Thursday, 15 August 2013

Scandals in Galway

Well I guess I better get the obligatory poker update out of the way. I played a total of 8 tournaments at the Full Tilt Poker Galway Festival and min-cashed in the smallest one. In 6 of the tournaments, I felt I played close to my best possible game. The 2 tournaments I wasn't quite happy with, also happened to be the two biggest.

The smaller of the two was bullet #2 of the €330 Saturday Showdown. I didn't play my A game, but I certainly didn't play my F game either. The accumulated tilt of generally running badly and playing terribly in the main probably started to show. I was probably opening a little too wide and not trusting myself in spots. Not playing your best at times is somewhat inevitable, so I guess I'm willing to somewhat excuse my slightly below-par performance.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the main. I genuinely cannot remember the last time I was more looking forward to a festival so to bust due to my own mistake was disheartening. It was just one hand played (very) poorly but a lot of the time, that's all it takes. It's difficult when you can't understand why you lost. It'd almost be easier if I just realised I wasn't good enough to know how to play the hand better, at least then you've less regrets. The saying is "Do your best, that's all you can do", so when you don't do your best, you wonder what might've happened if you had done your best.

It's a blunder in one of the bigger buy-in tournaments of the year, but life goes on and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger so we'll move on.

Aside from the poker, the Galway experience was pretty special. It wasn't perfect, but I think Nicky Power summed it up best when he said:  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. 

One of the issues people have pointed out have been the lack of decent tournaments in the first week. Personally, I would've have made the same decision as Full Tilt had for the schedule. Before hand, I would've thought the Galway races would have driven the cash games so that would have been the main attraction during week one. However, that didn't seem to be the case. Less foot traffic (I'm sure the casinos in the City still got their fair share of cash games going simply from people walking in after a night out) and less players travelling (possibly due to no decent scheduled tournaments) for the first week probably meant the cash action didn't quite kick off quite like the organisers would've liked.


Another small issue I would have had was the space at the tables. A lot of the tables were crammed together and this was compounded by most tournaments being 10 handed. If the organisers are worried about the customer experience, never go 10 handed. I know it might negatively affect the bottom line, but never underestimate the comfort difference between 9 and 10 handed tables.

Other than that, the festival was very enjoyable and there's plenty to build on for next year. I along with nearly all of the Irish poker community encourage and hope Full Tilt Poker see it as a good idea to return next year. 


So, other than the poker, what else happened in Galway? 

Well, plenty of fun was had by all off the tables, but I'd like to focus on some of the scandals that occurred off the tables that may go un-noted.

Scandal #1
The #GalwaySites competition fix

So Full Tilt decided to run a photo competition - take a pic in Galway with the hashtag #galwaysites, and the most retweeted/favourited entry wins an Ipad mini. Well the 'winner' of this competition received 29 retweets and 10 favourites for her entry. Chris Dowling also entered this competition. His entry? 

41 retweets and 34 favourites. 

Deceit of the highest order taking place at Full Tilt HQ.

So, without further ado, the real winner of the #GalwaySites competition 


Affectionately known as Jimmy, this man isn't one to not look after his fans. Producing what was considered to be "the greatest spectacle on earth", Jimmy ran a hundred meter dash and belly flopped onto the bean bags located in the entertainment area of the poker village. Unfortunately security didn't take too kindly to this spectacle...


Thankfully, it wasn't long before 'Daddy' (as he's also affectionately known) was permitted re-entry to the village.



Scandal #2
The Connect Four Fiasco

Late on Friday, day 14 of the festival, I entered into a friendly game of connect four with a certain newly appointed Full Tilt Poker ambassador. As we were approaching the end of the game, we realised there weren't enough counters to complete the game. We decided to make our last few moves and see what happened. By the time we ran out of counters, I was convinced I was in an unbeatable situation where my opponent would be forced to play some moves that meant victory for me was guaranteed. A connect four zugzwang, if you will. However, then started the controversy. 

My opponent argued it was actually my move (which meant the game would end in a draw), but I insisted it was his move. My opponent then insisted we count each counter already played to establish whose move it was. My opponent moved first. We counted 17 black counters played, and 17 white counters played. 

I think it was quite clear who won that game.

Full Tilt's new poker ambassador - The Irish Gus Hansen
Once voted one of Moyross's 50 sexiest people



Scandal #3
The Great Dane up to his usual tricks

Not a good day for Full Tilt's ambassadors it seems. Yet another case of a Full Tilt ambassador not playing by the rules.

The current forerunner for best blog post of 2013...


I personally think it's only a matter of time before the poker world descends into either "Gussies" or "Clarkies". I for one want to go on record as being an out-and-out Clarkie. 

Scandal #4 
Who did this to John O'Shea?



Well, I think the smart money is on Mick McCloskey...


Shot on location at 7am in Galway City...




Scandal #5 
Who is the IrishBaller? 

There's no point avoiding the elephant in the room, everyone is dying to know who this national man of mystery is. I met one person during the festival who claimed to know exactly who the baller was. He wouldn't reveal his name but as the night wore on I managed to get some revealing clues. 


So who is the Irish Poker Baller?



I think some mysteries are just best left unsolved....

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So, one last video to end this blog: 
What makes the Full Tilt Poker Galway festival so different?




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