Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Letter from Doke (20th December 2011)


Doke here again. I thought I came home from Manila empty-handed, but actually brought some sort of Manila flu with me (or maybe just man flu: the jury is still out).I've been struggling with it since but have continued grinding away online, the highlight of which was winning the 8K 10r on Irish Eyes during the week.

I appeared on Dublin City FM's Sunday afternoon sports show, "On The Ball", which is co-hosted by my friend Breifne Earley. I was saying to Breifne this is probably the quietest time of the year as far as live poker goes, and probably my last live outing of 2011 will be the Fitz End of Month. It'll be a busy start to next year though, kicking off with WPT Dublin at the start of January. I'm heading to Madrid for a few days in the last week of January, for Estrellas Madrid (which I also qualified for during the week). The following week the first leg of the next EMOP season kicks off in Prague, preceded by the live final for the top 16 players from last year. My second in Dublin was enough to get me in. Satellites now running for Prague on Irish Eyes. Prague is one of Europe's nicest cities: I've never played poker there but was there in my running days (back in 2008, I won the World 6 Hour Running Indoor championships and set a number of Irish records in Brno, the second biggest Czech city).

This week's strategy section is on rebuy tournaments. There are a lot of misconceptions about rebuy tournaments. A lot of people think you have to gamble more than you would in a freezeout. While you certainly have the option to do so in the rebuy period without worrying about busting, this doesn't mean it's particularly sensible. The chips you gain early in a rebuy are worth no more to you at that stage that in a freezeout (in fact, they may be worth less depending on how the rebuy is structured: more on that in a minute). The correct way to play depends very much on structure. Some rebuys give more chips than starting stack to rebuys, or charge less for the same stack, in which case it is correct to gamble it up as you'll either double up, or be able to buy more chips more cheaply. Other rebuys (like the 8K I won during the week on Irish Eyes) give you the same chips for rebuys but double (or more) for addons. In this case, the correct strategy is to play very tight during the rebuy period, get to the break as cheaply as possible, and then add on.

Let's look at some of the maths here. In the 8K guaranteed on Irish Eyes every evening, starting stack and rebuys cost €10 for 1500 chips. You are allowed 1 or 2 addons, which cost €10 for 3000 chips. So if you take both addons, you can buy 6000 chips for €20. Someone who doesn't rebuy but takes the double addon has a total spend of €30 for 7500 chips, or 4 cents per chip. By contrast, if you have to rebuy four times and take the double addon, you're paying €60 for 12000 chips (5 cents a chip). Anyone who drops out before the addon break (or gets there but doesn't take the addon) is paying €10 for every 1500 chips, almost 7 cents a chip.

I'd like to wish you all a very happy Christmas, and good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Letter from Doke (12th December 2011)


Doke here again. I'm back from a week in Manila. Not a profitable trip unfortunately, but an enjoyable one, although I seem to have picked up some Mystery Manila Malady.

I didn't get too much to play with all day one of the Manny Pacquiao World Poker Open but managed to work my way up to double stack near the end of play by making the most of what I did get. It wasn't the kind of field where you could do anything fancy without cards, so I stuck to value betting much bigger than I normally would. A series of minor setbacks late in the day saw me drift back from 30k to finish with 21k, 21 bbs when we came back for day 2. We'd lost two thirds of the field so I was well below average but still reasonably optimistic as it was a very soft field.

Day 1 ended early, around 9.30 PM, a pleasant change from tournaments back home where you play til 4 AM and have to be back less than 12 hours later. I was in bed by 10 and slept straight through until almost 7 AM. When I woke and saw the time, I decided to try for another hour or two's kip, since we weren't due to start back until 1 PM. Next time I opened my eyes, I read 1.46 on the clock. I hurled myself out of the bed and into my clothes, and on the sprint to the Pan Pacific, I frantically tried to work out how much of my stack if any I likely had left. Up 5 flights of stairs and into an empty casino except for cleaning staff. I figured I must have blinded out but where was everyone else? Checking the time on my mobile phone (which was still on Irish time), I found it was almost midnight back home.

Subtract 8 hours, so it's 4 PM? No, wait, that's Vegas that you subtract 8 hours from GMT, here you add 8, so.......8 AM. I slunk back to the hotel cursing the clock in my room which I was convinced had malfunctioned. But when I got there, it read 8.15 AM. Somehow I'd read 7.46 as 1.46.

As bad as that false start was, my actual day 2 was even worse. I got off to a flyer, working my way up to 55k in the first couple of orbits. Then I picked up aces, got the lot in preflop against the only guy at the table who covered me. A king on the turn sent me packing back to my hotel. Had my aces held, I'd have been propelled into the chiplead, and strongly fancied myself to go on and win from there in the softest four figure buyin tournament I'll probably ever play.

I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel a bit sick on that walk back to my hotel. It's a long way to fly to sit and wait patiently for more than a day just for that to happen. One of the things I like about online poker is that no one tournament ever means too much if you do it right: it's ultimately just one in a sample size of tens of thousands. But live is slower and you play a much smaller number of them, so it seems like every tournament matters more.

However, I shrug these setbacks off quicker than most. My English mate Mark who arranged the whole trip, great friend that he is, took only a few minutes to learn of my demise and come over to check up on me. He said he expected to find me committing hara kiri, and was astonished at how positive I seemed. It generally takes 10 minutes or so for the mists of disappointment to clear, but once they do I'm done with it and already thinking about the next tournament. Maybe that's something I also learned in ultra running, where I pretty much destroyed my body in every race and crossed every line thinking "Never again" but would have recovered mentally within an hour and physically within a week.

Don't forget, Season 4 of the European Masters of Poker kicks off in Prague on 2nd to 5th Feb next. Satellites are on Irish Eyes Poker for EMOP Prague now.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Letter from Doke (1st December 2011)


Doke here again. I spent most of this week in the Fitzwilliam, playing their annual festival. First up was their end of month. The field seems to get tougher every month: as evidence of this my starting table had Andy Black (just back from representing Ireland at the Poker Nations Cup), former IPC champion Rory Rees Brennan, and top young Northern Irish player Gertard Harraghy. I ended up cashing but bubbling the final table, getting it all in with A6s versus Dave Masters A4o. The first card on the flop was a rather encouraging 6,but a 4 behind it was joined by another on the turn.

Next up was the main event. I emerged from day one 4th in chips, much to most people's surprise, not least my own. I managed to lose half my stack in the first few hands of day 2, but made one of my trademark recoveries from four big blinds to make the final table, and be involved in a six way chop for €8500. I also had a very hefty chunk of my good friend Rob Taylor who was also in the chop so overall it was a great tournament for me.

Rob and I were back the next day for the team event, joined by two top online players, Padraig "Smidge" O'Neill and David "Lappin" Lappin. I personally got almost nothing to play with in this but the nature of team events is to hang in there as long as you can as the winning team is generally the one with the best "worst" score. I busted in 19th, comfortably inside the top half and we were the last team to have all four in so early advantage to the Old Nits (our team name). Daragh Davey's Team Mongoose were specifically targeting us as their main rivals and unfortunately the draw meant that all four of them had direct position on all four of us. They lost Nick Newport early on which increased their determination to knock us out, meaning the first time I shoved Team Mongoose called with J3o to try to knock me out.

Luckily my fours held, but next time I shoved, my AT was not as fortunate against the Mongoose's Q9. Smidge then got dogged by another Mongoose to go out in 18th opening the event back up, but it swung our way again thanks to a brave and brilliant call by Lappin. Having raised with a pair of eights, after the board ran out T4465, Lappin checked to the Mongoose who had knocked me out, who then shoved for several times pot. After commenting "that bet makes zero sense", Lappin made the call quickly and the Mongoose sheepishly tabled K7. Overbet river shoves often get through against weaker players, but not against top players like Lappin. Lappin and Rob went on to final table, which clinched the team title for us.

This week's strategy section is in response to an email I got from a reader in Brazil of all places, Amanda Medeiros. Amanda was on the bubble of an online tournament recently with 11 big blinds. An aggressive player, thefarmer985, shoved for 60 big blinds on the button, and Amanda called with queens in the big blind. The button had J6o and after the board ran out J66J6, Amanda asks if it might have been more prudent to fold given that it was the bubble.
Well Amanda, while it's true you need to call a bit more cautiously on the bubble, queens is simply too big a hand to fold here, against an aggressive player. While it's always nice to wrap up the cash before having to put all your chips in, it's also a big mistake to pass up very advantageous chances to make chips just because it's the bubble. Aggressive players will look to exploit any reluctance to get involved, and the fact that your opponent showed up here with J6o illustrates that. You're just unlucky that your queens got cracked, but the call was definitely the correct play.

I'm flying out to Manila on Thursday for a week to take part in Manny Pacquiao's WPT there, an all expenses paid trip arranged thanks to my good friend English pro Mark Dalimore. That will probably be my last major live outing this year.

I was chatting to Big Iain today and he asked me to remind you that Irish Eyes are running satellites to Stephen Mclean's Super event. Apparently already 600 seats have been sold so it looks like this will be a massive event.

Also on Irish Eyes, their Advent calendar starts on 1st December and run up to the 24th December with a new promotion every day. The promotions are different every day and are revealed at 6am on each day.

And don't forget, Season 4 of the European Masters of Poker kicks off in Prague on 2nd to 5th Feb next. Satellites are on Irish Eyes Poker for EMOP Prague now.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letter from Doke (22nd November 2011)


Doke here again. I spent most of this week in Riga at the European Masters of Poker grand final. A very good Irish contingent travelled, most of them Team Irish Eyes players, but overall numbers for the final itself were disappointing. Speaking to the organisers after, they said they felt that a change was needed for next year, and that Dublin was the best place to have the grand final. There was also some debate as to whether the buyin to the final should be bigger than the other tour stops or not.

I played four official events without troubling the scorers. We got there in time to late reg for the supersat. This was a fast structure and I was gone fast when a bare K2s flush draw got there against my kq on a queen high flop. In the main event, I was drawn at a very Irish looking table, right beside Phil Baker and across from Noel O'Brien. I won a decent sized pot early on where I 7 bet shoved aces against a guy who had committed 45% of his stack with his 6 bet. With that much of his stack in I didn't think he was folding but he did, showing kings. I didn't really mind the fold as it meant picking up almost half his stack rather than risking the suckout. Mathematically there's not much in the difference between the two, When he folded, I had a stack of 23k 100% of the time. If he called, 82% of the time the aces hold and I have 31k (making my expectation 25420) and 18% of the time I'm crippled to 2k (making my expectation 360). Although my
expectation is higher if he calls (25780 versus 23k), from a variance reduction point of view I'd prefer to have a sure 23k at this stage of the tournament. A few people asked me why I didn't flat the 6 bet. I thought flatting for that much of my stack would make my hand look like aces at least as much as the 7 bet did, plus I can't be 100% certain I get the rest of his stack post flop. For example, if an ace (but no king) comes on the flop, he may decide not to put any more chips into the pot as there's nothing in my range now that kings beats. On the other hand, if a king comes but no ace, we are getting it in, so the flat allows him a free shot to outdraw me on the flop.

After that pot, I lost a big one to Noel when we both had overpairs to the board but his was bigger. Noel disguised his hand very well and I wasn't really putting him on an overpair. That left me with a reshoving stack as the blinds rose and the antes kicked in, and I eventually went for what looked like a good spot when Phil opened in the cutoff (which he was doing almost every time it was folded round to him) and I found AJ on the button. Once Phil snap called I figured I wasn't in great shape, and his AKs dominated me. I pulled ahead on the turn with a jack and thought I was still ahead on the river, but wasn't (my jack had given Phil a flush draw that got there on the river). At least my chips went to a good home, and Phil went on to be the sole Irish cash in 15th.

I also played the 500 side event, exiting on the second last table in a similar spot, reshoving a decent suited ace over a loose button raiser only to find myself dominated, and the 200 side event, where I also made the second last table going out reshoving a dominated hand.

Phil Baker organised a special sit n go with himself, myself, Feargal Nealon, Mark Buckley, Noel O'Brien, Jason Barton and 3 scandis. The structure was much better than normal in these things and it lasted several hours. It was a classic clash of styles, with the loose aggro players going at it tooth and nail in the early going. With the slowness of the structure and no antes, I felt tight was right, so I played very tight. When the dust settled, it was the three tightest players on the table left to battle it out. After I won a race to eliminate Jason Barton in third (Jason played absolutely superbly: perfect stt poker despite much ribbing on how few hands he was playing), I was headsup with one of the Scandis. I chipped up at the start, then was left short after I lost a 70/30 for the win. I recovered and then pulled ahead again winning a flip, and closed the deal getting it in 70/30 and holding this time. Only a sit n go but it was nice to get something out of the weekend.

This week is the Fitzwilliam festival and I'm planning to play most of the events including the main. Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Letter from Doke (14th November 2011)


Doke here again. This week I didn't play live. My wife was visiting her relatives in France which meant not only did I have to look after myself but had been trusted with the task of feeding the household pets (a dog and a rabbit: I'm hoping there isn't any others I didn't know about). All of which meant I couldn't really leave the house for long periods so plenty of time to grind online when I wasn't feeding the pets.

On Sunday, I appeared on Dublin City FM's Sunday afternoon sports programme, "On The Ball". Again the not being able to leave the house thing looked like it might be a problem nbt in the end presenter Breifne Earley was able to ring me, and we had a chat about the recent tournaments in Ireland, and looked forward to Riga. Speaking of Riga, I'm flying out on Wednesday to play day 1A of the EMOP Grand Final on Thursday. There's a very good contingent of Team Irish Eyes players travelling too.

I was asked during the week what the best strategy is in low stakes online tournaments (anything with a buyin of €20 or less qualifies as low stakes). I could write a book on this (but I'm not going to) so just a few quick points on the main adjustments I make for lower buyins.

The biggest difference between lower and higher buyins is people fold less at lower stakes. You have to adjust for this and re-evaluate every play you'd make to see if it's still likely to be profitable. For example, continuation betting when you miss against a player who will call you with any piece of the flop any gutshot or any overcard is still profitable (as players will miss more often than not). Continuation betting against two calling stations, not so much. Continuation betting multiway and barrelling (continuing to bet) every street is just burning money. Three betting light versus one player who'll call but check fold if they miss is still fine, but forget elaborate squeezes. Players will limp or call with 44 and then call a 30 bb squeeze just because they have a pair.

One thing I notice amateur players pay far too much attention to is the average chipstack. Obviously it's nice to be ahead of the average at any time, but really it shouldn't affect how you play. All that really matters is your stack in relation to blinds and antes. That determines which plays are profitable and which ones aren't.

In case any online players missed it, there are three raked hand races left to run on Irish Eyes Poker in November from this week, with €4,000 in each prize pool. Raked Hands from Texas No Limit and Omaha Pot Limit, at stakes from 0.05/0.10 and higher, will count towards the leaderboard.

And for all Sports betting fans Irish Eyes have a New FREE sports info and odds service which gives IrishEyesSports fans worldwide a highly effective free digital service direct to your calendar meaning you are always sure of when and where your favourite team is playing or event is happening. See how it works at www.irisheyes.fixturebox.com

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Letter from Doke (10th November 2011)


Doke here again. I played the JP mini WSOP series this in the Maldron
in Tallaght at the weekend. I made a decent start in the 6 handed but
ultimately went out near the bubble when my AK couldn't hold against
Stewie Samuels AJ. The following day I was back for the main event.
Tough table and card death meant I was happy enough to get out of the
day with just over starting stack. I hung around for much of day 2
with a similar stack, then started to chip up until I finally caught a
hand. I took a risk slow playing a set in a three way pot and reaped
the reward of a full triple up to move to over 200k. I continued to
chip up til I lost a big race, and then shortly after the bubble I
lost most of my stack with a rivered flush against a rivered house.
Another lost race eventually saw me bust in 28th for a min cash (I
also chopped the Irish Poker Boards Last Longer). The following day I
played the 8 game. The most interesting hand was against Kevin
Fitzpatrick in 2 to 7 Triple Draw and it ended rather bizarrely with
me mucking my queen high hand after Kevin declared his hand as ten
high. When the dealer spread his cards out popped an ace so he had
misdeclared his hand, but because I'd already mucked he was still
awarded the pot. My mistake I guess for mucking without seeing all his
cards. I never really recovered from this and didn't trouble the

I also did some livestream commentary with David Lappin and Iain
Cheyne on the main event final table. Team Irish Eyes member Colin
Gray was on the final table and hung on admirably with a short stack
for as long as he could. Well done to Ollie Boyce who claimed the win,
and all who cashed.

I got home in time to watch Eoghan O'Dea. Eoghan played superbly but
got unlucky when it really mattered. He did us all proud though both
in his play and his conduct at the table.

This week's most interesting hand was the hand that tripled me up in
JP's mini WSOP. I raised pocket sixes in late position and got called
by both the button and the small blind. The flop came down AT6 with
two hearts and the blind led out. People rarely do this with monsters
so I decided to flat call rather than raise and risk scaring him off.
I was also hoping the other guy would stick around. Even though the
board was very drawy with the possible heart flush draw and any number
of hands with gutshots (KQ, KJ, QJ, 98, 97, 87) I decided to take a
calculated risk to try to get the maximum value for my set. THe button
called too. With the pot now so big my plan was to ship most turns to
charge draws the maximum and protect my hand. However, the turn was an
ace, giving me a monster now and rendering all flush draws and
gustshots worthless, so when the blind led out yet again, I flatted
again. The button also called again. The river was a brick, the blind
led again and now I finally shoved. I figured most likely one of them
had an ace and the other a draw, but was pleasantly surprised to find
they both called with just the bare ace.

My next major live outing is the EMOP grand final in Riga next week.
I'm flying out from Dublin on Wednesday week with Phil Baker and it
looks like there's going to be a very sizable Irish contingent. You
still have the chance to qualify for this in satellites on Irish Eyes.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Letter from Doke (2nd November 2011)


Doke here again. Well, after a bit of a break from live poker, it was
back on the horse this week. I played the Fitz End of Month where I
didn't really get going, and then the Irish Winter Festival in the
Burlington. Pretty much nothing went to plan in this one, even my
wardrobe. I'd qualified online for the Sole Survivor online so had to
wear the Sole Survivor gear. In previous years this consisted of a top
and optional hoody, so I turned up at the Burlington in my usual poker
gear thinking I'd swap my shirt for the tshirt and keep my jacket.
Unfortunately there was no tshirt this year: just a hoody. Matters got
worse when it emerged the hoody was far too hot to actually wear in
the room. And got even worse again when having got permission to take
it off and put it on the back of the chair, I found that the inside of
the jacket had molted onto my black shirt which was now covered in
green fluff. There's a rather horrible photo of this floating around

The poker didn't really go much better. I moved a little up from
starting stack but after dinner everything went wrong. A series of
small pots and minor setbacks left me short and having to push, and
when I did with AJs, I ran into AK. I played two side events without
troubling the scorers. I got a good start in both. In the last one, I
4 bet shoved kings into ace king which pulled ahead gamely on the
turn. That pretty much summed up my weekend on the poker front, but
you can't expect to cash every tournament and claim to be sane, and
given that this is already my best ever live year nobody should be
expected to put up with me whining about going a few games without a
cash. My good friend and Irish Eyes teammate Mick Mccloskey told me
that one of his many fans told him recently that his 10th Hendon mob
cash this year made him the most consistent Irish player this year in
terms of numbers of live cashes. Mick was feeling chuffed about this
until I pointed out I have 15 on my Hendon mob for this year :)

A few of my good friends went deep in the main event. One I tipped to
Neil Channing as one to watch for the future was Daragh "Other Daragh"
Davey. Daragh has a tremendous attitude and has all the skill
discipline and patience needed to get to the very top in this game. He
went deep in the recent European 6 max, and again here. He always
seems to get horribly unlucky in the end (this time he got it in with
AK v A4 in a massive pot with 20 left) but if he keeps getting into
position it's only a matter of time before the big one comes. Another
Irish Eyes teammate Feargal "MidniteKowby" Nealon got even unluckier,
losing twice to an underpair. Other honourable mentions to Colette
"Smurph" who went deep yet again, Niall Smyth who looked like a rather
unique treble was on for a while, and Chris Dowling who keeps popping
up at these final tables. I did some live stream commentary on the
final table and Chris was unlucky not to finally claim an elusive big
title. A big well done to Noel O'Brien who has only been playing at
this level a couple of years but showed himself to be fearless and
unfazed. Noel's on a bit of a run at the moment too and I expect to
see him at more final tables in the future. Noel told me in the bar at
the weekend he's an avid reader of these letters.

The ultimate winner was popular Northern Irish bookie, John Keown.
John's been a good friend of mine for almost as long as I've been
playing poker and like everyone else he's had to ride through his fair
share of lows so I was delighted to see him land a big score.

This week's strategy section is on the importance of stack sizes. I
saw a lot of amateurs making bad stack size related mistakes at the
weekend. The main big one was raising with 10 big blinds or less and
then folding to a reraise. If you have 10 big blinds or less, you just
can't be doing this. If you decide your hand is strong enough to play,
either shove all in, or raise and be prepared to call anything.
Between 10 and 20 big blinds, you should not be doing too much raise
folding either, so as a general rule only open with hands that can
take a reraise. You certainly shouldn't be 3 betting and then folding
to a 4 bet, as I saw one player do on the final table this weekend.
This is bad for 2 reasons: first you put in too much of your stack to
have to give up if you get 4 bet, and secondly when you do get 4 bet,
you're getting too good a price to fold anything.

Good luck to Eoghan O'Dea next week in Las Vegas. I was talking to him
at the weekend and he told me he was flying out Saturday morning to
give himself a full week to acclimatise. I think Eoghan has a
brilliant chance to take this down, in fact, I'd make him favourite at
the moment to do so, with Ben Lamb his main threat. Back home, we have
our own version of the WSOP with JP's mini WSOP to look forward to
this weekend in the Maldron Hotel in Tallaght. This is a brilliant
tournament, one of my favourite of the year.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Friday, October 28, 2011

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Letter from Doke (25th Oct 2011)


Doke here again. I played absolutely no live poker again this week, but had a pretty good week online. The nightly 10k that starts on Irish Eyes at 8 has been particularly good to me: I think I final tabled it four times in a row. My next major live outing is the Winter festival next weekend.

After that I will be playing in the JPPoker WSOP Mini Series on from the 3rd-6th November in the Maldron Hotel Tallaght. The main event has a buy-in
of €360 including reg, with a €40,000 guarantee, and there will be a super satellite on Irish Eyes Poker next Tuesday 1st November at 8.pm. Buy-in of €20 for 1500 chips, with one rebuy/add-on for €20 for 2,500 chips. 12 minute clock.

The TV coverage of UKIPT Dublin started on Channel 4 last Tuesday. They used a short soundbite from an interview they recorded with me at the event (which I can honestly say I have no recollection of!).

This week's strategy section is in response to Peter, a reader who says he has tried everything,cash, mtts, back to cash, back to mtts, sit and gos, multitabling at cash, then one tabling, but who can't win at any of them. He was looking for any general tips and in particular how to play sit n gos and 180 mans.

Poker can be very frustrating at times when things are going bad. First thing I'd say is it's important to try to focus on medium to long term rather than short term. If you're having a bad session or day, just accept it. Don't try to chase your losses as in the long run that just leads to more losses.

As far as sit n gos go, the best way to play them is fully explained in Colin Moshman's book "Sit n Go strategy". To summarise, he recommends playing tight early, then loosening up and looking for good restealing opportunities as the blinds rise, and finally switching to allin or fold as the stacks drop below ten big blinds. He has a good chart in the back of the book on which hands are good to shove for different stack sizes and positions.

If you're trying to make money from poker long term, there are a number of things that are important. First is bankroll management. Make sure you have enough buyins to cover bad runs. The usual recommendation is 50 for sit n gos and 200 for mtts. Second is to try to find something you can consistently beat. This means focussing on one game, whether that's €1 stts or €10 mtts, and playing enough to accurately assess if you can beat them and how much by. With sit n gos you need to play at least 500 to get an accurate picture, and ideally 2000. Third, look around to find your best option for long term profit. When I started I specialised in sit n gos. I moved away from them as the general standard improved and my edge shrunk (most of the other top sit n go players did the same). These things go in waves though and the fact that so many top players stopped playing them may make them softer again. But Stars stts may not be your best option, as Stars attracts a lot of good grinders because of the volume it affords and the VIP benefits for 20 tablers. It's worth trying stts on other sites like Irish Eyes. On Irish Eyes there are also a number of 10 euro rebuy multitable tourneys that are very good value.

Last thing I'd say is that making your living from poker is essentially a shift job. It's important when you play. If you play during the day, there's a lot more grinders and a lot less amateurs, so you should play in the evening which is when the recreational players get on after work. Weekends are good for the same reason.

Another question I get asked about is about rake back. Irish Eyes Poker are just about to announce the launch of a new ‘INSTANT’ reward program starting on 1st November. This reward program is a new initiative that rewards loyalty without the boundaries of a normal monthly schedule. You earn Loyalty points, rise in Loyalty Level and collect your rewards instantly. No more waiting till the end of the month to collect your rake back or bonus. Called the Instant Reward Program, players should register for it by emailing their username to promotions@irisheyespoker.ie

To launch it there is a November Promotion for IRP Enrolled players called the LOYALTY POINTS RACE worth €20,000. From the beginning of November for the players participating in the new loyalty program there will be a seven day long Loyalty Points Race. The prize pool is €20,000 and there are 100 cash prizes.

All kind of earned points will count; you can earn Loyalty Points in cash games, tournaments and Sit & Go tournaments.It's earned points that count,
if rewards are purchased the points will still count towards the leaderboard. The race is held between the 2nd (00:00 CET) and the 8th (23:59 CET) of November.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in playing the €100 Freeroll on Irish Eyes this Wednesday evening at 21.00, the password is ladies43.

For details on all the promotions click on the links above.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Letter from Doke (18th Oct 2011)


Doke here again. I played absolutely no live poker this weekend, which
meant I got to put in some quality hours with my one true love: online
poker :)

I had a very good week, twice chopping my favourite nightly
tournament, the €10k gtd on Irish Eyes that starts at 8, as well as
winning a number of other tournaments and making more than my fair
share of final tables. The €10 rebuys on Irish Eyes in particular have
been good to me. I'm convinced that the nightly €10k on Irish Eyes is
the softest online daily tournament anywhere with a buyin of more than
€50. My friend Kieran "Croc" Walsh railed me the first night I chopped
and commented afterwards that the standard was lower than you'd expect
in a $5 rebuy anywhere else.

Since I didn't play live this week, no particularly interesting hands
spring to mind for this week's bit of strategy. I was watching Late
Night Poker during the week. Luke Schwartz was running like God in his
heat and got headsup with a big chiplead against Roberto Romanello.
Vicky Coren in commentary suggested that with such a chiplead, he
should just shove every hand. This is truly horrible advice! Dan
Harrington correctly pointed out once that the skill in poker more or
less boils down to using all the available information to assess your
odds of winning the pot, and comparing that to the odds you're being
offered. If you think you're 2 to 1 against winning the pot, you
should fold if you're only getting evens, and call if you're getting 3
to 1. Saying you should shove any two just because you have way more
chips is the same as saying you should go around offering people odds
of 2 to 1 on a coinflip just because you're much richer than them.
There are spots where shoving any two is okay, but they generally
involve a combination of much shallower stacks (less big blinds) and
an inept opponent who will fold too much when shoved on. Shoving every
hand just removes all skill from your own game while allowing your
opponent to play perfectly. Since he knows your range is any two, all
he has to do is assess what chance his hand has against a random hand.
On the final table of an online turbo a while back, I snap called a
shove from the small blind with J6o in the big blind. A number of
people railing asked me how on earth I could make such a call. My
answer was that all available information (my statistics for the
player in question) suggested he would shove here 100% of the time if
folded too, so his range was any 2 cards. While J6o is a below average
hand, it has about 48% equity here (48% chance of beating a random
hand). This was way more than the 40% equity I needed to make the call
(I was getting a price of 6 to 4 on the call) so it was actually a no
brain decision. In fact, in this spot, I'd have called with a lot
worse. The worst hand I'd have called with is Doyle Brunson's
favourite, t2o, as this is the worst hand that has 40% or more equity
against one random hand. The fact that my opponent's random hand in
this case was J5o was all the sweeter.

My next major live outing is the Winter festival next week, but before
that I'll probably pop into the Fitzwilliam some night.

If anyone is interested in playing the €100 Freeroll on Irish Eyes this Wednesday evening at 21.00, the password is 27off42

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Letter from Doke (10th Oct 2011)


Doke here again. After Barcelona, I headed to London. I got there in
time to late register for the 1k side event. I had an up and down day
one but a late rush saw me finish with about 56k, in or around
average. Day 2 got off to a bad start when I got rivered in a big pot.
That left me with less than 6 big blinds well before the bubble, but I
managed to stage a recovery to be back to near average after the
bubble broke. Then I got rivered in another big pot to be short again,
and never really recovered, exitting in 16th for £2800. Still, I was
glad to keep up my record of cashing in something in every EPT I've
attended but one.

I played a couple of turbo side events, one of which featured an
unusual twist: every player still in the hand by the river was dealt a
separate river, which almost changes the game into a cross between
holdem and seven card stud. This changes things a bit more than most
people think. I'd like to play this variant again in a non turbo.

The next side I played was a hyperturbo. I almost didn't play this as
a protest against the exorbitant reg (effectively over 23%).
Hyperturbos are frantic at the best of times, but live ones are
essentially farcical. Blinds were rising twice an orbit, tables were
breaking faster than the floor staff could handle it, and you could go
from having too many chips to shove to being so short you had to call
any two in the big blind within a few hands. Which is basically what
happened to me. Bob Willis described it as the poker equivalent of
pitch and toss, which sums it up nicely.

Last event for me was the 10K freeroll for Irish players who played an
EPT Main event last year, as recognition of Ireland winning EPT
Country of the Year. 38 players qualified, but only 14 showed up. I
ran really bad in this, picking up only two premiums, AQ in the big
blind, which crippled me after Big Mick G shoved just under 10 bbs utg
with KTs and hit a king, and queens next hand, which lost to Feargal
Nealon's qjo (he hit a runner runner flush). That knocked me out in
8th: the only consolation being that 8 spots were paid, so I collected
another £500 for my trouble. Marty Smyth was playing this at the same
time as the final table of the Omaha, and was struggling to live
multitable. He ended up cashing in both though, so fair play.

On Saturday I headed up to Belfast for the wedding of my friends Rob
Taylor and Cat O'Neill. Both Rob and Cat are top class players: Rob
final tabled the Irish Open this year, and Cat is a former final
tableist of both the IPO and the IPC, so there's a really strong
possibility that any children will grow up to be top class players :)

This week's strategy hand is not one I was involved in but the crucial
hand from the London EPT main event final table. I didn't see the hand
at the time but when I went over to chat to Nick Abou Risk and Jesse
May they were debating the hand. It happened early on on the final
table. There were two giant stacks, a few short stacks, and some
medium ones. One of the shorter stacks opened in early to mid
position, chipleader Benny Spindler flatted on the button, and the
other giant stack threebet in the big blind. The short stack folded
and Benny now shoved, a massive shove several times the pot. After
some thought, the big blind called with AK and found himself in a race
with Benny's tens, which held. Both Jesse and Nick were questioning
whether the AK call was correct.

In my view, it wasn't, in this specific situation. When you have two
giant stacks that tower over all the other stacks, they risk a
considerable amount of equity in a confrontation. This means that the
player calling it off has to think he's well ahead for the call to be
correct. This concept is explained in detail in the book "Kill
Everyone". Benny's hand looks like tens, jacks or queens once he
shoves (aces and kings are unlikely, because his opponent has one of
each, and he probably wouldn't play them this fast). In "Kill
Everyone", the authors describe play between two big stacks in these
situations as a "game of chicken". Correct strategy is to either get
the chips in first (since your opponent is then making a mistake if he
calls it off when he's not clearly ahead), or keep the pot small. In
this spot, I'd probably have flatted with AK rather than threebet, to
keep the pot small (and also disguise my hand). The AK may have
threebet thinking if Benny made a normal sized 4 bet, he could 5 bet
shove. Benny's overbet shove is great play as it deprives the AK of
this possibility. This illustrates an important concept that crops up
a lot late on in tournaments: if you decide to raise, decide in
advance what you will do if you get shoved on. If you decide you have
to call because of the price you'd be getting, but you'd rather not
get shoved on, then shove in first, even if it's an overbet. Another
example of this is if you raise a weak ace on the button or in the
small blind, and the stack(s) behind are 15 big blinds or less. You
can't raise fold even a weak ace at this effective stack, so if you
think your opponent will reshove a lot of hands you'd prefer him to
fold, just shove rather than raising. A6o is ahead of JTs, but it's
virtually a flip (51/49), so if you have A6o and your opponent JTs,
you're better off shoving to get him to fold rather than make a normal
raise that induces him to shove.

I booked my flights to next European Masters of Poker event in Riga on from the 17 - 20 November in the Royal Casino Spa & Hotel Resort. There is a lot of interest in this final EMOP event of the year with a good many Team Irish Eyes players attending. If you want to join us, there are satellites from €2 and qualifers from €100 on www.irisheyespoker.com. I hope to see you there.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

New Instant Rewards on Irish Eyes Poker

Irish Eyes Poker is delighted to announce the launch of a fantastic new ‘INSTANT’ reward program starting on 1st November 2011. This new reward program will replace the existing VIP Cash Back Monthly Bonus and all players on that program will automatically be enrolled in this new program.

The new reward program is called the Instant Reward Program which is a unique system that rewards loyalty without the boundaries of a normal monthly schedule. Earn Loyalty points, rise in Loyalty Level and collect your rewards instantly. No more waiting till the end of the month to collect your rake back or bonus.

The Instant Reward Program works as follows:
For every €0.50 raked in cash game or €0.50 paid in tournament fee one (1) Base Point will be awarded. (Partial Base Points are also awarded.)
Loyalty Points are also awarded and depending on your Loyalty Level you will earn a certain number of Loyalty Points for each earned Base Point, the higher the level you are on - the more points that are awarded.

You can see your Loyalty Points represented as stars in the poker lobby.

More information is available in the Loyalty Status Window.

Your level is based on the number of Base Points earned during the last 60 days. Base Points are awarded for both real money cash game and real money buy-in tournaments.

The difference between Base Points and Loyalty Points is that at least one Loyalty Points is awarded for every Base Point you earn and the number of Loyalty Points awarded per Base Point will go up as you move to a higher Loyalty level. Base Points are only used for level calculations and cannot be used to purchase rewards.

You can purchase rewards for your Loyalty Points in the Loyalty Status Window. The reward will be available instantly on your poker account.


How fast Loyalty Points are earned depends on the players’ Loyalty Point Ratio, for example if the player is on Level 3 the player will earn 1.4 Loyalty Points for each earned Base Point.
Loyalty Points can be traded for a reward at any given time as long as the player meets the level requirement for that reward.

Loyalty Points are awarded on the following ratio:

Level Loyalty Point Ratio
Level 1 1 BP = 1.00 LP
Level 2 1 BP = 1.20 LP
Level 3 1 BP = 1.40 LP
Level 4 1 BP = 1.70 LP
Level 5 1 BP = 2.00 LP
Level 6 1 BP = 2.30 LP
Level 7 1 BP = 2.70 LP
Level 8 1 BP = 3.00 LP


The Instant Reward Program contains eight (8) levels. All players participating in the loyalty program will start at level one.
A player’s current level is based on how many Base Points the player has earned during the last 60 days. All Base Points earned from midnight 59 days ago and including the current day are counted.

Example: If the time is 14:54 on the 30th December the Loyalty Level is based on Base Points earned since midnight (00:00) on the 1st November (60 days).

Loyalty Level Requirements
Level Minimum Base Points earned last 60 days
Level 1 0 BP
Level 2 100 BP
Level 3 225 BP
Level 4 500 BP
Level 5 1,000 BP
Level 6 3,000 BP
Level 7 6,300 BP
Level 8 14,000 BP

A player may gain or lose multiple levels at this time, all based on how many Base Points the player has earned during the last 60 days.


A player can collect rewards at any time in the Loyalty Status Window. All available Loyalty Points can be used for collecting rewards that will instantly be available in the players poker account.
The availability of the rewards depends on the player’s Loyalty Level.

Available Rewards
Available at level Loyalty Points Euro Awarded
1+ 60 3
2+ 100 5
2+ 150 8
3+ 200 11
3+ 300 17
4+ 430 25
4+ 600 35
5+ 1,350 80
5+ 4,200 250
6+ 5,000 300
6+ 11,500 700
7+ 13,000 800
7+ 25,000 1,550
8 31,000 2,000
8 46,000 3,000
8 60,000 4,000

Note: Loyalty Points are not VIP points, which will still be awarded and can be used as normal to buy into tournaments and Sit n Go’s.

Anyone with an Irish Eyes Account that is not currently on a reward program and would like to register for this program, please email your IRP request and username to promotions@irisheyespoker.ie

Monday, October 03, 2011

Letter from Doke (3rd October 2011) EMOP Barcelona


Doke here again. This week I headed to Barcelona to play the EMOP there, struggling unmanfully with a flu. I played day 1b, and early on nothing was happening for me. I'm a great believer that in slow structures with softish fields patience is a big virtue and you're usually better off trying to hang in there long enough for something good to happen rather than trying to force it when it's not happening.

Recently I've been trying some of the mental techniques I used to prepare for running to see if they help with the poker, and one area where I've noticed a definite improvement is in my patience early on. The biggest mistake I see predominantly online players (myself included) live is to get bored, play too many hands, and try to force things prematurely.

Anyway, it paid off on this occasion: I think I'd lost the minimum through my early period of card death/making the second best hand a lot, so still had 13k left when I was on the right side of a cooler. At 150/300, a loose player utg raised to 800, a loose Scandi flatted just before me, and I found aces in late position. I threebet to 2600, and after asking how much I had left the initial raiser threw in a clump of chips to make it just over 9k. The other guy unexpectedly flatted, I shoved, and now the initial raiser was annoyed to discover he couldn't reraise to force the other guy out as my shove represented an underraise (an elementary mistake you see online players make live more often than they should, particularly after taking the trouble to get an exact count from me). So he flatted, as did the other guy. The board ran out KT896 with three diamonds and they turned over queens and jacks. So a timely triple up. From there I moved up towards 70k without any major setbacks. Late in the day I lost with tens against a shorty's A5 to finish with 56k, around average.

Unfortunately day 2 didn't go to plan. I was card and spot dead for the first three hours and struggled not to fall too far back, kept afloat by the occasional well timed steal or resteal. I had just over 40k shortly before dinner, less than 20 bbs, when I got moved to a new table. First hand: I shove AJs and it gets through. Second hand: I shove sevens and runs into kings behind. I was left with a pile of small denom chips which represented just over 3 bbs. I was bb next hand so with over a third of my stack in (counting antes) and getting over 2 to 1 to call I was more or less committed. After a late position raise I checked one card to make sure it was higher than a 7, and seeing a queen reshoved. My opponent hummed and hawed as the dealer counted my mountain of small denom chips before announcing, "OK, I call", and turned over aces, which held against my Q9. An annoying end to my tourney about 40 from the money but no major regrets: I felt I'd done as much as anyone could given what I had to work with. The tournament itself was a massive success, with over 450 runners, an EMOP record that proves that the tour is going from strength to strength. Roll on the live final in Riga.

Mrs. Doke was struggling with the same flu so this curtailed our sightseeing a bit, but what we saw of Barcelona was absolutely brilliant. I also ran into Team Irish Eyes member Noel Keane on day 1 (he busted just after dinner unfortunately). Noel's an interesting guy with a very interesting background and "how I got into poker" story.

A number of readers have asked for more strategy in these letters so from now on I'll either talk through a hand I played myself, or answer "What would you do here?" type queries which you can send me at dara@irisheyespoker.com. This week's hand illustrates the math based approach my game is largely based on, but also I hope will illustrate that you don't need to know the math in detail, just the implications. The hand in question was late on day 1a here in Barcelona. After my triple up, I'd moved up to about 50k, but after a period of card death had drifted back to 30k when this hand happened. One opponent in particular was giving me a lot of trouble, threebetting me a lot, and apparently bluffed me off the best hand (tens) when an ace hit the river and he bet big in a threebet pot. Folded to me in the cutoff, I made my customary min raise with A3s when my nemesis was bb. This is my standard raise size for more or less all my range as it fits in with my overall smallball strategy. I had no reason to change it here because my opponent never seemed to fold his bb, but rarely threebet either out of position, so with two tight players between him and me, the most common scenario was I got to play a pot against him in position as the preflop aggressor, a profitable situation,
particularly attractive since this is a rare chance to do so (I'm usually out of position against him).

As expected, he defended, and checked the Q42 flop. Against many opponents I'd cbet this flop on the basis that I probably have the best hand and might get a very cautious opponent to fold better (like a bigger ace or pocket threes). Let's run through some math at this point:
(1) I have the best hand here unless my opponent started with a pair
(about 6%), hit the flop (about 30%) or has a bigger ace (11%). Knocking off a few percent for very strong hands he'd threebet means I have the best hand here 55-60% of the time.
(2) It's important to remember that there are always three good reasons to bet: to protect what you believe to be the best but vulnerable hand, to get a better hand to fold, or to get called by a worse hand.

Looking at these three reasons, against this specific opponent:
(a) it's difficult to imagine he'd fold a better hand than mine to a bet
(b) it's equally difficult to see him calling with worse
(c) if my hand is best now it's not all that vulnerable as there aren't many draws he can have.

A big reason not to bet here is a very aggro opponent will look at that board and rightly conclude I will have missed it more often than not, and be prepared to follow through on this read with a check raise bluff. If I get check raised here I'm in a pretty horrible spot where I could make a big mistake either by folding the best hand or calling when I'm behind. Furthermore, a very aggro opponent is likely to keep barreling and I don't really want to play a very big pot at this point with ace high, so more than likely I'm going to have to fold to the check raise. Even if I'm behind, I'm giving up a lot of equity if I do this as with my gutshot I probably have either 7 or 10 outs, or between 25% and 40% equity. So to save myself this spot, I just check behind. My hand has decent showdown equity (meaning there's a very good chance it'll be best at showdown) and several ways to improve so the last thing I want to do is put more chips in now only to get bet off the hand.

The turn is the perfect card for me: a 5 completing my straight. My
opponent leads fairly small here. Again, my reaction to this very much
depends on my read on the villain, and my history with him. If he was a cautious tight player who might be "betting for information" with a marginal hand that he will fold to a reraise, I'd prefer to flat call here (and hope he weak leads the river or makes a crying call to a small value bet), or taking a stab with air but giving up if I show resistance. But against a very aggro opponent far more likely to not only be bluffing but to continue the bluff rather than just give up, and less likely to give up on a marginal hand, I prefer the small non-pot committing raise, which gives him the opportunity to come back over the top if he believes he has the best hand but needs to protect it, or is on a bluff and believes I'm either bluffing or have a marginal hand that can't call an all in (here the history between us is important as he may think I'm simply fed up of folding to his bets and reraises and therefore more likely to be on a total move, or taking a stand with a marginal hand). My opponent briefly thought about it before shoving, and after I called tabled 52o for two pair.

It's important to note that while my decisions at every point in the hand were based on and supported by the math (particularly on the flop), they took into account opponent tendencies as well as likely hand ranges. Most good players would come to the same decisions without necessarily being aware of the math. Most players learn not by analysing the math in detail but observing situations and noting how other players play them, both to see what they can learn from good players and what mistakes bad players make that should be avoided.

I was struggling with the wifi in the hotel for most of my time in Barcelona, but got it working briefly on the Sunday, when I found out that Irish poker legend Padraig Parkinson had suffered a heart attack two days before. I sent him a tweet wishing him a recovery and apologising saying I was out of the loop due to dodgy wifi in Barcelona. Parky tweeted back asking whose dodgy wife, so clearly his humour is not impaired, which must be a good sign :)

I also heard the very sad news that my friend Sean Gregory passed away at the weekend after a long fight with cancer. Sean was one of the first to befriend me when I appeared on the scene, and he always had a smile and a positive outlook on everything which made him a real pleasure to be with, except at the table where he was one of the most ferociously difficult to play against LAGs in the country. A lengthy conversation with Sean in the Red Cow early on in my career gave me many telling insights into the intelligent LAG's game at a time when all my mentors were TAGs, and I would say Sean had as big an influence on my current online game as anyone. One saying of his in particular stuck with me - "Keep putting the worms out there and sometimes you lose a lot of little worms before you catch the giant fish that makes it all worthwhile". Like everyone else, Sean struggled with the variance and the highs and lows of poker, but his positive attitude always shone through, and I took it as one of the most genuine compliments I've been paid when he came to me about a year ago looking for advice on the online game. Sean had some considerable successes in the last year online and had his career not been cut short I'm certain he would have proven what a tremendous natural talent he was.

This letter is being written on a plane from Barcelona to London. The plan is to play an EPT side event or two before the EPT Country of the Year freeroll on Thursday, and then it's back to the online grind for a while.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Letter from Doke (27th September 2011)


Doke here again. This week I played a lot of live poker, spending 4
days in the D4 hotel at the European Shorthanded championships. I
played the supersatellite and managed to get a ticket, which I used
the following day, day 1A. I lasted almost 2 hours :) I had starting
stack just before the first break but managed to lose it all in the
space of three hands. First I got set over setted which is never
pleasant. That accounted for half my stack (could have been more but
my opponent decided to slowplay). Half of what was left went on an ill
timed bluff when I was trying to represent a flush to an opponent with
a three high flush. The rest went when I ran AK into aces.

Since the tournament allowed re-entry, I had another bash the next
day. This time I got off to a good start but drifted back after dinner
and busted near the end. The following day I was back for the 300 side
event. Never really got going in this one and eventually lost a race.
I was back for more punishment on Sunday for the last side event. I
managed a min cash in this one, losing with ace 9 against 89o just
after the bubble.

Overall the tournaments were enjoyable though. Once again, the field
was mainly foreign (French this time). The D4 lads always run a good
tournament so I'm looking forward to their next one already (the
European Deepstack, the first running of which I won a few years ago).

Next up for me is the Barcelona EMOP at the end of the week. I'm
flying out on Thursday and hoping for another good run. I'm 7th in the
overall leaderboard after the Dublin leg so another result could
cement my place in the top 10. Hopefully I'll see a few Team Irish
Eyes members there. The following Monday I fly direct from there to
London for the last few side events at EPT London.

Something new and fun on Irish Eyes is Terminal Poker. The basic idea
is similar to rush poker. At the moment it has a growing number but
still small. If anyone wants a freebie to try it out, sign up at my
blog, and then email me your username and we'll give you a 10 euro
free money voucher to get started.

Also best of luck to anyone playing in Killarney. Connie and Matt
always run a great show and Killarney's one of my favourite places to
play poker, but unfortunately I can't make it this year due to the
clash with Barcelona.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Click on the links in the menu for details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€18,000)
September Freerolls (€36,000)
Raked Hands Race (€40,000)
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)
Upto 45% rake back
Team Irish Eyes Poker promotions.

Keep up to date on my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Letter from Doke (19th Sept 2011)


Doke here again. I had a pretty good week online, with more than my fair share of final tables, and better yet managed to win a handful of tournaments, including a ten euro rebuy on Irish Eyes. Cashing is nice but there's nothing like actually winning a tournament to get the blood pumping.

On the live front, I played the 50K guaranteed 100s festival in Maynooth, largely because I was intrigued to see how the novel idea of 4 day ones with re-entries would work. I played day 1c and got through with one bullet (no re-entry), mainly because I got off to a great start. Or should I say a lucky start: the first major hand of note I got it in with the schnuts (second nuts) against the nuts on the flop and still managed to win the hand.

Day 2 didn't exactly go to plan though: I was definitely on the toughest table in the room. I was struggling to get anything going and ended up reshipping queens from the blinds over an early position raiser. He had a huge stack and seemed very spewy so I reshipped knowing full well I could get called very light, but it was still a surprise to see him call fairly quickly with A8. He hit the ace on the turn. I can't really complain though: I'm always happy when an opponent calls it off as a 9/4 dog getting only 6/4. Professional poker players and bookies have one thing in common: in the long run our money all comes from people making bad bets against us at insufficient odds.

This week I'm playing day 1A of the European Shorthanded in Ballsbridge. This is also a re-entry tournament so if I do bust 1A I'll probably be back for more punishment on 1b.

A big thank you to the Irish Eyes team for giving my blog a makeover. It was probably well overdue: the blog had the same look and feel as when I started it three years ago as a secret "Dear Diary". Also, the latest edition of Player Ireland has an extensive description of EMOP Dublin with pictures. Speaking of EMOP, I'm really looking forward to EMOP Barcelona at the end of the month. It will be my first foreign trip since Vegas and while some time at home was needed after Vegas, my batteries are well and truly recharged now and I'm raring to go. I'll be flying directly from Barcelona to London for the last few side events and the EPT Country of the Year freeroll I qualified for.

You may notice ads for various stuff on the new look blog. Not to plug everything, but one worth paying attention to as I genuinely get asked about it a lot (or more generally the best way to get money on and offline). I personally use Neteller and an associated Net+ Cash On Cash Off card which works as a debit card (meaning no credit card fees) against your Neteller account.

This also means no fees when booking flights etc. (Ryanair for example charge you extra for using a credit card), and I can use the card to withdraw cash from ATMs. So click on the Cash On Cash Off banner at the side for more details.

Lastly, I have also tried a new site this week called Terminal Poker. Its like Full Tilt's Rush poker and although it is new its quite a bit of fun. Cash games only. Fold and you move directly to a new table and new players.
Irish Eyes Poker are adding it to their site (although you will need a different account on Terminal than on Irish Eyes)and have given me some free money to give to anyone who wants to try it out. If you click in the link on my blog (there is a link to it from the Irish Eyes blog) or put in the referral code 'doke' when you signup, they will stick 20 euro into your account for free if you email team@irisheyespoker.ie with your username.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Click on the links in the menu for details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€18,000)
September Freerolls (€36,000)
Raked Hands Race (€40,000)
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)
Upto 45% rake back
Team Irish Eyes Poker promotions.

Keep up to date on my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Entraction blocking players from Canada, Isreal, Norway, Russia and Turkey.

Entraction, the network on which Irish Eyes Poker runs, has made the decision to block players from Canada, Israel, Norway, Russia and Turkey from their gaming platform. The blocking will commence at 12:00 CET on September 29. Entraction state that the "...decision is preceded by careful considerations and is necessary to fully comply with local laws.

Entraction was recently acquired by U.S. based International Game Technology, IGT, one of the world's largest suppliers of gaming machines and gaming technology. Together with IGT we will be able to offer our partners a stronger and better product as well as a global reach.

Entraction's and IGT's commitment to adhering to the laws of the countries where we offer online gaming opportunities is an important part of building a network that will enable partners and players to enjoy online gaming in a secure gaming environment."

Letter from Doke (14th Sept 2011)

Doke here again. I had a fairly quiet week online. I only played Monday and Tuesday as on Wednesday my friend Mark Smyth had been selected for the "Team Pro plays a home game" segment on the TV coverage for UKIPT Dublin. He invited me, Phil Baker and Lorand Santo along. You're guaranteed entertainment with that crew and hopefully it'll translate to the coverage.

I played Day 1A of the UKIPT on Thursday. Reasonably uneventful day as I chipped up steadily. I peaked at 50k before going card dead towards the end which meant coming back with a reasonable stack of 38k, just over 30 big blinds.

The following day I played a side event and was put at the same table as two of the readers of these letters, wee Bridie Gribben and not so we Steven Byrne. Steven knocked me out of this event in Cork but this time it was Bridie who did most of the damage, living up to her promise to my friends who were watching to make me her bitch :) The craic at the table was mighty and it was a shame we broke. I didn't last very long at the new table.

Day 2 of the main event didn't go so well. I had breakfast with one of the chipleaders, my friend Breifne Earley. Breifne asked me for some tips and I ran through some advice on shoving stacks, reshoving stacks, and ranges. I should probably have checked the table draw first: turns out we were at the same table!

I hovered around for a few hours without getting the hoped for doubleup and eventually went on reraising JTs all in from the small blind over a button min raise only to run into AJ in the big blind. We were about 50 from the bubble but with my stack I couldn't just be hanging round so I have no regrets about the shove.

On Sunday afternoon, I appeared on Dublin City FM's "On The Ball" with Breifne Earley to talk about the success of Team Irish Eyes players at
EMOP Dublin and other recent Irish tournaments. This week also saw the appearance of my first blog for the Star at their website:
http://starbets.ie/poker-blog/grinding-and-an-afternoon-with-roy-06092011/ This blog is aimed at more general readers than my normal blog.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Click on the links in the menu for details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€18,000)
September Freerolls (€36,000)
Raked Hands Race (€40,000)
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)
Upto 45% rake back
Team Irish Eyes Poker promotions.

Keep up to date on my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Monday, September 05, 2011

Letter from Doke (5th Sept 2011)


Doke here again. I had a very good week online this week with a slew of final tables and a couple of wins and 5 figure scores. I also final
tabled the Monthly 100K on Irish Eyes tonight. 7 handed, six of us wanted to do a deal as it was getting quite crapshooty and the payouts
quite top heavy (23k for first and only 3k for 7th) but as the saying goes, there's always one. Unfortunately I exitted just before the
conscientious objector in 7th, and after he exitted in 6th, they did a five way chop. Still, after the week I've had, I can't really complain
too much.

Plan for this week is to continue to grind hard online to try and keep my heater going, and then from Wednesday switch my focus to live
poker, in the form of the Dublin UKIPT. I'm planning to play the shorthanded on Wednesday, and then day 1A of the main event on
Thursday. I've been in good form live since I came back from Vegas so I'm hoping for another deep run.

I hear Irish Eyes is now available to play on computers, and players can make cash deposits and withdrawals, in Ken Doherty's club in Terenure, Dublin.
Its a nice new club with full access to the bar next door.

Lastly, check back soon to see the blog's brand new look.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Click on the links in the menu for details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€18,000)
September Freerolls (€36,000)
Raked Hands Race (€40,000)
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)
Upto 45% rake back
Team Irish Eyes Poker promotions.

Keep up to date on my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Irish Eyes Fantasy Football

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Now you can back your opinion with cold hard cash.
That's right - fantasy football just got real!

Large payouts to the winning managers with prizepools starting at €1000.

And its simple to play.
- Go to www.irisheyesfootball.com and signup for your new fantasy football account.
- Select your team(s) weekly.
- Place your bet from €2 to €200
- Pitch your skill against other managers for real money.
- Win your share of the prizepool guarateed each week to start at €1000


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Letter from Doke (30th August 2011)


Doke here again. Another fairly typical week for me: lots of online grinding during the week, and then some live late in the week. I busted the Unibet Open late on Saturday which left me free to do a Sunday grind, rare enough for me these days. I had one deep run, making the second last table of the Party 200K. There was almost $80k for first so it would have been a good time to run well but instead I lost a huge flip to bust in 17th. I've still been enjoying a fair amount of success in the ten euro rebuys on Irish Eyes: the smaller field sizes and fact you can survive an early bustout suits clearly my game. I started as an online 9 man sit n go specialist, and when I was transitioning to multitable tournaments enjoyed a fair deal of success in the 45 mans on Full Tilt. Live, I cut my teeth playing nightly tournaments with 40-60 runners in the Fitzwilliam Card Club in Dublin.

Speaking of the Fitz, I played their end of month game last Thursday. I was short throughout most of it (watching from a cash table after he busted, I heard my friend Lappin tell someone "Doke spends almost his entire life between a third and half the average") before going on a rush two tables out to move close to the chiplead. I then lost a massive threeway flip on the bubble. Holding AK, I initially outdrew Marc Brody's tens who barely covered me when a king appeared atop the flop. The dealer spread the flop to reveal a ten lurking beneath to more or less kill me. The shortie's AJ pulled ahead when a queen appeared on the turn, and the king of the river did nothing for me but housed up Marc's set of tens. It's always annoying to bubble a tournament but I had no regrets about the manner of my exit as I was more interested in playing for the win and the 11k up top rather than locking up the 400 min cash. My chips went to a good home for once as Marc who was clearly the best player left in my view went on to win.

I also ran into Terry Loughnane, currently top of the Celtic Poker Tour league, in the Fitz. Very nice guy.

My Unibet Open main event was similar in many respects. I hung around well below average for most of it until I was on the right side of a threeway cooler just before the bubble, my kings holding against queens and jacks. Unfortunately, the chipleader (and eventual winner) then got moved to the table. He was hammering us with nobody playing back at him apart from me. Just after the bubble, he raised the button, the small blind reshoved for just over 10 bbs, and I liked my AQ enough in the bb to reshove. It's well ahead of both ranges here and I can't just flat for a third of my stack so the shove is standard in my view. Unfortunately the chip monster on the button had a real hand this time (kings), and an ace which would have saved my day and propelled me into the chiplead never appeared. So all in all a strange mixed feeling of disappointment and pride at another deep run as I was led away to collect my min cash which seemed particularly min given there was over 100 grand for first.

I'd run into Roy the Boy Brindley when I went to dinner in a nearby restaurant with my friend Daragh Davey. Roy was doing the commentary for the live stream and asked me if I'd come on to do some co-commentary if I busted. Since I'd enjoyed a similar gig with Neil Channing at the Irish Open I was only too happy to agree. After my exit the Unibet co-ordinator came scampering over to make sure Ididn't sulk off, so I did some commentary with Roy for a few hours which was good craic.

I am looking forward to EMOP Barcelona on 29th September. Should be a very good turn out. I see on the Irish Eyes Poker lobby there are 125 entrants registered to the event already and there are satellites and qualifiers running right up to at least the 18th September, so many more I expect. Plus Barcelona usually gets a good number of direct buy-ins on the day.
If you want to join me there, as well as sats and qualifiers, Irish Eyes are running VIP-point freerolls starting on the 2nd of September and ending on the 18th September. There is one package to EMOP Barcelona worth €2,000 in each freeroll. Each package consists of tournament buy-in of €1,100, accommodation in a nice hotel for five nights and €350 in travel contribution that is credited to the player's poker account.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)

Click on the links in the menu for details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€18,000)
September Freerolls (€36,000)
Raked Hands Race (€40,000)
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)
Upto 45% rake back
Team Irish Eyes Poker promotions.

Keep up to date on my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letter from Doke (23rd Aug 2011)

Doke here again. This week, I headed to Cork to play the Macau Classic. I don't recall ever cashing in a tournament in Cork and I didn't break my duck this time either. Highlight on day 1 of the main event was knocking out November Niner Eoghan O'Dea in an interesting hand. It started with Richie Lawlor (one of the best tourney players on the scene at the moment who came within a hair's breath of the remarkable and unprecedented achievement of cashing in 4 UKIPTs on the trot) opening to 750 utg at 150/300. I flatted with ATs two behind, as did Eoghan O'Dea two behind me. The flop came 764 with two of my suit, Richie led for 1050, I called, Eoghan raised to 3800 with 10k behind. Richie tank folded (queens according to his Twitter) and I had to think now too. Folding didn't seem great when you play ATs and hit a two overs and a nut flush draw flop, calling seemed unpalatable too, so I ran through the math quickly to see if shoving was ok. I figured Eoghan's range as 44+ (that is, sets, overpairs and pairs with a straight draw). I have about 42-43% equity against that range so even if he never folds the shove is plus Ev. If he ever does fold it's even better for me. Also, if I widen his range to include worse flush draws like KQs, my equity gets closer to 50%. As it happened, he had a hand I'd never even considered (76o for top two) but even if I include 2 pair hands (I excluded them because Eoghan was playing very tight and didn't think he'd play something like 76o from mid position with less than 50 bigs) I'm basically a 5/4 dog against the range so the shove's ok with the dead money. And there's always Plan B, hit the flush,
which I duly did. Hopefully Eoghan's getting his run bad out of the way before November.

I ran bad on day 2 though, losing a bunch of races to decimate my stack down to 4K (4 big blinds). I did rally back up to 50k but in the end went out about 20 from the money. The side event was one of my shortest journeys ever: I managed to get over 100 big blinds in second hand with aces against AJs, and lost to a flush. That's poker as they say: the job is to get the money in as good as possible, whatever happens happens after that.

My travelling companion Mick Mccloskey cashed in the side event. His continued involvement meant we didn't get back to Dublin in time for me to play the 35K on Irish Eyes or most of the other Sunday majors.

Instead I signed up for later stuff including the €10 rebuy on Eyes which I ended up winning. There's a few of these on every night and I'm enjoying a bit of success in them (I also won again the following night). They're nice fast tournaments (turbos are still my bread and butter online), you can win a decent pot for a €10 outlay, or if you're in a gambling mood you can treat it as a €40 or €50 game and gamble to get a stack early on.

My next live outing is the Fitzwilliam End of Month on Thursday, followed by the Unibet Open in Citywest at the weekend.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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Verify your account and apply for your pre-paid Mastercard. When you receive this you can use it anywhere online or in retail stores that accept Mastercard.

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Best regards
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Letter from Doke 15th Aug


Doke here again. Not much to report this week, I didn't play live so I've been just grinding away online. I final tabled my favourite nightly tournament, the €10K guaranteed on Irish Eyes one night. I was so short on the bubble that I basically had to try to fold into the money. Having done so and staged one of my trademark recoveries from one big blind, I was optimistic of going all the way but it wasn't to be. A few people have asked me how I keep staging these recoveries and all I can say is that no matter how low you are you should never give up, and it's important to know your preflop equities. A lot of people just shove the next hand after they're crippled or the next one folded round to them, but that's not the best approach. When you find yourself that short, you have no fold equity, you will get called, so it's important to assess what is the likelihood you'll win when called.

For example, if it's folded to you on the button with 3 big blinds and you find 32, just let it go. You're getting called if you shove and no matter what the random hand you're called by is, you're a 2 to 1 dog at best (and 4 to 1 against any pair other than 22). On the other hand, any picture card is good enough in that spot, as you'll generally be no worse than a 6 to 4 underdog and you might even be ahead.

I've also been trying to sort out my live schedule for the next 6 months. There's so much on both at home and abroad that I can't play everything I want. I've decided to skip the Barcelona EPT because it clashes with the Unibet Open in Dublin. It seems a bit silly traipsing off to Spain for an EPT when there's a 1500 event on my doorstep. I'll also miss London as it clashes with the Barcelona EMOP, although I'll go to London straight from Barcelona which should allow me to play some side events as well as the Country of the Year freeroll (Ireland won EPT Country of the Year and as a result the 13 Irish players who cashed in an EPT last year have been invited to a 10K freeroll on the last day of London).

Speaking of the Barcelona EMOP, I was speaking to my friend Matt who played it last year. He was telling me there is a festival on there at the time called La Merce. La Merce is Barcelona's patron saint and according to Matt the city is rocking, for 5 days every square has music, concerts, dancing, fireworks etc. Mrs. Doke has decided to come with me on this trip: usually these poker trips are not her thing but she's never been to Barcelona and is looking forward to it. Satellites for Barcelona are in full swing at the moment on Irish Eyes and I hope to see a good few of you there.

On Friday I'm heading down to Cork to play the Macau Classic with Mick Mccloskey.

Finally, well done to Fintan Gavin who won the Edinburgh UKIPT. I decided to skip Edinburgh but will be playing the Dublin UKIPT (qualification secured tonight).

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)

Click on the links in the menu for details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€12,000)
Summer Freerolls (€37,200)
August VIP Matrix Promotion
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)
Upto 45% rake back
Team Irish Eyes Poker promotions.

Keep up to date on my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Letter from Doke (9th August 2011)

Doke here again. After the excitement of Clontarf, it was back to the online grind. I had a reasonable week with its fair share of final tables, but nothing to write home about, or at great length here.

On the live front, I had a couple of outings. On Friday, I payed the Bluff monthly game in Swords and had an early bath. The main damage was done when I 4 bet shoved kings from the small blind over a three bet shove from early position. His fives hit a set to leave me crippled, and this time there was no miracle comeback.

The following day I met my friend Lappin for dinner in town. Although not widely known because he rarely played live until recently, Lappin has been one of the top Irish mtt players online for years. He's playing more live these days (and he got off to a pretty good start with a second in his first ever live tournament in Spain for €60K) so we had an interesting chat about the differences he's finding between live and online. He was heading into the Fitzwilliam for their Saturday night game so I tagged along. No joy on the poker front but plenty on the company front. I learned how to play live poker in the Fitz so I'm seen as one of their own, and all the regulars made a point of congratulating me on my run in Clontarf. While I was waiting for my lift home, I sat into the 1/2 cash game for half an hour and managed to recoup my tourney buyin and more. This was the first time I'd played live cash in years: maybe I should do it more often.

I hear a great night was had in Connie's club in Killarney on Friday night last when the Cue Club lads and some of the Irish Eyes Team had a game and went for a few drinks. Side event queen Shella McSweeney was there as was Sandro Taddei who bagged an EMOP Barcelona package last week on Irish Eyes.

For anyone up to join us in Barcelona, the Iron Man EMOP Barcelona freeroll games are running at the moment on Irish Eyes. The next one is on this Saturday at 19.15. 100 vip points to enter with an EMOP Package worth 2,000 euro up for grabs.

And speaking of freerolls, theres a 1,200 euro freeroll every day at 18.15. Registration opens one hour before the game only though so anyone who wants to play needs to get in around 17.15 before the seats are taken.

On Irish Eyes, in addition to my regular nightly schedule, I've started playing a few of the Wild West turbos. No success as yet, but they're certainly great fun. Very unique tournaments.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)


For details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions in August, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€12,000)
Summer Freerolls (€37,200)
August VIP Matrix Promotion
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)

See http://www.irisheyespoker.com/en/Poker/Promotions/monthly-promotions.aspx

Keep up to date my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Join Team Irish Eyes Poker and EMOP Ireland on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Letter from Doke (3rd August 2011)


Doke here again. What a weekend! I'd been telling all my friends for ages that the one Irish tournament I wanted to do well in this year was EMOP Dublin at Clontarf Castle. I played day 1B on Friday. I got a pretty tough first table with Jason Tompkins two to my left. I played a lot more cautiously than usual to keep out of trouble and was very happy to get to day 2 with a well above average stack. Day 2 was a bit of a struggle for me. I managed to get through and increase my stack, but it still meant coming back with only 8 big blinds so I needed some run good early on day 3.

It was all going to plan until I shoved nines into fellow team member Michael Muldoon's aces. I thought that might be it as we were close in stack terms but I had just over 2 big blinds left. With eleven players remaining and half my stack in blind next hand, it wasn't looking good for me to make the final table but then I got some much needed run good. It goes without saying that to recover from 45k to 3.6million (my peak three handed) needs more than a bit of luck. Having done so and moved from the short stack three handed to overwhelming chipleader, I really thought it was going to be my day but in the end I fell at the last hurdle.

It was a great weekend overall for Team Irish Eyes. As the tournament got down to the business end, the Team Irish Eyes shirts started to outnumber all others. Four of us made the final table including my great friend and regular travelling companion Mick Mccloskey, Michael Muldoon and JP Whyte. Robert Shaw, Robert Elkin, Chris Pyke, Sandro Taddei, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Kevin Hanley, Tony Harte, and Gerry Kane all cashed in the main event too. There were also some great performances in the side events, notably from Tony Baitson (who was pipped at the post in the PLO event) and my amigo Feargal "MidniteKowby" Nealon (who hacked his way round the golf course to qualify for the freeroll for a Barcelona package which he went on to win). Pride of place though to the side event queen Shella McSweeney who had not one but two third place finishes.

A great deal for the Team players that played in the main event is they all get an invitation to a Freeroll on Irish Eyes Poker on the 14th August for an EMOP Barcelona Package.

A big thank you to Connie, Matt and the rest of the crew for making this a great event. EMOP Ireland is here to stay and will surely go from strength to strength.

After the excitement of a live outing, it's back to the online grind for me. I managed to snag a Barcelona EMOP package in the satellite on Irish Eyes tonight, and I'm looking forward to it already. Hopefully a good contingent of Team Irish Eyes members will qualify and make the trip.

My only live outing in the next week is Friday's monthly game in the Bluff Club in Swords, run by my friends Larry Santo and Peter Barable, and one of my favourite places to play in the Dublin area.

Good luck at the tables - unless I'm at the same table :)

For details on all Irish Eyes Poker promotions in August, including:

Iron Man Barcelona Promotion (€12,000)
Summer Freerolls (€37,200)
August VIP Matrix Promotion
Sit n Go Leaderbaord (€30,000)

See http://www.irisheyespoker.com/en/Poker/Promotions/monthly-promotions.aspx

Keep up to date my blog
(http://dokearney.blogspot.com/) and on Twitter (daraokearney).

Join Team Irish Eyes Poker and EMOP Ireland on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

EMOP Barcelona Iron Man Freerolls

In August six Iron Man freerolls will be arranged with packages to EMOP Barcelona as prizes.

Irish Eyes Poker will arrange VIP-point freerolls starting on the 2nd of August and ending on the 31st of August.

There is one package to EMOP Barcelona worth €2,000 in each freeroll. Each package consists of tournament buy-in of €1,100, accommodation in a nice hotel for five nights and €350 in travel contribution that is credited to the player's poker account.

The VIP-point buy-in starts at VIP1 on the 2nd of August and then the buy-in increases for each tournament. It starts out being very easy to qualify but it becomes harder and harder very quickly.

Earn as many VIP-points as you can and get up to six tries to win a seat. A maximum of one package each could be won.

The VIP-points are calculated from the 1st of August until the start of each freeroll.

See http://www.irisheyespoker.​com/en/Poker/Promotions/EM​oP-Events.aspx for more details