel in the zone for the big game although I have to admit it was very had to reject all the invites to head out.

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Hanging out with my new friends:)

Friday – the Main Event. The Unibet Open always attracts a diverse and international player field which usually leads to a fun atmosphere at the tables and all around the festival. This stop was no exception and there were players from Sweden, Holland, Russia and even Singapore on my starting table.

This event has a superb blind structure; with a 30k starting stack and 1 hour clock I was looking to take my time to settle in and profile the players.

Unfortunately poker didn’t go to plan for me and from the very start I was chipping down rather than chipping up:(

I lost a chunky pot with AQcc when flopping top pair +backdoor flush & straight draws, actually turning a nut flush draw and annoyingly bricking the river. I’m pretty sure the had me outflopped so it was an easy fold on a paired river.

Then I picked up KK in the cutoff and elected to open x2.2, the btn called and a very friendly but super aggro Russian player in the BB decided to squeeze 3bet.

I was 70bb deep at that point and my options were to either call or 4bet with the intention to get it in. The only time I would ever consider flatting in this spot if the player who re-raised was very tight & would only be ever doing this for value only with the very top of his range (the same hand or aces).

However noting that my Russian opponent had proved happy to get AKoff all in pre-flop for for 150bb earlier, he was certainly the kind of player I would be looking to play for stacks with a pair of kings.

So I 4bet, he 5bet shipped, I snapped and to my horror he rolled over a pair of Aces…sigh..

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GG Main Event

It was a very disappointing exit from the tournament I was looking forward for so long but I knew there was more fun to be had and was looking forward to playing some side events and attending the players party next 🙂 TBC…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unibet Open Bucharest

20 Dec

Unibet Open Bucharest was the best poker trip of 2016 for me & yes, just in case you are wondering, that includes the WSOP run too 🙂

Here’s why I enjoyed the whole Unibet Open experience so much:

Destination:

I’d been to Romania previously, but never to Bucharest and I can say honestly it surprised me! It was a cool city with lots to offer.

With a fascinating history (like everywhere some good/ some bad) it was rich in architecture with some lovely old buildings in the old town and of course the hugely imposing Palace of the Parliament which was once the biggest private residence in the world!

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Bucharest’s Old Town

The day after the Ladies Battle Royale ( see previous blog) I spent exploring the city with with Dara O’Kearney and his lovely wife Mireille.

The vibe all around was friendly and the food in delicatessens tasty and the shopping centres pretty expansive.

When a shopping centre has a roller coaster and ice skating rink you may want to limit the food and wine.

Of course we failed at both and after some tasty Lebanese cuisine we headed to stock up on Prosecco for the hotel parties ( we knew there would be parties:) in the local supermarket.

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Enjoying Lebanese with Dara & Mireille

I must confess to a strange fascination with exploring supermarkets in foreign cities across the globe.

The array of different and tasty food, different local choices and people watching is always fun. 

Confession here- favourite supermarket from trips- ‘Kirk’s’ in Grand Cayman; least favourite Mercado 2, Havana… anyway I digress….

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Supermarket in Havana

Other highlights from the day was continual good food, cheap taxis and wine, decent city walks, great company and like any good Lithuanian appreciates readily available beetroot salads…

We were also to discover Bucharest has a fun party nightlife, but more on that later…

Hotel:

It is always nice when you turn up to your hotel and it’s a cheeky 5 star number and the tournament is also being hosted there! The Marriott Bucharest is a stunning hotel with spacious rooms and a good array of facilities.

Poker stressing you out, there’s a spa and pool. Want to keep your body agile as well as your mind, there’s a fitness centre. Hungry, 5 restaurants. Sports betting and want to watch the match- there’s a bar for that also.

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The indoor pool

All poker players know the immediate aftermath of an exit from a tournament is a depressing time, but the environment can sure help pick you up and it did ( no spoiler here) when I ultimately got knocked out.

Basically the opposite of walking out of the Amazon Room at the Rio, thirsty with no decent food nearby and the cab queues…

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One of the bars & chill out zone

Breakfast was amazing and depending on your personal time choice was available at 11am and also if you wanted a really early breakfast on the way home from a particularly big night… well the Romanian KFC one street away from the hotel did a great line of tasty dishes, complete with the next day shame of in room packaging and remaining cold chip 🙂

The Main Event:

With two starting days I decided on day 1b on the Friday. Firstly it gave me a day off to explore Bucharest prior and secondly I prefer Friday players in poker tournaments- it’s always fun with a higher proportion of recreational players playing and their table chat is usually more entertaining. 

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Feature table

Anyway, once I’d sat down to play it was obvious it was shaping up to be the biggest Unibet Open ever and with 603 entries it was!

The generous guarantee was comfortably smashed. With a €1,100 buy in and 30k starting stack, plenty of play was guaranteed with a 1 hour clock.

My starting table included 2 Israelis, 3 Romanians and Gaelle Garcia Diaz who had played in the Unibet Ladies Battle Royale. It was a fun table with plenty of banter, as a minority at the table us ladies were welcomed and somewhat of a novelty.

We were the feature table after a couple of levels, with plenty of action and also a couple of players really determined to get action whatever the cost to their stack!

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Just after busting the Main Event – wine time:)

I was card dead so grinding away, as I ended up doing the majority of the day. A,10 costing me chips vs. KJ sb/bb and a number of other shoddy run- outs for me.

With efficient friendly dealers it always seemed fun regardless and you learn not to get frustrated if spots and hands aren’t coming your way.

Later in the day I was on the feature table again, this time with Renè Dif (vocalist and writer from the band Aqua). 

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Rene Dif on the right

A lively, friendly character I was able to forgive him for the polarising smash hit Barbie Girl from the mid 90s. Polarising because my 13 year old self loved it, but my older self now isn’t so sure…sorry Renè 🙂

After a long days play my ultimate exit was pretty frustrating. I squeezed jammed from the BB with AJ and got called by the early position raiser. I was in great shape against his J8dd but the run out did not play ball and a flush sent me to the rail.

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Traian Bostan – Main Event winner

Have no fear though, the lounge area and drinks were waiting along with a number of unfortunate bust buddies (Dara, Ian Simpson, David Lappin & Kat Arnsby to mention a few) and we had a good time there chatting and drinking until around 4am.

Congrats to Traian Bostan for an awesome performance and the 100k winner’s prize. Nice to see a local lifting the trophy.

Side Events/Fun tournaments:

Busting the main didn’t mean that poker was over for the trip. There was a strong array of side events including a 6-max tournament, PLO, Turbo, Bounty and high roller event.

There were also satellites for the main event and high roller prior to these for live players in Bucharest to join those who satellited online.

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The Unibet Community side event

The side events had the continued friendly feel I’d come to expect on the trip. I especially enjoyed the Unibet Community side event.

It was free to enter as long as you were a community member and lots of fun. With drinks on offer and bounties on various people’s heads I met new interesting community regulars and Unibet staff members also.

Here’s the link to the Unibet Community  if you wish to be a part of this fun experience on the next Unibet Open stop. 

Ambience and Atmosphere:

My earlier points will mean it comes as no surprise to discover the general atmosphere across the events was  fun and friendly.

This has been lacking in recent tournaments I’ve played elsewhere and it reminded of the funner days of poker when I first started to fall in the love with the game.

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Carl & Robin having some poker fun:)

Plenty of banter and people enjoying a beverage, and a lot less Beats headphones and scowls from jaded professionals.

It was nice to be congratulated on my ladies Battle Royale win from complete strangers, and indeed make new friends.

The poker room itself was a beautiful Grand Ballroom, just outside the main lounge. It had plenty of space and places to chill and rail mates.

When busting there was always someone new who wanted to have a chat and I think the community feel has helped everyone feel more inclined to approach others.

We even got to do a Poker Mannequin Challenge featuring over 300 players, staff and media!

 

Coverage and Streams:

You don’t have to take my word for it on the Unibet Open you can stream and enjoy the banter and coverage throughout. Whether watching the live stream of one of the events, or catching up on Pokernews updates from the diligent Frank Op de Woerd, you can always get a good insight into what is happening.

Marc Convey and David Vanderheyden were responsible for the live stream and they always bring the entertainment with witty and insightful commentary and observations.

I was lucky enough to join Marc in the commentary booth along with Dara for a period of streaming for the feature table.

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Marc Convey on the left & Carl, the champ of the Unibet staff event;)

Concurrent to our comments, there is a live chat section suitable for railers, community members, hand opinions, exclusive Unibet Freerolls and even the occasional ( quickly deleted 🙂 trolls…

I enjoyed being part of the commentary albeit briefly and really appreciated how difficult it is to keep the banter and fun flowing so feel free to check Marc and David doing just this on some of the replays on the Unibet Twitch Channel.

Entertainment and the Players Party:

As anyone knows who regularly attends poker tournaments, there are plenty of players who enjoy socialising, a few beers and cocktails, or even just drowning their sorrows/ or indeed celebrating with friends!

With welcome drinks and cocktails as well as live music – Unibet got the ball rolling for all players.

The highlight of the weekend’s fun being the Players Party on the Saturday night with coaches laid on from the hotel to the venue- the aptly named Players Club.

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With Kat & Linnea from the Ladies Event

With drinks vouchers provided for players I had more joy spinning these up from the 2 vouchers I arrived with to a mysterious 13 vouchers remaining in my purse the next day. I’m still bemused by this as I’d had quite a few already on arrival..

The club itself was pretty spectacular with a massive luxury interior, great music and some of the sexiest dancers you could wish to see. I had a great time dancing (see no.2 in favourite past-times) and fun with the girls.

My evening was somewhat derailed after having to down a massive Absinth shot following losing a bet, but a vomit inducing trip to the toilet resolved this.

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Player Club

The club was still rocking when we left around 4am, open until 6am. I told you the Bucharest locals like to party…

Final Thoughts:

Unibet and their staff did a great job in running a successful and fun event. All the Unibet team members were approachable and interacted with the players throughout the event. 

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Unibet Team

Dealers, TD’s and support staff all did a fantastic job of making this poker festival a huge success. 2017 promises to be bigger and better for the Unibet Open. The first main event is in London at the end of February.

I look forward to seeing many of you there for another exciting & successful Unibet stop 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unibet Ladies Battle Royale

9 Dec

I was kindly invited by Unibet to participate in their Ladies Battle Royale which was an invitation-only side event and part of the Unibet Open Bucharest stop.

I was very excited and looking forward to this event as I’m a big fan of ladies only tournaments as I believe it is a great way to promote the game as well as attract more female players to poker; plus they are always so very enjoyable 🙂

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Unibet Ladies Battle Royale

The concept for the event was pretty simple; it was a 9 handed sit & go, with 6,000 prizepool and top 3 places paid.

What made this Ladies Challenge fascinating & unique is that it had a great mix of poker players, poker enthusiasts & female gamers alike from very different backgrounds .

There were 7 different European nationalities represented at the event with each female bringing their unique playing style and personality to the table. There was no doubt this was going to be a great fun poker experience!

Here’s a link to a mini bio of all participants: Unibet Ladies Battle Roayale 2016

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Despite most of the girls meeting each other for the first time on the day of the challenge, unsurprisingly there was a lively atmosphere at the table from the very start. All of us were chatting and joking away whilst learning more about each other.

A great structure of a 20k starting stack & 40min levels ensured that there would be lots of play and there was no rush to aggressively accumulate chips or flip for your tournament life early doors.

I find it is always such a good confidence boost to have a great start on the day, which I was lucky to have on this occasion; I got allocated the best starting seat at the table – the button, and then I scooped the first pot too.

I felt great and it seemed like a good time to order a glass of wine. This may have been a recurring theme through the game 😉

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Focused – prob thinking of a 3bet:)

My strategy for this event was rather conservative in the early stages and to aim to gradually build my stack whilst avoiding high variance spots.

I felt that I had a post-flop advantage versus the majority of players, an exception being a very talented & experienced Romanian poker player Luciana Manolea, who was sitting to my immediate right.

The plan was to avoid any major early confrontations with her unless I had a premium starting hand and play a wider range of hands versus the rest of the table.

Unfortunately that meant I had to hold myself back from light 3betting which was especially hard to adhere to from the SB v Luciana’s button opens but that’s ok as I was saving those moves for the Main Event instead:)

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Linnea on the left & the runner-up Kristi on the right

All the girls were lovely and they played well, however I was especially impressed with Linnea Maria from Norway, who despite having very little poker experience showed some very strong & ballsy moves and was enjoying herself to the max.  I think she has certainly lots of poker potential:)

We were having so much fun and time was flying by so quickly, before I knew it we were on the the money bubble with 4 players left.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Unibet Ladies Battle Royale format compared to some other ladies events I played in the past was that it was being streamed live on Twitch with a 15min delay & live commentary.

With Marc Convey and David Vanderheyden providing witty and insightful commentary, as well as Unibet promotions for viewers and an active chat box of banter and predictions I’m hoping this kind of format will attract more and more poker players into the game and feel part of a growing community which Unibet is fostering.

You can find the replay of the Ladies Challenge and many other fun broadcasts on the Unibet Twitch Channel.

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Dehlia & I being silly off the tables:)

It was also a great feeling knowing that you had lots of family and friends railing and bringing some run good to the stream. This was also an extra motivation for me to keep on playing my A game and try my utmost to win.

We were 4 handed for quite a while before Dehlia de Jong from Netherlands ended up being the bubble girl. I was sad to see her go in 4th; I thought she played well and got unlucky to run top pair into 2pair (sb v bb) to bust. I liked her as a person a lot and I feel we really bonded throughout the game so I was secretly railing her to cash.

Although I barely lost the chip lead throughout the whole tournament, when 3 handed the stacks were becoming a bit shallower & play much faster.

The fact that I was covering both of them enabled me to play more hands and put max pressure on my opponents for their tournaments lives. I could also afford to run a couple of bluffs, even if they didn’t always work 😉

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Maret – 3rd place finisher

Both Estonian girls seemed to have adjusted to short handed play rather well and were playing aggressively also, especially against each other.

I ended up taking out Maret Komarova (the Unibet Ladies Challenge last years winner) in 3rd with my pocket 9,9 v her 10,6 button shove. It was a nice time to pick up a hand and hold.

Heads up lasted just 2 hands- fortunately my close friend and study buddy Dara O’Kearney  had just arrived from the airport in time for the victory. I got it all in with a big chip lead with A,5 suited against J,8 and busted Kristi Kirs in second and I was the winner!

Well done to both girls for cashing and thanks for being a great company at the table ♥ Here is a little youtube video of the Ladies Battle Royale

I was really pleased to win the event and also bag a Romanian flag for the Hendonmob. I hope the Twitch stream made for interesting viewing and gave a good insight into how much fun can be had in the relaxed fun atmosphere that Unibet had created for this tournament.

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Winner winner 🙂

I really hope the ladies invitational in some capacity will become a regular feature on the Unibet Open tour. Anything that encourages women of all abilities to play poker can only be a good thing in this hugely male dominated game.

I spent the evening celebrating the win with (yet more wine:) and a nice meal with friends. It had a been a memorable and fun way to start the trip and I was looking forward to the main event after a day off exploring Bucharest.

All this and more in my next blog covering the rest of the awesome Bucharest Unibet Open leg….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

European Nations Cup 2013

24 Apr

I received a call from Barny Boatman a few weeks ago informing me about upcoming European Nations Cup event in Cyprus & kindly asking me if I would be interested in joining his team. How exciting!!

European Nations Cup 2013It meant swapping rainy London for sunny Paphos for a weekend in order to play poker against some of the best poker players in the world.

I was really honoured and proud to be a part of Team UK & couldn’t wait to contribute to its success (hopefully:)

Now just a little intro into what the European Nations Cup is all about.

It is a yearly event being hosted by the International Federation of Poker (IFP) with an intention to promote poker as a skill game and a mind sport. In order to achieve the most accurate results, IFP uses the unique format of Match Poker:

– 6 players per table play 4 sessions in total (66 hands each session)

– Every player on each table receives an identical order of cards (dealt electronically to players’ smartphones and the tables’ community devices)

– Every new hand is being started with 10,000 chips

– Scoring is based on the aggregate chips won/lost by team on each hand. 14points being the max and 1 point being the min.

European Nations Cup 2013There were 14 teams from different countries participating in the European Nations Cup 2013 & competing for the first place trophy as well as the top 6 spots, which guaranteed a place in the final (Nations World Cup) in November.

I had a good feeling for the Team UK – which was led by Captain Barny Boatman and included Neil Channing, Ross Boatman, Karl Mahrenholz, Ben Roberts, Jerome Bradpiece  & me – not only because we had some of the most experienced & successful poker players in the UK, but because we had a good mix of players with different poker skills useful for the Match Poker format as well as possessing the right mindset and attitude towards teamwork.

All of us got on really well and were prepared to support each other & work our hearts out to make sure the team UK succeeded.

Hands down I was the least experienced player in my team and having not played in this kind of event before, I was very eager not to let anyone down. Once I found out I was playing a 6max 200bb deep game, I started practising online & improving my game by watching 6 handed cash game training videos online.

I felt they gave me a useful refresher into deep stack poker; more hand range knowledge and betting sizes players tend to incorporate into their game & treated it as a good warm up going into the Cyprus event.

Team Lunch

Team Lunch

After a 4.5 hour flight we have finally landed in Paphos & after checking in the beautiful Annabelle Hotel & grabbing a quick bite we were happily heading back to our rooms for some rest.

Friday was a glorious day and we took this opportunity to go for a wander by the seafront & try some local delicacies.

Ross & Jerome have decided it was a mixed seafood platter time! Cyprians seem to be extremely generous with food portions; After ordering our octopus, calamari & fish of the day combo we have also received breads, dips, olives and something pickled we couldn’t identify but what ever it was tasted great:)

We were making the most of the food & sun before heading back to the hotel for the opening ceremony, where everybody had an opportunity to try out the new technology (smartphones) to be used for the next day’s play and to officially meet the rest of the participating teams as well as check out the trophies.

Patriotism was running high even before the event was about to begin; some players were carrying their mini country flags around, the others were wearing clothing with national embroidery/branding or simply sticking to their own groups plotting the winning strategies even on an organised night out!

I think some of them were taking this too seriously- the action was yet to begin!

This did not apply to the UK team. After listening to a few of welcoming speeches by the event organisers & guests as well as fitting in even more tasty Cyprian food, our team enjoyed a fun evening by the pool taking some lessons from Jesse May how to win at Chinese Poker 🙂  They’d be plenty of time to get focused and serious the next day!

Teams competing - Day 1

Teams competing – Day 1

I started day 1, session 1 on table 6 & seat 5.

I had a Danish guy – Frederik Brink in seat 1, who was playing good aggressive poker and whom I ended up playing majority of my hands against.

Seat 2 was an Irish player Michael Graydon – who eventually won the best player of the tournament title, seat 3 was an Estonian player who was pretty quiet and only played a handful of hands in the first two sessions, seat 4 was a Spanish player who was probably the most aggressive player on the table and opened every second pot. I was in seat 5 & seat 6 was taken by a Lithuanian lady.

Because of pretty active table dynamics I ended up playing more hands than initially planned and when I did, I tried incorporating not only  the most obvious starting hands but a few holdings I would usually muck  in a typical MTT.

My reasoning behind this was that it was very likely that majority of the players on the other tables are going to fold those untraditional starting hands immediately,  or at least in the earlier sessions/stages of the game and thereby not make any points for the team, where I was going to try and go for the max scoring.

4 hours in and team UK was leading the way with top points. I was thrilled to bits!! After finding out the initial results, all of us gathered together to have a mini break & team lunch. We went over some of the hands played and tried to collate more information on the specific players & teams whilst trying to figure out their approach to the format.

Team standings at the end of Day 1

Team standings at the end of Day 1

After another few hours of playing we managed to finish the day 1 in third spot, which was only 7 points behind the Irish team & half point behind France. We were really chuffed with the outcome & a night out for the team enjoying Cyprian cuisine was in order!

We had a great night out on the Island, enjoying local cuisine & delicious ice cream for dessert (yes, they were so good that even the boys couldn’t resist having a scoop or two:)!)

It was good having a proper catch up with everyone & to bond better with the team. We made plans to meet 9am the next morning in order to look at some hand histories, which were meant to be sent through to the team captains the night before.

The availability of this kind of data could have possibly given a great insight into each opponent’s play on any given table/seat and could potentially be used to UK team’s advantage.

Unfortunately, due to some technical issues the HH data did not arrive in time to be reviewed in detail & discussed in group before session 3 was due to start. Regardless, captain’s orders were to stick to the same kind of play as the day before as it had been working so far & the situation was going to be re-assessed once session 3 ended & results were out.

In addition there was some re-structuring in the team and Karl Mahrenholz was called in to take my seat, whilst I rotated into the substitution spot.

This basically meant that I was free to enjoy the morning’s sun chilling by the pool & hang around the hotel with the other substitutes, but not too far away from the poker room, in case any of my team mates needed me for smoking breaks etc

European Nations Cup 2013

Break Time!

This has given me a great opportunity to do some networking & to meet some interesting people whilst testing out a few traditional Greek cold coffees – Frappe being my favourite!;)

It was lovely meeting Irish captain – Dara O’Kearney, who was gregarious & genuinely supportive of UK team all throughout. Also I managed to sneak in a passionate debate about Match Poker & it’s future with the President of IFP of Bosnia & Herzegovina – Djordje Lovric.

Before I knew it was time to head to the restaurant and meet my team for lunch. I was quick to learn that we did not have the best session and as a result slipped down to 7th place.

This was the first & the last time I noticed a tiny glimpse of worry in our captain’s demeanour.

Although not quite where we wanted to be it was not a disaster. All of the standings were pretty close in points and they could be easily changed for better after a number of hands.

There were a number of other teams who whose chances of qualifying were pretty slim and it was only to take some drastic measures for them to win.

After some thorough discussion we decided to go for a “solid poker” approach with an intention to exploit the players from the “desperate to win” countries that will be playing too loose and trying to gamble their way into the top 6.

Also, the captain has decided that Karl will stay on my table to play session 4 and I’ll be continuing my adventures in Annabelle hotel, which in my opinion was only fair given the circumstances.

I was the least experienced +the youngest:) player in the team and it only made sense strategically to have the strongest players in action going into the final round to try and pull the team up.

All of my team members are fantastic poker players with 10+ years experience in the business and between £600k -£2mill in winnings each, there is no doubt they were going to make less mistakes and be more accurate with the live reads as well as be better at applying max pressure on the weaker players than me.

It was paramount the team qualified!

Karl Mahrenholz

Karl Mahrenholz on the feature table

As it happened, all the players from my table were being moved to the feature table upstairs for the final session. So whilst everyone was taking their seats, I was heading to the second poker room, where the feature table was being streamed live to rail Karl.

Karl played really well; he made some correct reads & has gone a couple of gutsy moves which seemed to work out just fine.

No doubt, he made some decent points for the team there. It was funny that he was getting involved with the Danish guy as much as I was in my first two sessions:)

Later I learned that the rest of the team members seemed to have had good final sessions too & the chances of the UK making it into the top 6 was looking bright again!

We were in good spirits heading for the awards ceremony & hoping for some wins and of course qualification!

I loved the ballroom; It looked stunning in white with big gold plaited chandeliers. Each team had a table for the night where drinks & lovely food were served and there was a live singer & a DJ who kept everyone entertained.

We were slightly nervous and couldn’t wait for the awards ceremony to begin… Although we didn’t know what to expect, deep down in my heart I felt that we have done enough to qualify for the finals….

European Nations Cup 2013

The joy of winning:)

I was right!! Team UK came 4th & I couldn’t have been happier for all of us:) We worked hard, we played hard and we deserved to go through.

However, the most joyful point of the night was seeing our Captain – Barny Boatman – picking up the trophy for the best seat award (seat 3)! I was so proud of our Captain, leading us to qualification by showing us how it’s done with a winning seat. It couldn’t be a better story!

Karl & I must have done something right too as we scooped a trophy  for the best player in seat 5 🙂 It was such a lovely unexpected win & I have to admit it felt great!

There were only 6 seat awards in total, for the players who scored the most points in a specific seat compared to that seat on the different tables and Team UK managed to win 2 of them!

Also massive congratulations to the Irish team, who ended up winning European Nations cup 2013 & picking up a gorgeous trophy and my sincere consolations to the Lithuanian team who didn’t make it.

Well done to the International Poker Federation of Cyprus for putting on such a great & very successful event & I look forward to seeing you all in the finals next.

The location for the Nations World Cup has not been confirmed, but the gossip around is that it’s in Rio:) Bring on Brazil!!

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