Monday, December 27, 2004

Qualifier to EPT in Deauville

I was about to go to bed Xmas evening before I went to have a look if there was any interesting promotions on Pokerstars. Well I noticed they were coming up to the billionth hand dealt so decided to play 7 low limit tables just to see if I could be one of the lucky people who would get $5000 for being in that hand with $50000 for the winner. Just missed out on that one. How lucky was the guy who won $50000. He was playing in a $0.10/0.20 NL Holdem cash game. A good night for him is probably a $20 win. Instead he won $55000. He must feel like he won the lottery. I had to feel sorry for the two players on the table who were sitting out the hand as they get a big fat zero $.

I also noticed there was an EPT qualifier to Deauville which was $360 to enter and there were 4 seats up for grabs so thought I’d give that a shot. Played good poker throughout only really in danger once early when I needed QQ to stand up against AK or I was out. After about 3 hours I was on the final table with 15000 chips which at the time was ranked about 3rd out of 8. The two players directly to the left of me had 25000 chips and all the others were between 5000-8000.

I decided I wasn’t going to get involved in any hands against the chip leaders unless I had KK or AA before the flop. I was in a good position to qualify as the blinds were still reasonably low. It was a case of targeting the small stacks. I knocked one of them out when my KK stood up against their QQ and with 6 people left I felt I was pretty much assured of my seat as I had 25000 chips and only two of the remaining three short stacks needed to be knocked out for me to qualify. I noticed the two other big stacks were getting involved in hands against each other which I just thought was ridiculous. Like me there is no point getting involved. It was like they were playing to win a tournament or something. Then an amazing hand happened when the two big stacks got involved against each other and one went for a big bluff of 18000 chips all in and got called with two pair. That one idiot had gone from 27000 chips and being almost assured of a seat at one stage down to 3000 and was shortly knocked out leaving us with 5 players.

I won another hand when with AA in the big blind I just called the other big stack down without raising at all as I wasn’t going to risk the fact he may have made two pairs. I was chip leader on 40000 chips and the last player to go took a while but eventually I won my seat plus expenses to Deauville which is worth $3600.

It’s amazing how bad some people can play. I think if the chip leader had set himself to away and gone and watched a film he would have won a seat. Instead he played like a lunatic and got himself knocked out.

So Deauville here I come. It was a nice way to end my poker year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A few end of year gongs

Pro Poker Player Site of the Year – Daniel Negreanu

The best of the pro players sites by a mile in my opinion. It includes a regularly updated blog and a forum that Daniel posts on sometimes. Plus all sorts of articles that he writes for Card Player magazine.

I do like this article from Barry Greenstein.

He rates many of the well known pro’s on aggressiveness, looseness, limit, No-Limit, side games e.t.c.

Fair play to him for sticking his neck on the line and I am sure his ratings will offend a few of them. The best quote is in his analysis of Phil Hellmuth
“Phil has assured me that he is a much better player than I give him credit for.”
Classic Hellmuth.

Blogs of the Year

I have scoured my way through many good blogs in 2004. I have to pick 3 that are regularly updated. There are other very good ones but I like the ones that post more than once a week.

Mike Lacey -

Andy Ward -

Big Dave D -

Muppet(s) of the Year

I wish I could name them but I am just too nice. There are just some people in poker that get a few decent tournament results and suddenly think they are the best thing since slice bread.

Worst Play against me of the Year

Someone calling a 55000 chip raise from me when they had no chips committed on the button with KJ which put us both all in and knocked me out into 5th in one of the Poker Classic tournaments at the Vic. The worst part is that thought it was a good call when they only had a 40% chance of winning the hand.

Best place to make money online

Any game on Party Poker and any other site where you make a good decision about game selection.

Worst online site of the year

Has to be Victor Chandler with the endless problems they have had during tournaments and their notoriously poor customer service.

That’s all I can think of for now.

Have a good Xmas.


Monitor or watch?

Hmmm now I have just about got over this hand I am able to write it down. Its amusing because if i have a good night i normally write about it the next day but the bad nights take a bit longer for me to write down. ;-)

I sat down in the £5/£10 NL Holdem last Friday night on Betfair with £1000. I flopped the nuts straight early on when I held QK and someone made a set of Jacks and doubled me up. I then lost a few hands which put me down to £1700 and then this hand happened. I am on the button and find AA. This is a 6 handed table. Under the gun raises £40 to play and then an aggressive player who has raised a lot of pots reraises it to £150 to play. I decide to call and the UTG player passes. Flop 334. He bets £400. Now there is no way in my opinion he can have a 3 after the initial reraise and I have got to be very unlucky if he has 44. I don’t want to scare him out of this pot so I go into the think tank and just call. At this point I have put him on either JJ, QQ or KK. The turn brings another 3 so I now have a full house. He immediately goes all in which has me covered for about another £1150. I call straight away and he has TT. The river brought a dreaded T. Something had to be thrown at that point to vent my frustration and it was either my monitor or my watch. Well my watch got the worst of it and went flying across the room. That damn T cost me a £2700 pot.

After that I was on tilt big style. It really is something that I don’t seem to be able to control online. I don’t play terrible poker on tilt I am just super aggressive and will gamble large amounts on coin flips rather than waiting for a bigger edge. I lost another massive pot for £1300 when I had AK. Flop K37. I check raise my opponent all in. He has KJ and rivers a J. I lost about £2900 in the end and went to bed feeling pretty sick. Perhaps I was due a bit of bad luck.

I woke up Saturday morning and decided to focus on winning at least some of the £2900 back so I started up another £5/£10 NL Holdem game and a $5/$10 Pot Limit Omaha game on Pokerstars. I played really solid good poker for a few hours and managed to turn £400 on the NL Holdem table into £1800 after one big hand where I hit the Ace flush on the turn and my opponent had a Queen flush. Also on the Omaha game on Pokerstars I turned $600 into $2200.

So overall I lost about £700 but felt like I had won. Until I can learn to take the inevitable bad beats that happen in the big games online and not go on tilt I really should not play in them. I think I am gambling for bigger stakes than necessary so am going to change my strategy for the New Year. I can cope with £500 swings but these £3000 swings are too risky.

Monday, December 20, 2004


Poker can be such a bitch sometimes. I was playing in a qualifier on Pokerstars for the EPT main event in Monte Carlo when the following hand happened. This was a $615 buy in event and we were down to two tables. With the blinds still extremely low and a 30 min clock I was really fancying my chances as I had been gradually increasing my chips from the beginning. Why do people on the internet think that it’s worth risking all their chips pre flop in a big buy in event with AK? I just think this is terrible play. Surely freezeouts are all about waiting till you believe you have a significant advantage in a hand before you commit all your chips. I check raised my opponent with KK and he moved all in and got lucky on the river. I actually broke my abuse rule and gave him some in the chat box. My favorite thing about his response was that he said, “I thought you probably had QQ.” That just made me laugh as if that was his read why would he not just call my original raise of 900 instead of going all in. If he thought I had a high pair he would be at best a coin flip and at worst a severe dog which he was. I would have actually passed QQ before the flop to his raise all in. But hey what do I know?

*********** # 5 **************
PokerStars Game #977104727: Tournament #3908413, Hold'em No Limit - Level
III (25/50) - 2004/12/19 - 19:34:18 (ET)
Table '3908413 1' Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: vuddu (5630 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 2: milkybarkid (5235 in chips)
Seat 3: dangler (1675 in chips)
Seat 5: noc1111 (1905 in chips)
Seat 6: thebestwon (4785 in chips)
Seat 8: agcpa (5310 in chips)
Seat 9: Lanken (4555 in chips)
agcpa: posts small blind 25
Lanken: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to milkybarkid [Kd Ks]
vuddu: folds
milkybarkid: calls 50
dangler: folds
noc1111: folds
thebestwon: raises 150 to 200
agcpa: calls 175
Lanken: folds
milkybarkid: raises 1000 to 1200
thebestwon: raises 3585 to 4785 and is all-in
agcpa: folds
milkybarkid: calls 3585
*** FLOP *** [Th Jc 9c]
*** TURN *** [Th Jc 9c] [3d]
*** RIVER *** [Th Jc 9c 3d] [Ac]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
milkybarkid: shows [Kd Ks] (a pair of Kings)
thebestwon: shows [Kh Ad] (a pair of Aces)
thebestwon collected 9820 from pot
minnycards [observer] said, "bad beat"
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 9820 Rake 0
Board [Th Jc 9c 3d Ac]
Seat 1: vuddu folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: milkybarkid showed [Kd Ks] and lost with a pair of Kings
Seat 3: dangler folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: noc1111 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: thebestwon (button) showed [Kh Ad] and won (9820) with a pair of
Seat 8: agcpa (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 9: Lanken (big blind) folded before Flop

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Review of 2004 and aims for 2005

Well it may be quite early to do a proper review of my year but as I doubt that I’ll play a great deal more this year other than a few games online and maybe one visit to the Vic.
I didn’t play a great deal until June when I started keeping records. I didn’t have a computer before then and was busy traveling around the country doing a job I really didn’t like. I actually gave up that job thinking either I would get an amazing new job or I would try and play poker for a living. Well it took just two days for me to land a job I couldn’t refuse so turning professional has at least been put on the backburner until March next year.

Tournament Review

I have played in 9 tournaments in 2004 with entrance fees of £200 or higher.

European Poker Championships 2004 - London

£250 Pot Limit Omaha
£200 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo

Gutshot Club - London

£500 No Limit Holdem Freezeout

European Poker Classics - London

£250 Pot Limit Holdem
£750 No Limit Holdem Freezeout
£500 Pot Limit Omaha
£300 No Limit Holdem Freezeout
£3000 European Poker Tour No Limit Freezeout

Xmas Cracker - Brighton

£500 No Limit Holdem Freezeout

In 6 of these 9 tournaments I have made the final three tables finishing 5th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 11th and 20th. Tournaments that have entrance fees really seem to focus my poker and I seem to keep bad decisions down to a minimum. I have definitely improved upon my tournament No Limit Holdem as prior to 2004 I had predominantly played Pot Limit Holdem. My 20th place in the European Poker Tour event in London is perhaps the most frustrating. I know that despite playing well throughout day 1 I left myself to short chipped to be able to make an impact on the 2nd day and it isn’t a mistake I will be making again. My 5th place in the £300 No Limit Holdem Freezeout was highlight as there were 198 runners. Its one I could have done even better in but my opponent hit his second pair on the river to send me out.

Overall I paid £7400 in entrance fees to tournaments in 2004. My prize money was £4400. So my tournament loss was £3000. However, half my EPT event entrance fee was paid by backers. My investment in Adam Matusiak for the main event in Brighton in the summer yielded me £6000. So if I include that in my figures I actually made a profit of £4500 in 2004.

Cash Game Review

It seems bizarre that when I look at my figures that despite cash games being my most financially successful area of my poker I have played it the least by far. Obviously with still having a job I can’t manage the late nights and the convenience of playing online can be too tempting. Since June I have played live cash games 18 times. 14 of which were winning sessions. I also have tendency not to play for a while if I have a good win. I think it’s because when I do win it’s normally a £1000+ win due to the level of cash game I play. If I lose I also don’t normally play for a while as my losses are always £1000+ when I lose and I don’t want to start chasing. I know if I do turn professional I will have to play cash 3 or 4 times a week as these are my bread and butter. I don’t think you can be a successful professional player unless you are good at cash games. Tournaments are just a bonus in my opinion and I enjoy playing them.

When I posted a few months back my Live Cash – Overall Win rate (per hour) was + £131.55. I have had two wins and two losses since then and it will finish the year at Live Cash – Overall Win rate (per hour) + £125.27. Overall for 2004 I made a profit in cash games of just over £9000.

Focusing specifically on the games I play live. I am very happy with my Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo game. I need to improve upon my Stud game significantly if I am to truly feel comfortable playing for large amounts of money in Dealers Choice games. I rarely play Holdem cash games as the big games always seem to be Omaha or dealers choice.

Online Poker

I really do have a love hate relationship with online poker. I know that it is probably the easiest area in poker to make consistent money but I often lack focus or choose games that I shouldn’t be playing. I have massive winning runs and then equally as bad losing runs. I gave up keeping proper records of how I was doing because I’d often just play for an hour and not keep results. So I contacted all the sites that I’ve played on in 2004 to gain records of my profit/loss.

I managed to turn what was a £8000 loss just a few months ago into a break even on one site. I have played this year on Betfair, Victor Chandler, Paradise, Party and Pokerstars and after correlating my results together I made a very marginal profit. I could easily say that online poker this year has been a waste of time or has it? I certainly have learnt some harsh lessons about my own personality and a huge tendency to go on tilt when I’ve had a few drinks and have a few bad beats. I have gambled for some serious money as well. On Betfair which I play on the most I have deposited £20000 from my current account. Yikes.

Playing online has definitely improved my NL Holdem game and my Omaha Hi/Lo. I have literally played in every game that online can offer. Big multi table tournaments, Sit N Go’s, Omaha, Hi/Lo, Stud, Pineapple (I won at that somehow), Limit Holdem, NL Limit Holdem and a few satellites to big events.

It shows how ridiculous playing online has made me in the past. I was playing $20/$40 Limit on Party Poker a month back. While I managed to win what the hell was I doing playing Limit Holdem? I have probably only ever played the game for about 20 hours in my life. Yet in my wisdom (on tilt) I decided it was a good choice of game. Probably a good decision as I can’t bet too much playing Limit.

Aims for 2005

Live Tournaments

I will increase the number of tournaments I play in and will definitely travel abroad to play in a few tournaments. I am tempted by the EPT events in both Vienna and Copenhagen but will probably only travel to one of them.

My ranking for Europe for 2004 currently stands at 244th. My aim is too significantly improve upon that. For 2005 I aim to finish in the top 20 in Europe. I know that is a high target but I like to have something to aim for. It keeps me focused.

Hopefully I won’t have as many bubble finishes as this year which is just so frustrating. I’d rather be knocked out after 10 minutes than play for 8 hours and finish on the bubble.

Live Cash

I am going to play more cash live. I will start playing at least once a week. I am going to buy some books to learn to improve my stud game. I don’t know my pot odds well enough to be confident in making big bets in that game yet.


I will continue to play online a fair bit. I have decided I am only going to play the following games Pot Limit Omaha, NL Holdem and Satellites to big poker events.

No more multi table tournaments, Sit n Go’s, Limit poker, Stud or any other crazy game I think I can beat.

Overall I have really enjoyed playing poker this year. I have had an opportunity to play in some very big cash games and tournaments and have had a real buzz from doing so. I have also met many of the well known players. At one point I found myself mixing it on the same table with Peter Costa, Dave Colclough and Marcel Luske. I definitely couldn’t have imagined that at the start of the year. Hopefully I can continue to focus on my game, improve, and have a successful 2005.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Running hot

Its a great feeling in poker when you are on a good run and always feel you are going to hit cards!

Started with just $140 on the $2/$5 No Limit Hold em table on Betfair. On the very first hand I called a $10 raise on the button with 24 suited and it flopped A35 and i doubled up against the raiser who held AK. Shortly afterwards i called a $30 pre flop raise with A9 hearts and it flopped 996. Before i could do anything the player under the gun had gone all in for $230. Easy call and i'm up to $500. Shortly afterwards i had A3 of hearts and called a small raise pre flop and it flops 345 with two hearts. Opponent raised $30 i reraised to make it $70 and he goes all in for $300. I figure he has an overpair which means i have any A32 or heart to scoop. I called and the next card was a 3 :-) .... finished up with $850. Isn't poker great when you get lucky?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Betfair :-D

Had another excellent night playing on the Omaha tables on Betfair. Some of the plays I saw just left me in disbelief. One guy went all in pre flop with K732 off suit for $400 and hit a K which was good enough against two callers. That’s the equivalent of raising $400 in Hold em pre flop with 37. I just played tight aggressive only playing very strong hands pre flop due to the amount of crazy pre flop raising that was going on. I doubled up my $500 early on when the flop came 5c7c2h and I held 6c6d4hAc which gave me the Ace flush draw and up and down for the straight. I raised and was reraised all in and called. Turn brought a 2d and the river a Qh. No help for me I thought but my pair of 6s was good. My opponent obviously thought a Gutshot straight draw and a T flush was good enough to raise me all in. Long may that kind of play continue.

Then this hand happened.

------HAND 44------
Game #21536943: Omaha High Pot Limit ($2.50/$5) - 2004/12/07 - 20:24:05
Seat 7 is the button.
Seat 1: Player1 ($507.75 in chips)
Seat 2: Player2 ($680.75 in chips)
Seat 3: Player3 ($490 in chips)
Seat 5: Milkybarkid ($1023.25 in chips)
Seat 7: Player4 ($559.75 in chips)
Seat 8: Player5 ($543.75 in chips)
Seat 10: Player6 ($438 in chips)
Player5: posts small blind $2.50
Player6: posts big blind $5

----- HOLE CARDS -----
dealt to Milkybarkid [10s As Jh Qh]
Player1: raises to $22.50
Player2: raises to $50
Player3: calls $50
Milkybarkid: calls $50

I like my hand here. With the kind of players on this table it’s almost tempting to reraise here but I just call.

Player4: folds
Player5: folds
Player6: folds
Player1: calls $27.50

----- FLOP ----- [8s 7s 9d]
Player1: bets $50
Player2: calls $50
Player3: calls $50
Milkybarkid: raises to $175

This is a dream flop for me. I have the top straight which I can improve on and the Ace flush draw. I could have reraised as much as $400 here. However, my hand is so strong that I don’t want to drive anyone with small flush draws and small straights out of this pot.

Player1: calls $125
Player2: folds
Player3: calls $125

----- TURN ----- [8s 7s 9d][Jh]
Player1: bets $405.75 and is all-in
Player3: calls $315 and is all-in
Milkybarkid: calls $405.75

Wow. Both of them move all in before me. I have improved on my straight and still have the nuts. I call thinking I may be splitting this pot now.

----- RIVER ----- [8s 7s 9d Jh][Ah]
----- SHOW DOWN -----
Player1: shows [3d 9s 10h Ad] (A Straight, Jack high)
Player3: shows [4h 5c 6h 10d] (A straight, Ten high)
Milkybarkid: shows [10s As Jh Qh] (A Straight, Queen high)

Milkybarkid collected $1909 from Main pot

My straight is good. Player 1 decided his J high straight was good enough to commit all his money. He had a 9 flush draw that was drawing dead to my A flush when all his money went in. Player 3 is just a muppet. He calls an all in bet with a 10 high straight. I’ll be adding him to my list of favourite players to play with. The amazing thing about my opponent’s hands is that they were both practically drawing dead on the flop.

I eventually stopped playing with $2500. Although I was very tempted to carry on as there were 4 players out of 7 that are amongst the worst Omaha players I have ever encountered they were all playing crazy and I knew I would go on tilt if one of them outdrew me with a miracle.

My stats below are quite interesting as well. I was the biggest winner on the table and yet probably saw the least flops by a mile. Some of the players must have been up around 60-80% of flops seen. My 12% flops seen statistic is very low but on such a loose aggressive table, pre-flop hand selection is crucial. Most of them were living by the saying, “Any four cards are good.”

games played 153
flops seen 12%
games won 13%
showdowns won 72%

Monday, December 06, 2004

Brighton Xmas Festival Main Event – 104 runners

Day 1

Starting chips of 7500.

I drove down to Brighton feeling pretty confident after my amazing night online the night before. I decided on a change of tactics. Normally I play like a Rock for the first couple of hours and try and hit monsters but for this event I thought I for the first two levels I would get involved in alot of flops whilst the blinds were low. I managed to bluff a lot of hands and was never called down during the first level. Everyone on my table was playing tight and there was no-one on my table except locals I think. It was very quiet as we were upstairs and the only background noise was Paul Parker chatting on the other table. I purposely showed the table AK twice and QQ when raising pre flop to try and maintain a tight image for the hand that I bluffed. A check raise when I had TT on a J34 flop got someone to lay down JQ. I was moved halfway through the second level and decided to sit back for a bit as I had progressed my stack to a healthy 13000 chips. At the start of level three with the blinds at 100/200 I have 73 on the big blind and there are two callers plus the small blind. The flop comes 732 and the small blind bets 800 and I just call. The button raises it to 2500 and the small blind passes. I reraise another 4000 chips and the button thinks for a few minutes then shows 99 and passes. That was a nice pot to pick up. Level 4 and 5 I wasn’t really involved in many big hands and managed to get my stack up to 23000 chips and am above the chips average. My table is broken up again and I’m moved to the main table that is used for the final. Hopefully I won’t be moved again now. My cards went cold for ages but I managed to maintain my chip count with a couple of moves. By the time the blinds had reached 500/1000 we were down to three tables and my chip count was about 25000.

I find 66 on the big blind and all pass round to the small blind that went all in for 6000. I call and he flops over 6A. Perfect I think till the evil A is first card down on the flop. That hand really harmed my stack as 31000 would have kept me around the chip average but instead I am down 19000. Stole a few blinds to stop me being blinded away and was on 20000 chips by the time we were down to two tables and blinds were 1000/2000. I liked one hand I played just because of the reaction it caused at the table. I am on the button and under the gun calls the 2000 blind. I think for a minute and raise all in for 20000 chips. Small blind and big blind pass. UTG caller M Latiffe who is the chip leader goes into the think tank and eventually passes and shows AT and says you got me! I turn over 25. He goes mad and I just smile away happily. Other notable hands saw me lay down 77 when I raise to 4000 and someone goes over the top for another 10000. Soon it was 3.15am and I have 20000 chips with blinds of 1500/3000. I decide that I am not coming all the way back from London with such short chips for the second day so I raise all in on 3 of the last 4 hands and manage to steal the blinds with 2K, 27 and 33. So I ended the day with just over 30000 chips. Not great but we were down last 15 runners.

Day 2

Brighton management decided to give us a full 45 minute clock with blinds of 1500/3000 so at least I had a few rounds that I could watch the action pass by if I got no cards.
I started off very well winning a small pot in a small blind v big blind when I milk 6000 chips when I hit a flush on the flop. Also a few of my pre flop raises are not contested so I get up to a reasonable stack of 45000 and a few players have hit the rails. Then this hand did me some damage. With blinds of 2000/4000 I find 88 one seat of the button. I raise to 12000 and the small blind goes all in for 40000. I eventually pass after figuring that this player must either have me in a very bad position with an overpair or AK. He had been playing quite tight as well. A few round go by and I am down to about 15000 chips and find KK and a someone raises pre flop and calls my all in. I double up v AT. We were down to 12 players now and I have about 30000 chips when my tournament effectively ended. I pick up 99 and under the gun raises to 10000. I think and move all in and everyone passes. UTG says “You may have me in bad shape but I’m calling.” He shows AT. Two people say they passed Aces so I figure I’m in very good shape. Flop 25T. No help on the turn or the river and I am down to a measly 2500. However I hit two miracle flushes on the river and get back to 20000. Maybe this could be my day. I pick up JQ suited in position and go all in again. Big blind calls and shows 44. I am out in 12th.

Overall I know I played well throughout the tournament. I rarely had good hands and most of pots I picked up through bluffing. Before the last few hands I only called twice all in and both times I had my opponents dominated. However, my frustration at these big events is growing. I have been in the money in 3 of the last four big events I have entered. Each time I have gambled on a really major hand for all my chips I have lost. My AQ v AJ affectively ended my chances in the EPT in London costing me over half my chips making my position impossible for the second day. I lost with AT v KJ to go out in 5th in the £300 freezeout during the Vic festival. This time I lost two coin flips 99 v AT and the losing to 44 when I had JQ. Its just so frustrating playing for so long and in the end feeling like it was a waste of time and effort.

Fantastic Friday on Betfair

Well I pretty much played poker all weekend. On Friday night I played on Betfair and managed to have my most successful online night to date. Started on the £2.50/5 Omaha table and was in for £1000 when my hands started to stand up and my draws were coming in. One remarkable hand saw me call a £300 bet on the turn with 4 other players calling and I had a Gutshot and an Ace Flush draw. The flush comes and I bet £600 and get 4 callers! Wow I couldn’t have dreamt of that. That put a few on tilt and I finished up on the Omaha table with £4500.

About midnight I decided to also start playing a $5/$10 NL Hold em game as well. Started with $700 and had a few interesting hands. Second hand in I manage to double up when I flop a set with my 77 on a 7Q2 flop when my opponent had QK. That put me up to $1500. Won a few more smallish pots and soon found myself with $2000. Then this hand happened. Two limpers and I have got 9hTh on the button. I decide to try and steal the blinds and pop in a raise to $100. Three callers yikes. Flop come 2s3c8h … not good but it checks round to me and I think a reasonable bet here could win the pot representing an overpair. I bet $300 and get two callers… hmmm I don’t like this hand now. Turn brings a 7h… just about the dream card for me. I am up and down for the straight flush and there is $1400 in the pot. Assuming my flush is good I now have a monster draw with 17 cards that I think will give me the winning hand. It’s checked round to me! I think that one of my opponents is either slow playing a very high pair or has flopped a set and so a raise from me and they could set me in for my remaining $1500. I also figure that if one of them does have a high pair or a set they are going to call me down if I make it. So I check. Last card is a 6d to give me the absolute nuts. Both check again and I now have to decide how much to bet. I’m sure now with this board that a high pair may call and a set thinks they have me trapped. I bet the $1500 and get instantly called by the under the gun player. The other player also gives it the think tank. I have to be happy with one caller here though and scoop a monster $4500 pot. The guy who called had 33 and gave me a tirade of expletives in the chat box. I don’t think I played the hand wrong and it shows why slowplaying is so dangerous. If he had bet the $1500 on the turn when the dangerous flush draw appeared I may have passed. The other guy typed into the chat box that he had QQ. The guy who lost the massive pot started playing like a lunatic and I found AK and called his pre flop raise of $100. Flop comes down K56 rainbow. I check and he bets out $300 and I raise him $450 which would put him all in. He starts swearing at me again in the chat box and finally calls and shows 79. He called $450 with a Gutshot. He misses and I pick up another pot of $1750 and finish on the table with $6500.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Betfair Promotions

I see Betfair have some very good promotions for December. Click on the banner above to have a look. If i had the time i would have a go at the leaderboard as you get points for winning £1 SitnGos and the winner gets a package to the WSOP 2005.

Lack of poker action

Not much to report this week. Been to busy celebrating the beginning of the Xmas month to play any poker. I am going to play in the £500 freezeout in Brighton on Saturday. My first live tournament poker since I was knocked out of the EPT event in London. Talking of EPT events I see they are holding one in Denmark. Hmmm well that tempts me as I’ve always wanted to go to Copenhagen.

I have a new strategy for the Brighton freezeout this weekend. Will report back on how it goes.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Its Monday

Not much poker action over the weekend. Did have a go at the EPT qualifier for Deauville on Pokerstars but on a flop of K82 I ran into 88 when I was holding AK. No escape for me on that one. Not going to try another qualifier for Deauville as I’ve pretty much made my mind up that I’m going to Vienna in March so will give France a miss. The structure there for the main event looks excellent plus I’ve heard good things from other players. Why is it that the structure of the main event at festivals in the UK is so secretive? I’m sure I’m not the only player who would like this information posted along with the schedule. If you are going to be paying a lot of money to enter the structure should be available on the Poker In Europe website or on the Hendon Mob tournament database.

Away from poker. Good to see Arsenal lose. Always puts a smile on my face :-)

Friday, November 26, 2004

Party muppets

I love Party poker at the moment. I had left $70 after cashing out $2300 a few days ago and thought I’d blow it on the $100 Pot Limit Hi/Lo table. Well the players were just rubbish and I managed to turn $70 into $500 in about 45 minutes before going to bed. I got reraised to $90 to play when I had AA24 by someone with TJQK. Do they not realize this is Hi/Lo Omaha? Think I will use the $500 on some $100 Sit N Go’s to try and turn it into a nice amount to cash out again.

Overall online I have at least managed to turn one of the American sites I play on into profit. Party is now up and Paradise is still a bit down.

May go and play some more live poker Sat night. This time I’ll be sticking to Omaha. I do like playing dealers choice but when the games of choice are generally Stud and Omaha Hi/Lo it’s frustrating because of the amounts of split pots. I sat for 3 hours last weekend and remained even till a slight moment of madness.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A poker article i wrote a while ago

Online Poker Tournament strategy

Below is some tips I wrote a while ago for online poker tournaments and thought I’d add them to my blog.

Pay Attention

This is something we can’t stress enough when playing online poker tournaments. It is easy to get distracted whilst playing poker on the internet but this is just playing in to your opponents hands. Remember poker is about learning the strategy of all your opponents therefore its crucial that you analyse all the hands on the table even the ones you are not involved in. Look at which players are getting involved in a lot of hands and which are the tight players. You don’t want to get caught putting all your chips in the middle against a player who very rarely gets involved in a hand as this player is likely to be holding a premium hand like AA, KK, QQ and AK.

Any edge you can get over your opposition can be the difference between winning and losing a big tournament. So stop talking on the telephone, reading emails and watching TV.

Don’t play too many starting hands

This will always be one of the most fundamental strategies of any successful online player. Yet very few players demonstrate the knowledge and/or patience to play good starting hands.

Playing fewer hands will always give you an advantage over your opponents in the long run. Everyone has seen poker on TV and seen the professionals throwing their chips in the middle, bluffing and going all in with relatively weak hands. What you don’t see however is the hours of hard work and concentration that these players put in to make the final table.

Think about this, if your opponents play 50% of their hands and you only play 25% of yours you will have an advantage in the majority of the hands that you play. When you hit pairs your kicker is likely to be higher, your straight will beat lower straights e.t.c. By playing fewer hands you will continue to put yourself in the best position to win the hand.

Patience, patience, patience

One thing that is clear in big poker tournaments online is that a number of players think that it is crucial to increase their chip stack as soon as possible. What you need to remember is that a big poker tournament is a marathon not a sprint. With hundreds of players in a tournament you are not going to be able to win it in an hour but what you can do is lose it. So if you only play a few hands in the first two hours and you manage to double your chip stack then that is excellent progress. The other players on the table may think you are boring but I guarantee that any player who got overexcited with an average hand and got knocked out early would swap position with you right now.

Make Notes on Players

With so many players in an online tournament you aren’t going to be able to remember how your opponents are playing just by their name so make notes on them. Any small advantage you can gain in a tournament can be the difference between staying in and getting knocked out. Take a look at the following scenario. You have just been moved to a new table where two players whose poker nicknames are TeddyB and Moneyman. You look and see that you made the following notes about these players from playing with them previously.

TeddyB – Extremely careful player. Only ever raises with a high pair.
Moneyman – Likes to gamble and bluffs a lot.

These kind of notes are crucial in a tournament. If TeddyB raises you can assume the player has a strong hand. Whereas if Moneyman raises there is a good chance that it is a bluff.

With hundreds of players in a tournament making notes will give you an edge over your opponents.

Keep learning

Good players are constantly learning. They read books, poker articles, magazines and are always watching other players to help them improve their game. Poker is a game of skill, and its no coincidence that many of the best poker players in the world are degree educated and often have run successful companies. You can search for articles and poker books online which can help you significantly improve your game.

Below are a few recommended books with a brief description of how they may help you.

Doyle Brunson’s Super System – Doyle Brunson
This is known as the bible of poker. Written by 2 time World Series of Poker Champion Doyle Brunson along with tips and advice from many other poker experts it is an excellent read for all poker players.

Killer Poker Online: Crushing the internet Game – John Vorhaus
This book is dedicated to online poker and gives helpful tips and advice on how to improve your internet poker.

The complete book of Hold’em Poker: A Comprehensive Guide to Playing and Winning – Gary Carson
A poker book full of hints and tips which is useful for both beginner and advanced players.

Tournament Poker for Advanced Players (Advance Player) – David Sklansky
A book for players who are looking to improve there game even further. Acknowledged as one of the best poker books around and it gives excellent poker tournament advice.

Realise when you are beat

Sometimes you have to let go of a good hand. It’s not easy but some of the best play in poker is realizing when your opponent has a superior hand. Say for example you raise with QQ before the flop and you get three callers and it flop comes down A87. It is highly likely that one of the three callers has an A. Sure you can make a bet but if you get re-raised it’s almost certain your hand is beaten so you just have to chuck it away.

Remember the difficulty of Bluffing online

Players are far more likely to call your bluffs online than in a real card room. It’s much easier to click a button on a computer screen to call a big bet than it is to reach your chips in a card room and put in most of your chips. This means that your bluffs are often likely to be called online so you should be more selective on the hands you try and bluff. Another reason is that a player may be embarrassed to make a bad call in a card room whereas online it is faceless so that player is not scared of looking stupid.
Only play if you are in the right mood

This can not be stressed enough. If you are feeling tired, unhappy or have a headache there is no way you are going to be able to play your best game. To win in the long run at poker you must always play to the top of your abilities. So if your mood isn’t right quite simply wait till another day or take a rest and play later.

Calling bets to hit cards that won’t help you

One of the most common mistakes in poker is assuming that if you hit your cards you will win. Look at this situation. If you hold AQ and there is a flop of 9104 and you decide that the odds justify you calling to hit a Q or an A on the next card which is about 7/1 to improve your hand. The problem with this method of thinking is that your opponent may already have you beat even if you do hit a Q or an A. You are in major trouble if your opponent has any of the following hands TT, 99, 44, T9, A9, AT, KT, A4, TQ, AK, JK. These are all fairly typical hands that your opponent will play with. Although you can justify that you are 7/1 to improve your hand the odds on you actually winning the hand are far worse especially if you are up against a few opponents who are betting.

Have fun

Poker is meant to be fun. Remember this is why you started playing the game. Make sure you play with money that you can afford to gamble. Poker is an extremely exciting game. It feels great when all your opponents fold when you were bluffing. There is also nothing more satisfying than knowing you are playing extremely well and outplaying your opponents. Just play your strongest game and enjoy yourself and you never know what may happen. Only one person can win but plenty of players can make the prize money and enjoy themselves in the process.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Mansour Matloubi v Stu Ungar

I remember the days when I was in my early teens when Mansour Matloubi used to tell me about his heads up battles against Stu Ungar and I found this interesting story on Phil Hellmuth’s website of all places. I often wander if I would have been playing poker if it wasn’t for Mansour. I did have a naturally tendency to gamble so I think I would have found it in the end. My dad buying me a gambling machine for my 12th birthday to try and get me bored of gambling probably says it all.

Mansour Quits Stuey forever!

Back in 1992 at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), World Champions Mansour Matloubi and Stuey Ungar faced off in a series of $50,000 buy-in heads-up freeze outs. Mansour tells me he was at the top of his game at this point in his poker career, having just won the WSOP in 1990. The game they were playing that day was no-limit Hold'em, and the blinds were $200-$400 when the following hand came up. Stuey opened for $1600 in the small blind, and Mansour called with 4-5 off suit. After a flop of 3-3-7 rainbow (no suits), Stuey bet $6,000--he started the hand with $60,000 to Mansour's $40,000--and Mansour called the $6,000 bet. On fourth-street a K came off and both players checked. On the river a Q came off to make a board of 3-3-7-K-Q, and Mansour, smelling weakness in Stuey, bet his last $32,000 or so. Stuey looked "right through" Mansour, and within ten seconds he said, "You have 4-5 or 5-6, I'm gonna call you with this." Stuey then flipped up 10-9, and called the $32,000 bet with merely ten-high! Wow, what an unbelievable call! Stuey can't even beat a jack-high-bluff with his hand, never mind any pair. In fact, Stuey could only beat 4-5, 4-6 or 5-6 in this scenario.

Give Mansour some credit. He did read Stuey right and made a great bluff. But Stuey deserves even more credit! He not only read Mansour right, he then made an amazing call. After Stuey called, Mansour looked up at the ceiling thinking, "I feel so crushed, it's almost like a bulldozer just ran over me. I still love Stuey, but what the heck is going on!" Mansour tells me now, "When a guy makes a call like that against you, you just give up. It's like he's taken all the steam out your sails. I decided that I couldn't play him anymore heads up no-limit Hold'em, at least on that day, if not forever." Indeed, it proved to be the last hand that Mansour ever played with Stuey heads-up.

Another day at that WSOP in 1992, Stuey was playing in a 5-handed $600-$1200 game with Mansour on table 59, while Bobby Baldwin and "Chip" Reese were playing gin at table 60. All of a sudden, Chip turns to Stuey at the other table and says, "How did you like the way I played that hand?" Stuey, who again, was busy playing $600-$1200 at the table next door, says, "I would have knocked four draws ago with five (points)." Chip then says, "Thanks" and rolls his eyes back in his head. Of course, Chip knew that Stuey was right, because Stuey was considered all but unbeatable in gin. In fact, he was so good at gin, that he couldn't even get a game from anyone anywhere for many years. But Chip didn't roll his eyes back in his head because Stuey was right, rather, he rolled his eyes back because he couldn't believe that Stuey was watching his every move while simultaneously playing high-stakes poker!

In the 1980's Stuey was considered the best in the world at gin (in fact he was the best for two decades), the best no-limit Hold'em player ever (by then he had won two World Championships, with one more to come), and one of the best backgammon players in the world as well. To be at the top in any of those games is quite a feat, but to be at or near the top in all three at once, was truly unbelievable. There are many other great stories about Stu Ungar and the amazing abilities that he had; soon there will be a book coming out about Stu; and a movie about Stu is currently being shot as well. I'm looking forward to both.

This will be updated onto my poker hot or not soon!

Quick gripe about the gutshot homepage.

The Bully!

Does he really know what he is talking about?

Also watched a few of the Pacific UK Open tournaments and its possibly the worst poker programme i've watched along with Celebrity Poker Club... Yawn!

I hate poker sometimes!!

After a pretty bad week both online and live over the weekend I set about attempting to retrieve my losses last night. I had done my usual, “I am not playing poker for a few weeks.” after my losses Sunday night online. Sunday was just one of those horrific online poker nights I would like to forget. I played in the £2.50/ £5 Omaha game on Betfair and lost each and every big pot I was involved in. So I took a fair few £500 losses to say the least. I lost a £2000 pot early on when I got reraised all in by someone with trips on the turn when I had the nut flush. I had 9TAK and got £800 in on a flop of TT9 against some muppet with JJQK and he hit his only out the J to give him a full house. My computer nearly got thrown out of my window on that last hand because it just summed up the whole evening.

It’s amazing how fortune changes so quickly because playing last night my good hands were actually standing up. I started again on the £2.50/£5 Omaha with £320…. I hit a few draws and scooped one major pot that went as following. I had Ac6c8h4h and called a £20 pre flop raise. Its flopped 4c7c2d. I bet the £100 as I have a gutshot, middle pair and the ace flush draw. Loose aggressive player reraises to £400 to play and player on the button goes all in for £600. I have £450 left and there is no way I can pass with the odds that this pot is now laying me. I could have passed the hand head to head but can’t pass three way action with a gutshot and the nut flush draw. Three of us all in. Cards over I see I am up against two sets of 4’s and 7’s. Turn brings an 8 and the river an 8 of clubs that gives a flush but pairs the board. The money moves towards me…. What? I look again at my hand and see a beautiful 8 that has given me an 88844 full house J and a £1750 pot. After that I played tight aggressive because my table was full of calling stations and finished the night with £3000.

Meanwhile over on Party I was playing the $10/$20 Hi/Low Omaha and managed to turn $300 into $2000 after a brilliant run of cards and immediately cashed out after my good fortune.

Its weird how poker messes with my mind. Sunday night when I finally went to bed about 4am I was vowing not to play again for a while and two days later I like poker again.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Playing Betfair No Limit Holdem $2/$5 at the moment. I raise $35 to play with AK and small blind calls. Flop 33A. I raise to $60. Small blind goes all in for $40 more so i call. He turns over 23 off. Absolutely ridiculous.

Just venting my frustration even though i didn't lose too much!!!

Mixed Weekend

Went to the Vic on Friday and played in the Dealers Choice. Was only there for a few hours but I managed to lose what I sat down with. I was getting inpatient and lumped it in on 5 card Omaha Hi/Low hand with the nut low draw and a high flush draw after being re-raised. Really didn’t see more than one or two good hands all night though. Still I shouldn’t have got involved in the hand that I did.

On Saturday afternoon I thought I would continue with my Sit n Go test and move up to $200. I managed 1st twice and busted out early twice so got $2000 back for a $845 investment. I played in the Omaha game on Betfair at the same time and despite being $1500 up at one point ended up $700 up.

The aspect that I consider is my biggest downfall as a poker player is that I am very inpatient. Its part of my real life personality as well. I want to win and win quick. It sometimes leads to poor decisions. The curse normally strikes the most when I am losing. I seem to think I need to win back my losses ASAP.

One amusing point from the Vic. I few people asked me if I am the Poker Bastard. I was on the table with a few of his biggest victims.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bad night

Had my first really bad night online in a while the other night. A mixture of poor play and bad luck.

Played in the £2.50/£5 Omaha game on Betfair. Lost three big hands of significance costing me £1100. Yuck. Had good pot odds to call in all of them and worked out that the odds of losing all three were about 3-5%. Still I should have known it wasn’t going to be my night when I walked into Quad 9’s when I hit an Aces over full house on the flop.

Heading to the Vic on Friday. It’s the best night to play in the big Omaha game usually as you get a few players over celebrating the weekend if you catch my drift.

I rang Rendevous to find out how I can guarantee a seat in the £500 Freezeout early next month. The useless person who took my call preceded to tell me that I had to come to the casino if I wanted to register. I told her I lived in London and she said, “Why are you coming down to Brighton then.” Tsk…. Some people!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Holdem V Omaha and passing the nuts

I must play some live poker this week. I’ve been lazy of late just playing online due to the convenience. I much prefer playing live though because I generally play a lot better. I keep meaning to try the Western Club as there should have a good dealers choice/Omaha game on. The main reason I don’t play Hold em cash is because I believe it can lead to situations that lead you to losing all your money and I just don’t think this happens in Omaha.

There are a number of situations that I think in Holdem you will lose all your money. The most obvious is holding KK in the pocket against someone who has AA. If it flops rags then your hand is almost impossible to get away from. Another situation where I think you inevitably lose all your money is when you have AK and it flops an A or a K and two low cards. If your opponent has made a set then you are likely to lose alot or all your money of money practically drawing dead. If you flop a flush and your opponent flops a higher flush its very hard to get away from and the same for straights.

The reason I like playing Omaha cash is that you don’t ever have to be drawing dead. If you play well you should always have a number of outs. Omaha is a game of drawing too or playing the nuts. If you draw to the nuts straight, nut flush and only commit all your chips when you have top set then you are never drawing dead when you commit your money. You still get to trap a number of players who will call you down without the nuts if you do hit. Also because Omaha is a more attractive game for players who like to gamble it tends to attract a lot more bad players than high stakes Holdem cash. I’ve seen some truly terrible players blow well over £ 5000 playing like maniacs.

Talking about Omaha I was playing the £ 2.50/£ 5 on Betfair and had the following interesting hand. I have £ 750 in front of me before this hand. There are 7 players on and there is a pre flop raise of £ 25 and I call on the big blind. 6 players call. I have 9sJsKdAd. It flopped 7c8h10c to give me the nut straight. I lead out a raise of £ 80. Player to my left calls and the player behind him reraises £400 more to play. The player on the button goes all in for £900. So I am sitting with £640 with the nuts and after deliberating I pass. I think this is the right play for the following reasons. Firstly, I am pretty sure at least one of the big raisers already has the nut straight and perhaps even both of them. However, as there is a flush draw and I can’t improve on my straight this is a very dangerous hand to commit all my money. Say for example that raiser A has 9JQ# then he already has the nuts and 7 cards to kills me as he will improve upon my straight. I can assume that either player A or B is drawing to a flush or has a chance of making a full house. As it happened player A had had the Ace Flush draw and two pair and player B had the nut straight and the Q to give him straight improvements. So on the flop if I had gone all in the size of the pot I would have been involved in would have had £ 2405. Player A had a 45% of winning the entire pot. Player B had a 4% chance of winning and I would have had a 0.5% chance of winning all the money. There was about a 50% chance of a split pot between me and player B. These odds just aren’t favorable enough for me to commit all my money. I have passed the nuts before in similar situations when I can’t improve my hand and at least two people have gone crazy on the flop.

What happened? Well a river heart came which gave player A all the money.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Drunk poker and random thoughts

Hmmm I played drunk last night on Betfair despite trying to promise myself I wouldn’t. I don’t just mean drunk I mean steaming. Played in the $2/$5 NL Cash Game and somehow managed to go from about $700 to $5000 but then preceded to blow most of it back by playing like an idiot. I remember calling $400 on the river at one point with a straight draw. I would NEVER do that if I was thinking straight. There were no conceivable pot odds and no implied odds either as the player moved all in. Ended up with a profit of $700 which considering I was playing like a lunatic is some result.

I’ve been thinking about different online poker rooms and why I seem to do much better in some than others. I’ve stopped playing Paradise because I seem to always lose at the Omaha game on there. The same thing seems to happen I sit down with $400 in the Pot Limit Omaha and nearly always end up on $1000 or more before blowing the lot. They also don’t cashout to my current account so I will be avoiding them from now on. They are a bogey site. I have the same thing with certain players at the Vic. There are a couple of players that despite holding monsters against them always outdraw me in massive pots. Sunny Nijram is one of those. He is an excellent Omaha player and also happens to be one of the very few that I can definitively say is in profit against me. He has also had a good week in the Masters Classics in Amsterdam. Oh and good luck to Keith “the camel” Hawkins who has made the final table to be played this afternoon. I sat on his table in the EPT event in London though I don’t really remember him too much. The guy who wrote the article that has appeared in Timeout this week was also on my table. One hand involving him annoyed me. He made a small raise preflop and I called. I had A9 suited. Flop 499. I check hoping to induce a bet. He checks. Next card A to give me a house. I bet about the pot. He passes AK. He was scared of the 9. I think everyone else at the table would have called me to at least see what move I made on the river.

Need to get back in Live tournament action so am going to enter the main freezeout events in both Brighton on the 4th December and Luton on the 11th December. If anyone knows whether I will need to buy in to these to guarantee seats beforehand the info would be appreciated. The EPT events are in my sight in Deauville and Vienna. I am sure to talk more about them as they approach.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Poker Hot or Not

My hot or not list on poker at the moment


$2.50/$5 Omaha game on Betfair
$100 Sit n go's on Partypoker
I'm starting to actually play online poker only when sober
Hendon Mob's Poker Diary
Poker Bastards Blog -
Reading other people's blogs in work
My Victor Chandler profit for the year which i was shocked by


Players who play KJ and keep beating me
Getting so close and yet so far in qualifiers for the Aussie Millions and Caribbean
Paradise Poker
Whingers on the Hendon Mob Forum
Missing the Masters Classics in Amsterdam due to work commitments
Lack of live tournament action for me since the European Poker Classics
Young internet players who think that a few months or a year of good results mean they are good enough to turn pro
A few really bad/average players achieving good results in the EPT events

$100 Sit N Go test

I decided to give these a go due to the fact that all I hear is that how easy it is to consistently win money at them. I have played them before occasionally but never enough to see a pattern to my results develop. So I decided to play 10 $100 Sit n Go’s on Partypoker last weekend. I finished 1st 3 times and 2nd 3 times and 3rd once. I also never finished lower than 6th. So for an investment of $1090 I finished with $2500. A profit of $1410 was good for the four hours it took me usually playing two sometimes three tables at a time. I know I have to play hundreds of these before I can develop a real pattern of results but they are a guaranteed way to make money in my opinion. I just don’t really have the time to play them enough and they bore me.

My thoughts on how to play these. When there are 7 or more players on the table only reraise pre flop with AA, KK, QQ and AK. Call a raise with 88, 99, TT, JJ, QK suited and AQ. You can call the ante if you are in position with good suited connectors e.t.c. but don’t jeopordise your stack unless you have a BIG hand. Just hitting top pair on the flop if you have a rubbish kicker is NOT that time. Flush draws are not worth calling if someone moves all in if you have a reasonable amount of chips. You don’t need to get involved in coin flips just wait for a better situation to arise. Under betting the pot when you have a monster will often lead to an opponent thinking you are weak and trying steal the pot. The amount of players that make poor plays in these games is ridiculous. If you play extremely tight during the first few levels it is inevitable that 3 or 4 players will be knocked out. The hand that they get attached to most is an Ace with a small kicker. This to the average player in Sit n Go’s is worth all there chips if an A comes on the flop. Don't slow play big pairs before the flop. You don’t want to get a lot of callers if you have a high pair.

Obviously the tactics change when you get down to less players. You have a far better chance of doing well in these in the long run if you avoid the action unless you have a monster until at least 3 players have been knocked out.

Enough random babbling anyway…………..

Monday, November 08, 2004

Damn KJ

I keep losing at crucial stages in tournaments to this hand. Firstly I lost to it when down to the last 5 during the European Poker Classics in London then again last night when someone reraised me with this hand preflop when down to three players battling for a seat at the Aussie Millions and hit two pair. I ask why oh why does any poker player think this is a good hand? In the poker Classics someone called the equivalent all my chips with KJ. Of course I had an A… I would hardly raise all in without one at such an important stage in a tournament unless I had a pair. A hand like KJ at very best is going to be a coin flip. I have decided this is my new unlucky hand to come up against. Any player who believes KJ is a good hand needs to give up the game NOW.

Game Selection

I posted these figures here last week about my average rating since I started keeping these records since June and here is a bit more in depth analysis about them.

Online cash – 4.65/10
Live Tournaments 6.4/10
Live Cash – 7.1/10

According to my Hendon Mob poker diary where I added my stats for these separately I get the following interesting results

Online– Overall Win rate (per hour) +£9.50
Live Tournaments – Overall loss (per hour) -£17.55
Live Cash – Overall Win rate (per hour) + £131.55

Online - I am reasonably happy with £9.50 an hour due to a lot of times when I have played badly. I have been improving on that aspect of late. My last three online performances have all scored 7 or higher and hopefully this will continue. I have to learn to control my temper after bad beats… it’s too easy to go on the chase online.

Live tournaments – I am not surprised by averaging a loss of £17.55 an hour. I am sticking to only big tournaments from now on. I have played in the EPT £3000 and 7 other festival events in London (The Vic and Gutshot) Whilst I have had two finishes in the money and two on the bubble this will continue to show a loss until I manage a top 3 finish. Still I wasn’t sure whether to factor in my lovely 40% I invested in Tooz who won the Summer Breeze in Brighton.

Live Cash – Clearly I am very happy with my cash game results since my records started. Apart from two losses of £1800 and £2400 at the Vic I have had 12 out of 14 winning sessions. Hopefully I can maintain this kind of level but am sure to encounter a bad run at some point to level out the amount of profit I make in live cash.

The one shocking aspect of my analysis is that I have gambled over £20000 online to achieve a win rate of £9.50 an hour. This is way too high. There are far too many £500+ losses for my liking.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Back to Betfair

Despite promising to stick to Omaha online I just couldn’t resist a stab at the $5/10 No Limit hold em game on Betfair. The players are so weak it’s untrue at least in my experience.

I just have to rant about this bad beat. I sat down with $400 and called a small raise on the big blind with A9. Flop comes 998. Guy under the gun raises $90 to play. I move all in immediately and he calls another $280 without hesitation. What does he show? An overpair? a 9? No 8Q …. What the hell. Anyway the turn is a T and the river a J to give a miracle straight. How can anyone justify that call is beyond me. I requested a hand history but Betfair crashed. Tsk

I pulled out another $500. The players on my table were possibly the worst I have encountered on Betfair which is saying something. At one point I raised under the gun to $40 with AA and got re-raised $200 to play. I move all in for another $380… and my opponent flips over TK unsuited. He basically put £350 in pre flop with TK. I hit a run of cards and got paid of each and every time and mostly with opponents with marginal hands. With 4 clubs on the board and me having the nuts someone called a $300 bet from me on the river with a 7 flush. Over betting the pot was working a treat….

I ended up with $2700 after playing for about 45 minutes from an investment of $900. Maybe I will start playing No Limit cash games on Betfair again.

One thing I have noticed recently is that the players that play the $5/$10 and the £5/£10 are worse than the players on the 1/2 and 2/5 games. Is it a case of more money less sense?

Of the 5 players on my table last night I made negative player notes about 4 of them and positive player notes about 1.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Back to basics online

After my blog yesterday about online poker I decided to start playing Pot Limit Omaha again. So last night I sat down with $400 on two tables on Paradise Poker. I actually managed to concentrate and play well and ended up finishing with $1500 on one table and going bust on the other table. Still a $700 profit is a good start. One thing about playing Omaha online to playing live is the amount of stupid draws people chase down. The table I went bust on was through a complete miracle. I was up to $500 and on the flop hit middle set and the nut flush draw on a 5JK flop. Get called on the flop and the turn card is a 8. I bet out again for most my chips and get called. River card is an 7 so am now looking at a 4JK87 board. Of course the guy had hit a miracle 56 straight…. He had top pair and the K flush draw so was drawing dead on the flop and the turn gave him one out which he hit. That was a $1050 pot and it made me angry but I managed to keep calm and still manage a winning session. Also online in Omaha there is no point in betting with a bare A when a flush is showing as players always call with smaller flushes… which is great when you slowplay the nut flush. ;-)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Online Poker.....

It’s only in the last year that I have really started playing online poker. I have to admit that I am yet to crack it. I have played at various times on Pokerstars, Partypoker, Paradise Poker, Victor Chandler and Betfair.

Looking back through my online records for 2004 I can see that despite gambling A LOT of money online I am only about 10/15% up on my entire stake. I am up on Paradise and Victor Chandler, even on Betfair (somehow) and down on Party and Pokerstars. A lot of this has come down to my game selection. My best game no doubt is still PL Omaha though I feel like I have improved my NL Hold em game a lot in the last year. My swings at playing the 2/4 Omaha on Party/Paradise/Pokerstars have left me to decide for the time being anyway that I will stick to playing Hold em online and leave the high stakes Omaha playing for when I go to the casino.

I can pinpoint exactly why I have lots of losing sessions online and here are the three most significant factors in order.

I play when drunk
Quite often when I have been to the pub or something I will play pissed. Whilst I can still play when drunk if I get unlucky my tilt is much worse than when I am sobre. I have been trying to find ways of stopping myself from doing this. Any ideas I would be extremely grateful.

I hardly ever play to the best of my ability
In my spreadsheet I decided for all poker I play…. Online/offline/cash/tournaments to give an honest rating of how I feel I played out of 10. Here are my results based on my average performance since June.

Online cash – 4.65/10
Live Tournaments 6.4/10
Live Cash – 7.1/10

I clearly have a problem playing well online a lot of the time. A score below 5/10 as an average is clearly shocking. With such a low rating its probably only the number of bad players especially on VC and Betfair that have kept me in profit.

My game selection
My two best games for making a profit are Omaha and Sit n Go’s. Due to the fact I play Omaha cash live I decided to not play big stakes Omaha online. Sit n Go’s I find quite frankly tedious. So I have recently been playing NL Cash Games where the swings are very big and I go on tilt a lot when players get very lucky against me.

I need to look at my game selection and only play when I am in the mood and to try and concentrate better. I think I will start playing the $100 Sit n Go’s as a starting point. If I play 2/3 at a time it should stop me getting too bored.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

European Poker Tour in London

I had been getting excited as this tournament came around as it’s the biggest by far that I have played in so far. I decided I was going to play my game and not too cautiously despite the entrance fee. I sold half my entry fee for this tournament so was hoping to make a few people happy with a good finish. I had “the camel” on my table but he is the only player I recognize. There are a few passive players but nobody particularly aggressive and a guy being photographed by Timeout. I’m feeling confident after my 5th placed finish on Thursday.

Starting chips were 10000 and I played extremely tight and saw very few playable hands up to the break which was at 7pm after I’d played for 4 hours. I had 12,500 chips at this point so I wasn’t short stacked but knew I had to move up a couple of gears. With blinds at 250/500 I find QQ under the gun. I raised to 2000 to play and the guy to my left re-raises me to 4000. He has raised quite a few times pre-flop and though I am slightly worried about an over pair I move all in for another 5500. After he goes into the think tank I know that I am winning. Though he takes so long I am certain he has AK. He eventually calls and I hit a Q on the flop. I have a sweat on the turn when he gets a flush draw but the last card is a blank to double me up. I didn’t get any decent cards for a few hours then and found myself short chipped when we were down to 5 tables. With only 14000 and blinds of 1000/2000 I moved all in with 77 and got extremely lucky. One of the pro players has AA behind me and I somehow manage to spike a 7 on the turn to get me up to 30000 chips. I then started to get some playable hands and reached 60000 when we got down to the final 4 tables. This is when the tournament turned for me with the blinds at 1500/3000 I find 99, TT, TT, 88. Each time though before I get chance to raise a massive raise comes in before me so all of them get laid down. Maybe I should have played one of these hands? The raise was usually 15000 or 20000 to play so I would be committing a lot of chips and these are marginal in my opinion when faced with big raises. So in the last hour after laying down these hands and getting re-raised all in when I did raise with A9 on the button by the big blind when I folded I find myself reaching day 2 with 34000.

Day 2

With 34000 chips and the 19th biggest stack out of 21 I know that I need to double up pretty fast. The blinds are a massive 3000/6000 and running antes are 500. Still I am excited to have make the 2nd day of a European poker tour event. I had a restless night mainly replaying the last few hours when I should have maybe made some more moves and had allowed myself to lose half my stack. In my mind I decided that the first decent hand I had I was going to move all in. In retrospect (which is always easy) I should have passed this hand. First hand I find TJ suited and decide to lump all my chips in the middle. I know if I can pick up this hand I will be up to 50000 chips and be in a more comfortable position. Dave Colclough is to my left and is also short chipped. He thinks for 2 minutes and moves all in. The small blind also goes all in and now I know I am in deep trouble. Dave shows 88 and the small blind KK. Both make a set to send me and Dave out of the tournament. I guess I maybe shouldn’t have moved with TJ suited but I was big blind next hand and had no time to wait for a big hand. I gambled and lost. Overall I think I played very well. I look back and can only think of two mistakes I made throughout the tournament. On a general strategy note perhaps I played too tight at times and should have seen more flops.

Finishing on the bubble of the money is always nasty especially when 18th place paid £5000.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Pot Odds

Pot Odds and Playing Position

Learning how to work out pot odds will help you make the correct decision when faced with calling bets from other players. Pot odds are the odds when drawing to a hand. You can use 'pot odds' to determine if you should call or fold.

Firstly it is important to learn how to calculate your pot odds. To do this, one methodology is to count how many 'outs' you have to win the hand. An out is a card that will make your hand the best hand. There is a simple way to calculate the approximate percentage chance you have of hitting an out on the next card: multiply the number of outs you have by 2 and add 2. Favourable pot odds are when the percentage chances of winning the hand is higher than the percentage of the pot that your opponent has bet. Let’s take an example. Say you have 78 and the board is a 56AQ. You are sure that someone else has at least a pair and that you are losing. You need a 4 or a 9 to make the top straight, therefore there are a total of 8 cards (4 suits of 4 and 4 suits of nine) that would improve your hand so that you make a winning straight. Applying the simple calculation explained earlier, you multiply 8 by 2 (16) and add 2 to make 18. You have approximately 18% or 1/5 chance of making that straight on the next card. You now need to look at the size of the pot. If the pot is 900 chips and your opponent bets 100 chips, taking the total pot to 1000, you will have to bet 10% of the pot if you want to call. So you have 18% chance of hitting the card that will give you a straight, and only need to bet 10% of the pot. This is a situation where you have favourable pot odds, and therefore should call. Using this example further, any bet from your opponent below 180 chips would give you favourable pot odds whilst any bet above 180 would pot odds in your opponents favour.
Sometimes pot odds make it favourable for you to call when only one card will improve your hand. Look at the following situation. You have JQ, the board is showing AK4, the pot is 2000 and you are faced with a bet of 100. Should you call? By working out the pot odds yes. Although you know you can only win with a T that will give you the top straight TJQKA, the percentage chance of hitting that ten is 1/10 or 10% ((4x2)+2). Therefore you are getting odds of 10% by calling a bet that is 5% of the pot. As you become more used to understanding and using pot odds in your favour it will become second nature to work them out!

Probability is an essential skill, when playing texas hold 'em. You should use odds to determine your actions. It is important to know your odds of making a straight or flush. Knowledge of the probability of you making your hand and pot odds are especially essential skills when playing online. Statistics should be a major factor when you decide whether to raise, bet, fold or call.

Another skill that you can learn and utilize to your advantage when playing tournaments is position. The person on the button (dealer) has an advantage because he can see what moves all the other players at the table make before making a decision.
The person to the left of the dealer is the small blind and the person to their left is the big blind. The player to the left of the big blind is first to act before board cards are dealt.
Here are some key tips regarding position assuming you are on a full table.

You must be much more selective when acting in early position before the flop. If you are first or second to act you must remember that there are 8 or 9 players who have yet to decide upon how to act. You should be far more cautious about what hands you call and raise with in this position. It is probably only worth playing if you are willing to call a raise and have a very strong hand. You must also take into account that you will be first to act throughout this hand giving your opponent a distinct advantage of seeing your decision first.

If you are the dealer or in a late position you can play with worse hands than if you have an early position because you get to see what moves your opponents make before deciding how to act. To illustrate the importance of position imagine you are dealt JA and you are first to act. If you look at the ranking of this hand by clicking here( you can see that it is ranked 20th out of all possible hold em starting hands. If you call the bet it is highly likely that one of the 9 players behind you will raise you with a hand ranked higher than this. Whereas if you are in a late position you could fold, call or raise with this hand because you will have the distinct advantage of seeing how other players act throughout the hand.

One of the most common moves in poker is by players in a late position stealing blinds. If all the players have folded and you are in a late position it is a very common poker move to make a raise to try and steal the blinds even if you have a bad hand. A lot of the time this play will be successful in picking up some chips. However, if you are on the big blind and you feel that the same player is constantly stealing your blind by raising it may be worth re-raising him. Firstly so he thinks twice before trying to steal your blind again and secondly he will probably lay down a weak hand and you will pick up some chips.

Friday, October 22, 2004

European Poker Classics 2004

I decided that I was going to enter all the tournaments in the Festival especially as it was on my home turf. I wasn't exactly full of confidence going into it as I had suffered a few really horrific beats in a big cash game a few days earlier. Sure enough for the first three tournaments I hardly saw any cards. Especially in the £750 NL Hold em freezeout on the Tuesday on the 5th October. I managed to play for 3 hours and the best hand I saw was AJ... what garbage. I was bemoaning my luck. I also seemed to be losing any coin flip that I was involved in. I decided that for the £300 freezeout on Thursday I was going to play more aggressively and see some flops. I was on a table with Joe “the elegance” Beevers and he soon found a few cards and tripled his stack. I was seeing alot of flops and hitting a few cards and getting beat a few times but at least I was having fun again after my torturous Tuesday. I got into a healthy chip position and made the final two tables to return the next day.

On day two of the tournament I continued to play aggressively and felt that I had good reads on a few of my opponents from either previous tournaments or cash games. I was feeling confident again and soon i had made the final table. The blinds were high and the majority of pots were won without seeing the flop. Slowly the table dwindled down to 5 and blinds were 3000/6000. I had 55000 chips and although i had the shortest stack i felt good about my chances due to the inexperience of the players remaining. I found A2 suited in position on the box and moved all in to steal the blinds and ante's. The big blind called and i though fair enough he must have a big hand. He turned over KJ. I hit my A on the flop and he hit a K. Of course he hit a K on the river to send me packing. I still think it was a bad call by him because he was behind to any A and he risked most of his chips on a very marginal hand. Especially as whenever i moved all in before that hand I had shown an A at least.

I finished 5th out of 198 runners which was a good result all in all and set me up nicely for the EPT £3000 event the following day.

Pretending to be a fish :-)

I have many poker memories but one that will always stick in my mind is a visit to the Rainbow Casino in Birmingham. I was 21 at the time and anyone that knows me will tell how young I look now. I decided that as I was visiting a friend in Birmingham that I would go up a night early and try my luck in the Rainbow. I sat down with £350 at the Omaha table. I could see there eyes light up and I decided to pretend that I had hardly played before. I think they were competing to see who could skin the fish first. I decided to play a little trick on them. I called a £30 bet on the river when there was a flush and one other caller with a 7 flush. Of course I knew I was losing and probably to both players. This was part of the grand plan though. A few hands later I flop the A flush and slow play it all the way to the river as one guy was betting. I moved all in on the river and he called without hesitation and looked at me in disgust as I turned over the nuts and I was quickly up to £700. I think the other players are even more excited as there is now £700 to take off me. I then hit a monster hand which is probably one of my favorites of all time. I have 7789T and its 5 card Omaha. Its flops 567 so I not only have the nut straight but have straight improvements and top set and there is no flush draw. One guy bets £50 another raises to £200 and there are 4 callers including myself. The turn is a rag 2 and there is still no flush draw. I move all in for £500 and get 3 callers. I can't lose this hand unless someone hits quads though I know I may be in a three way spilt at the moment. Last card BANG a 7. I have hit quads and I scoop a pot of around £3000. A year or so later I bumped into one of the players that I played with that night and he was amused at my "I'm a newbie tactic."

My age has always been a major advantage to me playing poker especially with strangers. I have used this to my advantage many times. I'm sure players have played looser against me because they think I am just out of school. Poker is about edges and this has always been a significant one for me.

My biggest poker win comes when i don't even play?

I went down with one of my poker mates Adam Matusiak to play in the Main Event of the summer breeze festival in Brighton. We decided to go down on the Friday and go out for some beers the night before the tournament. BIG MISTAKE. We both get so drunk that i decide i am too hungover to play in the competition. So i played a cash game instead that included Marcel Luske and pay £200 of Adam £500 entry to keep an interest in the tournament and perhaps even get 40% of his potential winnings. Well despite little sleep and a hangover Adam managed to outplay a strong field of 115 players to pick up a first prize of £20,760 of which i got £6000. As it was his first major tournament this was an excellent result and i'm sure there will be more to come. The tournament in Brighton seemed extremely well run and it was a nice location. I am sure to go back and visit again sometime.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Why a blog?

I like writing about poker and have written a few articles on poker some of which will appear on my blog. Also I have a fair bit of time on my hands in work so when I’m bored I can just write something about poker. It’s also a good way of keeping track of thoughts about different games and what’s hot and what is not in the poker world.

My poker History

Despite the fact I am 26 years old I picked up the poker bug back in 1990. I happened to be friends with the son of the 1990 WSOP champion Mansour Matloubi. I think the fact that someone won over a $1000000 activated something in my brain that has been with me ever since. I started playing way back when I was 11 years old. I grew up with friends playing Omaha which is why I still probably consider it my best game. I entered my first tournament which a £5 Texas Hold em NL rebuy tournament where I grew up in Cardiff. With over 40 runners I managed to win it. Though the players that I spent the next 3 years playing with claimed they let me win it to hook another fish. We shall never know :-)

It seems ages ago that I used to play in those £5 and £10 buy in tournaments in Cardiff. Even now I think I must have been an extremely lucky player back. I would rarely think about position, blind structures, other player’s styles and all the other Intricacies that now enter my head when I play tournaments and cash games. Once I managed to win 4 tournaments on the trot which was particularly nice when I was a struggling student.

I now play in London at the Vic and sometimes Gutshot. I can normally be found playing the £250 or £500 Omaha or Dealers Choice cash games. I have started to play in some big tournaments of late as well with some success. My profile can be seen at