Thursday, 27 October 2011

My EPT Debut and how little I know!


My EPT debut is coming to a close now and it's been a really fun trip. I was totally ready to get away from England for a bit despite not actually being in the country for that long since my Vegas trip. But the joys of blue skies, great food and some live tournaments to donate some money in is always something I'm up for.

Unfortunately on the trip I don't have anything to report on the poker side of things. The talk of the Italians being really bad and offering a lot of value is true but alas I didn't get much going in any of the 5 tournaments I played.

My main event table at the start of the trip was really really soft. Much softer than I thought it would be for a €5k tournament. I probably ran good on getting a great table draw despite not actually get much going. You start with 30k chips at 25/50 but that still didn't stop some of my table mates trying to get all 400bb in with top pair no kicker and getting far too attached to underpairs to the board. From my (somewhat limited) experience of playing with the Italians, they are the kind of players who cannot stand ever being bluffed off a pot but at the same time love to run really illogical bluffs themselves. I found the best strategy versus these players is to just try to make hands and take them all to value town. In the end I busted the main event in a slightly frustrating spot running my KK into AA for just over 100bb which was made slightly more annoying given at the time the big blind and the button was sat out. But c'est la vie!

I also played all of the freezeout side events. On the whole the fields were pretty polarised between having tournament pros who had traveled over from around the world for WSOPe which was just down the road in Cannes, France the previous week and a lot of very bad and spazzy Italian players. However, I did get the feeling there were some circuit grinders who had been out travelling in London doing EPT London, then Cannes and now playing this who were obviously getting really frustrated with the live tournament grind and punting stacks off in really unnecessary spots. In the end the best run I got was in the €2k side event on a pretty tough table when I managed to run my stack up to 42k before eventually making the second best hand in a few close spots and busting in a pretty big flip.

You'll just have to believe me when I say there are worse places in the world to brick a tournament series; San Remo is really an amazing place. Although there's not too much to do in terms of night life, the whole area is very scenically beautiful and the food is incredible. Mmmm...lobster spaghetti..

Socially this trip was really nice as well. I met and talked to a ton of poker players with far more experience in these events and with far better results than I have. It was really interesting especially in talking strategically about hands that people had played. I feel like it really goes to show how deep this game can go and how much better some people are at poker which on the surface might not be obvious. I've got a really long way to go to becoming anywhere near one of the best in Europe.

What I've found that really differentiates the greatest professionals from the mediocre professionals is their ability to just constantly put you in tough spots. In good structured live tournaments especially when the average stack is often pretty deep, good players have such an edge in the way that they can just constantly apply the pressure in spots that make it really really tough for you to play back against them. I think this was highlighted as I was speaking to a few people who had played with Erik Seidel a fair bit and I was inquiring with them what made him excel so much in the super deepstack formats that he plays. Of course he's bound to have ran pretty good, but to assign all of his success in the past 1-2 years down to this alone is just being naive. They pointed out that while he's not a really laggy 3-4bet monkey like a lot of younger internet style pros he really puts the pressure on a ton post-flop where inevitably he has the biggest edge. For instance, one thing that he seems to do well by putting people in horrible spots really deep is his relentless check-raising on flops. He can check-raise really thin and then apply a lot of pressure on turns/rivers after he picks up the initiative in the hand. Similarly, because he doesn't open as many buttons as say a typical player might do when folded to them on the button his %s when 3bet for either 4betting or flatting the 3bet in position are significantly higher than most peoples would be in that spot and as such is going to put a ton of pressure on you and just put you in some horrible spots post-flop. Someone else mentioned that if he is 3betting he's doing so to 5bet a lot of the time which is just a great adjustment to the games he plays and working off his image.

That was all a pretty round-about way of getting to the point that although it's probably a bit unnecessary in the current games I play online, if I do want to start playing higher and more high-stake live MTTs against some of the best in the world it's a skill worth acquiring. Being able to analyse someones range and put that range on different board textures in a lot of spots that aren't easy to play back against. It's not a particularly easy skill to develop and requires a good amount of thought and work away from the tables as well as a lot of practice at the tables. But it is really what differentiates the great regs from the mediocre regs.

Anyway, that was all pretty long winded. Today I'm going to just relax in the sunshine in San Remo, have some nice food and maybe a BBQ with some drinks later. Then tomorrow I'm crossing the border into France and flying from Nice to Dublin for the Irish Winter Festival. Hopefully I can do a little better on the poker-front out there than I have here, but anyway I'm sure it'll be a fun trip.

GL at the tables guys!

Friday, 21 October 2011

First half of October and Arriving in San Remo


Well the start of October hasn't gone too great online. I've been playing mainly live so far this month and as such have missed quite a few of the mid-week sessions I might put in online. As a result most of my sessions have come on Sundays in the higher-variance and higher-buyin majors all of which I've managed to brick. Oh well, can't win 'em all! I did have a bit of a saviour session though yesterday when I put in a solid 16 hour mid-week grind coming out on top almost $3k which was a nice confidence booster and means I'm not down too much on the month anymore.

I have had a few deep runs lately, I got a 9th in the Sunday $8r on stars for $650 which kind of sucks besting the $2k+ field when first is $10k, but hey, at least it's not a final table bubble! I did manage a few other deepish runs which unfortunately did result in me final table bubbling including in the Sunday big $100 fo on iPoker getting $300 for my efforts when first is $9k and a couple of other $100 fos on different networks. Again, not going to whine too much about these as theoretically for every final table, you're most likely to be making an equal amount of final 2 tables especially if you're willing to put you're money on the line to build a top 3 stack and put pressure on those slightly more nervous about making the final table.

I've also had a relatively good start to the month playing live. I managed to win a seat on the online Wednesday qualifier to the GUKPT Coventry, a £1070 buyin tournament, for £250. I went down on the Tuesday and Thursday to play their midweek prelim tournaments with little joy, but on the plus side after busting the £200 6max turbo on the thursday I jumped straight into a £50 with 1 rebuy satelitte to the main event and managed to blag another seat. I'll probably transfer this one across to GUKPT Blackpool in a month or so's time. As it happens I fear that I used up all my run good in the satelitte as I didn't get much going in the actual main event eventually busting on a flip with a lot of deadmoney in the pot nearing the end of day 1. Regardless, I really enjoyed the tournament and I'm kind of pissed off with myself that I've not put more effort in the past to play the GUKPTs. They offer great value with a great structure and maybe just because the WSOPe was going on in Cannes, but the field was suprisingly soft. I also think they have a good side event structure and I'm looking forward to playing Blackpool later on in November :)

In other live news, I finally managed to beat my long-spree of not cashing in the DTD £300 deepstack. I think I'll be making an increasing number of deep runs in this now that the tournament is multi-entry and I'll be firing 2 bullets almost every month aiming for that top £30,000 prize. Unfortunately this time I managed a still (for me) somewhat respectable 12th out of ~360ish runners but just missed out on the big money. It was quite funny actually. As soon as I busted both tables tried to organise an equal money chop for the remaining players. Thankfully (as thats so boring not even having a final table!), the tournament director disallowed this but they still did a pretty much even chop 9 handed on the final table. How boring!

I got another deep run in the £150 6max "highroller" at DTD last Saturday too but fell just shy of the final table. As you can tell, I've been playing a lot live lately. Partly because I'm desperate to get as much experience and practice in before my EPT San Remo debut and also because, embarrassingly enough, I'm genuinely enjoying it. I do like the slower pace and trying to think through every hand and build reads up on opponents based on game flow and history. It is slow and at times can definately be tedius but at the same time getting deep runs in live MTTs is really exciting. Bring on San Remo!

I'm just at the airport now waiting for my flight to France where I'll board a train across to Italy. I'll update the blog again when I'm back with a trip report and hopefully, internet permitting, be updating about my tournaments/experiences via twitter in the meantime.

Until then, ciao and gl at the tables!

Friday, 7 October 2011

October and a WCOOP final table!


Wow, I have really been getting slack at updating this blog, I've been really busy lately but I guess that's still no excuse.

September in the end turned out to be a great month for me. The highlight by far being I actually managed to final table a major tournament on pokerstars! I didn't play many of the WCOOPs as I didn't fancy putting a package together and I can't justify playing any of the non-NLHE tournaments as well, let's face it, I suck at mixed games.  So the tournaments I did play were a few of the $200 NLHE freezeouts and a couple of the $300 freezeouts. Somehow I managed to run like Jesus himself and final tabled event 52, a $320/$400k gtd freezeout eventually coming in 5th for $25k.

So as you can imagine I was beyond happy with this score. This is actually my biggest online score so far and my biggest score overall given the % I had of myself. I did sell 30% to a mate as online $300s are still a slight strain on the bankroll and I'm a nit but adding a juicy $19k to the roll is something I can't ever imagine myself growing tired of.

I actually had a pretty big volume month (for me) putting in 700 games in the month making a further $8k on the side which was nice and with the WCOOP bink resulting in my best month yet as well. Thinks are certainly looking up :)

Despite the boost to my roll I'm still going to stick to roughly the same stakes especially during the week. It's all about the bread-n-butter games. I will be able to take a few more Sunday shots though which is nice and if October goes half as well as September I might try adding a few more tournaments to my roster such as nightly $50 rebuys and a few of the bigger high variance turbos like the Stars $200 turbo. I enjoy playing them, but edges are small and they are swingy as fuck so I'd like to be comfortably over-rolled to them before they become a regular part of the schedule.

Onto this month and the OnGame GSOP series has arrived and is pretty much drawing to a close. I've had no success yet in the higher buyins but have had several deep runs in the lower part of the series. I somehow managed to build 2x average stacks pretty deep in both the $50r and the $5r 6max. It was pretty funny and kind of lame though as within 5 minutes I managed to win QQ to AA for a monster stack in the $5r but busted just before the money AA to qq in the $50r. Ooops, better selective run-good needed I think! This Sunday there is a big $500 freezeout to pretty much mark the end of the series which I'm going to take a shot in, so hoping for a good run there. It'll get a lot of runners and hopefully be a softish field with a great structure so should be a fun tournament regardless of how I finish up.

Other than that, I'm starting to get a bit of post-Vegas blues and I'm itching to play live and get another good score to add to my somewhat lacking Hendon Mob page. So I'm going to be getting my live-pro/donations on this month. First off this weekend is the DTD £330 re-entry tournament. I've managed to win 2 seats online for this so I'll be giving both day 1a and if necessary day 1b a shot to make a deep run in this comp. The guarantees up to £100k now for the tournament and with it only being a 5 minute walk from my apartment it would be a crime for me to miss this one.

Next week the GUKPT is hitting Coventry. I love this casino, it's probably my favourite (other than DTD) in the country. Of course it doesn't compare to the US counterparts, but for British standards it's pretty much the cream of the crop. I'll likely play the £200 6max on Thursday and the main event £1070 on Friday. I don't think there will be that many runners what with all the action going on in Cannes at the moment. But perhaps it will be a softer and smaller field and maybe that will give me a great chance to get a deep run in and earn some moolah! I might play the £330 side event on Tuesday too but that'll depend on how I feel.

After that, and probably the highlight of the month, I'll be flying out to San Remo, Italy to play my first ever EPT. I'm really excited for this one and I've wanted to visit Italy for a long time. I hear the games are good over there and if there's one time to save and use that run-good up it'll be for this one. I'm playing a healthy schedule over there so it could get pretty expensive. I assumed like most Pokerstars events you could buy-in via the client for the tournaments but alas apparently this isn't a possibly for San Remo. So I'm in a bit of a dilemna trying to work out the best way to get my money off the sites, to my bank and register for the events without getting too royally fucked by exchange rates. Hmm, might need to think this one over. Any suggestions are welcome!

To finish what will surely be a very hectic month I'll be heading to Dublin, Ireland for a nice cold pint of Guinness. Oh, and do my best in the Irish Winter Festival of course! I won a package to this on iPoker a month or so ago in one of the first qualifiers (run good!). I'm sure even if the poker on this trip doesn't go to plan it'll be a fun boozy weekend. But hopes are I won't be drinking too many pints as I'll still be building castles of chips in the main up to day 3.

So that's whats happening for me in the next month. Plenty going on and I'll try to keep up with good exercise and grinding online in-between events if I can.

Until next time, run good people!