Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still in the black... for how long?!

This month poker has been a yo-yo ride, up one week, down the next... Looking at my spreadsheet I've cashed in every 3rd game so far, but the returns are small, I wipe it out in the next 2/3 buy-ins then I'm in the black again. Crashing out early of the main games at the DPN, I usually jump into the side cash game and take that down. Played in the Tallaght Poker Room scalps and came 3rd for €100 plus 4 scalps at €5 each. Okay these are small buy-ins with a lot of newbies and donks lately, I've lost count of how many times I crashed holding the best hand pre-flop to a lucky chancer who called because they "could afford it..." or the immoral "... they were soooted!" Meh!

But hey, I really do cherish these experience as I'm off to London this weekend for the UK Deaf Poker Series ... and trust me, those players will put our usual donks in the shade and make you cry! I'm so looking forward to writing my report on the event! LOL!

Last year myself and Susie went over to the first series which was an total expereince in itself! We were among six Irish players in a 60+ British strong field, narrowed down to the final 9 with 3 of us Irish on the final table (says a lot doesn't it?) including myself and Susie. I was shortest-stacked but held on only to bubble in 6th place while Susie cashed out in 3rd. This year's tournament kicks off with a much smaller-buy in of £35... an unbelievable 50% reduction on last year's buy-in and includes a hefty £10 reg that Cee still harps on about! (Me thinks its the loose standard he is more worried about than a measy tenner!) The organisers said they were more interested in getting the numbers in, they were hoping for 120 players, and hey! There's 131+ registered... Bravo! I expect that number to be exceeded on the day too, generating an acceptable prize pot to be shared among the final 10%! Didn't they do well?

I'm going over with an open mind and no expectations. Planning to put the wee profit I have this month to good use and enjoy myself doing it with no regets! I'll be play uber-tight-aggro: if I'm out first - first hand even - so be it! But I promise ya I will exit on the best hand pre-flop at least... Bring it on!

Good luck to all the Irish playing on Saturday, try not to get toooooo excited about the AA or KK hand until you know you have the nuts...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Copycats never win!

Thursday night and the Gum was in flying form... we hadn't seen her in ages, she was telling us about her latest 'big' success at the Fitz cash tables last week sitting down with €300 and leaving with €1850! Sweeet!

Betting 4xBB UTG+2, as Gum traditionally does with any two in the opening hand, I called holding KcQc in BB (this is our very first hand of the night, BTW) SB comes along for the ride too. The flop comes out JQ10 all spades, I check-raised her and she called my raises on all streets before pushing when the 8s appeared on turn. I folded reluctantly and she proudly shows 99s with the 9 of spades for a sick straight flush! Niiiice! I was down to 3,250 before the second hand was dealt. My, has our Gum has really improved big time?

But no... But we were reminded how baaaaaaaad she plays too! Playing Q6 into AQ on a Q6xxxx board, and winning with J8 against AA and AK on Kx8xJ board(!) Then ousting me spectacularly in 2nd level holding the sickest hand yet: I raised with Ah8h, she called, board reads out A54 two hearts. Betting out she re-raises to put me all-in, which I duly called with top pair and flush draw as you do... only to see her coolly lay 54 off on the table(!) FFS! Cue titters all around...

Last night in the Bell, there were several new faces, some regulars missing and a new early bird chip offer that really worked as the game started off on time with two full tables. Looks promising for future games! One of the new players made a comment about all the women playing - there was 4 of us last night (Gum was absent)- expressing amazement when I told him we had 8 female players on the 'DPN network', in his local 'game' there was no female players at all!

A number of players noticeably changed their playing styles last night to mixed results. A couple of loose players tightened up, usually aggressive players turned into calling stations and slow played premium hands, while tight/safe players turned up the volume... I played like a total donk (I was genuinely trying to see if Gum's method works! LOL!) and paid for it bombing out 3rd last! GG!


I'm still looking for some cash coaching, if anyone has any recommendations!?

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Win of 2009!

I reset all my poker counters to Zero entering 2009... two live games and I was -€86 already(!) Was feeling really 'focused' heading to the Bell tonight: either I take it down or I cut out poker til after UK Deaf Open on 30th January...

The numbers were disappointing, barely 16 players, Robbie needs to advertise this game more! It offers a beautiful structure: 10k starting stack and 15 minute blinds for €50+10, it deserves much more players. With a three way prize pool of €700 (€100 kept back for the league which started again tonight...) I was determined to play tight to the end.

Got off to a good start with several great hands in succession which I hate, as I always get too many callers who managed to hit the flop and put my hand in the shade.

By the time we got down to 9 players (final table)the blinds were 1/2k - Susie Woosie was chipleader on 40k approx and the rest of the table were hovering just above/below average with 2 short-stacks less than 10k. I had 18k, checking K4s in BB with 5 callers, flop came out Q74 rainbow, action checked around. Turn 4 - I threw out 6k and got two callers, river was 2. My 12k saw them fold and I was up to 38k just behind Susie. Susie lost 16k playing A10s into all-in's AA that hand also eliminated two short stacks with 15k between them. In the next hand blinds were 2/4 I found Ah4h in CO-1 to her button, and raised to 12k. Susie had less than 25k hummed for a minute, I knew by her expression that she had a decent hand and resolved to fold if she pushed but no, she called. The blinds and EP limpers got out of the way fast. Flop came Q49 spades, throwing out 11k into a 35k pot I hoped it would show a flush or AQ and expected Susie to fold... but she shoved her remaining stack over the line and tabled JJ. Oooooh, I was in trouble with my low pair... but turn brought an ace and poor Susie was out making me new chipleader. Few hands later we were down to the bubble with 4 players, I raised on button with KJ. The 2nd chipleader (who won with AA) had limped in UTG, called my raise when the blinds folded. Flop came out J high two diamonds. UTG shoved for 35k and I insta-called, he tabled QdJd; turn brought a King but no diamonds and I was chipleader with over 100k facing two players with less than 23k each.

Tweety was shortest-stack in SB shoved for 12.5k into my 2k BB, finding 3s8s I called to see him table J8o and taking it down on a J high board. The criticism I got was absurd! Eh? I had over 100k, I was BB and knew he was shoving with a high hand; I felt my low hand had a 6-1 chance of knocking him out and went for it... but no... I got told off by Susie and Shuddaman for playing 'bad'! Comments anyone?

A little later I was on Button with Ac6c (blinds 2/4k)and raise to 16k. Shuddaman is in SB and shoves for 36.5k... I called the remaining 20k and faced AJoff... no pair for either of us and Shuddaman is new chipleader on 73k to my 60-odd and a serious threat to me. Graham (the dealer) who had remained silent at the last criticism looked at me sternly "Hmmm, now THAT was not a good call Jules, a 'good' player knows when to fold..." Looking back, considering the possible chip advantage and the Shuddaman's 'tight image', yes, I accept in this spot it was an awful call: I should have folded my A6, I should fold anything other than AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK or AQ.

Knocking Tweety into 3rd place I faced Shuddaman HU 70k to his 90k (approx). Tweeety and Tony voiced an opinion that we should split 50-50. Susie laughed "don't think Jules will split..." Shuddaman looks at me "shall we play it out?" I nodded thinking 'sure... I will be walking outta here with the top prize anyway!' and settled back in to enjoy the HU.

Our HU lasted a good 20-30 mins, blinds increased to 5/10k, I had gradually clawed back the advantage to me with 100-60 when I found Q3s in BB, checking to see the flop: 367... while deciding if I should shove or check... Shuddaman acted out of turn shoving his stack over the line. WTF!? Smelling a rat, I tanked for a minute to think, I knew from watching him play previous HU he likes to slow-play good hands and push on nothing other than underpair, two overcards or draws. My pair was good... but before I had actually decided anything I just 'heard' a voice say "yeah... I call...". Uh oh was that me!??? a fine trickle of sweat ran down my back.

Tabling my Q3, Graham nodded appreciatively, then looked shocked at Shuddaman's 84off hand. "A draw!? You push with a... ohhhhhh... okaaaaaay... a pair of 3s against a straight draw... lets seeeeeeee..." Turn 10. River 2 and it was all over. I had won and was sitting top of the new Bell league to boot. I was still sweating leaving the pub! Even now I'm still warm and the window's wide open...

I'm so glad to have a win starting off my 2009 bankroll, I've kept my resolution to avoid the cash tables too... Long may it last!!!!

Next Tuesday (13th) Susie and I will be hosting a free Deaf Women's Poker Night in Drumcondra to teach some newbies and help other Deaf women players to improve their game. There's some potential players in IDP including IMFT, her partner Maura (who put me out of the PTIG's Swedish Open Satt last Saturday... Grrrr! Serves me right for limping in with a premium hand... meh! WP Maura!) and Cee's sister SJ. Our aim is to have whole bunch of IDP women playing at the 2009 Ladies Championship (now postponed to a later date)... So here goes! Hopefully we have a major winner among our numbers yet!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking back at 2008.... Looking ahead into 2009

Happy Hangover Day! Yes I've got a fine clanging one... Went home to Roscommon to my mam's pub and the bloody barman kept giving me different drinks cos they had ran out of scotch whiskey(!) I was given Bourbon, rye, Irish, rum and something that smelt like Southern Comfort but tasted like Drambubie! I get serious hangovers when I mix my drinks... regardless if I'm drunk or not!

2008 was a swinging year for me... I got off to a good start in January but went down, down, down after that, my 2nd place win in May's Irish Deaf Poker Open put me right back into the black until a disastrous June & July brought me to a new low and I had to fight hard to regain some sort of bankroll (never mind making a profit!) October and November brought decent wins at both tournament and cash. December was break-even... up in tournaments, down in cash.

Playing at the cash table is my biggest leak. If I cut out playing at the tables I would be up by 3k... Not the €1370 that my records currently show. Pretty sobering thought eh? I will take a leave out of Cee's book and 'swear off' them for a while! Maybe I just stick to SnG/Tournaments like BigMickG does? I usually get off to a flying start in tournaments, become one of the chipleaders at some point, reach the final table even but then I crash.

In fairness this is my first year playing outside the Deaf Poker circuit, so I shouldn't complain! We can't all expect have spectacular wins in our first year like DOKE... hmmm!

Highlights of 2008 include coming 6th in UK Deaf Poker Open and winning 2nd place Irish Deaf Poker Open (May 2008); organising a charity poker event in September which raised an impressive €1,781 for DeafHear despite a low turnout; joining the IDP committee and organising the Deaf Deepstack Classic in October 2008 - our best tournament yet. Meeting and getting to know some of the notable players on the scene, and putting a face to the people who comment here and on! Playing with and dealing to some brilliant (very experienced) poker players, I really learnt a lot, my game has improved from being at the same table as some of them too.

2009 looks big for Deaf Poker, both here and abroad. As well as IDP's two events in May and October, I'll be venturing to Sweden and the UK for some meaty action.

I've registered for the UK Deaf Poker Open on 30th January, which is being heavily (and unfairly IMO) criticised by Deaf players for the lack of dealers and high reg fee etc. UK Poker is only new, the first UK Deaf Open event last year was organised by players who had never played outside of their home games, Stephen Draper has taken over the organising this year and is a highly capable and experienced player, so lets give this event a chance guys...

Swedish Deaf Players added an interesting dimension to our Deeepstack event, I met some quality players and heard a lot about one pro-poker Deaf player who resides in Sweden. I've promised them I'll make a trip over to play at at least one or two of their main tournaments this year. With six events to pick from I better get a move on and decide pretty soon... hurry up with the dates guys!

On the regular scene I'll definitely play the Irish Ladies Poker Championships 2009 that Poker Ireland/Titan Poker are organising... and attempt at least two other big events (not the IO - I'll hold back till I have more experience me thinks! :-D)

2009 Poker Resolutions:

1. Stay away from the cash tables till I get some coaching.
2. Play all the IDP events, the UK Deaf Poker Open and two of the Swedish Deaf Poker tournaments.
3. Play at least two of the big tournaments on the Irish Poker scene
4. To show an 100% increase on my current poker profit for 2009
5. Improve my tournament game more

In a nutshell: I need to win... win more... win big!

Happy New Year Folks... may the river be good to you in all your races!