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2009: The Year of Running Good

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I cant believe its been almost a month since I last updated this thing.

Just about to get ready for a New Years party and I cannot wait to get 2008 done and dusted. I know tomorrow will be the same as any other day but we humans do think of things in terms of months and years and, while by no means an awful year, 2008 is one I will be glad to see the back of.

The dog died, my old man was ill for a bit, my missuses grandparents the same and even my missus was worryingly ill for a while (all more than fine now thankfully). Most of my mates had some form of bad news or other in 2008, in the case of a few some very grim news indeed, so generally it wasn't the best year. I did have plenty of fun too, went to Vegas which was amazing, had a really good year with the girlfriend in general so it wasn't all that bad.

As a writer I had a truly fantastic year. I really love the stuff I do with Pokernews and wrote some stuff for magazines I really truly deemed 'proper writing n that'. I also got a lot of kudos in the industry and have even started a regular stint on Sky Poker as a guest, which panders to my ego very nicely indeed. If 2009 can be anything like 2008 in this regard, I will be a happy man.

As a player, its been a bad year. A winning year, a nice winning year I guess (I have more in the bank now than ever before), but way below expectation and had lots of long frustrating break even spells. I only had one bad losing month (which might have actually been break even when you add rakeback) but the 2nd half of the year contained too many just-better-than-break-even months, which was frustrating but again, thank god for rakeback.

Which was all funny, because this was the first year I had a coach, Stuart 'Balloo' Menzies, which coincided with the bad run when you think it would do the opposite. Stuart has really massively helped my game, and made me realise that I wasn't as good as I thought I was and a lot of my success in the past has been a result of raw aggression (Which ain't a terrible thing). Its good to have the wind knocked out of your sails like this and I think I am a much better player this year than I was 12 months ago for it.

But unfortunately, the coaching has also coincided with some real bad luck at the cash tables. The last 6 months I have ran really bad at the cash tables, not getting massively outdrawn all the time (Although that did happen plenty and I am about significantly up on my 'Sklansky Bucks' graph, though not on my real bucks graph lol) but simply constantly running big hands into bigger hands. I get queens, they get kings, I get kings, they get aces, I get aces, they hit a set, I get a set, they hit their flush etc etc.

I hate moaning about it, I hate people that moan about bad luck, but apart from occasional weeks where I would run like god, this was the story of May to December for me. My coach, who sweats my sessions, made the comment to me that he has never seen anyone run big hands into bigger hands as much as me and I must say, his support has been what has stopped me from quitting the game this year.

But, one big leak of mine that I cant blame luck on (though it is a catalyst for) is that when I am tilted, I play very defensively and don't value bet enough. As much as I moan about bad luck, I'm pretty certain the tilt factor amplified the bad luck and I could have got myself out of these runs had I played better.

Live tournaments were a huge flop for me too, which was lucky in a way as I was sponsored for the vast majority of the events I played and didnt lose much of my own money at all. I didn't cash in a single ranking event and only got my money back in one saver deal. I cant really blame luck on this, every tournament I played went like this:

Build a big stack early
Go card dead when the blinds start to get big
Blind away and shove with rags at the end of day 1, get called, lose.

Obviously I say there that I went card dead every time in the middle stages, but the leak is mine because I clearly have no clue what to do in that scenario and better tournament players will have emerged from those spells better than I did. Thankfully, I did do really well in the small handful of Online MTTs I played, I reckon I only played about 15 MTTs online this year and I won 4, which is a great return I should probably think more about making the most of next year.

So 2009 looks pretty simple for me. I want to carry on my writing work and any other poker opportunities that come along. I want to get a dog with my girlfriend, that should be easy enough. And in 2009 I want to run well and play well. Obviously I cant control the luck element, but I can constantly improve as a player and I think that if I have a positive attitude and stop whining about running bad, then it will only have a positive affect on my winnings. (Cashing in a live event would be nice too).

So happy new year and may 2009 be the year of the run good!

DTD £300 Deepstack

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Whenever I play live these days, I always jinx myself by having a really good session playing online cash just before I leave the house, and this was no different. The £300er at DTD was lots of fun though and I had a nice soft table to begin with for most of day 1. No complaints about how I never got a big stack for 2 days because I ran pretty well but picked the wrong street to start bluffing every time I did that, really mis timed the rare occassions I was trying to nick pots and the more I think of it, there is no real reason to do anything than value bet when the structure is as good as it was. I was even able to fold pocket queens very easily with just under 30 big blinds to someone with the worlds most polarised hand range without worrying about getting too short.

I stopped in a travel lodge near by because of the early start to day 2, which was awful. First off I forgot my toothpaste and travel lodges are so shit they dont have any to buy or give away, so ended up cleaning my teeth with soap. Then I had a rotten nights sleep and woke up to find I actually didnt have a shower, just a hole in the wall where the shower heads should be. I couldnt really complain, because there was nobody there to complain to, the cleaning lady said the reception staff didnt start till 3. Eventually she let me into a disused room with a proper shower, which saved them one of my overwritten complaint letters.

Day 2 lasted exactly one hand for me. I had about 15k with blinds at 600/1200 and an ante of 100. A taggy player I had heard moan about being card day on day 1 raised to 2800, called by a laggy player who has been running like god and I find 78 of diamonds. Excellent spot for a squeeze in my opinion, I had enough to make them fold a lot of crap and the right hand if I get caught out by a monster. The original raiser postures for ages, asks me if I had AJ (meaning he has AT or AQ) and folds. In hindsight I wish I had made more of this, because it didnt stop mr running like god to insta call me with A2, which he hit aces up with right away. Not the best call from him, but being as I mentioned he had been running like god, I cant exactly be suprised when he calls me. He was a nice bloke so who cares.

But was all good fun, as DTD usually is. I got interviwed by Poker Tour Radio who launched last week and showing some real signs of potential. We are going to have a little crack at making the pilot of the Pokernews podcast this week to see just how out of depth we really are.

European Deepstack Poker Championships

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

In years of poker I have only ever really entered a satelitte about 5 times, and never had any success at all. However last night I entered a satelitte for the European Deepstack Championships on Winamax and came 1st, so an all expenses trip to Dublin it is for me. So glad too, because its one of three events I really want to play next year (That and the WSOP main event, obv, and the Irish Open)and its always a good laugh.

Its funny, Ive played much bigger events and been lucky enough to have been sponsored into much bigger, but for some reason winning my seat is all that more satisfactory. Maybe because Im going to get about a grand in travel expenses for what will essentially be a £400 round trip to Dublin.

Anyway, minor brag over.

Im a proper radio bloke me

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Long time no post eh? Laziness mainly, also my girlfriend has been pretty ill but I am pleased to say she is slowly on the mend and thankfully just in time for us to really enjoy Christmas (Thanks btw to those who gave get well messages) so I havent really played much in November, but we'll make up for that in December.

I've got more appearances on Sky Poker lined up and rather excitingly (for me) Im going to be dipping my toes and having a crack at poker podcasting. I love the 2+2 and Pokerroad podcasts and now a fully fledged UK poker radio station launches tommorow and it looks great, so I'll be making a few 'pilots' (thats a telly word that is) to see if I really do have the soothing voice that this gay turkish bloke said I once had at my old job. Radio probably suits me a tad more than TV, I have the face for it a bit more.

Three big tournaments coming up this week, Luton, DTD and the GCBPT - Ive been mulling over all three for ages and I have decided I am going to go the easy route and go to DTD. I have an other engagement that means Bristol was off the menu and the big value advantage of playing at DTD is that 70 odd GUKPT champions will be in Luton the same day.

It certainly would be nice to finish the year off by not making it a year I didnt cash in a live donkament.

Im a proper telly bloke me

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Not that much Pokery stuff to report at the moment, my missus has been ill for over a week which has took up plenty of my time (because Im a good boyfriend) and I havent been playing that much. At this juncture I would like to thank Tracey 'Dingdell' Dell from the Blondepoker forum for some nutritional advice she has given us to get her better, which she did free of charge (its her field of work) and was much appreciated.

I did shoot back down to Feltham this week for another appearance on The Club for Sky Poker. It went pretty well, I was there for Pokernews talking about the WSOP main event results, you can see it tonight at 8.30pm and repeated a few times after. At one point I started talking and this voice came into my head "you dont know how you are going to finish this sentance" and somehow I managed to warble my way through whatever question it was, the rest went fine I think.

It was an odd day, it took me nearly four hours in the car to get there (Delays on the road + rush hour) and I was on the show almost as soon as I arrive, so I was there for less than half an hour before I was back on the road for another 3 and a half hour journey. It felt like being a delivery driver or something, which I dont mind as I like driving on the motorway and listening to music (Except when I managed to get on the road for Tim Westwoods slot).

I do really like getting my mug on TV, even if I hate watching it back and spend most of the show thinking to myself "my god you look awful". The fact that I feel comfortable getting make-up does make me feel like a big shot even if I do drive to and from the studio in my milk float of a granny wagon car.

So hopefully the missus will be better soon, I think she is slowly on the mend, and I can start playing a bit more (Although she might have saved me a nasty losing week for all I know).

GCBPT Teeside, Credit Crunch and luck bastards losing their jobs.

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Last week Gala Coral were kind enough to invite me along for a free seat in the Stockton on Tees leg of the GCBPT (Because I am a media type that gets stuff for free) and once again I donated away to a day 1 finish. The usual story really, I built up a big stack early (actually played some of my best poker for the first two levels) but never really got going after the first break.

Partially due to this very chatty and very good Irish bloke that moved to my left after the break and became a real Burdon; outplaying me almost every hand. It didn’t help that the structure was faster than the games I am used to (no 75/150 or 150/300 levels, which are my favourites) and all of a sudden it found me short stacked and running jacks into kings. I do, however, think that a faster structure is needed for the GCBPT and not because of the lower skill element in these events. It is effectively only a two day event, so it does need the faster structure and also there are not that many pros in the field, so it’s unreasonable to expect the players to spend half the week there.

But I must say I do like the GCBPT very much, rightly dubbed the peoples poker tour. What makes them different to say the GUKPT is that most of the field is made up of regulars from that casino (which also makes it great value) rather than the same 200 players regardless of the venue. I think both tours are great btw, I think the GCBPT is the people’s tour and the GUKPT is the prestige tour.

To be honest, I’d just like to cash in either at the moment.

Cash games are going ok at the moment, particularly because the pound is so weak compared to the dollar, I’m glad to be doing my poker business in $ and wish I understood currency well enough to justify cashing some of my roll out (Hmmmmm, I might actually just because its Christmas) and enjoying the exchange rate.

I’m sooooooo jealous of my old workmates; the lucky bastards might be getting made redundant. I was toying with sticking around at my old Norwich Union job because redundancy might have happened, 18 months later it is for some of them. They get a month’s gross pay per year they have been there, I would have got about 14 grand for that, my mate is due to get about £40,000. Lucky bastards.

I’ve been doing some research about how the whole recession thingy might affect the online poker industry, after all this is the first time we have had ‘online gambling’ in a recession, and although gambling historically does well in those periods, some experts think that online poker won’t be as lucrative.

First of all, I don’t think the traffic will go down all that much. For every player that opts out because of the credit crunch there will be a new player in the Asian market to take their place. Not only that but we have things like PKR and Sky Poker bringing new people to the game (Plus the odd idiot trying to poker their way out of a debt).

One thing is for certain, I am not keeping all my bankroll in any one place, that’s just common sense. I’m trying to find out exactly what would happen if an online poker sites bank went bust, but at the moment the online poker rooms haven’t been all that helpful. Could you imagine if Pokerstars invested all their money in Icesave? Christ.

So I have my roll spread out in Neteller, a few poker rooms and I am thinking off sticking it in a savings account. I’d get a lot of interest as a direct result, but as I’m a spanner when it comes to these things I have no idea whether Id be better off not converting the dollars to pounds, or if I’d get shafted if I redeposited or not. One thing I am doing is sticking all my rakeback straight into a savings account, that’s a nice medium I think and I tend to get quite a bit a month (Especially since getting a deal from the Tetleyboy guys in the above banner) and previously I just used it to pad my roll.

The smaller poker rooms will suffer I think. Duplicate poker has already closed down blaming the credit crunch, but make no mistake, its closing down because it was a fucking stupid idea for a poker room and had way too much invested in it. The Crypto network could be on its way out and I hope they merge with Party as its being suggested. Places like Sky Poker and PKR I think are destined to become huge and I can actually forsee them getting bigger, as will iPoker, especially when William Hill merge with them.

I think the credit crunch will adversely affect live poker more than online. I can casinos and poker tours see numbers drop more than online poker rooms. The ‘experts’ are saying poker attracts less habitual gamblers and thus, will give the game up much easier in a recession, but as poker is just a mouseclick away and there are no overheads online, I can see it thriving even if lots of smaller rooms and related business suffer.

The Poker Coach

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There has been a really good response to an article I wrote for WPT Magazine this month about getting a poker coach. I actually wrote the feature months ago but I'm pleased to say I'm still with Stuart and we've become really good mates. I would advise anyone to either get a coach or at least, get some likeminded mates to discuss hands with because it makes an incredible difference to your game.

If nothing else, its a tremendous support system to have a coach when the times are hard, as well as a big reality check when you think you are running bad but are in fact making plenty of mistakes.

I've had a lot of people asking me to get in contact with Stu for them and I am sure he will reply to all the requests in due course, but I shall say on his behalf that he is in the middle of moving house right now and presumably has little to no internet access right now.

Man Flu

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Its typical, just as I get a bit of a run going at the tables I get the dreaded man flu.

It sucks being ill when you dont have a normal job. No matter how ill I was at my old work, I always felt a small feeling of victory that I wasnt at work. Sure I would spend most of the day hovering over a toilet, but I also got to watch Jeremy Kyle when the other mugs were slaving away.

But Ive been ropey for a few days now and its really hard to quantify what, if anything, I have lost from being inactive. I could have got some really good writing down and won a fortune at the tables, or I could have done sod all and blown half my roll in one session. Its hard to say and its boring being ill when you are your own boss.

I dont know why, but I think this is the funniest thing Ive seen in ages:

The Club

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Yesterday I was down in Feltham to record several interviews for the Club on Sky Poker. Neither of my previous two appearances on poker TV shows were that impressive; I appeared on the Open last year, stuttered when I was introduced because I had flopped a full house on my poker table and when I finally got my words together, soft core pornography journalist Grub Smith made fun of my hair (Typically hours after the show I came up with a great comeback – “oi, fuck off Grub Smith”- which I wish I had said at the time). My second appearance was playing on the PartyPoker European Open, which was short and sweet and I think I played ok, but being the 5th place finisher in a 6 table heat is never much to shout about.

It was Dan Lobb and Compo presenting this time round, rather than Dan and Matt Broughton, and it was nice meeting Compo for the first time properly and he seems a really top bloke. Dan Lobb is exactly the same off the camera as he is on the camera, except he is actually about 6ft 3, which surprised me. When I met him in the green room, the first thing he asked me was ‘do you have any gambling leaks?’ which I thought was an interesting, intrusive and innocent question all at the same time, I can only assume Broughton told him what the term ‘leak’ meant the week previous and he has been using it to death ever since.

Also in the green room was Rich Prew plugging this week’s APAT event and Theo Jorgensen, bracelet in hand, looking like the cat that got the cream.

I did three interviews in total, one ‘quick fire’ interview which was just me and Compo and will be aired one night on ‘the open’ in the next week and two interviews for the Club. I took a change of shirt for those two to give the illusion of time passing between shows, the magic of television eh? My first proper interview was all about the WSOPE and the shenanigans that have gone on over the last few weeks and the other was all about my main writing gig – Pokernews, and all the great stuff they’ve got going on at the moment.

I really enjoyed all three interviews and I’m looking forward to watching them all, hopefully I won’t look too much like a fat fucker because I’m a stone lighter than the last time I was on TV. I think I answered all my questions pretty knowledgably and I even managed to crack a few funnies here and there. I think the first one airs on Friday night and no idea when the other ones do, I’ve sky plussed the lot already.

Poker is great, Poker sucks

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My non poker playing activities are going tremendously well at the moment and at the same time, poker itself is going awful. I’ve had maybe my worse month of the year, my 2nd losing month of the year (although thankfully rakeback and bonuses made it a break even month technically, so I’ve only really had one losing month in 2009) and my luck has been awful. It’s the big pots I’ve been losing, the aces, the kings and the set type hands and the smaller pots have been fine. My Sklansky graph is a joke once again and like a div I just started backing up my database which will take all day so I can’t post it.

But as much as I blame bad luck (and I do believe the majority of my losers were coolers) my coach has been looking over my hands and pointing out plenty of mistakes I’ve made as well. So I’m taking a couple of weeks off and will be spending most of next week studying hand histories and discussing as much strategy with my coach and anyone who will listen. I’m way too tilted to play at the moment and everything else is going so well I may as well throw myself into that.

I’m loving my work for Pokernews at the moment and getting more involved with some of the behind the scenes stuff, for example I’m trying to shed a few last pounds for my appearance on Sky Pokers ‘The Club’ next week where I will be talking about Pokernews. I’m also doing a bit of writing for the newly launched www.pokerchanneleurope.com where I’ve been reunited with my old mate Paul Sandells. The website looks really swish and there will be loads of video content on there soon.

As you can see from the big purple banner at the top of the page, I’ve kind of unwittingly been promoting the tetleyboy-affiliates for a few weeks now so I ended up putting a banner up for them. Basically I got the best loyalty deal I’ve ever seen through them, I got chatting with the guy involved and was so impressed with his service and his personalised approach, I ended up sending a few players his way. If you want to know more send me an email and I can get you a special rate.

Unrelated to the Tetleyboy thing, I can also get you a great deal at VC Poker (Again, send me an email) which has one of the best loyalty systems available on the iPoker and send me an email for more. They’ve just announced the second Prague Poker Palooza on November 24th and I was gutted to miss the last one. I love Prague and it makes so much sense to have a poker tournament there, I’m hoping to get my ass over there very soon.

So yeah, its times like this I consider myself really lucky that I’ve got my fingers in a lot of pies. If I just logged on, played poker and logged off again each day, times like this would be brutal, but it’s nice I can have a break from playing and still make plenty of money and get plenty of opportunities from poker.

New Party Software

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Here's a Pokernews article I wrote today on the new party poker software. PartyPoker is the first place I ever played online poker and it felt a bit funny playing on this new software, but I like it. The best thing for me are the bet pot buttons, not because I use them (I never do) but because there are soooooo many players who use them without thinking. They'll use a 'bet half pot' button for when they have middle pair, 'bet 3/4 pot' when they have a top pair or better and a 'bet pot' when its a bluff. Obviously the good players don't do it but it certainly made iPoker more interesting to play lately and I might have to revisit an old friend called Party for the same reason.

In the same Pokernews post I managed to BOK Yuval Brohnstein completelty by backing him to win, I think he bust within a minute of me actually uploading the item too.

I'm taking a few days off the playing side of things because things have gone from bad to, well the same, not worse. I lost three times a row with Kings-Full to give you an idea of what I mean, but at the same time my poker coach has been pointing out to me plenty of hands that were NOT coolers and I just misplayed them, so Im gonna stop moaning. Either way a break is good.

Thank gawd for rakeback

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Every time I moan on this blog about running bad it has a tendancy to reward me with a hot streak where I run like god for a few weeks, so here goes:

Im running a bit bad

Not that I'm losing money, far from it, thanks to some very good rakeback deals with the rooms I play on, I'm actually going to show a profit for the month despite it technically being a losing month so far. I genuinley think that one can make a living from poker by simply breaking even at $100nl or $200nl games (maybe $400nl, not much higher because the games are too tough to try and play break even only poker) and playing at high volume with a good deal. I know of a player on Full Tilt who makes about $8000 a month from rakeback at the $1/$2 tables and he is a winning player too. Some of the rakeback deals I have with some poker rooms are between 45-57% and I reckon I could earn a reasonable living from it if I could stand the hours.

Some of the deals are a bit hush hush, which is why I havent mentoned any specific poker rooms, send me an email if you wanna know more.

I'm on The Club on Sky Poker next wednesday to talk about Pokernews, who if you havent noticed, have kind of relaunched and I think are looking better for it. The new format makes it so much easier for me to write what I want and what I think people want to read, its a shorter snappier newsreader style that lets me be much more creative.

Sky Poker and World Records

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Ive actually had the two most fun poker outings in nearly a year over the last three days. The Sky Poker UK Tour was a hoot and even though there seemed to be people chucking all their money in the middle on hand one with pocket eights at other tables, it was a real rock garden on ours. I did managed to make one lad check-fold pocket kings on a Q-2-2 flop to just one very small bet and also managed to make someone fold a full house when I had a straight (I cant beat a boat he said, even though he had one). Both seemed very keen not to bust early, as folks do when its their first live event.

The atmosphere was just great at DTD and you could tell a few of the people were very nervous and it was cute to see some of the ways folks were handling their chips. You should have seen the old fella on my right handle his chips when he found pocket kings. Im no Mike Caro but my ability to spot tells was through the roof on Saturday.

I even got the chance to take the piss out of Richard Orford briefly for his time on the now extinct 'Advert Channel' - a whole channel devoted to adverts which had one major flaw - it didnt have a single advert on it. Just a bunch of TV presenters saying 'do you remember the Smash advert? that was good with the monkeys, no wait, that was PG tips'.

Today I went to participate in the world record heads up attempt. Dave Cain is a legend and Im truly routing for the maniac, he is doing it on the Lincoln Uni campus and it was the start of freshers yesterday. I was expecting him to be a bit weird but he was a really nice bloke and I think he can do it. He played very well in our match despite having been up for 30 odd hours already so I think he clearly can run on fumes better than most.

Im on TV next month on the Club, the Sky Poker chat show, so Im expecting to shed a few pounds between now and then, as these things tend to motivate me.

Get Carter: Money Added tournament this Thursday

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Shameless Spam Alert

This week is Get Carter on VC Poker, a bounty tournament with a difference. Its a $20 rebuy event which not only has $1000 added to the prize pool but there are also five $100 bounties on my head if you are lucky enough to be sat at my table. This is a great value tournament because not only is there added money but because its on VC Poker only (and not other iPoker skins) the turnout will be a lot lower than your average money added bounty and thus, there will be a much better chance of being at my table during the rebuy period.

They do a similar bounty tournament with Ken Doherty and initially the numbers for that were very low so this makes it a really good value event to get in on now before it becomes more popular. It’s on Thursday 5th September at 20:30 BST.
For more information and a 300% ($600) bonus go to
GET CARTER.

The bonuses on VC Poker do clear faster than any other iPoker skin from what I understand and if you are interested I might be able to sort out a good loyalty deal with anyone who fancies moving their cash/sng game over to VC. I’m sure you will think I am biased, but the reason I went to VC way before I was a sponsored player was because they cashback/loyalty/reload bonuses were the most lucrative on the iPoker network and I think they still are.

Hopefully see people on Thursday, where I can finally get some cool use out of my surname.

29th Birthday, bring on the 30th!

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I turned 29 yesterday and feeling all philosophical n that. My birthday itself was nice enough, I ate and drank too much of course. I saw my beloved Sheffield Wednesday look awesome in the first half, 1-0 up against Preston and woeful in the 2nd half when it finished 1-1.

I'm now officially 12 months away from the big 3 0 and I'm pleased to say it isn't the daunting milestone I once imagined it to be. When I was about 22-26 the prospect of turning 30 was genuinely scary to me, but that was probably something to do with how I lived back then. I was a bit of a Lad in my early twenties and I'd be out every weekend and the week would just be inconvenience between weekends. I'm settled now, have a great girlfriend and enjoy the finer and relaxing things in life. I had a great time of course when I was a dirty stop out, but I wouldn't change things for the world now.

The other big difference was of course that back then, I had a dead end job in a large Insurance company (who claimed to quote people happy). I was straight out of Uni and uttered the words that most of my colleagues once said "this is only temporary". Low and behold it would be 6 years later that I actually left, which I guess is temporary in the wider context of my life. Back then I got promoted a few times and got plenty of extra responsibilities that deluded me into thinking it was going somewhere, when my annual income was actually increasing at a rate of six kit-kats a year.

Not to slag the place off though, one of my pet peeves was all the people that would walk around moaning about working there, like they were forced into doing the job rather than their of their own free will. Mood Hoovers a boss of mine called them and I always did my best to be the opposite, I always had a good attitude at work, which is why I progressed and earned more kitkats than some of my workmates, but inside I hated it. The only thing that kept me there was the brilliant and instant social life you get with working in a big company.

But I think I have to be grateful to my old job for a number of reasons. The biggest and most important one being my mate Jonesy, who is still one of my best mates and we meet up every week, teaching me to play poker when we worked together. Every lunch we would discuss hands and bad beats and he created a monster. He is still a good player but soon I became obsessed and surpassed him, I started winning money that was beating what I could make in overtime, so I stopped doing overtime and played poker instead. If and when I win a serious amount of money in a tournament, I want to buy Jonesy a big old gift as a token of my appreciation.

The other big change that saved me was getting what can only be described as a PISS EASY JOB. I was drafted into a new department as a technical consultant, where it was my job to inform this new department how the rest of the business works. I'm sure they thought this would be a daunting task but it quickly became transparent to me that it was easy and the best part was, they had no idea how easy and no benchmark to compare me to, so I made it look like it was the hardest job in the world and I was doing a great job.

Most of my work could be done in a couple of hours, but because nobody within a mile of my desk could understand how to use the systems I did (or excel, the thickos) I would drag it out over several days. This allowed me to spend, pretty much 60% of my working week, reading and writing poker articles at my desk. It was round about this time that I started getting paid writing work which meant that I was earning more money at my desk not doing my job (and getting paid for both) than I ever could have trying to get promoted, and all the time my bosses thought the sun shined out of my arse.

If you've ever wondered, as many people do, how I am able to write so much seemingly every month (as I appear in many magazines and websites) I would attribute it to this period of my life. I have always been a super fast worker anyway (when I'm trying) and because I love writing I can do it quickly and well, but this period where I would write poker articles when I'm supposed to be working sharpened my speed writing skills as well as my 'flick-up-a=spreadsheet-when-the-boss-is-walking-past' skills.

So both these things led to me going part time and eventually quitting the 9-5 altogether, which was about 16 months ago and I haven't looked back since. I kinda feel guilty about admitting I did nothing for my last year of work because my employers were gutted I left but in all honesty, I'm also childishly proud at the same time.

I've gone off track a little but what I am saying is now that I have found something I love, a job that doesn't feel like a death sentence and I am my own boss, hitting 30 doesn't seem that bad at all. Hopefully this doesn't come across as bragging, but instead inspires someone to follow a dream job of their own, whatever it may be.

I said in my last post that I want to win a meaningful poker trophy before I am 30 and that is the plan, but it is just a vain hope and if I don't get it it doesn't matter. I have no intention getting on the property market this year because it is just an awful time for anyone, let alone a self employed person who wins most of his income, and my main man Martin Lewis advises against it right now and that's good enough for me.

A new motor would be nice for my 30th, I drive a bit of a granny wagon at the moment but I use it so little a new car isn't a wise investment unless I get a big score. I'd also like to pay of my missus' debt in one fell swoop because I know how great it feels to rid yourself of debt.

So all being well, if I am doing what I'm doing now when I hit 30 then that will be fine and anything beyond that will be a brilliant bonus. Even if poker goes tits up I'd hope that this experience has made me a stronger and more confident person anway, and it would ensure I never went into a dead end job again.

My Kindom for a Trophy

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Putting a lot of hours in online and eeking out a bit of profit, thank god for rakeback which is a huge difference maker and I don't think I could ever play at Stars again as a result (plus the fact that I am currently banned) as its turning a so so month into a pretty respectable one. Nothing majorly interesting going on which is proven by the fact that I'm getting excited by the prospect of a VC Poker hoody which is on its way. I look terrible in hoodies but after losing some weight I'm too small for the sponsored shirts I have to wear at poker tournaments and it will be nice to have something different to wear than the polo shirts that make me look like a darts player.

Anyhoooo, next week is the biggest non event of the year (after New Years) – my birthday. I really don't care about my birthday's generally, no idea why, but this one will be particularly uninteresting. A few of my mates have already made plans (as its bank holiday weekend), some others have fallen out with others (making it hard to get them in the same room together) and two others get married this weekend and are on honeymoon for my birthday. So probably won't be doing much other than going for a curry with the guys and watching Sheffield Wednesday vs Preston with the missus (most of mates are Blades so she has to come with me).

But I am going to spend most of my birthday week in Nottingham at the DTD deepstack festival, starting at the £100 scalp event and possibly having a few beers at the tables (added value folks, come and get it) and deffo playing the PLO event on the Sunday. Which gets me to the point of this post:

Next Saturday is my 29th birthday and one away from possibly the most landmark of birthdays, the 30th. It's about now that most people go a bit crazy and try and make up for a wasted lifetime in 12 months and go skydiving/backpacking/working in a Donkey sanctuary etc – usually in the form of making a 'things to do before you are 30' list. I won't be making a list.

Thanks to poker, I managed to tick off a lot of things I probably would be adding to said list if I'd have stuck with my old office job, including being my own boss, getting out of debt, saving money and travelling the world. Although there is plenty in my life I haven't done, I'm very content with where I am and where I appear to be going.

Online cash is going ok, not brilliant, but ok and I've committed to making the next couple of years as much a learning experience as a moneymaking one. My writing is going better than I ever thought possible, I have to turn down work I get so many offers and I'm getting recognised at festivals on my writing work alone (which panders the old ego a bit) – I think maybe one day I want to write a book as it seems a logical step, but not a 'how to play poker' book as who needs another one of them?

But there is one thing that has been bugging me lately. I've just been reading up on Marty Smyth winning another PLO title on top of his WSOP bracelet, World Open Trophy and Irish Open Title and it reminded how there is one thing missing in my house – a trophy cabinet. It probably also has something to do with the fact that I am well into the Olympics at the moment and have been pondering on how sweet it would be to win a medal of any colour.

It's pure vanity, but I really want to win a live tournament for the sheer sake of winning a trophy and I am going to make it my aim before I am 30 (I will take a second/third place trophy too) to have something to put on the mantelpiece. I've won loads of online tournaments in the last few years and they are all about the money and nothing more plus I have made plenty of live finals, but I really have a hankering for a physical trophy and a title (ie. Dinnington Poker Masters 2009 Champion).

It's obviously very minus EV to want to play tournaments for this reason alone and potentially rejecting a good value tournament because no trophy is on the cards is totally stupid, but I’m sure that money would most likely come with it anyway unless I went OTT with it. But that is the aim for me before the big 3 0.

My priority will always be make a steady income and get money saved in the next year as it is right now, and online cash games will always take precedence over live tournaments, but my own personal quest will be to take down a ranking title before I’m 30. Not necessarily a massive one and to me this one had ‘side event’ written all over it rather than a GUKPT or a GBPT. I’ll still be playing those, mainly thanks to the good folks at VC Poker, but I’ll be using a bit of my own bankroll too for some more side events. DTDs deepstack seems a good place to start (winning a normal tourney at DTD wouldn’t count) and some of the side events at GUKPT Bolton next month also appeal.

It’s sad I know and totally goes against my mantra of turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is king but its a demon I’d really like to exercise and if it makes me a bit of money along the way, then happy days.

We are top of the League, say we are top of the league

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It wont bloody last though.

GUKPT Luton

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After a bit of a break I donned my VC Poker shirt once again and headed up the M1 for the Luton leg of the GUKPT, otherwise known as the ‘proper shoes’ tournament. It was a really tough field which was evident before I even sat down, it seemed to attract all the big London based pros as well as obviously the midlands boys, its a very easy casino to get to in retrospect.

Despite all that, it was a table full of unknowns infront of me again and even better, there was the biggest muthafucking fish I’ve ever seen at mine. Archetypal calling station, regularly calls three streets with ace high, limped with aces and kings several times and generally looked like he thought we were playing blackjack throughout. He also forced me to fold pocket queens in a threeway pot on a 4-5-7-8-9 board when I was 2nd to act and facing a pot donk bet when both men called me on every street. I unprofessionally kneejerk muttered “I hope one of you has the six” as I mucked and rightly got a warning for it, turns out neither man did and not only did I fold the best hand I had to spend the next ten minutes apologising for it.

Unfortunately it was a full day of me maintaining a stack a couple of thousand either side of the average but I’m very pleased with how I played (other than the above hand) – I made some gutwrenching folds where I think a lot of players would have lost money, folding top pair three times to donkeys to relatively small bets when they cant have had anything other than sets or overpairs and also some big preflop folds of a similar nature. Unfortunately you don’t win tournaments by folding.



One highlight was playing with Ian Cox who had such a prolific year in 2007 and joined my table a few levels in. He recognised me from my writing and I’d heard a lot of good things about his professional manner at the table, which he confirmed when he sat down and started playing. A funny, friendly chap who really understands the game, even though he isn’t a professional poker player (he is in fact a professional sports better which explains a lot) he is a lot more professional than a lot of the so called ‘pros’ I know. He didn’t seem to make any mistakes and is still in the main event today and I’m routing for him (And me old mucker Dana Immanuel who is running well too).

Obviously I’m not and as we got to the final level I still had my average stack and wanted to gamble in the hopes of making a big stack for day 2 (as I didn’t want to drive all the way back with a vulnerable stack for day 2) and got my wish when I pushed all in in a 4 way limped pot (Why folks were limping at this stage I don’t know) and knew I was ahead of and would get a call from Nick ‘I thought you were on a draw’ Gibson as I was giving him a clear 2:1 call. I had king-queen of diamonds, he had 7-5 of clubs and he spiked the 7 on the river. No complaints, I wanted the call and he was also right to gamble, especially as I announced minutes earlier I was gambling too.

I had a great old time though and managed to do Luton to Sheffield in under one and a half hours, tilt driving is awesome. The structure at the GUKPT is brilliant and I’m already getting excited about Bolton next month and lets hope that that 2008 cash is finally on the cards.

Coolered, Injured, Conchordes and Curries

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Funny old few days in poker and life. Ive ran very very well in the last week or so and if I dont mind saying so, played very well too. Then this morning manage to shed 5 buy-ins in ten minutes in one stinker of a cooler session. I ran QQ into AA, QQ into KK, KK into AA, a set of twos into a set of fives and a 2nd nut flush with a straight flush redraw into the nut flush. Not much I really could have done about any of them but the fact they all happened in ten minutes sucked.....obviously I stopped playing at this point which sucked because I have new monitor I wanted to play with. But, ran like god leading up to today so no complaints.

Im also a bit of a walking disaster at the moment as I keep injuring myself. Im still bruised after go-karting last weekend, I then went and did something strange to my ear which blocked it up for a week but is ok now (touch wood) and then threw my shoulder out on the punch bag of the gym. All seem ok now (touch wood) but lets see what comes next eh?

On the flight back from Vegas I saw a show called Flight of the Conchords which is a New Zealand comedy set in New York and its one of the best things I've seen (other than Batman) in ages. Im posting this so I can officially say 'I liked them first' before they are brought to BBC Three or Paramount at some point in the next year. Here is a clip:


Ive been at the same weight for two weeks so I am setting a mini goal within a goal to lose 7lbs by the end of August (when its my birthday and I will be wanting a curry).

Batman and Brighton

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I'm still hurting from the stag weekend just gone. It was in Brighton and it was a very good laugh. The drinking and stuff was reasonably tame for a stag weekend, especially considering the Stag is one of the hardest drinkers I know, but the weekend as a whole was tough. It was scorching hot and on day 2 we went Go-Karting all day.

I did myself proud by coming 49th out of 50 over several races and somehow my mate Andy who came 50th managed to escape ridicule but I copped for the lot. I am still sore and bruised from all the crashes, I did my ankle some damage too and one of my ears I think has got blocked up/burst or something like that - it feels funny, put it that way.

Being the apparent Gay capital of the UK, you would think it would be easy to get a group of 20 guys in a pub in Brighton, but it wasn't. We were having to be very tactical and go in in groups, claim we were from different parts of the UK and hell, maybe even camp it up a bit at times. Meanwhile small armies of women dressed up as cowgirls and pink ladies where free to roam wherever they wanted.

Moaning about running bad seemed to do the trick and I am winning again (Doh, jinxed it) - really really table selecting well at the moment which is making all the difference.

Got back home from the new Batman flick last night. I thought all the suggestions that Heath Ledger should get an Oscar were simply out of sympathy because he is dead, but I have to say....give that man an Oscar. Best film of the year without doubt and Ledger was amazing, genuinely scary and I cant wait for Batman 3.

The return of the generic running bad post

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I hated the last time I moaned about my bad luck, and in fairness it was followed by 6 weeks of running better than god himself, but now Im back at the other end of things.It seems I either run awful or run amazing and nothing in between this year and Ive just had two weeks of brutality at the tables. Nothing new but the annoying thing is that all the bad beats seem to occur just as I am on the last orbit of a winning session and I always seem to flop the 2nd nuts.

The good news is that I am losing less with each losing session, lol.

Rant over, I havent lost that much in fairness, and now off for a stag weekend which shall be a welcome break from it all.

Thank gawd for rakeback.

The weigh in: Number 5

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I haven't posted my weigh in results for a bit because Vegas knocked my body clock out of whack, but its all good, another 2lbs lost I am now at 15st 4lb. Not quite losing weight at the standard 2lb a week but its going the right way down and most importantly I'm still not snacking at night, which was always my downfall, so looking at it long term its all promising.

Just had an awful awful week at the tables, it started with a serious run of bad beats and ended with just some downright awful play. My Hold'em manager database is now 100% destroyed and I am pretty clueless whether I am down or up for the month (Though the smart money is on down) so time to start a new db from scratch (Which aint a bad thing when one is losing). I'm buying a new desktop today so hopefully that completely irrelevant but still does something positive change to my usual set up will make a difference.

Doing loads of writing at the moment off the back of Vegas and on my betting blog, which I am enjoying very much. My picks to win the WSOP this year are Scott Montgomery and David Rheem this year which I shall highlight in more detail on the blog.

VC Poker Summer Cash Dash

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Well VC Poker have got a very interesting bunch of rake races on at the moment, basically one a week for the next 7 weeks at 4 different levels. I’m going to make a real effort next week to win one or at least make the top ten. The added value is of course whatever place I come I get to clear a monthly $250 reload bonus as well as a cashback loyalty bonus (Not allowed to say Rakeback on iPoker so I won’t). So I reckon as long as I break even I’ll make about $1000 in bonuses for the week.

Dunno which race to join as I rarely play more than 4 tables so it will be a step into the unknown for me. The $0.50/$1 to $1/$2 obviously is easier on the bankroll, easier to play and doable in terms of loading up ten tables, but I reckon the $2/$4-$3/$6 will have less multi-tabling grinders and therefore more realistic, let’s hope I don’t hit a swing.

Bit of spam now, if you are going to have a crack at one of these iPoker rake races, drop me an email on daveshoelace@gmail.com, as I might be able to get you a bit of a special deal if you play a lot of hands/tables a month plus a big sign up bonus.

Screw Pokerstars

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Baaaaaaaahhhh!!!!

Before I start, I will add a disclaimer that I think that Pokerstars genuinley has one of the best Customer Service departments in poker and they are second to none for their SNGs and MTTs. That said I feel like they have royally shafted me up the arse this week.

A few months ago someone managed to hack my account, fortuntaley there was nowt in it as I dont play on Stars anymore and havent for about a year. Netherless they managed to make a deposit with a stolen credit card and christ knows what thet did with the money. Pokerstars security set me up with a 2nd secure password and I thought that was it. This week I get an email saying that the credit card company that the deposit was made from made a 'chargeback' when the Stars tranasaction was deemed fraudulent.

Now stars are telling me I owe them $400, because I was responsible for the activity on my account. After many many emails arguing the toss, they simply said that it wasnt their fault and they cant take liability for everything that happens on their customers accounts. I completely agree with this in cases where someone hacks the account and chip dumps the funds, but I have to say bollocks in my case.

The fact of the matter is that Stars allowed a credit card, not in my name and not registered to my address, to deposit into my account. Even some truly archaic poker rooms like Pacific Poker dont allow this automatically so for a market leader like stars to is totally unacceptable. They have been suprisingly stubborn about this, showed little understanding and dont seem to want to retain a customer who was raking about $3000 a month back when he was an SNG donkey.

I'll probably end up paying it at some point, its only $400, but thankfully the cash games are really good on VC Poker at the moment and the HU games on Full Tilt too. Plus they both give rakeback/loyalty bonuses, so thanks Mr Pokerstars but screw you.

Elsewhere, this made me laugh a little bit too hard. All you poker pros and journos will get what I mean:

Vegas Part One and the Weigh In

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I’ve just woken up from a post-vegas 15 hour sleep, if anyone thinks that sleeping for that length of time is pleasant, even after a long period without it, think again, my hands are shaking and I have no idea what day it is. I’d love to claim I needed the sleep after a week ofrock’n’roll decadence, but it was a pretty tame but very enjoyable journey to the WSOP for me.

I met up with most of the Ladbrokes crew that were kind enough to send me as a reporter at Gatwick airport but we were all scattered around the plane so it wasn’t until the landing that I actually got to chat with them. I got a Limo to Caesars with Sam from Ladbrokes, a journalist from the Star called Carl Eldrige and a girl called Abi whom I assumed worked with Ladbrokes. It was only after an hour of my usual teasing of a complete stranger that I realised it was actually Abi Titmuss. Then all of a sudden I had gone from treating her like any other girl to sneakily texting every bloke I know the text:

“I’m in a muthafucking Limo with Abi Titmuss Dawg!”(Which is how I speak in everyday situations)

My first night was spent on the lash, mainly at the Phil Ivey Karaoke party which I am pretty certain Phil Ivey never went to. I bumped into Chris ‘Noflopshomer’ Hall and spent most of the night falling asleep on my feet. I also met another Ladbrokes ‘stunna’ – Page 3 girl Leilani, but I was too tired to text the lads at this point.

Karaoke in the States is just like Karaoke anywhere else, the tragic terrible singer is followed by the tragic good-but-never-made-it singer and then the I’m-pissed-look-at-me singer. However, one variable in USA Karaoke is the fella who nipped on stage and sang the American national anthem. The crowd went nuts and I decided there and then that if I ever got attacked while out in Vegas, rather than run or fight I will just sing the American National Anthem and make my move when the culprit is completely immersed in the final verse.

On my second day I played in one of the deepstack events at Caesars Palace and was chip leader after hand number one, when my pocket aces became aces full of sevens against kings. The tournament went tremendously when, for the next 4 hours, every hand I raised I won, usually by flopping the nuts. It wasn’t until the bubble when I had a monster stack did I lose any money – four times in a row against a Scandie with a short stack who by the 3rd double up had enough money to crack my aces with King-jack and send me out of the tournament on the bubble. Sigh...

We spent a lot of time with Steve Davis in the Ladbrokes Lounge and he really is exactly how you expect him to be. Humble, funny, nice and really addicted to poker, it was fun and insightful to interview him and his very refreshing views on the game (Besides being rich enough to play in the big game he plays 0.50/1 PLO and gets as excited about small wins of$200 playing online as he does a £40,000 win playing snooker). He also put on a master class at the pool table and cleared it in under 40 seconds. I don’t do interviews that much but Steve was great as was the voice of poker, Jesse May.

Meeting Steve Davis was an honour, but he was just a normal bloke and I treated him as such, just like I do any other poker player. However, it’s rare that you get to meet two of your heroes from stage and screen which led me to shame myself by asking for the following photos:




I had a very enjoyable PLO game at the Mirage one night with Lee Jones from Pokerstars/Cardrunners. A very fun, very friendly guy at the table and a brilliant help to all the dealers as he really knew his stuff......not that good a PLO player though. As soon as I sat down, I got instant respect at the table and everyone was telling me I must be an amazing PLO player because I was from Europe. Every bet I made got respect and my rare bluffs tended to work out. I also got some sick hands. I flopped the nuts with a nut flush redraw with ac-4c-as-js on a ah-6c-9c board and managed to get it paid. I also lost a 22 out straight and flush draw against a mere set of sevens and won a four way all-in (admittedly it was a chop) with a wrap and flush draw against a nut flush draw, top two and a set and wrap. I cant begin to recount the flop and hands but the wrap got there and the dealer had a lot of counting to do. The standard was pretty good at the table, but still good value as Europeans get too much respect.

Ladbrokes put on a heads-up lecture/tournament with Jeff Kimber which I managed to win too, beating Paul Jackson in round number one. Generally I played exactly how Jeff said he would have played while analysing my play apart from one call which was best explained as a cash game call, so I guess that makes me as good as Jeff Kimber lol (Of course a joke, my mate claimed he was almost as good as Ryan Giggs because he could do every trick from his soccer skills video).

I’ll report more on Vegas when I have a clearer head, at the moment I’m really hazy and knackered. One pleasant surprise is that I lost a pound of weight out there, now down to 15st 6lb, mainly due to not eating much at all out there. Why I have no idea but lets not look that gift horse in the mouth.

Poker Punt

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My kingdom for a universal plug adapter. Yes, Vegas is just round the corner and I've pretty much switched off until I get off the plane. I really cant wait, even though I don't think I'll be playing that much, because I'm going to see so many mates out there and I have got a ton of writing work when I'm out there. Its typical, I finally start putting together some good results at the tables and I'm about to pause that to some extent by doing loads of travel, writing and networking (hate that word).

I have started a second blog, which is more of a side project that might end up getting deleted in a few months. Its called Poker Punt and its all about prop bets, side action and betting on poker events. I think its about to get huge (betting on poker, not the blog) after the WSOP because there is going to be three months of betting on the final table, betting which will surely change a lot as more is learnt about the final table and the presumed 'coaches' they are all going to get. I wish I'd thought of the blog before the WSOP started, but hey-ho.

Betting on poker is something I've always done quite well in. but its mainly because I'm a prop bet fan more than anything. Erick Lindgren is my hero after his Golf bet last year - its funny, I never bet on sports but I'm more than happy to have a flutter when someone is prepared to do something really stupid for money (My favourite is a semi regular bet I get going on what the first letter of the first word that someone will say when they walk in a room......go for W and wait for them to say "What?" when you all stare at them like madmen).

That said, I do seem to have an eye for a winner in poker. I won money last year on Phil Hellmuth snagging his 11th bracelet, on Roland De Wolfe making the Irish Open Final Table and on Annette Obrestad and John Tabatabai making the WSOPE final. I also lost money on Gus Hansen making the WSOP ME final, but still think that was a good bet because he nearly did.

This year is going well, I got 4:1 on David Benyamine winning a bracelet and am doing well in a number of last longers in the HORSE (I have Barry Greenstein, currently 3rd in chips, ship it!) and the series as a whole. I also got 4:1 on an Englishman making the final of the Norwegian Poker Championships from a drunk Scandie, which Ian Frazer did and bless him, the young man I bet with tracked me down online and shipped it via Neteller when he got back to Norway.

Anyone wanna give me 2:1 that I'll have deleted the blog by November? Linkage here http://pokerpunt.blogspot.com/

The weigh in: Number 3

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I wonder how long I'll keep up these weigh-in posts (Prob until I start putting on weight)?

15st 7, so another pound loss. Not that dissapointed that it wasnt more because I did get pissed on Saturday and didnt go to the gym as much. With Vegas only a week away I am now living like a monk to counterbalance whatever abuse my body takes (in my case, booze or buffet)while out there.

Quite excitingly, for me, is a special tournament on VC Poker coming up in a month or so. Its called 'Get Carter' and its a money added, bounty tournament with 5 $100 bounties on my head (its a rebuy). Should be all sorted in a few days and scheduled for August. I'll have my own launch page on the website with a special 300% bonus for anyone that signs up - I'll spam it properly when I have more details.

Roll on Vegas, Im really bored at the mo because I just wanna get that 16 hour flight out of the way and cant think far past it.

Generic Running GoodPost

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I made such a point of telling everyone how bad I was running a month or two ago and now it would be bad karma if I didnt do the same for the good stuff. I'm running very well at the moment, playing well and booked some of my biggest winning sessions this week. One minor gripe is that I've had a walk in the big blind or no action at all with pocket aces 26 times this week - but who knows, maybe those 26 hands would have seen my profit plummet into the red?

Heads up cash is the bread and butter right now, I was very reluctant to shift some of my bankroll to Full Tilt because I figured the standard would be too good but I did because they have so many heads up games. As it turns out, these games are full of very aggressive players but most only have one gear, I'm sure they make a killing in these games but they are very exploitable. I've been taking some very passive, slowplaying lines and its amazing how the players dont adjust to this at all - all they know is Cardrunners say bet-bet-bet and thats fine with me.

I took down one of the $75, 45 man SNGs the other day and I'm gonna stick with them too, maybe one a day. I like them because they are more tournament than SNG and the first prize ($1200) is good for a small buy-in. They also are reminding me about how to play crapshoot tournament poker so I might actually get a live cash this year on the old Hendon Mob DB.

In a way its a shame I'm off to Vegas in a week, I always worry that I'll forget how to play for when I get back (Although I reckon I might be able to find a game while I'm out there, if I look hard enough).

I'm a lucky chuff me

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My Hold’em Manager broke a few days ago and it’s amazing how reliant I became on my popup HUD for that thing. I’ve been playing a lot of heads up cash lately and losing my HUD is probably done me a real favour, because I’m playing a lot better, a lot more observant, than usual. The heads up cash games on Full Tilt are a bit of a goldmine, don’t get me wrong, there are some very tough opponents to avoid but you can make a killing by just sitting with the players that don’t buy in for full and clearing their bankroll.

Most of the players that buy-in for $188.43 on a $2/$4 table or $120 on a $3/$6 table have no idea what they are doing and either taking a shot or gambling with the remains of the bankroll. It really is like shooting fish in a barrel and all you have to do is wait for something that closely resembles top pair and wait for them to give you their money.

Another great value game I’ve found, also on Tilt, is the $75 45 man SNGs, they tried to run some higher stakes, multi table SNGs on Stars a few times but it seems that a slightly smaller buy-in of $75 makes them fill up quick. The first prize is $1200 and the standard is awful, truly awful – I’ve seen players call off their entire stack on the river with a counterfeighted pair of fours, fold to min bets on AKQTJ rainbow boards and say “nice kicker” and so on. My tournament game is close to non existent at the moment and I think I’ll play a few of these to try and get my MTT boots running again.

If you have seen this month’s issue of WPT Poker magazine you’ll see my articles which have my picture and underneath it says ‘Barry Carter is sponsored by Littlewoods Poker’ – which I can confirm I am not. It was just an error at their end, thought I best get that in for the good folks at VC Poker.

Speaking of poker rooms other than my sponsors, I’m off to the World Series at the end of the month in an all expenses fancy tripI, courtesy of the good folks at Ladbrokes. They have lots of fun media stuff and I’ve got my writing hat on while I’m out there, but what a stroke of luck eh? Right now I feel like the luckiest sod in the world. Obviously I plan on playing plenty of cash, in fact I think PLO is the best value game I can play in the States, those guys can’t fold top pair. I also might have a crack at the MTTs at the Venetian and the Bellagio.

The weigh in: Number 2

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Another week, another 2lbs lost which is pretty much the target for each and every week, I’m now 15st 8 1/4lbs, so just another 2 stone to go to get back to my fighting weight. Actually that really sounds like a lot; best hit that gym even harder. I fly out to Vegas on the 1st so lots of things to avoid there as far as the diet goes (More than anything, I’d like to have a year where I am not throwing up on foreign soil, as Germany and Australia faced my chunks last year after poker pissups).

Poker was going crappy but just had two great days at the heads up tables on Full Tilt, I was having a break even month until this morning, where I bumped into a player that played that great style of poker ie. he would bet when he has nothing and check when he hits the flop. 8 buy-ins later and he is still reloading and giving me a good return for the month. Bless him, 8 buy-ins down and I flop a set of jacks against his set of eights, I’ve been there my friend.

Good luck to Nick (Din01980) Wright this weekend at the GBPT, whom I have 10% in and congrats to my Pokernews gaffa Paul Sandells who has just become a father for the second time.

Euro 2008 and the WSOP (Because I've not been doing much myself)

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With the exception of my weight loss bet, which touch wood is still going well, there isnt much going on at the moment. Poker is going a bit meh, made a good start after the holiday but had a very spewy week and I really need to step that up a gear. Havent been going out much, most of my writing has been bog standard stuff etc.

This has let me do my fair share of observing of things, however, for example Euro 2008. I really didn't think I would even be watching it being as most of our boys are probably sunbathing in Barbedos or spitroasting some unsuspecting groupie, but I've really enjoyed it. I'd been saying for weeks it was either Holland or Spain and not many of the lads listened, wish I had put some money on it really but I don't really bet on sports any more. Its been nice to see Italy, France and Germany get a kick up the arse too. I really want Holland to win the whole thing and show the rest of the football world that all attack footy is the way to go. As long as France, Italy or Portugal dont win I wont mind.



I've also been following up the WSOP quite religiously before I fly out there myself at the end of the month. Its really been helped by the some four or five fantasy WSOP comps or side bets I have going. Thus far I think its been a good series for two reasons. First of all, the pros have really been out in force this year. Its great to see Matusow, Negreanu and Lindgren all snag gold as well as the fantasy final tables that have been popping up everywhere.



The second thing to my liking is that this could be the year of Vanessa Selbst. Just like Tom Schneider last year, Jeff Madsen the year before and Phil Ivey a few years ago - there is always one player who stands out in the series for catapulting onto the World stage. As I write, Selbst is two heads up matches away from back to back bracelets and I would fancy to have another good run in another big event this year. The fact that she is a woman is great for poker and the WSOP in general, just like Annette at the WSOPE. For all the detractors that poker has to deal with, one cannot deny its about as level a playing field as any competative environment can get. Selbst is also an instructor on the excellent Deucescracked website and for me one of the better instructors.

The low point is of course the distinct lack of gold for the UK. I don't know James Akenhead at all but even I wanted to give him a hug after the gut wrencher of a bad beat he took. Good to see Roland make a final table, mainly because he is in one of my dreamteams, but the time is starting to run out and although you usually see Brits at the top of the chip counts, I cant help but think its because Snoopy is just updated the fellas we know about.

Oh well, back to the diet I guess. I turned down free gateux, pizza, cookies and crisps this week as well as adding another kilometre to my twice weekly run, so hopefully wont look too American by the time I fly out there.

The weigh in: Number 1

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Well I have gone from 15st 13 3/4 lbs to 15st 10 1/4 lbs after my first weekly weigh in of the prop bet proper. 3 and a half pounds in one week is way ahead of schedule, but at the same time nothing to go crazy about as most people shed the most weight in week one. Either way its good news and testament to what has been a real effort this week, both at the gym and at the dinner table.

Its been mainly weight lifting and running that I've been doing. Back in the glory days I was pretty strong and ran a few marathons, I'm nowhere near that but I'd say I'm a lot better than your average fatty in these departments at the moment. I've all but stopped snacking at night and when I do snack its fruit (except for over the weekend when it was my mums birthday cake) - whether I keep this up, particularly in Vegas in a few weeks, is the real question.

Staking Some Ponies

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Well my TV heat was on the other night and the feedback Ive got from most corners was pretty pleasing. Most of the people who said I did well have never played poker before and were going on what the commentators were saying, but I'll take it. A few others reminded me that the camera adds ten pounds, but I can assure you, it was me adding those tend pounds and another 30 or so more. My weight loss prop is going well, I've stopped gorging on food, started eating fruit and I'm doing overtime at the gym. My target for the bet is 2 stone by the end of the year, which would be pretty inexcusable if I didnt hit it.

Good to see that Amatay has kind of given up a little on his 10k prop bet. He is still doing well and hopefully he makes enough to still have a profit from the month, I just wish I bet more. Ariston is very confident he could do such a challenge with his hands tied behind his back and I'll be sure to give him action if he does.

It got me liking the idea of wagering on peoples performance at the tables so I'm going to invest a little wedge in buying shares in players. I like the idea of staking people to play these small stakes tournies on stars and tilt, just because the fields are so big that the final table pays out better than some of the $100 mtts and I dont have the time or patience to play smaller than that. I've just bought 5% in Chris 'NoflopsHomer' Hall in the $1500 PLO at the WSOP, he made the final table of the Green Joker Poker PLO event which was a tough field, so he certainly has a good shot against a primarily American field. I also have a $50 WSOP stake in poker author Matthew Hilger, who is a real dark horse who pops up now and then with a huge result (recently won the Full Tilt $750,000 gauranteed). Finally Im gonna do a 50/50 thing with Nick Wright for a few GUKPT sats as he knows his stuff where satelittes are concerned.

Fatty Fatty Bet Bet

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I really want to get this weight loss/poker prop going as soon as possible after weighing myself for the first time in ages the other day. Nearly pushing 16 stone, which I was pretty suprised about but probably does explain why a few of my jeans feel tight and the oversized VC Poker shirt I got sent a few months ago all of a sudden fits very well. I've actually turned a bit of a corner at the gym, so the sooner the better (cos I dont wanna lose weigh before the initial weigh in).

So the WSOP is well under way and I'm closing in on the details on my own journey out there this year. Keeping the weight off in the city of sin will be a challenge, so maybe I'd be better off doing the weigh in right after.

Naturally the prop bets are coming thick and fast now that its gambling season. Besides the above weight loss bet, I've also got some weird ass draft pick bet with Nick Wright (ex of WPT mag, now of PokerPlayer mag) where we select 6 big game players for the WSOP each and pay out on their results. If one or two of our ponies went on a heater this year one of us could end up oweing the other several hundred thousands, but probably more likely being £50 assuming the unknown players have their way this year. I've also got $100 on Amatay (Dunno his actual name, see his blog link on the right) not winning $10,000 or more in one month in $33 SNGs in July (Kinda routing for him though).

Its all good fun, out with friends for a curry tonight so that should be a spanner in the works for the diet.

Lose Pounds and Win Dollars Prop Bet

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It might not be in the realms of Erick Lindgren winning $340,000 for shooting under 100 with no caddy 4 times in on day, but I have a little prop bet in the pipeline. My friend and poker mentor Stuart Menzies (Better known as Baloo on the Hendon Mob forums) are putting together a poker and weight loss prop. I think he is looking to shift about 3 stone, I'd like to drop about 2. Stuart has been my mentor for a while now pokerwise and if it wasnt for him, I might have gone exceptionally broke during last months downswing, so I actually want him to do well in the prop - but that aside, he is still going down.

So its going to be a long haul thing, June to Xmas, and the loser and their Mrs are going to take the winner and their Mrs on a short break, somewhere like Barcelona. We are still ironing out the details, with some sort of handicapping process. Like % of body fat rather than number of pounds and a handicapped poker target too (As he is a better player than me)

So it might go like. Task 1) Person who loses the biggest % of bodyfat
Task 2) Person that has the biggest poker roi over the next 6 months. Suggestions welcome, stipluations need to be made. For example, I reckon Stu will win more in cash games than me this year but I play more tournaments, I could get lucky with a big score and leapfrog him just for winning a few coinflips.

So expect plenty of updates and hopefully not many pics of me, shirtless, holding a copy of todays newspaper. If anyone has any suggestions to make it interesting, drop me a line.

In other news, had my first proper grown up tax return sent back today. Typically done by a poker player, Paul 'M3Boy' Garnham. I made a right saving and would recommend him to all, here is his none accountancy website : http://www.m3boypoker.com/

Happy Days are here again

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I wonder if poker would be such a fun game if the luck we encounter occurred exactly as the statistics say it should, so you literally win 3 times and lose once when you are a 75% in particular hand. After my god awful 6 weeks where aces, kings and sets were no good most of the time, I finally have turned the corner. It seems the two weeks off have done me the world of good and those big hands are holding and I've even been sucking out left right and centre. It sounds silly but I finally sucked out on aces today, last month I must have got QQ or KK in against KK or AA respectivley about twenty times and didnt catch a set once, which is actually pretty unlucky, so rivering a Queen tonight I felt was justified (though he didn't see it that way)

I started grinding at $1/$2 to get my confidence up a little and think I'll stick to that for a week or so, I'm already up about $2300 over the last three days after some relativley short sessions. I wanna build a bit of a buffer before I go back to $2/$4, $3/$6 and beyond. So the golden rule is to keep on playing right now, when things are going well don't change them all that much and keep doing them. My missus is away over the weekend so I'm gonna get plenty of hours in against the weekend warriors.

Amsterdam

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I'm back from Amsterdam and feeling very refreshed, it was my first proper holiday with my girlfriend and it went really well (I am basing this on the fact that most of the couples I know have at least one big row on every holiday they go on and, we didnt). Amsterdam is a funny but very nice place, not sure its the best place for a couple (For whom the prostitutes and in our case the drugs are wasted) but we both agreed it would be a great place to live.

The good - the weather was great, the hotel was nice, the city is beautiful, the people are friendly, there is plenty to see.

The bad - the Dutch offer nothing to international cuisine, the customer comes second, although reasonably priced there are random instances of extortion (I actually think it would be cheaper to have a prostitute and drugs holiday than a sight seeing holiday in amsterdam) and the cyclists are nutters.

Complete stupidity on both of our parts meant that we didnt take the battery charger to our camera, which means a distinct lack of piccies. Shame as it was an all round good holiday and I feel much better for it. I now might single out the Masters Classic in November for a rare big buy-in event as a result.

Still not sure whether I'm returning to playing just yet (Its been 11 days so far) I'm getting back into the gym in a big way at the moment (Just dusted off a big tub of protein shake) and I like the idea of focusing on something else, namely not being fat, so maybe I will ease into the poker gradually (Or maybe I'll get the shakes by about 2pm tommorow and go broke with the first flush draw I pick up).

Thank God......I don't look that big of a tit

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Just got an advanced copy of my heat in the PartyPoker European Open from February, which is televised I think at the start of June. I've spent he last 3 months mentaly replaying my preconception of how I think the show will look and I am pleasantly suprised that it don't come across too bad and my imagination wasnt far off (Except I win it in my head).

My interviews before and after the heat were awful but they managed to paste together the only useable 30 seconds of the whole reel to make it seem like, well, a normal person, all the other guys came across really well and animated, I'll settle with normal.

They didnt show all the hands, so they didnt show me raise the first 5 hands (Instead starting with me folding ace-jack) and they didnt show what I thought was one of the more interesting hands - me firing three barrels of bluff into Lacelle Barrow with ace high and him calling me on all three with bottom pair of a J7QJX board with three clubs. I was really pleased with the bluff, even though I lost, because I knew he didnt have a flush a jack or a queen, how he called me was either amazing skill or the other thing.

Although I didnt agree with everything they said, Roland De Wolfe said something in the commentary box which really made me chuckle, and it was spot on. He said 'Carter has a look which suggests he is going to try and outplay someone at the table' - he was right, as soon as he said it I went on to make more moves than my mate MrMoves. They went on to compare me to adrenaline junkies like Tony G and De Wolfe, who enjoy making big moves as much as winning. I'm not sure if this is actually the case, but I'm very glad if people think it and I'll have to be mindful of it for future events.

I grimaced in pain when I saw my chip leader vs chip leader QQ vs AK hand, which I was on the wrong side of, especially after seeing how many chips I would have had if the QQ had held. However, the pain was eased when Roland De Wolfe and Jesse May both made comments including "He has made a great show of himself" "He looks promising" and "He obviously has a bit of talent". After tournament after tournament with no result I'll be very glad to send a copy of this tape to VC Poker and say "See, Im not that crap".

It certainly makes me feel a lot better after my recent run of horrendous results.

I Quit.....

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.....for a bit.

Words can not express how bad I'm running at the moment (Actually they can, the word is very) - after not being able to make aces or kings stand up last month, I now cant actually make top set stand up either - having lost with it 6 times already in the last 3 days. The single worst hand was a 200 big blind deep spot with a set of sixes against a set of sevens.

Its not particularly idiots being rewarded for stupidity either (Which I would prefer) but people who played their hands fine - big draws, overpairs etc. So even though I dont believe that one person is naturally lucky or unlucky and everything evens out in the long run (This has been 30,000 hands, which is pretty long term I guess) I think the best thing I can do right now is have a big old break. Thankfully I am a bankroll nit, always play very comfortably within my limits, so I still have a nice big bankroll to play with when I return.

Im off on holiday next week, so that has come at a perfect time for me to take my mind off it, plus the weather is great at the moment. I've just joined a new gym which is also good as it gives me something to work hard at instead. I also am lucky that I have so much writing work available on offer that I can commit to even more of it (So I'm still never going to have a day where I dont say poker).

Hopefully a break will make the poker gods pull the 'begginers luck' switch when I get back.

Norwegian Poker Championships

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Its never a good thing when you are back home before level 6 has started, but that was my experience of the Norwegian Poker Championships. The good thing about busting when I did was that the buffet had just started and I discovered a coffee cake with orange which was almost worth the trip. I also beat my personal Nottingham-Sheffield tilt time, which I plan to get down to 33 minutes by the end of the year.

Twas a very fun time, while it lasted. Seeing 400 Norwegians at your local card room is a bit weird to say the least, a bit like if you have ever revisted a house you once lived in and seen what someone else has done with it. Its the same, but different.

I started right at the TV table which was webcase to about 300 Norwegians at the time. They're making a DVD of the whole event and I reckon I have a good chance of making it onto it, being as I flopped a set on the very first hand and folded aces on the flop of the second. The banter at the table was loads of fun, I made a nice little icebreaker by presenting my Norwegian phrasebook to the cameras and everyone was having bets on the colour of the next card.

Besides making a very good fold (IMO) of aces and a reasonably good bluff with eights, I played pretty shit to be fair. I started when I made a very good bluff on the flop,an excellent bluff on the turn and fucking horrific bluff on the river in a hand with Paul Gourley. I then simply didnt know how to play out of position against Andreas Hagen and let him walk all over me.

If I made one all encompassing mistake, it was to put too much emphasise on the 'crazy scandie' image. I joked earlier that this was the only tournament where you could flop top set and consider folding on the off chance they were holding 5-2, but this little gag stuck with me. I didnt value bet some of my hands enough and I didnt capitalise on some opportunities to push people around.

I got a few big hands but no action, tangled in a few pots I shouldn't and generally didnt play awful, but didnt play that well either. Short stacked I ran ace-queen into ace-king on an ace high flop and thats all she wrote. No complaints and I certainly will be back up to Nottingam over the bank holiday weekend to be part of the event. The atmosphere was awesome and the Scandies were great fun.

If it wasnt for the very nice folks at VC Poker sending me to these events I'm not sure how many I would play in. Online cash games are my bread and butter and they are my passion at the moment and I am happy to continue in that manner for a long time. Tournaments are all about socialising, getting my VC Poker shirt in as many pictures as possible and hopefully at some point very soon, landing a big payday.

Back on Track (Sort Of)

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Hopefully the end of my moaning like a little girl about running bad, just had a very good week and I am now officially $7.80 up for the month. It really was the worst extended period of bad luck I've ever encountered and I am really happy with the decisions I made regardless of the result. I had aces cracked 14 times out of the last 24 over the two weeks (You have to be pretty shit to do that) and ran kings into aces 4 out of 10 times. My Sklanksy graph thingy has me about $3000 up, and of course it doesnt include any cooler hands like set over set, so lets make May a month of running according to basic maths.

As it goes, with rakeback (Sorry, loyalty bonus, its iPoker) and the fact Ive doubled my usual number of hands for the month it has actually been a profitable month. I doubt I'll meet my 30,000 hand challenge but Im not far off. I go on holiday next month so Im gonna try and grind as many hands between now and then and try and then forget about poker for 10 days.

What has really helped me through this period (And I think that getting aces cracked 14 times in two weeks and still being in a miniscule profit is a huge success) is that I have been getting coached. I cant share the details yet for a couple of reasons but it has changed the way I think about poker dramtically and has also been a way to vent my bad beat stories (Even though I am part of the 'nobody cares about bad beat stories' brigade and a real hypocrite for even mentioning them in conurrent posts).

Another big leak I have been working on is tilt. Until a few months ago, I never tilted but recently its been a real problem. I've been doing some basic hippy-esque stress reduction techniques (Deep breathing, relaxing music, lots of exercise, green tea) and I have almost took the tilt out of my game, even though obviously aces do not like me right now.

I'm off to the Norwegian Poker Championships in Nottingham next week and win/lose/draw I am not going to whine about building a big stack and getting no hands when the blinds get big.

GBPT Nottingham

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The one good thing about tilt is that you can shave a good ten minutes off your journey when the roads are clear. I did Nottingham to Sheffield in 30 minutes last night after another frustrating tournament exit. Once again I feel like lamenting my bad luck but that really will start sounding like a stuck record if I am not careful.

The GBPT Nottingham was actually a nice friendly little tournament. I was sat alongside a chap called Kev Smith for the majority of it and that was probably the highlight, as we had a good laugh, in particular at the standard play early on. Really felt like a 20 quid rebuy at times, x16 big blind raises pre flop followed up by 1/16 pot sized bet on the flop. Some guy also made called an allin on a AKJT flop with 44 which was a highlight.

I did really well, as usual, in the beginning. Played lots of small pots, got big hands paid and got away with plenty of well timed bluffs. Then, as usual, around the 200/400 level I get dealt nothing remotely playable, whenever I would it would be a raise and reraise before me or after.

The last 4 deep stack touraments Ive played (this one, GUKPT, DTD 321, Waterford) its been the same story. Build up a big stack early, run like god and then once the shovefest begins I get dealt nothing and ante myself to death. What I would give to get some action with an AK or even a TT once the blinds get big in one of these comps.

But, before I start sounding like a whiney little biatch, I probably do have to work on my patience, even though I wait for hours, you cant win it on day one so stop trying to. I also need to work on my end game strategy full stop, the reason I build these stacks early is surely my cash game skills, so maybe my 'bad luck' is just a lack of versitility.

Cash games for dough, tournaments for show. My passion at the moment really is online cash games, so I probably shouldnt beat myself up about it too much. With a bit of luck I can take my early big stack and do something with it in the non too distant future....but I guess that what most people who have just bust from a tournament say.
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