Thursday, 25 February 2010

Atrocity Exhibition

Poker still kind of sucks of late, I’m down nearly $1k for the month now (AIEV is less than half of that, not that it really matters). I’m not that unhappy with my play, I think I have probably improved in certain respects but probably need to be a little more aggressive at certain times against certain opponents, particularly on the turn. Still, nearly 14,000 hands played and enough rake back to cover a good part of my losses.

Hand of the week can be seen here, where my bluff turns out to be a value raise but I get stacked anyway when he tarps me with the OESD following the employment of the out of position flotation device in a four bet pot. I don’t love my play here but I thought the dynamic dictated it was a reasonable play.

I felt I played some of my best tournament poker for months on Monday. I went reasonably deep in one of the FTP $26 tourneys and then went absolutely ape shit when some cunt made the worst call of all time deep in the $162 on Party. He raises A3s UTG, I shove TT with 15bb from the big blind, he calls so quickly I was sure I was beat and he rivers a straight. I was fucking seething at the time, as you can imagine.

West Ham took a standard 3-0 beating at Man Utd on Tuesday, which was to be expected. If you want to read people masturbating over the Manc performance, it won’t be here, I suggest looking at the website of any of this country’s tabloid newspapers. We play Bolton at home next, who aren’t in good form, in another must win game.

Portsmouth appear to be aiming for administration, which looks like it will prevent HMRC getting their money and also allow them to fulfil their fixtures. Should this be the case, three wins and the odd point here or there looks like it will be enough to stay up, so fingers crossed.

Wedding preparations continue in earnest. We’re starting to get various things ticked off and invites went out the other day. It is still a royal pain in the arse, plus there are all sorts of additional costs (they aren’t so much additional, more that I didn’t think of them). Wedding rings, for example (the fact that I didn’t really think of them shows how little thought I give to almost everything).

The sale process of my employer is now underway. I still don’t know what my future is, although I’d still anticipate that I am likely to get the tin tack. The stag plan is coming together, we have a crew of about 25 people for the fact finding trip to Holland. Some of the lads have booked a business class flight on the way out as they reckon they can drink enough booze in the lounge before to make it cost effective.

Good luck at the tables.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Scrub That

I’m back on the canvas.

I dropped about 12 BI on Saturday, luckily these were at $50NL (in order to find some action I switched down to the $50nl tables instead of the GBP 50nl, which was a saving in itself). I constantly ran into people in God mode, which was a bit out of order as I normally insist on running like this myself. Hold’em Manager have finally got their currency fix sorted, so I am able to track my spewing more accurately.

Her indoors is away tonight so to stem my HU losses I will probably donate to the tournament community instead. I expect this to be an expensive and unrewarding experience if my recent tournament history is anything to go by.

West Ham beat a terrible Hull side 3-0 on Saturday. We were 1-0 up inside the first three minutes and, one great save from Green just before half time aside, the result never looked in doubt. With all the other relegation strugglers losing the league table looks a whole lot prettier at the moment. All this could change if Portsmouth go bust, but even without them things look a lot rosier than they did six weeks ago. With a trip to Old Trafford (and then shorter journeys to The Cameldome and Stamford Bridge) making up three of our next four games I don’t anticipate much from these but we look a lot more organised and more of a threat in attack.

I have been looking at our remaining games and we have home games remaining against Bolton, Sunderland, Wigan, Wolves and Stoke. I’d like to think we can win three of the five and pick up three to six points elsewhere, which should comfortably keep us up. I wish I’d never put this in print, but I can’t help myself. Besides, if we can’t pick up sufficient points there, we deserve to go down.

One of the bad things about the new owners is that I don’t seem to be able to open the newspaper without reading a quote from either Sullivan or Gold. I find it all rather tiresome and whilst they are clearly using the press to push their case for certain things (e.g. not letting Portsmouth go bust, moving to Stratford), I just wish they would shut the fuck up for five minutes.

I saw quite a bit of the televised football on Sunday. Bolton and Wigan were both shocking. Burnley looked a tidy football side but seem to like pressing the self-destruct button when the ball gets within 30 yards of their own goal. I’m not sure who I think will the eventual additional two to go down with Portsmouth. I suspect that it will be Hull and maybe Wolves, although Wolves do have plenty of fight about them and typically sides like Burnley that defend badly rarely stay up. I hope it’ll be Sunderland, mainly because I hate Steve Bruce, but I don’t think they are quite shit enough, unfortunately.

Having digested all of these games, I can conclude that the “best league in the world” is, in fact, shit. Blackburn and Stoke are going to stay up with ease this year, and they’re both fucking dreadful. I reacted with laughter at the suggestion about a play-off for the final Big Cup place. I think it is a retarded suggestion for reasons too numerous to mention, but it is par for the course from the big-wigs at the Premier League.

Good luck at the tables.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Off The Canvas

I have launched a mini-fight back at HU this month and am now only down 5-6BI at GBP 50nl. I played a quite fun session against a guy last night - despite not running too well, I finished up 2BI over 400 hands. The guy is fairly fearless and getting action with regs isn't easy at these levels, so I'm keen to play him again as he provides a challenging game, whilst I still feel I have an edge.

The villain in question 3 bets a ton and monkeys around a lot both pre and post flop. Hand of the night went down something like this (I don't have the hand history here). WARNING: thinly disguised brag in progress.

GBP 50NL, I have GBP 100, villain covers, and am dealt AKo in the big blind.

Villain opens to £1.50, Hero raises to £5, villain calls.

Flop: 355 rainbow.

Hero bets £6, villain calls.

Turn: 7, completing the rainbow.

Hero bets £12.50, villain shoves.

I thought for ages about this, and I've tried to get away from hero calls, but what exactly does he have here. I haven't been three betting him that much, so my range, in his eyes, consists mainly of overs and pairs. By raising here he should fold out overcards and, possibly, some smaller overpairs (this is unlikely). If he has a 5 (he has folded to around 50% of 3 bets thus far but we are deeper here) it is likely to be something like 35, 45, 56, 57, 58 and maybe something like A5. With 35/45/56/57 he has the board locked up and shouldn't want to raise me off what are likely to be overcards (he has already seen me two barrel and fold in a 3 bet pot). He should also be unlikely to raise stuff like 67 as he only gets it in against better hands and folds out worse. He is extremely spewy and prone to bluffing, so I think he is quite likely to have bare overs here and I click the call button. He turns over Q9o, the river bricks, I ship the pot and my willy grows a little.

Well done to Wonderflop who has got back on the horse and started running a little better at the 6 max. About fucking time, as he runs like a landmine victim normally. He needs to update his blog though.

Up the stakes, Isildur1 has returned and generated some action at the nosebleeds. I never ceased to be impressed by the amount of money these guys win and lose daily, I don't know how they sleep at night.

Arsene Wenger made a prize cock of himself again last night when Arsenal lost to Porto in the Big Cup. Some good refereeing saw Wenger object (as he does when things don't go his way), you can read his comments elsewhere if you are interested, all that I would say is that the bloke doesn't understand the rules of the game judging by the bleating that came out of his mouth about the quick free-kick, I might nip down to the Cameldome to school him. They also appear to have found the heir apparent to Manuel Almunia in Luis Fabianski, which bodes well as I like it when other teams have a keeper that can't catch or even think coherently.

Otherwise I have been watching The Tower Block of Commons on TV. Basically, they send a bunch of MPs out to live in council estates and see how they get on. It has been quite interesting, with Lib Dem rent boy shagger Mark Oaten and Tory Tim Loughton coming across really well. Nadine Dorries is a bit of an embarrassment and must have had some Conservatives cringing.

The other thing that amazed me was seeing Oaten go out shopping with the family that he lived with - they have a budget of around £160, and with Oaten's help spend around £100. They then spend the rest on fags. Oaten is basically outraged by this, and the woman then starts harping on about MP's expenses. What she fails to realise is that she is living on benefits and is claiming how hard it is - Oaten's expenses are mutually exclusive and do not impact how much money she has. What should be of concern to her is to do what is best for her family with the money that she is being given - my definition of what is best would not include doing 37.5% of the shopping budget on fags. I'm becoming a right cunt as I get older, I should get a column in The Daily Mail if I keep churning out stuff like this.

Good luck at the tables.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Marriage Guidance

Poker can suck my hairy balls this month, 9k hands has me down £600 ish. I haven’t played well or run well, so no time for complaining, I just want to get back to playing better, which I guess requires more hard work (not one of my strong points).

Off the felt West Ham grabbed a vital 2-0 win at home to Birmingham. A beautiful Diamanti free-kick and a neat Cole header after Faubert got around the back of the defence wrapped up the points – we were solid enough, but Birmingham (minus Benitez up front) didn’t offer all too much. We’re at home to Hull on Saturday – this is a huge game for us, another win would be an absolutely massive result.

I didn’t see much of the FA Cup this weekend, but the Palace vs. Villa game was an absolute belter. I’m torn between liking and hating Neil Warnock, as he talks a lot of absolute bollocks, but is in a lot of ways a real football man.

The Premier League have come up with a crackpot idea to try and make the league more exciting. Instead of awarding the fourth Big Cup slot to the team that comes fourth in the league, they are now going to play-off for it (4th-7th place). Sounds retarded to me, they’d be better simply awarding it to the FA Cup winner IMO. I’m not sure exactly when they’re going to play off when there is an international competition in the Summer, and with managers already bitching about fixture congestion, I wouldn’t have thought more fixtures was the answer.

I saw “A Single Man” this weekend. It is a superb film, I highly recommend it. There is some decent stuff on at the moment, I wanted to see “A Prophet” but never got my arse in gear and missed it. I have also been watching Nathan Barley, which is fucking awesome, and I have a particular affection for given the number of Hoxton twats I see on a daily basis.

I went with Lucy to a “marriage course” yesterday. It is compulsory to do so before you get married in a Catholic church. I wasn’t particularly up for it – I’m no fan of religion in any form, but the whole thing was reasonably useful.

I have to get the wedding invites out this week, which should be fun as tasks like this tend to raise both of our stress levels.

It is a day late, but with Valentine’s Day being yesterday and with anyone wanting to woo a lady, I’ve hear that the following never fails – thank me later. So good luck at the tables and with the ladies.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I've got a knife
So get in the van.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Virtual Treadmill

With work having ground to a virtual stand-still, I have been devoting my energies to other areas (no change there then). On Saturday and Monday I logged about 4k hands of HU. In total for February I am just over 7k, which means I should meet my monthly target with something to spare, unless Carpal Tunnel sets in. I probably haven’t played my best poker and haven’t run all too well and am down around £200 for the month. I’m not displeased with this, my last two months have been awesome and I couldn’t continue on such a massive heater.

After played such a heavy volume on Saturday and Monday, I came to really understand that poker is indeed a hard way to make an easy living. When I see the real grinders, playing 100,000 or more hands per month – I have no idea how they do this and play anything approaching their A-game a reasonable percentage of the time. I consider myself to be reasonably well suited to going through sustained hours of heavy mental workload and probably not too bad on the tilt front, but the sheer exhaustion caused by logging a lot of hands must get to them after a while. That said, I guess if you can play sessions in 90 minute blocks and divert your mind between sessions then it may be doable, particularly if you are playing enough tables.

West Ham lost 2-1 at Burnley at the weekend. Some shit defending cost us both goals and despite hitting the post and the bar we didn’t manage to snatch a point after spending the majority of the first half under the kosh. McCarthy went off injured after having an effort cleared off the line, however Mido looked sharp (and slim) enough (I have a sneaky feeling he might stay longer than this season and do alright for us) and substitute Ilan scored on his debut. We have a huge game at home to Birmingham tomorrow which we really, really have to win after other results went against us this weekend.

Otherwise I watched Antoine Corbin’s Joy Division documentary/film. I thoroughly enjoyed it, they managed to deal with Ian’s death without laying on the grief too thick. It is sad to see such an amazingly talented individual die at such a young age. There was a quote from Peter Hook in there, saying how Ian’s illness/unhappiness was a real elephant in the room that they never talked about. When he wrote “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, Cook said they didn’t hear the lyrics and think “Wow, he must be unhappy, with all the stuff with Debbie and Annik. We thought, wa-hey, Ian’s done it again and written another belter”. If you’re in any way a fan, I recommend watching it.

Good luck at the tables.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Window Shopping

On the back of an epic January for me I started February as I mean to go on in the cash games, by winning a flip for a full stack on my first hand. Her indoors is out tonight so I aim to play a fairly long session.

I had a lesson with Aero last night. We spoke on a topic that I had been meaning to talk about for a while – playing out of position. I think that this was probably the most valuable lesson that I have had in a while and, hopefully, should save me a fortune. I won’t go into the details but he basically said “a lot of players do x, y and z” – which basically described how I play out of position. He then ran through alternatives and why my current strategy basically wasn’t all that good. Overall I think that this lesson on its own will probably save me a fortune.

On the football front, the transfer window has closed and Sky will have to find something else to clutter SSN with. West Ham signed Benni McCarthy plus Mido and some Brazilian bloke (both until the end of the season). I would have liked to see us bring a full-back in but otherwise I am not unhappy, hopefully this should give us enough fire-power to keep us up.

The game against Blackburn was a dreadful 0-0 draw. We were crap and Blackburn had no ideas beyond hoofing it in the general direction of Christopher Samba’s head. The beautiful game, I don’t think. The Croat centre forward that Blackburn had looked decent though.
In other news, John Terry has been a naughty boy after going roaring up Wayne Bridge’s ex and then trying to keep it out of the press. He is a disgusting scrote and should be stripped of the England captaincy, I hope Capello doesn’t bottle it.

Good luck to Leeds tomorrow in the FA Cup, hopefully they will dump Spurs out and let Redknapp focus on filling his tax return in properly as it has clearly been an issue in the past. Also, good luck to all at the tables.