October 31, 2009

Vienna trip report...

I finally got round to writing up about my trip to Vienna for the Greek Poker Tour. Me and fellow pro Dan Carter headed out there for a few days and had a really good time all in all.

Read all about it here...

Played 250 SNGs today and did quite well. Off to a Halloween do tonight and it will be good to have a few drinks and relax away from a computer screen!!

October 29, 2009

1400 SNGs in the last 8 days...

Okay, I'm rounding up, but 1384 still seems like a helluva lot!

I really have been grinding like crazy since I got back from Vienna. It was especially hard because I simply wasn't making any money, but I tried not to loose too much faith because I was owed a ton in EV. Although adjusted EV is something which is very useful for seeing how you are running in cash games, it's perhaps not as useful in SNGs. This is because it's hard to work out what the difference between the chips you have won and the chips you would have won had your luck been average in all-in situations is really worth. At least it's there to stop you going out of your mind when you are running bad.

Hold 'em Manager hands + chip stats, Oct 22nd-29th
(Have I really played that many hands in just over a week, gees!)

I think my choice to play some 180-mans was bad, as these require a different strategy to the 18-mans and 45-mans that I have been used to, so that $600 I lost in 85 $12 games was a bad experiment. Especially considering I had dismissed playing these because of the variance in the past.

The last few days have been really rough, as I have complaining about, but I finally had a super-good day today, which I definitely feel like I was owed. But just because you feel like you are owed a good day, doesn't mean you won't run bad for another week, so I'm just grateful things went right today and has perhaps given me a better mindset for the continuing grind!

All games played October 22nd-29th

I'm still going strong with playing essentially as many 45 man SNGs as I can throughout the day, literally doing a "9 to 5" (and consequently eliminating one of the perks of playing poker for a living!). I've clocked in between 200-230 each of the last four days. I'm hoping that my graph of 45-man tournaments is enough to keep me motivated to keep churning out such a ridiculous volume of games.

All 45-mans played on PokerStars, lifetime.

October 25, 2009

Having a tough time of it right now...

Apologies for the lack of update recently. With being in Vienna for a few days I was too busy enjoying myself to update, and since I got back I've been (to quote Colchester Kev on Blonde) grinding like a lap dancer on a guy with a fat wallet. I've hit a rather nasty downswing/break-even patch, and as some of you might understand, for some reason it's always more difficult to update when things are going badly.

I will be writing a trip report on Vienna for my PokerNews column, so will link to that when it goes live. I had a good time, and 'Wien' is a very cool place, but didn't end up playing as much poker as I was expecting. I ended up only playing the main event, in which I went deep and finished just short of the money, 33rd of 218 with the top 24 getting paid, busting on the very first hand of day two which is always nice(!).

I have really managed to get my volume up recently by waking up early in the morning, and just playing solidly throughout the day time. I'm not sure this is the fishiest time to play, but I'm really happy with the schedule, and think that the games I'm playing always have enough fish in them to make them profitable. I decided to move from the 18-mans, which although I was crushing a few weeks ago, I had become really stagnant in. I think I picked up some leaks, trying to exploit the bubble too much and stuff, and I thought it would be good to play some 45-mans which I have a really steady graph in. I forgot how good the synchronised breaks are for these tournaments, and I've just been playing 8 hours straight or so, which hasn't felt so tough with that 5 minute break every hour which makes all the difference.

Variance has gotten the better of me though, as I played some 180-mans as well, where a bad run can just crush your spirit. In 50 games I managed all of 1 final table. I also started off bad in the $27 45-mans, where only a few get running a day as opposed to the lower buy-in ones where I can play well over a hundred, I managed to not cash in my first 25.

I think keeping your game fresh is very important, as taking a break from the tables has re-focused me. I think you can go into auto-pilot mode all too easily when you play as many games as me, and you can pick up some bad habits. To use a lame analogy, if your auto-pilot mode has some 'programming errors', you are going to veer off course, so it is important to always keep 'replotting your course'. Therefore review sessions, with the help of SNG Wiz, are something I will make sure I find the time to do every day, as I had perhaps become lax on this before I went to Vienna.

I have found a schedule where I can put in 200 games a day without getting too stressed out.

I just can't seem to consistently win currently. I don't think it's related to my mad volume and I don't think there are too many flaws in my game. We'll have to see how things go because the "running bad" argument can surely only apply for x-amount of games, and that 'x' is getting rather damn large right now!

My Sharkscope graph helps to depict the rough time I'm having of it right now...

October 11, 2009

Getting up, getting money back & getting outta here!

New Schedule............
Progress has been made since my last post. Firstly, I have now managed to wake up four days in a row before 9am. This might not sound like much of an achievement, but my girlfriend would confirm that, for me, this is infact pretty epic. I'm thinking the new schedule is working well. I play 100 SNGs in my first session, have an hour lunch break or so, then play another 75 in the afternoon. This should allow me to play at greater volume, which hopefully will boost my income a decent amount. Of course the first day I woke up to hit this schedule PokerStars reset their server which meant I couldn't play until 1.30pm anyway! Since then, it seems to have worked well though...

"They say sleep is the cousin of Death. So my eyes wide open 'cos a dream is kin to ya last breath" - The Game

PokerStars refund............
I talked in my last post about the server problems on PokerStars costing me dosh, but they have fully restored my faith in them. They shipped me back the entry fee back for 12 of the 20 tournaments that I was affected by. I managed to save a cash in 4 of the other 8, so overall I definitely feel well compensated for the problem.

I'm off to Vienna!...........
I generally have a peruse on PokerinEurope.com every month, and look at all the tournaments I'd like to go to, and usually never end up going any. This time though, I spotted that the Greek Poker Tour is being held in Austria (due to poker restrictions in Greece), and thought this could be a good chance to play a potentially soft tournament with soft side games, whilst going on a nice trip. It's a year since I last went on a poker trip, and with the World Heads Up Poker Championship not being held in Barcelona this year, it will be cool to go to a new place which has a card-room with a great reputation, and is supposed to be a nice city in general. The main event is €500+50 and with flights on EasyJet, it hopefully won't be too much of a hit to the bankroll. I've managed to persuade Dan Carter to come with me, and I'm really looking forward to this one. We jet off on Thursday. Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

October 07, 2009

20 tables running and it won't connect, argh!

Will explain the title in a little bit...

I haven't been succeeding in putting in a great amount of volume as I had intended. I'm finding myself only playing one session a day when I do play. This is largely due to me sleeping in too late, perhaps due to the interrupted sleep I am getting due to the baby (4 weeks old now, and I shouldn't complain because he actually sleeps really well).

I need to stop going to bed quite so late, and getting up early so I can potentially do a morning session and an afternoon session. Either that or perhaps have a session of MTTs in the evening, say every other day or something. I find myself not wanting to play a hardcore 20-tables-at-a-time session in the evenings, so I need to implement at least one of these methods because I'm just not utilising the day sufficiently.

18-man SNGs played:
30th Sept: 60 (45-man)
1st Oct: 75
2nd Oct: 75
3rd Oct: -
4th Oct: 54*
5th Oct: 106
6th Oct: -
7th Oct: 100

*The asterix relates to the the title of the blog, as this session was cut short by PokerStars going 'down' mid session. My connection to PokerStars suddenly died and I wasn't able to log back in, which seemed to be a widespread problem that affected a lot of people on Sunday. It wasn't fun having it log me out whilst in the middle of 20 Sit and Gos, knowing I was being blinded off as I wasdeep in several of them. It's actually super stressful, as you feel like you are literally pissing money away. I thought I had protected myself against this kind ofthing, as I have a spare laptop and a mobile broadband dongle. Therefore if there is a power cut I should still be good to go (I think this is very advisable if you are an SNG or MTT pro), but unfortunately you can't really protect yourself against a server or software issue beyond your control.

I managed to get back on after 10-15 minutes on my laptop (I'm unsure as to why it would log-on there but not my desktop as they feed off the same router), and save a couple of them, but it definitely cost me a fair wodge of money. I'm still waiting to here back from support about being refunded for the buy-ins, so I will let you know how that goes, because I would certainly expect some form of compensation with this not being my fault. To be fair, PokerStars is usually spot on, so I'll forgive them this malfunction as long as I don't lose out because of it.

In my last post I was complaining that the shootout format dominates televised poker, well I stumbled upon this site recently, so now the plan is to download the WSOP 2009 footage and watch it on my iPhone (apologies for the blatant brag, I only got it a couple of weeks ago and haven't broadcast about it nearly enough!) before I go to bed etc. I find watching poker shows like this keeps up my enthusiasm for the game, and you definitely need some motivation when you have to face up to playing 25 SNGs per hour as I do.

October 01, 2009

Around the block, but inevitably back 'home'...

I've been getting back into online poker over the last week. I had my eye on the recent Poker Heaven SNG promotion, racking up as many points as possible by cashing in €20+2 10-man SNGs. I came 2nd in a similar promotion last year. It became apparent that there were two sick monkies going to come first and second who didn't think it was necessary to eat/sleep/wash so I kind of gave up with it. Also, having to contend with the dodgy Boss Media software was killing me, and I was running so below EV it was unfunny. I managed to hang onto fifth, despite quitting 4 days into the 7 day promotion. With the prize money and rakeback, I made a decent bit of dosh doing it, so I'm not going to complain too much.

I thought after a few days of using such bog-standard software, I might as well have another crack at playing the 45 and 90 mans on Full Tilt rather than just jump straight back to PokerStars. My decision to crank up to 16 tables straight away was a little silly, as it turns out stacking tables on Full Tilt is just not at all smooth. I managed to run like death with 1 cash in 21 games, with the software and also the length of the games (up to 2 hours to finish as opposed to about 1 hour for PokerStars games) and I was just rueing my decision to bother with Full Tilt and couldn't wait to get back to PokerStars.

So I have played a couple of sessions on there in the last couple of days, and I have come to re-appreciate how great the software really is. It's like when your missus goes away for a few days, and suddenly you have to do your own cooking and generally look after yourself and the house. When she comes back, you realise just how much she does and how much you need her.

I'm happy to call PokerStars my home, and I have no reason, nor desire, to stray from there for the time being. I ran sickly good in the two sessions I've had so far, which has helped me get over my reluctance to go back to the 20-tabling grind after such a long absence from the tables. I was kinda intending to set myself some kind of target for the end of October, but I'm not sure what's realistic. For now I'll just keep tabs on how many games I've played, and hopefully I can get the volume up as I've been eeking my way in steadily.

30th September: 60 45-man SNGs
1st October: 75 18-man SNGs

I've been watching a fair amount of poker on TV, with the Poker Million and Late Night Poker airing right now, but it's a shame so much of what gets aired is in the crapshooty 'Shoot-out' format. The European Cash Game 2 should be a nice break away from this, which is airing soon. The first series was well worth watching, with Eric Liu and Albert Iversen playing awesome, so it will be interesting how the new series goes down.

At time of writing the WSOP-E Main Event is getting pretty exciting with play down to 4 handed, with both Hitsquader Praz Bansi and poker legend Daniel Negreanu still fighting it out for the bracelet. I'll be following the live updates as this one draws to a close!

Also worth checking out is Daleroxxu's new blog, a SNG icon in his own right, has taken to interviewing other SNG icons such as 'JHUB3000' and 'Spacegravy'. Hopefully he'll be interviewing me in a couple of years time ;)