Monday, January 29, 2007


What a month, and what an eventful start to the year! With all these new events, the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour in particular springs to mind, I knew it was going to be hectic, and I wasn’t wrong. I have quite a few anecdotes to tell, and I shall do so as we move into February, but with the Irish Poker Championships, the inaugural Grosvenor Tour Event in Bolton and the EPT in Copenhagen, I’m absolutely cream-crackered, and that’s not to mention all the Blonde work that has arisen from the DTD deal and the recruitment of a new technical team.

As a result of all this flying around (I am by no means complaining, it remains a wonderful experience), I have started losing weight again. In December, I thought I did rather well to gain a whole stone, but when you’re moving about so much, working 12 hour shifts and staying in hotels that refuse to supply food after the remarkably early (for poker players anyhow) hour of 11pm, it’s inevitable that my diet is going to be affected.

And, although I arrive home eager to stay above 10 stone, my stomach has clearly detracted slightly, subsequently resulting in a familiar lack of appetite. But I forced myself to eat before to get into the swing of things, so there’s no reason why I can’t go through the motions again, it’s just that it’s so fecking unenjoyable. Ah well, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to reach 11 stone (from my original 9) and, like everything I do, I’m determined to succeed in reaching that goal.

Talking of New Year’s resolutions, I think I recall setting myself a $32k 12-month target for my online cash games. Whilst I genuinely believe this is a piece of piss to many professional players, it’s always going to be an uphill struggle whilst I have so many other things on.

This month, I’ve earned over $1,500, which isn’t bad considering the limited number of sessions I’ve played, but for a 32k goal, it just isn’t enough, which therefore leads me to believe that with my frantic schedule, I’m setting myself unrealistic goals. It might be because I’m still playing $1/2, but as soon as I reach 4k in my account (not my bankroll), I’ll jump back up. I said after my last dip that I would drop down a level and not return until I’d doubled my 2k deposit, and I’m quite keen to stick by that statement. I’m tootering along quite nicely at the moment and, besides, I feel as though it’s benefited me in terms of discipline, which in the short-term, is the most vital thing.

I’ve always tried to be honest in this blog about my online progress, and this did start out as a purely pro poker related blog, so here are my results for January (on average, sessions are between 2-3 hours):

1st Jan = -$640.77
2nd Jan = +$280.38
3rd Jan = +$46.57
9th Jan = +$371.62
10th Jan = +$394.82
11th Jan = +$241.93
23rd Jan = +$362.66
24th Jan = +$170.61
25th Jan = -$5.29
26th Jan = +$276.47

gross = +$1499

I’m pretty happy with how I’m playing. I have definitely learned a lot from 2006 and all the unforced errors I made, so I feel I’m progressing and improving as a player. I realise that I can’t always be on top of my game, but when I’m not, I now have enough sense to stop. In fact, I played a session the other day where I was clearly not in the right frame of mind, it was if I was drunk! Raising too many marginal hands pre-flop, calling to outdraw superior hands, not caring if I lose a big pot – this is what led to my big hits last year, so I’m glad I’m identifying these situations quicker and knowing when to stick the brakes on.

On a side note, it’s also rather pleasing to see the numbers on my chosen site increasing, and the standard therefore dropping. I’m playing a lot more Europeans due to the ban, and I’m not used to it, but when, and you’ll have to excuse the sweeping generalisations, they’re as weak as the Russians, Germans and South Americans, the lack of American presence is not quite so important.

Okay, that’s enough for today. Watch out for some more major additions to Blonde Poker, it’s a pretty exciting time, so keep your eyes peeled.

Finally, apologies for the sickly self-indulgent entry, but I guess that’s what most blogs are in the end…

Ps. If anyone’s got any weight gain tips apart from the obvious ‘eat, eat, eat!’, then please let me know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


A couple of days ago I experienced something that not only shocked me, but upset me at the same a time, not because of what I witnessed, but the unexpected way in which I handled that specific situation.

On returning from Copenhagen, Dana informed me her that her friend was staging a little meal in which a few of their close friends would wine and dine in celebration of his 27th.

Although I was pretty fatigued and didn’t fancy a night of socialising with a dozen people I didn’t know, I thought I’d accompany my girlfriend and try to have a good time.

The birthday boy, Jack, is gay. A friend from their university days, Jack came out whilst studying, and has never encountered friction for that confession from the likes of Dana and Jen.

Personally, although I have never really met a gay guy, I considered myself to have no inhibitions on the matter and would have no problem treating him the same as I would anyone else.

His work colleague, however, was grotesquely camp. Singing boy band songs, clapping like a seal, calling people honey, etc, his vivid campness was enough to make him one of the most annoying people I’d met, and, to my dismay, I was forced to sit next to him for the entire meal.

Don’t get me wrong, he was probably a nice enough guy, and I have absolutely nothing against homosexuality, but I just find campness horrifyingly infuriating. Perhaps I’m wrong, but to me, it’s just a desperate cry out for attention, and I can’t stand it.

However, this didn’t really bother me too much. He may have stuck his fork in my food without permission and constantly brought up various cringe-worthy sexual innuendos, but I’m a tolerant man, so I just tried to be nice, pleasant and sociable and hope that I’d be departing soon.

Anyhow, this wasn’t my main beef. On leaving the restaurant, I agreed, mainly for the sake of Dana, to go for a quick drink before making tracks. Unfortunately for me, I failed to realise that this agreement would involve a venture into a gay club, effectively entitled G.A.Y.

Slightly unaware of what I was getting myself into, I said to myself, “It’s just a club, what harm can it do, I’ll only be there for an hour or two” and proceeded to enter the establishment. However, my confidence would soon be shattered when the reality of the gay scene set in…

Met with gay posters, exceedingly camp music, transvestites, men in tight vests and so on, I soon realised that adjusting to my new surroundings would be harder than I first thought. I immediately felt vastly uncomfortable, and although reminded that ‘there are a few girls here too’ ‘you just have to let you inhibitions go’ and ‘it’s just like a normal club but with gay people’, I simply couldn’t get used to the idea I was in a gay club. Even with my fuchsia shoes, which now DID feel pink, I felt so out of place it was unbelievable.

I swiftly found the first seat I could and quietly sat in the corner, somewhat frozen as I watched the place gets busier and busier. Gyrating asses, gay guys swinging their hips to Stayin’ Alive, blokes in blonde wigs rubbing other blokes’ chests, groups of vested boys in ultra tight jeans boys lurking around the bar – it was all a little too much for me, and I didn’t like it, not one bit.

Jen and Dana made fun of me a little, but to me this was a severely discomforting experience, and after about 15 minutes of willing each second away, I decided that I simply couldn’t stay there any longer and requested to leave. I took the keys off Jen, said my goodbyes, and made, what I then considered to be, a gauntlet run towards the exit.

Now, I know this all sounds like I’m a total git, a complete gay basher, or whatever, but that’s just the way it was. I have no problems in confessing that it was a horrible experience, and the mere thought of being back in that room scares the living daylights out of me.

What I do have a problem with, however, is the fact that I considered myself to be a nice person. I am not a racist, I am not discriminative against people, and I certainly never believed myself to be a hompophobe, but unfortunately, I guess I am.

The surprising thing is that I have no qualms regarding the practice of homosexuality. I don’t partake in it myself, but, as an atheist, I believe that you are what you are, and if you are gay then so be it. It’s not a choice or a slight on your social upbringing, but a mere fact that you were born different to the majority. This is my opinion, and I stick to it. I hate it when atheists quote the bible, speak ignorantly on the subject or simply attack this particular segment of society without any justified provocation, but that’s what they do, and unfairly so.

This still doesn’t deter from the fact that I reacted poorly and in a manner that was unjustified. Living in the Midlands, I was never brought up among homosexuals, and, Jack is probably the first one I’ve ever met. In Solihull, I don’t believe there are any gay bars or clubs, and if there were, I am sure they’d have bricks through the windows in seconds.

London is a cosmopolitan city with a wider slice of society represented and, more to the point, accepted. It’s the norm for there to be gay clubs and bars, but not from where I come from. Therefore, I felt totally out of place.

I’ve never been around gay people. I came from playing football, to drinking with the lads at uni, to playing poker at the casino. The gay scene is not something I’m aware of, and to find myself in such a starkly differing arena, was ultimately rather overwhelming. Simply sitting in a gay club was a complete culture shock.

The bottom line, however, is that whatever the reason is that I felt I had to leave, it is saddening that I did indeed do so, especially when I don’t consider my self to be a pregadiced person. But, having said that, that is probably what I am, as if wasn’t discriminative, then I would have treated the people within the establishment as I would any other normal human being and happily remained in the club. The fact that I didn’t is a slight on my character and suggests that I am not as secure as I first thought…

Friday, January 19, 2007


As you may or may not be aware, there are some sites out there who withdraw $5 dollars from your account if you fail to log-in over a certain period of time. Whilst this shocking and inexplicable action would be enough to put you off online poker for life, there are some sites out there who feel a more ‘customer friendly’ approach is required.

Well, one of those sites is Ladbrokes and back in November, I received an email from their customer service informing me that $10 had been deposited into my account as a token of gesture and a potential way of drawing me back.

Delighted that not all cardrooms could be pooled into the same depressing category, I decided to take them up on their friendly offer and have a bit of fun with a $10 Sit and Go.

Unfortunately, on arriving at the table, I realised that their $10 didn’t quite stretch that far due to the $1 registration fee. So, stubbornly refusing to deposit the extra $10 (which I assume is how they reel you back in), I quietly made my way over to the $5 tables, eager to see if I could spin my 5 bucks up to an unprecedented $25.

Incredibly, 20 minutes later, I found myself the lone participant at the table and $25 the richer, making a total profit of $19.50. “Hmm,” I thought, “I wonder if I can spin it up even further?”

Next comp I finished 2nd for another $15, leaving $29 in my account. Enjoying myself and profiting at the same time, I played even more, and by the 10th STT, I’d won four (3 in a row at one point), come 2nd in two and hit 3rd in one for a combined profit of $85.

At this point, my venture onto the Ladbrokes micro stakes became a challenge, the $5 Challenge, and several questions starting running through my head. Can I make a nice profit out of STT’s? How many can I play before I go mad? How many can I play simultaneously? Can I create a bankroll from $5? Can one even make a living from just $5 STT’s? Well, I wasn’t sure, but I thought it’d be fun trying to find out.

I don’t have too much time on my hands due to working, updating and playing cash (which remains my main source of income), but whenever I can, I find a spare hour or two to bash out a few STT’s. As a result, I have completed 88 STT’s and won $171. Here are my results:

1st = 16
2nd = 11
3rd = 9
Top 3 finishes = 36
4th = 19
5th = 12
6th = 8
7th = 7
8th = 4
9th = 1
10th = 1

I’ve had to endure a lot of 4th placings, but that’s an unavoidable consequence of my style which involves waiting for my opponents to knock themselves out, before going on an all-out attack. As a result, I have more firsts than seconds and thirds, and very few 6th to 8th place finishes.

Whilst I confess to becoming exceedingly frustrated when I hit the bubble, I believe that the whole process is doing wonders for my discipline, which I can then carry over to the ring games. Although it’s only $5, the fact that I am treating it as a challenge makes me ultra-determined to win and admittedly furious inside when some muppet calls my all-in with his K-J or Pocket Deuces (which occurs more than you might think). However, I have grit my teeth and not bitten back once when before I may have been unable to fight my insatiable urge to comment in a slightly derogatory fashion.

The actual challenge is this. – Turn my $5 into a four figure sum by only playing $5 STT’s with a bankroll of $250 and under, $10 STT’s with $250-$500, $20 with $500-$750, and $30 with $750-$1,000.

At the moment, my playing strategy seems to be working as I edge closer and closer to that $250 mark. Although I started off just playing one at a time, I am now multitabling four STT's at once and achieving a result of some sort in one of them virtually every time. Whilst my strategy seems to be working thus far, I fear that once the stakes rise, the competition will not just strengthen, but force me to play with a little more flair and creativity.

I don’t wish to steal thetank’s thunder with his 4,000 STT’s. I don’t think I could ever exceed the popularity of that task, but I thought it would be interesting to share my little challenge with you guys. They might only be $5 STT’s, but it’s the challenge that is spurring me on and I am taking it surprisingly seriously.

Unlike thetank, I will only update my blog with my progress a few times, basically when (hopefully) I reach my respective targets. At the moment, everything is going swimmingly, but for some reason, I sense stormy weathers ahead and a real dry run that has been threatening to attack since I commenced. Therefore, I fear this may take a lot longer than I initially thought, but that is the nature of STT’s - according to many, they have the highest variance of any poker form.

Either way, I’m going to give it a crack and keep plugging away. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to succeed in this mini challenge by spinning it up to a grand, and even though they’re Ladbrokes’ smallest games, I’d be pretty chuffed if I succeeded.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Since the ban was implemented on my site of choice, my income has depleted dramatically with the lack of numbers, and therefore weaker players, turning my sessions into a right grind.

Well, after brief hiatuses in November and December, I decided to hit the virtual felt come the turn of the year – a brand new start, no mistakes, no unforced errors, no losing my patience and so on. And then… BANG. $640 down before 2007 had even got off the ground.

It’s pretty demoralising when you start the year off with a loss. My New Year’s resolution (or aim) was to play more and earn $35,000 for the year, but with the bad form I’ve been experiencing, I’m already beginning to doubt that I can achieve what, last year, was a more than reasonable target.

But to just moan about the ban doesn’t get me anywhere. It’s happened and I have to adapt. As a result, I’ve been forced to tweak my game. Before I could play pretty tight and wait to be paid off by some donkey, but those opportunities seem few and far between now with my opponents more willing to release hands. Therefore, I’ve added a little more flair to my game by broadening my pre-flop raising hands and bluffing more frequently.

I’ve also noticed more Europeans at the tables. UK and Canada have always been present, but now I see players from Slovenia, Russia, Hungary, etc. So whilst I have lost my American fish, I have gained a few amateurs from Europe. The Germans seem to be particularly weak, so instead of crossing paths with the stronger nations, I’m scouting out tables made up of Eastern Europeans.

So basically, I’m having to be more picky. I can’t just sit down at a table of random Americans and be expected to make several hundred in a couple of hours. I’m going to have to be way more selective now and ensure, predominantly via poker-tracker and basic note-making, that I’m not seated with capable opposition. Obviously I don’t always know, but I soon find out, and when I do, it’s time to find a new table, and pronto. One of the mistakes players make is recognising that their opponents are tough and choosing to remain at the table. Madness when you think about it.

I’ve been playing at 12pm-3am recently instead of my usual 3-6am. I want to catch the Europeans when they’re tired and more likely to slip up. Although I had a poor start, which I hope was due to bad luck, I am now finally in profit thanks to a good last couple of days. The day before last I hit quads after flopping a set under a set. All the money went in on the Turn and I hit my miracle out on the River, so I guess the tide’s finally turning. Here are my results for 2007:

1st Jan = -$640.77
2nd Jan = +$280.38
3rd Jan = +$46.57
9th Jan = +$371.62
10th Jan = +$394.82

Gross = +$452.62

Phew, after that crappy start and a poor end to 2006, I was beginning to think I’d never return to winning ways. The worst thing in poker is not knowing whether you’re unlucky or crap, and although I’m up for 2007, I’m still praying that it’s not the latter.

I’m still playing $1/2. I keep getting urges to return to $2/4, but I told myself that I had to turn my 2k into 4k before I jumped back up, and I’m determined to keep to that. I actually think the $2/4 is a weaker game, but It’s good for my discipline, so I’ll carry on grinding. Speaking of discipline, I haven’t tilted at all yet. Considering that I’ve been grinding my ass off, I’m quite pleased by that.

Perhaps that is partly due to a new approach to my session. As well as ensuring that I play no more than 3 hours, I am also winding down the last 30 mins by playing just the 3 tables instead of the usual 4. It’s the final stages of the session where I tend to do my bollox, so hopefully this counteracts that and helps me focus on those latter, but equally vital stages.

I’m going to play again tomorrow, but after that it’s out to Bolton and then onto Copenhagen for the EPT, so I’m going to find it hard to find time. But I’ll keep plugging away whenever I get a spare moment. I was always taught that hard work got you places and I’m going to continue applying that work ethic to online poker. Hopefully one day all my efforts will be rewarded in full…

Thursday, January 04, 2007



Greetings all and welcome to the inaugural Beagle Awards in which I have 19 special awards to, well… award.

Everyone seems to be doing these at the moment, so, being the bandwagon jumper that I am, I felt it would be a shame not to steal a piece of the pie.

We might not have Jonathan Ross or Billy Crystal to award them, but if you can imagine a suited and booted Tony ‘tikay’ Kendall handing out those shiny Beagle trophies, then who needs a live stage?

But enough of the chitchat, let’s get this show on the road.


Winner = Simon Trumper

Taken from his recent jaunt to St Kitts, Mr Trumper can clearly be seen indecently exposing his buttocks to a tortured cameraman. Zoom in and you will see that he has the letters DTD tattooed along his bum crack. I’ll never be able to look him in the face again without being reminded of his white bum cheeks.


Winner = Olabode ‘Buddy’ Ayegun

Snapped by Rhowena at the Poker 6 in Bolton, I’m not sure if Buddy wins the award for best or worst barnet. Either way, he takes home the second award of the night for a sterling effort with the clippers.


Winner = the Doylesroom Girls

A controversial one perhaps as the Milwaukee girls sure were popular, but for those looking for a touch of class, then Brunson’s lasses are just the ticket. Nice, friendly and always smiling, oh yeah, and big babylons to boot.


Winner = Curtis ‘Sheriff Fatman’ Ledger

As voted for by the Blonde Poker forum, the mod takes it down with his pearls of wit. Hinting that Brummie Marc Goodwin might be a little light on his feet wins it hands down for me.

Mr Cool's image was shattered when the shuffle on his iPod found 'YMCA'.


Winner = H.O.R.S.E Final

The inaugural WSOP H.O.R.S.E Event, an esteemed $50,000 competition that aimed to find the poker world’s best all round player. Not so come the final as the tourney was shamelessly transformed into a No Limit Hold ‘Em crapshoot for the purpose of ‘entertainment’. And to top it all off? – History’s most tedious seven hour heads-up encounter in which Chip Reese outdrew his way to victory. Marvellous.


Winner = John Hewston’s magic chip

How about this for an X-File?? What the ‘eck is happening to John Hewston’s chip in this picture from Grosvenor Bolton? Has the paranormal entered the world of poker or does John possess supernatural powers?


Winner = The Broadway Casino, Birmingham

Good service, prompt starts, friendly staff, dealer dealt tables, great facilities and a sensored flush in the loos, the Broadway really is the bee’s knees.


Winner = Casino Barriere, Deauville

It might be in the middle of nowhere and take about a dozen train journeys to reach, but both Casino and town are beautiful. Absolutely nothing to do, but hotels, facilities and food are all top notch. Plus, my room even had a Jacuzzi! Well worth the trip.


Winner = Amsterdam Master Classics

Awarded the title not just for the added money and lack of juice, but the splendid treatment of the players, quality of service and free buffets. A popular comp that everyone looks forward to.


Winner = PokerStars

Excluding the Blonde Poker cardroom (obviously), PokerStars dominated the market in 2006 and emerged as the leading player in online poker. Now the busiest site on the Internet, they have left the competition behind with their secure software and reliable customer service.


Winner = Hansen vs. Negreanu on HSP

This wickedly entertaining 575k pot from Series 2 featured a nasty Quads vs. Full House encounter. Worth seeing for Hansen’s smug “I’ll let you go for the 700” comment.


Winner = JJProdigy

The multiple account player who bravely used the shoddy excuse “My Grandma was playing” upon being questioned about the two seats he was playing when he won $140,000 on Party Poker. Party promptly removed the spondoolies from his account. Ouch.


Winner = Ed Hollis

A hero of sorts. Ed’s 88% Concentration blog entertained viewers by gradually transforming his 170k bankroll to zip, nada, nil on January 2nd. Often playing well above his ‘roll, this was a sickly discomforting read at times, but always vastly honest and entertaining.


Winner = Stuart Fox

Followed up a 2nd and a 3rd in WSOP to finally win a ‘big one’ by taking down the Ongame Network Poker Classic in December for $239,384. Why this guy isn’t sponsored, only the Poker Gods know.


Winner = Vicky Coren

Shocked us all by winning half a million at this year's London EPT, subsequently becoming the Tour’s first female victor. Women and poker, I guess they do mix after all!


Winner = Arshad Hussain

Fought back from a hopelessly short-stacked position to finish a highly commendable second in this year’s EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Only pipped at the post by an American who had to get up for school the next day.


Winner = John Gale

Finally brought home that bracelet he so richly deserves and helped save face for the floundering Brits at this year’s World Series. Paul ‘Pab’ Foltyn just misses out after finalling in the $5,000 short-handed.


Winner = Zahir ‘Zippy’ Aslam

A running buddy of Ash Hussain, Zippy emerged as one of the circuit’s strongest and most fearsome players, winning October’s Grand Prix at Walsall before taking down two side events at the Irish and Midland Masters.


Winner = Roland De Wolfe

Few would contest this accolade as the Londoner takes home the final award of the night after becoming the first player to win both an EPT and WPT Event, not to mention the million bucks he took home from the Bellagio. Fully deserving of his Full Tilt deal.

And that’s a wrap, folks!

Stick a fork in me...

Monday, January 01, 2007


Well, another year down, and what a year it was! In a totally self-absorbent way, I would say that it has been the best year of my life. Becoming a shareholder at Blonde Poker, travelling across Europe to update various live events, going to Vegas and playing a WSOP Event and, of course, meeting Dana.

But, enough of that for now, hopefully over the next few days I will find time to post both a review of the year and a ‘best of 2006’ entry (everyone seems to be doing these at the moment, so let’s jump on the bandwagon), but, for the time being, here are my 10 New Year’s resolutions (or goals as I prefer to call them):

(1) Play more online cash and earn a minimum of $35,000.

(2) Play more STT’s and turn my initial $10 deposit on Ladbrokes (currently $120) into a four-figure sum.

(3) Play more tournaments and online satellites for Grosvenor Main Events.

(4) Win a Grosvenor Main Event.

(5) Improve my online discipline, only playing when I know I am in the right frame of mind and subsequently less open to making unforced errors.

(6) Treat all tournaments with the utmost respect, playing them to the best of my ability, however big or small the buy-in.

(7) Maintain the standard of the Blonde live updates.

(8) Continue to update my blog on a regular basis.

(9) Continue to gain weight, eventually surpassing the 11 stone mark.

(10) Sleep less and make better use of my days.

There you go, a little clichéd but it provides me with specific goals which should give me some direction throughout the year. Whether I’ll achieve them is another thing, but I’ll certainly give it a good bash.

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading my blog.