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.


Big Dave D said...

Nice set of results. I will be doing the same sometime in the next week or so. One thing I would add is that in live play, 10x the big blind is a very good rate in PL games. So assuming you are playing 5 pound blinds, dont be too upset if your win rate drops when you start to play more next year.



Milkybarkid said...

Cheers Dave

I would totally expect my Overall Win rate (per hour)to drop if i start playing live alot more. I think its just been a case this year is that when i have had a couple of significant wins i am happy so often won't go and play Live again for a while. If i was to play approx 75 times next year i would probably get a far more accurate figure.

Online Poker said...

Hello Ben,

Nice post. I've just been reading some of you Omaha stories from Betfair and Party. I couldn't agree with you more! These players are absolutely terrible in the main, I play William Hill but access the same tables as you on Betfair. Hope 2005 is good for you.

Ohh if you want to exchange blog links:
Be a pleasure to put you link up, let me know.

redsimon said...

Interesting end of year report.

Seems to "prove" that tournies aren't good for your bankroll. Live cash seems to be your forte, good luck in playing it next year.

Couple of queries/quibbles:

1. Party 20/40 LHE? Never seen that limit there.
2. Did you "lose" 20K on Betfairpoker? Your hand reports suggested you were crushing the games?

I think my end of year report will be: Find a game and limit you can beat, repeat ad nauseum. Better not say which site game or limits, just that it is proving a nice steady income. Occasionally I'll play a MTT on 'Stars, but not for serious dough.



Milkybarkid said...


Yeh I agree. Cash games are the way forward. I will continue to have a pop at competitions though when my bankroll is strong enough.

Oops it was the Pokerstars 20/40. Typo. In regards to losing 20k on Betfair. I have deposited 20k but withdrawn slightly more than that. I tend to not leave money in my account and often withdraw at the end of a session. I had two horrendous losing sessions of 5k and 3k. One of which was due to rank bad play and the other I lost every single big pot that I was involved in. For 2005 I need to be far more professional about my poker. I still kind of view it as a hobby where I can make extra money and am going to keep complete records of every single time I play poker next year.

I agree about finding a game you can beat and sticking to it. I should stick to Omaha and NL Holdem only.

Valley G said...

Nice one MBK, You have entertained me in my miserable job throughout the end of 2004. Looking forward to being entertained on monday mornings in 2005.


redsimon said...

Good to see you took more out of Betfairpoker!

I just totalled up my SNG/MTT figures for 2004. I won $15000+ in prizes, whoopee!. However I spent $14000+ in fees...not so great. In terms of time spent MTTs were just a diversion, though if I hit a big score (like Luckyblind) I'm sure I'd have a different view!

Milkybarkid said...

I have tried MTT online about 10 times and never made the money. I think i just lack the patience online. Its weird because when i play in Live tournaments i am extremely patient and focused.

I will try a couple of the qualifiers on Pokerstars for EPT events.