My Favourite Preachers

A few weeks ago we spent a small amount of time in the church homegroup I go to talking about who our favourite preachers were.

The question made me realise that I don't have just one favourite preacher but a number of different ones.

Below is a list of my favourite preachers (over and above the ministry team at my local church of course!):

Nicky Gumbal (Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton and founder of the Alpha Course)

Peter Greig (one of the founding champions of the 24-7 Prayer movement, and the Director of Prayer for Holy Trinity, Brompton)

Jarrod Cooper (Senior minister of New Life Church in Hull and the man behind the Days of Wonder TV and Radio shows)

Joyce Meyer (Founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries)

Chuck Swindoll (Founder of Insight For Living), and

Dr. Charles Stanley (Founder of In Touch Ministries)

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 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.

In the last few weeks I think I’ve seen more suck outs and bad beats and getting 2,3 or 4 outed on the river then I’ve ever experienced before in the 2 or 3 years I’ve been playing poker. And yes, most of them have been against me.

Now I know any experienced poker player will be shouting about the fact that, after all, this is poker, and this kind of thing happens all the time.


But when you feel that you’re in a situation were your 80% hands (i.e. Hands were you are 80% favourite to win) are, in fact, losing more than 80% of the time, then I think a bit of a whinge, bitch and moan is in order.

Below are some examples from the last couple of days, of what has for me, become common place over the last few weeks:

Example 1:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, 1.1 Tournament, 15/30 Blinds (9 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

MP2 (t1695)
MP3 (t1315)
CO (t1465)
Button (t2820)
SB (t1990)
BB (t2790)
UTG (t1170)
Hero (UTG+1) (t1460)
MP1 (t1785)

Hero's M: 32.44

Preflop: Hero is UTG+1 with Q, 9
UTG calls t30, Hero calls t30, 2 folds, MP3 bets t90, 3 folds, BB calls t60, UTG calls t60, Hero calls t60

Flop: (t375) 10, A, 4(4 players)
BB checks, UTG bets t30, Hero calls t30, MP3 raises to t120, 1 fold, UTG calls t90, Hero calls t90

Turn: (t735) K(3 players)
UTG checks, Hero checks, MP3 bets t510, 1 fold, Hero raises to t1250 (All-In), MP3 calls t595 (All-In)

River: (t2945) A(2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: t2945

Hero had Q, 9 (flush, Ace high)
MP3 had K, A (full house, Aces over Kings)
Outcome: MP3 won t2945

At the point that all the money went in on the turn, I was a 90% favourite to win the hand and my opponent had only 4 outs to win. This crippled me, leaving me with 145 chips, and I get knocked out a few hands later running Pocket 4’s on the Button into Pocket Queens in the Big Blind!

Example 2:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, 0 Tournament, 25/50 Blinds (9 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

Button (t1350)
SB (t2100)
Hero (BB) (t1410)
UTG (t1425)
UTG+1 (t1425)
MP1 (t1415)
MP2 (t890)
MP3 (t4585)
CO (t3220)

Hero's M: 18.80

Preflop: Hero is BB with A, Q
7 folds, SB bets t100, Hero raises to t300, SB raises to t2100 (All-In), Hero calls t1110 (All-In)

Flop: (t2820) 10, 2, K(2 players, 2 all-in)

Turn: (t2820) 7(2 players, 2 all-in)

River: (t2820) 3(2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: t2820

SB had J, 10 (one pair, tens)
Hero had A, Q (high card, Ace)
Outcome: SB won t2820

A Blind on Blind battle with what was, with hindsight, a very loose opponent, and they hit on the flop. They had me covered, and that was that.

Example 3:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, 0 Tournament, 1500/3000 Blinds 300 Ante (9 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

Button (t55470)
SB (t43958)
BB (t54385)
UTG (t23962)
UTG+1 (t34497)
MP1 (t15333)
MP2 (t91344)
Hero (MP3) (t43660)
CO (t74036)

Hero's M: 6.06

Preflop: Hero is MP3 with K, Q
4 folds, Hero bets t6000, CO calls t6000, 1 fold, SB calls t4500, BB calls t3000

Flop: (t26700) A, A, Q(4 players)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero checks, CO bets t6000, 2 folds, Hero calls t6000

Turn: (t38700) 3(2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets t16000, Hero raises to t31360 (All-In), CO calls t15360

River: (t101420) 5(2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: t101420

Hero had K, Q (two pair, Aces and Queens)
CO had 10, A (three of a kind, Aces)
Outcome: CO won t101420

This time a cold deck/bad beat situation. Running this hand, and the flop through the Odds Calculator at, it reports the odds of winning as 86% against one opponent with unknown cards.

Example 4:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, 1.2 Tournament, 25/50 Blinds (6 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

SB (t2280)
BB (t1630)
UTG (t3195)
MP (t1385)
CO (t4420)
Hero (Button) (t590)

Hero's M: 7.87

Preflop: Hero is Button with 7, 9
3 folds, Hero bets t590 (All-In), 1 fold, BB calls t540

Flop: (t1205) 7, K, 6(2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: (t1205) J(2 players, 1 all-in)

River: (t1205) Q(2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: t1205

Hero had 7, 9 (one pair, sevens)
BB had 5, Q (one pair, Queens)
Outcome: BB won t1205

The history to this hand is that I got rivered twice in two previous hands which left me short-stacked and this was a Button shove. The point is, although I got it in with the worst hand, I actually hit the flop (Like my opponent in Example 2 did) which left my opponent in this hand drawing to either running cards after the flop or one of the 3 remaining Queens and then only one of the Queens by the turn, making me a 93% favourite to win the hand at that point, but got 3 outed.

And there you have it. These are actually the last 4 tourneys I’ve played online. 4 tourneys, 4 bad beats. That’s why I need a bit of a grumble :-(

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