Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who Said The Games Were Getting Tougher?

Just seen a guy take $662 out of a $100 buy-in game in a couple of hours.

If he'd won $666 it would have seemed more appropriate.

56%/4%. Didn't fold to a raise all night. Didn't fold a draw all night. Didn't miss a draw all night. Position a trifling irrelevance. Quite incredible.

Sickening in a way as he was so bad people were almost queuing up to pay him off. The rationale presumably being he couldn't *always* have it.

Still, I'm sure he had a fun night. Wish I could say the same.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Missives From A Pretend Professional Poker Player - Part 2. Game Selection

Now I'm playing more regularly again, I decided to take a more critical view of where I play my poker.

Initially I started six-tabling the Full Tilt deep-stack tables. Because, well, that's where I played already so why not keep it going?

This was my leisure game of choice because as well as being potentially lucrative, especially during the happy hours, it's also a lot of fun. I think my A-game is quite unconventional and works best with lots of fairly deep opponents - no swarms of short-stacking Germans and Scandies to contend with.

They also had a bonus offer running which I worked off with ease. A first on Full Tilt!

However my rakeback on Full Tilt is 'only' 27% (the standard it seems), so once the bonus was cleared I started re-appraising my options. I decided to work through a few different sites in turn, and started looking for options that were rakeback friendly, possibly had bonuses running, and had sufficient volume to support multi-tabling.

There are several candidates out there, but the one I settled on initially was my old Eurobet account - which I opened back in the golden days when it was still a Party Poker skin.

This has 30% rakeback, but also allows loyalty points to be converted to cash bonuses. Additionally, the rakeback provider offers a rake-race each month that has relatively few entrants, meaning I could pretty much guarantee myself a small bonus on top.

Effectively then, my money is simultaneously working four ways - poker winnings, rakeback, bonus, and rake-race. That sounded suitably professional to me.

The other habit I've changed is I now pay more attention to my notes and gradings.

I've always been quite good at taking notes on players, and I've always been quite aware of HUD statistics. However when playing for fun I've never really bothered utilising them to choose which tables to play on.

If I found myself seated at a table when several players has notes indicating they were decent I saw it as a challenge rather than a threat. Now I see it as a possible inhibitor to win-rate. Thus it's much more common for me to sit down, scope the table, and exit.

Or, if the table is short-handed and I'm auto seated at a less than optimum location, I'll exit and return at a better position.

This is especially important on the Eurobet tables, as players tend to play with shorter stacks, which means a more conventional approach is needed, as there are very few hands it's profitable to get three-bet with when playing out-of-position.

I learned this lesson the expensive way, as I initially failed to adapt to the switch from Full Tilt deep-stacks. I've now posted a sequence of 11 winning sessions from the last 12 I've played, so it seems to have sunk in now.

The plan at the moment is to see out the month on Eurobet, then look for another site for next month.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blonde Poker/iPoker/Aqua Disagreement

I'm a fairly active member of the forum on Blonde Poker, and when they set up a site on iPoker I played a good few hands there until I got sick of skirmishing with armies of short-stacking mega-multitablers.

The guys who run the forum seem like a decent bunch and they've been very hard done by over some nonsensical rules regarding not only having winning players or their skin, but also credit card charge-backs for transactions they had no control or oversight over.

However the thing that shocked me most about the scenario was the threat to withhold player deposits to cover a possible shortfall in the charge-backs.

My first instinct on reading this was to log into my various iPoker skins and make sure there was no money left in any of them.

For me, any site associated with iPoker can only be seen as a risk not worth taking at present.

When you've got PokerStars, Full Tilt, Party Poker, Everest and various Ongame skins to choose from, why play on iPoker? I don't see the point.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Accenture Dump Tiger Woods

More hilarity in the world of sport sponsorship as Accenture dump Tiger Woods on the grounds they "determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising".

Having worked with Accenture on a couple of projects, and kept in touch with people who still work with them, it's clear to me that Woods may not be the right representative for their advertising, but he is the PERFECT representative for their business practices.

Like Tiger, Accenture are consummate shafters. Unlike Tiger, they still manage to turn a profit from it.

Don't take my word for it, ask the UK Government or British Gas.

Missives From A Pretend Professional Poker Player - Part 1. Volume

With a lot more time to work with, I've been trying to give more thought to how I approach online poker.

I decided to try to adopt more of a professional approach. Not that I want to be a pro, but this seems as good an opportunity as any for some experimentation.

The first thing I gave some thought to was volume. Hands per month, hours to play, etc.

Not having any great knowledge of how online pros operate, I've previously been staggered by some of the numbers people quote for stats such as hands per month.

Yet with just a few weeks experience it seems to me their volumes are not such a hard goal to achieve. Previously I'd thought all these guys had to be sixteen-tabling for twenty hours a day.

My goals started out much more modestly. Whereas a 'normal' job might entail an eight hour working day, I figured that eight hours of online poker five days a week would melt my brain, so instead I targeted two two-hour sessions per day for Monday to Friday, with the weekend left to my whims. Maybe trying a few tournaments, instead of more cash play.

My next task was to decide where to play. As it happens, Full Tilt runs an afternoon (UK time)happy hour, and another evening happy hour when the deep-stack tables are heavily populated, so I made them my first hunting ground.

Initial results were pleasantly surprising. Six tabling seems to be my limit, which I think is a fair compromise between volume and thinking. There are people playing lots more than that but many are short-stackers who are constantly in push or fold mode.

With that set-up two hours seems to fairly whizz past, and I'd been averaging around 440 hands per hour. Which scales up to ~40,000 per month if I were doing it as a part-time job with no weekend play.

Given that a lot of the online pros play six-max rather than full-ring, and don't all get beyond 100k per month, there seems to be some slacking going on!

Of course it's all new to me, so I can imagine that, like most jobs, there's an element of familiarity breeding boredom over time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Berlusconi Battered

Not a good week for high profile philanderers!

Just seen the footage on BBC and Sky News of Silvio Berlusconi being attacked at a rally in Milan.

Obviously it's not right that a pensioner should be assaulted - quite badly judging by the state of his face - but when I heard the assailant was alleged to be a 42 year-old man, I couldn't help wondering if it was the dad of one of Berlusconi's mistresses.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Less Vegas

I should have been boarding a plane in about 12 hours to head for London and henceforth Vegas.

The flights were booked. Strip accommodation reserved. ESTA form completed. I was all set. Only packing remained to be done.

Then my youngest daughter took an awkward tumble as she played at home on Monday.

On the way down she cracked her head off a table hard enough to shunt it sidewards.

There were tears, horror, and concern. Which turned out to be misplaced, as there was no harm done other that some faint bruising on her temple. Just another toddler mishap.

What lasted longer than the concern was the sick feeling I felt in my stomach at the point I saw her stumble but was too far away to stop her falling.

As the afternoon wore on, I realised I couldn't bring myself to leave her and the rest of the family for almost a week. A long weekend in Vegas becomes a week away when the starting point is the UK!

So, I cancelled. Maybe it's the Christmas spirit, maybe I'm just a big sap, but something didn't feel right anymore.

I'm genuinely gutted not to be going but I had to follow my instincts. Anyway, a special trip is already being planned for next year.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Curse Of The Gillette Champion

What next!?

Is this a lineup of sporting greats, or a wanted poster for the paparazzi?

First, Thierry Henry gets caught blatantly cheating to send France to the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Then, Tiger Woods obtusely confesses to not so blatantly cheating in a different context.

Now all that remains is for Roger Federer to be caught up to some unlikely mischief and the triumvirate of doom will be complete.

To be fair, I have a degree of sympathy for both men. Henry did something off-the-cuff that has had huge repercussions. It happens. If the ref had been more observant there would have been virtually no comeback.

Woods case is more complex. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be THAT good at such a huge sport; to be THAT rich; THAT universally popular.

If he suffers from some sort of God Syndrome we could hardly be surprised. Throw in a few lengthy injury layoffs where an element of boredom and frustration is bound to set in, and it's maybe not so surprising that he looked for thrills elsewhere.

I'd imagine both might be phoning David Beckham for words of wisdom, as he has managed to recover from both on and off-the-park transgressions in the past, with his image seemingly intact.

All that said, I'll be deeply disappointed if at least one tabloid doesn't run some sort of variation on 'Lies Of The Tiger', as a headline this week. It's an open goal you wouldn't need to be Thierry Henry to score.


This flight number suddenly takes on tremendous significance.

As does, this album, or this song, or for the kids.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is This Really Genuine?

Never mind 'eating a horse', this guy looks like he could swallow it whole!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tiger Woods

Hands up who thinks Tiger Woods was rescued by his wife with a golf-club; or was he rescued *from* his wife with a golf club?

Can I get odds on Betfair?

And yes I did tag this as "current affairs".

Run Goodaments

Still running stupidly hot at the tables. Especially considering I'm sticking to the micro levels still.

Perusing Hold Em Manager, my last few sessions of four tabling at $.25/$.50 are showing a win rate of $104 and $199 per hour. If only that were sustainable.

In all honesty I've done nothing more than get lucky in terms of picking up big hands versus idiots, and hitting big draws in multi-way pots. I don't think that level of wisdom is going to earn me a book deal or a sponsorship package just yet.

Today marks a milestone in my career, as I'm pretty sure I passed the first exam I've sat in about 14 years. Which should mean I'm 25% of the way towards being professionally accredited as a business analyst.

What was encouraging about the course was I pretty quickly realised I knew a helluva lot more than most of the other participants. Some of whom already hold down pretty decent jobs in the field.

In their own fields I'm sure they're experts, but the lack of knowledge of what I'd consider general business terms, and the lack of awareness of the economic environment was surprising to me.

Major stress of the week was three days of commuting along the M8. Especially when day one (i.e. the day I didn't have clue where the hell I was going) was possibly the worst day of the year for driving - howling gales, torrential winds, and crashes galore.

I'll be back to the trains as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Resting Between Roles - Update

Quick progress report on how my time off is going.


Ironing - almost up-to-date.
Time with kids - fun.
Training/self-improvement - start a 3-day training course tomorrow. Managed to negotiate a 45% discount from the provider.
Career development - had various enquiries for contract roles, and have a job interview today for a permie position that I might actually consider.
Winning at poker - running ridic good on a small sample.


Gym - not been! Mix of illness, injury, and other distractions.
Catching up with pals - one big night out. Nothing else.
Playing poker - only played about six hours of four tabling.
Blogging - not written as much as I'd like.

General summary would be by Friday the decks will be clear and my time truly will be my own. I doubt I'll get anything lined up before Christmas but so far it's going well.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pimp Cancels Rabbi's Drug Fuelled Orgy

Straight from the Department of You Couldn't Make It Up. This truly puts the occasional lunacy you'll see at the poker table into perspective!

In other news, megacorp can GFT, albeit I didn't present the news to them in exactly that format. I may need work in the New Year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


So there I was planning a lovely chilled post about how nice it's been to get a whole list of to-do's ticked off, spend some time with the family, put some career development plans in place, and generally depressurise. Some winning poker sessions have even been booked in Hold Em Manager!

Then I checked my voicemail tonight and found a message from the agency I'd recently been working through...

'Hi, err, we've just heard from megacorp and, err, well, err, they're wondering if you could start back on Monday with a view to working til Christmas?'

It was after five, and I needed some time to think, so I didn't bother phoning back.

Having worked for so long in IT, I've long since come to the conclusion most British businesses are managed by people I wouldn't trust to walk my dog (if I had one).

Generally I'm not someone who panders to fools, though neither do I often seek confrontation with them. I think that's why I ended up as a freelancer.

Career development in big companies requires a degree of politicing, and while I'm smart enough to recognise what's required, I don't always have the inclination to do the needful.

Being a contractor I can tolerate the buffoons for a while then move on to fresh pastures with no harm done to my career, and no middle-managers left lying in a pool of blood and teeth.

However the longer a contract goes, the tougher it becomes to keep the frustration bottled up, and I'd long ago realised the breaking point was looming on my current contract, so I'd already started making moves towards finding something new.

When the end came in this contract a little prematurely it was a surprise but in some ways a relief, and I've felt ten times better for it over the last week.

Now I have the chance to grab another five weeks or so of earnings before the festive period, which in the current economic climate isn't to be sniffed at. It also gives me the opportunity to actually have a conversation with my parents that doesn't involve the 'have you found anything yet?' question.

On the other hand, I've earmarked some of that time for training and re-skilling, and well as general life enhancing stuff.

Plus I'd need to take in a huge box of cakes, as is the convention for people who are given a leaving card and present, only to be re-hired within weeks.

Yes, there is a precedent for this very situation within the department I worked in. Which pretty much sums up their ineptness.

There are other considerations too. Many of the people on the team are friends as well as workmates. Not going back will clearly be leaving them with more shit to shovel (albeit with increased job security); but going back also bails out the idiots who got themselves into a state where they couldn't afford to keep me in the first place.

Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Belle de Jour Outs Herself

I did have a little laugh today at the news that notorious London prostiblogger Belle de Jour has outed herself to a national newspaper.

I've not been an avid follower of the blog, but the first book is very well written and highly entertaining.

One of the gems in the article is that after struggling for cash and deciding to become an escort to make ends meet, she did actually manage to get a job as a computer programmer, but 'kept up with my other work because it was so much more enjoyable.'

I have to say, I can't blame her one bit. Indeed in her situation I'd recommend her career path over computer programming for sure.

Alas my, ahem, physical attributes, and personal circumstances, mean that's not really an option for me at present.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eddie Izzard Mini Review

Went to see Eddie Izzard last night at the SECC.

He was quite good.

The SECC is a shit venue for stand-up comedy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

CV Time

As a freelance IT consultant I should probably be pleased that in a world of 1-month rolling contracts it is four years since I last needed to update my CV.

Numerous renewals and word-of-mouth recommendation has been enough to keep me out of mischief.

Yet it's still a bit of a shock to find myself in that situation, and the timing is somewhat inconvenient. Still, at least I might find some time for the gym between now and Christmas.

My waistline will thank me for it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hardly Duelling Scars!

I did some work in Exeter a few years back. Lovely place to work, especially during the summer when the balmy nights, and influx of foreign language students, made hanging around the bars and parks a very cosmopolitan experience.

Alas it seems their more run-of-the-mill winter students are not quite of the same calibre. This has to be the lamest student prank ever.

Maimed for life with a 'heated coat hanger'. Presumably the cheapo ones beloved of dry cleaners. Not something you'd really care to boast about to the grandchildren.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back (Again)

But this time it's serious.

I finally quit procrastinating and bought a Netbook (Samsung NC130 fwiw), as well as a broadband dongle, so hopefully my web access will improve.

It's proved a wise investment. First week I had it I was working overtime (a common theme recently) when I spotted the teams for the Rangers/Celtic game, just before kick-off.

My work proxy server blocks any gambling sites, but I just had time to get onto Betfair and see the over 2.5 goals sitting at 6/4. With those defences a small wager was definitely in order, which had paid off within 30 minutes.

In retrospect I definitely should have had a good bit more on it, but I was so rushed and it was really just a tester to prove the set-up worked. Better to win a little than nothing.

The set-up also supports online poker. I've played a few hands on Full Tilt and response times seemed fine. Won't be any multi-tabling going on with a 10" screen though!

I've been forcing myself to play a bit more regularly recently. I say forced because I can't say there's been a lot of joy in it. Partly for reasons of runbaditis, but party because a lot of the games are just so dry it hurts.

In some ways it reminds me of developments in the IT world, with which I am painfully familiar. More on that soon.

PS Sad geek that I am, I cannot resist that little Amazon MP3 widget. Mon the Biffy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Letter To Boycott Scotland

Dear Mr/Ms Boycott Scotland

After hearing of your site through various news sources, I found myself reading it today with a mix of sadness and confusion.

I've always been a fan of the USA and have enjoyed several visits to your country. I enjoy many aspects of your culture, and I admire the 'can do' attitude many Americans have.

Links between our countries run deep. Right back to the very formation of your nation. I remember learning about John Paul Jones, and being fascinated and proud that a Scot should be credited as the father of the world's most powerful navy.

It seems you now wish to sever these ties. Indeed you would revert to the opposite end of the spectrum with a declaration of some sort of trade war against the United Kingdom in general, and Scotland in particular - and all over the release of one dying man.

A sad and strange decision, but one you are entitled to make. For that is what democracy and freedom is about.

Of course, following this decision through to it's logical conclusion - as you surely must - there are several other steps you will now wish to take.

You can write to the UK Prime Minister and Defence Secretary to tell them the USA no longer needs the support of the 9,000 UK troops currently fighting in Afghanistan.

You can write to the commanders of the two Scottish battalions currently training for their next deployment in Afghanistan - over 1000 Scots - to tell them their services are no longer required.

You can write to the friends and families of the 179 British personnel who died in Iraq to tell them why their sacrifice counts less than the release of one dying man.

You can write to the friends and families of the 206 British personnel who have died so far in Afghanistan to tell them why their sacrifice counts less than the release of one dying man.

You can visit Scotland and the wider UK, and seek out the troops who have suffered horrific injuries. Legs and arms blown off, terrible burns, and other traumas, to tell them why their sacrifice counts less than the release of one dying man.

Once you have done all that, feel free to resume your boycott of haggis, kilts, whisky, and travel to Scotland or the UK.

It won't put me off visiting the USA or my American friends. Indeed plans for my next trip are already underway.

I've stood on the edge of the Hoover Dam and wondered at the ingenuity and endeavour that produced it. I've ascended the Empire State Building and marvelled at the cityscape. I've travelled down the Pacific highways and across the Golden Gate; basked in the hospitality of cosmopolitan San Francisco; played poker in Las Vegas; been below deck on the USS Constitution in Boston; watched The Cubbies win at Wrigley Field, and still I'll come back for more.

Because friends, and allies, see the bigger picture. They respect the differences in the cultures and legal systems of their comrades, and work with them in partnership for the greater common good.

Friends may often disagree, but they often agree to differ. That is a lesson you may wish to reflect upon.

Best wishes.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not Dead, Just Resting

Nice to know some people do still pass by here, even if they mainly seem to be spamsters - who are rapidly deleted!

Back soon I hope.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Is finding a young fox sound asleep in your garden a sign of good luck?

Fox sleeping
I'll know the answer later today.

Update: Apparently not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This is just cruelly tempting...

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Inbetweeners

Can't remember the last time I actually made time to sit and watch a TV show week-on-week.

I missed the first series of The Inbetweeners but caught up with it on 4OD when a workmate recommended it. K and I were hooked from Episode 1. It's fucking hilarious. Good soundtrack too.

Series 2 is on now and the V+ is set, but we've still made sure to catch every episode as broadcast.

Seems a shame it's on E4, where viewing figures around one million are a top performance.

A few snippets courtesy of the E4 website:

The Intro:

The mum IS fit:

Thank fuck my driving test didn't go like this:

Donovan is hard, and Jay is delusional:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Scandie Poker - It's In The Genes

Or is that jeans?

Next time some Scandie lunatic four bets you pre-flop with J3, pause and reflect it's not just starting hand values they have an unorthodox approach to.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Fond Memories

Where I used to live.

Commuting was a LOT easier then.

I'm not sure what the actual point of Google Street View is, but bloody hell the detail is phenomenal!

(Maybe they could devote some of that techie genius to making Blogger support iframes, or am I missing something?)

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Not a lot of time for poker right now.

Aside from work I am wrapped up in a personal project so gloriously inappropriate for the current world economic situation, a few of my workmates clearly think I have lost my marbles.

Whereas I'm more enthused that I've been in a long time about something that doesn't involve a Miranda Kerr bikini shoot.

If I can pull off the deal I'm aiming for, I'll be ecstatic, but in dire need of improving both my work-rate and win-rate at the tables to supplement the family coffers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Badder Than Michael Jackson

Still plugging away at the tables. Mainly at Everest Poker aka The Land That Sklansky Forgot.

Alas I am running badder than Michael Jackson in a kindergarten right now.

Fortunately I had, for reasons entirely non-bankroll related, decided to drop right down to the micro-stakes for a while.

Which means I've been up and down more than a crack ridden whore's knickers, but ultimately haven't lost or made a penny since Christmas.

Could be worse I suppose.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Growing Old Disgracefully

Of the many signs of growing old, one I was not familiar with until this weekend was the experience of attending a 21st birthday party where the celebration was in honour of a very close friend's child.

A close friend who happens to be almost exactly the same age as me. A close friend who, yes, has a 21-year old daughter. That must make me pretty old!

On the plus side, my Friday night plans earned me a bit of kudos with the younger members of my work team. I'm pretty sure I could have sold tickets to a few of them.

Also on the plus side, I could honestly put my hand-on-heart and say I actually did recognise some of the music the DJ was playing. It didn't even seem too loud.

Still down with the kids! Umm, or something like that.

On the slightly disgraceful side, when faced with a sly 'anyone caught your eye?' question from the wife - who had cunningly waited until the booze was clearly seeping into my veins - my answer was honest enough to be credible, but needed a degree of obfuscation to remove the risk of a knee to the groin.

Being a 21st there was of course more boozing going on than the BMA would approve of, and some people took it worse than others.

None more so than the guy who lapsed into incoherence; had to be carried from the club; assisted into a taxi (but only after being handed a plastic bag at the insistence of the driver); and was last seen vomiting from the open cab window, as it weaved it's way through the traffic on Glasgow's party central - Sauchiehall Street.

Par for the course if you're an under-ager who outsmarted the bouncers.

Slightly embarrassing if you're a 20-something living it large with your mates.

When you happen to be aforementioned very close friend and father of the birthday girl, that's got to be a Medal of Honour for growing old disgracefully.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bonus Rakeback On Everleaf Network

Just a quick piece of pimpage for Minted Poker - part of the Everleaf Network.

Sign up through RTR before 1st February 2009 and get 46% rakeback - as well as a 100% to $400 signup bonus.

As I understand it, the standard rakeback terms for the site are 30% if you register direct, so it's a fair margin extra to go through RTR.

Truth be told, I've more of these accounts than I could shake a mouse at, but it never hurts to be an early adopter if there's a long term benefit to be locked in.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Valentines Day Is 14th February

Don't forget it!

This has been a public service announcement in collaboration with Agent Provocateur.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Other People's Rakeback FTW

It's fair to say my poker play over the last year has been somewhat fragmented. Rather than putting in a major effort on any one site, I've jumped around a fair bit.

Which meant my cash was somewhat thinly spread.

In these straitened times, I figured I should consolidate my funds whilst taking the opportunity to do a quick audit of my online finances.

Which led me, eventually, to my long dormant Eurobet account. Within which I was a little surprised to find over $1000. Eh, what?

After some sleuthing I discovered that the payments had come from Rake The Rake - my longstanding and super reliable rakeback provider.

So out-of-touch have I been recently that I hadn't previously realised they have upgraded their website and introduced an online reporting system.

This allowed me to discover that around a year ago someone signed up using my referral code, and has since been raking around $5000 per month - mainly on Betfair.

I'd left my payment option defaulted to Eurobet when I created my Rake The Rake account, so the payments had been accruing without my noticing them.

All of which came as a very pleasant surprise. If I knew who Mr Betfair was, I'd gladly buy him a drink.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Created by cartuja at Kerrydale Street.

A belated Happy New Year to one and all.