Thursday, March 30, 2006


Howdy all. My week hasn’t been anywhere near as exciting as Dave’s, but hopefully one day I’ll be playing for a six figure sum, just like he was at the weekend. A great achievement from the blonde one, big thumbs up buddy from the beagle.

Although nothing too scintillating to report, I did however make my long awaited (yeah right) debut at the Gutshot. I’d been invited to compete in a media event with the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow being a rather tasty Main Event seat at the Irish Poker Open. Sounds good I thought, but London’s hardly round the corner, plus I’m a lazy git! Then I heard the golden word ‘free’, and I leapt out of the window, jumped into the car, and headed straight towards the nearest train station. Wish I’d put my long johns on first though…

Unbelievably for a simpleton like me, I was able to find the place pretty easily (These tube stations you have down here certainly are handy) and, after spotting Paul ‘MrMoves’ Sandells, I stepped inside after almost exiting due to thinking I was in the wrong place. I mean, it hardly looks like your standard cardroom. I could have sworn it was just a café of the same name and that I’d somehow ended up in completely the wrong place. I was momentarily worried that I wasn’t even in London!

Nice food, good looking valets, Internet access, smoke-free, bright; not what I was expecting at all. In a way, I somehow pined for my dark dingy cardroom as this place felt so unnatural.

After soaking in the electric (?) atmosphere, I was soon joined by Sir Anthony Kendall and blonde’s renowned updater Miss Mason, both of whom seemed to be in confident spirits. Although we chatted away like the good friends we are, there was only 1 seat up for grabs, so we decided to take a small, but still worthwhile percentage with one another. Sheesh, it sure was lucky we did that deal (sigh).

Anyhow, after mingling with the various media powers present, the three of us trundled down into the dungeon and took our seats. Remarkably, although she may have fixed it for her own personal pleasure, Jen was seated to my right. Blimey, ‘looks like I won’t be raising much in this game,’ I thought… and I was right!

Incredibly though, I think Jen actually exited before tikay when her straight was outdone by a higher straight. I have no idea what catastrophe befell Sir Kendall, but I’m sure it was ‘an up the bum’ moment as he’s such a top player and only ever goes out to an outrageous outdraw (cough).

I’d decided to rock up ultra stylee early on and then move into grizzly bear mode later on, and it seemed to work. The standard wasn’t great, and I soon earned my well-deserved double up when my pocket jacks stood up against Mateyboy’s A-2. Now I was up and running, shame Barny Boatman was chipped up.

To cut a long and potentially tedious story short, I accumulated a decent stack but ran into some big hands late on, resulting in a final table bubble. It was free, played in a fun spirit, but there was still a nice prize up for grabs… so I feel my disappointment is partly justified.

Overall, it was a good laugh and I received more than the odd adrenalin rush from the comp, which is always one of my aims. Being a media event, I can hardly moan about the stupendously chunky blinds and faster than light clock, but what I can poke a stick at is the bloomin slowroll I received.

Before the flop, one fella, who was clearly riding high on the booze bus, proclaimed that he’d move all-in to any raise. I looked down to see Q-J suited and thought that this might be a good time to take his chips as I was confident he’d move with rags. Well, when it got round to him, he ummed and aared for what felt like a century. He gave it some spiel, ran down the oh so vulnerable clock, and eventually moved in. What a croc! He had pocket kings and I’d been slowrolled in a flaming freeroll media event. Sigh, if there’s one thing that annoys me it’s a slowroll, whatever the comp is. There’s just no need for it.

Besides this blip, I had a cracking night and fully enjoyed the company I shared. Many thanks to all those involved in its organisation and a big up to Brendan of PaddyPower for the invite.

So, not a very exciting week, but a week nonetheless.

I’m starting a new mission though. I just checked my weight on the scale. 9 stone 2 pounds. Eeeeeeek! I used to be well over 11! Right, time to start food binging, that’s way too light for a guy of 5.11. Plus, it’s making me feel really ill, and I’m sick of feeling crap, so time for a change.

Next time you see me, you’ll think I’m Rick Waller and ask for my autograph (hmm).

The binge starts tomorrow. Good luck me.


Saturday, March 25, 2006


Yes, I know it's shocking, but I have indeed been working... and working hard too. Incredible.

My week has been pretty much focused around preparing for the launch of the new blondepoker site. As a result, hitting the felt has been brushed aside in favour of spending my time in front of the lappie. Not a choice I embrace, but one I’ve had to make nonetheless. Whilst I had a great time in Glasgow last weekend, I was filled with envy when I heard about the fun and antics I’d potentially be missing out on at the Vic. I’ve never been to this joint, so it would have been an intriguing new experience for me. However, duty calls and I’ve been replaced by the ever-reliable Ben (Sunday8pm), who has already shown that he is more than capable, although the norkage shots leave a lot to be desired. In other words… NON-EXISTENT! Where’s Kev when you need him, eh?

Anyhow, I did manage to find a spare couple of hours to give the Luton SpringFest online satellite a crack. Last time I hopped onto Blue Square was for the Grand Prix qualifiers, of which I came second for nowt after moving into the heads-up battle as chip leader. Somewhat similarly, I was chip leader in this one right up until the rebuy period ended. Without darkening your days with the bad beat story, I missed out on a massive 20k pot and quickly found myself down to the felt, a sparkling tear in my eye. With 2 seats up for grabs and $2,200 for 3rd, I was disappointed with my 16th position. Gutted in fact, I’m not sure why, it wasn’t the end of the world, but, at the same time, I was dying to get myself into one of these big comps. I update in so many that I begin to get jealous of those playing, and this was an opportunity. Ah well, I’ll keep plugging away. I’m confident I’ll be playing a main event shortly.

Speaking of satellites, there’s a media one for Dublin on Tuesday. Jen, tikay, and myself are all entering so I’m hoping one of us can snag that package and give the main event a shot. It sure makes the updating session a far more exhilarating experience, especially if I can sneak a cheeky cut.

So, although I’m not quite making the progress I hoped to when it comes down to playing, I am overjoyed by the direction blonde is taking. A new site, the introduction of an online cardroom, and a forum that is as popular as ever.

The future's bright, the future's blonde...

Friday, March 24, 2006


As some of you may have noticed, this blog has been void of online play of late. This isn’t due to laziness on my part, but more because of a lack of time. The reason for this is that my life has taken an unexpected turn since I first threw myself into poker back in November. If you recall, I quit my reliable safe job to venture into the world of poker, not quite knowing where I’d end up, and certainly having no idea to whether that place would be one of profit or loss. Either way, I was determined to give it a shot, and I did.

However, after only 3 months of pursuing an online career, I found myself in the enviable position of blonde team member. In addition to moderating the forum, to which I take great pleasure, my new roles included Live Updating, editing the site content, and helping set up the new site. Although I foolishly expected this to be a part-time responsibility, I soon became aware that it was to take up the majority of my time. I don’t give a monkeys though. Writing about poker, seeing the world, and meeting so many great people is an absolute delight, and I am truly grateful to Dave and tikay for giving me such wonderful opportunities.

In terms of pursuing an online playing career though, I’m forced to put this quest on the back shelf. Going from Vienna straight to Monte Carlo, then returning for the Blonde Bash only to head back home to continue working on the new site, I’ve realised that playing online can no longer be a viable option. I just don’t have the time, and if I do, I’ll probably be fatigued and therefore risk losing money unnecessarily. However, for the sheer reason that I love working for blonde so much, I’m prepared to relinquish what was becoming the crux of my income. Money’s not that important to me, being within a poker atmosphere and loving every day that I’m around my buddies is much more paramount to me.

In other words, I am unable to play online to the extent that I initially wished, and so the direction of this blog is quickly changing. When I started it, I wanted to discuss all the issues that arise when trying to pursue a career in online poker, but, as my play has depleted so much, these questions can no longer be posed.

Therefore, my posts will now be less focused on online play, with entries discussing poker in more general terms. I am still determined to make something of myself in the game, that aim will never vanish, but online isn’t my desired destination. After watching Jen’s display in Monte Carlo, I soon realised that live poker was where I wanted to be. You just can’t beat it. The buzz, the atmosphere, the banter. It’s unprecedented and I doubt online play will ever surpass the excitement that can emerge from playing your opponents face to face.

So, future posts on this blog will be much more centred on my live play as opposed to online. I remain determined to win big at this game, and I am confident that one day I’ll hit the jackpot.

When I first started this thread, I wrote:

“So back to the aforementioned question, ‘Will snoops succeed or fail?’ Only time will tell, but hopefully the poker gods will be smiling upon me.”

Well, in the few months that I played full-time, I made a profit. It wasn’t huge, but it was more than I was earning from my previous job (just), so, in that sense, I’d say I succeeded. I was doing something I loved and making money from it, what more could I ask?

Anyhow, I’d just like to say thanks to all those who wished me good luck and offered such valuable advice. Some of it really helped and I’ve learnt heaps, but now that I receive dosh from blonde, I am longer lacking a guaranteed income.

I’ll keep you posted if I ever become a poker superstar. Could be a while yet though, but I’ll get there…

Watch this space. The blog lives!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Okay, well here it is, in all it's glory. Below is the recently acquired "Littlewoods Poker Scottish Football Cup" (catchy title, huh?) and I can now officially refer to myself as the "Hamilton Accies NLH Champion." Woooooo. Who needs bracelets?

Seriously though, it was honour to be presented this by colourful Scot Tony Chessa and my many thanks must go to all those involved in the organisation of the comp. It was a fun day out which even supplied my little tummy with a free Sunday dinner. Poker, food, and beer. What more can any sane human being want?

It may have only been a charity event with just 3 or 400 up for grabs (I'm not even sure what I took in the end), but it didn't matter. Suprisingly, everyone took it pretty seriously, myself included, and all from the the rookies to the pros were well up for taking the title. And I'm not surpised, look at the size of it! It'll take me hours to buff that every day. hehe

After the 'old school' comedian, who managed to insult almost every social group possible, had wrapped up his Bernard Manning-esque act, it was onto the main course. The poker. 6 tables in all I think, and a quick glance to my left saw the familiar (but hideous :-)) face of Mr Dempsey. Zoiks, could be some action on this table then, especially with Chessa sitting opposite. Either way, it was a going to be a laugh, and, although I'd said to Jen that after pissing around too much in the Bash Comp that I was going to try my utmost in this one, I couldn't help but become emersed in some of the wonderful banter that surrounded me.

High points were swanning over to Brian's table to wait for my £10 last longer prize as he moved all-in with his (wait for it...) rags. Similarly, Jen shoved her tenner down my hood soon after. No finesse some of these lasses (ducks).

Also, there were some amusing hands witenssed. One in particular saw Flushy, who now had a bounty on his AND Chessa's head, the former actually placed by the Scot himself, have Chessa and Mateyboy on the racks with top two pair versus a flush draw and a weaker two pair. Tony Chessa even called out for a spade, just so Flushy didn't win the hand, but, to his and everyone's amusement, a 5 on the river filled up Tony who made one of his miracle 2 outs. Boy, was Flushy not a happy chappy.

My game went pretty swimmingly from the start. The standard wasn't terrific, and it really was a case of wait for the nuts, or near nuts, and try to get them paid off. So, when I flopped bottom set, followed by the board pairing on the turn, I was soon up and running.

After moving tables to cohabit the equally loud space of Ironside (wow, can this guy talk), I soon found myself struggling. Not only becuase these guys were shoving my bluffs right back up me, but also because I was playing badly and throwing away too many chips.

With about 6k remaining, I shoved it all-in after seeing Iron's preflop raise find a limper. As expected, Iron 'raising mahcine' Side mucked, but unexpectadly, the limper called with A-J. I flipped over my K-T, and, although the first card out was an ace, I managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat with 2 pair by the river.

Right, time to stop messing around and play properly. No more stupid mistakes. From here on in, I played pretty well. A nice patient game that was rewarded when I found kings against Sheriff's A-9, and an ace high which held up against Bobby1's open ended straight draw with one card to come.

Now in full agression mode, the chips kept piling up, and then I suddenly found myself in chipleader zone when I stumbled across the following hand. I raised preflop with A-T of spades, Bobby1 called from the small blind, and Mateyboy called the big. Flop = 6-6-9. Both checked, I bet, Bobby raised. After a quick mull of the situation, I moved all-in, beliving that Bobby had a foldable hand. After umming and aahing for what felt like a century, Bobby called with pocket threes. The 9 on the turn was a killer for Mr Quayle, but I wasn't complaining. Should he have called? Borderline in my opinion. I was bluffing and still had plenty of outs, not to mention a backdoor flush draw. I was happy with my play, and it showed the table that I wasn't to be messed with, especially with 80k in front of me! :-)

By the time of the final table, I'd accumulated 95k and was chip leader by a country mile. In fact, I think Flushy was 2nd with less than half that figure.

The final was to be a fun-filled one. Firstly, no1, Flushy in particular, could keep a straight face when the cameras asked us to pose for half a minute. Iron even had tears rolling down his face. Lol. It's really not easy holding a smile for 30 secs, and you look really dumb if you stick on some serious poker face. What a dilemma eh?

What was even more amusing at the final table, was the way I uncharacteristically demolished it within an hour. Seriously, they were dropping like flies, and I couldn't miss. After Iron eliminted the first local with the dreaded aces v kings confrontation, I was seemingly invincible. And I don't mean that in a cocky way. It was more a case of 'deck, me, hit, face... very hard'.

A quick rundown of some of the eliminations:

8th: 8-3 v 9-9. two threes on the flop (Flushy shook everyone's hand and then punched me!!! Gotta be a first in poker.)

6th: 4-4 v 7-6 on a 7 high flop. Runner runner flush with one of my fours.

4th: Q-7 v A-K. I flopped a flush and, even though she had the bare ace, found no problems in holding up.

3rd: T-7 v A-K. Rivered a straight.

2nd: A-6 held up against K-J even though a scary Q-T hit the flop. Running twos were a welcome arrival.

And this isn't to mention the Q-7 v K-K that ended in a split pot with 5 diamonds on the board. My opponent wasn't too chuffed when I said, 'Well, I was unlucky to run into pocket kings.'

Now the above list may make me look a tad fishy, but I was a massive (and I mean massiiiiiive) chip leader in most of these pots, so it's not as bad as it looks. Also, I started the final table with a huge chip lead, losing any of these pots would still have left me top of the tree, which is one of the reasons why I attacked with such marginal hands.

Amusingly, when it came down to the final, the crowd of onlookers even started chanting my opponent's name, Eddy, who was at around a 290 - 25 chip disadvantage. Even I was spotted bellowing 'Eddy, Eddy, Eddy' at one point. I felt left out. :-(

Anyhow, with Eddy soon despatched of, I was left to raise my silverware aloft and bask in the glory. The crowd (well, one man and his dog) went wild.

A great weekend. A great comp. Great fun. Great something else. Great. Great. Great.

I look forward to defending my trophy next year, although I'm not too keen on trying to get the bloomin' thing back through customs.

Til next year Hamilton. Och aye the neu.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I've just written this for my bio on the new blondepoker page. It's all a bit self-absorbed, but I thought some of you might find it of interest. It's pretty much about how I got started in poker. No Brunson-esque anecdotes here I'm afraid, but for the younger readers among you, there might be a few things in here that ring true. Hope you find it an interesting read. Also, I've just realised that I've never posted a pictue of myself, so here I am, likkle me. This was actually an intense moment at Rob Yong's house whislt I awaited my opponent's decision. Can you work out if I was bluffing or not?

Wow. Where to start? It feels so vein talking about myself, but, what the hell, let’s give it a crack.

After a boring 19 year existence in sunny Brum, the poker bug gnawed its teeth into my young innocent 20-year old flesh in the city of Nottingham, where I had just started a degree in Art History. Now, the fresher’s year at Uni isn’t renowned for being the most enduring, so there was plenty of time to encase myself in my newfound passion. On one occasion, I recall spending the entire evening at the Gala Casino, not even slightly worried about the exam I had the next day.

One rainy day, my good friend Stu Smith and I were testing the Internet waters in the Derby Hall computer room when we came across a well-known site in After hearing about this poker lark from my bro, and catching the odd, and now legendry, episode of Late Night Poker on Channel 4, we decided to give it a bash. Fortunately, this was poker without the downloadable software, which meant the Uni would never learn of our gambling exploits.

When people ask me where I first played, I confidently answer ‘Boston.’ When met with the expected looks of perplexity, I swiftly inform them that it was the ‘location’ of an online table at For a period of 4 or 5 weeks, Stu and I would set up camp in the computer room and plan our day of pokering to the extreme. Hours upon hours would be spent on play (?!) tables trying to master the game. How we were able to be so entertained by such long periods of play money games, I will never know, but that was the magic of the game, and a spark that I fear will never quite reignite to its fullest.

Once our online game had been perfected (or so we foolishly thought), we ventured into the live arena. Both nervous and shaking like jelly in the Artic, we took our first anxious steps into the Gala cardroom. A mere five-minute journey away from the Uni, it felt like the natural route to take.

Smoke filled and greeted by many a ‘Who are these young schmucks?’ face, the Gala was an intimidating place. If you think it’s raucous now, then you should have been there 4 years ago. With the exception of a young lad called Ed, and my dear brother Jammer (just), we were the only third generation players present. In fact, the whole ultra-aggressive style hadn’t yet developed and many a player were still adopting a super tight strategy. For Stu and myself, this worked well, as the nucleus of our knowledge had derived from the books of Cloutier and several of the other ‘old school’ mentors. We were very ABC, but for beginners, that wasn’t bad, and, for this type of setting, it was to work pretty well.

Whilst Stu cashed on his very first effort, I won the event outright (something that is a rarity these days – winning outright, not just me winning that is) a few weeks later and took home what was then a very tasty 1500 squid. It was official, we were hooked. Big sweaty men, smoke that tore the lining off your lungs, and more c-bombs than I could shake a stick at, what more could any human being want?

I joke, but for once, I felt at home. Every elimination felt like a firm kick in the testicles and each day commenced with me checking the schedule in the hope that today was a ‘Gala night’. My obsession grew to such an extent that even friends were left out in the cold in favour of a night of gambling. Tragic, but true.

After improving my game each and every night, I suddenly hit my purple patch. For a skint guy playing off his student loan, winning 1500 was massive, but to encounter a run of wins was humongously ginormous. Within the space of a few weeks, my bank account had shot up to the 5 figure mark. Completely out of the blue, but definitely welcomed with open arms. A Friday £20 rebuy win followed by a six way split in the then renowned £100er on my very next visit had meant a nervous trip to the Uni bank with 4.5k in my inside pocket. Why I took the bus I’ll never know. It sounds like small change compared to the sums of these days, but for me, I felt like Henry Hill. (although I’m closer to Harry Hill)

With both Stu and I starting to cash at every opportunity, the whole Hall seemed to become obsessed with the game. Late Night Poker was a permanent fixture, home games were now firmly in place, and trips to the Gala seemed to recruit another addict on each visit. It was awesome and I loved every minute of it!

By the time I’d left Uni, I’d earnt a pretty hefty sum off the game. Nothing huge, but for someone like me, it was pretty big. I think I was one of the few who were fortunate enough to escape work during the holidays. No standing behind bars, working in shops, or stacking shelves in the local Asda. Nope, I’d escaped all that thanks to Poker, and, in hindsight, I should have been more thankful.

Perhaps that lack of gratitude was to be punished via the dark days I experienced post University. After leaving with a 2-1, I was at somewhat of a loss. Not knowing where I was going, who I was meant to be, or what I was supposed to do, I convinced myself that my future lied in playing poker. I took a part time job with my Dad whilst I set up stall at Grosvenor Walsall and opted to play every single tournament possible.

One problem. I couldn’t win! I cashed on my first ever visit to Walsall, but from them on, barely a dime crossed my palms. Wrongly thinking I was invincible, I’d stopped learning. Books had been shoved aside, and every hand on TV was met with a feeling of ‘he played that wrong, my way is right’. You have to stay open minded in this game, and my mind was firmly shut at all the wrong times.

After splashing out most of my previous winnings on a car, insurance, widescreen TV, Hi-Fi, and other such luxuries, I suddenly found myself very short. I was playing games that I couldn’t afford, and I was soon bust. I’d failed to leave myself any financial room for a bad run (of luck AND play).

Sometimes you need to go broke in this game before you can better yourself, and that’s exactly what happened to me. A whole year wasted because I was naïve, cocky, and ignorant. Doh!

As a result of this sudden revelation, I took a bit of time away from the game, got myself a tedious, but oddly rewarding job, and revisited the drawing board. I was virtually penniless, so I started playing the £5 rebuy at Walsall. It was painful involving myself in the mindless weekly chip throwing contest, but I had no choice. Grit my teeth, knuckle down, and start winning again. After a month or two, I won the event and took home around a grand. Soon after, that grand turned into 2, and then it went from there. I was back! ‘Never again’ were my parting words.

A year on, and I’m playing the game semi-professionally after quitting what was only ever going to be a temporary job. After stalling for so long online, I’ve finally cracked the Internet and worked out my own personal system for winning. My live game is improving all the time and I enter each tournament better equipped mentally than the last one.

The other segment of my life is filled with trips to EPTs, Grosvenor Festivals, and any other tournament tikay wants me to update on. I am thrilled to bits with my position on blonde and I am truly thankful to both tikay and Dave for giving me a shot. I hope I have repaid them by the bucket-full. I LOVE being a part of the circuit and I am utterly grateful for every day that I am involved in the live poker tour. It really is that much fun and for the first time in a long time, I kind of feel alive and as if my life has some kind of direction.

Long may it continue. I’m hooked. Always have been and always will. Nurse! Injection please.

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.