Back To Blogging!

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Its been a good few months since I put up a blog post - but not mainly down to my own laziness this time! I've actually been spending a lot of time putting in big volume and working on my game. I've been trying to be a lot more efficient with my time when I'm playing so there has been far less TV watching and a lot more putting in volume. I'm writing this on a flight back from WPT Marbella to lovely Leeds and even looked over some hand histories at the airport. The game's never over I guess. More on Marbella later though.

What suddenly bought all this on? Well the going has been pretty tough especially online so far in 2012. Started the year shot taking at the $500 games on ipoker again and for the third time around it went hilariously badly. I'm $12k under EV in the 180 games I've played lifetime at the $500 level so not much is going my way but I still maintain that those games are softer than the lower buyins which are more reg-infested. This is course promotes pretty aggressive bankroll management which obviously has the potential to backfire but hey ho, it was fun and I was back down to the $100s and $200s with a mission to get back to the $500s as soon as possible!

Since then its been pretty much breakeven before rakeback though which sucks but I noticed myself auto-piloting and not making optimal decisions fairly often in the period from January-March this year which is far more irritating than not making much money before rakeback. I've been getting involved with 2p2 again, posting on the HUSNG board and talking over hands with other regs on Skype which I never used to do.

Live poker this year however has been much more encouraging. I played a £150 freezeout at Gala in Leeds which made over 200 runners which was a pleasant suprise. Ended up coming 5th for ~£1.5k, AK < A6 for all the chips 4 handed but still a nice start to the year. Since Dusk Till Dawn decided to go ballistic and put huge guarantees on everything I've been playing a few more tournaments than usual there. Had two bullets in both of the £500 re-entries but bricks all round.

With morale not in great shape and online going badly it was time for a trip to Ireland and UKIPT Galway didn't disappoint. I went over with the guys from Main Event Travel who did a great job of sorting everything and generally making life easy on the trip so would definitely recommend. The setup in Galway is perfect - its at a hotel and the distance between the poker tables and the bar is no more than 50 feet. They also don't really like to close bars in Ireland so the drinks were flowing and aside from playing and bricking the main it was wall to wall drinking. The band hired for the welcome party weren't really sure what to make of our decision to cancel their set and make it a karakoe night but the undisputed star of the show had to be Dan Edler with a heart warming rendition of Sweet Child O' Mine. Unfortunately video evidence still exists somewhere of the butchery of Baggy Trousers by myself, Luke Fields, Sammy Mac and Rob Russell.
Up next was the Poker770 event back in Nottingham. Kinda ridiculous structure, €770 buyin with 77,000 starting stacks and a 77 minute clock. 77 days later I managed to make the final despite losing 75% of my stack on the pure bubble with KK < 99 to the eventual winner Tom Langley who I played with pretty much throughout the whole tournament and thought played really well - a well deserved win IMO. Simon Deadman and Andy Hulme (DTD reg, stato_1 on blonde and stars) also made the final along with a couple of Poker770 pros and a couple of unknowns to round out the lineup. As you'd expect with the structure the final started with pretty deep stacks even for a live tournament with average at ~60 bigs. First hand though Simon opens UTG, gets 3bet from UTG+1, I cold 4 QQ from the big in a pretty tough spot where I really thought for a while about folding pre. I end up not having to make another decision as it goes 5bet, 6bet jam, Simons AA vs Tom Langleys KK which get there to make him huge chippo and he never really looked back from there. I was pretty card/spot dead and not in a great seat with Tom on my left and a good aggro Poker770 pro on my direct right. I end up jamming 20 bigs from the button over a cutoff open with A2ss, Tom snaps the BB with TT and the opener has AK. I manage to flop 35xss and turn a 2 but the river bricks and I finish 4th for £9k. An ok result but I should probably work on running better when all in for £15k+ equity. After the double elimination its Stato heads up with Langley but Stato's chip defecit was huge and he ended up coming second for what is still a very nice score.

UKIPT Nottingham was a bit of a write off. I was pretty tilted from the start because I snap bought in for day 1c because I didn't really want to spend on hotels when Leeds is only a couple of hours away on the train but I ended up pinging a seat in the only sat I played on stars (run better) but despite having a seat for 1c already I had to unreg and play 1b so it was a 9am train for a midday start in Nottingham. I'm far from a natural at this waking up at 8am lark so was not a happy bunny joining the rat race at Leeds station. The only saving grace was that I managed to bust before the last train back so the trip was over in 10 hours and I'm left to remind myself of rule number one: Never Leave Leeds!

Not much longer left before a militant member of the cabin crew will no doubt tell me that I'm endangering the lives of everyone on board by displaying such insolence as to use a laptop AND and ipod at the SAME TIME. So tilting. Who knew that wanting to listen to a bit of Bob Marley during landing would put everyone else in such mortal danger that it has to be banned. The hostesses have a sixth sense for it too! Like when you were chewing gum at school (I know you were) and despite your best efforts you'd always have a manky bin put in front of your face and be told to spit it out. You even get a haunting episode from my childhood to to break up all the poker talk - can't say this blog isn't legit value! If anyone knows a good shrink PM me I guess. I'm pretty sure that when you walk onto the plane wearing headphones they clock you as being a troublemaker; living life on the edge checking the weather forecast on the runway.

This has already gone on too long so I'll put up another post in a few days about the British invasion of WPT Marbella! Take it easy

Leeeeeeeeds and Some 2012 Goals

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Its been a pretty hectic opening week to the 2012 - bringing in the new year with LFmagic, Gavz, Tony J, JoeJoe et al in London with a special guest appearance from Galen Cranston (Gakn29) all the way from Canada to bring in the new year in London. First time I've had new year at a club rather than house party so that was cool but with the move into a new apartment in Leeds on the 2nd I couldn't really get too hammered.



Moving in went without a hitch, absolutely loving the location right in the centre of Leeds, less than a minutes walk from the train station. The apartment is on the top floor of what used to be a hotel which is pretty cool on the soundproofing front. I always have to be listening to music while I'm playing and having a subwoofer on the floor has caused complaints from neighbours below before now but still nothing after 5 days so looking good. After disastrous relations with the neighbours in Barca it'd be nice to get along this time around. At least we speak the same language.

I've decided to take it easy on the live trips in the first half of this year to consolidate before Vegas so the plan is to grind a ton online and in complete contrast to lildaves goal of playing 25 live tournaments this year I'm probably going to play less than 10 after playing a good 50+ in 2011. On both the Summer 2011 and Oct/Nov 2011 trips to Vegas I worked a ton on my live cash tekkers and I never really felt like I wasn't crushing those games playing 5/10 so during any extended stay in Vegas this year I'm definitely going to want to move up and grind some 10/20+. I'm not really a big fan of selling action in cash games so I'm just gunna try and take $100k to Vegas and grind 10/20 with some 25/50 shots. Still, June is a very long way away...

Until then I'm going to be grinding the HUsngs a ton as per on iPoker. Had a really rocky December running ~$7k under EV and never really feeling like I was playing great. January started in much the same vain but I've been doing some hand history reviews, had a couple of hours of coaching with HokieGreg (highly reccomended as a heads up sng coach) and discussed some things with other regs and I think I've got my mindset back in the right place so despite being a small loser (~$2k) over the first 300 games of 2012 I've pulled it back and am well on course to book a good month to kick off the year.

After doing some calculations in December it works out that if I put the hours in its pretty easy for me to make a ton in rakeback and even if I'm only a small winner in the games, $100k profit in the first 5 months of the year is ambitious but very attainable. If I can play 5,000 games at stakes from $100 to $500 this splits as follows:

1,000 $100s
2,000 $200s
1,250 $350s
750 $500s

Thats $30,750 in rakeback before we've even started doing some winning. Average ROI of 4.9% to hit the goal. I could definitely end up playing more volume than that though, got 357 games in alredy on the 7th of Jan!

I've seen a lot of posts on various blogs and forums about how setting monetary goals isn't a good idea and everyone wants to have these wishy washy achievements but at the end of the day no matter how many times you went to the gym a week or whether you managed to keep the pet hamster alive for 52 weeks of the year, if you didn't make money, you had a shit year. So there it is, rather than doing what everyone else is doing and giving a list of bullshit stuff and keeping a number in their head for how much they wanna make I'm just gunna let you know that $200k is the marker for the year. I'm don't plan on doing any high variance stuff like playing tons of live tourneys or going on big road trips this year, although Vegas in November I was adament I wasn't going then lildave managed to convince me in 10 minutes so theres definitely potential for impluse travelling. The only things definitely on the horizon are the Irish Open and WSOP 2012 right now.

Congrats to LFmagic and Marcin Milde for their respective Sunday Million binks in the last few weeks. Congrats also to Sam Grafton (SamSquid on stars) on crushing the start of 2012, been some good rails already so far this year!
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