I arrive. I fling my suitcase into the room. It fills the room.
Then I head over the road to Jo’s Burgers. It’s right next to the card room. The card room is right next to my little room.
They call it an apartment. I can’t believe they call this an apartment? If I swung a cat it’s skull would be crushed.
They didn’t have a cat. I never got to try it out.
“What’s your WIFI password?” I asked the waitress.
What More Can You Want in Poker?
Sultry, she whispers it in my ear. It’s rather uncomfortable. My wife is with me.
It rolls off her tongue like … well, you know what I’m thinking.
I think I am going to love this place.
I am here to play the 888Live Local Series. I am on Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin. It’s called Lower because the road is so bloody long.
There is an Upper part to it as well. The tournament organizer has invited me. It’s a €220 re-entry.
The first bullet is taken care of; I hope I don’t have to use a second. I’m skint.
A very kind Polish woman has rented her apartment to the wife and I. She doesn’t want any money. A bottle of wine will do.
It’s very claustrophobic. And there is no WIFI. I struggle to comprehend how anyone can live without WIFI these days.
My wife and I sit on the tiny couch. We stare at each other. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know what to say.
We head to Starbucks.
It's Pronounced "Glendalock"
The Starbucks on Rathmines Lower is the greatest Starbucks on the planet. It’s so great the toilets even work.
We also found a wonderful health food store called The Hopsack. They had juices, smoothies and organic food. We hit the nail on the head with this one. We completely did our bollocks.
We decided to go hiking. This is what happens when you quit drinking. Instead of seeking out Temple Bar and getting wrecked on the black stuff, you go hiking.
We visited Glendalough. It was pronounced Glendalock. I looked like a right dick when I stopped this Irish couple to ask for directions.
"Excuse me, do you know where Glendalow is?”
One look. That’s all I got.
But we persevered. We found the place. It was beautiful. We hiked for two hours.
Alin Ivanov, the photographer for the World Poker Tour (WPT), came with the wife and I. I thought he was going to drop dead.
We thought we had reached the top after climbing over 600 steps on the side of a mountain. When we reached the clearing an old couple told us that the view from the peak - only five minutes walk away - was breathtaking.
I looked at Alin. He looked at me. The wife and I walked the rest of the way on our own. It was breathtaking.
Give Me a Club
I never realized Dublin had mountains. There again I had never before been outside of a pub during my previous three visits.
I was on time for Day 1A. I am always on time. It’s not a disco.
I won the first hand. That’s a rarity. I usually start really shit, play even shittier in the middle, then make a really shit decision at the end and I am out.
I won the first hand!
It didn’t matter. I was out in the third level. We were only playing 30-minute levels.
A very aggressive blonde woman, who was running over the table, opened from first position for 450 (blinds at 75/150).
I was in the big blind and decided to see a flop holding 7♣ 6♣. The flop was K♣ Q♣ T♣ and she c-bet to 900.
I decided there was a good chance she could have two pair, or even ace-jack, so I raised to 2,000. She immediately made it 6,500 and I knew I could get the money in.
We were ridiculously deep. I raised to 15,000 and she took her time before calling. The turn was the 6♥ and I was convinced she had ace-jack.
I moved all-in for 7,000 and she called. "You’ve got me," she said as she turned over A♠ J♣.
I showed her the winning hand. “Give me a club,” she said to the dealer.
He did. I was out.
And a Boner All Night As Well
I looked at the clock and there were only two people out.
Embarrassed, I told my wife and the person who had put me in the competition.
“You buying back in tomorrow?,” he asked.
“You had better”
I did. I couldn’t afford it though. I didn’t have €220. This is one of the downsides to the re-entry effect for a gambling addict.
You have to find the money from somewhere. To not play is like having sex and not coming. It’s unfathomable.
Talking about sex ... Did I mention my apartment was tiny? Well, it also had wafer thin walls.
I told my wife that if someone was going to have a jump we would hear everything.
Saturday night, after a belly full of ale, the pair above our heads decided to go to town. I can only assume they had just watched Fifty Shades of Grey.
What a racket. I didn’t sleep a wink. And I had a boner all night as well.
You Got What You Deserved
Day 1B started like Day 1A. I was on time and I won my first hand. I recognized Tom Kitt to my direct right, and I got embroiled in some good banter between Kitt and Colm Hanlon who was on his direct right.
Our conversation moved back and fore between dogs, fox hunting and central heating systems.
Did I say we had some banter?
Hanlon was funny. He wasn’t interested in the game at all. He was a sports bettor.
He was watching horse racing on his iPhone. He had bet how many lengths favorites would win by. Tom Kitt, and the dealer, kept reminding him to post his ante.
“You are a pain in the arse," said Kitt.
He was. I crippled him in a hand where I turned a flush on TT76 after I had three-bet with Ax of diamonds. He had called with KTo and got the worst end of it.
“You got what you deserved,” I thought. He was knocked out a few hands later.
He re-entered. He won the whole thing for €7,500. I guess he got what he believed he deserved.
The People Loved the Craic
At one point I had Andy Black to my left and Tom Kitt to my right. Fintan Gavin was playing on the table in front of me and Alan Trueick was also in the game.
I thought this was a €220 event!
It was a great idea though. 888 had set up a workstation in the middle of the room and people could open 888 accounts to get some free money.
The event carried a €30,000 guarantee and it attracted 150 players.
The local angle of the event was to cater for the grassroots players. This is why I was surprised to find myself tussling with former World Series of Poker Main Event final tablists.
But the people loved the craic. Andy Black was in everyone’s photos. He was like Bono.
Or maybe a boner. He nearly won it. A bit more luck and he would have. I have never heard a Buddhist talk so much.
Good Structure, Free Sex Show
Rathmines Street was a perfect venue. 20-minutes walk from all the action in Dublin, but you didn’t need to wander.
I didn’t eat a bad meal all week. Indian, Thai, Italian, you name it. They made it and I ate it.
And what happened to the only guy in the room wearing a patch? (I had my REG patch on like a true pro).
Well it went a little something like this.
I doubled up AQ>99 on Andy Black when I hit a queen on the flop. Then I lost a flip with QQ<AJ when this old guy hit an ace on the flop.
I played a hand very badly against Black and then shoved 15BB -- with A4dd -- over a raise and a Kitt flat only to be called by AJ.
I’ll be back though. The onsite 888 personnel made sure that everyone was well looked after. The structure was fine.
There was the craic, a free sex show above my room and a restaurant that had the word JIZZ for its WIFI password. What more do you want?