Monday, 31 March 2008

Still suffering

Had an excellent if rather hedonistic weekend. Was great to catch up with people I've not seen in a while, as well as making some new friends. Very nice meal with accompanied table wine got the ball rolling and the 800 or so people were soon up dancing, gambling in the fake casino and generally mixing having a good time. It was a great location within St James' Park, but unfortunately the opportunity never arose for me to steal onto the pitch, beat a few imaginary defenders (Spurs back four?), smack one in from the edge of the box and whip my suit jacket behind my head and run off in celebration ;-)

Myself and Rich made a cunning observation shortly after the meal. Poker players who get lucky and double up just at the right time in tournaments also win raffle prizes! Congrats to Ben with his chocolate win, and to Soap for winning a Wii. He'd just bought one though and in a very nice gesture gave it away to some friends. I'd have done the same of course, but instead given it to my friend "Ebay" for a nominal fee.

I did OK in the fake casino, wagering my entire roll on one hand of 5 card poker, and busting the dealer hitting a nice two pair. I then gave all that away to a friend playing craps, which had just way too many betting options for me to handle at that point. Busted some moves on the dancefloor for the rest of the evening until it was time to move on.

My memory then gets hazy as it tends to do, I really can't handle my drink these days. We ended up in Aspers drinking into the small hours. I met some people from Co Durham who had traveled up to play the poker tournament that evening. Davey, one of the better regulars had final tabled and was on for just under £1000 if I remember correctly. I soon realised however that I had no conversational skills and left to find my much more inebriated group of friends. I couldn't resist the pull of blackjack on the way back from the poker room though, and sank what I think was £40 in four hands at the floor-wide minimum stake of £10. I can't recall for sure. Damn those clever bastards!

Finally crashed at around 6am but even then didn't sleep too great. I felt horrible all Sunday and had already decided that the WSOP freeroll would be a write off. I had already fallen asleep in between hands on several occasions before I exited 42/87 when JJ was no good vs KQ. Managed to not fall asleep at the wheel on the way home and had a good kip last night. Still feeling it though and strangely don't have much appetite, managing only a few slices of pizza on Sunday and nothing yet today. Doubt I'll play poker unless I feel a lot better later on. Good luck if you're playing and thanks all for a very good weekend :-)

Friday, 28 March 2008

When will it end?

Played 1500 hands for $620 today. One $280 session this afternoon, and $340 later this evening. I feel so good about poker at the moment, obviously. Thing is, with this recent level of success it's a strange feeling to be questioning yourself. Am I just running super hot? I know a lot of the players are terrible and I'd expect to win a bit in the long run. I am at my peak in terms of cash game skill, I know I'm better than I ever have been. But winning this much, sustained for this long? Well I won't be making any changes for a while I can tell you that much :-)

Had my MRI on Thursday evening. I was pretty curious and quite looking forward to it, but the experience is pretty grim. The noise it makes it horrendous. I wasn't even fully in the machine as it was only my knee that was to be scanned, but still you feel pretty claustrophobic. Mine was a short scan at ~20 minutes too, I don't envy anyone who's had to have a brain scan at ~45 minutes in one of those things. I'm no worrier by any stretch of the imagination, but when it started to kick in I couldn't help but wonder if I'd accidentally swallowed something metal and it was about to ripped from my torso Alien style.

Black tie corporate dinner & drinks Saturday evening, followed by possible boozed up blackjack/poker donking in town afterwards. Also WSOP freeroll on Sunday which I shall be making a real go of. Have a good weekend :-)

Late edit: Another late bash for another $160. Was hard work as a few drunks got lucky and knocked me back several times, but I kept my head and pulled through. $780 for the day :-)

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Choo Choo!

A short 500 hands this afternoon for a very nice $350.

I quickly lost a stack getting unlucky making a nice read. Villains KT turned two pair vs my KQ all in on the flop. I had some stats that suggested he was overly aggressive. A few hands later a seat opened to his left, so I moved there and also found some more good seats elsewhere. Table selection really can be the difference between a winning and losing session, and in this case it definitely was.

Won back my stack and more from this player, and also managed to throw another regular on tilt with some nicely timed bluffing. Eventually won a stack from him value betting KQ all the way on K943K. I fully potted the river which induced him to shove over the top with A5. Tyvm :-)

Lets hope the run continues, good luck at the tables :-)

Another win...just!

Played quite a few hands today for $75 profit total. Afternoon session I was $320 to the good then in my final round I had a set bust by runner runner flush in a blind battle for 150BBs, which was upsetting with the timing. So I ended $180 up and played a bit more tonight after the football. Was a real rollercoaster being -$150 and +$220 at certain points. Finished on $75 for the day which I can't complain at.

There was one pot in tonights session that was also very frustrating. I'm not posting the hand as it gives too much away, but basically this one semi-regular player always raises to 6BBs with AK, AQ and JJ QQ KK AA and limps anything else semi playable. When he has raised, if he hits any part of the flop he will stack off guaranteed. Talk about the ultimately exploitative strategy! Anyway he raises $6 UTG, all fold and I call in BB with 44. Flop J4x. I check raise flop and get the rest in on a great J turn. Of course he has JJ this time though! Anyway I hope he doesn't go away anytime soon ;-)

MRI scan on knee tomorrow, hopefully the results will be through in the next fortnight which will confirm if I need to go under the knife or not. Fingers crossed that I don't and I can hammer the training, I'm fast becoming a right fat arse!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Riding the crest!

I can't remember what it feels like to have a losing session. I feel great about my game at the moment. Another $250 to the good tonight in only 1k hands. Well on track for a $3k+ month before rakeback and bonuses.

I feel I have conquered the tilt monster. That's easy for me to say on the back of umpteen winning sessions, but my frame of mind and approach to the game seems to be almost emotionless at the moment. I think I owe a lot of that to Card Runners also - the way the pros nonchalantly brush off the beats in the videos and keep you concentrating on thought processes & hand reading rather than the two outer they just suffered, has been a great help. It's not like I've not had any bad beats lately either - they've been just as bad - but they're barely even tweaking a response nowadays. This is very different to someone I know who I'm sure is going to break his £100 monitor after suffering a $50 beat one of these days. R!

I'm itching for a crack at NL200 but must hold off till May as I want to get my car paid for from poker. It's very unlikely I'll have sufficient bankroll before then. Especially as I have no desire to play tournaments so a big one-off win is unlikely. I'll just have to make sure I'm still killing NL100 for another good 5 weeks.

Run well ;-)

Monday, 24 March 2008

Ten High?!

Managed to get my new car taxed in a last minute mad rush to get up to Newcastle for a long weekend of football, beer and poker. The car is quality, however I discovered that the wipers are fubarred and stick on the first setting, hopefully that's something I can fix myself.

Watched Everton Vs West Ham with some pub grub then off to a mates house for many beers and what can loosely be described as poker. Thing is, it's actually a pretty good lineup. If two more regular playing mates had been around at the weekend, this would be as tough a table as you'd find at any casino. A combination of £5 rebuys, beer and having a laugh with mates caused me to take it far from seriously, and I ended up being a huge donator.

I made a move pretty early raising our host on a flop of AK4 with T3 (Azz limped in the cut off? Yeah I'll limp behind on the button!). Didn't like getting called so I checked behind a J turn. This was the case of both of us putting each other on shit but the beautiful Q popped up on the river for Azz to lead into me for a pot sized bet. I quickly shoved for not much more and gave Azz a bit of grief and told him to fold his bluff. He has to call though and I obviously get berated. This leads to a recurring "Ten High?!" shout whenever I'm involved in a pot. This wasn't too often though, as I think my highest ranked hand in this game was A8. I inevitably got short and decided to go on a rampage and open shoved any two cards until I doubled up. I did once but then on a decent stack my two pair got flushed, so rinse repeat I open shove any two again. I'm not sure how much I dropped as I didn't check my wallet, but it was certainly no short change even though it was only a £5 rebuy.

I triumphed at something else that evening though. Guitar Hero! This game is awesome! Class with mates, beers and South Park jokes.

Next day I woke up with a stonking hangover exactly at kick off to watch us beat the scouse scum 3-0. Reasonably happy with Chelsea winning too although the draw would have been better behind a large bomb going off ;-) Also managed to win $150 this afternoon in about an hour so weekend paid for pretty much :-)

Late Update: Played a bit more for another $150 tonight. Steady away :-)

Friday, 21 March 2008

I'm actually quite handy most of the time

Just wanted to dispel any impression you might have that I'm a spewy moron after my last post ;-) Thanks for the great feedback on that by the way :-)

Just played a very nice focused session 5 tabling where I consciously opened up my range a tad.

As you can see it went well. I even had QQ vs AK for a stack and KK vs AA for 60BBs. I guess a couple of days of intensive Card Runners viewing does wonders. That's the membership paid for anyway! Will break now and maybe play a bit more later, enjoy the long weekend :-)

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Thin spots

Going to share some losers with you from this month. Some the money goes in ahead, some behind. Either way I remember these hands to cause me some difficulty at the time. The point is here to not be results orientated but to make correct decisions. Suckouts happen all the time. Stats in brackets are VPIP/PFR/AF.

Hand 1: This happened today and inspired this post. I didn't know much about my opponent but had seen him play back at steals and was somewhat expecting a raise. I bet/3bet the flop showing huge strength. I obviously didn't like his shove but I had now put half my stack in and felt I had to call. Turns out my read was correct but this is still a very thin move. Bet/folding the flop is optimal here but given my 3bet and read do you fold to his shove?

Hand 2: I had not seen this villain check/raise many flops. He's a semi-aware player (20/14/3) that I felt was trying to move me off a medium pair here given my pre flop play. I put him semi-bluffing with big cards and got the turn card I wanted to get it all in. He time-banked and eventually called. Is TP/TK good enough here most of the time at this level? I guess I'm going to have to get more aggressive with the regular aggressive opponents, starting by 3betting this preflop.

Hand 3: This is something I'm going to learn to deal with if I'm going to continue to win at NL200 and above. This guy had been relentlessly 3betting me in position over 2 tables, and it was time to take a stand. I'm not quite sure if getting TT in preflop against very aggressive opponents is standard at NL200+ (28/25/5). TT is at the bottom of my 4bet range here but I know once I've 4bet that I'm not folding to his shove. I think that every once in a while I'm going to have to take these small equity edges and run with them. Obviously table selection helps cut this huge variance play down, but I will not be run over and it's good meta-game overall.

Any feedback is welcomed. I was going to jump straight in and start playing now but I'm going to have to wait as whilst going through my losing hands I've been forced to look at all my 2-6 outers for the month! Not posting any but here's an amusing hand, my opponent makes what can only be described as a "bluff call" LOL :-)

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Barely any poker

Decided against the slog for rake race this week. I've been busy with work and running all over trying to get a decent car. Bought one yesterday though won't be able to collect for a few more days.

I'm playing in a pool league on Thursday which is double rake points day which is a large factor in my decision. However even if I could play I'd have to log an insane amount of hands to crack top. Think I'm going to stick to my 'concentration' plan and hopefully pay for the car this month, increase the BR next month, and start taking some NL200 shots in the near future.

I played a few hundred hands at a mates house over the weekend for a few hundred dollars profit. This included a hungover stretch at 1/2 and 2/4 FL. I'm now rolled for NL200 but will cash out however much I can at month end leaving me enough of a roll to effectively play NL100 for a couple more months at least. I'm all too aware now how far one bad month can set you back and I'm determined to keep building. I've took the plunge and joined Card Runners, and have done a fair whack of strategy viewing and reading over the weekend.

Although I've barely played online, I did play live last night. £15 freeze-out in a local club. There are only a handful of players that have much idea. The blind structure is also a pretty incredible 100/200, 200/400, 300/600, 400/800, 500/1000...6/12 you think? 7/14? No... 1k/2k, 2k/4k, 4k/8k etc So at Level 6 your equity in the tournament is effectively halved, and continues to do so as the blinds double every 20 minutes. If you don't double up in the first couple of levels, and then double that again before Level 6 you have effectively no chance of winning this tournament. I chipped up early and then was lucky enough to pick up AK and get AQ all in for half my stack pre flop, only for the Q to appear on the turn. I then had no chance to steal and on 1/2 I completed Q9s suited in the SB after 2 limpers. Flop Q,8,J two my suit. I decide I'm going with this flop but want to win a big pot so I check. BB min bets, first limper calls, second limper folds. I shove, BB insta shoves over top, limper insta calls. BB flips over the monster J2 and limper has 9To for a flopped straight. Top stuff. Turn 2, river 9 non spade and I'm gone. Sigh. Another 2 on the river would have been awesome though, everyone loves an underdog :-)

Will play a bit online later, good luck at the tables :-)

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Mega tabling

Second monitor is up and running fine. I can 10 table but my game is dramatically different. Whilst I have been playing so many tables my style has dropped to a 17/14 nit! I've been splitting my sessions up as 10 tabling is hard. I clawed back to -$350 for yesterday in a later session, then broke and sat down again only to drop the two buyins again. It was looking very grim at one point as I was over $900 down for the day and running horribly. My recollection of hands also suffers as it's non stop action looking after so many tables. I definitely hit a few later though and got back to square one since last post...-$550.

Played around 2k hands today for $150 profit. Most of this was 8 tabling which feels like a good spot because I played excellent poker today. I made some superb value bets and now as I'm building my database I feel much more honed in the 'stack off or fold' situations depending on opponent.

The rake race is far from up-to-date in the standings, but I'm outside top 10 and at this stage I didn't think I would be. It's double points today and 50% extra tomorrow so I'll still continue to hammer and see what the state of play is regarding my plans for next week. Like I've said I've missed the weekend completely, so if I'm top 5 this week then that makes next week very winnable. If I'm outside the top 5 then maybe I'll concentrate on lesser tables and more poker. Those account sharing bastards! We'll see anyway...

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Mixed post

Last night I played some more and got my total for the day up to $420.

This afternoon however I have ran like dog shit and am -$550 after only 1.2k hands. It's not been AA vs KK stuff, I wish it was. It's been crap like AK all in on AK2 flop for AQ to make a flush, flopping straights to be rivered, flopped set no good to runner runner straight, flopped set oversetted on river, etc etc. I even missed a monster combo draw against a 40BB shortstack, I have Tc8c, flop 9cJd4c, he shoves with 66 and it holds!

Anyway I'm not too down about it as I'm still good for the month and have clearly been running like God for a week. Going to get some food into me and setup my second monitor. When I did this last year Interpoker with 8+ tables would crash my PC. Hopefully Ladbrokes will cope and I can sit tight and play 18/14 over 10 tables to try and get out of this hole for the day.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Last Round Syndrome (LRS)

'Last Round Syndrome' (LRS) is a subset of the more common disease 'Fancy Play Syndrome' (FPS). Whereas FPS has a tendency to present in any raised pot or against a particular villain with which you may have a betting history; LRS is a much more acute contraction presenting only in the final round of betting at a cash table after the patient has unticked 'Auto Post Blind'.
Symptoms include: Over valuing your own holdings. Under estimating your opponents holdings. Over estimating fold equity. Over estimating your opponents bluffing fequency.
LRS can have a particularly devastating effect if the patient is currently 'up' in moneys for the session. The desire to raise up any half playable junk is too great in an LRS patient and can result in near fatal internal hemorrhaging to the bankroll.

Yeah but seriously, I need to get a grip with that. I was $400 up this afternoon before I unticked autopost. By the time that blind came round on my 6th and final table I was only $275 up. Idiot.

Suppose I'm still up and prior to the last round played great poker. I also turned around last night finishing $120 up, so I've not had a losing day since rakeback went in. Feeling good about poker and will share some figures and HHs with you shortly.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Lots of poker forecast

On Thursday I continued my good form and won another $350 in about 600 hands. Friday I trained it up to Newcastle and spent that and more on a pretty busy weekend. Still feel a bit tired today and am not on top of my game and consequently am currently stuck $125 over 1.3k hands for this evening.

I've had a couple of coolers and one horrific call down when I had AA on high/low combo flop. I'm compacting my DB so can't get the HH, but so can't remember exactly, think it was QTx. I bet the flop and turn heavily, leaving me a pitiful amount to put in on the river. This brought a fourth spade but I'm absolutely committed. He timebanks my shove and calls with 77 with the spade. His flop and turn play absolutely stinks. He justified himself in chat saying he played the hand boldly so deserved it, as I'd been re-raising lots. Comedy gold. I'll get him later I thought. Last pot I played with him I re-raise with KK and get it on the turn when he'd hit his gutter with 67. So maybe next time!

This weeks rake race started on Saturday and today has been my first play, so I'm well off pace with being away for the weekend. I'm going to play as much as possible though and hopefully get a 3rd place $600. I came 14th last week for $45 playing in the region of 8k hands, 4k of which were at NL50. I'm hoping I can get more than 12k in at NL100 this week. Incidentally the villain from the hands above came 3rd, so if that's the quality of regular who clearly has no understanding of 3betting then I'm going to rape this level, full stop. Roll on a busy poker week... :-)

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Best ever cash day

I played another hour last night for a total of ~1000 hands for Wednesday and made a total of $920.

I'm still not raising as much as I thought I would need to be back at NL100. There are still a lot of passive players and half stacks where I feel overcalling in position is more prudent than 3 betting.

Biggest winner

We'd exchanged a few 3 bets and he obviously thought I was playing back at him light. Happy to take this down considering the turn and river.

Biggest loser

Obviously glad that he was only a half stack. Given the turn check/check and river shove by him he really had to have quads, but I'm paying off here of course.

The cards obviously smacked me in the face and I won a lot of big pots legitimately. However I also picked a few nice spots to bluff and took down a few more. I've not been able to make this move for a good few months as I've never felt like I've had the fold equity. He obviously has a pair here but I'd been quiet for a while and felt he'd check raise a set or big spades. He time banked for ages which felt even more like a big JJ/QQ laydown.

Cheers to running well! :-)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

RIP Mondeo

My first car, a 1998 brown Ford Mondeo (with an electric driver seat no less) has failed it's MOT. It needs about £500 worth of work to get it through, which as I paid £600 for the car, isn't a sensible decision. Obviously gutted as I now need to buy a new car, but also slightly sentimental as it's been my only car and it's taken me all over. I've done 35k miles in 18 months, which puts it's total at 145k. What is even more surprising is that it runs perfectly. It's only failed on excessive corrosion underneath the rear, effecting the brake pipes, rear brakes and suspension. Will hopefully be able to recoup some money for spares/scrap on it. Anyway it's declared off the road so it's bus and train to Newcastle on Friday for a big weekend.

I didn't play live on Monday and was out in the first hour in the $25k freeroll. Made a nice play and got it in on the turn only for the river to bring his 3 outer. Shame but would rather have it happen earlier rather than mid-way through.

Cash has started well. After an initial NL100 loss, I won most of that back at NL50. So tonight I play NL100 again and win 5 buyins in under 500 hands. My software crashed and I lost all my seats, including a golden one to the left of an uberdonk. So I'll break for a while and maybe have another hour or so later.

I am also top 10 in the rake race, which I can't believe. I've barely played and the majority of what I have has been at NL50. First place is waaay ahead however and I may have difficulty beating him if he's going to keep that up for the month. But with a healthy bankroll, confidence high and the need to get a new car sharpish, I'm going to hammer the tables for the next three races and hopefully pick up a nice score this month. I should make at least top 3 which would be $1800 in bonus alone which is my aim as that effectively is a new car.

No really interesting poker hands to share just yet, will definitely get into a few situations soon though as the 3 bet frequency at NL100 is miles higher than I've been used to for a while. Anyway, 7k hands for $350 profit thus far, bankroll a smidge under $3k, lets gogogogogo!

Monday, 3 March 2008


Played and lost a few buyins back at NL100 last night. The regs are of much higher standard but the donks are just as bad. I refuse to post bad beat HHs in my first update, but just to summarise:

KK isn't as good as KJ all in pre flop for 100BB.
Don't under any circumstance bet pot every street with QJ on JJ2 rainbow board because A3 makes a straight.

Numerous other flippy situations didn't go my way either, but I'm happy to report I've made nearly all it back at NL50 this evening despite KK vs AA twice. I absolutely refuse to fold KK pre flop at NL50 at Ladbrokes. One of those this evening I was 95% he had AA, but I shoved flop anyway. Can you get away???

Waiting on rakeback to get paid so I can get back to NL100. Ladbrokes are running a pretty good promotion this month - a rake race with WSOP prizes. The top raker in each category gets $1,250 each week, which I think is outstanding value considering you also get 30% rakeback on >25k PPs. 9th place gets $100 then smaller payments after that. I'm sure I'm off pace this week but hope to still get top 20 and then make a real go for the rest of the month. 4 tabling is out the window! Top 50 get a $20k WSOP freeroll at the end of the month. $14k package to the winner and various satellite entries if you make the final table.

Might decide on making another deposit to beef up the BR to >30 buyins, and possibly even get a second monitor setup so I can comfortably 8 table. Will see how I'm going for a while anyway, no good doing that if I'm haemorrhaging!

Torn between $25k Freeroll online, or £5 rebuy live tomorrow night. If a few mates are going then I'll play live. That's assuming I'm in a fit state, as I can't lift my arms above my head, or fully extend them after my gym session on friday. If I had to fight my way out of a wet paper bag to save humanity, then I'm sorry but you're all doomed. Two years off the weights then training with a guy who benches 100kg as his warm up isn't good for you. Was due back at the gym tomorrow but going to need more rest! The car needs it's MOT and I'm not actually sure I can drive it to the garage tomorrow it's that bad! I'm a wreck!

Happy pokerring :-)

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Blog overhaul

Decided to get rid of what was fast becoming a whinge-fest of a blog and start again with some clear targets for myself.

I managed to turn February around in the last two weeks after getting down in the dumps with poker for a few days. 'Disillusioned' is overused and would be too strong here. My general lifestyle and eating habits have been poor as well which definitely effects things. I've turned that around, got back in the gym and am feeling a lot better for it. I studied for a couple of days without playing, and saw excellent results for the rest of the month, including a superb $3k tournament cash. Figures for the month:

FL (1/2, 2/4, 3/6) 7k hands - $50
NL20 NL30 NL50 NL100 25k hands - $750
STTs & MTTs - $3200
Bonuses and Rakeback - ~$800

So I can't complain at ~$5k. The Rakeback figure is an estimate based on PT stats. Unfortunately my Ladbrokes rake isn't through RTR and I don't think I can track it in anyway. Should be paid in next week sometime then I plan to attack NL100 in March with a bankroll of ~$2300.

Now for some blog outlines:

1) Post at least two interesting hands I struggled with each week. I'd like your feedback here as it can only serve to improve.
2) Be a lot more vetting in any bad beats you feel like sharing. People aren't interested.
3) Play live and post about it. I used to tear up my local live pub games but saw a 5 week stretch about a year ago where I didn't cash and gave it up. Make the adjustment needed and get back to it.
4) Take the piss out of your mates.

Poker outlines:

1) Don't play tired. In Feb I estimate -$300 from playing tired.
2) Don't play drunk. Another -$300 in Feb easily.
3) Study / observe / watch videos if not quite in the 'playing' poker frame of mind.
4) Play only 4 tables online and maximise your play.
5) Approach methodically and in a workman frame of mind, rather than 'I fancy a bit of poker'.
6) Play live.

Lifestyle outlines:

1) Cut out the shit food.
2) Keep the gym up, you've paid for it.
3) Get your knee right and get back playing footy asap.

That's it then. Hope to be sharing some interesting poker with you soon. Good luck at the tables :-)