Monday, 29 December 2008

A quick round up of 2008

2008 has been a mixed poker year for me, but has finished reasonably strong giving me hope for the coming new year.

I set myself the target of playing more live tournaments in 2008 but this got lost somewhere along the way in the struggle for profits mid year. I ended up only playing at the Gala Leicester about 6 times, two of the Poker Player Championship Tourneys and the Newcastle Virgin Poker Festival.

I did play Multi Tourneys on line with the following stats:

192 entries
39 cashes of which 5 were outright wins

Total Tourney Winnings - $2,204

I had 3 break even months (negligible profit) with one losing month, all the rest with a reasonable profit for my buy in levels; however my total profits doubled during the last 4 months once I rediscovered the 10man STT. My total profits were less than last year but at least my trip to Vegas in March will be a free one and at least now I have rediscovered a bit of confidence that I seem to have lost Feb through June.

So what are my plans for 2009.

Well I definitely want to enter more live tournaments so will be targeting the GUKPT and GCGBPT sub qualifiers. I have ring fenced $400 dollars for these qualifiers, plus will be adding approx $50 per month for this purpose. I am not going to be counting this within my profit or loss for the year, it will just be written off, thus breaking my mental "don't lose my profits" chains.

I will continue to hit the 10 man STT with a view to climbing up through the buy ins, this will be my staple source of profits for the year.

I said in a previous post that I want to get a little more adventurous with my buy ins but I hold myself back mentally because of the monetary value. Well in an effort to alleviate this I am tweaking with my bank rolling methods yet again. Before I used to start each month from a balance of Zero dollars, hence when I generated profit I tended to protect it too much. So I am going to try and roll my profits over from one month to the next. This should mean that I don't scratch around at the lower levels every month as I try to get it off the zero mark. Also I intend to start 2009 by rolling in my last quarters profit from 2008, again meaning I don't start in the lower levels as I get my year going.

As always I will be posting my progress here.

So until next time

Have a good New Year and Keep it Tight!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Gala Leicester - £10 + £10 NLH

Happy for the Christmas break I decided to play in the Gala Leicester Monday night No Limit tourney.

It was a full tourney with 52 runners, 3000 + 3000 chips and 30 minute blinds ... very good value for the small buy in. This payed to 6th with the winner taking approx £500.

I didn't get too many hands through the night but managed to survive to 14 players left with blinds at 1000/2000 and my stack sitting at about 16000 chips. That was when a very interesting hand happened ...

Having just moved to the other table (with 7 on each) I got QQ in early position. Looking at the stacks there was a shorter stack with about 8000 chips to my left, he already had them in his hands .... this was the guy I wanted in the pot. So I raised to 6000, he re raised all in to 8000; plan executed to perfection until the BB came over the top all in putting my tournament life on the line. Every one else out of the pot, I had a decision to make. Here were my reads ...

  • Firstly, the guy who went all in had sat on my previous table for about two hours and had dwindled his chips away ... on one occasion he even raised pre flop and then only just about managed to call holding KK.

  • Second I was so sure when I asked him if he held the monster AA that he had it. He returned the read I had twice before ignored when my opponents had in fact got AA.

I just struggled for about 3 minutes trying to get the courage to go with my reads. I was so confident I was beat. I folded.

The BB turned over AK. The small stack won but I would have taken my chips back from coming 2nd in the pot.

Should I have folded? I think given my reasoning I was so sure I was beaten I'm going with my play, however I did fail to see two important things.

1. The BB had moved from my table previously with a small stack and had obviously got lucky somewhere along the way as his chip stack had now got me covered, by a long way.

2. The fact that his stack was now a good size had led him to change his play by entering more pots more forcefully. I failed to factor in his stack size into his move.

Anyway I finished 7th and got my buy in back after my usual BBi (Bubble Boy insurance) negotiations.

Still it was a good evening.

Until next time

Keep it Tight

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Every Hand Revealed - Gus Hansen

Recently I have been travelling down to London for work on the train and this gives me lots of time to read, and of course poker is my first choice of literature.
Ever since I decided to play poker I started to read about it. I have probably read over 20 books on the topic, as well as every monthly magazine going. I believe that if you are going to do something then you should try to be the best you can, and reading about poker is a very important part of that process. The hardest part is shifting from your normal game and trying to incorporate some of the things you learn into your own game ...... but you must to improve.
One player that I think is a mile away from my own style is Gus Hansen, so I was keen to read his book revealing every hand on the way to his 2008 Aussie Millions win. I hoped that I could steal a litttle of the "Madman" to put into my own game.
On first read I felt a little dissapointed with the book. Whilst it showed Gus' style it doesn't really help to show his hands in context. It lacks the detail of table dynamics and things like how many hands he folded between moves, etc. I also started thinking that it was easy to talk in hindsight with bravado about a tournament that you had won. I wondered if I wrote an entry here how good it would sound because I won the tournament. What about all those times it doesn't work.
It would be nice to read a counter book of a tournament where he struggled to get into the money for instance, showing how he uses a short stack etc.
Then I started to play online again, and found myself consciously referring back to the book. I started to take a little bit of Hansen and use his mentality when situations seemed right. I was improving my game ....... thanks to this book.
Would you beleive it a book I didn't rave about has actually started to transform my game.
So in hindsight I think this book is a very valuable addition to your poker library.
Go out and buy it!
Until next time
Keep it Tight

Thursday, 18 December 2008

WBCOOP - Event 3 - PL Hi/Lo Omaha

Well this will be a boring post .... saw the start time and didn't bother entering ... 2.00 a.m is not the time to be playing poker when you have work the next day.

Any way ... on the plus side ..... I BOOKED FOR VEGAS IN MARCH NEXT YEAR !!!!!


Looked at the Virgin Atlantic website and a direct flight from Gatwick was £342 return ...

Well you can't afford not to go ...

So me and the GF will be experiency the delights of Vegas (me for the 6th time and her for her first).

I will be playing poker and will post my progress here for all to see.

Until Next Time

Keep it Tight!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

WBCOOP - Event 2 - NL Hold Em

Well the self fulfilling prophecy of my leg one being my best performance of the series (despite knowing nothing about Omaha) I didn't fair very well in event 2. I started well enough building my stack from 2500 to about 3900 in the first two levels, and even got to play on the table next to Micheal (4 king hell blog) .. which was all very friendly. Then the hand of my demise came pretty quickly.

In 2nd position I had JJ so raised it to 3xBB to 180 chips, all folded to the button (who had already been pretty active, and I had took a pot away from him on the river earlier, so I wasn't too worried about his re raise) who made it 400. Every one else folded and I called the extra 220, essentially playing my JJ for the set or see what happens after the flop if I could keep the pot small.

The flop came JT4 all clubs (or something like that). As previously before stated I didn't want to get too active unless I hit my set, which I did do, but the clubs were not nice. I still wanted to keep this pot small until I had a bit more information on the turn. If no clubs show I get busy. I check and the opponent bets $550 or so. I flat call.

The turn is a K spades. I checked to him again, why? I wanted to see what size of bet he put in on the turn, if it was small I flat call (perhaps he has a monster let him drag the chips out of me), if it is pot size I detect no flush and re raise all in.

He virtually pot bet and I re raised all in another 2000 or so for him to call. Call he did holding KK for a higher set.

I see no way of getting away from this unless the turn had come a club. To add insult to injury the river paired the board so I would have had a full house by then and he would have beaten me with a better full house.

Not sure if I played this well, but other options were:

1. Fold pre flop - surely not!
2. Re- raise pre flop - he calls, the hand plays out the same; he re-raises and I can't fold - we get it all in, same result.
3. All in on flop - he may possibly have folded. Would you believe I had hit the flush or drawing to the nut flush with the Ace (he had the K clubs) with a bet like that holding overpair KK? He could worry about the Ace of Clubs - perhaps an all in would have saved me.
4. If the pot had been kept small because of flush fears then the river would have sealed my fate ... think its just one of those hands.

Anyway .. still good fun, and a bit more learnt (I didn't even think he could have had KK or AA).

300 ish out of 550 ish

Until next time.

Keep it tight

Monday, 15 December 2008

Pokerstars WBCOOP 2008 - Tournament 1 - PL Omaha

I have only played Omaha twice before ... and that was because I mistakenly joined SnG's thinking they were Hold'em. Needless to say I didn't fair very well then, was today going to be better?

Well it couldn't be worse! At least today I knew that you have to use 2 of your cards from the 4 you are dealt. I gleaned this valuable information from my 15 minutes of online rules reading before going to work this morning. I also took a look at the beginners starting hand selections ...... so was going to rip it up .. LOL

Anyway after about 20 minutes and still not having played a hand, mesmerised by how many cards there are on the table, and trying to figure out the type of hands people were playing in the Nano-Second allowed at showdown. And after briefly wondering how many packs of cards Omaha is played with .... I eventually won a pot in the BB only to check it on the river with the straight ... I bet they wondered why I didn't value bet ... what a fish!

I then seemed to get in the swing of things a bit and did take my chip stack well above my starting stack for the blind level ... I took a pic below just to prove it!!! He He He ...

After this high, my uber tight starting hand requirements started to hit my stack. Couple this with mistakenly using 3 of my hole cards a couple of times and betting them off I soon stumbled upon another problem ..... what is the best starting hand to go all in with??? And is 9944 any good?

Well I eventually went all in with TTAx ... hang on I still have some chips left (DOH!!! its pot limit!!!) luckily I was re raised so I could put the remainder in. I think my hand looked good to the river ..... then the chips went to my opposition ..... HA HA!

126th out of 450

I just know what the irony of this is going to be ... this will be my highest place in all of the 5 Blogger Tourneys .... a game in which I know just marginally less than nothing about.

Anyway I did really enjoy it and will play the Omaha Hi / Lo ... OMG my head will explode.

Until next time.

Keep it Tight!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Pokerstars Blogger Tournaments

As you can see from the banner at the top of the screen I have signed up to the Pokerstars Blogger series.

I have played on pokerstars before, about 3 years ago, I signed up for a free tourney through a magazine, in which I came nowhere.

I did enter one of their freerolls shortly after that, and then saw how many entrants there were, about 4,000. Anyway I came in the top 27 ... and won entrance to another freeroll in which I could win cash ... . I won $1.20. My claim to fame was taking this up to around $100 using micro cash games, coming 2nd in one of their 180 player SnG's along the way.

I also paid half of the sunday million about a year back with my mate, and we ended up coming around the 600 mark to double our buy in.

I am looking forwards to the blogger tourneys, however I had better learn a few more poker variants as the only one I can play is Hold Em. Anyone know where I can read a good crash course?

Until Then

Keep it Tight!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Double up STT strategy pays off in online MTT

Well after all the double up tournaments I have been playing I was wondering whether it might be making my game weak for play in top heavy tournaments. So I entered a small Deepstack Tournament on Ladbrokes.

78 players started and after a couple of successful early moves and a button raise with 45spades making its flush on the turn to get paid off by a player that just didn't believe me I sat about 3rd with 58 left and a decent chip stack. I then proceeded to play solid and after my first AA getting beaten by a set, another AA splitting the pot with an AK all in (low straight ... who'd have thought it?) and my button raise with JJ being beaten by a short stacks all in holding KK in the BB, I sat about 15th with 17 players left (pay was to 10th).

It was at this point that I saw my predicament the same as sitting with the short stack in a double up STT and with 7 left to be knocked out to the money I basically treated the situation as if I was on the bubble already.

By carefully stealing all in from the low - mid stacks and avoiding all ins with the short and big stacks (unless I had the hands) I managed to fluctuate between 8th and last position and hold on for about 40 minutes. Other players were getting knocked out and by the time the bubble burst I had reached the final table with an incredibly short stack, but at least a reward of double my buy in for my efforts. I had a stack that would get me through the blinds once, which I decided would suffice to see if I could make a few extra dollars (there was no way I was gonna win this thing, I just wanted to maximise my return). So I got through the blinds the first time and another player obliged me by getting knocked out 10th to step me 1 up the pay ladder. A double up from the SB 2nd time around saw me through the blinds again, and to my surprise another player got knocked out on this circuit. Down to 8th! Through the blinds again and another player out this circuit putting me in 7th. I got through the blinds again and then had my A9 on the button all in called light by the BB and I was out 7th.

I am however happy that I got that far with the cards and chip stack I was left with following my good hands not realising their potential, and I feel I have to thank the double up STT's and their required strategy for my short stack play.

So back to the grind and hopefully up the levels.

Until Next Time

Keep it Tight

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Some results from the last 3 months and my psyche!

As discussed here before, up until September my poker playing had hit a bit of a stagnant period. For about 6 months my profits would increase and then fall by a similar amount having the effect of my poker bank roll just "treading water". This was quite a sole destroying period as all the effort put into winning an amount would be undone the following month by losses. Either that or the effort would be spent on trying to get back to a break even point. In addition this had the knock on effect to my playing confidence - was I playing poorly or was this just variance.

So in September I went "Back to Basics" by identifying what used to be my bread and butter game (ie STT tournaments) dropped down a couple of levels and cut out all cash games and most of the MTT. Here are the results:

September 61% cash across 1-3 pays and double up STT's. (Approx 100 games)
October 63% cash across 1-3 pays and double up STT's. (Approx 120 games)
November 64% cash across 1-3 pays and double up STT's. (Approx 150 games)

So my bankroll has steadily built over the last 3 months, and so has my confidence and mental state. So am I happy with poker now?

Well not really, I know I can make money at the levels I am playing but I feel I am not really fulfilling my potential. I want to be entering bigger tournaments, qualifying for live events and have a shot at the big time. But will all that come at the expense of returning to break even again?

I am coming to realise that I am holding myself back. My personality dictates that I would prefer to win less more regularly, than more less often. The loss of one $50STT affects me more negatively than if I grind out my $50 profit over 3 times the amount of time.

So what do I do? Am I too risk averse to acheive anything big at poker?

Am I going to have to settle for winning between $2000 - $6000 a year and just accept its a paying hobby?

Well I am going to be trying hard to find out what it is that makes me such a "non gambler". I am going to see if I can tweak my bankrolling methods and reporting to convince myself into thinking I am taking less risk.

My friends are constantly telling me I have the game ... all I need to find now are the Balls!!

Until next time

Keep it Tight

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Rubbing shoulders with the famous

Yesterday evening I was invited to watch the England match with the company that I am currently working for. This was a low key affair at a Hotel in London, but drinks were set on and a wide screen was provided in a private part of the lounge.
On arrival I found there was a guest at the proceedings .. George Cohen -part of the 1966 world cup winning team.

He was a great guy and had some great tales to tell. I took the chance for a photo opportunity and a quick chat with him.
Just another opportunity to meet with the great and the good.

Until next time.

Keep It Tight!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

On the search for a weekly live game

After my cash at the Leicester Gala I have decided to try and find a good weekly tournament to play whilst working in London. I know the Grosvenor Victoria has a wide variety of poker tournaments but it is a long travel time from where I am working in Heathrow. Couple that with possible late finishes and the traffic in London which inhibits me driving in, I am trying to find something a bit closer.

I went to the G Casino in Picadilly after looking at the website with the impression that it holds poker games. Well it doesn't, just table poker. What a shame as this is only an hour or so on the Tube.

So I am still looking to find a closer casino that does Hold Em! Until then I will continue to play my online game from the hotel room.

Keep it Tight

Friday, 17 October 2008

Gala Leicester £20 + £20 add on

The poker room at Gala Leicester

Seeing as it had been so long since I played a live tournament, and seeing as my live poker juices were flowing after reading 'Ghosts at the Table', I decided to take a trip to my old haunt Leicester Gala Casino.

Many of the same faces were there, but there was one difference, it was the first night they were using 9 man tables. Normally the tournaments are run here with 7 man tables, 3000 starting stack and blinds every 30 mins which leads for a fast structured game (nay crap shoot) and levelled out many of the skill benefits of better players.

This time, however, the tournament had the same starting stack and levels but a slower drip of the blinds which, coupled with the add on at the end of the 2nd level, allowed for a lot more poker to be played. The only let down was the number of entrants it gathered, only 19. But seeing as I have been concentrating on the STT circuit I felt this tournament was right up my street.

The start of the tournament went pretty standard and I went into the break with an average stack of just over 7000 (including the add ons). By the time the tournament had whittled down to the last 9 players I was sitting on around 12,000 chips with blinds at 400/800. At this stage of the game is where my key hands took place and looking back also shows where my game has changed from what it was a few weeks back.

The first hand of note which identifies my change in thinking was when I was sitting in the SB with 8d6h. It folds to the Button who limps in for the 800. I complete my SB and the BB checks his option. The flop cam Kd,Td,4h. I check, BB checks, Button checks. Turn card is an 8s. I check, BB checks, Button checks. River comes an As. I check, BB checks, Button bets in for 2400. Does anyone call here?

I ponder then call and the BB folds. So why the call?

The Flop was checked with 2 diamonds, so I think no one has a K. The Turn which was a blank for someone with a Ten that hadn't bet the flop because of the K still had not bet, so I think no Ten. The River is an A and still no bet from the BB, so he doesn't have an A, and the button bets now, surely he would have raised pre flop if he had the A so I figure the A has missed everyone leaving my pair of 8's probably good. The only thing I hadn't figures was that the Button had the nuts with QJ, which he had and he scooped the pot. So why is this a key hand for me if I lost it? Well it proves I am thinking alot more about the game, all my deductions about the tabled cards were correct, and I proved to myself I can make a "hero" call, even though this time it didn't help me win the hand. Would I have bet the pot if I had nothing on the button in this scenario, most definitely, and I will snap one of those steals sooner or later rather than just ditching my cards in the muck.

The other key hand was with 5 players left and the blinds at 600/1200. It folds around to me in the SB holding KcTs. I have a stack of around 9000 including my posted blind. I decide to play with the BB whose sitting on about 30,000 and min raise to 2400, he calls. The flop comes 8d,6h,2h. I bet out 3000 and the BB calls leaving me about 3600 behind. The turn is a Qc. Now I think for a while and push all in, why?

Well I figure at best the guy has paired the flop, which is going to be a weak pair and I still have 6 outs for the win. I would have to be really unlucky if the guy had paired the Q and as such use this as a scare card for my bet, so he may fold his weaker pair (would have been better if I had more chips though). The guy might be on a draw and I don't put him on an A as he didn't re pop my short stack raise pre flop so K high might still be good. He did call my all in holding 5s7s for the open ended straight draw. A K hit the river and my lead in the hand was confirmed and I had just got myself back in contention.

You could be ultra critical here and say my initial steal was a weak bet, but there was history here with this size of raise and I felt it suited my position best. The main thing was I made 3 pops at a pot with K high, this is a mile from where I have been playing previously, and this time it had paid off.

By the time we reached 4 players my stack had dwindled to the shortest at around 8000 chips and blinds of 1000/2000. At this point I pander to the big stacks consciences and ask if there is going to be any consolation prize for the bubble boy (i.e. me) to which they agree £8 each from the prize fund for the 4th place.

The very next hand with me on the Button and having folded 93os I take a drink and look back to find both the SB and the BB all in. The BB with AQ had the SB with AJ covered and the SB went out on the bubble with his donated 24 quid. I had made the money!!

I doubled up once but on the second attempt of stealing my blind from the SB I call again this time with 67s. His T3s of the same suit had me dominated in every way and I went out 3rd for £144.

So a small live win and more importantly my newly found game seemed to hold up well at this level.

So now onwards and upwards!

Until next time.

Keep it Tight!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Ghosts at the Table!

Why, after 4 years, am I still playing this game, Texas Holdem.

This isn't a question that has arisen from constant losses, boredom or any other negative reason. This is just a general question as to why I continue to play this game, after all you are always dealt just two cards, and there will always be a flop, and there will always be a turn card, and always a river, yet still I can't wait to fire up my laptop and meet the same challenge with a daily renewed vigour.

Well one aspect which enthuses me definitely has to be the draw of the money. That win that will take me much higher up the poker ladder and into a lifestyle I can only dream of is potentially, always just around the corner.

Then there is the challenge!

The challenge to master the game, to reduce the luck factor to such a low level, to read situations so perfect every time that you become practically unbeatable.

The challenge to beat your previous results, to improve on %age of wins in SnG's, to increase the cash rate in multi tournaments or to reduce losses at a particular level.

All these to me were givens, and then I read the book Ghosts at the Table written by Des Wilson.

This is a great piece of work. It opens your eyes and heart as it takes the reader through the 4 ages of poker. Starting in the Wild West with characters such as Wild Bill and Wyatt Earp it progresses through to the river boat gambler, then the Texas Road gambler (TJ Cloutier, Doyle Brunson), on to the Birth of Poker in Vegas and the WSOP culminating in a review of where poker is today.

It truly shows the romance of poker along with the dangerous past that the players of old had to endure just to play this beautiful game. It lists the iconic moments in pokers history and what made the stalwarts of the poker world what they are today. In essence it explains so much of why poker, just a game, mirrors so much of what happens to us in real life.

So if your struggling with drive, and the money doesn't do it for you anymore, or the challenge isn't there then read this book.

Because if you're like me, it will give you one more reason to play this game ... to become one of the legends.

Until next time.

Keep it Tight

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A whole new world born from playing on TILT

I remember reading an article on Neil Channing shortly after his Irish Open win where he stated that until he understood the importance of position his game hadn't advanced.

Well playing on tilt (not the website but the emotion of playing out of control and out of anger) has had a similarly enlightening effect.

Now I am normally so controlled when I play I liked to think that I was immune to tilt. However this time, after I had ground out to the bubble only to get in ahead (my opponent only having 3 outs for the win) 5 games in a row only to lose by their luck sent me raging. " @##!! That's it !! ... whats the point of playing with skill to have a @?#! draw out to beat you ... aaarrrgghhhhh!!!!" and words to that effect. I had seen red and knew I should have stopped playing but it was Friday night, I was having a drink and it was time to hit another SnG .... and raise ... raISE... RAISE!!!!!!

I started in a completely out of control fashion, starting UTG with K3 I raised for it to be called by the button only ... my continuation bet took the pot! Next hand in the BB I re raised all the pre flop callers to take the pot without a flop. I continued to raise hard, with anything in and out of position. I was still folding to resistance and getting lucky with a few calls and bets but didn't let it deter me from raising the next hand. I honestly entered every pot but not without raising and I won the thing.

My steam was starting to cool down with the win but I was still drinking and the aggression continued. I cashed in 9 out of 13 ten man STT.

I went to bed a little worse for wear but happy that I had showed them!

It wasn't until the next morning I started to think about what had just happened!

Normally TILT is seen as a negative thing and I wonder if I was truly playing on TILT. Was I just playing well but angrily ... was I playing better? I wasn't throwing my chips away, I was using them with aggression, but loose aggression. I also realised it had led to me having to outplay people post flop with the worst hand.

For the following week I tried out a whole new game plan, I was going to play with refined anger (but only on small buy in tables!) and it is working.

I am developing a way of playing that is sitting well with my personality but is a mile away from where I was at previously and it seems to be working. Admittedly I need to play on the higher levels, so far it is only being tested on up to $22 buy in tournaments, but I do feel like I have just discovered I can play real poker. Last night I finished 5th out of 294 players in a tournament I had qualified for on TITAN poker.

So TILT has been my friend this time .... but I must not let it affect me again??

Until next time

Keep it Tight.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Back to Basics

I figured it was time to have a good look at my game and see whether it is anything I am doing different that has led to a difficulty in hitting the profits I achieved last year.

However rather than delving straight into my game to see whether I was playing too loose or too tight and pouring over 1000's of hand histories I decided to look to my game selection.

My game plan has definitely changed from what it was a year ago. I now play on sites that give me entry into free tournaments through an affiliate. I am normally playing cash games on these sites in order to earn say 50 or 100 points which grants me entrance into a free restricted tournament. Some of which are very under subscribed and relatively high rewards.

Could this be problem..... well I think the answer is yes. I have slipped into the mindset of just needing to earn 10 more points on this site, then 20 more on that site and all within a deadline time. So I have probably been playing faster than usual, multitabling more often and trying to "win" points instead of money.

So how does this differ from last year. Well first off it doesn't lend itself to the strict bankroll management methods I used to employ. My bread and butter used to be the 10man STT. I would start at the lower levels and as I won went up through the buy ins and as I lost went back down through the buy ins. I would then put a pot aside from these winnings for multi table tournaments and a pot aside for the cash games.

Now I just tend to play cash games with no real bank rolling method.

So what do I intend to do?

Well first off I am going to find a 10man STT that I can beat. And then start my strict bank rolling methods again. I am then going to use winnings (if I have any) to qualify for those free tournaments that do not have a short qualification time or that have the best reward structure.

So sometimes it pays to keep your spreadsheets up to date and mind open to your actions.

Having said this I still feel I am getting more than a fair share of poor luck - again today my AK running into a shortstacks' AQ for him to 4 flush the win. These things happen but instead of it being a dent to my bankroll as a cash buy in it just meant I didn't cash as much as I should have in my STT. Hopefully my Back to Basics game selection approach will level out the impact on my losses.

I'll keep you informed on how it goes, and back to some more reading to ensure my game play leaks are plugged in as good a fashion as my game selection leaks.

Keep it Tight!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

9 months of free time over!!!

Well my 9 months of leisure are over. A colleague from the past called me up and made me a business offer I could not refuse. So 3 weeks ago I started work in London again.

The time I had free didn't exactly pan out the way I wanted. The idea was to play lots of poker, do lots of poker study and really try to improve my game ... oh and get some sailing in! What happened in reality was that I had time to address the chores life has to throw at you. I spent most of the time decorating and what time and energy was left unfortunately didn't get channeled into my poker. In fact I seemed to lose interest a little for my poker.

In my mind there were two reasons for this:

1. I was tired and not in the right frame of mind for poker.
2. I am struggling to make a profit this year at the game.

Now either every one on line has gotten much better at the game in recent years or I am in a bad run. I am still $500 in front of last years results but I had a strong finish last year, which going on current performance I am not going to acheive this year.

I do feel that I am not winning my fair share of 60 - 40's or 70 - 30's, but it is so easy to say I am being unlucky, when perhaps last year I was just luckier. Or is it that at the levels I am currently playing a 5% profit on investment is all you can expect from the game.

Anyway strangely enough, now I am working again, I seem to have gotten my passion back for the game and I am playing more than when I had all my time available. I can't wait to end my day, get back to the hotel and fire up my laptop. In addition my profits are slightly up from previous months (is this due to frame of mind?) So now I intend to do that work on my poker game whilst I have no other distractions in the evenings. I'll keep you posted on how I get on.

For now I will leave you with a couple of pictures from my holiday sailing on the east coast ... now this is a passion!

Keep it Tight

Bradwell Marina.

The lock at Heybridge Basin

On the Water.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Poker Player Championship - Walsall

This was the first time I had been to the Walsall Grosvenor Casino and I must admit I was very impressed with the Venue, nice card room.

This time there were just over 90 players started, and I started a little flustered as I arrived later than I would have liked (the Sat Nav decided to take me on a tour of Walsall first). However I did settle in quickly and recognised 1 person on the table from the Bolton Leg, and he played exactly the same as he did there ... which was nice.
Nothing really astounding happened for the first 6 levels. I was getting relatively few hands and had to be content with stealing a few chips from one particular player on my right who would limp in and then fold to my position raise. This allowed me to get the blinds plus his extra bet on about 3 occasions. Just before the second break I managed to win quite a big pot to get me to about average chips. I basically bet my A high flush draw on the flop in position against one opponent who called. At this point I put him on small-mid pair or a draw himself, anyways I got him as weak. The turn came a higher card so I had another punt having missed my flush - again he flat called. When he checked the river to me I basically had to bet at the pot or show down A high. On announcing my bet he was already pushing his cards into the muck and I didn't even have to say how much!
First hand back after the 2nd break with about 45 players left I looked down at a JJ in early position, I raised it big and it folded around so I just won the blinds. 2nd hand and I look down at AQs UTG. I raise it up again and it folds around to me again. 4 hands later in the CO is where I really start to think this was going to be my day. I look down at a glorious KK. It folds around to me so I raise it up to just 2 and a half times the big blind (800 / 400) to 2000 expecting the blinds again, but no the button re-raises it up to 5000 leaving himself about 3000 left in chips, I have about 10,000 left behind so after calling his re raise and putting him all in I will be left with about 4000 in chips. Put him all in I did and he turned over the dreaded AA. No K came to help so I was crippled.

Could I have gotten away from KK. Looking back I think I could have. Heres why!

The guy was folding for England and seemed happy to be blinded away. Two hands before he managed to get all of his 4000 chips in as the BB with QQ to double to 8000. Now given that would he really put all his newly earned chips on the line with anything but the AA? Admittedly he could have had QQ again, but I firmly believe he wouldn't have re raised with a strong A or JJ. I did ask him if he had AA before going all in and I got the reaction which I am fast believing is a tell for someone who has a very big hand (but that is what live experience is about learning these tells). Finally I had only invested 2000 chips. Anyway my decision to put him all in was backed by the fact that this hand wouldn't be the end of the tournament for me and the result stood.
From there I took a turn of the table then pushed in with A2 suited of which surprisingly both were live cards but lost to someone who paired the flop with his KQ. Out this time about 40th.
I am quite sure my time will come. I am happy with the way I played again and have learnt some more valuable live game lessons ...
Until next time
Keep it tight!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Poker Player Championship Bolton Leg

Well my first try at the Poker Player Magazine Championship 2008 (Leg 1 Bolton) was met with mixed feelings. Initially I expected there to be more of a presence from the magazine, but they even turned up late after the tourney had started.

I recognised some of the field from the Virgin Poker Festival, Newcastle ... this is obviously in the catchment area for these players. I also believe that the Blogger Four King Hell (Michael Lott) was there on my second table (but never had the chance to introduce myself .. perhaps at Walsall Michael!)

I started off very well .. the best being able to limp in with pocket 4's and hitting a full house on the flop to add another half to my stack. Again as is often the story people were respecting my raises and I felt good, but thats where the poker fun stopped as I was moved tables.

On my second table I was sat to the right of a chap called Duncan Godfrey ... he actually knocked me out at Newcastle Virgin Poker Festival, but this time it was more social as I didn't get to play any hands against him. If you look at you will see him on the televised table of the 2008 Aussie millions sitting to the right of Phil Ivey.

Anyway I wanted to set about gaining my usual tight image but had to make a few raises early on as I was hitting strong Aces. I must have looked like a very loose aggressive, which arguably was or wasn't good for me when i looked down at AA under the gun. I think the blinds were at about 100 / 200 and I raised it to $1K. Only the big blind called and he had a stack that could cripple me. The flop came Q, T, 4 with 2 to the flush but I didn't have the A of that suit. I continuation bet into the Pot $2k and was called by my opponent. At this point I had no reads and to be honest was totally unsure where I was at - didn't know if he had hit a set, 2 pair or was flushing and was he prepared to call me all the way to the river? I had about $5000 chips left. The turn came an unsuited 8. He "acted" weak and checked to me, did I want to take another pop! No I decided to give the free card in fear that I was already behind and prepared to call any bet on the end which I deduced would be small if the guy was on a monster. The river came a clean 4 so no flush possibilities. He led out $2K and I called. He held A4 for his set of 4's.

I have replayed this in my mind and wondered whether I should have just pushed on the turn .. I am not sure I would have gotten him to fold though.

I was damaged and my exit hand came a circuit later with the blinds heading up I felt I need to get some chips quick. I got to see a cheap flop in the BB with 97 diamonds. Against 2 opponents and on a flop of 2 diamonds I decided to push my now short stack. I got called by a guy on a bigger flush draw and I exited in about 80th.

Not to worry though I am off to Walsall tomorrow to try again in Leg 2 off this tournament so will report back after that.

Until then ...

Keep it Tight!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Poker Player Championship 2008

I may have not yet been able to qualify for the WSOP. And I may not be able to buy myself into the GUKPT tour. But I can go for some glory in the Poker Player Magazine Championship 2008.

I have decided that I will enter all 5 events (Bolton, Walsall, Newcastle, Bristol and Brighton).

All events are £50 buy in with max 100 runners. Prize pool is £5000 guaranteed with a GUKPT seat for the winner of each leg.

Whats more all 5 winners will play for an extra £2500 and a GUKPT Grand Final Ticket.

So this is my own poor mans WPT ... Gonna keep you posted.

First Event Tomorrow (7th June)

For Now ...

Keep it Tight!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Multi Tables and Satellites

I have decided this month that I am going to invest in trying to get one of the last few tickets to the WSOP. I am not going to be putting big money down (mainly entering through sub qualifiers) but am quite prepared to make a loss this month in trying to do so.

I have also decided to play mainly multi tournaments this month. Cash games remain to be up and down in winnings. Whereas I have won two out of 13 multi tournaments and cashed in a further 3 last month, so multis seem to be my bankroll enhancer at the moment. I will be keeping my cash game playing to a minimum to allow me to clear my regular bonuses and gain entry to my regular private tournaments.

I will post my qualifying attempt results for all to see here in the coming weeks.

Keep it Tight!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

A game of confidence!

I mentioned before that I had not been playing too much poker ... so why?

Well firstly I have been quite busy with personal chores, but this is not the underlying reason.

The underlying reason has been a bit of a loss of confidence.

I have read about poker players becoming jaded with the game and taking a break or even giving the game up all together. I remember thinking at the time "how can they give this game up?".

Well I have seen that side of the game recently.

Now bear in mind the sums of money I am playing for are not life changing! However winning is very important to me. So to play hard for the first part of the month to build a healthy profit only to see it dwindle to a few $$$ by both bad luck and (if truthful) a few poorly timed moves is very hard for the emotions. The constant up and down swing can be hard to take.

Having said that I have still not had a losing month in terms of being in negative dollars since the middle of last year. However a profit of approx $19 in March does not constitute winning in my books! This left me musing on other more lucrative past times.

I spent a bit of time on the betfair exchanges, but realise that it is not as easy to win there as it is on the poker tables.

So after a 2 month break the back end of last month saw me playing a $1/$2 cash game after a night out when I couldn't sleep. I hit a table profit of about $500 which whetted my appetite for poker once again.

Last week I took some work away and did not have access to a Wi Fi connection, only my poker magazine and book. I was reading about the game but was unable to play, I started to want to play and as soon as I got home Thursday evening, fired up my laptop and hit a small $11 Ten Man STT, coming 2nd.

I then went on to play a small MTT (58 players) and came 2nd in that for my troubles.

I have now gone back to my normal monthly routine of game play so poker is well and truly back in my life and I am starting to enjoy it again. I am going to do something new though in the next few months to keep it fresh and to introduce new challenges, they will be posted in the future.

But for now.

Keep it Tight

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Virgin Poker Festival 2008

Virgin Poker Festival at Aspers Casino Newcastle April 12th and 13th 2008.

Well as you know I qualified for this tournament via a freeroll out of the PokerPlayer magazine. So off I trot to Newcastle to try and win my biggest prize to date. I had played very little poker prior to this tournament (I will explain why in a later post) but did play a couple of 10 man SnG, and won both the day before so felt great.

The general atmosphere on arrival at the tournament was buzzing. Plenty of drinkers and obviously card players all ready to do battle on the felt. There were quite a few people who knew each other from the forums, so I felt like a real "no mates" and just sat and observed for about 1/2 hour before the tourney was due to start.

So sitting down and being dealt my first cards in the 10,000 chip, 45 minute blinds 230 man £28,000 guaranteed tournament was very exciting ... but that was where the excitement stopped for the first hour and a half. I managed to see 3 hands in this time ... some rubbish in the BB, a called SB with 89s and a raised AQos on the button.

None of the hands won with the latter AQ seeing my continuation bet on the flop of 6 high called by a very tight player (he'd played as many hands as myself at this stage) checked on the turn and my calling of a 2/3 pot bet on an A river to lose to his A6.

Then I was moved table ... with about 6500 of my starting stack in tact ... to win my first hand in the BB with K3os as I neared 2 hours of play.

The table I was moved to was called the table of death as it saw about 5 all ins in 6 hands at one point. The MC regularly visited the table to call out the all in action over the PA for all to hear.

From here on in I basically played short stack poker ... over the topping any position "weak" raise all in (provided I could get heads up) and 1/3 raising my stack in position with anything promising. I had to fold a few strong hands in the face of raise and re raise, but thats poker and I stand by my decisions.

I managed to keep my stack level constant for about the next 4 levels when I hit upon AA in the BB to double up to around about average stack with approx 140 players left.

Now I was very happy with the way I was playing ... I was getting very little resistance to my raises and my flop bets were being respected ... so what happens ... yep I get moved to another table.

On this table I just couldn't get a position to get in and my stack dwindled to about 5BB. Then it was folded to me on the button. So I went all in and got reraised by the SB. The BB folded and the cards were tabled. I held K6os ... the SB had 99.

The flop was a glorious K63 ... ohh joy!! hang on whats that !! theyre all diamonds ... I don't have a diamond ... he has the 9 of diamonds ...

I just knew what was going to happen and had to wait for the river card for my exit. So shaking hands with my opponenet and wishing him and the rest of the table good luck I leave the table about 1/2 an hour before the end of day ones play.

So in my first deep stack tournament I came 60th. The prizes paid to 25 but I was happy with the way I played. I really should have been out at about level 5 but I managed to nurse the short stack through 5 more levels than that, and if only some cards had come at the right time may have done better.

What did I learn. Firstly how triring it is to play the short stack for about 5 hours. Watching people, looking for that moment to put your stack up for grabs or hopefully take it down there and then. I must say by the end of the day I felt physically unfit. Secondly that there are other factors that can affect the result of a tournament .. ie being moved to another table after getting a good table image. You have to basically start again. Finally patience, patience and patience.

So there we have it!

I will try to qualify again for the next one which is supposedly going to be at Dusk Till Dawn. You can only qualify on line through Virgin Poker but it is worth a punt just for the fun.

For now

Keep it tight!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Set over set is unlucky right?

Well I know I haven't been doing much blogging lately but just grinding it out at the tables for hard earned cash is not exactly that exciting ...

Early March gave me the upswing I wanted after a stagnant February .. only to be snatched back from me by unfortunate circumstances. My hard earned dollars went to the wind as my pocket KK went up against pocket AA no less than 3 times in 2 weeks. Who ever said "never fold KK pre flop for a 100 Big Blinds". I know! ... a whole host of players on 2 plus 2 forums ... and they are right!!! Anyways I still made a marginal profit taking my non losing streak to 10 months (but the bubble is close to bursting).

So just as I had had my 3rd KK dominated and had reloaded I get the following hand ... QQ in Cut Off position.

Now normally I am excited at getting such a big pocket pair (especially as it was to get folded to me) but following my recent form the QQ fills me with dread. Remembering what the books and statistics tell me, and ignoring past result orientated thinking, I give it a raise .. to 4 big blinds. Now I've noticed at the $0.50/$1 and $1/$2 levels more 3 - 4 x BB raises are being called with hands that are a 40% underdog or worse. With more people calling there is a tendency to increase your raises and push them out, but I think that is wrong! You need these people in the pot when you have a premium hand so a standard raise is fine.

But .. oh no! I get a call from the button and the big blind.

No A or K! No A or K! No A or K!

The flop comes Q,9,7 rainbow and I go into the evil villain mode!!! He .. He .. He.

A weak continuation bet I think ... half the pot.

This was called by the button then raised by the big blind.

"Wow" I think "No flushes no immediate straights" ... I didn't want an open ender drawing, the button being him as he just called, so I re raised.

The button called for his last chips and the big blind (who had me covered) went all in. Now i knew I had the big blind set over set, and was dodging the buttons draw, but I called.

So what did we all have?

Well I had QQ for QQQ as you all know.
The button had 99 for 999
and the big blind had 77 for 777

Well dodging the quads made up for my last loss with KK and left me astounded to what had just happened, SET over SET over SET and nearly a triple up in unbelievable circumstances.

Just to note .. if I needed to rely on my poker winnings for a living I would currently have to be playing at the $25/$50 level just to cover my outgoings. As it happens I am still content with just loving this game at the level I play at.

Still to come is my impending trip to Newcastle for the Virgin Poker Festival.

I will take lots of photos and ....... first prize!

Until then.

Keep it tight!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Strange Month of February

Well what a strange month last month was. And what a struggle!

I can't say that I have suffered particularly from bad beats or that the cards have dried up, it was just a major struggle to make a profit. So why?

Well it appears on reflection that I was getting my fair share of big starting hands in cash games. The problem was that I was getting them when no one else wanted to join in the fun. So whereas I would expect to extract a reasonable profit from the top 5 starting hands then I was merely taking the blinds down or pushing the limpers out. The other hands that I was getting (the ones that are nice to play but do not withstand much pressure) I was getting completely out of position or the table dynamics were not right to play them without much risk.

So it is now totally clear that there are many other factors at work here other than merely getting your fare share of the luck of the cards. You also need to get your cards in the right position and/or with the right types of players.

So the struggle was merely that of making a profit over the blinds, which you wouldn't have thought would be a problem in a cash game where the blinds are static. As well as making a profit above the one or two losses you are bound to make. Normally though these would be offset against the big wins you get.

So what did I change to grind out a profit for the month.

Firstly, I DIDN'T CHANGE MY GAME. Why should I? It is a formula that has been winning in the past!

Secondly, to relieve the pressure on my bankroll I jostled with the game levels. I dropped down when I was losing (even below my normal lowest at one point). Then returned to my normal levels when making a small winning. In essence performed very strict bank rolling methods.

Thirdly, I played where I would make a bonus. This is something I normally do anyway because the bonuses can add value to winning sessions and reduce the impact of losing ones.

Lastly, as I always do, I vowed not to make a loss. I had to do what it takes to make that balance above $0, even if it meant I was only going to make $1 profit that month. I made a bit more than that in the end - but not much more!!

So all in all it feels like February was a bit of a waste of pokering time and it leaves me with the following questions:

Was I right to drop down the levels in order to make a profit?
Did I inhibit my playing by putting so much pressure on myself to make the profit?

I've still yet to answer them but I do know that my goal is always to never lose!

Until later

Keep it Tight

Friday, 22 February 2008

Gala Casino Leicester Live Warmup

In light of my qualifying success I have decided that I need to brush up on some of my live skills. I have only played twice live since Las Vegas last year and that was in two poorly structured £10 buy in events which are basically all in or fold from the off (and I didn't cash in either of them). So last night I went to my local haunt, the Gala Casino in Leicester.

The tournament was a £20 buy in for 3,000 chips plus a £20 add on of another 3,000 chips with 40 minute blinds starting at 50/100. At least this offers quite a bit of play, 37 players and a £1,200 prize pool paying to 5th place.

Well to say my game was rusty from the start would be an under statement. I played very poorly in the first level losing a 6th of my stack holding 77. It had folded round to the small blind and he raised to 300 chips, I re-raised him to 800 which he flat called. The flop came 6,J,A rainbow - horrible. He checked it to me and I continuation bet to which he went all in. In hindsight I probably should have took a free card to see if I could hit my set and check fold from there if I missed.

I then started to settle in and get a read on a couple of players. The guy to my left was looking at his cards as soon as he got them and looked ready to muck them if they were rubbish, so I stole a few chips from him. The woman to his left was a loose calling station and would call with overcards and mid or low pairs to the board. I just couldn't hit a top pair to take her chips to the river. Then just before the table got broken up I got QQ UTG and managed to double up after my pre flop raise and subsequent all in was called by a guy that would all in on any draw. Luckily they held up when he went for his flush draw after the flop.

So at the break I was around average chips with about 24 players left. From there on I was positioned between a loose aggressive to my right and a chip leader to my left. The cards went completely dead and I watched my stack hover at around 7000 chips. Then came my exit hand.

Blinds of 600/1,200 (average 18,000 with 12 players left). The loose aggressive to my right folds and I look down at my cards to see AA.

"Great, I have AA and the guy who has been consistently raising, stopping me from doing anything (unless with complete trash) decides to fold. So what to do? I don't just want the blinds here! I need some chips!" I have a quick look round the table to see what the players look like based on the ones that have already looked at there cards. "No one looks particularly interested, except the tight playing small blind who is leaning forward waiting for me to make a move. Is a min raise here gonna look strange with my chip stack? Possibly, i haven't played a hand for a while. When I have it has been all in and I have had no resistance. If I all in I get the blinds... I don't just want the blinds! Those chips will be gone again in two more hands. OK I'm risking it, I'm limping in. Hopefully someone will raise all in but I doubt it. I think I'm going to be against the SB & BB, well I still have 70% chance right?" And I call in 1,200 chips.

As I thought it folds to the small blind who completes and the BB checks. The flop comes Js,6d,4s. The SB instantly checks and the BB leans forwards suddenly looking interested.

"OK SB has probably missed or small paired with low to mid connectors, but the BB looks interested. Normally he looks at his cards first before checking and then folds to any bet. This time he hasn't looked at his cards, leaned forwards and checked. I think he has a piece of that!. Right, whats the pot? 3,600. Whats the point of pushing all in here? I might just as well have stole the blinds. No I'm gambling with the best hand, I want his chips. I'm going to bet 3,000, this leaves me with 2,800 behind. He'll be priced in for the river. I want him all in if he's trap checking with a J. I am going to have to risk him seeing all 5 cards if he is flushing. I need to double up here if I'm going to make the money."

I bet 3,000 chips. The SB instantly mucks. The BB then picks up his cards and looks at them again before announcing all in. I instantly call. He is holding T7 of spades for the flush draw. The turn gives him his draw and I am out of the tournament.

So what about my play here?

In a way I was not disappointed because the hand panned out exactly as I wanted it to (other than losing it). I committed myself to the gamble pre flop by just limping in. I didn't feel with my table position and chip stack I would ever make the money by taking the blinds. I am sure if I had put all 7000 in pre flop both SB and BB would have folded. But by gambling for a possible 15,000 - 21,000 chips I had much more play and leverage with which to push for the final table and the money. Then hindsight says I should have just took the blinds, who knows I could have had AA again next hand! What would I do next time under similar circumstances. I think I will play AA the standard way, raise then push. Then gamble from there if I have to. I don't make a habit of continuing to do the things that have failed to work before.

Anyway I'd like your input and comments.

Thats it for now. Practice, practice, practice.

Keep it tight!!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Writing down my goals achieves!!!!

Well, what can I say, writing down my goals has worked again. Just 10 days since I posted my goals for 2008 I have qualified for a live tournament. Now its not the WSOP or the EPT. In fact it is quite a bit smaller than that and I don't think I'll get to rub shoulders with any famous players (although they have said there will be bounties so who knows). However it is a live tournament! The event is the Virgin Poker Festival to be held at Aspers Casino in Newcastle on 12th & 13th of April. It is estimated there will be about 230 players and the first prize will be around £7,500.

So how did I qualify?

Well Poker Player magazine held a freeroll in which there were 519 entrants with 1st-10th getting their ticket to Newcastle. I came 17th and got a free entry into the sunday qualifier as did anyone who came 11th-20th.

The Sunday tournament had 114 players and paid tickets up to 11th place. I ended up finishing in the top 11 so have got my ticket for an outlay of .... well nothing (unless you take into acount the cost of my magazine).

The structure looks good and is shown below:

Prize Pool – approx £28,000 (£5000 added by Virgin Poker)
Starting Stack – 10,000
Blind Levels – 40 mins starting at 25/50

This will be the first time I will have played with a starting stack of 10,000 chips on a two day structure, so it is going to be very interesting.

I must say the satisfaction of winning this seat has given me the taste of success and boost to my game that I needed, now I want more. So the GUKPT or the GBPT is definitely my next goal ... oops I've written it down again ... hope the magic of this method continues.

Until later ...

Keep it Tight.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Goals for 2008

About 10-12 years ago I was involved in a team building course where it was stated that over 90% of business people who wrote down their personal goals achieved them. Conversely this figure drops to about 60% business success where clear goals were not defined and written down. The figures may be somewhat out but you get the idea.

Apparently there was a scientific study on this and there is an explanation as to why this might happen. When you think about things you use one side of the brain and when you write things down you use the other. So in the act of writing down your goals or desires they somehow get etched into your psyche by using both sides of the brain and are thus kept for recollection either consciously or sub-consciously. This is the same reason why making notes whilst revising for an exam is encouraged, it gives you a better chance of remembering the facts.

This is something that I have carried with me from that day to this and use this theory in my personal life at regular intervals, and it has to be said that I have achieved over 90% of the things that I have written down to date.

So with that explained I will continue here to write down my poker goals 2008.
Firstly I wanted to set myself some financial goals. To do this I am using one of my previous written down achievements - my other hobby shown below.

I have owned a yacht for about 8 years now, but have only had the one above for approximately 2 years. It probably costs me about £3000 / year to maintain, store and use so this is my first goal. My poker winnings must match (or exceed) my yachting expenses for this season.

Secondly I have to qualify for a substantial live tournament to rub shoulders with some of the professional players in this game. To do this I am going to target the GUKPT via online qualifiers. This is something I did to some extent last year but just kept falling at the final hurdle. I am also going to look at buying into a GUKPT side event if I can get a couple of backers. £300 direct buy in is a little rich for my current tastes, but I have a couple of mates who might be ready to buy a third.
So there are my goals. Short but brief I know but at least I have set some realistic and achievable targets.
Month one has set me off on winning ways for the year, just hope it keeps going the same in the following months.
Thats all for now, back to the grindstone and my passion - the poker tables.
Keep it tight!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Don't cry over lost profits!!

My initial intention on creating this blog was to discuss my daily exploits playing poker. I was going to review a few hand histories and generally share my ups and downs playing this fantastic game. However looking at hand history after hand history would probably get very tedious for the reader. After all, when you get all your cash in with a nut full house and lose to a runner runner 55 giving the other guy quads, what more is there to write about? So for now my blog is taking a turn to the more cerebral and emotional side of poker.

I have not been working now for about two and a half months. Poker still doesn't take up as much of my time as I would like (what with decorating and the likes) but I do get to play online every day. One thing is becoming increasingly apparent though! There can be big swings in my bank roll from day to day, even hour to hour. As a consequence my mood changes along with the flow of these wins and losses - Up when winning and down after suffering a substantial loss. So what to do about this?

So far I have developed a number of techniques to help me deal with these eventualities!

First and foremost ...

Swear at the computer and stomp around the room asking myself how this idiot could have called to the river holding " ... that S**T". Its funny but following a big loss this almost always is the first phase of controlling my emotions. Joking aside though I do think this is an important part of dealing with a loss. After all, how do I celebrate a big win. By stomping round the room shouting "..Yes, Yes ... Get IN!! " or something of the sort. In essence it is letting off that tension that builds over a session of playing.

Secondly ...

Take a break. If I have just suffered badly to the cards then I will always take a break. Just walk the dog or go to the shops. Anything that will take me away from the computer and its environment. This gives me the space to think about what has just happened ... How does it affect my monthly plans? ... Did I play poorly? ... What do I now need to do to get back on track?

Finally ...

When I decide I am in the right frame of mind to start playing again I will chose a game that I know I can beat. For example I may chose a low level 5 man STT. I may even play a few of these games if I initially don't get the results I like until that confidence and winning feeling returns. Then I will continue with my normal bank rolling methods.

Generally ...

In order to maintain a modicum of sanity I tend to try and keep to the following few easy rules:

1. I try to laugh when suffering minor setbacks. Luck is a big part of the game and someone does have the right to hit their 10% chance some of the time, its just not nice when it happens against me.

2. I try to keep my emotions level by not over exaggerating my current mood. For example try not to get too irate after a beat, and try not celebrate too much after a win.

3. And this is my most important point to note to date ....... DON'T CRY OVER LOST PROFITS.

Let me explain by using the example of the beat full house above. At the time I had that hand my month had been up and down with regards to profits, but I was $250 or so in profit up to that point. That hand lost me somewhere in the region of $150, but I was still in profit afterwards.

That gives me a great psychological advantage when looking to continue playing. " ...I can take a horrendous beat like that AND STILL be a winning player .... how good is that?".

"What happens if it takes you into the negative?" I hear you ask. Well as yet I don't know, but when it does I will be sure to let you know here.

So thats it! A general emotional overview of a typical day playing poker at the Jester household.

All that remains is for me to ask you to Keep It Tight! And if any of you have methods you want to share please email me on

Monday, 21 January 2008

Well Done Mark !!

Just a quick note to celebrate Mark Selby and his first professional snooker title win.
I have known Mark for about 5 years now and he is one of the most down to earth, hard working characters you will ever meet. If any one needs to learn what it takes to achieve your dreams then just continue to watch this guy. He has dedication and skill in abundance, and just refuses to give in to any negative pressures put his way.
Well done Mark!!! You deserve it!!! Long may it continue!!!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Worst feelings from poker to date

The game of poker has dealt me some highs and lows but today has got to be the worst I have ever felt playing this beautiful game.

In the past I have woken to find my monthly profits down to zero when playing after a night out on the town; that hurt. I have since lost $500 in one night early on in my Vegas break; that was worse. But this feeling is by far the hardest to stomach.

I guess you are thinking I must've blown my whole bankroll in one session. You couldn't be further from the truth. This experience has cost me absolutely nothing - so why am I feeling so bad?

Well it all started when I got an email from Gala Poker saying that they hadn't seen me on their site for a while. If I were to come back and generate 10 points they will enter me for a $3000 restricted freeroll. I normally play these tournaments, they are a bit of fun and are normally far less subscribed to than the normal freerolls. So off I trotted to generate my 10 player points. When I had earned my ticket I logged into the tournament lobby, registered (along with two other players at that time) and waited for the weekend to play.

The weekend came along and on the morning of the tournament that started at 6pm I signed in to Gala to see how many entrants the tournament had ..... "STILL THREE??? .... wow this is going to be cancelled surely"....... "No" I think "there are gonna be some more sign in today!". So I set about playing a few 5 man single table tournaments just in case.

After above average success and about an hour before the tournament was due to start I logged back on to the Gala Tournament lobby to find that .. as I suspected .. there were more entrants .... ONE MORE!

So the tournament started with a winner takes all prize fund of $3000 dollars with 4 players. I was very nervous but seriously fancied my chances of at least getting heads up. Certainly I did not expect to go out first.

However go out first I did. It lasted only 29 hands for me, I played completely out of character and played completely hopelessly. I am not even going to post any of the hand histories as they read back so poorly. Just be rest assured I did not play to my full abilities.

So what went wrong? All I can think of is that the situation played the cards rather than myself. With such high expectation any deviation from what I imagined affected me greater than it should have. In essence I was playing on tilt without any reason to be tilted.

I should be consoled by the fact that I still have over $200 in profits this month with my new bank rolling method showing some sign of promise. I should be consoled by the fact that I lost nothing in the search of this free $3000. I should be consoled by the fact that my multi tabling has improved and that I have final tabled 3 times out of 9 tournaments and cashed in a fourth. But all that can go hang for the fact that I did myself an injustice by how I played this tournament. There was such a high reward yet I didn't show an ounce of the skills I know I possess.

BUT ... this is what I love about poker. It is not just a game of luck or skill. It is a cameo of life itself. You can carry on expecting it to all come your way and make excuses for why you didn't achieve ... OR ... you can look, learn and react to produce a better result the next time around.

These results all contain valuable lessons, and I expect to learn every single one!!

So for now .. Keep it Tight!!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008

The festivities of Christmas are over and the poker profits for December got to be reasonably fat. In fact at one point they went over the $1000 dollar mark, unfortunately they were pegged back again to $886.09 (however another new personal best since keeping records to round off 2007 quite nicely).

In summary I am quite pleased with my progress throughout 2007, especially as during the second half of the year I made a profit in every month since June. This was quite a way to come since up until then I couldn't fathom how people made money at this game.

I have though highlighted a couple of weaknesses on reflection :

1. I have a tendency to drop back down the levels too quickly. I will venture up to the higher limit, take a beat and then drop back down to my comfort zone of $0.50/$1 NL. I know this is crazy because many of the same players are in the $1/$2 as at the $0.50/$1 level and I can beat them there, so what is the difference?

2. My Multi Tournament game needs some work! I have cashed in many tournaments and even won a few (tournament winnings of $3,800 for the year) but still have made losses of $1,000 for the year in this format after buy ins (luckily my cash game has funded this loss). I think I may be playing too many small buy in tournaments ($5, $10 and $15 with too many players for not enough return).

So what about the positives:

Well the fact I have made a profit over the year is a start. I have the patience and the willingness to put in the hard work to get better. I never stop reading about the game or critiquing my own (as well as others) play. Also, humbly, I never forget to sometimes admit defeat when faced with the prospect of playing with better players. Sometimes admitting that they are better than you can keep $$$ in your bank roll, give you the chance to figure out why and then come back with a new game plan to take revenge.

So what is my game plan for the new year?

Well firstly I need to work on persevering with the higher levels of play to boost my profits. I am currently working on a new bank roll method to aid me with this aim and I will let you know how it pans out at the end of the month.

Secondly I need to try my skills in the higher levels of multi tournaments. To acheive this I am looking to put all profits I make on Sit ' n' Go's back into multi tournaments, sort of like using them as qualifiers for bigger buy ins. So I will keep you posted on how that goes.

For now I will post the figures for December 07 and wish you a prosperous new year!

Cash Games - $476.56
Multi Tournaments - $12.73
Sit 'n' Go - $24.5
Bonuses - $372.3

Total Profit /Loss (December) - $886.09

Years Results (monthly profits) Below "Click to Enlarge"