Monday, December 31, 2007

Dec 31st - All over!!

So Dec 2007 comes to an end and another year goes by!

This year has been a bit of a downer as far as 'tournament' play has been concerned with a big gap in picking up winnings. Its hard to play week after week getting nowhere and as poker is a volatile game at the best of times you just have to learn to live with the losses!

On-line its been a different story this month with me picking up 2nd place in a Full-Tilt $150 tournament for close to $7k. Of course once I'd 'cashed out' then the old 'cash-out curse' began to take hold and I ain't won a bean since but as I've been on holiday since Oct having sold my house in London and spent 4 weeks in Florida the extra cash I DID manage to get back down into my bank account will come in handy for the new year!

I'm back in Dublin at the mo but cometh the new year then cometh a new job somewhere! Whether that be here in Ireland or back in the UK is still unknown.

My blog will end today. After 5 years of blogging on both this site and on UKPOKER.COM, the UK's first proper website devoted to poker, I'm retiring from the public domain.

Of course if I ever become world champion then you'll hear from me again but in the meantime I'd like to thank you all for following the ups & downs of my poker career for the past while and hope you've had as much interest reading it as I have had in writing!

Au revoir & happy new year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dec 21st - Florida - (Part II)

The Seminole Hard Rock Casino sits just off junction 7 on the I-4, the road between Orlando & Tampa. A forty five minute drive from where I was staying took me into the parking lot of this, now, infamous hotel with the recent death of Ann-Nicole Smith (money grabbing young lady), still fresh in everyones memory!

The casino itself is not what you call a 'real' casino. Inside there are two things going on...slot machines & poker!

The slotties go on for miles...there must be at least two thousand...whilst the poker room sits about a 50 yard walk from the main entrance and my how things have changed since I was last here!

Back in the summer of 06, my last visit, a Tuesday night tournament for the $200+$40 NL event would regularly fetch around 200 players. On the first Tuesday I visited the casino this time around there were 45 runners!!! So what was going on??

Since my last visit here gambling, especially poker, had started to be allowed at more locations throughout Florida. People were taking their game was as simple as that. There was a NEW game in the room though that lists were long for and everyone seemed keen to get involved with...the NL CASH games!!

I'd always avoided the 'cash games' here! A couple of years ago the biggest 'cash' game in the room was a $1/$2 LIMIT game. Yup...thats right...!!! Still the place was full though...mainly of old men passing the day by paying a rake that you just couldn't beat. Got 4 of a kind...a nice $2 bet on the end would get 5 callers and you'd end up with of pot of $50. Wow!!

Last year the limits got raised to...wait fot it...$2/$4 LIMIT!! So the pots doubled in size put I'd rather play $5 a spin on the slotties than snooze away a $4 bet at the end of a hand in limit Omaha. After all there was NEVER going to be any bluffing at these stakes.

And so to today. Thanks to continuing lobbying by the Seminole Indians No Limit poker got introduced. Another problem though!

Forget about bringing a wad to the table...the maximum sit down amout, to start, even in the $2/$5 NL game was $100! Crazy man! Whilst some players had spent all day at the tables building up their stacks to $2000-$3000 a newbie could ONLY come into the game with a $100 buy-in. It was therefore always good practice to join a NEW game than to sit at an established table where several big stacks would always take pleasure in calling you down then get lucky on the end!

So anyway...I had three trips down to the casino on my vacation and my results were:

Trip 1 : Tournament - -$240
Cash - -$800
Net Win/Loss = -$1040

Trip 2 : Tournament - -$400
Cash - +$1300
Net Win/Loss = +$900

Trip 3 : Tournament - -$400
Cash - +$1200
Net Win/Loss = +800

Vacation Win/Loss = +$660

Oh...I also won a $2000 jackpot on the slotties which the casino then kindly took away $600 in 'taxes' and so I was well pissed about that!

All in all though the play was soft...must be as I won...and very enjoyable. Luckily for me the casino is just far enough away from Orlando as to not make it a 'must go every night venue'!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dec 10th - Florida (Part 1)

I've just spent the last 30 days in Florida, Orlando to be exact. With temperatures in the 78-85F range for the whole duration and only 2 days of rain I'm feeling a bit depressed at being back home to the chilly winds of Western Europe!

The best thing about being in Florida though was not the weather, but the value. With the exchange rate being in excess of $2 for every £1 the price of everything you currently buy in Florida looks absolutely brilliant in comparison to UK prices. Some examples are:

All you can eat pizza + dessert + soft drinks = $4.99
Denny breakfast (2 eggs, 2 bacon, Ham, Hash Browns, 3 pancakes, coffee) = $7.49
Gallon of Tropicana Orange juice = $5.99
Dinner for two in a nice restaurant = $65

With Walmarts offering shirts for $8, trousers for $12, t-shirts (3 for $10) its not hard to get carried away and totally kit yourself out for $100. A true bargain indeed.

Forty-two inch HDTV's for $799 were another bargain and with laptops selling for under $600 its a great time to get over there and shop!

I left home with just a carry on case and came back with a 32kg case on which I had to pay $50 in EXCESS baggage with all the new stuff I'd bought!

Anyway...this column is about poker and in part II I'll let you all know about the latest happenings down at the Hard Rock Casino in Seminole County which is run by them Indian chappies....!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nov 3rd - APAT - £75 NL Hold'Em (Walsall)

After being robbed at Dublin airport by Ryanair, who insisted I had to pay a £2 'check in fee', I wasn't in a great mood when I finally arrived in Birmingham for the start of what I hoped was to be a long weekend of poker playing in the Walsall APAT event.

Two hundred runners, a 10k starting stack, and a 40 minute clock meant that this was to be a hell of a day and my initial luck was very poor indeed. It was half way through level 4...I'd had NO pairs...I'd had NO luck and my chip stack was at 2375. I get Jc-6c in the BB and see a flop of 3-4-5.

I checked. Player in MP bet out 600. Next player to act called. I push all-in with my straight draw and both opponents called. Turn card was a 2 (yipee)...river card a 7. I triple up and I'm back in the game.

I then get A-A and make another 4k on that. The last hand before the break I get Qd-10d and call a 1200 raise. Flop is Jd-8d-6h. I ask my opponent as to how much he has left. 5400! I make that the bet and he calls with K-K. Turn card is a diamond and no help to my opponent on the river. I'm now on 20k!

Levels 5-8 increase my stack upto 40k.

Level 9 and I get lucky. Holding A-8 I call a players all-in, for 7k, along with another player. Flop is A-x-x. My opponent checks. I bet 5k. He calls. Turn card is an 8. Opponent checks. I bet out 13k and he calls all-in with A-10. All-in player has A-10 also. No help for them on the river and I'm upto 60k. I cruise to the next break at the end of level 10.

Level 11. After many hours of play and my earlier 'travel time' I'm a bit tired. I'm on the button and I look down to see what I THINK is 8-8. I raise to 6k. Player on BB re-raises to 16k. I call.

Flop is 2s-4s-5d. BB bets out 10k. I RAISE to 20k. BB goes all-in for another 40k or so. He has me covered. I check my cards. I HAVE 8-9!!! Argh!! I fold in disgust. The pot cost me 36k!

A short while layer I'm UTG and smooth call the 2k blinds with K-J. Three other players come in. Flop is 2-3-5. Its checked around. Turn card is a Jack. BB bets out 6k. I re-raise all-in. BB calls and flips 4-6 for a flopped straight. I'm out!

I've no qualms about my play other than the 8-9 debacle but dems the breaks. I lasted to the last 6 tables and I'd played for around 9 hours.

Next tournament will be in Florida. Its a tough life!

Entries -> 200 - Place -> 55th Loss-> £75 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> -£2362(Rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00 / £1 = €1.40)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Nov 1st - €500 NL Hold'Em - Fitzwilliam Club (Dublin)

A nice field of 40 runners for tonights €500 No Limit event held for charity where €100 from every €500 went towards the charity itself!

Form is a wonderful thing, when you have it! At the moment I don't and I ended up finishing in around 25th place after being unfortunate in a 14k pot when holding A-10. More on that it a mo!

We all started with 7.5k in chips and early doors I couldn't find much to get involved with. What I WAS getting involved with proved to be worthless after the flop so drifted to 6.5k in the first hour.

I then get moved tables and the action started. Holding A-Q I picked up a 5k pot on a board of A-J-10-7 when my big bet on the turn frightened off my opponent. Three hands later this happened...

In MP I get A-10 and limp in for the 200 blinds. Four of us see a flop of A-2-7. A player in the BB bets out 1200 and its on me. I decide that the bet was a feeler bet as there's be no raise from the off so my A-10 was probably strong. I re-raised to 3.5k. Back around to the BB who then shovels all-in for another 3k on top!

I'm pot comitted so call and he flips A-2! Blah! No help and I'm back down to 2.5k.

Just before the break I get a split pot with A-4 against A-Q on a board of A-K-6-6-7 and start level 4 with just over 3k in chips!

Shortly into level 4 I get Q-J and call an all-in bet against A-K. I get lucky on the flop as it comes Q-2-4 but a horrible looking King appears on the turn and I'm gone!

Its been a while since I got paid in tournament play in a 'live' situation. APAT, in Walsall, is next followed by some tournaments at the Seminole Hard Rock Casinio in Tampa, Florida throughout November which I'm thoroughly looking forward to!

Entries -> 40 - Place -> 25th Loss-> £357 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> -£2287(Rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00 / £1 = €1.40)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oct 22nd - €75 + €5 NL Hold'Em - Fitzwilliam Club (Dublin)

Having just sold my house in W.London I'm currently back in Dublin for a couple of weeks before going to Florida for a month before Xmas in Dublin before who knows what!

I thought I'd check out whats been happening at one of my favourite clubs here in town with a trip down to the Fitz club to play in the €75 NL Hold'em tournament and to catch up with some faces of my past!

With so much competition in terms of card rooms in Dublin these days (there are now 4 major card rooms in town) I wasn't really sure of what turnout to expect but at the end of the day there were 43 runners and I finished 14th!

The starting chips were 6k with a 30 minute clock which would point to a well structured event. Of course you still get the 'goonies' who want to go all-in on A-K in level 1 pre-flop but this kind of tournament is excellent if you can sit there and wait for cards to come and flops to develop in your favour!

After 3 levels, and the break, I had 7k hardly having seen a hand I could get involved with but with antes at 100-200, for level 4, there was really no need to panick!

Once again I was was playing good poker, bluffing nicely on a couple of pots, calling down players with King high Winning both pots) and eeked my way upto 9k and the last two tables.

Of course in any poker tournament there WILL come a time when you have to take a chance at doubling up annd my moment came shortly after...

Holding As-Jd, in MP, and with blinds at 300-600 I raised it up to 2500. My stack at this point was just shy of 9k so had around 6400 left after this raise!

All passed to the BB, a stubborn kind of player who would play medium hands like good hands and would refuse to let go if he felt good about the cards he was holding. He called and we saw a flop of Qs-6s-5s. The BB immediately bet out 4k. Decision time!

There was no way he'd bet out unless a piece of the flop but to have made a flush already would be pushing it and anyhow I had the best flush draw with the Ace of Spades in my hand! All-in!

He duly called the other 2400 and flipped Qc-8s.

The turn came the 8d...the river the 9h and that was me done!

Its a very thin line between sucess & failure at poker and I just seem to keep falling on the wrong side of that line at the moment.

Entries -> 43 - Place -> 14th Loss-> £57 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> -£1930
(Rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00 / £1 = €1.40)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oct 12th - £500+£50 NL Hold'Em (Victoria Club)

I'll maybe play 4-6 of these £500+ buy in's in a single year as the variance in poker is such that you have to get EXTREMELY lucky to get your money back on them in general.

Tonight there were 137 runners at the Vic for this event and even though the structure is good with blind increases every 45 mins you're always looking at your cards knowing that this could be the last hand on the night if the poker gods deem it that way!

On table 12 I get pro's Willie Tann to my immediate left and Ben Roberts two doors further away. You know you're not playing with muppets even though the rest of the table looked, and acted at times, as though they themselves were!

I started steadily. A pair of 6's in the hole turned a set on the flop and even though betting was slow I managed to eek out 1200 points in profit which added nicely to my start stack of 5000.

It wasn't long before we moved tables and I get the bucket seat (seat 1) on my new one. Not my favourite position!

Nevertheless I get a few more chips when I make the nut flush with Ac-5c on a scary board of Qc-Qs-Jc-8c-4s and a few more chips then get added when I flop two pair. The wheels though were shortly to come off!

At this level of buy-in I expect players that raise from the off to have a certain standard of hand and I assume that if you took a straw poll amongst other like minded individuals they'd agree. This is where poker becomes POKER though and its a fine line between success & failure!

In LP I get J-J. With blinds still at 50-100 there's a raise, in EP, to 400. An EP raise to me looks like A-J, A-Q or A-K. When the action reaches me I decide that discretion is the better part of valour and simply flat call as the alternative maybe a raising war which I'd be scared to lose.

The flop is 6-8-9 rainbow! EP man bets out 500. I decide to flat call one time and then reraise all-in if no 'scary card' comes on the turn...after all he's missed right???

The turn card is a 4. Its a rainbow flop! AGAIN EP man bets out...this time 1100. Now I'm getting concerned but what the hell has he got?? A set is probably out of the question as he'd have checked from the off. Big pair??? Maybe??? I'm stumped. I call the 1100 bet.

River card is a 3. He now checks! In hindsite I should have just checked and shown my J-J but I decided to get agressive and bet our 2k. He then moves all-in for another 1450 and I'm forced to call. He flips.......10-7 for a flopped straight.....URGH!!!

My chip stack is decimated although I still have a playable 2500 chips left.

The trouble with me though is that I HATE playing short stacked. My game isn't geared to mini-bets & mini-calls. I wanna beat the fuckers out of pots with booming bets and big bluffs which I can't do with mini-stacks.

A short while later I get 3-3 and decide for a double up or die! Some 18 year old kid thinks K-Q is nice and calls my 2200 bet! A King hits the flop and its all over...again!!!

Entries -> 137 - Place -> --- Loss-> £550 Profit/Loss for 2007 -> -£1873(As from 20th April 2007 rate of exchange is calculated at £1 = $2.00)