Friday, May 1, 2009

Poker lol

Having one of the biggest breaks I have ever had from poker (in the sense I actually sit down and take it seriously, cos everybody knows boozy games with ur mates, pushing with crap don't count)... Am el busto cos of recession, pay cuts and mainly cos of the new car and the whopping insurance fee. So dropped out of Connie's 10th anniversary down in Killarney. It was a game that looked to have absoutlely fantastic structure, the kind I like to play. But then at the start of the month I realised the 275e buy-in fee along with addditional expenses (travel, accom n food) for the weekend would make a sizable dent in my fast diminishing funds so I dropped out. Which was just as well, cos I hadn't played poker in like, forever. So I did the next best thing and bought a 10% stake in a horse, TJ Tracey who I had tangled with at the LEPO and earmarked as one of the two good players I figured played very well.

When the tournament came around, I had no pangs of desire or regret which sigifies how much my appetite to play poker has dwindled and I don't know if I will ever recover the desire that used to rage within me every single day when I took the game up.

But poker did provide me with a big thrill that weekend though even though I wasn't playing. It was following TJ's progress in the tournament, which he would keep me updated by texting me. I got a massive buzz out of it especially when he was chipleader at the final table with 6 players left and a first prize of 8k. As it turned out, he came 4th but all the same it was a fantastic result and I was really thankful for the absoultely fantastic run he gave me and for the buzz I got out of it.

So a 10% stake saw me get €250 which was much welcome. TJ transfered the money on stars on monday night and just as I was about to cash out the monies, an emotion of impluse overcame me and before I knew it I had registered for a $10 tournie with less than a minute before it was due to start.

Managed to battle through a field of 2000+ runners to finish 12th after 6 hours of play. I had forgotten how frustrating it was to go so far and yet finish so close to the final table where the real money is paid out to the top 3. The next day I still felt the same way about poker, the run I went on didn't really reinvorgate my desires. As it transpired the guy who busted me in the tournament posted on boards too. Spotted his user name and asked how he got on. He went on to take down the tournament for 3.5k. Not a bad result for a $10 buy-in! :) At least he was irish and put my chips to good use.

Anyway probably wont post again for another long period of time I don't really feel the urge to post nor to play poker.. In the meantime, take care y'all

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Waffle Waffle Waffle

Since the LEPO, I've not been playing that much poker, both online and live. Living out in Ashbourne, if I were to play in town it'd cost me 40-50e for the taxi back home. So that discourages me from playing live. That's not to say I can't be arsed anymore, it's just that its far too much hassle than its worth. With the current financial climate, I just can't be spending €100+ in Silks every friday plus the taxi fare on top of it. I could play the €55 double chance on the Saturday but I don't think it's worth it, sacrificing saturday nights out with my mates for the sake of a tournament that gives 5k chips in total. Midweek tournaments are no-gos cos of work, which makes it difficult for me to go out and play live as opposed to online.

On the flip side, since live poker is very limited my only real outlet whenever I want to play is to go online. When you go online and inevitably lose, you just can't bring yourself to admit there are major fundamental flaws in your game and you deny what's strikingly evident by blaming the bad beats, the lack of tells, the lack of interaction which leads to yourself subconsciously convincing yourself that you don't suck as much live as you do online.

So my goal for the time-being is to confront the fact I'm a fish and to do what is necessary to improve my results. I've always detested maths all of my life, I've only ever passed one exam in school when I got a D for my junior cert. I'm okay with the basics but anything more advanced than that, I struggle. I've been playing poker casually for the last two years but if someone asked me to provide them with a clear and concise explanation of how to calculate fold equity or pot odds, I wouldn't be able to give a clear answer although I kind have developed a warped and muddled concept of what are essential skills in poker. But I recognise if I am to make any significant strides in the development of my game, this is an area that requires a lot of work on my part and if I'm truly honest with myself I don't know if I have desire to put a conscious amount of effort into a subject I despise.

I've looked up my sharkscope stats based on my pokerstars performances. It's not pretty but what's really embarrassing is to see a little goldfish jumping out of a fishbowl right beside my alias. It brings it home that I'm definitely guilty of thinking I'm a better player than I actually am. So this goldfish icon will have to serve as a motivation tool to take online poker seriously cos I would love nothing more than to see it disappear.

As I said in a previous blog entry, I wanted to concentrate on tournaments. Yes I also said I would swear of cash games but I've suffered relapses of which were, as per usual, un-profitable. But anyways, in regards to improving my tournament game, I really want to play a big tournament again. I played in the IPC 2008 and when I look back on it, I really enjoyed the experience even if I was an extremely naive player back then. So in conjunction with wanting to improve my game and play in major tournaments, I've gotten a poker coach in Dara O'Kearney, who informed me that I eliminated him from the IPC when he went all in short-stacked on the last hand of day1 with J2, in the CO position if I remember correctly, and I called him in the blinds with AJ. I remember the hand itself, but I didn't realise it was him that I knocked out! For both of us, it was our first major tournaments and Dara has gone on leaps and bounds whereas I've just dithered at a slow rate of progression. From what I read on his blog, Dara has a knack of qualifying for tournaments via cheap satellites so I hope I'll be able to benefit from his coaching and qualify for the big tournaments myself. That would be tremendous. That's my big goal for the moment. Then I'll worry about winning the tournaments afterwards! =P

On a non-poker related front, recession has really hit home. Working in the civil services as a clerical officer, I was pissed off when it was proposed that an additional levy would be introduced into our wages to help the government save money in difficult times. I would be able to grin and bear it if I was a fresh-faced 18 year old, but christ sake I'm coming 25 years of age, an age where I'd want to be looking to buy a house or to be able to make significant savings for one. People say I should be grateful I still have a job but I've absolutely no prospect of promotion for the next several years, and if this levy was to come into effect, I wouldn't be earning that much more than someone who would be claiming the dole and rent allowance. If this recession were to be over in say 5 years time, I'd be 30 and on equal or less wages than I was when I was 20/21! It's fairly frustrating- taking one step forward, two steps backwards.

I don't think it's fair to impose this levy on civil servants who are on the lower end of the pay scale. This extract from an email sent by an angry member to our union is a sentiment I strongly agree with:

We were the school leavers that were laughed at for joining the public service. While others were making 50 and 60k per year, we were the ones still taking home the meagre pay packets and now we have to pay for the high life the bankers, politicians, property developers etc lived for the past number of years! How is that fair?!”

As I said, with no promotional prospects ahead of me for the next few years I'm giving thought to the idea of taking a career break when I become eligible in August. It makes sense to go travelling and ride out the recession for a while. I just need someone to travel with as I'm not brave enough to go travelling the world on my own. But the thing holding me back is if I were to take a career break, due to financial difficulties I could be waiting up to 12 months to get my job back when I return. So my next move is critical. I can't risk spending 12 months unemployed with absolutely no income as I can't claim any benefits whilst I'm still an employee of the civil service. So I really don't know where I'm going here. I feel I'll probably stay and use what money I've put away for travelling to buy a car. Yes I've always wanted one, but I've coped so far without one so I'm not exactly overwhelmed with the desire to buy one. But recession is forcing my hand, and I may have to buy one because bus-services, which are adequate at the very best, are being cut nationwide. Recession is causing a lot of stress for everyone indeed.

Stressing aside, in such difficult times I'm trying to find ways of cut out unnecessary expenditure which is ironically in contrast with my fondness for playing poker. (I really ought to give it up). But anyways, I've come across the infamous “cousin” that is bandied about on the BBV thread on boards. It is truly a remarkable discovery for me. As a deaf person, I feel liberated with the freedom to watch a movie/tvshows of my choice with subtitles widely available, whenever I want all for a meagre sum. The cinema industry can stick the only one subtitled screening of their choice twice a week, (Early sat morning and Monday nights!! GFO!!!) of which we have to pay full whack for, up their fucking arse! The same goes for the bloody TV industry. I would just love it if I could sabotage the audio thingy in the RTE broadcasting station for a whole year putting out television broadcasts without sound and see RTE demand full payment from their license payers. ARGH!!! Ah they can all fuck off anyways, from now on I'm not giving a penny more for a service I can't fully utilise! The internet is truly my best friend from now on! (well until Eircom rat me out and I get prosecuted for illegal downloading! Lol!)

Anyway a bunch of us play futsal casually every Friday so a deaf futsal league was set up and I re-established St. Vincent's Deaf Futsal Club and entered a team. It's really good fun. I forgot how much fun it was to play amongst my deaf peers. Hopefully this league will go on to improve the standard of futsal and we'll be able to compete for international honours when the European Championships come around. As the first choice keeper for the Irish Deaf futsal team, I really am excited about our prospects. The talents shown by upcoming players like Kevin Dudley, Jason Maguire and Brian Daly coupled with the established stars like Stuart Foy, Joe Watson and Darren Dunne looks to make us a very good team and I think we have the potential to go all the way. I'll leave you with this goal I stumbled across on youtube the other day. It's simply the best goal I've seen in a long long time in both futsal and football!! Enjoy!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Before I start, let me put my hand up and admit I've got the “I-only-blog-when-I'm winning” syndrome. November and December were the two toughest months I have had in my short time of playing poker. I was doubting my ability and desire to play the game. As I said I had previously played very little poker and was on a sabbatical, hence the lack of blog updates.

But after spending Christmas at home, playing happy families was just too much for me to handle so I spontaneously decided to play the LEPO to keep me occupied and to also keep boredom at bay. Paying €200 to play in a tournament would not be something I would do often, but since it was Christmas I wrote the money off as a Christmas present to myself. It was a careless attitude really, but thankfully on this occasion I reaped the dividends of my stupidity by coming 5th out of 139 players, bringing home €1,750.

I'm not going to start rambling on about particular hands that cropped up during the tournament because that would be boring. My starting table was okay. I say okay because the players weren't great but there were 2 guys who knew what they were doing. I was particularly getting raped on the big blind by this bloke, TJ, who I had played once in Fitzpatricks. (I had played like a donkey that night). So this led to a bit of a battle which led to a big clash later in the tournament when I doubled up against him. I was relieved he got busted later cos if he had made it to the final table, I would imagine he would have been a headache to play with his constant aggression.

But anyways there was this lady playing and she had her daughter in tow. It turned out she (the daughter) was learning sign language, cue me thinking like a typically red-blooded male, that I might sweeten her up and follow it up if we crossed paths later in the bar. She was well fit, especially on day 2 when she was wearing a killer of a black dress. It was hard to concentrate on the poker when some stunner keeps asking you to show her the signs for random stuff. But of course, she had to have a boyfriend who happened to be dealing. So I kind of calmed down after that, but nonetheless it was hard not to keep my eyes off her especially on day 2 when she was in that dress.

Anyways poker-I thought the standard in general was poor. Ended day 1 on 75k when the average was 50k. Day 2 went okay too, my stack was wildly swinging up and down. Reached the final table and enjoyed the fuss made, with the table being held on a “stage” and being cordoned off and Mad Marty's commentary even if I couldn't understand it most of the time! I looked around at the faces at my table and there were two guys from my starting table. One was french and terrible. He also had the most ridiculous act every time he went all in, I was embarrassed for him every time he did it. The other player was Rob who I had played for the majority of the tournament and was glad to have position on him as I respected his game.

I put myself on tilt during the final table cos I felt I had played one hand badly. But I had my biggest fans (lol) to thank for telling me to calm down. Thanks susie and jules!! Got myself back on track when I doubled up against Rob but contributed to my own downfall in a rush of blood to the head, which saw me finally out in 5th place.

Leaving the hotel, I was tilted because of the way I had fucked up my exit hand and I was gutted because I knew I could have won more. I've managed to calm down now but I can't help but feel envious of Rob and the other guy who chopped for 7k each. Fair play to them both.

Despite the poor turnout of 139 runners, I definitely would want to play this tournament again next year, the structure was fantastic. And the reg fee of 10% was fantastic as well, especially when it was held in a hotel which would usually see a 15% or 20% reg fee. So I think the organisers ran the show very well.

Enough waffling for me now, my gut instinct tells me it's time to stop going on. After making the wrong fold, I'm never going to ignore my instinct from now on!

See you at the tables and I'd like to wish you a happy new year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Swearing off cash games...

Not got much to say, poker has been deliberately put on the back burner while I figured out where I wanted to go. Decided to stick to tournaments only, it feels playing cash is having a detrimental effect to my game-whilst I feel I've improved my aggression in some spots, I've developed a robotic style playing cash. So that's one of my new year resolutions, play tournaments only and improve at them.

As I post, I'm just getting ready for Day 2 of the Leprechaun Open. I'm feeling a bit rusty, this being the only poker I've played (apart from drunken poker with my mates) for a long long time and at times I felt that I failed to recognise particular spots where a steal would have gone through. More live poker is needed to address that. But anyways, I've a moderately healthy stack of 75k, with 50k being the average. You can follow updates on boards, a new thread should be created somewhere here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.” ~Edward Albee

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who said poker was a beautiful game?

Right I haven't blogged in good while so since I'm in work, I suppose I might as well update this page with tales of sorry performances as of late. I hope by blogging about it, I'll banish them to the month of November and start December afresh. It's nearing the end of the month so I'll give a quick summary of how it went.

Online has been really pathetic. I'm not even going to blame the amount of sick beats and bad play that I have had to endure. The truth behind my lame performances this month is because of the attitude I developed. I have literally become independent on poker tracker and my cash game has suffered as a result of playing like a robot. I've stopped taking notes. I don't try to make any improvement. I've become lazy and never get around to reading poker theory and 2+2. I've slacked off big time and my bankroll has taken a massive whopping because of that. Last weekend I happened to come across an article written by a player who posts on boards. Reading it, I found myself guilty of what he had warned against, relying on stats. Afterwards I decided to take a break from playing cash and hopefully it'll serve to refresh my attitude and make me focused when I get back to playing them cos right now, I'm only gonna bust my roll if I continue playing cash games within my current frame of mind.

My tournament game is okay I think, online. I've only played a very small handful, probably around 7 cos I can't be arsed to play tournaments most of the time. But whenever I'm in the rare humour to play an online tournament, I like the MTT SnG on stars because the seats fill up so fast and the tournaments start pretty much instantly. I've either cashed or won in 5 of them and got knocked out really early in the other two. Last night I was dicking about on GJP and won a ticket for the grand final satellite into the European Deepstack. But if I'm not in the mood to play when it comes around, I might as well not bother cos I'm not gonna do well if I'm not focused.

I haven't played that much live. Only played deaf tournaments so far this month. My form reads like this

Played 5, Won 1, Lost 4

Two of these tournaments were took place in Stockholm, which was a beautiful city. Our hostel was top class, it was pratically a hotel! Defintely worth the money we paid. The night-life was okay but I think that was because we went to the wrong areas where it was too posh for us.

The first one was a €100+10 tournament in a private poker club on Friday night but in stereotypical fashion, us Irish visitors stood out like sore thumbs among our Scandinavian peers as we were already drunk when we got there. Rob lasted longest, coming 3rd out of 40-something players as we drunkenly railed him. The old guy with the tattoos was a great source of amusement on my starting table, he was so bad. Christer Markvelle went all in on a KQ74Q board and this guy made the call as if he had a monster hand and triumphantly tossed over absoulte shite J8 and duly gifted Christer the glut of his 10k starting stack. I couldn't hold it in, and had to stand up and turn away to laugh cos that's how funny it was.

The second tournmanet was a €50+10 tournament in casino cosmopol the next day. It attracted 116 players, of whom the majority were just poor. When the field had narrowed to 30 players or so, I was the chip leader of the tournament and really fancied my chances of making serious cash. Until a short stack went all in against my pre flop raise with 5h6h to my AJo, and spiked a 5 on the river. I just went on tilt and cursed the poker gods, and from there on it was a slippery slope till I busted in 25th place or so. After playing in Gothenburg and Stockholm, there's three things I don't like about Cosmopol.

1- Their starting stack of 3k

2- Their steep blind structure

3-The 20% registration fee

While I think it's great that the Swedish poker societies can attract 100+ players to their tournaments, I don't think there's any value in Cosmopol's tournaments so in future I'm just gonna stick to playing poker in the Swedish Deaf clubs on Friday night cos it's better value for money. I'm still gonna go to Gothenburg in May but am only gonna play PTIG tournaments, not Cosmopol's.

All in all, if it isn't already obvious from the tone of this post, I'm feeling really fed up of poker. It's annoying the hell out of me that I cant take a proper break from the game altogether cos I invariably end up playing it when I'm bored at home in evenings and have nothing else to do. But what buggers me most of all, is unless I TRY to constantly improve, I'm not going to get out of this rut and I don't even know if I have the desire to do that.

Poker. What a sick game.