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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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hands that entertained me recently...

I had no poker plans last weekend as it's my daughter's 18th on Wednesday so all incoming funds were already earmarked. And some.

The best laid plans however ... Got a text at 2pm from some old guy who used to be good at poker telling me to get down to DTD if I wanted to enter the £500 6 Max Turbo and if I cashed I could keep 25% of anything I won. Christmas come early!

Now I don't have a car at the moment but the Gods were definitely on my side, as a non-bitter ex boyfriend had lent me his van all week while he was on holiday, so I was off and away before my backer could change his mind.

I got to DTD and tentatively approached the cashier, wondering if I would find it was actually a late April's Fool, or that I had received a text meant for someone else, but no, my name was on the list and I was coming in. I was a late entry, which normally I try to avoid as I know from experience I don't bring a lot to the party as a late arrival. I try to force it and end up going out on hands I should never have been there to satrt with. However, someone else picking up the tab definitely makes a difference to my way of thinking so I decided to go slow for a while, despite the fact my starting stack of 50K was already under the average, and the blinds were 8/1600.

As soon as I sat down the man to my left looked at me and asked had I just entered. I said I had. He then seemed really suprised and asked again, "You've just entered now?"

I could have simply replied Yes again. Unfortunately he had pressed the switch.

"Is that okay, " I asked. "They have relaxed the no ladies rule haven't they?"

So he started to bluster a bit, but he was up against the Queen of bluster. "No need to be like that" he says "I'm just being friendly"

"Really? And when the men at this table sat down where you friendly to them? Did you make a point of singling them out to chat to? Or did you just see a female and go into Neanderthal mode?"

As this is happening I look at my first two cards to find AK and raise, upon which he promptly announces all in. Folds round to me and I fold and show him the AK saying "Mate I know you have shit all but I don't get lucky in flips and it's too early for penis waving comps" He flips over 67 off like the hero that he is.

I look at him pityingly "I always find it's the guys with the smallest penises who tend to make these moves. They can't impress a woman with their length so they try to do it in other ways. I find guys with small penises also have huge cars: it's like inversely proportional"

The guy next to him cracks up laughing and says "He's just bought a Range Rover!"

I turn to him and smile, waggling my little finger at him, and then the guy in seat one pipes up "I don't have a car".

Not sure what he's saying here, but after a look at him, I realise the subliminal text here is that he is actually a virgin, and tell him so. This makes Neanderthal man laugh, so now we're all friends.

The mood massively improves. I know two of the guys at the table and the other three are all happy to have a giggle along with me, and soon we're all laughing like we're at a party, rather than a poker game. So much so that when I later got moved, the whole table collectively groaned and said Noooo take someone else!! Normally they say that when I'm bleeding chips but in this case it was simply because we didnt stop laughing for the whole time.

Rana is at my table and delights in telling everyone how the first time he met me was at Blackpool and I was perched on my chair with my legs tucked under me, wearing a short skirt. When I got in a hand with someone and he glanced over at me I apparently accused him of trying to look up my skirt and he got so flustered he folded. Let's face it, when you're being called a pervert in a hand it doesn't encourage you to want to stay in. Result.

While the merriment is going on, the cards however are dire. AK twice, losing minimal pots though, to J8 and T8, both to the same Bolton player who I would imagine either satellited in or his parent's left him a lot of money when they died in the same car crash he was brain damaged in.

I find myself in the situation of ten big blinds. Now I'm good at ten bigs - shove or fold. No thought process involved which kind of suits my brain capacity. Eventually I find QQ and it goes in, called by the virgin with A5 who flops two pair on an all spade board of A 5 7. Spade on the turn gives me a flush and the board doesn't pair for once, doubling me up. I'm still way under average so start stealing a few blinds which I can just about get away with now.

A young lad gets moved to our table, on my left, and is loving the banter. Folds round to me in the small blind and I pause, and ask him is there any chance I can see a flop? He tells me he hasnt looked yet, so I make up the blind and tell him I hope I haven't just wasted chips flat calling. He takes quite a lengthy look at his cards and checks, to see a flop of  7c 7h 8c. I have 67.

I tell him I've hit. He laughs like I've just told a joke - I'm not joking. He says he has as well. I tell him if we've both hit I'd best bet out just to find out where I am and make a relatively small bet to give him enough rope to hang himself. He does a dramatic pause then some hand gymnastics with more chips and flicks in a raise. I could flat call him here but I figure if I go all in he probably has to call  because I dont actually have many chips behind, and I doubt he has me on a 7. He snaps off my all in and turns over Kc Jc for the flush draw. I had one of those lovely inner peace moments where you simply know you aren't going to lose and sure enough, I didn't, even spiking the 6 on the river for the boat. Finally I am above average by about 500 chips. It's a start!

I get moved twice in quite quick succession and then find myself on Tikay's table where we're all soon having a giggle again. I'm on 200K + at this stage and average was around 110, not through any monster hands but a lot of talking that generally made my opponents fold before any need for showdown - just how I like it.

I raised up with 6 8 on the button and was called by Tikay in the SB and a lady in the BB.

Flop comes and Tikay steals my lines, telling me he's hit that board. Ah get your own jokes I tell him, and bet into them both on the flop of T 9 K with two hearts. He calls and so does the lady. Hmm.

I know Tikay is drawing but can't decide about the woman as have no idea how she plays as haven't really seen any cards or play from her. Turn is a brick, a duece, and they both check again. I make a bigger bet and tell Tikay he's a big fish calling for a heart draw so he'll have to pay more. He's heard it all before and calls. The woman dwells for so long I've entered the menopause by the time she finally sigh folds, and I tell the dealer "No hearts please!" So he obligingly puts a heart on the river, but I can see Tikay doesn't like the heart and definitely still hasnt found what he was after. So after he checks I put on a big show of disgust that a heart has come and slowly bet out half of the quite sizeable pot. Tikay says "It's yours, you got there" and turns over Q8 to show me he had nothing anyway. I can't resist turning over my 68 to show him he had the best hand but the smallest cojones. The woman who folded the turn starts huffing how she had the ten and would have won the hand.. um yeah but you folded remember?

The woman is quite clearly unimpressed with me at this stage. She makes a few snidey comments which I let go. I raise twice and she goes into playback mode each time, staring at me for three hours then taking another eon to min raise me. I let her have her way, I'm all for equality and gracefully check fold the flop so she feels better. Until this hand.

I raise with Kh 2h in the cut off. It looked sexy. It looked sexier still on a ten high two heart board.

I bet out and she slowly (oh so very slowly) called me. Turn is another heart. I have second nuts and I don't for a second think I'm behind or going to end up behind. I check as I know she has to bet out here, even more so if she has air, although I don't think she is actually good enough to have nothing here.She obliges by betting 25K, about 1/3 of the pot. I ask her what she has behind and she grudgingly tells me she has 160K. So i have a quick think about what she might pay me depending on her hand strength. I know she wont fold to a small raise purely to save face. If she has the ten I doubt she has the Ah as her kicker as I think she would have raised pre, so can't see how I'm getting outdrawn, but i dont't want to lose her if she has any heart at all, so I decide a small raise will get me more than flat calling as I think she may fold the river if she doesn't improve. I make it 75K.

She stares at me for ages while I don't say a word and then she says "Oh you've finally gone quiet?"

I laugh at this and tell her the reason why. Despite her seeing my silence as some form of tell it really comes down to another reason - I never trash talk women at the poker table in a mixed game. I truly believe women in poker should stick together as there are so few of us, so I wouldn't disrespect another girl by chatting shit to them. I know some women can be really intimidated by me, unintentionally, so in a one-on-one scenario I try to not be too scary! Unless of course they are a cunt. Then they can have it.

I can see she doesn't believe me, but that's not my problem. I say to her " I truly believe I have the best hand here. I'm trying to let you know that by giving you the opportunity to fold." She asks me what I think she has.

I can see the reply isn't "an attitude problem" so instead I say "I don't know what you have. Truthfully, I think you don't have anything: I think you aren't keen on my table persona and so want to play back at me to be the Queen Bee, as before I sat down you were enjoying being the only female here, and I've ruined that for you. So while I may not have the nuts, I still think you have nothing so I'm raising to let you know I know you have nothing, so why not just fold. You can't call my raise as it leaves you with under 100K and it isn't a playable stack, that's why I raised that amount."

She is outraged and says "you think I'm just playing back at you out of spite?!"

Nope. I just want you to get so pissed at me you give me all your chips so I've raised it just enough that you think you can go all in and I'll have to fold.

Instead of saying all that I simply say "you don't know me but I always tell the truth about my hand as I find people never believe me anyway. I honestly think I have the best hand so you decide what you have and let me know"

Self-destruct button is depressed and she lets out a cry of "ALL-IN" and starts to shove her chips over the line. If i was a bitch I could have asked for a count but instead I simply said call and kindly flipped over my cards, relieving her of the need to turn her cards over if she was drawing dead. I never did get to see what she had as she then threw both her cards across the table, tipped her chair over and stormed off straight to the roulette.

Women. Know your limits.

So that hand gave me a lovely healthy stack of arond 400k and as we were into level 16, last level of the day I decided to not play any more hands. Well, unless they were actual hands and even them I was trying to avoid to keep my nice stack for day 2, but then I found two red Kings UTG and popped in a min raise that encouraged a gentleman to go batshit crazy with A9 off preflop, for a 350K pot which topped me up nicely to the exact figure of 666K (second chip leader) as we bagged our chips up. Number of the beast what else?

So I hadn't anticipated actually getting through to day two, so set off on the 2.5 hour drive back home. It hadn't actually sank in what a stack I had until a poker buddy texted me on the way home " late entry then smashes comp up? wp, gl tomorrow!" Suddenly a massive grin was on my face all the way home as I realised I was massively stacked and in a good position for the next day.

Day Two I found I was nervous. I can get loose with a big stack and donk it off but obviously wanted to avoid that. So with this in mind for some reason I found myself calling a min raise from the big blind with 85 offsuit, after Brett Angel raised and Willie Tann called. As you do when you're playing tight.

Flop Ace high, with an 8 for me and two hearts. Brett checks after me and Willy bets out quite small. I call for no reason other than I don't want to appear weak by calling my big blind then folding. I appreciate this is not the best game plan, but I never proffesed to be good. Brett folds and the turn is a heart. I check quite fast and Willy looks at me for a while before checking behind. River is nothing so I decide my best Oscar skills may help me rep a flush from the blinds and bet about half the pot. Positive thoughts as I sit there confidently visualising my imaginary flush, which must have convinced Willie Tann as he showed me the Ace of clubs as he folded it. Thankfully bluffing Willie in the first hand was enough of a fix for me and I managed to rock up from then on.

Didn't play loadsof hands and found myself going from 660 to 1M, back to 660 and back to 1m about three times. Never felt out of my depth or stressed and was loving the game, even when on the losing end. Then Tom Hall got moved to my left, who had been the chip leader yesterday. As soon as he sat down I groaned "That's all I need, just lost half my chips and boy wonder with his monster stack sits on my left" Tom ruefully showed me his stack and confessed he had just lost most of it to Jamie OConnor. He still had about 400K left as we went into the next hand, in which he was big blind.

It folded round to me and I found A2 which is a hand I hate with a passion. Aware I'm still probably ahead I asked Tom how he felt about his blinds being raised and popped it up a little, saying I wasnt sure how he would react and if he went all in I'd probably just fold at best or at worst, if he called I'd probably check fold the flop like a girl. It worked, he flat called and we saw a flop of T 2 2. Blessed.

I told him I'd hit (you know how it works by now) but checked. I respect Tom as a player and knew I was going to have to work hard to get a single chip off him, and figured betting into him was not the way forward here. Happily he decided to bet. I did a good impression of first stage labour and had an obvious long look at my cards, then a long look at the flop, made as if to think about folding then a reluctant call. I would never try this on some people but I felt he would fall for the hamming it up. Turn was a K and I told him I'd improved, then bet out really weakly. He raised me! Oh there is a god. I decided to shove all in as if trying to steal and did so. He starting talking to me (oh Tom big mistake) and said he had K T - top two pairs. I immediately shrunk into my chair and told him I didnt want to hear what he had, I had all my chips in the middle and I wasn't going to talk to him as I thought he was looking for a tell. He counted out his chips and kept looking at me until I called for a clock, which usually induces a call, and he obligingly called. To be fair to Tom, he was always calling, he was holding back because he felt I had A2 but didnt see how he could get away from the hand. I flipped the A2 he flipped the KT and I held putting me up to 1.2m. After the hand another guy on the table said to me "I was convinced you had nothing there and had read it all wrong, thinking your all in would get him to fold"  As that's exactly what I was trying to portray I was quite happy and am considering applying for RADA next September.

The game went pretty fast until down to two tables with 10 players left. I had a guy called Terry on my right who had just lost most of his stack calling down every street with pocket twos. He then got it all back again after snapping off an allin shove with a9 and winning, then doubled up again with aces.

My exit hand involved an UTG min raise from a very loose player with a shorter stack than me ( I had about 870 and the average was 971) followed by a flat call from Terry. I found pocket tens and decided to shove here. I didnt imagine I was getting a call as had enough for UTG to fold, and I didnt see Terry as a threat. Big mistake. I rarely shove all in, that's not my game, I prefer to wreck people's heads on the board and get them to fold or call depending on what I want from them. Anyway, all folded including UTG but Terry asks for a count. The horrible thing was I knew he was itching to call and never folding from his body language but the delay was a sickener. Eventually he says call and I turn over tens, he turns over pocket queens, and spikes another one first card out to put me out in 10th place for £2500.

Cest La Vie and all that.

Was still in time to late enter the hyper Turbo 6 max for another £500 from my backer, who was playing it himself, so got into that, chattedshit at people, bullied young boys and pissed off a dealer until I went out in 8th place for another £1500. Not too shabby for a free weekends poker.

Total cash £4k of which I got £1k. If I hadn't have been backed I wouldn't have played so it's like free money - massive thanks to the boss man.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Well Hello der blog, I forgot all about you.

Worked at DTD last weekend doing updates for the Chip Leader comp, and thought, as I usually do, "Why aren't I playing this?"

Then I remembered the answer was the same as always - "oh yes, because i have no money".

But I've never been one to let mere detail get in the way of my wish list, so decided I was going to play the £150 the following Saturday night. Being a little way short of the buy-in - about £149.78 short to be precise - I thought I'd tap up Paul Jackson for sponsorship in exchange for his continual use of me as his stooge in his Bluff magazine column.

But then on Tuesday night I noticed Richard Prew spamming the airwaves with details about satellites at DTD online. Fired it up and I had a few Euros already in there so decided to give it a go. Bizarrely I won - and yes, there were other runners - so that was my £150 seat in the bag for 6 Euros, with the added bonus that i wouldn't need to pay any of my winnings out to Paul after I took it down.

So I did the two hour drive and sat down at my table, feeling a bit wierd to be actually playing there rather than taking photos, writing updates and dodging pints from Dave Maudlin's mates. Ordered a drink and the valet said "Is it on the Blonde account?".... Tempting to say yes, but figured that was the quickest way to find I no longer had an account, or a job, so decided just paying for the coffee was the best option.

Pretty much folded for the first level to see what was happening on my table, plus I never had a card above an eight. Ish the Fish was running the table from an early stage, raising 9/10 hands and barrelling every street so I was happy to watch for a while. Had new breeds Liam Batey to my right and Tommy Bingham three to my left, Ish somewhere in the middle and the rest seemed pretty solid.

Into Level 2 and I haven't seen a card  so decide it's time to start making my own action. Had only played one hand, weakly, and so wasn't exactly setting a table presence as of yet.

So I decided to take Ish the Fish's crown off him. He was so involved in every pot and wasn't up for folding much so next time he raised in EP I 3 bet with 67off in the cut off. Button wrecks my plan by raising again - it's the first hand he's played so far. I've folded in my head until Ish calls so I employ that old chestnut of being priced in and make the call.

Flop comes 10 8 2. Ish checks as do I and button bets out 1400, bearing in mind his OR was 1650, so theres already about 5K in the middle. Ish looks at me and says "go on then, I'll call once for my flush"

It's a rainbow board so I'm pretty sure he's not being 100% honest.

Now I've found honesty really is the best policy in life, and more so at the poker table where everyone always assumes you are lying.

So I say "Well go on then I'll call once for my middle pin"

Turn is .. nine. Call it and it will come.

I laughed and said "there it is".

There was a clue there.. but no one picked up on it.  Probably because the whole table was wearing headphones by this stage.

Ish bets out 5K. I can flat here as I'm pretty secure the bottom end of the straight is still beating whatever he has, but at the same time I'd rather get it in good as the saying goes. I don't think he's folding for another 6/7K so I get it all in for around 13K.

Button man goes into the tank. Ish looks at me and says button guy has Kings. "Nah" I laughed "easy fold for him, he has AK or AQ, he's never calling" Trash talk worked and button guy gets it in for about the same amount, Ish then calls. I say to Ish "He has Aces not Kings" and sure enough he turns over pocket rockets, drawing dead. Ish's hand is the one I'm more worried about and he flips over 79, so he has second pair and the open end draw - a Jack kills me.

I call out loud for a duece and the dealer duly obliges, popping a cheeky 2 on the river. Scoop. I'm on about 44K now, average 22k and we're just an hour into the game. Bean flicking time.

I'm feeling pretty good now: as soon as I win a hand like that it pops my already over bearing confidence into LAG overdrive and now I'm popping it up UTG with nine high, getting six callers and taking it down on the flop, chatting shit and generally browbeating anyone in a pot with me until they fold/call, depending on what I want them to do.

Liam Batey raises and I three bet him with 9c 10c. Pretty cards.

He chooses to flat and we see a seven high rag flop, with two clubs. He checks, OOP to me and I'm feeling he will be checkraising any bet I make here, which is going to put me to the test. Plus in the unlikely event of him having nothing himself he's only folding if I bet, so I decide to take a free card myself and check. Low Club on the turn makes my flush.

Liam bets out quite strong so I raised. Bear in mind I usually play the local £15 FO where players don't fold, so I raise and he folds pocket Jacks (both red). On a nine high board.

I feel cheated.

Then we get in another pot. I don't quite know how but I've got 4c5s after a raise from Ish, in a five way pot where the board reads AQ5, two clubs. Even Ish hasn't got the balls to bet that one so it's checked round to allow me to catch another 5 on the turn, but it's a club so potential flush is out there.

Ish bets out pretty strong. Liam flat calls after a bit of thought, and I raise. Everyone else folds, including Ish but Liam calls. River is a Jack, no club.

Liam checks and I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I know I'm not the greatest player and tend to go with my gut which tells me my trip fives are smashing any hand he is holding. But I also know if I bet this river and he goes all in I'm going to have to fold, as he will have repped what I'm worried about - a better hand! My gut says I'm winning and I know I have to value bet the river as he is holding a good enough hand to pay me, but I'm still nervous, so the verbal diahorrea starts.

I say "I'm going to have to bet this river now Liam. I know it's a bit of a risk because if I value bet my hand and you then go over the top of me, I'm probably gonna have to fold, but I couldn't live with myself if I checked this hand down in position. The whole table would laugh at me"

Told you honesty was the best policy didn't I?

So I bet - 7k, the same amount I raised to on the turn. It is a small bet, for no other reason than I was so busy chatting shit i didn't actually think about the pot size, my bad.

Liam goes so far into the tank I'm thinking we'll need a submarine to get him out. I know he has to pay me but I'm still nervous that he's going to raise so carry on verbally assaulting him.

"No shame in folding to a woman Liam, no shame at all. No one at the table will point and laugh saying he just folded to a woman. Especially a woman old enough to be your mum"

Liam laughs and asks how old do I think he is. "About 16" is my answer which gets a giggle from the table: Liam says for you to be my mum you'd have to have had me at 15.

... Maybe Liam. They don't call me the Cougar for nothing you know.

I tell him to take his time, I understand he feels ashamed that he may be folding to a woman, that he doesn't need to feel bad about not playing the hand well (!): I tell him if he calls he will have to go through the shame of tapping the table as he mucks, and as he goes to pick up his chips I say "Please don't call. Either fold or go all in. If you call I'm going to have to show my hand and I can't stand the shame of everyone else seeing how bad it is. I'd rather you just folded or went all in so I can fold and preserve my dignity"

It works, he calls and i flip over my 45. He nods and mucks.

I tap the table really loudly, then stop and say "On no, it's you who is meant to tap my hand isn't it?"

I would cheerfully have slapped me if I was him at that point. But full brownie points to him, he didn't even tell me to piss off, which was nice.

I'm on 72K now, av 29K and I'm feeling pretty good, until my table breaks.

Get moved to a table with a few regular DTD faces and proceed to loudly play a couple more hands, when i possibly should have waited to see what my table was up to, same as when I first sat down. Overestimated the game of a couple of players, stupidly thinking they had folds in them when they had less fold than a pane of safety glass.

My confidence took a knock and instead of just walking away and having a five minute de-stress, I stayed in place and played four hands on the trot really weakly, flat callin out of position with hands like A9 to check fold on a five high board. A guy got moved to my right who always massively tilts me. I'm a really big believer in auras and mental energy etc and this guy literally gives me the shivers every time I see him at DTD as he is a massive ball of negative energy and as soon as he's near me I feel myself being drained.So combine him with the fact I've just donked off 50K in five hands or so and I'm feeling really negative.

I go for a walk to try and get myself back up there and sit back down with my Ipod in so I can at least pretend I can't hear him speaking to me. He limps in as he does every hand, despite the blinds now being 8/1600  and I find aces. Bonus. I've still got the whole table behind me so raise it up to 5K, next player to act goes allin - happy days. He has about 20K, folds round to the guy with the black soul who flat calls, as I do. I don't want to lose him do I?

Flop is 878 and he checks. I go all in for about another 20K - he only has about 12K behind. Yes - he is that bad.

Put everything I had into acting really irritable as if I didnt want a call, although I dont see how he can fold for what he has left. I'm also aware if he has an 8 I'm probably going to be banned for life after I hit him with a chair. Again my trash talk gets him in - with Q 10. I have no idea what he thought he was beating or what he thought I had, but I wasnt unhappy to see he hadnt actually hit anything and had less outs than a sealed cardboard box.

So Ive got chips again, Im well over average and I'm still stacking them up when it's my turn to act and lo, I now have a pair of kings in the hole.These are literally the first two big hands I have found preflop all night and they couldnt have come at a better time. I make it 5.5k to go, blinds are now 1/2K. One caller in mid position and the big blind completes to see a Jack high flop with two clubs. 17K in the middle and I bet 11.5K. Too little? Who knows, caller folds and BB picks up a whopping stack of purple 5K chips and plonks them over the line to effectively put me all in.

I have an overpair to the board and I'm not folding. I'm obviously not good enough, but I also don't know how many other players fold Kings on a jack high board.

BB has 6c 8c for a flush draw (no pair) and ofc gets there on the turn. I still have outs with the King of clubs but the dealer wants me out of range to protect his ears and puts a diamond out there. Cheers.

Two hour drive home spent cursing like Dreenie on speed.No idea if I played those Kings badly or if it's simply bad luck that his flush draw gets there - he had been pretty much running like God. If I win the hand I'm pretty much chip leader and the way I was playing I think I really could have got there, which isn't something I usually think, so do feel a little cheated. But it's all gravy and talking of gravy, it's time for me to head into the kitchen to prepare a roast dinner for the family - I know my place. Hopefully less cooking and more poker soon.

Comments open for you to say your piece. I would prefer them blog related rather than the haters and the fakes dropping by to anonymously spount their venom but who takes anyone seriously when they don't have the cojones to leave their real name anyway...

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".