Tuesday, November 28, 2006


After the calamity of the Wednesday £300er at Walsall in which I quite literally gave away a near two thirds of my stack on an ill-timed, impatience-induced and totally unnecessary bluff, I took a good long hard look at my game and attempted to fathom what the next step should be.

Whilst always brisk due to the post poker activity of the snoopy brain, the journey home that night was especially quick, and as I sat their contemplating my awful faux-pas, I recall reaching that depressing moment in which you ask yourself, “Should I even bother turning up for the next comp?”

And while I understand that to be a completely negative thought, I deemed it the correct one and so decided that, for this week only, the £300er would be my last jaunt to Walsall.

Naturally, I was dying to play the £500er, but due to a combination of fatigue, downbeat mood, lack of confidence and blonde work load, I thought it best to give it a miss. £500 is still a lot to me (in fact it’s the max I’ll pay), so if I’m going to play I want to ensure that it won’t be money down the drain.

As an online player, one of the most vital skills to master is knowing when to take a day off. If I’m not in the right state of mind, then I try and stay away from the lappie or risk losing a shitload. The same should be applied to live tournaments. Whilst people such as Matusow, Brindley and Wernick play well when they need the money, most don’t. I’ve seen players say, “I’ve only got £500 left, I’m going to give it one last shot and then call it a day if it doesn’t work out”, but whilst I admire their wishful thinking, the chances of them rising victorious are slim to none. I might not be down to my last dollar, but I’m by no means rich and I don’t need to be taking desperate potshots at getting a score.

Although momentarily downbeat, I am experienced enough to know that feeling sorry for oneself gets you nowhere. Perhaps I’ve stopped learning, maybe I need to read some more books, talk to some tournament pro’s or simply play smaller comps – either way, I needed to be constructive rather than just mope around.

And so, fresh off my rather unprofitable week at Walsall, I contacted a few professional tournament players and asked them where they thought I might be going wrong. To say the response was good would be an understatement, and I thank each and every one of them for taking the time to reply. It’s people like JP, Foxy, Julian, etc who rejuvenate my positive view of people within the poker circle, their generosity in lending advice is admirable to say the least.

I also decided that seeing as though I was still experimenting with tournament poker, it would be best to play 2 or 3 smaller comps rather than waste it all on one £500 event. That way I give myself more time to work out how best to play this darn game without spending so much money.

Whilst I was in a constructive and revitalised mood, I also thought I’d hit the online cardrooms again. It’s been a few weeks since I took a break due to (1) going stale (2) taking a bit hit and (3) playing like a complete numpty, but I was keen to play and raring to go.

As I have detailed before, the ban has affected me in various ways, most crucially by taking away my American customers that I seemingly depend so heavily upon. However, I still consider myself to have a decent edge over the rest of the online world, and if it’s true that only 5% of players take away a profit, then I shouldn’t have a problem continuing to supplement my income.

But I’m not stupid, I know you need to be disciplined, skilled or not, and so with this in mind, I dropped down a level and sat at the $1/2 tables rather than my usual $2/4. This way any hit wouldn’t demoralise me as much as it would at the higher level and I’d be able to get back into the groove without risking too much. For this reason, I have deposited $2,000 into my account and won’t be moving back onto the $2/4 until I’ve reached $4,000.

Previously I’d just skip from table to table avoiding the regular sharks and rarely taking notes due to the high numbers of players available to me. However, seeing as this has all changed, I decided to download Poker Tracker (I used to use this software) and start taking notes on my opponents, especially those names that crop up more often than others.

Perhaps because I was in high spirits, or maybe due to the fact I was simultaneously occupied/entertained by taking notes, I played a near flawless game and managed to produce a combined profit of $481.04 for those two days. Considering the short length of time that I played (just 3.5 hours overall), the lack of hands and the fact that I’d dropped down a level, I was overjoyed with that profit and felt a revitalisation in confidence in my own ability to not only play the game well, but improve if I’m not.

Taking that profit into account, my final results for the week panned out as such:

Sunday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (7th +£161.60) = +£161.60
Monday - £100 NLH R/B @ Walsall (-£310) = -£148,40
Monday - £50 STT SAT @ Walsall (+£195) = +£46.60
Tuesday - £200 NLH F/O @ Walsall (-£220) = -£173.40
Wednesday - £300 NLH D-C F/O @ Walsall (-£325) = -£498.40
Thursday - $1/2 Cash @ Online = +$439.19 (£225.02) = -£273.38
Friday - $1/2 Cash @ Online = +$41.85 (£21.44) = -£251.94

And all that means that after four tournaments, one STT and two online sessions, I am just £251.94 down for the week, which isn’t bad overall, especially considering I spent £855 at the Walsall festival.

But how does that all shape up to my initial aims, which were, incidentally, stated in my opening blog entry: “My mission for this week is to (i) have fun (ii) play well and (iii) improve my stamina. Hopefully, if all goes well, ‘My Midlands Mission’ will end with a blog entry entitled ‘Mission Accomplished’. We’ll just have wait to and see…”

Well, I might not have played particularly well on the £300 Freezeout, but my performance overall wasn’t bad, and I did manage to pull out a final table appearance at the Broadway, which is always commendable considering the amount of muppet dodging required. And although I had fun and no doubt improved my stamina, I have titled this final entry as ‘Mission Accomplished’ because I accomplished one aim that I failed to identify in my initial post, and that was simply to improve my game, a target that I overlook all too often these days.

After exiting the £300er so miserably and receiving so much quality advice from various pro’s, my eyes widened immensely and I suddenly realised that I had been tootering along just waiting for a win. Players such as Zippy, Foxy, Camel and so on win for a reason – they are simply better than me. But the point is that if I study the game hard enough and keep working at improving my game, then I will one day have the opportunity to play at their skill level and maybe even enjoy similar success. But unless I take the necessary steps that are required to make those improvements, I’ll never succeed.

So, the end of an exciting but revealing week. People sometimes mock my blog and the content within it, but I don’t give a flying **** to be honest. Of course, blogs such as Daniel Negreanu’s, Ben Grundy’s and David Pomroy’s are thrilling reads, but not everyone plays at those dizzy heights. Hopefully my blog provides something of interest for those that can relate to the levels that I play at and the hurdles that I face in becoming a successful poker player.

Who ever said "poker is the hardest way to make an easy living" was a genius.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Sometimes you play a tournament and just know you’re outclassed, and that’s what happened in Thursday’s £300 No Limit Hold’Em Freezeout at Walsall, the third comp of the Midland Masters Festival.

This one was in fact a double chance, which is more up my street. Personally, I am a big fan of these as whilst it gives you a second chance if you get bent over and rogered, it also makes your opponents gamble more. When people know they have another 3.5k behind them, they’re more willing to gamble on draws and see the flop with half hands, and subsequently play their hands more recklessly.

This is exactly what I witnessed on my table as players donked their chips on dodgy draws, second pairs and unnecessary bluffs. In fact, the standard overall seemed very loose near the start of the event with several players seeing each flop and big pre-flop raises finding multiple callers. Red-Dog commented during the break, “This comp in particular has changed over the last year, players are much more aggressive and seem to be more willing to gamble early on.”

My table didn’t worry me too much: Matt Dale (chatty young lad), Dan Carter (sinister young gun with a few moves in him), Maurice Nicholson (I honestly can’t work this guy out), Andy Gomm (very confident and always seems to go deep), and last but not least, James Atkin. James interests me, he has a seemingly loose aggressive game in the latter stages, but from what I observed, he is an absolute rock early doors. I don’t think he raised one hand pre-flop, he seemed more intent on staying out of harms way and chatting to the chap next door. I did see him play one big hand though. I raised pre-flop with Kings and received the usual 3 or 4 callers, one of whom was James. The Flop came an unfavourable Ah-Jh-8h and Mateyboy in the blind moved all-in for around 5k (pot was only 1.5k) with 5h-7h. James called with trip Jacks, but managed to River an Ace for a full house, a card that sparked the now all too familiar Atkin yelp, a sound that always turns a head or two. I know that James’s show of emotion has caused a stir or two in the past, but how can you be angry with such a friendly go lucky young lad, plus he looks like the Milky Bar Kid, and who didn’t love that kid?

My comp got off to a whirlwind start. First round I raise it up to 200 with 9-7 suited and am re-raised to 700 by a chap in the blind. I’m almost certain he has the big overpair, so decide to see a flop. The Flop came T-T-8 and I made what many would consider a controversial call for 1k. My reasoning was that (i) If I hit, I’d have an early double through and I play my best poker with big chips in those first 3 levels (ii) there’s a chance the ten scares him and I’ll see a free River if I miss the Turn (iii) I’ll get to show rags early doors and people will be more likely to pay off my big hands and (iv) 1k from a stack of 6.3k is chunky, but worth the risk in my opinion considering the implied odds and the advantage of being stacked at such an early stage.

Anyhow, I hit a 6 on the Turn and duly doubled up. I recall my opponent mumbling the odd murmur of disbelief under his breath, but that’s okay, he’s more likely to tilt off the rest. What was unnerving though was his constant glances towards me, I have trouble looking anyone in the eye if I bust their Aces. I hope he’s not connected.

I found some nice hands in the first couple of levels, not too many flops, but at one point I recall receiving back to back Kings, Kings and Queens. Unfortunately, I couldn’t prise too many chips from my opponents with what were monster hands, plus an A-J-8 of hearts board isn’t too appealing when you have two black Kings.

After some ducking and diving, picking up some small pots here and there, I managed to hit 17k at the break, but this was soon to drop down to 12k come Level 3 as I payed off a full house with Ac-8c on a 3h-7c-8c-Ks-Kc board. Boy, that was a nasty River, especially when my opponent turned over Pocket Threes. But I suppose I was lucky against the Aces early on, so just a case of swings and roundabouts.

I hit a spot of good fortune in a multiway pot with Dale, Gomm and newest arrival Mick Fletcher (right). I had A-T in the small bind and saw a cheap Ac-7h-8h Flop. Dale bet 800, Gomm, Fletcher and myself called, before Gomm bet 800 on the 3h Turn. I knew I was miles behind, but with the bare Ace I thought it was too cheap to fold, especially because I thought someone had hit the second nuts. River brought a Five and another heart, and I opted to check, seeing this as the only way I’d get paid. Dale checked his crap, Gomm angrily checked his set and then the play stopped at Mick, who giggled momentarily before finally, and I mean finally, making a good check with his Kh-Th. I was sure he would have bet and then be forced to call a re-raise, but that’s the risk you take, and in the end he made a good check for what would have been his tournament life (he was short).

That hand took me back up to 18k and soon after I was moved to the Table of Doom and the toughest line-up (on paper, anyhow) that I have ever come across. In this order: Joe Grech (later replaced by Nick Slade), Ash Pervais, Phil Peters, Me, Zippy Aslam, John Vaccarrella, local, Mateyboy, JP Kelly and Michael McCool. Talk about a wasps’ nest.

I remember looking at the table desperately trying to find the sucker and then thinking, “Oh dear”. Having said that, however, there was one guy who I thought was weak, but ironically it was he who took all my chips, so I guess I was even suckier (new word?).

TightEnd always seems to telling me of how he’s up against so and so, how fearsome his table is, how he’s so poor in comparison, but my response is always the same. If you convince yourself you’re not as good before you’ve even played a hand, then what chance do you stand? With this in mind, I was willing to play ball with the big guns and right from the off I called JP’s pre-flop raise from the Big Blind with 8-5o. I didn’t want people to think it was going to be constantly up for grabs. Luckily, I hit top pair on a small flop. JP slowed down and folded to my bet on the River (I checked both Flop and Turn), but I was willing to put him all-in at any point (he only had 2 or 3k left).

I also went in with the mindset that I knew their game better than they knew mine, which gave me a hell of an advantage. When I update the Main Events I hear them retell endless hands, and the information I gather on various players is immense, which ends up being a useful tool if I ever cross swords with them at the table. I knew it was going to be tough, but I had to remain positive or just hand over my chips there and then.

Unfortunately, that 18k was going to be my peak as my tournament turned into a big pile of poo. Every move I made seemed to be the wrong one and I can’t express how frustrating it was seeing everything I touched turn to shite.

Personally, I feel I play the early and very latter stages okay, it’s these middle levels where I feel at a loss, especially when they remove the 150/300 and the 500/1000 blind levels. 18k with blinds at 200/400 and then 300/600 are my most problematic periods and I get caught in between two minds: remain patient, allow the blinds to eat away at my stack and let the more aggressive players fight it out or start mixing it up by playing marginal hands.

Well, I tried three separate methods, and all of them failed miserably. When I raised with hands like A-J and 8-8, I was forced to fold to re-raises from the two tightest players at the table, when I called pre-flop raises and tried to play the flop, I either missed completely or was called by a superior hand, and when I tired to steal the blinds it all went horribly wrong.

Whilst the former two actions took me down to 13k, the latter pretty much decimated me. Glancing at the table, I noticed that the blinds looked disinterested so I decided to raise it up blind (the hand was actually Jc-6c). Worryingly, the calling station on the button smooth called and we both saw a Qh-5h-8c Flop. Putting him on a middle pair that he would fold to any action, I bet out 3.5k, a move that would end in disaster as my opponent moved all-in for 1.1k. My biggest mistake here was not checking his stack. I thought he had more pre-flop and when it got to the Flop, I thought asking how much he had left would be a giveaway that a bluff was on its way. Anyhow, I called the 1.1k (which was also probably a waste, but thought he could have a flush draw) and saw that I was drawing dead to a set of Fives.

What followed my reluctant showing of the J-6 was a flurry of jibes, laughter and general mocking from the table, Michael McCool (left) in particular made sarcastic comments such as “Are you going to put that in your blog?” and “I’ve got the snoops special”. Now, I can take a bit of micky taking no worries, but when it moves onto poking fun out of my blog and my writing, then I think that’s below the belt. Having a laugh at someone’s bad play is one thing, but then mocking what is ultimately part of their day job and something that is very important to them is uncalled for. I like and respect many of the people at this table, but at times I detected a rather nasty undertone that made my stay their rather less enjoyable.

Michael McCool in particular is an interesting character. A greyhound owner and huge dog lover (no, not in that sense), I met Michael in Deauville this year and he was a friendly face indeed. At the table, however, he possesses a bit of Tony G inside him in the sense that he’ll do anything to get his man on tilt. A loud voice at the table, Michael is constantly chatting and trying to lure his opponents into doing what he wants – if Michael is at your table, you’ll know about it.

And inevitably, it was Michael who finished me off. Although I managed to near treble up with Jacks (big blind) versus Ash’s Q-5 (he’d made a good all-in re-raise to Michael’s steal) and a rather heart-rattling board of x-x-5-5-J, the blinds soon caught me up and I was forced to make a move for 7k with blinds of 600/1,200. On that table, I knew my raise had to be big, and when I found T-9 suited, I thought it was worth a shot. Unfortunately, Michael made a good call from the big blind with A-Ts and I was up shit creek. No Ace, and I was a gonna.

Although I didn’t approve of Michael poking fun out of my writing, I must highlight a characteristic that he doesn’t share with Tony G. Unlike the Australian, Michael will not jump up and down in your face upon elimination. Whether it’s his exit or yours, he will shake your hand and wish you the best of luck without any hint of offence, and I can always admire that it any player.

As I left, I looked around the table (now graced by the presence of Andy Gomm and John 'Hamsterboy' Huckle) and was disappointed that I’d played with some of the best (or most dangerous) players on the UK circuit and fallen flat on my face. Zippy Aslam (right) in particular seems to improve by the tournament and is quickly following in the footsteps of Ash Hussain in becoming a real force in the game. There is a certain smugness to him and a smidgen of arrogance that gives him an air of confidence that players seem to fear, but if you’re on the roll he’s on, it’s to be expected, so I wish him the best of luck.

Ash Hussain, incidentally, knocked over what he believed to be my drink (it was in fact John Vaccarrella’s) whilst mildly intoxicated. When I asked if he was going to buy another he shrugged his shoulders and announced, “I don’t have any money”. Cheeky bugger! If anyone had any money, I would have thought it’d be him.

I won’t deny that I was gutted about exiting that comp, possibly more than usual as I had built up a decent stack early on only to lose it all with a bad bluff. I’ve always been confident that although I’m not as good as the other players I came up against that night, that I could study the game enough to one day reach their level and compete for the big bucks, but after that exit and for the first time in my poker career, I felt that I simply wasn’t good enough and never would be, and this was deeply depressing.

Fortunately, whilst poker is known for having some real shady characters, there are lots of kind and generous folk out there who are always willing to lend a word of advice to a struggling Beagle. One of those gents is Keith Hawkins who said (and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting a pm), “Don't panic! Sometimes for no particular reason, tournaments just go pear-shaped and whatever you try just doesn't work. Just chalk it down into ‘the shit happens’ category.”

Hehe, the Camel doesn’t mince his words.

Sunday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (7th +£161.60) = +£161.60
Monday - £100 NLH R/B @ Walsall (-£310) = -£148,40
Monday - £50 STT SAT @ Walsall (+£195) = +£46.60
Tuesday - £200 NLH F/O @ Walsall (-£220) = -£173.40
Wednesday - £300 NLH D-C F/O @ Walsall (-£325) = -£498.40
Thursday - £500 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£525)
Friday - £250 NLH S/O @ Walsall (£275)
Friday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (£120)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Tom ‘Red-Dog’ McCready may be a dead ringer for Magnum PI, but sadly that’s where the similarities end.

It’s moments before the £200 No Limit Hold’Em Freezeout at Walsall, and our doggy friend decides to take a quick trip to the loo, a journey, however, that takes an unexpected detour as he accidentally trundles into the ladies.

Now I’m a fair man, so I give him a shout, but if he’s not going to hear me, then I think it’s only right that I call TightEnd over and suggest we wait, camera aloft, for his inevitably embarrassing return, which is of course what I chose to do.

Although poised ready for his imminent exit, Tom took a good couple of minutes before leaving the ladies, and as a result, TightEnd and I must have looked like a right couple of perverts standing outside the kazi with a rye smile on our face and a phone pointing towards the door.

When he eventually showed his mug, he was still blissfully unaware of his faux-pas. How he didn’t notice the lack of urinals I’ll never know, but when we pointed out that the little man on the door was wearing a skirt, a dusty light bulb suddenly illuminated the McCready brain.

“I thought it was clean in there,” commented Tom as his cheeks went red. “I didn’t even look for any urinals, I just went straight into the nearest cubicle.”

Later on the forum, Tom added: “Thinking back, I did become a bit suspicious when I noticed that the hand basins were particularly clean, but I was lulled onto a false sense of security when someone in the cubicle behind me let rip two enormous farts. One was a prolonged purr, like a flock of sparrows taking off, the other was more of a bang, reminiscent of someone discharging a shotgun at close quarters.”

I could forgive him if this was his first trip to Walsall, but he’s been a gazillion times, so there’s no excuse whatsoever. Tom, hang your head in shame, either that or admit that it was intentional. We won’t think any less of you…

But back to business, we couldn’t stand around all day giggling at Bob Carolgies, we had a comp to play, and I knew I was going to be in trouble from the start when a gleaming Chili alerted me to the fact that we were sharing a starting table. A frightening prospect, but I refuse to lie down for a girlie (well, except danafish of course…)

Apart from Chili (left) and the ever cheery Jeff Burke, I thought my table was pretty unthreatening, I just didn’t like the fact that it was up in the staged area as I knew it would be one of the first to break. I hate it when this happens as you can spend the first few levels building up an image and working out your opponents, only to have to start all over again when you are unavoidably moved to a new table. I guess it’s a random draw, so I can’t complain, but I always seem to start at one of the latter tables. Grr. As Chris Bruce said during the break, “I don’t ever feel like I’m part of the tournament up there.”

I yoyoed for the first three levels. I was being dealt quite a few hands but rarely hitting the flop. I did hit one with J-T vs Chili’s A-J on a J-T-x flop, and that got me up to around 6k, but then I dropped back down to 4k after having to fold J-J on a 6-7-8-T board when my opponent check-raised all-in.

I then moved tables and hovered around 5k for quite a while. The hands dried up and the blinds ate me up a little. Down to 4.5k and blinds of 300/600, I raised to 1,500 with 7-7 before laying it down to a re-raise from the small blind. It took me a while to muck as I’d invested a third of my stack and was tempted to gamble on a coinflip. Thankfully, I did fold and he revealed Kings.

I then moved all-in with Sixes (just over a pot raise) only to be called by an under the gun limper’s A-3 (??). No Ace and I was back up to 6.5k. The blinds passed again, before I moved all-in with A-9 for 5k and blinds of 400/800. There had been 3 limpers (2 passive players and one big chipper who was clearly calling for value), so I was pretty sure they’d fold to such a chunky bet, and even if they didn’t, I was convinced I’d be 50-50 at worst. Unfortunately, a loose player called me from the small blind with Pocket Nines and I was in deep shit. No Ace and I was a gonna. I could have waited another round or two, but I saw an opportunity to pick up some dead money (3.6k in all), it’s just a shame that the wrong guy had the wrong hand at the wrong time.

I was disappointed, but happy that I’d played relatively well and made the correct move. I can’t account for what the guy had behind me, I was getting short and needed to make a move within the next couple of rounds, this was surely as good a chance as any. He called extremely quickly with his nines, so I guess he’s either just a loosey goosey player or simply assumed I was making a move to pick up the extra shrapnel. Either way, it was the correct call for him to make and I have no complaints.

Stu had been eliminated early doors and was now seated in the cash game, so I decided to exit stage left and head home. However, you know when it’s not your day when there’s a big blue van parked behind you, sigh. I could just about squeeze out, but my windows were steamed and I suck at these sorts of situations. I don’t recall having to undertake a 10-point turn in my driving test, but this was one of those occasions. With a little help from the security guard, I managed to scrape my way out of what was a tight situation, but I honestly wasn’t in the mood at this stage. Think Austin Powers trying to turn that little buggy around and you’ll have an idea of how stupid I probably looked.

I quite like the motorway at night, it’s kind of therapeutic. It’s obvious to me that the only people on the M6 at 3am in the morning are lorry drivers and poker players. That night, I kind of wished I was the former, it seems a hell of a lot less stressful…

Sunday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (7th +£161.60) = +£161.60
Monday - £100 NLH R/B @ Walsall (-£310) = -£148,40
Monday - £50 STT SAT @ Walsall (+195) = +£46.60
Tuesday - £200 NLH F/O @ Walsall (-£220) = -$173.40
Wednesday - £300 NLH D-C F/O @ Walsall (£325)
Thursday - £500 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£525)
Friday - £250 NLH S/O @ Walsall (£275)
Friday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (£120)

(including registration fees)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Fresh (well, as fresh as you can be after hitting the sack at 8am) off my final table finish at the Broadway, I headed into Monday’s opening Event of the Midland Masters with a newfound confidence, but simultaneously aware that the £100 rebuy wasn’t really my cup of tea.

I’d given myself a maximum expenditure of £300, including the top-up (which I’m delighted to report I was disciplined enough to resist), but secretly I knew that this wasn’t really enough, especially with the likes of Marc Goodwin and Dave Smith on my table. However, this week is about having fun and improving my game, anything else is just a bonus, so hopefully I could get an early double up and enjoy a decent stint in the comp.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Although I managed to increase my 2k starting stack to 3.2k, that soon went south when I was Dave Smithed. Marc raised to 300, Dave flatcalled, and I made it 1,500 with Pocket Tens. Marc called all-in and Dave smooth called again. J-J-x Flop, Dave checked, I bet my remaining 1,400 and Dave called, like lightening, with J-9s. Chips! 3k gone and £100 down the swanny, ah well. I think I made a mistake here though. I was happy to play the hand heads up against Marc, and considering Dave likes to gamble, I probably should have just moved all-in to force him to fold (even 2.9k pre-flop for Dave would have been too much).

If I’d won that hand I would have been on around 8k and looking good, but as it was, I was back down to 2k and never rose above that. I took another buy-in when I ran 8-7s into T-T on an 8 high flop and then just petered out miserably before finally running 6-7s into A-K, no help. A bit of a dismal performance overall and somewhat of a comedown from the night before.

But, as I said, this comp really isn’t for me as I like to have at least 3 or 4 buy-ins behind me, but I’m not willing to spend 4-500 squid on a comp with such a restrictive structure. As a result, I couldn’t play as freely as I would have liked and was reliant on doubling up early, an early Christmas gift that failed to arrive.

I’ve noticed that due to his golf escapades with Phil Ivey and his recent appearance on High Stakes Poker, that Marc ‘MrCool’ Goodwin has become somewhat of a celebrity of late. People are always keen to talk to him and he was constantly the main attraction on our table. Speaking of Marc, I don’t belive he thinks much of my game. With the blinds at 25/50, he raised to 200 from late position and I called from the Big Blind with 6-4o, intending to outplay him come the Flop. I checked the 9-6-2 Flop, he bet 100 (due to being called up for a string bet) and I moved all-in for around 2k. I didn’t think he had much and would probably fold most hands to someone like me. Anyhow, he did fold and said he had a pair bigger than some of the cards on the Flop, so I’m guessing he had Sevens or Eights. Interestingly, as I scooped the pot, he also added, “Yeah, you go ahead and flat call with your Pocket Nines, good luck to you.” Boy, he must think I’m the rock of Gibraltar, if I’d have had Nines then I would have shoved it in pre-flop faster than a sheep in Robert HM’s garden, and also, why would I re-raise all-in with a set of Nines knowing that he thinks I’m a nuts only player? Ah well, he’d only just got off the plane from Singapore (literally a few hours ago) and had yet to sleep, so I’ll forgive him the sarcastic ‘good luck’ comment. Also, he’s a top fella who is always smiling, which makes Marc a very hard man to dislike. He’s also very honest. His reply to my “Why did you go on High Stakes Poker?” question brought a rye smile to my face when he answered, “Because I have a big ego.” Fair dos to the man!

Whilst I embrace the presence of a fellow 10% swapper, the drawback of festivalling (have I invented a new verb there?) with a mate is that if you exit the comp before nightfall (which is what I embarrassingly did), you have the rather discomforting prospect of hanging around, twiddling your thumbs and listening to endless bad beat stories. And as someone who was resisting the live cash games, the roulette wheel and the bright lights of the bar, this was a painful few hours. I must have read Poker Europa about 10 times and have now become fluent in 5 different languages as a result. I also encounted the horror of looking at tikay’s mug every time I picked up a magazine, boy, the ol’ fella gets about! I got so bored at one point that I even recall trying to bite off a couple of short chin hairs that I had missed from shaving. Crikey, that was a frustrating mission, but at least it gave me something to do while I watched the wheel of death spin around and around and around and around and around…

Eventually, I finally cracked and played a £50 STT for the £500 Freezeout on Thursday, which, to my delight, ended up being a smart decision as I took away 250 spondoolies after splitting it down the middle with an alluring Iranian woman. So, £115 down for the night rather than £310 and suddenly life’s not so shite anymore.

Also, it was jolly good fun and the banter was right up there, mainly due to Ian Woodley who I always love to have at my table – predominantly because he is a fish, but also because he’s a good laugh.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Ian (left) became the UK’s first ever televised million pound winner when he won a quiz show on TFI Friday. And if the million squid wasn’t enough, he’s also in the Guinness Book of Records right next to tikay, who is in fact the oldest living man on Earth. Thankfully, neither has their mug pictured.

It was around this point that Stu hobbled (he’s on a crutch due to football injury – I jokingly call him Con Cronin the younger) around the corner reporting of his demise in the comp, totally card dead before running Jacks into Greek Jack’s Aces. That’s three Jacks, surely! Anyhow, that was the signal to exit stage left and we briskly left the arena, pockets lightened, but just £225 down between us.

My journey home always feels a lot swifter than the one there, and I always wonder if this is because I am thinking about my exit from the comp, various hands I played, and whether I made the correct decisions throughout the night. I remember asking RED-DOG once if he felt a bad beat made his journey home quicker or slower, and he amusingly replied, “Faster, because I go at 150 miles per hour after a bad beat.”

Stu and I were discussing hands so much that after reaching the end of the roadworks on the M6, we forgot to pick up the speed again, and I’m sure we did a 10-minute stretch plodding along at 40 miles per hour before we realised that milk floats and three wheelers were overtaking us.

A game of backgammon, which I lost… again, and a few hours of blonde work later and it was time to hit the sack. Down, but not out and ready to ambush the following day’s £200 Freezeout, a comp which I think I have a good chance of winning.

The updated line-up of snoopy’s week of fun is as follows (incredibly, I’m still in profit!):

Sunday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (7th +£161.60) = +£161.60
Monday - £100 NLH R/B @ Walsall (-£310) = -£148,40
Monday - £50 STT SAT @ Walsall (+195) = +46.60

Tuesday - £25 NLH R/B S-SAT @ Walsall (£125)
Tuesday - £200 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£200)
Wednesday - £300 NLH D-C F/O @ Walsall (£300)
Thursday - £500 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£500)
Friday - £250 NLH S/O @ Walsall (£250)

Friday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (£120)

Monday, November 20, 2006


Righteo, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first. Deep breath…

Broadway £20 NLH R/B, 88 players, £6,400 created, £2,560 for 1st, standard was poor, played few hands in rebuy period, no rebuys, won last two hands, took top-up, had 4.5k, doubled up T-6 vs J-4, doubled up 9-9 (first raising hand) vs A-K, eliminated player 8-7 vs 9-2, lost A-T vs 5-5, doubled up A-A vs K-Q, lost A-K vs 7-7, trebled up 9-2 (blind) vs A-Q vs 3-2, doubled up A-Q vs K-8, eliminated player Q-2 vs A-8, made final with 28k, up to 42k 7-7 vs K-J, down to 27k A-T vs Q-J, nicked some blinds, blinds 2/4, all-in for 32k from button with K-Qs, called by J-J in sb, pot for chip lead, K on Flop, J on River – 7th for £224, 10% to Stu, £161.60 profit.

And exhale.

So, a good start to the week. Not a big cash, but a final table nonetheless. The nature of my exit hurt due to the size of the pot and the nasty river, but it was just a coinflip in the end, so I can’t complain. Still, in what was a very top heavy structure, I honestly think I was the best player at the table and would have gone on to win the comp from there and ultimately take home the £2,560 first prize, which really would have started the week off nicely.

I think I was lucky last night, I can admit that, but you have to be in these comps. I didn’t get one raising hand during the rebuy period, so I guess there are different ways of assessing the luck factor. What is disconcerting though is the amount of times my tournament life was on the line. I often judge my performance via this method, and last night, seeing as though I was all-in on 5 separate occasions (3 of them with the worst hand), I think I was lucky not to exit prior to the final table.

Poker aside, last night confirmed what I originally thought about the Broadway – it truly is one of the best casinos in the country and it’s good to see that they have maintained their standards. Friendly waitresses, dealer dealt tournaments, well organised cash games, efficient dealers and cardroom staff that work like Trojans.

I did notice some same village play though, and it’s a shame that this type of collusion still exists. Someone really needs to clamp down on this, because too often it occurs during a comp and although people notice it, they are just too scared to mention anything, especially if they aren’t a regular.

I had a great time overall and I was definitely reminded of how fun a rebuy comp can be. It was tedious at the start, but when we reached the final few tables, a really relaxed atmosphere emerged and there were laughs a plenty, which makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable.

Good to reunite with Stu and reform the 'Lenton Mob', although it does often mean that one of us has to wait around, which is a pain. For some reason, we can never both go deep in the same comp.

Stu made me laugh this morning when he said there was someone humming continuously in the seat next to him. He didn’t know what it was at first and was looking around the room trying to work it out, but then he realised that it was some mad fellow at the table, just humming monotonously, not even a hint of a tune. Thank God for ipods, huh?

I got myself into a bit of a pickle too with the twins from Walsall. I can’t remember their names, but they are incredibly hard to tell apart. For some reason, I forgot that they were twins and started talking to one of them about a conversation I had with his brother in Amsterdam. Very confusing, but luckily he straightened me out relatively briskly. I guess he’s used to it now, but once again, I felt like a right plum. In the interest of fairness, I genuinely believe the governemnet should force them to wear name tags.

Although there were a few recognisable faces, most of them were unfamiliar, but it’s always interesting when you play with a bunch of new players, especially when they make assumptions about the way you play. The first time I made my move, I had 3.2k and the blinds were 200 and 400. Everyone folded round to me on the button and I raised 2.2k with T-6, trying to make myself look strong by not moving all-in. The guy on the Big Blind re-raised (around half his stack) for my last 1k. Obviously, I called and meekly showed my T-6. To my surprise, he revealed J-4. “I thought you’d fold for your last 1k,” he commented. Well, I know I’m no maniac, but I didn’t realise I was that tight!

Due to making the final and not getting home until around 5am, I decided to skip the Monday satellite so I could go into the evening event as fresh as possible. As a result, the new line-up is as follows:

Sunday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (7th +£161.60)
Monday - £100 NLH R/B @ Walsall (£300)
Tuesday - £25 NLH R/B S-SAT @ Walsall (£125)
Tuesday - £200 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£200)
Wednesday - £300 NLH D-C F/O @ Walsall (£300)
Thursday - £500 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£500)
Friday - £250 NLH S/O @ Walsall (£250)
Friday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (£120)

… which therefore means that the most I can lose is now £883.40, but of course, if I keep this up that figure will be a profit rather than a loss. Fingers crossed.

Anyhow, must dash, want to make sure we’re entered into tonight’s £100 rebuy at Walsall. Good luck to all the blondeites! Weeee.

Ps. Ignore the photo, I’m clean shaven now and so don’t look like a hobo.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Some of you may recall that several weeks ago I took on the challenge of playing all the events of the London Poker Masters at the Gutshot Club. Although I ultimately decided to skip the £200 Pot Limit Omaha Event, a decision which led to me winning a Grosvenor Grand Prix satellite, I honestly feel that I gained a lot from the week.

So, we’re back round to another Walsall festival and I’m up for the challenge again. Unfortunately, I’m updating the Main Event so won’t be playing the weekend, but I’m still up for ambushing some of the midweek comps.

My running buddy from the Gala Nottingham days is coming up to temporarily reunite the ‘Lenton Mob’, and seeing as he hasn’t been to the Broadway before, I thought I’d take him down for the £20 rebuy, a bit of a bingo comp but it attracts a decent crowd and makes around the 6k mark.

So, with that in mind, here is the planned schedule for snoopy’s week of fun:

Sunday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (£120)
Monday - £25 NLH R/B S-SAT @ Walsall, (£125)
Monday - £100 NLH R/B @ Walsall (£300)
Tuesday - £25 NLH R/B S-SAT @ Walsall (£125)
Tuesday - £200 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£200)
Wednesday - £300 NLH D-C F/O @ Walsall (£300)
Thursday - £500 NLH F/O @ Walsall (£500)
Friday - £250 NLH S/O @ Walsall (£250)
Friday - £20 NLH R/B @ Broadway (£120)

Considering that the brackets is the maximum expenditure that I am allowing for that particular event and that the events in italics are dependent on me cashing in previous comps, the most I can lose this week is £1,290.

Of course, that’s a lot of money to most, especially when it doesn’t include the Main Event, but I’m going to give it a crack. My bankroll can still handle it, but that’s not the issue at the moment. I’ve reached a point where grinding is no longer fulfilling. Sometimes you just need to let loose, splash out and have some fun for a change. In this sense, I think people sometimes forget that poker is a form of entertainment and that paying to play these comps can be like a purchase. Not everything in poker should be about profit and loss.

Over the next week, I shall try to keep my blog updated with the occurrences of my week. I understand how boring and tedious retelling various hands can be, so I’ll try to keep them to a minimum and focus more on the success or failure of each comp, who ran well and who didn’t, any amusing anecdotes, and so on.

I’m both anxious and excited about the upcoming week. I can’t express how much I am looking forward to playing, I just hope that I have my game face on and that Lady Luck is smiling down on me.

My mission for this week is to (i) have fun (ii) play well and (iii) improve my stamina. Hopefully, if all goes well, ‘My Midlands Mission’ will end with a blog entry entitled ‘Mission Accomplished’. We’ll just have wait to and see…

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Thought that would get your attention, but I’m afraid there are no such piccies here, this is a family site don’t you know… Instead, I’m afraid you’re left with my account of the Master Classics in Amsterdam, which will undoubtedly captivate you to an extent that no naked lady could ever realistically reach.

At first, I wasn’t too thrilled about my trip to Amsterdam as (1) I’d only just returned from Dublin and (2) I had been forewarned by tikay that the Holland Casino didn’t welcome or cater for the press. However, and to my absolute delight, tikay was more than slightly off in his prediction as the Holland Casino were more accommodating than some of our local casinos – a press room, free wifi connection, chip counts, live feed of the feature table and, most crucially, full access to the tables. To say they’d done a 180 from the previous year would be an understatement, it was more like a 540 and I for one was immensely appreciative of their hospitality.

But of course, the biggest joy was left to come, as Jen received a ‘too good to turn down’ opportunity to play in the Main Event. With Irishman Peter Roche taken sick, he offered Jen his saddle and naturally she happily obliged for a more than reasonable 20% cut. Shaking from the adrenalin, Jen pulled herself together to play out a cracking little tournament, making very few errors and even going deep into Day 2. Although her biggest fear arrived in the form of the feature table and its accompanying cameras, she held her nerve admirably, holding her own against the likes of Tony G and Marcel Luske before finally being three-outed in a battle of the blinds affair. Afterwards, I wondered whom I could befriend and poison prior to the next big event, before finally concluding that with some players, I’d rather just go straight for the poison.

Although it was great to see Jen having the time of her life at the table, I must confess that covering 350 people on my tod was a nigh on impossible task - an endless list of famous names, a segmented cardroom separated onto multiple floors, and a staircase that seemed to be the wrong size for my legs – slightly too big for double steps, but too time-consuming to take individually. Crikey, before long my calves were as big as my guns… well, almost.

But of course, it was all worth it, not only to enable Jen to partake in what she loves so dearly, but also to be constantly on the move, amongst the hustle and bustle and feeling as though I was alive. Sounds stupid, but I like it to be hectic – it enables the time go quicker and makes updating so much more exciting, if you can ever call it that. But that’s enough about poker, I waffle on about it every minute of the day, this was Amsterdam for Christ’s sake, the city of clogs, weed and prostitutes – to not mention those characteristics would surely be a crime.

Understandably, I won’t be going into the ins and outs of which players indulged in sexy time and smokey time, but what I can say is that if they didn’t experience one or the other, at least in terms of looky looky, then they were missing out on some of the more unique cultural aspects Amsterdam has to offer.

First, the whacky backy. At first, there don’t seem to be too many around, but as you venture deeper into the city’s centre, you begin to see them popping up everywhere. Don’t be fooled, these places aren’t dives, they’re just like normal cafés accept they sell a slightly more taboo drug, and one that is often presented on a carefully arranged menu, quite a sight believe you me.

What for some may be a somewhat more exciting prospect, however, are the ladies of the night. Free of the usual stigma of a police charge and a night in the cells, exchanging money with one of these bad beat therapists was an offer that appears to good to refuse. Of course, as a taken man, I wouldn’t dream of partaking in such activities, but perhaps because of the legality and regulation of prostitution in Amsterdam, many were fearless in leaving there morals behind and quite happily stepped into one of the ‘little red boxes’, whether there were witnesses or not. This must therefore lead me to believe that people over here in England aren’t necessarily worried about the immorality of prostitution, but more the fact that it is a criminal act that is frowned heavily upon by society, and as soon as they are experiencing a different culture in which those pressures are lifted, folk seem to have no problems in leaving their inhibitions behind.

At the risk of talking too much about prostitution in Amsterdam, I can’t help but be exceedingly intrigued by the whole affair. It truly is fascinating. Rows and rows of tiny rooms, lit erotically by a red light that exudes a certain air of Lynchianism, admittedly very attractive women dancing, posing and beckoning you towards their door – it’s genuinely bizarre. Add to that the families (yes, that includes kids) treating the district as nothing more than a tourist spot that has to be seen and you can’t help but feel you have stepped into some sort of film, into a scene dealing with the surreal fantasies of the modern man and the unavoidable voyeuristic urges of the average human being.

But whether you’re into weed and hookers or not, Amsterdam is a wonderful city to visit, even if it’s only for a day or two. With it’s picturesque setting, beautiful architecture and sparkling rivers, the city differs from anywhere I have seen before, and that alone makes it a place worth visiting. Of course there are the usual dangers (Amsterdam has an overriding number of pick-pockets and street thieves), but if you ever fancy spending some of your hard earned cash on a trip abroad, then Amsterdam would come high up in my list of recommendations. I’m already looking forward to the next festival to hit Holland and am even considering a return trip before then. I’m sure it will be money well spent.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Having just returned home from Dublin, I’m back on the road (or air) for yet more poker festivities, this time the Master Classics in Amsterdam. In fact, I’m on my way down to London now in preparation for my flight tomorrow. Wasn’t a good start though, I was running a bit late and what was the first thing the taxi driver said when we reached the end of my road? “Is it left here?” Sigh. He was nice enough though, and I couldn’t help asking that popular passenger question – I tried to resist, promise – “So, what time did you start?” Hmm, as if I give a flying feck.

Anyhow, I’m safely on my Virgin train now, although I was obliged to stand for the first couple of stops, and am looking forward to seeing Dana again, albeit for just the one day.

Trains have become one of my few stopgaps these days and normally my only chance to update my blog. Most of my time is spent in front of the laptop and I'm a little concerned that I'm developing square eyes, so I only really update it when I've nothing better to do. And boy, is sitting on a crowded, stuffed and ultimately rather tedious train one of those times. (I really have never understood why there are so many EMPTY first class carriages. If you know the answer, then please enlighten me.)

But back to Dublin. I’ve already written a few articles on this Event, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much, I’ll go mad otherwise. But just to touch upon the highlights…

-- Andy Black caused a murmur of laughter in the pressroom when he sat down at the feature table. He dipped into his bag, unravelled some tin foil and popped a sausage into his mouth. He’s a real character and whether you love him or hate him, he can be the life and soul of these EPTs.

-- Much in the same way as Adebayo, I guess, who was making what I understand was his first EPT appearance. A real Marmite man, and boy, those Scandies won’t know what him them. Ade didn’t hang around either; first level, Scandieboy makes a standard raise and Ade moves all in for around 20k (yes, you heard correctly, 20k!!!) from the big blind. Scandieboy passed and Ade showed Q-8 off, cue the routine that all those Gutshotters have witnessed so many times before. “I love myself”, kiss the guns (well, pistols), “I’ll defend my blind to the death”, hand out his card, blah, blah, blah. Part of me (well, the little horned guy on my shoulder) hoped that Scandieboy had Aces. I actually don’t dislike Ade, he can be annoying to play against, especially when you’re on a short clock, but I do have a certain level of respect for both him and his game, but I fear I might be the only one. Oh, and before I move on, whilst PokerStars were filming the whole escapade, Roland de Wolfe had popped a slice of lemon on Ade’s head without him knowing. That’s gonna make great TV. Lol.

-- Of course, you have to mention the final table. Roland, Nick Slade, Rob Yong and even Gavin Simms were flying the blonde flag. It’s amazing to get so many Brits on there, but for them to be blondeites too is uber cool (new word for you there, kids). After the final, I asked Roland how he felt about winning all that money, to which he responded, “I’ll see how my NFL bets go first”. The mind can only boggle to how big those bets must have been…

I was really pleased with updates in Dublin, There were very few mistakes, we posted regularly and informatively and successfully conveyed our overall enjoyment of the comp. After being called in last minute in London, I was pretty grumpy for that week, but in Dublin I was a happy bunny. Perhaps because I’d temporally quit playing online, I’m not sure. It was definitely getting me down. Playing online cash is really tough when you are breaking even for so long, and even tougher when you drop 3k in the space of a couple of days. What really demoralised me was my response. I didn’t eat much, barely went outside, was moody with the Mrs, played 20 hours straight – just not me and I didn’t like the way it was going, which is why I knew that I HAD to take a break.

I still plan on playing Walsall though. My finances aren’t quite as bad as I first thought, so I see no reason why I can’t give the Midlands Masters a good go, there are some decent freezeouts on so I’m looking forward to giving them a crack.

I won’t play online till afterwards, I need to come back fresh or not at all. To get myself in the mood for Walsall I’ve been playing some multis, enjoyable but to little effect. I also gave the Blackpool satellite a stab on Blue Square. Was going well early doors but then got cold-decked a few times, most notably an A-9 vs. A-7 on an A-A-x-7 board and then, with just 10 left, A-K vs. A-A in the blinds. Bah, was a bit gutted as there’s a bit more riding on these for me – 2 days of fun or 2 days of hard work – but it’s not the end of the world.

I received an email the other day from Ladbrokes, my original home from 4 or 5 years ago, who said they’d noticed I hadn’t been playing and subsequently shoved 10 bucks into my account. I normally think this is a waste of money, but before I knew it I was back on Laddies trying to turn $10 into a million. Well, I guess I was wrong, it really does work!

I had to start off at a $5 STT as I couldn’t afford the registration on anything higher and didn’t want to deposit. Incredibly, I actually won it and came 2nd in the next. I almost won the 3rd one too, but some geezer made a crappy call with a gutshot draw and managed to bubble me. Bizarrely, I was really gutted as I’m currently treating this as a challenge. I’m on around $35 now and I’d love to somehow turn that into thousands, so it’s frustrating when you run into a bad beat. Gosh, a week or two ago I never thought I’d be worrying about bad beats on a $5. It’s therapeutic though and will help my game ten fold.

But enough about all that, it’s back to work I go, and this time the beautiful Netherlands. I’m a big fan of Amsterdam, I went there a few years back and had an awesome time. It really is very picturesque and I can’t deny my eerie fascination and intrigue in the red light district. It truly is one of the strangest experiences I’ve had, walking through an alleyway with women selling themselves in shop windows. It’s kind of Lynchian in some ways, especially with the demonic red lights beaming from every room.

Of course, the whacky backy's a good laugh too, especially if you go with a non-smoker as they always make a bit of a tit of themselves. It’s worth going just to sit in a coffee shop and ask for the menu. If you’re expecting Espresso and Cappuccino, then you’re going to be sadly mistaken.

In terms of the poker, it’s going to be a great tournament, but a tough update, and I worry that people might not understand the restrictions we are sure to experience at Holland Casino and assume our standards have slipped. According to tikay, they could barely get near the tables last year and were thrown out during the latter stages. The Casino just has a ruthless attitude towards the media, which is fine as it’s their decision, but it don't half make life hard for little ol' us. So, it looks like I’m either going to have to utilise my boyish charms or whip out the guns, or even worse, a combination of the two!

So, it’s all go, but I’m still enjoying it. Almost a year since I started my blog and boy have I had a blast. I’ve been to a lot of places, experienced many things, met loads of people and learned a hell of a lot. It’s safe to say that my life wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t accepted this role, but every day’s a new day, and I’ve reached a stage where I’m thinking, what next?…

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Well, the good news is that I'm feeling better and am more at one with life. I haven't played online for several days and it's been an absolute blessing. Although my heavy schedule means I have to take advantage of my opportunites, playing was really getting me down, and it defeats the point completely if I am losing. I always know something's up when I play a long session, nevermind 20 hours straight. When that happens it's clear that my head isn't quite right, it's just a matter of convincing myself that and being able to take a few days off. Fortunately, the break in Dublin to live update forced me to do just that and I feel much better as a result.

Add to that the fact that the Dublin EPT updates were, in my opinion, one of our best, and I'm pretty happy considering I lost so much money prior to the trip. However, although I'm still keen to drop down a level for a few sessions, my bankroll doesn't seem to be in too bad a state, just momentarily stunned.

As, in true blondepoker fashion, Floppy and I booked our hotel and flights so late, it meant that we had to leave Ireland at 4am, pretty much straight after Roland took the title. When I got home I didn't feel too tired and had some work to do, so I didn't hit the sack till the afternoon. Then Dana arrived at around 12am and we stayed up until 5. I rose the next day at 11, but, for some reason conked out at around 7pm, which has completely put me out of synch. I rose at 11pm, went to bed at 10.30am, and have just risen with the time at 10pm - not great for someone trying to get back to a normal routine. Guess I'll just have to stay up 24 hours and go to bed around 10pm tomorrow - a bit of a pain as I have articles to write, but I don't think I've got much choice. I don't want to keep sleeping through the daylight and living as a vampire.

Anyhow, returning to poker, I'm looking forward to the Midlands Masters on the week of the 20th. I'll probably have to update the weekend, but I reckon I'll play most of the events leading up to the Main Event, if not all of them. It'll set me back about a grand, but as long as I'm feeling fit going into them, I'm happy to give it a crack. I might try a few satellites for the £500 too, freerolling that would make me feel a lot better. Either way, no online poker til after that event. I believe a month away is just what the doctor ordered.

I'm waffling now, so I'll bring this to an end. Well done to Roland de Wolfe and also Nick Slade, Rob Yong and Gavin Simms who all finaled at the Dublin EPT. 4 blondeites, huh? Not bad going.