Bank Tilt

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I've pretty much mugged off the blog since posting about Colombia but once again I was too lazy to post about stuff as it happened and a couple of months down the line its all a blur and doesn't seem like there would be many interesting things to write about. With regards to Vegas, I'll say that lildave did a fantastic job of blogging about the trip, so if you haven't read anything about it check out his blog :

After leaving Vegas and heading back to Barcelona there was the ridiculously tilting experience of having to wire money back from the Bellagio to the UK. My bank being Nationwide this was a massive stumbling block - basically Nationwide isn't a real bank so they can't handle international wires. Many phone calls later and now being on first name terms with most of the staff at the Bellagio cage it shook down that the only way to get my bankroll back to a bank would be to open a new bank account which meant flying back to the UK to do just that.

As most people can probably imagine, banks aren't really suited to dealing with poker players. Bank like to know whats going on and they like to call the shots so when you stroll in to open an account and the answers to the questions 'will your salary be paid into this account?', 'do you have any proof of income?' and 'do you actually have a job?' are no, no and no they don't really warm to you. The next problem is the word 'poker' and this is gunna be the game changer. At this point it depends who you're dealing with. It becomes clear pretty quickly that whoever is sitting on the other side of the desk can sort you out if they want to, so a little profiling is useful.

If you're up against the 40-odd year old woman in HSBC then once you throw in that you're a professional poker player she is probably gunna look at you like you just crawled in through the sewage pipe and should probably return because her honourable and reputable establishment doesn't deal with 'people like me'. She didn't offer me an HSBC account.

On to Barcalays then and the manager there fit exactly the same profile as the gatekeeper at HSBC so I didn't even bother. Absolutely struck gold at Santander though, the manager on duty was a 20-odd year old guy that found the poker thing all very interesting so 20 minutes later I have a bank account that actually works. Now I've just got to wait for an avalanche of paper to come through the mail to be able to use it. How they surmise that posting 10 separate letters with cards and security numbers in them would be more secure than just giving them to be at the bank I don't know but the charade continues for about a week until its all up and running. For the pennies they give you in interest it'd probably be far less hassle to just keep it all hidden around the house Rounders style.

I'm moving into a new place in Leeds with Ben Martin and Luke Fields on the 2nd so if all goes well my next post will come from there and it'll be some goals for 2012. Renting an apartment is another ridiculously irritating encounter with the real world but thats a story for another time. The first of my goals I think will be to keep accurate records so that I can actually do a decent yearly review starting with 2012!

Hope you all had a good christmas and the best of luck for 2012

25,000 Miles: Leg 1 - Colombia

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that there was a big trip planned - its now been 5 weeks since I've played online and my (hopefully triumphant) return to the ring begins today. As much as the gaps between my blog posts would suggest otherwise, a big blog post waits for nothing!

The first leg was an extremely long-winded trip to Colombia. Since this trip was properly organised a month in advance for the first time in my life the flights were dirt cheap. This meant lots of tilting connections though, so the first leg goes Barcelona > London > Miami > Colombia and through what could have only been divine intervention I managed not to miss any of the connections.

Most travelling players take a ton of flights a year and they all kinda blur into one but the flight from Miami to Colombia had some of the best aerial views I've ever seen. The flight was 3 hours and I spent pretty much every minute checking out the views. The flight path went down the coast of Florida, over the Caribbean Sea, Cuba, Montego Bay in Jamaica and then over the mountains of northern Venezuela and Colombia. It was pretty much cloudless and unfortunately I only had the camera on my phone so I couldn't take many more pictures but this one of the Cauca River Valley was probably the best of the lot.

Medellin is pretty much how you (or at least I did) expect a South American city to be. The streets are packed with people milling around small stalls and food vendors, the roads are packed with cars that fell out of the 1980s complete with maniacal drivers and everyone is conversing in lightning-fast Spanish. I've lived in Barca for nearly 3 months now and my Spanish gets me by day-to-day but I really didn't stand a chance. Talking to other people was alright once they got through the British accent but understanding responses? No shot. Kinda annoying to have a basic knowledge of the language and yet still having to be the tourist fish using broken sentences and hand signals. My Spanish did improve while I was there - more through listening than actually speaking but you learn fast when nobody speaks any English at all.

The trip didn't really get off to a great start with my suitcase not showing up but given that I was on the tail end of a 16 hour trip through 3 continents I didn't have the strength to argue. I was pretty skeptical of the 'don't call us, we'll call you' arrangement with the baggage handlers but I was just happy to get to the hotel and pass out. Colombia has a bit of a reputation for being full of drug peddlers and gunslingers and from what I saw the latter is definitely true. It was kinda weird to see an armed security detail and a checkpoint outside the hotel.

Guns seem to be a compltely accepted part of the culture in Colombia. The US has a bad rep for loose gun controls but in Medellin its the norm to see a guy just walking down the street with a gun in a holster. The security guards at the casino had a less subtle approach - they tended to just stroll around with their guns in their hands. The guy posted on the main entrance with a double barreled shotgun the length of his arm (yes really) spend a lot of time looking pretty smug.

I didn't sort out any local currency in advance which came back to bite me - I missed day 1a because I arrived too late to the only place in the city that would exchange Euros, but managed to get it sorted the next day and the stack of notes was pretty cool. This is 2k euros which comes out at just over 5 million pesos. Unfortunately the 'MIL' on the note is Spanish for thousand, not million. How they managed to hide millions of dollars of drug money when the biggest note is worth $26 i'll never know.

The event that I went for was the LAPT with a $1k (1.8m peso) main event. I bricked this pretty quickly but didn't have enough cash on me to play the $3.5k high roller so just skipped it and played a bit of cash. The standard was pretty poor but I never really played very well or had much help from the deck so ended up down about $2k on the trip but it was a great experience and I'd definitely go to South America again. Next time I go my Spanish will be a lot better so that won't be so much of an obstacle to having an extended stay.

So back to the airport I go with another long trip, this time going Medellin > Miami > LA > Vegas. US Homeland Security had other ideas though.

The guy on the desk at immigration immediately looks at my passport and says "So you're going from Colombia to Las Vegas? We need to have a little talk". This came complete with the 'not angry, just disappointed' tone. I get escorted to the interview room and they manage to pretty much draft an autobiography for me. The fact that I only had $400 on me seemed to fuel their skepticism about my trip to Vegas and the whole poker player thing, then again if I was carrying $20k in cash I can't imagine they'd have been too thrilled either. At this point it occurs to me that if I was trying to traffic drugs to Vegas; 'Professional Poker Player' would be a pretty legit cover story. I doubt this helped me out either. Two hours later they degrudgingly let me go through to customs where the guy looks at my blank declaration form and cheerfully instructs me to 'exit along the red line'.

But alas, the red line is not an exit. The red line leads to a queue of people waiting to be subject to a full baggage search. At this point I'm feeling pretty fortunate that its just the baggage thats being searched. The line to be searched unsuprisingly didn't exactly match up with the demographic of passengers coming into Miami. Of the 20 or so people waiting I was the only white guy and the only one that spoke English. We'd have made for a pretty amusing identity parade. I can't see me being cast as the next Pablo Escobar in an upcoming hollywood production but I guess you never know. Another hour later I'm officially free to go and fortunately the stopover was supposed to be 4 hours so I didn't miss the connection to LA.

The 45 minute flight into Vegas landed at around 10pm which is just about the nut time - Vegas at night looks really sick and the view definitely gets you psyched to be there.

Next up, Vegas adventures...

Rungoods & Debut

The action on iPoker has been really sick the last few days with huge fish sitting $500 games and doing chunks in. My main goal for HUSNGs this year was to become a $1k reg and at the moment as we move into the last few months of the year I'm well on track to hit that target, greatly aided by 4k and 5k days this week!

I decided to have a punt in the $5k WCOOP Main, I've sold off half of my action and looking forward to a shot at $1milly. Opinion seems pretty divided on how tough or soft the field is going to be. Still, should be fun either way. I've been concentrating so much on my HUSNG game that I haven't really had any time for online MTTs and the idea of being tied to a 10+ hour session really doesn't appeal to me. I definitely couldn't do the sick MTT grind that most of the people that I know in poker do. Mucho respect to those guys imo, they certainly work for every $!

My first video for went up this morning - its just a short review of a $100 turbo but its getting decent reviews and hopefully theres more content to come!

Gl everyone playing the WCOOP main - hope to see at least one person I know on the final table!

Sunday Funday

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Things have been moving along nicely this week - no dramas with the landlord and excited about moving into the new place. Pics here:

I've never really been a huge football fan but the atmosphere here for every Barca game is so electric. Even the league games against some of the most budget clubs has everyone psyched for it and we've been in bars or at friends houses for every game so far this season soaking it up. Getting tickets to a game is definitely on the to-do list but they're notoriously hard to get hold of if you want decent seats. Hopefully an opportunity arises soon though.

I managed to ship my prop bet with lildave which should have been crushed but once I made got up to ~9.3k I hit a 160 game breakeven stretch while dave gained a lot of ground. Dave got up over 9k at the end so it was a decent race to the finish but getting so close and dropping 2k three occasions was mega tilting

The bet was only for 3 meals in Vegas but there's nothing quite like sick meal courtesy of lildave to prepare for the live cash grind. Cheers buddy ;)

Now to actually explain the title of this post. Apparently my staking $$ still run golden. The coach from the first Barca HUSNG bootcamp that I went to (pistons87) sold some for the 10k WCOOP Heads Up so I flicked in the 10% and he managed to luckbox the win for a nice 119k payday. Was an insanely good sweat from the first round to the last so muchos congrats to him.

Still not sure whether I want to play the WCOOP main or not. I guess I just just not be a nit and play it I think I'll just see how I feel on the day. Playing a 5k when you're really not feeling it sounds like a pretty bad idea.

Also muchos congrats to Joejoe Whittaker (joejoe1337 on stars) for coming 2nd in a WCOOP 1k for 265 beanbags and another 30 for 5th in the 265 turbo WCOOP on the same day and all just 6 days before putting poker on the back burner and heading off to uni. Very well deserved and definitely gunna be the biggest baller in Hull!

Good luck to everyone WCOOPing this week

Still Alive! Barca, Bootcamps and a Big Trip

Another extremely belated update but its been a busy month! Theres been so much going on I'm gunna break it down into sections so that this doesn't become a hideous wall of text.

1) FrankThomas8 and RaisedByJews' Boot Camp

First stop in Barca was back to the No Worries Villa - a really sick place nestled in the mountains just outside Barcelona in Montcada i Reixac. Pretty much a mixture of chilling by the pool in the blazing sunshine, drinking beer and occasionally playing some poker. I was there mainly just to see the guys that I met at the last camp in May but I ended up doing some coaching too which was really cool and is definitely something I'm going to do more of. There were 9 students at the camp ranging from $7 super turbo players to $50 turbo players. There were a couple of really sick nights out and everyone learned a ton which I guess should have been the main thing!

2) HokieGregs Boot Camp

A few days after the first camp was over HokieGreg (high stakes HUsng pro) and his girlfriend Brittney arrived to do another camp this time for higher stakes players. I wasn't actually a student or a coach for this one but it was cool to chill with another group of heads up SNG players and meet people from more new places. Really gives me the travelling bug!

This camp was a lot more poker-focussed which definitely helped me to put in more volume myself and hit my goal for a 10k month

Just thinking back to all the new people I've met in the last 3 weeks, there were people from Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Estonia, Germany, Morocco, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Colombia (more on that later), Belgium, Australia, Norway and the US which is pretty ridiculous. Really makes home seem kinda boring where pretty much everyone is from the same place. I won't be short of people and places to visit for a while!

EPT Barcelona was on during this camp - I opted to grind online instead and not make the trek to the casino in the city for any of the events. Ben Martin came over and stayed at the villa though while grinding a ton of EPT events which was pretty fun - haven't seen Ben for a while since he decided to just stay behind in Vegas when everyone else left and did some travelling around the west of the US. A few of the guys from the camp played the 3k euro heads up event but nobody cashed. Soren (valuelol on Stars) swapped 25% with the guy he was against in the quarter final though and his horse went on to win it for a nice 11k euro 25-ball. He also ran godlike at slots while railing the final and spun 40 euros into 1.4k. What a life!

3) Finding a place

I've never been one for making many plans so naturally the way I did the whole Barecelona thing was to book two weeks at the villa, turn up with a suitcase and work out the rest from there. Three weeks later I'm still at the villa and we finally get three of us together to make a decision on finding a place. I'm living with Anthony (FrankThomas8 on Stars, HUsng/Razz(lol)/MTT grinder) and Geoff (Palinca on 2p2, organiser of these HUSNG camps) which is the first time I've properly lived with other poker players but I'm enjoying the balance of a good grinding atmosphere whilst also being sure not to work too hard :)

Finding a place was a really tilting experience, everyone wants agency fees and proof of income (what of what?). Eventually we find a cool place on online and arrange a viewing. The place is ridic nice with a big balcony and its really bright but the landlord decided to be a dick and not accept us. We spun a good story too about being English teachers but it didn't wash without the paperwork. The rep gives us a number of someone she knows that can help us without any paperwork. Nice and shady.

We end up meeting a couple of hours later at an apartment in Diagonal which is not as nice as the first one but since we're kinda in a hurry to get set up and we could move in there the same day we went with it. They gave us a month-to-month deal too so we're not tied down here. In a couple of months we'll be looking to move into somewhere way better for the same price but it'll do for now. Obviously being a massive luckbox I bink the best room with the balcony so it'll do for now.

I've really been hammering the Spanish lessons, I've decided that theres way too much street cred involved to get lessons so i'll just teach myself with a couple of textbooks and a dictionary. I've been good and worked on it every day and I'm getting more confident talking to people in Spanish - still a long way to go though. Defintiely not leaving until I'm sick good at Spanish because by the sounds of it English and Spanish is pretty much the nut two-language combo for travelling.

I've met a ton of new people through Paul, Joey and Thisje (pronounced Tice) who run the No Worries Villa so building up a good circle of friends in Barca already which makes the move a lot more smooth - would definitely suck to move somewhere really vibrant and end up just sitting at home playing poker all day. I still don't really get the culture in the clubs here though - nobody drinks! The drinks are all ridic expensive so most people are just sober which is pretty alien to me. Don't think i'll ever really get used to that!

The apartment itself is a bit of a disaster - so far we're pretty useless at everything. It took us 3 days to find a proper supermarket, only one burner on the hob works, the oven doesn't work, we don't know where to put the bins out, we don't have a key for our postbox and we got the washing machine to work once but can't remember how that happened so can't replicate it! How I've made it to 22 i'll never know. We got internet sorted though! Priorities, yeah?

4) The Big Ass Road Trip

Anthony managed to bink an online sat to LAPT Colombia a few days ago and lildave has been badgering me to come to vegas in October and since the dates coincided perfectly I gave in and agreed to go. Probably gunna pay home a visit too on the way back. The schedule:

October 12th - Fly from Barcelona to Medellin, Colombia via Madrid and Bogota. Play the main there (its only a $1k but the buyin in Colombian Pesos is 1.9 million, ballin) and generally enjoy my first trip to South America. Oh, and try to get out of the country without somebody planting cocaine on me would be pretty cool too.

October 17th its off to Vegas, gunna stay at the Aria on their poker rake which is pretty good value for $79/night, the rooms are really sick. Gunna be there over Haloween which obv Vegas goes nuts for. lildave is already on it having booked the nut table at Surrender, the nightclub at the Encore casino 7 weeks in advance! Theres a $15k prize for the best costume too and while as guys we obv have no shot at winning it should be pretty fun to rail.

November 7th back to London for a few days, home for a bit then back to Barca until the Monte Carlo at DTD on December 19th. Its September and the end of the year seems only just round the corner :(

I also have a prop running with lildave, a race to 10k that started September 6th. lildave has since then put very little volume but managed to book a decent win yesterday to luckbox his way back into contention. As it stands now though he's still pretty crushed with me being +$6k on day 5, I think his profit number is somewhere around $1.5k. He was down nearly 2k so if he comes back and wins this I'm gunna be unimaginably tilted. Hopefully I can run good in the next few days and go in for the kill! Three meals in vegas is all thats at stake, but pride is definitely a factor. A loss for lildave will result in persistant ridcule for the forseeable future - you have been warned!

Congrats if you made it all the way to this point! Next post will hopefully be a prop bet win!

Upping Sticks to Barca

Yep its been about 6 weeks since the last blog so cliffs from then:

Jakes birthday at Marqee - best night out in Vegas hands down
Main Event - bust 40 from the bubble AA < 99
Chill for my last week in Vegas - didn't play any poker, just looking forward to getting back to the online grind after 7 weeks off.

I was pretty happy to be back after 7 weeks in the madness of Vegas. Getting back on the HUSNG grind was the #1 priority after seeing family and friends in the first couple of days that I was back. Somehow the screen on my laptop broke on the flight leaving me having to play on another laptop with no HEM which was pretty tilting. Definitely never going to do that again, it would have been a better idea to just not play! I did pretty badly and never found my flow. Seven weeks out of the games definitely didn't help either but I didn't play great and ended up dropping some bean on Stars.

With morale pretty low I decided to take a trip to Leeds to see lildave and Sykes and join in with some of the Leeds live games. I played a couple of times in the 2/5 holdem game and came out winning about £1k pretty much all in non-showdown pots which was a pretty good result. I had my head back in the game and started turning it around online too so the trip was a success.

From Leeds I went to the Deepstack weekend at DTD in Nottingham. Ended up entering on both start days - both days I built a good stack but couldn't win a big flip in the last level the first day and ran KQcc into AA on 942cc in a 3bet pot and failed to do a get there second day - again in the last level of the day.

Heard some really sad news in Nottingham too - Tim Blake who plays a lot at DTD had a stroke at his hotel the morning of the tournament and is still in hospital in Nottingham. All the best to him, hope to see you back at DTD soon!

Since then I've been crushing pretty hard online - back on my own laptop with my awesome HUD and besides brief stints I've been in the zooooooone putting up a 14.5% ROI

Now onto the main event - moving to Barca!

I leave on Sunday, going back to the No Worries Villa to help with another heads up SNG boot camp along with stars reg FrankThomas8 and FTP/Lock reg RaisedByJews. During the week we'll also be house hunting and I'll be in Barcelona for the forseeable future. We're winging it a little but just turning up and looking for a place to stay when we get there but we'll be able to stay at the villa for as long as we need to most likely so even if it drags on and we knock in some money staying there I really wanna find the right place so it'll be worth the extra time and expense.

I've spent a lot of this week learning some Spanish. The first 3 days have gone really well - definitely getting to grips with it faster than I thought I would and its nice to be learning something new that isn't to do with poker! Definitely going to put a lot of hours into learning the language mainly because I'd rather not be treated like another tourist when I'm there and it'll also be useful for future trips to South America.

If all goes to plan my next update will be from sunny Barca

Buena Suerte

Vegas Volume 2

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Decisions first I came to Vegas intending to play a ton of cash games and after seeing the standard in a couple of WSOP events decided to really get my head down and play as many tournaments as I could. I've succumbed to laziness though and midday starts just aren't really working out for me so its just been solidly cash games this week.

My results have been pretty good - I've not been keeping accurate records but I estimate to be winning ~8k in cash games for the trip which nicely complements my earlier tournament score

The downside is that I've been running horrific at every game that isn't poker. Pretty much anyone that spoke to me in the last week got their dinner paid for at least once and my roommate god modes me in flips every day so its been an expensive week.

On a much more positive note last Sunday I went to ECD (Electric Daisy Carnival) at the speedway in Vegas. Its a Trance/House/Dubstep festival and the atmosphere was pretty incredible. Headliners on the Sunday were Swedish House Mafia and Laidback Luke and its hands down the best House gig I've ever been to (which in fairness isn't many). Laidback Luke absolutely killed it - his EDC set is available to download here and is definitely worth a listen!

Heading to Marquee at Cosmopolitan tomorrow for Gavz' birthday then having a day off before playing a few Venetians next week and then the Main Event next weekend. Its looking like the 2 weeks that I'm staying for after the series are gunna be pretty chill so this week is gunna be full on - hopefully the poker keeps going well and this week doesn't break the bank!

Vegas Volume 1

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So heres little old me under the bright lights of Las Vegas. It turns out that this city is everything that you'd expect it to be. Its as impressive, exciting and buzzing as you'd expect it to be but its also as sleezy and money-mad so you'd expect. I'd say overall its a great place to be but I certainly couldn't live here. Its so easy to get caught up in the extravagence of it all that you end up burning through money pretty quick. Luckily the games are another level of soft so you can recoup it pretty quick!

The first couple of weeks in Vegas I was staying at Vdara which is in a development called City Centre. The Aria casino is the main building there which looks pretty awesome when its all lit up

Poker for the first week was pretty good. It was a nice change to be able to roll out of bed, go across the road and find a good 5/10 game rather than having to get on a train to Nottingham! I got off to a pretty good start playing cash, was winning ~$5k but a few tilted post-tournament bust sessions put pay to that. Discipline is certainly something that is easier to lose in Vegas than it is anywhere else.

I did manage a decent cash in a WSOP event though coming 12th in the $2.5k 6max for $34k which covers most of my tournament buyins for the trip so as long as I don't knock in a ton of money playing cash games it'll be tough for me to have a losing Vegas which is nice!

Apart from the 12th its been bricks everywhere in tournaments but I feel like I've played well, just haven't had any breaks in the other tournaments. There are still six to go though, three of which I'm pretty psyched for. Theres the $2.5k Venetian on Monday, the $5k Venetian Main Event and the $10k WSOP Main Event.

Our stay at Vdara ended a few nights ago so myself and Luke (LFmagic) decided to stay at Bellagio for the remainder of the trip so we're grinding cash games here pretty hard to qualify for the poker room rate which would knock chunks off our hotel bill and the games are soft too so its a win win.

The restaurants here in Vegas have been incredible despite the ridiculously huge portion sizes. I've yet to see anyone complete 3 courses - not sure its even possible outside a sushi place. Went to Tau Asian Bistro at The Venetian with lildave and some of his housemates. The chef's taster menu was probably the best meal I've ever eaten. There are also a ton of ridiculously good steak places here. Vegas seems to have an obsession with Kobe Beef (japanese steak - apparently they massage the cows which is why its so good!) so its served everywhere but its incredible.

Cash game results at the Bellagio have been really good so far, booked at $4.6k win last night and playing again tonight so hopefully my good run continues!

Here There and Everywhere

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It turns out that when you're as good at finding excuses not to do things as I am its pretty hard to come up with a blog post every week. Its certainly not for lack of content - its exactly the opposite. The last 3 weeks have been insane good and theres just too much to write about and with a 3 week gap theres no way I could do it all justice so I'll try to keep it brief.

I was still in Cork for the tail end of the SCOOP which didn't go well, bricked everything which was pretty annoying 'cos the staking package I sold returned $0 but not to worry, WSOP round the corner right? Anyway as I mentioned in the previous post I had to get from Cork to Barcelona which they've made very difficult. Gerard Harraghy decided to be the hero giving me a lift from Cork to Dublin. A train a plane and an automobile later I arrived at the villa in Barcelona for the heads up SNG boot camp.

Barcelona was pretty crazy - I learned loads and crushed for the 2 weeks I could play before Vegas which was cool, also to people that were there were all complete heroes. So many crazy nights out and I absolutely fell in love with Barca. A few of the coaches were US players looking to relocate and there are tentative plans to get a heads up SNG grind house with Pistons87, FrankThomas8 and Raised By Jews plus others in Barcelona which would be awesome - any excuse to travel some more!

The WPT was in town at the same time and since I was reliably informed that it was one of the softest big buyin events out there so I decided to play it. Had a super sigh bust in 20th where young Polish guy with all the chips makes a really spewy 3bet/call from the SB vs my UTG+1 open with 99 < KQs for twice average at 2table. The guy final table bubbles overbet 4balling Q6o into QQ, wp. Still, my first WPT event and first cash, ship the spanish flag on the hendon mob profile.

I was supposed to have a week to chill at home before heading off to Vegas for the World Series but this didn't really happen since I had to get back to Sheffield and move all of my stuff into storage because the lease on my house runs out while I'm in Vegas. Managed to do that and get back down to London to spend the weekend with the family which was nice then it was straight back to London to chill at the PLO grind house the night before the Vegas flight.

Obviously it had to end up at a casino and it was The International this time where we got a pretty ridiculous 6 card PLO game going with myself, Luke Fields, Joejoe Whittaker and Tony Jacobs. Cliffs: Luke runs absolutely golden, doesn't lose a pot for 4 hours and gets the lot.

We meet up with Si Mitchell at the airport and the flight goes smoothly, managed to sleep through most of it which was a result. Vegas deserves many posts all of its own so I'll cut this one here but I'm pretty excited to be hitting the World Series, run good for 7 weeks please?


SCOOP Bink, UKIPT Cork & Barcelona

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So far my prediction for May has come through perfectly! I won the SCOOP $16 double chance turbo (luckbox I know) for $35k and the old heads up SNGs have been going alright too although I haven't been chipping away at Will Hills $10k bonus nearly as much as I'd like but anyway - I can't complain!

Far too many people to congratulate on having a sick SCOOP. Jake and Pab get wins too (in proper tournaments obv). Dual final tables for Luke Fields in the $5k and $530 6max PLO a couple of days ago. Ben Martin and Rick Trigg to name just a couple made high final tables too - wpwp

I decided pretty much at the last minute to go to UKIPT Cork which I think was a good decision. The main was pretty gross, played day 1a and won one showdown in 9 hours, ran up a twice average stack though with a ridic number of 3bets, 4bets and cbets getting through. Unfortunately once average stack got a bit short and I needed to win some all ins all we got was a big pile of fail. Someone finally decided to quote "make a stand" by raise/giving it the 5 minute tank/calling off 22 bigs bvb with 66 and 89dd doesn't win flips so that was gg.

The cash action was pretty good the whole weekend with 2/5 holdem and 1/2 PLO that was playing like 5/10 running pretty much always. I ended up a 2.3k euro winner after a 1.7k loss the last night playing 2/5/10 PLO 5 handed at a private club in the city centre once the stars games had closed. Really tilting game, pretty much summed up by the first hand where villain peels a 4bet with Q883 and flops 336 vs my AAxx and a few hands later the same guy peels another 4bet with KK76 and I have to bet/fold 458ccd with AAJJsshh

Now I have the fun prospect of attempting to get from Cork to Barcelona. I'm going there for a week for a heads up SNG boot camp run by Pistons87 (Stars) / ftpballerstatus (FTP) and Raised by Jews (FTP). Pistons is a $5k HUSNG sicko so should be a good learning experience. The WPT is in town too so we'll be hitting up some sides and mayyyyyyybe the main, i'll probably play whatever live sats they have and play it if I ping one.

From what I've heard Barcelona has some of the softest cash games in the world and I've definitely got the live cash bug at the moment so looking forward to scouting out some soft games. If I can manage to come back with enough cash for customs to pull me over that'd be awesome

gl guys


Running Good Live

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I've had a couple of live trips in May already, first GUKPT Walsall and then the Oxford Cup

GUKPT Walsall was pretty huge for The Firm - Ben Jenkins finalled the Main but ran horrible on the final table and came 6th, Mark McClusly chopped the £200 6max and cashed the £250 re-entry and I won the £100 bounty event for a nice 1st on the old Hendon Mob. The final table of the bounty was pretty funny, 7 paid so everyone was playing ridic tight but I couldn't find many spots because the two guys on my left were limping in ~75% of hands and they were both showing down top 10% hands every time. I was pretty card dead too, probably got 3 jam spots in about 40 hands when average stack was only ~15bbs.

A couple of guys let themselves blind down to <5bbs so I was kinda handcuffed by ICM but once the bubble burst and guys on my right tightened up a bit or their run of cards dried up and in the last 50 hands of the final I was probably all in pre a good 60% of the time. I picked up a few hands but that didn't really matter. There were just so many any 2 jam spots because they were calling so tight so it was pretty much a case of hoovering up all the chips pre.

I was pretty fortunate heads up to get 99 vs 77 20bbs deep and held so took it down for £1700. Nice to finally win one after a couple of seconds in UKIPT and GUKPT sides.

That put me into the Walsall Champion of Champions online £10k freeroll which was pretty strange. We were all supposed to start with different stacks (10k for the main event winner, 4k for side event winners and 2k for some other qualifiers) but we all started with 4k stacks and they cancelled the tournament just after we got in the money with 4 left. Grosvenor ended up doing the right thing though and paying out anyway. I was 2/4 when they pulled the plug so £2.5k I think was a fair payout.

This weekend was the Oxford Cup, the biggest student tournament in the country that The Firm sent a few coaches to since the student market seems pretty lucrative and a good one to get into. It was a £20R that got ~250 runners and generated a £15k prize pool which was a lot more than I was expecting. There was a £50 bounty on all of The Firm coaches so everyone was gunning for me which actually made for some really interesting situations. Gus Hansen was also there - he gave a speech on the Saturday night mainly because he is a huge fan of Richard Dawkins, a pretty well known Atheist and lecturer at Oxford. The talk mainly centred around what in his opinion it takes to be a professional poker player and was pretty interesting although not much of it was new to anyone who reads about the game a fair amount but was worth a listen nonetheless.

The tournament structure was pretty shallow and once it got down to the last 3 tables average was 10bbs. There were quite a few young guys that were competant with shoving ranges etc so I got into a couple of tricky spots but won some flips when I needed to and had JJ vs 77 with 12 left to get a big double up. From then on it was foot on the gas and I never lost a big pot.

Heads up was pretty interesting, we started pretty even with about 18bbs each. I ran pretty well and picked up some hands, jamming lots as expected and eventually got it in with AJ vs QT for the win and obv I'm golden enough to just flop JJx and have him dead on the turn so won that for £3600 and two trophies in two weekends! Congrats to Kate Langshaw who came third too. To have 4 players in and two final table is pretty big for The Firm so keep crushing.

I'm in Leeds at the moment grinding SCOOPs with Jamie Sykes and lil Dave - had a decent run in the $55R last night but couldn't win the flip for twice average with ~200 left.

Heads Up SCOOP tonight thought which should be fun. The structure is excellent with 100bb starting stacks and 10 minute levels. I've always done pretty well in the WCOOP heads up events and this will hopefully be no different

Happy SCOOPing


New Beginnings

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So I haven't written an blog in nearly 2 months. This is pretty much because I've been doing my brains in. Nobody wants to read about me complaining and I certainly don't want to write about it. I just flat out haven't been playing well and combining that with a bit of runbad makes for pretty depressing results and worse reading.

As gimmicky as it sounds I've kinda had an apiphony in the last few days and been thinking about things way more objectively, especially poker. In the last few days I've been feeling really in the zone and been running a little better so I feel like now we're over the disasters that were March and April, May is gunna be awesome. A few really good things have happened to set this up so here goes nothing

I spite quit playing on Will Hill after losing about $15k in a few weeks and them messing me around over $1.4k of disconnection refunds. That saga is still ongoing despite the original complaint being lodged 6 weeks ago.

They lost a 16k/month raking player to Paddy Power so they've given me a $10k clearable bonus that on top of my original deal with them works out at me getting a 93% return on my rake (its on ipoker so we can't say the real "r" word) for the next 30 days so I'm pretty much gunna be a lock in to try and clear as much of that as I can. Clearing all of it is gunna take huuuuuuge volume but I'm gunna give it a shot.

I've been at GUKPT Walsall for the last few days so trip report from there is going up soon but don't want to make this too long but heres to an awesome May. I'm super optimistic about it and with good reason. I feel like I'm playing the best I ever have right now and that can only mean good things for May so lets gooooooo

Also GL to Luke Fields (LFmagic) he is 1/6 in FTOPS #44 as I'm writing this with $200k up top so win please

I'm at Mark McCluskys house at the moment, staying tomorrow for a BBQ and a team grind session with Mark, Ben Young and potentially Jamie Sykes and lildave too so should be fun

Next weekend is the Oxford Cup which The Firm is sending 5 coaches to. Its a £20R for students so should be fun, Gus Hansen is playing so it'll be cool to meet him and be back in the student crowd after being a year removed from uni

Heres to an awesome May


March Roundup - Rakeback pro

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So March turned out to be a bit of a car crash. Online ended up being just about break even after rakeback but in the last week I managed to run hilariously bad, dropping about 50 buyins in 500 games. There was definitely a bit of tilt-induced bad play in there though. The fold button gets a whole lot smaller when you're losing chunks.

March HUSNG graph:

On the plus side with just under $7k rakeback it was still a winning month in those games and its my best month ever volume-wise which consisering I also played 40k cash hands and didn't play over the DTD deepstack weekend is pretty big.

People tend to fall into one of two categories during big downswings. Some decide that they hate poker, never wanna play again and take some time out but others just play a ton to force their way out of it which is what I tend to do. Apparently it didn't go too well but whatever, its only money right?

Still undecided about whether I want to go to Vegas or not this summer. I'll probably decide largely on April and May go. If I don't go i'll just buy a ton of action from people that I know so I should get a few decent sweats.

Goals for April are to match or better my HUSNG volume. I'm aiming for 1500 which should be very doable with no plans to play live this month.

Have a rungood April


Back to the HUSNGs

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Horrendous lack of updates but its just been a boring runbad month, nothing much to write about

So yeah basically I get owned at cash games. I'm down £20k in the fun 5/10 game at DTD which is pretty sigh but at lesat I had fun for my £20k. Thats over about 2000 hands so just a casual -100bb/100. gg boys.

My attempt at cash online went equally badly, running about £3k under EV for the month there too so back I go to the heads up SNGs. Been crushing though for a ~7% ROI over 650ish games with a $170ish average buyin. Had a run at trying to get £5k in rakeback for this month but no dice, was on pace until a few days ago and had a pretty lazy sunday this week so I'll have to settle for less. As usual I managed to miss the weekly heads up on stars but it was the clocks changing in the US putting everything forward an hour that got me this time and not my usual laziness. Congrats to Luke Fields (LFmagic) on coming 3rd. You'll win it some day mate.

Still on pace for a decent volume month though which is good since I've been pretty lazy with it the last 6 months or so. I spent most of that time running pretty decent and its harder to take notice of the lack of volume when the $$ are coming easier. By the end of the month I'm looking at having over 1,000 HUsngs played and 19k hands of cash which I'd be pretty happy with

The Firm is really kicking off now which is pretty fun, definitely breaks up the grind doing a bit of coaching and all of my students seem to be doing well so my small stakes SNG army is coming together nicely!

Heres to a run good April anyway

On The Cash Grind

I guess we can kick off by saying that my 5/10 bubble has burst, busted iPoker account with standard runbad plus playing short rolled and ended up having to take a trip to DTD in Nottingham at half 11 on a sunday night to recover my life funds that were on deposit there. Nicked £1k playing 1/2 which the way I'm running right now is pretty miraculous.

Pretty much everything online in February has gone terrible besides staking. Backing Luke Fields for heads up PLO on a few euro sites and he's crushing which is just about breaking me even for the month. Pretty tilted that my PTR looks horrible but when you run KK into AA 17 times in a week thats gunna happen when theres only a small sample of cash hands on there. Its pretty well known that PTR doesn't track 100% accurately but its pretty good at picking up the big pots. This should be a good thing for me right now 'cos it shows me as a fish but I still can't get action from breakeven regs on iPoker which is also pretty frustrating.

I'm kinda disolusioned with holdem at the moment but the 5/10 games on ipoker still have some ridiculously good spots in them so i'll be persevering and things should turn around. Live has been going alright, winning a bit playing the £5/10 game in notts once a week and with the lineup there its always a fun game to be in even if its only for the social side.

Hilarious night out for Matt Franklands birthday in Leeds last saturday. Kicked off in an amazing Sushi restaurant in Granary Wharf where the chefs cook your food in front of you on massive hot plates built into the tables. They put on a cool show chucking food about and trying to flick bits of fried egg into peoples mouths. It was the first time I've ever eaten sushi and am definitely a fan. Five of the ten that ate bought out and I managed to bink second at CCR for the buyout money so happy to get paid £200 to eat! After crushing beer pong pretty hard we all ended up in HiFi which was pretty cool not that I remember much. Ended up getting picked up in a hummer and driven to a ropey strip club which apparently is pretty standard in Leeds but doesn't happen in Sheffield. Me and luke sacked off the strip club and ended up going to the Gala to play 1/2 with a few of lukes uni mates. Obv we drop £1k there and end up back at the hotel ridic tilted at 6am but was still a good night out - definitely makes me consider moving to Leeds when my contract in Sheffield runs out.

Loads of non-poker stuff coming up this month, got 4 ice hockey games for Sheffield Uni in March including an epic coach trip from Sheffield to Ayr in Scotland. Theres nothing quite like getting smashed on a coach and needing multiple emergency stops for a piss on the hard shoulder trying to fade the police seeing you.

I'm off home for a few days to just chill and clear my head before getting back on the grind at the weekend after the DTD 300. The 5 year anniversary Sunday Million is coming up so it'd be nice to run good in that, bink a mil and a lambo one time?

Time to crush March - gogogogogo


UKIPT Nottingham and Moving On From Heads Up SNGs

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Its been a while since the last update so lots to talk about; mainly my move away from HU SNGs. Since the big staking result and some good results at 5/10 both live and online I think I've pretty much hit the ceiling of heads up SNGs on iPoker. I'm now comfortably rolled for $500 games but theres just not the traffic to make those games my sole form of income so I'm making the transition to 6max cash. It might seem a bit irrational to not play heads up cash but I think the situation is pretty much the same as in the SNGs. Once you get to 5/10 there really isn't enough action whereas at 6max there is plenty.

UKIPT Nottingham went well despite bricking both the main and the 'high roller' (cringe at that name every time) tournament. Both tournaments pretty much went the same with me being completely card dead for about 9 hours between the two tournaments and then getting coolered to bost both. Gotta love tournaments. Fortunately DTD was rammed so the atmosphere in there was pretty cool and with some London players up in Notts there was plenty of 5/10 cash going. This threw a few tough circuit regs into the games (Devilfish, Ben Vinson, Neil Channing, James Mitchell) but I ran pretty well and ended up taking £5.8k putting me up £3.7k after tournaments and I nicked $1.2k online so a sucessful weekend overall

Playing cash online has thrown up a few tilting issues with Holdem Manager and multiple currencies because I'm playing across Euro, Pound and US Dollar tables but I'll get used to it. I'm running pretty hot over my ridiculously small online sample, winning at 34bb/100 over about 1300 hands. Be sustainable?

Nothing planned poker-wise for the next couple of weeks, just the £300 deepstack at DTD March 4th so gunna be getting my head down and putting in some proper volume online and hopefully setting right my horrible PTR number!


Keys To The Kingdom - January Roundup

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First of all congrats to James Keys on finishing 2nd in the Aussie Millions Main Event for a cool $1.1m, was pretty disgustingly unlucky not to win it, the other guy held all in with A6 vs QJ on T8x and AQ vs KQhh on Th9hx to stay in it then got it in for pretty much the lot with K4 vs James' 73 on 753K and the guy binks a 4 on the river to win it.

I had 5% so the $55k makes January my biggest month by far and puts me comfortably rolled for the ipoker $500 HUSNGs and 5/10 cash games but I don't plan to be playing that much higher than my usual $220 average buyin simply because the cash is there. I'm pretty comfortable grinding out ~8k/month playing the games I am already. I'll be playing a couple of EPTs which i'll sell pieces for and probably most of the GUKPTs now too so the schedule is looking pretty packed for the next few months.

Results for January were below what I was expecting but then again I don't think that I've played particularly well. Playing too many tables, playing super turbos raked at 5% and playing tired/when I'm not really feeling it is gunna add up to a breakeven month but I hit my volume target so shipped $3865 in bonuses.

Live cash games were definitely the most sucessful arena for me, finished +£3k for the month with a session of 1/2 and two at both 2/5 and 5/10 holdem. I always used to find live holdem cash pretty boring but I've felt like I've had a considerable edge in every session and been running alright so I expect to play a fair amount of live holdem cash this year and hopefully I can keep finding soft games.

Taking is easy for a couple of weeks then heading to UKIPT Nottingham on February 12th for what promises to be an amazing homecoming for James Keys with pretty much everyone on the UK circuit in nottingham that weekend. I don't really expect to remember much!


Games: 1039
HUSNGs +$15
Live cash +£3k
Staking +$55k
Bonuses +$3865
2011 Total: $63,633

The Firm and An Interesting Proposition

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Those of you that follow Dave Nicholsons blog ( have probably already heard about The Firm but I've decided to join the site too as a coach for SNGs, anything from heads up to 180mans up to $500 buyins. I should have a few students lined up so looking forward to that since coaching is something that I've wanted to get into more seriously for a while now. All the info about free coaching when you make an account on an affiliate site, staking or buyin a piece of The Firm pros check out

Had another 5/10 shot at DTD last weekend which went pretty well finishing +£3.2k for the trip but did most of that getting impatient waiting for games online which got me into sitting super turbos and when you run bad in those you can do a lot of money pretty quick. Haven't really been playing great and I've fallen off the ipoker total profit leaderboard which really sucks but it should motivate me more to get back on there.

The interesting proposition is that Rob Yong (owner of DTD) offered me 3 to 1 on a heads up match for half my roll. Rob doesn't know what that number is so I guess it would be pretty easy to angleshoot and get the match for whatever amount I wanted really within a realistic range given that he's seen me play 5/10 and a number of £1k events. It'd work out about £10k but I'm obv not allowed to sell any or the deal is off. I'm not sure if I'm gunna do it but if the offer still stands I'll probably make a decision at DTD this weekend and it'll be played over the UKIPT Nottingham weekend

Nothing planned on the live poker front until UKIPT Notts on February 11th so just taking it easy back in Sheffield 'till then but possibly apartment hunting for next year but we'll see what happens with that.

Also gl to James Keys at the Aussie Million final table tonight starting in about an hour, I have 5% so win please?


DTD Deepstack and Shot Taking

Went to the £336 Deepstack at DTD in Nottingham this weekend with the intention of getting into the 5/10 cash game that runs there over that weekend. From what I've heard its a pretty soft spot so I was looking forward to getting involved. Unfortunately I managed to be first on the list for 2 days and didn't get in 'till Sunday but in the meantime managed to run uf £2.8k playing 2/5. The actual tournament itself went pretty standard, 5 or so levels in I run 99 into QQ vs a button 3bet over a super wide MP opener.

I played the £150 freezeout on the Sunday afternoon and was sat to the right of Willie Tann which was pretty awesome. He's always full of stories from his crazy up and down career which kinda distracted me from the tournament a little bit but its usually a refreshing change to get some old school wisdom. I'm really not one to shun the old school players as much as some of the younger guys so that was a very interesting and very long conversation

Finally got in the 5/10 game which was probably the best game I've ever played in for general table talk and everyone was full of stories about Vegas last summer which makes me wanna go even more now that I'm finally 21. The lineup was way tougher than it was on the friday and saturday but I felt like it was still a decent spot and it was the first time playing in Robbies Room at DTD so it was pretty cool despite dropping £3.3k. I ran and played pretty bad with the highlight being limping KK UTG, fish making it £80 on the button SB calls I make it £310, raiser calls and flatter folds. Flop is a gross AJT and I lead for £375 and got tank called. Turn was a J and I spaz jammed £1.3k and got snapped off by AT.

So I didn't quite get the result I was looking for my first time in that game but I'll definitely be back and the weekend could have gone a lot worse than breaking even after tournament buyins.

GL all


A Great Start

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So 2011 has started really well despite having a pretty gross -$2.8k day yesterday running $2.2k under EV. I'm still pretty amazed at the standard of play at $350s on iPoker. The fish are certainly worse than the standard $100 game fish. Its been volume all the way the last few days so I'm way ahead of pace for my volume goal of 1k games this month. I'm actually on pace for 1.7k games but with some live ventures I don't think I'll get too close to that.

One of my best mates from secondary school moved to Denmark a few months ago so I really wanna make it to EPT Copenhagen so that I can make the trip over there for a few days, plus Copenhagen would be another sick european city to see. Travel-wise I haven't actually gone to that many places outside the UK for poker. I've been to Ireland a couple of times and to Macau which was insane but I'd like to see more of Europe. Copenhagen, Snowfest in Austria and San Remo would be an awesome combination for the year. Maybe then in the second half of the year I can stop doing my bollocks in on EPTs and actually make some money!

I'm heading to Nottingham tomorrow for 5/10 cash and then the £300 deepstack. Trips to notts are usually pretty good, there have been a few birthdays this week so I guess the drinks are gunna be flowing and with a bit of a gap in the live calendar over Christmas I'd expect a ton of circuit regs to show up to get their fix!

Finally good luck to Dave Burn, Luke Fields, Rick Trigg and any other UK sickos heading to the PCA, bring it home!

New Year and some Continental rungood

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As I mentioned at the end of the last blog I'm in Amsterdam for new year which has been really cool. The plan was to chill out and not really play any poker but over the course of the trip myself and Luke Fields (LFmagic on stars and tilt) have been crushing pretty hard. My effort:

Games: 227
Profit: $8575
Rakeback: $887
Avg. Buyin: $171
ROI: 22%

December was a bit of a rough month so its nice to get an $8.5k bankroll boost to be able to play $350s on a regular basis. The games have been super soft as they always are at this time of year with plenty of fish having time off work. I also ran pretty hot which is always appreciated! January 2010 was my biggest month at HUsngs ever and that came in at $14k so I'd be very happy if I can beat that.

I've only got one live event planned for January (DTD £300) so its gunna be a mega online grind and I'm going to attempt to play my biggest volume month ever by a long way. I'm looking to break 1,000 HU sngs which is pretty insane volume playing on a lower traffic network than stars or tilt so hopefully it goes well and the daily slog doesn't get too wearing. Theres a nice rakeback cheque at the end of the volume rainbow anyway so theres another incentive to get on it!

I really wanted to keep away from doing the whole 'Goals for 2011' thing because where I'm at now it could really end anywhere. I could be here in a years time and be in pretty much the same financial situation with another years worth of run bad on the live circuit stories or I could be playing $5ks having binked an EPT so I'm just going to keep the goals as a monthly thing and take it from there. So here goes:

January Goals

Play 1000 HUsngs on ipoker
$8k profit before rakeback
Make the top 10 of the iPoker total profit leaderboard at the end of month

Have a rungood January


Finally set up a blog!

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Only 2 years after I originally intended to set up a poker blog - here it is.

Its probably best to tackle the introductions first. I'm Dan Morgan, a heads up SNG reg on iPoker playing under the name CaptainCalldown. I play mainly the $100 and $200 turbos, but higher if soft spots appear. I've played a decent amount of UK circuit live stuff aswell with mixed results. Yet to bink anything big but I'm happy with my edge in the long run playing £500 and £1k live events, just gotta try and fly on the right side of variance for a few days - if only it were that easy!

I've been playing on The Poker Farms rakeback deal on Will Hill for a while and since the site launch is coming up I thought I'd put myself forward as a blogger. I haven't really seen any regularly updated heads up SNG blogs around so maybe theres a gap in the market! Its definitely an interesting game and one that gets overlooked a bit I think. Heads up cash provides sexy nosebleed stakes action and MTTs provide the heroes binking 6 figure scores. While heads up SNGs lack these there is still money to be made and someones gotta (at least try to) take it so it might as well be me!

Right now I've got everything crossed that the flight backlog is going to clear so that I can catch my flight on the 29th to spend New Year in Amsterdam. I'd say its about a flip right now but the hotel is already paid for and non refundable so even if it takes a ridic train journey to do it I'm getting to Amsterdam for a massive NYE one way or another which means there are probably amusing updates to come

Didn't want to ramble much in the first post so I'll leave this one here and the next update will hopefully be from Amsterdam

All the best
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