Thursday, 31 December 2009


Online Cash

It was a great start to the year playing 100NL having just had my first real coaching with Baz. However, the joy was shortlived as the new ways to use aggression opened me up to a whole new world of poker that I wasn't truly ready to deal with. I definitely played with quite a lot of tilt when the results didn't continue and exposed a few nasty leaks within myself.

I then decided I had to knuckle down and took on some coaching from Kush. It didn't have the instant effect I'd hoped but I think it was the first time I'd truly realised something that I just hadn't been applying to my game - it seems so obvious now but it was the need to play hands differently against different kinds of opponents. I didn't really get the value I should have from Kush's coaching but this little nugget alone was worth it.

It still took some time for the tilt to bottom out and my work situation wasn't helping how I was feeling and playing. I had dropped down to 50NL by this point despite being over-rolled but I think the decision was a good one.

Around the time I took the decision to quit my job I got a new coach (Jason) and really approached the sessions with a new vigour and desire to learn and improve. He boomswitched me over a few sessions which definitely helped as well as offering some really solid practical adjustments to make.

I've definitely been playing better since but still have leaks and plenty room for improvement. Being able to put in volume and concentrate on it fully has helped a lot. I've had a few sweat sessions with other regs as well as just starting with a new coach (Andrew) and I'd say I'm comfortably beating 50NL/50PL at the moment and have been flirting with 100NL/100PL again with some success.

I've not looked at my yearly results graph for quite a while as it was depressing, but looking at it as 2009 ends I'm encouraged I'm back to where I was at the end of the Jan/Feb boom and hope I can move onwards and upwards from here.

Online Tournaments

I've continued to play some MTT & STT. I probably should focus exclusively on one form of poker, but I do enjoy them still and there is always the chance of a big payday with series such as Full Tilt's miniFTOPS. I'm not losing money at them at least!

I'm playing some larger tournaments these days rather than waste time too much on the small ones and I think my tournament play has improved over the year so it would be nice to get a decent 4-figure cash in 2010.

Live Poker

After a whole year of the Office Poker league Jas and I finished exactly even in 3rd= with 43pts! I guess our bet will just have to continue into 2010. I think we both probably feel we could and should have beaten the other with some pretty bad mistakes but its all part of the learning experience.

Its probably not a great return /hr compared to multi-tabling online but I do enjoy it, and if I ever do go to Vegas the experience will be invaluable.

Playing full-time

Going full-time has allowed me to put in a record 37k hands in November and then 41k this last month. Its also enabled me to play on a couple of sites and take advantage of rakeback and loyalty programmes on both.

Mentally its definitely tougher when the results aren't going your way or when real life bills affect the way you play (huge car bill :(). As a grinder I'll need to learn to keep playing A-game through these times and not let the volume drop which has been my tendency. There are plenty other aspects of playing full-time that I need to work on too - schedule, eating well, exercise..

Results-wise things have been ok but not as good as I'd like or really need. However, if I can put in more volume, continue to improve my game and move back to 100NL it shouldn't be a problem at all so I'm not worried.


I'm hoping for a good 2010 and perhaps I'll start to feel like a real professional poker player by the end of it!

I've been offered some contracting work I think I'll enjoy in 2010 although the details are sketchy so far. I hope that it will provide some solid income to take some mental pressure away while allowing me to continue to play poker and provide some life/poker balance.

If 2010 starts well and I don't have to dip into my savings I really hope I can get away in June and go to Vegas for the WSOP and play in a couple of events.

I'm still not sure yet if the decision to quit my job to concentrate on poker is a foolish, brave or a great idea.. you'll just have to come back and see.

p.s. I'll try and post more often this year.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

It was a rather odd but fun torunament at the casino yesterday (OfficePoker £30+3 freezeout). A couple of pretty wierd situations came up that just wouldn't or couldn't happen online - I like live play due to this and the added dimension of being able to see your villains.

As usual we started pretty deep (7k chips with 25/50 blinds). I was put in seat 10 of table 1 so took up the dealing. The table was slightly better than the usual average with some younger more aggressive players. The first 4 levels up to the break were fairly uneventful.. my AA got no action and I finished without much change to my stack.

I was going to give up dealing at the break so I could watch the football scores come in (crucial top of the table QOS-Dundee game which actually finished 0-0 keeping Queens at the top :)). However the tv screens had one of the international games on rather than the usual Sky scores so I carried on dealing.

I was starting to get pretty short with the blinds at 400/800/50. An EP player limped and with QJo, a passive player on the BB I took the chance to limp in and see a flop as one final opportunity before resorting to an all-in move. A new large stack to the table also limped on the button, SB folded and BB checked making the pot pretty large.

I dealt the flop of 8c Jc 2d giving me top pair. The EP limper checked and I decided to put in a large bet hoping to take it down there. I was concerned by the button player calling and I quickly dealt the turn of 7c completely forgetting that the EP player was yet to act. It was a completely innocent mistake as I was wrapped up in working out what the button was calling with, and having been dealing for 3.5 hrs working out pots with antes I guess I was a little fatigued. The EP player obviously spoke up and was probably a little more upset than they should have been suggesting a flush draw. I had to pre-deal the river face down and then reshuffle the 7c back into the remaining deck and the EP player called making the pot huge and dwarfing my remaining stack.

I re-dealt the turn of 3h. The EP player checked with a lot of frustration and I shoved my remaining chips in resulting in 2 folds giving me a stack of above average chips with around 30 players left from the starting 52. The EP player then showed their cards and the 7c actually would have given them a straight flush as they held 9cTc. They were understandably quite upset but fortunately realised it wasn't something I'd done on purpose. I quickly retired from dealing at this point!

We were soon down to 2 tables but I was pretty card dead and with lots of action I never found any spots to make a move. As we hit the final table bubble I was getting pretty short-stacked again with blinds of 2000/1000/200. A large-stacked player made a raise from EP and I looked down at T9o. With blinds and antes the pot was pretty large and as I was probably the shortest stack it seemed like time to make a stand and to try and get a reasonable stack for the final table and hoped at least my cards would be live.

I must have still been pretty tired because I shoved in my chips and exposed my hand thinking it was time, but 1 player as well as the original raiser were still to act! I quickly grabbed my cards again. The player who hadn't acted yet was out-stacked by the PFR so folded AQo despite having seen my hand. I was expecting an instacall from the PFR as I didn't many chips more than his raise but he looked strangely perplexed and muttered something about 9s. I kept quiet and the other players fortunately didn't speak up so he mucked his 77 thinking he was dominated giving me back my tournament life. He was pretty devastated to realise what happened after but still had a decent stack. We dealt out the board and he would have won the hand. It was definitely starting to look like I was fated to go further! I've seen this situation at the tables before and I'm not sure exactly what the rules are... I should probably find out for future reference. I wonder if the player to act has the right to ask for the cards to be re-exposed or to be able to confirm/discuss what was shown with other players at the table?

A few hands later the same PFR opens from EP and I look down to see AA. I've been reading and thinking about tells recently and tried to conceal my strength without looking too obvious and shoved leaving him a call for around 1/3 - 1/2 of his chips. He took quite some time while I tried to look just a little nervous before he finally called. With A7d I had him dominated and my AA held to give me around 42k chips and one of the leading stacks.

A couple of hands later 2 players were eliminated taking me to a final table of 9 players with a decent stack for a change (3rd= or so?).

Final table action was fast and furious.. the chip leader taking out several players while I comfortably afford to fold the trash I was being dealt and we were soon down to 5. 3 of us were quite short by now (~35k with blinds 2000/4000/400) comapred to the two chip leaders. I was dealt QTd in EP and shoved allin getting an instacall from the player to my left with AKo who I slightly out-stacked. I hit both a straight and flush on the river and we were down to 4.

One of the chip leaders took out the other shorty and we were down to 3 - myself, the OP league winner from last year and this year's runaway winner. I had to make a move and shoved over a raise with K7o but the chip leader had JJ and held to see me go out 3rd for £220 and 8 league points.

All in all a fun, profitable day and its not often you get payed off for making mistakes :) A welcome payout too now that I'm full-time. I'll post about how things are going with that in a few days.

With 3 tournaments left (2*NL Holdem and 1*PLO) this puts me 6 points clear of Jas for our prop bet for the first buyin of 2010 and 3rd= in the league. I think I probably have an edge on him in the PLO event having finished 3rd last year, but for now I'm happy to be ahead and the pressure to be on him to gain points. (remember Jas! - pressure ;))

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

It was a profitable month, but not as good as I'll need. However, I didn't play that many hands and my game in the latter half of the month was a bit ropey while making and facing the decision of quitting my job and depending on poker for the future.

The coaching I recieved at the beginning of the month was great and has helped give me a new confidence and perspective as well as some practical adjustments to make.

I'll post again mid-month as to how full-time poker is treating me as its too soon to comment yet.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The UK is one of the best places to go pro - you are not taxed on your winnings at all :) In the US you have to pay tax, but can write off losses, whereas in Brazil you have to pay tax on every win you have, but can't offset your losses against it - no wonder there aren't many online players from Brazil!

I was worried that this might change in the future for the UK, but it would also mean the Inland Revenue would have to accept gambling losses as tax-deductable so I don't expect it will change as they'd have a mountain of paperwork for probably no gain and potentially be opening up an exploitable loophole.

As a poker player, I'll be classed as "non-employed". This means I'll also be able to stop paying tax on any interest on my savings which is an added bonus. One thing I'll need to keep an eye on is National Insurance contributions - it looks like I can let it lapse for a while but will need to do something before the price goes up 2 years later :

2 days left at work now!

Monday, 12 October 2009

I quit my job today!

My job and company I work for have been going through a lot of changes over the last 14 months. I've waited patiently for a change that would see me happier, but I've reached the stage where I just don't feel I can continue to keep my head down and grind through each day. If I'm committing a serious amount of time each day to something I need to feel some kind of passion for what I'm doing and its just not been there for at least 10 months. A few small changes recently have been the final straw..

Its a scary time to be quitting without a new job to go to, and perhaps a little foolish, but with some savings behind me I can survive for a few months.

I haven't quit the job to play poker full-time, but now that I have quit it would seem silly not to give it a try :) I'd hoped to be able to attain a winrate to make the decision of quitting less risky, but I think with the extra time I'll have to play and study poker I have a chance of making it work.

I'm quite prepared for an outcome where I find that poker isn't a suitable career for me and that I may have to jobhunt again. At least I'd know if playing poker is worth the hours I put in! With a few months away from a 9-5 I hope I'll be able to re-kindle some passion for IT and find a job I can live with if it works out that way. I'm going to keep my eye on the job market and perhaps look for some contract/freelance work if anything suitable appears, especially if I can make my own hours and work from home.

I had been thinking about making a very solid plan/schedule if I was to play poker full-time, but I'm just going to have to work that out as I go. I'll need to try and fit in some exercise and time for all the other things that will help me sustain longer periods of A-game play. I hope I'll be able to put in at least 2k hands per day, so should manage around 50k for a month, breaking sessions into 1-1.5hr chunks. If I can improve my multi-tabling skills I should be able to achieve even more.

I'll be working out my notice for the rest of this month so I'll have more time to refine my plan and fit in plenty of time for studying/sweat sessions etc..

As poker is going to become my primary income I'll be removing the bankroll and monthly breakdowns from my blog soon.

Wish me luck! :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Coaching etc..

I had some really good sessions with my new coach (2* 1.5hr sweats and 1hr hand review) who suggested some adjustments to make that seem to be paying off. It helps to run well too as I had quads 4 times in 3000 hands and had a 12BI upswing in and around the coaching sessions.

I've also been a lot more focused in my sessions, paying attention to everything that is going on at the tables, making notes and trying to make a plan for each hand given the villain(s) involved. Stopping myself watching TV / instant messaging / forum browsing / checking results while playing is something I've struggled with in the past but I've managed it so far this month and plan to continue.

After the coaching sessions finished my boomswitch ended, was replaced with a doomswitch, and I had a bad day on Sunday dropping 4BI. Normally I think I'd start to tilt a little at this point and let it affect my play without really analyzing why. Instead, I reviewed hands and realised the cards just didn't run my way apart from mistakes I made in 2 hands. Yesterday I played again and made sure I played the same game as I had been during the coaching and picked up 3BI. I was in two very similar spots to the mistakes I had made the day before but was happy to not repeat them.

A combination of coaching, a nice heater and a renewed dedication to improve have helped a few concepts that I've been struggling with over the last few months click into place and I think given me the confidence that I was looking for when I dropped to 50NL.

Plan for the rest of the month (All FR and no 6max) :

Week 2 (this) : Continue 4-tabling 50NL
Week 3 : 6-table 50NL
Week 4 : Drop back to 4 tables but 2*100NL & 2*50NL
Week 5 : 6-table (4*50NL & 2*100NL)

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

You can probably tell from the lack of posting that its not been a wonderful month of poker, ending up down $750. The first few days started ok but then I seemed to lose my way.. my A-game didn't show up very much and when it did I tended to run into the top of villains' ranges which induced some variance tilt and some pretty horrible play.

On a more positive note I made my first live final table in what seems like ages in one of the OfficePoker events picking up a few league points but no $$. Best hand of the day was being priced into a call when pretty short in the BB with J2c after a small button raise and SB call. SB was short too and shoved on the 242 flop. I obviously called and turned quads :)

I'm starting with a new coach tonight - a Full Tilt FR reg from 2+2 who I hope can help get me back on track.

EDIT: Coaching session went well. Clawed back $150 before the month ended :) This hand helped:

$0.25/$0.5 Deep No Limit Holdem • 9 Players

Generated by

Hero (BTN)$75.60
  • Pre-Flop ($0.75, 9 players)Hero is BTN
  • d8 c8
UTG raises to $1.75, 3 folds, MP3 calls $1.75, 1 fold, Hero calls $1.75, 2 folds
  • Flop ($6, 3 players)
  • cJ s7 h8
UTG bets $4, MP3 calls $4, Hero calls $4
  • Turn ($18, 3 players)
  • s8
UTG bets $12, MP3 calls $12, Hero calls $12
  • River ($54, 3 players)
  • d9
UTG goes all-in $39.40, MP3 goes all-in $20.35, Hero calls $39.40
  • Final Pot: $153.15
  • MP3 shows
  • hJsT
  • Hero shows
  • d8c8
  • UTG shows
  • sJdJ
  • Hero wins $150.15 ( won +$93 )
  • MP3 lost -$38.10
  • UTG lost -$57.15

Monday, 31 August 2009

August review

Its been a decent month results-wise.. up $2000 overall. Unforunately I haven't been much more than a breakeven rakeback pro in cash games, the profit coming from donkaments and a decent month of FT bonuses. After posting my mid-month results I triggered a doomswitch and dropped 8BI in allin EV luck but have clawed it back into the green even if still below EV.

Not much else to post for now.. will continue with my plan to stay at 50NL until I reach $10k and then move back up to 100NL.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Bing Blang Blaow

I've had a couple of days off work and have been able to put in some decent volume for a change - all hands at 50NL (mainly FR). Being able to play at the times I want and without the tilt of work has been great. Starting deep tables has been +EV and helps avoid the shortstacks.

The above has some O8 mixed in - pure holdem graph below.

Its nice to see some upward movement on the red line for a change even if it is a small sample.

With this, the donkaments results and some good FT bonuses its shaping up to be a pretty decent month. I've now wiped out the nightmare that was June and the "1000NL inicident" :) After June I had $500 left in my FT account (rest of bankroll held elsewhere), and I've managed to build it up to just over $3k taking my BR to a career peak of over $9k and without taking any stupid shots at higher stakes.

My plan is to continue building confidence at 50NL until I reach $10k and then move back up to 100NL (100BI).

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


I'm running pretty well in donkaments this month which helps make running breakeven at cash feel not so bad.

I was 2nd in a $8 MTT last night - pretty sick not to win it though after this final hand.

No Limit Holdem Tournament
$8 + 0.80 Tournament
2 players
Converted at


SB Hero (161314)
BB gangzi (198686)

Blinds: 1500/3000 Ante 400

Pre-flop: (5,300, 2 players) Hero is SB

Hero raises to 6,000, gangzi calls 3,000

Flop: (13,600, 2 players)
gangzi checks, Hero bets 3,000, gangzi goes all-in 192,286, Hero goes all-in 151,914

Turn: (360,800, 2 players)

River: (360,800, 2 players)

Final Pot: 322,628
Hero shows:
gangzi shows:

gangzi wins 360,000 ( won +161,714 )
Hero lost -160,914

Also had the privilege of watching Baz take down a few pots against Phil Helmuth last night

Monday, 3 August 2009


I've being playing a mixture of NL and PL 08 due to there not being a huge number of tables to choose from, with no real preference for either game. PL is obviously much safer in that it takes some effort to get it all-in. However, in NL there is definitely more danger and you really can't afford to be chasing draws.. especially for 1/2 the pot. One thing that does happen much more often in O8 NL compared to NL holdem is the open shove pre-flop.

In the hand below I finally got a chance to look one up. I was actually a 44% to 56% underdog so was pretty lucky to scoop both pots. I haven't seen many bad players yet trying to emulate with weaker hands, but I'm sure its an inevitable (and profitable?) result. I think I was probably a little weak to be calling in this instance without a 2 and a suited A but having low backup and curiosity I couldn't resist :)

$0.25/$0.5 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
8 players
Converted at


Hero (UTG) ($68.20)
UTG+1 ($34.30)
MP1 ($19.85)
MP2 ($26.60)
CO ($35.80)
BTN ($42.55)
SB ($50.70)
BB ($83.70)

Pre-flop: ($0.75, 8 players) Hero is UTG

Hero calls $0.50, 5 folds, SB calls $0.25, BB goes all-in $83.70, Hero goes all-in $67.70, SB folds

Flop: ($152.40, 2 players)

Turn: ($152.40, 2 players)

River: ($152.40, 2 players)

Final Pot: $136.90
BB shows:
Hero shows:

BB wins $15.50 ( lost -$68.20 )
Hero wins $133.90 ( won +$65.70 )
SB lost -$0.50

[ x ] thinly veiled royal flush brag

$0.25/$0.5 No Limit Holdem
9 players
Converted at


UTG ($12.60)
UTG+1 ($10.00)
MP1 ($54.95)
MP2 ($53.25)
MP3 ($22.10)
CO ($60.95)
Hero (BTN) ($70.50)
SB ($16.00)
BB ($19.95)

Pre-flop: ($0.75, 9 players) Hero is BTN

1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $2, 4 folds, Hero raises to $7.50, 2 folds, UTG+1 goes all-in $10, Hero calls $2.50

Flop: ($20.75, 2 players)

Turn: ($20.75, 2 players)

River: ($20.75, 2 players)

Final Pot: $20.75
Hero shows:
UTG+1 shows:

Hero wins $19.75 ( won +$9.75 )
UTG+1 lost -$10