Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bringing it Back

With all of the chaos surrounding Black Friday and my subsequent upheaval, the blog kind of got left behind in the dust. It has certainly been a whirlwind couple of months but now that things are settling down into something resembling normality, I am going to bring the blog back and focus it towards my live poker and also my slow transition back into online poker.

As many of the readers to this blog will know, I packed my bags and headed to Vegas pretty quickly after Black Friday. I was lucky enough to have a place to live at the Flux house and also equally as lucky to be surrounded by quality players also looking to make the transition from online poker to live poker.

Let me first say this, living in Vegas isn't all that many of you would think. Vegas certainly has its upside but its really a grind at times. Due to being unable to multi-table, I am forced to play so many more hours than I did previously. An average day now is 12-14 hours of grinding whereas before a 5-6 hour working day was common. The biggest thing I have learned from this transition is how little I was actually working before BF. If I had only had the motivation I now find myself having, I most certainly would be in a great financial situation. At the end of my online days, I was struggling to hit 100k hands a month. Had I been able to work the 12-14 hour days I find myself doing now, I would of easily hit 200k hands a month.

Hard to dwell on the past though, so moving forward all I can do is embrace my new found work ethic and do the best I can. Having arrived in Vegas, I came with the idea that I would just crush the games. I mean how can I guy that won over 4 million + hands online not be able to destroy 1/3 and 2/5 live with people that are doing it for a few days whilst on vacation? Boy was I wrong.

The adjustments needed to win at live poker are many. First, you need to develop a limping and limp/calling range. Its unheard of online but in live poker, it is something that can be very profitable. You are often much deeper when playing live poker and therefore the rewards from limping and flopping the world can be plentiful. There are certainly many other adjustments that I made but for now I am going to move on although I may revisit other adjustments I made in future blog posts.
My adjustment period lasted for about 6 weeks. Most of my mistakes were self inflicted where I wasn't prepared to fold in spots where I assumed people could be bluffing. Turns out people aren't capable / don't bluff in spots that I am used to seeing bluffs. Live poker is value, value, value. Once you begin to realize that, the game becomes so much easier.

By the time that June rolled around, something clicked and I began to win at a decent clip. I am still trying to figure out what is a sustainable winrate. Over a decent sample of hours my winrate is about $25 an hour. Id like to think that I could squeeze out a few more $ but its hard for me to tell if that is possible or not.

July started like a house on fire. I was crushing and playing some of the best poker id played since arriving and then out of nowhere, I hit the wall... and hard. Having played for 8 straight weeks with very little time away from the felt, I was mentally fried. The WSOP had ended and I was trying to force through one more week before returning to Texas for a well deserved break. It was a mistake and was very costly. That said, I am confident that when I return to Vegas next week things will return to normal.

The break has been amazing. I was on autopilot in Vegas and being able to relax away from anything poker related has been so refreshing. Being around family and friends is so nice. That said, I am very motivated to succeed in Vegas and prove to myself that I can adapt to changing conditions.

The WSOP this year was a source of great frustration. I had sold a great package of events long before the Series started and was really excited for a breakthrough year. I however ended up going 1 for 9 on cashes, with the only cash being 161st in the $2500nl event for $5207. I played better than the results suggest though. I wasnt able to win any of the crucial flips late in the day. AK < QQ, JJ < AK and QQ < AK all managed to kill a chance for me to have a good stack entering day 2 of an event. The best chance I had of a deep run, the $1k, was shot down 10 before the money when I had QQ < A6s aipf in a 5bet pot against the only other competent player at the table. All I can do though is grow from the experience and hopefully return next year an even better player.

Ive started to play a small amount online again. Its only $10nl but wow does it feel good to be able to grind a session again. Im not sure how many hours I will be playing online being based in Vegas but its certainly something that I want to get back in to.

Im going to close for now but look out in the near future for a coaching offer that I am going to be making to micro guys looking to improve their online game.

Monday, April 4, 2011

March, WSOP and Vegas Preparation

Well the less said about March, the better. It was a terrible month at the tables for me and pretty much the worst of my poker career. I certainly ran bad and also got coolered in a lot of spots but my play was atrocious. I called in terrible spots, used very little game selection and generally was just awful.

With April, however, comes fresh optimism and a new focus. In the first three days of the month I have managed to put in 22k hands. That type of volume is unheard of for me and I have realized that it really is what I should be doing all the time. The results were a little rough on the first day but the last two days, things have been getting back to normal and I have won at a decent rate. Its hard to say that I am out of the woods just yet as I need to take it a day at a time. I do feel calmer and more relaxed at the tables so hopefully the long corner has been turned.

On a more positive note, my WSOP shares have all sold out. I will be playing the 7 WSOP events I previously spoke about and now also the Main Event. Playing the Main Event has always been a goal of mine and having the ability to play it will fulfill one of my long standing poker goals. I feel I need to say thank you to a lot of my friends in the poker world, they have all bought small pieces of me and hopefully I will be able to reward them with success and at the very least a solid sweat. I will be updating twitter throughout the event and will do my best to update at every break.

Now that we are two months away from the Series, I am starting to get myself mentally and physically ready. For the next 60 days I am going to be pretty strict with what I eat and am also going to try to spend at least one session a day on the treadmill. I found that I got fatigued last summer late in the day and I want to do everything I can do stop that this summer. Hopefully by preparing myself now, I will see the results later in the summer.

Back to the grind....

Friday, March 25, 2011

WSOP Action Sold - Playing 7 Events

I guess they are right when they say that the early bird gets the worm. I have said all along that this year, I am focused on a summer of playing WSOP events and playing in what is a really special environment. I decided today to get ahead of the curve and place some of my action for sale on 2+2 and luckily for me it sold out in a very short amount of time. I will be playing 7 WSOP events and 3 events at the Venetian Deep Stack. It is likely that I will play 1 or 2 additional WSOP events depending on how I fare in some of the tournaments locally that are offering WSOP seats as prizes. I should also be playing a few more VDS events but I didnt want to put out too demanding of a schedule as I would like to be fresh going into every event.

Below is a list of the events that I am now confirmed to be playing:

Financially, selling off some of my action is the best thing to do. I know some people would be disappointed with only have a % of their action but to be honest, I will be more than happy to hand of money to anyone that had the faith to back me should I run deep again this year.

The only goal I have left now I have finalized my schedule is to play the WSOP Main Event. I also have a thread that I just wrote on 2+2 and hopefully over the next month or so I am able to fill it and can take my seat at the Main Event and chase the pipe dream.

If your looking for a small sweat of my action, take a look and lock down a piece if you can. If you cant afford that, follow the twitter link on my blog or follow me directly at

My thread on 2+2 can be found here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NCAA Regional - A Much Needed Break

Things have kind of been getting on top of me lately and I felt that I needed a break to get my focus back and get my game back on track for a very profitable summer in Vegas. It just so happened that a trip I had planned for almost a year came at just the right time.

Over the years I have developed many great friendships through poker and one of the best is with Gamboooool20. Steve introduced me to rakeback and from that day we have spoke regularly and visited each other a number of times for sporting events. He came down two years ago to Texas to watch the Rangers v Indians on opening day and I returned the favor last season, taking in the Indians v Rangers. So when he gave me the opportunity about 9 months ago to buy a ticket for the NCAA regionals that were being hosted at the Q, I couldn't pass it up. I got up there a day early to celebrate St Patrick's day and it was great to be out having a few beers, not once thinking about poker.

The tournament itself was good to watch. We got some good teams in our region and although some of the games were too one-sided to make them enjoyable (Ohio St vs anyone) we did get a couple of close games. We had Marquette v Xavier in the first round and Marquette v Syracuse in the second round. I do however wonder how Jim Boehiem doesn't call a timeout when he has two left and is down by 3 with less than 30 seconds left. It seems to me to be the perfect time to settle the nerves and do what your paid for, to draw up a play to get a good look. Instead, he let them play and they missed a off balance running rushed 3 that sealed their fate. Disappointing that on the biggest stage its the coach that drops the ball.

Since arriving home from the tournament I have been getting my head down. I had a bunch of Flux work to catch up on and that took most of the first day. Its amazing how much growth is happening, in that I cant go away for 3 days without coming back to a mountain of work. Its a good thing and hopefully that growth continues throughout the summer. Having to spend a lot of time up in the air on my travels, I managed to spend about 5 hours reading through Baluga's book and I must say its worth every penny. I got home and couldn't wait to get back to the tables to implement some of the things that set a light off in my head. Its going to be a work in progress but I can already see that it is going to be profitable to add a lot of things I read to my game.

Ive got live poker tonight, followed by coaching and then more grinding. It seems like a never ending circle but it is rewarding and I just have to get through it. I am nine weeks away from Vegas and I am hoping that in the 68 days I have left before I leave that I get to go to the gym 50 times. So far, I am 1 for 1 with a visit planned later today.

Good luck at the tables.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One in $5 Million

Sadly when I double checked my PokerStars cashier this morning the $1.6 million first prize from the Sunday Million hadn't magically appeared in my account. I was one of the 59k people that ponied up $215 for a shot at a huge first prize and a sweet ride. Sadly I only made it into the second hour, losing with top two vs. the NFD in a 3bet pot. The only issue that I had with the late stages of the tournament was that considering they are playing for such a huge amount of money, there was no play involved. Everyone was so shallow and whilst I understand that every tournament must end, it just seems that it was nothing more than a lottery.

On other poker fronts, the month of February was pretty much one to forget. I didn't play the first ten days of the month due to being in Vegas with the Flux guys and then when I came back, things just didn't seem to be clicking and I seemed to be playing horribly. This tends to happen every now and then and its just a factor of going on auto pilot and not focusing on my decisions. It doesn't help that I am trying to multi task when I am playing and that can only lead to bad situations.

March has started a lot better, I am working hard on my game and really looking to progress. I played a very solid +4BI session of $100nl at the weekend and whilst I made a couple of mistakes calling off in some bad spots, I didn't let it get to me and ended with a solid day.

I've started to get ready for the WSOP and have looked to make a schedule so that I can get a thread started on 2+2 looking to get some of my action sold off. I would love to play the $10k Main Event this year and am going to do my best to make it happen. Its still early but I feel that it would be such a good experience that I need to do all that I can to be in that field.

Done for now, but more updates to follow.
Good luck at the tables.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breaking out of a Funk

I currently find myself in my usual post live poker online funk. The two games are just so different that I always find myself struggling to get back into the swing of things after spending some time playing live. Things are different this time though, normally I brush it off and move on and find myself slipping back into my winning ways and going on with my game as normal. However, this time I have decided that I really want to improve.

As many of you know, I haven't really made the progress online that most people have expected me to make. Its really a function of the fact that I haven't wished to progress through the limits and have settled into $50nl and $100pl like it is a cosy home. This needs to change. I don't want to look back in the future and have regrets about my poker career. I need to know that I did everything possible to be the best player I can be. I do not possess the natural talents for the game as some of my friends do, so it will require a decent amount of work but I would like to be able to give the higher games a shot. If I fail, I fail, its not like I can't just fit back into the lower games and make a solid amount of money. My modest goal then will be being established at $200nl by the end of the year.

For the first time in a long while I am going to use a coach to help me. I have settled for the time being on RobSainter. He is something of a legend in the online world and is certainly someone I am excited to be working with. My first session is tonight so hopefully after our session I will be further motivated to succeed.

Going to focus on my volume for the next couple of weeks so I am going to posts graphs to motivate me to concentrate on my A game.

Good luck at the tables.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Flux Vegas Review

Flux decided to take on Vegas the first 10 days of February during the Venetian Deep Stack. We took out a total of six cash guys including myself and we played a range of cash games from 1/2 to 5/10. Whilst I won't mention individual results of people on the trip, it is safe to say that we are noticing there is a huge difference between online and live poker. It is a work in progress and getting good in the live environment is something that over time we will all excel at but in the short term we have hit some bumps in the road.

On a personal standpoint, I played exclusively 2/5 with one short sitting at 5/10. I have notoriously struggled at live poker due to being unable to adjust to the slower pace of the live game. However, this trip proved to be a turning point in my live career. I posted 7 winning days out of 8 and found myself feeling really comfortable in the games. Some of the days were only small wins but on those days I really think that the changes I have made in my game came to the forefront. On some of those days, I would of just thrown in the towel and posted a $500 or $600 loss for the day but I managed to battle throughout and grind out a positive result.

The 5/10 game I sat in was probably the softest of all the games I played in Vegas. I didnt get the chance to play many pots, but surprisingly I felt very comfortable sitting in the game even when double barreling for $180 on the turn. Its amazing how small of a bet $180 is in a 5/10 game. People snap it off like I just threw in a $5 chip.

With the WSOP looming on the horizon this trip is really going to make a huge difference on my summer if I can take what I learned over these 10 days back to the felt in June and July.

Aside from the live grind, we hung out at the Flux house with some of the 180 man guys we have living there and it was pretty much a blast. I rediscovered my love for pool and quickly got back in the groove. I think over the next few months I will continue to get back into the game and by the summer be ready to play a lot again. Certainly need to make a trip to the store to get myself a cue. Also figured out that FIFA 11 on the Xbox is a big hit. I love the game being from England but didnt realize how much others loved it too. In the beginning I couldnt be beat but as they got more practice, Mr Gambino in particular began to give me a great game each time and after all was said and done we are about even. Going to have to work on my formations for the summer.

Nothing is planned on the travelling front for February so I will be hitting the online felt hard for the next month or so. The next time I will be travelling will be my trip to the NCAA Tournament in Cleveland. I owe Steve a special shout out for the help planning the trip. He really is a great friend and I appreciate it all.

Starting to be an essay now so I am going to close...

Good luck at the tables.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January and WSOP Choctaw

I cant believe that we have almost made it through January and I haven't been able to scramble the time together to put a blog post down. My life in the first 25 days of the month has been a whirlwind of 18 hour days with little or no time to sleep.

Flux at the minute is pretty much consuming all of my time. We are taking on new players every day and working hard to establish ourselves as the premium staking company for online grinders. As our stable grows and word gets around the poker community, I am 100% sure that we will be just that but for now its a lot of work and its time consuming. We have our next live trip coming up the first 10 days of February when we are taking the team to the Venetian Deep Stack. It will provide me with the opportunity to check out the fully completed Flux house and I am pretty excited about that.

Away from Flux, my time at the tables has been spent playing live at the WSOP Circuit event in Durant, Oklahoma. I sold a package for 5 events (only managed to play 4 due to sickness) of the Series and was really happy with the way I played throughout. Yes, I bageled and went 0 for 4 but my play was good and I felt that I made the correct decisions throughout. The first event I lost a flip with AK v QQ after the dinner break and then followed it up by rebuilding to 12bbs before getting it in preflop with QQ v KK v TT. First example of live poker being rigged! Next event, the poker gods thought they would laugh at me further as I managed to get all of my chips in with JJ v 88 in a 4bet pot only for the magical 8 ball to appear on the river. The following week I was back at it again but this one was pretty uneventful. We had a guy trying to win the tournament by level 5 and he was making it impossible to get into pots without the goods. The good finally arrived in the way of JJ but despite getting my chips in good against AT on Txx, it wasn't to be and I was hitting the rail again after a nasty turn.

The main event, a $1600 buyin, was the one I was really looking forward to. We had 20,000 starting stacks and 40 minute levels with a great structure. The deck decided to smack me in the face for the first couple of levels and I had grown my stack from 20k to 32k at the first break. I came back feeling good and then the trouble started, I got into a 4bet pot preflop with AA that I was forced to fold postflop when then board ran out T9Q6K followed swiftly by having to fold QK as the pfr on K62Q. I was right with the fold fwiw but it killed all momentum. After that I played a few small pots where I'd raise pre and have to fold at some point post flop. I managed to get the last of my chips in with TT v AQ and couldn't hold, which led to be frustratingly leaving the room thinking about what could have been with a better run of cards/situations. The series however did make me want to play in more Circuit events and over the coming months I intend to make this happen.

The online felt has taken a backseat to live this month but I will be putting in a solid week before I head to Vegas for the Venetian event.

More updates to come. Good luck at the tables.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Year in Review

Well its time for the post where I deem 2010 a success or a failure. Luckily for me, 2010 was a big success and I hope will form the platform for me to make an even bigger splash in 2011. Rather than make this a brag post of sorts, I am just going to list the highs and lows of the year with a brief commentary on them.

1) Watching my friend KurtSF wreck shop and make a WSOP final table. Something that can never be taken away from him and such an amazing achievement.
2) Making a deep run in the $1k event at the WSOP before finally finishing 29th. Disappointing for sure but AK < K4 aipf will do that to you.
3) Joining Fluxstables and being involved with all the guys over there. 2010 was a solid start but I think 2011 will really blow that away.
4) Had a career year to date in cash games online. Soured a little with the move up progress but for the most part it was a personal decision.
5) Living for two months with the guys in the Micro Grind House. Clearly was a great experience and cant wait to be back there in 2011
6) Getting to do more and more coaching and seeing the progress that my students have made. So much more rewarding than playing myself.

1) Busting out of the WSOP event so early on day 3. Its a tough thing to get over when you are so close to a possible $600k and lady luck doesnt smile on you.
2) Live cash games. This really just encompasses all live stuff. I really struggle with the boredom factor but its something I must address before Vegas in the summer.
3) Lack of online progression. Sure I had a great year at 50nl and 100pl but I really need to embrace moving up levels rather than being scared of failing.

It seems by the lows that I really should be disappointed in my year, but in truth I am very happy with it providing I use it as a springboard for 2011.

My goals for 2011 will be posted shortly.
Best of luck to all at the tables in 2011.