Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Urgent Travel Warning

Andrei Lugovoi If you happen to be travelling in Russia and find yourself on the same plane/helicopter/automobile as the guy to the left. GET OFF.

Has anyone ever been so due an unfortunate 'accident' before they can blab?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's that slightly off packet of roasted peanuts I started but didn't finish, maybe it's the bang on the head I got off an over exuberant toddler at the weekend.

Whatever the reason, I had a really daft thought last night. I could make Supernova on PokerStars.

The trigger for this ridiculous thought was the realisation that I'd burned through 1000 FPPs in what felt like a comparatively short session.

99 more sessions like that and I'd be a made man, in a manner of speaking! Throw in the fact I'm only at silver just now and the multiplier factor has a way to go yet.

Realistically I can't see myself being that focused over a year, but it's a real eye-opener the difference a couple of concentrated sessions of six tabling can make to the FPP balance.

As for the bankroll, so far the results are fairly positive too.

Peter Birks mentioned a while back that it's possible for two players to have wildly different results, different perceptions of their win rate, but identical results when viewed over a lengthy period of time.

The winning grinder will post lots of small wins, and occasional losses. The winning LAG will veer wildly between multi buy-in wins and losses.

Anyone who has observed me grind my way through a live tournament, and tutted at my nitty style, would likely find themselves gawking in disbelief if they found me at a cash table.

My cash game style being more blitzkrieg than trench warfare.

Playing six tables hasn't changed my results on a per table basis, but it's brought more stability to my hourly session rates. I'm still posting a multiple wins and losses, but the peaks and troughs have levelled out somewhat, and the trend is upwards.

Equally I feel that my game is in a nice balance. Whereas six tables on Everest was a rush, six on PokerStars seems quite manageable.

The boredom factor is low, which means I no longer find myself making silly UTG raises with trash on the grounds it's deceptive, when really it's just because I haven't had a playable hand for ten minutes.

All of which has combined to have my fairly limited time at the table this month making a decent impression in the cost of that flashy monitor.

Monday, May 14, 2007

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

...we have lift off.

newmulti table monitor
It's symptomatic of the way things have been going recently that I splurge on a powerful new PC, and great 24" monitor, with the express purpose of multi-tabling and playing much more poker, then promptly go three weeks without a single hand of online poker.

All of which is about to change. Not only is the PC and monitor in place, but I've migrated to a new host for the Linux/PostgreSQL back-end for PokerTracker.

Saturday was the first trial of the new system, and it ran like a dream. Super smooth, even with email, RealPlayer, etc. running on the main PC.

Prior to the unplanned break, I'd managed to comfortably play four tables on Everest, and even had a crack at six. Four was perfectly bearable, but six got a bit much.

Several hands were sat out due to missed cues from the software causing me to time out. Much as the players on Everest are terrible, the software is not ideal for multi-tabling.

I was tempted back to PokerStars on Saturday night by their reload bonus. With double FPP also on offer I managed to clear a decent chunk of it on the first night, and wound up in black at the tables too.

Being a bit rusty, I didn't push myself too hard. Four tabling on Stars proved to be very simple. I was in cruise control all night. So, I'm planning to push it harder tonight by experimenting with six tables, which should look something like the shot above.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Walk On The Waterfront

It's amazing the difference a little sun and some fresh air can make to one's demeanour.

Leading up to the weekend, the last seven days or so of Glasgow weather had been uncommonly good. So good, that I'd forced myself to take advantage by prying my body from the PC and getting out for a proper stroll each lunchtime.

My route of choice was generally along the banks of the River Clyde. An area which has long been underutilised but is now finally being restored to it's rightful place at the heart of the city.

Many years ago, Glasgow was known as the Second City Of The Empire. A title earned by the shipyards of the Clyde, and the trade routes ploughed by the products of those yards, upon which were built a vibrant centre of engineering and commerce.

Now the shipyards are mostly gone, and after decades of neglect there is finally a drive to rebuild the waterfront as a commercial, residential, and leisure zone.

So good was the weather that I decided to snap a couple of pictures on my phone. The quality isn't great but I liked how much of Glasgow past-and-present I managed to cram into a couple of frames.

River Clyde From South Bank
This is the view from the riverside in front of the new 'media village' where BBC Scotland, and Scottish Media Group have their HQs. Crossing the river is the new 'squinty bridge', behind which are some swanky new apartments at Lancefield Quay, and beyond that the new International Financial Services District, in which offices are racing up.

To the left of the bridge is the City Inn hotel - a relatively new arrival on the scene, complete with riverside terrace cafe-bar. I was sorely tempted to pop in for a drink, but knew I wouldn't make it back for post-lunch work if I did!

The squat building to the left of the City Inn is the North Rotunda. Formerly part of a tunnel system under the river, it's now a Japanese restaurant and, yes, casino!

Overshadowing the lot is the Finnieston Crane, which can be better viewed below.

River Clyde From Squinty Bridge

This picture was taken from the squinty bridge. The Finnieston Crane fairly stands out!

It was originally used for lowering engines and boilers into the hulls of newly constructed vessels, later it loaded the locomotives produced at the four rail works in the Springburn area of the city, where my maternal gran lived.

I'm sure I was once told it was maintained during the Cold War due to it's ability to offload main battle tanks from freighters. That may be nonsense however!

The funny curved building beyond the crane is the Armadillo - the concert hall venue within the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, where K was strutting her stuff to Justin Timberlake on Saturday night. Though he was performing in one of the more cavernous halls.

The shiny glass building is the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Much more interesting is the Glasgow Tower on the opposite bank. This is part of the Glasgow Science Centre complex and is the tallest building in the world capable of rotating the entire structure 360 degrees.

At least it can when it works, which isn't as often as most people would expect!

In the distance, further downstream, can be seen the distant cranes of the surviving shipyards.

I really liked this juxtaposition of the old and the new Glasgows. The industrial heritage, alongside the tourism, entertainment, and media industries.

On my way back to the office, I passed three girls of university age, who were chatting in Spanish as they paused to admire the landmarks along the waterfront.

I was reminded of myself and K holidaying in Barcelona, and it reinforced the opinion I had already formed, that sometimes it's easy to miss what is right under your nose. So many people fail to appreciate what's on offer.

I love having the tranquility of the riverside so close to where I work, and it's great to have the chance to appreciate it with some unusually benign spring weather.

Selfishly it did occur to me that as redevelopment continues apace, the relative tranquility will disappear, as more restaurants, bars, and hotels supplement the booming office and residential developments.

That's the price of progress, and if it gives the river back to the city, it's likely to be worth paying. For now, I'm happy to grab whatever opportunities I can to make the most of the current setting while it lasts.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

April Summary

Not a lot to report for April really. I'm going through one of those periods where whenever I feel I'm getting on top of things, something unexpected arises to absorb all my spare time.

Consequently poker was at a minimum. So much so, that when I was lucky enough to win four free entries to the Mansion $100k guaranteed, I only had time to play three of them.

During which I twice lost while well ahead when the chips went in (top set v straight draw, and AKs v Q4o. Yes, really!!).

Even worse, on the third occasion, I was in the early stages of the game when I got a phone call demanding my urgent attendance for a pre-wedding outfit try out. Causing me to play like a wild man in an unsuccessful attempt to accrue enough chips to fold through the period when I was out of the house. Now THAT is a bad beat!

Another reminder of why I don't play tournament poker. I just can't set aside that much time right now.

Thanks to Mansion and Blonde Poker for the freeroll, and apologies for not taking it more seriously!

Much as I'm not a tournament player, I can still spot value a mile off, and that tourney is V.A.L.U.E. So many bad players, but it would take a lengthy run at it to overcome the inevitable variance.

Other than that, I lost a couple of buy-ins on Everest Poker. Like Mansion, the standard is execrable, but it really takes some persistence to get over the variance hump.

I've been at this long enough to recognise what's happening. In December/January I played quite well but also ran well. Hit some nice flops, and got paid.

On Everest I've been playing OK, but missing flops, or getting sucked out on. That's life.

No complaints, just a yearning to have more time to exploit these people before they go bust.

One quick example hand...

Raise with AA and get one caller from the blinds. Flop top set on a 3 clubs board.

Manage to get it all-in on the flop, with an acceptance that I may be behind, but am way more likely to be ahead of something like AK-AJ with a club kicker, and whatever the situation I still have outs to a full house.

Am absolutely delighted when the idiot shows AQo - no clubs. Just as I'm counting the cash, the board makes a flush for a split pot. Ugh, a 2%-er.

With luck like that, it doesn't feel too bad to be only about $200 down. For it will surely come back my way once I get some time at the tables.

Poker aside, the house renovations are almost finished. The culmination of which is the installation of one of these babies.

Woowhoo! I may bitch about my work sometimes, but it does have it's upside...