Finally recovered from the WSOPE

It took me a week to get over the WSOPE. 12 long days and nights made me very ill, I'm still coughing my guts up every now and then. Thankfully no more live updates for me for a good while so it wont happen again with a bit of luck.

I played in the Napoleons mini festival the other day, the same one I chopped a few months ago. No such joy this time around, I didn't get dealt any good cards (which is not a good enough excuse) and got frustrated and played badly. I ended up shoving a weak ace into Ash Hussein who very rightly busted me with queens.

I just cant seem to get started with tournaments and SNGs at the moment. Thankfully I have been raping the cash games on Blue Square to make up for it. Not sure why I can only do well in one for the other, but I've decided to commit to cash games because I'm getting sick of the swings I get in SNGs.

Which is why, for the time being only I'm sure, I have turned my back on Pokerstars. For about 6 months I have won more than I thought possible in the six handed SNGs on Stars, I even got myself into the top 5 of a Sharkscope leaderboard for a while. But I'm getting annoyed with the massive swings I take. So I have cashed out my money, traded in my FFPs and gone to ipoker.

With cash games my profit is slower but steady (Except as I write this I've just lost a huge pot with my set against a flush draw). I also think that to get the all round best poker education you have to play cash games, as tournaments can be a bit 'shove and hope for the best'. The game choice on Stars is 2nd to none but there are way too many LAGs and too many educated players, even at the lower stakes. Ipoker looks like a great little fish frenzy.


12 Days in the Big Smoke at the WSOPE has taken its toll. I am now (glad to be) back home and have made myself ill with the non stop standing for 12-16 hours at a time for 12 days. I don't entirely enjoy live updates, however the pokernews team and interface we used were so great that it made it enjoyable enough.

Now, I'm quite naive about London and would have planned my journey so differently knowing what I know now. Obviously my hotel would have been different from the get go. Also, I wasn't aware that the tube actually closed, which would have stopped me getting a hotel 3 miles away from the venue. I would have also made sure my new hotel had a laundrette service - as I ended up buying some cheap clothes from primark because it was easier and cheaper than going to a dry cleaners.

It was a fun enough WSOPE. Tony G is a really top bloke and I was glad to be working for him, gutted he didn't win the PLO Bracelet. Getting to know and work with Snoopy and Pauly MgGrupp was also lots of fun, having only really read them from affar before.

I really wanted John Tabatabai to win the main event, I watched him take apart Gus Hansen before the final table and thought it might have been his year - though maybe Annette winning is better for poker in general.

I'm having a few days off now to recover, but should be doing the Napoleans Mini Festival starting this weekend. I made a final table in the last two so hopefully will be 3 for 3 this time round.

You get what you pay for

For the last time ever I will base a hotel booking on price alone. Of course you wont be seeing me at the Ritz anytime soon but the other day I learnt, as I have done many times before in different situations, that you get what you pay for.

I’m in Central London for the World Series of Poker Europe (Yes, I know, silly name). I’m getting paid by the good folks at Pokenews and rather than making an expenses claim, I simply am getting a bigger fee and have to make my own arrangements. I then hit upon the brainwave that the next 12 days would be a money saving exercise, and thus would leave more money for me to spend on nice things for me.

So my shit ignorant eyes sparkled when I saw a room as cheap as £30 a night slap bang in the middle of London. Packed it, booked it, fucked off as they say.

I arrived just as the Police where grilling the Hotel owner about one of their staff. When they left she gave me the bad news that she made a mistake and booked me into a room with no bathroom and I would have to use a shared bath and toilet instead. Already gutted I carried my suitcase up 7 flights of stairs and walked into a room, nay, cupboard, that made my student house in 2001 look like a palace. The bed looked like a loaf of bread with a tea towel on it and this sink looked like, well, I have no analogies for that but it looked fucking awful.

So I went to the WSOPE VIP party and made sure I got as pissed as I possibly could, not for fun but to not care anymore as I lay in that ‘bed’. I come home wankered and manage to sleep a little. Waking up with a hangover is made thrice as bad when its in a total shithole like that. There was no way I was going anywhere near the bathroom and I hate to admit that I pissed in the sink like I assume many have done before me in that place.

I packed up my stuff, went downstairs, nobody was there so I left a note and the key and did a runner. I then proceeded to smell for the rest of the day at the Empire Casino until I checked in to the most glorius Travellodge I have ever seen (Actually, it’s the worst but that doesn’t matter right now). I had a shower and my god never has a lukewarm, wonky shower felt so good.

The WSOPE so far has been interesting. I met my hero (and sort of boss) Tony G and was surprised he knew who I was. I also got interviewed by the Sik Tilt boys so maybe I’ll have a link to that soon.

Back to the casino for me, HORSE is boring and confusing but the buffet was ok, I don’t care right now because at least I am clean again.

Behind the Rail - The Curse of the Blogger

Taken from my Pokernews column - Behind the Rail

Last year I went part time at my old office job to concentrate on playing poker. It went well and I also started writing more and more, which was also proving financially rewarding. At the start of this year I left the 9-5 forever and I spend about 40% of my time writing about poker and 60% playing. When things are going well I tell people I’m a professional poker player and when they are not I’m just a writer.

This Thursday I put down the cards and pick up my jotter pad and pen where for the next 12 days I will be one of those people you see hanging round a poker table trying to guesstimate the amount of chips Daniel Negreanu has. Poker blogging, as it is known, for Pokernews at the WSOPE.

Poker blogging requires one to wander around the tournament floor and count how many chips the players have. It’s about looking out for some of the craziest hands and bust outs and then reporting them back in real time on your website. Anyone who blogs about poker is a poker player, and a good one at that, they have to be to report it back effectively.

Blogging is loads of fun at times but unbelievably frustrating too. When you are equally used to being the one sat at the table, having to stand behind Roland De Wolfe as he contemplates a call can be demoralising. I liken it to being a League 2 footballer having to be a kit man for the England squad during the World Cup – you tell yourself you would do anything to be there but you think you’re above it when you do.

The most hugely frustrating thing about blogging is standing watching the action as some internet qualifier is making some of the most amateur moves at the table. You see some plucky Scandinavian min reraising with king-seven, getting lucky on the flop and scooping one pot more on their way to a fortune and you wonder how the hell you came to be jotting it down on a notepad.

Sometimes you just want to scream out “Just call you idiot” or “That’s it, give me your cards, you can’t play anymore, GIVE ME YOUR CARDS!”. Watching a cagey heads up match is the most frustrating, I know these guys have millions on the line and every decision is crucial to them, but don’t they realise that we want to go out and drink after 3 or 4 exhausting days watching them? I have a friend who got into trouble with the website he blogs for when he screamed “Throw a diamond out there, please god throw us a diamond!” at the table during hour 8 of a gruelling heads up match.

Of course I’m making it sound awful but in fact, its tremendous fun. Bloggers are a fun bunch and the chance to meet some of the greatest players on the planet is worth the journey alone. I’ll be looking to score a few pictures stood next to Ivey, Negreanu and Brunson on my trip and thus losing any credibility I may have had.

The WSOPE is quite simply the biggest event outside of Las Vegas and I cannot justify £10,000 of my bankroll to play in it, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world. You can see all my WSOPE Live Updates here.
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