Poker

45 handed SNG on Pokerstars ($0.25 buy-in non-Turbo)

Bust out hand - Pocket 8's vs QT suited (I shoved pre-flop and got called). Lost a big hand just before busting out with AJ vs AQ.

Finished in 23rd place (no cash)

STT ($1.50 buy-in non-Turbo)

Bust out hand - A5 vs AQ. (I shoved pre-flop and got called)

Finished in 4th place (no cash)

Freeroll for the Marbella Poker Festival (Turbo - UK and Ireland players only)

Bust out hand - KT suited vs QJ (I shoved pre-flop and got called)

Finished in 105th place (no cash)

Freeroll for the Marbella Poker Festival (non-Turbo)

Bust out hand - Pocket 8's. Open shoved from UTG pre flop with two callers. Board ran out 3c 5h 4d Kc 5s. Winner had 76o (yes someone call a UTG shove with 76o!!!)

 

When a year doesn't have many high points or many low points it doesn't give you a lot to write about.

That just about sums up 2011 for me and is reflected in my poker playing over the course of the year.

With regards my bankrolls on the various online poker sites I play on, The only one that's really been going in the right direction is my Pokerstars account. The rest (on various sites like Titan Poker, Blue Square Poker and Betfair) have remained stagnant and on PKR it has hit a large downswing (well, large for me anyway) simply through (mostly) bad beats. When you shove with AKo and get called by 10-2o and lose, well you know that not much is going to go your way.

I have now also set up accounts with Party Poker and 888 Poker. I set up the account with Party Poker as they have an association with the WPT and hold a lot of satellites for WPT events. I know this might be big thinking for someone playing micro stakes but there's always the chance. Anyway, I have been left extremely disappointed as, apart from the affore mentioned WPT satellites, there is very little else on offer for micro stakes players, particularly those that like playing non-turbo SNG's (aka Me!).

888 Poker was a pleasant surprise. They were (and I think still are) running an offer for $8 free when you sign up with them. It's not much but does give you enough to get a feel for the site and the type of games they offer. Whilst the interface is not the most sophisticated around, it is easy to get to grips with and they seem to offer a nice variety of tourneys and SNG's. I will watch 888 with interest as they are currently the sponsor for APAT (the Amateur Poker Association and Tour) who hold a series of live tourneys with quite a low buy-in and hold satellites on 888 for these events (Here's hoping I can get into one of the events this year!)

Here's a list of the highlights of my 2011 in online poker:

  • Made a decent cash in February's Turbo Takedown on Pokerstars
  • Made a decent cash in the first Big $11 tournement I played on Pokerstars
  • Satellited my way into the Event 12-L on the Pokerstar's SCOOP. Managed to pick up 3 bounties but didn't make the cash
  • Qualified via FPP's for a Saturday Micro (I know it's only a $3.33 buy-in but with the way things went this year, I'll take it!). Unfortunately I didn't make the cash after running Pocket 9's into Pocket Kings on a 8 high flop :-(
  • Won a freeroll to qualify for the 10th Anniversary Sunday Storm. Unfortunately, had to unregister as the event clashed with my work schedule :-(
  • Won a satellite to one of the Mega Satellites for the 10th Anniversary Sunday Million. Unfortunately, had to unregister as the event (and the 10th Anniversary Sunday Million itself) clashed with my work schedule (my work schedule sucks at the moment!)
  • Won a Stage 1 and Stage 2 satellite on PKR to get a seat at a Semi-Final qualifer for WPT Ireland. Unfortunately mis-read the details after winning the Stage 2 and thought it gave me a ticket for any Semi-Final. Turns out it automatically registered me for the NEXT Semi-Final, so missed it completely (again due to my rotten work schedule), so missed out on a chance to get into my first big live event :-(
  • Have qualified for event 10 of the TCOOP on Pokerstars, so looking forward to this.

As you can see, not too much to write home about this year. Here's hoping for a better 2012.

Happy New Year!!!

A lot of the time on my blog I talk about the bad beats and suckouts that I experience when playing poker. Having looked at my last blog entry I realised that I rarely blog about any of the wins I have.

Granted, I'm currently a small/micro stakes player, and a 'big' win for me is a usually a first place finish in a $3 or $5 STT, which is usually $13.50 or $22.50. So not huge. But I did realise that last year I won about $800 in a handful of tournements that I played over and above the gains I made in the STT's that I play.

Just over a week ago I had my first 'big' win of this year. It was in the Pokerstar's Turbo Takedown monthly event.

The day before the Turbo Takedown was due to run, I managed to register in a freeroll that was running, thanks to Pokernews UK, that was offering 50 seats to the Turbo Takedown. Managed to win one of these seats and sat down on the Sunday to have a go at my very first Turbo Takedown.

After a couple of early double ups, I managed to reach the money bubble as the chip leader at my table!

I survived a bit past the money bubble and then got moved to a table where I was then a middle stack at the table and then found myself card dead at that point. Got to a point where I was down to about 10BB's and got my money in on a coin flip... which I lost :-(

However I came away from my first ever Turbo Takedown with a 1465th place finish for $120. This was out of a starting field of 18,211 players, so not bad considering I got my seat through a freeroll.

 

The Pokerstars WBCOOP prelimanary events started this week and I was looking forward to a good run in some of these tournaments like I had last year.

Alas, it appears this won't be the case.

The first tournament kicked off on Monday night. A straight PLO tourney with 540 players, and 153 places paid prizes (in the form of SCOOP tickets). So more that 25% of the field was going to get paid.

My PLO skills are not too bad, so I was confident that I stood a good chance of getting paid. Unfortunately the deck wasn't kind to me. Out in 408th place after getting in all in with 2 pair vs a straight draw on the Flop. The Turn improved my hand to a set but the river completed my opponents straight. That was the 3rd of 3 big pots that I lost on the river as the stats below show:

32 hands played and saw flop:
 - 2 times out of 4 while in small blind      (50%)
 - 2 times out of 4 while in big blind      (50%)
 - 6 times out of 24 in other positions      (25%)
 - a total of 10 times out of 32      (31%)

 Pots won at showdown - 0 out of 4      (0%)
 Pots won without showdown - 2

So onto last night. This was the first of the No Limit Hold'em WBCOOP events and drew a field of 720 players. Again 153 places got prizes (approx 21% of the field), so again a good chance to catch a prize. Unfortunately, I ran into one of those players who seems to like picking on one particular person on the table and found that we was constantly raising and re-raising me in the few hands I was playing. It might have been just me, but I'm sure he didn't do this to anyone else on the table.

After losing half the starting stack (to the player I just mentioned) I busted in a blind on blind battle that saw an Ace high flop. As I was holding A-4 in the big blind the and the small blind initially just completed pre-fold before flat calling my pre-flop raise, the flop came down As 8d Kc. He shoved. Given the pre-flop action, I put him either on a King or a weak Ace like me and called. He showed A K :-(

OK, possibly a bad call but I had got so short at that point I had to gamble to try and get back into the tourney and didn't think the chances of the small blind having a Ace was that high especially one with a strong kicker. Oh well.

I'm now working for the next 3 nights, so can now only play in the final preliminary tourney on Saturday evening.

Here's hoping for better cards and a bit of good luck!

I have just spotted on the Pokerstars.com website that this year's WBCOOP has been announced.

For one thing, it doesn't feel like a year since the last WBCOOP. Last year's WBCOOP was great for me. From the win I had in one of the tournaments last year, I was able to go on and play in two SCOOP events and had a good cash in one of them (got bad beated out of the other one, but that's another story).

For another, I've just realised that it has been 3 months since I last wrote on the blog. I can't believe it has really been 3 months since I played in my first PKR Masters. It also means it has been about 3 months since I played the Step 3 Sit 'n' Go on Pokerstars. Alas I wasn't able to progress any further on that attempt with the Steps Sit 'n' Goes after getting Pocket Aces cracked and finishing 8th :-(

In the intervening time I've tried satelliting my way back into the PKR Masters, but as of yet have not quite managed to do this and have tried some of the FPP Steps Sit 'n' Goes (the 15 and 60 FPP multi-table ones) but as of yet haven't got further than a Step 2. Most of the time I've spent playing has been on grinding out $3 and $5 Sit 'n' Goes on Pokerstars and PKR to build up my bankroll on each site and that at least has gone well and the bankrolls are steadily increasing.

Here's looking at a good year personally for poker, and a good way to start out the year is with a few tournaments in the SCOOP in a few months time.

I’ve been playing online poker now for almost 3 years and so far have only played once in a live environment. It was a £20 buy-in event and was great fun to play. I finished 9th from a field of 81 and missed the money spots by two places, the usual so-near-yet-so-far situation I seem to find myself in when playing poker a lot of the time.

It was a great experience and one that I would like to do again. The problem I have is where I live in relation to the nearest casinos and poker rooms. The nearest casino that plays tournament style poker is approx 35 miles away. For people in the USA or Canada this might not seem to be far away, but living in the UK with the road system we have and also working a job that involves some very unorthodox shift patterns and a young family to consider, any free time is a precious commodity and not one where I want to be doing a minimum of a 70 mile round trip for the sake of a £20 tournament.

My attempts at qualifying for various live tournaments via online satellites have not been wholly successful. The closest I got was satelliting into a $500 qualifier for last year’s Irish Poker Open, only for the online poker room to suffer a technical problem on the night of the qualifier and the qualifier got cancelled (the upside was that I managed to turn a $1 buy-in into a $500 cash, but it could’ve been so much more).

The tournament I played in was at the Gala Casino in Bristol. From where I live, Bristol is 35 miles away. The other towns and cities in this area of the country that have a casino or poker room are; Cardiff, Walsall, Birmingham, Coventry and Nottingham. Travelling distances to these places vary between 70 and 100 miles (140 to 200 miles for a round trip) which is too far away to warrant travelling to for small buy-in regular tournaments in the range of anything up to £30, which is the type of buy-in that I can currently afford (once every so often, not every week).

What would be nice to see in 2011 is either a new casino or poker room closer to home or some way for establishments other than casinos or dedicated poker rooms to be able to host regular poker sessions.

In my last blog entry I was bemoaning the fact that I was getting sucked out a hell of a lot. It gets very frustating to be playing good poker but not getting the results to reflect that.

In the last month or so, things have gotten a bit better and the suck outs have not been happening so often.

Last month I was able to qualify for the month PKR Masters tournement. PKR run satellites starting at $2, and I was able to work my way through from one of the $2 satellites to get a seat at the Masters that took place on the 2nd Oct. The Masters is unusual in the fact that it runs on a Saturday night and not a Sunday, which is when the big tourneys for other sites run.

Alas my good run through the 3 satellites I had to go through to get there couldn't continue into the cash on the night, going out in 80th place with the final 50 getting paid. So near yet so far

Since then have been playing mainly STT's on PKR and Pokerstars (both at the $3 level) and have been slowly building up my bank roll on each, so not looking bad at the moment.

The next challenge is to take the Pokerstars Step 3 ticket that I have and see if I can get any further up the Steps ladder.

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