Phill ‘Bergeroo’ Huxley wins Route 32: Flip to Manchester

July 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

We always like to come up with promotions that require minimum effort from poker fans so that players can concentrate on simply enjoying themselves at the tables. One such was our Route 32: Flip to Manchester, which had as the top prize a €1,500 MPN Poker Tour Manchester package.

This Route promo revolved around nightly Flip tournaments – everyone being automatically put all-in until winners emerge – where the prizes came in the form of starting chips for the proper Final. The qualification requirements for these Flips was simply to play a few raked hands (e.g. 6 for Route 6, 16 for Route 16 etc).

That is indeed an easy task, but Phill ‘Bergeroo’ Huxley was on holiday during June, constantly on the go, trying to log on to 32Red to rack up raked hands and register for as many of the Route qualifiers as possible. He somehow managed to accumulate 2,700 chips, giving him the sixth highest stack of the 102 finalists battling it out for the package, a €650 Main Event seat and 28 other MPNPT prizes.

Of course far, far more than a couple of thousand chips are needed to win one of these tournaments, but Phill succeeded in doing exactly that! Already a loyal member of Team32Red, having attended numerous other MPN Poker Tour events around the globe, Phill will be a force to be reckoned with in Manchester, his practical approach lending itself well to tournament poker.

Watch live video from bergeroo on www.twitch.tv

Here is what Phill had to say after his victory:

“All those times I was finding dodgy wi-fi travelling the last few weeks to play some raked hands to get chips was worth it! Playing on my phone in random places in the former Yugoslavia…
… I started with 2700 chips! So that put me near the top of the standings and gave me over 100bbs to begin with. It was a slowish structure so I didn’t feel any pressure. I managed to stay near the top positions the whole way through and always thought I had a good chance.

Myself and another player were chip leaders for most of the way near the end. We had to tangle at some point and in classic style I got it in with a draw and managed to get there. That gave me a big chip lead and I was then able to play like a maniac and luckbox my way to victory…”

“This will be my seventh stop on the tour. It’s my favourite live poker event and 32Red offer such a good value range of satellites and promotions that I can’t help myself and always end up trying to qualify! I was actually on holiday for most of June, so I ended up missing several days of playing and gathering chips. The days I did play I was often snatching moments in between holiday activities, and even one day on a bus through Croatia and another while waiting at Customs to enter into Montenegro. I was fortunate that the Festival of Speed promotion was also running, which meant a lot of Blaze Poker games were happening, so I was able to get my raked hands in quickly each day, and then get back to the beach…
I’ve already booked my flight to Tallinn and I’ll be playing Route 32 again this month and trying to do to the double!”

Indeed. Phill’s last comment refers to the Route 32: All-in to Tallinn promotion, which has exactly the same format and has both a €1,500 MPNPT Tallinn package and €550 Main Event seat for the eventual winner and runner-up. Don’t let him win again! Rack up those raked hands and accumulate starting chips for the Final (1 Aug).

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MPNPT Vienna: Team32Red Report

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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The Venue

Vienna is a fantastic city, so it won’t have come as a surprise to many that the MPN chose to return to the Austrian capital for the Tour’s first venue of 2017 – another reason, of course, being the fact that the city is a well respected poker venue.

Back in January 1981, Ultravox released the song ‘Vienna’ which, over 30 years later, was judged in a poll to be the greatest song never to reach the top of the UK charts, having been prevented from the coveted No.1 spot by a novelty song entitled ‘Shaddap You Face’… Much of the atmospheric video was shot in London, with the band visiting Vienna only for a day, dashing around the city by taxi with the help of a guide book.

Fortunately for those players who qualified for Vienna by playing at 32Red, as well as the €550 buy-in, their €1,500 package included four nights in a hotel in the trendy Gasometer district. This was literally round the corner from the Montesino Casino – a specialist poker venue that the players were impressed with last year – and just a few stops from the heart of Vienna. So, playing MPNPT Vienna gave Team32Red players plenty of time to see one of the world’s most culture-laden cities, not forgetting the abundance of food and drink that Vienna has to offer. One such is the famous Wiener Schnitzel which, apparently, is made only from veal and no other meat, as dictated and protected by Austrian law! That’s a bit of trivia you can impress people with at the dinner/poker table, as is the fact that the founder of the German sports car company, Porsche, was the Austrian Ferdinand Porsche, who also designed the Volkswagen…

 

The Poker: Part 1

Poker enjoys varying degrees of popularity around the globe, so it stands to reason that some venues will attract more players than others. No surprise, then, that Vienna (Austria, in fact) – which is also a relatively easy destination from many European destinations – is always going to guarantee a certain number of entries.

The field on Day 1a tends to have a higher ratio of ‘locals’ to foreigners, mainly due to the fact that players from other countries don’t arrive early enough. There’s also the matter of the MPNPT Players’ Party, which takes place on the night of Day 1a and has become increasingly popular to the point of being unmissable (see below).

Despite the fact that most of Team32Red would be joining the fray on Day 1b, a few jumped straight into battle. As it turned out it was quality over quantity in terms of 32Red making a statement of presence, because emerging as the opening day chip leader was 32Red debutant, Artur Yarovoy, of Russia, who set off like the Usain Bolt of poker and never looked back, his stack after what seemed like 13 increasingly long levels transformed to over 10 times the initial 25,000! To better put this in perspective, some of the 49 who survived to Day 2 had barely increased their chip count.

One might be foolish to bet against Irish tournament specialists David Lappin and Dara O’Kearney keeping their respective heads above water, and they managed fine with 142,000 and 69,000 respectively.

Meanwhile, Phill Huxley – who, almost reluctantly, goes by the name The Huxinator – was riding along on the roller-coaster that is tournament poker on the proverbial seat of his pants. Thusly, with play about to come to an end for the day, and looking at the same amount of chips with which he’d started many hours earlier, he chanced his arm by pushing everything over the line with A4. The bad news was his being called by JJ. The good news was an ace appearing, doubling up the Huxinator at the expense of an opponent who, it’s fair to say, wasn’t afraid to show his frustration.

Finally, Angus Dunnington was involved in a very complex family pot where by far the biggest prize was the side-pot between himself and one of the other three players. He regretted not fully committing as soon as he’d made his play and, sure enough, won the ‘nowhere near big enough’ side-pot, insult being added to injury when he was on course to pocket all of the booty until the river card helped one small(er) stack leapfrog him to two pair (all-in with Q7…) and the other fill a straight. A later all-in brought him all the way down to a few thousand, but he rallied to scrape through to Day 2 with 32,000 chips.

This description is by no means untypical of how things can go in a tournament like this – fortune comes and goes, the ‘accuracy’ of a decision can be problematic to weigh up while contemplating your next move and, not surprisingly (given those pesky unknowns that poker is littered with), virtually the same path can lead to the next stage or the exit…

 

The Party

Originally, the MPNPT party might have attracted a few players happy to turn up for a quarter of an hour or so for a few free drinks and snacks. Things have changed, and it’s indicative of the Tour’s success that the party, henceforth known as The Party, is now an event in itself, and something players don’t want to miss.

This time the venue was the bowling alley a couple of floors down from the casino. A lot of players turned up, including the Team32Red contingent, and the evening’s entertainment was, of course, ten-pin bowling. Remember that we’re talking poker players here, so it wasn’t going to be a simple case of it being ‘the taking part that counts’ – there had to be something to win! And indeed there was, the prizes well worth winning, in fact. Having already won a €550 Main Event ticket in a satellite at the casino, 32Red and MPN Tour regular, Bruce Shannon, continued at the bowling alley where he’d left off at the poker table – a winner. This time he was the recipient of a €200 MPNPT ticket, while Simon Millard and Joel Holmberg won tickets for €80 and €22.

 

The Poker: Part 2

A number of our players tried their luck in the €20,000 guaranteed Austria Poker Cup, with Norway’s Knut Berntsen earning €580 for finishing in 11th place, and Peter Raynor €310 for 22nd.

Dara continued his good run in the High Roller event, reaching the final three places of this €1,100 buy-in tournament to find that, rather bizarrely, the remaining protagonists he was up against were a couple. Chopping seemed like an appropriate end, and the tournament specialist added another juicy prize to his long list of accolades.

Meanwhile, only Joel Holmberg (140,700) and Michal Jurgielewicz (84,100) survived Day 1b – both would at least enjoy some success during the festival… With just short of 550 entries it was never going to be easy making the money, and the play became predictably tense as the bubble approached, followed by the equally predictable collective sigh of relief for those who managed to finish among the 62 paid places. Our Team32Red players who emerged from the battle with a cash were:

Michal Jurgielewicz (Poland; 20th) €1,750
David Lappin (Ireland; 27th) €1,750
Mario Sánchez (Spain; 36th) €1,550
Angus Dunnington (England; 54th) €1,230

 

(Irish) Sausages

Stick an Irish pub on the moon and it could well start attracting clients (when that finally happens, remember that you first saw the idea here…). People from around the globe seem to gravitate to Irish pubs wherever they may be, and Vienna is no exception. Continuing the theme, a cosmopolitan bunch of Team32Red players spent Saturday night at one such convivial establishment. Young people in Vienna are bestowed certain rights earlier than many of their European counterparts. Ironically they can vote in elections at 16 and, bizarrely, can also drink at 16 yet not receive a driver’s license until 18 (at least this should mean there’s not a drink-driving problem for Austrian teens…). The average age at this particular Irish bar probably increased a little when our players turned up, but a good time was had by all, including Declan ‘Deccy’ Rice being able to order genuine Irish sausages – you could be forgiven for thinking that a sausage is a sausage, but you’d be wrong, as it happens. Perhaps a possible way to rattle Deccy at the poker table would be to bring this subject up, although he has a great sense of humour and the quickest wit, so it may well backfire… A few of this group didn’t let the time prevent them from forgoing sleep for a return to the casino, making their presence felt at the tables, including a strange Hold’em themed game that seemed to have a mysteriously player-unfriendly house edge…

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Poker: Final Day

So it was that, after a grueling two days, the Main Event renewed on Sunday, and the seemingly unstoppable Artur Yaravoy showed that his initial success certainly wasn’t a fluke – the wily Russian had ended Day 2 second of the 14 remaining contenders, with a 1,883,000 stack! He eventually exited the tournament in 5th place after pushing with A7 and losing to Kilian Kramer (who would go on to win the event’s top prize of €50,000) who called with KQ and made a straight. Artur had won €13,960 – perhaps now is a good time to point out that he won a €1,500 package for Vienna by hitting a royal flush in the €3 buy-in Flush Royale, our exclusive nightly tournament that is great fun, has a €500 guaranteed prize pool and is responsible for sending a lot of players to MPN Tour events simply because they made a royal flush!

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Doubles & Hyper Turbo

One last snippet of Team32Red results: Julie Whitworth and the aforementioned Peter Raynor won €435 for finishing 3rd in the Doubles event, which saw players take it in turns to play a single stack. This is easier said than done, by the way, as it’s difficult to find a balance between playing your natural style and feeling responsible for your team-mate, too. Finnish duo Joel Holmberg and Teemu Toikkanen each won €120 for placing 6th.

Finally, well done Keith Cummins of Ireland who trousered a tidy €900 for finishing runner-up in the €50+10 No Limit Hold’em Hyper Turbo!

Memorable Hand: Friends & Poker

Many players find it awkward playing at the same table as their friends. Knowing exactly how it feels to lose makes you more conscious of the potential significance of a pot in which you’re involved with a friend, and it’s difficult to not experience some level of distraction.

Here’s Phill Huxley describing a crucial heads-up hand with his friend, Angus Dunnington:

‘32Red Ambassador Angus Dunnington was moved to my table at the very beginning of day two. He’d already doubled up and the first hand he played he ran a very big river bluff when his straight and flush draws missed. His opponent folded and he showed the bluff, much to the consternation of the other player. I’d always thought of Angus as a pretty tight player but I now saw him in a new light.

A couple of hands later I opened with pocket aces from middle position (first time I had aces the whole tournament) and Angus defended from the big blind. Flop was 779. Angus checked and, somewhat wary of his new ‘wildman’ image after that big bluff, I decided to check behind. The turn was a ten, bringing a flush draw, and Angus led out with a large bet. I certainly couldn’t fold here, calling seemed like the only play. The river was very innocuous – all the draws had missed and Angus asked how much I had behind. I showed him my stack and he put me all in. 32Red on 32Red violence!

Maybe, just maybe, if I hadn’t seen that bluff directly before I would have found a fold as I’d always considered Angus as a tighter, more solid player. But now… against ‘Crazy Angus’ after his big bluff I just couldn’t let it go. After thinking for about two minutes I called. Angus exhaled, shook his head and looked like someone had just run over his cat. In my head I was fist-pumping, thinking “Yes! I caught him bluffing” – sadly it was not the case and he turned over 79 for a flopped full house. Angus was genuinely upset that he busted me and apologised many times. I almost felt bad!’

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C’est la vie, as they say. We’ll let Phill’s final comment on the event sum up the general thoughts of 32Red players:

‘…I have to say that it is refreshing the way 32Red treats its qualifiers. Not only trying their best to give them a good experience on and off the tables, but also fostering a team spirit and helping to build friendships and friendly and fun rivalries between the players. Certainly noticeably better than experiences of qualifying for tournaments with so-called bigger sites. It really makes a difference and also stokes my enthusiasm for playing more on 32Red in general’

So there you have it – another successful MPN Tour stop, and another Main Event which saw the guaranteed prize pool increase due to its popularity with players. The next stop is Malta, April 27-30 and, as always, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to qualify at 32Red. Good luck, have fun, and we hope to see you in the sun!

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32Red players through to Day 2

January 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Live Updates, News

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Despite the fact that January is the coldest month of the year in Austria, it doesn’t feel like that (unless you’re used to the climes of Gibraltar, of course), which makes exploring the city for players considerably less hazardous than the treacherous conditions allowed the last time the MPN tour hit the Austrian capital.

The roulette wheel at our info desk has proven to be a hit once again, and augurs well for Team32Red’s growing presence at tour events… As for the Main Event itself, most of our players will be going into battle in today’s Day 1b, but yesterday did see a few team members chancing their arm.

The star of the day was Artur Yarovoy of Russia who managed to turn his initial starting stack of 25,000 chips into a eye-watering 256,000! Given that a number of the 49 who made it through the grueling 13 levels hadn’t even seen their stack size double, a ten-fold transformation is all the more impressive.

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Artur Yarovoy

David Lappin delivered once again, amassing 142,000 chips, while Phill Huxley decided, as proceedings finally drew to a close well after the witching hour, that an all-in punt with A4 would be a pragmatic strategy, leaving him with either a healthier looking stack or the ‘luxury’ of being able to plan the days ahead. As luck would have it an ace magically appeared on the flop and he heads into Day 2 on Saturday with 50,000 chips. It goes without saying that Dara O’Kearney went through to day 2, with 69,000 chips…

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Phill Huxley

Meanwhile, the result of an enormous and exciting family pot of various stack sizes left Angus Dunnington wishing he’d ignored his inner voice to heed the advice of the old adage that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ and instead turned it on its head, the decision to hold back a chunk of his stack denying him the opportunity to win a tournament-changing side pot. He then what he described as the as the comical ‘embarrassment’ much later of his table breaking up and having to withstand the almost pitiful looks of the whole table as he set down his tiny amount of chips (‘stack’ would be a misnomer). Fortunately he bobbed and weaved his way to Day 2 with a comparatively proud stack of 32,000.

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Team 32Red does Vienna

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The MPN Poker Tour has proved to be a tremendous success, with the festivals giving players the opportunity to enjoy the thrills and spills of live poker in a varied selection of venues around the globe. The excitement of poker is one thing, but it’s quite another to be able to experience the different cultures and history that cities such as Tallinn and Tbilisi (places that most of us might not so readily choose to visit) have to offer. Throw in the craic of Dublin and the grandeur of Vienna, and it’s easy to see why record numbers of 32Red players found themselves in the Austrian capital after winning seats or packages through our extensive qualifying process.

Held at the Montesino Casino, 21-24 January 2016, the festival attracted an impressively large field. A total of 431 players took part in the €550 buy-in Main Event and, with 52 re-entries, this made for a tasty prize fund of €241,500. This more than comfortably surpassed the guarantee and produced a first prize of €54,000 for the eventual winner, with a further 52 places being paid.

Team 32Red

Over 30 of the field came from the now visibly noticeable Team 32Red. Poker is indeed an ‘everyman’ (and woman!) game, and this couldn’t be reflected any better than in our group of players. Coming from across the globe, our qualifiers made the most of their time in Vienna, both on and off the tables.

Oh Vienna!

32Red’s Jakob Anyszka (a Vienna native) was able to put his local knowledge to good use… How we perform at the tables has a lot to do with what we get up to when not playing, and our players certainly had an edge over the opposition when it came to making the most of what the city has to offer – as the photos show!

 

‘Live’ Poker

Some of the more experienced 32Red players – such as Vladimir Pastushenko (aka DNIPRO2010), Phill Huxley (Rixdorf), Adrian Nica (Lawliet1) and Angus Dunnington (AngusD) – have considerable ‘live’ poker experience, including the MPN Poker Tour. For others, Vienna was the first time they had found themselves actually sitting at a table with their opponents rather than playing in the quite different online environment. It’s interesting how most players who have hitherto not played live (or not, at least, at such a big festival) can feel more than just a little apprehensive but, in a surprisingly short time, not only get used to it but feel quite at home.

One point made by Simon Millard (Bada_Bing72) – for whom this was his second time at such an event – was that it had taken him a while at the tables for his game to loosen up to the same level as it is online, while others mentioned how there being fewer hands per hour took some getting used to. These same players, it has to be said, performed well, which serves to confirm that, generally, the transition from online to live tends to prove a natural one.

Live poker nowadays wouldn’t be the same without its growing contingent of online players (whether serious or recreational), and it’s good to see 32Red so well represented in the live festival arena. Having established a genuine, impressive presence at international festivals – particularly bearing in mind that we have such a varied group of players who also appreciate such events – we can look forward to similarly positive experiences being shared in the future. With this in mind we will endeavour to continue providing opportunities to qualify for prestigious events through our player/bankroll friendly satellites and other tournaments – the knowledge that a couple of our players were even able to enjoy their trip to Vienna after having hit a royal flush in our Flush Royale tournament, for example, is what makes it all worthwhile!

 

Results

It’s not at all a clichéd approach to say that it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts, so while it would be great to announce that a Team 32Red member took home the first prize of €54,000, this was not to be – an Austrian by the name of Jannis Brauer emerged victorious. However, we did have a number of players cashing in the Main Event, with Canadian Ronald Alino – continuing his tour of Europe that sees him essentially following the MPN tour with each successive satellite qualification – finishing 28th for €1,410 and Peter Raynor (38th), Nadeem Nazir (49th) and the wily Phill Huxley (52) each collecting €1,150 for their efforts.

Others, of course, came close and ran well, and a special mention goes to Martyna Makarove who adapted well to the new surroundings of live poker to cash in the 185-player Austrian Cup!

Exits & Memorable Hands

Nobody likes either to hear or have to tell a so-called ‘bad beat’ story so here is a selection of hands with which some of our players exited tournament play in Vienna – the point being to illustrate the thin line that can mean the difference, for example, between a veritable hat full of chips and a potential big win, or none at all.

Diane Duncan (POKERLADY25) went all-in with AJs but ran into pocket tens after an impressive international poker debut. Pocket tens, meanwhile, is the very hand that Dionne Cowley (RangerMcFriendly) took a stand with, losing to KJ. We all accept the luck factor in poker but, for Dionne, her poor fortune manifested itself in falling ill during her stay. This clearly didn’t help concerned husband Richard, either, so here’s hoping they’ll be back with a vengeance at future tour events.

Short-stacked Simon (Bada_Bing72) Millard put his faith (on 16BB) with K9o, was called by A9 and AT, and that was that. He later remembered that this was the very same hand with which he’d been eliminated on his tour debut…

Satellite ‘killer’ Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn) shoved with AJs versus QQ, then noticed he’d actually put his remaining chips on the line with J4s! Funny old world.

Finally, even funnier – although not necessarily in the ‘hahaha’ sense for Ivan Damyanov… He went all-in pre-flop with kings, ran into aces and duly walked away, not realising that he still had 2,000 in chips still on the table. Two hours later a sole chip remained.

 

Next Stop

We hope to see Team 32Red similarly represented at the next stop of the MPN tour, which will be in Sofia, 21-24 April. Once again it will be possible to win both €1,500 packages and €500 seats in our satellites and special tournaments, so check out the Poker Lobby and start your quest…

Good luck, and see you in Sofia!

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Vienna Calling… MPN Poker Tour News

October 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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With Team 32Red, groups of online qualifiers, having represented 32Red Poker at the first three MPN Poker Tour events – the most recent being Dublin in September – we’re already building up a formidable looking band of raiders for the next stop on the tour, which will be Vienna, 21-24 January 2016.

Given that the Main Event – held at Montesino Casino in Austria’s grand capital – will have a guaranteed prize fund of €200,000, yet the qualification process starts at a minuscule 25c, it’s a no-brainer when it comes to giving the satellites a go and earning your place at what promises to be a fantastic poker festival.

Up for grabs are €1,500 packages, which include – amongst others – buy-in, hotel and expenses, as well the €550 seat. Winners (aliases in brackets) thus far from 32Red Poker are:

Package Winners

Vladimir Pastushenko (DNIPRO2010)
Matti Sahinoka (guizilla94)
Phill Huxley (Rixdorf)
Adrian Nica (Lawliet1)
Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn)
Andrew Bell (andybell1977)
Frank Taal (minnekus)

Seat Winners

Angus Dunnington (AngusD)
Adrian Nica (Lawliet1)
Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn)
Juliano Sabino de Figueiredo (Hinode)

 

We can now add Paul Aitken (MaoTseTung) to the package winners’ list. There are numerous ways to find yourself in Vienna by playing at 32Red Poker, and Paul, from Glasgow, managed to earn a €1,500 package with a single hand, having hit a royal flush (on the River!) in our nightly €500 Guaranteed Flush Royale tournament, which guarantees this star prize if you hit the magic poker hand.

Join the quest to Vienna now, and win your way on to Team 32Red!

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32Red Players Qualify for Vienna MPNPT

September 23, 2015 by  
Filed under News

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After the great atmosphere enjoyed by the 32Red Poker players who won their seats to the Dublin leg of the MPN Poker Tour, the quest to qualify for Vienna has begun already.

The Austrian capital, steeped in culture and history and awash with fancy cakes, is a popular place to visit, so adding an international poker festival into the mix was bound to attract considerable attention. And there’s also the matter of the €200,000 in guaranteed prizes in the Main Event, which spans 21-24 January, 2016 and will be held at the Montesino Casino.

Our satellite set-up couldn’t be more bankroll and user friendly, with initial buy-ins starting at 25c! Phill Huxley (aka Rixdorf) is becoming a seasoned campaigner on the MPN Poker Tour and, hot on the heels of his cashing in Dublin (click here), managed to win the €1,500 package that was up for grabs in our recent 94-player Vienna Freeroll. He was in contention from quite early on and established a strong footing as the tournament reached the final table which, as was pointed out by the numerous ‘spectators’ was an edge-of-your seat humdinger as the players were eventually reduced to Phill and our chess pro turned poker specialist Angus Dunnington (AngusD). Phill started the heads-up ‘match’ with a big chip lead but the roles were gradually reversed, leaving Angus in the driving seat – only to ‘mess up’ (his own words) when he ignored his inner voice and shove with 99 when Phill had QQ. It could have gone either way, but Angus can (sort of) console himself with the €550 buy-in for Vienna that was on offer for the runner-up (there was also another €1,000 won in MPNPT tickets!).

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AngusD vs Rixdorf

Meanwhile, the vastly experienced Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn; also in Dublin), who had also been in the running (finishing 9th) in the same tournament, was rewarded for his efforts when he won the Sunday Package Final after coming from behind heads-up.

For more information about how to qualify and be part of Team 32Red, click here.

MPNPT Dublin 2015

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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 winner Daniel Tighe

Main Event winner Daniel Tighe

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…).

Bruce Shannon - deja vu?

Bruce Shannon – deja vu?

Day 1b

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.

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Barry Burns wearing his 32Red heart on his sleeve

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…

Phill Huxley

Phill Huxley – there’s a shrewd poker brain under that hat!

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.

Day 1c

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.

Adrian Nica

Adrian Nica sporting the cool look

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.

Ronald Alino had a rough ride

Ronald Alino had a rough ride

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…

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.

Dionne and Bruce

Dionne and Bruce

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).

Globetrotter Dara O'Kearney

Globetrotter Dara O’Kearney

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.

Jamie Flynn on his way to the money

Jamie Flynn on his way to the money

Memorable Hand

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!

Reading skills... Richard Cowley

Reading skills… Richard Cowley

Side Events

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.

Team 32Red... a great night at Shelbourne Greyhounds

Team 32Red… a great night at Shelbourne Greyhounds

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.

Angus & Carole with another winning ticket

Angus & Carole with another winning ticket

A good night was had by all, and we intend to repeat the fun with #Team32Red at the next MPN Poker Tour stop, Vienna

 

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!

Find out more

 

See MPNPT Tbilisi’15, MPNPT Tallinn’15, Battle of Malta’13, WSM Prague’12

Double Win in Dublin

September 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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I’ve just got back from playing the MPN Poker Tour event in Dublin, the second event I’ve qualified to play in through 32Red Poker. My first bite of the MPNPT cherry took place earlier this year in a Soviet basketball stadium in Tbilisi. Although the venue for this one was the marginally less iconic Clayton Airport Hotel on the outskirts of Dublin, the big guarantee, generous 25,000 starting stack and slow structure remained. All with an affordable €500 buy-in.

Playing Day 1b, my table seemed like a nice mix of locals and qualifiers and I chipped up early on thanks to having AA, KK, QQ and TT all hold up and win decent sized pots. Unfortunately I was unable to kick on and my stack failed to progress any further as the blinds continued to rise and the average stack size caught up and surpassed me. I ended up gambling in the last level of the day and busting with 20 minutes remaining.

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A second bullet

Licking my wounds I returned the next day to re-enter. I stagnated throughout the day, making tight fold after tight fold, limping to the last break of the day with less than the starting stack. Importantly I was still alive and had not been all-in as I grumpily visited the deli counter at the petrol station across the road from the hotel to purchase a delicious sandwich. In the last three levels I could do no wrong. I was moved to the liveliest table in the room with a selection of players who were having a marvellous time and enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two. Suddenly I couldn’t lose a pot, quintupling my stack in the last two levels of the day with the help of my inebriated opponents to finish on a healthy 108k. As fellow 32Red player Simon Taylor (aka TTayseer555) commented to me – “that went pretty well for you.”

For day two I was drawn with 32Red player Dionne Cowley (aka RangerMcFriendly) to my left. It was inevitable that we would play some pots together and indeed as she got shorter stacked she went all-in against me several times. The only hand I actually called was when she went all-in blind after losing almost all of her stack in the previous hand, and she managed to turn over pocket aces!

Nothing much happened until, at the first break, I decided I needed to repeat my sandwich move from the day before. As play resumed, I began munching on my snack and open raised six hands in a row. There is an old adage in poker that if someone plays a pot while they are eating then they always have a big hand and so it proved when, on my sixth raise, I flopped a full house with KJ suited and won a monster pot from a non-believing opponent.

My chip stack kept on increasing and after busting my teammate Dionne (sorry!), I cruised into the money feeling hopeful that I could make a deep run. Sadly it was not to be, but I have no regrets about the way I exited the tournament. After defending my big blind with Ace Five offsuit, I got it all in on a 752 all spade board, with middle pair and the nut flush draw vs pocket nines. It was almost exactly a 50/50 flip but I failed to hit one of my 13 outs and found myself at the payout desk with my dreams of victory crushed. Thankfully I had busted out just in time to join the other 32Red qualifiers on a night out in Dublin and soon forgot my disappointment.

Due to the previous night’s activities I slept through my alarm and was late for the hotel breakfast, getting there just as it was closing. With almost no food left available, I resorted to eating porridge out of a cup with a tea spoon for my morning meal. It wasn’t the glamorous life on the international poker circuit that I’d envisaged but, fortunately, I knew I wouldn’t repeat yesterday’s mistake and went to buy my ‘lucky sandwich’ before play began in the side event.

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Side event

The Monster Stack Mega Ante had a structure unlike any I’ve ever played before. We started 1,000 big blinds deep but the twist was that the ante was huge, in some cases the same or even larger than the big blind itself. I suspected that whoever designed this tournament structure was on strong drugs, but it proved to be great fun to play.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not), a number of people in the tournament failed to adjust to the structure of the tournament. With one round of hands costing you several times more than in a regular tournament, playing tight was clearly not an option.

Fuelled by the sandwich of good fortune, I relished the opportunity to play like a maniac and was involved in lots of pots with what might be generously described as speculative hands. I got very lucky when I four bet shoved Q3 suited from the button into the pocket tens of the big blind. Justice was done when I spiked a queen to knock him out and increase my stack. In defence of my reckless play, he did look like he was Scandinavian! A little later I won a coinflip against 32Red player Kevin Greathead (aka Kevathallam) and finally ended up winning a huge three way all in with AK vs AQ and Q9 to almost triple my stack.

With 13 players to be paid it was now a case of manoeuvring my big stack into the money and hoping the streak of the lucky sandwich continued and, somehow, I even managed to get a few walks in the big blind. Another 32Red player in the shape of Gary Dawson (aka Blackbear32) had been moved to my left and I stayed active as I battled in a few pots with both him and Kevin.

Having lost a few pots, an odd incident occurred after I moved tables and shoved under the gun with pocket fours. The big blind clearly didn’t see that I’d gone all in and exposed his AK in front of him. The dealer assuming he folded then spread the cards out on the table as if the hand was over. Then the big blind let out a surprised “Oh”.

The hand of my opponent was not near the muck, so it was ruled it was still live. A bigger problem was that the deck was now all over the table. Thankfully the cards were just about still on top of each other and it was able to be reconstructed to the satisfaction of the Tournament Director. Amongst all the commotion I almost didn’t notice that I’d won another flip as the board was dealt out all bricks and I knocked out my unobservant opponent.

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Final table

As two tables remained I hung on through the bubble with a shortstacked Gary and reached the final table without incident. Coming in as a medium stack, the structure of the tournament made the final table an ICM nightmare for me as I was constantly torn between trying to ladder up the payscale and not playing too tight.

I had a great weekend in Dublin. Not only did I cash in both tournaments I played, but I also met a bunch of really nice people. So thanks to Nick and Monika from 32Red and players Kevin, Gary, Dionne, Joel, Simon1, Simon2, Bruce, Angus, Adrian, Ronald, Barry and all the other 32Red qualifiers.

I’m already looking forward to the next leg of the tour. See you in Vienna in January!