Poll of The Week

Poor old David Moyes.  He came….he saw….. he lost 11 league games and was fired. 

And so endeth the soap opera. I do feel a bit sorry for him you know.  Sacked after getting beaten by his old club must have been particularly painful for him. And the timing was a bit odd with just three games to go and nothing likely to change. It can’t be nice getting fired by Ed Woodward either, a man who looks like he was grown in a petri dish marked “middle management” and was built for a lifetime writing bitter appraisals for people who despise him.

Ed Woodward

I think it’s funny how Utd are linked with every foreign manager going now. When Mourinho was bending over asking for the job last year the consensus seemed to be “Oh not him. He’ll only stay a couple of years”. Ha!

Now it seems Louis van Gaal is the new “chosen one”, a man who looks like German WW2 high command despite his inherent Dutchness – or Jurgen Klopp, who is actually a real German.  95% of punters had never even heard of the bloke until last year but he’s the new hot thing.  Granted Mr Klippety appears to know his way around the Champions League but the problem is Man Utd aren’t in the Champions League. There seems to be less of a clamour in the media for Argentine Diego Simeone, despite his achievements being even greater than Klopp’s. Must be something to do with that David Beckham incident 270 years ago.  In the mean time a hairy 5 stone creature of simian appearance has been asked to muster his enormous presence to take control of the last three games. Keeping it in the family.

This week’s question is: “Who should be the next Man Utd manager?” Answer this week’s poll and leave a comment with your Twitter username to be in with a chance of winning a token for my Bounty competition.

Congratulations to @djdoc2001 for winning last week’s poll. 

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From the Cheap Seats to Main Event Champion – Patrick Clarke Wins the Irish Open 2014


Patrick Clarke, an online qualifier who won his seat via a €4 “cheap seats” satellite, has bested a total field of 411 runners to win this year’s €2,000 + €250 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open Main Event and a total of €250,000. The €50,000 over the tournament’s top prize of €200,000 comes courtesy of the Paddy Power Sole Survivor competition, which, in true movie-script style, went all the way to heads up. Online qualifiers finishing 2nd-6th highest (including runner-up Dave Pollock) receive entry into next year’s Irish Open Main Event.  In total, 47 places were paid, with cashes going to the likes of Gerard Harraghy, Chris Dowling, Dave Masters and the Voice of Poker Jesse May.

Today’s final table, the culmination of four long days’ struggle over the green baize (or similar low-friction material), was streamed cards-up with a half hour delay, as the largest chunks of the €822,000 total prize pool were awarded. Nine players made it through Day 3, or “bubble day” as unfortunate 48th place finisher Konstantinos Tsikopoulos probably considers it. All of them got their moment of Rocky-style glory (complete with theme song) as they made their way to the ring – an actual boxing ring set up in the middle of the tournament floor – but only eight are considered official Irish Open finalists.

It was short stacked Dutchman Antoine Smits, having entered into the spirit of the whole weekend with infectious enthusiasm, who missed out on this extra accolade, but picked up €13,350 for 9th. His pocket tens ran into the pocket queens of chip leader Patrick Clarke. With his exit the card-reading table came into its own and the pressure of a large online viewership seeing their every move was on the final eight.

Final 8 PlayersThe final table line-up:

Seat 1: PATRICK CLARKE* – 2.8 million – chip leader
Seat 2: BARRY DONOVAN* – 1.5 million
Seat 3: DAVE POLLOCK* – 1.55 million
Seat 4: LIAM CHEVALIER – 1.7 million
Seat 5: THOMAS O’SHEA – 1.3 million
Seat 6: OLIVER LYNCH – 1 million
Seat 7: JONATHAN LUNDY* – 850k
Seat 8: MICHAEL GILLIGAN* – 800k

*Sole Survivors

Clarke at this point had a half-million chip lead on his nearest rival Liam Chevalier, but neither player featured prominently in the first level of the final. It was action-enjoyers Barry Donovan and Dave Pollock who were the stack-builders (or at least shifters) during this period. The latter doubled up Oliver Lynch in an unavoidable A-K vs. Q-Q pre-flop scuffle, but got his stack back a few hands later, calling Thomas O’Shea’s preflop three-bet all in with Ac-Th. Pollock outraced O’Shea’s pocket eights, and set O’Shea on the start of a roller-coaster that would eventually bump him from the tournament in 4th place.

First to bust from the official final was Jon Lundy, victim of a preflop cooler as he openJonathan Lundy and Barry Donovan (Final Table) shoved his A-K offsuit right into the aces of Patrick Clarke. Lundy took €19,250 for 8th and gamely returned to the ring for publicity photos after he’d taken the slow walk from the ropes to the cash desk.

Remember the O’Shea roller-coaster? It surged upwards as he doubled through Liam Chevalier – the first of three life-saving doubles he was to experience on the final table. Chevalier now reached his Day 4 chip nadir but was to put in a spirited performance yet, encouraged by his enthusiastic rail who expressed all of the excitement he calmly suppressed (on the surface at any rate).

In the same low-stacked boat as Chevalier was Michael Gilligan, who, without the blessings of the deck, picked spots to move in and pick up chips but never built a lead-challenging stack. Oliver Lynch completed the shoving triumvirate and duly took his turn with the others moving in preflop, but those predicting a short stack to exit in 7th were mistaken.

Donovan and Clarke hit a monster flop that saw the two biggest stacks collide, combine, and come to rest in the hands of Clarke. That flop: Jc-Tc-9c. Donovan with Ks-Kc bet the flop, Clarke raised and that was it – all in, call. Clarke held pocket tens for a flopped set, and the crucial 3h-4s turn and river saw Donovan exit in 7th for €26,500.

It was back to spot-picking shove mode for Gilligan with his ten big blinds; he was eventually picked off by Patrick Clarke, who called him with A-8 (Gilligan with Q-T of clubs). A fun flop didn’t pan out for the all-in player, and Gilligan exited in 6th for €38,500.

Dave Pollock (Final Table)Pollock took a break by himself for the next six hands, perhaps to hunt down the beer with which he returned (he equally would have had time to enjoy his own €1,000 arm-wrestling side event like the one High Rollers Mark Buckley and Calvin Anderson staged yesterday). Action stayed flopless until the elimination of Oliver Lynch in 5th (€54,500) where we got all five board cards for the price of his tournament life. His A-K was outdrawn by the Js-Ts of O’Shea, who’d made a big preflop open and then given his three-bet jamming opponent a spin.

At this point the O’Shea chip elevator stopped rising and went all the way back to the lobby (10bb). Blind on blind vs. Liam Chevalier, he hit an enticing flop (and picked up a draw to go with his top pair on the turn) but it was Chevalier whose two pair stayed ahead after the chips flew in to boost his stack over the 4 million mark. Though O’Shea made a small comeback at the expense of Pollock, he was the next to be eliminated, raise-calling all in with Qc-9c. Clarke, holding Ah-Tc, held up to bust O’Shea who collected €73,800 for his efforts.

It took over 30 hands to eliminate the next player – Liam Chevalier – in 3rd place (€97,500), after a pair-vs-pair preflop four-bet confrontation. After a brief break for the regaining of composure, Clarke and Pollock returned to battle one on one, Clarke with more than a 2:1 chip lead.

It wasn’t one-way traffic Clarke’s way in the final stages. In fact, when he finally took out Pollock flopping a higher pair, handing him the €130,500 second place prize, he said in his winner’s interview that he was being “grinded back heads up” but that, unfazed by the cameras, he, “Just played the way I always play!”

Calvin Anderson arm wrestling with Mark BuckleyThe Irish Open was, as always, more than its Main Event, with side events running alongside buzzing cash games. It was a good weekend for Farrells, with Niall Farrell winning €14,410 along with the Irish Open Mini (a €200 side event mirroring the Main but with half hour blind levels) and Ian Farrell taking down the €800 side event. Players in all events, from the Omaha to the €150 Scalps event, ranged from the seasoned veteran to those participating in their first live tournaments, but all had in common a love of the game in general, and this game in particular.

The party moves from the boxing ring to the bar. To quote the champion, as he gave a thumbs-up on camera to the people back home, “I need to get a drink, quick.”


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Hand #139: Dave Pollock Eliminated in 2nd Place (€130,500)

WPT_8425Dave Pollock limped in on the button and Patrick Clarke checked his option to see a 2h-7s-Ks flop. It would be the last flop of the tournament.

Clarke checked to Pollock, who bet 350k. Clarke now check-raised to what turned out to be 800k – but before the dealer had had time to announce the amount, Pollock had gone all in and Clarke had made the call.

“Whatchew got, Dave?” called out Michael Gilligan from the rail.

“Not good,” said Pollock as they turned the cards over.

Pollock: Qs-7c for a pair of sevens
Clarke: Kd-8d for a pair of kings

Turn: 4h

River: Jh

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, it’s all over! Dave Pollock is out in second place, while Patrick Clarke has won the 2014 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open for €200,000, as well as the €50,000 Sole Survivor cash! Eternal glory for that man!

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Hands #135-138: Clarke Taking Control

Hands #135 through #138 were all fairly small affairs, but notable for the fact that the chips seem to be largely trickling into the stack of Patrick Clarke. For the sake of posterity:

Hand #135:

Dave Pollock raised the button and Clarke called; they checked the 8s-2c-5s flop and Clarke took it down with a 225k bet on the 2s turn.

Hand #136:

Pollock got a walk.

Hand #137:

This one was a bit bigger. Pollock tried to raise his button to 350k before being corrected to 400k by the dealer. Clarke made the call, and they both checked the 7c-Ah-Tc flop. Clarke bet out 225,000 on the Ts turn which Pollock called; Clarke checked the Ac river and then called the the 350k bet from Pollock who revealed 9c-7d for a pair of sevens. Clarke’s Jh-Th for trips was good, and he took the pot.

Hand #138:

Clarke raised to 450k on the button and Pollock called to see a Ks-Ts-As flop. Pollock bet out 350k, and Clarke gave it up.

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Hands #131-134: Pollock Shoves

Hand #131 saw Dave Pollock raise to 350k before Patrick Clarke reraised to 865k which ended that hand.

Hand #132 was a tension filled affair. Clarke raised to 500k before Pollock shoved for 5.2 million. Clarke stared down Pollock but it was very friendly with both player breaking into smirks. Clarke asked Pollock “if he was happy” before eventually letting it go.

Hand #133 saw Clarke get a walk.

Hand #134 Clarke raised to 500k and won the pot.

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Congratulations to Niall Farrell, Winner of the Irish Open Mini

Another of the weekend’s popular side events has come to a conclusion, the Irish Open €200 Mini event, which saw Niall Farrell beat David Maudlin heads up to secure the trophy and €14,100 top prize.  His win comes after his brother (I am informed), Ian Farrell, took down the €800 side event late last night.  The Mini generated a prizepool of €58,800 and revisited the action of all of the levels of the Irish Open Main Event itself, only with half hour blind levels and a fraction of the buy-in.

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Hands #125-130: Small Ball, Is All

There hasn’t been much action over the past few hands, to be honest.

Our heads-upsers got as far as the turn on hand #125 – Dave Pollock raised his button and Patrick Clarke called to see a 6d-5h-Ac flop, which both players checked. Clarke checked again on the Qs turn and Pollock took it down with a 250k bet.

For the next three hands they took it in turns folding the button, until Pollock limped in on hand #129 and Clarke checked his option. He checked again on the Jh-Kd-Ks flop, and swiftly folded to a small bet from Pollock. Clarke got the chips back on hand #130 with a simple 350k raise from the button which Pollock chose not to call.

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Hands #120-124: Small Action

Hand #120 and 121 each player gave the other a walk.

Hand #122 saw Clarke raise it to 350k pre-flop and Pollock made the call. The flop came Qd-5h-Qs and Pollock check called Clarke’s 225k c-bet. The Ac on the turn was checked by both players. The 7d on the river saw Pollock bet 350k and Clarke folded.

Hand #123 was a pre-flop raise from Pollock to 350k which took the blinds and antes.

Hand #124 saw Clarke limp from the button and Pollock checked his option. The flop ran out 6c-9s-8d and went check-check. The 5c on the turn saw Pollock bet 350k and Clarke folded.

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Hands #118-119: Back & Forth

Hand #118:

Patrick Clarke raised his button 350,000 and Dave Pollock called to see an Ac-5s-Kh flop that he liked enough to bet out 350,000 on it. Clarke smooth-called.

Both players checked the Qh turn and proceeded directly to the Js river, when Pollock bet out 500,000. This time Clarke didn’t fancy it and passed his cards back to the dealer.

Hand #119:

This time Pollock just limped in on the button and Clarke checked his option. A smaller pot than the last one, both players checked down the 8c-6s-8s-9d-2c board until the river, when Clarke bet out 225,000. Small bet it may have been, but it was too much for Pollock – he folded, and Clarke recovered a few of the chips he’d lost on the previous hand.

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Hands #113-117: Heads Up Begins

Dave Pollock gave Patrick Clarke a walk in Hand #113

Hand #114 saw Clarke raise to 350k and Pollock put out 1 million in 100k plaques to which Clarke released.

Hand #115 was a 350k raise and take it for Dave Pollock.

While Hand #116 was a 350k raise and take it for Patrick Clarke.

Hand #117 saw Pollock raise to 350k while Clarke shoved all-in. Dave Pollock thought for a long time before deciding not to call off the rest of his stack.

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