After a couple of stops in Estonia and Georgia the MPN Poker Tour headed back west to Dublin in early September. Dublin is well-known for all manner of things and is up there with other European capital cities as a popular tourist destination. Thus it was no surprise that poker fans were so eager to qualify for this leg of the MPN Poker Tour via 32Red Poker’s extensive satellite set-up.
Twinned with Barcelona, another international poker venue, the question first-time visitors to the Emerald Isle might have been asking was does the famous Irish ‘craic’ – the art of life – translate to the poker tables, and the answer is a resounding yes. This has nothing, incidentally, to do with the fact that 10 million glasses of Guinness are produced daily in Dublin, but because it was simply a great atmosphere at the excellent Clayton Hotel.
There might have been Viking raids in the 8th and 9th centuries, but no Scandinavian invasion happened in 2015 and, while around 20 nations were represented in the Main Event, one would be hard-pressed to find a country both more passionate and skillful when it comes to poker. It would be easy to put the home success down to numbers, but this would be a mistake made only by someone who hasn’t spent hours at the tables with the likes of the talented Daniel Tighe – the Main Event winner – and his countrymen and women.
Main Event – Day 1a
459 players (collectively racking up 570 entries) would eventually sit down over the three 1st Days. These are impressive numbers indeed, especially when put into context of the tour itself – the first MPNPT in London, last year, had 83 Main Event runners. Successive, successful editions have seen the tour firmly establish itself as a key player in international poker, thanks in no small part to a combination of bankroll-friendly buy-ins and player-friendly tournament structures. The overall positive thoughts of our qualifiers reflect this, too…
Bruce Shannon (32Red Poker alias BIGSHANN0615) and Simon Taylor (TTayseer555) rather craftily opted for Day 1a. Contrary to the well-known saying, the proverbial early bird doesn’t always catch the worm but, in this case, playing the first of three days in a re-entry tournament can afford players an additional bite of the cherry. Thusly, Bruce and Simon busted out, but took a day off to recharge the batteries and sat down again on day 1c (see below…).
With more players arriving, more 32Red players took up the gauntlet today among the 146 contenders. Popular veteran Mick McCloskey (aka riverroe88) took advantage of the re-entry facility when busting out during the second level, but went out at level 8…
Barry Burns (Bazzabhoy) exited at level 7, and while fate had not put father and son qualifiers James Gray snr (jamboisgod) and James Gray jnr (jizzim22) on the same table, they were literally feet away from each other on adjacent tables. After much father-son banter and collective misfortune (James Snr, for example – playing at the same table as Angus Dunnington – flopped a set and lost to a runner-runner straight at one point…), son James busted out during level 5, followed by father James a level later.
One of the most popular Dublin phrases is Chancing Your Arm, meaning, of course, taking a chance. This originates from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where you had to put your hand into a hole to open the Medieval Chapter House door. Much ‘chancing’ obviously went on at the poker tables in Dublin. To call Phill Huxley (Rixdorf) a chancer would be in an injustice as he brings a lot of skill and guile to the table, and a practical gamble around the midnight hour, just before play was to end, saw him eliminated. But he would be back with a vengeance…
Angus Dunnington (AngusD) enjoyed a day of ducking and diving to finish 19th on a healthy stack of 85K, earning a relaxing day off with partner Carole, taking in the Dublin atmosphere.
Not surprisingly this proved to be the busiest day, with a massive 316 runners. Adrian Nica (Lawliet1) had two bites of the cherry but didn’t taste success… Kevin Greathead (Kevathallam) and Sam Welbourne (barrelinmonroe) busted out during level 9. Sam suffered from a dealer error that, ironically, improved his hand – after his second card was dealt face up (under the gun) his third card gave him a pair of sixes (instead of 65)… he opened and ran into a 10BB stack who had 77. C’est la vie.
Ronald Alino (lil_J) managed to scrape into Day 2 with a 22K stack(!), Bruce Shannon and Simon Taylor were back, surviving to Day 2 at their second attempt with stacks of 32K and 39K respectively. Then came another Simon – Simon Millard (Bada_Bing72) was having his first taste of international live poker, but a good player is a good player, and he maneuvered his way through to the second day (helped by winning what must have been a nerve-wracking AA v KK all-in pre-flop encounter) with 36K in chips.
Husband and wife duo Richard (any4napkins) and Dionne Cowley (RangerMcFriendly) were on good form, coasting along – inasmuch as one can actually ‘coast’ in tournament poker – with stacks of 78K and 65K respectively. Indeed this did include an amusing skirmish between Dionne and the aforementioned Phill Huxley. Finding herself short-stacked, Dionne had gone all-in ‘blind’ and been called by Phill, only for her to find aces!
However, this was a just a minor mishap for Phill, who had put Day 1a behind him and had amassed a stack of 108K to put himself nicely placed for Day 2…
Ronald Alino was seated at the same table as Angus Dunnington but didn’t have the (relative) luxury of a workable stack and, needing a bit of luck to remain in contention, didn’t get any.
Bruce Shannon also would have been hoping for some good fortune to help his short stack along. With 20BB, and in the BB, he found KQo which, not exactly a monster, is nevertheless a welcome sight in this kind of situation. The action folded round to the SB, who raised to 2.5BB and both ended all-in. Bruce must have thought Christmas had come early when his opponent revealed a well and truly dominated KJ… you guessed it – the Turn brought a Jack and, despite the cruel possibility of overtaking on the river due to a 10-high flop, it wasn’t to be.
Simon Taylor and Simon Millard, who had ended their first day similarly ranked, also exited the tournament at around the same time.
Meanwhile, Angus Dunnington, not too happy at having his style cramped by eventual winner Daniel Tighe’s already mountainous stack, went for a cheeky re-raise all-in with AJs, only to see the initial pre-flop aggressor move his own chips in at lightning speed, clearly eager to reveal two shiny aces. As luck would have it… he got none.
Richard Cowley was knocked out (‘mistake/bad timing’) frustratingly close to the money (see below for a very well played hand from Richard), immediately followed by Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn).
Dionne Cowley added to the husband-and-wife team’s frustration by finishing just a few spots from a cash…
Despite valiant attempts from all, only Phill Huxley (54th) and Jamie Flynn (45th) won their way into the prize money, each earning €1075.
Richard Cowley had an interesting hand during Day 2 that illustrates well the thought process and ‘nerve’ required to survive the cut and thrust of tournament poker. He raised on the button with 84s and was called by the BB. The flop came Q 10 4 rainbow, his opponent checked, Richard bet and was called. The Turn brought a 7 – opponent checked, Richard bet, and was called. At this point Richard had him on a straight draw with either KJ or J9… The River was a 6, at which point the BB made a big bet! Richard thought it all through, trusted his instincts and called, and was rewarded when his opponent turned over his cards – KJ!
It’s a testament to the MPN Poker Tour‘s snowballing presence that a host of side events proved so popular. This made for a truly varied ‘festival’ feel, with the two day Dublin Poker Cup, Irish Omaha Cup, Freezeout and even a Highroller event. More fun could be had in Midnight Hyper Turbos, an aptly named Monster Stack Mega Ante tournament, where the structure took some getting used to (well done Phill for finishing 5th) and – a teaser for those suffering with instant gratification issues – an All-in or Fold event!
Going to the Dogs…
There’s more to life than poker, and part of the attraction when trying to qualify for events on the MPN Poker Tour is the prospect of visiting different places around the globe and enjoying what the likes of Dublin has to offer. As well as the usual attractions – Temple Bar, Grafton Street… Guinness – we thought our players might like a night out with a difference, so we invited #Team32Red to a special night of dining & thrills at Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium.
This was a new experience for many, but one that might well be repeated, as the excellent grandstand restaurant provided great food, a great view of the races and even an at-the-table betting service. When Angus Dunnington returned from the kiosk with his winnings after forecasting 1st and 2nd in the first two races, his partner, Carole, ‘sensibly’ removed the notes from his hand and left only the change to play with. However, like everyone else, she soon got the bug, and even managed a 1st, 2nd & 3rd place forecast.
Next Stop Vienna!
The Main Event in Vienna will be held at the Montesino Casino, 21-24 January 2016 and, once again, you can qualify for a €1,500 package and €550 seat via 32Red Poker‘s extensive satellites set-up. It’s so bankroll-friendly, in fact, that you can start your quest for the home of Sigmund Freud and wiener schnitzel for 25 cents!