After a long hiatus I've decided to return to the blogging circle to document the swings and swongs in my life as I continue to try and make a living playing tournament poker!
It's been over a year now since I last posted and I can't promise that the updates will be regular but I'd like to try and do at least one blog post a month.
So what's been happening in my life in the last 12 months? Well, a lot. Here's a some-what scaled down version.
I made it out to Vegas for the 2012 WSOP - did not return home with a gold bracelet, but had a great time. Played my first non-NL hold'em event; $1500 PLO 8 or better and it was the most fun I had playing a live tournament for a long time. I was also shocked at how soft the field was in comparison to the NLH events.I made it my goal over the next year to learn mixed games and get better at them for next years WSOP.
Came back to England post-Vegas, got back on the MTT grind, studied mixed games on the side. Had a few personal issues with the girlfriend and was becoming increasing burnt out from just grinding tournament poker so snapped up a chance when a good friend of mine living in Guangzhou, China invited me to come out and live with him for a few months.
I left England in October, headed to Hong Kong, Macau and then finally mainland China with not much of a plan other than a 6 -month visa.
Still feeling burnt-out from poker and wanting to develop myself in other ways I started to live a polar-opposite lifestyle for a few months from my previous poker playing ways. My childhood friend, Atti, a sereal-entrepreneur owns a successful English teaching agency and was interested in starting up another project on the side with me. We decided to venture into the (soon to be found out) topsy-turvy world of real-estate in a communist country. And I thought there was a lot of variance in tournament poker...
After a couple of months of living a more "normal" lifestyle, the poker itch started to come back. Due to the time-zone, my social commitments and the office work, MTT's were pretty much out of the question. So I spent most of my free-time studying and playing small stake mixed games trying to improve and become a better player.
Come March, my visa was coming to an end. I really had the most amazing 6 months out there and felt like I developed some really strong friendships with the ex-pat community living out there scraping by a living one way or the other. One of the highlights definately being a big group of us going to Cambodia over Chinese New Year and then road-tripping up to Bangkok afterwards. Unfortunately the multi-million £ business idea was starting to show some serious flaws and we were having some real legal issues being foreigners trying to establish a business in a country that prides itself on keeping as much money within it's borders as it can.
I had a lot of time to reflect on where I wanted to head in life, where I see myself in the next year and what I wanted to achieve. Although in many ways it pained me to leave China and my friends that I developed over the past 6 months, I decided to come back and stay in England for a little while, refocus on poker and really give the game another shot. Afterall it was and still truly is a huge passion of mine and without trying to sound too much like a cliche I am blessed to be doing something that I love for a living.
I returned to England and with all of my stuff being in storage and no place to live, spent the next month or two with friends. I'm especially grateful for Jon Spinks who I stayed with during SCOOP (Pokerstars Spring Cup of Online Poker); he's had such a huge impact on my game and I really feel has helped progress me a lot as a player.
Although SCOOP itself didn't treat me too kindly, I was loving being back in the tournament scene again, grinding hard everyday. As soon as 2 weeks of SCOOP was up, the very next day I was off to Vegas for the full 6 weeks of fun in the sun.
Feeling ever-more confident in my mixed game ability I put a much greater focus on the WSOP and the mixed games offered there. I found myself getting deep-runs in a lot of events including the $2500 OE (limit o8/stud8), $5k HORSE, $2.5k 8- game but falling short before the money. Fortunately, I ran a little better in the $2500 10-game tournament placing 22nd from the 372 entrants that started. I have to say, other than winning a tournament, it was the most fun I think I've ever had playing live poker. I felt so zoned in and comfortable that even though it's only September, I can't wait for next years world series to have another crack at some of these events.
I also managed to get a deep run in a couple of the NL events out there coming in a slightly frustrating 14th from 1819 in a $1500 event but again feeling very happy to get a decent 5- figure score under my belt ensuring a small, but profitable trip out to the states.
So now I'm back in England, I've moved into a new place in Nottingham and I'm getting set up and ready to re-commence the grind. I feel like I've come along way in the past 12 months not only as a poker player but also as a person. It'll be interesting to see what the next 12 months bring...