Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Toughest decision of the month

$2/$4 NLHE

I hold AQ spades in SB
Maniac x2 raise (his usual) I call
BB re-raises to $24
Maniac calls, I call
Flop: Q,7,2 - 4 spades.
BB goes all in for $1700
Maniac folds.
I have $970-ish left.

Whaddya do?

I folded. He showed KK, one spade.

I was pleased with my play last night. I'd built $400 up to $997. If I made the call above I had a potential for almost $1500 profit. Or a $400 loss.

...not dwelling on that though :-)

So a good end to the month really. Since my return from France I've taken around $2400 from the cash tables. I'm keeping my roll small(ish) for now, to keep losses down should I hit a dry patch. So, I've made a few withdraws. Handy Christmas money :-)

It's strange that after I've been on a poker trip my online cash game becomes very solid. It happened post-Italy, it happened this last week post-France, it's happened after other trips. I don't know what causes it but I like it! I should go away more often.

12 days until I leave Heathrow for tropical Helsinki. I'm determined to cash in Finland.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Where's my big coat?

I just had a look at the 5 day forecast for Helsinki. The Finns are struggling to get into positive figures even during the day right now! Maybe Poker Heaven can send me a nice big coat for my trip over on December 11th.

It's come around surprisingly quickly. Seems like only a few days ago I was getting the back of my neck burnt in the sun in Italy.

I've got little to report. I had a yo-yo weekend on the sports front. Saved by Rooney scoring and Utd winning yesterday, which I lumped on, on Betfair.

I destroyed a silly cash game player on Poker Heaven a day or two back which gave a welcome boost to the roll. He was in almost every pot and would only back down when raised. I trapped him with the nut flush for a €400 pot then later cleaned him out for his remaining €120 with KK vrs QQ. About time the curse hand returned a profit!

So, I'll update my $200 per day challenge figure today. I'm over 30 days but also over $7000 so I've nothing to complain about really.

.... oh yes I have. I forgot I need to tax my car this week. £165!!! Alright, I know I've got a big car and I know it's probably creating a new hole in the ozone layer by itself but this seems a bit steep. I hardly use it during the week, it's mainly for popping to the shops/bank/nursery with the boy. I occasionally drive to airports like Gatwick and Heathrow but not to the extent that I'm damaging roads to the tune of £165 every year. I'll pay up, I like this car more than any I've previously had. It was stupidly cheap to buy due to the MGR collapse. It's quiet. The heating will burn your toes which is handy in this weather. It goes like stink, around 135 MPH, pretty handy for a big car with no turbo or supercharger.

Anyway... off to the post office to hand over my hard earned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Freezing and foggy in France

I got home on Monday... eventually!

Leaving Paris was a nightmare. They changed the gate twice, unlike normal airports where you go through security and you're in the gate area, at Charles de Galle airport you go through security at each and every gate! As you enter the airport to depart you have to show your passport and ticket info' BEFORE check-in and before gate security and each time at those two subsequent points. Jeez! I'm all for safe travelling but these guys were taking the p...

Then there was the fog! 35 minutes delayed in the gate, which had no refreshments and, as far as I could see, no toilets. There were plenty of Russians though... all in the same gate for Kiev and Moscow. Finally, we get in the air and after forcing down an ice cold (I really do mean ICE cold) bacon and tomato croissant we are up over Birmingham International and the pilot announces "There is a lot of fog around, but we have lots of fuel so don't panic"

I REALLY didn't like the "don't panic" part. "Panic" is not a word you want heard on an aeroplane, whether coupled with "don't" or not. We circled Brum for 30 minutes and as I looked out of the window I imagined we were at 10,000 feet. Infact we were probably at 500 feet... that was how low the clouds and fog were! As we descended white instantly turned to black... no, not grim reaper black, runway black.... thud! We were down.

Anyway, no joy on the playing front. I was out good and early in the main event after having Kings cracked and despite loving the short handed game was about 40 places short of the cash.

The Aviation is a cracking place. no smoking in tournaments and some of the players were even friendly!

I need to update my $200 a day thing as it's desperately out of date. Sadly, despite a few good sessions, the average is probably roughly the same as it is now due to a few poor sessions. Still, I'll take $200 a day for now happily.

UK Poker News finally launched:
So far so good.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A rough two weeks beginning to smooth out

I'll make no bones about it, I've had a shocking start to November at the cash tables. I'd go for hours without a sniff, or be outdrawn when clear favourite, or try and buy a pot from the nuts. Everything, or pretty much everything, went wrong.

It's unlike me to not play poker for more than two days, but that's what I did. I took a good break, probably four days in total. I returned with a $400 deposit on Saturday and ran that up to $900 by Sunday evening. $120 came from an outstanding bonus which I cleared, so I don't count that as winnings. In effect, I doubled up. Alright, that's no big deal, but let me tell you that after ten days play resulting in 7 or 8 days of losses, it felt fantastic to show a positive for a couple of sessions. Needless to say I withdrew and topped up my hungry backroll.

I've since played a number of heads-up games. I'm not a great H/U fan, I think you need to be playing really crap players regularly to show a positive in the long term. If not, the higher degree of luck involved + rake fee will make it very tricky to get ahead. Just IMO. Anyway, I won 4 from 6, including a lovely $200 game which lasted all of 5 minutes. Maybe the poker gods are smiling on me again?

So, tonight it's the Blonde Poker PLO tournament. Only $10 and should be fun. Buy-ins at this level should be fun and used as experimental tools to improve your game, I don't play PLO that much but I'm registered for a €200 PLO in Helsinki next month, so I'll be playing these a little more to brush up. At the same time is the advfn 'challenge' tournament. I haven't played this for a few weeks now, since I left advfn, and see no point in joining in again. That points system, based on the Poker Stars system which works on a large scale, makes it impossible for players lower in the league to catch up and new players will find it difficult to play the required games to qualify. This coupled with the old ladies who like to swing their handbags at me, kind of takes away any fun element. Now, if it was a $100 STT I'd be there with bells on. You work out the reason why ;-)

I fly to France on Thursday afternoon. At 7pm they have a €500 PLHE tourney. Pot Limit is a little off putting for me, I've won PLHE tournaments online but find them a bigger grind than NL. Still I might give it a crack. If not, I'll play the €1000 main event on Saturday followed by the €250 short handed game on Sunday. Both NLHE freezers.

Simon Trumper has kindly agreed to sell me Euros at a better exchange rate than anywhere else, so I should already be in the main event when I land, just a matter of handing a few quid in Sterling over to Simon.

I'm looking forward to this trip. The Aviation Club looks great, I'll have Thursday evening and Friday day to myself to relax and prepare, then the missus gets the Eurostar on Friday evening to watch the tournament on Saturday. If my form from October was still running I'd quite happily back myself to cash at this festival. The cool period has knocked me down a rung or two but I'm trying to focus on the good stuff I've been playing all year. Three cashes from six (I think) events. Winning a European ranking event on foreign soil. Getting v.close in Brighton. Getting close & unlucky in Blackpool. I beat Woody Deck heads-up in Lithuania for Christ's sake, this guy won a huge heads-up event a few weeks ago. I know I can play! If I get chips early the French will see some fireworks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More nightmares, more recoveries

Ever have one of those days when you miss every draw, or hit it only to be second best to the nuts?

That happened to me on Friday.

I played out of my league at silly stakes. I wasn't outplayed, just took a few beats that wiped me out. I didn't have the bankroll to be playing that sort of poker, I was in for a hit and run, maybe 400 or 500 bucks. It cost me much more, as you can see from the running total.

I've done this before. Probably twice in the last two years. I've played my A game and cleaned up at the comfortable stakes. Then, something takes over. It could be greed or just a desire to compete as high as I can, but I move up too high, too fast. I either get out played or unlucky and finish up losing a chunk of cash I'd spent a few weeks building up.

This stops here! I had a good two hour "getting my head together" session on Friday evening. I have no need to play higher up. I can make around $6,000 a month at the stakes I'm currently crushing on Poker Heaven, why put that in jeopardy? I have banned myself from anything over $3/$6 NLHE.

So, with a fresh mind I took my crippled bankroll to the sit & go tables on Saturday and won two in a row, a $20 then a $30. The sun was shining in my poker world once more!

I also had two football bets come in at the weekend. A nice double on Newcastle and West Ham followed by Man Utd at 2/1. I've watched United since I could walk, and yes I do get to see them play now and again!, so I know that when their backs are up against the wall they come out fighting. I felt a draw was the likely result but couldn't resist 2/1 for them at home. Fortunately a 1-0 win was the result and suddenly the world ain't so bad any more.

Yesterday it was back to the cash tables. It wasn't so much the deck hitting me in the face, more the players! I ran into several terrible cash players in the day. Most notably my Turkish friend from late October who, once again, coughed up a wedge into my lap.

I finished the day + $360 - A little recovery from last Friday's nightmare.

No more messing around from now on, no more high stakes nonsense, every time I sit at the cash table I'm going to be 100% focused and ready to run them over.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The recovery

I played a little in the day today. It was satisfying enough, collecting just over $100. There are no hands worth mentioning, so we'll skip forward to this evening.

I watched the $3/$6 NL table for 5 minutes before joining. This is something I do regularly before playing guys I don't know. They were really poor players. After seat 1 left, the other four had around $1200 between them at the table. I joined with $600.

I quickly built this up to $740. When I pocket Kings in the BB. Perfect, these guys were not folding pre-flop, so a medium raise will get called by at least one. I make it $30 to go, I wouldn't usually raise x5 but these guys were certain to call. Two did, the rest fold.

Flop: T,9,2

UTG bets out $24, he's called by the other guy. He might have a piece or a draw, J,Q? but he wasn't seeing a turn card cheaply. I make it $90 to play. They both call. I figured a set would re-raise all-in here due to the size of the pot. I'm liking this already.

Turn: 6

No flush draw is out. 7,8 is now the worry. I've gone too far to put these down though. It's checked to me. I make it $254 to go. $2 more than the biggest stack of my opponent. UTG folds. After a long pause the last guy calls. He shows 9,J.

River: 3

I'm up to around $1200. Double my starting stack. 9,J mans runs for the hills, probably due to embarrassment.

I could sit and think why 9,J is in the hand. I made a good raise pre-flop. I made a big raise on the flop. I set him all-in on the turn. On each occassion he could of got away from his hand. So, I won't analyse, he was just utterly rubbish and got what he deserved.

I played a little further and skipped between $1050 and $1200. Eventually getting out on $1220

A healthy +$740 today

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

November nightmare

How do you get out of this?

You raise pre-flop with AK. It is re-raised. You call. The board shows AK and rags.

I didn't and it cost me €800. My opponent had AA. I lost a few hundred more after this just to really kick November off in terrible style.

I had a break and got myself together. I don't see how I could of got away from the AK disaster, I could of re-re-raised pre-flop to see where I stood. Another raise there would of been a big clue and I may have folded, thinking I could be 50/50 at best.

I came back on $2/$4 and did some running over, building $400 up to $1120. That's more like it! I was $700 down by the evening and despite more play couldn't make any significant dents in that total.

-$700 for the day

Today is a new day. I'm not down about yesterday's loss. It could of been much worse and indeed was at one stage.

Back to $2/$4 with a fresh mind.

Nothing really happened for an hour, I was around $80 up and was thinking of running if I hit +$150. Then I found JJ and made it $16 to go. One caller.

Flop: J,7,7

Woohoo... Unless he has pocket 7s I'm getting paid here. I check. He bets $32. I'm hoping he has A,7. I smooth call.

Turn: Rag

I check again, he bets a strange amount. About $60. I pause and call.

River: Rag

I check, he bets $110. He has $230-ish left. I have just under $400. I raise him the rest of his stack and he calls straight away. I expected a 7. He shows KK.

This put me up to $875, I bled away $50 for 10 minutes and left.

KK guy went into a sarcastic rant after this, trying to mock myself and another player who happened to say "nh" when I cracked his KK. There was no reason for it, other than him being upset about losing to an under pair. I lost a hand yesterday and was met with "nh asshole" What is wrong with these people? KK has every right to be upset but not towards me, I did nothing wrong but milk him for his entire stack. The other guy beat me and still wanted to abuse!

I'm stopping right here today. I'm only a few hundred short of getting back yesterday's loss but there is no hurry. These guys will pay and pay and pay for a long time yet.

+$420 today.