Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year to All

Firstly, a happy new year to one all. I wish you all the very best for 2007. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and as always please feel free to add your comments and share your views.

Its 2007 and this is now my 3rd year playing poker, ok so its only really just over 18 months but it sounds like I am more experienced!

2006 was a massive year for me on the poker front and something that is still very much a hobby, I can only see becoming a bigger part of my life.

Looking back at last year, there are so many highlights. On a personal note and for the benefit of my game, there was nothing better than meeting and getting to know some of the finest players I share the online felt with. Being able to talk, listen and learn from the likes of 007apr, ThierryH and Sun_Deshi has added so much to my game and to them I am very thankful.
I have got to know some wonderful people through this game, I managed to meet up with many in St.Kitts, but hope to meet up with the rest of you at an event soon.

My 2nd highlight was watching my wife discover the game that I love and then do something that I have not yet managed to do and that is cash in numerous events. Both in Vegas and St.Kitts she kept the kitty money topped up! Whilst I am sure she will never get a taste for online play, it is great to have someone who generally wants to get involved and enjoys the game.

So what else, my 2nd World Series was a short lived but amazing experience, I so love Las Vegas so! St.Kitts the 2nd time around was brilliant, meeting so many great people.
Winning my CPC and my EPT seats on the same day was special. As was my other two CPC seats and winning the Bad Beat Tournament for the Singapore Poker Classic. Appearing on the radio and in many newspapers, my features in the Littlewoods Full House magazine and my article in the WPT magazine (Their first ever Rookie of the Month!) Not to mention the £25k that has come my way! All in all, a simply life changing year.

However now is not the time to look back and relax, far from it, it is now that I must look forward and decide how much of my life this game will become.
I have been seriously tempted during the latter part of 2006 into doing more within the industry, but now more than ever I am coming up to some big decisions.

December was a very quiet poker month for me. I missed the start due to being in St.Kitts and with my family and work commitments, I kept my poker play down to the lowest level of the year. In fact there were more days where I did not play that when I did.
At one point before Christmas I honestly believed I had forgotten how to play the game and as a direct result of not playing my confidence was starting to dwindle.

Christmas with my family was perfect apart from the lack of time to play, plus no wireless or even broadband at the inlaws was never going to make it easy.

So with no poker to play, I found some time to read, I have a vast library of poker books to which I yet again added to and found one in particular a real inspiration. This was Phil Gordons little blue book.
Now I had read his first book ‘Little Green Book’ and it just seemed to demonstrate that Phil hit a hell of a lot of sets and I found myself thinking this is not realistic and was quite dismissive of the book, he also seemed to be overly loose and aggressive and as much as I want to develop my game, I am simply not going to play this way.
That said there was enough in the book to keep me interested in reading his ‘Little Blue Book’.

At one page in the book it simply dawned on me that he actually played an incredibly similar game to me, it was not about playing any two cards, his game was about gears, changing both up and down. This is how I have been successful at this game. At this point my confidence shot up without even playing a game.

For those of you who like me find Dan Harringtons books to be their poker bibles, then let me please recommend Phil Gordons Little Blue Book as something you should add to your collection, it now has pride of place next to Action Dan on my shelf.

Last year I had a great start to the year, I had won the £15k at the end of Dec (27th) and then the following Tuesday won the £15k again – Jan 3rd, after my first day at my new job.
Well last night I decided to make my first game of the year the £12k. 244 runners, 1st Place and £3416 in prize money. The absolute perfect start to the year.

The trick – Confidence, controlled aggression and changing gears.
I started with 2000 chips and I was up to 6000 chips by the first break. I managed to double up in level 3 when my pocket Aces turned into quads and I got called all the way down to the river by 2nd pair. Thank you!

I took my big risk after 2 hours, I had 9k in chips and pocket queens for the 3rd time. (I had previously folded them twice, once to reraises (KK and AQ) and once when AK hit the flop)
We had a limper under the gun, who I knew was going to reraise, I put him on AK as soon as he did it. He pushed all in as soon as I raised with my Queens, which convinced me it was AK, my queens held up and I was just short of 20k and into the top ten.

I had two more coin flips before the final table, none of them tournament threatening (around half my stack). I lost one and won one.

At the final table it was all very close and I was sitting in 8th with 35k, there was no runaway leader and two short stacks (16-19k). I arrived on the big blind, but my disappointment was short lived when QQ arrived also and knocked out one of the short stacks. I actually ended up knocking out 7 of the final table!

My chip count fluctuated a little, I called an all in button raise from the other short stack with A7 and lost to J5, but then doubled up with KK versus 66 against the guy who eventually finished 2nd.

It was a tight scrappy final table, with everyone so closely stacked in chips. The game itself was getting on for 5 hours. The last 6 however was under 10 mins!

I limped in the Small Blind with AJ hoping the BB to raise, he duly obliged with T8 and was out 5th when my Ace hit the flop. From this point I just built a stack and used it effectively, raising at any sign of weakness.

The heads up saw me in front with a big lead 360k to 130k and it lasted just three hands. I took the first two with raises. I was then dealt 67 clubs. He just called from the small blind, I am more than happy to see what the flop is. Tc Kh 8c. A Great Flop! Flush and inside straight draws. 13 outs if he has anything. I checked and was happy to check raise, but he also checked. The turn was a 9h. I have my straight, okay it’s the dumb end, but I am certain he would have raised with QJ preflop.
I check for the third time, surely inviting a bet. He bets 8k into the 18k pot, I raise to 24k, he is immediately all in. I have the straight, nine outs to a flush if somehow he does have QJ, but I cant see it. He most probably has two pair T8, T9 or 98. A king he surely would have raised preflop, unless he is slowplaying a monster.

I call and he has KK, he was dealt and flopped a monster and was slowplaying. The river was a deuce and the title was mine. To be honest after the flop came down, I was never getting away from this hand and only a big raise preflop would have got rid of me here.

So a fantastic start to the year, by the time I make it to bed at 2.30am, I have just won £3,400 and yet I am getting up for work in less than five hours. Why oh Why! It’s definitely time to sort my life out!

I will write again soon!

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