Monday, 4 June 2012

Summer is here!


The month of June has kicked off and the Summer has officially arrived. The days are getting longer, the weathers improving and poker players from all around the world are flocking to a little town in the Desert to battle hard for shiny gold bracelets. What a fantastic time of year!

Since my last update in April a lot has happened with me on the poker front. The higlight of which being my second live tournament win and also by far my biggest ever score. It came in the FPS-Amneville; a €1100 pokerstars run tournament in East France. After 3 long days battling on the felt I managed to run good enough and maintain focus to come out winning it for €70,000, keeping €54k for myself after a chop heads-up. In hindsight, and hindsight is such a bitch, I do kind of regret doing a chop. My heads-up opponent wasn't great but his willingness to get it in relatively light preflop meant heads-up could be pretty high variance and the €26k jump between 1st and 2nd was and still is pretty huge for me especially as stacks got shallower and the blinds slowly creeped up as the night progressed. The tournament on the whole was incredibly soft though, partly due to being in France and partly because the SCOOP online series was going on at the same time resulting in not many competent players being in the field. Despite that, as the cream normally seems to rise to the top in these events, the final table was by far the toughest table I had played in the tournament thus far. Although saying that, I probably also ran-good on table draws which is another factor many people overlook. We got down to 3-handed and thanks to PokerStars' excellent structure in these events found ourselves all pretty even with 50bb a piece. And I thought the grind was almost over. We entered 3-handed play at 6pm and after many swings and fluctuations in my chip-stack I managed to finally win all the chips by 4:30am. An extremely exhausting but truly gratifying experience.

After the win, my next priority was to get out of France as fast as possible. The sun was shining, the food was delicious, but I had one thing on my mind; grind on the mind! With my new-found bankroll boost and just one more week of SCOOP left to donate/make money in I was surprisingly more motivated than ever to get back online and start grinding hard. I really enjoy grinding hard in these online poker series especially ones with mixed games with good structures.

For me personally I rarely get involved in mixed-game tournaments, usually when I'm grinding for simplicitys sake I like to stick to NLHE only and think that most mixed game tournaments on Stars either have very small fields or the buy-in is just too low to bother with. I could grind the weekly $200s but they're normally on Saturday or Sunday when I'm overloaded with NLHE tournaments and I ideally like to reduce my tables whilst playing other variants of poker and really concentrate more on optimal lines. Whereas I think I can play mixed games in that I know the rules and basic strategies, I'm far from competent in any of the variants but love the challenge and genuinely do enjoy playing them.

So that's what I started to do. In the SCOOP I got deep runs in the $50 LHE 6max, $24 Stud-hi, $27 Razz and the highlight of my SCOOP being a 6th place finish in the $215 NL Omaha hi/lo. I'd not actually played no-limit omaha hi/lo before (other than the satelitte to the event!) but have played a fair amount of cash in FL H/L, pot limit H/L and PLO so I had a fair understanding of what I was doing. I have to say I think it's a really really fun game type and something I'm going to be looking to play more of in the future. It's much more suited in my eyes towards tournament play over cash games but that's fine with me as I prefer a tournament grind any day of the week. I also managed to cash 4/4 times in the Sunday $27 and $215 6max tournaments. I don't play a huge amount of 6max tournaments as they do require a lot more attention than full ring. But with the amazing SCOOP structures I was able to play a relatively solid style and watch people spew stacks left, right and center and was lucky enough to be the reciepient in a lot of cases. My best run in these was 37/5200 in the final $200 6max. All I can say now is bring on WCOOP!

Since SCOOPs winded down I've taken a couple of weeks to relax, get away from poker and catch up with friends. I've just come back from a hiking holiday in the Scottish highlands and I'm currently relaxing on the south coast in Devon stuffing my face with far too many pasties and cream-teas! The tough life ;)

I'll be getting back on the grind as of next weekend. It'll be a week and a half until I leave for Vegas so I'll see it as a good warmup and hopefully run hot enough to get a good run going before the live grind later on this month.

As for Vegas, I'm not 100% sure what I'll be playing yet. I'll be there for just over 2 weeks to grind side-events and then there's the main. I think at the moment that I'll be keeping my own action in the side-events and will put up a package for the main event. Although I'd love to start grinding some of the mixed games at the series, I don't know if I can justify playing them. I'm still not competent enough or put the hours in off the table to be confident enough in my abilities to be playing tournaments at the top of my buy-in range in mixed events. But damn, would they be fun. I might try a couple of punts this Summer but over-all it will just be the No Limit grind. I'll probably be spreading most of my action between the Rio and the Venetian with possible trips downtown or to Caesers. I'm slightly concerned with playing the lower buy-ins on my own roll rather than putting up a bigger package to play larger buyin WSOP events. Whereas the competition will be tougher in the bigger buy-ins (and I'm talking $2ks/$3ks not $5ks or higher) due to the better structures and much lower rake they may in fact be more beatable. I'll have to have a think about this one. I always prefer keeping as much of my own action as possible, but in the past this has led to nasty downswings where I've been playing pretty under-rolled. Regardless, with my new bankroll boost I'm really pumped to get out there and start grinding in Vegas. It's going to be amazing win or lose I'm sure.

GL at the tables guys, unless something huge happens the next update will be in Sunny Las Vegas!


  1. many congratulations , inspirational. wp

  2. Well done Ben, you are deffo one of my all time hero's, just behind Paulo DiCanio, obv!

  3. Very inspiring piece on poker!For sure people will learn much from your article.

  4. Enjoy following these blogs - very inspirational and informative for other poker players.

  5. First of all, congratulations on your first major win at the FPS-Amneville. From what I read, the tournament was very competitive and you did well to come out on top. I have always liked the eastern-France event and I believe PokerStars should stage more tournaments in France because the fields are always very strong. I hope to read more of your posts soon as your story can act as an inspiration to budding professionals looking to make a mark in the poker world. When is the next big tournament you will be entering? You seem to have a very unique style that will hopefully bring you more imminent success.

  6. It is impressive how that belt looks. I would love to have one to brag to everybody.