Sunday, December 31, 2006

"REVIEW OF MY POKER YEAR"

Neteller: Last week $50; Current $250 (-100)
Inter: Last week $60; Current; $125 (+65)
William Hill: Last week $69; Current $69 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $95; Current $81 (-14)
Bodog: Last week $53; Current: $53 (-)

Total: Last week $627; Current $578 (-49)

Not a good week or indeed a good month. I'm down $49 on the week which leaves me down $94 on the month. This led me to taking a look at how the year as a whole has gone.

The monthly figures come out as:

January: +$82
Februrary: +56
March: -$17
April: No play
May: +$112
June: -$114
JUly: +$91
August: +$259
September: +$160
October: +210
November: +169
December: -$94

This leaves my total profit for the year as $914.

Looking back, this time last year, I was playing .25/.5 Limit and just thinking about moving to .5/1. I am now regularly two tabling 1/2 limit and have even dabbled in the giddy heights of 2/4. I've also started playing No Limit with some initial success followed by my recently chronicled disasters with high pairs.

I think I am now a competent Limit player and I should find myself able to play 2/4 comfortably in the next few months. My other objective is to improve my No Limit game so that I am profitable at that as well. I have to say that I have enjoyed playing No Limit more than Limit recently and that is where I can see me taking my game. However I will continue to use my Limit game to build up the bankroll using the bonuses at Inter and Hills.

It's a plan. It will be interesting to review things this time next year.

Happy New Year and may all of your "All in's" be successful ones!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"HAMMERED AGAIN"

Neteller: Last week $50; Current $350 (+300)
Inter: Last week $144; Current; $60 (-200)
William Hill: Last week $169; Current $69 (-100)
Ladbrokes: Last week $186; Current $95 (-91)
Bodog: Last week $83; Current: $53 (-30)

Total: Last week $748; Current $627 (-121)

I suppose it had to be coming, but I've had a really unredeemably bad poker week. I wish that I could say that it is all down to a run of poor cards, but really it's been a combination of both that and poor play also.

The downturn seriously set in with a hand where, after plodding along getting nowhere in particular, I found myself with 66. A player in early position raised substantially, I called, and hit the beast - a 6 on the flop. He bet out, I went all in and he called it. He had 2 Queens. He hit a third on the river - a 22/1 shot. That cost me $78.

Poker playing for the week went downhill from there. Basically, on reflection, I have been trying to force things to catch up and have been caught out as a result. Every time (4 times subsequently) I have had big pair, I have allowed myself to be sucked in and hammered by someone who called my big preflop bet and then hit a set (of course I didn't subsequently luck out on the river). It is a bad habit I have hopefully now cured myself from. SIGH.

Meanwhile I still can't make any progress on Bodog. I've reverted to playing Limit there, but a series of bad beats has seen me continue to decline. I think I'm going to have to give up on that site as a notion.

Meanwhile I played a "player points MTT" on Laddies last night and made the last 13, thus winning all of $1.30!! Still it was a good laugh. I finally crashed out when I went all in against a big raiser who turned out to have 2 Jacks. I had 2 Queens. One of his Jacks was a Spade. I didn't have a Spade. We had 3 spades on the flop and another on the river. What can you say?

A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS! - all 3 of you :-)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"HAMMERED"

Neteller: Last week $50; Current $50 (-)
Inter: Last week $144; Current; $260 (+116)
William Hill: Last week $169; Current $169 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $216; Current $186 (-30)
Bodog: Last week $83; Current: $83 (-)

Total: Last week $662; Current $748 (+86)

I have had a valuable No Limit lesson drummed into me twice this week - don't get pot committed with AK (aka "The hammer").
On the first occasion the flop was A72 rainbow. I bet the pot and got called. Turn produces another A. I bet the pot and get called. The river is a 6. I bet the pot get raised all in, call it and he has A2. SIGH. I should have been more circumspect with my betting (½ pot bets say) and then I would have been able to get away from the raise on the river.

The other hand was worse really, as I hit a K on the flop, made the same pot size bets and was called down to the river only to be raised by a guy who hit a straight. That I hadn't given him odds to call this straight was small consolation. I definitely need to be more careful about getting caught with a high pair and pot committed - it's a road to ruin.

These two hands were the major contributors to my first weekly setback on Laddies since I started playing No Limit there. More discipline needed is the verdict.

Still at least I cleared my bonus at Limit on Inter to leave me up on the week despite the setback.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"BEST WIN"

Neteller: Last week $150; Current $50 (-$100)
Inter: Last week $127; Current; $144 (+17)
William Hill: Last week $129; Current $169 (+40)
Ladbrokes: Last week $151; Current $216 (+65)
Bodog: Last week $83; Current: $83 (-)

Total: Last week $654; Current $5 (+122)

Yesterday saw my best ever session at No Limit, the highlight of which was a hand where I scored my best ever one pot victory: $82.70.

I was two tabling on Laddies, getting nowhere fast on one table but doubled up nicely on the other when I looked down at 89s in the big blind. This is not a hand I would normally get too excited about, but there were four other punters and no raises so I checked it out. The flop came AJ7 rainbow. A player in early, who also had doubled his stack, called "hmfcloyalist", raised for 3xBB and got two limpers. At that price (plus the implied odds) I thought the four outs were worth a punt, so I limped too. The turn produced a 3. The Hearts supporter offered 3xBB again and we all limped after him. The river was a 10! The Hearts man shoves in $6 and I go all in. He bites and his AJ duely gets hammered by my straight.

I don't really understand why anyone would call an all in bet with less than trips, but I'm glad they do!

Meanwhile I continue to have trouble with two kings as a starting hand in No Limit and I note that I am not alone. "Juice" recently posted concerning his travails with the same holding. This time I got them in the big blind, which is in some ways an ideal position. An early position player raised 5xBB and got two callers before it came round to me. I took the logical position and raised all in and one player called. He had A 10 clubs and duely hit 2 clubs with the third one on the river. I know I am favourite pre flop here but I do seem to have lost a disproportionate amount of times racing with KK recently. I'm due a good run with them I know that much.

Anyway - I got my money back more or less right away at the other table I was playing, when I hit a set and managed to get someone all in on the flop.

I'm currently alternating between clearing bonuses at Limit and playing No Limit. In terms of enjoying the game the No Limit has to be the clear winner at the moment. I would never have guessed I would be saying that a year ago.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"NO LIMIT STRATEGY"

Neteller: Last week $150; Current $150 (-)
Inter: Last week $27; Current; $27 (-)
William Hill: Last week $119; Current $129 (+10)
Ladbrokes: Last week $104; Current $151 (+47)
Bodog: Last week $103; Current: $83 (-20)

Total: Last week $495; Current $532 (+37)

Winnings for the month come in at $225, which is a little bit more than last month.

Regular readers may possibly be wondering how someone with a total inability to make a go of No Limit Holdem up until recently, has suddenly developed a winning game, all be it at a very modest level. A great deal of the credit should go to a site I discovered when I was researching how to play No Limit, called "freeholdemstrategy.com".

On this site they advocate a "tight/passive" strategy for No Limit holdem games with a buy in of below $200. Basically, because of the high number of poor players who see too many flops at this level, you can afford to play a very conservative game, seeing about 20% of flops and waiting for a really big hand on the flop that will give you a chance to double up by getting someone all in. It is certainly a very easy strategy to learn and it has been working for me effectively enough.

In fact it has been so effective that I have begun to tweak it a little bit, by trying some limping with AK in early position and other slightly non-standard moves. I've been doing this from time to time to "mix up my game" and not become too predicatable. So long as I bear in mind (as I have been doing) the fundamental principle that if I've anything less than a set after the flop I'm very vulnerable, I shouldn't come to too much harm. I've also tended to be fairly aggressive with top pair/top kicker if I hit it - though still folding if I meet resistance as advised.

The positive thing about this strategy is that it contradicts a lot of the "conventional wisdom" about playing No Limit that you read about in books - i.e. the "tight/aggressive" approach. I think it is often very useful to apply a "contrary" approach to that generally seen; in the same way that it is best to play a rather looser game at a tight table and a tight game at a loose table.

It's working for me anyway.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"SLOW PROGRESS."

Neteller: Last week $624; Current $150 (-$474)
Inter: Last week $228; Current; $27 (-)
William Hill: Last week $119; Current $119 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $84; Current $106 (+22)
Bodog: Last week $100; Current: $103 (+3)

Total: Last week $954; Current $495 (+25 on last week's position)

I've taken $474 out of my Neteller account to pay for a night away with a good meal for my wife and I over the Christmas holiday period.

Meanwhile the poker has been pretty nondescript this week. Another couple of hammerings with KK getting sucked out on, saw me drop on Laddies, but I recovered later in the week, with a good Satruday night two table session putting me over $100.

My best hand was A8 hearts, which hit three more hearts on the flop. I slow played it from the Big Blind and found a punter who also had the flush and managed to get him all in. Good fun.

Meanwhile I can't seem to get anywhere much on Bodog, but I suppose I should persist and see if I can make a go of it. The games don't seem particularly tough, but I haven't been able to make much progress so far.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

"FIRST $50+ WIN AND FIRST $70 LOSS - SIGH."

Neteller: Current $624
Inter: Last week $228; Current; $27 (-)
William Hill: Last week $119; Current $119 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $64; Current $84 (+20)
(Sun: +9)
Bodog: Current: $100 (-)

Total: Last week $925; Current $954 (+29)

I've done a bit of shunting money around, which leaves me with most of my bankroll in Neteller, a closed Sun account (the bonus was too difficult to clear, especially at No Limit) and a new account on Bodog. Meanwhile, before I closed the Sun account, I had my biggest ever win on one hand there - $57.60. It went down as follows...

Game #3968806224: Hold'em NL ($0.15/$0.25) - 2006/11/13 - 17:41:38 (ET)
Table "Selective" Seat 10 is the button.
Seat 1: Kronsdat ($26.30 in chips)
Seat 2: Dave025 ($15.35 in chips)
Seat 3: ellak ($56.60 in chips)
Seat 4: lindy61 ($24.85 in chips)
Seat 5: edske13 ($24.60 in chips)
Seat 6: Acephil ($48.99 in chips)
Seat 7: soden ($5.25 in chips)
Seat 8: Pokerbint ($6.75 in chips)
Seat 9: Redfox82 ($6.10 in chips)
Seat 10: alphaa7 ($22.85 in chips)
Kronsdat: posts small blind $0.15
Dave025: posts big blind $0.25
----- HOLE CARDS -----
dealt to Kronsdat [As 9s]
ellak: folds
lindy61: folds
edske13: calls $0.25
Acephil: calls $0.25
soden: folds
Pokerbint: folds
Redfox82: calls $0.25
alphaa7: raises to $0.75
Kronsdat: calls $0.60
Dave025: folds
edske13: folds
Acephil: calls $0.50
Redfox82: calls $0.50
----- FLOP ----- [9h 4c 9d]
Kronsdat: checks
Acephil: checks
Redfox82: checks
alphaa7: bets $2
Kronsdat: calls $2
Acephil: raises to $6
Redfox82: folds
alphaa7: calls $4
Kronsdat: calls $4
----- TURN ----- [9h 4c 9d][Ah]
Kronsdat: checks
Acephil: bets $4.25
alphaa7: folds
Kronsdat: raises to $8.50
Acephil: calls $4.25
----- RIVER ----- [9h 4c 9d Ah][2s]
Kronsdat: bets $11.05 and is all-in
Acephil: calls $11.05
----- SHOW DOWN -----
Kronsdat: shows [As 9s] (A Full House, Nines full of Aces)
Acephil: shows [9c 2c] (A Full House, Nines full of Twos)
Kronsdat collects $57.60 from Main pot
----- SUMMARY -----
Total pot $60.60 Main pot $57.60 Rake $3
Board [9h 4c 9d Ah 2s]
Seat 1: Kronsdat (small blind) showed [As 9s] and won ($57.60) with A Full House, Nines full of Aces

Which was fine obviously, but I did take a tonking on Laddies when I ended up all in with two Kings against two Aces. It was a real shame as I was up $18 at the time and my Laddies account was running at $110. SIGH. Still, you have to accept these fluctuations at No Limit and I did take down a couple of decent pots with Aces myself during the week.

At the moment my thinking is that I will play Limit on Hills and Inter at the start of each month to clear their soft bonuses and then concentrate on developing my No Limit game on Laddies and Bodog.

I will also be having a look at developing a strategy for "Sit and Goes", as the player points at Laddies give you free entry to these. However apart from playing a couple of freerolls at Laddies 9 months ago, I have no experience at all of this type of play.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"MORE FUN AT NO LIMIT"

Neteller: Current $400
Inter: Last week $172; Current; $228 (+46)
William Hill: Last week $119; Current $119 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $25; Current $64 (+39)
Sun: Last week $75; Current $114 (+39)

Total: Last week $791; Current $925 (+$134)

My good fortune at No Limit continues. I played twice during the week, both times with Juice. Nothing much was happening in the first session, when I got a pair of 9's and raised it only to be reraised. I called it and had the great good fortune to get the wonderful flop of 933! The guy had a pair of Aces and went all in only to get hammered by my made hand. Nice. I could get to like No Limit :-)

I'm still under no illusions however. I know that my skills at this are very limited (no pun intended) indeed and I'm proceeding very cautiously. Come to think of it, that's probably why I'm surviving.

Later in the week I had another session where I just chugged along doing nothing much till I had A10 diamonds which hit KQx diamonds on the flop. (Not bad - the nut flush and the remote chance of a Royal!). I checked it and was paid of handsomely by the biggest stack at the table who raised and then saw me all in.

Meanwhile I'm not doing particularly thrillingly at the game I'm supposed to be able to play. At limit, I've again made a profit on Inter, but only because of the bonus. A vile last session where I dropped nearly $60 was the main cause of the problem. I don't think I was doing anything particularly wrong. It was just one of those sessions where nobody ever called my bets with strong hands and my plays with continuation bets using position just seemed to find guys who had hit and then check raised me. SIGH. Ah well - no long term damage done. Next up the Sun bonus, which will probably take a couple of weeks, as it's a bit harder to clear.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"DOUBLING UP AT NO LIMIT!"

Neteller: Current $400
Inter: Last week $199; Current; $172 (-17)
William Hill: Last week $96; Current $119 (+23)
Ladbrokes: Last week $11; Current $25 (+14)
Sun: Last week $75; Current $75 (-)

Total: Last week $785; Current $805 (+$20)

Hightlight of the week has to be doubling my money at No Limit. My skills at this game are very embryonic but I'm still better than some of the guys on the beginners tables at Laddies - they just play too many hands giving me the odds to play suited connectors and the like. I'll keep visiting it from time to time and see if I can develop a workable game.

Meanwhile the start of a new month means I can tackle the bonuses on the crypto sites again. Sadly I dropped $22 on Hills but the soft $45 bonus for playing 5 hours still left me up on the deal. I've taken another $100 out of Inter and now I'm working off their $100 bonus. My target is to have enough money by Christmas to take my wife and I out for a night away and a good meal over Christmas and still have a reasonable bankroll to carry forward into the New Year.

Now that I seem to be coming to terms with two tabling at 1/2 I suppose the next step, some time in the new year, will be to move up to 2/4. Ambition indeed :-)

Saddest hand of the week has to be the following...

HAND 5------
Game #3871079314: Hold'em FL ($1/$2) - 2006/11/04 - 09:42:34 (ET)
Table "Metz" Seat 5 is the button.
Seat 1: Krassotti ($67.25 in chips)
Seat 2: Shenghui ($32.25 in chips)
Seat 3: noniis ($56.25 in chips)
Seat 4: SLAYER96 ($28.50 in chips)
Seat 5: Eta0106 ($36.90 in chips)
Seat 6: jerry84 ($37.50 in chips)
Seat 7: kingpack ($44 in chips)
Seat 8: kronsdat ($85.75 in chips)
Seat 9: anmaan ($70.50 in chips)
Seat 10: potlimit9 ($17.37 in chips)
jerry84: posts small blind $0.50
kingpack: posts big blind $1
----- HOLE CARDS -----
dealt to kronsdat [Ad Kh]
kronsdat: raises $2
anmaan: folds
potlimit9: folds
Krassotti: folds
Shenghui: folds
noniis: folds
SLAYER96: folds
Eta0106: calls $2
jerry84: folds
kingpack: raises $2
kronsdat: calls $1
Eta0106: calls $1
----- FLOP ----- [4c Kc As]
kingpack: bets $1
kronsdat: calls $1
Eta0106: calls $1
----- TURN ----- [4c Kc As][Ah]
kingpack: bets $2
kronsdat: calls $2
Eta0106: calls $2
----- RIVER ----- [4c Kc As Ah][Kd]
kingpack: bets $2
kronsdat: raises $4
Eta0106: folds
kingpack: raises $4
kronsdat: raises $4
kingpack: calls $2
----- SHOW DOWN -----
kronsdat: shows [Ad Kh] (A Full House, Aces full of Kings)
kingpack: shows [Ac Jc] (A Full House, Aces full of Kings)
kingpack collects $16.50 from Main pot
kronsdat collects $16.50 from Main pot

That damned King on the river meant he equalled my full house. I can't remember having two sets of trips before and certainly not Aces and Kings!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"TWO TABLING."

Neteller: Current $300
Inter: Last week $299; Current; $299 (-)
William Hill: Last week $96; Current $96 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $6; Current $11 (+5)
Sun: Last week $23; Current $75 (+52)

Total: Last week $728; Current $785 (+$57)

I have played the week on Sun, two tabling and was making nice progress until the very last session. It turned into one of those total horror shows where everything goes wrong again and again. My blind steals and blind defences were getting challenged and beaten and my good hands were getting sucked out on - the lowlight being AA in the small blind which was raised and I then threebet. The flop came Qs 7h 2d. Bet; call. Turn is 4s. Bet; call. River is 10s. I check; bet; call and he has 8s9s. I couldn't resist checking the odds on that one - they are 77% v 23% in favour of the Aces. When you are running bad, that's what happens.

I ended up down $74 or 37 big bets on the session. I cleared my bonus, which relieved some of the damage, but it wasn't a lot of fun.

Still, Pete Birks ("Everything has a limit" blog) has been going through the same sort of thing day after day for over a week now, and he's been hit by a bus and is getting flu! So, I guess I shouldn't complain when I've actually turned a profit on the week!

However the downturn at the end has meant that I have failed to beat my $287 target for the month - actual winnings this month being $210. So it goes.

After taking the hammering on Sun I played a bit of No Limit on Laddies with "miasdad", one of Juice's mates. I finished up $5, so I'm somehow still alive there. Mind you it was mainly thanks to my AJ diamonds hitting 3 diamonds on the flop. Even someone with my No Limit skills couldn't mess up that one! :-) I do know enough to know that I still don't really know what I'm doing at No Limit though.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"A QUIET WEEK"

Neteller: Current $300
Inter: Last week $499; Current; $299 (-)
William Hill: Last week $196; Current $96 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $10; Current $6 (-4)
Sun: Last week $23; Current $32 (+9)

Total: Last week $728; Current $728 (+$5)

Having cleared my bonuses at Hills and Inter I've been playing on Sun this week towards the bonus there. Pressure of work and other real life interference has meant that I haven't actually played much, so the lack of progress was to be expected.

Still I haven't much to go on losing the Laddies $10 at No Limit :-)

In the meantime I've moved some money into Neteller ready for the November bonuses. In November I think I am going to play less frequently but concentrate on two tabling when I do. That should be an interesting experiment. I have already experimented a bit at two tabling, using the Laddies account, and I think I can manage it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"A VERY GOOD WEEK"

Neteller: Current $0
Inter: Last week $429; Current; $499 (+$70)
William Hill: Last week $98; Current $196 (+98)
Ladbrokes: Last week $10; Current $10
Sun: Current $23 (+23)

Total: Last week $537; Current $728 (+$191)

A complete turnaround in fortunes this week. Everything has been proceeding very calmly and pleasantly and I've ticked along on all fronts all week. I haven't had any particularly wonderful hands (I can't remember winning a pot of over $20) but I've been winning steadily every session. I've cleared my bonuses on Inter and William Hill so I've opened an account at another "cryptologic" site, Sun Poker and started to work on their bonuses.

I had a little bit of a retrospective and found that, since I started playing on the Cryptologic sites I've won $287 in August and (amazingly enough) $287 in September! Unless I meet with a stunning reversal of fortunes I should be able to top that this month.

I should be able to lose the random $10 given to me by Laddies - I've been playing No Limit with it and I've seen no evidence that my ability at that game has improved.

It is also interesting to look back at my entries in the blog nearly a year ago. Then, I was bemoaning the fact that I was having a hard time on Laddies and putting it down to playing "too tight" for the game. I broadened the range of hands I would have a punt with up to nearly 40% and saw my ability to win improve. It just shows how much you have to vary your style according to the tightness of the tables you are playing. If I played 40% of flops at $1/$2 on Crypto sites I would get slaughtered. My current game is very much about waiting for good hands and selective blind steals. I've been making a lot more use of "table image" too. If you have taken down some pots with good hands it makes blind stealing so much easier.

One hand I was happy to observe but not be playing in occurred yesterday. Four players saw a raised flop of A84 rainbow. The betting capped out leaving two players. Same on the turn which was a 7. The river is a second 7 and the betting reaches $14 each before one player calls ($54 in the pot). One player had AA and the other unfortunate had 88! On Crypto you seem to be able to bet on as much as you like after the river - I haven't seen that on any other site.

Good luck.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"DOWNTURN TIME"

Neteller: Current $0
Inter: Last week $485; Current; $429 (-$56)
William Hill: Last week $89; Current $98 (+$9)
Ladbrokes: Last week $10; Current $10
Total: Last week $575; Current $537 (-$37)

It's not been a great couple of weeks for my poker. I haven't actually played that much and what I have played hasn't gone well. It's the usual story of a downswing - a combination of bad beats (my "favourite" was AA beaten by Q4s which hit two 4's on the flop) and poor play due to the resulting irritation. I have caught myself on, going "tilty" on a couple of occasions. In my case I start playing hands I know I shouldn't (and of course the reason for not playing them duely transpires) and/or being ultra aggressive with hands like AK off even after they don't hit the flop. Having found myself doing this I have been very careful to play short sessions subsequently unless things are going well (which they havent' been!). I will just have to see it out.

In the meantime I have been subbed $10 to play on Laddies again. The only problem is that there aren't any games there that I want to play. J has suggested I seek him out and have a no limit sit and go game with him, which seems the best way of using the freebie. Nothing lost that's for sure.

It will be very interesting to see the effects of the new American anti-internet gaming legislation on the Poker world. Party and Pacific seem to be the most vulnerable companies with their large US client base. There has been no particularly noticable effect so far on the sites I'm currently playing on but that could certainly change.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"BANKROLL MANAGMENT"

Neteller: Current $0
Inter: Last week $414; Current; $485 (+$71)
William Hill: Last week $0; Current $89 (+$89)
Total: Last week $405 (-$185 of my original stake); Current $575 (+$160)

I decided to indulge in a bit of bankroll management.

The bonus on the Inter account has been cleared for the month, leaving me at a very nice $485. At this rate I should make the $1000 target by Christmas I would have thought - barring a terrible attack of the dreaded variance. That is certainly my current target.

Since William Hill have an attractive $70 bonus for playing five hours there in September, I decided to tackle that for the rest of the month, using some money from Inter. I have now put this back into Neteller ready to attack the October bonus on Inter. All did not go smoothly however and I had a bit of bother getting the William Hill account running. This is the first time I've ever had that - normally Poker sites are very good at taking money off you (if nothing else).

I've also taken my "start up" money out, so I am now playing almost completely with money I have won since I started playing again - a nice feeling.

Things have gone quite well on William Hill. Since it is in the same network as Inter, I am essentially playing the same people.

I did have some trouble from a maniac one evening. He wasn't hard to spot - the usual form - raising every other pair of cards and continuation bets thereafter. I took the normal approach of waiting for the right hand and thought I had it when I called his raise from the big blind with a pair of eights to go heads up with him. The flop came 2 8 10 and I thought "gotcha". I duely check raised him on the turn, which was a nothing card. On the river, which was a Q, I did it again only to be "threebet". I saw it and he had J9 off for a straight. SIGH. He wasn't just doing this to me however, he was hitting all sorts of unlikely things against everyone else too and the table was distinctly going on tilt. At least I didn't lose anything else to him. Sometimes folk just get lucky.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"QUIET TIMES AGAIN"

Neteller: Current $144
Party: Start $50; Last week;$38 ;Current $32 (-6)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $386; Current; $414 (+$28)
Total: Start $185; Last week $568 ; Current $590 (+$22)

I didn't play a lot in the last week and what I did play was fairly uneventful.

The exception was going into a game with two queens and flopping two more!! Of course I had to slow play it, as I couldn't expect a lot of action. Fortunately someone had paired the other card on the flop, which at least gave me a bit of action which I was able to nurse along until check raising on the river. I've had quads (including A's) at least 5 times since I started playing about 18 months ago, but I've never had a straight flush. I've been close (4 cards and one to come) on a couple of occasions but never been there. Thinking about it, I reckon I have seen other players hit one on probably about three occasions.

Meanwhile I have just about cleared my September bonus on Inter.

Once I have achieved that, I will find another site to work off a bonus on (probably Royal Vegas where I have an account that I have never actually activated). Then I will return to Inter in October for the next month's bonus.

The bonus offer is certainly working for Inter in terms of attracting action on the tables. As I write this there are 10 full ring game tables going at 1/2 - about 150% more than you would have seen before the new offer.

One thing I have been experimenting with is changing my play from raising and reraising on "autopilot" when I have AA or AKs. On tight tables I have been limping with them, particularly in late position to try to improve my earnings. It seems to be working ok, but sadly I don't have the actual stats as "office" isn't supported on Inter. I'll try to note what happens over the coming weeks and see if there are any conclusions I can draw.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"CHANGED TIMES AT INTER"

Neteller: Current $197
Party: Start $50; Last week;$56 ;Current $38 (-18)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $337; Current; $386 (+$49)
Total: Start $185; Last week $537 ; Current $568 (+$31)

The new bonus system on Inter has certainly had a magical effect on the number of $1/$2 full ring game tables available. You can only now earn a bonus on $1/$2 tables and above, though at up to $100 per month for 500 raked hands played it is certainly generous and achievable. Where previosly you were sometimes lucky to find a full ring game table you can now find at least 5 at any given time. Most games are pretty weak/tight since there are obviously lots of folk trying to work off their bonus now.

I haven't actually played that much since I have been away on holiday, back at work or engaged in such manly activities as taking down trees and turning them into logs and wood chippings. Still it will be autumn soon and an end to such things.

Here is my best hand from what I have played.

To my mind there is nothing better, if you are going to get AA, than getting them in the big blind. There is every chance that some will raise you on a blind steal, if nothing else, which at least gives you something to work with. It is disappointing to get them late, raise and then have everyone fold. In this hand I was a bit worried about trips when JV86 kept raising me, but it transpired he merely had top pair, good kicker.

Game #3339516754: Hold'em FL ($1/$2) - 2006/09/04 - 13:57:52 (ET)
Table "NiceFrance" Seat 8 is the button.
Seat 1: kronsdat ($100.15 in chips)
Seat 2: julepikk ($62.50 in chips)
Seat 3: Inv19 ($59.88 in chips)
Seat 4: Thor_kgb ($97.75 in chips)
Seat 5: MickH1 ($109.87 in chips)
Seat 6: rawallace ($32 in chips)
Seat 7: JV86 ($31.25 in chips)
Seat 8: stillslim ($19.25 in chips)
Seat 9: Real_fab sits out
Seat 10: bundys ($100 in chips)
bundys: posts small blind $0.50
kronsdat: posts big blind $1
----- HOLE CARDS -----
dealt to kronsdat [Ah As]
julepikk: folds
Inv19: folds
Thor_kgb: folds
MickH1: raises $2
rawallace: folds
JV86: raises $3
stillslim: folds
bundys: folds
kronsdat: raises $3
MickH1: calls $2
JV86: calls $1
----- FLOP ----- [7d 6c Js]
kronsdat: bets $1
MickH1: calls $1
JV86: raises $2
kronsdat: calls $1
MickH1: calls $1
----- TURN ----- [7d 6c Js][9d]
kronsdat: bets $2
MickH1: calls $2
JV86: raises $4
kronsdat: calls $2
MickH1: calls $2
----- RIVER ----- [7d 6c Js 9d][7c]
kronsdat: checks
MickH1: checks
JV86: bets $2
kronsdat: calls $2
MickH1: calls $2
----- SHOW DOWN -----
JV86: shows [Jc Kh] (Two Pairs, Jacks and Sevens, King high)
kronsdat: shows [Ah As] (Two Pairs, Aces and Sevens, Jack high)
MickH1: mucks hand [Ks Ad]
kronsdat collects $34.75 from Main pot
----- SUMMARY -----
Total pot $36.50 Main pot $34.75 Rake $1.75

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"REVENGE OF THE FISH"

Neteller: Current $197
Party: Start $50; Last week;$48 ;Current $56 (+8)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $371; Current; $337 (-$34)
Total: Start $185; Last week $563 ; Current $537 (-$26)

After the glories of last week, when I could do no wrong, I was prepared for a setback. The week began pleasantly enough and I was up about $35, when the fish started biting back. I particularly suffered with AK both suited and unsuited. I lost 6 successive hands with it including one final horrible one where a villain raised late and I reraised a the Big Blind with AK suited. When an Ace appeared on the flop I thought my luck had finally turned, but the villain reraised me. Suspicious after my earlier setbacks, I just called to the river and of course he had hit a 5 as well as the Ace on the flop. So it goes. At least I haven't actually lost much, which is what it is all about when you start getting these runs.

One evening, when Inter was unavailable for some reason, I played a bit of 1/2 on Party. It didn't seem much different from Inter really.

I don't expect to do much in the next week, as I will be away for the main part of it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"MOVIN' ON UP"

Neteller: Current $197
Party: Start $50; Last week;$48 ;Current $48 (no change)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $150; Current; $371 ($+221)
Total: Start $185; Last week $397 ; Current $563 ($+221)

A record breaking week for my poker playing. Since there was a dearth of $.5/$1 tables available, I decided to take a chance and try a move up to $1/$2. For some reason there always seems to be at least three of these on the go, even when there is nothing available at the $.5/$1 on Inter.

I found them very much to my taste. I played totally "by the book" tight (under 20% flops seen) aggressive (bets and raises easily outscoring calls) poker and it has worked a treat for me. I made $171 at the tables and cleared another $50 in bonus. I like the bonus offers at Inter (I'm in for another $100 one now). Unlike CD, they don't seem to welch on them either. Mind you they are earned, as the rake at Inter is quite high it seems to me.

The one downside about Inter is that Poker Office isn't supported, so I can't keep track of my stats so easily, which is a shame.

I'm under no illusions of course. I know that the dreaded variance monster will catch up with me again at some point, but at least I now have a bankroll on the site capable of withstanding a downturn.

Since I was playing at a higher level it wasn't surprising that I also managed to break my record for an individual hand, with two Queens earning me a $35 payout when they flopped trips in a multiway pot. I got a lot of action, as you would, from an unfortunate opponant who tripped up his pair of 4's on the same flop.

More weeks like this one please!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"HOLIDAY TIME."

Neteller: Current $197
Party: Start $50; Last week;$48 ;Current $48 (no change)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $127; Current; $150 (+23)
Total: Start $185; Last week $374 ; Current $397 (+23)

I haven't played that much this week as I have been away quite a few days, including an excellent day at the fifth day of the test at Headingley. I like going to the fifth day of test matches. It's cheap, you get a better crowd than the drunken "barmy army" bunch who ruin the thing for anyone anywhere near them and usually you get a result. (I think it was Brendan Behan who said "only the English could invent a game that lasts for five days and usually ends in a draw!"). England's bowling and fielding were really top class. Perhaps they can give the Aussies a fright even without the injured battalions?

My hand of the week came when I had been slowly declining through lack of cards one night. I'm concentrating a lot currently on not throwing money away when I am holding top pair/top kicker and get raised or check/raised on the turn and or river. A raise in this situation usually shows that the villain has two pair or better and unless its a big pot your better off gritting your teeth and getting out. This is a lesson my main opponant in the following hand has yet to learn. Two hands before this one I had hit "UncleHog" with a check/riase on the turn after my pair of 8's made a set on the flop. He duely called and then called my river bet. Then this hand came along two hands later...

Game #2147322843: Hold'em FL ($0.50/$1) - 2006/08/11 - 18:11:29 (ET)
Table "Adhafera" Seat 9 is the button.
Seat 1: silvrbull ($52.65 in chips)
Seat 2: bobnhuey ($46.85 in chips)
Seat 3: culverley ($39.10 in chips)
Seat 4: gambler29 ($40.35 in chips)
Seat 5: kronsdat ($40.54 in chips)
Seat 6: lukkb1 ($36 in chips)
Seat 7: UncleHog ($40.75 in chips)
Seat 8: alpha2100 ($21.65 in chips)
Seat 9: c@intheh@ ($46.40 in chips)
Seat 10: calli ($16.60 in chips)
calli: posts small blind $0.25
silvrbull: posts big blind $0.50
----- HOLE CARDS -----
dealt to kronsdat [Kc Kh]
bobnhuey: folds
culverley: folds
gambler29: folds
kronsdat: raises $1
lukkb1: folds
UncleHog: raises $1.50
alpha2100: folds
c@intheh@: raises $2
calli: calls $1.75
silvrbull: calls $1.50
kronsdat: calls $1
UncleHog: calls $0.50
----- FLOP ----- [6h 5s Ks]
calli: checks
silvrbull: checks
kronsdat: checks
UncleHog: bets $0.50
c@intheh@: calls $0.50
calli: folds
silvrbull: calls $0.50
kronsdat: calls $0.50
----- TURN ----- [6h 5s Ks][7c]
silvrbull: checks
kronsdat: checks
UncleHog: bets $1
c@intheh@: folds
silvrbull: calls $1
kronsdat: raises $2
UncleHog: calls $1
silvrbull: calls $1
----- RIVER ----- [6h 5s Ks 7c][5h]
silvrbull: checks
kronsdat: bets $1
UncleHog: calls $1
silvrbull: folds
----- SHOW DOWN -----
kronsdat: shows [Kc Kh] (A Full House, Kings full of Fives)
UncleHog: mucks hand [Tc Td]
kronsdat collects $19 from Main pot

Blow me but he did the same thing again! Rock on.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"UP AND RUNNING AT INTER"

Neteller: Current $197
Party: Start $50; Last week;$48 ;Current $48 (no change)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $31; Current; $127 (+96)
Total: Start $185; Last week $278 ; Current $374 (+96)

I decided that I would leave Party alone and just concentrate on Inter and it has paid off well for me. I managed to get my game running really nicely and made $46 at the tables in the week. Combined with clearing my $50 bonus this gives me my best ever weekly win of $96. I now have a substantial enough bankroll at the site to be able to take a bad trot, which makes the thing a lot more comfortable. My objective now is to get to $200 on Inter and then I will look at two tabling - ambitious or what!!

I was helped considerably by the advent of some maniacs at the tables. They are great for generating points towards clearing a bonus and when you get the right hand you can really give them a pasting. This turned into a "right hand"...

Game #2105456973: Hold'em FL ($0.50/$1) - 2006/08/02 - 17:46:55 (ET)
Table "Adhafera" Seat 2 is the button.
Seat 1: C0MEDYBOB ($12 in chips)
Seat 2: fastlane ($23.25 in chips)
Seat 3: mastershe ($9.45 in chips)
Seat 4: ANDYG ($13.87 in chips)
Seat 5: kronsdat ($62.76 in chips)
Seat 6: Timockj ($58.76 in chips)
Seat 7: joeandyh ($38.75 in chips)
Seat 8: Tappi ($34.02 in chips)
Seat 9: DAH1001 ($17.25 in chips)
Seat 10: Berkovich ($30.14 in chips)
mastershe: posts small blind $0.25
ANDYG: posts big blind $0.50
----- HOLE CARDS -----
dealt to kronsdat [Kh Kd]
kronsdat: raises $1
Timockj: folds
joeandyh: folds
Tappi: calls $1
DAH1001: folds
Berkovich: calls $1
C0MEDYBOB: folds
fastlane: folds
mastershe: folds
ANDYG: calls $0.50
----- FLOP ----- [Qs Ah 8c]
ANDYG: checks
kronsdat: checks
Tappi: checks
Berkovich: bets $0.50
ANDYG: folds
kronsdat: calls $0.50
Tappi: calls $0.50
----- TURN ----- [Qs Ah 8c][Ks]
kronsdat: checks
Tappi: checks
Berkovich: bets $1
kronsdat: raises $2
Tappi: raises $3
Berkovich: folds
kronsdat: raises $2
Tappi: calls $1
----- RIVER ----- [Qs Ah 8c Ks][Kc]
kronsdat: bets $1
Tappi: raises $2
kronsdat: raises $2
Tappi: calls $1
----- SHOW DOWN -----
kronsdat: shows [Kh Kd] (Four of a kind, Kings, Ace high)
Tappi: mucks hand [9d 8h]
kronsdat collects $19.75 from Main pot
----- SUMMARY -----
Total pot $20.75 Main pot $19.75 Rake $1

When the Ace appeared on the flop and being out of position, I was very close to folding to the bet, but the two villains had shown themselves to be very loose aggressive players, so I decided to take the turn card and was very fortunate, with my "two outer", to hit the third King. "Berkovitch" (I presume he had an Ace) takes the hint after my "check/raise", but amazingly "Tappi" (with his 98 off??) keeps betting into me until the bitter end, even though another King has arrived on the river. What did he think I might hold, especially after my preflop raise? I suppose the point is that he didn't think at all.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"QUIET TIMES"

Neteller: Current $197
Party: Start $50; Last week;$0 ;Current $48 (-2)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $32; Current; $31 (-1)
Total: Start $185; Last week $281 ; Current $278 (-3)


I have closed my CD account and put the proceeds into my Neteller account for the time being. Needless to say I couldn't get any sort of a coherent account out of CD about the gratuitous change of rules regarding clearing the bonus. That being the case, the only response was to bid them a cheery goodbye.

I've reopened my Party account, so that I can get a game when there are no suitable tables available on Inter. Not that I had the problem much, as I have only just survived there. I was down to my last 5 dollars before managing to claw my way back up again with some reasonable play. Because I have so limited a bankroll there (I'm taking part in "J" and the gang's "Inter challenge" to start with $50 on the site and work the way up to $1000 - it seems pretty distant at the moment) it is difficult to progress as I can't risk playing on the higher level tables. Once I clear the $50 bonus it will give me more options. I'm half way there at the moment.

Meanwhile a study of my stats from Poker Office has revealed a leak in the blinds. I am getting the most hammer from the small blind position - it should be from the big blind. I have been playing too many hands and will drastically curtail the number I opt to play. It will be interesting to check out the stats again in a couple of months or so.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

"FALLING OUT OF LOVE WITH CD POKER"

Neteller: Current $73
CD: Start $94; Last week;$122 ;Current $174 (+52)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $37; Current; $32 (-5)
Total Start $185; Last week $234 ; Current $281 (+47)


I was just casually checking on progress towards my $80 bonus on CD Poker last night, when I was surprised by the totally unannounced news that the points requirement to make the bonus had changed from 4800 points to 8000. This pissed me off mightily as you might imagine, so I emailed customer support asking what was going on.

Here is the reply...

"Thank you for contacting CDPoker.

Hi this is Jojo of CD Poker Support!

Brian, we have received your email and we understand how you feel. We always strive to provide excellent experience to all our valued players. Our poker room management has decided that due to current trend in the online gaming industry, this change will serve the purpose of our poker room to be at par with competitors. Rest assured that this modification will benefit all our players eventually.

We are confident that this will not, in one way or another, affect our existing relationship. We aim to offer a high level of customer support to each and every player at CD Poker."

Well that is all very fine and dandy but doesn't even attempt to answer my question as to why the goalposts moved. Jojo should be Home Secretary with that range of evasiveness. I don't have good feelings about this one.

Meanwhile the actual poker went fine and would have been even better if it hadn't been for a couple of ridiculous "bad beats" which cost me about $40. The worst was two queens which hit a third on the flop. Capped betting before and after the flop. Guy hits a runner, runner inside straight on the river to beat me. He even apologised!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"NOT MUCH HAPPENS, AS HAPPENS SOMETIMES."

Neteller: Current $73
CD: Start $94; Last week;$137 ;Current $128 (-9)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $32; Current; $37 (+5)
Total Start $185; Last week $244 ; Current $240 (-4)

It's been one of those up a little bit, down a little bit but no great excitement sort of weeks. It might have been better had one of the large multiway pots I was involved in turned up trumps but it wasn't to be. One of them was particularly sad. The world and his dog opted into a hand with me limping in also with QJ off. I hit a Q for top pair on the turn and it held up on the river, with lots of folk calling down because of the size of the pot, but sadly I lost to KQ off. So it goes.

Still I'm more than three quarters of the way to the bonus now, which is a very decent $80.

I'm still opening a second table on Inter from time to time, but not making a lot of progress so far. I'm having to play .25/.5 because of my very low bank roll. I really could do with clearing the $50 bonus there so that I can reasonably take a chance on moving up a level.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"BOUNCING BACK"

Neteller: Current $73
CD: Start $94; Last week;$62 ;Current $137 (+75)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $25; Current; 32 (+7)
Total Start $185; Last week $160 ; Current $242 (+82)


A great week, which has done a lot to restore confidence in my play after the wearisome few weeks that have preceeded it. Everything just seemed to flow nicely right from the start. My blind steals succeeded and my premium hands held up when I needed them to. I hit some nice flops too, none better than when JK of diamonds in the small blind hit 10Q diamonds on the flop and then the 9 diamonds on the turn. My first ever straight flush in just over a year of playing. I only made about $9 with it, but it was nice to see.

I was pleased with the way I managed a maniac on one occasion too. He was the full monty: raising 80% pre flop and raising and re-raising post flop. He was creating big pots every time, with two or three players at the table always ready to take him on. (This was nice for getting points towards my bonus too). I bided my time until I had the right hands, taking him down on three occasions for about $25 in total. His bankroll fluctuated wildly throughout his time with us and he eventually left about $20 down.

Just to bring me back to reality, my session on Saturday saw me play for an hour and ten minutes, seeing 13% of flops and losing $19, without winning one hand. The main loser was a flopped straight which was beaten by a full house on the river - he had Q7 off - there's no justice, but we knew that didn't we folks.

I've also been doing some two tabling on Inter but there hasn't been much movement. It's tricky because my bankroll there is so low, I can't afford to take any chances - we live in hope!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"Slump continues"

Neteller: Current $73
CD: Start $94; Last week;$69 ;Current $62 (-7)
Inter: Start $50; Last week $45; Current; 25 (-20)
Total Start $185; Last week $187 ; $160 (-27)

My dispiriting slump continues. That these kind of prolonged downturns can happen is underlined by Pete Birk's blog where he too reports a heavy loss on the month, even at sites and levels he normally cleans up on.

I had a foray into the world of "No Limit" on CD, but the whole of my losses there can be traced to one hand where my pair of kings were bashed on the head by a pair of Aces. He even hit on the river, though of course he didn't need to. My skill level at No Limit is too low to work with such a limited bankroll, so I'm trying to retrieve the thing with Limit games.

On CD I had myself right up over $100 by the middle of the week but a severe downturn in fortunes dropped me straigh back down again. I hope I see the end to this wearing run soon.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"SERBIANS OBLIGE; I'M GLAD SOMEBODY HAS"

Neteller: Current $73
CD: Start $94; Last week;$90 Current $69 (-21)
Inter: Start $50; $45(-5)
Total Start $185; Last week $213; Current; $187 (-26)

My slump in fortunes continues. I just can't seem to do anything right at the moment. I hope it turns round soon, as it's a bit dispiriting.

I've decided to join in the competition with "J" and his friends to put $50 into Interpoker and see who is the first to $1000. This may seem a tad optimistic on my part, given current form, but I thought it might perk up my interest a bit. If I'm to be competitive I may have to develop a "no limit" game. That would certainly be interesting. Any thoughts on basic no limit strategy would be of interest.

Meanwhile the Serbs duely obliged with the worst goals against record of the first round. They had me worried when they went two up but duely collapsed and lost 3 - 2. Well done those men.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"COME ON YOU SERBIAN GOALKEEPERS!"

Neteller: Current $123
CD: Start $94; Last week;$99 Current $90 (-9)

Total Start $185; Last week $297; Current; 213 (-9)

I haven't played much this week (I keep finding myself watching this ball kicking contest that seems to be suddenly popular). What I have played has had a minor negative outcome to the extent that I now find myself back where I started on CD. This is disappointing to put it mildly. If things don't improve in the next few weeks, I may take myself off somewhere else, where there are more games to choose from. Some of the games (though certainly not all) on CD can be very tight, which makes it hard to win much.

I'm enjoying the World Cup - there have been a large number of entertaining games - you can't ask for better than that. It was disappointing to see the Czech's stumble after their excellent start - Ghana did play very well though and thoroughly deserved their win. I think their prospective game with Brazil in the last 16 could be a cracker. Result of the week for me was Argentina's 6-0 win over Serbia which puts me in pole position to win the booby prize in the sweep at work for the team that conceeds the most goals in the first round!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"STILL WAITING FOR THE RECOVERY"

Neteller: Current $123
CD: Start $94; Last week;$120 Current $99 (-21)

Total Start $185; Last week $297; Current; 222 (-21)

I had thought I was turning things round this week when I went up 25 or so in couple of sessions at the start of the week but it wasn't to be. Another series of relentlessly poor sessions saw me lose the gains and then some more.

The trouble with the very tight way I am playing now (sub 20% of flops seen) is that you can be ground down by the blinds and a series of good hands getting blown out. I've had AA, KK and QQ all cracked this week. One problem I have identified is not getting out of hands quick enough when I should know I am beaten. A good example of this came when I had raised with AK suited and got 3 callers including the big blind. On a flop of A93 rainbow the Big blind raised and I reraised him with one other guy limping along. It went that way to the end with the board not improving. I was beaten by two pair 9's and 3's. Tough, but I should have realised the big blind wouldn't bet out and persist thereafter unless he had better than top pair. So it goes. That said you need to avoid playing too fearfully as that can prove costly too. Balance is everything.

I am looking forward to seeing how my long term punt for the World Cup, The Czech Republic at 40/1, progress. I backed them before they won their play off qualifier. They are the second rated team in the world and have good players and a good record in tournaments.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

"AN UNSTEADY WEEK"

Neteller: Current $123
CD: Start $94; Last week;$174 Current $120 (-54)

Total Start $185; Last week $297; Current; 243 (-54)

It was just as well that I was sceptical about whether I could keep up the level of performance of my first two weeks on CD, as the variance factor hit me with a vengance this week. I could do no right no matter what. One dreary session followed another where I saw few cards worth having and got slaughtered with those I did get. It was neatly summed up by one hand where I caught QQ in the big blind and was called down to the river by one guy with K3 off - naturally he hit a King on the river. You just have to ride with this sort of thing and wait it out. Fortunately, having been here before, I didn't go on tilt, but it hasn't been much fun. Bankroll wise it has been worse than it looks as I was $25 up on last week's total before the bad trot hit.

Meanwhile I have shifted my money out of Party and put it in my new Neteller account, ready to open and account on Royal Vegas once I have cleared my bonus on CD (which should take about 9 weeks at the current rate of going).

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"ANOTHER STEADY WEEK"

Party: Start $91; Current $123
CD: Start $94; Last week; $116; Current $174 (+58)

Total Start $185; Last week $239; Current $297 (+58)

Another very tidy week on CD. What pleased me was that I haven't actually had a lot of high cards. The high profit hands have indeed been from those few I've had (KK has been a good payer this week - 5 times for $20+) but I've been keeping on an even keel while waiting for those hands with good aggressive blind steals in late position. I feel really comfortable at .5/1 on this site. I should start clearing some of the bonus soon too.

To move that job along a bit quicker, I think I might start 2 tabling, which would be more interesting too.

Poker Office has been very useful in helping me understand what has been happening with my play. For the week, I have made a profit of 4.4 Big Blinds per 100 hands (which is above normal expectation for good play - around 3) so I shouldn't expect to be able to keep that up given the variance you can expect. I have a "seen flop" stat of 19% and it would have been lower than that if I hadn't played a bit of "head's up" getting a table started one evening. Office rates me "tight passive" before the flop and "aggressive" after it currently.

The fact that I have been able to significantly improve my game through playing much tighter (I couldn't have survived on Party without doing so) got me wondering about how I managed to be reasonably successful previously, when my hand selection was much more loose. I think that this must have been due to my post flop game, where I get out if I haven't hit the flop.

Even if I have two overcards, potentially giving me 6 outs, I don't hang about after a bet, unless I sense serious weakness or have position on everyone. This seems to be serving me well.

Be lucky.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"VARYING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION"

Party: Start $91; Current $123; + 32
CD: Start $94; Current $116; + 22

Total Start $185; Current $239; +54

A good week for my poker. I started with several good sessions on Party, which bumped me up nicely. I finally managed to find some looser tables (around 30% seeing the flop) and was able to pick them off effectively. I'm having a particularly good run with AA on Party. I've now had the rockets 8 times and won with them every time with an average of around $6 a pop - long may this continue.

I then opened a Neteller account and used it to open an account with CD Poker. Incidentally I opened both accounts with 50 quid, but the depreciation of the dollar meant that I got 94 for the CD account as opposed to 91 for the Party one. So far CD seems to be my sort of spot. It reminds me a lot of Ladbrokes when I was playing there. Not a lot of traffic (two or three ring games at .5/1 in the evening) but up to 40% seeing the flop, so plenty of action when you get a decent hand. I had a particularly good night on Friday when I could do no wrong - this happens occasionally :-) If I tried a blind steal, they called and then folded to my raise on the flop. If I got a high pair, I got takers and they held up - the whole bit.

That was great, but I knew it couldn't last and it didn't. Yesterday I had grim cards throughout the 2½ hours I played (saw flop 11% tells it's own story) and couldn't hit a flop with a big stick. Bad beat story warning. I had identified one particularly loose player called "99outs" when I finally got a hand - AA. I raise and get 3 callers including 99outs in the big blind. The flop comes 22K. Not bad. The two deuces are a minor worry but if someone has one, good luck to them. 99outs bets and I raise him (taking him for a King) and the other two drop out. The turn produces a 3. 99outs bets and I raise him. The turn comes as a K. Damn. He only has 2 outs and one of them turns up! I make the "crying call" and so it proves - he had K7 off. It was that sort of session.

Still overall, I am certainly not complaining. If I could keep up a win rate of $54 per week I'd be a very happy poker player.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"FINDING THE RIGHT GAME."

Party: $94 (-$7)
Bank: $200
Total $294

Well, I've had an interesting week's poker. I've played just over 800 hands on Party and, as you can see from the stats, got precisely nowhere. The reason is easy to find as I now have the stats from Poker Office to check things out. Party, even at .50/1.00, is as tight as a drum. Most of the tables I played had "flops seen" percentages of below 30%. My own percentage was 22.42, so I wasn't exactly Mr Free and Easy. It is actually quite hard to find loose tables on Party as they don't tell you the saw flop percentage in the lobby.

Now I managed to hold my own in these games, but there were just too many players playing the same sort of game as me. To make any money (and beat the rake) I need to play against a significant number of folk who are worse than me. (I did find one really worthy character called "gr8peace5111". He managed to lose $58 in an hour, which takes some doing at this level!).

So I am going to venture off to pastures new in seach of some fish and the bonuses associated with signing up at a new site. Favourite looks to be Royal Vegas as they have a good bonus offer via PokerListings.com and I can use Office on the site.

The stats on my play were quite revealing too. I made the expected profit on the premium hands ($25.74 on 5 hands with AA for example) except with AK off where I was -1.25 from the 9 occurances of this hand. I have been playing this too aggressively and getting chopped off by folk with small pairs when it doesn't hit. One to correct there.

Office rates me as "tight aggressive" pre flop and passive post flop. I'll be working on that too.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"...ON THE ROAD AGAIN"

Party: 101 dollars (+11)
Bank: 200 dollars
Total 301 dollars

I've started playing again after my month's break. To avoid the problems that set in previously I have set myself some parameters. I am only going to play for a maximum of two hours at a time each day and twelve hours per week.

I've also had a bit of a review of my game and actually purchased "Poker Office" to help me keep a close eye on what I am doing. I have decided that I wasn't being aggressive enough in trying to steal the blinds in late position in particular and I'm going to work on that aspect of my game. I like the "tracker" bit of the program too, as it gives me the pot odds and tells me the stats, particularly number of flops seen for each player. This is very useful particularly early in a session when you don't have a lot of information on the opposition.

So far I played 80 hands on Party yesterday and made a profit of 10 dollars. I managed a couple of successful blind steals which pleased me. I'm relaunching on Party because they offered me a 20 dollar reload bonus. I never did particularly well there previously so it will be interesting to see how I get on.

The other 200 dollars in my starting bank I am going to invest in a new site with a decent, achievable bonus offer.

Some objectives: An "aim to win" of 25 dollars per week (2bb per hour). A total of 600 dollars, which will give me the bank roll to look at playing at the 1/2 dollar level.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"...REACHING FOR THE SKY, JUST TO SURRENDER"

I've decided that I am going to give the poker a rest for a while.

There are several reasons for this decision, but the main one is that I just haven't been enjoying playing recently. Since I play games for enjoyment, that is a serious problem. I have found that my poker playing has been making me irritable, particularly, naturally enough, if I haven't been winning or playing well. Interestingly enough, Pete Birks had an article in his blog recently about similar issues, particularly related to playing higher than where someone felt comfortable. In my case it isn't the level, it's just my recent reactions to playing generally.

On the plus side, I have made the best part of 300 pounds which has proved to be just right for getting my wife the canteen of cutlery she was after!

It has been fun chatting to "Jeins", "the edge" and company. I'll keep checking your blogs to make sure your all progressing well.

The headline? It's from Leonard Cohen's first LP and the line goes; "I hate to see another tired man lay down his hand, like he was giving up the holy game of poker; I know that kind of man, it's hard to hold the hand of someone, who is reaching for the sky just to surrender". Seemed apposite somehow!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"BACK ON AN EVEN KEEL"

Ladbrokes: 55 dollars
Pacific: 392 dollars
Party: 87 dollars

Total: 534 dollars

I've had a much happier time of it since the decisions made last week. I may not have made a lot, but at least it is positive rather than negative and I've certainly hit +2BB per hour which is reckoned to be a reasonable expectation.

I made 22 dollars (a lot for .25/.5 limit) on the following hand where I was on the button with K7h. Flop came 9h Kc 6h. Lovely. It was passed round to me and I bet with three limpers. Turn comes 4d. All of a sudden folk are interested and the betting caps out! The river produces the 5h and the betting caps out again and I win the pot. They had two sets and a lower flush. I have been routinely folding Kx suited in any position until this week. I definitely think you can get away with playing it late at these levels, where there is little pre flop raising.

Another example was A9 off in late position which again I would probably have folded previously. The flop came 9 2 Q rainbow. No bets. The turn produced another 9, which I bet with 4 limpers. The river was a 2 and I took down the pot for 7.50.

Lowlight of the week was 10 10 in middle position. The flop came A 10 2 rainbow, which naturally I bet. It caps out, which sets me thinking - no preflop raises so probably no set of A's. Carry on firing. Turn comes as a 5. The betting caps out again, but I can't see it helped anyone. The river card is a 2. Now, that I don't like, so I just call. Sure enough he has 4 2's to beat my 10's over 2's. So it goes.

I was reading somewhere that it is a better idea to look at fluctuations in bankroll on a monthly basis rather than weekly, so I thought I would have a look at things from that perspective:

November: 278 dollars.
December: 397 dollars. (+119)
January: 479 dollars. (+82)
February: 535 dollars. (+56)
March: 534 dollars. (-1)

The positive thing about looking at it from this perspective is that, hey, for all my whinging I haven't actually lost much this month - it's just felt like it! On the negative side, my win rate has steadily declined. However this is way too small a sample to start drawing any sort of serious conclusions from and there are some bonuses in those early figures.

I've been looking into getting some poker software. From the trials I've had, Poker Office and Poker Tracker both seem equally good. However it seems to require a bit of additional messing around to get Tracker to work on Pacific and Party, so Office is favourite. You can get Office for free (plus bonuses) if you sign up for Party or Noble Poker. I already have a Party account so that makes opening an account at Noble seem the most logical approach. They also have very good bonuses, I must say, though how much traffic there is open to question. I'll look into it over the holidays. Anyone out there got any experience of Noble?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"I'VE BEEN DOWN SO GODDAMN LONG, THAT IT LOOKS LIKE UP TO ME!"

Ladbrokes: 55 dollars
Pacific: 376 dollars
Party: 87 dollars

Total: 518 dollars

This week I concentrated on playing at Party, got hammered and went to try my luck on Laddies, not much better. Sigh.

Given that I haven't had anything like a decent winning week for a month now, I've come to the conclusion that I need to reappraise my game.

I'm going to drop down to playing .25/.5 on Pacific and see if I can turn things around. I am also going to loosen up on my preflop calling in late position. Looking back I recall that when I last had a bad trot like this one of the issues I identified was that I was playing way too tight for the general standard of the opposition. The problem with playing too tight in microlimit games is that when you get a run of high pairs being busted by too many callers following you down to the river etc, as I have been doing, you are not getting many chances to repair the situation. This worked for me in the past so it has to be worth a try.

The other thing I need to do is get a full version of "PokerTracker" so that I can keep a close watch on what I am doing. I've had a go with the free version and it is certainly very useful.

So, the target is to get to 600 dollars before I move back to .5/1 again, which means Party is out for the time being.

Kudos to the first person to identify the song the headline came from!

Monday, March 20, 2006

BOBBING ALONG.

Ladbrokes: 75 dollars
Pacific: 376 dollars
Party: 114 dollars

Total: 565 dollars

The good news is that I am back in the black this week, not by much but I'm in no mood to quibble. I was actually over 100 on Laddies at one point but a poor session on Friday night saw me fall back from that. The lowlight of the evening was a hand where I had 2Q's late which I raised, getting three callers. The flop came Qc Ah Jc giving me three Q's but concerns about flush and straight possibilities. Under the gun bets and I raise and they all go with me. Turn is Ac. Clearly there is virtually a certain flush out there but I have a house now - the big worry is somebody having something like AJ. There are three of us betting and it caps out. The river is Ad. Ah,ha. Now I have the best house and can only be beaten by someone with the fourth Ace. Under the gun has the fourth Ace. SIGH.

On a brighter note, I think that I have plugged some of the leaks in my game. I detected that I was getting into bad habits with regard to calling for draws when I didn't have the pot odds. Discipline my boy, discipline!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

BLOOD ON THE TABLES.

Ladbrokes: 61 dollars
Pacific: 336 dollars
Party: 107 dollars

Total: 504 dollars

A truely awful week. I got slaughtered on Pacific, where I could do no right at all. This seems to be a common theme. I noticed that Jeins and The Edge have also been reporting heavy losses on Pacific recently too. Basically it has been a case of being over-run by the fish. I have been getting 3 and 4 players taking on my good hands and beating me up with draws. I "know" that statistically I will come through this if I can keep my game together, but it is hard to play confident poker when you are in the middle of such a sustained hammering.

I tried to play a bit on Party by way of variation, but didn't make any impact at all. In the end I was having a session on Pacific where I kept getting disconnected. So I decided to take a look on Laddies where, blow me, I found a ring game at .5/1.00. Butroz was playing too and I actually managed to win a few dollars, which was a pleasant change from proceedings elsewhere. They have upgraded the software and it has been giving me a few problems. The chat facility and the betting buttons are off the bottom of my screen for some reason and the only way I can play is to use the "small screen" facility. I'll have to have a fiddle about and see if I can sort it, since there seem to be games available there that I want to play. I will have to be careful though since my bankroll is so low there now. Having said farewell last week, perhaps I might be back after all.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

AN AVERAGE WEEK.

Ladbrokes: 44 dollars
Pacific: 393 dollars
Party: 125 dollars

Total: 562 dollars

After the trials and tribulations of the previous week it's nice to be able to report a return to something like normal. I haven't actually played that much, but what I have played has been more like the previous expectations in terms of variance and so on. I went up 25 early in the week. Fell back to more or less my starting position and then finished, with a session on Saturday, up 17. Nothing thrilling but at least it's positive. It would have been better, but I suffered from full houses getting busted twice in the session, which gives some idea of how much action there was. I had Jacks over Aces and got hit by a Queen on the river by a guy with 2 Queens. So it goes.

Meanwhile Newcastle Utd go from strength to strength under Glen Roeder. The defence has improved out of all recognition (only conceeding 2 goals in 6 matches). The crunch will come over the next 4 weeks I expect, since they have to play Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs. If Roeder wins two of those I think he must have a chance of getting the job. Mind you I'd perfer to see Martin O'Niell there.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

VARIANCE SUCKS.

Ladbrokes: 44 dollars
Pacific: 376 dollars
Party: 125 dollars

Total: 535 dollars

A difficult week. The Party account is the one where I've had the troubles. First of all I was doing really well. I found the fishy tables and pushed my Party account up into the 190's. Then it started. I could do nothing right. No matter what I tried I couldn't win a hand and the bankroll just leaked away. Now I've had downswings before, as any player has, but I've never had anything so prolonged as this. In the end, when I was down 28 dollars on the week, I just packed in Party and played on Pacific instead. Up 18 dollars there, no problem, to finish -10 for the week.

The end result is no great loss then (except the time put in achieving it) but the problem is that downspells like that they really sap your confidence and that in turn affects your game. You find yourself having to talk yourself into raises that would have been automatic before and avoiding slow playing strong hands because you can't countinence the thought of losing out on a good hand when it finally arrives. Let's hope I have put it behind me.

Just to finish the whinging, a hand that really had me spitting feathers! I had KK late, which I raise. Three callers. Flop comes 259 rainbow. I bet, two call. J on the turn. I bet, one caller. Another J on the river. I bet, he raises, I call. He had J6 off. Sometimes there is no justice.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A FAREWELL TO LADDIES.

Ladbrokes: 44 dollars
Pacific: 358 dollars
Party: 159 dollars

Total: 551 dollars


It's a shame since it is the site where I "learned my trade" so to speak, but I am definitely saying farewell to Laddies. I have tried for the last couple of weeks to play a table on Laddies alongside a table on Pacific but to no avail. I just can't find a ring game at .25/.50 or .50/1 to play on. I've opened an account on Party Poker, taken out a few dollars and I will take it from there. I'm currently playing mainly there so that I can claim my bonus. I've left a few dollars in Laddies in case I want the odd game there some time, but until the traffic thickens up I can't see me playing there much.

Party hasn't been much fun however. It was billed as almost as fishy a site as Pacific, but it's nothing like in my experience. My first session was fine - very similar to Pacific and I finished up 9 dollars - but subsequently I have only met very tight tables. Three people seeing the flop is a big multi-way pot and hands which just go to the big blind without anyone seeing the flop are far from a rarity. This is the sort of thing I had expected to see much higher up the pecking order. There are so many tables that I am sure the sort of loose players I am looking for are to be found, but the front end doesn't make that search easy. I'll play out my bonus and survey the thing thereafter.

At the moment I am definitely favouring Pacific. Since I've made 258 dollars there in 10 weeks that is hardly surprising.

So the plan is to hit 600 and then look at the 1/2 tables on Pacific or 2 table .5/1 on Pacific and Party.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ladbrokes: 244 dollars
Pacific: 328 dollars

Total: 572 dollars

QUIET TIMES.

I haven't actually played much this week, so I suppose +12 is ok, though I was up in about 30 at one point, before I had a downturn last night. The downturn culminated in the arrival of my old nemisis "the large multiway pot". I had AQc in late position which I raised, getting 3 callers. The flop came 10c 4c 8s. Very inviting (nut flush draw and 6 possible "overcards"), so I bet again and everyone called. The turn is Ks. This doesn't help me except to provide me with some more outs in the case of any jack but the spade. The others start betting now competitively now and I call this down. The turn is 6s. I'm beat and down 5 dollars. So it goes.

On a more positive note I did pick up a nice pot against a maniac bettor called, appropriately enough "Nuts06". He was displaying all the maniac tendencies before and after the flop and had a couple of other players "running with him". I didn't have much involvement, as I simply wasn't getting any hands worth playing, when finally I hit an AK off, which hit a king on the flop. I took Nuts and his pals for 22 dollars with that! That was it, it was the only hand I seriously played in an hour.

I've had a little look at my statistics since I moved to playing more or less all the time at Pacific. Since the 11th December I have averaged +27 dollars per week. Most interesting is the variance. The worst week was -16 and the best week was +81. So long as I can keep it in those areas I should continue to do ok. My next objective is to get to 600 dollars in total, when I will take a look at the 1/2 dollar tables.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ladbrokes: 244 dollars
Pacific: 316 dollars

Total: 560 dollars

PROGRESS.

I feel a lot happier about my poker this week, which of course is reflected in the bank roll figures, which show a gain of 90 dollars on the week. The main source of my improvement is, I think, "table selection". I had a great start to the week and shot up to the 290's, which had me really buzzing. Then, mid week, I took a bath and dropped down to the 260's which was a tad depressing. So, I reviewed what had been happening and put it down to my old enemy, too many tempting mulit-way pots where, yes, I had the "pot odds", but was taking a hammering when I didn't hit my draw.

Subsesquently I made sure I was playing on nice comfortable "weak, passive" tables where there was very little raising before the flop, except from me when I had the appropriate hand and position. This seems to have made all the difference. Steady gains and no major downturns due to being "trapped" in big multi-way pot hands.

I need to think through my play on these big multi-way pots, since they can obviously be very profitable if you get them right, but for the time being I'll give them a wide bearth.

I have to say that some of the folk you meet on Pacific are quite unbelievable in their ineptitude (thank goodness). On one particular stand out occasion I had KK in middle position which I raised. Everybody drops out except the big blind. The flop came AJ8 rainbow. My opponant checks and I bet. He calls. The turn is a Q. He checks, I bet, he calls. The river is a 5. He checks, I bet, he calls. I win. What is that all about? I have raised before the flop indicating decent cards. He checks because he doesn't have an Ace and calls my bets to the end without improving. Why does he call on the river? He must know he's beaten. I was so intrigued I checked the hand history...he had 2 3's! He was drawing to two cards throughout and was beaten if I paired any card on the board. Long may his bankroll last!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ladbrokes: 244 dollars
Pacific: 235 dollars

Total: 479 dollars

A BIT OF ANALYSIS

I was off work with a cold one day this week so naturally I played a bit of poker. I thought it would be interesting to do some analysis of my play. I played for two hours at 25/50 on Pacific and these are my stats from the session...

Big blind: 15. Played: 10 Hands won: 3
Small blind: 12. Played: 6 Hands won: 2
Early position: 18 Played: 3 Hands won: 1
Middle position: 29 Played: 10 Hands won: 3
Late position: 27 Played: 8 Hands won: 3

Total hands: 103 Played: 37 Hands won: 12

% of total hands actually played = 36%
% of winning hands from all hands dealt = 11.6%
% of winning hands from all hands played = 32%

I actually ended the session up a whole 1.70 dollars!

My best hand was 76 suited in late position which won me 7.40 dollars when I flopped a 7 and a 6 and then hit another 7 on the turn. My worst hit was QQ in the Small Blind which was beaten by a flush on the river.

I was playing fairly loosly in early and middle position as there was very little raising before the flop, so I could get in cheap. That being the case, I think my hands played percentage played is not unreasonable. These are very loose tables and you have to respond accordingly. Funny enough it doesn't feel as if I am playing as many hands as that. This is probably because a lot of them (well over a third) are "Big Blinds" that I don't have any choice about playing.

Since the general expectation is that a reasonable player can expect a profit of between 1 and 2 "big blinds" per hour, then I suppose this is a "par" performance. One thing I haven't been doing is making a note of how much time I am playing. I must start doing that so that I can get a count on my "win per hour" rate.

At least I hope it will be "win per hour" - this hasn't been a good week.

I took a bath at the .50/1.00 tables early in the week (multiway pots gone wrong being the main culprit - see comments in last weeks post) so moved back down to .25/.50. A combination of bad beats and poor play (a nasty dose of "callitis") saw me decline to the low 220's. Then I get the "blue screen of death" and windows dies big style. I've spent a couple of days just getting my system functional again and only a reasonable session on Saturday night for a couple of hours got me back to 235. At least I seem to have my game working again.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ladbrokes: 244 dollars
Pacific: 251 dollars

Total: 495 dollars

TRIPPING UP.

Lots of variance this week. On Pacific, I've been in the 270's and down to the 220's before ending up just 10 dollars up or so. I've mainly been trying to play on the .50/1.00 tables but I can't always find a nice soft ring game at the time I want to play (a bit surprising that) so I've sometimes been playing .25/.50 again. One time I couldn't even find that and played a bit on Laddies instead - hence the slight movement there.

Saddest hand of the week came in a .50/1.00 game when I raised late with 88 and hit my set on the flop, which was 48Q rainbow. An early player raised (paired the Q I presumed, correctly it transpired) and I reraised with a couple of limpers tagging on. The turn produces a 6, still no flush possiblities. One of the previous limpers now starts betting, which gets me checking things out. Possibly two pair, but may have hit his set too, but mines higher, was my thinking. I didn't consider the straight for more than a nanosecond. Who would call all those bets needing two cards for an inside straight? The river came with an A and we capped out the betting leaving a 34 dollar hand...which of course I lost to the straight. SIGH. The trouble is that you can react to this sort of thing by becoming too cautious and backing off when anything remotely scary appears on the board. Discipline, my boy! Not long after I was tested with trips 9's when someone hit an obvious straight on the turn. I just called and was fortunate that the board then paired so I was able to take him down with a full house - just 19 dollars there though.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ladbrokes: 241 dollars
Pacific: 240 dollars

Total: 481 dollars

MOVING ON UP.

I decided to take the plunge and move up a level on Pacific and I've been playing .50/1.00 for the last week. The general standard and style seems much the same as on the .25/.50 tables. Lots of tables and lots of folks seeing the flop - generally around 50% - which is way too high of course. Strangely enought the variance hasn't been that much different to what I found on the lower tables. I've been over 240 and back down to the 220's, then recovered again. The same steady game that I have been using on the lower limit seems to be working ok. The same habit of chasing down any straight or flush opportunity, however remote, also still seems to apply.

My hand of the week was two jacks under the gun, which tripped up on flop (Jc 8c 2h). I still had three folk calling me when the turn produced Qc (not thrilling). I bet and was raised (2 left now). The river was 7d. I bet again and was raised and called that with another limper and took the hand for 19 dollars, which is the most I have made on one hand I think. They both had two pair.

I've recently been following the Poker (and life, the universe and everything) blog of Pete Birks - a chap I know from the Diplomacy scene. While he has been active in Diplomacy circles since the 70's, Pete, has been equally well known in the Poker world since that time. You can find lots of stuff by him if you put "Pete Birks poker" into Google. His day job is financial journalism, but he also writes for various Poker sites. (You can find his blog at http://www.livejournal.com/users/_pjb_/). The reason I'm mentioning him, apart from the fact that he writes interesting stuff related to Poker, is that his "game of choice" for making money is Limit Hold 'em at the 3/6 dollar and 5/10 dollar level. Now this is interesting, as I have at various times flirted with the idea of developing a No Limit game like "J" and "The Edge" and others. However I am now thinking that if Limit works nicely for someone as experienced as Pete, then why should I be looking at anything else?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ladbrokes: 241 dollars
Pacific: 201 dollars

Total: 442 dollars

REVENGE IS SWEET.

I had a great start to the week. Immediately after posting the blog last Sunday I had a two hour session where I could do no wrong - they occasionally happen :-) Suited connectors duely connected or suited up. My pairs hit trips ... the works. This bumped me up 35 dollars, no problem.

Since then things have been quieter, though still going in the right direction.

I did get some sweet revenge though. With a pair of Aces I subsequently hit trips on the flop and, just like last week, duely got bashed over the head by a runner, runner flush on the river, after two villains called me all the way. I was still belabouring the cat about that one, when the next hand awarded me two jacks. Well a man has to have principles, so I set out betting into them again and duely collected trips on the flop once more. (The Poker Gods must be trying me out). The same villains called me all the way again, but this time my J's held up like men. There is some justice!

I did a bit of two tabling on one evening last week, which is what moved the Laddies account up a little. I'll do more of this I think, but it does require more concentration (naturally).

After mentioning Kicking King and Harchibald last week, I see that they are now both out of Cheltenham. Very disappointing. I shall have to develop a new equine hero now that the kicker is hors d'combat for a while (sorry about the pun).

Meanwhile I have had a chess setback. I am now playing "the edge", having seen off J's challenge for the time being. However after a good start I blundered a piece. We will have to see if I am good enough to give the man odds!

My Chess and Diplomacy (the game) playing has never attracted much attention from friends and acquaintances, but Poker always gets a comment or two. They often ask whether I make any money at it and are quite surprised when I say yes. They then usually ask how I achieve this to which I have developed the response, "I always makes sure I play with people who are worse than me!" When you think about it, that is the essence of it really. It makes no sense at all to play with folk who are better than you are, you will just lose money. Thinking back, this also makes obvious sense of the fact that I could never get anywhere in ring games at Laddies with "the edge", "J" and "Rosie". There were too many of us "playing properly" for anyone to make much progress. Still, the chat was fun.

My current theory is that I will take the Pacific account up to 300 dollars and then look to move up to 50/1.00 games.