Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Another Week

Well, thanks to a small amount of luck and possibly some good decision making, last week went pretty well for me workwise. I didn't lose a single session, and as always in that situation life can start to look pretty rosy. I was brought back to earth today however losing nearly 4 buy-ins at $2/4, so I have a challenging week ahead if I want to report decent profits for this month.

That said, I don't really want to talk about poker right now. Not because I'm fed up with it, or don't want to learn or share any more about the game, but because there's more to life. I know this is a poker blog, but even as a professional poker player there is much more to my life, and I'd like to reflect on those more enjoyable elements for a change.

I just spent a great weekend with my girlfriend: we watched TV, cooked meals for each other, chatted, shared some reading time and simply took pleasure in each other's company. The weather was freezing so we didn't really get outside or do anything exciting, but we've never needed that to have a great time. This week I'm going to be seeing several of my friends from uni, one of whom has just got engaged, and we will be having a celebratory meal tomorrow night with him and his new fiancee. I'm also going to be seeing my auntie who is down in London for a day, and since we always get along famously I'm quite looking forward to seeing her.

Important people aside there is lots more to life that I enjoy, but sometimes I simply forget. It's important to take a step back and count all your blessings. Remember how lucky we are to have free time to pursue a hobby. How lucky we are to have money to spend on ourselves. To have a job, a house, and food to eat. That we are able to read and write. Basic stuff I know, but that is what makes it so easy to forget. I believe I'm very fortunate, and one of my failings is that I take it for granted far too often.

It is quite easy for me to maintain a solitary lifestyle with my current occupation, but it's really not healthy mentally, or even financially. Poker can be very addictive and often becomes all encompassing when not kept in check. A bad day at the tables can leave you seriously doubting yourself and wishing to be left firmly alone, while a good day can leave you feeling ready to take on the world. But a good day isn't half so sweet if you have no-one to share it with.

So, just for today, maybe take a pass on that tournament or the juicy cash game and spend some time with friends or family. After all, poker is accessible 24/7 online, but the people in your life sadly won't always be available. Make sure you make the most of them while you can.

All the best, D.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Paycut due to illness

In the now near-immortal words of Timbaland: It's been a long time - I shouldn't have left you....

So, some of my readers will wonder why I dropped off the face of the blogworld for over a month. I apologise for my absence, it was largely due to serious illness. Not mine I hasten to add - I haven't been ill since I stopped commuting to work! - but that of my closest work colleague. That's right, my PC: it caught a virus.

I still have no idea what happened, but a virus/trojan got onto my PC (I had been downloading hacked games again...) and was not detected by my AV software. Suddenly I was getting BSODs every time I tried to load windows. By booting in Safe Mode, I was able to get limited functionality but couldn't perform basic HDD scans, or even download new AV software or similar helper programs. So, with my unaffected laptop (with CD-RW drive) I spent the best part of nearly 10 days trying to fix the problem to no avail. I know, it's a very long period but I'm a stubborn guy. I think you need to be in the poker world. By the end of my efforts to fix it my PC wouldn't boot at all.

That is why I now have a new Dell desktop with Vista and a now useless one-and-a-half foot black box lurking in my living room. I have managed to import all my music, photos and most importantly hand histories from my old HDD, but am only recently fully back up to speed in terms of work functionality. Let's say all of that agony accounts for roughly half a month. Why didn't I get back on the horse there and then and try and make up the lost time? I must admit I had a far better offer.... so I left the country instead.

I was lucky enough to spend a 2 week holiday in Mauritius enjoying some very hot weather, fantastic beaches and incredible food. I went with my girlfriend and her family and as her father grew up out there, we had almost constant engagements with her relatives, all of which involved eating hefty amounts of great Chinese and Mauritian cuisine. We ate so much in fact that one person managed to put on 3 kilos while we were out there! So, I was able to walk, read, swim and sunbake (it was too hot for mere sunbathing) for a whole fortnight, with no computer in sight. It was lovely, and I managed to come back late on Saturday relaxed, tanned and ready for work.

While I was out there I did a little study, including reading my first PLO book so that I am ready to try that game in earnest before xmas. I also read Phil Gordons second book (the Little Blue one), and in accompaniment to some time spent thinking about my recent play I have made a few mental adjustments to my game that I hope will notably improve my results. I'd be really pleased if this happens, because my last month's results were far from good.

I'm not sure if it's partly due to stress from my PC dying, or from playing without stats or even playing with a smaller display, but I had quite a few sessions during October where I was playing like an utter donkey. I suspect it's more down to another period of me getting over-aggressive and tricky to try and compensate for a bad run. What's worse is that most of those sessions involved me playing at a $5/10 table. It got a little ugly in places, and I freely admit anyone watching would not have seen any evidence of me being able to play for a living. And so, I hereby announce my first negative month: for 55 hours work I managed to lose $720. The less said about this the better, I'm told it happens occasionally but I know it didn't need to happen this time around.

This month has started much better. Despite losing my 8 consecutive months FTP Iron Man status (which really sucks btw) I have put in some good hours this week, playing pretty well overall and getting lucky once or twice to combat the inevitable bad beats. I'll do a strategy post soon, but for now sorry again for the absence and thanks again for being a loyal reader. I'll leave you with a nice little suckout against a solid guy who'd just been rivered in the previous hand, and a guy who was a sandwich and an apple short of a lunchbox (I'll let you guys figure out who was whom).

All the best, D

Table Broadford (Real Money) - 4 players
Seat 6 is the button
Seat 1: xxx( $855.60 USD )
Seat 2: Hero ( $962.10 USD )
Seat 4: Villain1 ( $402.00 USD )
Seat 5: xxx( $424.40 USD )
Seat 6: Villain2 ( $595.50 USD )
xxx posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
Hero posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Ks Kd ]
Villain1 raises [$14.00 USD]
Villain2 raises [$48.00 USD]
xxx folds
Hero raises [$156.00 USD]
Villain1 raises [$258.00 USD]
Villain2 raises [$547.50 USD]
Hero raises [$802.10 USD]
Villain1 calls [$130.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Ts, Jd, Td ]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 5d ]
** Dealing River ** [ 8d ]
Hero shows [Ks, Kd ]
Villain1 shows [As, Ah ]
Villain2 shows [Kh, Qh ]
Hero wins $1205.62 USD from main pot
Hero wins $386.88 USD from main pot