December 24, 2010

2010 in review

I moved house at the beginning of January, and setting up the new place took up a fair amount of time, as did going through the process of installing Windows 7 on my computer! Consequently I played very little poker; only 4 days worth towards the end of the month. However, I start coaching for, including taking on Ray 'mondonewc' Norton who ended up doing really well.

Blog Posts: 

Personal event of note: Moved house
In the poker news: "Rush Poker" launched
Game of choice:
180-man SNGs

Graph/Results for January:

After playing predominantly on PokerStars (where my screenname is epitomised) for the previous 7-8 months, I decided to give the games on Full Tilt a try (where I was playing as Fido7Dido). This experiment went rather well, and February turned out to be my most profitable month of the year.

Personal event: My 25th Birthday
In poker news: Benyamine wins Premier League IV
Games of choice:
45-man / 90-Man SNGs

Graph/Results for February:

Another solid month at the 45 and 90-mans on Full Tilt. Went on a mate's stag do in Newcastle that was fairly messy, but good fun. I had six students under my wing at this point, and wrote an article about poker coaching for PokerNews.

Blog Posts:

Personal event: Mate's Stag do
In poker news: Annie Duke wins NBC Nat'l-HU C'ship
Games of choice:
45-man / 90-Man SNGs

Graph/Results for March:

My results were quite swingy in April, and I was really not happy with my work ethic (or lack thereof). It turned out to be a pretty 'meh' month, which included me busting pretty early in the UKIPT event in Coventry after getting my money in good.

Blog Posts:

Personal event: 1st live poker of 2010 (UKIPT Coventry)
In poker news: David Williams wins WPT Championship
Game choice:
45-man / 90-Man SNGs

Graph/Results for April:

After my results and volume on Full Tilt really tailed off, I decided to move over to PokerStars. With much sleeker software and no cap on the number of tables you play, it feels like you can work harder on Stars, and I think that hard work can motivate you to work harder if that makes sense. After swapping between the sites a few times over the last year, I decided to commit myself to PokerStars by aiming for Supernova. It was also to encourage volume, as it would require a lot of days work to get there playing the 180-mans that I was at the time. I created the 'Supernova Quest' to encourage me to blog more after my quantity of blog posts had tailed off too.

Blog Posts: 

    Personal event: Attended a good friend's wedding
    In poker news: Stuart Rutter wins GUKPT Coventry
    Games of choice:
    45, 90, & 180-man SNGs

    Graph/Results for May:

    Had good results in my first full month back on PokerStars. I discovered that video blogging was very time consuming if you have to do any form of editing (the main reason for the lack of video blogs since!). Was pretty jealous of the Brits' success at the World Series of Poker after I missed out on going myself for the 3rd year running.

    Personal event: Wasted my time watching World Cup
    In poker news: Mizrachi wins Players Championship
    Games of choice:
    180-man SNGs

    Graph/Results for June:

    Another solid month results wise, although I actually ended my Supernova Quest because I didn't want it to detract from me making profit in the games. I did have approximately a £10k epic downswing towards the end of the month...when me and my fiancé booked our wedding. Actually, I had proposed on Christmas Day last year, so perhaps the downswing can be ascribed to 2009 instead!

    Blog Posts:

    Personal event:
    Booked my wedding for next year
    In poker news: Brits clean up at WSOP
    Games of choice:
    180-man SNGs

    Graph/Results for July:

    I went away with the inlaws on the least balla holiday ever, a 'staycation' I think it's been dubbed recently. Although I enjoyed the time away from the computer and with the family, lets just say I won't be going back there anytime soon. This contributed to my volume being a bit down for August, but things were still going well at the tables. I decided to finish up with coaching so that I could concentrate more on just playing myself.

    Blog Posts:

    Personal event: Went on holiday with the in-laws!
    In poker news: Neil Channing wins GUKPT Luton
    Game choice:
    180-man SNGs

    Graph/Results for August:

    I had really bad conjunctivitis in my left eye for most of September, which really sucked, as it was kind of worrying and also because it was too uncomfortable to put in poker sessions where I'd be staring at my computer screen for hours on end. Multiple trips to doctors and optometrists ensued, and eventually some drops with steroids worked, but I still wake up with my left eye all blurry every morning and it gets a little bloodshot quite easily. I really hope it doesn't recur in 2011!

    Blog Posts: 

    Personal event of note: My 1st-born's 1st Birthday
    In the poker news: Jake Cody wins WPT London
    Game of choice:
    180-man SNGs

    Graph/Results for September:

    I made the transition from 180-man SNGs to 18-man SNGs sometime in October. I was getting tired of the night-time schedule that playing 180-mans in peak time entailed, and moving to 18-mans allowed me to play during the daytime. They would also help me get to Supernova by the end of the year, which encouraged me to reinstate my 'Supernova Quest'. I also wrote an article about needbeer breaking the VPP record on PokerStars which drove the most traffic to my blog of anything I've written so far (perhaps I should stop writing about me and concentrate on other people!).

    Graph/Results for October:

    I really hit my stride in the 18-man SNGs and had my 2nd most profitable month of the year. I struggled a bit juggling fatherhood with poker as my son hit the age where he was wanting my attention more often. I also had a bit of a rant at Peter Eastgate for flogging off his bracelet :)

    Blog Posts:

    Personal event: Me & my girlfriend's 3rd anniversary (not the song, lol)
    In poker news: Jonathan Duhamel wins Main Event
    Games of choice:
    18-man SNGs

    Graph/Results for November:

    Last month of the year turned out to be a bit of an epic fail. I put in no volume, donked around in MTTs, got no-where in a couple of live events and took the last two weeks off for Christmas/to refresh before I start uber-grinding on January 1st. Having said that I did make Supernova for the very first time, and had a good Christmas break, so there were some good things to take out of it.

    Blog Posts:

    Personal event: Making Supernova!
    In poker news: Reid Bill (temporarily) rocks poker world
    Game choice:

    Graph/Results for December:

    This was without question my most consistent year of poker, effectively not having a losing month, and mostly having very good results in the months I grinded properly in. My results were very solid across the board, despite mixing up the format I was playing a little too often. I'm pleased I decided to commit myself to PokerStars and make Supernova, and I think the switch to 18-mans will prove to be a good decision next year.

    Although my results were good, at many points in the year I was not happy with the volume I was putting in, nor the daily routine I was keeping. I plan to fix both of those things next year and hopefully have an even better year than this one.

    On a different note, I am pleased with the work I put into my blog this year, I'm always making tweaks here and there, and my daily hits are gradually increasing. Thanks to everyone who takes the time out to read my blog, and best wishes for 2011.

    December 23, 2010

    Supernova Quest Completed!

    I actually completed my quest to become Supernova in 2010 in underwhelming fashion. I pretty much stopped grinding on December 7th, knowing I had it effectively locked up. I fancied playing the UKICOOP events which kind of distracted me into playing MTTs for a while. With a big 2011 lined up SNG wise, I decided I didn't want to grind SNGs anymore after that. I actually made the last 2000 VPPs playing a bit of limit hold 'em and after getting a taste for mixed games after playing the UKICOOP H.O.R.S.E. tournament, I actually crossed the finishing line playing some Razz cash games?!

    Not grinding SNGs for the last couple of weeks has actually made me feel a little bit of a degenerate. Playing 4 or 5 days worth of MTTs is pretty much gambling. Playing a small number of hands at Limit Hold 'em is also pretty much gambling. Me playing Razz is definitely gambling! SNG wise I pretty much do zero gambling, so even though I wasn't risking very much the last couple of weeks, I think dicking about with other games and not making fairly steady money as I am used to hasn't made me feel all that great.

    I had some deep runs in 3 or 4 MTTs, but didn't make it to the big bucks. I was in a huge pot to be a clear chip leader in the UKICOOP main event about 6 hours in, but I didn't get there. Perhaps if I'd have binked something I wouldn't be complaining!

    It's no biggie though, I will make up for it come January 1st when the real grind begins.

    Ex-student success
    One of my former students has actually got me out of a bit of a tight spot. Having not made much money at the tables this month, and very possibly being in the process of being grimmed at the moment, finances weren't quite as comfortable as I'd have liked them to be. However, I had 10% of Ray Norton, who I talked of being my 'star student' here, who managed to finish 3rd in the £1000+90 DTD "Monte Carlo" Event over the weekend for £27,500, which has taken a bit of pressure off. I'm so pleased for him, he's been a good mate since we started coaching and it's a great reward for the hard work he's put in at the tables this year.
    Having bust out the event on Day One myself, I was routing on Ray throughout the epic Blonde Poker Live Update throughout the final day. He is very much a grinder similar to myself, and it was great to see him doing so well in this deepstack live tournament (which has the EPT Grand Final structure) and get a score that will mean a lot to him. The whole Blonde Poker forum rallied behind him like I've never seen before, with many people, myself including staying up until 4am to see how things turned out for him. Had two unlucky chopped-pots where he was AIPF with dominating Aces gone his way, he might have done even better. An awesome Christmas present for him, but I know he's got his own quest to Supernova to complete before the years end, and with 8000 VPPs or so to go I hope he finds some time away from his celebrations to put in the necessary grind!

    Supernova Quest

    Days played/elapsed: 103/206 (50%)
    VPPs earned (Day 100)601
    VPPs earned (Day 101)213
    VPPs earned (Day 102): 372
    VPPs earned (Day 103): 1316
    VPPs earned (2010): 100,000
    VPPs remaining: 0
    Total Hands played: 615,212

    Perhaps I have been too down-tone in this blog post. I am very pleased the have made Supernova for the first time :) Wiiiiiiiiii.

    December 10, 2010

    I'm challenging isildur1... a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. Best of 3. Only use of one hand permitted at all times.

    It may take a little while for the mystery isildur1 to get back to me, as it seems he's going to be pretty busy for the time being. As you've probably already heard, he's been signed to Team PokerStars.

    Even the Grim Reaper is patched up these days!
    It seems like a shrewd move by PokerStars, and some would consider it quite a coup. After his exploits on Full Tilt, in which he won over $5 million in just a couple of weeks, only to go on to lose that and almost $3 million on top straight afterwards, he is railbird's dream. Stars seem to be taking full advantage of this with their 'Superstar Showdown' concept which you can read about here.

    One thing that will be interesting is if we find out who isildur1 really is. It has been heavily speculated that he is Swedish pro Viktor Blom, but a teaser by PokerStars that "his real identity may be revealed before the PCA in January." Hopefully it doesn't turn out that it was Viktor Blom all along, as this will be kind of boring. Personally I'm routing for it to be Norman Chad. Who knows, he might have a holiday home somewhere in Sweden!

    In the other big news that has the poker world talking at the moment Senate Majority Leader (I have no idea what this means exactly, but I'm guessing it means he's a fairly important dude in USA politics) Harry Reid has been circulating a bill that could dramatically affect American player's ability to play poker. A 'blackout' period of 15 months to American players on major online poker sites to enable them to get a licence is perhaps the most worrying potential consequence of the bill. There has been a lot written about it, so rather than delve into it I'll direct you to some good cliff notes on the situation here.

    Fortunately it looks like the bill has at least been put on the backburner (see here), so the poker world can perhaps breathe easy. At least for the time being.

    In less reported news I've been playing donating to most of the UKICOOP events on PokerStars over the last few days. I'm yet to go particularly deep in any of them. Perhaps I haven't been aided by hands such as this one!

    Supernova Quest
    I'm essentially home and dry, only 2.5k VPPs to go!

    Days played/elapsed: 99/200 (49.5%)
    VPPs earned (Day 97)1562
    VPPs earned (Day 98)1199
    VPPs earned (Day 99): 1374
    VPPs earned (2010): 97,500
    VPPs remaining: 2,500
    Total Hands played: 610,592

    December 03, 2010

    Prop bet fail, The Micros Pilot, Jimmy Carr, SNQ Update & snow!

    Prop-bet fail
    In my last post I detailed the prop-bet of UK Sit-n-Go grinder "entim" which required him to make $5k profit in $6.50 18-man SNGs within 15 days. He lost the prop-bet after quitting on Day 13. At this point he had only amassed $2.7k in profits, and barring the sickest 'Jerry Yang' style heater, the bet was no longer realistically winnable. Having bet $3333 on himself to win, at least he only ended up losing ~$650 after taking into consideration his game profit.

    He ended up playing over 5000 SNGs for the bet, so it is a helluva lot of work to wind up losing money, but he did have a decent shot at winning ~$15k for the bet had he run a little better. He did claim on twitter (@entim) that he "played really badly", but I would imagine it is very difficult to play well when playing so many games in such a short period of time. Apparently this sick grind hasn't deterred him from future prop-bets though, as he says he "will do something similar in the new year".

    entim's graph for the prop-bet

    The Micros Pilot
    The latest thing 'doing the rounds' in the 'pokersphere' (overuse of inverted commas duly noted) is the first episode of an animated series created by Jay "Krantz" Rosenkrantz and John "Jimmylegs" Wray. Threre are a few references you might only get if you follow the 2+2 forums, but even if you don't it's rather cool. Look out for the large box of "Crappy poker books" and the small box of "Good poker books", I though that was a nice touch!

    Jimmy Carr
    Michael "Wazz" Piper, a British Poker Pro who finished 4th in the 2010 San Remo EPT (which was won by Liv Boeree), found himself on stage at one of comedian Jimmy Carr's gigs, presumably because of his unusual job (or at least unusual to the outside-world!). Predictably Carr asked him at least one of Daleroxxu's "10 questions not to ask me about poker", but Piper did pretty good job of holding his own against the quick-witted Jimmy Carr's jokes...

    Supernova Quest
    Less than 7000 VPPs left before I hit Supernova, so I should be done in the next few days.

    Days played/elapsed: 96/193 (49.7%)
    VPPs earned (Day 91): 1760
    VPPs earned (Day 92)1050
    VPPs earned (Day 93): 2156
    VPPs earned (Day 94): 1914
    VPPs earned (Day 95): 957
    VPPs earned (Day 96): 1155
    VPPs earned (2010): 93,250
    VPPs remaining: 6,750
    Total Hands played: 598,969

    I did mention last week that I might try and hit up the UKIPT in Galway, but the insane snow we've been having in Lincolnshire put paid to that idea. Lincoln has been pretty much closed this week, and even the annual Christmas market, which attracts approximately a quarter of a million visitors here every year (the only time tourists come to Lincoln!), was cancelled.  Check out a picture of my back garden below:

    November 27, 2010

    Sick SNG prop bet...

    Fellow UK Sit'n'Go Grinder Timothy Boyle, who plays on-line under the alias entim, is currently in the middle of a prop-bet to try and make $5,000 profit by playing $6.50 18-man turbo SNGs on PokerStars in only a 15-day period. I wish I'd seen the thread on 2+2 before now, because even laying him 3-1 odds (which are the odds for the prop bet), I think it would have been worth putting some money up. Theoretically, maintaining a 10% ROI would require you play nearly 7700 games in order to make $5000. I'd say it's barely feasible to play 500+ 18-man SNGs a day for 15-days straight, let alone maintain a solid win-rate for the duration as well.

    Timothy 'entim' Boyle
    Although, having said that, 10 days in he is half-way there (see graph below). He has accumulated $2500 profit over the course of 4000 games. Although it's a pretty tall order to make the same amount of profit in the 5 days he has left as he did in the first 10 (especially factoring in potential burn-out), there is great financial reward to spur him on. With $3333 on the line against the $10k that has been bet against him, from the point he is at now he will be almost $16,000 better off if he wins the bet as opposed to losing it (including game profits). That's a pretty sick swing for $6.50 SNGs!
    Current Graph at Day 10 of 15
    On Twitter (@entim) he tweeted this earlier today: "I'll be needing premium rungood, I'll be playing almost every hour of every day for a while."

    Seeing as I don't have any action against him, here is wishing Tim good luck for the next 5 days. If he runs hot and can grind extra hard, he has a shot at it. It certainly won't be easy though, he's gonna need more than a couple of cans of Red Bull to get there!

    Aside from the prop-bet, entim has promised to give the rakeback he accumulates, likely to be somewhere between $1k and $1.5k, to the person who best photoshops a picture of another SNG grinder; simakos. Personally I don't understand this (that's a lot of wonga to throw at a jokey project and SNG grinders are usually so particular about their rakeback!), but some stuff it's thrown up is kind of funny. The leader for the dough so far is the creator of this video:

    November 25, 2010

    Quick update - considering UKIPT in Galway...

    Just a quick update. I've been out of action for the last three days as I've been a bit ill. 'Bit' is the operative word, I don't think what I've had even qualifies as man flu, but I really haven't felt like playing. If I feel better tomorrow I might try and do some sick grinding to get to Supernova by the end of the month. A little part of me wants to go to the UKIPT in Galway which begins on December 2nd which could make for a nice reward. I binked my first live tournament in a side event at the same festival last year, so it holds a little sentiment. Also it was a nice place and I know a few people going who it would be cool to hang out with. Although I'm not sure about going on a dodgy plane with propeller's again!

    I've got $6k waiting for me at Supernova ($1k in a milestone bonus, $1k for all the Stellar awards I've yet to cash in, and becoming Supernova will allow me to take advantage of the $4k instant bonus in return for 250,000 of my FPPs, which I've been saving up since last year), so hopefully that will be enough incentive to encourage me to get there asap.

    Supernova Quest
    Days played/elapsed: 90/183 (49.1%)
    VPPs earned (Day 86)1446
    VPPs earned (Day 87)1881
    VPPs earned (Day 88): 1342
    VPPs earned (Day 89): 1865
    VPPs earned (Day 90)957
    VPPs earned (2010): 84,100
    VPPs remaining: 15,900
    Total Hands played: 568,302

    Only 16k VPPs to go, no excuses now...

    Galway UKIPT

    November 21, 2010

    Eastgate: the flip side & Big Game drama

    I was a little surprised to find that no-one I've asked agreed with my last post criticizing Peter Eastgate for auctioning off his bracelet. I think it is a matter of interpretation. I was interpreting his action as almost a 'middle finger' to the poker world several months after quitting, and saw it as ungrateful doing that to something that had given you so much. Hence the blog post.

    However, it's very possible I have misinterpreted his reasons for selling the bracelet. If his motives are purely philanthropic, then selling something for much more than it's monetary value, and giving the money to charity isn't really something that should be criticised. A friend of Peter's, GUKPT winner Jeff Kimber, commented that Peter did not intend it to be disrespectful, and my argument that he could just donate an equal amount to what the bracelet raises is somewhat dwarfed by the fact he has his own charitable organisation. Check it out at

    So perhaps I was overly judgemental on Peter, but I stand by the fact I would never sell a bracelet if I were ever to win one. I mean, I was pretty upset that I didn't get a trophy for winning a UKIPT side event (yes, thinly veiled brag, sorry). This might be a symptom of the fact I am a hoarder. It drives my girlfriend crazy, I am so reluctant to throw anything out! I still own clothes I haven't worn for 5 years lol. But I guess nothing can take away the result on your Hendon Mob Database page, and if I'm going to criticise Peter for selling his bracelet, then I should probably rant at Phil Hellmuth for giving his bracelets away as presents to his family, which would be rather harsh.

    GL to Peter in whatever he chooses to do. He was always a class act at the poker table.

    Which is more than can be said for what I just witnessed in the Big Game episode I just finished watching. I'm a little behind the times on this, as it caused a bit of a ruckus a few weeks back. Basically Tony G and Daniel Negreanu got totally out of line on Andrew Robl.

    I'm not sure what to make of Andrew Robl, he seems a nice enough guy, but from the times I've seen him on TV he doesn't come across as that interesting, and probably doesn't do himself any favours. In this game it was perhaps not the best idea to refuse to straddle even once or twice. But on the other hand, I respect that he stuck to his guns, and he certainly didn't deserve the treatment that he was given:

    For Tony G to call the clock on Andew Robl in a hand he wasn't even involved in (bearing in mind this is a cash game with no increase in blinds or whatever) is just such terrible etiquette. Robl ended up making a bad fold, which he might not have made otherwise. Although Tony G is often entertaining, even (or especially) in his berating of people, he sometimes oversteps the mark so incredibly (or perhaps when it's not Phil Hellmuth it's not as funny?). Also, I've always quoted Negreanu as being my favourite poker player ever since I started playing, but his usual likeability was certainly not evident in this episode.

    I felt for Robl watching all that go down, and he really sticks up for himself in this blog post he made after it aired. Tony G and Negreanu have since posted on the subject, but meh, Robl came out looking best on this occasion.

    November 19, 2010

    Peter Eastgate flogs his WSOP bracelet...

    The latest thing that has the poker world talking is the news that Peter Eastgate is selling his WSOP Main Event bracelet on eBay. I was a bit sceptical when I first saw the auction page (here), as the seller is "petereastgate (0)". Personally I wouldn't bother trying to sell a friendship bracelet on eBay with a "0" rating. I know that I'm not even looking at the page unless the person has at least a fair few token 'A+++' comments! It does appear that it is legitimate though, and he is donating the proceeds to the charity UNICEF.

    It's hard to rag on anyone for raising money for charity. However, to me it seems almost sacrilegious to sell off the bracelet. When you think about how insanely good you have to run to win the WSOP Main Event (see Jonathan Duhamel this year...and that's only in hands that were televised!), it's almost like you're being ungrateful that you won the damn thing! Out of the 6,843 other entrants in the 2008 Main Event field, and the hundreds of thousands of poker players around the world that wish they had such a bracelet, I bet most can't understand his decision.

    I would think a very small percentage of people would do the same thing. Admittedly it was reported earlier in the year that TJ Cloutier had pawned off one of his WSOP bracelets, and the pawnbroker subsequently listed it on eBay. However that was more out of financial necessity (busto!) than anything. Okay, in this case it's going to a good cause as opposed to the craps pit, but I don't buy that as enough of a reason to sell the bracelet. If Eastgate wanted to donate money equal to the amount the bracelet is likely to raise then he surely could.

    It seems Peter Eastgate has become somewhat disillusioned by poker, as evidenced by his retirement from poker, and therefore from his cushy role as a PokerStars Pro, earlier this year. Perhaps, as you often read about when people win the lottery, he feels his win has had a negative impact on his life, and that's the reason he is selling his bracelet. Maybe he simply wants to 'move on'. Or it could be that Peter feels his bank balance is souvenir enough of his main event win!

    Yet, as if selling the bracelet isn't sacrilegious enough (imo), Tony G has vowed to win the auction and turn the bracelet into a dog collar! Perhaps the next "dogs in poker" painting you see will feature one of the dogs rockin' some major WSOP bling?