Sunday, August 31, 2008

The best article written on poker ever (BLOG NO 3)

This week took the decision to play the early events at Bolton. Mondays event was a £200.00 freeze out. The event attracted 150 runners so there was no doubt it was gunna be one long slog.

With a starting stack of 6000 chips and good blind structure & clock it made for a good tournament. The only regular circuit player on my starting table was Adam "sgt wilko" Wilkinson who is a good player very aggressive but remains a very good freind, so at least i knew it was not gunna be boring as Adam,s banter is first class.

With in the first 2 levels i had no real playable hands so did not get involved much. Towards the end of level two with blinds of 50/100 a player raised to 350 me holding pocket queens re raised to 950 the original player called. Then followed the worst flop for my hand AK7 all diamonds. The original raiser immediately came out betting 2000 which was a auto pass as no queen of diamonds in me hand, break shortly followed finishing level 2 with 4600

Level 3 & 4 were uneventful a couple of moves which did not work but managed to get back up to 5500 with 15 mins of level 4 remaining. Then da ja vu pocket queens again blinds of 100/200 i re-raised the original raiser to 2200 which co incidently was the same player who was involved when i had queens before. Flop AJJ (smashing eh) he again puts me all in which I have to pass. I show my pocket queens he shows AK which he says what he held last time DOH!

Finishing the level with 3725 and facing blinds of 150/300 i had to get a hand quick. First hand back I pick up pocket aces choosing to flat call in 4Th position hoping for a raise which did,nt come i ended up in the pot with 2blinds & 1 limper. Flop of 6 9 10 & two hearts blinds check i,m all in, they all pass. Then got low over the next 45 mins with pocket tens & a missed flush nut draw I eventually limped with q9 diamonds. Flop q84 rainbow i move me short stack into the middle and am called by a player holding 88 for trips exit me.

Event two the £300 double chance freeze out maybe held better things to come. My starting table of Dave Colclough & Nick Slade among others was not going to be a easy ride but "hey ho".

Well i found the table easier than i first thought and gradually built me chippo's up t0 a respectable total of 19,000 by the end of level six. The table broke & i was moved to another table but with the average of 14,000 felt really comfortable. What followed was a utter nightmare. My above average chip stack dwindled to a below average being totally card dead for the following two hours. It was only shear "balls" and experience that allowed me to survive deep before exiting in a respectable 27Th place. My AK missing against (yes you have guessed it) pocket queens! Being card dead is so frustrating. It happened to me in Manchester earlier this year when on two occasions I went back for the second day in healthy shape only for the cards & hands to dry up. One of these times was the main event which to date remains my biggest disappointment this year as coming back for day two I really felt I could outplay my table, but alas not to be.

So overall I feel I played very well at Bolton especially the second event but no returns for effort.

To many this sort of occurrences seem may be glamorous from the outside. But when you take into account the 98 miles driving through the rain not once but four times, the costs £550.00 on 2 events without fuel costs, meals & drinks etc it does not feel glamorous i can tell you. I finally arrived back in Teeside on wed morn at 4.30 am totally shattered and pokered out I decided not to play again this week. £500.00 plus is a lot of money by any one,s standards it is only by good money management that i am in a position to ride the costs so let that be a lesson to you all.

With no further poker this week apart from a satellite on blue square which cost $100.00 (£50.00) i finished 7Th only 3 seats our bankroll has taking a expected hit. May be just as well that i am unable to play this weeks main event!!!!!

Hopefully with world cup internationals this weekend i can buy some money. I am looking at

Cyprus v Italy on sat as one if the odds come in the right favour.

When Saturday comes Italy were 1.33 0n betfair just prior to kick off. So a punt of £500.00 was placed on one of the top teams in Europe versus a fishing village some where near Greece I am not a great fan of these odds on shots it only takes one slip up to cancel out previous wins. It was the opening game in the world cup qualifying campaign and I felt it was definitely worth the risk, especially after the costs of earlier in the week. Italy as expected soon took the lead and I was sure this was just the start of the expected rout. Then some kebab farmer equalized to make the score 1-1 which never changed until the 94TH minute when some cool Italian dude popped up to secure the win PHEW and I mean PHEW. This resulted in a profit of £165.00.

So poker costs of £700.00 (includes travelling costs)

Profit if £165.00 from football,

our bankroll settles at £11,274.00.

The heading of this blog is called the best article ever written on poker. This article was first published in 2004 in poker europa. The author of this article was Simon "Aces" Trumper who was well known in poker circles especially after his appearances on Late Night Poker . That programme was a inspiration to many people playing poker today. What I admire about this article apart from the subject matter is the absolute courage it must of took Simon to publish. Simon was at the time one of the pioneers of poker in the uk and it must of took some soul searching and complete honesty to publish "HAT,S OFF MATE". I had a long discussion with Simon earlier this year at Dusk to Dawn in Nottingham and confessed to him I still had the original copy and it was such a inspiration to me at the time of re-building my poker bankroll. If you do not learn anything from this well, you will never learn. Without further ado here is the complete article ...

I often hear players say that tournament poker on the "circuit" is not sustainable because of the overheads and wonder what it costs. They are not far from the truth, as far as my own case is concerned. I like to think that one of my strongest attributes is to self analyse after each tournament and look for improvement. I wish now that in doing so I had known when to stop. All the signs were there to tell me enough is enough way before I dropped my last $45,000 in Vegas at last years WSOP.

If you want to see a true account of two years on the tournament circuit and learn from my mistakes - read on. I started with a few results at the Vic in the festivals in 96, but it was 97 when I came 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th out of 6 events at the European championships that I became better known.

This then dramatically increased in 2000 when I won the second series of Late Night Poker but even by the end of 2000 I still didn't play the circuit.

I In March 2001 I went to Reading where I originally began playing back in 95 with players such as Bob Coombes, Sean Hayes,Graham Pound, Tony Chapman and Nourri who now plays the big game at the Vic.

I played in a £500 Pot Limit hold-em and split it with Mark Hall.

The following day I went to Luton to play another £500 Pot Limit.I worked out if I came top 3 I could afford to go to Vienna for the European WSOP Trial so that was my goal. I eventually split it with Steve Vladar.

The following Monday on the first day of the Trial I arrived in Vienna, four days later I flew home with the trophy and approx £30,000 and that's when it all started.

I began travelling to other events including Paris and Vegas to no avail, then back to Vienna in June where I won my second £1,000 No Limit event. On to Paris for a second spot in the £1,000 Grand Prix No Limit and I was now playing in a different country every month with at least one final.

This culminated with another £5000 No Limit win in Paris and 2nd to the fantastic Hamish Shah in the fourth series of Late Night Poker.

So obviously having won about £140,000 I was now in great shape.

Or was I?

That year after all my expenses were taken out (including cash game losses!You should have seen the glee in the cash game players' eyes when I sat down) I was actually ahead only £20,000.

My business suffered and turnover dropped but I was still able to take a minimum wage and a small dividend. However I would have been better off not playing, concentrating on my company and just targeting selected events in this country to cut out the expenses. So of course in 2002 this is exactly what I did... Not.

Right first stop Melbourne Australia and the Aussie Million. No good.

Then I had a few results, split the £750 No Limit in Luton for £20,000 and won the 250 Euro Pot Limit Omaha in Vienna, came 4th in the $3000 No Limit at the WSOP, made both the No Limit finals at the European championships at the Vic and five more finals in Luton and Paris for a total of £120,000 without the smaller placings.

By 23rd September 2002 I was now £30,000 up.

I had gained tremendous experience at the highest level all over Europe and America, was making finals virtually every month and was completely self financed from winnings.

My best game is obviously No Limit with 18 finals in 18 months with a buy-in between E500 and E5000 so what could possibly go wrong?

Well here is what: I was spending a minimum £10,000 a month in flights, hotels, food, taxis and tournament entries so even £30,000 only gave me a three month cushion. But as I had only missed out on a result in two months of the last 18 for me it was unthinkable that what was about to happen could.

From 23 September to 15th December I went to Vienna, Baden, the Vic, Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris, Walsall and Helsinki playing probably 30 events and only cashing in twice for E5000 .

I then played in the Poker Million and came second in my heat losing another £6,500.I ended the year £10,000 down.

Of course yet again my business had suffered and I had now stopped taking a wage. Something had to change.

At this time some players had come up to me saying that I had changed my style and was clearly under pressure.

Well the reason I had had such a drought was a few unforced errors of my own followed by 17 lost even money shots at crucial stages of events including AK against 55 in the Lido 3 tables out for a big pot against Johan Storakers who went on to come 2nd and QQ against AK of Isabelle from the Aviation in the 800 ENo Limit. Such beats as these are everyday occurrences in No Limit but 17 in a row hurts.

However I thought about what people had said and realised they were right. Although I had taken a lot of beats I knew I was not accumulating as many chips as I normally did so when I lost these pots I was being knocked out when previously I would have had enough chips left to make a recovery.

I decide to take a month off so in January apart from the Ashes heads up in Australia where I played and lost the deciding leg and the Aussie Million where I donated my chips to Ram I didn't play. I was convinced this bad run couldn't continue and as I was "only" £15,000 down was prepared to continue hitting my credit cards until the wins started again. After all one decent result I told myself and this minor hiccup will soon be a memory. So off to Paris, Vienna, back to Paris then Luton and after scraping three finals winning only E5000 by the middle of April I was £35,000 down.

The thing is I figured I was playing well and that it was only the poker gods conspiring to challenge my sanity with beats like the Omaha in Vienna.

This was a key event. I had won it the year before and with eight players left and average chips I fancied my chances.

The chip leader raised and I looked down at AAKJ double suited and moved all. I was called by AQQ4 and naturally the queen was the first card on the flop. I was out and he went on to win the tournament. It's times like these when you have to decide: Do I stop now and take a break or what?

So I booked a flight to Vegas.

Yet again a little voice in my head said ok you're £35,000 down but you won £42,000 there last year so go for it - this is your last chance to get out of trouble.

I arrived five weeks before the main event with £5,000 intending to play one event the $2,000 No Limit and use the rest for super satellites.

I had pumped myself full of self belief that I could turn things round and I sat down to play the $2,000 very confident.

But now I know what happens when you're under pressure.

You play without feel and with fear.

And this is what happened. I had built up a good stack and a player two off the button made a standard raise. He had only been in two other pots with AK and KK so looking down to find QQ in the big blind I chose to call rather than raise as both times he had been raised before he moved all in.

The flop was 8 9 J and I made my second mistake and moved all in. He shrugged his shoulders, sighed, checked his cards and called flipping over Q-10 and I was out.

Not a good start.

The supers were very quiet at the beginning due to a $200 No Limit event being held every night but I decided I had no option but to play even if there was no seat just cash. My first try was uneventful then suddenly for the first time in eight months I hit form.

It was a Friday five days before I was booked to leave - three weeks before the big one. It was the afternoon super satellite - two tables and not enough for a seat. Down to three I'm chip leader and offered a proportional deal I take $2,300. That evening there's only enough for one table down to three again I'm chip leader and take $1,700.The following night there's one $10,000 seat, with three left I'm chip leader but can't afford to offer the others a deal. Then one of the players offers me $3,500 and the other guy $3,000 and takes the seat.

Now I am $6,825 up and I enter the Sunday evening super. This time there's a seat and $2,000. I get heads up with Casey Castle, we can't agree a deal so we save a $1,000 and play on. He raises and I move in with pocket 3s. He quickly calls showing QQ. Here comes the flop for a seat in the big one - 6 6 3. Lucky me. I'm in the main event but all is not well.

What I should have done is flown home and then back two weeks later. Instead I decide to stay and try and win some more supers which will earn me $10,000 a time.

The rest was a blur. Basically I played another 17 supers made 3 more finals but missed the seats. Also due to some help from some great players who knew my predicament I was put into the $5,000 and $3,000 No Limit hold'em events but to no avail.

The weekend before the main event I had told myself I was going to rest ready for Monday. But by now I had done my tank and borrowed a few thousand to try the one table satellites which I had previously done well in.

The last four supers always give the most seats so on Saturday afternoon my good intentions to take a break went out of the window and I sat down with 301 other players. After the rebuys had finished it was announced that we were playing for 15 seats. With 60 players left I was chip leader and dreaming of winning the $10,000, paying back my friend and being in great form for the big one. Sadly it wasn't to be. I finished a gut-wrenching 17th.You can't believe how much it would have meant to win at this time.

I tried to get over it Sunday but after five weeks in Vegas and the roller coaster taking a steep drop I was never in shape to play my "A" game so for the first time in four attempts I failed to make the second day in the $10,000 Championship Event.

Yet again it was QQ in my big blind that cost me most of my chips. Under the gun raised, I flat called the flop was 5- 6- 7 and he milked my calls all the way to the river before flipping 8 9.

For the first time in two years I completely lost my focus and walked away from the table in a daze a few hands later.

To be honest I almost felt a sense of relief. I knew I was at the end of the road.

I had gone from £30,000 up to £50,000 down in eight months and I finally came to my senses. I flew home from Vegas and knew I had to make a lot of changes before I could play again.

I would like to be able to say that I got up the next day full of enthusiasm and started working again and sorting my life out. But it was not that simple.

When you have lived this almost surreal existence travelling all over the world, experiencing the wonderful highs for 18 months before finally hitting your personal wall and with it the despair of failure and financial difficulty it takes time to recover. I was depressed for three months with no energy and it wasn't until one day in August I woke up and thought: That's it. I'm sick of feeling sorry for myself. If I had listened to my friends this could have been prevented but the way I figured it with my record it was only a matter of time before I won another decent sized win.

Well I learnt the hard way. It doesn't matter what you've achieved before, if things start to go against you and you won't accept it and you won't believe your game is affected a small loss soon becomes a big loss. Fortunately I have always been able to earn a good living outside of poker so I am getting every thing back under control and enjoying it. I still love the poker world and feel ready to play again. I played a £400 No Limit in Southampton and came fifth when my JJ got beat by AK with an A on the turn. I managed to raise a smile and thought it will all even out in the long run. All I have to do is play my best as and when I can afford it and the results will be there.

One thing I guarantee you I will be back.

So there you go hope it is of benifit to someone. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed this blog, any feedback is always welcome


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

poker & he credit crunch (BLOG NUMBER 2)

Monday the 25th Aug took the decision to play the £20.00 re buy at gala teeside. Monday has always had approx 40 - 60 runners but numbers have been down recently. Talking to some friends at Newcastle yesterday they told me numbers are down there too. Wondering if the credit crunch has started to affect poker? A very disappointing 32 entrants most using the recent alternates rule to turn up late meant after re buy,s a first prize of £900.00. What was nice , was , to see Ian Bryson out of his Grosvenor suit paying a visit. He did not play the comp stating something about value or he did'nt fancy the opposition ! .

After a 5 hour slog managed to make the final with slightly less than average chips. With only 7 prizes play was tight . Did not get into many battles , always trying to preserve my stack for a possible battle nearer to first prize. With 5 players left I was faced with what would of been a "all in situ" for me holding pocket tens after a under the gun raise. Normally i would of pushed ,ll in in his situation but felt patience was a better stick to use, the raiser showed AQ. Two players dropped in quick succession leaving 3 payers left. With 220,000 chips in play & me holding only 24k & blinds of 1500/3000 a deal was offered. The two chipped up players taking £550.00 each and me taking £470.00. The deal was too good to turn down obviously or i would not of taken it especially as the next prize was £240.00 and looked like it had my name written all over it. Many discussions have been banded about regarding deals my view point is if it,s a good deal for me i will take it if not " no deal"

Anyway after entry/re buy costs which totalled £40.00 a profit of £430.00 was secured. This worked out at £70.00 per hour!!!

Looking back through previous years results for a Monday which has always been a £20.00 re buy the numbers & obviously the pot size have declined. There could be a few factors, we now have 15 min,s less re buy period, more players prefer the Tue,s freeze-out as apposed to a re buy & the credit crunch. If you entered the four weekly comps at teeside the cost would be £100.00 per week without a re buy. Not a lot of people can afford that amount on a regular basis, especially if they are not hitting. The school summer hols are nearly over maybe numbers will pick up.

Played again Friday in the £10.00 re buy "all in fest".This comp is not for the fainthearted or the purests among you as it can become a all in comp, but for value it,s second to none in the north east. WITH A PRIZE POOL OF NEARLY 5K produced from approx 90 runners it is excellent value for money. This comp has took a bit of stick on the n/cle poker forum but after the re buy period it becomes nearly normal poker. First prize of £1700 & second just over a £1000 it is the largest prize pool in the north east. My fun did'nt last long 7 re buys later i was out, ah well there,s always next week.

Spotted a good football bet midweek . Atl madrid v fc shalke at odds of 1.98 on betfair. Madrid needing a goal after losing the first leg 1-0 my thinking was a good chance of a home win. so punted £250.00 which returned a profit of £245.00, that was my only bet this week.

Betfair trading was suspended this week and probally nextweek due to the unavailability of some others involved.

Played the hold em cash game this week which was'nt as juicy as previous weeks but recovered Fridays buy ins plus a small £40.00 profit.

I was speaking to Paul bracken this week. Paul as you may not be aware of was the winner at Blackpool year when i came second, and deservedly so. Paul is primarily a cash game player & living in London he has the pick of the cream. Well Paul played two sessions this week and won in both of em for a handsome profit. A few years ago i used to go to London for a long weekend to play cash & squeezed a canny profit ,that may be on the cards again.

If the money is not in n/cle or teeside i may have to travel again. I have found a juicy £50.00 re buy on a Mon, wed & Fri. in S tockport It only has 70 runners and generates a 14k pot regularly. Another casino is opening in Leeds soon so will keep a eye on what poker they do.

I was going to go to stockport this Monday but the GUKPT is on in Bolton No mater what i am unable to play the main event this week so i am going to travel down for Mon & Tue,s comps . The events are £200.00 & £300.00 freeze-outs so read next weeks blog to find out what happens.

From next week I am going to add some tips or story,s from the poker world in the UK. Just little snippets and unusual things that happens, did not have time this week.

So over to our bankroll, last week it finished at £11,164.00 from a starting point of £10,000. With poker comps profits totalling £280.00 cash games £120.00.

and one football bet showing a profit of £245.00 our bankroll has increased to £11,809.00

Next week is going to be a £600.00 in entry fee,s week so lets hope we can get a hit in Bolton.

Lastly thanks for all the positive comments, any are welcome even negative ones. Any questions topics you would like to see discussed please use the comments section of this blog.

Thanks and good luck all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

my first weekly blog (BLOG NO 1)

Well here it is my first weekly blog . This is going to be a regular feature of mine, weekly updates containing my thoughts amd thinkings in the crazy world of poker, trading ,sports betting and the likes. Hopefully I will get as much benifit from it as you will.

I have set aside £10,000 in real money which is called my blog bankroll and as some sort of perverse social experiment am going to share it with you (litterally). The sum of money is real it exists and is seperated from any other money I have. I have had this idea for a while now after being inspired by my good m8 domonic kay whose blog i enjoy and look forward to reading.

Thought I would do a quick summary of the year so far.

Firstly Teeside & n/cle my weekly poker tournaments, my bread & butter. I have for the last several years made a good income locally but to be honest this year has been so disapointing and frustrating. If you received money for 10th to 15th place i would be sat typing this in florida rather than the chilly north east, unbeleviable the ammount of " just outside the money finishes i have had". Fortunately they have not been the result of bad play but just situatiions outside of my control. I noticed after my blackpool success late last year every one wanted to take out "the guy who had been on the telly" it was if i was sitting with a big target on my head. This is out of my control but it does not help that it seems to be repeated on satalite tv every bloody week. I had a long discussion with steve holden about this in luton a couple of weeks ago and it is happening to him at his local (walsall) , guess it goes with the terrotory. The other thing i,ve noticed is the ammount of 60/40 situations i have lost this year, too many to count & always at crucial stages of comps that is the frustrating thing this year, however to grasp something positive from these situations it does tell me i am doing the right thing ,playing the right way and as poker is a long term game it will in time balance itself out.

More positavely is i am still ahead (just) this year locally so hopefully i can turn it around by the end of the year.

Secondly onto the travels, away, great start at brighton way back in jan, sponsored into the main event i came a creditable 27th for a £1800 pay day. I also won the £200.00 f/out for a £ 6400 payday a fantastic start. Since brighton i have been to Edinburgh, bristol, luton, manchester, walsall & nottingham all with no major cashes, altho i did receive a minor cash in one of the side events in manchester. Luckily i have been sponsored in our satalited in to alot of the main events so the exspensis have been kept to the bare minimum. A few good hold em cash games on my travels have helped with the costs so really no concerns and well happy with the way things are progressing nationally. One of the by products of winning at brighton was a seat in the grosvenor tournaments of champions to be held in december so something free to look forward to.

Online has been good. For those of you who are not aware i am given a bankroll from mansion who basically pay me to play. Without going into to much details this has proved a steady income over the last 8 months. A large cash in mansions big monthly 750k guarenteed was a fantastic bonus first place "get in". Credit must go to my good m8 michael jackson from spenny who made all the crucial decisions at the right time. Without him it would of defo been a different result. Mick is a great online player and it is down to him that the income has been steady cheers m8. I feel it is only a matter of time before we crack that sunday $150k guarenteed. So in summary online a well positive situation and very well rewarding financially.

So now for last week with our £ 10,000 bankroll i played two comps this week live both at teeside. Thurs £10.00 rebuy & Fridays £ 10.00 rebuy. A tenth place finish on thurs with no rebuys or add ons resulted in £40.00 profit. Fridays comp bought a deep finish but I lost a 70/30 to finish out of the money but with again no add ons or rebuys the profit from teeside comps was £20.00. However in teeside a little hold em cash game has sprung up in the last couple of weeks. I have been watching it and it seemed the sort of game i would thrive in. Hold em competition players playing a cash game equals one thing for me profit. There are not alot of competition players who cant play hold em cash games well, but i know i can, so took part thurs & friday. Thurs was a cool £510.00 profit and friday a little less at £380.00 but for a total of 7 hours play a very good return of investment. I do not wish to come across depremental to some of the players in the hold em game but intend to be honest with the blog so no offence.
On sunday i tok the last minute decision to travel the 40 odd miles upto newcastle for there £50.00 maximum 2 rebuys. I have not played this comp as much as I would of liked this year but feel it is one of the better comps in the north east. I was expecting a 60 runner field esspecially as it was a bank hol weekend. A very dis apointing field of 42 runners attended but even more disapointing was the number of rebuys/top up,s 12!!!!! very disapointing indeed. Throughout the comp i struggled to amass any sort of decent chips & was always struggling under average chips. A very needed double up with my pocket tens holding up against sunderlands mr angry. Unfortunatly it caused mr angry to tilt push on the next hand with k7! off suit where he walked into the big blind,s pocket jacks. Exit mr angry & most people were aware that he was out, total un-neccasary play as he was just below average. The double up tho welcome still meant a long struggle and as we approached the last 14 i had visions of "he we go again". But a change of fortune and managed to limp into the final as lowest chips. With only 2 moves available to me ll in or pass i pushed with a4 against the very tight chip leader who called holding pocket twos,s. A two on the flop sent me to the rails out in 8th place for a £140.00 prize equating to a £40.00 profit.
On the way home i was diverted of the a19 by the police as a man was attempting to jump from the a19 road bridge into the river wear, sincerley hope it ws not mr angry, come on m8 it was AK versus 10,s u were behind.

I ve just started in a round about fashion trading via betfair, it is a exploritry journey for me as i am just finding my feet. I am certainly in no way qualified to speak on this subject but as i am involved with others there will be certainly very little written if anything on this subject. With the british weather there were very little horse trading opportunities in fact i only worked 5 hours this week which returned a profit of £35.00. This is something i will be progress on a as & when basis but hopefully will form a large part of my monthly/ annual income.

Lastly this week saturday in fact i placed a £100.00 bet on betfair on ncle versus bolton which returned a cool £ 116.00 profit, As those who know me ,no i have a rule about not betting on football until at least late sep but the opportunity was there for the taking thank god for owen given & betfair. the odds offered were totally wrong or right from my point of view.. A little less than i would normally wager but the form is not out there to study yet,

so totalling the profit from all aspects this week my blog bankroll has moved from £10,000 upto £1164,00 a good weeks work with a profit of £1164.00

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and would welcome any comments or good or bad