Professionally, I'm really not sure how to feel about 2013. I could certainly consider it to be a successful year; it just eked in as my most profitable year as a poker professional. However this was largely attributable to a live tournament score which I really only consider to be a lucky bink. My online results for the year were decent, but I earned less than I did in both 2011 and 2012, so in that sense they were a little disappointing.
I got out of the blocks nicely in January, and managed to bink a $109 turbo early on, which unfortunately would turn out to be my only outright win in one until November, which certainly had some impact on my yearly results as they tend to me my biggest buy-in game.
My daily grind stayed somewhat consistent throughout the year, playing mostly MTTs with some 18, 45 and 180 man SNGs thrown in. I did begin the year mixing in non-PokerStars sites, but they gradually got phased out as I wasn't sure they were worth the extra focus that multi-tabling different software requires.
Our youngest, Alaina, turned 1 at the beginning of the month. They go from being tiny-babies to monster-toddlers so fast! Poker wise it was certainly not the best month as I broke even, but at least I managed to start digging myself out of a downswing somewhere around my 28th birthday.
I got off to a flyer in March then it steadied off. We took the kids to Disneyland Paris for the first time at the end of the month. Although it was bloody freezing, we really enjoyed the few days we spent there. I was really happily surprised by just how much the kids got out of it. They both absolutely loved it, and Clark was still talking about it months later.
After taking up running in September 2012, I ran my first race at the beginning of April, which was the 10km in my home city, Lincoln. I was aiming to pass the finish line in under an hour and managed a shade under 57 minutes so I was pleased with that,. Hopefully I can improve on that time next year.
Poker wise, April began uneventfully, but then I just went and binked 3rd place in a £1k tournament, from which I netted £36k. I won't go into details as that was one thing I actually blogged about this year (see: "Monte Carlo"). I allowed myself a bit of time off as a reward, and we booked a weeks holiday in May to Ibiza. It was a nice break, but perhaps a little early in the season as it wasn't all that sunny/hot.
After playing for such a vast amount of money at the Monte Carlo final table I found it tough to get back to grinding it out online, and barely played a hand of online poker in May, which was a bit of an excessive break.
At the beginning of June I traveled down to the unprecedented ISPT to play on the pitch at Wembley, which was a pretty surreal/cool experience, but alas I busted the tournament fairly early and in unspectacular manner. After slacking off throughout May I finally got back in the groove in June and posted up some nice results and for the first time in the year was pleased with the volume I managed to put in.
I continued to put in some decent hours in July and and was in straight up God Mode all month, which meant July was my best month of the year by some margin!
Although not quite in the God Mode of July, August ticked along very nicely. Right at the very end of the month we treated my parents to a family holiday to Salou in Spain, a resort they took me to many times when I was little. The hotel was really nice, the food was amazeballs and the weather was beautiful, which led to a lovely holiday. The nearby theme park Port Aventura has a Sesame Street World which was perfect for the kids (who in very modern fashion like to watch Sesame Street videos on YouTube), and there was also a funfair near the hotel with a Spongebob bouncy castle, which was perfect for Clark who at the time was Spongebob mad. Having my parents there to help with the kids on occasion gave me and Liz a chance to have a few moments of relaxation, which is pretty rare these days!
After we got back it from our Aug/Sept holiday, it was my son's 4th birthday, and he had a blast at Playzone with his friends. Me and Dan Carter had decided we would go on a small poker excursion in September, but with Dan running a little bad at the time we ended up going for the budget option which was GPS Stoke! Not very glamorous to say the least, but we did have a fun day out at Alton Towers, and I managed to have a little nostalgic look around my old University, Keele, which is just a few miles away. I had a pretty decent sweat in the tournament as well, finishing 16th out of 415 runners. Afterwards, I had a decent 2nd half of the month on the online felt.
October was by far my worst month since I became a proper grinder in 2009. I went on a hugely demoralizing downswing, and basically just lost relentlessly for the whole month. (I covered this in quite a lot of detail in my blog post "My biggest ever downswing")
November was essentially the complete opposite of October and I managed to dig myself out of the huge downswing. A $13k score, my 2nd biggest online cash, sparked my turn around in fortunes (again, covered in the blog post "My biggest ever downswing"). I also passed the 1 million lifetime VPP mark towards the end of the month!
I always seem to struggle with motivation in December. I start thinking about my goals in the year ahead and psyching myself up for New Years Resolutions and such. This year I was almost waiting for 2014 to start. I also think the swings of October/November had an affect on me and I was a bit scared to lose. Methinks a re-read of the Mental Game of Poker books is in order as that certainly sounds like some Mental Game fishiness.
I played zero poker for the last week and a half of the year, which was nice as I got to spend a lot of time with my family. Christmas was lovely this year, my kids really got into it, and my wife Liz did a great job cooking her first Christmas Dinner. Me and Liz are getting a rare night out for New Years Eve which should be nice :)
Best of luck to you all in 2014 :)
Funny things kids say
I was looking through my Facebook statuses for the year, and noticed a few beauties from my son Clark which I thought I'd share:
- Shows how often I wear a suit. Clark looks at me coming down the stairs and says "that's a funny costume!"
- (A bee is still and I'm showing Clark) "Can you see his eyes Clark?", "Yes Daddy, I didn't know bees had eyes!", "All things have eyes Clark, that's how we can all see", "No they don't Daddy, ovens don't have eyes!" (Touché!)
- I just called Clark a pain and he retorted with "Well you're the underwear person"
- I was somewhat concerned when Clark told me he'd seen a black man he didn't like. Fortunately it turned out he was referring to Darth Vader!
A few pics from the year: