Friday, November 11, 2005


It’s official, I’ve been sacked resigned from my post and will be leaving the company in exactly 1 week. Boy, it comes around quickly. Life is slapping me in the face with a wet kipper and the reality of my decision is kicking in.


Are they bricks of excrement I see below me?

Well, I’m not changing my mind now. I’ve made the choice, I should at least have the testicular fortitude to stick with it and see it through. I could go bust, but I won’t regret my decision, whatever happens. That’s a certainty.

What I can do, however, is ensure that I maximise my chances of success…

Get Into Shape

Some would say that trying to get my body into shape would be like taking a chisel to Michelangelo’s ‘David’. Thanks Mum! But let’s be brutally honest here. I’m 100% OUT of shape. No doubt about it, my body is no longer a temple. It’s more like a grubby shed. As those who have met me will concur, I am not a Greek Adonis, more Mr Burns. So it’s time for a change!

I really do subscribe to the theory of ‘healthy body, healthy mind’. When I play badly, I always end up confessing that it was due to fatigue. You need to be alert in this game, on the ball at every moment. One single mistake can cost you a massive pot or send you crashing out of a tournament. I can’t afford to blink at any stage.

I’m not one for pumping iron. I can’t think of anything more tedious. What I can do though is increase my level of general fitness. So, brisk jogs round the block, sit-ups, press ups, etc should do the trick. I don’t even need to go down the gym. Mr healthy lifestyle stands right here at home, waving furiously and pleading to be invited in.

Then there’s the tucker. I’m no Fatty Arbuckle, so I don’t think overeating is a problem. Anyhow, it’s all about what you eat. I hear pasta, fruit, cereal, potato, among other things provide a good start. I’ve often had a tendency to skip Breckie, but I guess it’s time I changed that trend. Do I really want to start playing on an empty stomach?

Bankroll & Game Selection

I’ve heard and read tonnes of advice on this, but, in essence, I really think it comes down to what type of player you are. If you’re a grinder who plays few hands, but makes a nice steady profit, then surely a massive bankroll is unnecessary. Of course, on the flipside, if you’re an aggressive player who chooses to raise frequently and bully a table into submission, then perhaps the bigger bankroll is required.

I would consider myself a tight aggressive player. If I play a hand, then I try to play it aggressively. I apply caution if I think I may be beat, but push if I believe I’m ahead. No complex moves, no flair, just aggressive ABC poker.

This approach doesn’t seem to deal out too steep a swing. On the occasion when my bankroll has been severely dented, I would be a fool to say that it wasn’t down to the dreaded tilt. Calling preflop raises with suited rags, not letting go of top pair when I know I’m beat, and so on. Nothing incredibly stupid, but the kind of tilt that sees your stack gradually drip down to the felt. From playing more than 1 table at a time, I’d say that in a single session, my swing is never much more than $500 either way.

I’ve been playing the same $1/2 and $2/4 games for a while now, and have never really needed to dip back into my current account. I have slowly, but surely added to my bankroll without truly threatening my initial stake. So, considering this, I believe that I don’t need too much behind me, unless of course I decide to up the anti and move onto a higher level.

Taking into account that I will be playing more frequently, I will start with an online bankroll of $8000. Playing the levels I do, I feel this gives me enough breathing space to play freely in the comfort that I have plenty of refills behind me should need them. If I manage to do my bankroll, I can always dip back into my savings or borrow from my live bankroll. To be frank though, if I begin to struggle from an 8k bankroll, then maybe I shouldn’t be playing fulltime.

I’ve decided to play with a live bankroll of £4000. Due to petrol cost and the huge luck factor involved in the smaller comps, I don’t tend to play live too much anymore. Having said that however, I do see it as imperative to get myself out and about now and then. Playing online all day could really scramble my brain, so any human interaction within the game will probably be a godsend.

My favourite comp is the £300 double chance monthly freezout at Walsall. Obviously with only a £4000 bankroll, I can’t be stumping up the fee every month unless I start cashing on a regular basis. Therefore, I may have to rely on the satellites and then exit gracefully if I fail to qualify. Although, as it is such a good comp offering a high level of experience, I intend to play this one as much as possible.

My other reason for perhaps playing the £300er via the satellites, is to allow me more flexibility for festivals. They’re becoming more and more frequent every year, which, in turn, means that your bankroll needs to increase in size too. I’m a big fan of the festivals. I want to make more main events rather than just ambush the smaller comps. This is where the real experience is and these are the tables I need to sit at in order to fully improve my game.

I’ve bubbled so many times in these qualifiers. Always seem to be the bridesmaid. However, now I have more time to select satellites more carefully, I should be participating more in the bigger comps. I may not win the bug bucks straight away, but it’s what I need to play to advance my game.

Seeing that I can’t keep paying up 100s, I see no reason why I can’t play some of the smaller freezouts. The £30 freezout in Notts is a fantastic event. It’s a serious game in a friendly non-hostile atmosphere. Granted, you get the odd maniac still playing it as a rebuy, but this can only be beneficial.

Rob’s done a really good job with this one. The blinds do get a bit hot to handle with around 11 to 15 players remaining, but, apart from that, the structure works pretty well. With 3000 starting chips, give or take the odd cold-deck, there’s plenty of play. It’s also nice to see a new payout structure in action. When I debuted the other week, I was amazed to see the comp actually played to a finish. A sight for sore eyes.

So, by just focusing on these freezouts and the odd chip throwing contest, I reckon £4000 will keep me going for a while. You never know, I might even win one and add to my bankroll. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. If I do hit a run of bad cards, then I’ll just be more selective in which games I play and how often I play them.

With regards to live cash games, I shall use my £4000 bankroll. I don’t play them too often because I am big fan of the smaller dealer’s choice tables, which now seems to be a dying game. Lots of money thrown into the middle, lots of gambling, and lots of mistakes being made. Perfect if I can find a table.

I intend to focus only on online cash games and live freezouts. Online multis can be costly and unrewarding for large lengths of time. If I was to give the multis a proper go, then I would pull out a larger bankroll to allow for the potential dry spells. However, as I am already profiting from the ring games, I shall stick to them for the time being and perhaps play more multis in the future when I have reassessed my bankroll


I consider lack of discipline to be the reason why so many fail when taking this venture. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t fallen victim to it myself. I’ll never forget my prepoker days at the Gala, standing before a spinning roulette wheel, pondering whether or not I ought to stick my last 100 squid on red. I recall considering begging to management for my money back to be a viable option. I’m sure at one point they were thinking about unveiling a golden statue of me in the lobby to commemorate my contributions to the casino. The manager suggested that his Ferrari up front was enough to emphasise the point.

Well, I suppose a fool and his money are easily parted. Thing is, I can’t afford to play the fool any more. The steady income has gone and I still need to pay the rent. Therefore, I CANNOT play:

-- when sozzled
-- when tired
-- when angry
-- above my bankroll
-- too much

The last one is of particular importance to me. If I don’t have my head screwed on, I do tend to lose track of time and then suddenly realise I’ve been playing for a couple hours more than I intended. What I’m going to do is set an alarm, for 90 minutes say, and when it blares away, just bring to a halt all the games I’m involved in, be I winning or losing. That way, I should prevent myself from chasing losses or letting big stacks drip away. This process will also remind me to take a break ,therefore keeping me fresh and alert enough to play another session later on.

What I must avoid is robotsyndrome. I was becoming a robot at work, so I certainly don’t want to continue that trend at home. Like Junior suggested, that means doing other stuff as well as poker. Yes, I know, it’s shocking isn’t it? I may have to venture outdoors! Eeeeeeeeek!!!!

Well, there you have it, those are the three topics that have been on my mind over the last week. I’m sure I will expand on these subjects futher, but for now, I think I’ve made a steady start in terms of preparation. I’ve got several days yet, but still, full-time poker is closer than I think. I’m nervous, but excited at the same time. In one week I’m giving poker a crack. I just pray that I get off to a good start.

I hope these words have interested you or perhaps even offered some ideas to those considering taking my route. I don’t see why we can’t use this forum to bounce ideas off each other and enhance our chances of success.

Any comments or snippets of advice are gratefully received. And thanks again for all you good luck wishes. I may need them….


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