Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Had a mare online last Monday, played poorly and fully deserved to finish the night several hundred down. However, as Chumbawumba once said, and I quote, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down” (boy, move over Socrates). And I did indeed get back up again! After sensibly cashing out my profit and taking Tuesday night off, I was back at the virtual felt this evening, managing to pull in 1k over just a couple of hours of play.

In the grand scheme of things, 1k isn’t massive, but when I combine the fear I have of a one-day inevitable flurry of consecutive and seemingly endless losses with the fact that winning a grand in 2 hours is an hourly rate of 500 bucks per hour, I’m not sure I can even dare complain.

The majority of that profit was due to the following hand. A truly fascinating one in which I am unable to decipher whether I am a wily genius or, perish the thought, a lucky git. Maybe you can help me out on that one, but either way, here it is:

Seat 2 is the button
Total number of players : 6

Seat 3: x_volta ( $396 )
Seat 5: snoopy1239 ( $427.79 )
Seat 4: fluoro ( $191.58 )
Seat 2: COREYJDRIVER ( $320.56 )
Seat 1: Caffiend ( $393.38 )
Seat 6: PokerF8ce80 ( $287.50 )

x_volta posts small blind [$2].
fluoro posts big blind [$4].

** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to snoopy1239 [ ]

snoopy1239 raises [$17].
PokerF8ce80 folds.

Caffiend raises [$30].
COREYJDRIVER calls [$30].
x_volta folds.
fluoro folds.
snoopy1239 calls [$13].

** Dealing Flop ** [ three diamonds, , ]

snoopy1239 checks.
Caffiend bets [$78.16].
COREYJDRIVER calls [$78.16].
snoopy1239 calls [$78.16].

** Dealing Turn ** [ ]

snoopy1239 checks.
Caffiend bets [$79.88].
COREYJDRIVER calls [$79.88].
snoopy1239 raises [$301.87].
Caffiend is all-In [$205.34]

** Dealing River ** [ ]

snoopy1239 shows [ , ] two pairs, fours and threes.
Caffiend doesn't show [ , ] a pair of aces.

snoopy1239 wins $16.65 from side pot #1 with two pairs, fours and threes.
snoopy1239 wins $977.30 from the main pot with two pairs, fours and threes.

This hand has mangled my brain into a huge web of tangled thoughts and, in a week’s time, I reckon I’ll still be clueless to whether I played it correctly or not. Even on the Flop there are 3 genuinely feasible ways in which I could have played it, never mind the Turn. Should I bet out my two pair and hope the overpair moves over the top? Should I check-raise to pull in some dead money? Maybe I should flatcall and wait to see if the diamond arrives. What should I have done? Snoopy needs your help??

Anyhow, I didn’t intend this to turn into a lengthy snore-inducing entry, it was just meant to be a cheery update on my progress and a way of reminding myself that, after a disastrous Gutshot display and a poor showing online on Monday night, my winning form has instantly returned and my glass is back to being half full.


Saturday, August 26, 2006


After looking forward to the GSOP (Gut Shot Series of Poker) Main Event all week, I am more than disappointed to report that I failed to last more than two levels.

As Mr Barry Martin correctly announced at the start of the tournament, “Where else in Europe can you find a four day event with 10,000 starting chips and a 2 hour clock for just £300?” Well, I don’t have an answer and therefore can only applaud Gutshot’s realisation that these more affordable freezeouts are what the majority has been crying out for.

Unfortunately for me, this 4 Day Event transpired into a rather brisk 1 Day affair.

With tikay, RED-DOG, Wardonkey, Yoyo, Chili, Djinn, AlrightJack and my good self present, Team blonde was in full force and raring to take the Gutshot by storm. But alas, by the first break, the news was sour, with none of our mob anywhere near the chip lead.

On a personal note, I was embarrassed to confess to being on a paltry 2k, quite a demise from the generous 10,000 starting chips. However, for once, I can’t focus my blame on my supposedly lucky chip, instead being left to rue the poor decisions I made at the felt.

It really was one of those nights, I rarely made anything, and when I did, I seemed to run into a neverending line of monsters. I did hit one flop, however…

I limped with 5-4 and checked a flop of 5s-5d-Tc, certain that one of the many limpers would bet a Ten. Mateyboy duly obliged and the blinds folded. I also check called the Ace of diamonds turn, confident that it was a safe card. The Eight of diamonds fell on the River, and I opted for a bet of 500 into a pot of around 1,300, somewhat of a stop-bet in case he’d runner-runnered a flush. Also, assuming that he’d check the Ten, I felt this was a bet that he would be obliged to call.

After huffing and panting, he made the call. I confidently showed my trips, but was disappointed to see that he had hit the flush with Jd-Td. I was curious to why he’d given it such a dwell-up with a flush, but simultaneously happy that I’d made a good read on the Flop and Turn. True, perhaps I played this hand unnecessarily slowly, but I think I was unlucky to lose out to a runner-runner flush when my read had previously been so accurate.

Anyhow, the real blow came when I was dealt Pocket Kings. Now if you want to know how to play Cowboys poorly, then listen up, as I am about to give you a masterclass in bad poker.

There was a raise and a reraise preflop. I called from the small blind and the initial raiser folded, just as I had hoped. We both checked a 2-3-T flop before Mateyboy bet 2k on the 6 Turn. I called and then flatcalled another 2.5k on the 4 river. He turned over Pocket Fives for the straight and took the pot, leaving me with just 2k.

Admittedly, I played this terribly, possibly the worst hand I have played in a long time, and yet I’m still not sure what the hell I was doing. My guess is that I’ve been playing too much cash recently, perhaps not quite realising that once my chips have gone, I can’t just refill back up, thereby making overly cute play a very risky strategy indeed.

When I play online, I try to put people on a small number of hands, once I narrow them down to a specific holding, I play accordingly. Mostly I am correct and win the pot (or avoid losing a big one), but sometimes I am completely wrong. When I am mistaken, I simply refill back up and carry on. Luckily, as I am right more often than I am wrong, I tend to make a decent overall profit.

Due to the cut-throat nature of multitable play, this does not work in tournaments. If I am wrong, that’s it, game over – no refill, no second chance, no nothing. In the hand above, I was convinced that he had Queens or Jacks and was sure that he’d fire on the Turn and River. I decided that as long as a Jack or Queen didn’t fall, I’d simply smooth call, thereby feigning weakness.

Ultimately, this was a stupid move and quite rightly resulted in a subsequent outdraw – one that I totally deserved for my bad play. However, it’s all part of the learning curve and lightening won’t be striking twice again.

What my short stint at the Gutshot does remind me of, however, is that my live performances are nothing more than woeful. Whilst I seem to be profiting more online, my live game seems to have gone down the kazi. I can’t remember the last time I had a decent cash.

I’m not disheartened though, it took me a while to find my footing in ring games, so I expect the same applies to tournament poker. I shall continue to experiment until I find my niche and, when I do, I’m sure the wins will start piling up.

But enough about me – we may still be on Day 2, but I feel obliged to put my hands together in appreciation for the Gutshot’s efforts this week. Sound dealing, top notch facilities, a friendly atmosphere and, of course, one of the best tournaments I have ever come across – apart from a longer stay, I couldn’t have asked for much more.

For now though, I guess it’s back to the lappie and the glory-lacking grind of online play. A bit of a depressing blog today, so I’ll do my utmost to make sure I’m in more jovial spirits next time I put pen to paper.

Perhaps my next entry will be reporting a live win, I can only hope so…

Monday, August 21, 2006


After focusing my attentions on online poker, I've finished the week 3.5k up, which makes me feel pretty satisfied with my perfomance, especially considering this is the first time in a long time that I've attacked the $4/2 table. However, I know how quickly it can change, and I'm also aware that hands like the one below could, next time, not work in my favour:

Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 2: rwc_rounder ( $117.40 )
Seat 3: hushfbp293d ( $461.50 )
Seat 4: never2lucky ( $732.60 )
Seat 5: CapGloval ( $396 )
Seat 6: wsaul ( $766.40 )
Seat 1: snoopy1239 ( $500.90 )

wsaul posts small blind [$2].
snoopy1239 posts big blind [$4].

Dealt to snoopy1239 [ ]

hushfbp293d raises [$16].
wsaul raises [$34].
snoopy1239 raises [$52].
hushfbp293d folds.
wsaul calls [$20].

** Dealing Flop ** [ , two hearts, ]

wsaul bets [$35].
snoopy1239 calls [$35].

** Dealing Turn ** [ ]

wsaul bets [$111].
snoopy1239 raises [$397].
wsaul is all-In [$564.40]
snoopy1239 is all-In [$12.90]

** Dealing River ** [ ]

snoopy1239 shows [ , ] three of a kind, aces.
wsaul shows [ , ] three of a kind, jacks.

wsaul wins $265.50 from side pot #1 with three of a kind, jacks.
snoopy1239 wins $1014.80 from the main pot with three of a kind, aces.

When you're multi-tabling, there's always the chance that your head's not quite in the game, resulting in mistakes like this. I really should have raised more preflop to eliminate Tens or Jacks, but I was caught in between two minds of losing the other player and keeping this one in, and in my moment of confusion I foolishly re-re-raised the minimum.

Although I got away with it this time, I might not next week, and this is what I have to be conscious of. Stay focused, maintain a solid game, and don't become too distressed if I lose a few big pots.

Thankfully, this hand was an exception - overall, I played pretty well and didn't have to get lucky very often. I also suffered a few outdraws, but I won't bore you with those details. Too often blogs are littered with bad beats, so I'm pleased to bring to you the above 'good win'.

Anyhow, fresh off a satisfying week online, it's back to the joys of live poker - the Gutshot Main Event. A super premise; 4 day Event, 10k starting stack, slow clocks, etc - sounds absolutely awesome, it's great to see the Gutshot catering for the low-rollers and presenting them with an opportunity to play a 'proper' comp.

Besides, this will be a welcome break from online play. Too often I get wrapped up in it all and fail to take the relevant breaks, so this brief hiatus should have me returning fresh, revitalised, and ready to win another 3.5k.

Anyhow, back to the Gutshot - I haven't played much, but I'm in good form and feel prett confident. I played solid poker at the WSOP $1,500 and the UK Open £100 Events and was pleased to have doubled my stack on both occasions without receiving much in the way of cards. It may only be £300, but I'm not playing for the money, it's the win I'm after and the affirmation that I can actually still do well in live Events.

Good luck me and rah rah Team blonde!

Saturday, August 19, 2006


As I’m sure I mentioned in an earlier entry, I decided in Vegas that I’d make more of an effort to acutally play poker on my return. Whilst I played a £100 Freezout at Luton last week, I have predominantly maintained that pact by playing online cash, virtually every night!

Well, I’m doing pretty well, found life difficult over the first several days, but now I’m 3k up, which is very pleasing indeed.

Last night I profited again, but it wasn’t without a struggle, in fact that’s an understatement, it was a complete rollercoaster ride and due to the mental stress it caused me (my head was pounding by the end), it has forced me to reevaulate the way I approach the game.

I’ve been playing daily from 2am to 8am, so approximately 6 hours per night. Now that’s not too long, but when you don’t take breaks and you experience the fluctuations I do, it can really wear you down.

I’m not playing badly, but I’m wary of burning out. Due to not wanting to be kicked off my table after building up a stack, I’ve been avoiding breaks, and this not only means I’m robbing myself of any mental hiatus, but I’m also not eating. At the moment, I’m on one meal a day, which is no where near acceptable, and the last time I checked, I was down to a rather disconcerting and paltry 9 stone.

Starting today, I’m going to start piling on the pounds (hopefully), and get myself back up to that 11.5 stone I once was. Also, I’ll ensure that I take at least one break during that 6 hour playing period, even if it means leaving the game temporarily. It may cost me money, but at least I’ll have my insanity.

So why was it such a rollercoaster ride? Well, when you start off 1k up, end up 1k down before finishing the session 1k up, you certainly get your money’s worth in entertainment. At $2/4, I don’t know many players who experience as many double throughs (and double downs for that matter) as I do, not to mention the eye-opening 2k fluctuation.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not afraid to stick my chips in or maybe I gamble more than others, who knows? Part of the reason last night, however, was certainly a result of losing my biggest ever pot, around 1.5k I think it was in the end.

I don’t really have too many complaints. I raised to $21 with Pocket Aces, received two callers, and was outdrawn on a 2-5-5 flop by A-5 - how he can justify calling $21 preflop with that hand though is beyond me.

Anyhow, seeing as I couldn’t put anyone on 2-2 or A-5, I considered this to be a safe flop and so decided to check. Mateyboy bet each street, and I called, confident I was ahead. The problem was that he moved all-in on the river for around $475 when the pot was something like $375. I wouldn’t normally call this, but the board had double paired with twos and fives. His all-in was either nuts or a bluff, as he’d probably check any other hand. Due to my passive play, I hadn’t represented an overpair, so a bluff seemed like the only explantion – just what I’d wanted him to do.

Well, I finally made the call and, of course, he turned over the five for his full house. I probably played the hand terribly, but at least I was brave enough to go with what I thought. Shite happens, time to move on, next hand.

Anyhow, by the end, I’d somehow managed to maintain my composure and pull back a 1k deficit, eventually turning it into a 1k profit. I was pretty chuffed to be anywhere near the black considering the huge pot I’d lost, so I guess it shows I’m playing well.

So, another day, another dollar. I’m earning, but I’m starting to tire mentally, so I guess the sensible thing would be to take a day or two off – or, at a pinch, I could just keep on playing…

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


After a heavy but ultimately satisfying stint in Vegas, I returned home with the will to actually play some poker instead of watching it and, seeing as the laptop was booted up and raring to go, I decided that it was about time I earned a few virtual bucks.

Multis have never been my strength, so it was straight into the cash game. At first, I played my usual 4 x $1/2 six-handed tables affair but, due to finding the grind too painful, I took the daring step of promoting myself to the $2/4 tables.

This isn’t my first venture into $2/4. I used to frequent these tables on a regular basis about 12 months ago but, due to a tender bankroll and the stress that a losing day caused me, I decided to drop down a level. Since then, I’ve been making a decent sum on the $1/2, and consistently, so I never felt the need to return to more adrenalin inducing stakes.

This week, however, I assessed my current situation and decided that my bankroll was more than at ease with the increased stakes and that I was of sound mind to deal with any big hits (multi-tasking can easily result in two $400 losses within minutes of one another). To be honest, it was more a case of ‘let’s see what happens’ rather than ‘let’s make some more money’.

Anyhow, a week of $2/4 it was, and what a see-saw experience it was too. My fluctuations have always been unusually large, but this was ridiculous. The snoopy of old would have almost certainly have titled from some of the losses I encountered, but I’d learnt from previous lessons and knew I had to keep my head screwed on. I ground like I’d never ground before, maintaining my cool and staying focused at all times. Of course, I made the odd hasty move and unnecessary error, but I never gave up.

Too often in this game I experience an early deficit, lose my composure, then subsequently make poor decisions only to later stumble across a double up and wonder why the hell I’d been so previously hot-headed. But not this time, I was determined to take my missed open ended straight flush draws and consecutively cracked Aces on the chin – they’re a part of poker and there’s often a chance to get your money back just around the corner.

Basically, what I’ve learnt this week is the affirmation of the tired ol’ cliché that patience really is the key. Sometimes it’s easy to forget, but if you take a hit, then you really shouldn’t worry. If you’re a winning player then you’ll come out ahead in the long-run. A bit of luck will come your way, and when it does, it’ll put you back into the black because you won’t have made any unforced errors during that sometimes infuriating waiting period.

This is exactly what happened to me. I’d been grinding it out all week, not being able to earn a cent, but not losing much either. Hugely frustrating but something that happens to all online players. In fact, on this occasion, I was a rather vomit inducing 2.5k down, until I won a series of big pots, including a lucky $1000 pot outdraw against a set of fours (I hit a third King on the Turn after moving all-in on the flop), followed by one of my biggest pots to date:

Seat 2 is the button
Total number of players : 10

Seat 2: Klassmen ( $920.59 )
Seat 3: changito2 ( $716.08 )
Seat 10: snoopy1239 ( $773.67 )
Seat 1: CallCuzPPwillScrewMe ( $619.96 )
Seat 5: lofuso ( $1107.50 )
Seat 4: EvilWal ( $133.90 )
Seat 7: A_Behemoth ( $37 )
Seat 9: steve54555 ( $394 )
Seat 8: KingAcid ( $396 )
Seat 6: BomboB ( $80 )

changito2 posts small blind [$2].
EvilWal posts big blind [$4].

** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to snoopy1239 [ Ts 8s ]

lofuso calls [$4].
snoopy1239 raises [$16].
CallCuzPPwillScrewMe calls [$16].
Klassmen calls [$16].
changito2 raises [$47.84].
lofuso calls [$45.84].
snoopy1239 calls [$33.84].
CallCuzPPwillScrewMe calls [$33.84].
Klassmen folds.

** Dealing Flop ** [ Qs, 7s, As ]

changito2 bets [$498.05].
lofuso folds.
snoopy1239 is all-In [$723.83]
CallCuzPPwillScrewMe folds.
changito2 is all-In [$168.19]

** Dealing Turn ** [ 6c ]

** Dealing River ** [ 3d ]

changito2 shows [ Qh, Qc ] three of a kind, queens.
snoopy1239 shows [ Ts, 8s ] a flush, ace high.

The time at which hand ended:Aug 12 2006 08:14 ET
snoopy1239 wins $57.59 from side pot #1 with a flush, ace high.
snoopy1239 wins $1548.34 from the main pot with a flush, ace high

A tasty $1,600 plus pot and I have my head back above water, wondering why I was fretting so much earlier on. Of course, you don’t get these hands everyday (especially with your opponent making such an eye-opening overbet), but they do happen, and you have to make sure that you haven’t wasted any money whilst waiting for it to arrive.

As I said earlier, patience is the key. If you possess the ability to ride the storm when you’re either grinding away for very little gain or simply running into a succession of bad beats, then this game could really become your niche. Unfortunately, as with most things in online poker, it’s easier said than done…

Friday, August 11, 2006


It’s approaching Midnight and I’m on my way up to the Rio’s spectacular Voodoo Lounge (a location which relies on nothing more than the magnificent Las Vegas skyline view – it really doesn’t require anything else).

Whilst peering blissfully into the sumptuous blend of comforting darkness and a beautiful sprinkling of glowing Vegas lights, I contemplate the difficult decision that lies ahead – do I take the sensible option and hit the hay in preparation for the following morning’s flight back to London, or, at a pinch, do I stay here, overly priced, but ultimately delicious cocktail in hand, and continue to glare deep into the Vegas night, body and mind simultaneously at ease with the world?

Well, I didn’t dwell for too long and swiftly opted for the ‘stay up throughout the night and sleep on the plane’ option. Now, whilst this seemed like a sound and relatively unproblematic idea at first, it has utlimately turned out to be somewhat of a faux-pas.

After trundling through the airport with my eyelid muscles begging for a day-off, I finally managed to get 40 winks on the plane. Well, it was more of a sporadic and constantly interrupted snooze really – as we all know, unless you’re Sretch Armstrong, you’re never truly going to be too comfy in Economy class. (Where do they get those bloomin cushions from?!)

On arrival, I was sure I’d managed a few hours of sleep, but wasn’t 100%. I’d hoped for more and, seeing as though it was now early morning (UK time), I’d somehow managed to miss two nights’ kip. (This timezone change thingy majiggy is a weird thing, huh?)

As soon as we got back to Jen’s flat, I lasted about two whole minutes before I completely conked out. I was determined to last the day so I could hit the sack at a ‘normal’ hour and get back into a 'normal' cycle so I could return to my 'normal' daily life, but my body had other ideas. 8 hours later, and I was back up. Well slept, refreshed, and ready to get back to normal, or so I thought…

From then on, it’s been a tough four or five days. I’ve been waking up at bizzare hours and continually collapsing during the days. I feel like a narcoleptic, feeling completely shattered all of a sudden and being forced to go for a nap. Now I know how old people feel!

Well, whatever I seem to do, whether I try and stay awake or just hit the sack for a few hours, I can’t seem to get rid of this frustrating pattern of lethargy. I continuously feel tired and sleepy, and it’s really annoying to be in a constant state of somnolism.

I’d always snickered somewhat at those who moaned about jet-lag, never fully understanding or acknowledging its effects. But now I’m on the other end of it, I can appreciate how difficult it can be to get back into the swing of things.

Maybe my body is just having difficulty reaccustoming itself to London time, or perhaps it’s an adrenalin come down - I did have a corking non-stop time in Vegas. It might even be God’s way of punishing me for having too much fun over there, a bit of a Ying and Yang approach, you never know!

Either way, I’m tired of being tired and I hope my body recovers soon, because I’m dying to last a day without sleeping on the tube, napping at Noon, or failing to get through a single film. Hold on, gotta go, I need another nap. Nighty nig… clonk, zzzzz…

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Does your pinky ever go crazy when you’re typing, shuddering uncontrollably as you rest your hand on the keypad? No? Is it just me? Maybe it’s the booze…

Or perhaps it’s just a small part of the surreal world that my hotel room has become within the last few hours. Whilst I’m doing my utmost to stay awake until the plane journey home, my fellow updater has given up all hope of that plan and collapsed on the bathroom floor in a drunken stupor.

As I departed for the Orleans with Aaron and co, the last words I said to Jan Heitman were “Just make sure she doesn’t come home drunk”. Well, I guess the language barrier popped up at just the wrong time, or maybe not as fellow German, George Danzer (who has, incidentally, made it through to Day 3), dropped her off and then scarpered like a scolded dog.

Ah well, I’m sure in two hours time when I cruelly but unavoidably deliver her that initial hangover headache, she’ll be savvy enough to throw her carcass onto a plane back to England. One can only hope… a black coffee may be just the ticket.

But this blog entry isn’t just about our drunken antics (I certainly endured mine the night before last), it’s about the end of a line, and the climaxing of our Vegas trip.

I’ve had a quite splendid stay here and, if it wasn’t for those certain people awaiting my return, I’d have no qualms in staying on. In fact, now that today has arrived, I’m rather disappointed to be departing. Folk always say that you get sick of Vegas after a while, but not this Beagle, I could spend months here.

The four Day Ones that Jen and I worked on were, alongside Monte Carlo, the most gruelling and testing updates we have encountered thus far. Imagine playing for four days straight, bagging up the chips, trundling off to bed, waking up and heading straight back out. Sound tiring? Well try adding a notepad, a three person thick row of spectators, endless runs back and forth to the media room, and a squillion bad beat stories and you start to get an idea of the exhausting task that lay ahead.

But, as Day 2 approached and we took our much needed time off, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat left out. I ached to be back inbetween the tables, listening to the banter, watching the pro’s at work, and witnessing all the ups and downs of Main Event poker. I wanted a piece of the action, even if it was only as a voyeur.

It is for this reason that following this year’s World Series from the comfort of my home will be a rather less satisfying experience. If there’s something I’ve learnt from this trip, it’s that you really can’t beat being at Poker’s biggest Event in person, seeing things with your own two eyes. As the advert says ‘Watch history fold and unfold’.

Every time I update, I always fail to evade that disheartening feeling of “I wish I was playing”. Normally, I can temporarily erase it from my mind for long enough to get through the weekend without it getting me down, but this week has been especially hard.

Over 8000 players from around the World, all battling it out for 12 million bucks, praying that this is their chance, their time, their shot at the big time. In a nutshell, living the dream – a dream that I want to be a part of.

But watching ‘history fold and unfold’ is the next best thing, I have no complaints. What it has triggered though is a will to play more live Events. Whether it’s Luton or Deauville, Walsall or Paris, I want to be there, not just in a voyeuristic form, but as a player. I feel I am capable and have the potential to do well in these comps, but unless I play, I’ll never know…