Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Welcome Back Macaroon

One of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
Sit back relax and make sure you have 10 - 15 mins to spare!

1 S0 Mac, what have you been up to?
I do a lot of competition fishing (ie for money) and have had my best year ever. Fishing is very similar to poker – some luck is involved but not nearly as much as most people assume. Once you realise that your results are largely in your own hands everything clicks into place – exactly as with poker.

Also in the throes of moving – our buyer said she would have our place in September, 2006 but the chain keeps breaking – you know how it is. Anyway the latest is that we shall be moving to near St Ives possibly in October.

2 The other thing I’ve been doing very well is getting older – 65 in October. At that point I will be officially retired. Technically at the time of writing I am still employed as a journalist, but on permanent sick leave because of severe hearing problems which have come about largely because of old age but not helped by being within a few feet of a bomb blast in Ireland in 1984 which damaged my inner ears.

I have been asked what I feel about the IRA, who planted the bomb, and it may interest some of you to know that I have never thought about blaming them for my damage. The fact is that this life is not fair…some people are born badly physically deformed, some are very strong and others very weak, some are mentally deficient, some have accidents, and in wars innocent people are maimed and killed. That’s the reality. I accept my failings, and my misfortunes, with equanimity… though I would like to change them of course.

As a journalist I hope I can look at the situation from the outside, and in many ways equate their actions to those of the French Resistance; both of them did whatever they felt necessary in the circumstances, and innocent people were killed. Of course both attracted men who simply enjoyed the violence; but both showed extreme courage at times.

The fact is that wars are terrible and almost always avoidable…and the sooner governments realise that the better. Having been to Ireland a few times I think I know a little of the background to the ‘troubles’ and understand why British newspapers have felt themselves unable to publish much of the truth about the root of the problems.

3 Have you had any big successes in the last year?
I can honestly say now that since starting poker I am in profit. That is largely thanks to two nice wins in a $5 and a $20 tourney with Victor Chandler, netting me nearly $3,000. But I have consistently been in the prizes since then, and am managing to win enough to cover all my entrance fees, so that balance of nearly $3000 is still there – not bad for a $50 deposit.

I record every game, and write in my winnings, and have a column which I tick if I get within striking distance of the money – if there are 100 prizes I tick if I get in the top 200. I get money or a tick in one third of all my tourneys. I think that is a fair way of gauging my true form, which is satisfactory to me for I can only improve I think.

Interestingly, though I rarely play cash games I win in two thirds of those I play. That’s mainly because I leave when I have doubled my money. I am not ‘in the zone’ on cash games yet, and still have to work out the difference between cash players and tourney players. I also tend to make a profit in STTs though I don’t play many. I tried cash thanks to advice from Noseyboy – thanks mate!

4 Have you learnt any lessons in the last year?
The lessons I have learned include the fact that the tighter I play the better my results. And I have learned not to be afraid of rebuys; in fact I have done rather well in these, latest being the last tourney I played when I was fourth for $150 after re-buying once, after about 50 minutes, when I went out on a real bad beat, and then taking the add-on. So total outlay was $18.50.

PS I went out on a real bad beat – 77 out to AQ…no A or Q or straight came down – I was counterfeited by JJ and KK on the board! He did apologise!

5 Have you learnt any lessons in the last year?
I notice the penchant for players to enter speed and turbo events, which I guess attracts the players who rely on luck. There’s even a tourney on Poker Heaven with one-minute levels! And the tiny freerolls are amazing – hundreds of players competing for £10. Doesn’t make sense to me.

In the tournaments I play I think players are generally better than 12 months ago. I now see some who sit through the first two or three rounds and simply don’t bet. I also now notice the interest in the several big ‘World’ tournaments and saw a discussion on TV the other night about how the true World Champion should be decided (I say ‘saw’ advisedly since I couldn’t hear most of it!).

I also notice that the various sites keep changing their set-ups, generally for the better. I just wish I could work out how to get the Hand History with Poker Heaven! And I see that the TV seems to have less poker now than a year ago; not sure whether that is good or bad as it takes the heat of criticism off a little.

6 Has your approach to poker changed during this time?
My approach had changed, in that I am quite happy to lay down big hands without a second thought in the early parts of tournaments.

I will not now normally willingly go all-in against more than one opponent if it means I could be eliminated – that is unless I am certain I hold the nuts of course. As an example the other day I held KK and there were three all-ins in front of me and I folded (glad I did). Clinton gave me my first lessons in poker, and he is renowned as a tight player, Having experimented with looking at lots of cheap flops with nothing, which does not work for me, I guess I am now probably as tight as Clinton…and that’s saying something!

However, on the final table I now know that one must take chances with lesser hands or the blinds will eat me up. However, I still normally show my winning hands (even if not challenged) in the early parts of tourneys, and I think this pays dividends later, when players will fold knowing that if I raise I have a big hand.

7 Do you have a new ambition?
My ambition was to make a living wage; but I am still serving my apprenticeship. However, more haste less speed, and I am sure that once I step up the money stakes I will make a reasonable profit, as I find the bigger-money tourneys much easier to play, with far fewer loose players. But I am naturally cautious.

Currently the most I have ever paid to enter a tourney was £12. Generally I keep to the £2 or $5 stuff. The $20 tourney I won was the result of a late-night sitting when I had picked up money in another tourney, and felt great (ie not tired). I’ve never entered another $20 game; perhaps I should.

I managed to qualify for the old Littlewoods £15k a few times, best result 10th. And also qualified several times for the smaller one, now $6, but have never bought in.

8 I’m still Macaroon on Littlewoods – Clinton played against a MACAROON recently, but don’t know who that is. I’m also Macaroon on Victor Chandler and Poker Heaven.

9 Are you still playing as much poker?
I’m playing more late-night games, but never more than one table at a time. I really think this helps me get into the mind of some of the other players, as I take Helmuth’s advice and watch them carefully when I am not in a hand – it’s easier to concentrate when you’re not involved.

PS. Hellmuth’s Play Poker like the Pros is one of the worst books I have ever picked up! I’m not even sure what the title is cos I think I threw it away. Contrast that with Harrington’s which are brilliant and I keep them beside me when I play.

10 I haven’t played much on Littlewoods recently. I opened accounts with Victor Chandler and Poker Heaven because they use different software and I didn’t like the way some cards came down on Crypto. Not just my hands – but other players as well. The number of straights filled on the River was incredible.

I once kept a score of the pre-flop all-ins in a Crypto tourney. Out of 18 no fewer than 13 were won by the weaker hand. I understand that no system can yet give absolutely random cards and that a certain number of different stacks are used, the ones used chosen at random. My conclusion is that the majority have a lot of high cards near the top, since high cards come down much more frequently than a random deal should give them, and that since high cards tend to be bet the most frequently, then a high-card straight will be given more often than it should be.

I have not noticed as many anomalies on the other sites. I have played on Crypto recently, and can’t remember any really terrible results, so perhaps the software has been updated.

I look through my book and note the following recent results, all on Crypto: 99 out to 10 10; AK (K tripped) out to 77; AQ (Q paired) out to flush on river; flop 99Q I have a Q he has a 9; KK8 flop I have an 8 he has an K; QQ loses to AK – none of those are real bad beats, also I haven’t seen so many AA and KK dealt together. So perhaps things are better now.

One other thing – some of the chat is quite despicable. I have made two complaints to Littlewoods. I don’t notice this on other sites, possibly because a lot of the players there are foreign, though most seem to speak English or are British ex-pats. I genuinely think that players will be closing their accounts because of this problem on Crypto, which I assume is because many players are young Brits who think it’s normal to speak like they do.

I wish Crypto would show the hand just folded while play is still going on. Otherwise I must say I like the Littlewoods site better than any other.

11 Your best players were Azimut, Animal, ClintonO, 007apr, Noseyboy and Leonarch has this changed?
I haven’t been playing the bigger tourneys on Crypto so haven’t come across the same players I mentioned a year ago. So unable to comment whether they are still dangerous. I assume they are. Haven’t come across any others because in the large-entry small-money games you don’t often see the same players night after night.

12 Anything else you want to tell us?
Another reason I haven’t played as much on Crypto is because of the smaller number of players. I prefer the 500-plus tourneys as I do much better. Also, I qualified for the £12 satellite to the Sunday £40k the other day; came to play the second satellite and it was cancelled because not sufficient number of players. That is so annoying. VC usually has around 1000 for the 8.10 pm $5 freezeout, which I love.

Did OK in my first Headhunter on Littlewoods. Did all the hard work taking all but 30 of one player’s chips on an all-in, but of course get no payment for that! The next hand he tilts of course and goes all-in and someone else gets the payment; I can see why it is popular.

I love some of the blogs – specially Blue Scouse (must be barmy, but very honest); that leads me to Brian Townsend, which is awesome as he makes $100k and more in a day sometimes, and even more; of course he loses sometime. Poor bloke lost almost $1m in a week a month ago. Have recently found Ukgatsby, who like me plays only the smaller tourneys. Came up against him on Crypto a couple of days ago and he went out with an appalling play on his part. Sorry mate! My first port of call, though, is still ClintonO.

I now write a poker column for a local paper, the editor of which is a friend of mine. No payment, but hope I am doing my bit for the game. He tells me his Managing Director loves the column. I state I play only small-money games, and anyway if I played for bigger money there would be lots of complaints no doubt.

Finally, I would like to start a blog, and mention EVERY SINGLE win and loss, as I can’t get a real handle on some of the bloggers because they obviously like to make out they are successful but don’t mention all their games. But I would be unable to write horrendous stories about going out and getting blathered, which seems to be the favourite occupation of some of the bloggers out there…

I could call it the Ramblings of a Boring Old Fart; or perhaps Pensioners Poker!

Thanks Mac, a most excellent interview!



Anonymous said...

I admire the way Macaroon enjoys his poker without it costing him anything, and without taking big financial risks. If only we could all manage the same! Agree with his comments about chat on Crypto. I play on Mansion too (where there's a lot less chat generally), and recently there have been lots of warnings flashed up about abuse of the chat system not being tolerated. Maybe Crypto should follow suit.

Ukgatsby said...

Nice interview =)