Posts Tagged ‘Online Poker’

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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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