Wednesday, January 30, 2008



Whilst scouring through some old articles, I stumbled upon one from January 2007 entitled The 2006 Beagle Awards (click to see), a fun little awards ceremony in which I outline some of the highlights of the past year in poker and allocate my own fabricated awards as if I were Billy Crystal at the Oscars.

Although we seem to be creeping towards February, I feel that The Beagle Awards is worthy of another run, so let me present to you, the class of 2007, now boasting three more categories…


Winner = Phil ‘Snatiramas’ Cooklin
Last year’s winner = Simon Trumper

Sometimes in horror films, the scariest parts of the bits you don’t see, and although Simon Trumper triumphed last year with his shock display of buttock flesh, we can only wonder with a great sense of intrigue what (1) is lurking beneath the shirt (2) why Phil would deem it necessary to cover in the first place and (3) why he appears to be more scared than us. He may be Luton’s answer to Brad Pitt when it comes to eye candy for the ladies, but to us heterosexual males, this image can only conjure up unwanted memories of waking up after a heavy night out, glancing to one side and thinking, “Gosh, those lights sure were dim in there.”


Winner = Gary ‘The Choirboy’ Jones

Last year’s winner = Olabode ‘Buddy’ Ayegun

As a part-time commentator, Gary Jones has never been the quietest chap in town, but during the Summer of 2007, it appeared as though his physical appearance had also been cranked up a notch or two as the Choirboy donned bright green hair at the inaugural WSOPE.

With a naturally pale face and a hair colour as green as green green grass of home, you’d be forgiven for thinking that The Joker had cut down on the pies and took up poker. But fear not, there was a logical explanation to the absurdity, and one which was highly commendable. Protesting on behalf of global warming, Gary’s hair was a vivid show of support for the cause and a constant reminder of how big the problem is.


Winner = Dena
Last year’s winner = the Doylesroom Girls

Dena has been milling around the world of poker for many a year now, but much like a fine wine, she has matured with age, becoming juicier and fruitier as the years pass. Never is an update free of requests for the dealer come tournament director extraordinaire, and updaters are usually equally keen to oblige the salivating blonde viewers. She may lack the sword and skimpy body armour (one can only dream), but Dena: Poker Princess is surely the best thing to come out of Luton over the last few years.


Winner = Andrew ‘AndrewT’ Tracey
Last year’s winner = Curtis ‘Sheriff Fatman’ Ledger

As voted for by the esteemed members of blonde poker forum, the familiarly dry wit of Mr T takes it down with his gem of a caption for Messieurs Gosney and Kendall.

Two hours into a classic tikay anecdote and Lawrence's soul finally leaves his body.


Winner = Gordon Brown
Last Year’s Winner = H.O.R.S.E Final

With us Brits chuckling away to ourselves as the American’s continue to struggle against their online poker ban and the foreboding implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, little did we know that newly instated prime minister Gordon Brown would be looking to enforce his own backwards views here in Blighty. As a nation that likes to boast liberty with gambling, poker and other such recreations, it was a giant kick in the balls to Manchester when the SuperCasino bill finally met defeat in the House of Lords.


Winner = Vinnie Vinh
Last year’s winner = Jon Hewston’s mystery chip

The Vegas desert is rumoured to conceal its fair share of secrets, but when the unpredictable Vinnie Vinh failed to turn up to Day 2 of a WSOP event, many feared that he might have joined the long line of dead bodies under the sandy surface. Having held the chip lead, Vinnie’s absence led to his chair becoming the first chair in WSOP history to make the money when it finished in 20th place for $16,212, a quite remarkable feat for an inanimate object, although Chris Ferguson may be in the running for that title.

If you thought this was an isolated case, then think again, as not only did Vinnie fail to appear on yet another Day 2, but he also went AWOL come Main Event time and had to be rescheduled onto another starting day. Drugs, gangsters, debts – who knows, but several months on, and the erratic behaviour of Mr Vinh remains a mystery that not even Columbo could unravel.


Winner = Dusk Till Dawn
Last year’s winner = The Broadway Casino, Birmingham

After battling not only the courts, but opposition in the form of the big casino chains, Dusk Till Dawn finally triumphed and was granted permission to open their doors to the public. They may only have been open for a couple of months, but DTD is already regarded as poker’s capital, with superb services, friendly, eager to assist staff and a fine monthly tournament that is comfortably attracting three figure fields. Now, if only they could move it to nearer me…


Winner = Hyatt Regency, Warsaw
Last year’s winner = Casino Barriere, Deauville

It may have been expensive, but with spacious rooms, a walk in shower, and pillows that were actually stuffed with feathers rather than cement, it was a joy to stay in the Hyatt Regency in Warsaw. A little gem in what El Blondie described as an ‘urban jungle’, the cardroom was brimming with atmosphere and helped the Polish EPT become one of the most enjoyable events to cover thus far.


Winner = Irish Poker Open
Last year’s winner = Amsterdam Master Classics

It may not have found its home in terms of venue, but when it comes to ‘the craic’, the Irish Poker Open never lets you down. Whilst Padraig, Jesse and co rejoiced spectators with barside tales, in excess of 700 poker fanatics battled it out for one of the year’s most esteemed prizes.


Winner = PokerStars
Last year’s winner = PokerStars

They may be lacking competition from their fellow countrymen, but the PokerStars team continue to dominate the online world with their superior software, excellent customer service and superb range of tournaments. Forever looking to improve and move forward, PokerStars always seem one step head of their rivals, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lapping up this title once again next year.


Winner = Dublin EPT: Mallu vs. Mestre
Last year’s winner = HSP: Hansen vs. Negreanu

To quote a paragraph from a recent Flush article I penned…

“Elsewhere, the ghostly figure of Ali Mallu had returned to haunt his foes once more, the nefarious Brit accidentally revealing his Aces pre-flop before shoving all the chips in against J-9 on a J-9-5 flop. A Five on the river left one Spaniard aghast whilst proving that (1) Mallu was back to his old tricks and (2) this event was going to be much more entertaining than first imagined. “I read him for Aces,” commented a mischievous De Wolfe, much to his own amusement.”


Winner = TheV0id
Last year’s winner = JJProdigy

Following in the multi-accounting of his award winning predecessor, WCOOP victor TheV0id found himself disqualified from the tournament after it was found that he/she had used multiple accounts to partake in the event. Rumoured to be former EPT winner Mark Teltscher, the $1.3 million was confiscated from TheV0id’s account making the real winner ka$ino, with Vanessa ‘LadyMaverick’ Russo being elevated into second. If I could vote for myself, then surely Null & TheVoid would be a worthy victor of pun of the year?


Winner = Absolute Poker
New category

Ever dreamed of seeing someone else’s cards whilst playing, well now you can, well, someone could. Around September time, rumour was spreading like wildfire that something was amiss at Absolute, and after sightings were reported of players correctly calling bets with ridiculously weak hands, ears began to perk up and investigations were made. Following a series of hazy announcements, it appeared as though it had been an inside job involving people who dealt in the daily running of the cardroom. It then emerged that Ali Mallu had been playing and the case was cleared. Okay, I made that bit up.


Winner = Boris Becker
New category

If there’s one thing that annoys me, it’s when celebrities jump on the poker bandwagon in search of the dollar without possessing any genuine interest in the game. Now and again we spot players like Tony Cascarino and Michael Greco who are truly passionate about the game, but in general, they’re mostly in it for a quick buck to be earned through easy sponsorship, freebies and ‘celebrity’ (cough) events.

So, considering my disdain for the ugly combination of celebrity and poker, imagine how far my shoulders dropped when I heard news of Boris Becker’s impending sponsorship. A legend in his own right, Boris’ skills at the felt are said to be limited, and I once heard a story in which he boasted of how much he knew about poker, but when he was dealt his cards, subsequently asked, “Where are the other three?”


Winner = Pauly Maguire: Tao of Poker
Last year’s winner = Ed Hollis: 88% Concentration

There are some cracking blogs out there these days: Hard-Boiled Poker, Wicked Chops Poker, The Hit Squad, UKGatsby, but there is one man’s ramblings that have really stood the test of time.

Highly respected in the States, Dr Pauly’s ‘Tao of Poker’ has been entertaining the poker community for over four years now with its continual dose of ringside observations from the poker circuit. His quirky humour, brutal honesty and natural writing talent make this a must read for all poker fans.


Winner = Ian Cox
Last year’s winner = Stuart Fox

My birth year, 1981, was the year of the cock (shut it, you!), but 2007 truly was the year of the Cox. In just 12 months, Ian cashed 14 times including final table appearances at the London EPT, Plymouth GUKPT, GUKPT Grand Final and the Sussex Masters, as well as televised finals in the Ladbrokes Poker Million and the Party Poker World Open. In fact, the only thing he got wrong this year was a rather suspect moustache and beard combo that emerged near the end, although I’m certainly not in a position to comment.


Winner = Chip Reese
Last year’s winner = Vicky Coren

There are many moments in poker that leave you aghast, but the passing of Chip Reese on December 4th was one of the most shocking. A legend of his time and considered by many to be the greatest player that ever lived, Chip died peacefully in his sleep from the effects of pneumonia. R.I.P.


Winner = Jonathan ‘AlrightJack’ Raab
Last year’s winner = Arshad Hussain

As one of the driving forces behind the GUKPT, Jonathan put British Poker firmly on the map by quickly establishing a popular and well-run Tour that spanned the nation from Newcastle right down to Plymouth. The creator of such innovations like the Poker 6, the Unusual Suspects and praise silence…. the Cheeky Vimto, Jonathan has done his utmost to make this game great and is thus worthy of the plaudits he receives.


Winner = Jon ‘Skalie’ Kalmar
Last year’s winner = John Gale

In what was a dismal year for Brits at the World Series, one rags to riches story emerged in the form of Jon Kalmar, the former punk rocker having hit rock bottom before taking one final stab at a Main Event satellite. A fortnight later and he’s seated at the final table and wondering what the champagne will be like in first class. Worth the award for being the first player to wear a Family Guy T-shirt at the final table.


Winner = Ben Vinson
Last year’s winner = Zahir ‘Zippy’ Aslam

Son of Alan, Ben is being touted as a star of the future. With a cash in the Cardiff GUKPT, a 3rd in Blackpool and a 4th in the Grand Final, he’s certainly heading in the right direction. A cool cucumber with his pinstripe suits and designer hair-dos, it looks like Ben will be wooing the ladies as well as the cards come 2008.


Winner = Julian ‘Yoyo’ Thew
Last year’s winner = Roland De Wolfe

In the provocative words of Britney, “Oops, I did it again.” After a fruitless first six months, Golden Yoyo Balls took the circuit by storm in the second half, taking down a GUKPT and EPT title in quick succession to leave both wallet and wife very happy indeed.


Winner = Annette ‘Annette_15’ Obrestad
New category

She may be smaller than an oompa loompa, but she can beat up opponents like Lennox Lewis on speed and has proved that she can successfully translate her ever-blossoming online career onto the live scene. Although finishing 2nd in the Dublin EPT, her crowning achievement was fending off one of the toughest pound for pound fields ever compiled to become the inaugural WSOPE Champion.

And that’s a wrap, folks!

Stick a fork in me...

Monday, January 28, 2008


Very depressed at the moment. Just dropped another grand. Bad cards, bad play, no complaints really, didn't deserve to win. I made a cracking play for my an $880 pot, but still managed to blow the lot unnecessarily. After taking out some money the other day, I now have nothing in my account. Apparently my deposit limit has been reached so that is the end of that.

It's a pretty sad way to end the challenge as not only does it mean that I failed miserably, but also that I won't be going to Drogheda or Walsall, I just can't justify playing in either event after my absymal run over the last few days. It's incredible how it can all come crashing down, but I have to be honest with myself, however much it hurts.

Still, I'm alive, healthy and have a beautiful girlfriend, so can't moan. I don't think the tax bill has been taken out of my bank account yet, so I'll wait until that happens before deciding on my next step. Other bills remain a worry, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to hit the tables again, probably when I receive my rake next week.

What I can say, is that when I do, I'll have learned from experience these last 24 days and use it to my advantage. I still somehow made a profit from the challenge, so I shouldn't be too negative. Also, I firmly believe that if I can be more disciplined in when I play, how long I play, and so on, then I can cut out those big losing days and make a decent profit. I certainly don't intend to give up. When I am feeling better, perhaps in a week or two, I'll evaluate the challenge more thorougly.

I don't want to end on a sour note, so here's the good call/raise I made today when I was winning and playing well.

GAME #819456924: Texas Hold'em NL $2.00/$4.00 2008-01-28 19:33:22
Table Dorado (Heads Up)
Seat 3: Villain ($391.00 in chips)
Seat 8: Hero ($751.20 in chips) DEALER
Hero: Post SB $2.00
Villain: Post BB $4.00
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Ac Js]
Dealt to Villain [8h 8d]
Hero: Call $2.00
Villain: Raise $12.00
Hero: Call $12.00
*** FLOP *** [6s 3s 5s]
Villain: Bet $22.00
Hero: Raise $44.00
Villain: Raise $55.00
Hero: Call $33.00
*** TURN *** [Jc]
Villian: Bet $120.00
Hero: Raise $658.20
Villain: Allin $178.00
*** RIVER *** [4h]
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $1,141.20 Rake $1.00
Hero: wins $1,141.20

biggest pot won: $880.00
biggest pot lost: $400.00
time at the table: 4hr 36 min

profit = - $1,070.42
blonde poker account = $2,715.08
Profit = $1,400.08
$2,284.92 before the taxman goes away

Days played = 24
total time played = 80 hrs 27 mins
total rake earned = $860.85

current $ per hour = $17.40
current $ per day = $58.33.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


The hardest part of this challenge has been juggling playing online with my other responsibilities as a poker journalist and boyfriend, there just aren't enough hours in the day and if I focus too much time on one, I end up neglecting the other. With my work, this isn't the end of the world, but when it's my role as boyfriend it can not only cause problems, but also result in a poor performance at the tables.

Having to live up to expectations is new to me. I'd become accustomed to playing when I wanted, as often as I wanted without having to worry about anyone else, but now I don't have that option and so must balance my non-poker duties more effectively. I've never really had to care for anyone else but myself before, so it's hard to change sometimes.

I still suffer from mood swings depending on my results. I think because I lost so much yesterday and have a multitude of bills to pay have added to the stress. If I was rich and lost $2.5k, I wouldn't care, I'd look at the overall picture, but it makes a difference when the money is part of your survival, which is why I so vastly admire those who grind out a living playing this game.

Today in particular I realised that even though I was maintaining a healthy lifestyle, my emotional relationship with my girlfriend was in danger of deteriorating, both because of the time I was spending online (both work and play) and my downbeat mood after losing.

Today was split into two sessions: pre-argument and post-argument. This morning I felt I played well, but suffered two nasty coolers and ended up losing $400. Also, I felt the standard play was stronger today, so I’m not sure if playing during the day on a Sunday is a wise move.

In the evening, I played a better game and was free from the concerns of my relationship, but still only managed a $50 profit leaving with me with a $350 loss for the week. This game keeps knocking me down, but I’ll just have to get back up again.

I came across this drunk guy today. He overbet all his hands with pretty much any two cards, and prior to my realising that something was amiss, managed to fluke $200 off me. I then doubled up when he bet $88 into a $22 pot and an A-J-Q-J-K board. I pushed all-in for $450 with K-J and he called with T-2. At this point I got rather excited and started chatting with him in the chatbox in order to keep him happy. I didn't get much more out of him after that, but we did enjoy the most bizarre exchange of dialogue I've encountered thus far. I have of course changed the monikers to something more suitable. Finally, it should be noted that this is condensed chat. Mr Reed folded one hand after saying he would make it $50, so I felt justified in my final move.

Mr Reed inexplicably moves all-in for $750…

Oliver Reed: ops missclick
Barman Beagle: lol
Barman Beagle: what did u have
Oliver Reed: had t8o
Oliver Reed: lol
Oliver Reed: wops
And then it all becomes clear…

Oliver Reed: im drunk didt saw pair lool
Our Barman Beagle suddenly seems more interested in chatting…

Barman Beagle: lucky river
Barman Beagle: for me
Barman Beagle: where r u from?
Oliver Reed: for me too i though lol
Oliver Reed: Europe

Blimey, I think I’ve been there…

Oliver Reed: u
Barman Beagle: uk
Barman Beagle: u english?
Oliver Reed: no
Barman Beagle: not welsh?
Oliver Reed: 1 i know now im drunk lol
Barman Beagle: france?
Oliver Reed: ugadabugada

Oh yes, of course, ugadabugada, that was my next guess.

Barman Beagle: ah - nice country
Barman Beagle: went there last week
Oliver Reed: y pretty sick
Oliver Reed: im gus mother
Oliver Reed: so sick isnt it
Barman Beagle: Gus Hansen?
Oliver Reed: ofc
Oliver Reed: hes a fish i learn him

Haven’t we all, in fact I learned him just last week.

Barman Beagle: he lives in monte carlo
Barman Beagle: although danish i think
Oliver Reed: hes from mozambik
Oliver Reed: i bring him

No, no, I don’t want to play Gus, I want to play you, my new best friend.

Barman Beagle: yes, the Danish region
Oliver Reed: he didnt know whos his father to now
Barman Beagle: what do you mean?
Oliver Reed: i am bluffing him all life
Oliver Reed: and my husband too lol
Barman Beagle: you mean you are his father and you haven't told him?
Oliver Reed: anyway
Barman Beagle: like in Star Wars

I knew Gus had his secrets, but imagine how big the 2+2 thread would be once this gets out. 50 pages I reckon!

Oliver Reed: im his mother
Barman Beagle: u can't be both
Oliver Reed: was father then i changed sex

100 pages!

Barman Beagle: fair enough
Oliver Reed: and invitro
Barman Beagle: you kinda look male still tho
Barman Beagle: with the suit and everything
Oliver Reed: strings


Oliver Reed: only now
Barman Beagle: what strings?
Oliver Reed: striing bikini

Of course.

Oliver Reed: winy winny string bikini


Oliver Reed: gimme another beer 1 sec

Wait there, let me hold open the fridge door for you.

Oliver Reed: ok lets go 50 in the dark next hand preflop then check to the end?


Barman Beagle: how do i know you'll check though?
Oliver Reed: u in?
Oliver Reed: i will
Oliver Reed: i promise
Barman Beagle: but i don't know you

Mr Reed has been overbetting every hand with random cards and all the time we’ve been chatting I’ve been dealt the worst run of cards I’ve ever experienced as he continues to make it 30 or so dollars pre-flop every hand with blinds of $2/4. However, on this occasion, although suspicious, I have an Ace and am in position so decide to see what happens. I also want to keep him happy so he doesn’t bugger off.

Barman Beagle: Okay, why not.

Mr Reed proceeds to flop the nut straight with 7-5 and, as was his word, checks it down.

Oliver Reed: so sick
Barman Beagle: nh
Oliver Reed: ty
Barman Beagle: so sick that u flopped str8
Oliver Reed: ok next hand 100 pre flop check to the end?

Crikey, now this is getting expensive.

Oliver Reed: next hand 100?
Barman Beagle: 100 is a lot
Barman Beagle: 50?
Oliver Reed: ok

In the small blind I find a good hand again and type $50 in the raise box, confident that he will call with any two and check it down because… well, he’s insane.

Oliver Reed: 50 not 52 The bet came out as 52, and he folded! Talk about nit-picking.

Barman Beagle: fold?
Barman Beagle: lol
Oliver Reed: next or now?
Barman Beagle: don't mind
Oliver Reed: lets next then

Here we go again, this time he flops the third nut flush with J-Ts and, again, checks it down. This is bizarre.

Oliver Reed: so sick:)
Barman Beagle: wow
Barman Beagle: incredible
Oliver Reed: lady luck
Barman Beagle: weird
Oliver Reed: if u wanna try my nut again just say when

I beg your pardon?

Barman Beagle: what do u mean?
Oliver Reed: 50 again next hand ?

Look, I just want your money!

Oliver Reed: i guess ill have nuts on flop again

I agree to this $50 game, realising that it’s a coinflip, but will at least keep him at the table. Frustratingly, he makes the nut flush, although he did have to wait till the Turn this time.

Oliver Reed: on turn now

Barman Beagle: oh my god Hopefully now this silly game is behind us and I can just take his money by waiting for a hand.

Oliver Reed: lets go every hand?
Oliver Reed: 5 in a row?


Barman Beagle: brilliant
Oliver Reed: cmon
Barman Beagle: u keep winning

Naturally, I decide that raising to $50 each hand and checking it down isn’t particularly +ev.

Oliver Reed: why u folded
Oliver Reed: no more?
Barman Beagle: can't do em every hand
Barman Beagle: I quite like normal play
Barman Beagle: lol
Oliver Reed: no more 50 u mean?
Barman Beagle: why not just 20 every hand?
Oliver Reed: booring

Hey, I’m scintillating! You have the advantage of being pissed.

Oliver Reed: ok im leaving say how much for the end u can get
back all my 50s

Nooooo. Please stay. You are Gus Hansen’s transsexual sole parent. I believe you!

Barman Beagle: how do you mean?
Oliver Reed: how much for the last next hand im leaving
Barman Beagle: 20?
Oliver Reed: ok
Oliver Reed: real last

Queens!!! Right, what the hell do I do here, do I stay true to my word and check it down? Nahhhh.

Oliver Reed: wtf

Let’s re-raise all-in.

Barman Beagle: gambling
Oliver Reed: ffs
Oliver Reed: bye


biggest pot won: $906.00
biggest pot lost: $400.00
time at the table: 6hr 13 min

profit = - $356.70
blonde poker account = $3,785.50
$1,214.50 before the taxman goes away

Days played = 23
total time played = 75 hrs 51 mins
total rake earned = $860.85

current $ per hour = $32.77
current $ per day = $108.07

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Well, I commented that the blog was in danger of becoming boring, so I guess here's the rollercoaster that draws so many to BlueScouse. Today I lost $2,265.29.

I'm very demoralised at the moment. I can handle losing, it's just that it makes things a lot more difficult than they were yesterday. Basically, Drogheda is pretty much out of the question now, which is a big disappointment as I wanted to play a 50k event. I played for almost six hours today cooped up in my room like a hermit, so Dana hates me. Most worringly, though, it makes paying bills difficult. I posted my tax bill of £2,465.01 just now to make sure it's out of the way and paid for, but I also have other money problems to worry about, such as paying the rent, council tax, car tax, telephone bill, accountacy fee, a holdiay in Chicago, all of which are going to mean I have to keep playing to survive. I have so many transactions hovering in cyber space and several invoices in need of paying, that I barely know how much money I have at the moment, but losing over a grand in pound sterling isn't something I can afford to do.

However, I've been here before, so I must look a the positives:

(1) I'm bruised and battered, but don't feel too depressed, kind of relieved in fact that I'm not playing anymore. Just closing the table is like a weight off my shoulders and I can focus on starting a fresh and winning money again. It's almost as if I felt I had to get that loss out of my system, and now I have to learn from it and move on.

(2) I am due some rakeback which will surely be near the $1k mark. This will soften the blow somewhat. Unfortunately, it won't aid my challenge as I finish on the 31st of the month and the rakeback gets paid on the first Sunday of February, but it will at least be a nice reward to look forward to. It's wierd, even when you're losing thousands at the table, the thought that you are at least creating rake is bizarrely comforting.

(3) The challenge is not out of sight. I've still got 5 days to earn $858.80 which is $214.7 per day (excluding Monday when I said I'd take Dana ice-skating). If I play my 'A' game again, I can achieve that.

(4) If I'd have known that after 22 days, I'd be on $4,142.20, then I probably would have taken it. It's distressing in the fact that the last week and all the hours I've put in have gone to waste, but poker is full of ups and downs, no one's perfect, and I need to look at the overall picture, which is that I have proved that after a short time learning the game, I am capable of winning at heads-up. If I can just eliminate these black days where I dump four figure sums, then I believe I can make a decent living out of the game.

Okay, I'm doing my best to remain confident, but it's not easy. I didn't eat up until a few moments ago, so I need to make sure that my diet remains good. Also, no getting lazy and going to bed late, missing meals, not going on my runs, etc. I need to take the hit on the chin and continue as normal. I've got to keep an eye on my work load too and make sure I keep up to date with articles, blonde poker, etc. This challenge would be so much easier if I didn't have a regular job to attend to.

The next few days are going to be tough mentally, mainly because of the bills that need paying over the upcoming weeks. This is the first time ever in my life that they've really concerned me. I can take not having a bankroll, but worrying about bills is something that I always intended to avoid.

biggest pot won: $937.40
biggest pot lost: $276.00
time at the table: 5hr 54 min

profit = - $2,265.29
blonde poker account = $4,142.20
$858.80 before the taxman goes away

Days played = 22
total time played = 69 hrs 38 mins
total rake earned = $860.85

current $ per hour = $40.82
current $ per day = $129.19

Friday, January 25, 2008


Again, nothing too scintillating to report, but I guess that's what grinding out a living is all about, and to be honest, I'm perfectly happy with maintaining momentum and winning a few hundred a day. As long as I can pay my bills, buy into a few major tournaments and continue enjoying what is basically a pretty easy life, that's fine by me.

Today I started $250 down, but got it all back against some loosey goosey French dude. He took a $40 bite out me on the first hand, so when I was dealt Pocket Kings on the next hand, I re-raised all-in for a big overbet hoping he'd think I was tilting and call with Jacks, A-K, etc. He didn't call in the end, but he used up his entire clock before saying, "Tu jou comment". Anyone know what that means?

After a while, it became obvious that he was a very weak player, playing too many hands and calling down too many bets, so I sat back and remained patient, whilst still making bluffs into small pots that I knew were going to be called just so he didn't notice that I'd rocked up. I eventually cleaned him out when I pushed all-in for way over the pot with A-K on a 9-T-Q-J board. He somehow called with 8-7 and that was that. Before I could ask "plus?" in the chatbox he was gone, and I was left to count my money and add my new penpal to my buddy list.

It didn't all go my way today though, as the first guy was a nightmare. I just couldn't get going against him and it took me ages to find my feet. The game was pretty slow, so I started speaking to him in the chatbox and learned that he was from Bahrain where, of course, they are famed for their poker.

At one point I was starting to pull some of my deficit back, when he suddenly announced that he was going to finish in 15 minutes. I then frantically found myself raising a lot more and trying to get back to even before he left. Of course, my overly aggressive style won me a few blinds, but once he found a hand, he took a load back off me.

This got me to wondering, can a 15 minute warning be used as a strategy? If am beating someone and can see that perhaps they are becoming slightly frustrated, is it worth saying "Last few hands for me" or "Gotta go in ten"? I think this might make them play faster in a bid to get their chips back before you leave and hopefully lead to more mistakes being made. You might just be bollocking and have no intention of leaving the table, but I reckon I'm gonna give it a go and see if it makes a difference. I believe the chatbox is a real weapon in heads-up and something I'll be investigating further.

You may notice that I haven't put in too many hours of late, but that's not just due to laziness, but because the tables have been rather dry. Therefore, I seem to spend much of my time sitting at tables waiting, making the actual playing time just a couple of hours. I could play the regulars or pursue the maximum sit-down players, but it doesn't seem to be +ve unless I have extensive notes on them. The optimum strategy for me as an individual seems to be to wait around until someone sits with around half my stack. This means that they can get lucky, double up and still lack a chip advantage. Also, I find these players tend to rack off more, as in when they get down to a certain amount, instead of refilling like the max sitdown dudes do, they just start searching for opportunies to shovel it in with a marginal hand. I call this the 'cracking point' as many players begin to crack at say $50, $100, etc and start racking off.

Still need to update my players notes, some familair names are starting to crop up and I find myself scrambling through my notes trying to find out if I should be playing them or not. If I add them to my spreadsheet of players, it makes it a whole lot easier.

Tomorrow will hopefully be a lucrative day, so I may put in more hours. I won nearly a grand last Saturday, so fingers crossed that I can repeat that score and exceed the $7k mark. Ireland is only a couple of weeks away, and I still want to raise enough money to play the Main Event from my poker winnings. Also there's the cost of expenses, but hopefully $500-$1k rakeback will help with that.

biggest pot won: $485.00
biggest pot lost: $276.00
time at the table: 2hr 13min

profit = $229.20
blonde poker account = $6,407.49
-$1,407.49 to go before the tax man comes back

Days played = 21
total time played = 63 hrs 44 mins
total rake earned = $860.85

current $ per hour = $78.73
current $ per day = $238.93

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Ever since I ambushed the heads up tables a few months ago, there have only been two types of players that have fleeced me for all I have. One is the experienced, aggressive player that I should have avoided, and the other is the totally unpredictable Limit player who has an infuriating habit of min betting every street, refusing to fold, and then betting over the pot when you least expect it.

In the past, the latter of those two has always been beatable, but too often their unorthodox play, and perhaps a little good fortune, has bamboozled me to the point of tilt. If I get beaten by some muppet who got lucky, then I find it a lot more manageable, but if it's a guy who is min betting left, right and centre and causing my brain to melt, I just feel like exploding.

The big error I make with these guys is not studying their game enough. Frequently I'll lose my patience and just call them down with bottom pair, only to find they have me beat come the river. I end up paying them off way too much for what is a weak hand, and then find myself having to grind my way back up to what I had before. After a few hands like these, those $4 really add up and you find yourself refilling more often than you realise. Also, I tend to assume that they're fish, just because they're min betting all the time. However, this isn't always true, and if they have their wits about them, they can pray on this by altering their game slightly and start bluffing more strategically.

For instance, what do you do if your opponent is min-raising almost every hand pre-flop from the button and then betting $4 on the Flop? With $4 already in, it's hard to fold pre-flop, and again on the Flop, what if you have bottom pair? Can you fold for another $4? How about re-raising? You're out of position and many of these types of players tend to be calling stations to an extent, so often call the re-raise and then min bet the Turn. Do you call again? Where does it end? What about the River? What do you if they suddenly decide to bet big and you have something like top pair?

Well, as you can imagine, my naive approach to these players, many of whom are actually better than their bizzare betting patterns might suggest, has cost me at times, way too much money. But, recently, I've been able to confront them with a more level head, studying their play more carefully and working out my best strategy. I ultimately decided that I'm best folding weak hands pre-flop. Most of the time they are unlikely to hit, and I don't want to be calling off a total of $12 down the streets with something like king high. Instead, I've been ensuring that I stick to connecting cards or hands that have more potential. I can't be calling with 9-3o, hitting a 3 and then just calling him down. Also, the chances are that I'll miss and then just fold to his continuation bet, meaning another $4 wasted.

I think position is the key with these guys, meaning that making that pre-flop out of position fold for just an extra $4 becomes a +ve move. I want to be playing each street in position, and if I do decide to make a re-raise, then I'll at least be able to see what he does on the Turn at which point I'd hope to know what his Turn action means and how I can utilise that information.

Most of the time, I can pick out enough patterns in their play to adjust my game accordingly. Today, however, I found it virtually impossible. Sitting with $400, I was joined by a min-bettor whose betting patterns were simply unfathomable. They were so confusing, that I almost concluded them to be random.

About 65% of the time, he'd bet $4, 20% he'd check, 10% he'd make a normal pot raise or slight overbet, 3% of the time he'd push all-in unprovoked and 2% of the time he'd min check-raise. I tested out all of these different variants, and he held monsters on some occasions, and nothing on others. It was simply mind-boggling and I seemed unable to garner any decisive tells on the decisions he made.

I recall him shoving all-in early doors for $350 with virtually nothing in the pot. I assumed he had the nuts and folded. However, he did this a number of times, too many for it to be continual nuts in fact, and I started to become suspicious. However, having the nuts frequently isn't impossible, so if he pushes all-in for so much, and you have two pair, how can you justify calling? One hand I'd Turned a straight and bet it out, knowing that there was a good chance that he was calling all the way. He did indeed call, but when the River paired the board, he pushed all-in for everything I had. Having been beaten up by his constant min betting and casual all-ins, I was so close to calling, but eventually folded, knowing that if he was making these moves with non-nuts, then sooner or later I'd catch him at it with a stronger hand than a straight. These are probably the hands I would have called once though, if only through frustration.

After a while, I was dismayed to see that I'd somehow dumped $300 to this bloke, the pots never exceeding the $100 mark. Whatever I did, I just couldn't get a good read on him, and I couldn't seem to decipher if it was because he was playing me like a fiddle, or was actually pissing about and just being lucky. At one point, I did start grinding it back to around $200 down, but we hovered around that mark for ages, so I never felt like I'd genuinely got the better of him.

Finally and after about 90 minutes of play, I caught the fucker. On a 6-K-Q-6-6 board and with just $88 in the pot, he made an out of position all-in push for $389.80 with K-J and I called with 6-7. That hand that I'd been waiting for had finally arrived, and it resulted in a nice, tasty $866.60 pot going the Beagle's way. I knew it would come sooner or later, I just didn't expect it to be quads.

Anyway, I left that table wondering if I'd been lucky to find quads, or just had my patience inevitably rewarded. I never felt like I had him sussed at any point, but at the same time, knew if I did Flop a set against an overpair or something, he was liable to make that ridiculous all-in push. In a way, it's a shame, because I really wanted to break him down gradually, work out where I should be folding, raising, etc and grind him down to nothing. Don't get me wrong, I was overjoyed that he presented his stack to me, but I think it may have been slightly more satisfying to correctly assess his play and clean him out bit by bit.

I once saw an episode of Games Master where a Japanese dude was taking on 100 of Britain's best Virtual Fighter players. They all stood in a line, and he played them one-by-one in a best of three bout. Before the show had ended, he'd beaten the lot, every single one. In the post-match interview, he claimed that the toughest players were actually the ones that weren't particularly good at the game because they were so much more unpredictable than the others. He wasn't used to the decisions they made, and it threw him off his guard and caused him to make mistakes. However, he still beat them in the end, even if their unpredictability had taken the odd round off him. Let's hope I can do the same in heads-up poker.

biggest pot won: $866.60
biggest pot lost: $136.00
time at the table: 1hr 38min

profit = $405.08
blonde poker account = $6,188.29
-$1,188.29 to go before the tax man comes back

Days played = 20
total time played = 61 hrs 31 mins
total rake earned = $860.85

current $ per hour = $79.46
current $ per day = $244.41


A no thrills update today because (1) I'm going to Dana's gig tonight and so need to get some work done pronto, (2) I prefer to pen updates on the night rather worry about it the following day and (3) I can't remember what the feck happened yesterday anyhow.

Will post today's results later tonight, but for now, here are the scores on the doors after yesterday's session:

biggest pot won: $252.50
biggest pot lost: $280.30
time at the table: 2hr 1min

profit = $243.15
blonde poker account = $5,783.21
-$783.21 to go before the tax man comes back

Days played = 19
total time played = 59 hrs 53 mins
total rake earned = $860.85
current $ per hour = $74.87
current $ per day = $235.96

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


If you kidnapped the Fonz, lodged him in a fridge jam-packed with cucumbers and shipped him off to the North Pole, he still wouldn't be as cool as the cold deck I experienced yesterday. I always think a cooler's more entertaining than a bad beat, especially when your opponent calls a chunky pre-flop re-raise with T-7o and Flops Quad Tens to put your Pocket Kings in all sorts of bother.

Of course, that hand cleaned me out and didn't equate to the best of starts, but whilst previously I may have lost my head and subsequently relegated myself to playing a 'B' game, recently I've learnt to brush it aside easier and continue to play to the best of my ability. Also, I recognised that my opponent was a weak player, so remained patient and, thank the Poker Gods, eventually cleaned him out for a tidy profit.

I've learnt recently that my game seems to be best suited to taking on players who sit with less than me, even 50% or below. Variance can always give a weak player a double up, but if you have an edge and a consistent chip advantage, then more often than not, you will finish them off in one big pot that includes what they initially took off you. For them to get lucky and double up twice is very rare.

A dirty technique that I've noticed recently is that if you want to assure yourself of a game, then there's no reason why you can't sit down on as many tables as possible. What's even filthier is if you then join all the tables of the other sharks waiting for opposition and then just sit out. Moooohahaha, the Beagle moves in mysterious ways, but sometimes the action is just so dry and I'm a sucker for temptation.

I've been meaning to update my player notes, but they've been piling up on my desk for a while now and are starting to look intimidating. I also had a deadline to meet for WPT Magazine. If you don't already know, I write a monthly article for their mag and this month's piece was on Ed 'BlueScouse' Hollis and his highly popular blog, 88% Concentration. I won't go into details about the article, but it should be an interesting read for all you fellow bloggers if you get a chance to read it.

Re-reading through the Ed Hollis story (Christ Almighty, that was a trudge), it did make me realise how boring my blog might be. At the moment, I'm just tootling along a few hundred bucks at a time. No big swings, no going bust, no feeling suicidal - is this lack of Hollis-esque excitement off-putting? I hope not, but I understand why it might be. This is one of the reasons why I try and discuss some of my strategies. I'm still pretty new to heads-up, so raising such issues helps me think about them fully and hopefully makes for an eye-opening read to anyone else looking to play heads-up.

Everything's peachy at the moment. Hopefully, all being well, I'm on the way to buying into the Green Joke Poker deepstack event in February. Not counting my chickens just yet though...

biggest pot won: $456.40
biggest pot lost: $404.32
time at the table: 2hr 53min

profit = $303.72
blonde poker account = $5,540.06
-$540.06 to go before the tax man comes back

Days played = 18
total time played = 57 hrs 52 mins
total rake earned = $860.85
current $ per hour = $73.27
current $ per day = $235.56

Monday, January 21, 2008

(17) HEE-HAW

GAME #808887351: Texas Hold'em NL $2.00/$4.00 2008-01-21 15:10:44
Table Dorado (Heads Up)
Seat 3: Buggered Villian ($407.60 in chips) DEALER
Seat 8: Lucky Hero ($482.00 in chips)
betis3: Post SB $2.00
Buggered Villian: Post BB $4.00
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Buggered Villian [Qs-Qh]
Dealt to Lucky Hero [4s-5h]
Buggered Villian: Raise $12.00
Lucky Hero: Raise $40.00
Buggered Villian: Call $30.00
*** FLOP *** [8h-4c-8d]
Lucky Hero: Bet $70.00
Buggered Villian: Raise $165.00
Lucky Hero: Raise $344.00
Buggered Villian: Allin $198.60
*** TURN *** [4d]
*** RIVER *** [Ad]
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $864.60 Rake $1.00
Lucky Hero: wins $864.60

If I'm going to post hands where I've made a good call, then I'd better publish the ones where I donned a leather saddle and hee-hawed like the world's biggest donkey. Of course, there's often a lot of history to the hands, but I still made a big boo boo here and desevered to be taken out back and beaten like a government mule. I put him on Pocket Nines at best and believed he was good enough to fold, but, well, he kinda had slightly better. Ah well, shit happens, although I somehow resisted typing that in the chatbox.

This dude was actually a pretty good player, and I have no shame in admitting that I basically hit and run his ass. I tried to fold a few hands so it looked less obvious, but he swiftly questioned my untimely departure as soon as I sat out. I always remember Phil Ivey saying, "Don't quit just because you're winning or losing, quit when you start making mistakes" and I think this was one of those times, so I called it a day.

Hypocritically, it pisses me off when people bend you over, slip one up your exit hole and then scarper straight after without so much as a goodbye, or, when I was a promiscuous lad (yeah, right!), a "have you seen my beer goggles?", but I can also understand the reasoning. For most of the people I play, I think it's that they're gamblers and just want to double up and bugger off, but for me it was simply that I recognised he was a good player and that I was wasting my time. I even told him in the chatbox that I thought he was probably better than me, if only to stop him from following me around in a fit of anger.

From my short experience in the heads-up arena, I've found recognising when you're outclassed is of the utmost importance. Too many people get caught up in trying to beat their opponent instead of looking to make a profit, they just can't handle the feeling that they are simply not as good, but pride shouldn't really get in the way of making money. Luckily, this is one of the characteristics that the superior players can prey upon, especially if they have the gift of the gab and know how to wind up their opponents or, at the very least, are able to persuade them to stay and keep refilling.

Anyhow, I'm back over my target, which is cool. Let's just hope I can keep my head above sea level this time. I was quite jealous watching the live updates in Brighton because although online cash is my bread and butter, there is little if no glory in it, unlike tournament poker where egos can develop and enjoy the warmth of the spotlight. Cash can be so repetitive sometimes too and an end isn't always in sight, which is why setting myself challenges like this is so useful. Tournaments, however, possess a survival 'last man standing' that I find quite exciting and I doubt any cash game could echo the adrenalin rush that comes with winning a live tournament.

With this in mind, I'd quite like to build up an extra couple of grand to play in February's Green Joker Poker Deepstack event. The Beagle wallet could probably stretch to a direct buy-in for this event, but I also want to play the Walsall GUKPT and can't really justify buying in to two major events in the space of just a few weeks. Therefore, I'm going to try and remain disciplined and only play Drogheda if I reach something like $7k. I may never receive another chance to play a 50k event, so that should give me enough motivation to spin up the buy-in.

Nighty, night, fellow donkeys, I've got a lovely stack of hay to kip on.

biggest pot won: $865.60
biggest pot lost: $375.20
time at the table: 1hr 35min

profit = $485.65
blonde poker account = $5,236.34
-$236.34 to go before the tax man comes back

Days played = 17
total time played = 54 hrs 59 mins
total rake earned = $860.85
current $ per hour = $71.71
current $ per day = $231.55

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Not much happened today. I lost a coinflip with a flush draw and overcards, but apart from that, the session was pretty uneventful. Therefore, I shall treat you to some chat that I enjoyed the other day. I never insult people, but I have to admit that I love to wind them up sometimes, and this guy was ripe for the picking. I think he was schizophrenic though...

We begin proceedings with a slight bout of fibitus.

Billy Liar: grrrrrrrr
Naughty Beagle: ?
Billy Liar: joke
Jekyll: jj
Naughty Beagle: u?
Billy Liar: yes
Naughty Beagle: I don’t believe u
Billy Liar: i showed
Billy Liar: oh no i didnt
Billy Liar: nvm
Billy Liar: im lieing yes
Naughty Beagle: u had a-j
Billy Liar: nope
Billy Liar: ridiculous
Naughty Beagle: But it says in the hand history u had a-j
Billy Liar: nope jj

"You won't like me when I'm angry," claims Billy Liar as his stack shortens. Ignoring his threat, I clean BIlly out a few hands later. "Roaaaaaaaar!" Billy's eyes turn green, his muscles start to expand, his clothes tear (although his pants, somehow, remain a perfect fit) and his skin turns a rich shade of green. Meanwhile, the Beagle stands firm and continues to wind up his opponent as if he hadn't changed into a big scary monster at all. The Beagle is clearly fearless.

Naughty Beagle: gg
Incredible Hulk: i raise to 16
Incredible Hulk: and u call with 86 v ten ten
Incredible Hulk: and hit the str8
Incredible Hulk: yeh good that
Naughty Beagle: I had to call
Incredible Hulk: why did u have 2 call
Naughty Beagle: cos i had straight
Incredible Hulk: u had 86 preflop
Incredible Hulk: absolute joke to call wiv that and hit the str8
Incredible Hulk: when i flop a set
Naughty Beagle: but i had to call with straight
Naughty Beagle: can't fold on that flop
Incredible Hulk: obviously
Incredible Hulk: i mean preflop dickwod
Naughty Beagle: oh - i had good feeling
Naughty Beagle: i was right too!
Incredible Hulk: bye anyway
Incredible Hulk: poor player
Naughty Beagle: Come back
Naughty Beagle: Baby come back
Naughty Beagle: With my colour TV
Naughty Beagle: and my CD collection of Bob Marley

After a brief hiatus, the big green monster returns under a different guise, this time the world's most gullible person... ever, say that woman from a classic Beadle's About who thought an alien had landed in her back garden and then proceeded to offer it a cup of tea.

The Beagle takes his time before calling with the nuts... well, it was actually about the tenth nuts. The Tea Lady is offended by her opponent taking more than two seconds to make the call and voices her concerns.

Tea Lady: easy call
Tea Lady: duno y u took ur time
Naughty Beagle: it's not easy
Tea Lady: instant call from me

The Beagle takes the opportunity to make the Tea Lady feel guilty for her impatience and claims to be fingerly challenged.

Naughty Beagle: no, i mean i only have two fingers
Tea Lady: k
Naughty Beagle: you full fingered players don't realise how lucky you are
Tea Lady: ur right
Naughty Beagle: mouse slipped and it was hard to get it back in place
Naughty Beagle: apologies for any delay

Somehow he falls for this bizarre fabrication and suddenly becomes all nicey nicey. Everyone knows you have to be nice to the handicapped. Even the smilies comes out for those lacking all their pointers.

Beagle’s New Best Friend: oh ok
Beagle’s New Best Friend: np
Beagle’s New Best Friend: np
Beagle’s New Best Friend: sry
Beagle’s New Best Friend: aslong as u get timed out with aa and kk
Beagle’s New Best Friend: im happy ☺
Naughty Beagle: i'd use my toes then
Beagle’s New Best Friend: haha
Naughty Beagle: i have ten of them
Beagle’s New Best Friend: 10 on each foot?
Naughty Beagle: no, combined, 10 on each would be wierd
Beagle’s New Best Friend: LOL
Beagle’s New Best Friend: nh
Naughty Beagle: ty
Beagle’s New Best Friend: nh
Naughty Beagle: ty - u r very kind
Naughty Beagle: politer than this guy i played earlier

The Beagle's New Best Friend doesn't seem to realise that I am referring to our earlier encounter when he moaned about my play. Has he forgotten me already? I thought we were buddies. Sob.

Tea Lady: u mean coz im giving u my money?
Tea Lady: lol
Naughty Beagle: no, i have great admiraiton for those who play with manners
Naughty Beagle: nh
Tea Lady: yeh

The Naughty Beagle teases a little more, the Tea Lady continues to drink from her cup of blissful ignorance.

Tea Lady: aj
Naughty Beagle: a-2
Tea Lady: chance 4 a split pot tho
Naughty Beagle: i don't like to share
Tea Lady: lol
Tea Lady: qq always aa and kk on flop
Naughty Beagle: only 3 cards on flop tho
Naughty Beagle: aakk is 4
Tea Lady: i mean an ace and a king
Tea Lady: any bet from u and i fold
Naughty Beagle: oh, yes, always happens, about 100% of the time
Tea Lady: yeh

Everything is going swimmingly, but as soon as I wipe him out for all he has, Mr Nice Guy is shown the door, and in storm a couple of familiar faces.


Incredible Hulk: typical
Incredible Hulk: lmao
Incredible Hulk: do u ever not hit?
Naughty Beagle: i think it's karma for my fingers
Naughty Beagle: or lack of
Incredible Hulk: lmao
Incredible Hulk: thats ridiclous
Incredible Hulk: unreal
Incredible Hulk: nice raise
Naughty Beagle: ty
Incredible Hulk: lmao
Incredible Hulk: hilarious
Naughty Beagle: u have me beat?
Incredible Hulk: b4 the queen
Naughty Beagle: what u have?

Yep, here he comes the little rascal...

Billy Liar: 99
Billy Liar: absolute joke
Naughty Beagle: but the hand history says u had 7 high
Naughty Beagle: 7-5 it says
Naughty Beagle: I just checked
Naughty Beagle: r u sure u had 9-9?
Naughty Beagle: i think the computer must have made a typo
Billy Liar: yeh
Billy Liar: lmao
Naughty Beagle: gg
Billy Liar: obvious ud win the 5050
Naughty Beagle: finger karma

So, beware folks. I can't confirm his name or what he looks like, all I know is that he dons four faces. Actually, it's easy, if anyone tells lies and goes green with fury before becoming your new best friend and offering you a cup of tea, then he's your man. If in doubt, fabricate a disability, he has a particular soft spot for finger shortage.

biggest pot won: $368
biggest pot lost: $204.80
time at the table: 2hr 9min

profit = $368.60
blonde poker account = $4,750.79
$249.21 to go before the tax man goes away

Days played = 16
total time played = 53 hrs 24 mins
total rake earned = $860.85
current $ per hour = $64.62
current $ per day = $215.67

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I don’t know if that title makes any sense or not, because it’s still variance, whether it’s in your favour or not. Either way, I managed to get back just under a grand today. I wore my lucky trousers and even popped the Karate Kid Theme Tune on my ipod, which I’m sure was the clincher. I just felt good about myself for a change. I’d gone to bed early, got up at a decent hour, eaten breakfast – basically ensured that I was on the ball before playing.

It just proves how important the 'healthy body healthy mind' cliche is to me. Two players spring to mind in that sense. One is Gus Hansen, the other is Barry Greenstein. Gus is always promoting good physical health and saying how important it is to his game, and although he's a bit of manic muff muncher making me want to vomit with his Casanova ways, he's got a point and he always seems to be in tip-top condition. Barry, meanwhile, is one of those players who can sit at a table for hours on end looking like a zombie but still give it his 'A' game at all times. It annoys the hell out of me actually as I have to play in patches otherwise my brain turns to mush. I think if you melted his brain down with a Bunsen burner and propped matchsticks underneath his eyelids for a week, a la Clockwork Orange, he’d still make the correct decisions.

In complete contrast to yesterday, I could barely lose a pot today. Still, I must confess to variance tipping in my favour, as this hand suggests. I think I was on the way to cleaning this dude out anyway, but still, tough way to go:

GAME #805874691: Texas Hold'em NL $2.00/$4.00 2008-01-19 12:45:45
Table Oxnard (Heads Up)
Seat 3: Villain ($244.42 in chips)
Seat 8: Hero ($365.80 in chips) DEALER
Hero: Post SB $2.00
Villain: Post BB $4.00
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Qd Th]
Dealt to Villain [Jh Ks]
Hero: Raise $12.00
Villain: Call $10.00
*** FLOP *** [As Ts Qs]
Villain: Check
Hero: Bet $16.00
Villain: Raise $36.00
Hero: Call $20.00
*** TURN *** [Qh]
Villain: Bet $44.00
Hero: Call $44.00
*** RIVER *** [5s]
Villain: Allin $150.42
Hero: Call $150.42
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $487.84 Rake $1.00
Hero: wins $487.84

I did make some good calls that always seem to be correct when I’m in better nick. Took me ages to call this one, but being the one and only hand I played with this dude, I thought his range was wide enough for me to make the call. I think a lot of players would let this go, but something didn’t smell right. I nearly shat my pants on the Turn though, maybe it was the pre-emption of that pungent pong that alerted my nostrils on the Flop.

GAME #805913062: Texas Hold'em NL $2.00/$4.00 2008-01-19 13:17:31
Table Dorado (Heads Up)
Seat 3: Villain ($262.97 in chips)
Seat 8: Hero ($400.00 in chips) DEALER
Hero: Post SB $2.00
Villain: Post BB $4.00
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Villain [4s Qd]
Dealt to Hero [Th 8h]
Hero: Raise $12.00
Villain: Call $10.00
*** FLOP *** [8s Qs Tc]
Villain: Check
Hero: Bet $16.00
Villain: Raise $32.00
Hero: Raise $32.00
Villain: Allin $216.97
Hero: Call $200.97
*** TURN *** [Ks]
*** RIVER *** [7d]
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $524.94 Rake $1.00
Hero: wins $524.94

I have to admit that I was in a slight state of panic yesterday. I just felt so crap and was really down, but still had enough determination to try and get myself back on track. The most worrying thing was that I didn’t feel I’d played particularly badly and was concerned that maybe either the standard of opposition had increased or I’d overestimated my abilities at heads up. That still might be the case, but for the time being I remain confident that I can continue to make a steady profit. Bizarrely, it’s almost a relief when you lose due to bad play or tilt. You’re angry at first, but then reassured that if you buck up your ideas, you can get it back. If you’re resisting tilt but still getting beaten black and blue by whomever crosses your path, then it’s just demoralising and you begin to doubt your edge in the game. I just prayed it was variance and one of those days where the cards just didn’t fall my way. It’s easy in heads up to play well when your opponent is missing everything.

Anyhow, the important thing is that I’ve stopped the rot, I’ve just got to try and regather the momentum that I was enjoying before I went to The Bahamas so I can look to start pushing towards that $6k mark. I did reach my $5k target at one point when I received my rake, but this is about what’s in my account come Jan 31st, so to stop prior to that date wouldn’t be a fair reflection of the initial aims of the challenge. I could reach my $5k and then just blow $1.5k a day or two after. Hold on…

biggest pot won: $798
biggest pot lost: $144
time at the table: 2hr 3min

profit = $969.39
blonde poker account = $4,382.19
$617.81 to go before the tax man goes away

Days played = 15
total time played = 51 hrs 54 mins
total rake earned = $860.85
current $ per hour = $59.39
current $ per day = $205.48

Friday, January 18, 2008


Gosh, I don't think I've ever posted two blog entries in one day, but I've got to write this now so it isn't looming over me tomorrow. I knew it was going to happen, I could feel it my bones, and yes, variance did eventually catch up with me. It's not quite my biggest loss so far, but it's mighty close. Like yesterday, I just couldn't get going, every move I made was the wrong one and every player I came up against was a capable opponent. I did my very best to avoid tilt, skip the sharks and take breaks. I even moved around the flat to keep things fresh, but it just didn't work. Sometimes the Poker Gods just aren't on your side and you have to do what you can to minimise the loss.

It all started off so badly, top set over second set, I sensed I was in trouble but couldn't possibly fold. Then I pushed this guy in with A-K and he made a suspect call with Nines, but I've won a couple of coinflips lately, so I guess that was karma. It's the nature of the beast, but I simply can't help but feel down. I don't think I could ever have been a full time online player, the life can be so oppressive, lonely and demoralising that it would eventually send me into a pit of depression.

If you're reading this and thinking "Ah, never mind, he'll get it back", then that's all well and good, I'm a determined person, but this is real stuff to me. It's the difference between playing say the GJP deepstack tournament or the Walsall GUKPT and staying at home. If I continue to slide down the slippery slope, it also makes paying the tax man difficult. This isn't a blog about a high roller fucking around with a silly challenge a la Jesus Ferguson, it's about some dude trying to grind out his bills and play a few comps. Roy Brindley used to be limited to eating a can of beans a day and relying on poker for the rent, I'm admittedly nowhere near that level, but poker is still my rent, and this challenge is therefore of the utmost importance to me. Luckily, Roy didn't live in Hampstead.

I think my fitness is letting me down. I'm not enjoying playing that much and I just don't feel good. With that in mind, I ticked off a load of my todos in double quick time before heading out for a late night run. Yes, I set off too quickly, picked up a stitch and nearly died, but I felt great, and had forgotten what it felt like to inhale fresh air. When I'm winning, everything's great, but when I run bad, I let my physical condition slip, which subsequently effects my mental astuteness. I rose at 1pm today, which isn't bad considering I went to bed at 6.30am, but I want to see more daylight so will be aiming for 11am tomorrow. I'll also make sure I grab lunch in town rather than being confined to the flat. Staying in the flat for the whole day is fucking up my game, I really think it's that important. I just wish I was one of these guys who could play well even if they're feeling like shit, unfortunately that's not the case.

Tomorrow is a really important day for me...

biggest pot won: $443
biggest pot lost: $552.00
time at the table: 6hr 18min

profit = -$1,135.24
blonde poker account = $3,412.80
$1,587.20 to go before the tax man goes away

Days played = 14
total time played = 49 hrs 51 mins
total rake earned = $860.85
current $ per hour = $42.38
current $ per day = $150.91


During my time in the Bahamas, I received the greatest prize of all... money for nothing, and even Dire Straits would be jealous of the $860.85 rakeback that appeared in my account. Previously, blonde had tinkered with the notion of depositing loyalty bonuses into players' accounts in $9 increments as opposed to monthly installments. Having experienced both methods, there's no comparision. Receiving a bit at a time doesn't actually feel like you're receiving anything at all, but finding a lump sum of wonga awaiting you one dreary morning feels like a genuine award. It's amazing really, both ultimately pay out the same, but one is just so much more satisfactory than the other.

I returned to Hampstead on the night of the 14th, but didn't hit the tables until the 17th, by which time I hoped that I'd recovered from my trip and shaken off the unwanted jetlag. However, I'm not convinced I succeeded, as after just several minutes of play, I really didn't feel like I was on the ball. With Dana working in Brighton, I thought I needed to take advantage of my opportunity to play, which was probably an error in the end.

I didn't play particulary bad, but made some questionable River calls that seemed obligatory at the time, but in hindsight, could have been avoided if I'd followed the story of the hand closer. One hand I also doubled up this dude with K-Q versus A-K on a King high Flop. He was pretty loose and played the hand well, but I almost exploded when the same situation cropped up later and he showed me a bluff. Again the board was King high and I'd called a bet on the Flop. He then overbet all-in on the Turn for around $300. I put him on A-A or A-K and folded at the last moment, but he showed an Ace high flush draw. I wondered if I would have called that if I'd been on top of my game or if I hadn't doubled him up previously. Poker psychology is a complex thing.

I did win a few big pots, $561.44 with 7-5 versus A-K on a 9-K-3-4-6 board (he checked the Flop) and $792 with a well played (well, I thought so anyhow) 4-x versus J-J on a T-4-4-4-7 board. Overall though, my timing was just way off and after yoyo-ing around for a few hours, left the tables about $500 down, it was just one of those days where everything I touched turned to shite. Whether that's because I'm not playing as well as I was before, or simply bad luck I'm not sure, but I guess I'll have to reassess my game if I continue to lose. I won 11 out of 12 sessions before the Bahamas, so I probably can't complain about one bad day.

I can always tell if I'm not in tip top condition: skipping meals, biting my fingernails and generally not enjoying playing poker. The latter is normally a sign that I should stop, although it's not always that easy. I wasted a whole day yesterday, and it's pretty demoralising. The one thing I find hard about poker is when you eat up the whole day paying poker and have nothing to show for it at the end. I value my days in this world, so it gets me down if I waste one unnecessarily.

With this in mind, I jotted down a list of to-dos for today, which includes playing online. At least if I encounter another losing session, but still tick of some of my to-dos, I can feel satisfied that I have done something constructive with my time.

It's hard to moan for the time being, I'm up with the rake. Does that make it a losing session or a winning one? Rake is part of your profit, so it would be foolhardy to exclude it. At the same time, I'm aware that this might be the start of a bad run.

biggest pot won: $792.00
biggest pot lost: $561.44
time at the table: 5hr 30min

profit = $342.24
blonde poker account = $4,548.04
$451.96 to go before the tax man goes away

Days played = 13
total time played = 43 hrs 33 mins
total rake earned = $860.85
current $ per hour = $74.58
current $ per day = $249.85

Monday, January 14, 2008


After ElkY won the PCA the other day, PokerStars media coordinator Mad Harper marched into the pressroom and asked if anyone wanted to come to the press conference to interview the Frenchman. An awkward silence and the passing of tumbleweed later, and Mad morphed her request into a plea, mainly focused on my good self who was subsequently dragged out of the pressroom with my claws scratching away at the frame of the door. “But I don’t have anything I want to ask,” I begged. “Ask him if he’s going to buy the latest copy of Starcraft 2,” laughed uber geek Floppy as I departed.

So, in the conference room, I joined er… three other media members to fire questions at the newly crowned champion. Seated at the far end of the table as if he were the father of the family, Elky gleamed like a Cheshire cat who got laid the night prior. Ironically, it’s probably the upcoming night that’s gonna get him laid. What was that Kanye West song called again?

In many ways, ElkY is an odd character. He has very broad shoulders as if he were donning American footballer shoulder pads and his sunglasses remain superglued to the bridge of his nose, even during interviews, which can only distance himself from the person he is speaking to and make it a less personal experience. Think the Terminator, but French - yep, that's it, Arnie with a beret. However, he is always polite and amicable, and therefore a cut above the majority of poker players I cross paths with.

When the press were invited to ask questions, there was, again, another stunned silence, everyone too tired from the week’s blogging to actually care. In fact, once you’ve updated a number of tournaments, they all seem to merge into one and you’ve seen so many millions pass hands that to be seated opposite a guy who’d just won a couple million bucks isn’t quite as intriguing as it once was.

Keeping blissfully stum and daydreaming about my two days off in the Bahamas, Mad inexplicably broke the silence by saying, “Hey, snoopy’s got a question.” “I do?” I replied with the warmth of the spotlight hovering over me. “Yes, go on, ask a question.”

What can I ask him? How can I feign interest? I refuse to ask him a boring question? And then, like a lard covered eel, out it slipped… “Are you going to buy the latest copy of Starcraft 2?” Nooooo, I’ve advertised myself as a geek. This guy has just fended off over a thousand other players to become a millionaire overnight and that is what I ask? “That’s not my question,” I add in a panic, “Floppy asked me to say it. I know nothing about Starcraft.”

If asking such a benign question wasn’t enough, I had to repeat it three times, my Brummie accent failing to break down any language barrier we may have had. To his credit though, he did eventually catch on after Mad translated my question into slow, loud English and ElkY responded with, “Buy a copy? I’m going to buy a thousand!” That’s one for every player he beat, ooh, I like it. Shame that’s not what he meant.

Thankfully, it wasn’t all dwarfs, aliens and Lord of the Rings, as Poker Listings’s Matt took control of proceedings with some constructive questions, basically asking ElkY how his tournament went. ElkY responded by saying that he had 900k at one point but dropped to 130k which was a worry, but then doubled up twice in a row to get back in the game. He also spoke about Pham, who he was highly complimentary of, but then claimed he was able to control his aggression due to him being positioned on his right. "I didn't want to play a huge pot against him," said ElkY, "but I stopped worrying about him when I took out Joe with the A-Q. I felt I had control then and was confident of winning."

The Frenchman also spoke about his deal, admitting that it was a lot of money and that he was simply focussed on the title. He also believed that his opponent may have played differently as a result, which gave him a better shot at glory.

All this was said at double-quick speed. Whether this was because he was still pumped up from the tournament or because he simply always speaks this fast, I wasn’t sure, but either way he sounded like the dude from the Micro Machines advert and it was tough to keep up.

Parting ways, he finished by saying that he would spend the money on partying and would buy everyone a drink at the club. (I almost drowned in the originality of that response.) Shame the club has a dresscode and was, ultimately, rather shite according to my source. I really wish these Vegas style casino clubs didn’t well… exist.

Meanwhile, I caught up with Craig ‘The Apple’ Hopkins in the Atlas bar/restaurant, the latest addition to the fruit basket. His nickname was blonde in origin, a simple photo of Craig eating an apple leading to Floppy referring to him as The Apple (genius, I know!). Either way, it somehow caught on and within minutes, all of his mates back in Chesterfield were roaring “Come on the Apple!” We even sneaked it into his PokerStars bio which subsequently led to numerous Apple references on the EPT live feed, the commentary team using the moniker as if it had been his handle for years. I bet Craig’s glad he didn’t bring a plum to the table.

ElkY and Craig both seem like nice chaps, although I was obviously remaining patriotic and backing the latter, if only for the sea of puns that would have been at my disposal for my news item. The Big Apple, The Apple Takes It To The Core, The Apple Skins The Opposition, the potential was endless (although hopefully better than those three). ElkY, meanwhile, caused all sorts of problems, the best I could muster (and I hesitate to type it, even now) being… “Ooh La La Grospellier.” To everyone who was forced to read that woeful headline, I sincerely apologise.

Friday, January 11, 2008


A combination of jet lag, mild flu and Floppy’s snoring meant that Day 1 of the PCA was a bit of a struggle for me. The days are so much longer when I’m energy sapped, but come Day 2 I was full of beans again and felt the updates were much improved.

On one of the mornings I had the chance to interview Humberto Brenes. Humberto used to annoy me with his antics, playing up to the cameras and wasting time, but he’s grown on me. He’s also one of the few genuinely nice players out there, and he has a real passion for the game. He doesn’t play for the money, just the challenge and the love of poker. If he is annoying, he doesn’t mean to be, he’s just having fun, and poker needs characters like him in the game.

Amusingly, Humberto can be pretty incompressible at times with his pigeon English and strong Spanish accent. Considering my slight Brummie accent and inability to articulate the English language, this was going to be a hoot. Most of the time we were all right, but sometimes he simply didn’t understand the question, and would often just guess what I’d said and hope he was right. I think I asked him what he would change about the game at one point, and he went off on one about how He11muth only had more WSOP cashes than him because he’d played all the events. Completely irrelevant, but bless his cotton socks, I just didn’t have it in me to say anything, so I’d just let him go off on his tangents.

Away from the limelight, Humberto actually has quite a lot to say, especially about the younger generation of poker players coming through. “They should play small. There is so much money in tournaments, that a young player can win millions just in one tournament and not really learn much about the game, it’s very dangerous. They should get an education first. Go to university and then you’re my horse. It’s all about the long run, like Chip Reese, you need to be a good player with an education. Stu Ungar was a great player, but he had problems. You need to be happy in poker.”

Also on the interview hitlist was Barry Greenstein. He went awol the first time round because he wanted more sleep, but when we eventually caught up, he had plenty to say. Barry’s an odd figure, he’s so small and quaint, yet rather intense. I felt myself treading carefully with my questions and making sure I didn’t say anything stupid. You just got the feeling that if you did, he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that your question was illogical or didn’t make sense.

Throw a good question his way though, and, much like Greg Raymer, Barry will witter on till the cows come home. In fact, when I wrote up the interview it ran for five pages. Normally I just jot down a few good quotes, but so much of what Barry says is direct, to the point and well thought out that you end up with a whole host of interesting comments. It’s all fascinating stuff and well worth the read when I publish it.

I think I spoke to Barry for about an hour. I had a number of questions prepared, but reckon I only managed about half of them. I think he was even late for the EPT Live feed commentary because of me. I think I must have used the phrase “one last question before you go?” at least three times.

The topic that we seemed to linger on the most was High Stakes Poker. For the whole interview, he’d been adamant that being a poker celebrity had never been important to him and the real focus was always about making money at the table, which made me wonder why he played HSP when the opposition is so tough.

“I actually play High Stakes Poker because I believe there to be some weak players on the show. If you look at all the sessions I played, I actually ended up playing the good players and tended to miss out on the weak players. The producers also said that there would be more weak players than there actually were, but several businessmen who would have brought a lot of value to the table cancelled at the last minute. If they ask me if I want to play it, then I say sure, but only if I can make some money from my opposition.”

Of course, there were plenty of other familiar names at this year’s PCA. I also interviewed Bill Chen, who is an absolute hoot. I was tempted to grab a few words with Daniel Negreanu, even though I’d interviewed him at the Vic, but thought I’d leave it. I don’t know what it is about Daniel, I know it’s unfashionable to like him because everyone else does, but it’s so hard not to, he’s just such an upbeat, sociable guy. In fact, I’m pretty jealous that he can make people like him with such ease.

There are only two people in the whole of the poker industry that I am (1) nervous in the presence of and (2) unable to not suck up to. One is Doyle Brunson, the other is Negreanu, everyone else I just treat like any other random person. With Doyle, it’s obvious, he’s a legend. He’s done so much in his life that it’s nigh on impossible not to be in awe of him.

With Daniel though, it’s slightly more complex. I think it’s because I admire the way he gets so much enjoyment from poker both on and off the table and his incredible ability to remain upbeat 24/7, he just never seems depressed. His skill of prising information from people from just being friendly is unmatched by anyone else, and I really wish I was able to emulate that.

When I pass these 'name' players in the corridor, I always hesitate before saying hello. I'm never sure if they recognise me or not. "Do you remember people that interview you?" I asked Daniel. "Sure, I remember you though because you have a distinctive look," he replied. "What, hideous?" I added.

Finally, Chad Brown should keep an eye on Vanessa Rousso. I passed her in the corridor the other day and caught her looking down at my bare legs. I had my shorts on with yellow socks and fuchsia trainers, so I probably didn’t send out the hippest of fashion statements, but there’s no doubt that she took a lustful peek. It’s understandable though, the pipes have caused many a woman to bump into each other before, it’s something you just have to accept.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


“It’s just Birmingham with palm trees,” I proclaim to Floppy in the taxi. The shops try and rip you off, motorists dive on the left and it’s even starting to rain! Aw shucks, who am I kidding here, it’s nothing like Brum – it’s bright, sunny and lively, and the rain’s not proper rain, just a slight warm drizzle, unlike our freezing cold rain that attacks you from an angle and gives you pneumonia.

Not sure how I ended up here though. When did the Bahamas become part of the EU? Will the GUKPT see us set off to Barbados, and will the GBPT announce that Bristol, Edinburgh and Bournemouth are to be joined by a quick stop off in Bermuda? Whoever at PokerStars blagged this one needs a medal! Can't wait for next year and the introduction of the Sidney EPT.

Meanwhile, US customs give us a grilling again. A year or two ago, Jen was inches away from the rubber glove treatment, so I always excrete bricks when I approach the security box. I don’t know why, I’ve got nothing to hide, it’s just they make me feel so guilty that just one menacing look wants me to confess to something... anything!

It makes me feel like a teenager again, anxiously awaiting my fate as the smug bouncer sniggers at my fake ID. “Adamus Snoopius, sir?” How about when you’re actually 18 but have forgotten your driving license, that’s even more nerve-wracking as you know your mates are bound to rib you for being knocked back when you’re actually above the legal age.

When I enter the States, I always crumble under the spotlight, even though I'm an innocent man. The simplest of questions suddenly sound like something from University Challenge and if you don’t answer immediately and with conviction, you fear that they’re going to summon over Big Bubba and request that you bend over pronto. When they asked me what my occupation was, the word ‘terrorist’ was inexplicably bouncing around in my head. I know it’s a taboo word, but it sounds a little like ‘journalist’, and I very nearly said the wrong one. Crikey, I might as well bring my own lube!

I haven't been able to experience much of the Bahamas beyond the confines of my hotel room and the Atlantis resort just yet, but so far, I haven't been particularly impressed as it all feels a little bit fake with corporate infestation oozing out of every pore. It almost feels like Vegas, with everyone trying to rip you off, taxi cabs in every nook and cranny and a resort that closer resembles a Bahamas themed casino rather than a casino in the Bahamas.

It's all very odd, and at times feels like a set-piece from the Truman Show. Just walking to the casino in the morning, I noticed that the buildings were painted a rather grotesque combination of pink, yellow and brown. This can't be the real Bahamas surely? At the moment, I'm reserving judgment because I just get the feeling that the true Bahamian experience lies beyond the constraints of the Atlantis resort which is more reminiscent of Disney Land than the exotic, cultural experience that you'd hope to expect from a Caribbean island.

In a way, it makes me feel sad that I am becoming such a grumpy old man at the tender age of 26. There are so many people out there that would love to be in my position, out here in a beautiful, sunny country standing on the shoulders of esteemed players such as Barry Greenstein, Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu and co, but for some reason, I seem unable to feign excitement anymore. What people don't realise is that I get out of bed, head straight to the cardroom, update the tournament for 12 hours then head back to finish off my daily chores on the blonde poker Main Site, whether that be uploading results, writing news items, or compiling interview questions. By the time I've finished all that, it's off to bed again. In that sense, it barely matters what country I'm in.

I've been to so many places, and seen so many famous names, that it just doesn't feel new anymore. I used to work a tedious 9-5 office job, but I guess it's just human nature that once you are doing something you love, you still yearn for more, even if it's tens times better than what you did before. Like at the tables, you're never happy unless you come first, even if second offers a lucrative prize. We're a greedy bunch.