Just testing

Posted: May 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

Despite saying I’d never go again, there’s a roadtrip in the planning that terminates in Vegas. I suspect much Lodden Thinks and bad quality poker will be played. Roll on August…


“He couldn’t make it…”

Posted: September 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Hang on…”, she arches an eyebrow to her even prettier friend and examines ‘cut-out Jimbo’ a little more closely; bewilderment and bemusement are apparent in equal measure on both of their faces.

“You’re trying to tell me that twelve of you have come to the Edinburgh festival to throw a stag party for one of your best friends, and he couldn’t make it?”



Running Golden

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Major run-good post the Jody homegame for me last night. Managed to get caught in a speed-trap while doing 54mph in a 30 zone. It was on Shooters Hill Road at 1.30am, so admittedly very wide open with fields either side, and honestly more like a 40 in terms of the conditions, but nonetheless I was very definitely in breach of the posted limit.

Conversation with Mr Plod went along the following lines:

“Sir, do you know why I’ve stopped you.”

“Yes officer, I was speeding.”

“I have you registered at 54mph over 350yds”, shows gun. (my estimated chance of getting away with it feels like a depressing 10%)

“I understand.” Dismount, and sheepishly hand-over driving license, ensuring I give the officer a flash of my Institute of Advanced Motorists membership card that sits alongside it in my wallet.

“On your way home from work are you, Sir?”

“Actually coming home from a poker game with some buddies.”

“Ha ha, very good.” He nods his approval, we have a minor mutual understanding (chance of getting away with it up to 30%).

Mr Plod goes to his car to my check license details on the computer. I know I’m totally clean (COGAWI = 40%).

I see a bus coming along the road, note that I’ve been stopped within 10yds of a traffic island. I deliberately turn on my lights so he notices that I’m voluntarily pushing the bike a few metres up the road to make the bus’ passing easier (COGAWI = 50%).

He comes back after 2 minutes chatting to colleague in the car. It’s a flip! My license is all-in-pre-flop with pockets ducks versus Q8s.

“Sir, right now I should be writing you a ticket for 3 points and a £40 fine” – BOOM – “but I’m going to let you off with a wag of the finger” – quad deuces on the flop – “this is a posted 30mph limit, but in these conditions we both know it’s safe to do 40. Fifty four on the other hand is dangerous, especially so on two wheels” – the turn and river are meaningless blanks – “please drive safely on the way home”.

“Yes Sir, thank you very much.” – I scoop up the biggest pot of the night and make my way home rather more sedately.

2011 H1 in review

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

With three £500+ losing nights out of the last four sessions played, the first half of 2011 hasn’t treated me well at all. It looked like a slow start to the year with barely a grand profit for the first four months, but then May/June struck my bankroll like a hammer, and I’m now firmly into the red. For the first time in my ‘career’ I’m set for a losing year, and right now my lifetime profit is reset back to start of 2010 levels.

The worst part of the recent downswing is that there are really hardly any worthwhile lessons learned. With one or two notable exceptions I’ve definitely run under expectation for the last 1000 hands or so, however at least one of the big losing sessions was completely my own fault – taking a winning loose/aggressive approach that works well at one venue and trying to apply it to another completely unsuitable situation.

Oh well, hopefully the mild catharsis of blogging my current poker misery will allow me to shake this funk and bank a decent win. A week or two away from the game may be just what’s required to reinvigorate my previous love for the game.






It’s not exactly poker related, but very pleased to see the wife’s choice of gee-gee in the last race of her birthday trip to Ascot take down the Bank of Wilkinson …

The Biggest Mistake I Never Made

Posted: March 5, 2011 in General

Bad Beat BonusSo it’s fairly early into what I expect to be a normal Friday night session, starting early doors at the Empire around 6pm.

I find myself at a new table, being dealt to by Kayshan, one of the guys I’ve got to know fairly well over the last year or two. We shoot the breeze a little before play starts, he ends-up on a bit of a rant about some of the big folds he made in a recent game. We’re of the same mind – the ability to pass big second best hands in poker is as good as money in the bank.

First orbit and I miss-step versus a tight regular player, four-betting bottom two-pair on a drawy board when the majority of his calling range beats me. He calls, his top two hold-up and I’ve kicked-off my night with a very avoidable £150 loss.

Fourth orbit and I’m dealt KcKh in the small blind. The field is already down to four players when I make it £13 to play, and three of us take a flop of JsTs7h. I’ve played fairly tightly apart from the earlier error, but feel I need to c-bet this wet board, despite that this defines my range more clearly. I open for £25, and the short stacked player in middle position quickly shoves for £80. It’s the tight regular player from earlier on the button, he thinks for about half a minute, eyes up my stack and calls – he and I have another £150 behind.

This appears to have turned into rather a bad spot for my big one pair hand. With the middle position player all-in, the button could easily be flatting with a big hand – top two, a set or the made straight, and if I call I’m effectively committing my stack with just an overpair. It’s possible that middle position has AJ, or that both players have a draw, but the button’s body language is extremely strong, and I pick-up three tells in quick succession that all seem to indicate that he has a monster.

I recheck my hand, if I have the king of spades then I at least have two cards to turn a set without putting a flush out there – but no, if I’m currently behind, then versus two players it’s likely I’m drawing to one out, the king of diamonds – and I’m virtually dead if one of the boys has an unlikely Q9.

Reflecting on the conversation with Kayshan earlier, I decide that this is most likely a good spot to show-off my ability to make a laydown, and so I do, offering him my cards for a peek. You can’t play results, but as it turns out I’ve screwed-up, the middle position player has Qs9s for the open-ended straight-flush draw and the button has As7s for bottom pair and the nut flush draw. However I’m still happy that I’ve made the correct fold versus their ranges, and with both flush and straight draws out there I’d only have been a small favourite (40% equity vs 36% (A7) vs 24% (Q9)), so it’s really not a horrible spot to have taken the low variance option of passing.

The board rolls out…

…turn Kd, I would have made a second best top-set…
…river Ks, I would have improved to the monster second best hand of quad kings versus a straight-flush.

I eye the £14,020 bad beat jackpot and somehow manage to smile ruefully.

Lessons in poker

Posted: February 24, 2011 in General

Arrived early at one of my usual haunts last night to find only three names on the list and nobody at the table. I shot the breeze with one of the dealers that I’ve got to know, and we ended-up giving a 90 minute free poker lesson to a young guy who wanted to learn to play hold’em. For giggles we were playing with imaginary stacks and using the hands to try to out-do each other by explaining the most complex concepts we could come up with in each situation (hand reading, range merging, thin value, turning a made hand into a bluff, etc) – all to a baffled looking lad who didn’t really know the hand values, and even after an hour of the discussion kept ‘virtually’ betting hands like fourth pair on the river because he also had four to a straight.

Unfortunately once the actual game started I couldn’t convince matey to pull up some cash – was quite keen to get him onboard as he’d previously mentioned dropping £27k on roulette over the course of the last year, however I guess our poker ‘lesson’ probably put him off for life, so perhaps that wasn’t the best approach to take! Playing my normal LAG-oriented game over the course of a few hours, I ran rather good generally and finished-up with a small three figure win, despite having to overcome an early stacking check-shoving an open-ended straight-flush draw and getting called by two different two-pair hands. With them nicely blocking each other and all my outs clean I was 49.9% to triple-up, however the board ran out cold and the worst two-pair hand (8%) ended-up taking it down for a £600 pot.

As has become the norm, most of my profit last night came from other player errors. One tight passive chap limped pre- with AA, check-called my flop bet when I had an open ended straight draw, bet into me and then called my turn raise after I made the nuts, and then caught one of his two ‘outs’ and stacked-off to me bet-calling on the river. He made a mistake on every single betting round and ended-up donating £200 to my bankroll. It’s nice when that happens, however if I’m going to be able to successfully transition to a bigger game this year, I need to be able to consistently find an edge in situations against opponents who at least have a basic standard of competence…


Posted: January 29, 2011 in General

Have taken a leaf out of Devski and the Baron’s books for 2011 and am collecting a more complete set of data for each session played. With thirteen stints at the table for January (I’ll often play at multiple venues in a night and record these separately, so this isn’t to say I’m playing every other day), thought it might be worth sharing a little bit of initial data analysis.

Two of my thirteen sessions scored a maximum 3 on the ‘drunk’ scale, for a net loss between them of £325. Balanced on the other side by eleven 100% sober sessions with a net profit of £451. Clearly my 2010 resolution needs to be stuck to more consistently.

Another interesting stat suggested by the Baron was to record my perceived ‘attitude’ towards playing prior to starting. Again on a scale of 0..3, with the following meanings:

0 = feel destined to lose
1 = can’t be arsed to play
2 = feeling good
3 = raring to go

Quite surprised that this again seems to be a telling statistic, it seems I’ve played six sessions @1 for a net loss of £199 and seven sessions @2 for a net profit of £575.

Finally the most important statistic, my hourly rate. Over the course of 51 hours at the table it seems I’ve made an intoxicating £126 profit, that’ll be £2.47 an hour then, or coincidentally almost exactly the minimum legal pay for an apprentice under 19 years old (according to directgov.co.uk). Guess I’ll need to buckle down my game if I want to graduate to McJob money…

2010 in review

Posted: January 2, 2011 in General

With a modest £180 win on the 30th, I’ve now played my final live poker session for 2010. This means it’s time to look back on the last twelve months and see if I can draw any conclusions that’ll stand me in good stead for the coming year / decade / lifetime.

In 2009 I made my lifetime greatest net profit at the poker table of £8,265. The majority of this was won at a series of private games with the Canines, however the game changed significantly towards the end of the year. An influx of newer wilder players suddenly rendered my TAG approach insufficient to regularly beat the game. In fact, continuing to play my old style under these conditions for the first month of 2010 led to a rather rapid £2,000 deficit to start the year off. I felt the new game was beatable but required a much larger cash investment than I was comfortable allocating to this part of my life, especially with an impending property transaction in April. Instead I elected to adapt by trying to find a few new venues and player pools to try my skills against.

One of the new boys at the Canine table had previously mentioned a West London venue he’d played at once or twice and felt was quite beatable, so I thought this would be a good place to start. Indeed it proved to be the case, and just mixing in five sessions at this new location along with my normal game allowed me to restore my 2010 deficit to -£1,100 by the end of the first quarter. Second quarter was a bit of a non-event, with only fourteen sessions played as backdrop to the effort of moving house. However I was able to get the deficit under a grand, despite taking my first ever losing session at the new venue, my play notes for that night reading “£1/2 NL – totally card dead 6 hours, lots of stealing but stacked a few times when they found hands against me“.

Third quarter was a bit of a non-event, no major wins or losses but net loss drifted back above a grand. Quite a few of my play notes indicate a prolonged bout of running card dead, so I guess I wasn’t really enjoying a game that’s supposed to be a profitable hobby. However things picked-up rapidly from October onwards. I kicked the quarter off with a decent win at the Empire (“£1/2 NL – ran good – pwned guy with quad 9’s for +250 and +50 bonus, good check on river with nutflush +200, few other good plays, stupid call of overbet with TPNK vs AA -250, stupid limp/raise pre vs LAG -125“), and then didn’t really look back, picking up about a grand a month for the last three months of the year – to finish 2010 a little over £1,500 to the good.

So, I think three major lessons to learn from the year.

  1. Clearly venue choice made a big difference, my twenty sessions logged at the Loose Cannon yielded a net loss of £2,000, but more than counterbalanced by twenty-one sessions at the new venue with a net profit of £4,000. I was broadly flat across all other venues, which included a weekend at Dust Till Dawn (-£500) and a session in Macau (-£80 : “Macau $10/$20: Albie played like a fool“).
  2. Searching for “drink” or “drunk” across all my player notes for 2010 brings back a list of 15 sessions, only three winning sessions of +£6, +£50 and +£30 respectively, and a net loss of £3,000!! I drink so rarely at the table that I was sure that this wasn’t a big leak, but clearly avoiding these few sessions would have tripled my year’s profit. The same search across 2009 data yields only eight sessions and a net loss of £300, so I’ll have to lock-down this terrible habit as part of my batch of 2011 new year resolutions.
  3. Undertaking a piece of analysis suggested by the Baron, it appears that the date in the month that I play correlates strongly with net profit/loss. I suspect that this may be a result of different pay days for my average opponent – the poker professionals will play day-in day-out, but the amateurs only when they have spare money, i.e. the first few days after pay day. Plotting a graph of net profit and session volume by day in the month (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) for all the public cardrooms I play in yields the following (click to expand):
    As this is commercially sensitive information (!), I’ve arbitrarily started the graph from the day in the month that showed the greatest profit, so suggest you don’t read anything into this beyond the general trend of periods of profitability and loss from month to month. I’ve also excluded any outlier results, chopping off the top 3% and bottom 3% sessions, so long-tail results don’t skew the data. Clearly I need to diarise poker for certain parts of the month, and perhaps find something better to do with my time for the periods in the month when I tend to be up against a better class of player (oh, and by the way – the graph doesn’t appear to correlate with my own pay day, so while that may be a contributing factor I don’t think it’s statistically significant).

As I had the data to hand, I thought I might generate a similar graph, showing profit/loss by day of the week. There are a few additional points that would seem to back-up the conclusions drawn so far.

  • Clearly I play most frequently on a Friday and Saturday night, however was somewhat surprised to note that Friday’s are more profitable on average than Saturday’s. I suspect this relates to venue choice. On the Friday’s I’m more likely to be playing at the new venue, on the Saturday’s it seems I’m more likely to be playing at the Empire.
  1. I haven’t played too many Tuesday’s, but they’ve virtually all been losing sessions. The Tuesday data correlates strongly with my list of “drunk” sessions, and looking back at the year this makes sense, as we’ve had a series of last minute ‘fun’ games at the Fox and the Loose Cannon that it appears I didn’t fare too well in. It’s good to blow-off steam once in a while, but if I’m going to continue to play in these I’ll have to do so with a strict limit on the amount of cash I’m willing to put into play.

Christmas comes early

Posted: October 30, 2010 in General

My blackberry chat with Snake, concurrently playing in the MGM poker room in Vegas says it all for last night’s session:

“@Empire. Guy here with a massive wad of 50’s in pocket. Buying £250 @ time. Raising blind from any position by just shoving in a fist-full of reds, usually £45ish. He’s only looking at his cards once he gets a caller, and is calling 90% of his hands and then shoving randomly on most flops. I have position and am isolating like a madman, but no joy so far. This is frustrating but fun!!”

Snake: “Yum yum then.”

“20 minutes in, and this guy is on his 8th buy-in!!!!!!!!!!! …

Make that 9th buy in. Just called £200 on the end with 33 on a 8AKK8 river………. I’m topping up to £400.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! GIVE ME A HAND!!!

Got him!!!!!

Doubled through – £700 pot with top pair no kicker.

Unreal. 11th buyin, two back-to-back. £250 a time still…

He’s in again…and done. 12 buy ins and out. He left three grand in the hole. Last hand shoved with two undercards on the turn.

Hilarious, there was even a crowd of dealers standing-by to watch the carnage at the end. Table broke as soon as he left – it’s 6.45am and the remaining players are like giggly children on Christmas morning! Fun fun fun”