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---The Runner Up in the Irish Amateur Poker Championship was the popular Brendan Hartnett from Brighton. He kindly took the time to answer a few questions for APAT members.Many congratulations on your excellent performance in Dublin Brendan. Looking back now, how do you feel about your second place finish?
I felt distraught just after we finished, but on reflection I'm happy with my 2nd place. I know I played well, had great support, but the gods were not with me. And the silver medal and Â£1,800 eased the pain!So tell us about the first day of this tournament for you. You seemed to make slow progress at first?
The slow structure at the APAT meant that I could portray a rock image, up until the 200/400 level. I had Ironside to my right which meant his big blinds kept me level on chips!. Just before the buffet break I doubled up my AA v AQ. After dinner I was moved to a passive table who had just passed their chips amongst themselves, so now it was time to get busy, I knocked three people out including Daniel Phillips, when in the sb he raised all with 44. I called with A9 suited the board came two pair and Dan bit the dust.
I went a bit card dead for the last hour went from 85,000 to 50,000,but hung on to reach the final 20 and day two. The plan was going to schedule.
One final point, I did risk my entire stack just before buffet break, when I shoved the lot in with 55, only to be called by big stack with an over pairâ€¦â€¦.the miracle five on the river kept me in.You ended the day with around 50,000 chips, in the middle of the chip count of the last twenty players. What were your realistic expectations for the second day?
I was happy to have made the last twenty, that's always my first intention, and as I saw it there were six smallish stacks and no massive leader so it was all to play for. My 58,000 gave me room to move with blinds of 2000/4000.The second day was certainly a dramatic one for you. On the way to the final table we began to nickname you the â€œterminatorâ€! Such as when two players pushed all-in and you found AA. Was there any point on the second day when you thought it was your day?
On the bubble. I pushed with AJ, for my last 51,000, Stephen Lister called with AK Hearts, flop came with two hearts but the spare J hit on the river and I doubled up. Then minutes later, I knocked out Aisling Collins when her flopped pair kings couldn't match my flush on the turn.
So with 14 left I was leading the table, I remembered the level payout structure, so I decided to turn aggressive for a top three place.
Soon someone raised 20,000, Martin Zaffky pushed allin with AK, and I looked down to see AA. It stood up and I was on my way to the final table, with about 250,00. Reaching the final amongst the top few chip leaders, it all began well for you didn't it?
Yes, when we finally started the final table, it began quietly. One or two players went, I was stuck around 200,000 then we were down to six, I was content but reality was about to slap me in the chops!Tell us about the Jennifer Tilly tell on Doc Farrell?!!!
Well it seemed to make people laugh. Doc pushed on a QQ4 flop (two diamonds). I looked down to see 10 10 when it was passed round to me down the other end of the table from Doc. I didn't want to call him for half my stack, but when I looked up, I saw his chest heaving, just like in that youtube video of Jenny trying to bluff, but giving it away by her rapid breathing. Phil Ivey couldn't believe she had such an easy tell!
So I knew he was flushing, so I said â€œHey Doc your chest is heaving more than Jenny Tilly's in that videoâ€! Everyone laughed, then I folded, I didn't want to risk giving him 2/1 to get his flush, plus the outside chance he had a queen.Things really began to go wrong for you four or five handed with 99 losing to Jacques' QQ. This left you with 3x the big blind with 5 players left. Amazingly in the break you commented â€œI am still going to win itâ€! Explain please Brendan?!
Tell me about it, I'd been playing well until that happened. When Jacques went all-in I decided to go for it with my paired 9's he showed his pair queens. The dealer counted down, Jacques took a pot best part of 400,000 and I was down to 28,000.
I took two minutes to recover looked round, and thought, â€now I've gotta moveâ€ and the amazing thing is players were letting me nip the blinds when I went all in with any two cards. Then I got lucky with a couple of double ups. As the others were all roughly equal stacked, I sensed I could make moves as by now nobody wanted to risk their chips. Miraculously then you went on an incredible card-rush and rose from 30,000 to 720,000 chips in two levels. I have never seen anything like that Brendan, was it as special as it looked for you?
Special? It was unbelievable! I went from 3,000, to 100,000 by pushing anything. Then I hit KK twice on one rotation going up to 380,000, paused for breath then hit AA to go to 600,000. In the next few minutes, I knocked out Patrick and David Jones and Paul Townsend.
I couldn't believe what was happening, the crowd were cheering every move, for us amateur players, it don't get much better than this. To do it in Dublin, as the son of a man who emigrated from Ireland in the 1940's, I felt I was going to bring it home.Then your incredible tournament turned sour again heads-up with your straight on the turn against the flopped two pair. Were you trap-calling on the turn? Do you think Jacques would have called a push all-in there?
I knew by the way he'd been playing heads up, taking his time and not risking his chips, but making the occasional raise to steal pots, he'd not call if I went all in on the 8 turn that made my straight so I called hoping a dead river card would see him pot committed if I went all in there after his small bet or check. On reflection I made a mistake allowing him to hit his full house on the river.After that you tried hard but lost the vital final hand, racing with KQ versus 33 all-in pre-flop and then having 14 outs on the river. Those poker gods Brendan, they tease us don't they?
Yes for a while I stole some chips from him and when the final hand came down we were near enough equal chips.
I felt happy with my KQ when he called with 33 and all the chips went in, but it wasn't to be. The Gods had been with me all nightâ€¦â€¦..now they'd gone down the pub!So looking back, what are your thoughts on the competition?
The APAT event in Dublin was fantastic. Everybody was up for a fun weekend. The Fitzwilliam card club, looked after us in typical Irish style.
For us amateurs, the cameras, interviews and all made it a bit special. It was the best event so far, but I'm a bit biased there.You were fantastically well supported by your many friends who played and cheered you on at the Final. Were you conscious of this support at the time, or were you so focused that it passed you by?
I was focused on getting the job done, but as I started to knock other players out I could hear the noise from the rail. Every time I turned round I saw a smiling face, which is a surprise, as I'd knocked half of them out on the way!!!Brendan, many of us know that 2007 has been another difficult time for you with another stay in hospital. Many congratulations on your inspirational achievement and near-miss! We all hope to see you at future APAT events, I hope you plan to play?
Of course, I'm totally behind the APAT. I know there's more to come next year and I'll be with them all the way. I know my health is touch and go, so while I wake up to each new day, I'll still have this inane smile on my face.Thank you for your time.Brendan was speaking to APAT Media Director, Richard Prew.