Monday, 21 February 2011

In which I'm fucking shattered....

Points of Order:

Congratulations to Gaz Walker on his magnificent win at the UKIPT recently. Well done Gaz, well deserved. It was great to see the entire NPF behind him and the rail thread was one of the best on their in ages. So much love.

Congratulations to Teh Dobberz on their CGK Cup win, I'm gutted I couldn't make it to Newcastle for this epic tournament.

Why I'm shattered:

Last week I worked about 96 hours and still got some time in for a game of Rugby and a coaching session with both an MTT sicko and a HU midstakes cash reg. I'mn actually constantly fucked, but really enjoying the work. The boss said some nice things about me in my appraisal recently, but honestly, I didn't achieve even half of what I wanted to in my first three months in the office. I have so many plans and ideas, but as ever, operational shenanigans can sometimes get in the way.

I also had another friend out here for an interview, but unfortunately, although he made the final two from about 12 short-listed candidates, he didn't get the job. Such a shame. If there's something you think you could do for us, why not check out

Looking Forward:

I have a *lot* of things I need to complete by the end of the month, after which three great friends of mine are coming out to visit. I haven't seen one of them in about 8 months, so it'll be nice to finally catch up with some beers. I even took a few days off work and will leave my laptop in the office!

And, of course, next weekend the 6 Nations is back, and I'll be spending some time in Granada. A really good friend of mine is coming to the end of her internship; so next weekend is her last with us for the foreseeable future as she has to complete another year of studies in Germany before possibly returning so there'll be some fun to be had there too. Honestly, it'll be nice to have a weekend to myself without working.

Till then,



Monday, 31 January 2011

In which I ship one....

Gala Monthly £100 Deepstack Report

On the last Saturday of each month, the Gala here plays host to a £100+£10 deepstack event (30 minute levels with ALL the levels, 10k starting stack) which is far and away the best structured game in Gib. I hadn't been able to play this so far so I was really excited when I had a Saturday off, and even nursing a slight hangover, I made my way to the casino for the 4pm start.

Joining me there were 6 or 7 PokerStrategists from 29 runners in total, but luckily for me, my table draw was beyond sweet. On my table, almost everyone was a huge Spanish fish, except for Aurelien, one of our French Community Managers who had position on me, and an English guy called Tony who is well known for being a laggro type, but plays pretty decent. He also has position on me (I'm in seat 1, he's in 2 and Aure is in 3) so I know that I'm going to have to play a little nittier than I normally would in these structures in the early levels.

Table is playing passively and when I open TT after a limp I just pick up the blinds and carry on. Nothing much happens for a bit until I own Aure in a decent size pot by inducing a bluff on the river with 'weak' play on the turn. He was shocked when I Hellmuth called him on TxxAx with JT but I think it was pretty standard.

Early levels are going fine, and even though I flat a raise with 99 from SB to induce squeeze from Tony (laggro) I then find a fold when I pick up a tell that he has a value hand and not a squeezing hand and the original raiser also calls.

Then some blah blah about blah blah and making a nice value bet with the rivered nuts with AKo on a 4 heart board and some more blah blah about stealing a few pots in position and I find myself with about 18k by the first break.

After the first break the Azbo costs me a bit my refusing to suckout on the Kings of Mr Aggro in a 4bet preflop pot (I c/call, c/call, check/check) with my one pair hand on a low board assuming he has 2 broadways. I win it all back an orbit later when I check behind for complete deception with turned top-top and get a pot sized bet AND a pot sized raise on the river (when I improve to top 2!) from the BB with AK > AT on XXXAhh board.

Anyway, at this point, Coen gets moved to my table. He's a staffer and a solid player and is opening everypot and threebetting my opens and all sorts. I'm somehow stuck around 15k and nothing is happening. There's another guy who is opening every pot too (young English kid) so when he opens I decide 42o is good enough to 3bet the last hand before the break and I show the 2 when he folds. He's pretty furious with me, convincing himself that I'm value 3betting 22 or A2 and calling me a terrible player and such. Tilting people is quite nice.

First hand after the break I 3bet ship AQ over Coen's KQ but he folds and I'm back to about 18k again. Obviously I can't win every flip though and lose 88 < KT shortly thereafter vs a shorty and back to 13k. Fucking hell man.

Interesting Hand One:
Remember the kid from before? The one who called me a terrible player? Folds to him in SB and at 300/600/100 he makes it 2600. I flat with AA in BB and flop comes JTx. He insta pot bets and I jam for the rest (about 14k total or so) and he absolutely Hellmuth's me with J2 for top pair, shit kicker. I wrap it up on the turn with a lovely Ace.

I then take some more from him by simply calling down with K9dd on 9875Jsss and he gives me a 'how could you call' kinda look but I was confident he had utter air.

He then gives me the rest of his chips on the FT bubble (only 4 places paid) when he picks the wrong time to 3bet shove because I wake up with AA behind him.

Anyway, on to the final table, I have about 41k and average is 30k but blinds still like 400/800/100 I guess, so not too bad at all. Couple of shorties though and one guy just basically gifts Coen 90k by stacking off ultralight on KXX when it was clear Coen had AA.

Again, Coen is opening every pot and he opens to 2600. I 3bet AKs to 6800 and a shortstack with 7000 shoves for 200 more. Coen then goes immediately and makes it 21k. I sigh, announce, you're insane sir, this is always Aces and fold face up. Feel sorry for shorty as he has KK and I've just shown him I passed one of his outs. Actually this is normally a snapfold for me as Coen's 4bet range against my stack there isn't balanced at all. What made me ask if he's insane was that *right before* the final table we were talking about how a cold 4 bet that isn't a shove is always so much more polarised to AA than a 4bet isoshove. Admittedly Coen's 4bet here wasn't cold, but he'd been opening so many pots it might as well have been! :D Basically, I thought he could be levelling me with like TT or AQ.

Interesting Hand Two:

With a stack now at 18k, Coen opens again and I threebet TT to about 6k, leaving myself 12k behind. I'm never folding to a shove, but somehow I get two flat calls (and then Coen passes!) and I shove a JTx board and pick it up. 

What's your line here? Are you threebetting small or just jamming? Can you every 3bet fold?

 Let me know in the comments! :)

Anyway, from there on out it's pretty standard, I win a flip 55 > AK vs Coen for a 65k pot and then another couple of pots from the shorties who are folding too often before I raise button, BB shoves, it's 15k more into 30k pot, easy call. He has AQ, oh well, found the top of his range, oh hai, that's a K in the window and we're three handed.

After playing a while, there's a complete fish with 105k, and Coen and I have 85k with blinds at 1000/2000/200. We both have a huge edge on the fish but are more or less neutral EV against each other so I decide I don't want to flip for £400 (difference between 3rd and 2nd) with Coen, and I defo don't want him getting the fish's chips before me, so we split for £800 a piece plus £100 more to fish because 'he had more chips' -- actually a pretty generous deal, I think.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

In which I take baby steps...

Goal One: Poker

So I've been more relaxed about poker recently and had a winning cash session (some £200 or so) at the cash tables recently and also our new MTT study group (Project: Ship the Majors) made $120 playing a small spread of tournaments today, including the Sunday Warm Up where we cashed for $500 or so. Crucial hand was AKss vs JJ on JXXAss board. Oh well, that's a set up obviously.

I'm actually enjoying poker again so far, but the trick is not to play too regularly, I think.
Goal Two: Lifestyle

I've also made some baby steps with regards to health. I'm drinking far more water and eating more healthily than I did last year and I'm not missing it. I also played Rugby for the first time in a couple of years today which was great fun. Really enjoyed the crack and the banter and I'm going to be training 4 hours a week, in addition to games in the Spanish National League. Obviously this will allow me to get fit and also with....

Goal Six: Travel

Really hungover on Saturday (weekends don't count, right!) I woke up at a friend's house and we headed to Jerez in Spain. It's about an hour and a half away by car and we left the glorious sunshine in Gib to be greeted by horrendous rain. Nice lives us imo. Still, Jerez is famous for Sherry (Jerez in Arabic sounds a lot like Sherry and obviously the moors owned southern Spain at one point...) so we toured the biggest Sherry factory, had some Tapas and tasting before heading home. A very pleasant afternoon indeed and we rounded off the evening back in Gib with some Thai food.

2011 already has 2 roadtrips completed (Malaga and Jerez), so Goal 6 is looking good! 

Goal Four: Languages

I'm speaking German about 60% of my day which is nice and I don't speak English unless I have to. Coupled with a studious approach to (re)learning the finer points of grammar, I feel my German is steadily improving again. I've also signed up for Spanish courses so that I feel comfortable enough to get by in Spain. I've taken some baby steps by ordering food and drink in Spanish and speaking Spanish at the supermarkets and so.

It's too early to comment on my other goals, but I'm in a good place right now. Now if only I could get my bank card back....(machine ate it, sigh).

I'll also be following Farmer Dave and Sensh's weight loss threads over at the NPF with interest.

Let's pay it forward!



Sunday, 2 January 2011

In which I recap, and set some goals.

Small Recap of 2010

Basically, 2010 was an interesting year from me. On the poker front, I scooped my first big live score and achieved my goal of making £2500 profit from poker over the year.

2010 was also a challenging year from a 'real life' perspective, in which I was forced to take a real hard look at my life and why I had lost some momentum with my career and, well, everything. As a result, I built a door, visited Gibraltar, and finally ended up working here.

As I've bragged about before, it's pretty wonderful out here and I feel really stretched and challenged in my new role, in ways that I haven't been stretched in quite some time. In other words, I'm out of first gear and whilst I'm not in fifth yet (there's so much more I can do, professionally and personally, but I'm really glad to have the opportunity to learn, develop and grow), I feel I'm getting there, step by step. I can't deny there have been times when I've been a little homesick, especially this Christmas which was the first time I've ever been away from my family for the holidays, but fortunately some colleagues were kind enough to invite me for a particularly multi-cultural Christmas dinner and it was so nice to have their support. Admittedly, I'd never spent Christmas with a dutch guy, polish girl and more romanians and germans than you can shake a stick at, but it was actually amazing. I recommend Romanian food too, it's right on the money.

I'm not really one for reminiscing and such, suffice it to say 2010 was awesome, notably in how quickly new friends were added to old friends (who i miss dearly) and how much I grew as a person. I know that 2011 will be better. I am determined, and here's how:

Goals for 2011:

1. Don't give a shit about poker. I work with it all day everyday and it's getting to the point where I'm not enjoying playing. Stop taking it too seriously and just enjoy myself. Don't think about profit and loss, odds and outs and all that kind of thing. Just enjoy it for the rush and the buzz that it is. (Only poker goal)

2. Take better care of myself. That involves eating right and playing more sport, start playing rugby again and just generally not being such a lazy fuck. It also involves not drinking through the week. Fortunately, today isn't a weekday, so I'm off into Spain for tapas and live music.

3. Develop professionally. Continue to learn and grow by taking the advice of those around me. I happen to work in a company of rockstars, and I can make better use of their experience. I have a certain set of professional goals but this blog isn't the appropriate place for them.

4. Languages: speak more German, get back to studying Dutch and get my French back to the level it was when I was 18. There are 28 different nationalities in our company, so I'll always find a practice partner. On top of all that, learn Spanish. And double quick. I don't want to live in Gibraltar forever, and Andalucia is so fucking beautiful it's insane. I have to live there. And that involves speaking Spanish. You all know me. I won't be 'that guy' in Spain that has to talk English all the time. I won't do it.

5. Be more relaxed, socially. Sometimes I'm a bit of a social retard because my brain is working overtime to analyse situations. Fuck that, just chill out, dickhead. Stop sweating the small stuff and just relax.

6. Come back to England at least once, but also take a holiday to somewhere I've never been. Morocco is on the cards. As is Tunisia.
7. Invite as many people as possible to come visit here during the summer. It's gonna be insane, and if you're reading this, you're invited.

I hope you all had awesome holidays and I wish you the best for 2011.

Gl, and not just at the tables,


Sunday, 19 December 2010

In which I play MiniFTOPS Razz...

So Mulhuzz, why Razz?

Thanks for asking! Basically, I love Razz for the following reasons:

  • It is a limit game, and limit games are super fun because there are so many people that simply don't understand the importance of saving bets or showdown value. They also don't understand the importance of simulated all in situations, but more on that later.
  • Razz is a great game for strategy and requires far more thought than playing Hold Em, whether FL or NL. It is therefore, for me, more fun.
  • I have a bigger edge in Razz than I do in Hold Em for lots of reasons. The chief of these being that I manage to avoid logic knots in Razz more than I do in Hold Em. This is because the average Hold Em player is, well, average, and the average Razz player is, well, terrible. This means that you can play Razz to a semi-decent standard and still be exceptional value in a game. Translation: there's a lot of dead money in Razz.
Why mini-FTOPS?

I played the $30+$3 mini-FTOPS Razz event because Andy 'KQ4EVA' Blair offered to stake me for it because I'd railed him as he crrrrrrrushed the Full Tilt nightly $2k Guaranteed Razz and repeatedly commented on how bad the players were. Obviously he only managed third because, well, blind squirrels and nuts, but the nice $800 cash from $24 was enough for him to spare me the $33 entry for this.

I haven't played Razz tournaments in years, except as part of the HORSE mix or so, but used to play a decent amount of Razz cash and still do, although the volume is somewhat lower than it used to be.

Anyway, to the tournament!

I set myself up in the office and connected the laptop to the big screen so I could rail a few other mini-FTOPS events whilst also concentrating fully on Razz. The game began at 3am here, so I was helpfully joined by my housemate to keep me company. Joerg is probably the best mixed game player I know, so it was great to have him for a line check from time to time (e.g. do I check-raise here or simply bet and hope to be raised?, etc). I'd also had a skype conversation earlier that day with one of the biggest FL pros in the world and we talked a little about strategy and such so I was feeling really well prepared.

Two hands in and I'd won my first pot (winning 3 more bets than I should have done!) and Joerg commented 'ok, this tournament is as good as shipped!'. Oh man I wish that were true! With over 1200 runners there was a lot to play for. For the first two hours I basically played perfect and built 3k starting chips up to 9.5k and I was really bossing the table. I also had a nice hand where i made the nuts (A-5) and the table idiot (having called with a semi ok draw on two streets made perfect-almost-perfect to end up with A234-6 - the second nuts, so I caught like 7 more bets than I should have done in that hand because we end up capping it on 7th of course.

Where it all goes wrong...

I'd love to show you hand histories and so but for some reason they don't save on my work laptop so I can't. I get massively coolered in a huge pot against a retard (a 5k pot when the average is also 5k at 200/400) when some guy finds his miracle one out deuce on 7th when he was basically drawing dead against my made nut 7. Somehow he manages to find the 65-low on the end though, somewhat improving his 965 made....sigh.

From then on out, I go completely card dead and then lose two more crucial pots as at least a 72% favourite. In my exit hand the guy doens't understand the concept of simulated all in at 300/600 where I have 1800 and get 3 small bets in on third and the rest in on 4th (this is what simulated all in means, I'm never, ever, ever, ever, folding) with 2357 and can't hold against 9357. I had the dude basically completely board locked but he managed to get there of course.

A Word on Limit Tournaments...

In limit tournaments, the midstages are by far the most important. At some point you'll play a pot for stacks because the average will almost never deviate from 8-10 Big Bets and you have to run good to survive in the middle stages. I felt I played pretty perfect (threw away one more bet than I needed to in one spot to be honest which was the only mistake I made) and the fact that i very quickly got to 2x or 3x the average meant that when I got coolered I still had a stack to get back into the game. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be and I busted in 568th spot someway off the bubble.

I did, however, outlast most of the FTP Red Pros, including David Singer which won Pads £100 because he's backed me against anyone in the field and his mate picked Singer. Unlucky, I crush Singer at Razz! :D :D :D At least someone won something from this tournament.

Now What?

I'm going to play more Razz because I'd forgotten two things:

1. How much I love the game and how much fun I have playing it.

2. How much of an edge I have against your average Razztard.

That's all for now folks, thanks for reading and thanks also to GeoKing, SamJ, Google and co for the rail. Sorry i couldn't give you a better sweat.

Gl at the tables,


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

In which I let a colleague do the bragging for me....

Need I say more......?

This video was shot yesterday up on the roof of our offices. Pretty informative too, whilst also being a major brag ;)



Tuesday, 14 December 2010

In which I feel like a proper degenerate...

Recap of the weekend... 'Open' at Gala Casino
This sunday saw 40+ staffers and some 20+ locals and friends of the company take to the felt for our Poker Open generously held at the local casino. I call it a open, and it kinda was. We'd (well, one of our Poker Experts) had organised the tournament, made it open for all, and demanded that we wear our red T-shirts as a group.

It was like a sea of red and awesome fun. My tournament didn't go too super. I got seated on first table with 4 staffers and was OOP to all of them but banter was superb. I owned a couple of the fish for nice pots before losing a small one BvB vs Arjon one of our Dutch Community Managers. It was then time to move table where I open the button (2k starting chips, 15m clock, basically a shallow super turbo) with A7o to 425 (100/200) and get shoved on by a 1.5k stack (I have 4.2k) from the small blind. I make the standard call but can't hold vs 34s even though I have a straight draw and two overs on the turn. Sigh.

The very next hand, Philippe (cool guy I mentioned in previous blog) and I are drinking away when he shoves and I make the auto-reshove with 33. You need chips in this tournament and I know I'll have to win flips. He tables AK and I can't remain ahead on a 7585 board when the river brings another 8. Which was great, because the Card Room Manager called for it. The bastard!!! But anyway. that's pretty standard the way I run in Gib ;)

Competitive Slots...
Having found myself dumped outta the tournament I catch up with some of the lads who decide a round of competitive slots is in order. The rules are simple. Each player puts £10 in a slot machine, we all press at the same time and whoever is busto first loses and they buy the next round. For the first time in like forever I didn't lose at slots and was showing a healthy £29 profit plus the drink that Hannes bought me! ;)

Competitive Roulette...
Bored with competitive slots, we move on to competitive electronic roulette. Again, I win here by backing number 8 twice in a row at some point to book a healthy £56 profit.

Competitive Blackjack...
Sigh. Not really competitive because I was the only one playing and just to get rid of the £6 I had from roulette in chips. Down £6, needless to say.

Competitive Shortstacking...
We now decide, Graham, Hannes, Joerg and I, to play competitive shortstacking at 100NL. Same rules, whoever is busto first (2 bullets max of £25/time) buys the next round but we can only shove or fold. 

In the first hand I post and it's limped round to the BB who checks. The flop is 345 and I look at my hand to see a beautiful 33 for bottom set. Well, I'm not folding, so I'm defo shipppppppping. I do, to be called in 4 spots by Joerg (64), idiot 1 (69) and idiot two (A6). The pot is over £100. Obviously I'm never winning. 7. BAM. 8. BAM and idiot 1 scoops the entire. I rebuy as does Joerg. Next hand I'm in the BB. Folds to button who limps, SB raises to £4 and I shove £25 with 77. Limper tank calls and raiser says 'I'd have called if you hadn't'. I'm shown K9o by Idiot 1 and the raiser folds his J8o pre. Obviously I can't fade a 9 ball but would have faded Js and 8s. Sigh.

Clifffffs: £50 and a round of drinks down.

More slots...
Made another £20 at slots before calling it an night.

At some point in between...

Had dinner in the casino with all of our Dutch Team (who crussssh at the Stargate slots we have) and a few others. Decent food, great banter.

All this partying has made me iller. I've got a pretty shitty chest right now but I'm fighting through it as I'm going out to dinner with all the CS Team Leads tomorrow night which should be pretty fun. Headed into Spain for the first time....must remember passport and Euro!

That's all for now folks, take it easy!