Wednesday, 28 December 2011

2011 in Review, Looking Forward to 2012

2011 was a big year for me. For starters, it was my first full calender year playing MTTs professionally and it was a great year. According to sharkscope I played around 6,000 tournaments online and managed to come out with $119k profit for the year which I'm very happy with. My best scores for the year came in a WCOOP final table coming 6th in one of the $320 tournaments, winning a Sunday $50r for $14k and on the live front getting a majority chop in a $500 venetian deepstack for just over $25k :)

On the non-poker front the year has been absolutely amazing, and quite possibly the most exciting year so far to date of my life.

Rajasthan, India.

I kicked off the year partying hard in Goa in India and in the end extending my 2 week holiday to over 6 weeks. India really is an amazing country and I'd love to try and take another trip over there this year at some point. It's honestly not for everyone. In fact I think a lot of people I know probably wouldn't like it all. It's dirty, there's obvious poverty and you're almost guaranteed to get the shits if you are over there. But for those that enjoy travelling, especially more adventurous do-it-yourself kind of travelling it's probably hard to rival. It's like a different world, the weather's amazing, the food is incredible, culturally it's so different and the people are really kind and helpful. Memories for life :)

Me, Pillow100 in Seville, Spain.

After Goa I came back to England for a few weeks and got back on the grind rebuilding pretty quickly. Always nice to start the year off on a heater (repeat please!). One massive motivation for the grind was to build up a roll for Vegas in the summer. I played a few live tournaments in England and a trip to Seville, Spain for a GSOP with little financial success but plenty of good times off the felt.

Luckboxing at the Venetian, Las Vegas, USA.

Then came Vegas. Another 6 weeks in the Sun in Sin City. This year I hired a car, stayed in a house off the strip with some of my best mates in Poker and had the time of my life. I just love Vegas!! I had a rough start to the trip pretty much bricking everything I played but finally got something going in a Venetian side event putting my first official win on the hendon mob page. More of that to come in 2012 I hope! I feel like I had a great balance in Vegas this year. A good mix of grinding tournaments, chilling, eating out, going to shows and having a great time. It was an amazing trip.

Home again and despite the bink I was hardly up for the series (getting sucked out on in $10ks for the lose!). I kind of got screwed over a little after winning a main event package on AP pre-black friday which never materialised after the site went broke. Just like a business, you've got to write these off as bad-debts and move on. Shame tho as that extra $10k I put up for the main event really bit into the profits of the trip despite selling action. Regardless of that, I'm definately giving the WSOP Main Event another shot next summer hopefully satelitting in again and this time hopefully actually getting the seat I won :p (oh and then binking the tourn obv!)

The Online Grind in Nottingham, England.

After spending far too much money in Vegas it was back to the online grind for the rebuild. I'd just moved into my new flat in Nottingham which I'm really happy about. A little more money that my previous place but a lot nicer in a much nicer location. I was living in a highrise block of flats right in the city center. I'm now living in a much smaller building and can even see trees from my windows! I also bought a car after my Summer trip, a big shiny VW Passat 2.0 estate. A curious purchase perhaps, but I love it. After spending 3 months in the past couple of years in Vegas and seeing the massive cars people drive over there I just couldn't bring myself to buy some a small hatchback and didn't have near enough the roll to buy a massive land-rover or sports car. So estate it is!

David Vamplew, Jon Spinks, Me in San Remo, Italy.

I decided to play my first ever EPT in Autumn heading over to Italy for San Remo. I bricked the whole series and was still taking a pretty big % of myself which hurt a little but the trip itself was incredible. Being the fat shit I am, I literally went on calorie-overload. Every meal was amazing and I had a great time socially meeting up with a lot of people on the EPT stop. Everyone was friendly and there was a really good vibe about the whole scene. Definately big motivation to start binking and playing satelittes again to EPTs in 2012.

So that was my year scrawled out in a few paragraphs. It was certainly action-packed and I'm hoping 2012 is just as prosperous and exciting.

2011 Goals

1) [x] Ship a major
- I'm kind of half ticking this box. I did in fact manage to ship a major, being the Everest Poker weekly $50r big tournament. I managed to bink it later on in the year for $14k. Hardly a "major" bink but seeing as it is the weekly big tournament on the site I think it counts. I had a few other close calls in other majors throughout the year. I managed to get an 8th in the iPoker major, a 6th in a $320 WCOOP on Stars and 6 seperate final table bubbles of majors.

2) [x] Health and Fitness
-Pretty happy on this one. I'm not quite at the stage of being a Men's Health cover model just yet but I'm heading in the right direction. I've had a gym membership at Virgin Active for a few months now and seeing improvements in my fitness and lifting. I also got into a really good habit this year of cooking a lot more and I don't think I ordered a single takeaway when grinding by myself throughout the year. My diet is still kind of an issue as I do love my food and in large quantities but I've learnt a lot more about food and the do's and don'ts so hoping I can apply that a little more in 2012 and keep striving towards a well balanced healthy lifestyle.

3) [ ] Improving my game
-My games moved forward a lot this year but I still feel like I could have put more effort into the theoretical side of the grind. I still try to note interesting hands down mid-session to review later but have been doing this less in the past few months and watching less training videos too. It's so important to keep ahead of the curve playing professional poker and far too easy to fall back and watch the game pass you by. More effort needed in 2012!

4) [x] Grinding hard live
-Again I'm half ticking this box. I've played a good amount live this year and I'm down a fair chunk despite a small bink in the Summer. Luckily I've not been too degenerate and have either been satelitting in a fair bit or selling action but still. As I've mentioned in previous blog entries, I seem to be on a constant pattern of building up a good roll online and then playing live, having crap results, spending too much and having to drop down in stakes again. Rinse and repeat! Less buying into live tournaments and more satelitting in. I guess I just need to get it into my head that missing certain live tournaments won't be the end of the world and I shouldn't feel guilty for missing out on so called "value" tournaments.

5) [x] Travel less, save more
-I've calmed down my travel a little but it is a big hobby. Other than my Indian trip at the start of the year most of my trips had some sort of poker orientation to them. I'm always happy to take a little time off while travelling on poker trips to enjoy life wherever I end up so I'm happy with this. I'm also happy with not always ballin out and roughing it up a bit too to save money. More of this to come :)

6) [x] Vegas
Had a great trip, played a big schedule, rented a car and had a great time. Not a tough goal to achieve but it was one anyway!

2012 Goals!

1) Less Live Shot Taking
-Travelling to play live is expensive, holds a big opportunity cost and going off past records not as profitable as it seems. I need to get out of the cycle of building a big roll online and spunking it off taking shots in live tournaments. More satelittes and then selling action if I get in.

2) $400k in online buyins for the year.
-This year I had about $340k in online buy-ins for the year whilst taking off the whole of January while in India, 6 weeks whilst in Vegas and most of December. I'd also like to try for a 50% ROI over this sample. Much much easier said than done though.

3) Bink a major
-Has to be done. I don't plan on taking many Sundays off this year. Let's go heater!

4) Improving my game
-More hand analysis, more watching training videos, more talking strat with fellow grinders! Time is the only issue. It is boring but it's an investment. Got to be done.

5) Pursuing other business opportunities
-I'm pretty lazy when it comes to doing "work" outside of Poker. I put in long hours and often feel like I can't be bothered to research in my spare time. But I think it'd be great if in a years time I could have other forms of income coming in besides poker. After all, you can get rich from poker, but can only really earn true wealth from business.

6) Health and Fitness
-Keep at the gym, keeping eating healthily and keep learning more about health and fitness. I'm a firm believer that leading a healthy life outside of poker helps to keep focus and give results on the felt.

So that about sums up this epicly long blog post. For those that made it to the end, congrats and best of luck in 2012.

See you at the tables!

Monday, 26 December 2011

The Chilly December Games and Heading Somewhere Slightly Warmer

So the year's coming to a close and I've pretty much finished the poker-grind for the year. And I'm happy to report it's been a good one :) I'll go into more detailed specifics in a blog post nearer the new year reviewing my goals of 2011 and collaborating some New Years resolutions and goals for 2012. A little more thought is needed on that front in the meanwhile.

December's been a pretty low-volume month on the whole. What with a lot of visiting of family and friends, drinking and pretty much enjoying life I've hardly played any sessions. I'm fine with that after a really heavy volume month in November. I've been playing on the new modern warfare game on the PS3 this month which I'm loving grinding online, especially in domination mode. I've also been catching up and finishing off some really good TV series lately. I would thoroughly recommend people that haven't tried the following series to give them a try, TV really is amazing these days.

-Breaking Bad
-Board Walk Empire
-The Wire

In terms of actual poker in the few online sessions I did play I (finally) binked a seat to UKIPT Galway. It's a €770 seat and I'm sure I'm in for about €600-€900 in the sats so it's not really a massive discount but it'll be a fun tournament. I love the UKIPTs. I think they're great tournaments with great value and it's really fun meeting up with all the UK circuit regs on these stops. Drunken times ahead I'm sure.

Other than that I had a few smaller final tables and a second in a $100/$25k gtd for just over $4k which was nice and pretty much saved the month :)

Oh, and then I had a little Sunday bink!

I logged in as usual to Pokerstars on Sunday and for whatever reason I decided not to auto-click close to the welcome message that pops up. This past weekend it was a big PCA qualifier promotions on Stars. I decided to flick in my last 25k FPPs on Stars into a qualifier to a 125k FPP qualifier to the PCA in January. Without also realising that 125k FPP is ~$2k I managed to bink one of the 10 packages guaranteed. There was a nice little overlay in the sat and a massive sweat on my side when I was sitting 11/11 with 10 packages available. Got to love Zackattack for running like god and getting there versus another shorty. Gonna have to find that guy and buy him a beer I reckon.

So new year's looking pretty epic! I have 9 days accomodation at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, $1000 food expenditures and a $10,300 tournament to win! I decided to sell 50% of my action to the tournament which will give me a little pocket-money for some side events if I fancy playing them. I then decided, well now I'm over this side of the world I might as well flick in a trip to Vegas to catch up with my US mates that I stayed with over the Summer. I'm hiring a Ford Mustang for the 8 days I'm out there and cannot wait. I genuinely love Vegas. No idea what I'm going to do out there but expect it will be something a long the lines of drinking lots, eating at some amazing restaurants and possibly playing a bit of Poker! I don't think I'll be treating this short trip to Vegas as a "business" holiday but I'll probably grind a little in cash games when I'm there. Caesers is also hosting a WSOP circuit event while I'm there so I might donate to the prizepool of an event or two.

So exciting!

After that I've got to dash back to the UK so I can play the latter part of the TCOOP which is going to be very fun. Thanks Stars for listening to what your customers want! Then a big family meet-up party for my Granddads 90th birthday rounding off the month with watching the Scotland v England rugby match in Edinburgh later on in the month.

I'm not sure if this will leave much time for online grinding but it certainly looks like 2012 is going to start off in an awesome way :)

GL at the tables all

ps. I've found this awesome blog the last few days. It's pretty much the ultimate degeneracy story of some guy trying to grind it out in Vegas in the small stake cash games whilst borderline being homeless and living off comped rooms and comped food. An entertaining read nonetheless, check it out here.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Grinding in November, Slacking December


Since my last post when I was just leaving San Remo after a somewhat disappointing stretch of live poker I've been back and on the online grind. And I'm very pleased to report that I had a great month in November.

I managed to play over 1000 games this month, which for me playing across multiple sites, is a lot. In fact I think it's the most I've ever played in a month. I normally end up averaging around 600 games. And with great thanks to a $50r bink and a $50 cubed final table I can report a solid +$24k month :)

After coming back from my Italy/Ireland trip I was a little pissed with myself. I felt that I played some spots live really quite sub-optimally and wanted to go over some spots. I've worked on my game a fair bit this month a long side the pretty heavy volume and feel like I've ironed some leaks and feel a bit more comfortable in a few spots I might have been struggling in before.

As far as live poker goes. I've not really played at all this month. I've just been cutting out expenses, grinding hard and hitting the gym. December though I'll try my hand at a couple more tournaments but just local ones. I seem to get into a bit of a habit of building a pretty solid roll online, taking some shots at some bigger live events, bricking, spending too much money IRL then having to drop down stakes again and rebuild online. It seems to be a bit of a pattern forming, so there's certainly something I'll be putting on my new years resolutions this year.

To bring that resolution forward a little, I've managed to blag 2 seats to the DTD £300 freezeout this coming weekend and 2 seats to the DTD £1k monte carlo in 3 weeks time. Both tournaments are re-entry tournaments where if you bust day 1a, you can re-enter and try your luck again on day 1b. I fully intend to fire every bullet I have to make a run in either of these comps!

As for the rest of December, I'll be heading back down South to spend christmas and the preceding days leading to it with friends from home in Dorset. I'll then be spending the xmas->new year period visiting various family members around the country. Oh and I'm sure I'll be able to squeeze in a session or two of online pokers at some point as well :)