Monday, February 27, 2006


I may have been dealt a blow in the £300er, but I still had the £500 doublechance freezout to look forward to. I was pleased with my performance from the previous day, and I was confident that a big win was near, I just hoped that it would be sooner rather than later.

Glancing around my table, the standard appeared mixed. Sitting directly to my right was Carlo Citrone, whilst Simon ‘Aces’ Trumper, a man I’d watched many a time on Late Night Poker, was seated across the other side. A couple of rocks, the odd lucy goosey player, and a few unfamiliar faces. Nothing too scary.

I’d decided before the comp kicked off that, even though it was my biggest tournament in 4 years, I would play my normal game… so I did.

The only raising hand I received in the first three levels were the bullets, which were seemingly transparent as everyone ran for cover before my chips had even hit the felt. My other raises, however, seem to attract plenty of attention. Unfortunately, these were the hands that can often be described as ‘garbage hands’. I was determined not to sit in silence though, I wanted to mix it up and make my presence known. So, raising the odd raggy hand was a necessity to achieve this, I just couldn’t see my monsters getting paid off otherwise.

Interestingly, Simon seemed to call every one of my preflop raises. He was either calling to outplay me, or just playing a loose game, but it always seemed to be me he played against, so I had to assume the former. On one occasion I got to see what he was calling me with, Q-4! Cheeky monkey.

Although I was here to play, I also wasn’t willing to do anything too stupid. With Carlo next-door, playing the waiting game was easy. Just do as he does.

With no hands, a patient game in place, and a few raised hands going astray, I had 8.6k at the break, 400 below the starting stack (plus the rebuy). No catastrophe but nothing to get excited about either. The cards just weren’t running for me as my ‘hands won’ tally of 3 proved.

After the interval, the action picked up. Simon Aces departed leaving me free to start attacking the blinds. Unfortunately, I misplayed a hand. With the blinds at 100/200, I flatcalled the button with cards so raggy that I can’t even recall what they were. Stephen Jelink and Mrs Xanthos called in the blinds. The flop brought an ace, they both checked and I bet 600. Mrs X called. Both checked the raggy turn, and then she checked the blank on the river. I mulled it over for a while before opting for a 1500 steal. I put her on a missed draw or second pair. Obviously, she’d release the draw and, because I had her down as a relatively tight player, assumed she’d let go of second pair. I’d represented the ace to the max, so didn’t see why not. However, I didn’t quite realise how much of a rock she actually was. She dwelt for a while then called with A-7. My mistake really. My belief was that most aces would raise preflop, and all aces would bet the top pair on the flop, well, any of the streets really. Anyhow, a bluff gone astray and I’d thrown away 2.3k away rather unnecessarily. Boo boo by me.

After one more round, I was down to 6.5k and looking down at 4-3 of spades. I was by no means desperate. The blinds were still 100/200 and I had plenty of time, if not much room to manoeuvre. However, I was here to win the comp, not creep into Day 2, and that meant accumulating chips. So, I stuck in a raise of 600 thinking that the rocky blinds would probably fold. They did, but, unfortunately, new arrival David ‘riverdave’ Penley called from the button.

Now, I don’t know Dave particularly well, but I understand that he’s a dangerous player. For some reason, my gut told me that he was calling to outplay me, so my plan was to outplay him.

The flop came T-5-2 rainbow. My belief was that Dave had me down as a bit of rock who made the occasional smartarse move. I was also pretty sure that he was going to bet this flop if I checked, whatever his cards were. And I was right! I checked, and he bet 700 of his 5.4k stack. Right, time to represent the overpair. I raised to 1600. I was sure he had nowt and knew he’d pass to any kind of a raise that advertised an overpair. However, what you think you know is sometimes different to what you know. To my chagrin, Dave raised another 1400, an amount which I couldn’t possibly fold to.

As predicted, the turn came a blank and I was forced to check. Dave moved all-in for his last 2k. I knew he wasn’t bluffing after his rereraise on the flop, so it was a matter of pot odds now. With 8 outs, the odds of hitting were around 6-1. However, the pot odds were only offering just less than 5-1 with a call of 2k into a 9.5k pot. I did think about chucking the chips in, but I wasn’t too keen on putting my tourney on the line with a four high, especially when the blinds were small enough for a comeback.

Anyhow, I mucked and sunk into my chair, ready to move into super tight mode. Dave showed T-5 for top two pair. Eek.

I spoke to Dave afterwards and he said that he initially put me on A-Q, and J-J when I reraised, which is how I’d planned it. Unfortunately, his garbage had hit the flop and seriously dented my moderate chip stack.

A round or two later I pushed from the small blind with a king high, only to find the big blind sitting on pocket sixes. Ah well, at least I didn’t go out with a whimper. Go down fighting, that’s my motto.

I feel I must apologise for what is probably a rather dry and humourless entry into my blog. I feel slightly deflated after what has been a disappointing week. I built myself up for a big win, so, naturally, I’ve reached somewhat of an anti-climax.

Also, I’ve been left contemplating my game. Am I being too impatient? Am I playing the flops incorrectly? Am I bluffing too much? Etc etc etc. The mind boggles, probably too much. Perhaps I’m beating myself up too often, but I’m frustrated.

I’m desperate for a win, nothing big, just something that let’s people know that I’m here. I remember a time when someone referred to me as ‘the hottest new thing in poker’. Boy, those days seem a long time ago now, but there was a point where I couldn’t stop winning. It’s about time that form returned, I truly feel as though it’s deserved, if only to reward all the hard work I put into this game. It’s okay grinding away online, but it really doesn’t garner the financial rewards and morale boost that a big live victory can bring.

I’m at a stage where I’m bewildered by my game. I’m trying to win every comp I play in. Recently, I’ve made 3 top 3 finishes and 3 early exits. Unfortunately, the 3 early exits have been in £300 + events, whilst the wins were small freezouts at the Gala. However, I made those finals with chips, and I sincerely hope that I’ve just been running well in the wrong comps.

I don’t mind exiting early, I’m not scared of that anymore. What I am wary of though is departing early doors without knowing if I’ve played well or not. That scares the life out of me. Am I throwing money away or just not getting the run of the cards? I think it’s the former, but I’m not sure. Perhaps time will tell…

Saturday, February 25, 2006


After a strong satellite performance the day before, I went into the £300 event with high spirits and a vast amount of hope. I don’t think I’d ever been so determined to win a comp than I was this night. I was desperate for a big payday, not only for the financial benefits, but also to remind people that I could still play as, somehow, I felt as if I was losing respect as a poker player. From my experience, if people fear you at the table, then you’re half way there already.

Filled with a newfound confidence, I battled through the 190 players to find my seat at table 18, located outside the cardroom. I’d never seen a table plonked there before and, at one point, I think I could have reached out and stuck a bet on the roulette wheel.

Whilst seated, Paul Jackson approached the table and informed the guy to my right that he was in the wrong seat. After a bemusing conversation, we found out that they were both called Paul Jackson. The sheet, however, had only accounted for one of them, so Actionjack was left stranded with nowhere to sit. I believe this is what caused the later than intended start. I’m just glad the lesser known of the Paul Jacksons arrived first, as having Actionjack and Joe Grech immediately to my left could have proved immensely problematic. Amusingly, the young Asian lad opposite me shouted, ‘Well, thank God my name’s -- something unpronounceable -- ’

Speaking of Joe Grech, I think, with the exception of Greek Jack to my right, he was the only threat at the table. Paul Jackson #2 was checking nuts on the river, one fellow never knew when it was his turn, one guy bluffed excessively, and another was the biggest rock on the planet. Pretty good set-up for me, if only Joe wasn’t present. However, I knew his game better than he knew mine, so I fully intended to use that to my advantage, even if it meant placing my chips at risk.

Personally, I like to make some sort of preflop raise within the first round, whatever I hold. I don’t know if it’s my age or something, but my opponents always consider me to be a rock and getting my monsters paid can be a mission if I don’t let the table know I’m here to play. Interestingly, Joe played like a nutter within the first round. He also showed his cards on almost every occasion. It was clear to me that, as I guess I was, he was attempting to build an image for himself. It’s a very clever ploy in my opinion as the first opinions people make of your play are often the ones that stick.

I didn’t fear him, but Joe’s position two seats to my right certainly was a slight concern. I knew that he’d call my raises with the intent of outplaying me post flop, mainly because he considers me to be a predictable rock. The first time I crossed swords with Joe was when I raised preflop with 8-4 off. He called and the flop came Q-Q-7. I checked knowing that he’d almost certainly bet out. He did, and I flat called, fully intending to represent the queen. However, I paired up my eight on the turn, and so I thought I’d check and hope he’d try to bluff me out. However, the hand was checked down and my pair of eights won. I was happy to show my hand too as it made people aware of the crap I was willing to play. Also, it showed Joe that I wasn’t willing to be pushed around. A cheap way of making a statement in my opinion.

After 45 minutes, I managed to pretty much double my stack. With blinds at 50/100, Greek Jack raised to 400 preflop. My head was above water chip wise, so I decided to call with T-9 off and try to use my position in the big blind to outplay what I considered to be a relatively tight player who would be fearful of any chip movement deriving from my stack.

The flop came out a tricky K-7-8 rainbow giving me an open ended straight draw. Jack bet out 600, and I raised to 1400. A small raise, but I knew that I could easily push him off any ace and most pocket pairs. However, Jack smooth called and bet out 1k on the 9 turn. At this stage, I knew he must be relatively strong, but I couldn’t fold for such a small amount, especially after pairing up. Just too many outs. I actually put him on a hand like KQ. His bet sang ‘feeler’ to me and I was pretty sure he didn’t want a reraise, even though he may well have pushed.

The river came a jack, and to my surprise, Jack bet out 1k again. Another strange amount, but I was 99% sure that he didn’t hold the Q-T, so I minimum reraised him. He called and showed AK. On seeing my hand, he gave that veteran chuckle and shake of the head that I see so often. Jack was down to 2k and I’d moved up to around 12 or 13k. Marvellous I thought, just what the doctor had ordered. I was brimming with confidence and truly thought, although arrogantly so, that I was heading for the final table. When I get chips, people don’t seem to want to play against me, which is a nice weapon to have. It’s just getting those chips that can be a battle.

With morale high, I was severely grounded by the following hand. Under the gun raised, the rock called, I called with 8-7, and Joe called from the small blind for value. The rock 1k bet the flop of 8-8-3 and I called, pretty sure that he held tens or jacks. Joe and the original raiser passed, leaving the dealer free to deal the 4 turn. To my surprise, the rock overbet the pot and moved all-in for about 5k. Although I was in a state of momentary quandary, I quickly called believing that he was too tight to play A-8 preflop and not crazy enough to bet out a full house. To my elation, he turned over pocket queens. To my non-elation, the dealer turned over a queen. My shoulders slumped and I was down to 5.5k with a gigantic thud. And what did Joe say? Yep, you guessed it… ‘I folded a queen’. Great. I was gutted as a 20k stack would have held a player like me in unbelievably good stead, especially with my accommodating table. But, it wasn’t to be, and I was forced to accept my bad beat.

It was a tough beat to take, but I’m happy that I managed to brush it off, simply saying ‘Ah well, I’m still in’ when the table made their efforts to console me. But it was true, I was still on 5.5k, it wasn’t a tragedy just yet. And this thought proved justified when I doubled up 3k with A-A v Joe’s A-K, and then up to 11k when I flat-called with A-Q, fully expecting Joe to make a move with his diminishing stack. He did, but he had a better hand than I expected in pocket nines. He’d bluffed and shown K-3 a couple of hands earlier. I though he had one more in him. Anyhow, I spiked an ace, Joe was out, and I was back in business.

This is where I went carddead. I was moved to a much more threatening table, sandwiched between the ever-consistent Micky Wernick, and the 50k stack of Des ‘Bling Bling’ Jonas. There were a couple of calling stations to my left, not to mention some decent opposition in Benwoo and local chap Don. After a few blind steals went adrift, I dribbled down to 6.5k.

Then, I ran into Lord Wernick. I flatcalled K-7 on the button, with the intention of betting out if the blinds checked. The flop came 2-7-4. I bet 1k, but Micky reraised 1.5k. I thought about it for ages before releasing, reluctantly so. In hindsight, I think I made a mistake. Micky showed a 4, and later told me that he had 2 pair 7-4, but I’m unconvinced. My spider senses tell me that he fibbed and just outplayed me. I mean, he probably put me on overcards such as Q-J, so surely he’d trap two pair and let me catch up. A mistake on my part I think, but I can’t be sure.

Anyhow, after being dented by the ever-increasing blinds, I eventually started making the short-stack all-in manoeuvres, eventually becoming unstuck when my JT of spades ran into AQ of the same suit. I hit a jack on the turn, but, as usually happens in the cruel game of poker, was outflushed on the river. The blinds were 300 and 600, and I’d moved in for 4k. If I was going to double up, I wanted to move onto something substantial, but I can’t help but feel that I should have waited.

Well, I was a gonna, and trundled over to the bar with my tail firmly between my legs. I can’t tell you how deflated I was. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed to exit, possibly because I was so determined precomp to perform. However, at least I believe I played a pretty strong game, which is the most important thing in my eyes. I was focused, calm, and calculated, making very few clear errors. I’ve got plenty of hands to swish around inside my washing machine brain, but that can only be a good thing. There’s nothing worse than knowing that you made a stupid move, and then having nothing else to mull over. At least this way I learn something and move forward.

Ah well, there’s always the next comp, but I can’t hide my disappointment. I NEED a win, if only to convince myself that I can still play this blasted game. More importantly though, I’d like to congratulate tikay and Julian for their fine performances. What more can be said about Julian. Consistent as hell and seemingly impossible to eliminate. And tikay? Well, he’s a better player than he thinks. Hopefully 6th of 190 will help assure him that he can mix it with the best. Nice job guys.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I haven’t posted too frequently on this thread recently, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been updating on the EPTs, but also because I want to avoid filling the thread with irrelevant waffle. I feel today’s entry, however, might interest a few people, and I firmly believe that it is a problem that occurs for many an online player.

Last Thursday was the Birmingham Open £300 event at the Broadway Casino. I’d promised myself that I would win either this event, or the £300er at the Midlands Medley in Walsall. Although I experienced a victory in a £30 freezout at the Gala last month, my form in the bigger events is questionable. However, I was determined to start hitting those final tables again, and I saw no better place to do that than my own hometown.

On entry, I noticed a whole heap of familiar faces. In fact, the 100 plus runners seemed to be made up of quality known players from the circuit. Joe Grech, Paul Jackson, John Shipley, Micky Wernick, Dave Colclough, and co had all been lured by the bright lights of Brum. Actually, El Blondie was on my table, along with Ash Pervais, Craig Wildman, Frankie Knight, and Matt Tyler. It was a pretty tough table to be honest, and, at the most, there was just the 1 fish.

My thought process before we kicked off was thus: Don’t try and show off in front of Dave and think about every decision. Also, I wanted to add a bit of flair to my game. The table was lacking in fish and I needed to show some rags so I could be paid off somewhere down the line. Most of the table knew me, but hadn’t played with me too often, so would naturally assume I was a rock. Therefore, to have any chance of the aforementioned players paying off my monsters, I needed to show that I’d come here to play.

After a round or two, I just wasn’t finding any hands and my plans were going to pot. So, when I was one off the cut-off position, I decided to raise whatever my cards. Big mistake. I had K-5 off, a dangerous hand to start messing around with. I could easily get caught by a bigger king holding, and it’s not the sort of hand that’ll catch a nice flop. Something like 9-7 would have been much more appropriate.

Anyhow, I did raise, and both blinds called. The flop came 8-8-9 with two diamonds. Both checked. I bet 600. Another big mistake. With a flop like that, it’s way too dangerous to start betting out when both the blinds are involved. I could get called by a 9, 8, flush or straight draw, even overcards. Getting them both to fold is nigh on impossible.

The small blind called and the turn came a raggy diamond. Hmm, not good. He checked, I checked. The river then brought a J. He checked. I dwelled for ages, wondering how I was going to get out of this one with some pride in tact. Another mistake. Do I really care that much about pride? With that board, there are so many hands that could beat me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned over a nine, or even a straight. So, for that reasoning, I checked. He flipped over pocket sixes, and I was left blasting myself for not making the bluff.

I was about to muck my garbage, when I suddenly decided to flip it over. Pretty embarrassing, but I thought I’d swallow my pride and let the table know that I was willing to play any two cards. I got a few smirks and the odd, ‘K-5? What you raising with that rubbish for?’ but I can take it.

So, not the best of starts, and it wasn’t to get any better. From here on in, my concentration completely slipped and I started playing like an idiot. I didn’t think logically about any of my hands and the amount of mistakes I made is insurmountable. I wasn’t receiving any big cards, and I became impatient, unnecessarily so.

Online, I have a matter of seconds to make my decision due to the fact that I’m playing four tables simultaneously. For some reason, my brain was still in multitabling mode and I was treating my live decisions as online ones, hitting call, fold, or raise ASAP.

One hand I raised to 200 under the gun with 6d 5d. There were 4 or 5 callers. (Well, at least they’re willing to play with me) The flop came Ad 2c 4c. Everyone checked, to the button who bet 500. This guy was a weakfish player and I was pretty confident that he had the ace. For some reason, I decided to call. Why? Well, because I’m a baboon. This is the sort of call I’d happily make online. I have a backdoor flush and a straight draw. It’s pretty cheap, and I know that if I hit, I can get called by a top pair holding, even if I massively overbet the river. Also, there’s a good chance that he’ll back off and check the turn, therefore giving me another chance at hitting. It’s not the greatest move, but online, it can be surprisingly profitable. Live, however, it’s a donkey play, especially when your chips are already diminishing.

Anyhow, the turn came a dreaded 6s, making me a pair. Both of us checked. The river then brought the Qc. Now, I know he has the ace, I know he’s a weak player who could never fold top pair, I also know that, before the river, I was happy to pass if I didn’t hit one of my 11 outs. So, what did I do? Yep, a little demonic voice in my head chanted ‘Bet. Bet. Bet’. And I couldn’t stop myself chucking in a 1000, which clearly wasn’t enough to push anyone off anything, never mind a weak player off top pair. Inevitably, he called and showed Aspades Th. Great going snoops. I looked down in dismay at my 2.5k stack. I hadn’t received any bad luck, no bad beats, no nothing, but I was 3.5k down already from my 6k starting chips. What a waste. An hour clock with miniscule blinds, and here I was throwing it all away.

Online, this wouldn’t be a problem. I’d accept my mistake and refill back up to the max. No worries. Unfortunately, my brain was still in online gear when I sat down at the Broadway. I was in a ‘I’ll just refill’ mood, and it was threatening my existence in the comp. I kept telling myself to get a grip and start focusing, but I didn’t seem to listen. Immensely frustrating in hindsight.

Well, after doing some more chips and then doubling back up to 4k, I eventually sang my swan song the very next hand when I raised 350 preflop with Ad Qd. I found two callers and a flop of Js Qs 4s. I checked, the guy next door made an overbet of 1600. I mulled it over for about a split second, then moved all-in. The overbet smelt like a bare ace to me. He called in a shot and showed Aspades Ac. Awesome. I was a gonna.

Whilst some said that I couldn’t really get out of it, I was convinced that I’d made another boo boo. I’d only invested 350, and I had no spade, so it really wasn’t worth me moving all-in, especially when I know I’m going to get called. Why I didn’t think any of this through at the time, I don’t know. I made no attempts to read my player or the situation, instead opting just to make a random decision. Once again, my brain was looking at a monitor with four tables, believing it had to make a decision pronto and that, if I was wrong, I could just refill. Well, not this time. I trundled off to the bar with my tail firmly between my legs.

I was absolutely gutted. I’d payed £300 to play like a fool. I don’t mind getting bad beats, but when I knock myself out of competition through play as bad as that, it really gets me down, especially when I’m in need of a win.

But why did I play so badly?

The day before, I played 7 hours of non-stop online poker. I encountered the clawback and managed to drag myself from $700 to just $100 down. I’d played all that time without a break, and still lost money. Intensely infuriating, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. My mistake here is not recognising that the clawback scenario can count for live competition too. If you recall a post a while back about the ‘clawback’, you’ll remember me identifying the god awful session that inevitably follows. You manage to claw back a loss, and then do all your money the very next day. Well, I guess that’s what happened here. I endured a clawback, went to the Broadway the next day, and did my money by playing poorly. I suppose I should be thankful that I got it out of my system before I hit the online tables, which could have been a lot more expensive.

Also, my mindset was much too focused on online play. Not thinking about my decisions, bluffing unnecessarily, forgetting that I couldn’t refill, not paying attention to my diminishing stack size, not making efforts to read players, acting too quickly… the list just goes on and on.

Ultimately, I failed to adjust to live poker and it cost me £300. It’s something that I am now aware of, so next time I’ll make efforts to avoid a repeat performance. Not playing a seven hour session the day before, recognising the importance of a clawback, and making sure I staple a thinking cap to my head, would be a jolly good start…

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


After a dismal performance at the Broadway last week, to which I will elaborate further on my next post, today I received a confidence boost when I qualified for the Midlands Medley £500 event.

Incredibly, this will in fact be my biggest tournament to date in terms of entry fee. I'm not sure how that's happened, I guess it's because I'm updating on most of the big ens. Either way, it's nice to find myself 'upping the ante' and playing bigger tournaments, and for cheap too!

The most important thing about today was that I played well... finally. I was shocking to the point of depression at the Broadway, so a satisfactory performance today was paramount. And, to my relief, I managed to deliver. My concentration, which was previously lacking, has now made a welcome return, and I have embraced a rediscovery of patience, which has been missing for far too long.

Satellites can be exhausting. Because of the way I play, I always limp over the finishing line, never securing my place comfortably. Now while this makes for exciting play with the odd cardiac arrest being threatened, it also knackers the ol' brain cells and quickly fatigues me. Thankfully, my next comp isn't till tomorrow, so a good night's sleep should solve that problem.

On the flip side, the confidence boost you can garner from qualifying via a satellite can be invaluable. If I'd had just paid in, then I'd be playing straight off a cringe-worthy Broadway display. Now, however, I'm in good spirits and see no reason why I can't scoop 1st prize in both the £300 and the £500. I play so much better when I'm feeling good about my game, so I say the previous statement with the utmost of conviction and self-belief.

On the way home from Deauville, I recall telling Julian that I would win either the Broadway 300 or the Walsall 300. Well, I stuffed up the former, but I still reckon I'm going to be victorious tomorrow. Eye of the tiger, that's what I say. The day I enter a comp without thinking I can final, is the day I lay the game to rest.

I have to confess to giving a rare rubdown today though. Andy Louca moved his shortstack all-in with pocket tens v ace jack. Although he thought he'd won a double-up, the river brought a straight on the board. I jokingly commented that he'd won half the blinds, which is factual and, consdering the size of them, a worthy observation. However, I was taking the Michael a bit and I fully deserved the 'c-bomb' that came my way, although it was all good natured. On a sidenote, Andy sneaked a seat, so should be thankful that the river didn't bring an ace or a jack.

With the bubble looming, I was the shortest stack, only just though. The big stacks, although seemingly bored, didn't seem interested in finishing the whole thing off, so I decided to make a move. Luckily, two tight players, both of whom were shortstacked, were neighbours at the table. I waited till they were on the blinds and moved in with rags for about 6k. Blinds were 1 and 2, but they couldn't afford to call. Also, blinds were going up next hand to 2 and 4, and I needed enough to survive them otherwise the other two shorties would simply fold every hand until I was eaten up. I don't think I had much choice. Fortunately, I escaped the wrath of the two monster stacks and managed to brush off the players in the blinds. Phew. Next hand, the button moved in with pocket jacks only to find cowboys waiting for him in the big blind. Yeeeeehaaaaa, a tiring day of poker, but I was through, plus it was fun.

So, my poker's good, I'm thinking logically and have my wits about me. I'm focused, confident, and at ease with my game. Bring on the next two days, it's about time I hit a big win. I'm due.

Monday, February 13, 2006


To all my readers, hello to the both of you.

Before I say anything, my apologies. It's been over a week since my last entry and the last thing I wanted for this blog was to see it start stalling. I've just endured a heavy ten days, firstly in Cardiff, and then Deuaville for the French Open. It was a tiring, but exciting week and a half, so I feel obliged to write a brief encount of my experiences and post something up in here.

Bottom line... watch this space.

For now, here's something I wrote a while ago. It rang a bell recently when I was chatting with a good friend of mine about the fibbing that goes on in casinos. If you dig deep enough, you'll find that the cardroom is floating on a sea of lies. Whether it's your best bud or your worst enemy, you'll hear them lying through their teeth at some point or another. "Good fold there. I had you dominated," "I had an ace", "I almost called", etc, etc. You get the idea.

The Legend of the Poker Translator:

A few months ago at the Gala, I was sitting at the bar when a mysterious cloaked man approached me.

'Wanna be amazed?' he asked quietly. He held out his hand to reveal a small gadget resting in his palm. 'This is the Poker Translator,' he proclaimed, 'and it will translate any gibberish that comes out of your opponents' mouths.'

'Poppycock!' I exclaimed.

The man looked at me menacingly. 'I urge you to give it a go. You will not be dissatisfied.'

After initially brushing him aside as nothing more than a madman, I succumbed to the man's persuasive nature and decided to pop in one of the earpieces. He directed me towards a couple of old geezers emerged in conversation, and this is what I heard:

Old Geezer #1: 'How's your luck been recently?'

Old Geezer #2: 'My luck has been fine, it's my play that's been dismal. I'm an incredibly poor player who has been in denial for the last 40 years.'

Old Geezer #1: 'Me too. Admittedly, I get the odd bad beat, but no more than anyone else.'

Old Geezer #2: 'I had aces cracked last night.'

Old Geezer #1: 'Oh that is unlucky.'

Old Geezer #2: 'Not particularly. I slowplayed them and got caught with my pants down. I deserved everything I got.'

I'd heard enough. I removed the ear-piece and dipped into my wallet. However, to my surprise, the man had mysteriously vanished, leaving his poker translator behind.

At this point, I decided to set out on a field trip, visiting various poker casinos and trying to find out what my new found possession could do. Looking forward to what secrets I might unearth, I embarked on a voyage of poker discovery. These are some of my most frequent findings:

1. You were ahead anyway. = I had the best hand but I'm too ashamed to admit that I was outplayed and bluffed off the pot.

2. I had to call. = I didn't have to call at all and should have folded.

3.I know I'm behind but... = I haven't got a clue where I stand, but I don't like folding, so...

4. I was pot committed. = I can't find any other excuse for making that shoddy call.

5. Sorry. = I'm glad I won and I hope I take more of your lovely chips in the future.

6. I broke even for the day. = I'm down for the day.

7. I'm up for the day. = I broke even for the day.

8. I'm a few quid down for the day. = I've just lost my house, car, wife and the shirt off my back.

9. I'll pay you back when I can. = I'll put you in my will.

10. I had a read on him. = I guessed and got lucky. I couldn?t read a book.

11. Shall we do a saver for 11th? = Please have mercy. I'm in 11th position and have had 10 rebuys.

12. Good fold. = Thank God you folded.

13. Sorry, I didn't realise the blinds had gone up. = Darn, I thought no-one had noticed that the blinds had gone up.

14. Good luck all. = I hope you all suffer a horrific run of cards.

15. I'll let you have it this time. = I had no intention of calling and you'll probably be able to take the pot off me again next time.

16. Just one more hand. = I'll finish when the casino kicks me out.

17. New deck, please. = I am on a bad run and my last hope is that the cardroom manager brings over a magic deck that deals me the nuts every hand.

18. I'll be back as soon as I exit the comp, love. = If I go out early, I'm either heading straight to the cash game, or straight to the bar.

19. I'm quitting poker! = Same time tomorrow, boys?

20. Tikay: Im in my 40s

At this point the poker translator just went crazy, caught fire and exploded. Just one too many lies I guess.

Has anyone else come across this gadget? What giblets of information did you find?

By the way, the mysterious man looked a little like Julian Thew. Hmm. Would explain his quiet demeanour at the table and how he always manages to get our chips.

Friday, February 03, 2006


This morning I played the most frustrating session I’ve ever encountered. I endured 3 hours of cold cards, quite unable to hit a cow’s backside with a banjo. I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long without doubling up, especially whilst playing 4 tables simultaneously. On top of that, I was cleaned out 3 times. Twice I turned a straight, only to lose to a full house on the river.

The real question is, and I’ve learnt this the hard way, did I play well or not. The answer has to be ‘no’. I ended up losing around $350, but it should have been closer to a $100. I made what I refer to as a few crying calls when I knew I was behind. However, the important thing is that I recognised that these faux pas were creeping into my game and was able to swat them straight away. This, I conclude, has to be a big plus point.

$350 is a lot of money to lose in a few hours, but I’m not downhearted. I won over $500 yesterday, so I can’t moan. I try to think positively. Over the last 2 days, I’m $200 up. That’s $100 per day for around 5 hours play. At the start of those two days, I would have happily accepted that profit. If I win $100 on every day of the month, then I’m earning $3000, which isn’t a bad wage. True, it’s painful when all your efforts of the previous session are washed away, but that’s the game for you. It’s sometimes kind before it’s cruel.

Anyhow, I’m not writing today to drone on about my bad beats and painful losses. I thought I’d bring up something slightly more interesting. Yep, the muppet. You’ve all come across them, but how often do you find a muppet moaning at a muppet? Probably more frequently than you might think.

The following chat occurred in a ring game I played recently. It made me chuckle and I couldn’t help but comment. If you are adverse to a bit of swearing, please look away now.

koolmia420: seriously?
snoopy1239: what?
koolmia420: go yourself you dumbXXXX
koolmia420: are you seriously that dumb?
koolmia420: marchare you idiot
koolmia420: you are the dumbest person ever
snoopy1239: why r u saying that?
koolmia420: you lack any semblace of a human brain
koolmia420: he called 30 with j 6
koolmia420: fuc king dope sh it
snoopy1239: and u're telling him it was a bad move?
koolmia420: yes
snoopy1239: surely that makes u the dumb one
snoopy1239: would u rather he called u with good cards only?
marchare19: its called having balls , u dxxkhead
koolmia420: how raising with a good hand and getting called by a retard
snoopy1239: don't bite the hands that feeds u m8
marchare19: ive got u marked koolmia
koolmia420: ok fag
koolmia420: mark this
snoopy1239: u're on his hitlist
snoopy1239: this guy DOES have balls
marchare19: have a go you weak dog koolmia
koolmia420: marchare sucks
marchare19: but u swallow
koolmia420: that was clever
koolmia420: moron motherfu cker
koolmia420: fu ck you
koolmia420: bluffer
koolmia420: try me
koolmia420: hahahahaha
koolmia420: played you out
marchare19: lol
koolmia420: fuc king feel embarassed for the kid

It’s true, marchare was the biggest fish I’d seen all week. He was playing all sorts of garbage and refusing to release any sniff of a hand. He’d just doubled through and I was waiting patiently to make some kind of solid holding so I could take him for all he had. I had dollar signs for eyes.

Then, all this chat appeared. What happened next? Marchare left. Great!

Bah, what a croc! What a waste my ‘You have big grapefruits sir’ line was. I was so hoping he’d stick around. I could just sense he was about to scarper.

This koolmia isn’t a bad player either, but what the hell is he doing driving away the fish? Complete madness. I just can’t understand why people continue to do this, it drives me round the bend. What a burk.

Who’s more muppety? The muppet or the muppet muppetising the muppet for his muppetry? (Hmm – isn’t that a line from Star Wars?)

The funny thing is that when he left, someone said…

‘Thank God he’s gone. Complete muppet.’

Argh!!! Now’s there’s three of them. I’m surrounded! Get me out of here!!!

Sheesh, does that make me a muppet now?

It must be catching...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


For those of you still following my progress, here are the results of my second month in the game:

-- Live --

Comps = 9
Freezouts = 5
STTs = 2
HU = 2

Total Buy-In Cost = £417.50
Total Registration Fee Cost = £25
Total Prize Winnings = £523

Net Live Profit = £80.50

-- Online --

Multi Comps = 7
STTs = 3
Profit = -£187.36

Cash Game Sessions = 26
Hours Played = 2217 mins (~37 hrs)
Average Session Length = 85 mins (1hr 25mins)
Longest Session = 213 mins (3hrs 33mins)
Shortest Session = 27 mins
Most Profitable Session = $812.57
Most Costly Session = -$1220.97
Biggest Pot Won = $949.40
Biggest Pot Lost = $510.50

Cash Game Profit = $2088.93
= £1174.25
Hourly Income = £31.74/hr

Net Online Profit = £986.89


Total Profit = £1067.39

-- Running Total = £3913.39 --

It’s not an incredible amount, but I’m still happy to have earned a grand. It’s important not to get too greedy as that’s when you start to push your hands too hard. It maybe almost two grand less than last month’s accomplishments, but I must take into account my lack of a festival appearance and the considerable knock I took on the first day of the month. I dropped well over a grand right off the bat, and, if it hadn’t been for such a poor opening, the final figures would have looked very tasty indeed.

The important thing is that I realised my downfalls and corrected them in time. Many thanks must go to Blondeite Matt674 for pointing out my failures and suggesting that it was because of poor play as opposed to bad luck. I’d realised just in time, but sometimes having someone else clarify the negatives for you is a big plus.

The key here is that I’m still winning, and making a sum that is enough to live on, which was one of the initial challenges of my venture.

(i) Live Performance

I really haven’t played enough live events this month. I fully intend to attend the Gala more frequently for three reasons:

· It’s great fun.
· They have a broad selection of games and seem to be steering away from the chip throwing contests.
· I have a good record there. Excluding my most recent visit, my last 3 finishes have been 1st, 3rd, and 2nd.

Although it went to a chip count, I was overjoyed to have won the £30 freezout a week or two ago. It may be there smallest competition to date, but it’s still nice to beat 65 other opponents, whatever you’re playing for. Most importantly though, I played well. I made the final table twice at the Gala with the biggest chip count. That’s a major progression for me as I frequently crawl into the final ten, often finding myself forced to wait for premium hands only.

The Gala have a £50 double chance freezout on Thursdays. Assuming it’s on tomorrow, I plan to pop down and give it a shot. Good to see some proper poker being encouraged.

(ii) Online Performance

My net profit may be down from last month, but my online success has improved by a few hundred squid. Assuming that it’s not a result of luck, what are the reasons for this improvement?

· After 3 consecutive days of severe losses, I stepped back and took a long hard look at my game. I referred to a few books and enquired with a number of fellow players. Finally, I realised that I was putting too much blame on Lady Luck. The clear fact was that I was playing poorly. Too many preflop raises, bluffing when I knew opponent’s wouldn’t fold, chasing flushes, you know, the usual. Anyhow, the bottom line was that I was trying too hard to hit a profit, when really patience was the key.
· I’m now playing in the mornings rather than the evenings when I was more fatigued and up against slightly stronger competition.
· I’m leaving games when I can see the standard improving and my quality of play weakening.

Let’s just hope that I can carry these characteristics through to February and perhaps pick up a few more. I’ve always got to be looking to improve my game. Once I stop learning, then that’s when my experiment will begin to go downhill.

(iii) Changes

Eek. This is scary. Right, heading back now to see what I said last month, hands partly over my eyes.

"(1) Be more selective in my preflop raising
(2) Refrain from titling whatsoever
(3) Don’t play too long and quit when I’m tired
(4) Assure plenty of breaks are taken
(5) Not chase losses or unattainable targets."

With the exception of the opening day, I’m confident that I have achieved these changes. My online game is in pretty good nick at the moment, and I reckon it’s because I have made the necessary alterations highlighted above. What has been noticeable is the lack of a ‘clawback’ session, which is a big relief.

"I definitely want to get myself fit and healthy again. I’m down to 9.5 stone, which is pretty light for me considering I was 11.5 at one stage.. I recall preaching in an earlier post, ‘Healthy body means healthy mind.’ Well, I still stand by that cliché and I fully intend to put it into practice over the next 4 weeks. Before you know it, I’ll be an Olympic athlete!"

Er… No one’s perfect!

One second, I’ll just go weigh myself.

Hmm, apparently I weigh ‘BATT’.

Anyway, I feel pretty good and I’m eating okay. Plenty of water, the odd fruit now and then. Plus, I’m regularly serving up a bit of brekkie – ‘The most important meal of the day’ don’t you know!

I may have to confess that I’m still a short distance away from being an Olympic athlete. To tell the truth, I’m a good few furlongs away from being anything except a lazy unfit git.

Having said that though, I did go on a run the other night. Good Lord was that an experience. I started off comfortably, striding down the road like Seb Coe, then, suddenly, I realised that I was snoops, not an Olympian. After just about a 100 yards, I felt my legs start to ache and my throat pleading for air. 24 and out of breath so soon, the shame! I hope this is just me being unfit rather than old. (I never thought I’d be in a situation where I’m deciding on whether I’m unfit or getting old.)

Anyhow, whilst looking rather pathetic, I decided to battle on. In the distance I spotted what appeared to be a couple of young ladies. What did I do? And I’m ashamed to admit it. Yep, I picked up the pace, so as to avoid looking like a complete loser. I mean, I must have looked a right state; breathing heavily, dragging my feet, runny nose, sheesh – I’d scare them to death.

So, I pushed my chest out and ran a bit faster as if I was a pro training for a marathon. As I got closer I realised that they were fellas! I need my bloomin eyes testing. What a waste of a sudden burst of pace that was! I was bloomin knackered when I ran past. Bah!

As a result, I think I’d peaked way too soon and I was forced to walk for a few minutes while I regained my composure. I probably would have walked for longer but I reached the canal where they once found a dead body. I was a kid at the time, and, at nighttime, the place still spooks me out. So, I started running again. It was dark!!! All right?!

As I reached my house, I collapsed on the step and wondered why the hell people did this for fun. Are they mad?! I looked at my stopwatch in dismay. A quick jog around the block had taken me 25 minutes, when I recall my old times being around the 13 minute mark. That’s almost double. Boy, this getting fit stuff is going to be harder than I thought.

Right, I refuse to bore you anymore with my tales of athletic woe. In short, my targets for month 3 are as follows; Carry on winning, carry on running, and carry on enjoying. Simple, huh? Guess I’ll have to wait and see…