Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Back to NL cash

I decided to give the $25/$50 NL Hold'em a go yesterday and sat with $4000. It started off heads up and soon became four handed. I managed to get up to $7000 playing Heads Up against a player i believe is Pokergirl. When we reached four handed this pot happened.

- I limp UTG with QQ. The button makes it $200 and the BB goes all in for $4800. Hmmm. Surely he can't be making such a bet with AA or KK. It could be AK. I can't pass QQ very easily in a full ring game preflop so i can't pass it four handed. I call and he has TJ suited. He made a flush, but luckily i already had a full house.

- This hand was tricky. I made it $200 to play on the button with TT. The BB reraises it to $400. I call. Flop TJQ rainbow. He checks. I bet $650. He calls. Turn 3. He checks. I bet $1100. He reraises me $3000 more. I don't like the hand too much now. He reraised preflop so could have JJ-AA or AK. Best scenario is that he had AA or KK. he had another $4000 as well so i passed.

I finished just over $9000 up. I won't be a regular in the $25/$50 game but i will have the odd go if i am in the mood and the right players are there.

The funny thing about being on a good run is that i don't play very much. When i am losing i play loads as i think the more hands/hours i put in, the more likely i will start winning again.

I have booked my flights and hotel for the Bellagio $25000 in April now. Really looking forward to it. To start a tournament with 50000 chips should mean i last beyond level one. I will probably play the $5000 warm up event, and some cash as i am there for nearly a week before the main event starts.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Vic

I only played the £750 NL Holdem and the £250 PL Omaha Hi/Lo... i lasted just a few minutes when my plans for an early double up were scuppered when i missed my flush draw against pocket Aces. The Hi/Lo i didn't even finish the rebuy period. I was holding A256 on a 34T board with the Ace flush draw against A238 and A237 all in three way and the turn and river were pictures (no flush), and my opponents split the pot with their 3. I can't play the main event either so thats my tournament action over for the week.

Some good news. Betfair have agreed to sponsor me for the $25000 WPT final at the Bellagio 18-24th April, so i will be making my WPT debut which was one of my aims for the year. I will probably fly over around the 14th April to play the $5000 side event as a warm up.

Online has been great of late as well (though i will probably bok myself by saying so). So far this week i am up £11500 and in the last four weeks i am up over £50000. Long may that kind of form continue.

I was also interested to see that another big buy in tour has been added to the European schedule called the Showdown Poker Tour. Details are here. I plan on playing the first two events at the Gutshot in London and Fitzwilliam in Dublin. Entry is €5,000 so it will be interesting to see the kind of numbers they get.

Friday, March 17, 2006

EPT Monte Carlo Tournament Report

Day 1

I started very well. My table was good and I didn’t recognise anyone. My aim was to try and increase my chips between 10-20% per level. I got up to 12000 after about 10 minutes when I won my first decent pot. Blinds 25/50 and middle position made it 300 to play. Two callers before me, I called with 2d4d. Flop Ad5dTc. I checked and the original raiser made it 1200. Passed to me and I called. Turn an Ac. I checked and he checked. The river was a 3s which gave me the straight. I bet 3000 and he called with AK.

I soon flopped a set when I held 9c9s on a 9h8d6s flop. A raise and a reraise before me I called, the turn gave me quads and I won a few more chips and was up to 21000. Unfortunately my table broke and I was moved to a table of tough Scandie players including Pokergirl and Sverre Sundbo. I didn’t make much progress on that table and was moved again.

The next big pot I was involved in I held AsKs. It was level 4 I think and blinds were 100/200. I made it 1000 under the gun and late position made it 3000. I put him in for his 7000 chips and he eventually called with QhQd. I lost that coin flip despite hitting my Ace on the flop.

I moved up and down and was soon faced with an important hand. One of the guys at my table kept limp calling with any hand. He had around 40000 chips and I was down to 16000. I had seen him limp call with J3 off so it was literally any two. Blinds were 150/300 and he limped and I made it 2000 on the button with JsJc and he called. Flop AcTc4s. He checked and I did behind him. The turn was a 8s. He checked and I bet 2500. He quickly made it 5000. I wasn’t convinced he had any hand, and after staring at him for a while I called. The river was a Th and brought no flush. He bet 8000. If I called and my read was wrong I would be down to 2000. I had to go with my instinct he was bluffing and called. He showed JsKs and mucked.

I finished day 1 in good shape on about 31000.

Day 2

I felt good and the blinds were low and my plan was just to gradually increase my chips without relying on getting lucky in any coin flip situations. I moved table so many times that its difficult to remember many hands a week on.

One key hand involved Tony Chessa. I had 50000 chips. Blinds were 1000/2000 and I made it 7000 in the cut off with AJ off. I had decided that if any of the blinds raised I would reraise. He made it 20000 from the SB. I moved in. He thought for a while and I was convinced he had been on the resteal or had a medium pair. He eventually mucked AK face up, so I had a lucky escape.

I was moved table again and we were approaching the bubble. The table I was moved to had plenty of chips and I had around 70000. One guy was raising nearly every hand and I had played a round when I picked up AQ in the big blind. He raised it to 8000 in the cut off and I made it 24000. He moved all in. I pondered this decision for about five minutes and there were about 50 people gathered around the table. It was also about 5 places before the money started. Including the blinds and running antes there was 55000 in the middle. I had to call another 46000. If I called my 46000 and won I would have 147000. 46000/147000 is about 0.3. So I needed around 30% chance of winning the hand or more for the call to be correct. The only hands I would put me below the 30% significantly would be AA or AK suited. Any pair below Queens would be a good result. He didn't look very comfortable at the the thought i may call, and decided to gamble thinking it may be a coin flip. He turned over A4 off. A 356 flop had me gasping, but a blank turn and river had me up amongst the chip leaders on 150000. I finished the day with 151000.

Day 3

It’s funny that I can’t remember hardly any hands from Day 3. I had KK once but most hands as is often the case at this stage were played preflop. I did manage to get up to 170000 when I was involved in a massive pot. I was dealt AhKh on the button and the blinds were 1500/3000. I made it 10000 to play and the big blind moved in for 80000. This was really an easy decision and he could be reraising with many hands I am dominating so I called. He had 88. I missed the flop and turn but the river was a king and I now had over 260000. I was soon up to 350000 and the players had been getting knocked out fast.

I hadn’t been on the TV table and to be honest I think I play better when I am not on there. So when we were down to two tables I wasn’t delighted to draw the TV table. On my table were Frazer (Betfair guy who eventually finished 8th), Marcel and nobody else I knew. I had played with a few of them throughout the tournament.

I had grown slightly frustrated over the course of the day at the trash I was being dealt, and the blinds were 4000/8000 so I was forced into raising without any sort of hand quite often to stop me blinding away. The best hand I was dealt was after an hour was AsQs in the BB, Marcel raised in middle position to 24000 and I made it 68000 in the BB. Marcel called. I had a problem now. Marcel could be calling there with a very big hand like AA or KK hoping to trap me on the flop, plus I am out of position. The flop was J24. It was hard for me to bet as the pot was 140000 and I had 270000. If I bet 100000 he could easily move in. So I checked. He checked behind me. The turn was a 3. I checked again and he bet 50000. I passed. Perhaps I should have bet the flop but I didn’t like the hand out of position and could have played it better. Marcel had 9sTs.

This hand is the one that did the damage. I had 250000. Blinds 5000/10000 and running ante of 1000. We were playing six handed and Marcel made it 25000 to play. Frazer called, I had Kc2c in the BB and as it was just 15000 into a 70000 I decided to call. I checked in the dark and it flopped 7c9sTh. Marcel and Frazer checked. The turn was a 6c. I bet 20000 to try and win it then or get a cheap card for my flush draw. Marcel made it 60000 and Frazer passed. It was 40000 more to me. The pot was now 155000 and I was effectively getting 4/1 on my chips to try and hit my flush. Plus I was thinking of the implied odds if I hit. Marcel would have paid me off another 50000 at least. So I called. River was the Ks giving me top pair. I checked and Marcel bet 60000. I somehow convinced myself it was worth calling even though I was sure he had an 8 by now. There was so much in the middle by now I couldn’t bear to pass and be shown a bluff. I called and Marcel had Q8 off.

The end came soon after. We were five handed and I raised all in for 97000 with AhJh. My opponent in the BB who I think was Marc Karam eventually called with 99. No help from the board and I was gone. If I had won that coin flip I would have made the final in OK shape.

I was gutted to go out. I never really felt in any danger in Day 3 until the last 15 minutes. When I hit 350000 I guess I could have played tighter and made the final in OK shape. I really thought I was sure to finish in the top three as the day progressed. It was a bit like the Caribbean Poker Classic when I thought I was cruising, only to find myself on the rail soon after. Thats poker i guess. I keep getting very close. Hopefully sometime this year i will get a really big result. I'd never felt more focussed and in control as i did through the 20 odd hours of poker i played in Monte Carlo. Congrats to the winner Jeff who i chatted with a bit, and certainly had the courage to play to win despite being just 19 years old.

I haven't played any poker since as i would have probably been a bit tilty. I am planning on playing the PL Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo tournaments at the Vic next week, and maybe one of the Hold'em events. I am also trying to decide whether to play the WPT $25000 Bellagio tournament in April as well.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Since I got knocked out of the EPT last week, something came to my attention. A certain player was chatting to Jen and Snoops of Blondepoker, and visibly expressed his delight at me being knocked out in 9th. Apparently he clapped his hands and said, “Thank fuck for that... thats great."

Who could this fine poker specimen be? None other than the European player of the year, Mickey Wernick. Whilst I have long had doubts over his playing ability, this proves what a nice chap he is as well. A truly great ambassador for Blue Square. They would have been far better sponsoring Jen Mason or James Dempsey. Whilst neither have the track record, I am sure that they would be far better representatives for the company.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


I finished 9th in the EPT Grand Final winning €57000. To say i am gutted is an understatement. I could have sat and played tight and made the final with the chips i had. I played to win though, which i don't regret. Will write my report in a few days.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Monte Carlo

I am off to play in the EPT grand final on Monday in Monte Carlo. It seems crazy that a year has gone by since the last one. I see it as my anniversary of being a professional poker player. I finished my job the very next week. Thinking back to how the tournament went last year, i doubt if you put me back there now with the extra experience i have gained since, i would have done better. In fact, i am also certain i would have bombed out in day 1 when i was card dead trying a bluff.

As it was the biggest tournament of my life by a mile back then i played extremely tight and only made a very few select bluffs along the way. Which is probably why i made the final so short chipped. I put pressure on myself to do well in every tournament i play now so this will be no different.

Quick plug for Betfair. I think this is pretty cool promotion. They are offering a rake incentive for a free WSOP package. Basically if you rake over £28000 between now and June 25th you win a $15000 package to the WSOP. That is if you make Level 7 for the amount you rake. There are prizes for all the other levels of rake generated. Just click here to have a look. I can also offer you a great rakeback deal at Betfair as well so if you interested my email address is here.

Apart from yesterday when i dropped £5200 i have been on a great run online. In the past 8 days i have won £34000 playing just $ PL Omaha tables, which is the best run i have had I think. Someone pointed out thats more than Robbie Fowler makes in a week which amused me. I will try and do some updates from Monte carlo all being well.