Wednesday, 22 December 2010

2010 Review and 2011 Goals


Yes this post is coming early, but I've just finished off my last poker session of the year as I'm leaving Nottingham and heading to my family home in Dorset tomorrow where I'll be seeing friends and family for a few days before then jetting off to India on the 26th and returning to these cold shores sometime in mid-January.

So 2010 has been a pretty busy year for myself. I finished my last ever year of formal education (perhaps!) and managed to graduate. I went to Vegas and had arguably the best summer of my life. I got back with my girlfriend earlier on in the year and things are going great on that front. I also took holidays skiing in France, binge-drinking in Turkey and throwing snowballs in Vienna. Oh, and I decided to give playing poker professionally a shot! I'd say 2010 has been a great year.

Although this is my lifetime graph of the games I've played I think the year started around game 3000. I was on my last year of university and wasn't working on my game, exercising any bankroll management or really playing much at all due to a lot of real-life commitments.

I only played on Sundays for a while and partly ran bad, partly didn't deserve to do too well which resulted in a pretty nasty downswing to start the year off with. In fact in the first 6 months of the year I only managed to play a measly sum of around 1000 games losing pretty badly throughout.

Around game 4000 is when I returned from Vegas. For the readers that have been following the blog for a while it was safe to say I was pretty much busto. I hadn't degenned my money off hard or even lost significant portions of my bankroll. That would have probably made for a better read, but the truth of the matter was I had to put a lot of money aside for future living expenses, paying up front for 9 months rent of my flat/my bills/a new computer etc. etc.

This left me with around $2000 for poker, but with lots of spare time and enough money secured in the bank to keep me a float for the next 9 months regardless of what happened. Yeh, I felt pretty busto!

I'm happy to say that with some careful bankroll management, putting in a lot of volume, working on my game and exercising careful bankroll management the next few months to finish off my year have been really good. I only reported two losing weeks since coming back from Vegas and those were both the two weeks I played the least amount of games in. I've got a bankroll again and I can't wait for 2011. It should be a big year...

My Goals for 2011:

1) I don't like setting monetary goals too much. You can control how many hours you put into studying your game and you can control the amount of hours you spend grinding the tables. What you can't do though is control variance. I would however like to see myself grinding my current schedule hard for a couple more months and hopefully, with a little run-good on my side, get my bankroll over the $50k mark. Then I'll be fully rolled for the majors. Which leads me onto my first goal of 2011. Winning a major. I don't care what site it's on, I don't care when it happens. I just want to ship one!

2) Fitness and health. I really need to sort this one out. It's only been a few months since going pro and I really feel that if I'm not careful I will start to put on some chub in the forthcoming year. You feel so much better when you work out and eat healthily but it's way too easy to just sit on the computer chair all day and order takeaway food. I'm going to try to work out before every session. Keep cooking healthier food and cut back heavily on my takeaways. I enjoy cooking, it's just the effort and time of cooking which annoys me. So lazy I know!

3) Improving my game. The game is constantly evolving and if I want to keep ahead of the curve I'm going to have to keep evolving my game too. That includes noting hands down mid-session which I'm unsure about and trying to watch at least 3-4 training videos every week.

4) Live Poker. Weird as it may now be, I really am starting to enjoy live deepstacked tournaments a lot more. Sure, they are frustrating as hell, but I want to keep grinding them. I'd really like 2011 to be my break-through onto the live scene. I've played a surprisingly large number of live tournaments in the past couple of years and really other than a few scores here and there I have had next to no success in them. I don't believe I have huge live-game leaks, although maybe others can comment on this one. My approach for 2011 on the live poker front will be to try and qualify online for as many seats as I can. Keep focusing and keeping my A-Game and preying to the poker gods that sooner or later I have my breakthrough and can put in a really good result live. I seem to get deep in most live deepstack tournaments I play but can never make it to that elusive final table let alone ship one. I guess getting in the volume is key here. Thankfully, DTD is on my doorstep which helps a great deal. I plan on playing every £300 deepstack they have there and winning a few seats to other events around the country/Europe too.

5) Travel. I love travelling and I love how poker can give the freedom to travel. But I don't think as of yet that I'll get that much travelling done this year other than to live events. I'm almost certain I'll go back to Vegas for around 4 weeks in the Summer and maybe book a trip later on in the year. But other than India at the start of the year, this might be a little bit more of a quiet year on this front.

6) Las Vegas. I'm already looking forward to this trip though. This time round I'm going to pit gamble less and hopefully hire a car so that I can play more live tournaments at my own leisure. I'll play less online, if any this time round. I'll see Vegas as a holiday to work towards as well. I'd love to have the roll to play $1ks off my own money without having to sell action and similarly be in great shape before heading to the land of the obese! I mean it's going to be inevitable I'll put on weight over there again, so I might as well prepare myself and get in shape before I go so I don't come back feeling like a massive slob again.

And that's that. I'm clocking out for 2010 now and eagerly awaiting 2011. See you all in the New Year!

Monday, 20 December 2010

DTD £1k Monte Carlo

This week I hardly put any volume in online. In fact my only session I played was tonight (Sunday) grinding with Ledders and Tim who are staying in Nottingham for the weekend because of the DTD £1k.

The start of the week I was feeling a bit under the weather with a cold and a heavy dose of man-flu. It's probably for the best I didn't play as I felt pretty lethargic too so just bummed around taking vit-c shots and watching movies. Luckily I managed to recover in time for my birthday on Wednesday which was spent chilling with friends/girlfriend and generally having a very good day.

I still didn't really have the poker-buzz on Thursday and insta agreed to meet up with Ledders and his friend Tim who had arrived in Nottingham on the train to chill out and grab some food in the evening. We had a few beers and donked around on Guitar hero then headed out to Pizza Express before finally getting a cab over to Dusk Til Dawn after hearing about a free bar for all the players who had registered for the £1k starting the following day. Ship it!

Well, we would ship the free drinks if they hadn't stopped serving the free drinks when we arrived! Already slightly merry we ventured onto the cash tables and I proceeded to spew off £500 in a mix of £1/£2 NLH and £2/£2 dealers choice. TBH I wasn't playing horrifically but wasn't exactly hitting the deck too hard either! I wasn't too fussed anyway, wanting to save all my run-good for the tournament the following day, plus I've been on a pretty hot run lately online up just over $7k on the month so far, so a little bump in the road won't hurt profit figures too much anyway!

Come Friday and I'm feeling alive and kicking and can't wait to crush the Monte Carlo event. My table draw appears to be pretty good with a few relatively weak players mixed in with Nik Persaud (London live pro) and Tom Middleton (HitTheHole online - very very good player). It was quite funny really as I'd only just been playing (and losing) to HitTheHole the previous week after he raped me to pieces in the $300 6max and is in my opinion one of, if not the best, tournament player in the UK at the moment.

Play started at £1k with 255 runners turning up all aiming to take the ~£75k first place. It was going to be a long, but fun few days.

Disappointingly I managed to lose half my stack relatively in a quite interesting spot. The HJ, who seemed relatively weak limped and I iso raised As9s. It folded around to him and he quickly called.

I cbet the dry Qx4s3x board after he check-called and I barrelled the Ts on the turn. By the river the board read Qx4s3xTsQs. So I river the nut-flush but the board paired. Regardless, he decided after check-calling the first two streets to lead into me and I raised for value thinking a large part of his range was random Qx he limped like QJ/Q9/QK or perhaps some sort of flushdraw that got there somehow (maybe 5s6s) etc. I also didn't think he'd have 33/44 much in his range as even the most passive of opponents normally try to get more money into the pot with their baby sets on drawy boards at some point during the hand. As it happened, I re-popped his river lead and he thought for 10second and then 4bet me. Sighhh/fold I guess...He probably had QT or maybe a badly played low set.

Anyway after that hand I managed to go on a little rush and without showdown rebuilt my 16k stack to 98,100 to end the day with. I was very happy with my play, I felt I put a lot of pressure on people and was picking my spots well.

Come day 2, I hit the gym in the morning again and felt excited for playing my best game of poker. I managed to slowly build my stack up to 170,000 before losing a monster flip with 99 to AK leaving me back at 98,000. 100 chips less than I started the day with 4 hours in. Back to the grind... I was moved tables recognising a few faces and not recognising a few others. Including mammoth stack Jerome Bradpiece of whom Cos informed me on the dinner break was a regular on the UK-poker scene and an extremely loose aggressive player when he had chips. This could be fun...

The first hand back it folded to him on the button and he opened 2.1x. The small blind folded and it came to me in the BB with AQs and 33bb remaining. I elected to 3bet, he thought for a little while and 4bet me. I hollywooded for 10 seconds then crammed it in his face and he folded. Easy game!

2 hands later and it folds to him again, he opens and I elect to 3bet the button with As4s on the button as a bluff. He tanked for a while and looked visibly frustrated before folding somewhat angrily. Nice....I've put him on tilt :)

The very following hand I look down at 99, surprise surprise, Jerome opens again and I decide to keep the pressure on with my 45bb's aiming to 3bet/call it off feeling he was getting really pissed off with me ruining his plans of running over the table. So he raised, I 3bet, he thought for a while and 4bet and I 5bet crammed it in his face once again.

He thought for a little while before calling with JJ. Really kind of a lame spot especially as I didn't get there ;) but whatevssssss! I came about 20 off the money. I'm not so sure about the hand. Given the dynamic online I'd be cramming it in the same situation all day of the week. But I was 45-50bb deep in a very well structured live tournament with 75 minute levels. Yes I could have picked a better, lower variance spot. I'm sure the play was +EV but maybe not optimal. This could just be me doubting my play as well after bricking yet another day 2 tournament though. Who knows, maybe one day I'll bink it when I'm behind and go on to win...

Nah not likely ;) I'll just add it to the long tally of lifetime MTT bricks I've made. Maybe next time, eh..

This forth coming week I'm heading back down to Dorset for Christmas with the family and plan on putting my last two MTT sessions of the year in on Monday and Tuesday. I'd love to be +$3k on those two sessions to finish off the year on a $10k month, but that WOULD be running good!

After that, I'm off on holiday with a friend to India to finish the year off. It's currently a stable 30c every day there and I can't wait. I love exploring new cultures and I love the cuisine. I'm going to have a pretty open mind on my travels and hope to do some reflecting at the same time. More to come!

Gl at the tables all...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Snowy Vienna, A Few Binks and a Few Bricks


A few weeks ago I won a package to the Betfair Live tournament in Vienna which was a €250 buyin with €100,000 guaranteed. The guarantee was actually smashed almost hitting €200k making a very tasty prize pool in the end.

As part of my package I was given $500 'spending money' which pretty much all went on the hotel and flights alone. I didn't take any euros over but decided to take £800 to gamble with and spend. I wasn't too bothered about the tournament and in fact didn't even know any of the details of it before leaving England. I was mainly just going for the holiday and getting some time away from the computer..

I ran pretty hot at the start of the trip blagging myself an extra €250 after my flight with Swiss Airways was overbooked and I opted to take a later flight. This almost went horrendously tits up as shortly after my original scheduled flight took off the runway was closed due to too much snow. The thought of spending the next few days in an airport didn't sound like it was anywhere near worth €250 but fortunately for me the flights reopened later and I made my way to snowy Vienna :)

I met up with one of my good friends who's currently studying at the university of Vienna. We did the whole touristy scene, looking around the city centre, drinking lots of alcoholic fruit punch and eating Wiener Schnitzels and sausages.

I've got to say, Vienna actually has the most beautiful city centre I've seen in any European city. What's more, the food is really nice for European standards (nothing beats Asia :p) and the people were all extremely friendly regardless of who I was speaking too.

I couldn't actually recommend the city enough for a weekend break as it really is stunning especially around Christmas.

Once all the touristy mumbo-jumbo was out of the way with it was time to gambooool.

The main event was going quite well. I chipped up nicely and made a few solid laydowns and good calls making day 2 with around average stack. Story of my live poker career I know, but I busted out shortly before the money reshoving 25bb with AQs over a 12bb button shove in the small blind only for the big blind to wake up with AA. The button had AT. Rigged or what?!

From then on it was the cash tables. I've ranted before of how I find live NLHE cash to be the most boring, draining, boring, slow, boring, crap, boring thing ever. So to the PLO tables I headed.

The games were great. So much fun. It was really your stereotypical old school poker game. Everyone had huge stacks built up over the night, it was smokey, loads of action, alcohol. It was brilliant! What's more it was one of those hardcore games that never seemed to break and there really wasn't any strong players in the games.

There was a single blind of €2, but that didn't stop the pots escalating to an average of about €500 with some reaching over €3k.

I managed to get off to a good start in the games and this is a photo I took of my best stack of the trip. The blues are €10 each, red/blacks €100, greens €5 and reds €1. That was in the same session that I managed to lose the biggest pot of my life as well with AK23 vs AAxx on A459 rainbow board. I've got to say that €1700 pot been shipped to the donko after he binked a 5 on the river after we got it all on the turn kinda hurt.

I spewed back a bit in my last session playing the game but managed to leave Vienna a winner of €1000 after all my expenses so I was very happy with that. I think on this trip I managed to find a good balance between poker/tourism too. Overall it was an amazing trip and I can't wait for my next trip abroad.

Arriving back in England I put a fair bit of volume online in again getting a few binks in including a lovely €3600 score in the ladbrokes €20r 6max. I used to love that tournament about a year ago but hadn't really played it since for bankroll reasons/laziness of playing on the euro sites on just a laptop. So it was really nice to win it the first time I'd played it in a while.

This week as well I've managed binks in the OnGame $100fo/$5k gtd and the Ladbrokes €55 turbo. :)

In other news, the RCOOP is over now and I'm sad to say that it's another series I'm adding to my ever-growing list of having no success whatosever in! This seems to be somewhat of a recurring theme unfortunately.

Whatever I seem to take shots in outside of my bankroll I just do horrifically in. I'm almost certain as well that I'm not playing that bad. I mean even if I was massively -EV on the field you'd expect me to get more than 2 min-cashes in my last 50ish $200 buyin tournaments online right? I mean, I haven't had a cash in this RCOOP, the previous FTOPs, one mincash in the FTOPs before and no cashes in the majors I sold action to today! Grrr...It's more frustrating than anything else.

I guess you could put it as 'fortunately' that I am selling action for these tournaments but TBH I am getting fed up of always letting my investors down in these spots. I'm in two minds going forward about what I should do for these series.

For one, I found that the RCOOP was exceptionally tough. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the RCOOP $300 6max tournament was the toughest tournament I've ever played before in the 7000-8000 tournaments I've played before. I don't frequent the highest of stakes regularly online so I don't know how it compares to say a weekday $100r or whatever, but damn, Britain really does have some talent. There are so many excellent online players coming up and really an abundance of 'fish' especially in the higher staked games online from England. I think this series really exemplified that.

Saying that, the tournament series was ALOT of fun. It was great really being challenged and having to take my thought process to a higher level to stay afloat in the games. At the end of the day though, as is the case in tournament poker. If you can't win the flips, you won't get far!

I'm just glad I don't try to grind these games out on the regular for a living, as they are tough.

In comparison, the Sunday majors which are found on almost all sites with various satelittes, a high-buyin and a high guarantee are a lot softer. I just can't decide if I want to keep trying to sell action and playing these each Sunday or not. I feel that I'm +EV on the field, but at the same time my biggest downswing ever was mainly due to running bad in these huge field variance fests. Part of me wants to gamble, play them every week to see if I can hit a big 6-figure score. The other part of me feels like I should wait until I'm properly rolled for the games (I'd like to have a $50k bankroll to say I'm properly rolled). 

I think to compromise what I might do depending on how well I've done the week preceding is to put $50 a side for each major to try and satelitte in and play with 100% of my own action. That way I'll still be able to get the volume in at my regular stakes and have a chance each week to bink on one site or the other. It could keep things interesting until I gather the roll to play them all on my own dime.

Anyway its 3:20am and this blog post was WAY longer than I thought it would be, but I've had a lot to say. If you've managed to get this far, very well done. I don't know why you bother, but here is your reward. Enjoy:

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The US Regulation of Online Poker - Impact on the Euros

This is a cross post from a blog I read that sums it up really well. So thanks to The F-Train for breaking down the new bill. It's a really interesting news.

Cliff notes: US is fucked and looks to have no online poker for the next 2 years, Euros will be pretty much alone on Stars/FTP for the next 2 years. Euro sites with sportsbooks in the distant future will still be Euro-only (e.g. iPoker, Will Hill) and by the looks of things for the next 3 years Euros and US won't be playing in the same games together. Although this looks very unfortunate for my American colleagues, it looks like the games will get a lot softer. I will be interested to see if and how some people will get around the rules if they can.

Here we go again. A new version of Harry Reid's internet poker bill, the "Prohibition of Internet Gambling, Internet Poker Regulation, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2010" (what a mouthful!), started making the rounds on Capitol Hill yesterday. Thanks to Kevin Mathers, I was able to get a look at it this morning to see what (if anything) had changed.

Unfortunately, because of wildly divergent formatting, and the fact that this version of the bill is MUCH more "fleshed out" than the first version, getting a blackline of the two versions proved exceedingly difficult. So if I miss any major differences, that's the primary reason why. 

My summary of the original version of the bill is available here.

On to the highlights of the new version:

* Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Contrary to previous reports, this version retains the two-year exclusion for operators who have not owned or controlled a casino or race track for a minimum of 5 years prior to their application. [Sec. 104(f)(2) and (3)] That means that sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars would be excluded from the market for 2 years after the first license is issued. 

[EDITED TO ADD: Some seem to think that Sec. 104(f)(2)(B) might allow a site like Stars to sell itself to MGM and therefore become an applicant "owned or controlled by" a casino in operation for 5 years. On its face, that might be possible although I highly doubt it's what's intended.

The reason I doubt it -- Sec. 118(c)(2) is explicit that a license can't issue to any person that "purchased or acquired, directly or through an affiliate or intermediary, in whole or in significant part" any person who owned a U.S.-facing site prior to the Act. My only question about 118(c)(2) is if it's supposed to apply to ANY U.S.-facing site, or only those U.S.-facing sites that refuse to wind down as required under the "One bone..." paragraph described below.]

* The 15-month total blackout period on issuing *any* license still applies. [Sec. 118] No qualifying body can issue a license until 15 months after passage of the Act. That means that no operator could legally offer internet poker in the U.S. for those 15 months, and sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars would be shut out for 39 months.

* The U.S. player pool continues to have to be segregated from the rest of the world for at least 3 years after the first license is issued.

* One bone for Full Tilt and PokerStars: they would have 30 days to cease offering poker in the U.S. after passage of the Act, and 2 years to return all customer deposits. [Sec. 118(b)] The first version of the bill was much harsher, requiring immediate cessation of poker and 30 days to return deposits. Sites that are currently operating in the U.S. are required to comply with those provisions as a condition for eventual licensing.

["Paper sales" paragraph deleted and replaced by italics above!]

* There are now provisions at Sec. 104(k) to guide the determination of whether or not something is "internet poker" -- something that's rather key for legislation that seeks to limit online gambling to only internet poker. The determination is left to the qualified body that issued the license. So, for example, if Nevada issues a license to, Nevada would determine what constitutes "internet poker" in all states in which operates (presumably, all states that have opted in and those states which haven't opted out).

Could we see instances where certain games aren't offered in certain states? I'm thinking of the specific example of razz, which (as far as I know), is not an allowed game in New Jersey. If someone applied for a license from a state like that, would they not be allowed to offer certain games? Obviously operators would then favor making applications for a license from the state with the most comprehensive definition of "internet poker".

* It appears there is now the potential for a 5-year prison term, in addition to the $1,000,000 per-day penalty, for operating without a license. [Sec. 103(b), Sec. 104(m)(1)(D)] Those of you who thought that Full Tilt and PokerStars might remain in the States anyway (in the 15-month total blackout period) should think again. Not only that, but...

* A few changes to the licensing fee: first, it appears previous confusion in the definition of "internet poker receipts" has been cleared up. That term now means, essentially, the rake. The licensing fee is 20% of the rake.

More importantly, anyone who operates an internet poker facility WITHOUT a license is subject to a 50% "licensing fee". The bill is explicit that this fee in no way limits the liability of the operator under *any* other provision of the bill. So, if Stars or Tilt were to remain in the U.S., not only would they be subject to $1,000,000 per-day penalties and potentially 5 years in prison (for the executives), but they'd also have to pay 50% of the rake they received to the IRS.

My good buddy Shamus questions how this can be enforced if the sites, executives and servers are all located offshore. It's a good question. I'm not sure, but I suspect that, if a regulatory and licensing scheme were put into place, the US would exert some diplomatic pressure on places like England (Stars) and Ireland (Tilt) to bring those operators into line. In any event, Stars seems to pride itself on always operating within the law. Operating without a license would be expressly illegal under this bill.

* One aspect of the bill I didn't discuss during Round 1: to be automatically designated a "qualified body", for licensing purposes, a gaming regulatory board has to have been a gaming regulator for 5 years prior to enactment of the Act, and has to have been responsible for regulating at least 5% of total United States casino gaming revenue for at least 3 out of those 5 years. I don't know how gaming revenue breaks down nationwide but I would suspect this gives Nevada and New Jersey a leg up over the rest of the nation. 

The reason why that's important is because other state gaming boards that want to be able to issue licenses have to apply to the Commerce Secretary, but only after all the final regulations under the Act have been issued.

Not only that, but sites that were U.S.-facing prior to the Act could only apply for a license through the automatic qualified bodies -- i.e., Nevada and New Jersey. Would existing casinos apply pressure to NGC / NJCCC to shut out those formerly U.S.-facing operators...?

* The opt-in / opt-out provisions for states and tribes remain. [Sec. 108] They appear to be largely unchanged. States wishing to opt-in or opt-out have until December 31, 2011 to make that determination. After that, their status can be changed on 60 days notice to the Secretary of Commerce.

* The concept of "cheating" is greatly expanded in this version. Cheating in the first version was largely limited to the use of "cheating devices". In the new draft, there's an outright prohibition on "knowingly violating, attempting to violate, or assisting another in violating the rules of play established by the licensee for the purpose of obtaining prohibited or unfair advantage in any game authorized under this title". [Sec. 113(a)] The use of bots is also expressly prohibited in the new version. [Sec. 113(b)(2)] 

* Conviction under Sec. 113 for cheating entails two possible penalties: a permanent ban from playing internet poker, and a criminal penalty consisting of a fine and/or up to 2 years in prison.

That's all I've got for now but I'll continue to study this version of the bill and any new version that emerges. What does everyone else think?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Best Month In A Long Time


November was awesome. I jokingly said in a post at the start of the month that I'd wish for a $10k month. Well I'm very fortunate in that it came and November turned out to be a +$17k month with a willhill tournament leader board points prize coming too. (Not sure why sharkscope says $20k, maybe I added wrong? - defo not complaining tho!)

I was putting a lot of volume in on the euro sites and had some really deep runs. I was playing a lot though, 6-7 days a week during this month. I tried to get in as much volume as possible, partly for a chance at doing well in the Will Hill iPoker leaderboard, but also as I won't be able to put much volume in in December. More of that to come!

So I shipped a few tournaments this past week which is where almost all of my monthly profit. Sick heater :)

I also was lucky enough to blag a win in a $50 6max, $50 turbo on iPoker and a small $20 freeze.

So now I'm back to being rolled for good games again. I'll play up to $100 freezeouts and $25r now and despite the volume this month I'm really looking forward to getting busy at the higher stakes and hopefully shipping big money! I think I'll stop grinding on OnGame and iPoker as much this month and just grind a selection on different sites. Being a bit nerdy, I'm also looking forward to planning my new schedule haha.

I'm just not looking forward to the imminent downswing...

Anyway, in a few hours I'm heading over to Birmingham airport (if it's open due to the snow!?) and will be flying out to Vienna for a long weekend. I'll be chilling with my mate who's going to uni there and then playing the BF Vienna tournament. It's only $350 buyin but is claimed to have a $100k gtd. I've not really looked much into the tournament, just booked a really cheap hotel and looking to have fun taking some time away from the computer and getting pissed.

After that I'll be back on Monday and will probably play a load of RCOOP tournaments on Stars. They are high buyins but I think I'll take a shot with a bit of action sold on the side. The structures look kind of ridiculously but THANKFULLY Stars have knocked back the times to make earlier starts in the tournament. I'm so glad that for instance the main event wasn't held at 9pm with a 2 hour late registration policy as was originally scheduled. I mean who could afford to play that tournament if they had work on Monday. Or in fact those that don't play their A-Game as well at 9am after a 16 hour session!

So that should be quite a fun series, I have no idea how tough/soft it will be. There are rumours of big overlay, so we shall see... I might not play the later part of the series if I don't think there's much value in them as I don't really want to deal with the variance of being outplayed by good people at that high of a buyin!

After that there's the £1000/£250k gtd at Dusk Til Dawn in Nottingham that I'm looking forward to playing. I'm in for about €400 in the satellites so far though. It would be nice to get in on the cheap, but I think I'll prob buyin regardless of how I do in the sats.

The following week will probably be chilled and I have my birthday that week too. I'll probably grind a bit online before finally heading back to the family home just before christmas. After christmas, I'll be on a trip to India! More about that later.

Run good all, have a great December!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Moving up with a few binks!


Good news to report. The long grinding is starting to pay off quite well and I'm happy to report I'm moving up the stakes playing up to $50 turbos, and taking some shots at $20 rebuys now as well as everything under-the-sun beneath that.

I had a pretty sick little run tonight in the $5r /$8k gtd on iPoker. The previous night I ft bubbled it pretty harshly on a 70/30 so was pretty gutted, but I came back for revenge tonight and this time I ran a lot better!

 I also managed to win the late $55 freezeout on OnGame too earlier this week for another nice little score!

So things are going very well on the poker front at the moment and I'm loving it!

Unfortunately, I'm not running quite as good on the US sites though. I came 12th out of about 7000 runners last week in the big $55/$300k gtd for $1.4k. I lost AK to AQ for second in chips. It kind of hurt considering first was $42k and change which would have crushed my previous roll and given me a lot more financial freedom. Ahh well, hopefully I'll be given another chance one day to win such ridiculous sums...Lucky to get that deep I suppose!

I also didn't do so well in the FTOPs cashing in 0/5 that I played. I sold a fair bit of action in this though so it wasn't too detrimental to the roll. Still kinda annoying as I pretty much bubbled two getting it in ahead.

Loldonkaments right ;)

Onto the next tournament series though! Coming up is the UKCOOP in a couple of weeks time. I'm planning on playing:

#03 6th Dec: $415 2xchance turbo
#04 7th Dec: $320
#07 10th Dec: $320 6m
#09 11th Dec: $615 1r1a
#11 12th Dec: $530 main event

total = $2200

My plan was between tonight and Wednesday night to take out all of my profits from the 5 days and sell action based on how I've performed financially in the past few days. But after tonights bink I'm tempted to withdraw the win and have 100% of myself. I think I'll sell about 25% of the action just to reduce variance though. I'd hate to play with scared money and not play the bubble well and stuff...

As far as the series is concerned. I am a little surprised that the buyins are so high for the UK. There aren't THAT many high-stake UK players and the guarantees are quite high. I expect there will be a lot of satelitte qualifiers but I'm really not sure how soft or tough the fields will be. I know for a fact there is a core of VERY strong UK grinders out there and some good online cash players from England. Who knows, we'll see I'm sure!

On the live-front. I've not played much live lately. I played a £200 fo and a £100 fo at DTD a couple of weeks ago with no success. I won a Betfair Live package to Vienna next weekend though. It's a €250/€100k gtd tournament. It's not a huge buyin but should be pretty fun and I'm looking forward to meeting up with one of my old uni mates who goes to Uni doing his masters there at the moment. If anything it will be a nice holiday from the online grind.

Until next time guys! Run good!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Sunday Mahem

I think I'll always have a love-hate relation with Sunday. So many juicy tournaments with such little time.

But today I was definately feeling the hate part of the Sunday relationship, grrr!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Live Poker Scandal. And They Said Online Was Rigged.

The news has been announced today by the director of french casino network Partouche: Ali Tekintamgak one of the nine player who qualified in september for the final table of the Partouche Poker Tour which will took place tomorrow (saturday 6th) has just been disqualified for cheating.

Details are not known yet, but the director told that they have proof on videos, have reported to the authorities and are pressing charge.

It seems that Ali Tekintamgak was already disqualified during EPT talling main event this year after being caught receiving signals from fake bloggers/journalists looking at his opponent cards.

Ali Tekintamgak won the WPT Barcelona in 2010 for 278,000 euros.

What's more, there had been rumours going on around the circuit that this kind of stuff has been happening for quite some time. Shaundeeb made a post a couple of months ago before this disqualification occurred about such cheating scandals that are rumoured to have taken place. 

There has also been a clip on youtube about Ali Tekintamgak in action with someone from the media clearly giving him a signal of his opponents hole-cards whilst heads-up in at EPT Barcelona:

This stuff is just insane. This Ali guy has previously had fake reporters escorted and banned from European casinos before but still nothing serious has been done about this. Until now.

What's more despite claims that Ali didn't know the journalist or had seen him before, here is a picture from the WSOP 2010 that clearly shows the same reporter from the video standing on the opposite side of the table to Ali checking out his opponents hole-cards:

Ali and his friends defend his team of personal bloggers stating that he is a big name on the European circuit. He claims that this is a racially driven attack on him being Turkish. Yet as one poster on the 2p2 forums points out:

"first of all ali ist not famous over here...fact is...this is the first time i have realy heard of him...and i am following the german poker szene for years is suspicious that there is a whole blogger team following him...since there are a lot more successful german players and none of em has a own blogger team...i mean...does any livepro have an own bloggerteam...??
i grew up in the same area as one of the blogger and know him...and it is so out of line to say we germans are racists...i have tons of turkish friends...and especially with our history...we germans...are so so so so so so so fckn cautiously with racism of any there is no way that this would ever be the reason for these allegations...absolutely no way...
a friend of mine...manuel blaschke...was at the WPT FT with ali...and here is his reaction to all this...
"OMG...this guy was standin behind me all the time @ the FT..."
"like 5 times where i open OTB, ali defended his BB...i cbet...and he shoves for 5xpot...and those where all boards...that hit my range pretty good and where coordinated...but i just couldnt call because i never had a hand..."
and manuel is a realy nice guy...def not talking ********...

Legal action is currently being undertaken about this scandal and a prison sentence for Ali Tekintamgak is not off the cards.

To read up more information on this check out:

The thread on 2p2
French news article with English summary at the end

 Ali's HendonMob page

Monday, 1 November 2010

Herro there November!


From a quick google-images search, November sure looks pretty beautiful. But then I look out of my window all I can see is rain, dark clouds and darkness. Yup that's right, winter is really on it's way! What's more, it offers a great environment for some heavy grinding. And I plan on doing a lot of that in November.

The past week didn't go too well in the end. I kind of suffered a little on the volume front and coupled with a little downswing saw me at my first losing week in a couple of months. It had to come soon I guess!

I'm now pretty keen to get back into a good routine of working out, cooking, alarms, poker-study to get me back on track however. I also deposited a little money on a couple of new sites so it will be interesting to see how I find these and if the playability doesn't screw me over. That now leaves me with money on 11 different poker sites to fix my tournament needs.

So what's going on this month?

Well I'm looking forward to a few things:
-FTOPs is back. That means more bankroll demolition then! I've seen the schedule and will probably play a few of the events selling action to the ones I choose. I don't think I'll be quite as extravagant as before. I'm really happy with my new schedule and staying up until 2am to start a deepstacked $200 tournament hasn't got quite the lure it once had. So we'll see...

-DTD £300 deepstack. I'm going to try to sattelite in tomorrow and Tuesday for the weekend tournament that now has a £40k guarantee and is televised! I'm not sure who will even want to watch a £300 tournament on TV, but that's besides the point! I can see the fame and stardom already...cough cough..

-I've got various family members visiting at one point or other to see my flat this month. I think they'll be quite impressed with how things are going, I certainly couldn't see myself in a place like this a couple of years ago.

I would also set some goals, but I really find it hard to keep track of these things. And whilst monetary goals are kind of lame as nobody can control variance. I would love to have a $10k month in November and get my roll up over $20k so I can hit December hard with some $100 freezeouts and $20r's. Now that would be nice! But still, we'll see. If I keep trying to maximise the volume and create the right frame of mind and grinding environment, I don't see why this can't be the case. I'll keep you all updated along the way.

I think this is quite a fitting song for the new month too. Gl at the tables, I hope everyone has a great November!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A pretty solid week

I put in good volume and with the help of a nice little bink on the DTD software of €800, I'm +$2500 on the week. I think I flat out won 3-4 tournaments this week which is really nice. I'm being pretty nitty on the bankroll front but might take some more shots at $10r and $50 freezes mid-week if I'm running well. They're still really soft and gives me the chance to bink something huge.

I've kind of gone off the 90 mans at the moment. I seem to still doing alright with them, but at the moment I'm just enjoying playing the euro and stars/ftp tournaments much more. It feels much less like a grind too.

So yes, I had a lovely little bink online at DTD, and would appreciate some live binking too. This weekend is the DTD £50/£40k gtd. It's already a sell-out event and will be the biggest tournament in England. I'm really happy for the club on its achievement as it really is a nice little joint and I hope it lasts on through the ages particularly during this economic recession.

Other than that this week I've spent watching "The Social Network" which I'd highly recommend, eating at a few nice meals and chilling with some old uni friends at the weekend. I'm pretty happy with the grind at the moment and I'm looking forward to next week where hopefully I have another profitable week and can move up stakes in November.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Check out the pad


I've finally moved in and settled down. I had to take a wee chunk out of my roll for some home furnishing but I'm really happy now with how the flat is looking. I just love it here!

The view from my balcony looking over Nottingham:

The poker-set up. It's working really well so far. I'm 9-tabling on the 30inch monitor and use my 20inch monitor for all the poker clients, poker lobbys, MSN windows, HEM and music etc.

The kitchen-area. So much easier having a fridge a couple of meters from my computer so I can dash over, heat something up, grab a drink and still not miss a hand!

The living area. I've now moved the glass table to the corner and put my new Panasonic Viera TV on it with PS3 underneath. It's kind of annoying it's directly behind my PC so I can't watch and play at the same time. But I think that's probably for the best!

The Bedroom. Nuff said.

I'm having a couple of mates stay over this weekend to chill, so it might not look as clean and tidy as it does in these photos in a few days time!

As far as the poker is going. I've had a good couple of weeks since I've been grinding in the flat including winning 2 tournaments!

$20/$4k gtd 6max on OnGame

$30 6-max on OnGame

Long may the good times continue!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Live pro'ing it up for the rest of the week...or am I? (cliffs at btm)

Yo yo,

I'm probably getting scammed by this new ISP I've decided to go with but after moving into my new flat (which I'm loving and photos will come when I can blog from my computer once again!) I am yet again without Internet. Urgggh such a pain! It's getting activated on the following Thursday apparently. I asked if they could do anything to speed the process up as really I need the Internet to make my money. Well I could pay £160 to get it done by Monday but then I'd still miss all the weekend action so decided to just wait it out a few more days.

To keep myself busy inbetween chilling with friends and playing the new Starcraft 2 (note to self: do not get addicted!) I shall be making frequent visits to my local card room dusk til dawn to hopefully grind out some form of wage for the week. I've been very fortunate in not having a losing week since I've been back in Nottingham so far, but this could well be
my first losing week coming up here.

I'm not being too pessimistic just realistic really. Live you just can't get the volume in that you need and also the rake live is pretty absurd! I mean i played today in a £1/£2 Holdem game for a while and it was 10% rake up to £10 per pot. Dtd were even advertising their live £25 deepstack which has a further £7 in rake. It's not really dusk til dawns fault though obviously. It costs a hell of a lot to fund the place and it is a nice and professional gambling environment so I'm happy to support them and very grateful that the club is situated so close to my flat!

Regardless, this weekend I'm going to play the £200 deepstack on Saturday and the £100 deepstack on Sunday. Aa far as cash games go after I'm really undecided. I don't really enjoy playing live cash that much to be honest and even if I assume I crush full ring live for like 5-10bb/100 which I probably don't anyway (loltourny donk) after the rake is taken out my hourly would still be really terrible. Especially as you get like 25 hands in an hour at live cash. grinding £2.50-£5.00 an hour with a ton of variance involved doesn't really sound that great at all.

But then, I am at heart a grinder and really feel like I can't only play 2 tourns this weekend lol! I mean, think what ivey would do!

An alternate would be to play some dealers choice mixed games like I played tonight which are a lot of fun, but I'm pretty sure that game can't be beaten in the long run particularly at £2/£2. The most common games in rotation are 6 card PLO hi/lo, 6 card PLO, super stud and paduki. The reason I say that I don't think they can be signficantly beat is because a lot of the pots end up being split which still have 10% rake up to £8 and the hands/hour is ridiculously low due to everyone playing every hand. And let's be honest PLO is swingy enough as it is without making it full ring and adding an extra 2 cards on top ;-) I think part of the issue is you could probably crush the game but it would take years to ever get the kind of volume in to show any signs of sustainable profit just because the variance in these games is so ridiculous.

Saying all this, I still really enjoy the mixed games. But I think the wisest thing to do would be to treat it as a pure gamble and play it recreationally occasionally when I have a much bIgger bankroll so that dropping 5 buyins is like a splash in the ocean.

Damnit, I ranted on too long and I'm on my iPhone so it's super hard to edit. So here are cliffnotes for the 90% of readers that don't fancy committing an afternoon slogging through this post:

-Internet down so playing live this weekend
-live cash is pretty boring and probably close to unprofitable for me at my stakes
-live mixed games are fun but are also one hellova gamble and probably unprofitable for me
-might just play the £100 and £200 deepstacks only and be a massive slacker as a result

Monday, 4 October 2010

Expansion Potential...

After that sick little heater on Monday things haven't got as well for the rest of the week. I got deep in a few tournaments but ended up being the final table bubble-boy a little more than I'd have liked particularly in bigger tournaments. Can't complain though, still up $1800 on the week (thanks really to Monday) whilst down on the month $1770. Woops!

That's probably due to this Sunday just being a complete nob to me and not letting me win a showdown in anything of importance. I played the $500 GSOP and unfortunately lost KK v AA for a bunch of chips...and...

...wait, didn't I promise you all long back I wouldn't talk about beats on this blog?

Well onwards and upwards then...

Next week is quite exciting for me. For the past few weeks although I've had my property and kind of moved in. I've left my computer at my girlfriends to grind with. Which is fine as we practically live together anyway and she's cool with the poker. But tomorrow BT are finally coming round to connect the line and I'm being hooked up with after that so I'll be grinding there from then on. I'll post some pictures of the place when I'm all settled in next week hopefully. It should be a pretty sick grind-pad.

As far as poker is concerned, I think I'll keep playing the Euro sites mainly but drop €50 freezeouts and €10r's from the schedule for the forthcoming week before I obliterate my roll any further. I'll keep in $10r and $50 freezes though. I'm also debating expanding into other sites in the future, most notably putting money on:

-party poker
-Absolute Poker
-Carbon Poker
-Everest Poker

I think I'll move onto those platforms when I get the roll over $20k though. That will allow me to play a good selection of $50+ tournaments throughout the afternoon/night and provide a better selection. Where I am at the moment though there are plenty of buyins for my range, so I'm in no rush to find greener pastures to shit all over.

Anyway, a little down because of bricking so hard tonight. But then to put it into perspective and not make me feel so bad this is what I just read on twitter from Amak316, a top tournament pro, who was just playing EPT London £20,000 high-roller:

amak316 Amit Makhija
"I cant imagine feeling any worse than I do now. 9th in the highroller, lost a pot for a ~3rd place stack on the exact bubble as a huge fav."

amak316 Amit Makhija
"just a $73,000 bubble no big deal, at least I can continue my 2 year streak of losing every pot Ive played worth more than 6 figs in equity."

Now that must suck!

For anyone else having an absolutely terrible Sunday and needs some cheering up, check this out. I first saw it on Red Square Poker's blog which is a good read in itself. But here is the epic video not to be missed:

Also on the far horizon for all the UK players, Pokerstars will be having a "UK and Ireland Championship of Online Poker" exclusively online to UK residents. That will be pretty sick I imagine and probably quite soft.

11 Events from December 5-12
$512,500 guaranteed prize pool
EXCLUSIVELY FOR PLAYERS IN: United Kingdom, Ireland & Isle Of Man.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Wahooo, What A Day!


I don't normally post mid-week but I have just got to brag about this. Today I won 3 MTT's :D Wahooo! Nice boost to the bankroll as well!

In total I made 6 final tables today with my new schedule which combines Euro and US sites. I came 2nd in a €30 freezeout on Ladbrokes and won these 3:

I plan on spending some time with my girlfriend the next couple of days, so I guess this will be my last session of the month. And what a way to finish! This has bumped my bankroll back over the $10k mark, also meaning that September was a +$8300 month. Super happy with this. :D

Monday, 27 September 2010

Large field MTTs

I'm taking a break from them this week! The past few weeks I've been playing a lot of large field MTT's on stars and FTP which are just massive variance whirlpools. Somehow, through grinding MTTSNG's along side, I've managed to profit every week thus far, but damn can they be annoying.

To beat 2800 people just to FT bubble for 10x your buyin 8 hours later really does suck.

I've had a few deep runs along the way:

5/2592 in an $11 freezeout
38/2109 in a $55 freezeout
6/2617 in an $11 freezeout
79/28,687 in an $11 freezeout
11/1301 in an $11 rebuy

etc etc

Basically just playing these without putting ridiculous volume in almost guarantees you'll consistently have losing month despite how much of an edge you have over the field.

So for this forthcoming week I'm going to chill out a bit now that the WCOOP is over and just focus on some smaller stake euro stuff and hopefully watch as my roll grows.

I did have a profitable week just gone despite not playing on Friday or Saturday night which is pretty nice. I plan on putting in more hours on the online felt this coming week.

The Pokerstars' WCOOP was actually really fun and I enjoyed the different MTT's I played in. I didn't actually have a profitable series unfortunately. But still managed to do quite well in a $256 knockout turbo cashing for $896 and knocking 7 people out (at $50 per knockout) along the way. So that was my best run, but unfortunately that score didn't push me into the + on the series. But it was fun anyway!

I've still got 3 events left in the GSOP. I seem to so far have had a very high cash% in these, but all pretty much for the minimum which sucks. I might just have to shotgun the $500 miniFTOPs final coming up next Sunday. It should be fun...

Monday, 20 September 2010

Low stakes luckboxing


You'll all be pleased to hear I had quite a good week adding $2850 to my roll. I played quite a lot putting in decent hours and had a few little scores including the luckbox award for coming second in a $10 hyper-turbo heads up tournament on Stars. Weee! Must be nice eh.

I had a few deep runs today in loads of tournaments but nothing happened. Probably had 4 tournaments where at one point or other I had over 100k chips. Normally people say this is frustrating but maybe I'm immune as I couldn't really care either way. Which is kind of weird, but whatever!

This coming week is the last week of WCOOP and the tournament leader board challenge on Pokerstars and Full Tilt. Now my rolls pushed up a little and I can play $30 games this forthcoming week I'm just going to grind the tables hard and see if I can put a few big scores on my teams chart.

For those that aren't aware, the Tournament Leader Board competition is just groups of 5 players that each put in $x (I put in $50). There are like 15 teams and every team collects their players best scores over the time period.

So far on my team from what I know some guy has shipped the late night STUPER ($150 tourn on stars) and a couple of other biggies. All I've contributed really is some low buy-in stuff and a couple of 90-man wins.

So I'll pull my finger out this week and give the TLB a good run for it's money. Who knows I may even go on a mini-heater and make some good money while I'm there. Realistically though, because of the field sizes of the low buyins on Stars and FTP. This forthcoming week could be my first losing week in a while, but I'm prepared for that. Bring it on!

Also for those not aware, The Inbetweeners has launched a new series on channel 4, and you have to watch it. It's on Monday nights at 10pm I do believe. And it is funny!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Life can be damn expensive

Life can be damn expensive...

It's not really until you live on your own until you realise how much everything actually costs. If it's not an electricity bill it's council tax, if it's not that you need a tv license. They all add up and seemingly never stop. Welcome to the real world eh. 

So I've kind of been hit by suprise of how much all the bills for this forthcoming year are going to actually be. I'm sticking with my proactive financial planning by putting 9 months rent, bills and a weekly living expense budget aside. But the bills are way more than I thought. Couple that with a £900 deposit on my flat it looks like I'll be bak at the $12 games again for the rest of the week. 

Bankroll $3k. Watch this spac tho, it's gonna sky rocket ;-)

On a more positive note, my Twitter fan base has risen to the giddy heights of 30 followers...cough cough... But hey one of them is Phil laak so I'm certainly not complaining! I also watched kick-ass last night which is a sick film and well worth the watch. Believe me, I too was a skeptic before I saw it. Pretty damn good!

Anyway, the rebuild is on and I've got a huge few days ahead. Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Slow start to the WCOOP, but solid goings otherwise..


Well although I'm still not really getting anything going yet in the WCOOP, I've been getting quite a bit of volume in outside of the series and am happy to report the bankroll to have risen just over $6k. Pretty happy with that seeing as I was at $1800 just over a week ago!

I've still got 6 events left to prove myself in, in the WCOOP. 3 turboish tournaments that I'm particularly looking forward to as well.

The miniFTOPs has also been a lot of fun so far, particularly the non-NLH events. I'm still not great at any other discipline, but I find them fun. Not quite been getting the volume in playing these as I had wanted due to me being in the process of moving into my new flat and sorting everything out there. My schedule at the moment is pretty insane trying to balance moving in, keeping a social life and grinding big schedules online at my girlfriends place. I seem to be balancing it OK at the moment. So although the flat is mine, like the typical online geek, I won't really move in until the 4th October when the internet is activated. Only then will it really feel like home ;)...haha how sad!

So most of my money is coming in these games, which I'm enjoying a lot at the moment. Thinking of some prop bets for October to really get the volume in if this month doesn't finish up as well as its started. But we shall see...

GSOP is starting on Sunday which should be fun too. I'll be playing a few of their lower buyin NLH events to see if I can bink anything.

Til next time, gl at the felt..