Monday, July 04, 2005
Slightly late - but you all know why by now - it's time for the June summary.
Were Mrs and Baby Div to have stuck to the original timetable, I might have gotten myself quite depressed whilst writing this post, as June was hardly a vintage poker month, in financial terms at least.
I started the month on a twin track strategy. Playing some $100 buy-in no limit Hold 'Em on Full Tilt, and learning the basics of Omaha Hi-Lo on Poker Stars. The Hi-Lo went fine, since most of the players seemed even less knowledgeable than me, but the Hold 'Em went pretty badly.
I made some REALLY awful plays, especially over valuing TPTK, and running into several flopped sets. I learned an expensive lesson about the cost of not folding when someone re-reraises on an apparently innocuous flop. I ended the month down around $300.
About midway through the month, I needed a break from the cash game grind. At this point the ever expanding poker boom - which has now hit Britain big style - came to my aid.
Two newspapers, The Daily Record, a Scottish tabloid, and The Metro, a free paper distributed in major cities, were both running freerolls.
The Record was sponsoring a $50,000 freeroll, known as The Scottish Open, running on a site called Bet Fred. The Metro was sponsoring a competition on PokerStars to win a seat at the WSOP main event. Both were long running tournaments with nightly qualifying heats for a tournament final.
Now, I'm no fan of The Record - referred to by many as 'The Retard' - but hey, I'm not one to turn down free cash. The Metro is a good read on the train to work, primarily because it is mostly sourced from agency articles and has no real agenda.
So, I tried both events. Sadly, the Bet Fred site has the worst poker software I've ever seen. Truly awful. Allied to a dreadful standard of play, it made for a pretty unrewarding playing experience. What made it fun was sweating my various friends who were playing alongside me. I was as keen for them to do well as me. On the very first night, my friend TeaCake made the final table, but didn't make the final.
The Metro tournament was much more fun. Way better software on Poker Stars, and better players too. Probably because a WSOP seat - rather than $50,000 in cash - is more likely to attract only genuine poker players.
The Daily Record tournament is still ongoing, so I might try again to make the final. The Metro tournament is long gone.
Additionally, I played what ranks alongside the WPBT bracelet qualifier as the most fun tournament I've participated in. Good play, good chat, and a good structure.
This was a £20 freezeout on William Hill, organised by Blonde Poker - the website of poker pro Dave 'El Blondie' Colclough.
Blonde Poker has a great forum. Very friendly and helpful. The content is very UK focused, and I'd recommend it to any UK players.
As you'd expect from a small but growing site, set up by a UK pro, the initial membership seems to have comprised some other pros, plus a large number of players I'd characterise as semi-pro i.e. they may have a 'proper job' but they also play poker at a fairly high level and many clearly know each other well.
Having just joined the forum as one of an influx of newer players, I decided to play their inaugural online tournament more as a social event than with any expectation of doing well.
Seventy seven players paying £20 each meant top ten paid out, with the winner taking home £660 (roughly $1000). The setup was superb. 2000 chips to start, and a 20 minute clock. LOTS of play. The William Hill software is also very good.
To my astonishment, deep into the tournament I found myself sitting in second place with a big stack. Then it all went horribly wrong.
Until that point I'd won every race. TT v AK. No big cards. AK v 99. Hello Mr King.
Suddenly I went into reverse and started losing those races. I ended by bubbling out in 11th.
I did make one really questionable play. Raising on the button with A7o. The SB, who I had well covered, smooth called. The flop came A high. SB checks, I bet the pot, SB raises all-in. Hmmm.
I think I actually thought about this too much. I had a suspicion that as a newbie the guy might have been trying a move on me. Equally I wondered if he thought I was making a move with a button raise and had decided to try to outplay me on the flop.
My thinking was that if he did have an A, he would probably have reraised pre-flop with anything in the AK-AJ range. So if we were looking at A-rag, there was a better than even chance my A7 was ahead. So, I called.
He had AJ. Doh!! So much for my read.
If I'd folded to the check-raise I'd have saved a lot of chips and probably made the money. Looking back I really should have tightened up and coasted into the money, but I don't play many tournaments and the adrenalin was pumping, so I kinda got carried away.
That was pretty much my last poker action before Mrs Div sprung her surprise, and I don't expect to be playing lots and lots of poker for the next few months.
Ideally I'd like to keep my eye in online. Realistically this is likely to be limited in scope, but hopefully there will still be time for a fair amount of reading. I want to expand my knowledge of poker more into Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo, and, given my results early in the month, I need to work on my No Limit Hold 'Em cash gaming too.
If I'm really lucky, I might even take a shot at a few tournaments. That is a long shot though.
So, time for a few more book purchases. As always, I welcome recommendations.