Raw Power

Raw Power

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Nicky Power on Galway and the IPC.

Galway: the Final Frontier

There are certain clichés that spring to mind when we think of great human achievements – swimming the channel, climbing Mount Everest, running a marathon – and while spending 17 days at a poker festival in Galway around race week might not be on that list, I think it should be. Only the truly dedicated could complete such a feat of endurance. In the list of my lifetime accomplishments, I put it right up there with my Master’s degree.

Galway on race week is simply magical. English player Shaun Conning was asked at the table how he was enjoying his stay during the Irish championships and his answer stuck with me: “It’s amazing. I had no idea. It’s kind of like Ibiza but better. I’m coming back and playing no poker, it really is the stuff of bucket lists.”

As for the poker festival itself, I feel it was the most visionary and ambitious festival I have ever attended. The organisers assembled a world-class poker arena on waste docklands in the city centre. How mad is that? It worked!

RP Galway

They guaranteed a million for €1,100 buy-in – an unprecedented gamble for the buy-in. That took some balls, and unfortunately it didn’t come off but it went close. There were some flaws. The schedule for week one held zero attraction for any semi-serious poker player, for example. It would have been far better if the guarantee for the main event had been split and maybe two 300 to 500 buy-in events with decent guarantees had been held on week one.

These are operational criticisms and, as with any first time set-up, a few elements will always need to be ironed out. Over all, I feel the festival was a wonderful experience for every player. I really hope the people who had the vision to assemble such a unique carnival are not disheartened about not reaching the guarantee. What they achieved should be applauded by every poker player in the country, and certainly every poker player who attended had nothing but the highest praise for the event. If word of mouth guarantees future success then this event has no worries.

When they held the first WSOP, there was less than one table of players competing. I’m not saying that a poker festival in Galway could challenge the WSOP, but the foundations are in place now to create possibly Europe’s most successful poker festival. Rome wasn’t built in a day; I just hope the people who showed the vision to assemble this great event will not lose the willpower to see it through for the future.

Dineen is crowned Irish Poker Champion

The Irish Poker Championship (IPC) kicked off on day 11 of the Galway poker festival. The field-size was a difficult one to call prior to the event but one thing was for sure: there wouldn’t be many soft spots given the €2,500 buy in.

In the end, a respectable 52 players ponied up, creating a prize pool of €116,000, with 40k up top and seven paid. My starting table contained Max Silver, Shaun Conning and Johan “jossell” Meyers. Having initially added some chips to my stack in early skirmishes, I proceeded to lose three crucial pots that had me on the back foot for the rest of the tournament.

In the first of these hands, I lost the minimum to Max with top house verses his quads, holding A-Q on a Q-6-5-5-Q board. The second involved slow-playing kings, then betting a couple of streets, before calling a perceived river bluff. My opponent’s holding of 6-3 had unfortunately connected rather nicely with the board. The third hand was most annoying. I was calling down with top pair and hit top two on the river. I just couldn’t see his three-high flush.

A good fight was fought for the next six hours or so. I did manage to get to 30 blinds at the 500/1000 level; however, a blind-on-blind skirmish with Max and a button 15-blind shove into Pete Murphy's J-J put paid to any dream of being the Irish poker champion. I exited in 23rd and 12 players would return for day two.

The always-in-form Steve O’Dywer held the overnight lead, with Max Silver close on his heels, followed by a plethora of good Irish players, including Marc MacDonnell, Jay O’Toole, Pete Murphy and Trevor “The Baldy Beast” Dineen with whom I had a small percentage swap.

Day two was to be a short affair, playing from 12 to 7 players, with Jake Cody among the causalities. O’Dywer would take a dominating chip lead into the final table, with Silver still close behind. Pete Murphy, a player with an unmatched record of final-tabling top Irish events, found nothing going his way when it counted to exit in seventh. And Silver, a man most expected to fight it out heads-up, busted in sixth.

After the exits of Tony Hall and Ian Gascoigne, three players remained: the always-impressive Marc MacDonnell; the adopted son of Erin, Steve O’Dwyer; and Dineen, who the live stream commentators seemed to dismiss as an also-ran.

I have played with Dineen for many years and to discount him was quite frankly insulting. Trevor may not have the flair of the other players and does hold down a day job, thus poker is a hobby for him, however, the man won two Sunday majors last autumn and his short-handed play in winning the Sunday warm up was an exhibition in closing out a tournament.

After getting a lucky card to eliminate Marc, who received €18,000 for third, the Cork player faced a 2:1 deficit at the beginning of the heads up battle against the EPT Monte Carlo champion O’Dwyer. Having finished fourth to Jude Ainsworth in this event 2008, this was to be Trevor’s day and he was crowned Irish Poker Champion 2013 – a wonderful and well-deserved result for one of the most popular players on the local poker scene.

RP Dineen

Tags: Nicky Power, Trevor Dineen, Irish Poker Championship,