Tag : partypoker

post image

Back Playing Poker Again

Aside from two small poker tournaments in Sept. 2018 and another in Nov. 2018, the last time I played any form of online poker was back in Oct. 2015, almost four years ago. There was a time when I used to spend every possible spare minute logging cash game hands, grinding sit & gos or firing up multi-table tournaments, although those days seemed to be long gone. Or have they?

One of the reasons I stopped playing poker was because of work. Having picked up more poker-related writing gigs, the last thing I wanted to do with my spare time was sit grinding poker for several hours after spending all day writing about the game.

Another was that I drifted from the poker scene despite being heavily involved in it. I retired from live reporting shortly after the 2014 World Series of Poker (WSOP) so lost an outlet when it came to discussing strategy and watching poker hands unfold in front of me. I’d often come back from live reporting at a major event ready to smash it up online because spending 7-10 days with the game’s elite, bouncing hands off them and watching them in action made playing online in low buy-in tournaments seem so easy.

Why did I stop playing poker?

Thinking about it, perhaps another reason was the fact I had become obsessed with the money side of the game. While I was never going to become a professional poker player, or make bagfuls of cash from this crazy game, I was a profitable player at my stakes and poker had paid for several luxuries during my “career”. The less I played and was involved in the playing side via reporting duties, the more I’d think to myself “what’s the point of grinding this $3 tournament to min-cash after six hours for $7.92 when I could be working or even playing on the PlayStation.”

The money also became a factor when I hit a downswing. I remember towards the end of when I last played poker seriously that I hit two major downswings in quick succession in the $2 and $3.50 rebuy 180-man turbo MTTSNG at PokerStars that cost me a large percentage of my bankroll. After one particularly bad session, I recall having lost something like $250, which isn’t a ton in the grand scheme of things, and doubting the bit of ability I thought I had and visualising what I could have spent that money on.

It is live reporting that has reignited my passion for poker. The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is drawing to a close and I have spent a decent chunk of time shadow editing the team out in Las Vegas, meaning I have read hundreds of updates from the events taking place. It has been arduous work, but it has also taken me back to a time when I loved playing poker and reading about it 24/7.

Playing poker online

Earlier this month, partypoker announced they were forcing all players to change their aliases as part of some ongoing ecology improvements. $500,000 was being given away in a promotion called Alias Race as a reward for creating a new moniker at the tables. You received a virtual scratch card each time you earned 0.10 loyalty points each hour and some of the prizes were worth up to $10,000 cash.

I’ll be honest, I had visions of banking $10,000 for doing next to fuck all so played some micro-stakes no limit hold’em (NLHE) and pot limit Omaha (PLO) cash games. Of course, the $10,000 and all other cash prizes eluded me, but I won ticket to a freeroll tournament that had a $10,000 prize pool.

A few thousand fellow fish entered the freeroll and I managed to navigate my way to five spots outside of the money places to bubble yet another fucking tournament. While disappointed not to secure some free cash, I really enjoyed playing; it was the first time I could say that in years.

While grinding some massive stakes $0.01/$0.02 PLO cash games, which I am loving BTW, I entered a $0.88 turbo tournament that attracted 131 players. I scraped into the money, finishing 13th for less than a couple of bucks, but the prize didn’t matter because I loved every minute of it. The old heart got pumping again when I was in a big pot. It felt great to act on a read and be correct. It was like the old days again.

I’ve not had much spare time to play any poker since that little tournament but you can rest assured that I’ll be returning to the tables again in the near future and hopefully get back into a routine that allows me to grind some tournaments and hopefully climb up the various stakes. Whether I stay at partypoker to do this remains to be seen, that depends on being able to get access to my hand histories in some form so I can post a few of my fish plays on here!

post image

I’m Forever Bursting Bubbles

Getting back playing poker regularly was one of the goals I set myself for 2019 and yesterday I played my first online poker tournament in as long as I can remember.

The tournament was never going to make me rich, a small $3.30 progressive knockout mix-max tournament at partypoker. I had a few quid in my partypoker account and thought I’d fire up a quick MTT to have on in the background while I worked.

Playing poker while working isn’t the best way to make money or to bring your A-game to the table because there are too many distractions. I wasn’t even using a HUD because I’ve not got around to setting Poker Tracker 4 up on my machine, so I was essentially flying blind.

Sucking Out On The River

I didn’t enjoy the best of starts. Being card dead is shit but being card dead and not being able to make many moves because you don’t have any reads on opponents is even worse. With my stack having dwindled to 18 big blinds, I three-bet shoved all-in over the top of a button raise with As8d from the small blind and found myself up against the dominating AsKs.

“FFS, Pud. Great timing,” I thought to myself, only to be redeemed by a beautiful snowman on the river.

That hand gave me some breathing room before I managed to improve to the nut flush and got my stack in against a guy holding two pair. They missed their full house and suddenly I’m sat with almost 100 big blinds and cruising along.

Late registration closed with 384-etries processed and, as it was a mix-max tournament, play switched from eight-handed tables to six-handed. Again, it’s not ideal playing six-max poker tournaments when you’re busy doing other shit.

First hand back after the break I found pocket kings. I won the blinds and antes. A pair of aces in the hole resulted in the same blinds and aces being won a few hands later.

Ace-king was then dealt to me and I bet you can guess what happened. That’s right, I won the blinds and antes.

Three powerhouse hands and I won the total of 14.4 big blinds and that included my own fucking raise!

Here Comes the Money Bubble

The bubble was now approaching, and I looked on course to sneak into the to 48 places where the prize money was divided up; I’d not managed to bust anyone so hadn’t picked up any bounty payments. A few hands cost me some chips and the rising blinds were eating into my stack. Something had to give eventually.

My exit hand was pretty straightforward, as they usually are in tournament poker. Down to around 26 big blinds, I opened to 2.3 big blinds with KcQc from middle position and the big stack to my immediate left flat-called. This guy was running hotter than the sun and had made some weird plays – I’d started paying a little more attention with the bubble looming – including isolating an all-in player with jack-four offsuit and getting there.

Anyway, it was heads-up to the 2hQs7d flop, a pretty good set of community cards for my hand. I bet around half-pot to leave myself a shade under 20 big blinds. Dude face to my left then clicked it back before insta-calling when I jammed all-in, as would you if you were sat there with AsAc! No king or queen on the turn or river and my run came to an end in 51st place with 48 spots paid. FFS.

It’s obviously disappointing not to cash when I was flying high for so long, but then again, I can’t be too pissed about it because I had next to no reads on anyone and my game is rustier than a 1970s Lada at the minute. Was good fun though and I still got that buzz of going deep in a tournament, even in a $3.30 bowl comp. I’ll definitely be playing some more tournaments when I get the chance, maybe this time I’ll try doing so without a raft of distractions.

post image

Setting Goals for 2019

It is important to set yourself some goals and targets regardless of what walk of life you’re from as they give you something to aim or aspire to. New Year is the obvious time, the cliched time, to set goals because you have a clean slate and a full 12-months ahead of you.

First, sorry to my entire readership base of three for not updating this little corner of the internet since Nov. 17. You can blame the lack of content on the fact I’ve been balls deep in Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PS4. The game is nothing short of fantastic. I’m almost done with the story mode, so will be writing a review at some point next week all being well.

As for my goals for 2019, you’ll realise several of them are interlinked; completing one will likely achieve another. Without further ado, let’s look at what lies in store for 2019.

Stopping Smoking

Stopping smoking

This is the number one on my list and I won’t care one iota if I fail to hit the rest of my goals if I manage to achieve this. I’ve stopped smoking a handful of times before falling off the wagon and starting again.

There’s a history of cancer and dodgy hearts in my family so me smoking is even more stupid than it would be for anyone else. You also have to take into consideration the financial cost of smoking. The brand we smoke is around £8.60 a packet, which is fucking criminal, and I’ve loosely worked out I’m currently spending approximately £400 a month on cancer sticks. That’s £4,800 a year. £4,800 a year that could be spent on a family holiday or wiping a credit card, anything other than destroying my lungs.

The plan is to go cold turkey. I used an e-cig the last time I stopped, but it’s not going to be too long before we get told by the experts that these are just as bad for you as cigs. Putting anything other than air into your lungs is a bad idea if you think about it.

To help keep me on the straight and narrow, I’m going to transfer money daily to a savings account, meaning I can see the savings I’ve made. We can then use the money how we see fit every few months or so.

Improve My Fitness / Lose Weight

Another goal is to improve my fitness and lose some timber, which goes hand in hand with stopping smoking. I started 2018 by jogging regularly and was starting to get into it. Then I pulled my right calf muscle and took six weeks for it to stop hurting. By this time, I’d given up on jogging and essentially sat on my arse for the rest of the year.

I’m not getting any younger and have already done a shit ton of damage to my body so vastly improving my fitness and losing some weight/ body fat to give myself a fighting chance later in life seems like a good idea.

I’ve already drastically cut down on the amount of alcohol I drink and that should make this goal easier. I’d need to weigh myself on New Year’s Day and somehow measure my body fat percentage at the same time before setting a concrete target.

Take More Care of Myself

Again, this is loosely connected to the improving my fitness and losing weight. I’ve never been one for following fashion trends but I do sometimes see clothes I like but then never buy them because they won’t look right on me.

Also, working from home means that you don’t have to take as good care of your appearance as you would if you had to work in an office o rhad a customer facing job. This means tend to only shave when my growth makes me want to scratch my face off, and I only shave my hair when it’s got to the stage that it looks like I have a dandelion clock on my head; that’s an exaggeration but you catch my drift.

These couple of things are connected to my mental wellbeing, too. Despite being an opinionated twat, I actually have quite low self-esteem and confidence and the opinion of myself is rather low. I still have spells where the black dog pays a visit, and this exacerbates the above. Making a conscious effort to improve all areas of my life, especially myself, should see a happier, less anxious and paranoid 2019!

Read at Least 12 Books

Must read more books!

Reading is one of those things that is easy to fall out of the habit of doing. While I find it hard to put a book down once I have started it, it does take a while to get used to reading again. My concentration levels seem to drop when I try reading. I think the main reason for this is the fact I skim and scan hundreds of articles and websites each week rather than reading them properly. When I then come to read an actual book, I find myself skimming and scanning, missing chunks of the story and not getting into it properly.

Twelve books in a calendar year should be easily achievable as it’s only one a month. Substituting browsing the news websites and the like for a chapter of a book should make achieving this target a piece of piss.

Write at Least 50 Blog Posts

Again, this should be easy as it is an average of slightly less than once per week. If I managed to read 12 books, that is 12 entries right there, plus if I start playing poker regularly, I’m sure I’ll fill this blog with bad beat stories!

Get Back Playing Poker Regularly

Playing online poker at partypoker

There was a time when my entire life revolved around playing poker or improving at poker. I’d play online or sometimes visit my local casino for a small donkament or cash game. Large portions of my time were spent reading books, forums and watching videos about poker.

Playing poker and being so invested in this game led me to working in the poker industry, which in turn stopped me playing poker. I often use the excuse that writing about poker for 10 hour a day means I don’t want to play poker when I down tools at the end of the day.

While this is true, there’s also a fear factor to consider. Thinking about it, I’m a little scared that I won’t be able to win anymore. The game has progressed so much and I’ve not kept up with the latest trends and strategies. Being unable to beat the game would piss me off, even though I was never a big winner by any stretch of the imagination. Not to mention it doesn’t look good for a someone in my position to be a complete fish at poker!

Perhaps I’ll stick a small amount online, probably at partypoker, and see if I can grind that up playing nano-stakes cash games. We shall see.

Make £5,000 From Non-Work Activity

This goal could be linked to the above if I do eventually jump back into poker, but it may also spur me on to start at least one of the two websites that I bought the domains for around this time last year!

I purchased one domain that is going to be a gambling portal with things like sports betting, casino and poker site reviews. I’ll feature strategy for these markets, news too, maybe even transfer gossip and esports.

Most of the content in these markets is factual and quite dry. My plan, if I ever get the bastard off the ground, is to make them a little tongue-in-cheek and maybe even mildly offensive. Think Paddy Power and not The Guardian! Stick a few affiliate links in, fish read my shit, sign up to sites and viola: extra wonga.

The second domain is more fun but could lead to someadvertising revenue. It’s not a new idea, but I want to write a pisstake newspaper for Yorkshire folk. An old mate of mine, Simon Young, has a brilliantsite called the Suffolk Gazette that I love reading. I’d love to do something similar so look out for the Yorkshire Tribune coming to a screen near you soon, hopefully!

post image

Bad Luck On and Off The Tables

“If it wasn’t for bad luck we wouldn’t have any” is a phrase I’d often hear my mum say, usually after some household appliance broke / hours at work were cut / a big car repair bill loomed or similar. These financial hits usually came at the worst possible times, or seemed to know that we’d come into a little bit of cash and had planned to use it for something else.

The clutch and dual mass flywheel died on my car approximately 18-months ago. Having new parts fitted set me back £1,400, which stung a little. The bastard thing is back in the garage and a substantial repair bill is on the horizon, perfect timing with it being Christmas next month and the HMRC needing paying the month after.

It was my dad’s birthday on Nov. 13 and I set off to see him with a couple of the brats in tow. While on the motorway, I went to overtake a dawdling car in front and the revs went up, but the car didn’t accelerate. The gearstick had gone into neutral somehow. Strange, but I thought perhaps I’d done it by accident.

Car Begins to Die

We came off the motorway and as I was approaching a roundabout, I tried to change gear and simply couldn’t. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the car into any gear; it was like there was something physically blocking it. Thankfully, my dad’s house is only 0.25 miles from the motorway junction so after managing to select first gear, I could limp to his house.

The nice guys at RAC came out to me and he thought the clutch had gone. I told him that although I have the mechanical knowledge of a flan, it wasn’t the clutch because that had died 18-months ago and the symptoms were completely different, not to mention this new clutch had only done 34,000 miles, most of them on the motorway.

Mr RAC towed us to a garage near to our house then dropped us at home.

“It’s definitely your clutch and flywheel that have broken down,” the garage informed me the next day. “We can repair it for £1130.”

Like fuck mate. Not sure how he knew it was the clutch because he didn’t take anything apart and charged me £30 for the privilege of not having the work done with him! The Mrs’ boss told me about a garage his son had used for a repair on his van and said that he was not only good, he was also cheap, which makes him even better in my book. This new guy quoted me £520 to replace and fit the clutch and flywheel so I bit his hand off.

Fingers Crossed

After being towed by the Mrs boss to this new guy – that was an experience, being towed on a rope for the first time – the new mechanic said that it wasn’t the clutch! Turns out the clutch is fine, but the fucking gearbox is in pieces. New dude said that there’s no point putting a new one in and that he’ll try to find a second-hand one or a refurbished one t hat won’t break the bank. He also informed me that he needs to examine the clutch and flywheel closely when he strips it apart because they will need replacing if they have been contaminated with gearbox oil. Fuck my actual life.

Fingers crossed that it only needs a near gearbox and not all the other bits, although that’s unlikely because if it wasn’t for bad luck we wouldn’t have any.

In a vain attempt to claw in some extra funds, I jumped into a $2.20 buy-in Bounty Hunter tournament at partypoker. I only had like £5.90 on there s fired up a tournament while I worked on Wednesday.

This Is How I Run

Bad luck with 40 percent

What 40 percent of Hold’em hands looks like

It was a typical tournament where I was card dead for the first 10 levels, then picked up aces three times in like six hands and only won the blinds each time, before this hand sent me to the rail empty-handed.

The blinds were 2,300/4,600/495a. Villain is sat with 353,221 chips and I have 165,400. Villain is a complete fucking nutcase who has been raising, re-raising and making oversized bets for the past 30-40 hands. He opened to 9,200 from late position, I three-bet to 34,500 from the small blind and villain jammed all-in yet again. I called off the last of my stack with AdJs knowing I was getting around 1.6-to-1 so only needed 40 percent equity to call.

Forty-percent is a ton of hands, most of which I’m nicely ahead against. Villain showed As3c and it was no surprise that the flop fell 2h5c4h to gift him a wheel. The Th was followed by the 2d and I busted miles from the money places. That’s poker, folks.

Not sure if I’ll get to play any tournaments over the next week or so because I need to get some work done to try and pay for what will be a very costly couple of months. If anyone has a spare £20,000 knocking around, send them my way!

post image

Tempted to Get Back Into Online Poker

There was a time that I harboured dreams of becoming a professional poker player, either sitting behind my computer screen playing online poker or travelling around the UK and maybe the world playing in poker tournaments.

I soon realised – I say soon but it took three or four years – that this was never going to be the case. Why? One reason was that I was not dedicated enough to putting in the hours away from the table to study the game. Another was my inability to log a significant number of tournaments or cash game hands to make some semi-serious money.

Missing the boat

My chance to realise the dream probably came around 10-years ago when I split with my then girlfriend and moved into the pub my mate was running. We struck a deal where I would work a few shifts behind the bar when I finished my day job in exchange for renting the room. This meant my outgoings were very low (I wasn’t earning much but the ratio of income to outgoings was decent) and I saw my little lad on Saturdays so I had plenty of spare time.

Instead of knuckling down and putting in the hours, I kind of went off the rails a little bit and spent most of my spare time chasing birds, getting pissed up and taking various substances, as you do when you’re a bit of a dickhead.

Another opportunity reared its head around 2012 when I had got my act together and had fallen back in love with the game. I was working in the poker industry by now, although not to the extent of the present, and enjoyed some decent results.

Staking opportunity

I was writing some articles for Betfair, including an ongoing series called Pud’s Poker Progress where I’d document my progress, or lack of it, in the online poker world. Betfair agreed to stake me in their GSOP series if I wrote a daily recap of what had gone on during the previous day.

A handful of min-cashes by yours truly were followed up by some decent scores, even better that I hadn’t had to buy into any of the tournaments. I finished 50/600 in a $108 buy-in rebuy for a then career-best $520.82; the best was yet to come.

One of the latter events of the series was a $22 buy-in Deepstack with $30,000 guaranteed. Cutting a long story short, I took down the tournament for $4,844.32 in cash and a $525 seat to the mini-Grand Slam, or Main Event as most people would call it these days. That is still my largest-ever online score.

online poker biggest win

My biggest online poker win

Great start to the year

A couple of months later, I finished 3/2994 players in the PokerStars $3.30 rebuy for $2,483.37. I used to love that tournament and the 2R1A events. On Jan. 1, 2014, I finished 4th in a $5.50 2R1A for $980.92 then towards the end of the month I finished sixth in the $3r for $821.38 and five days later finished fourth in it for $1,459.38.

Despite this impressive start, I hardly played again that year, opting to try grind the 180-man games.

I recently fired up my old PocketFives account and added my screen names into my profile so any poker I played would be tracked. Sadly, my Betfair Poker scores from the Ongame days (remember those) are missing.

Three years since my last tournament

One thing that struck me was my last tournament cash was in Oct. 2015, three fucking years ago! Well, that’s not entirely true because I cashed in a couple of small POWERFEST events at partypoker this Sept. because I won some free tickets in a promotion. But still, three years I’ve not played poker tournament for.

Something else that stood out was my profile is showing a mere 264 cashes, going to show how little I used to play even when I was in love with online poker.

Working away in the PokerNews Live Reporting team didn’t help as I was away for days at a time, weeks when it came to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Neither did getting the roles I have now where I spend half my life writing about poker and people winning ludicrous sums of money, meaning I don’t have the motivation to play online poker when I throw in the towel for the day. Yet I am being drawn back to the game.

It was probably the handful of tournaments I played with my free tickets from partypoker. I only managed to scrape a couple of min-cashes and one or two bounties while playing on my phone, in the pub where the Mrs works, while I was waiting for her to finish.

But I really enjoyed playing. The buzz of being all-in. The excitement of reading your opponent and being able to bluff them off a pot. It all came flooding back and I liked what I felt.

Where to play online poker?

Online poker or live poker

When I turned $200 into almost $1,000 in Las Vegas cash games

I’m still not going to be able to log a lot of volume if I am honest because of work and family commitments, although I am determined to get involved in some online poker tournaments in the next week or so, money permitting as I haven’t had a bankroll for three years!

PokerStars isn’t an option for me as I am banned from playing there. I’ve not done anything dodgy, but The Stars Group owns a majority shareholding in iBus Media, which is the parent company of PokerNews, which in turn loosely makes me an employee of Stars and therefore not allowed to play at their online poker site.

This means I will likely play at partypoker because I like the direction they are going in with the continual improvements to their software, promotions and games offered, plus the iPoker Network and 888 put me on life tilt.

The Monster Series is coming up at partypoker from Oct. 28, a series of 144 tournaments with buy-ins of between $2.20 and $33 yet with combined guaranteed prize pools of $3.4 million. Perhaps this could be the perfect time to jump back on the horse, brush off the rust and see if I can still remember what hand beats what or if I am an even bigger fish as I was back in 2015.