Sunday, April 29, 2007

Losing Patience

This week I have found myself not playing to my best and this has been due to not being as patient with the game.

When I play I am probably playing too many games, which restricts any edge I might have. Also I am fully expecting to lose when my chips go in. When you lose to runner runner twos and you call it in advance you know its bad!

Still that being said I managed four final tables in the last few days, including a nice payout in the $50k guaranteed on the playtech software (although not having antes in play is a bit odd).
I also qualified for the $530 WSOP final today, but that seems to have been cancelled and money funded to my account.

I have had a decent week though, suprisingly mainly due to some cash games I have played.
One thing that has been enjoyable is actually spending any money won! It certainly feels better when you have something to show for any winnings. A laptop for the missus and 10 days at the Bellagio paid for. Yes spending the money is definitely the way forward.

Right whats to play for at the moment.

Well I must admit I am not a big fan of the changes at crypto with the guarantees. The £12k is now the $20k for the same price, so thats £2k gone. The £8k is now the £6k, another £2k gone, whilst the £4k is now the $7k, so another £500 gone. It seems that as everyone is increasing their guarantees, Cryptologic are lowering theirs - whats going on!

Also the latest Leaderboard tournament, (I am very happy to see that St.Kitts is back on the agenda this year, it is a great occasion and one that everyone should try to qualify for) there is a weekly stt for the top six MPPs earned, three for the most pts in tournaments and one for the £40k winner. The winner gets a CPC lite seat. Well having every single tournament counting towards points, as well as having the top MPP earners, is just rewarding those who can play all day long and does not encourage people to play more, we need more players, the last leaderboard structure was much better.

I do like the look of the Golden Cup, I just need to qualify for them!

I will do an update with any May bonuses, but heres some tournaments to look out for.

Crypto wide.
Mon 30th April $1k free for just 1MPP. This is a terrible value tournament, with over 2000 players already registered - give this one a miss.

The £40k every sunday. Crypto could really do with getting this back up to £50k or $100k.

Golden Cup 4th June to 10th June, this has qualifiers every day and looks well worth taking part in.

Every Wednesday - Winners Choice tournaments. This tournament gives you the chance to win a £1000 seat in any UK event, plus £200 in expenses. This is a great little tournament, that just needs 10 to run. Its costs £70 and is well worth it, whenever it has run it has had between 10-13 players. Check this one out.

There is a great poker chip set available through Playboy (as well as other things!) They have three freerolls a week, one on a Tuesday and two on a Thursday, where they give the chance to win money and points. Never many in it, might be worth a look.

Dusk till Dawn
Every Sunday at the moment there is a $1k GTD for just a $1. There was only 35 players last week, worth checking out.


Every Sunday they run a Passport Stamp, this is similar to the Winners Choice on Littlewoods, it costs a little more $165, but has a slightly bigger prize $3k. If you can stand the software, its worth checking out.
There is also a freeroll with Poker Player magazine on the 13th May.


Still great value the $100k tournaments are going strong, I don't know why I don't play these more!

Blue Square.

There is a freeroll tonight, which gives you a free bet for just taking part.
There is a $50k GTD rebuy every Friday, which is well worth it, as well as a $250K Gtd at the end of the month.

Sky Poker

They are running another Primo event on the 1st June, it has doubled in price £55 to £110, but they have doubled in prizes - £25k to £50k. I played in the one last time, whilst I lost out with a flopped set to a higher flopped set, just outside the money. This is a sixpack tournament, well worth playing as the standard was not great.


They are running a $100k GTD tonight, it clashes with all the other big tournaments, so there may be some value.

Poker Stars.

These guys are supporting the Amateur Poker Tour (APAT), they run a tournament every two weeks where you start with 5000 chips. Well worth having a look at. There is a link on this blog.

Crazy Poker

These guys are running a $200k GTD tonight, for just $50, it is a rebuy, but well worth the effort. This moves to $250k GTD next week.

Full Tilt

Bracelet Race. This is a good one for me, as I am not playing the main event (WSOP) this year, but one or two of the smaller ones. This gives 2 $1.5k seats and starts at 6.30 for just $75


They are joining in the $100k GTD scene, with theirs at 7pm, no ideas on numbers.

Poker Panthers

Also another 100k this time in Euros, a 6.15pm start for them, 200 Euros the entry.

I have also found out that during my stay in Vegas, it coincides with the Bellagio Cup. They have events on every day and this is something I fancy a shot at.

Right time to plan the week ahead!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

KQ off the new nuts

Down to the last 30 in the £12k last night and I saw two amazing deicisions with KQ off suit, one of them taking me out in the process.

We were in level 9 and the blinds were 200/400 antes 50.
The first example was UTG raised to 1200, 2nd position reraised to 7000 and all in. Both players had been reasonably tight all game. Then the guy in 4th position calls half his stack with KQ. UTG folded and he was up against JJ and won.

The next was my demise, loose player with 10k bets 1200 on the button. I look down at AJ diamonds and move all in with 9k. I think its a blatant steal attempt, so I will prevent that happening again, by defending and I have a decent hand if called. He thinks and then calls me for almost all his chips with KQ. I have to say I am happy but shocked when he calls, especially when two more diamonds hit the board, but a queen ruins the day.

Apart from a complete bluff, I am not sure what he was beating, but c'est la vie. I now have to reevaluate the mixed marriage holding and question is this the new rockets!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

£12k efforts

I have played the £12k for the last two evenings and have had a pretty good run both nights.

On Monday, I finished in 11th position (for the 4th time - that joins 1st and 15th as the position I have finished in the most!), winning £120.

I took a gamble calling a short stack with A4 with 12 players left, which I thought it was an any two cards move, he actually had 88 and that rightly held up. With 11 left and only 10k in chips, I moved with AT and ran into 77 and unfortunately despite hitting a Ten a seven ended all hopes.

Last night I finished just out of the money. I was short stacked for the most of the 2nd and 3rd hour. I fought and battled for whatever chips I could get. I finally got my chips moving when my AK beat KQ, and then next hand I had JJ and got all 6k+ in the middle against AT. The eight high flop was looking great, but a Ten on the turn and another Ten on the river arrived, a little bit harsh I feel!

I also booked my trip to Vegas last night, prices have been gradually increasing, so I decided to get in before the rush.
Its not the rio or the main event this year, but I have booked myself into the Bellagio. I have a wedding to attend, a lot of fun to be had, plus a serious amount of poker to play and to be honest I cannot wait. It is time to win some money playing live after all!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Responding to criticism

Apologies for not updating my blog, I truly have been snowed under with work, both in my day to day job and also with future plans that I have.

One thing that makes this game of poker so special, is that everybody has an opinion, you can be sure your right and somebody else can think the same and at the end of the day who is to say who is correct.

I have not played anywhere near enough as I would like over the last two weeks, but when you want to get on and you also have a young family, somethings got to give, at the moment its the poker.

Taking on board some of the comments of late. The first was reference a WSOP qualifier, where I raised with A9 and was reraised all in. I called about 2/3rds of my chips and was up against JJ and hit an Ace. Quite simply I got lucky. If I had known he had JJ, I would not have called. But then if I knew he had JJ, I would not have raised him in the first place.

There are sometimes you have a feeling that a play is right, nothing scientific, not a read, but it just felt right. This was one of those occasions and I got lucky. It is not a usual play by me, but if you play the same way all the time, then you will be figured out far too quickly.

The next comment was from David. David, my blog is purely a tale of my journey in the wonderful world of poker. I try to share my learnings, success and failures in the hope that I can encourage other players to play the game, improve their game and ultimately end up feeling as much for the game as I do. If Mike really does read this blog, then I am flattered. I have played at the Palms but not in the ultimate poker challenge.

The final comment is in reference to a thread started on the betfair forum, where a number of people have decided to pass a few comments on me.

If possible I would like to say a few words on this. Firstly I have no issues with anyone commenting on me, anything that is constructive and I can learn from is greatly appreciated, any critiscism as I have said, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

STTs - My stats are poor, they are there for all to see, I do not hide them, with rakeback I am in a minor profit over 1000 games. I do not take them as seriously as I should and that is my failing. I am confident that I could make a small profit at this game with the right dedication, but certainly no where near some of the profits that a lot of people are making.

Online names - I have one name ClintonO, that is it, I do not play under any other names. On some sites there may be a slight variation (Pokerstars - ClintonOh), but they are almost identical. I do not feel the need to hide my identity, as if you know who you are playing, then I need to improve to beat you. By keeping only the one name, it forces me to get better.

Playing for a career - I have made some good money from playing MTTs, but there are so many better players than me out there. I am still learning the game, a game that I enjoy and of course it would be great to do, but realistically, it is a fantastic hobby that has really helped me with extra income, meet some fantastic people and shown me a whole new world, but at the end of the day, there are other things that I am better at.

Live Cash - Unless you count a 5th place in a MTT at the Monte Carlo Hotel in Vegas, then no I do not have one! I would love to cash and it remains on my objectives list. My next attempt will be in one of the $1500 events at the WSOP. I am not playing the main event this year, as a close friend is getting married in Vegas in June and that is more of a priority.

Littlewoods Legends - This was an idea that I had to try and encourage more people to play the game of poker, get more people experiencing live events and use it as source of knowledge - a training camp if you like where those more seasoned players could pass on their learnings. I asked Andy to get involved (007apr) because he is one of many people who has helped me develop my game. I also felt that by getting a team of people together, then it would help the experience and also meant that when you got to a live event, there would be team members there that could advise you what to do and help you relax when you play live for the first time.

It was an idea that I started putting into place at the end of last year, I started a web site, as I got further down the road, but it was something that I put on the backburner as I have other ventures on the go that take priority.

It is my intention to do something within the world of poker, which ultimately will be there to help and enhance peoples enjoyment of the game. I will be involved in a couple of ventures that will start over the next few months, I will share this with you as they get closer to launch.

I do not claim to be a legend of the game in terms of playing poker and I never will be. If however I can continue be successful that would be fantastic. My main aim is to provide for my family, enjoy my life, enjoy this great game and help others whereever I can.

I hope that you can continue to enjoy this blog, please offer advice or criticism where you can and please say hello when you see me on the tables! Good Luck to one and all.

Clinton O

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Playing to a minimum

I have kept my play to a minimum this week as I start to regain my strength following whatever illness hit me the previous week.

I have played a number of fixed limit cash games, to try and improve my understanding of this game, ahead of the online Golden Cup games on Cryptologic in June. I have come out level for the week so far, winning some and losing others. I still need to work in this area.

Tournament wise I have played one game a night for this week. Two WSOP qualifiers, where I have bubbled twice, river troubles unfortunately. I also played in the £12k last night, where I am happy to report I reached the final table, but dissapointly went out in 8th for £360.

I was determined to do well last night, after one of my dream team colleagues predicted that I would not! I had an up and down game, moving forwards nicely early and getting up to 10k in chips, before losing half with AK to A8, when I tried to get too clever for my good.

I fought my way up the leaderboard and got fully paid when flopping a straight, against top pair.
As we approached the final table, I made a couple of moves, which did not pay off. I ended up putting my stack in with AT and thankfully hit the required Ace to beat KK. How nice to actually win when behind.

The final table was quite evenly balanced and although I was in 9th place, my 35k was not too far behind the leader on 65k.
The table was quite aggressive early on, with the top 3 locking horns nearly every hand. Opportunities to get involved were very limited. I put in a couple of reraises to keep up with the blinds, but found little cards and opportunitues to do so.
After we had lost two players, my stack had diminished to the mid twenties and I found 88. I moved all in on an early raise and found myself up against AK. The first four cards were blanks, but the inevitable ace made an appearance on the river.

If I had won that hand, I would have been sitting comfortably with 50k+ and in a great position to move forwards. I am happy with another final table appearance, but would liked to have gone further. The way the table was playing, I felt that I would get paid with any reasonable hand and therefore a more patient game was the right play. I do question my tactics in all games I play and look back on my game to see whether I needed to play more aggressive. I always find that the most profitable way to play is the opposite to the way the table is playing and therefore I am comfortable with the way I played it.

I feel that I am still playing well at the moment and have reached ten final tables in the last week from not that many games. Lets hope it all continues.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Aces running bad again!

Three pocket rockets, three times all in pre - 3 losses! Ak,77 and T8. Great!

The only other tournament last night should have been a big pay out.
The tournament was the $50k guaranteed on Blue Square now part of the Playtech network.
Entries made up $43k, so whilst it was not the mansion it was still good value.

21 players left, sitting in 6th, it was all looking good. KK vs QQ, did not help me and then AK to A9 finished me off. $375 for my efforts, but is should have been a whole lot more.

Still not feeling great, so keeping this short.

Friday, April 06, 2007

So close to two in two

Five tournaments played tonight, two final tables and 23rd in the £12k, not a bad effort.

The main tournament of the night was the Bad Beat Dream Team, where after being right amongst it two weeks ago, we had a bad week last week, when half the team were away.

Tonight it was not looking too hot with just me left and 3 of the bottom with 32 left.
I fought my way up the leaderboard and ended up on the final table with a nice chip lead. After a slow start the final table exploded.
I ended up heads up 100k - 150k with the blinds just at 1500/3000.

The heads up was a real battle, I took the lead back in hand one, and then got 180k - 70k in front.
I made a couple of mistakes at this point, not putting in a river bluff to back my previous bets and then not reraising when my I believed my middle pair was good. Problem was with blinds so high I believed I could win.
After playing for an hour, we ended up all in I had KJ and was up against 99, unfortunately I lost and left myself with 20k. I managed to two double ups and was back in it with 120k, when I had JJ. At this point it was really heating up, if he had any sort of hand he was moving.

I raised with JJ, as he had a tendency to go over the top of me, he did as usual reraise, I moved all in and got called with 66. No 6 for the game, but alas there it was 2nd card out.

2nd place and 5000 pts for the team alongside almost $700 for my efforts. The good form continues, just a shame it was not another win.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back in the Winners Enclosure

It been two months in coming but after 5 final tables in 5 days, a win is back under my belt. A belt that has been tightened a notch this week after being ill!

It was not the £12k unfortunately I managed 24th place and a cash finish, tried to make a move before I got too low and ran into a better hand. Not suprisingly I fared better than the infamous 'shymanic' who finished back in 40th.

The tournmanent win comes in the £800 GTD, the first time I have ever played in this.
Only 35 runners and a cash prize of £320, but a win is a win!

I hit the final table in 2nd position with 7.2k in chips. Chip leader had 8k. Only one short stack at 1.6k, the rest had over 4k each, so there was to be plenty of play.

The top 5 get paid and by hand 42 of the final table the bubble has burst and 5 remain

Pokerboy1 (5335) Tight, aggressive
Hickok#10 (8085) Loose, survived all in with JJ versus AA Hand 7 final table
Airlibird (23062.5) Chip captain, using chips very well.
ClintonO (11082.5) (fill in your own comment here!)
Poiree (4935) Very Tight, I donated chips to him in a SB vs BB battle.

Hands 43-45 (37,76,43)Airlibird throws stack around with little resistance
Blinds 300/600 Hand 46 (K7)Hickok all in for 5.5k called by Poiree. Hickok T8, Poiree KK. Board 38AT5 - Ouch - Down to 4
Hand 47 (A5)- I raise from SB with A5, take blinds
Hand 48-49 (K5,J7) Pokerboy is shortstack and moves all in twice with no callers
Hands 50-51 (72,J8) Airlibird uses his stack again
Hand 52 (52) Pokerboy moves all in again, Hickok instant calls. Its T9 vs A5, Board 495Q6 - Pokerboy doubles
Hand 53 (92)Hickok all in
Hand 54 (Q4)Hickok all in, called by Airlibird. Its QT vs A5, board helps no-one 3 left
Hand 55 (52) Airlibird takes blinds

Stacks now
Pokerboy (10k)
Airlibird (34k)
Time to start playing, any cards please!
Hand 56 KdJd Best hand I have seen in 30 hands, I raise, Pokerboy all in. I feel I am comitted at this stage and call. He turns over 22. First card is J. Back in it
Hand 57 KhQs Airlibird limps in, I check as I know he will bet in to me. Flop JdTc7c. Nice flop for me. Airlibird bets 1200. I call. Turn Ad. Bingo. Two flush draws out there also, so I raise to 3000. He calls as expected. River is a 3rd club. He bets 1200 again. It feels weak, but he could be worried about the flush or milking it. I call, he turns over J8 for two pair

What did I learn here, well he bet he out with top pair, there is an opportunity to slow play later (called my raise when Ace hit the board, I had checked preflop), I also believe if I had raised on the river he would have called.

Hand 58 55 I put Pokerboy all in, he has J2 - No Jack appears - its heads up (25k vs 27k)

Hand 59 (T5) time to find out how to play the heads up. I limp. He checks - Flop 266. He checks I bet and take hand. He is not usually that weak, he had absolutely nothing.

Hand 60 (42) He raises, I fold
Hand 61 (93) I limp again, I need to check his tendency to raise weakness. He checks. Board KhTh8h. He bets, nothing of board and fold.
Hand 62 (Q7) He raises, I fold - Blinds still 300/600 and both have big stacks, I persuade myself it is okay to fold here
Hand 63 (2c7c) Reverse strategy - I raise, he calls. Flop 6s9c7s. I have middle pair and backdoor flush draw, it could be worse. He leads out with 1200. I am assuming he thinks I have missed the flop. I reraise to 3000. He waits to the very last second before moving all in. He could have hit something, have both straight and flush draws, or just put me on a total bluff. I don't like it but there is plenty of time left I fold.

Chips Counts (19k vs 34k) - I am 4 hands from Victory

Hand 64 (8cTc) He limps for the first time (weak or strong?) Flop QdTd3c. I check middle pair, he also checks. (Weak or very strong?) Turn Th. Bingo! I check to not scare him away, he bets 800 (stringing me along, or still weak) I call. River 5c, That helps noone, I lead out for 2400, he then min raises to 4800. Beating me is full house, or a ten with a better kicker (includes a 3 or 5) I have trips heads up, thats a monster hand, the chances of him having a ten are very remote. I can't put him on a full house, I move all in. He calls Q7. (2 pairs)

This time he did not bet his top pair, he only bet when it was possible he was behind and called a reraise when I show strength. I know I will win this game

Hand 65 (5s7s) Will test for tilt mode, I call he checks. Flop K32. He checks flop, I also check
Turn Jd. He checks, he says he has nothing, so I bet and take pot.

Hand 66 (Qd9h) He calls, again I become suspicious and take the flop. Qc5dKd. Happy with the flop middle pair and flush options. I check he bets 800, that keeps me interested I call. Turn Ad.
Another good card, I am drawing to the nut flush and its unlikely he has an ace. I check, he bets just 800 again, I call. (What are these minimum bets, I would tend to see strength, but I am really believing these are weak) River 9c. No Diamond but two pairs. Only a monster hand has me beat, I bet 2400 he calls with 88. Those bets are weak, he is betting min bets with a flush draw and 3 overcards out there

Hand 67 (5h6h) I limp, he has never raised me yet preflop, so lets see it. Flop Qh6d7s. Again some help with bottom pair. He checks, lets see another. Qc. More than likely my 6 is good here. He checks, so I bet 1600. He moves all in for another 6595. If I call and lose I will still have a 32k to 18k chip lead, so that is a good reason to call. But what does he have. If he has a queen, surely he calls and milks it. A seven would he not have bet earlier, my guess is nothing much, I believe I am in front and make the call. He turns over K2. River is a J. The tournament is over!

Victory at last!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

£12k in running

Playing one game tonight to try and get back into thinking straight, however I am still feeling really under the weather. Can barely keep my eyes open.

I am playing the £12k and found myself in the top ten, when this hand happens. Let me know what you think. I am chip leader with 10k in chips on this table. My opponent has 3k in chips.

At least I am already feeling sick, as this would have made me ill.

dealt to ClintonO [Ac Ad]
butch_dk: folds
Anonpg1: folds
Garry2011: folds
Shymanic: raises to 600
ClintonO: raises to 1500
DontPanic: folds
Fukineasy: folds
Sparky065: folds
Super_fox: folds
Shymanic: calls 900
----- FLOP ----- [2d 8d Qs]
Shymanic: bets 1453.25 and is all-in
ClintonO: calls 1453.25
----- TURN ----- [2d 8d Qs][2h]
----- RIVER ----- [2d 8d Qs 2h][5s]
----- SHOW DOWN -----
Shymanic: shows [2s As] (Three of a kind, Twos, Ace high)
ClintonO: shows [Ac Ad] (Two Pairs, Aces and Twos, Queen high)

Time to plan my revenge!

A Live Win

As promised I managed to win the local football team poker match. I needed a little help on the river with the final card mind! AT vs QT all in pre flop, with me having a 60-40 chip lead.
A queen came on the flop, but an Ace on the river. Phew!

I still see a number of people that complain about online poker and the randomness of the cards.
Well in this one live game, I saw a two outer hit 3 times on the river. One hand with four players in that had two sets and two straights. A flop of 888, when someone held K8. Someone else lose to running tens. Live poker can be as sick as online poker at times.

I have not played barely at all since Friday as I have been hit by some bug, that has made me feel like I have been hit by a truck. I do hope to play again soon.

Two great pieces of news today from Cryptologic.

1) The Caribbean Poker Classic is alive and well and will be held again in 2007.
2) The Golden Cup Series of Poker (GCSOP) is to be held across Crypto from w/c 4th June

Full Details below

The £500,000 GOLDEN CUP SERIES OF POKER (GCSOP) is a one-week event consisting of seven separate poker tournaments, beginning on Monday, June 4th and running through to Sunday, June 10th.
Win a piece of the £500,000 guaranteed prize pool and take part in one of the most anticipated Hold’em series online this June...the GCSOP.
The GCSOP offers a range of buy-ins in No Limit and Fixed Limit Hold’em to meet the hearts of online players at all levels. Additionally, players will get triple chips (4500) for the preliminary events, with 10,000 chips for the final event. Blinds will increase every 20 minutes for preliminary events, and every 30 minutes in the £1000 Golden Cup Final.
In other words, there will not only be tremendous value for players, there will be plenty of play with a ton of room to manoeuver!
Best All-Around Player (BAP)
The top 15% of finishers in each of the seven tournaments will earn points towards the Best All-Around Player (BAP) awards. $30,000 in cash and prizes will be given away to the top four BAPs!
$10K CPC packagePLUS $5000 cashPLUS the Golden Cup award
$10K CPC package
$4K CPC Lite package
$1000 cash
The BAP will be determined using our tournament points system which considers tournament buy-in, number of entrants, and of course, individual finish in that event. Results will appear the following day in the poker lobby area.
BAP Points earned = Tournament Points x Buy-in.
BAP Points are only awarded for the June 4-10 finals.
The GCSOP recognizes excellence in tournament play.

This is the first time this has been bought to crypto so enjoy it.

Littlewoods are once again offering £100 for 1000 MPPs this month, so make the most of that. No Codes necessary.

Once you have done that you can also get the same from UK Betting and $50 from DTD for 250 MPPs but you will need the code DTDAPR.

Betsafe have a bit worse value but you can get $500 for 3500 Mpps.