Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hello Strangers

Sorry it's been a while. :)

First off, I'm very appreciative for all of the comments and e-mails that I received after my last post about my Dad passing away.

It was pretty devastating when I received the news from my mother. I was out in Vegas and had been up for two days at the time. We had gone out on the Friday night and carried on all the way through to the Saturday night; when we went to the Calzaghe Vs Hopkins bout. I finally got in around 5am on the Sunday morning which is when I received the phone call from my mum. I think the fact that I was so exhausted and drunk made the news even harder to deal with at the time. I have never cried so much.

Everything went very smoothly back in England. The funeral went very well, and our family, and extended family, has become even closer as a result.

When I returned to poker around the middle of May I decided to move my action over to Pokerstars. It's hard to believe just how poor the service was that I was receiving from Full Tilt Poker. I was bringing in well over $150,000 a year to them in rake yet they couldn't be bothered to reply to my e-mails. And if they did eventually respond then it was some generic response informing me how I could earn an extra $25 by introducing a friend to the site. I mean, what the fuck is that all about!?

I use my eldest daughters name (Narena) on Full Tilt. On Stars I use my yougest's, MeleaB.

I only had about $200 - $300 in my Pokerstars account. I didn't want to re-deposit, and I didn't want to play lower than 200NL (I never have done, other than a few hands of 100NL when there weren't enough tables running of 200NL at Full Tilt on the odd occasion during the early hours.) So I bought in short at 200NL on about half a dozen tables until I had enough to open up a few more tables. Then I opened up some 400NL until I soon had several hundred dollars, and enough to play some tables full stacked.

By the middle of June I had reached Supernova Status, and I began to wonder how viable it would be to attempt SNE status. I kept detailed daily notes of my poker P&L and VPP earnings so it wasn't hard to project what rate I was going to have to maintain through until the end of the year. I was used to playing 6-7 hours a day anyway, but I was going to have to increase that rate for nearly 6 months.

On Full Tilt, I ran at 2.75ptBB/100 (5.5BB/100) over a sample of about 2,000,000 hands playing the max number of tables (12, then 16 when they increased the cap.) Now, I have no problem playing 24 tables on Pokerstars but it does take it's toll when you have to average around 10 hours a day! There were two or three days early on where I had to question whether it was likely that I would reach SNE. After considering all the factors each time (e.g. time commitment Vs reward) I decided that it was worth the effort.

However, in order to be able to maintain the pace I needed I decided to switch from full-stacking to experiment with short-stacking. Despite a significantly lower win-rate while short-stacking it did enable me to complete the required number of VPPs each day. When I was fresh I would revert back to full-stacking, and I would never rathole, so often my long sessions started as short-stacking but finished as full-stacks on many of the tables.

I played 1,380,000+ hands (11,400/day) (620k VPPs) during the last 4 months. I only made around $9,000 in winnings but I still made $62,000 during that time with bonuses, plus the pro rata portion of SNE tournamnet value and increased 2009 earnings (due to the increased FPP multiple.) shows me as break-even during this period, although they only have around 80% of my hands mined:

Here are my results for the six full months on Stars:

Jun-2008 $22,387
Jul-2008 $15,143
Aug-2008 $10,750
Sep-2008 $15,091
Oct-2008 $20,275
Nov-2008 $12,393
Dec-2008 $14,017

+ tournament entries (WCOOP + Monte Carlo Package) worth around $20k or so.

Having played many hands while short-stacking during these last few months, my conclusions on this "controversial" topic are:

*It really isn't possible to have a win-rate too much higher than break-even at 200NL (before bonuses) simply because of the rake. If a full-stacker wins a $400 pot, he pays $3 in rake; just 0.75%. Whereas if a short-stacker wins five pots of $80 then he pays $15 in rake; 3.75%. Obviously full-stacker win smaller pots too, but this increased rake fee (in terms of a percentage of the pot) is significantly more for short-stackers. Obviously as you increase in stakes (400NL and above) then this becomes less of a factor due to the cap of the $3 rake. If I was to have to repeat my SNE quest in such a short time span, then I would probably spend the time at the NL400 tables.

*Most short-stackers at 200Nl are not very good, and most lose a fair bit of money due in part to the high rake that is paid. Despite that, most of the regulars would still see a profit once bonuses are taken into account.

*It's probably the best option for full ring cash players desperately trying to reach SNE status (or some milestone) by the end of the year, rather than playing higher stake limit cash, unfamiliar (to cash players) SnGs, or 6-max cash games. Many good, profitable players took a big hit in the final month or two of the year in their attempt to reach SNE.

*I don't think short-stackers are really anything for people to make a fuss about for the most part. Obviously I'd rather have a fish sitting down with a full stack, and- admittedly- I do find myself mumbling "Fucking useless short stack" when I'm playing with a full stack, but a fish is still a fish. It's better to have him at the table with $40 than for him to be elsewhere. I don't like players that rathole though. It's like playing a game of football, the other team scores first and then they declare "OK. That's the end of the game!"

I decided that I would keep my screen name to myself for the first few weeks while playing on Stars. Later on I decided that I would wait until I made SNE and updated my blog in the new year before I gave out my screen name (not that it's a big deal anyway.) I also started posting as ROM Amnesty (which is an anagram of Smart Money) on the Two Plus Two poker forums.

Going forward I will be playing less hours per day so I intend to play full-stacked 200NL for now. I may step up in stakes at some point, but I've been saying that forever. It's just too easy and comfortable to mindlessly play 10,000+ hands a day where I am. I may also experiment with some short-stacking on NL400 just to see how profitable that can be. (The bonuses alone will be worth around $80 an hour as a SNE.) I also hope to play in Monte Carlo this year, and possibly the WSOP Main Event, but we shall see.

Anyway, all the best to everyone at the tables, and Happy New Year if it's not too late for that!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sorry for the lack of updates, but I've not been playing much during the past few weeks.

My Dad passed away at the end of last month while I was in Vegas. I flew back to England the next day and spent two weeks there with my mum, brother, and sister.

He had been ill for a couple of years, first with a heart attack, and then once he recovered from that, he was diagnosed with cancer. Obviously it's a sad time, however we are in good spirits. We are happy that he had led a full life, and that he passed away peacefully.

I'm sad when I have to talk about it, but I'm happy that he doesn't have to continue living in pain, and that he passed away strong, brave, and with dignity.

For a number of reasons I have decided to no longer update this blog. Thanks to everyone that read it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

"It's so Funny, How we don't Talk Anymore."

They may be the words of pop legend and tennis-playing Christian Cliff Richard, but they seem so perfect to sum up the situation between you and I. You don't write, you don't call....

Anyway, I forgive you. Let's kiss and catch up:

March Results

I didn't play too much in March due to being in England, modelling part-time, doing a lot of work for charity mate, and shagging loads of birds. I did run very well though.

April to Date

So far I am down $1 this month (including rake-back) and I have been playing very, very poorly. Last night's 10bi loss was my worst day ever:

Lake Tahoe

The weekend before last, I went snowboarding in Lake Tahoe for 3 days. I spent a total of zero hours on the slopes, instead choosing to spend my time playing poker all night ($2/3 NL), getting shit-faced, and sleeping during the day.

I was pretty much playing a 90/10 style (90%VPIP) and was limping blind in many hands. I was killing the tables but actually made a loss by the end of it! My main goal though was just to have fun and play some big pots. I got my wish, losing a $3,200 pot with AK v KK (don't ask how) and $1,800 with J7 v 88 on a 778J board!

Next time, I won't even bother taking my snowboard.

Vegas Again

I'm off to Vegas again on the 17th for 4 nights to see the Joe Calzaghe/ Bernhard Hopkins fight. I'm looking forward to the trip, and to playing more live poker but I have to be more disciplined over the lengths of my sessions. Every time I get there I play all night/morning and then I'm fucked for a full 24 hours. Hopefully I can concentrate a little more getting pissed and chatting up some girls this time.

Last of the Mohicans

I think I may be having a mid-life crisis (Is 37 mid-life?) as I decided to get a mohawk yesterday, and I'm contemplating getting a tattoo. (I can't decide on "SKINS," "I 'heart' Mum," "A.C.A.B.," or "Cut Here" with a pair of scissors and a dotted line around my throat.)

"You can do it!"

I'm continuing to concentrate on working out this month, in order to get in good shape for the Summer. I'm going to the gym four days a week, and boxing five days a week. We've got a pretty good boxing set-up at my house, but I'll be boxing mainly at the gym where I have a good coach working me on the mitts.

Seeing as how poker is such a sedentary "sport," it's very important to maintain an active lifestyle outside of muppets and bad beats. And not just for the physical side of it; it helps to keep you mentally sharp too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

North Caroline. Take Your Shirt Off!

This one's for North Carolina! C'mon and raise up
Take your shirt off, twist it 'round yo' hand
Spin it like a helicopter
North Carolina! C'mon and raise up
This one's for you, uh-huh, this one's for who?
Us, us, us

Having moved to the US from England in 2000, I now live in Greensboro, NC.

Anyone reading this blog since the beginning may remember that I bought a very nice (and expensive!) custom-made poker table last July. (Photos on July/August archive.) Anyway, it has had very little use so far other than teaching my 4-year old daughter, Narena, how to play!

So, I've spoken with Damn Ringer from the Cardrunners forum (VT Hokie Poker on Full Tilt) who lives in Charlotte, NC about arranging a live game and a regular meet-up for any poker players from around this area.

Ideally I'd like to get a few players together for a social time; playing poker and drinking, and hopefully it will also be an opportunity for us to improve our game through discussing poker, and to help us maintain an interest in playing.

If anyone reading this lives nearby and is interested, then please either e-mail me, leave a comment here, or PM me on 2+2 or Cardrunners.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ip Dip Dog Shit, You Are Not It!

Low Stakes or High Stakes? That is the question.

Before I left for England where I had such good fortune during my maid voyage at $5/10, I had planned to play a little $2/4 and to hopefully build a small bank so that I could take a shot a $5/10. However, due to excess alcohol my $5/10 experience came a little earlier than expected.

I'm not naive enough to believe anything other than I ran extremely well that night. Even so I do think that I could probably play nothing but $5/10 right now and be a marginal winner. That almost certainly wouldn't be the best thing to do at this point in time though as I'd find it hard to make the jump to those much larger downswings, and I'd prefer to enter those games with a little more experience and to move up gradually.

Since that glorious wank-all-over-my-laptop session, I have been concentrating mainly on $2/4. It's been going pretty well, although it has taken me a few sessions to evolve my game from it's $1/2 guise. I think initially I was being overly aggressive and giving too much credit to my opponents making plays, and not enough credit to them having legitimate hands! There is a better pedigree of player at these tables of course, but there are still plenty of these too:

I did have my biggest ever downswing (in terms of dollars, not buy-ins) over a 24-hour period 3 days ago, but I then I went on a monster run, winning over $6k in the next 6 hours of play @ $2/4 (spread over 2 days.) Here is that profit/loss valley:

Here's the $2/4 part of the upswing. I ran hot. :)

Here's my progress so far this month. I've only played around 20% of the number of hands that I'd normally have played at this stage of the month. I may have to drop down from $1/2 though as I'm showing a loss there!

Muppet of the Day #17: radish_rop

Thanks radish_rop. You just cost me a sh1t-load!

Raise the f**king flop, so we can get it in there! Terrible flop call!

I knew MP2 had JT, but what the f**k could I do? lol

(OK, it may not be the worst play in the world but it pissed me off! :p )

Full Tilt Poker, $2/$4 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 8 Players Hand History Converter

MP1: $1,276.95
MP2: $400
CO: $74
BTN: $441
SB: $475.30
BB: $331.80
Hero (UTG): $418.70
radish_rop: $191.80

Pre-Flop: Ac Ad dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero calls $4, radish_rop calls $4, MP1 folds, MP2 calls $4, CO folds, BTN calls $4, SB folds, BB checks

Flop: ($22) 9c Ah 8d (5 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets $18, radish_rop calls $18, MP2 calls $18, 2 folds

Turn: ($76) 7c (3 Players)
Hero bets $44, radish_rop raises to $100, MP2 raises to $156, Hero calls $112, UTG+1 raises to $169.80 and is All-In, MP2 calls $13.80, Hero calls $13.80

River: ($585.40) 5d (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
Hero bets $226.90 and is All-In, MP2 calls $208.20 and is All-In

Results: $1,001.80 Pot ($3 Rake)
MP2 showed Js Tc (a straight, Jack high) and WON $998.80 (+$598.80 NET)
Hero showed Ac Ad (three of a kind, Aces) and LOST (-$400 NET)
radish_rop mucked 8s 8h (three of a kind, Eights) and LOST (-$191.80 NET)


Sunday, March 02, 2008


If you're from England, you drink beer. Lots of beer.

But what if you play poker too? Well, as mentioned before, drunk is the new sober.

I arrived back in England on Thursday for a few days. Last night I went out with some old friends and got pretty drunk.

I got home about 2am and decided to play some poker. I don't have my 3 x 30" monitors here of course so I figured I'd venture onto the higher stakes tables and just play four of them on my laptop. So, I joined 2 x $5/$10 tables and 2 x $2/$4 tables. Now I've never played $5/$10 before, but I recently decided that I need to give it a try at least.

I built my $1k starting stack up to nearly $10k on one table. :)

The funny thing about playing pissed out of your head, is that it makes you completely fearless! lol. Which may or may not be a good thing!

Usually I play an 18/6 style. Today I played 24/15(!!)

I had already imported my Poker Tracker database onto my laptop from my desktop before returning to England. However, because I was so drunk I actually forgot to open up PAHUD until just before the end of my session so I played nearly the whole time without stats on any of the players. Anyway, it didn't seem to matter much because by the time I'd finished I'd made an $11k profit!

I'm sure I'll play those stakes drunk again soon, and probably give all the profits back(!) but for now I'll enjoy the moment!

Now..... where's my fucking beer!?

Looking back on last night's shenanigan's, it could easily have gone so wrong! As I usually just play $1/$2, I only keep between $5k and $10k in my account, and when I left for England I withdrew all but $6k of it.

The night before last I had played 2 x $1/$2 Heads Up tables for 20 minutes before going out. I never play Heads Up, but I figured all the full ring BvB $1/$2 practice has to count for something. Anyway, I ran like a one-legged man wearing a high heeled shoe and lost $700!

So, back to last night. I'm sitting at the $5/$10 and $2/$4 tables with a bank of only $5,300. After just half an hour my AA is cracked by QQ which takes my loss for the evening to over $1,700 and suddenly my bank is now just $3,600! Fortunately I managed to avoid dropping any lower and eventually started building my bank back up.

In the cold light of day, it was pretty foolish to play those tables with so little in my account. I could quite easily have lost the full $5,300 and things would have been so different! Just call me Bluescouse. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Show Me the Way to Go Home...

Saturday was a big night out. We had close to 30 people over at the house first for a couple of hours before all heading into town.

I got completely shit-faced and only remember a few minutes from the first bar we went into. I have no recollection of the time spent in the club.

My mate Jon called me today to let me know that even though I don't remember it, I did have a good time! He also told me that as we were leaving, some very pretty (and very drunk) girl was looking at me so he tried to get her lined up for me (fuck knows why because even at 3pm the next afternoon I was still so fucked up I couldn't even have a wank.)

He said he was doing a great job and it looked as if she was going to come back. All this time I had said nothing and was just leaning against Jon to stop myself from falling over. Anyway, eventually she said that she'd better not as she had a boyfriend. Apparently I just laughed and said "Well, fuck off then you slag!"

Jon had to go to the loo because he was laughing so much and started to piss himself! I'm sure I was just having a laugh because I'd never intentionally talk like that to a girl. Honest. Well, usually not.

Anyway, we got a cab back to mine and I opened up my 16 tables of $1/$2 about 3am. I also don't remember any of this but I carried on drinking and playing until 1:30pm (Over 10 hours!!) The funny thing is, by the time I'd finished I'd made over $3,000!!- taking my profits for the last 3 days to almost $7k including rake back.