Tuesday, February 1, 2011, 9:08 AM
Now the Aussie Millions is over, our attention turns to another massive poker event on the game’s annual global schedule. It’s not one necessarily blessed with the same beautifully hot weather as Melbourne (where is?), but the warmth of the greeting you invariably receive when arriving to play there is no less intense than that which welcomes you to Oz.
And so, Team 888poker wants to know if you’re up for the crack. You’ll have to excuse me as I select the “Irish” option in my computer’s spellchecker. I meant “craic”.
Yes, you can enjoy the said craic in spades when Europe’s oldest poker tournament, the Irish Poker Open (IPO) gets under way in Dublin’s fair city.
Pack away those austerity measures and smile, smile, smile. Not only is this a chance to imbibe freely on the true and blushful hippocrene, but you can compete with all the 888 bells and whistles attached.
The 888poker package to this year’s IPO is worth a handsome $7,200. This includes a seat at the Main Event, spending money, hotel accommodation and a merchandise kit which includes a Sony Bloggie camera for those poker based YouTube moments!
First, if you’ll indulge me, a little IPO history because after the WSOP, this is the world’s second-oldest poker tournament.
The IPO made its debut in 1981 when well known Irish bookmaker Terry Rogers became credited with bringing the poker tournament idea to Europe after he and a certain Liam Flood had seen how popular the game was in Vegas.
It’s witnessed tremendous growth over the intervening years, not least because the tournament is always full of characters, has become a firm fixture on the international poker calendar and is a “must do” for any self respecting player.
Terry once declared, somewhat immodestly, “I have been the greatest single factor in the worldwide spread of competitive poker”.
It’s difficult to argue with such a persuasive position. He certainly knew an opening when he saw one. Up until recent times, Dublin had been one of the cornerstones of Ireland’s economic growth. It was only two years ago that it was named as the fourth richest city in the world, due perhaps in some measure to myriad monied poker players passing through its charmed portals. Conversely it also found itself named as the tenth most expensive city in the world in which to live. Gawd bless the Euro!
A blog on poker in Dublin couldn’t pass of course without the customary mention of ****ss. I’m sure some of Team 888poker may just be inclined to partake of the odd jar. After all, it’s been brewed at St James’s Gate since 1759. That’s about a minute to six in old money. The city is no slouch when it comes to technology either. Innumerable global companies have taken up residence in the Greater Dublin area including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay. Yahoo and Facebook. There’s even a base for Pfizer (which reminds me I really must empty my spam folder).
There’s daily freerolls here at 888 or a chance to jump straight to the IPO qualifier. So get ‘cracking’ now and reserve your seat in Dublin.
Monday, January 31, 2011, 12:23 AM
Turned out we never did this roundtrip mentioned a few days ago... :/
However, we still took some time off and enjoyed the awesome weather the city has to offer at this time of the year.
Sunday, January 30, 2011, 6:51 PM
In the end, it was a brave show by the Brits (and the rest of the world) but when it came to pass, they were roundly trounced by that stalwart of poker David Gorr.
I say this with the acrid stench of irony pervading my nostrils, but in many ways Gorr’s pathway to glory reflects that of Novac Djokovic. The earlier rounds weren’t always easy. Battling back from a hefty deficit, the Australian poker meister defeated James Keys in a dogged and determined display.
He may not have won pretty, but win he did.
So what sets apart the champions from the also rans, the grand masters from the young pretenders? This blogger has no hesitation in drawing timely parallels with tennis and this weekend’s Australian Open.
Appearances are no guide when it comes to picking out the top dog. I’m sure his current squeeze would beg to differ, but Novac Djokovic is no Brad Pitt. Likewise, the female contingent of the Crown Poker room in Melbourne were never going to melt into a slurry of pheromone fueled desire at the sight of David Gorr.
Let’s just say he’s distinguished.
Distinguished, now there’s a euphemism to stand the test of time. It’s what you are when flecks of grey appear in your otherwise youthful and richly hued mane.
When you’re next referred to as “distinguished” by your life partner, think of it as a back handed compliment. At best. Then realise they’ve been honing their bluffing techniques the previous week. Both Gorr and Djokovic will never play themselves in a big budget dramatisation of their respective sporting careers. In Gorr’s case, let’s put it this way: you’ve got to hope Mickey Rooney is still taking his agent’s calls. I think it’s also fair to say that you don’t need to be the personification of hirsuteness to carry off the main prize.
So we’ve ascertained (conveniently ignoring Novac Djokovic’s lustrous bequiffed topknot) that a full head of hair is not in itself a requisite of the winner. So what is?
Well, resilience and fortitude, apart from sounding like a firm of corporate lawyers, are certainly two key components of a winner’s psyche. Gorr clearly has these by the bucket load. Like a member of the Royal Family at a sushi based banquet, he could have choked. But he didn’t. His indefatigability was marked by a focus that refused to see losing as an option. He was relentless.
Astoundingly, The Aussie Millions was David Gorr’s first major victory. Not so with Djokovic of course; he’s tasted Australian glory once before.
Gorr unquestionably had to navigate through one of the toughest fields ever assembled (with the exception of Murray!) and retained an admirable patience.
Qualities seemingly shared by young Novac.
Saturday, January 29, 2011, 10:09 AM
Many players consider it to be their most treasured accessory and prized possession. A poker player without an iPod would be like Sarah Jessica Parker’s vacuous character in “Sex and The City” walking straight past a pretentious Manhattan shoe boutique or an F1 driver not having a ready made excuse to hand.
Yes, the personal mp3 player and the rigours of competitive poker dovetail together as neatly as peas in a pod.
The Aussie Millions certainly has certainly had its fair share of the telltale white in ear headphones. But can music really play its part as poker players endure the rigours of Melbourne and other high-profile tournaments?
David Geeler of Poker Analytics thinks so : “When a poker player has music with them, they’re not paying attention to the melee of the tournament area and aren’t drawn in to idle banter. They are far more focused than you imagine.”
The key appears to be volume.
“Most of the time, a player will have the volume down low enough to hear the action and the verbal tells, but the player next to them won’t know that,” he adds.
There seems to be universal acknowledgement that listening to music while playing poker is not a distraction. Of course the inevitable question is “what’s on your iPod?” as if this is some litmus test of credibility and good taste. And before you ask, none of the Aussie Millions players have admitted to The Cheeky Girls adorning their playlist. At least not out loud.
However, a quick and completely unscientific test to ascertain what kind of musical genres were favoured at the felt was conducted in Melbourne’s Crown casino the other day.
It transpired that a highly eclectic mix of John Mayer, Enya, Public Enemy and Pearl Jam was amongst the most popular artistes.
The natural progression from these amorphous findings is the $64,000 question, ie can listening to music make you a better poker player?
For many, their own selection of tunes at the Aussie Millions has clearly helped pass the time when the action is less than ‘full-on’. However, using some bar room psychology, it’s said that music can improve your overall ability.
Now I’m not advocating you buy the nearest compilation of Bolivian pan pipes, or Paul McKenna’s Top 20 self affirming chants. It’s more subtle than that. Hearing a certain song can physically change one’s mood. For example, if you listen to a song that you equate with poker success, it is possible to induce a similar winning mentality.
As we all know, a sizable number of poker pros already use this method of psyching themselves up. Indeed, players such as Phil Gordon, Annie Duke and John D’Agostino will play specific types of music to match different levels in a tournament and change it according to the different “gears” of play.
Furthermore, it’s also been established that music can help restore confidence when the cards are running a little cold.
All fascinating stuff, which makes me wonder how far are we away from a comprehensive series of music CDs, starting with: The best tight aggressive album in the world. Ever!
Friday, January 28, 2011, 6:17 PM
It was Bill Shankly who famously spoke with chest-beating effusiveness of Anfield being "built into a bastion". Such language ensured that even the most ambivalent of sporting hearts were stirred by his bold and unswerving ambitions.
Making your home territory a fortress is an idea which has seeped from historical fact to sporting legend. The Aussies are aware of this and, whenever they step into the Crown poker room, they want you to know this is their turf, their backyard.
As sure as Rolf Harris polishes his didgeridoo on a fortnightly basis, the local crowd of James Obst, Matthew Pearson, Tony Hachem and Peter Aristidou have all carried that knowing Aussie swagger as the Main Event has proceeded towards it denouement. If it were possible for each of them to have "you're not from round here" etched onto their foreheads, they probably would. The ****ure is something this particular quartet (you just know there have been plenty of other examples) do well.
Australians take nothing lying down, a refreshing attitude which extends to how they play poker. It's as if an impenetrable shield has gone up around them ready to see off unwelcome interlopers. Perhaps they've become tetchy at the total capitulation that was the Ashes. Sorry, valiant defeat. Ahem.
Whatever the motivation, the notion of home advantage is a compelling one. Being the home team (or poker player) can of course carry undue and unwanted pressure. Our very own Shane Warne spoke in the last few days of just that. Given the choice between being felt side in Melbourne and taking to the tables in Las Vegas, Warnie would choose Vegas. Why? The expectation is far less.
No doubt other sports people have felt this weight on their well paid shoulders. Look at Wayne Rooney and the times he has appeared to be carrying the struts and very foundations of Old Trafford. It can be an unnerving prospect being at home.
So what are the factors that play their part in home advantage? Crowd involvement, travel considerations and other environmental factors have all been cited by those in the know. So it's not just the hearty meat pies then. The advantageous effects of playing at home for the likes of Messrs Pearson et al may well be difficult to measure and most are psychological in nature. Of course we all know that in poker, you take every psychological break you can get.
Jet lag must surely play a part in those who have had to fly in for the Aussie Millions.
Setting your watch to local time, sitting on a brown paper bag, ingesting hippy-dippy homeopathic concoctions and watching "Crocodile Dundee" as the in flight movie could well have been employed by the non Aussie players, but let's face it, if the venue is a short cab ride away, you're laughing.
Or you should be.
For this reason, I expect that the Aussie threesome of David Gorr, Michael Ryan and Jeffrey Rossiter, each of whom has made the final table, will, or should, enjoy an advantage over the remaining six players. Their main threat is not, as many believe, the accomplished Patrik Antonius, but rather the veteran Tony Bloom.
Home advantage can be a phenomenal plus, but Bloom has years of experience under his belt and, as we pointed out here last week, the guy has won this tournament before. A course and distance winner is always worth backing. My money is on the veteran.
Friday, January 28, 2011, 5:19 AM
Now that our last team player has been sent to the rail it is time to explore the city.
We will try and get a round trip for the guys on Monday and this trip would include quite a few spots in Melbourne, including the zoo.
Now however it's time to give the guys a break, it's not been an easy week so today I will leave them be and perhaps just see them for a quick meal at the food court later on.
Friday, January 28, 2011, 3:27 AM
Tyler got involved in a hand with Dorfman and he tried to get him off the hand preflop with the KJ of Spades. However, unlike in day 3 Dorfman wasnt frustrated at all and very confident when he reraised Tyler with AK and Tyler would be almost all in if he made the call. In fact he 5 bet shoved and flopped a Jack along with an Ace for Dorfman. A second spade turned with the 7 spades but the river card was the 4 of Clubs and Tyler is out!
Nevertheless, I trust all of you would like to join me in congratulating him for the effort and great result in this prestigious tournament!
49th in 2010, 14th in 2011... so let's see how far he can go next year.
Friday, January 28, 2011, 3:09 AM
In just a few minutes time each table saw one player leaving and it's just 14 players left. Tyler's got 510k in chips, the chip leader to his left and the table is currently 4 handed which should suit Tyler well!
Friday, January 28, 2011, 2:46 AM
Now that Vos had been eliminated we're down to 5 handed action at Tyler's table. He's picked up a couple of blinds and is floating... patiently waiting for another good spot to pick up a large pot.
Friday, January 28, 2011, 2:26 AM
Tyler calls Vos all in who is holding the AJ, Tyler made the call with pocket Threes and hits the set on the flop leaving Vos crippled. Vos then shoves all in again with A2diamonds but Tyler makes a straight after he calls with the AT.
450k rising...now we're talking!!! Go get'em Tyler!