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Taller than most. Louder than most.

More layers to my personality than an onion, peel me and I could make you cry.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I doubt many readers will remember a classic kid's book, Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter, where you had to play the "Glad" game.. no matter what happened Pollyanna (an annoyingly positive little chit) would try to help people find the positive side: something to be "glad" about. You know - my house was just flattened by a Tsunami. Cool, you needed to decorate anyway, now you can nubuild etc.

I read this book at an early age and no matter how I tried to fight it I think her refusal to accept bad news affected me from that day on, and I do believe it's what has got me through some pretty tough times over the years. I could have rolled over and given up so many times but I pick myself up, dust myself down and find something positive to focus on, and whether you believe in it or not, it does work. Positive thinking applies to poker - of course it does: if you are waiting for that one outer on the river after you flopped the nuts it always comes. Law of sod an all that.

If you are thinking positively other players at the table pick up on it without even knowing what they are feeling, other than that you are strong. So it doesnt matter whether you have a straight flush or 8 high, if you are giving off that strong, positive image it helps a hell of a lot. (Unless they have a Royal, in which case you're fucked)

But this post isn't related to poker today. An hour ago I was bawling my eyes out like Pollyanna's Aunty (you have to read the book!) but common sense combined with my indomitable sense of survival have allowed me to see the good news from a doctor's appointment this morning.

Friends know I've been having some tests recently as I've basically had a cough since Xmas, plus been pretty run down and feeling generally crap. I have had something called pernicious anaemia for 10 years now, which although I have monthly injections, it can still make you tired so i hoped it was this.

But I knew it wasn't. I smoke pretty much 60/80 cigs a day and I'd be pretty stupid to think a 3 month cough wasn't related.

So a week ago some bloods came back that said the anaemia was at an all time low, which I'm having some extra treatment for, so that explains why somedays even getting out of bed is a chore. But today my X rays came back and the doctor confirmed I have something called COPD.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the full title, basically it's lung disease and yes it is caused by smoking. I have tenatively googled it and I'm probably not ready to read most of the stuff when google returns "COPD - the final stages" and it isn't a film title. I have to go back for some breathing tests and we go from there. Treatment will involve loads of cardio vascular excercise (I don't even run after a £50 note if it blows away), inhalers, change of diet, change of lifestyle blah blah and obviously no cigarettes.

BUT ... here's Pollyanna...

Two lots of things to be very very "glad" about:

Firstly - depending on how bad it is, it may be able to be reversed, or at least stopped at this stage before it gets worse. This is MASSIVE. I currently can't breathe well at all and it's terrifying so to think that I might have a chance of actually turning this round is like a golden carrot dangling in front of my donkey nose.

Secondly, and this may sound like an If and But.. I DON'T have lung cancer. Obviously this was my biggest worry. Yes COPD is pretty bad but I have a chance of fighting it, a good chance I hope. I'm not sure how positive I would have been if faced with the news it was cancer, and it was what I was dreading.

So I need to concentrate on learning how to get better for a while. I won't be ruling poker out, but it will have to be controllable hours such as cash rather than too many late night tournaments as I need to give my body every chance to recover or at least not get worse. Plus it's a really good reason to Hit n Run - Oh I just won a big pot, I have to go, I have lung disease, okthankxbye ;)

Anyone know much about this disease? If you have it or know someone who has it (preferably still alive ffs) send me an email 2009cal@live.co.uk. Could do with a bit of moral support and/or advice x

Friday, April 01, 2011

I had a conversation recently that highlighted why certain women shouldn't play poker.

Women are generally regarded as calling stations, albeit usually calling with the nuts, whereas a woman with a bit of game in them is generally regarded as anomaly. Certain games bring these women out to play en masse, such as the Betfred Ladies Tour and the Las Vegas team Challenge on Encore/Genting. It was at the final of the latter that three such ladies who limp were on a table with Paul Jackson, who told them if any one of them managed to pull off a bluff he would have sex with them, although he disguised the offer well by saying he would buy them a drink.

Similar to myself, these ladies were all of the age where they know a drink isn't coming their way without having to work for it, so they all legged it to the loo to adjust their Tena lady pad in case they pissed themselves with excitement and returned ready to battle.

Unfortunately, none of the three Musketeers (or should that be Moustachentears) could pull it off (which I think Paul was relieved - or not - about) and at the break they all retired to a coven to discuss tactics, which is when I made the mistake of joining the conversation.

One of them was explaining to me that Paul had said he would get her a drink if she managed to make a play. She then explained to me how

"I've been limping in every hand, and calling every raise hoping to hit something but have had to fold each time. As soon as I hit something I'm going to prove to him that women CAN bluff."

Now then. Is it just me or is there something fundamentally wrong with every word of this sentence?

Of course there are some cracking women players out there, and I don't mean just on a pro level: I play certain girls on a  regular basis who I know are perfectly capable of outplaying most of the men on their table, but women like the ones in the story above let the rest of them down.

I've met some amazing women through poker, mainly through Rock Poker when I first started playing, and I'm proud to count some of them as very good friends. That's why I was very very sad to hear of the untimely death of Kendra Agnew, who died last week aged just 21 years old. I only met Kendra a couple of times, but knew her mum Paula from the RPO/Betfred Tour:  the whole family played poker, including Granny, and they were all great fun and top ladies. Kendra suffered from illness for years and never whinged or let it get her down, supported by her mum who took it all in her stride and had the kind of relationship with her daughter that I strive to have with my daughter. I can't begin to imagine how she feels right now but my heart goes out to her. There's quite a lot of the Rock Poker ladies going to Kendra's funeral to show our respects and support Paula, and all I can say is RIP Kendra Agnew x

Thursday, March 24, 2011

If Carlsberg made retards...

Manchester. Picture the scene. It's the £50 F/O donk fest at the G casino and a player has raised mid position, followed by calls from three players after him. I call with 79 in the SB.

The poker gods decide to reward my out of position call against a total of 6 players by flopping me a full house. Yes - 7 7 9. I bet this every day of the week cause I know I'm getting paid and sure enough I'm called by just the one player, the one who raised first.

Turn is a beautiful Ace. I'm loving this cause I now think i check as if scared and you know the rest. But when I check the OR checks as well.

The river is another ace.

I check and the OR bets out fairly weak. Now here's the bit I shouldn't be admitting, but as I have less shame than Jordan here it is.

Obviously I'm fucked here by the river. But in my head - where there is a hell of a lot of empty space - I was ahead. (Explanation to follow, bear with me, it's good )

So I reraised him. He flat called me (obviously the guy could only have been scared of quad sevens to have not put me allin here lol) and turns over AQ - obviously he now has the better full house. BUT...

I cheerfully turned over my now defunct 97 and asked the dealer what he was doing as he pushed the chips over to the winner - which wasn't me. Everyone - even the girl who had never played before - all looked at me as if I was mad (and what?), and the dealer quietly pointed out to me that the guy with the AQ had the better full house.

How we laughed!

Well, they did anyway. I just cringed for quite a while and "made my way over to the cash table".

I really can't defend myself other than Ive been playing so much hi/lo on Stars that I really did believe he only had trip aces PLUS I am thinking of other things at the moment - crappy defence but really is true.

That doesn't make it acceptable mind you! A bad workman blames his tools, so I clearly will blame myself - the biggest tool of all.

Played cash for a brief time and my heart wasn't it, then that fit guy who put me off playing in the last post bounded in looking pretty hot again so I raised with 8d2d flopped a flush draw on a j hi flop, other player also missed his flush but as his was the ace high draw it was enough and I couldnt get in the car fast enough.

One more lesson for the little notebook - Don't play poker when I have stuff on my mind. Especially if like me your mind is tiny and can't deal with two things at once :(

Get a lot of test results back early to mid next week so will know a bit more about my health worries after that, so can hopefully relax and play the Blackpool Deepstack without having to do the walk of shame after demanding my two pair beats a flush or something equally embarrasing.

As an aside -Facebook just gets randomer by the day: since changing my name to Cougar on there I get about 3 requests a day from people called Samir and Abdabwah, none of whom have any friends in common with me. I've realised I'm not so needy as to want these randomers on my page so flick the Not Now button, but every so often I get a request from someone I don't know but we have loads of poker buddies in common. Yesterday I get a request from someone, who although I don't know him, I know of him through other mates so I know he actually exists, rather than the botched stalker attempt someone tried at Xmas, so I accept but sent a message saying "Thanks for the ad, but we havent actually met have we?" I get a message back today saying "I can't believe you don't remember me, surely you werent that drunk?" I'm sure he's joking but I'm just off to trawl his pictures in case I had a brandy blackout at any time recently! Think it's time to change my name again - suggestions please? Be nice...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Doom switch?

I've only recently started to play on Stars as I'm comfy on iPoker with all the other fish. In January I began playing single table Sit n Gos in Omaha H/L and found them ridiculously soft - as long as you can dodge the mentalists it's pretty easy to cash, at this low level anyway.

Now I never check my stats online. Ignorance is definitely bliss and all that. But at a cash game in manchester last week someone I was sat next to brought up a stats site to check on another guy we were playing who was telling us all how good he was online presumeably to compensate for the fact he was bleeding cash live). Of course he asked me what my online name was and I told him - I had no shame admitting how bad I was online when sat next to him with over 1k in £50s at the time.

My tourny stats were still on a downward spiral due to all the UKIPT sats I had been a seat filler in, but my SnG graph was shockingly good! The lines were going up instead of down and it was blue not red, which was definitely a first. I was so chuffed I went home, fired up the laptop at 4am and promptly crashed out of seven games immediately.

Anyway, I've perservered with them, and stuck with low stakes 8 Game to stop me from getting bored and actually managed to cash out yesterday - only £400 but it's still better than depositing. I would have had more but a Blonde member sat at my table put the notion into my head to enter one of the Stars Sundays, where I was chip leader for about a nano second, then I was out.

I left about £100 to continue playing with and a few people said to watch out for the doom switch now I'd cashed out. Now I've put this to the test before on iPoker and personally don't believe in it for a second. I know exactly why I lose any balance straight after withdrawing a decent cash and it's nothing to do with a little switch that makes all my nut hands lose and fish catch one outers on the river against me. It's purely down to how I play. Whether its me playing too tight or too scared as I don't want to lose my remaining balance and have to redeposit, or whether its just that I got lucky to win a chunk and normal service has been resumed, I know I've never managed to cash out again a week later.

However, time to try and put that right, I'm going to rename the doom switch the self detonate button and NOT press it this time. (That sounded pretty convincing right?)

The Vegas league has started up again on Poker Encore and we played the first game last Monday where I managed to come a very credible 6th overall out of about 180 players I think. This time you can play Monday or Thursday and your highest placing goes towards the points: I didn't think I would improve so decided to go out and play cash on Thursday night - wish I'd played the League instead or even just stayed in and darned socks.

I don't normally play Thursday night and had been doing a favour for a mate on Thursday afternoon so went straight to the casino looking like a tramp. Not a sexy style tramp but a wino swigging smelly type. Played cash before the comp started, which I wasnt planning on playing anyway, and was happily slumped in my chair wearing a massive jumper which makes me look like the honey monster plus some old leggings with a hole in the crotch so I have to remember to keep my legs crossed, when a guy came in who I hadnt seen for ages. He came over to say hello and I remembered firstly just how much I fancied him and secondly what a trog I looked like. I turned into a proper girly girl and decided to go and play the comp to get away from him as being flustered isnt a state I'm comfortable with, and ended up balls deep in a shitty ten pound rebuy that I would have had to come first, second and third in to get my money back.

Somehow managed to tighten up after the break and found myself on Raf White's table as we played to the bubble, where Raf told me how much he enjoyed my blog,and how he laughed every time he read it as each comp entry ended with "as I made my way to the cash tables".

Obviously I bubbled, courtesy of Raf when my J10 soooted failed to hold against his inferior raggy Ace, so guess what? Yep, I made my way to the cash table....

Like a masochist I took the only seat available next to the guy I have a crush on and did in about £700 playing like a twat. Great night all round really.

Anyway plan for the week this week is the Vegas League again tonight followed by the comp at the G Tuesday night. Back to basics on the cash and stick with what has been working for the past three months - take a set amount, decide how many buy ins and leave if it's not happening. Oh yeah, and play better.

My daughter is off to to see a band on Weds night in Manchester and I'm the taxi, which makes me quite sad as live music has been a massive part of my life and I feel really old that I'm dropping her off at a gig and not going myself. Feel very tempted to pop down to Jillys/Rock World by myself and have a mad session before it's time to pick her up but I'm not sure this is documented anywhere in the responsible parent handbook.

Weekend after next is the Blackpool Mega stack organised by a good mate Rick Gilby, with Martin Devlin and the AWOP team. I won a seat on Encore for a tenner, but had to save it til this month due to it clashing with Luton last month. My mum goes back to Australia again in two weeks so I'll be limited to play live much after that.

One last thing that I'm really not looking forward to - I have to stop smoking. I have an appointment next Monday at a Smoking Cessation clinic and after that, I'll be a Non smoker. I don't have a choice as it's a health issue and I'm glad in a way as I have wanted to stop for ages - well that's a big fat lie actually, I enjoy every single fag I smoke pretty much, but I don't want to die before my daughter grows up, so given the choice, smoking is no longer an option.

I only mention this because I think I may well be pretty bad company until the cravings stop, so you have been warned - bad beat me at your peril ;)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I knew the day wasn't going to go so well once I realised I was wearing my 14 year old daughter's knickers.

Had a quick shower before heading to Manchester UKIPT for the £100 side event, got dressed in a rush as usual and drove off, thinking maybe I was just feeling a bit constricted after being in my loose pyjamas all day. Hopped out of my truck at the casino and nearly tore myself in two.

Hobbled in late for the comp and found my seat. Looking round the table I realised most of the kids there were probably the same age as my daughter and had a furtive glance to see if any of them were Cougar material, but mostly could only see some sort of massive headphones and shades comp going on.

Played first hand J10 on button in a 5 way pot and managed to bully the original raiser to checking down the turn AND the river with the nut flush on a J high board, which felt like an achievement in itself.

Second and last hand I find AA UTG. Blinds 25/50 I have 4300 chips left from a 5k starting stack.

Raise to 125 UTG. Called by guy to my left who has played precisely one less hand than me. Yep, a rock in a field of pansies. The flop comes 3d 10s 4d.

I bet out 300.

He raises me to 2000. I look at the flop and 100% know this guy has called my raise with a pair of tens. He's not repopping me with a flush draw, he's raising with his set because he doesn't like the flush draw and he wants to take it down there and then I assume.

I look at my two black Aces. I turn to the granite guy and say "You have a set of tens don't you?" He says maybe.

So after my soul. read I took the information he had given me, blatantly ignored it and went allin.

He had a set of tens and me covered. GG.

So that's the game reads coming along nicely: maybe a small step backwards in the folding department and a learning curve that is starting to make concentric circles.

So, off to the cash tables, where things improved. Couple of funny hands: an 11 year old boy comes to the table and raises his first hand havin sat down with the table max 300. I'm sitting on the button with j9 off and about £145. The game hadnt been going for long but I was firmly entrenched as table captain and wasn't prepared to relinquish my hold until I was showing a decent profit. (I sat down with £50)

So i popped his £12 raise (blinds 1/2) with £25 on top. He looked a little stunned, I think he was expecting resistance from the two Scandies to my left but had already written me off as a seat filler. Obviously I'm working the woman image and know he will assume I am raising with a premium hand so I figure I can take it down on most flops. He calls, and the flop comes 9 high, which gives me the added bonus of having actually hit something to carry off a C bet with conviction.

Ive about £100 behind he checks I give it a bit of chat and bet £47 clearing pointing out theres no room for folding in my stack and he passes. I flip my J9 and say "I bet I was ahead pre flop as well wasn't I" and he asks the dealer to flip his mucked Jacks over... Still can't decide who looked more stupid - me or him.

I only played a few hands and won pretty much all of them until I raised with 68 suited. The flop came down K68 and I bet straight out after the other four in the pot had checked round to me in the cut off. One caller, UTG a guy who hasnt played many hands post flop and has come across as weak rather than solid. He has about £120 behind after making the call, I'm up to around £350. Turn is a 5 and he checks, I bet out again for just over half of his stack and he sits forever before slowly sliding the lot over the line. I call, last card dealt and it's a 5, which I think has killed my two pair as Im assuming its now given him Kings and 5s.

Yeah my hand was dead for sure - he's filled out holding 56. Hmm.

Anyway ended up about £100 up on the whole night as in got my buy in back from the comp and paid for my food and a round of drinks for Dan Owston/Alex Martin etc, so on reflection was a pretty good result as the drinks alone were about 3 zillion pounds. The Owston Martin is much more expensive than the similarly named car, and possibly even smoother.. Just need to remember to keep my daughter's laundry separate from mine in future so I can move in my chair without feeling like I've just sliced through my butt cheek.

The next day I popped back up for cash and managed to cash out £1230 but was in for £800. Does that mean I'm horrendous or really good for being able to grind it back? Answers to someone who gives a shit - I got my dough back and I don't care.

First table was just sick, enough to make you give up poker and hurt people who shouldn't be allowed their own wallet, never mind allowed into a casino with other people. There was a clear no-fold policy across the board, regardless of pre flop action, regardless of what was on the flop - just regardless of anything. Guy to my right was a local who everyone says is "good for the game" Sigh How I hate that expression.

He called allins FOUR times, for amounts ranging inbetween £120 to £250 on flops with a middle pin and got there most times. Probably the best example was a flop of Ac 8d 9d with about £60 in the middle. He called a pot bet from the original raiser, with another two players behind. The turn was a Ks and he then called off £210 in a 3 way pot. River was a brick and he declares 10 high.

He flips over 10c 6s. He had NO chance of getting there as one guy had 10J  and the other guy had a low flush draw: the 10J guy had a  less money and so the 10 high won the side pot and he was chuffed to pieces as there was no comprehension in him of how much he'd lost in the main pot.

Eventually, after a really weak lad told me I shouldn't raise but just limp in like everyone else was doing, bearing in mind to him AJ was the holy grail, I decided to move to a different table and finally my game got going.

One slightly horrible incident where I'm having a bit of banter with a guy and ask him his name: he says something like Alyoysius and I started to laugh which I felt was a fair response as he was joking right? Nope, he was actually named after his Dad who had only just died. I only found this out AFTER he had shouted a bit and stormed off.

All joking apart I really felt low: bearing in mind I've recently had to live through my own dad's death and knowing just how much of an all time low I'm still struggling to get through, I actually felt like crying for being so crass. I left the table and went to find him to apologise and bless him he accepted it like a gent but I didn't feel any better :(

However, started to feel a lot better sometime later when I sucked out on someone after we got it all in on a flop of 578 with me holding 66: 10 on the turn gives him a set of tens but the 4 on the river sealed the suck out deal for me.

Left about 3am and nearly popped up tonight (saturday) to play the £300 side event but decided to take my daughter out shopping on the Sunday instead, which should prove much more profitable in the long run: just need to make sure any underwear we buy is clearly marked "Mum" and "daughter".

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The mental Age of Aquarius..

I have an amazing capacity to make a complete tool of myself with minimal effort.

Whether it's falling down a flight of stairs in a packed bar, breaking a heel at the start of a night out, saying the wrong thing just as everything goes quite, insulting people's parents tofind out they were orphaned at birth.. it never ends.

Years ago a mate and I were driving to the Lakes for a night out (we'd outstayed our welcome anywhere more local obviously) and we got lost on the unlit country roads. We chanced upon a patrol station and I bounced in partially dressed in a clubbing outfit to ask the guy there for directions. I told him we were looking for Windermere and he told me how to get there. As I left he called after me "Aquarius?"

I turned back to him, genuinely mystified and said "Wow, how did you know my starsign?" He looked at me like I was simple and said "No, Aquarius is the name of the club at lake Windermere. I assumed that's where you were headed".

This is just a small sample of some of the frankly retarded things I can do but I thought I had improved, like wine, with age. Nope, I'm still a Lambrini obviously judging by what I did at the G last night.

The Tuesday night comp has antes kick in at level 3 so you have to get chipped up pretty early to be able to play any kind of game so I sat down to find k10 sooooted, which i raised with and got a call from both the blinds. I was obviously planning to C bet it whatever came but as a bonus, the top pair was a ten, on a flushing flop. Decided to take it down straight away by betting 700 into a 900 pot. The small blind looks at his cards again, then looks back at my bet and says "Caroline what are you doing?" I look down to see I've managed to bet 7k instead of 700 into, into a 900 pot. My starting stack was 10k, so ive just committed my whole stack on top pair in the first hand, which I probably could have taken down - I'm guessing - if the small blind hadnt flopped a set. GG.

The only bonus was getting settled into a decent cash game early, which I eventually left cashing out £365. This slightly made up for the insta loss of £50 in one hand in the tourny.

Lesson firmly learnt - check what chips are what denomination in future!

Off to Luton in the morning to do live updates on the English Deepstack - Follow them on Blonde Poker Forum.

Monday, February 28, 2011

My cat lies languidly at the foot of the stairs, secure in the knowledge that as I descend I'm going to twist myself round and use the banister to jump off the last step rather than stand on her. She's so confident that she doesn't even bother to look up as I come down, no matter whether I'm trying to manouvre past her with two loads of washing or rushing to get my daughter to school.

Now if the roles were reversed - as I often sleep on the bottom step - I wouldn't move either. However, not being blessed with that level of security, I would be sat bolt upright, bristling and ready to fight. There would be eye contact all the way from the top step, leading to nose to nose confrontation, a short tussle and inevitably, me losing my throne. My cat is pretty hard as felines go.

So, imagine me sitting at the bottom of the steps holding AK... same result. I'm ready to fight to the death. Only the cat is holding AA of course - I'm relegated to the hallway - same result.

It's not that I like the hand - in fact it often makes me want to just fold preflop in an unopened pot - and I don't think I'm necessarily ahead when it's in my hand. It's just working out how to play it that defeats me.

If I limp or call a raise with it I inevitably end up folding on a 9 high flop, If I raise or 3 bet with it I again inevitably end up folding on a 9 high flop. If I get it all in pre I find I'm either up against a pair and don't hit, or up against a pair, I hit and they make a straight or a set. I think the best way to play AK for me personally may be to just fold it pre and move on :(

I said at Xmas I was going to concentrate on tournaments to try and improve my game, or even to try and find a game somewhere inside me. I've been working hard on developing a more sensible table image, (which can be ruined somewhat when i find someone who knows me at the same table,) attempting to play stronger by 3 or 4 betting in position/against a player I have some tells on, as well as folding hands I would previously have got all my chips in with (and lost). Course I still have temporary lapses of concentration - otherwise known as Tilt - but overall I'm seeing an improvement, judged mainly by my finishing position.

Last week I actually managed to make a few min cashes, which gave me a massive confidence boost, including a live 4 way chop for £400 each, an online win of 820 Euros and a satellite for a seat at the Blackpool Megastack. Ran pretty deep in a number of other comps, mainly satellites and won a few stage 1/2 sats into bigger comps including the Ipoker £200K gtd, which I played last night and came about 500th out of 1080 players... played with air for most of the game and when I finally got hands was out instantly, AA followed by JJ, goodnight.

Haven't played much cash as for various reasons havent got up to Manchester, although had a bit of fun at a local casino in Liverpool and a very drunken session at Star City in Birmingham, where I cashed out over £400 and only just broke even :(

Poker has taken a bit of a back seat for the past few weeks as I've been pretty busy trying to sort out other aspects of life, basically trying to get a bit of order into what has been a pretty disorderly mess for a while. As well as this business with soliciotors that is dragging on and on, I've had to sort out estate agents regarding my house, have meetings with a nightmare tenant and her family, wind up my business from the pub, sort some stuff out at my daughter's school, oh yes and try and decide what I'm going to do to actually make a living - no big deals. However, most things pretty much done and dealt with now, so I'm looking forward to getting in a few more live games and cash sessions, with positive results of course.

I'm off to Luton on Thursday to do updates for Blonde Poker Forum at the English Deepstack, and to meet up with a couple of people for a night out while I'm there. If it's anything like my last poker night out at Manchester GUKPT, I'll be happy! It means I miss the Stoke monthly comp but I'm hoping there will be compensations in one form or another - hopefully from a cash table where no-one knows me!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Shut up or put (your name) up.

I tend to leave all comments on my blog, bad or good, because if anyone can't find the spine to pubish a derogatory comment under their own name, how can you take them seriously?

The way i see it, they are reading MY blog, so there must be something here for them. If they've come on to have a pop I have to assume that a. they are not brave enough to do so in real life and b. they are interested in my life because they don't have one, which makes them feel they have to say something negative.

All hits, that suits me.

I logged on now to update the blog and saw a comment "anon" had left about the Blonde updates being great - hooray - but my poker being shit - boo.

True though.

Ive been playing really badly for ages now for a variety of reasons really I guess. Since I decided not to do my bollocks in online and try to play more seriously, Ive lost loads of the little game I had. Previously where there was no thought process at all, there is now too much, and I'm playing really weak.

Still thinking on that one - I know I want to learn to play tournaments well but I'm so conscious of this that I'm not playing at all.

Cash games not a problem. Presumably it's because I can reload? Or maybe because Ive stuck to what i said at Xmas - playing cash only within my comfort zone, which I know is 1/2 at Manchester G. It's not even as if I always know the players, I don't, I just feel I have a good record there which gives me confidence whoever is sat at the table.

Last 6 times I've played cash at the G I've cashed out up. I've stuck to my plan of only taking a small roll with me and leaving after a few hours rather than before when every note in my house went into the purse and I'd stay til it was time to do the school run.

Having said that, it hasn't been that much fun, although last night went some way to making up for it.

Sat down at a new table with £50. Young blonde lad with a permanent sniff is sat two seats to my left. First few hands he's talking shit and I'm zoning him out cos i know he's the type that will get to me and Ive learnt giving money to people that annoy me isn't the way forward if I want to sleep that night.

He limps UTG and a few people call round to the button, a guy called Billy who raises. Sniffy then slams his stack into the middle shouting AALLLIN. YOU KNOW WHAT IVE GOT FELLA, YOU KNOW IVE GOT EM!!

People in Birmingham knew he had em he was that loud. Of course theres still 4 people inbetween him and Billy and one of them is sitting thinking. Sniffy's still shouting so I said listen lad there's people still to act in my best scouse accent. He looked at me like I was retarded and said yeah but Ive got em!! I'm like so what u dont want paying? Shut up and let the others decide - anyway the other guy folds Jacks while looking for a Fold Of The Century certificate - and Billy calls with some connectors or similar. Aces hold up and Sniffy shoots his load, while telling me he wasn't lying, he really had em.

I pick up A9 on button into a multi limped pot as per usual, flop comes AA4, checked round to a short stack who shoves £23 in.Sniffy leans across the table and starts counting out loud. He's not counting etc he's doing some mental - and I mean mental - arithmetic under his breath that involved Pye and more. Eventually I say "What are you doing?" He looks at me pityingly and says "I'm working out if i have pot odds to call. Don't you use pot odds?"

I call across to Billy "what are pot odds Bill - you heard of them" Of course he straight faces it and shakes his head, so i mumble on about the only pots I know of being the ones in the kitchen when I'm cooking and ironing etc" and dickhead eventually folds, saying as it was only 23% he couldnt call. No I don't know what he meant either.

I say "I have an ace but i dunno if ive got pot odds, I'll take me chances", and of course I win the hand,  everyone's laughing and Sniffy says "why are you picking on me? I havent done anything to you"

Well I don't like to lie so i told him. You're a cock. This went down as well as a lesbian with ten coldsores, and he got really stroppy. He marched off to meet a man from Bolivia and came back ready to scrap, tellin the guy inbetween us how people like me always came unstuck and how he was going to wait til he had a hand and trap me. Oh Boo hoo hoo.

So I find a raggy ace of hearts  in the cut off and limp in with him and the rest of the super passive table. Flop comes 689 hearts. I would normally bet out here to get paid if it comes but I figured if i showed strength too soon I wouldnt get him.

Turn is a 2 hearts and Sniffy Bets out £20. I flat call and everyone else folds. river is Qs and he makes a big deal of looking at his cards and looking at me then eventually bets £40. I'm thinking how much I can get out of him, so I figure he'll call a small raise and bet £40 plus £45. He then thinks for a bit, snorts a quick line and raises again, another £90, leavin himself £80 behind.

I'm convinced my ace is good but do have a moment's thought as to whether he has a straight flush. So I ask him, upon which he then flashes me the 10 hearts. As soon as he's done that I know he hasn't got it so to wind him up some more I ask the dealer if his hand is now dead as he showed a card. Dealer doesn't know what day it is on her planet so Billy joins in the fun and says he thinks i should get a ruling. Greg the manager pops over to tell us Sniffy's hand is live but he cant raise now, he can only call. So I put him all in and he says call.

But he doesnt put his chips over the line and won't turn his cards over.

He's gesturing at me to flip my cards, so I ask him, are you calling. He cant actually speak but nods so I say well put your money in the middle then, until eventually the dealer takes his last few quid and puts it over the line. I showed my hand and he mucked and left leaving a trail of white powder behind him.

So he trapped me really well. Remind me not to go on any survival course with him that involves catching anything in order to eat please.

Blonde updates were great fun and judging by the feedback I had, they were also well received. Made a big mistake on the Friday night when I forgot I wasn't 21 and ended up out on the piss with 5 lads whose combined age wasnt as big as my shoe size. Still held my own on the alcohol intake, and didn't disgrace myself too much... apart from maybe when I got involved in a "who has the biggest tights on" competition while still in the casino. I won obviously when I managed to pull my crotch over my head. Only thing I regretted about the whole night was not getting a dance in the strip club.

Ended up back in the mal maison drinking some vile thing out of the mini bar - vodka an cranberry from a tin - and got a cab back to the casino after no sleep. Other than having the shakes all day and nearly vomiting onto my laptop once, it went okay.

Big bonus in that it may have led to other related work, was approached by a couple of people who have similar work for me and also had a casual meeting with a couple of guys about a possible sponsored team: they mentioned it to me a few weeks ago, and if it comes off, I'll be playing some decent events for very little input, so fingers crossed on that.

It's my birthday on Friday (yay!) and a mate has given me a seat in the Stoke 150 on Sunday as a present, which is a lovely gesture. I'm out on the Friday night with some non-poker mates, which in itself will be a change from the norm so I'm really looking forward to that, then off to UKIPT at Nottingham the week after. So many Facebook buddies are playing UKIPT I think it is going to be very very messy, so maybe I won't actually play and just go for the social side -I reckon this Big Tights comp could run and run.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

View from the other side of the table?

This year's GUKPT kicks off in my favourite casino, Manchester G this week, so you'll find me there most of the week.

If this sentence has just made you reach for your Ipod to make sure it has fresh batteries just in case you are unlucky enough to be on my table, panic not. I'm not playing.

It's much worse than that guys. I'm doing live updates for Blonde Poker forum, so no one will be able to escape the Mouth, whatever their seat draw.

For anyone who doesn't know, I was a journalist for many years, but moved into the licensed trade with my ex when we got together. Although I'm still in the pub game, in partnership with a friend at a local bar, I decided this was the year for me to get back into the only thing I do well. Unfortunately the sex industry is a dying trade, so decided to go back to writing instead.

A few phone calls later and I've managed to secure some freelance work with a local online news site as well as some occasional work from a national poker magazine. The chance to do the updating for Blonde is icing on the cake for me, as it will give me a chance to see how it works from the other side of  the felt as well as provide networking opportunities aplenty. I might even get a shag -  Remind me, which casinos is Plinton barred from again?

To be honest, I've a lot to live up to as previous updaters have been as dry as the proverbial nun's crotch, and my humour is slightly more.. shall we say.. obvious? But it won't hurt those Blonde boys to get a different perspective on life, to see the other side of the clunge so to speak.

So there won't be much on here this week, but you'll be able to keep up with what's going on with me by looking for all the ( locked ) threads on Blonde from Thursday :)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

DTD £300 -£100000gtd

Whizzed off to DTD yesterday for the £300 I satellited into via Poker Encore for the grand total of zero pennies.

Had a chat with a friend the night before to identify where my weak points are in MTTs, so felt I was at least going to the tourny with a positive head on and a plan, rather than just making up the numbers.

Much good that did me in the end.

Didn't get too involved to start with as my cards weren't too inspiring so it gave me a chance to get an idea of how people played on my table. The table was a good mix, with a couple of old school rocks, couple of good players, two complete novices and one dreadful player who really thought he was great (not me obv - difference being I am not male)

Distinct lack of cards meant i was into level 3 without having made much of an impact, and with my starting stack pretty much intact. Raised with 9 10 mid position and got just one caller , a guy called Neil (?) who I've played before at DTD and know vaguely from Blonde Poker. I know he's capable of calling with any two just to float me - he's just decimated a solid player's stack with the mighty Jack 2 - so when the flop comes down 9 high I'm 100% sure I'm ahead. I bet 600 into the pot of 1000 he raises to 1600. Had a quick think and make the decision he would be raising me here with any underpair, a straight draw or just air and distinctly possible he has the same hand as me. Board is 945.  Iflat his raise.

Turn is 4. Slight scare card as more than possible he's gone ahead now. I check, he checks. River is a queen, which bothers me a lot less than a smaller card. I check to see what he does and he bets just over 3/4 of the pot. Knowing his style of play, the size of the bet made me think my 9 10 was good, mainly because if he had the 4 he wants paying so he bets smaller surely? I can only put him on a busted straight draw so I call and he mucks. Not a monster pot or massive play but one I was happy with because I thought it through based on all the information and won, which is what I'm trying to improve on. Most of my tourny chips are usually lost through not looking at all of the information there.

Found KK a few hands later, raised same guy calls me. Flop 334. I bet about half the pot, he flat calls. Goingback to knowing his calling range I have a little bit of dread that he has 35 or 34 (he wouldn't have made the call with ace 3) Turn is a blank. I have a think and decide if he has a 3 he will be trying to milk me with small bets, but if he has me on AK/AQ he will probably try and take the pot down if I check (he doesnt have a big enough stack to make me fold if he pushes after i bet so I think a check is more likely to get him to push allin) I check, sure enough he shoves for about 5k,I snap call and he flips 77, my Kings held, again I was happy with my way of thinking and the end result.

Still not sure I'm folding KK there if I do think he has a 3, but luckily didn't have to put it to the test :)

Then the wheels fell off. Raised with 88 into an unopened pot, one call from guy who has just sat down at the table. I don't know him and don't know how he plays. Flop 9 7 2 two diamonds. Bet little over half pot (1100) to see where I am and he snap reraises me to 2500, leavin himself 6k behind. I can only put him on a flush draw with maybe kq diamonds or top pair with A9. Idon't think he has an overpair as i felt he would have reraised preflop, and can't see him callin with 910/97 etc when he hasnt played a hand on the table and doesnt know what anyone else is playing like. Maybe this is just what i wanted to believe :(

Turn is a 2 which IMO helps me, I check he checks, river is an 8! I'm thrilled! It's the 8 of diamonds as well so if he's flushing he's about to give me all his chips, and if he does have ace 9 he is also about to give me all of his chips! Sigh. I bet 2600 and he shoves the whole 6k in, I can't call fast enough and yes obviously to everyone else he has 99 in the hole.

I was gutted that I never considered the possibility of 99, and pretty pissed at myself that I didn't consider it.

A guy called Matt joins my table who I know only through the Vegas online league. He plays hands, but is also capable of making moves when the opportunity arises. After a few orbits he raises my BB, having apparently just folded QQ the hand before, so he says, when a paired board got very busy with two other players before him. I know when he loses a pot he works hard to get chips again, so it's possible he is trying to rebuild. Everyone folds round to him and I find 1010 so reraise him, from his 600 to 1600. He then shoves allin for another 5k. Bit of chat and he basically all but tells me he has QQ, and even calls my hand, telling me I have 10s. I'm angry with myself for this hand because my gut instinct was to fold but I made the call out of stubborness. I knew he had an overpair to me but still called. He had Queens.

So I'm down to well below average, I try and stay out of trouble for a bit but my cards aren't getting any better and I don't want to blind away waiting for hand only to be too short to defend it/get paid.

Raise with 89 in cut off shortly afterwards, 5 callers. Respect.

Flop 7 10 7. Worst player at table bets straight out. Previously on a board of 445 he had a 4 in the SB and checked it so I'm confident he has the 10 this time. I flat call, rest of table folds, turn is the 6 to give me the straight. He bets small again ( basically when he is fishing a draw or has a weak hand he bets small but then calls massive raises lol) so I shove. Having watched him make horrendous calls all day long I know he won't pass and sure enough he makes a crying call and asks me if i have a 7, I say "what, you don't?" and show him my straight, he shows ace 10. I'm back in the game ;)

But not for long... Table dynamics changed rapidly with new players coming hard and fast and I had to fold a number of hands preflop to 3/4 bets and on the flop when i couldnt hit a barn door. Eventually go out when bad player number 2 raises on the button as he has done many times with FA. I call with k10 spades in sb, knowing how weakly he will play the flop and confident I can take the pot off him. One other caller is Mr Nofold from the hand before. Flop is 9 high with two spades, I check, Mr NoFold checks, button bets out. I didn't stop to put him on a hand or think about mr Nofold, I shoved the lot in with my flush draw which is exactly the kind of play I was aiming to stay away from. No fold snap calls my allin :( then button insta reraises allin :( :(  i think I'm coming third... Mr No fold has JJ, button has.. a set of 9s. turn is yet another 9 to only give him quads.. I don't wait to see if my flush comes or not, that would just be rubbing salt into the wound.

At least I had plenty of time on the two and a hlaf hour drive home to think about where it all went wrong...

Highlight of the day for me was winding up Pete Linton, which did keep the happy thoughts flowing all the way home.

If you don't know who he is, he's probably the most unpopular guy in British poker, which is some acheivement. I ripped the piss out of him in Blackpool a couple of years ago and he was stunned, as he likes to be the nastiest twat at the table and was shocked that someone - particularly a woman - could take that away from him and in turn redirect it AT him. I had forgotten all about it until the last DTD when he was moved to my table. I vaguely smiled at him thinking I had prob met him before somewhere and he put his hand up into my face and shouted "I am not even going to speak to you, I find you abhorrent, if you even know what that means".

Lucky I had my Tena Lady firmly in place as I pissed myself laughing at the nobjockey who was so obviously wounded by what had been said two years before that he'd learnt a new word and waited to use it on me.

I thought it probably looked like point scoring to tell him I had a post grad in English and Journlism, so instead I just called him a lanky cunt. Easier to keep it at his level.

So yesterday I'm at the bar before we started playing and looked round only to catch his eye. He physically jumped! I have no idea why, as I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a cougar crush, but when we were seated I realised he was sat on the table on the level above me directly in eyeshot. He glanced round and again caught my eye so I gave him my best beaming smile. His eyebrows did some mad kind of body popping caterpillar move and he spun round in his chair to ignore me. But, like a car crash, he couldn't stop looking round and every time he did I was ready for him with an enormous smile like a village idiot waving from the yellow bus. To make it more fun, I told all the other players that I was winding Pete up, and as at least four of the guys on my table thought he was a wanker, it was quite a popular pastime. Pete would look round, I'd beam at him and wave and my table would crease up. Highlight for me was when I mouthed Happy New year to him, as I waved and smiled: with his eyes goggling out of his head his hand involuntarily moved and to his obvious horror he found himself waving back at me with a twisted smile that clearly showed how painful the interaction with me was for him.

I am abhorrent ;)