Friday, 25 September 2009

Back on the live scene a bit


Having settled back to uni in Nottingham for a few days, I figured it wouldn't be long before I'de need my next poker fix to keep me ticking over. And what better way to get it when Andi text me asking if I fancied a trip down to Dusk Til Dawn to play some of the cash games.

We headed down last night on Thursday at about 10ish to find a few tables of £1/£2 running and some £2/£2plo which quickly filled. I won't go into too many details with the hands but it was a very good evening for me spinning my initial £300 up to £1300 on both the holdem and the omaha tables.

Unfortunately near the end of the night I took a pretty big pot off Andi my friend on the £1/£2 table when I raised 8s9s from mid position and got a few callers. It was checked round on a Ah9h4s board. The turn gave the 8d giving me two pair. UTG led out £30 which got 2 callers and I squeezed it up to £150 or something. Andi made the call with a gutshot and flush draw then led at me for his last £60 on the river, which I had to snap-call scooping a pretty big pot. Never good taking money off your mates but its bound to happen if you are playing at the same tables, and the levelling wars can always be fun ;)

Inspired by Andi I thought I'de play a little more PLO this afternoon online at the measly 25c/50c blinds. Having had a good run on stars as of late but due to the shitty internet connection which seems to have blocked the ports stars uses, I decided to play on iPoker today. No idea why but I must seriously be down like 30 buyins on that network. I cannot get a hand to hold or win a flip. I'm not really the superstitious type who prefers to play on one network more than another because I have more luck on one, but really, william hill please give me a break! I still want to get 10,000 hands of winning poker at each level before moving up and hope I'm not stuck at 25c/50c for too long! I can't really whine I guess, its just maybe theres something subconsciously in me which insta-tilts from the shit software or something. Might try full tilt again despite the players being noticeably better. Not sure really!

Hope all is good for everyone, gl at the tables

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The end of the summer


I'm back from holiday in Tunisia which was really fun. It involved lots of sun, sea, quad biking, jet skiing, drink and nice food. I arrived back last night, unpacked a bit and played a little PLO winning 5 buyins a $0.25/$0.50 in a short 250 hands, but I'm still stuck over $1k lifetime at this level so it's nothing to be impressed about!

Tonight will be the last proper online MTT grind session in the foreseeable couple of weeks as I will be driving up north to Nottingham tomorrow during the day and will in all likelihood be spending a lot of time relaxing and catching up with friends who I haven't seen all summer. On the horizon is the OnGame Grand Series of Poker starting on the 27th September which I'll try to play a bit of, but other than that it looks like my volume will decline quite heavily in the forthcoming month.

The summer itself has been a really good experiment. Quite a few of my friends were working throughout the summer and I took the time to see what it would be like playing poker as a professional to see if primarily I could make a profit in it putting in decent volume and secondly if the lifestyle suited me.

I successfully reached all the monetary goals I set both at the start of the summer and at the start of the year whilst putting in a lot of volume and simultaneously working on my game throughout. Since the start of June I made over $40,000 net profit which in itself is pretty impressive although with tournament poker it can be so difficult to see what is the effects of positive variance.

The lifestyle however gave me a few calls for concern. The game itself remained really fun (although I did win a lot which might have swayed my view) and I loved playing all the same nightly tournaments and trying to out-level other regs. I also managed to keep a good level of fitness up frequenting the gym quite a lot.

However, what struck me as some of the more challenging aspects of poker in the future is the lack of social life and meeting new people that comes with the job. It really struck me, other than going to clubs and dancing with drunk girls I really wasn't meeting any new women which would make future relationships hard. Not only that but the hours that are required to grind online MTTs living in the UK registering from 7pm-2:30am rarely sleeping before 6am are also really unsocial resulting in me sleeping in most of the day then getting ready for the nights session once again.

I'm a social person at heart and it was way too easy to just stay inside for 3-4 days in a row almost losing track of time. I would say then that for those that are interested in pursuing professional poker careers when you are single and young is to move out and find a grind-pad with other players who are like-minded out-going type that also want to put in good volume. I'de recommend looking at other hobbies and classes giving you the opportunity to meet other people where you can talk about other stuff than poker.

It's way too easy in this line of work to become a sort of social recluse.

That was online. I played a fair bit at my local gala casino too in the cash games. Live games you can meet more people, but really they aren't the type of people I want to be meeting. First of, it's mainly older drunk business-men, many degenerates and big mouths. I'm much more interested in meeting attractive women and interesting people of my own age. Don't get me wrong, I still do really enjoy live poker but at times it can be painfully slow. I'm not sure how people like Phil Ivey manage when he used to play 80 hour+ weeks just grinding out the cash tables.

So looking to the future.

I want to finish this year at university and get a good grade for my three years work. What I don't want is to spend night after night grinding it out online but instead I want to spend my evenings chilling with friends, meeting new people and having fun away from the computer. I love online grinding, but over the summer it made me realise that I can be sat in front of a computer almost any time later on in my life and due to the social structure of university it would be a great shame to let it pass me by without fully taking advantage of what it has to offer. Not only that, but I have a hell of a lot of work to do next year which will probably occupy a lot of my time anyway. I will however, hopefully be playing a few more live tournaments such as the DTD deepstack, Irish Poker festival and perhaps a few GUKPT's as they are very fun and can be easily offered as a break from reality. Plus, I don't want to lose some of my poker talent that I've worked hard to build on over the past couple of years.

After my final exams next summer I hope to head of to vegas over the summer and just go mad. Play a ton of poker, party like theres no tomorrow and enjoy life being young with a bit of change in my pocket. After that I'll either be heading to North Europe (London, France etc.) to live and possibly play poker/work somewhere or even explore the USA a bit more. The winter time I'de like to be skiing and the Spring would be fun to spend in Asia living somewhere like Thailand, Cambodia, Japan etc. I Think the best option is to leave my options open on this one as the various opportunities may just present themselves and I'de like to have some flexibility in my planning.

After that I suspect, although it's hard to tell now, I'll head back to England and look for some line of work that interests me whilst keeping my bankroll (assuming I'm not busto!) in some sort of savings account that I can then reinvest in the future into setting my own business up.

Although the future does seem a bit hazy right now, I want to maximise my time. Already I'm seeing some of my friends from school that have really done nothing with their lives since leaving school, still working in the factory that we had part-time jobs in at sixth form or part-timing at Tesco watching the years go by. It it quite saddening and I just hope I maximise my time and you do only get one shot!

I think to summarise this pretty long mind-spew this old quote has quite a lot of relevance: "Poker is a hard way to make an easy living". And I do believe now that there is a lot of truth in it.

I'm looking forward to the grind tonight that starts in 3 hours time. I'll be playing the majors on stars, B2B, Full Tilt, OnGame, Boss, Ladbrokes so it's going to be pretty hectic and maybe I can just bink something nice to finish off a great summer!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Time to chill


Off on holiday in a few hours. I did a really long session today playing a ton of stuff on stars and full tilt and not cashing a single one other than a min cash in $20r, but unfortunately that's the reality of MTTs! Today was a bit degen too. I took a shot at the $200 rebuy despite saying to myself before hand I wasn't going to due to being under rolled for $100 rebuys as it is. However one of my poker friends sort of reminded me that the field would be a lot softer than your usual $200 rebuy as well as the fact there would be a ton of dead money from the fish like me taking their one buyin shots and leaving after. That and the structure is sick. So in for a quite reasonable $400 I managed to get pretty deep but busted before the money in the usual cold-deck/flip/running into the top of their range style. As you do..

But before you think this is a big miserable post! It's not. I did have some success on the euro network today specifically in the €30rebuy on DTD (boss):

I'm pretty sure this puts me up for the day by a bit but I'm not too sure as I registered for so long and had a really high ABI today (lots of $100 fo+,$50 rebuy and $400 in sats etc.). Woops!

So off to catch some sun, eat some good food, chill with the family and relax after a pretty hardcore summer which has paid off pretty nicely with lots of fun on the way! Then onto the uni grind with a year of work :(

Thursday, 10 September 2009

The good run continues!

Tonight was meant to be an early night, and I even finished registering at 10pm as I've got to be up really early tomorrow. But that all kind of changed when I went deep in a couple of tournies :)

Namely being this $55/$80k gtd. A big relief on this one as I've played this tourny a ton and had several top 100 finishes but never made that final table. Until now! I ran ridic good on the final table and leading up to it, so its annoying I didn't ship the lot but you can't win them all! I'm still very pleased with this and I think the bankroll is heading over $60k now :D

I also played two WCOOP events. One being the $530 double shootout which was a lot of fun. For those that don't know, a shootout is like a SNG format, whereby 1000 of us are placed on 100 tables and the winner progresses through to the next round. I somehow managed to win my first table putting me through to the second round with $2k profit to go with it. The second table was tough. And I mean really tough. I had Halfrek giving me so much trouble that I busted the second shooutout table in about 6th place I think. Still happy I cashed in the tournament!

I played the 8-game too. 8-game is always fun as I like the mixed games and got a pretty deep run in this too but busted out just before the money. I'm sure that I'm pretty terrible at all the games (NLHE included :p) but I do find it a lot of fun and from watching the table there are a few that are somehow worse than me still.

I'm going on holiday with the family at the weekend so I'll only have two more days of the WCOOP to enjoy. I think I'll try to satellite into the $320 tripple draw 2-7 tomorrow and the $530 FL Omaha hi/lo on friday. In all honesty I think I would be burning money buying into these direct. There's also a $320 turbo style tournament late on Friday with a $300k gtd which I think I'll give a shot to as well as turbos are always fun.

Other than that Thorpe Park tomorrow at 8am so another night with next to no sleep. Yipeee... -,- lol who am I kidding, it was well worth it ;)

Gl at the tables all!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Mentally and physically drained with a big smile on my face

It's 10am now and I started the grind almost 15 hours ago. But to success I managed to clinch a win in the $50/$50k gtd netting just over $12k. And I'm very happy, and tired. :) It's been the first win in a good while and a really good start to September.

Tonight I also played my highest buy-in I've ever played so far. The WCOOP $1000/$500k gtd. I won a satellite to this a while back and despite landing myself with a fairly soft table to begin with I was one of the first people to bust. I was quite happy with my bust out hand as I got it in way ahead of his range in a cooler fashion, but its still a shame not to have played more than 30-40 hands in the highest buyin of my life so far! Just from looking at whos left in, EMSbas and Hitthehole, both UK grinders are still raking in the chips so good luck to them for shipping the lot.

I played another WCOOP tonight, which was sort of a last minute decision, being the $320/$500k gtd mixed holdem event. This consisted of limit hold'em and no limit hold'em alternating every few rounds. Such an awesome event and thankfully I ran a little better finishing 50ish for about $1.4k. I ran good to get there including a sick sick hold vs Ylon Schwartz in this hand which set me up for the money. I was really quite surprised how bad so many people were at limit holdem. I myself am an absolute champ limit player. Ok, that's a complete lie, I was probably the biggest fish at most of my tables at limit hold'em, with this being my first limit holdem tourny ever. Probably not the best diving in at the deep end but whatever.

For instance, spots like this I don't know if I'm bluffing with the best hand or not. Seemingly the guy folded something good after telling me how lucky I was in chat after, but maybe I was lucky he didn't just sighcall like I expected a lot of people would.

Here was a bit of a hero-ish call which I guess was game flow dependant but it's always nice to pick them off. The other times you just look like some calling station fish who hasn't got a clue. But I'm fine with that image too ;)

So yeh, it was a pretty successful night.

Dusk Til Dawn at the weekend was standardish. I bricked both the £330 and £165 as usual and I won't go into details as posting bad beat stories is something I definitely try to avoid due to there being enough pessimism in poker as it is. But on the whole it was pretty bad and I'm still shocked at how some of the DTD regs play so bad, but there ya go :p. I lost a load on £1/£2 holdem and won a load on £2/£2 PLO which was much more fun as I was hitting decks and winning flips. Always nice! In the end was down about £200 on the trip which is a bit fail but I was stuck close to £1k without the £330 buyin included so I was pretty happy that my 14 hour marathon session on Sunday paid off.

Anyway, I'm really tired and there is a high probability that none of the above makes sense. But sleep beckons.

Gl at the tables all!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Jack Ury - What a legend

This is by far the funniest thing I've ever seen on TV Poker before. I was literally cracking up, the best slowroll I've ever seen haha:

What makes this even more funny is that the guy who got completely slowrolled later that day wrote a blog entry about the ordeal. Here's a snippet:

About 15 min into level 6 at 200/400-50 I get into the hand with Jack Ury that is reported on Pokernews and should be on ESPN. I raise EP with 67hh to 1100. Jack doesn't really know what is going on- he can't seem to hear, he can't seem to see, and he can't follow the action. How he got to day 2 I don't know. After I raise he throws out 4 black chips, as if he is limping. The dealer informs him (several times) that the pots been raised and he can't limp. He then says "well, I just go all-in" Obviously he can't do that either, so he ends up calling.

Before the hand started I think he had about 8-9k and I was sitting around 27k or so. The flop comes 6-6-7 and now I have mixed feelings cause I'm gonna be the bad guy who busts the old man. Oh well, his chips will really look good in my stack. He fires out 1k, and then I say "Hey Jack- lets just go all in- you wanted to go all in before the flop right?" Now, I'm not sure how this really came off. I assume that if I did this to any of you that you would take it in stride and fold most holdings. I felt like I was really taking advantage of him. Not respecting my elders. So, I shove, and then he takes a few seconds and gets his chips together to call. As soon as I see he's actually committed I table my cards and the table gasps. Wow. Flopped the boat on the old dude- Seat nine looks at me and says "You had to be the one"

Now I'm not even paying attention to Jack's cards because as far as I'm concerned, I'm a total lock. But I hear him mutter under his 96 year old breath-- "I think your in trouble" as he table pocket 7's for a bigger boat. OMG. The table explodes and I just have to laugh to myself eventually because a spot this sick just doesn't come around very often. At least he didn't stack me!

I think if I was actually there in person I would never have recovered.

I've had a couple of days playing poker. Last night was a bit uneventful but the previous night I finally broke through in the Ladbrokes €20r! I must have been in the final 2 tables of that tournament so many times but just couldn't reach the final table. Well in the end I got there!

I still think it's funny there lobby looks like an old calculator screen from the 1980's. Anyway, I played a good game and when we got heads up I was a 3:1 under-dog. My opponent was pretty terrible though, like some manic aggro fish. Bet pot every hand, min re-raise pre. Yeh, thats right I open the button and he min reraised every hand. How the fuck I didn't take this down I don't know, especially given we were like 40 big blinds deep+. Oh yeh, the reason I didn't take it down as because I spewed hard involving 4betting ace rag. Patience is a virtue, so I hear...

Other than that I came 7th in another $20rebuy on full tilt hardly worth mentioning and final table bubbled that $109 turbo again. Man, I love that $109 turbo, I think I just run pretty good in it and I like the fast pace of trying to assign ranges to people, making sick calls, running into the top of their ranges then sucking out. Hehe, it's how I roll.

Well anyway, I was supposed to be going up to Nottingham tonight to get the keys to my new flat which should have been issued on the 1st September. I just rang up to check before I made the 3 1/2 hour drive up and apparently they can't give me my keys now anyway. Mofos! One of my flat mates hasn't paid the rent or some bullshit. Now I'm stuck lol. I'm playing the £330 DTD deepstack this weekend with no where to stay thanks to this dodgy student accommodation I got myself involved with. Goddamn. So I'm trying to find out if there is any floor space at a friend of a friends house that I can camp in over the weekend. If not I'll just have to book in to a hotel I guess which will bump the price of the trip up a fair bit I expect. Oh well, suppose it doesn't matter as I'm shipping the £330 this weekend anyway.

Next year I'm unsure what I'm going to do poker-wise. I think I might just really cut out online during term time. There just seems to be too much happening and I'de love to spend more time chilling with my friends in the last year of uni. The problem with online grinding is that it really is solitary and I don't think I can waste good drinking/chill times on the regular grinding online despite the attractions of the money/fun/sense of achievement. I need to get my head down and study (which I epically failed at last year) and more importantly spend lots of time chilling with my uni mates in the last year of term. Don't worry I'm not fully quitting, just cutting down time online from October onwards and probably play some more live when I get that tingle for action. Good ol' Dusk Til Dawn! Long may you live!

Just before I go, I've been reading this online pros blog and he linked this song:

Such a tune! There was one a vid on youtube with much better quality than this one, but they seem to get taken off everyday. So if its not on there search "Drake Feat.Eminem, Lil' Wayne, Kanye West-Forever" if your into your hiphop/rap you'll love it.

If you're also interested, this is such an epic story from the old days on playing poker in the deep south. It's probably not real, but so well written I just thought it had to be included:

It was a hot and dry day in El Paso when I played that hand in 1849. I'm not sure why I decided to return to the saloon, and once more risk losing it all; maybe it was boredom, days on end of seeing nothing from my porch besides hot, dry sand and desert lizards reflected in the rising steam. God knows where that steam came from. There wasn't water for miles.

I burst through the doors of The Broken Spoke holding all that i had earned from my 3 long months working on the ranch of Dallas Bill, one hundred and two dollars. I looked down back to my usual table: the usual suspects were at it again: Switchblade Joe, Tumbleweed Tim, Vegas Black, and Double Dee. Me? They call me Six-Shooter Sam.

I took my seat. The name of the game was $100 NL, the highest stakes in town. I shouted at the bartender. "Hey Lady, bring me some goddamn whiskey." Luckily, she had it. I would have taken horse piss. Anything to rid myself of the grit on the back of my throat.

First hand I'm on the big blind, and I look down to find the king of hearts and the ten of spades. Folds all around to me, except for Vegas Black who makes it three to go. I eyed him over carefully. He was a smooth one, that Vegas Black; unpredictable, like a cross-breed between a rattlesnake and a scorpion: you never quite could tell which way he was slithering, but one sting from him and men were pushing up daisies. Vegas Black was known in Texas to raise pots with any old hand, he could be sitting on anything from 2 7 offsuit to a pair of bullets. I saw a drop of sweat roll down my forehead and hit the felt. Vegas gave me a sinister grin. "Call." He urged. "I dare ya."

I called his raise. The flop comes 10 clubs, 7 clubs, A spades. Vegas bets out strong, $6, clearly trying to bluff me out.

"It'll take a lot more than that to get me out of this pot, partner," I said to Vegas in a raspy voice, my throat raw from the sand and the whiskey. "$20 to go."

Vegas lit a cigarette and sucked the smoke through the gap where his left front tooth used to be before he lost it taming Memphis, the wild black stallion that townsfolk rumored Vegas found at the gates of hell after getting shot by Kentucky Jack on the longest day December. "$50."

"I call."

The turn comes up, the Ace of diamonds. Vegas checks. Now I'm in for it. My pair of tens is looking worse by the minute. I check behind.

The river comes, the ten of hearts. Vegas checks again, settting his trap, except this time I can fight back. "I'm all-in."

Vegas looks at me and gives another wicked grin. He stands up from the table, pulls his pistol out from his holster, and pointing it at his own head says to me, "I raise you your life."

A lot of things went through my mind at that moment. My wife, my children, my future goals of saving enough money to move out west to california and strike it rich, but for some reason, I knew Vegas Black wasn't holding an ace.

"Vegas," I said, with shaky hands, pulling out my six-shooter from its brown leather holster, "you're a dead man." I pointed my six-shooter at my own head with my right hand, and flipped over K10 with the other. Vegas flipped over 88 and shot himself dead, in the middle of The Broken Spoke, on that hot and dry 1849 day in El Paso, when I made the biggest gamble of my life.