Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Slowly but surely

Firstly, is now operational again so the links in the previous post should now link to hand history’s and not spam, lol.

Played a few tournaments again last night after the metaphorical light bulb was turned on in my head Sunday. Poker Stars had their inaugural Super Tuesday tournament, a $1k buy in that had an impressive 360 runners and $89k 1st prize. I had a quick spin on the stars cash tables and won my entry for this but finished in 89th after pushing KQ when short, called by JJ, flopping a K then still losing, eek. I would recommend any tournament players to play this, I’m sure the satellites will be often, and the structure was fantastic.

However, I did accumulate a big stack in another tournament, the $120 bounty comp on UB. This is $100 into the prize pool, then you get $20 every time you knock a player out. I had a 13k stack at 100/200 blinds and my confidence was fully restored and played pretty good big stack poker. I made the final with average chips, got into some dominating situations preflop and found myself heads up with a 2-1 chip lead. Unfortunately it all went wrong here and I played terribly and got outplayed on many occasions during the heads up battle and eventually finished 2nd. My style of tournament poker, much like my cash game style is very aggressive, and often leads to early bust outs in mtt’s, but when I get the big stack I feel as though I play optimal poker and really press home my advantage. Until Sunday I was never putting myself in position to get a big stack, and often having my fate decided on 1 hand.

Monday, 28 May 2007

small loss financially, big gain mentally

Well Sunday came and went again and the huge score alluded me once again, however for the 2nd Sunday running I got deep in one of the tournaments and had a shot a very nice 1st prize. Last week, my over zealous play caused my demise in the UB 200k shortly after acquiring the chip lead, this week however I finished 21st in the Stars 2nd chance comp and was crippled with one of the most bizarre hands ive seen in a while. still not operating so I will post the whole HH here

PokerStars Game #10140574836: Tournament #50597871, $200+$15 Hold'em No Limit -Level XX (4000/8000) - 2007/05/27 - 23:54:12 (ET)Table '50597871 31' 9-max
Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: bikocruz (348290 in chips)
Seat 2: mdshack14 (82696 in chips)
Seat 3: jerseyjosh (119428 in chips)
Seat 4: colson10 (254965 in chips)
Seat 5: akat11 (212988 in chips)
Seat 7: hankgold (136461 in chips)
Seat 8: Paolo69 (143963 in chips)
Seat 9: Dark2000 (123803 in chips)
bikocruz: posts the ante 400
mdshack14: posts the ante 400
jerseyjosh: posts the ante 400
colson10: posts the ante 400
akat11: posts the ante 400
hankgold: posts the ante 400
Paolo69: posts the ante 400
Dark2000: posts the ante 400
Paolo69: posts small blind 4000
Dark2000: posts big blind 8000
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Paolo69 [Ac Td]
bikocruz: folds
mdshack14: folds
jerseyjosh: folds
colson10: folds
akat11: folds
hankgold: folds
Paolo69: calls 4000
Dark2000: raises 40000 to 48000
Paolo69: raises 95563 to 143563 and is all-in
Dark2000: calls 75403 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [6s Kh 4h]
*** TURN *** [6s Kh 4h] [7h]
*** RIVER *** [6s Kh 4h 7h] [8d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***Paolo69: shows [Ac Td] (high card Ace)
Dark2000: shows [3h Jh] (a flush, King high)
Paolo69 said, "wtf"
Dark2000 collected 250006 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 250006 Rake 0
Board [6s Kh 4h 7h 8d]
Seat 1: bikocruz folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: mdshack14 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: jerseyjosh folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: colson10 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: akat11 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: hankgold (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: Paolo69 (small blind) showed [Ac Td] and lost with high card Ace
Seat 9: Dark2000 (big blind) showed [3h Jh] and won (250006) with a flush, Kinghigh

He beat me in the pot when I pushed all in, was remarkable. He ended up finishing 4th for $14k, what a fine line tournaments are.

One good thing become of Sunday though. I realized that I was playing like a puff in mtt’s since deciding to play them again. I have detailed how bad I have been running all week, but not once did I accumulate a big stack. All the time I was hanging on, hanging on until 1 hand decided my fate. I was so concerned making sure I had the best hand before going all the things that made me a good tournament player in the first place. I used to be a loose aggressive tournament player, with no fear of busting, constantly putting pressure on my opponents and had many gears. Once the stars million started I decided I was going to forget about how bad I was running and start playing LAG poker again. 2 out of my 4 tournaments ended quickly, the stars million and the UB 200k. IN the stars comp I flat called a raise with 44, then when the original raiser bet 2k into 4k on a A 9 9 board I moved all in for 10k total, he had around 16k total. He eventually made a good? Call with QQ and knocked me out. UB I never got going and finally went out with KQ on a TJx flop vs AA.

What was most pleasing to me was the massive stacks I accumulated in the Full tilt 400k and stars 2nd chance, it was confirmation that I had been playing like a scared little girl all week (no offence any female readers). I just missed out on the cash on full tilt with a miss timed move, and then ran deep in stars for a $1.1k cash.

I have animated my hand history of the stars tournament using pokerxfactor and can be viewed clicking the link below. Should demonstrate my loose gambling style for tournaments which proved so successful in 2006.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Less tournaments, More cash

I limited the amount of tournaments I played on Saturday so I would have enough time to put in a decent cash session as well. The tournaments went the same way they have all week, even though my brain isn’t fully back into tournament mode I have still been playing ok but getting some pretty rough luck. I started with the $300 on stars yesterday but never got going above my starting stack eventually re-raising a serial raiser all in with AT, he had TT then a T flopped and I was toast. As that was the only decent tournament at the time I fired up a $10/20 NL game on DTD at the same time, this went rather better. When I joined the table, we were 3 handed for a long time and nothing much happened really, I won $800 pretty quickly but then dwindled back down to my $2k buy in. Then I won a nice pot with AK, just flat calling a button raise from the blinds, check calling the A high flop the check raising when a K hit the turn, my opponent tanked it and then passed.

Shortly after 2 maniacs joined the table and things got very wild, with them playing huge pots with 2nd pair and bottom pair respectively. I had raised a few times with marginal hands and the player on my left had re-raised me each time and I had passed. Playing a $3.5k stack I raised with 89 spades and called the re-raise from the player on my left. The flop was 8 4 3 with 2 spades, an almost dream flop for my hand and was ready to play this for his remaining $2k. I lead at the pot and he instantly shoves all in, his range was so wide I don’t even considering folding and beat him in the pot. He tables AK off, and was drawing dead on the turn after a spade hits, $4.4k shipped.

I lay pretty low for a while and maniac 1 reloads and goes to war with maniac 2 again. I then play my biggest pot on a cash table, and had to sweat it out even after flopping the nuts:

Game #4220773303: Hold'em NL ($10/$20) - 2007/05/26 - 19:24:16 (UK)
Table "Sarangi" Seat 5 is the button.
Seat 1: tolvhed ($4434.50 in chips)
Seat 2: jtman ($5284 in chips)
Seat 3: teddywong ($1990 in chips)
Seat 4: BobVance ($5521.94 in chips)
Seat 6: Lazarus1 ($4037.39 in chips)
Lazarus1: posts small blind $10
tolvhed: posts big blind $20
----- HOLE CARDS -----
dealt to BobVance [Th 9h]
jtman: folds
teddywong: folds
BobVance: raises to $70
muuuuseee joins the table at seat #5
Lazarus1: calls $60
tolvhed: calls $50
----- FLOP ----- [7s 8d 6d]
Lazarus1: bets $175
tolvhed: calls $175
BobVance: raises to $675
Lazarus1: raises to $3967.39 and is all-in
tolvhed: folds
BobVance: calls $3292.39
----- TURN ----- [7s 8d 6d][8h]
----- RIVER ----- [7s 8d 6d 8h][9c]
----- SHOW DOWN -----
Lazarus1: shows [9d 7d] (Two Pairs, Nines and Eights, Seven high)
BobVance: shows [Th 9h] (A Straight, Ten high)
BobVance collected $8316.78 from Main pot
----- SUMMARY -----
Total pot $8319.78 Main pot $8316.78 Rake $3
Board [7s 8d 6d 8h 9c]
Seat 1: tolvhed (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 2: jtman folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: teddywong folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: BobVance showed [Th 9h] and won ($8316.78) with A Straight, Ten high
Seat 6: Lazarus1 (small blind) showed [9d 7d] and lost with Two Pairs, Nines and Eights, Seven high
****HAND ENDS****

I played some 8pm start mtt’s but nothing materialised, only one really savage bad beat and that was early in my favourite online mtt, the full tilt $300 6 seater. BB is 40, I have 4.4k and my opponent in the big blind has me covered, I open for 120 on the button with 88 and the SB calls then the BB makes it 400 preflop, I call and the SB passes, The flop is Q 8 2, and the BB leads for 320 into a 1k pot, I raise to 960 and leave about 3k behind leaving him plenty of room to make a play if he wished. That’s exactly what he did, instantly shoving OTT, im not passing 2nd set here, if he has QQQ, so be it. He had, of course, AK hearts with 1 heart on the flop. I’m sure you have already guessed from the ‘1 heart on the flop’ comment as to what is to follow, he hits running hearts and i am out, with a 9k pot at 20/40 going to him :-( .

Today is of course the dreaded Sunday, and i am lined up to play all the major tournaments across the board, despite the fact of how bad i am running in multi’s the lure of a big score is just too tempting. Prepare for the blog entry early next week detailing another frustrating finale to a poker week.

Saturday, 26 May 2007


It seems as though the website is not working and therefore the links inmy previous posts make me look like spammer. Sorry about this, I have no idea if it is a temporary problem or long term, Ive seen several other people using this website to illustrate HH's so thought it was all kosher. If the issue is not resolved by monday i will remove the links

Friday, 25 May 2007

Back on the tournament trail

3 out of the last 4 days ive been playing exclusively online mtt’s and in all honesty it’s been a stark reminder of why I stopped playing them in the first place. It’s honestly like some of the players just don’t put any thought into the hands they play, this is player is highly regarded on pocketfives, yet here he is making, IMO, and inexplicable move in the stars 100r (biggest daily mtt)

This was after the rebuy period and sort of set the tone for the next few days. Here is a hand I played really badly in the full tilt $1k buy in on Monday; I should have shut off when he flat called my raise on the turn and check call on the river, silly play by me.

This next hand was very odd; I had swapped a % with JP Kelly when 50 players were left as we both had reasonable stacks. JP bust shortly after then was railing me, I told him I had KK on the button, and we both knew that the BB was going to shove OTT as soon as I raised, well all went to plan until…

Hands like this are pretty demoralizing in tournaments since you have already invested a lot of time and good play (usually) to get into this position.

This hand demonstrated why I think there is still a lot of value in online mtt’s but also why I just don’t see the point at times. I would love to sit behind this guy and here him think out loud as he plays this hand.

Did go on to a small cash in this party mtt last night, although it wasn’t the best of starts

This next hand was very early in the $120 mtt on UB last night, for those unfamiliar with UB’s structure, it’s the best around. My hand was pretty clearly defined here and can’t see him bluffing this early so I think a good laydown, although ill never know for sure…

This was my final hand of mtt play until Sunday, fitting…

I did have a few small cashes over the last few days but nothing to write home about and shows pretty poor reading on the profit/loss sheet. I’m aware my mtt game is very rusty but some of the hands that ive gone out with have left a sour taste. Even though i'm only back into the tournament scene online as preparation for Vegas I am still very frustrated that I can’t seem to get anything going. Should be putting in some hours on the cash tables over the weekend, then once again taking my ticket for the lottery that is the Sunday major’s. The final hand is from a 4 handed $10/20nl game I was playing one night as my mtt’s were winding down. Again, my opponents thought process is something to marvel at.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Sunday 20th May

For the whole of last year I made the majority of my money from online mtt’s, including a win in a paradise masters event, and winning the 100 rebuy on paradise 3 times in 1 month. However, as the year progressed the tournaments were becoming tougher all over the place with so much information available in the mainstream about tournament poker. People were just not making that many mistakes, people were playing good short-stack poker and in my opinion was becoming a lot more luck orientated as the skill balance was evening out. I made a decision in December to concentrate my efforts on cash games for a few reasons. The first was what I just mentioned above, another was my lack of social life due to horrendous hours required to play online tournaments. I also planned to be travelling a lot in 2007 and wouldn’t have the time to regularly sit down and play mtt’s for hours on end. I was already a winning player in 3/6 and 5/10 NL to supplement my income when I was running badly in mtt’s. Since I have just booked my trip to Vegas for the WSOP I decided to have a few weeks of mtt’s to get back into the mindset, this started on the Sunday just gone………

For those who read blondepoker forum, a thread is starting every Sunday to document the ups and downs of the biggest day of the week for mtt players. When I play I contribute to this thread and like so many others my posts are filled with frustration at either my bad play or the moronic play of my opponents being rewarded. However the same faces show up every week, gluten for punishment, it’s like smack. This Sunday was going to be the same as every other for me, I played really badly in the warm up, bluffing in horribly spots and lasting about 40 mins. In the stars million I was going well, then about 5 players from the money had 97spades on 9 8 5 flop. The original raiser bet and I moved in, he went into the tank and made the call, remarkably he looked me up with AK and got there, next……………… Full tilt had the main event of its online festival a $500 buy in with a wonderful structure. I lasted about 2 hours before getting involved in a huge flop, with the bulk of the money going in on the turn. I had the nut str8 and a flush draw, my opponent had top set and housed up on the river, no real complaints on my part, just one of those things, and if the tables were turned I would have gone broke with top set in his shoes also. My best shot at big cash was the UB 200k, I managed to make the last 40 then managed to win a massive pot with 35 left to take the chip lead. If I was in normal tournament mode I would have switched gears, conserved my stack and almost guarantee myself a final table spot. Hindsight is 20/20 because at the time I kept firing on all cylinders eventually finishing about 30th for $1100. This demonstrated to me that I was correct in my thinking that I needed to play a lot of tournaments to prepare for Vegas, my focus at the business end just wasn’t sharp.

So after all that fun? I was around $200 up for the day, this was due to the cash game session I had before the tournaments started. If I had just played solely tournaments I estimate I would have been stuck about $2k for one day on tournaments, $3k if I didn’t cash in UB. I’m sure ill be ready for the same rollercoaster next Sunday

Monday, 21 May 2007


For the last 6 weeks or so, ive was on a trip to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and finally 5 days in Thailand. Last week, Wednesday, I completed the 30hr journey back from Phuket, stopping over in Dubai and eventually landed at Heathrow. I was absolutely knackered, but now had to make my way to Brighton in order to play the GUKPT event on Thursday. 2 tube journeys, and an hours train from Victoria and I finally arrive a flushy’s flat, just as I walk through the door, my suitcase busted, marvellous.

The general idea was to go and play the £100 comp at the grovesnor, we were reliably informed that it was an 8pm start, but it was in fact 7pm. After a phone call from somebody in the know that was already there we arrived in time for the start, Grosvenor’s lack of punctuality with tournament start times a blessing in disguise. My comp was very uneventful, due the fact I was still comatosed, and eventually came to an end when I bet out, got raised, then shoved with KT clubs on a Q 9 6 two club board, my opponents Q9 held. Noflopshomer did the best out of us all lasting quite a while, but just didn’t get the rub of the green when the blinds got ridiculously high as they so often do in 1 day affairs. Once he was out, fried breakfasts around then back to flushy’s to watch him lose money at 5-10 PLO, lol.

On to day 1 of the GUKPT, after waking up at stupid o clock in the morning due to body clock, I was still pretty tired as we headed over to the casino. Me and Flushy did a cheeky 5% saver in the taxi and we were all set to go. I locate my table and don’t recognise anyone at my table, apart from Sid Harris who I have never played with and have no knowledge of how he plays. After about an hour it has become apparent that my table is painfully tight, so I take it upon myself, as I so often do, to create some action and start raising about 4 or 5 hands every orbit and be very aggressive post flop. This was working as the players were all looking not to get involved so early and were seemingly scared shitless by any marginal situations, happy days for me. I got up to about 13k without playing a pot worth more than about 600 chips, when this hand came up. I limped 44 UTG, didn’t want to get RR off my hand, and Sid Harris raises and the big blind calls as do I. The flop comes 9 4 2 rainbow, blind checks, I think about betting and then see Sid already has chips in his hand so let him do the betting. He bets the pot, about 600, the other guy passes and I pump it to 2k, I have a horrible image and want him to do the lot if he has overpair. He then announces re-raise and makes It 5k total to play. I think for a while and have just over 9k chips total and cant see how he can pass for 4k more, and don’t want to lose him on the turn if I flat call and a Q comes and he has JJ etc... So I lump it in and he insta passes, how bizarre.

From then it was uneventful, I was raising often, sometimes meeting resistance sometime not, but never really playing any big pots. When we reached the 200-400 (50) level the rocks were starting to feel the pinch a little and were looking for spots to move in. My raises got snapped off twice in quick succession so I slowed down and took a back seat for a while. We moved onto 300-600 (75) when it all went wrong. I open a pot with A8 from the cut-off only for the SB to jam and he has enough to make me pass, then sitting in the BB I look at JJ, and then wait to see how the action develops. All folds round to Paul Parker in the cut-off who opens for 3k and has just over 6k behind. I’m just getting ready to set him in when the SB looks at his cards and instantly pushes all in for 17k. I had already observed he didn’t look at his cards until the action was on him so knew it was a genuine reaction. I cap my cards and start thinking, I check my stack have 17.5k total so am effectively all in. I'm convinced if he had a pair that crushes me, QQ KK AA, then he would at least take a few seconds to determine how best to play it. The speed of his push signalled weakness and he was also reluctant to look back at the table as I was pondering the decision. I’m not really any good at live tells so this could all be complete nonsense but it made sense at the time. I figured I was racing, or had a smaller pair dominated, and the hands I was racing against I felt there was a good chance that Paul parker had one of his cards making me a clear favourite. With all these factors in mind and my desire to have a big stack enter to middle-late stages made me call, Paul got out of the way and we have a 42k pot at 300/600. He flips 99, I’m happy my read was right but don’t even get a chance to pat myself on the back as he immediately flops quads, lol. A jack on the turn, not sure what I did to deserve that rubdown from the dealer, and a meaningless river card and it was all over.

Was happy with how I played, but i'm not one to dwell and moved onto the bar, occasionally popping back to rail Flushy, he ended the day on about 55k and went on to finish 7th for £12k, a great result and very well played. My appetite for live poker had been wetted once again, but that will have to wait for Vegas I imagine…..

A little about me

Ok, it seems everyone has a blog these days, ive made half hearted attempts before, but never really followed through with it. I hope this time will be different, as I want to reflect on my experience in Vegas later this year for the WSOP.

As im sure its apparent now, I play poker for a living, mainly online and sometimes live. It was never my plan to do this, and wasn’t even a conscious decision really. I went travelling for the last 6 months of 2005 after finishing university, then when I returned I was at a loose end. Before I left for travelling I was doing ok at poker, still on a completely recreational basis, but played a few tournaments online over the Christmas period and managed to get lucky and have a few nice cashes. While I was away, one of my friends I used to work with had made the decision to leave his job and have a crack at playing full-time, and he was going well. I started playing more and more, spending a lot of time talking about poker with my friend on msn, and my results continued getting better and better.

I sustained my online results all throughout 2006, also qualifying for 3 WPT events, WSOP 2006 and numerous events in the UK via Blue Square. At last years WSOP, I made the final table in the 6 handed $5k buy in event for around $85k and that’s when it dawned on me that this is what I was going to be doing for the foreseeable future. So far this year I played the Aussie millions and went pretty deep, finishing 35th and then had a good run at EPT Dortmund for a 24th place finish. I’m Hopeful that a big score is on the horizon in live poker, but as a player that isn’t sponsored i'm very careful not to over-extend myself with buy ins.

Online I play 10/20 nl cash mainly and usually have a run at the big buy in tournaments on the weekend. Have booked my trip to Vegas this year for the WSOP and will be playing quite a few side events from June 18th onwards, not decided if I’m playing the main event yet. That’s about it, hope at least one person will enjoy reading my blog, take it easy,