Archive for June, 2009

GUKPT Summer Series Walsall

June 30, 2009

Greetings poker fans, and let me welcome you to another exciting instalment of the happenings of the UK poker scene.

It’s been a busy last couple of weeks for me both on and off the tables and continuing where I left off on Sunday let’s get right back into the thick of the action:

Congratulations are in order for Birmingham’s Vincent Price on taking down the GUKPT Walsall leg of the Summer Series.

Read the full feature here on Poker News UK.

After seeing off a tough field featuring the odd poker professional that included Mickey Wernick and Liam ‘the gentleman’ Flood, Vincent also saw off challenges from seasoned UK tournament circuit players like Maria Demetriou and GUKPT Champion of Champion’s winner Ash Hussain.

Several Cardiff players were in attendance including 6-card PLO sickos Marco Clarke and Rana Gurnham and Neil Channing and Nik Persaud’s stable of Blackbeltpoker.com qualifiers in the form of Henry Griffiths (another South Wales boy) John Lundy and Toby Lewis were also on hand to give Mr Price a run for his money.

The price it seemed, was right for 21-year-old Birmingham native and Broadway casino regular Vincent, who was playing in his first big buy-in live tournament (note, not his first live tournament just his first tourney with a buy-in over £100).

After eliminating four of the nine players on the final table, crushing each in quick succession Vince found himself heads-up with 19-year-old Blackbeltpoker.com bluebelt Toby Lewis after Toby dispatched third place finisher Simon Wickenden with the mighty Ace King; which beat Simon’s Pocket Sixes in an all-in pre-flop race.

An epic hour-and-a-half heads-up battle ensued where the chip lead changed hands several times, but it was victory for Vincent when his turned full house on a 6-4-9-4-8 board proved too strong for Toby’s King Nine when all the money went in on the river.

“I’m over the moon, shocked still really, it still hasn’t sunk in yet and I can’t believe it. This is the first big tournament that I’ve ever played in and the first big tournament that I’ve ever bought into before for £500. This is the first real big cash that I’ve ever won,’ confirmed an ecstatic Mr Price, who has been a regular on the Birmingham live circuit for the last three years.

GUKPT Walsall leg winner Vincent Price. Image courtesy of the GUKPT/BlueSquare

GUKPT Walsall leg winner Vincent Price. Image courtesy of the GUKPT/BlueSquare

“My heads-up opponent Toby [Blackbeltpoker.com blue belt Toby Lewis] was solid and was the one player going on to the final table that I didn’t want to get involved in many pots with. He was a very solid player and heads-up went on for an hour and a half – it was a brilliant match against him and all credit to him he was very persistent and he raised my blinds like 90% of the time. He’s played in almost all of the GUKPT’s and I’m sure he’ll win one later on down the line; he’s definitely got the talent for it.”

Both Vincent and Toby agreed to a deal where both took around £16,000 for there troubles and played out for the prestige of the trophy and a seat in the £100,000 Champion of Champion’s tournament held at the end of the year in the Vic.

“I’m really looking forward to December, the Champion of Champion’s event. Funnily enough, when I actually bought into the tournament I didn’t even know that there was a seat for that tournament. It will be a very tough event with all the winners of the other events so it won’t be a walk in the park at all,’ confirmed Vince.

MBN…

Needless to say, while I played in the £200 side event (where I managed to run my Pocket Kings into Pocket Aces in a blind v blind battle on level three… doh!) my cash return for the weekend was somewhat less than £16,000.

I did however manage to make £300 playing in the casino’s local £50 triple-chance deep-stack on Sunday after we all agreed to a 12-way chop.

What? A twelve way chop… Now while deals are part and parcel of tournament poker, I usually like to play them out to a conclusion, but… well being as the tourney didn’t start until 21:30 (after I had finished all my work, obviously…) by the time 03:30 came around with 12 very evenly stacked players left, and still facing a two hour drive back to Cardiff, when someone mentioned some quick, easy money the mercenary in me jumped at the opportunity.

Working nine till five

Well, more like twelve till six by the time I crawled out of bed after arriving home at 05:30am, but I have been cranking out the features this week.

I’ve just sent off my tourney report to Poker News UK so you can read in more detail about the GUKPT’s fine Summer Series.

On a juicy gossip note, after chatting to Jonathan Rabb, the GUKPT tour manager it seems that we might not have seen the last of the Summer Series:

“We have recently bought the Isle of Capri casino, which is in the Rico Stadium in Coventry, that’s now going to be turned into a G-casino and we will be hoping to have a GUKPT event there soon… it’s quite possible that there may well be a Summer Series event 4 in there in September, but we have yet to finalise those details,” teased Jonathan.

He also hinted that the GUKPT maybe Europe bound next year, with a possibility of a leg or two in Belgium as the Rank Group own two casinos out there that have recently started spreading poker games.

Remember folks, you read it here first 😉
SCOOOOOOOOOP!!

Visit Poker News UK for the full low-down.

Right well, I’ve got me some feature to write for Poker Pro Europe as well (I’ll let you know more details closer to the time) and still have to put some work into my Micro-stakes Mission as well as conquer the world of online poker.

Super-stardom here we come…

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Summer Shoving, Having a Blast…

June 28, 2009

While Walsall may be a long way from the poker Mecca known as Las Vegas (5137 miles to be exact), poker is a universal game and fortune, glory and the small matter of the £60,500 prize pool at the last leg of the GUKPT Summer Series is enough to inspire any poker player to great deeds at the felt.

While the £19,520 on offer for first place is not quite as mouth wateringly juicy as say, $9 million for winning the ‘Big One’ it’s still a pretty good payday for two days of ‘work’.

With 121 runners turning up to pit wits on the baize, including GUKPT Champion of Champion’s champion (that’s a lot of champions ;)) Ash Hussain, Black belt poker blue belts Henry Griffiths, John Lundy and Toby Lewis, Liam ‘the gentleman’ Flood, Maria Demetriou and UK poker stalwart Mickey Wernick it was a pretty tough field duking it out for the title.

Also in attendance and hoping to topple the Hit Squad’s Sunny Chattha from the GUKPT leaderboard top spot was the winner of the Newcastle leg Tony Phillips, fresh from winning the £300 event yesterday [Saturday 28 June] for a cool £9,400. With this win he moves into 3rd place on 190 points, just behind Irishman Martin Silke (winner of the GUKPT Vic leg) on 225 points and Sunny Chattha on 230. If the likable ex-poker dealer finished in 3rd place or better he will top the GUKPT leaderboard.

29 players made their way back for Day 2 including all the Black belt qualifiers, although Henry and John were eliminated before the bubble burst as was Ash Hussain and Maria Demetriou.

After a 3-player bust out in one hand the money bubble burst and the final table was underway:

Seat 1 – Tony Phillips with 92,400 in chips
Seat 2 – Gordon Gainford 59,700 in chips
Seat 3 – Simon Wickenden 41,800 in chips
Seat 4 – Jeffery Buffenburger 26,800 in chips
Seat 5 – Mickey Wernick 35,000 in chips
Seat 6 – Abed Eid 123,300 in chips
Seat 7 – Richard Connolly 126,100 in chips
Seat 8 – Toby Lewis 181,900 in chips
Seat 9 – Vincent Price 315,500 in chip

With blinds at the final starting at 3,000/6,000 with a running ante of 400 action has been thick an fast and likable Brummie Mickey Wernick was first to fall; his all-in shove for 26,100 over the top of a Toby Lewis raise of 16,000 found two callers in the form of Toby and fellow Birmingham native and chip leader Vincent Price.

An 8h-8d-Jh flop saw Toby check-fold to Vincent’s bet to take the pot heads-up. Mr Price’s Pocket Nine’s were in front of Mr Wernick’s Ace King and stayed that way as the 3c and Qd hit the turn and river to see Mickey eliminated in 9th with £1,210 for his troubles.

Blackbelt busts Buffenburger

Next to fall at the hands of Blackbeltpoker.com blue belt Toby Lewis was Jeffery Buffenburger, whose Ace Ten of diamonds was well behind to Toby’s Pocket Jacks.
The 5d-10s-7d flop made things interesting, but with no diamonds forthcoming Mr Buffenburger was eliminated in 8th for £1,820.

Next up on the chopping block was Isle of Mann based Poker Stars business analyst Richard Connelly. You’d think working for the world’s largest poker room would guarantee you a good run, but in true live poker style Richard’s Ace King was no match for the Pocket Jacks of Vincent Price (obviously if this was the internet Mr Connolly would have pinged his Ace on the river ;)) who is currently on a bit of a heater.

Just a scant 15 minutes later and Tony Phillip’s dreams of a GUKPT leaderboard top spot were dashed when his button shove with Pocket Fours lost out to the Ace Nine of clubs of Brighton (well Bognor Regis really) native Simon Wickenden who turned a flush to see Tony out in 6th for £3,020.
While young Mr Phillips looked disappointed to finish his tournament prematurely his weekend has seen him net a tasty £12,420 and he currently sits on 206 points on the GUKPT leaderboard.

The Price is Right…

Players began to fall thick and fast and 25 minutes after Tony hit the rail Gordon Gainford shoved all-in for 97,000 over the top of another Vincent Price raise.
Vincent duly made the call flipping over Pocket Threes, which were racing against the Queen Nine of Gordon. Young Mr Price (who is just 21) is in the zone at the moment and true to form won the race in style; flopping a set on the 5-2-3-10-2 board, eliminating Gordon in 5th for £3,930.

Just four minutes later (and on the last hand before the dinner break no less) Vince put Manchester based building consultant Abed Eid to bed after calling Abed’s 132,400 shove. Abed’s Pocket Seven’s were in front for all of about 30 seconds until the 10c-6s-Kd flop put Vincent’s Ace King miles in front. With no Seven rearing its ugly head My Eid’s tournament dream was over and he bit the dust in 4th with £5,440 as a consolation prize.

So with three players left we go on dinner break.

Current chip counts:
Vincent Price         630,000
Toby Lewis             430,000
Simon Wickenden     160,000

Right, I’m off to grab some munch but will update you all tomorrow with the results and a link to the feature I’m currently writing on the tournament for Poker News UK.

Summer of Shove

June 24, 2009

In the summertime when the weather is high, you can stretch right up and touch the sky. When the weather’s fine – you got poker, you got poker on your mind….

While the worlds attention maybe focused on some small town poker tournament called the World Poker Series or something held in the depths of the Nevada desert (it’ll never catch on if you ask me…) there is still plenty of poker out there in the UK for you discerning poker junkies to sate your urges.

Both Grosvenor Casinos and Coral are keeping Britain as the land of poker hope and glory with their GUKPT Summer Series and the Coral British Masters Poker Tour for those of you not flush enough to pony up $10,000 or just plain not lucky enough to win a WSOP seat online.

With the events ranging from £100 freeze-outs (at the CBMPT), £200 Freeze-outs (GUKPT & CBMPT), £300 freeze-outs (GUKPT) and the £500 main events (both the GUKPT & CBMPT) this summer is a pretty good one for you British poker players.

British Master Class

After being fortunate enough to win myself a seat online at www.eurobetpoker.net for the princely sum of $75+5 (well, technically nothing as this was just a small fraction of my online profit this month after a successful assault on the Pot-Limit Omaha tables courtesy of Rolf Slotboom’s short-stack PLO strategy ;)) I was in sunny Leeds last weekend (19–21 June) for the Coral British Masters.

While I was unable to convert my online success into a cash – I busted in 50th out of the main event when my short-stacked shove for 6,500 at the 300/600 level with Pocket Kings ran into the mighty Ace-Jack with all the money in the middle pre-flop (guess the first card out…) – another Welshman in the form of Carl Williams managed to cash.

Admittedly it was only for £250, but being as Carl had qualified online for next-to-nothing (around $10 I believe) this was still a pretty decent ROI, and being as I had 10% of him I managed to earn myself £25 as well. Granted that’s not quite as impressive as winning a World Series bracelet, but money won is still twice as sweet as money earned.

CBMPT Leeds Champion Tom MacDonald. Image courtesy of A World of Poker.

CBMPT Leeds Champion Tom MacDonald. Image courtesy of A World of Poker.

Congratulations go to 18-year-old Tom MacDonald who saw off 93 other players to reach heads-up with over a 3–1 chip lead. After seeing off a spirited challenge from runner-up Jamie Sykes he bagged a bankroll boosting £15,400 for his troubles, with Mr Sykes earning himself a cool £10,000 in the process for second place.

My disastrous run of tournament form continued in the £100 freeze-out and after getting down to the final 20 with around 35k in chips at the 800/1,600 level the wheels fell off…

I managed to lose two massive back-to-back pots, both while holding Ace Queen; the first was pretty standard, a guy with around 20k shoved my blind from the button and being as he had looked eager to get his chips in the middle for a while, when I looked down to see Ace Queen of spades in the Big Blind I was pretty sure I was in front.
Sure enough after making the call my big chick was dominating the gentleman’s Ace Four of diamonds, until he flopped a Four…
Running Ten’s and Seven’s saw me chop the pot (apparently I’m the lucky bastard here…) so one 72% v 23% (the other 5% is a chop) down, one more to go…

Just a scant two hands later I find myself on the Button with… Ace Queen. I raise to 4,000 the Big Blind glances at his cards and instantly moves all-in. Now personally, I don’t think that he’s doing this with a hand here, maybe a rag Ace or small pocket pair at best so it doesn’t take long for me to make the call.

‘Fucking hell, I’m in bad shape’ mumbles the gent in question as I call and he’s sees my Ace Queen, and he turns over Ace Nine off…
Blank, blank, blank, blank… Nine on the river sees me left with just one Big Blind and a bad taste in my mouth and I’m out in 19th on the next hand when my bag of spanners fails to connect with the flop.

But then, that’s tournament poker for you…
You can read all about the action and adventure at uk.pokernews.com as I’ve just submitted a feature for their website.

On the plus side I managed to come away with a £500 profit from my escapades on the cash tables (£350 of which I made in 10 minutes at one table…) so life’s not all bad.

The atmosphere surrounding the Tour is as friendly as the Gala Tour, and with a lot of the same faces and the fact that you can play in all three tournaments and pay for your hotel for the price of just one GUKPT, it is a pretty good value poker weekend.

The next leg is 24–26 July in Teeside, followed by the Nottingham leg on 14–16 August. Qualify online at www.coralpoker.com, www.galapoker.co.uk and www.eurobetpoker.net for as little as nothing as they are running a series of freerolls from 6pm every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or visit www.britishmasterspokertour.co.uk for more details.

GUKPT Summer Series

GUKPT Aberdeen Summer Series Champion John Angus. Image courtesy of BlueSquare/GUKPT

GUKPT Aberdeen Summer Series Champion John Angus. Image courtesy of BlueSquare/GUKPT

Not to be outdone, Grosvenor Casino’s are also running their Summer Series. Their second event was held up in Aberdeen last weekend (yes, an unfortunate schedule clash with the CBMPT which probably explained the low number of runners) where retired accountant John Angus (insert Burger King joke here…) saw off the 41 other runners to win himself £7,870. Congratulations to Black Belt Poker blue belt and Poker Player Strategy Editor Nick Wright on his third place finish for £3,780. It’s always nice to see a fellow poker journo win some glory, and Nick is an all round nice guy anyway.

The last event of the Summer Series will be running this coming weekend (25–18 June) in Walsall so you can still get your Summer of Shove tournament fix here.

Needless to say I and several other members of Cardiff’s poker mafia (the Tafia ;)) will be attending and will be writing an article on it for Poker News.

The quality of play and the value at these tournaments is immense, so while the majority of the poker world focuses on Las Vegas, don’t forget there is still poker to be played and money to be made on this side of the pond as well.

Visit http://www.grosvenorukpokertour.com/summer_series.shtml
for more info or qualify online at BlueSquare.com.

Micro-stakes madness…

Unfortunately as my focus both online and live has been on the above I have not had a chance to play any poker relating to my Micro-stakes Mission, but as this is a work in progress, rest assured I will be grinding it out at the lower levels in an attempt to win fortune and glory in the coming weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Well I’ve got me a few features to write before the weekend so I’ll sign off until Monday where I’ll let you know all about the GUKPT Summer Series in Walsall and probably bitch about my bad beats 😉

Keep it real folks, and if all else fails… try Wales.

Tidy.

Micro-stakes Mission: Week One

June 15, 2009
The Micro-stakes Mission

The Micro-stakes Mission

08.06.09

Starting balance: £10

14.06.09

Closing balance: £13.67

Word of the week is grind…
A good start to the challenge where I have managed a 36% increase to my micro roll.

Things we learnt this week:

Tight, solid ABC poker is what wins the money at these low levels.

Value bet your opponents to death.

When someone donk-bets into you and you have it, re-raise you WILL get paid.

Lots of micro-grinding makes you go stir crazy…

It will be a couple of months (hopefully) before I will be playing any ‘proper’ poker at these levels; and by proper poker I mean six-max cash.

As I am playing within strict bankroll management parameters and quite frankly can’t bring myself to grind it out in the $0.01/$0.02 cash games (I just don’t have it in me, I’d rather watch endless Big Brother re-runs while strapped into the Clockwork Orange social rehabilitation chair…) I have been playing a shed-load of $1.20 SNG’s. Some six-max, some full ten-handed, some of the Double or Nothings just to mix it up a little and have a little variety.

Now while the Double or Nothings don’t offer you a great return on your money (as you are paying 1/5 of your profits in rake :() they are great for growing a roll with minimum risk and play slightly differently to your standard SNG, being more like an online qualifier/satellite.
As I’m in the middle of writing a feature on this very topic I’m not going to go into too much detail here but will let you guys know when and where the feature will be published so you can see for yourselves.

I won’t be playing cash until I have $200 (around £120 at current exchange rates) in my account, then I can start playing the $0.05/$0.10 six-max games. Now while this might not be the giddy high-rolling heights that some players enjoy I am quite looking forward to it as I’m sure by the time I have earned enough to play these stakes I will be thoroughly sick of SNG’s.

After a week I have played 26 SNG’s broken down into:

6 Turbo six-max Double or Nothings for 0 profit
I tried these out and found that they get too crap-shooty on the money bubble with the fast escalating blinds and probably won’t be playing any more of these.

1 20-man $1.20 SNG for a loss of $1.20
See below.

2 30-man $1.20 SNG’s for a loss of $2.40
While I came close I bubbled both of these but was just taking a bankroll boosting shot with the profits from my six-max SNG’s. I would imagine I will take a shot with one or two of these a week depending on how I run as you have a slightly greater variance against more players. The return of $12 for first place makes them worthwhile I think.

1 ten-handed SNG for a profit of $3.80
The only reason I didn’t bother with more of these is that the six-max versions are quicker and you have to fight through less players to make the money, though I might mix it up and play a couple more this week.

16 six-max SNG’s some Double or Nothings, some standard SNG’s for a profit of $6.20
I found these the easiest to play and they gave me the best return. Now while my ROI for the whole week was only 17% (this will need to improve drastically) I am happy that I have finished up after the first week. I had to change my game up from my usual aggressive cash style and lost a couple of key hands at bubble time by not adapting to the micro-stakes styles (i.e. don’t bluff, you will get called…).
Hopefully now I have changed my game up we should see some better results next week.

Until then poker fans…

Swings and Roundabouts

June 15, 2009

Well we’re off and running with the micro-stakes challenge. Check out my progress by selecting Back to the Future: The Micro-stakes Mission in the side bar.

After grinding all week with my free time I have made around a 36% increase to my roll.

Amusingly though in an attempt to blow off some steam after playing ‘proper’ bankroll management all week, I sat down on Saturday for a good old fashioned spin-up rampage on Eurobet’s PLO tables.

Having just recently finished reading Rolf Slotboom’s Secrets of Professional Pot-Limit Omaha I was intrigued by his short-stack approach to the game, which I decided to try out as part of my spin-up.

The tactic involves sitting in for to a game with the minimum buy-in (yes, I’ve joined the irritating hit-and-run short-stackers society), preferably with a strong aggressive player to your left (yes, you want them to have position on you).

Patience is the key here, you are waiting for a fairly decent hand like double-suited Aces or Kings where all four cards work well together.
Double-suited run-down hands are also good here.

You usually want to just call knowing the aggressive player will usually raise and get called in a couple of spots so you can re-raise all-in. Obviously you need to mix this up with some Button raises and re-raises when you have the goods as well so you don’t become too predictable.

Hopefully the obliging LAG should re-raise giving you some protection and taking the hand heads-up so you are getting around 3-1 on your money while being around a 60/40 favourite in the hand.

Obviously this is not an exact science and the key to success is picking your spots carefully. Occasionally you’ll be against two other players in the pot and while your win percentage may drop here you are still getting a pretty good return on your money for taking a favourable gamble.

The trick is not to get too greedy, as soon as you have doubled up and have enough to buy in for the minimum for the next level you leave the table and jump up stakes.

You can experiment with this strategy a little if you find a level you are comfortable playing at and I did just that at the $1/$1 tables running my $20 into around $160 in about half an hour before I hit-and-ran to buy into the $2/$2 game for $40.

The best part about this approach is the fact you are risking a little to win a lot in a short space of time, while still using some semblance of bankroll management: While you are effectively playing higher than your roll allows you should still only be risking around 5% of your total net worth.

The best way to ensure success is to give yourself a total you are happy reaching and then calling it quits and banking the money.

Poker is a game of swings and roundabouts - sometimes I spin around so fast I get dizzy...

Poker is a game of swings and roundabouts - sometimes I spin around so fast I get dizzy...

I pulled the plug after working my way up to the $5/$5 level where I had a quick double-up and finished $390 in profit for around three and a half hours work.

So effectively I managed to spin $10 into $400 – not bad work if you can get it. Kind of the anti-thesis to my micro-stakes approach, but then I had to play a game where I was free of the stringent constraints I had been playing under all week. I think that it’s important to mix it up online to stop you from going stir crazy, burning out and driving yourself insane grinding it out at the lower levels.

Going Live

While I have been enjoying moderate success online this month, my live game on the other hand has been a disaster.

While I enjoyed a fairly sizable win at Bristol’s £1/£2 ROE (round of each Pot-Limit Texas and Pot-Limit Omaha) I have had several back to back losing sessions where my sets have been outdrawn by gutshots, or people have just plain been refusing to fold for all their chips when the draw card fails to materialise on the turn, calling off and then pinging the river… Sick.

I’m enjoying (not sure if this is quite the right word…) my first losing month since January and only my third ever losing month since I’ve been keeping records. Unfortunately it’s also my biggest losing month to date as well. Not so good.

I’m off to Leeds on Friday to cover and play in the Coral British Masters Poker Tour so I can only pray for a reversal in fortune and an end to my losing live streak. Time will tell.

It’s odd, whenever I win online I seem to break even or lose live and when I am winning live my online game suffers. I will have to work to fix this strange correlation between cyber-space and bricks-and-mortar. Fingers crossed…

Being as I seem to be running ok on the old intermaweb I will also be attempting to satellite in to the Coral Tour £500+50 main event via the freerolls, $5 re-buy and $10 freeze-out. I’ll keep you posted.

As I will be working and gambling with reckless abandon on Friday and over the weekend I probably won’t be posting until next Monday where I will also be updating my micro-stakes challenge results as well.

Until that day folks…

Jumping Gigawatts!

June 12, 2009

If you had a time travelling DeLorean what would you do and where would you go? Aside from the obvious ‘back in time to last week so I could pick the winning lottery numbers’ that is…

Unlike Marty McFly and friends I’d forget 1885 and the old West – it might look cool but riding a horse gives you a sore arse and makes you walk like John Wayne, plus you stood a great chance of catching TB.

As a poker player I often wonder what it would have been like to play in the old West where cheating was rife and you were as likely to be outdrawn by a headcase with a Colt as by a fish with a flush (interestingly flushes were a late edition to the game of poker and were introduced around 1850 along with the British 52-card deck which is used today). Just ask Wild Bill about getting outdrawn… There’s a reason Aces and Eights is called the ‘Dead man’s hand’.

No, fuck that for a game of Cowboys and Indians. Myself, I’d go back in time nine years to early 2000 before the ‘Moneymaker effect’ happened  – where people were still all rubbish at poker and it was easy to win online.

Runner, runner flush... Damn it Marty! That's the third time I've had my Aces cracked this week. I'm thought this whole online poker nonsense was supposed to be easy...

Runner, runner flush... Damn it Marty! That's the third time I've had my Aces cracked this week. I thought this whole online poker nonsense was supposed to be easy...

It’s fair to say that the modern game of poker, especially online moves slightly faster than the 88mph needed to send the DeLorean back to the future and some of the outdraws you see on the old intermaweb leave you muttering more than just ‘Great Scott!’ under your breath.

But is it still possible to win consistently online? I think yes, it’s just the edge is getting smaller and the margins become narrower as everyone three/four-bets and seems to want to get it in so light.

The online game must be beatable as the new generation of up-and-coming professionals like Tom Dwan, Luke ‘FullFlush1’ Schwartz, Andrew Feldman and an army of others spin $50 into six-figure bankrolls, seemingly in a matter of minutes…

Well ok that’s a slight exaggeration but it got me wondering, being as Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu managed to turn nothing into $10,000 and $10 into $100,000 respectively, is it still possible to spin up something from nothing – or more accurately a lot from a little?

Well in true Doc Brown style I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment – a micro-stakes experiment to be exact; here on my blog with a view to writing a couple of features on it for a few of the poker titles I write for.

So first of all I’ll let you folks know the rules and parameters I’ll be setting myself, but the general goal is to prove that online poker is still beatable. That and it’s a pretty good challenge to set yourself to prevent you from becoming bored and your game from becoming stale. After all if I can beat $1/$2 and $2/$4 six-max cash games how hard can $1.20 SNG’s and $0.05/$0.10 cash games be to beat?

Now I haven’t actually set myself a timeframe for this little jaunt into the microcosm of small stakes poker. Rather, I was just conducting it to see how long it would take me, more to prove to myself and others that the whole poker dream of rags to riches is still possible even in today’s highly aggressive game where your average player now actually knows a bit about pot odds, will have read a variety of poker books and is probably signed up to an online training site and is a member of poker forums like 2 plus 2 or Pocket Fives.

The Rules

The goal:
Phase 1 – Turn £10 into £1000
Phase 2 – Turn £1000 into £100,000

I will be starting with a bankroll of £10 (around $16 US dollars).

I am only allowed to buy in for a maximum of 5% of my roll for SNG’s and cash games.

No more than 15% of my roll can be in play at any one time up to a maximum of 5% per table.

If my stack is more than 10% of my total bankroll during a cash game I must cash out and find a new table.

I can only buy into MTT’s for a maximum of 3% of my bankroll.

The moment I have enough in my roll to move up to the next level I HAVE to move up.

The moment I don’t have enough in my roll to play the level I’m playing at I MUST drop back down.

Rakeback counts towards the challenge (bearing in mind that I am using only one of my online poker accounts for this experiment and will be playing only games directly related to the challenge/experiment with this account). After all in today’s online game where someone is effectively offering you a money-back guarantee you’d have to be crazy not to take it, right?

Feedback Frenzy

So there you have it folks, feel free to chip in with any thoughts, ideas, other weird things that can make the experiment/challenge more interesting, or just give me your opinion on what I’m doing.

I’ll be keeping you posted with regular updates in a sub-section of my blog (see the right hand side column under the tab marked ‘Back To The Future:The Micro-stakes Mission’) this will be separate to my regular blog where I will still be posting what articles I’ve been writing, where they’ll be published and also any other random topics I feel like talking about.

Let the games begin. Let’s see if these short-stackers can do 90…

MicroStakes-Mission

The Dragon Has Landed

June 1, 2009

Welcome back poker fans, apologies for the long time no post. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work, some poker related, some not and have been working, writing and networking like a trooper in a successful attempt clear my workload before taking a well deserved working holiday to the poker Mecca that is Las Vegas.

On a work related note I’ve got a couple of articles due for publication soon. The first is a piece for WPT magazine on 6-card Pot Limit Omaha. Yes that’s right folks, all the mischief and mayhem of its 4-card brother only harder, sicker, faster and more swingy with bigger pots… While it may sound insane it’s also loads of fun and believe it or not, there is some skill involved. Read the feature to find out more; it’s in issue 43 out this month I believe.

I’ve just sold WPT a profile on Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak, which should be out in issue 44.
Phil is an off-the-wall kinda guy, so we have an off-the-wall kind of feature – it was a fun one to write so I hope you guys enjoy reading it.

I submitted a ‘Heads Up’ interview with Roland De Wolfe and Juha Helppi to Poker Pro Europe, which should be out soon – I’ll let you know the details just as soon as I find out when it’ll be in print.

Congratulations to Barry Carter who has just be made the new editor of the UK’s Poker News. This can only be a good thing as Barry is one of the UK poker scene’s more prolific writers and I’m sure the website will go from strength to strength. Check out his ‘Get Carter’ poker blog.

Vegas Baby! Vegas!

Vegas Baby! Vegas!

Vegas Baby! Vegas!

On a slightly less work related note I just got back from Vegas this week after a ‘working’ holiday, well actually that’s not strictly true, more a holiday that I intended to combine with work but the interview I had scheduled has been delayed to some other point in the (hopefully) not to distant future.

This is not such a bad thing however as it gave me ample time to indulge in second favourite pastime, playing poker (the first being writing about poker obviously).

While I’m not going to go into details about bad beats and winnings, I came back with more money than I went with and have a few interesting statistics for you:

Out of the 8 Tafia members who went on the trip only four of us were poker players, that being said we did alright for ourselves and learned that the Yanks don’t like to fold middle pair much.

Welsh Busted: 5

Yanks Busted: 34

Brazilians Busted: 1 (I met two, one of whom was a professional pool player who is friends with Maltese snooker pro Tony Drago whom I didn’t bust, the other was called Hannibal – which I thought was quite a cool name, unfortunately for him he didn’t eat me alive…)

Of course take note that ‘Busted’ means taken down to the felt, not just beaten in a pot.

Hours played: 37

So that’s nearly a Yank an hour, rest assured folks next time we’ll do better ;).

A big hello to some of the American guys I ended up playing with, they were a friendly bunch. Most specifically Casey, a Vegas DJ who looked like Seth Rogan and showed my brother and I a great time taking us to an after-hours nightclub at 6am after a 7 hour poker session and getting us in for free.

Casey, if you’re out there bud you’ve got my business card, drop me a line as I managed to lose my wallet that night with your business card in it. Any fan of Human Traffic is always welcome in Cardiff, and yes, it’s just like it is in the film…

Also thanks to Boston Dan, a guy myself and Alan ‘Wheel Warrior’ Wicks ended up playing with all night. We got the whole table gambling like crazies and drinking Jagerbombs – a truly tremendous evening, especially as Alan and myself ended up with most of the money on the table when we finished playing at around 6.30am.

It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it 🙂

One Way Poker

What goes up must come down. It took me three days to get over my jetlag but I did manage to finish third in my local deep-stack tournament (at the Grosvenor, Cardiff Bay – location of the August leg of the GUKPT) the day after getting home, which was nice.

I was in Swansea over the weekend at Aspers casino for the launch of the Romanello family’s (yes Roberto and his brothers have decided to make their mark on the world of online poker) new poker website launch.

OneWayPoker.com is an iPoker skin so not only can you play on one of the internets’ largest poker networks you can also find some of Wales’ finest butting heads over the poker tables – and yes we do have some good players…

I spent most of the night ‘networking’ (a posh word for work-related drinking) and had an entertaining evening hanging around with Jon Kalmar who is a thoroughly nice guy. He’ll be hitting up Las Vegas from next Wednesday hoping to repeat chance with another great finish in the Main Event so I wish him the best of luck.

Aside from the Romanello family (including Roberto, obviously…) also in attendance were some of Cardiff and Swansea’s finest including Rana Gurnham, Marko Clarke and Neil ‘Six-card’ Shellard, Full-Tilt sponsored red pro Andrew Feldman, Marc Goodwin, Mickey Wernick and many more who I didn’t get a chance to chat to.

To Leeds and beyond…

Unless the poker gods smile on me in the next four weeks and grant me a WSOP package I will unfortunately be UK grounded for the duration of the Series.

I will however be keeping a close eye on the action and hope that the UK contingent do us proud.

We should have a fighting chance for bracelets this year what with Mr Channing and Mr Persaud’s Blackbeltpoker.com qualifiers.

Congratulations to Cardiff (well Newport actually, but if I was from there then I’d want people to say I was from Cardiff…) player Henry Griffiths who qualified for blue belt. While he won’t be going to Vegas (that was brown belt and above) he has got himself a nice deal for playing in some of the UK poker tours fine side events so we wish him the best of luck.

On a UK poker related note I’ll be heading up to Leeds next month to cover the Coral British Masters Poker Tour where I will be hoping for a shot at fortune and glory myself.

Qualify online at www.coralpoker.com, www.galapoker.co.uk and www.eurobetpoker.net for as little as nothing as they are running a series of freerolls from 6pm every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

There are a whole host of other qualifiers and the main event itself is only £500+£50 for a two-day deep-stack.

There’s also a £200 and £100 side event so for those without the bankroll to hit up Sin City, try Leeds. It might not be as glamorous but for quality British poker they’ll be some good play and the chance to win some cash… Show me a downside.

I’ll either be posting next on Friday or Monday (depending on my work schedule) so stay tuned poker fans.

And if all else fails, try Wales…