SNG Update - SNGs Suck

If you look at my sharkscope for my little SNG challenge you'll see the words 'hot' next to my form. Oh I wish it was as simple as that. SNGs are such a cruel form of poker and at times they almost seem to reward stupidity. I went on a torrid little run where people were making bubble calls all in with hands like Q6,K3,KJ,A2 etc etc. Because you often get your money in with 2 or 5 cards to come the poker gods can often laugh at you to the point where you are calling for that miracle gutshot card that will bust you, just as it does on the river.

That said I'm $1800 up as I write from what has only been a week long experiment, which I was only doing as a break from a great run at the cash and MTT tables, so I'll take it. The iPoker SNGs are incredibly weak, its amazing how bad some of these players are at the $100-200 level. One of the guys that has continually bubbled me with hands like Q6 is $30,000 down after less than 1000 games, so I guess he deserved a suckout or two.

I've played a few against WSOP bracelet winner and main event finalist Alexander Kravchenko. He is a bit of a Jeckyll and Hyde in these games, he absoutley dominates the game right up until the bubble, to the point where I simply wont play a hand against him if it doesnt contain at least two aces preflop, but seems to completely shut down on the bubble and beyond. He actually plays a little scared on the bubble, even with a chip lead, and is suprisingly easy to play against heads up. I'd guess that he perhaps isn't greatly well read on SNG bubble play, but he is such a fantastic all rounder that its hard to believe. Maybe its his girlfriend playing on his account or something?

Anyhoo, not exactly a massive sample but I think I'll be going back to cash and MTTs at the end of the month, if for no other reason than I make a steadier profit in these. Yesterday I final tabled the $109 stars comp that I won the previous week so I think my efforts are better spent elsewhere. I certainly still will dabble at the SNGs as they are so soft, but mainly for fun I reckon.

iPoker SNGs

Been on some form of late, had a very good couple of weeks at the cash tables followed by a $109 MTT win on Pokerstars. After a tournament win I find it hard to concentrate on cash straight away so I decided to have a go at some of the 6 max sngs on iPoker. Last year I was in the Sharkscope Top 5 for 6 handed SNGs over $100 but I gave them the boot because the players on Pokerstars were a little bit too good at the higher stakes and I was sick of the variance. But these iPoker SNGs are a joke, some of the stuff I have seen in the $100-215 SNGs would be laughed at in a 20 buck SNG on Stars - everyone is limping with 3 big blinds and folding to reraises, people call all-ins with JQ, nobody seems to understand pot odds and the word bubble is oblivious to a lot of these guys.

So I'm going to stick with them for the rest of the month, I know a player who is pulling in around $8000 a month at the moment just playing the $109s and $215, albeit this is based on a small sample size. I think I'll be playing mainly the $215s, and the $109s, but the $500 fill up now and then so will give them a shot too. User name is BigSmoochy on iPoker (dont bother looking it up on Sharkscope yet, think I've played about 12 games so far), stay tuned to see if I remember why I gave up SNGs in the first place.

Ship It.....or whatever internet mtt players say these day

PokerStars Tournament #77206114, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $100.00/$9.00
135 players
Total Prize Pool: $13500.00
Tournament started - 2008/02/15 - 09:00:00 (ET)

Dear DaveShoelace,

You finished the tournament in 1st place.
A $3,881.25 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

You earned 348.69 tournament leader points in this tournament.
For information about our tournament leader board, see our web site at

Thank you for participating.

I always feel obliged to post these little results because I so rarely ever play MTTs. After what had been a fantastic week playing cash, I fancied a crack at an MTT, so jumped into the 2pm $109 on Stars which I won about 6 months ago. Even though the prize money was pretty much what I had won anyway at the cash tables this week, I always get excited at a final table.

I played really well, and I think this was fates way of evening things out after a couple of live tournaments where I played very well and got nothing. I also think its a good sign as I almost played the GUKPT this week, but left it too late, so maybe I should never have played that one anyway.

My non poker playing friend was round my house and witness me play the whole thing. This may have actually been my secret weapon in the tournament, because he was there, I was having to explain and justify my every move to him and it really made me think a little deeper than usual. I was putting people on hands almost to super-user esque proportions and at the moment my mate thinks I'm a much better player than I actually am.

I'm definatley going to have a few more punts in MTTs in the coming months, but cash games will always be number 1.

Playing on TV


I was crapping myself as I headed down the A1 to London for my TV heat last week. It was a nervousness I haven't felt for a very long time as a player. When you play poker for a living you often will feel like a fraud; a bad session and you question your own reasoning for leaving a comfortable job and a big win can make you delude yourself you are good enough for the Big Game at the Bellagio. My fear was that under the scrutiny of a camera, hole card cams and Jesse May in the commentary box I would be exposed for the fraud that I sometimes think I am. Sometimes you fold pocket jacks and, without knowing what your opponent had and nobody knowing what you had, you can convince yourself it was a great fold, do it on TV a you better pray the guy had queens.

My heat was in the morning and I spent the night in a hotel the night before. We all got a minibus together, which actually took the edge off the whole thing. Bronwyn Campbell and I became quite chummy and she confided that she was more nervous than I was, which made me feel both better and worse at the same time. Liam Flood was entertaining in the back of the bus, asking "are we there yet?" every two minutes like a child in need of some sweets.

My interview was wooden and boring. I'd advise anyone who watches my heat to put the kettle on at this juncture, I think I mustered a high pitched "I'm cacking myself" - which will probably be the best bit from the whole stuttery affair.

TD Mad Marty Wilson was on hand, telling stories as usual. I can listen to that guy all day long, todays exert was the story of how he inherited a large hotel after being jailed by accident by the Father of the woman that plays Audrey on Coronation Street - you really cant make stuff like that up.

I'd told myself "sit out the first few hands" - just so that my VC Poker shirt would be guaranteed a reasonable outing on TV and because of a nervousness about busting first. I can drive 200 miles, turn up at a £1000 tourney and not be scared to bust first hand, but today that fear was as present as it ever has been, just like the first time I entered a casino years ago, feeling well out of my depth.

But then the cards were dealt.

And it became just another poker game. I am delighted to say that the fear disappeared once the game started and I played my A game. I actually raised 7 of the first 10 hands (I was more surprised as anyone) and I fired three barrels on a pure bluff on my 2nd hand. I was as loose and aggressive as I always was and the cameras didn't change a thing.

I built up a big stack, made a lot of moves and was pretty much the table captain prior to my bust. The blinds go up very fast in this format and I found myself reraising the joint chip leader, Robin Keston, all in. I had pocket queens and I thought I was miles ahead of him, even when he called me. He had been showing down a lot of crap thus far and got all his money in on hand one with ace ten, so I felt he could easily have had jacks, tens, ace-jack, ace-queen etc. He actually called me with ace-king and spiked the king on the flop. I would have had 60% of the chips had my hand held up and Keston cruised to victory.

I wont go into details on the other hands, I want to forget about them and wait till the show aires on channel 5. I will say that I think I played really well and Mad Marty and all the backroom boys were telling me how well I had done (Like I guess they would to everyone). Had my queens held I might be a very rich man right now, but it was just a coin flip, so lets not dwell on that.

I've caught the TV bug and I want to do it again soon, though I might need some help on my interview technique if I want to prove I have any type of personality at all.

Londons Calling

I've just awoken from one hell of a good sleep and feel like I've been reborn. This is largely because I had next to no sleep over the weekend after an exhausting stint at the tables again at Dusk Till Dawn. This was for their monthly £300 deep stack event, which I made the 2nd day of but not much more.

First of all, this could well be one of the best tournaments in the country (or worst depending on how you think of it). For a modest £300 you get a 10,000 stack and a 45 minute, well structured clock. There were plenty of crap players, but just as many brilliant players, as the cream of UK Poker were making up the 126 players in attendance. In one night I found myself against Dave ColClough, Lawrence Gosney (WSOP Bracelet winner), Mickey Wernick, Chris Bruce (multiple GUKPT finalist), Dominic Kay (WSOPE finalist), Marcus Bebb-Jones (Grosvenor Grand Prix Winner), Ben Vinson (GUKPT Young Player of the Year) and Mohammed Shafiq.

I did what I seem to be good at, building up a big stack early and it amounting to nothing. Within a few hours I had got my 10,000 up to 40,000 but unfortunatly thats how it stayed. I think this is probably because I'm a cash player and the lower blinds favoured me - I was able to play my position well, float, reraise raggedy flops with nothing etc etc. Regretebly I went card dead when the blinds got big, but I am delighted with how I played from start to finish - its a very good omen for this weeks PartyPoker European Open.

I drive to London tommorow for my heat on Wednesday morning. I am really nervous, because I am desperate to make it to the next stage and at the same time look good. The prospect of busting out first in a tournament is a fear that has long gone for me in day to day poker, but the TV thing has added a whole new dimension which I hope dissapears before the first card is dealt on Wednesday.
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