Monday, March 13, 2006


Sometimes life grabs you by the balls and throws you into the wide-open world. That’s how I’ve felt recently. For the last couple of weeks, it’s been non-stop. First Vienna and then straight onto Monaco. In fact, in the past fortnight, I’ve been to 7 countries; England, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, France, Monaco (is that a country?), and Germany. Although the majority of them have been due to connecting flights, it’s pretty incredible when you consider that I’ve just doubled my lifetime visits abroad. In fact, I find it breathtaking and it’s left me feeling kind of gob-smacked. When I left University, not once did I think I might be living from a suitcase, spending most of my days in hotels, airports, and casinos.

I don’t know how tikay does it sometimes. Whilst in Vienna, he went on a three or four day cash game binge. One night, me and the crew, Julian, Jen, Matt, and RED, returned home from a heavy day at the Concorde Casino. This was at 4 am. The ol’ fella didn’t return home til 12 noon the next day! And what’s even more incredible, is that at 2pm he was up on his feet ready to hop back over to the casino for some Poker 425 interviews. He must have Red Bull running through his veins!

Anyhow, back to the thread…

Due to my new role with blonde and the jet-setting lifestyle I am happily adopting, my online career has stalled. Don’t get me wrong, online play still remains my main source of income, but when you are offered opportunities to travel the world and meet a host of big names, you can’t refuse. It’s this to which I am truly grateful, and I must offer my greatest thanks to tikay and Dave for taking me on. I hope I have proved that I was worth the punt.

Whilst in Monte Carlo, Micky Wernick offered to back half of me in the €1,000 comp. €1,000 is out of my price range, but €500 isn’t, so I suddenly became a real eager beaver. With Jen and Flushy kindly offering to take the reigns for the final table updating, I thought ‘why not?’ and decided that I deserved a crack at the tables.

Bizarrely, after playing my biggest ever comp in the Walsall £500er last month, this was to be yet another milestone for me. €1,000 must equate to around 750 squid, so it is easily my most expensive tourney so far. The strangest thing was that, in comparison to the 10k main event, it felt like a £30 freezout at Walsall. Everyone, including myself, were relaxed as hell, there was plenty of banter, and I didn’t once think twice about playing differently due to the cost.

My table was filled to the brim with young guns. It was pretty tough. Two to my left – eek – was Stuart Fox, opposite was the raising machine Rory Matthews, and inbetween were a couple of aggressive Scandieboys. I knew that if I were going to survive this band of merry men, then I’d have to mix it up early doors.

That’s exactly what I did. I raised with some goo to let them know I was there, whilst also making the occasional move when I felt the pot was available for the taking. I’m not sure why, but I seemed to have the beating of Matthews on almost every pot I played. He definitely had me down as an ABC player, so I used that to my advantage. If there were a pair on the flop, I’d represent it by flatcalling with rags and then half pot betting the turn. Seemed to work, and I was able to employ this strategy on him a number of times.

One mistake that I think some people make is calling my raises with the intent of outplaying me as though I am ABC only. I get this constantly. Maybe it’s because I look young and am reserved at the table, not sure. It happened in one crucial hand where I raised it up preflop with bullets and was called by Rory from the big blind. The flop came Queen high and we both checked. Turn was a blank. He bet and I moved all-in for a big overbet. He called and showed Q-5. He was clearly calling to outplay me, why else would he play such a weak holding? Anyhow, he spiked the 5 and doubled up. I was down to the felt and in automatic survival mode.

I can’t complain too much about that beat though, as a level or two earlier I’d cracked K-K with A-K. It was 3k more for me in an 1800 pot. There’d been two limpers and I thought my opponent would make the same bet with A-Q, J-J, T-T, A-Q, so decided it was worth a gamble.

After having the aces cracked, I lost a 50-50 against a short stack (Q-6 v 3-3 – ahem) and found myself down to 1400 with the blinds at 200/400. I was under the gun with T-3 off and decided I had no choice. Poker is all about timing (a.k.a luck) and this time my timing was way off. I ended up all-in against pocket rockets and big slick and I recall saying to Stu, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if this T-3 won.’ And yeah, it was kinda amusing. Q-2-4-A-5 board was a real rib tickler, especially with the bullets making trips on the turn. Incidentally, I was flushing with my 3, so I could hardly lose really. Well, sort of…

Back up to 4 or so k, I played it tight and waited for a hand. No big cards came and I eventually found myself in the small blind with K-9. The flop came 9d-2d-8c and I decided to check raise. An early limper bet and I moved all-in, fully expecting to be dominating pocket sevens or sixes. Unfortunately, he had the monster drawing hand 8-6 of diamonds and the inevitable Tc on the river arrived.

Except for the aces, I have no complaints. I’d reached the last 5 tables out of 135 and enjoyed a much needed break from updating. I may not have cashed, but I was pleased with the way I played. Most importantly, and the real reason for this post, I found a renewed vigour and interest for live poker.

Playing online can sometimes be fun and offer the odd adrenalin rush, but nothing beats live play. After watching Jen become chip leader on the first day of the Main Event in Monte Carlo, I realised that I wanted to play these events more than ever. Previously, I’d stayed away from satellites and £20 rebuys because they seemed to just cut into my online ring game profits, which I was finding pretty demoralising. Tourneys can take a long while to reach a profitable status, and meanwhile, it’s hard work seeing your online cash grind dribble away whilst you wait for that win.

However, I have a different view now. I’m not too fussed if I have a losing month. I was obsessed with it before, and being just a penny down would have been considered a massive failure. Well, I think I have the potential to become a good live player, and I’m going to push that. I’ll still earn a crust online, but I won’t worry so much about spending my winnings on satellites and small festival events.

I failed to post a monthly review for February, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been away so much. However, I will deliver one for March and February, and I think it will be much more focussed on live events. I’m going to pop down to Walsall and the Broadway a bit more often to see if I can crack some of the small tourneys and hopefully pick up some sort of win. No bubbles, near misses, deals, no nothing, just an outright win.

Next month’s report could show a big loss or a big win. Who knows, but I need a change and my updating experiences have motivated me into taking that change and hitting the live felt more often. Give us a wave when you see me at the tables.


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