My motivation and passion for the game is back which is great however I seem to be coming to a crossroads lately with what to do.

On one hand I have a burning desire to improve in cash games mainly because I see it as a consistent way to make money and even more when moving up the levels (hopefully), I would be very content to be beating the top end of SSNL and if I could beat the game at even the bottom end of MSNL for a decent winrate of ~2BB/100 over a large sample each year I’d be a very happy man! I’m a long way from that so I won’t worry too much about that for now.

On the other hand I would like to get back into the tournament scene again, it was how I’ve grown my bankroll and it seems to be where the value is at the moment since the cash games have dried up somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, there is still money to be made in cash games but it takes a lot more work than tournaments I think. I sort of regret not pursuing the tournament path when it was all going well for me in 2009 but I did learn a lot from going down the ring game path too, which I am grateful for despite not winning from it.

For the foreseeable future I have decided to ban myself from watching TV shows, it may seem extreme but so is watching an entire season over a weekend! So enough of the TV show binge, it’s time to use that time for more productive activities like grinding, studying and regular visits to the gym. As a treat, I could watch a movie or two but definitely won’t be watching TV shows for a while.

My router at home seem to have fried recently so whilst waiting for a replacement router I think I’ll be spending more time doing some studies this weekend, I’m out most of Saturday but will try cram some study time when I get home in the evening. What I will also do is just not go on the Internet on certain days or have blocks of time in the evening where I will remain off-line to study so I don’t have distractions. Time seems to go really quickly when I have my Internet browser open and it’s worrying as I don’t feel I’ve done anything productive!

Another thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I don’t take downswings very well, in fact it’s so bad that it completely stops me from wanting to play hence why I stopped for over half a year! I need to work out how to combat this and push on – at the end of the day Time is Money and I need to stop wasting it!

Big oops for 2010 – I planned a big productive year and had high hopes but that didn’t go according to plan. In essence this is what happened…

As mentioned in a previous blog entry, each year I played poker I made more than the previous year in winnings so was hoping that would be the case again for 2010. One of my biggest aims was to grind 300,000 VPPs on Stars starting from May and if it went well do like 600,000 VPPs in 2011 and go for SNE in 2012 (very ambitious I know!). I created a spreadsheet to see how I would do depending on my winrate and was expecting to play at least a million hands this year, even at a modest winrate it was worthwhile.

likeywr90

To help me with this I was debating whether or not to hire a life coach. I was speaking with Wazz about life coaches and he recommended a good one to me so I got in contact and met the guy, the chat went really well but I hadn’t made a decision yet (bankroll nit alert) and said I’d get back to him after my honeymoon. The reason for the life coach was to help with motivation and to keep me on track throughout the year, I’ve always had problems with completing projects that I start so figured this would be a great investment. If I could be cured of this then surely I’d be successful in anything I wanted to pursue providing I put in the hard work and followed it through. He asked me what 3 mini goals I’d like to have for the year and I mentioned poker, keeping fit and studying for IT exams which I think is a good balance as the goals themselves complement each other well.

At the time, I maintained Supernova status but lost that whilst on my honeymoon in the Maldives back in April. I ran good due to the volcanic ash cloud in Iceland as all flights were grounded which meant I got an extra week’s holiday all paid for by British Airways. :) However, it also meant I lost Supernova so I emailed SteveD whilst I was out there and negotiated a deal to get me back on track for when I got back in the UK. I tried but couldn’t meet the target he proposed so ended up giving up on the mega grind, mainly because I lost Supernova but also because I wasn’t even winning at the tables so felt like I was just being a rakeback pro for the year. So in short – I gave up before I even started.

I took a massive long break of around 7 months where I didn’t play cash, in-between that time I decided to play a few live tournaments at International Club and just chilled, watched loads of TV shows/movies , browsed websites or caught up with friends. Getting away from the Supernova grind definitely felt good as it was like a big weight lifted from my shoulders, the same sort of feeling when you’ve passed all your exams and it’s the end of the semester or something. So for now, I’M A FREE BITCH, BABY!

In hindsight, I should walk before I run because I feel all this grinding has ruined my learning curve as I was essentially being impatient by playing more tables and moving up to stakes that I couldn’t handle. Recently I got the motivation to start playing again and this time I’m looking to work a lot harder on my game than before. You can check out my new journey on EMS forum: Likey 2.0

To conclude, I want to mention that BlackShuck has successfully reached Supernova Elite status for 2010 and this has been an amazing achievement and shows what hard work can do for you. He is a big inspiration to me and his fellow EMSers, hopefully he’ll continue to guide us to where we want to be because he is our biggest hero!

Happy New Year everyone! All the best to all you people who have set goals and challenges for yourselves. :)

Yep, it’s been nearly a year since I last wrote a blog entry so I’ll try make a better effort going forward.

I haven’t been that productive this year (more on that in a future blog entry) and as such I didn’t play many online tournaments this year, however I did have the urge to play some live tournaments at the International Club. There were a couple of festivals earlier this year so I got involved by winning a few seats via the satellites. One festival was in June called The Super Stack Series of Poker where I played the £500 MTT (35,000 starting chips with 50min clock), and the other one was the G.S.O.P. in August where I played the 3day £300 event (22,000 starting chips with 90min clock). Both were great structures but I didn’t cash in either of them so FMTL!!

Just when you thought the structure couldn’t be beaten, Barry Martin mentioned a couple of months ago that he’s planning to do a tournament with a 100,000 starting stack! At first I thought he was joking and a group of us were joking about the structure saying stuff like how we could 8-bet fold if blinds started at 25/50. As it turns out, it really did happen and the club even introduced a new batch of tournament chips to replace the old which look really good! Although it sounded like a novelty at the time it was actually a big success – over 180 runners entered last weekend and I was there on Monday to rail Day 2.

The place was buzzing and even saw a few familiar faces that hardly come to the club any more, one was Laurence Houghton aka rivermanl/whatariver1 who is a superstar online but in my opinion is cursed in live tournaments. The curse continued as he got near the final table, his AA couldn’t hold against A6 and after rebuilding his stack he busted out with AA again to a sick beat where he flopped top set against Rob Payani’s TT!

Not only did Rob knock him out of the tournament, he managed to knock out 2 other people within those 4 hands during the bubble and made the final table as chip leader – going from 700K to 4M chips must have felt insanely good! In Day 3 he ended runner up but pocketed over £11,000 missing out on the trophy and just over £19,000 for 1st which went to Charlie ‘Coca-Cola Kid’ Vanka. Not bad for a £350 buy-in tournament!

Being the Satellite King that I am, I entered the satellite in hope of a seat but no luck this time so I didn’t play. I am really looking forward to participating in the next festival where hopefully I’ll have at least one 100,000 chip in my possession.

A quick mention for Sy “SykoSy” Zulhayir who recently joined as a Gutshot Team Pro so congrats! We chatted a couple of times but from what I can tell, he’s one of only a few who really understand both cash and tournaments to a high level. For someone who is mortgage-free with a 3 bedroom house in London as well as a BMW all paid for by poker – he’s done well! Which does confuse me because there’s no reason for him to be a Gutshot Team Pro but as long as he’s around I can pick his brain so I don’t mind. :)

On EMS forum, I’d like to mention that Bas had tweaked his tournament game earlier this year and since done extremely well. There’s another member called GAWA9 who has also improved immensely this year and no doubt he’ll keep on crushing. How he plays over 1500 tournaments a month is beyond me so big kudos to him – especially as he seems to be making $20K+ profit a month for several months in a row now! So for those who moan saying how they run bad in tournaments, well remember that sample size is one of the factors so keep on grinding and as long as you play a good game you should get rewarded.

One point I want to add – whilst writing this at work I realise I have a live tell, it’s actually funny because I realise it happens every time and I can’t help doing it! When someone walks past and I think they may be looking at my monitor screen I would touch my hair or subtly scratch my head. LOL!

I’ve not heard anyone use the term ‘Fuck My Tournament Life’ so hopefully it’ll go viral. :)

Good luck at the tables.
Likey

First off, I got engaged near the beginning of 2009 and had our Chinese wedding a few months later. The official wedding is scheduled for around Easter in 2010. Apart from that there wasn’t anything special happening for the first 5 months, all except running bad in tournaments – it was very common for me to reach the last two tables cashing in peanuts for all the hard work.

Since then I had far better results, took down the $20 cubed again in May so I was one away from getting a hat-trick in that tournament. August and September were very successful months for me, as mentioned in my August blog entry I won several seats to play the WCOOP events. I went super deep in the $1050 WCOOP 2-day event finishing 10/3268 which was extremely gutting but winning shy of $20K helped cushion the blow. One of my goals of 2009 was to cash 5 figures in a tournament so I got that one locked. :)

Here’s a screenshot of my OPR results for August and September 2009:
augsept

After that I had to take a really long break from the game to get over it and mid-October I got back to playing cash games again. I made just over $1K profit at the end of the month playing mainly $50NL which was a good start, I calculated that I could reach Supernova star status if I kept pace playing most days so that’s exactly what I did.

In November, I decided to use some of my winnings to have a home office setup, this includes two desks joined together along with two ergonomic chairs for me and Laura. I also built a new PC and got two 24″ Dell monitors to go with it – the whole project wasn’t cheap that’s for sure! Before that I was playing on the coffee table with my laptop whilst sitting on the floor with a cushion – very balla indeed!

There were some rough times ahead but it made me stronger and I have learnt from the experience. I think I’m starting to come out of the dark tunnel now but no doubt another bad run will be inevitable, I just have to ride it out when it comes. Looking back, I was running very bad and not realise I was playing in auto-pilot mode on 8+ tables to get VPPs thus playing bad too.

The good news was that I managed to reach Supernova on New Years Eve but the bad news was that I was down about $750 in December and my game suffered a lot trying to get there.

2009 was a very successful year overall for me, with each year winning more than the last. I can only hope that 2010 will be an even better year – hope it turns out well for you too!

Links:
Likey’s Cash Blog Latest update: 17th Jan 2010.
Likey is in the Well
WCOOP 28: $1050 Day 1
WCOOP 28: $1050 Day 2
WCOOP 28: $1050 Final Table Report by PokerStars Blog
Good luck to a forumite Gutshot Forum – WCOOP $1050 sweat thread.
They even put my table up on the plasma TV for everyone at the club to view that night. :)

Just kidding…

Time for an update on my thoughts throughout this journey thus far:

First of all I have to thank BlackShuck again for persuading me to get into cash games as I’ve been meaning to make a start but kept putting it off. I already put it off a year before after getting robbed by Microgaming/Tusk but that’s another story and is old news.

It has been over 6 months now since I started but the first few months were just me getting used to the idea of grinding. Looking back, putting in several thousand hands per month does not constitute to grinding. During those months I did start off badly as nothing was going my way, I was playing 2-4 tables to get to grips with the game and also trying not to lose my money.

After several months of tiny grinding sessions and by that I meant a pathetic total of 6000 hands in June, 4300 in July and 2600 hands in August, I was still playing MTTs at the time so it wasn’t quite a full transition. My graph didn’t actually start going upwards until after 10,000 hands which was ridiculous. As for MTTs, there was a nice hot streak going for me in August where I won a $10 MTT for $5.2K and several big WCOOP Satellite seats for September. After bubbling the final table of the WCOOP $1K event I felt quite down and totally lost motivation so I stopped playing poker for 4-6 weeks although I can’t remember what I did in that time.

I was literally 2 hours away from being mortgage-free, if that happened I would have been spazzing out – jumping up and down saying ‘Click a Mouse, Win a House’ all day long!

A few people were asking whether I would still bother with cash games as I won a nice lump sum from tournaments but I was determined to make the transition. Towards the end of October I went back onto the $50NL tables and started off much better, admittedly I ran pretty damn good throughout the rest of the month playing 8000 hands. I didn’t really know how good I ran but winning felt good, it gave me motivation to continue so much that I played 32500 hands in November and reached Platinum Status. November was a really tough month as I was up and down like a yoyo but glad I got through that because it was a good learning process, the frustration I got from being in profit and losing it all 2000 hands later was immense, especially when it happened a few times throughout the month.

This month is even worse, I do blame myself for playing too many tables and not studying the game, haven’t watched a video since July/August. Instead, I have been listening to podcasts and experimenting with different lines. Chasing for Supernova this months seems to be costly as I had my biggest swing so far: from being up $500 to being -$1000 so far. I was dabbling with $100NL but have moved back down to $50NL and have even tried mass-tabling $25NL.

My feelings towards the game is towards the negative side at the moment, understandable there will be rough patches but hopefully I’ll be on the good side of that very soon. This is all part of the learning process and it’s good that I am having to deal with it, you can’t learn very much from running good afterall. For a short term goal I just want to get enough VPPs to hit Supernova so it can roll-over for next year otherwise this month would be absolutely pointless, being 3400 VPPs away it’s not that far so it would be good to be done for the weekend but we’ll see. In January I plan to really step up my game and put in a lot more time to improving so I can actually stay on $100NL. Obviously I aim to maintain supernova for the rest of the year – if I get over 200,000 VPPs for 2010 then I would be very pleased!

I also want to add a special thank you to palmer2k6 who gave me a few coaching lessons back in July/August which I found really useful – especially when I made use of the 3/4-betting in the WCOOP $1K event. For cash games however, I still need to perfect this skill as my betsizing is probably a bit off. I look to get more coaching sessions in the future to fix my leaks for $100NL but I’ll see how I get on in the new year with my studies so I know what needs improving that I can’t get via videos.

Lastly I want to thank all those who put in the time to join me in my sweat sessions, hopefully there will be plenty more in the future and keep me chatting. I used to chat a lot but lately I haven’t been speaking much so it’ll be good to get me out of the shell a bit more.

Bradley_w suggests I play MTTs at least once a week because I’ve put all that time to learn it and stopped playing, had no urge to play really but it’s still a very good idea so I’ll plan a (flexible) schedule for next year.

There’s more to say but not sure where to squeeze it in so will leave it for another post, probably at the end of the year.

This month has been insane so far! First off I took down the $11 MTT at the beginning of the month for decent 4 figures then went off on holiday. During my holiday a mate rang to inform me of the Extreme Satellites on PokerStars with added seats to the WCOOP series. I wasn’t back until August 10th and this sick promotion with over $1M worth of added seats ran between August 4th-16th, I was excited when I got back and saw that there’s still plenty left for me to play despite missing out on a whole week of satellites.

That same evening I totally forgot to register for the 7pm so decided to stay up to play the $75+7 Extreme Satellite with 50 added seats. It was for the $1050 ticket which started at 2am and I managed to win one first go! I was so chuffed as it meant I didn’t need to ask for stakes this year as I did the previous two years.

The very next day there was a $75+5 to the $530 ticket with 50 added, unfortunately I busted out of that one pretty quickly due to some donk who decided to slowroll me with Aces. I wasn’t too discouraged, the next satellite was the $25+2 and it was for a $320 ticket which I manage to win. There were a few $25+2 with 100 added seat satellites to the $215 that I failed but it wasn’t a problem.

Sunday night was a shocker, I really wanted to play the $200+15 Extreme Satellite with 50 added seats for the $5200 ticket which is for the WCOOP Main Event which has a $10 Million GTD Prizepool. This is an amazing offer by stars as they’ve added over $250K into the prizepool, my plan was to get into this cheaply as $215 was still expensive for me, I thought the best option was to play the Step 3 SnG ($75+7) to win a $215 ticket but that didn’t work out – I repeated Step 3 about 7 times and then bubbled it eventually.

It was getting near to 9pm and it was about to start, I said to Jagz7 that I am a bankroll nit and shouldn’t be playing this as I lost in the Step 3 but f**k it, I’ll give it a go seeing as it is super value! In the end there were 2327 runners and 139 seats with $2600 cash for 140th, I happen to be one of the ticket holders after grinding an intense 3hours 20mins for it! :D

In total I played in 6 Extreme Satellites and cashed in 3 – the $1050, $320 and the $5200 for a total of $6570! The only catch with these satellite tickets is that I cannot exchange them for W$ nor use them for any non-WCOOP tournament so I will have to play them, I am already prepared for them because I booked time off work in case I go deep, I’m not one for pulling sickies.

I really hope that my boomswitch remains ‘on’ during the WCOOP series, even min-cashing would be good as it means I convert the tickets into real money. I haven’t decided whether to sell any pieces yet as I’ve only qualified in for cheap so would be missing out on a lot of value, however I may do percentage swaps as that’s the thing to do these days to slightly lower your variance.

This does remind me of when I won 2 x Step 6 tickets back in May/June and had to play them, both worth $2100 but unfortunately they were worth nothing because I busted out of both.

I can’t wait to play the WCOOP events in September. In the meantime, I still have another week and a half to make the most of a good August.

Wish me luck!

Hello All,

Sorry I haven’t updated my blog in a while, have been rather busy with things and really needed a holiday. It was a good job I had 2 weeks off recently but even better that I shipped a tournament before I went away – my birthday was coming up too which was good timing.

Here’s the write up I did for it, which should also be featured on the EMS front page shortly.

I’ll be back for more updates soon, I hope you enjoy the read in the meantime.

Likey


Likey wins the $11 MTT – $15K GTD (4032 runners)

This isn’t a tournament I usually play, nor did I take it too seriously – mainly because I had already ‘donked off’ on all of my other regular tournaments such as the $3 rebuy and the $20 cubed. After busting out of those I only had this $11 MTT left so I had to one table it like a live pro.

Laura kept bugging me to pack because we were going on holiday the next day; it should have already been done and I really shouldn’t have been playing any tournaments the night before – or so Laura kept telling me! I kept saying I would pack as soon as I busted out. There were a few spots where I should have been out but kept winning my races and even shown her my laptop screen every time I shoved but kept hitting my Ace on the river which she found amusing, but she then followed it up with “can’t you just lose so you can pack?” My response was “I’m trying, I’m trying… I just can’t lose a race today!”

Eventually, with this care-free attitude, I made it into the money just by shoving when I was down to between 8-15BB, then decided not to go crazy once I was in the money as I thought I may as well wait for a good double up spot. Laura, however, had given up on the packing front and had long gone to bed, muttering something or the other!

With a bit of peace and quiet, I was able to play short stacked poker throughout the money stage then the next thing I remembered was being 32 out of 38 players from the original 4032 runners. The key hand was when I had TT with 10BB on the Big Blind, I had already decided I was not going to fold. UTG+1 limped 12K and had a monster stack of 626K, CO shoved for 93K so I stuck in all my chips. UTG+1 then called with KK whilst the other guy had A7s. The flop came 25A so at this point I was ready to start packing… but the Ten dropped on the Turn and another Ten dropped on the River. I received a call from my mate and I couldn’t speak properly because of my astonishment but managed to mutter “how did I hold up there and hit Quads?!” then said I’m going to try win this as I have a good chance then abruptly ended the call.

I had 361K chips with just over 30BB with just 4 tables left, sitting 17 out of 36 and in decent shape to get to the final table. I was later moved to another table where I was dealt Aces UTG so I made a small raise and called BB’s shove and sitting with 510K. That was the only occasion I had Aces in the whole tournament.

Now I am just slowing trying to grind my way to the final table but also maintaining my stack, we shortly busted down to 2 tables and I have quite a few big stacks on my table with over 1 million chips, I was on around 600K with a few short stacks in the mix.

My plan was to get reads on all the remaining players by using OPR and from the way they were playing. There was an aggressive player two to my right I felt I had to be careful of as it felt – I could have been wrong though – like they were getting a little help from someone due to their pro-like bet sizes but poor OPR results.

The aggressive player is now chip leader and bullying the table, she’s raising plenty and did it when I was on the BB with AQo. I shoved my 20BB stack and she folded and said in the chatbox that she’s called with QJ before. I then told her to “call quicker” and said she “folded like a girl”. I was hoping this sets me up for a nice double up off her later in the game.

My stack went down quite rapidly due to the blinds going up, it was now 17.5K/35K and I had 434K sitting last. The chip leader raises yet again and we are now on the final table bubble with 10 left. I had KTs on the button and was about to shove on her but I had the other table open and saw that one of the players had just busted out. I thought it was better to fold as I’d have a better spot to shove when we were 9-handed.

During the final table I waited patiently for a hand to double up with, I was getting rather short and had 330K on the button when the blinds were 20K/40K, the CO min-raised to 80K but he seemed like a ‘clueless donk’ so I shoved A8o thinking it was the best hand. He called with KTo and I held up for a 765K pot.

A couple of players dropped out but I was still sitting 7 out of 7 with a 500K stack. The next guy above me had 1.3M chips. Blinds were 30K/60K and I had AKo on the button so I shoved and the tight player on the BB calls me with A7o with his 1.8M stack, my hand held up so now I had over ONE MIRRION chips – but still last!

Another key hand was against the previously mentioned aggressive player who was now chip leader with 2.8M chips, blinds were 30K/60K still and I had A7o on the BB. She raised 140K from the SB and I thought about what to do with my 1.2M stack because I wouldn’t get any value if I re-raise but A7o was too strong to fold. I opted to call and hope to hit an Ace so I could trap her. The flop was 93A rainbow, she checked so I trap-checked. The turn was a K which was a great card to represent, she bet 178K and I re-raised 366K leaving 766K in hope that she thinks there’s fold equity. She tanks and then shoves, I snapped called her so fast and typed “YOU’LL BE ALRIGHT” in the chatbox when I saw her table T8o. She tried to bluff me with ‘fresh air’ and now I’m sitting with 2.5M chips and very close to the chip lead.

I am now guaranteed 4 figures and decided to go for the win. A few players eventually dropped out including the aggressive player. A deal was mentioned 3-way but nothing was agreed so we carried on, one guy busted out the other guy so we were now heads-up. He instantly asked to do a deal whilst he had 2M more chips than me. I decided to play on: he was a weak HU player and I soon took over the chip lead and slowly grinded him down. He wanted to see flops a lot so I decided to see it too; I then took pots off him post-flop. It went on like this for a while and eventually I changed gears by shoving everything to see what he does as he was getting short, the final hand was him thinking he trapped me by limping KTs and I shoved with a real hand this time of A6o and got a full house by the river. Good game!

As this was the Sunday tournament it had a larger amount of runners (4032) giving me a nice prize of $5241.61, usually it would only get around 2800 runners.

After the win I still hadn’t packed and had given up on the idea. Instead, I stuck a Post-it note on Laura’s alarm clock saying “Wake me up at 11am I’ll pack then. I just won $5200″.

When her alarm went off, I got a nudge in the ribs with her saying “you idiot, you stayed up all that time to win 52 dollars?” I was like “WTF?! There’s no decimal, I won it – you donk!” and went back to sleep.

Memorial

Today marks the anniversary of the 7/7 bombing in London from 4 years ago, a memorial in Hyde Park which consists of 52 stainless steel pillars has been created – not to symbolise the 52 weeks of the year or the 52 playing cards in a deck but in honour for the victims who died that day.

This brings back memories of my journey to work that day towards Liverpool Street. It was interesting as I was chatting to my friend the day before about conspiracy theories, so when I was on my way to work an announcement was made for everyone to get off the tube and go up onto the streets I knew this could potentially be something BAD! I got off at Westminster station and could hear sirens and see loads of people trying to get on buses to make their way to work.

It didn’t feel right, I knew it couldn’t have been a regular tube problem and felt that an attack on London was very possible. I rang my friend who said “I TOLD YOU, I TOLD YOU!”, I reacted by saying if this is true we need to get out of London as soon as possible! Unfortunately I didn’t have my hands-free kit with me so was unable to listen to the radio on my phone to hear what was going on. I rang my now ex-girlfriend to check the news but no one knew that it was an attack yet, I might have scared a few people in the cafe because I said out loud my speculation that the bridges could be blown and that I had to get out of Central London as soon as possible otherwise I could be stuck here or worse!

When I finally got through to my boss I explained that I’d be late and he simply said to turn around and go home if I could so that’s exactly what I did. Shortly after that the mobile network went dead – no one were able to make calls for hours. I managed to get on a bus heading out of Central London, as soon as I was over the bridge I felt safe. I made it home for around 10:30am and immediately turned on the news to find out what was going on, the first images I saw were the blown up bus! I wasn’t surprised to find out that bombs went off but was shocked that I was so close to it all, especially as I was heading towards Liverpool Street. On the Derren Brown Forum there were pages and pages in a thread where everyone were worried sick about me and those who lived and worked in London, they were glad that none of us were hurt.

Speaking of Derren, he has been busy touring for his new theatre show ENIGMA and he’s currently at the last hurdle which is in the West-End here in London. I have front row tickets for this Saturday and looking forward to it, it has been extended for a further 3 days (23rd-25th July) so if you can get here then I advise you to get tickets if you’re interested.

dbenigma

Rail Bucks

You’ve all heard of Sklansky Dollars and G-Bucks by Phil Galfond right? I’m sure there’s some +/-EV there for Rail Bucks somehow, I’m no mathematician so there are no formalas or calculations here I’m afraid. Those of you who know me well enough will certainly know that I railed a lot of tournaments in the past but not the high-stake cash games.

I do admit it’s good fun to see how a player’s chips grow vastly or their demise in receiving an outrageous bad beat, it gets more interesting to see how the final table plays out. It has gotten to the point where it’s normal to see my friends winning 4-5 figures whereas a few years ago it would be amazing to see such a feat.

A lot of questions popped into my head when I first started railing – things like:
* Why is he raising so small?
* What can he be 3betting here with?
* Surely that’s a squeeze?

But I also aim to put people on hand-ranges and try to pinpoint their hand with great accuracy based on the betting pattern, sometimes I even bother with the suits. I used to also write notes on how people raise as the blinds went up, I then tried it for myself and realised that I got far deeper in tournaments than I ever did before.

Then there’s stack sizes to consider, it’s funny when someone with 10BB will raise 3-4bb and still pass when they missed the flop. Other fun things to notice are the sweat cards on the Turn and how their opponents outs always seem to follow on the River i.e. runner runner straight/flush/full house.

Nowadays I do it purely out of habit but when I first used to rail it was to get tips on how to play without actually having to ask – as mentioned above. So it has turned from being +EV by learning how players play to just railing them mind-numbly and I’d say it’s now -EV because I could be using that time to be playing or improving on my game instead.

So the next time you rail – think of the Rail Bucks you could potentially gain or lose.

I may have been a bit ambitious saying I would play 10,000 hands this month, so far I have only managed 3500 hands at $50NL and a pathetic 1250 hands at $25NL. I am still finding my feet this month and the lack of volume put in is not a good start, at least I will still be on Platinum Status until the end of next month so all is not lost. I’m just worried that I won’t be able to reach the June bonus as planned, there’s still a week to go so perhaps this is still feasible.

I purchased a geeky piece of software called Holdem Manager last weekend and a lot of players prefer it over PokerTracker so felt I made a good choice. At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking I were sat at a Bloomberg Terminal but with playing cards – there’s certainly a lot of stats you can record from the players that you come across on the virtual tables but I really need to customise a HUD that works for me so that I can absorb the data instantly.

I have reduced the number of tables from 6-8 to 3-4 because there’s too many numbers on screen as it’s overwhelming and currently a distraction! Hopefully soon all this will become second nature to me and my decisions will be lightning quick so I can bump up the tables again. It was only recently that I could multi-table as many as 8 on my tiny laptop screen, it was to bump up my VPPs to qualify for the May VIP Promo playing Fixed Limit $0.50/$1.00, I got used to it quite well and when I did play the NL tables it wasn’t so bad either.

I did have to install a piece of software called x-mouse to deal with the table overlapping though. This awesome software, brings to the front, the window your mouse is hovering over so that you don’t have to click the table you want. Saving a click each time will save you a lot of time which of course can save you money! I don’t have the URL to hand but I’m sure you can Google it.

The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster, I started off up almost 2 buy-ins then it swung down to almost a 4 buy-in loss and been trying to get out of the hole ever since. I then decided to make yet another change to my game by switching from $50NL Full Ring to 6-max, I must say that Full Ring is so boring because it’s such a tight game, 6max should help my hand reading skills, reads on players and more importantly – improve my aggression.

I finally managed to claw back out of the hole recently and in profit for $1.55 which I am happy with. However, this is still early days evident from the number of hands played but it would appear that I do better in the 6max games. I will continue my journey with cash in 6max and further develop my game in this format via forums, videos and time on the tables.

Despite the lack of hands played, it has been an interesting month on the tables as I am still settling in. Hopefully I’ll have time to increase the volume to at least double next month and not to go below the $0 line ever again.

Bring on the uphill graphs!