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....!!