Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another month end

Two days ago a friend of mine asked me how I dealt with the stress of having to win consistently enough at poker to pay the bills. Stopping to think about it, I realised a strange thing: I don't feel any stress in that sense. I know I should, because winning (over the long term) is the most important thing about playing for a living, but I don't seem to deal with it in that way.

Instead I operate on a performance basis whereby I analyse how I played the day before, or how I've played so far this session. If I feel my performance in either has been lacking, I berate myself for playing poorly and attempt to 'screw down' and get back to my A-game. Other than that, I don't really think about the fact that I need to win consistently. It would just be a pointless worry and prove a big waste of time/energy.

As mentioned in a previous post, I recently went on my first snowboarding trip, and it was fantastic. Obviously, I had to beg my boss for ages before he'd let me have the time off work! ;- ) Me, my girlfriend, and a big group of people from the ski club of my old company flew out to Italy and enjoyed a winding bus ride up to the ski village of Folgarida. Here is a picture of the view from the nearby slopes:

We went there with barely 4 hours of boarding lessons under our belts, no equipment and no mountain experience whatsoever. Luckily, the package we were on included 6 days of lessons and all the snowboarding gear we required - the mountain experience we were to gain the hard way!

We started off recapping the basics: toe- and heel-edge slides and 'falling leaf' maneuvres. By the end of day one we were doing garland turns down a blue run, by day two we were doing linking turns, and by the end of the week we were agreeing that snowboarding and holidays that involve snowboarding are the best things ever!

Here is another shot, this time of myself and Faye basking in the sun after a strenuous morning lesson...

We had a blast out there, ate a ton (it's not optional when you're on the slopes 7 hours a day), and came home with more injuries than I've received in 2 years of kungfu! Really was good, I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys exercise, speed and danger(!), and will most likely be going again next year, probably with the same people (
Equity Ski).

Anyway, back to poker and the results some of you are keen to hear. This month, with a holiday and a hallway to paint, had less than 3 working weeks available to me, but I still managed to make the most of it.

My first week I only worked 4 days (see painting), but I managed a decent number of hours and days in the remaining weeks:

My monthly average is creeping slowly upwards, and my bankroll is still growing so I can't complain. Soon as I stop having days where I lose over 5 buyins because of bad play, I might even be satisfied!

Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who reads and comments on my blog, your interest and advice is all useful, and I thank you for your time and support. Also to all you bloggers out there, sorry if I haven't been active myself in the reading and commenting, will get back on it this coming week! Best of luck all....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

All in a day's work

Played several 'interesting' hands today which again show the wide range of skills you can come against on Full Tilt...

The Good
Blind war on a $1/2 table. This player was strong on the flop, smooth calling my bet after raising preflop. He became a huge favourite on the turn, but luckily I checked behind in position when I picked up my flush draw. He then called a pot sized raise after leading with a 2/3 pot bet on the river.

The Bad
This player re-raised me out of position. He bet $40 into the $50 pot on the flop. I raised to $100 having hit my set. He pushed allin and I called gladly, only to see the inevitable runner-runner flush. VNH sir, well played. Some people just can't fold AKs...

The Unbelievable
We get to the river. With the nut fullhouse and $50 in the pot, I check to induce a bluff. My opponent obliges with his busted draw. I min raise to try and extract value. Imagine my surprise when my opponent pushes for his last $15! It wasn't like I was going to fold....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Batteries not included

$2/4 No Limit Hold'em

Villain is at seat 0 with $934.90.
Hero is at seat 5 with $799.05.
The button is at seat 4.

Hero posts the small blind of $2.
Villainposts the big blind of $4.

Villain: -- --
Player1: -- --
Player2: -- --
Player3: -- --
Player4: -- --
Hero: 8s 8h

Player1 folds. Player2 folds. Player3
folds. Player4 folds. Hero raises to $15.
Villain re-raises to $48. Hero calls.

Flop (board: 4c 2c Ks):
Hero checks. Villain checks.

Turn (board: 4c 2c Ks 5h):
Hero bets $65. Villain calls.

River (board: 4c 2c Ks 5h 8c):
Hero folds.

Hand #51993964-1427 Summary:

Villain wins $222.50.

So what happened you ask? Did I have such certainty that my opponent had the nut flush even though I hit the 2nd highest set that I spared him the effort of betting? Or did I time out and get folded by UB's software?

But why would I have timed out on such hand? The pot was big. I had a very strong hand. I knew my opponent well. All it would take was a few mouse-clicks and I would have had a shot at a good chunk of his stack. Just a few tiny movements, and a few barely audible clicks on my wireless mouse. Wireless thanks only to the combination of infrared technology, and the humble battery. Which, alas, can deplete at any time at all, however inopportune.


Not going to post much more, just want to go read a book ('Panic' by Jeff Abbot) and get some sleep. I'm still alive though to everyone who's been wondering where I am, and poker is still paying the bills. Will update soon about my snowboarding holiday (summary: it was awesome) and do a strategy post I've been planning for a while.

Shout out to all my friends and readers, may the deck hit you in the face and may your batteries never expire ;- )

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Month End

So it's already been a whole month as a pro. Went by pretty damn quick. But I've been enjoying it.

I had to post a letter early in the morning yesterday, and as I was walking back from the post box to the flat I saw all the people in suits and such waiting for their bus into work. I smiled to myself, not because I think less of people who work in offices but because I am happy to be taking a break from that world.

I don't miss the commute. I don't miss the banal social pleasantries exchanged with so-called 'workmates'. I don't miss the massive overhead of administrative work and policy that comes with working for a large company. With poker, work equals reward. It's a vocation in it's purest form, and I love it for that very simplicity. You put in the time and the effort, and over time you get to reap the respectable bounty.

In other words, I aint got cold feet yet. I've started well and I mean to continue improving. Sure I've made lots of mistakes. But I've learned a tonne, and am feeling capable. Next month is like a blank canvas... or maybe a blank spreadsheet. I'm gonna paint it black.