Archive for September, 2009


Posted: September 16, 2009 in General

Please don’t wipe your backside with this posting…


Diamonds are a boy’s best friend

Posted: September 4, 2009 in General

Another solid performance tonight, this time versus the Banker’s game at the LC. Brought in another £500 profit to run me up to a pretty decent £2,000 for this week, however one rather hilarious hand of note that I misplayed quite badly:

Playing £1/£1/£2 straddle, there are two callers, Dev makes it £7 from seat 8, I call, button calls, Jimbo2 makes it £25 in the SB, five of us take a flop.

Something like JJ4 with two diamonds, there’s £130 in the middle.
Check to button who bets 25, four callers including Dev and myself.
Turn is a blank, there’s £255 in the middle.
Jimbo2 bets £35, three callers, button shoves for £155 total.
Jimbo2 dwells and passes, Ioannis dwells and passes, Dev calls for his final £80, it’s me to close the action.

I have QdTd for the flush draw. I’m sure Button has Jx, and decide that there was probably one other guy on the diamonds draw out of the three (two passers and Devski who’s all-in – he probably has the other Jx). Getting 5:1 on my money in this massive pot I decide I have the right price and call.

River blanks and the button claims a nice £600 pot with JQ trips.

SB flips up his folded Ad7d, Ioannis laughs and flips up his folded KdTd, Devski doesn’t show but claims 5d6d. There were just three diamonds left for me to hit. Not to mention that after the hand I realise I made a donkey call, as two of the diamonds I was counting paired the board versus the obvious trips, hence I had a grand total of ONE OUT on the end.

Marvellously well played fLukey boy!! 😉

Six years in review

Posted: September 1, 2009 in General

After another month of solid results, I thought might be worth taking a look back at the year on year fluctuations in my poker bankroll for the venues that I regularly visit.


Some interesting snippets in the data. I knew 2008 was fairly devastating, but hadn’t realised that the bulk of my losses were from homegames, in fact just one particularly disasterous homegame in Cheltenham. I was also under the impression that my 2008 at the Loose Cannon was a disaster, but it seems I did manage to undo the majority of the pain by year end to post a modest £248 profit.

2009 year to date results have been pretty stellar, and although I’m running reasonably well at the moment, I suspect it’s primarily due to a maturing of my approach to the game. A good case in point from my most recent Friday night that I thought it might be worth sharing.

Tom and I had already carved up the Empire in a quick fire 2 hour slot on Wednesday evening, claiming £500 profit each. We both commented on one particularly fishy regular player who joined our table, Tom suggesting that he was the ‘fourth worst player in the Empire’. While that might be a little ungenerous to the drunken muppets who usually stagger in from the casino tables on a Saturday evening, certainly this fellow is weak.

So with Friday night upon me, and Katrina in Chester at a wedding that I was due to join her at the following morning, I planned a long late battle with the Friday night Leicester Square poker community.

Arrived feeling fresh and ready to play at around 8pm, joining a newly opening table. Starting stacks for most players were £100-200, and that suits my style also as I like to buy short initially to get a feel for the table at minimum exposure. I took up my preferred seat 3, players of note included two Norwegian lads in seats 8 & 2, in seat 6 the ‘fourth worst’ chap from Wednesday, in seat 1 a cheerful looking lad with a massive afro and sunglasses, plus the usual random assortment of tight-passives.

I’m on a rinse-and-repeat from Wednesday’s £500 take-down, immediately starting yapping about all sorts of rubbish to establish a wild image. I manage to get my first stack in on the first orbit against Norwegian2 with my trip 6’s versus his straight, I cheerfully reload. Two hands later and I turn an ace flush on a paired board, the same two of us get it all in again only for me to find that he made the boat, whoopsie! Reload again. A little more confident about the table make-up, I put £200 in play aiming to double-through to break-even. No real drama, I open steal a few small pots, showing every time. Also try Tom’s move of blind raising, although just the once as this still feels a little too advanced for me to pull off effectively! Anyway, I’m playing tight post-flop but hopefully giving the impression of being a LAGtard, so all is well.

Some time later I make what I assess to be a good laydown, passing trip queens no kicker on a dangerous board vs Norwegian8. My stack is still around the £200-250 mark though as I’m not really catching any opportunities to get involved. Complimenting him on his play, I end-up in conversation with his buddy Norwegian2, who’s sat to my immediate right. The evidence of the last two hours suggests that we’re two of the three competent players at the table, and a bit of verbal sparring breaks out. We have a laugh with it, and mutually agree that he’s certain to “get all my chips before midnight”.

And so the night wears on. Although I don’t get a break with the cards, I do keep out of trouble. Most of my clawed-back stack is coming from judiciously picked opportunities to steal pots, and every time I’m in there with trash I’m showing the table and crowing about it loudly. The chit chat with Gaie (Nor2) continues apace, fuelled by the continuous pints of Fosters he’s pouring down his neck. Meanwhile I sample the Empire’s selection of herbal teas…

At some point in the night I start to notice that seat 6 (Fish4 from Wednesday) is sitting on rather a big stack. He’s been getting his money in bad but hitting time after time – mostly against Norwegian-8, and by midnight he’s on at least £500. Gaie and I are still sparring, however I’m trying to avoid confrontations with the better players and we’ve managed to avoid playing a big pot until now. However he’s obviously noticed Fish4 also, as he’s often isolating his raises before I can stake a claim. This turns out to be a useful situation though, as it allows me to quietly observe Fish4 when he’s playing a big pot, and I think succeed in spotting a tell – as he’s relatively aggressive this is information that I figure could pay me dividends as the night wears on.

The type of line I find I can use to my advantage best at the Empire is to play loose pre-flop and tight post-flop, taking lots of cheap boards and trying to be strict about not overplaying hands like top-pair-top-kicker. This approach yielded me a shot at Fish4 sometime around 1am, as I flopped an open-ended straight with KJ on a QQT board, called Fish4’s bet and turned a 9 for the straight. Out of position, Fish4 bets £50 into a pot of £66, however instead of raising to try to get his entire stack I spectacularly fluff my line in the hand and flat call. Honestly am not sure what I was thinking at the time, his tell was indicating that he had a hand, but with the lack of a pre-flop raise this was far more likely to be trips than a boat. It was the only big mistake I made all session, however it cost me a decent chunk of change, as on a safe river he check-called my value bet and my straight took his Q6 trips for a total of ~£150 rather than the whole £600 payday it should have been if I’d played the hand more confidently.

I kicked myself hard, vowing not to do that again against such a weak opponent. Although I’ll play the low variance line against tough opposition, it’s a horrible error to make against someone who’ll go to war with something like the 30th best hand! Nevermind though, as I was to get another shot before the session was up.

It wasn’t to be in our second confrontation around 2am though. I flop top-two, and in position he calls my bets to the river, which completes a flush. He bets out, and I tank. His body-language is looking quite strong, but not overwhelming – this could be a worse two pair, less likely top pair big kicker, as I’d expect a check-call on the end after I’ve shown strength.

Looking for information, I say “you could stack me on this hand, I may be able to call”. “You call?” he replies, “I have the flush”. He looks convincingly bewildered when the dealer confirms that I haven’t acted yet, so I happily muck my second best hand. Somewhat bafflingly he tables his 6c8c flush, showing everyone what a muppet he is. I congratulate him on a well played hand, doing my best to sound genuine…

By now Gaie is starting to get a little bleary from the continual pints he’s necking, I quietly added him to my list of potential targets. Really the only player I was avoiding was his mate Norwegian8.

And so onwards to 3.30am, and finally a chance to do some damage. My stack has hovered around the £450-500 mark for the last hour or so – I’m up about £50 for the night, which is a reasonable result given the fairly limp collection of cards I’ve been dealt. Our main man Fish4 has about £800 in his stack, the rest of the table have a little less than me in front of them.


Holding 9cJc I flop a magnificent 8TQ rainbow board for the nut straight. This time I’m not going to faff around playing small ball. Fish4 bets £20 (‘exxxxcellent’, I think to myself, internalising my best Monty Burns impression), he’s showing his strength tell so I raise to £45, he reraises, I shove and he makes a horrible call with TQ for top two. I manage to fade his four outs twice, and double-through, taking my stack up to £950 and reducing his to £300.


Very next hand, while I’m still piling up my now dominating stack I limp with T8o in mid-position. The flop delivers hard, 9JQ rainbow, I’ve flopped the straight yet again. Fish4, still reeling from the last hand bets £20, four of us call. The turn is an innocent 7, putting a spade draw out there. Fish4 bets £45, the two callers call again, and the now sizable pot is round to me. I raise it up to £145, and Fish4 insta-calls, the rest of the table folds. We flip them up, and he’s drawing beautifully dead with AJo. In two hands I’ve tripled through, running from £450 up to nearly £1500.

I offer Fish4 my condolences, while feeling a mix of elation and Schadenfreude at his misplayed big stack. It was inevitable that someone else would go home with his money, I’m just delighted that it was me.


Behind my impenetrable wall of chips, Norwegians inspire no fear in me. I stack a barely conscious Gaie with top pair while still erecting my clay monument.

And so another night’s work is done. Returning home courtesy of Addison Lee (I’m buggered if am going to wander the West End looking for a black cab on my own with two grand in my pocket), I contemplate my night’s efforts. At the start of this posting I attributed my recent success to a ‘maturing of my game’. Of course any donkey can flop the nuts and take someone’s stack, however I’ll offer the thought that it’s in the getting to this point in the game that my 2009 improvements manifest themselves.

Previous fLuke’s would either have bust themselves with impatience during the lull in the cards, or started to push small edges and tested the bounds of variance. I made a few wild plays to establish an image, and some big laydowns when required. It’s by holding steady, maintaining a reasonable sized stack, and analysing the opposition over a five hour period that I put myself in the position whereby a flopped monster would generate a payday. I was lucky this time to have flopped hard twice in succession, one play disguising the other, however either one of those hands would have generated enough profit to make the night worthwhile.

Perhaps I’ve finally found a way to overcome the whims of the Gods of Variance, now I just need to find a way to stick with it while beset by the legion of darkness that is the aggressive Canine mid-week game.