Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Final Table Blues

A solid performance in the 15k tonight. I was winning the tournament right the way from 200 people to the last 20! However it all went wrong and I finished 10th (£250).

Positives played some great stuff tonight, did not really put a foot wrong.
Negatives not making more money, but made the right decisions.

3 key pots on the night.
1st - Sitting in the big blind with 49, two limpers, I check. Flop 449! Guy UTG goes all in. I thought about and decided to call! Guess what I lost to AT! Turn A River A.

2nd - UTG with 99, limp in for 400, UB4MATT raises to 1200, five others call, I call also.
Flop 589. UB4MATT all in for 8k, next guy all in for 10k, next guy all in for 8k. I obviously call. We have an overpair, a flush draw, a set of 8's and my set of 9's. They hold up and I get 40k in chips

3rd - Final Hand. SuzItal, knows I am a solid player, already said I fold to you when on the blinds and I showed AK. They raise to 7200 3xBB. I hold AQ and go all in for 42k. (Pot is 12300) Happy to take pot there and then. They are holding 50k, so its for their tournament. Calls with 77. Hits two more 7's - game over. Admits it was a crazy call and ends up going out in 5th.

I could of raised less in hindsight, but did not want to let them in. Plus they knew I am solid, so I am happy with my decision.

Monthly profit is just shy of £2k, very impressed with that as not playing for money this month. My first years profits have surpassed £20k!
I made my 2nd final table of the 15k this month and my 11th in total.

I have also booked my flights for Vegas, so whatever happens I will be there.
Well done to Mr Tony Chessa, another tournament win, this time in Barcelona. The boy is on fire.

See you soon

Monday, May 29, 2006

Never Going to Happen

There comes a point when you realise that something you want is never going to happen!

I have been trying for this World Series seat for a couple of months now and whilst I keep getting close, I have always maintained that I will eventually make it. However something happened to me in the final on Sunday, that makes me wonder is this not meant to be!

I am sitting in the top four in the event, I hold 44. My favourite hand! The flop comes down 433. Christmas. Incredibly I get someone to put all their chips in at this point. Not surprising though when they are holding 33!
With most of my chips gone, I move in with AJ preflop and lose to KQ, I then put my remainder in with KQ and lose to A8.

I have had too many bad beats in these qualifiers to make me realise, it is not supposed to happen!

I however will got give up and will be going to Las Vegas anyway as last year was the best holiday I have ever had. I will play in some of the smaller competitions to increase my experience. I still have to remember I have been playing this game for less than a year.

I am not going to give up though, as the true competitive nature I have inside me, will not let me. There is still plenty of time to make it and I will not give up whilst there is a glimmer of hope.

I played in the $25 wsop qualifier last night and won that to proceed to the $140 event on Wednesday. I also played in the 448 runner £10k event and finished 16th (£112) I had 46k in chips and AcKc, but lost to QQ, taking out most of my stack.

My main hope for Vegas has to be through the Littlewoods Player Points competition. There are five more qualifiers this week for the final. Winning one of those is my target this week.

I will publish my views of the month later this week. In the meantime.
Good Luck at the tables

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Super Sunday?

I have had a couple of days off this week, the less I play the better my game seems to be.

I played in the Team Event on Thursday, for the second week running I was best performer, but failed to reach my objective of a final table finish.

Tonight was all about the LOQ. 25 runners and one world series seat. Unfortunately it was not the night for me, as I ended up in 13th. SB vs BB battle I had KQ he had 77, nothing helped me.

The competition produced a great heads up between ---00--- (Littlewoods) and Leonarch. Both players I have played against many times. It came down to 66 vs AK for a seat! with 66 winning.

I thought this weekend was the one for me and played in the late World Series qualifier. I am happy to say I finished in the top six and have secured my seat in the 6pm final tomorrow. I also won a 29 runner tournament to qualify for tomorrows £50k also.

So one more attempt tomorrow, lets hope its a Super Sunday.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another Chance!

Tonight I thought it was going to be back to the good ole days of disastrous luck.

In the £15k I ran into Aces twice.
I played the £10k for the first time this month and was going nicely. I called an all in raise of 6k with my remaining £5k with JJ, as I knew the player goes all in with mid pairs, usually regardless of blinds. True to form he had 99, but a 9 hit the flop.

In the $5k again I was going nicely, when AA appears, I am put all in, I obviously call. He has JJ, Flop is A78, nice! Turn 10, River 9, he has a straight! Unreal.

So it was down to the LOQ qualifier. I won this tournament the last time I played it on Tuesday before the Paris trip.
I played some great poker and ended up heads up with DaVinch, a player I have played against many times.

I was a big chip leader to start with 26k vs 11k. However to start with Luck was very much on his side.
All in with AQ against A4. We split the pot. The second time he needed an ace on the river to survive. An Ace came.
By time the third beat came, I thought I was not destined to win. I have AK on an A82 flop, he has 47. Turn 4, River 4! OMG this is not my night.

So I decided to play some rubbish cards and to my amazement it was all change. I went in with T3 (very short stacked) against AJ and the cards came 44466. Then the next hand I hit a 9 on the river to make a straight and finally my Jacks beat his Kings. To make it 3-3 in bad beats! 6 hands later, I had all the chips when my favourite hand 44 beat his J9.

It was a very enjoyable heads up which lasted for 84 hands and 30 mins. What a game! Thats two LOQ qualifiers I have won on the trot and for once luck evened itself over a short period of time!

Roll on Saturday, I want this World Series seat.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The week of Football!

The last week has been dominated by football. On Wednesday it was the Champions league final in Paris, which was a great experience, but not quite the result. Twice I have watched Arsenal in Paris, two finals against two spanish teams, both times 2-1 defeats! Still Mr Henry is staying which gives us all a lot of hope.

Yesterday it was my own cup final for the team I player manage. After 11 years of management and at the 3rd time of asking we finally won the cup and in some style! Houghton 8-0 Southoe.
So nursing a bit of a hangover today!

Right back to poker.
I returned on Thursday and played in my team competition through Badbeat. I played quite well and finished the highest of my team, but ultimately went out in 21st when an 8 hit on the river. I was pleased with the performance, but felt I should have gone on to make the final table.
Friday saw me regain my Sharkscope stats, I am now $3 in profit! Don't know whether to play any more this month, to avoid failing a monthly objective!!

Saturday was a big night. The LOQ final. 22 runners, so there was the one all important place in the World Series up for grabs. As I was playing well I was as confident as I had been in a long time. With just six players left, I took the chip lead.

The very next hand I was dealt AcKc and got some action. I was on 15k in chips and was up against the 3rd placed guy who had around 11k, The guy bet hard into an interesting looking 7hTh7c flop, I decided he did not have the goods and put him all in. I was wrong he had AhTd The turn card was beautiful the Kh. I was about to move in too a big lead with over 50% of the chips in play.
The river was a fourth heart giving him the Flush.

Two hands later I put my remaining 4k in the middle with another AK and was called by KQ. Along came a Queen and it was all over. From 1st to out in 3 hands, from being in front with 6 left. It was very dissapointing result, but I had again played well to get in that position.

This week I will continue my quest for the WSOP, starting with the qualifiers tonight.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A New me!

Time for one game before my flight to Paris.

I pick the 28 runner LOQ qualifier. 1st Place and a seat in the LOQ final on Saturday.

This gives me two more chances for that Las Vegas seat, Saturday night in the LOQ and the Littlewoods 10 seater tournament on Sunday.

Back to loving this game! Objective 1 is around the corner!


Knowledge is Power

In my first game after a real learning experience this weekend, I produce my 3rd best performance of the year in the £15k and achieve Objective 3 of making a final table in this tournament.

All this despite problems with my computer, meaning I was out of action for 15 mins, losing over 10k in chips.

I finished in 6th place with £785 when my KQ ran into QQ and there was no King to help me.
I was very pleased with this, I had no idea where I was in the tournament from about 9pm, as my computer would not let me see the lobby. I could not play in any other games as a result, so for the first time in ages I concentrated on just one game - the way forward perhaps?

I will take £500 for the bankroll, which moves the monthly total to £1.2k, this is particuarly pleasing, as this month is not about profit, but about getting that elusive seat.

I hope that the lessons learnt over the last few days, have given me a few more tricks at the table and that my competitors will have to reevaluate their views on me.

In the meantime a great result and I look forward to posting again, hopefully when Arsenal are crowned champions of Europe.


Back to School!

It has been an interesting weekend. I feel that I have learnt many lessons over the last few days.

This is why this game is so special, you have to keep learning, because everyone else is learning about you.

Friday was a decent night, my second consecutive money finish in the £15k, 25th place.

Saturday was the $250k tournament and after a decent start it went sadly wrong. Firstly I got too cute with Tens and lost to AK. He put in a heavy raise prelop, which put me off AK. After two kings on the flop, I thought he had missed. When he bet out I assumed he had missed, but a call of my reraise told me otherwise!

The big lesson for Saturday was limping can be very dangerous. A lot of the pros live by the saying pump it or dump it. I limped in with a hand instead of raising and the big blind holding 73, enjoyed the 7J3 flop more than I did! If it ain't good enough to raise it ain't worth playing - another popular saying and one I will pay more credence to in the future.

Sunday was the big night, the WSOP qualifier. This was the one. The first hour was spectactular I moved from 2500 to 6500 and was leading the tournament.
Then I get KK, I put a normal raise in, we get a call and a big all in. I have to call. He turns over 44! Christmas! 67AJ is the first four cards. Boom! river is a 4! Ouch.

I have to regroup and to my credit did so. By time we got to the final table I was in 5th, with the top two going to Vegas. At which point I did not get even a marginal hand for an hour. By time I get a hand in KQ, my chips are getting low and I am called by 66 and go out in 8th.

The lessons here, you can't always wait for a hand, you are playing the players, if they are constantly stealing - reraise them, put the pressure back on. You are never guaranteed to get cards.
Also play your normal game, when the stakes are high it is easier said than done, but I so want to win my seat, that I tighten up more so than usual. From now on, I play my normal game in all tournaments.

The £50k gave me another lesson. Even when you get a hand, you can never be certain. With only 75 left in the tournament and prizes for top 50. It was looking good when I got Aces in the small blind.
Fourth position calls, button raises 5xBB. I go all in for another 3000 chips. A nice pot to take down.
BB goes all in and button calls! Its a monster theres almost 20k out there.
Button has KcQc, BB JJ.
Flop Kd7sQd. Disaster, in a whole heap of trouble now. The turn is 7d. Get in. A higher two pairs! River is a harmless looking 5d. But wait four diamonds on the board, my Aces are black and BB Jacks are red, gutted I am out to a flush! Theres no guarantees in poker!

Plenty of lessons learnt!
I will not be playing much this week because of the Champions League final. Come on the Arsenal! I will play in the 15k on Monday and return on Thursday. I am also having a week off WSOP Qualifiers.
Confidence is a little dented, after discovering I still have so much to learn, but I am ready to take the tables with a little more knowledge and perhaps some more flair!

Good Luck All

Friday, May 12, 2006

Two more money finishes

Dissapointment in my first badbeat team game last night when I ran into Aces with my first hand of the night AK. I finished fourth out of our six players, but not high enough to register any points.
We did have one final table finish, with our star player finishing 7th! So that should keep us right up there.

For me personally, I had my best finish of the month in the £15k, coming 18th and winning £150. Unfortunately I re-raised at the wrong time. Going all in with AT and coming up against Aces again!

I also played the $5k after my recent success in this tournament, I finished 13th with $70 dollars. I was going very well in this tournament for a long while, but failed to really build on it. It emphasised you can have all the patience in the world, but you are never guaranteed a hand. I am not sure what the odds are, but I did not see an Ace, a King, a pair or a suited connector for 62 hands (yes I counted!).

Its a big weekend in store, with the $250k on Littlewoods Bet Direct on Saturday and a World Series ($1k) qualifier on Sunday.

Keep those fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Back in the Swing

I feel a definite improvement in my game in the last few days.

I added another £100 to the bankroll following another final table finish.

However it is the three big tournament performances in the last two days and securing of two seats in World Series Final Qualifiers, that have pleased me most.

Yesterday I won a 21 player Littlewoods player points tournament, to win a place in a ten seater qualifier for the World Series on the 21st May.

Tonight I managed to finish in the top 5 of the $25 WSOP qualifier for Saturday nights $140 WSOP qualifier, but straight after I finished in the top 6 of tonights $140 WSOP qualifier to win a place in the $1000 final on Sunday.

So after two weeks with no World Series finals, I have secured two in two days.
Roll on Sunday, I have a feeling! This is the one!


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Time to mix it up again

I feel that my form has started to dip a little in the last few days.

I have fallen into the trap of slow playing big hands and getting stung, tonight I was down to the last 50 in the £15k and limped in with Aces and ended up losing to the small blind holding 87 and with a 965 flop he was laughing!
Most people have got it figured at that level that a limp at that stage of the game is a monster.

I had a run of bad luck in the stts tonight, which tipped my sharkscope stats back into the negative, I will obviously address that shortly, but in the 5 games I played I was ahead until the river, when I went out.

In the Multis, I have found a tournament which I like, the $5k guaranteed, My previous two attempts saw me take 1st place and then 17th place (Still in the money). Tonight I made the final table and finished in 5th place, taking home $441. I have put £100 aside for the monthly profit figures and used the rest to push for my World Series place.

Congratulations to fellow Littlewoods players Robert 'Animal' Price who secured his seat in the World Series on Sunday in the Littlewoods player points tournament. Well done sir!
Also to my Dream Team Captain Andy '007apr' Reynolds, who incredibly won his second seat in the World Series on Sunday night - although that is a bit greedy!
Whilst we are in the congratulating mode. Mr Poker himself 'Poker Tony' Chessa won a nice Omaha event in Blackpool last week, earning himself a decent £8k! You are a legend!

I have decided to go to the World Series no matter what happens, as even if I fail to qualify, last year was still a fantastic holiday and the experience from playing in other tournaments out there will certainly help me in the future.

I am going to try to play in every qualifier I can this week, as I have not played in a final for two weeks and I am definitely due one. I also have the $250,000 guaranteed on Littlewoods Bet Direct on Saturday, where any winnings will be used to fund the World Series trip.

The new design of the Littlewoods tables have been uploaded and they do look very stylish indeed. For all those put off my the colour before, we now have the most professional looking table in the poker world. Great work guys.

For those who have not seen it yet, make sure you download the Littlewoods software from the link to the right of this note.

One final comment for your views, would you have played it different? It was a reasonably earlier hand in a multi tournament. Blinds are 25/50. You are sitting in the big blind with 7d8d. 4th position raises to 150, button calls, small blind calls. You are getting 5-1 to one odds you decide to call.

The flop is 3s5d6d. Small Blind checks, you check (lots of options but would like to see a cheap next card). Intial raiser makes a continuation bet of half the pot of 300. Button folds. Small blind folds. You have 1500 left, 900 in the pot, raiser has 2500.

Whats he holding, from what you know of him, he is fairly loose tonight, but has recent success in reaching the final table of the $10k, so obviously can play a bit. After I check the flop and he makes a continuation bet, I think his most likely holding is two overcards. He doesn't want to risk me having a free card, so bets to signify strength and win the pot there an then. I don't believe he would bet out he if hit trips and the chances of him having a mid pair are slim because of my holding. He could have a bigger pair, but his bet says that he can't afford me taking a card, although the straight and flush draw is out there, so there is a small possibility he has an overpair.

I decide that he most likely has two overcards, probably AK, AQ or KQ. If that is the case, then I have plenty of outs, the 3 remaining 7's and 8's, the 9 remaining diamonds and the 3 non diamond 4's and 9's. This gives me 21 outs from the 45 remaining cards. It is 50/50, I decide to put all my chips in.

This way, if he does not call, I take the 900 in the pot, if he does I am 50/50 to double up my stack. He does call and shows AJ, I was almost right in my thoughts. The remaining cards were a 9 and an Ace. I won with the 9 high straight.

As a result of this, the losing player decided to go on a rampage and throw every insult in the book at me! I would be interested to know if anyone would have played it differently.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Objective 5 completed!

One of my eight objectives was to put my STTs statistics back into profit.

I have always felt my STT game was strong and was very surprised to see my stats down at -$2k, when I discovered www.sharkscope.com. One of my immediate objectives was to address this.

Well I am pleased to say just 5 weeks later, my stats are now reading + $110.
This is a great potential source of revenue for me. My record in ten seater single table tournaments are fantastic. It is those in particular that I will concentrate on.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hard Luck Stories

Something did not feel right tonight and the results showed that.

However on the night I put £100 into the monthly profit figure after taking home $560 for finishing 5th in the World Series and paying for some more tournaments, so still positive results.

The World Series 5th whilst making money was dissapointing as the top 4 got places in Sundays final.

Other tournaments included the high roller tournament, where I finished 12th, in a event I will play more £9k available and just 30 odd players. I went out when a Jack hit the river and gave my opponent a straight, when I had him beat all hands up!

The Littlewoods player points saw me on another final table (went out 6th), but I ran into the chip leaders bigger hand, when in 3rd place and going well.

The 15k was a dissapointment, going out midway through when all in with Jacks against Eights and he hit an eight on the flop.

I am pleased to walk away tonight with a profit, especially with some hard to take losses, which also included flopping a straight and losing to a higher straight on the river. It is amazing how your mood and confidence effects your game, I felt tired when I started out this evening and as result my early play was unsuccessful. If you can avoid it, don't play when tired, you will not get the results your play deserves.

If anyone is interested in playing poker, then I have to recommend Littlewoods as a great place to play. Please follow the link on the right hand side to join in the action and hopefully I will see you on the tables.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

One More Title

My run of form continues with the successful win of another tournament.

Tonight it was the six pack highrollers qualifier which I won - 17 entrants and one seat available in Wednesdays £320 entry tournament.

This tournament has proved quite fruitful over the last two days and I look forward to tomorrows final.

I had one other cash in the $5k guaranteed finishing 17th out of 117. I defended my big blind with As7s from the small blind, but he had A9 and took me out.

I have started a reserve fund to help me fund a trip to Vegas should I fail to qualify, so a percentage of my winnings will go to this cause.

In other events the £15k saw an early exit when I flopped a set of dueces, only to end up in an all in situation with a guy holding 44, he hit another 4 on the turn.

Two final tables in the LOQ qualifiers were not good enough for a LOQ final seat.
I also played one Stt - a £10 six seater, which I also won.

A good night, a very small profit (allocated to WSOP fund) and a £320 seat in tomorrows final.

Tomorrow promises to be a big night - lets hope so.

Monday, May 01, 2006

We are off and running!

May has started on a positive note.
I found myself playing in the £2k guaranteed at 12pm today and finished 4th of 147 runners, taking home £250.

Further gains were made by finishing 3rd in the six pac highrollers qualifier. £150. This is the first time I have played in this tournament and was happy with the result.
The reason I played it was due to a LOQ qualifier this afternoon which was a six pac tournament, which I won. ($75 seat in the LOQ on Tuesday)
I feel my recent improvements on single table tournaments have contributed to this.

Of course I got my share of bad beats! My site would not be same without it! My Aces got called by 35 and the flop was 733 and of course there were many more.

It was nice to hear a comment from one the sites top players No3putts, who I met in the Caribbean.

'No3putts: Clinton - over the last month I have seen you suffer from more than your fair share of bad beats m8'

See its not just me who thinks I have been hard done by!

So as promised objectives for the month
1) Secure World Series seat - surely this month is the month. There is a minimum of ten finals this month. I will be hoping to reach 5 of these, in which I definitely have the ability to win one.

2) 50k. There are 4 50ks this month, of which I can play in 3. I was pleased with my cash this Sunday of £300. My objective for this month, is just to improve on that. So beating last months best finishing of 33rd.

3) 15k. My best finish last month was 11th, my aim is to make a final table in this tournament.

4) Money. I am setting no money targets this month, as it puts to much pressure on me. I play this game for enjoyment and get much better results when I am enjoying it. I have made money in each of the nine months I have kept records for since my return from Vegas. I would like to continue this run and hope and expect to do so, but I will set no figure.

5) Sharkscope stats. I am currently $450 dollars down on this after improving from $2000 down last month. My simple target is to get back into profit. My longer term aim is to be officially a shark!

6) Badbeat. I have been asked to take part in a team event organised by the website. www.badbeat.com The team I will be representing is made up of some very good players, it will certainly be a different challenge. I would very much like to be part of a winning team! So a final table appearance in this challenge is my aim

7) Littlewoods Bet Direct. I played on this site the other day and ended up winning a tournament for a seat for a $250,000 guaranteed tournament on the 13th May. My target is to make the money in this one.

8) Arsenal winning the Champions league. Okay so its not poker related, but I will be in Paris to support my team and am hoping that this will be a once in a lifetime experience.

I figure the more objectives I set, the more chances I have of meeting at least one!

All the best

April Review

Before I post on the month of April, tonights performances were again pleasing.

In the £50k, I finished in 33rd place (£300). It could have been better, I was up against the chip leader in my last hand 44 vs J6, he hit a Jack on the River (Could anything of else happened!)

In the LOQ $1 tournament, there was 193 players. I had my record stack after an hour up to 28,000. At one point with six left I was chip leader with 100,000. I end up all in with the guy in 2nd place AK vs AQ, here they come JT47, wait for it, yes its a King. Giving him the straight. These rivers!

I played one other tournament on Bet Direct, Littlewoods sister site. It was a qualifier for a $250,000 tournament. One seat available, I managed to win it and have secured my seat on Sunday 13th May.

So reflections on April.
Positive's - I have won more tournaments this month than the rest of my short career put together, winning the $5k guaranteed was the pinnacle.
I have played my best poker to date and am pleased that my game has definitely improved.
I have learnt to play different styles of poker and switch in and out as the situation demands.

Negative's - I have failed on my objectives, but will have a review of them now.
1) A World Series seat - I have made 5 finals this month, with 4th being my best finish. This is still the priority for next month.
2) A top 20 in the £50k, my best effort was 33rd, which is my best effort this year, so good progress made, but just short of target
3) 2 final tables of the £15k, unfortunately I fell short on this one, 11th was my best effort. Overall this tournament was the most dissapointing this month
4) Cash Profit - Due to the World Series games, I knew I would have a lower target, but still I managed my ninth successive profitable month, adding £500 to the kitty.
5) Sharkscope Stats - My single table stats have taken a significant turnaround, however have fallen just short of my aim. I am a little over $400 behind schedule. However a number of 10 seaters (£50) where I placed did not get recorded, so I would have hit my target! But the aim was to beat the stats, so I ended up a little short.

Its hard not to be dissapointed when I failed on all my objectives, but I know if I play like this again for another month, there is no way, I will fail on these.

I will set some revised targets tomorrow.