Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Saucy behaviour

Posted: June 24, 2010 in General

Snake, aka Sauce (his drunken alter-ego) made another appearance at my now regular mid-week Empire poker session last night. True to form he made a dramatic entrance, his bright red England t-shirt only just outshining his beer induced bright red nose, marching up to me to express his love and give me a hug from behind.

Straight out of the ‘Sauce guide to poker ettiquette’, he immediately launched into 100dB praise aimed at the chap with the largest stack, a few seats along from me at the table. ‘Mate, you must be like brilliant at poker or something, no really mate well done.” With his name at the top of the list, he went on to further compliment the randomly poor play of a few hands he barely paid attention to, turning down a seat at a nearby table in favour of joining us “fine gentlemen”. With his reputation as a muppet of the highest calibre firmly established, by 11pm or so the opportunity presented itself for our man to pull-up a seat and a stack.

I think Snake’s approach to poker can best be thought of as solid level 3 TAG. He’s tight aggressive, but aware of his own image and willing to exploit it with well timed balancing plays in position to maximise his EV and keep his opponents off balance. He compliments this with a habit of verbally stroking the level 1 players, encouraging their poor play and sub-optimal lines. I’ve always found it amusing, and despite the fact that some of his comments can frankly be completely ludicrous (“unlucky mate, I was sure you were going to hit that, it felt like it didn’t it” to someone drawing at a gutshot to the ignorent end of a straight), it does seem to work. He does genuinely seem to be able to get away with petting the fish.

Sauce’s approach to poker follows a very similar theme to the above. He persists in the stroking, although admittedly in a drunken mock stage whisper that can be heard by the majority of seats at the table, causing great amusement for those who are aware of what he’s up to. His play however tends to degenerate to level 2 LAG, and this got him into trouble on a few occasions last night, two of which were rather magnificent slowrolls and well worth a write-up.

Slowroll – To wait until the last possible moment to show the winning hand, in an effort to get your opponent to believe he has won the pot when he has not.

At the poker table, a deliberate slowroll would normally be considered poor form, however when performed correctly it can also be a thing of great beauty. I was lucky enough to witness two such moments of artistic flair last night, both induced by Sauce’s own drunken behaviour, and I guess a desire for the opposing players to ‘get even’ in a small way.

Slowroll 1
Sauce and the tightestest player at the table get it all in on a flop of Ad5h5d, Sauce exclaims “come on you diamond!”, and indeed it hits the turn in the form of a six. “Yessss, sorry mate!” he claims flipping up his mid-position 9d4d (level 2 LAG stylee). The other player shrugs at Sauce but looks like he’s still drawing, he’s very focused on the river. A black three, it seems to have blanked out for this tight player, but no – after at least a five second further pause the chap flips up a beautiful As5s for the flopped nuts, and led by me the table breaks into guffaws of laugher at poor Sauce’s dejected look.

Slowroll 2
Sauce and if possible a player drunker and looser than himself get it all in on a turn of JsJhKd 6s. Sauce flips up one card, the jack of diamonds; the drunk flips up the six of hearts. The river blanks again, Sauce turns over his offsuit five, the drunk shows the case jack. Sauce’s bottom lip quivers, hilarity ensues…

Advertisements

Snake pays for his beer

Posted: June 18, 2010 in General

It’s just a usual Thursday night at the Empire, I’m playing off a stack of about £200 with another £200 in my back pocket and a willingness to grab another four should the table dynamics demand it. Receive a text from the Snake – he’s drunk and on his way; this might normally be a ‘yum yum’ moment, but admittedly the boy does play very good quality poker even when sozzled.

I pop him on the list and a few minutes later receive a second text, he’s in the bar, do I want a beer? “I don’t drink and drive I reply, have a lime/soda right here.” I do have the motorbike parked outside, but the drink and drive comment relates more to the poker game.

I play another hand or two when suddenly a gollum-like paw dips into my stack from behind my back to grab a red off the top – “sorry mate, they don’t accept cards, just need this – back in a minute.”, and off he scampers with £5 of my profit in his mitts. He’s back soon after with two bottle of Budvar, both for himself – the cheeky scoundrel!

Two more hands pass while we shoot the breeze, the Snake about 20dB too loud for the table, and I notice people at the other end of the felt are wincing at the random drunken gibberish he’s spouting at top volume. Meanwhile I’m dealt A4o in the big blind, and flash it to my face so he can get a peek and play along. There’s a raise mid-table, and I call behind, five of us to a flop of … A49 rainbow, beauty. I trap-check on this nice dry board, there’s a bet of £15, two callers and when it comes back around I pop it up to £40. The original raiser slips out a £25 black to call, the others fold.

“I can’t believe you got that through, you jammy fucker!”, the Snake suddenly loudly exclaims. The boy’s a genius, and I instantly play along trying to put some genuine sounding annoyance into my voice as I reply “that guy called you twat, can it already.”

The turn is the 3h, putting out a flush draw and a possible straight – so with no more time to dilly dally I spin out £50, trying to make it look like a last desperation bluff at the pot. Seat 4 considers this for all of 15 seconds and shoves. I insta-call and stack his unshown hand for a rather nice £450 pot. Thank you Snake!

Weird situation

Posted: April 11, 2010 in General

Dragged the Snake (née the Nit) along to one of the Gala’s on Friday night for an evening of TAG poker, away from the lagtard mentalists in our usual game.

Nothing exceptional to report, however there was one very unusual situation that came up and is worth recounting.

Snake has been playing too tight for the table for the few hours pre-dinner. In this game he needs to loosen-up moderately and play a little more aggressively with a wider range of hands to increase his win-rate. I mention this to him over dinner.

Post-dinner he seems to do so, at one point opening three hands for a raise in a row. Perhaps a little too wild, but it’s working and his stack is building.

My hole cards have been garbage all evening, literally two pairs (8’s and 4’s) and one AQ, none of which could make a winning hand. However my raggedy cards are hitting flops left right and centre, so I’m nicely in profit. At the start of the hand in question I’m sitting on about £400 from a starting stack of £150, and Snake has £350 in front. We have the table covered.

UTG I finally find a top-ten hand, AKs, and limp for £2 (this is a 1/2 NL game). Snake in seat 4 to my immediate left raises to £12, two players call and I call, deciding to take a flop. Despite his recent earlier aggression, Snake is still fairly likely to have a somewhat decent hand to open from EP. Deciding not to build a big pot out of position with a hand that’s only likely to make one pair, I elect to limp and take a flop, disguising my hand.

The flop comes a fairly encouraging AQ8 with two clubs, I have spades. Snake likes to c-bet, so I check to give him the chance. He does so, betting £40 into the pot of £51. Chinese guy in seat 5 calls fairly quickly, leaving himself with a little over £100 behind. Other player folds, and I decide to stick to my plan and spring the trap, making it £140 to play. Chinese guy is extremely likely to call, I’m fairly certain I can beat the majority of his passively played range, a lot of which is two random clubs. I figure Snake can only continue in the hand with about a quarter of his range.

Snake goes into the tank. For about three minutes he’s thinking and thinking, and really looks genuinely unsure of what to do. I’m now certain that I’m ahead. He’s most likely to have the same hand as me, possibly AJ or KK. I can definitely get him off of AK by shoving any turn that doesn’t give him a club draw. I decide that the hand is mine.

Chinese guy now starts to get irritated with the wait. “How long can he think for?” he asks. However the dealer is inexperienced, and doesn’t know the standard rule for calling a clock. I don’t want to explain it, as that’s going to put additional pressure on Snake – it’s a big hand and I’d rather he had the chance to make his decision unimpeded.

Out of turn, Chinese guy then just throws his hand into the muck!

Snake now has a far easier decision, as it’s suddenly down to heads-up. I’m exasperated at this, as a lot of my fold equity has just vanished, and demand the floor be called. While the cardroom manager explains why this is incredibly bad form, Snake continues to dwell on his decision.

“This hand’s a mess, do you want to just chop it?” he asks me after a few more moments.

“No. Make your decision.” I tell him quite sternly. I’m slightly tilted by the Chinese guy’s fold, and am now sure I’m ahead. Having been card dead all night, TPTK looks like a monster versus Snake’s wide range and prolonged delay.

“I’m ahead. ” I tell him. “Fold, and let’s get on with the next hand”. I actually think I’m doing him a favour. The Chinese guy has screwed-up the hand. I just want to claim what’s rightfully mine so far and get on with mugging the other players at the table.

Snake continues to dwell.

“Mike, I’m ahead. Fold already. I’ll show”.

Eventually, he does and I show my AK. Snake curses and claims AQ for top-two, explaining that he was 90% sure I had 88 for bottom set, and to be fair that hand makes absolute sense with my line.

Barring a vicious outdraw, Chinese guy saved my stack with his impatience.

AQ is definitely in Snake’s range, but should he really dwell sooo long initially. Obviously he’s entitled to take as long as he likes, but if he’d simply been a little more decisive and made his play before Chinese guy could do anything stupid, I guess a big pot would have been his.

An interesting situation. I was honestly certain I was ahead, so wasn’t making a verbal play for the pot with my insistence that I had Snake beat. However I guess that does push my range up significantly. That sort of talk at the table is going to be more likely to induce a call from a stranger, but against a mate you play against regularly I guess it does look far more genuine.

Lucky me I guess.

Reflections on Pro Week

Posted: February 16, 2010 in General

So what of the lifestyle metrics and success criteria I’ve been tracking throughout the pro week experiment?

Game selection is the most important decision any poker player, amateur or professional, will ever make. As a real pro (i.e. unemployed as far as the govenment are concerned), I really wouldn’t expect to make a great deal of profit from the much nittier afternoon casino games, which are in the main populated by other folk making their living from poker. The easiest money by some margin is available in the core boozing hours of 9pm through 1am mid-week; later on a Friday and Saturday. Effectively the life of a poker pro appears to become a vampire like existence, endless nights spent hovering in the shadows waiting to pounce on the wallets of the unwary.

I imagine that there would be advantages to working a nightshift of 7pm through 3am, however maintaining a family and social life isn’t one of them. To balance the health aspects of a sedentary ‘career’ you’d definitely need to make firm use of a gym membership, and I do have to admit that my health and diet suffered as a result of so much time at the poker table during this experiment. Although a daily intake of sushi for lunch goes a long way towards maintaining a glow of health, I only managed to cook and eat properly one evening during pro week, the rest of my nights powered by either casino restaurant dining or snack-and-go tableside eats. Fine for a week, but hardly the definition of ‘living right’.

What of the enjoyment factor? Despite that I grumble about it from time to time, I do take moments of pleasure from my day job – the occasional glimpse of satisfaction at achieving something worthwhile, even if only in the pursuit of wealth for my company’s shareholders. Apologies to any readers who hold the role, but I’m afraid I can scarely think of a less worthy job than professional gambler. To be fair I guess this lifestyle choice could be balanced with voluntary work; and perhaps the ability to choose your own hours would make it easier to compress the working week into three or four days, yielding a weekend (but not the golden nights of Friday & Saturday) and an extra day to spend in pursuit of charitable causes? It’s a nice intention, but is it something you’d be able to follow-through with consistently during a patch of extended bad variance? I doubt it.

I made my fair share of mistakes during pro week, almost certainly halving the profit I could have made (and therefore potentially doubling my ‘salary’ should I ever achieve the unreachable nirvana of a consistently error-free game).  I poo-poo’d a poker book I recently read by Tommy Angelo, dismissing it as vacuous nonsense (my purchase prompted by this post over at the rather well written Thinking Poker), however on further reflection perhaps there is something to Angelo’s suggestion that it’s of paramount to ‘quit right’. To learn to stop playing and go home at the point where you no longer believe you can maintain your A game. I played beyond this point on at least two of the five pro week sessions, trying to push the envelope and seek out an end-of-the-night gamble to parlay a small win up to a big score or a loss. My two biggest errors of the week were as a result of super-lag lines played in pots that should been kept small, or even folded. Were I ever to go pro for real, I’d need to kill this tendency dead. Life is all one long game, and the same players will still be there tomorrow. It’s unnecessary to throw away chunks of bankroll simply because some arbitrary end of session milestone is approaching.

One of the metrics I said I wouldn’t assess for pro week was profitability (or lack thereof). Despite that I wasn’t judging the success of the week based on money, it is still interesting to consider how this tiny sample week might scale-up to an annual salary.

Over the course of a modest working week of 33 hours, I made a £605 profit. In fact I locked this up entirely on the second night, spending the remaining four days flucutating up and down by small margins. However that’s the nature of variance, and as a professional player I imagine all you can do is to minimise your losses on bad days, and maximise your wins on good days. I’ll say it again, this is far too small a sample to be considered representative, however were we to extrapolate this result we could estimate a win rate of £18/hour; in poker terms a fairly modest 9 BB/hour. A good rate would be considered to be more like 20 BB/hour, so either I played badly or I ran badly (net – sorry again Dev!) over the course of the week.

Multiplying that up by 45 weeks to a working year yields a salary of just over £27,000 after tax (as in the UK at least, gambling income is untaxed). Approximately equivalent to a pre-tax salary of £40,000 pa. Not bad, but honestly not really sufficient to keep me in the luxury to which I’ve become accustomed, let alone to support a wife (recently acquired), new house (imminently about to exchange), two cats (yet to be purchased); oh and ideally some sort of retirement plan.

As a live poker pro there’s no opportunity to increase your win rate by multi-tabling, so all you can practically do is to work your way up the levels. Soft £1/2 games are easy to find any night of the week in a metropolis like London, but it may get a bit trickier to reliably locate easy money at £2/5 or £5/10. Is not something I’ve tried yet, however I think it would be necessary to be averaging ~10BB/hour at £5/10 (pre-tax equivalent of a six figure salary) to support a good lifestyle in London. I’ve no idea whether it’s possible to find enough games to get in 40 good hours a week, but were I to be considering going pro for real, this would be another of the prerequisites.

So in summary, while life as a poker pro might work well for a man of leisure, having taken the life decision to marry and one day have a family it’s not something I feel would suit me well. Perhaps once the kids are (conceived,) schooled and sent out into the world I’ll come back to the idea, but for now I’m more than happy with the balance of no more than two nights a week.

Glad I undertook this experiment nonetheless. It’s been an interesting experience, albeit not one I’d recommend nor repeat any time soon.

Pro Week

Posted: February 14, 2010 in General

With a full working week of poker behind me, I intend to share some final summary thoughts on pro week.

Not today though.

It’s finally Sunday and my day of rest – I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon having absolutely nothing to do with poker. There’s a good book and an unwatched Park Chan-wook blueray to bury myself in, I might pop out for a run while there’s no snow on the ground, and perhaps get experimental in the kitchen this evening.

It’s been a fairly heavy week, one that was enlightening if not extremely profitable (albeit profitable nonetheless). I think there are definitely some life lessons to take into my future game, however I’ll leave distilling them to another day.

Bon soir regular readers. Oh, and by the way, according to my web stats apparently there are 500 of you now – mostly courtesty of the excellent and highly trafficed Magical Mystery Poker Tour).

Pro day 5

Posted: February 14, 2010 in General

I’m done.

After a marathon 10 hour session today, my total playing time for the week is up to 33 hours. That’s approximately 700 hands of poker, mileage an online pro could no doubt clock-up in a good two or three hour session multitabling.

Another small loss recorded unfortunately, which I’ll primarily put down to slightly sub-standard cards and one rather -EV move. Rather than try to summarise the whole session, will share an excerpt from my IM conversation with the Baron and Snake between about 8pm and 1am:

Luke: Wow, quiet here. Four tables of single boys and a small list, rather than the usual horde of lingerers. Guess it’ll go crazier than usual 10pm onwards when the happy couples have had their Valentine dinners and come to gamble.

Luke: Couples trickling in…

Tom: Seriously? What an excellent way to spend valentines, jesus…

Luke: Mmm, some girlies gangs here also, but mainly boys tbh

Mike: Good luck mate. Stacked anybody yet?

Luke: Nah, all quiet really. Made a few moves but ran into sets and flushes each time. May be on wrong table, just nosing around now. Waning a little tho to be fair. May be overpokered…

Mike: Then quit mate. You’ve put in the hours so far.

Luke: Will quit when feel I’m playing bad. At moment playing solid TAG fairly effortlessly. Not sure have LAG in me at moment tho.

Luke: New table just opened, I’ve switched. Going to try to turn it on for a bit and see how I go. Right in the doorway, full of Valentine romeos. Not a reg in sight. Yumyum…maybe

Luke: Right. Nicked 2nd pot with 52o double barrel. Showed to much amusement. Angry man on right now. Lol. Lots of shortstacks on table at moment. Need to maneuver carefully if playing LAG.

Tom: Come on pro, sat night, time for a big score

Luke: Indeed. Early yet, you can’t push these things. Well, maybe you can, but you’re ‘special’ Tom.

Tom: Special?

Luke: Special == mentally deficient at poker table

Luke: Just doubled up someone’s top pair with 53o no draw shove on flop. Have table covered. My rep looking good, it got a big laugh.

Luke: Think it’s getting infectious. Four player all in.

Luke: It’s on. Shoved 99 pre and got 2 callers. Let’s see what happens!!! … Ace on flop … Oops. Vs QQ and KK. Lol!!!!!!!

Mike: Luke is busto..

Luke: Ha ha, yes!

Luke: So much for LAG. At least am enjoying myself for first time in a few hours tho.

Tom: Lol at busto

Luke: Haha. Anyway. I’ve bet at last 3 hands consec. Am in SLAG mode

Tom: Excellent. Far more entertaining

Luke: Am 1 for 3 tho. Reputation tatty. Come on big hands. Anyway, only down 250, small cheese at moment. Plus having fun.

Luke: Have 100 on table. Going to do something daft for laughs in a bit and then top up big.

Tom: All in blind. In squeeze situation

Luke: Went the other way and nicked it on the river with 7 high. Showed of course. Up to 150.

Luke: Vpip 92%. Back down to 100 with a silly steal. It’s a bit of a bugger paying for a SLAG rep, and then running so cold you can’t utilise it…

Luke: Just pulled off hero call with 55 on river on board of 6J888 after I bet the first two streets and he took lead on the end… Genius rep established. Was a stack call against guy I’ve been beating on. His body language when shoved the river screamed mega bluff.

Luke: Woo hoo. Put my first bad beat on someone in days (apart from Dev of course). 99 vs KK aipf, hit set. Unfort he was ultra short stack.

And so I pretty much played like an absolute loon intersperced with moments of genius for the final 4 hours through to dawn. Although you could say that my hand selection went to the dogs somewhat, a reasonble modicum of skill on my part enabled me to keep out of the way of the majority of dominating hands, and just push back on weakness where the pot was there for the taking. And it was there for the taking a lot. Playing virtually every hand from every position, I made steal attempts at somewhere in the region of 3 hands per rotation, getting away with well over half of them. Rather “two steps forward, one back” but eventually undoing the damage of shoving into two overpairs and recovering my moderate loss back to a small one.

And so for the last time will share my thoughts on session success criteria.

10 hours played. Rather than adapting to the situation, I forced my crazy game onto a group of players who weren’t really ready for it – taking at least two guys well out of their understood territory into the land of calling with queen high (sorry, this time I’ve got a pair – try again!). On the whole an enjoyable session, although the first few hours fairly quiet until I found a table I could bully. Only one big mistake, although I’ll admit I was lucky in the sense that didn’t run into too many big hands after the 99/kk/aa incident.

Can also finally say that I don’t have to look forward to playing tomorrow…

Pro day 4

Posted: February 13, 2010 in General

Longest session of pro week played so far, but only a short posting to make – unfortunately 8 hours at the table where nothing really happened.

Bookended my night with two bad decisions. Opening bad decision was to head to the same venue as last night – unfortunately despite that it was a Friday there was no real action to be had. Everybody scared to play anything approaching a big pot, and so with a fairly mundane set of hole cards the hours dragged by monotously.

Had a chance to make a big score around 3am versus a big stack I’d been targeting. However despite that I managed to get him to put his stack into the middle with 73 vs my K3 on a 33Q flop, the second queen on the turn invalidated my lead and we chopped an £800 pot. Rather a shame.

The bad decision at the end of the night? Out of sheer boredom raised blind to £10 from the button, picked-up four callers. Was bet into on a flop of T84, peeked down to reveal the monster that is T2o and deciding to shove for my stack. Managed to run into a slowly played QQ, and all my good work of the previous hours undone and turned a very small £100 profit into a £100 loss.

Anyway though, back to the more important matter of the pro-week success criteria:

8  hours played, not terribly enjoyable, three errors all boredom induced, don’t feel I adapted well – really should have moved on to a different venue as soon as I realised these were slim pickings. I guess I am somewhat looking forward to playing again tomorrow, that’s if I don’t score my stand-in friend-date for Valentine’s night.

Pro day 3

Posted: February 12, 2010 in General

On the recommendation of Snake, I popped into an old favourite casino this evening – the very same venue I played my first hand of poker in a ‘proper’ cardroom back in 1998 or so. A £15 freeze-out beginners night tournament populated by a field of 60 or so similarly green players – tough stuff for a fledgling poker player such as 26 year old fLuke to overcome.

I recall my first hour of cards being a nerve-wracking experience. Only mildly calmed by the wry and humorous tournament direction of their cardroom manager, none other than Roy ‘the legend’ Houghton.

Well, it’s 12 years later and Roy had moved on, but it seems he’s left the same green players behind, and all it would appear they’ve done is graduate from tournaments to cash poker.

My third night pro was unfortunately somewhat spoiled by the stinking cough and cold I picked up last week. I spent the entire five hours at the table spluttering germs over my fellow combatants. The lurgy has been building up all week, and I’m absolutely certain that so many hours sat at a card table handling filthy chips hasn’t done my health any favours.

Nonetheless, an extremely soft game located once again, if anything even easier than pro day 2. My cards were as cold as ice, but it didn’t stop me playing 95% of hands. I do believe there was a raise once, maybe around 10.30pm, but apart from that it seemed that everyone was content to rely on the basic poker arsenal of fold, check, call and bet.

An interesting dynamic broke-out, possibly one deserving further analysis over a laptop. With the majority of players willing to limp/call any pair, top pair no kicker became a bit of a monster. I was able to stack up rather nicely throughout the night adopting a very simple and consistent line of betting/raising my junk,  and calling down with top pair or better.

I do have to share a fairly hilarious set of circumstances that led to my staying relatively late this evening, rather than allowing my declining health to drive me back to bed. Matey in the seat to my immediate right has made one or two somewhat odd plays early in the evening, it’s somewhat possible (albeit unlikely) that he knows what he’s doing. We get chatting about general rubbish, and within about ten minutes I manage to stack him for about £100, calling him down with 87o after he bet out a TT8 flop and kept shooting. Deciding that he would be the type to trap a ten, I called and called a turn and river of Jh 7s (giving me three pair), and so his final desperation shove made for a pretty straight-forward call. He grumbled and didn’t show, probably an under-pair to the flop, fives or sixes.

He stacked-up soon after, this time to about £300, making the two of us joint big chips versus everyone else’s ~£100.

It’s at this point that I should mention that he had an enormous furry tiger cub as a mascot, sitting on the table virtually blocking my view of his stack. It was around 9pm that I twigged that whenever he had what he perceived as a big hand, he’d pick-up the tiger and shake it at the player contemplating a call, making grrr sounds. It’s not quite as subtle as putting a cookie to your ear, but hey – whatever rocks your boat. I’m not sure any of the other players were paying any real attention, or at least they kept calling with lord only knows what and then passing to his triumphantly flipped up top pair.

Funny (and obviously extremely profitable), but that’s not the comedy gold part of the night. Around 10.30pm one of his buddies wanders over. “What are you playing mate?” he asks.

“It’s poker isn’t it, like you seen on TV.” he explains.

“How does that work then?”

Tigershaker then goes on to explain the game of poker. It’s a long and rambling tale, infused with advice such as “when you’ve got two cards the same in your hand, that’s a pair”, and “when you get two cards the same on the table, and when you’ve got another two cards the same in your hand, that’s two pair”. His advice on bluffing I thought was particularly insightful, apparently “never bluff, because people won’t fold for just £100”. It was obviously a do as I say not as I do lesson, because there were an awful lot of hands where Mr Tiger sat undisturbed over the following few hours, and strangely matey would grumble and pass to my 3x raises…

Staggeringly, the mate, now having been taught the finer points of poker, decides to borrow £50 from his buddy and join the game. Myself and the only other vaguely compos mentis player at the table goggled incredulously over the following 15 minutes as he churned through three buy-ins in very short order. Happily, most of the money ending up back in Tigershaker’s stack where I intended it to be just a matter of time before the lovely pile of black £25s would slide one seat to the left.

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t find a hand to shake a tiger at. And by 11.30pm my coughing was reaching a frequency and volume that I really started to become embarrassed about. With a big game planned for tomorrow night, I elected to cash in my nicely chipped-up stack and to jump in an AddLee home and to bed.

So just before I sign off, a quick tally of performance relative to the pro week metrics:

5 hours played, adapted once again beautifully, no major errors other than perhaps one or two river value bets missed, and apart from the coughing I rather enjoyed myself. Very much looking forward to the 17 hours of poker I need to get in over Friday and Saturday to complete this experiement.

Oh, and happily enough, despite that I’m not considering the financial side of things as part of the experiment’s success criteria, I’m now on a four figure freeroll for the weekend. If I can chip that up further again on Friday, I might have to start considering taking a shot at the 5/10 game at the Palm Beach. It’s at least a £1,000 sit down, so I’m going to need around three grand in my pocket to play the game properly. Probably wise to wait until my health is back at 100%, but something to give consideration to at least.

Ps. In line with expectations, the ‘pool night’ that Baron, Jimbo and Nemo played this evening as a final final goodbye to Smalls turned into stacks poker. It seems the boys didnt even make it until 8pm before they broke-out the cards. Bloody degenerates…

Pro day 2

Posted: February 11, 2010 in General

Tough day at the office, the real office, today. My day bookended by video conferences with HK and the US, each of which required a hefty quantity of preparation, and to be honest no small amount of poker skill to navigate and negotiate trecherous waters.

By the end of my last meeting I really wasn’t in the mood for yet another working day at the table, but this experiment wouldn’t be much of a success if I threw in the towel after day 1, even considering that I played poker on two of the preceeding three days before start of my mini pro career.

Deven got me spurred on though, txting me at 8pm to confirm he was heading to the our venue for the night. I jumped in the car, and arrived just in time to catch him for a quick dinner.

As anticipated, our chosen casino proved to be a complete and utter contrast to the madness of the night before, populated by calling stations and aggressive Chinese men who view TPTK at the nuts. Fortunately my slightly sad run of cards of the last few weeks also came to a juddering halt, as I managed to get it all in pre-flop three ways holding aces versus kings and jacks on my first straddle of the night, to stack Deven and a random chap.

Good cards and solid play followed for a five hour period. I flopped top pair and a flush draw about six times, getting paid or finding passes on all but one.

With my stack increased from £200 to £750, and Deven not far behind having chipped up through a series of rather effective steals, I called time on my first table and switched to take on a different set of unwary opponents, leaving Deven to clean-up alone.

Second table proved to be slightly more fierce, however nothing that pro-Luke’s continue run of good cards and good play couldn’t deal with.

Only one foot put wrong all night really, raising pre- from the button with 65s and double-barrelling the flop and turn versus a chap with a big draw that he just couldn’t lay down. However the mis-step presented an opportunity to show a failed steal attempt, so used that to switch gears into all out thievery mode, nicking and showing a further three successful bluffs before stacking the player who won the original pot after I massively over-shoved my 54s small flush draw and pair versus his bare Q8s flush draw (a move straight out of the Baron’s play book, thank you Sir). My lowly pair of 5’s held and I chipped to a high point of £900.

Once again though, the measure of the pro week experiment isn’t money won or lost, it’s temperament, ability and consistency. So, my self assessed scores on the doors for this evening are:

5 hours played, only one small error (missing an opportunity to buy a medium sized pot with a bet on the river), adapted perfectly to the conditions, really looking forward to playing again tomorrow.

I’ve locked-in Friday with the Nit at the Empire, and with a vacant Saturday morning it’s doubless going to be a monster session. May therefore play a light session tomorrow night, possibly dropping into the International to catch the side action from their regular tournament schedule.

Much as I’d like to play this Saturday night as well, am trying to score a Valentine ‘date’ with a one of the girls I’ve only seen once since the wedding. If that falls through though will definitely plan on continuing pro week into its fifth consecutive day.

Pro day 1

Posted: February 10, 2010 in General

After a rather robust weekend of poker and partying in Nottingham, I skipped Monday and elected to start pro-week on Tuesday night with the regular canine ‘homegame’ at the Loose Cannon. A few of the more nutbar players expected, so there was bound to be plenty of action.

Not disappointed remotely by the performance of my poker colleagues, well over two grand on the table within the first two hours (predictably, the Baron absolutely could not lose a hand), and closer to ten thousand in play by the time I had to retire at 1am ready for a rather important working Wednesday. This might be a 1/2 game, but it plays deep and hard (woof!).

Following discussion with the boys, have elected to not judge “pro-week” on its financial return/loss, as the number of hands played over the course of a 35 hour ‘working week’ is nowhere near enough for variance to run even. Instead my assessment of success is going to be oriented around the following five somewhat softer criteria:

  1. Hours played.
  2. Major errors.
  3. Enjoyability of the game.
  4. How I felt I adapted to the playing conditions.
  5. How I feel about playing again tomorrow.

Tonight’s result a good one, but that’s only to be expected for early in the week. A five hour session, one major error that I (re)learned a lesson from, extremely enjoyable, felt I adapted very well, and am looking forward to playing again on Wednesday.

Obviously the real test of this experiment is going to be at the back end of the week, when I’m tiring and boring of poker while still trying to maintain a solid (and hopefully +EV) game.