Friday, March 30, 2007

Pre-pro Poker Challenge

So, as I outlined in my first post when I start my chemo and leave work I'm going to turn 'pro' and rely on poker to get me through the 6 months away from the office. Now since I haven't started chemo, I'm not officially 'pro' (not that I'll ever be in the same league as the actual pro's, so tenuos terminology anyway!!) so I thought I would set myself a little challenge. Can I turn a $100 profit from $0.25/$0.50 NLH cash tables. Now this obvioulsy isn't going to be an amazing feat but those tables are nasty for suck outs thanks to many calling stations and rank amatuers so I figured that if I could actually complete this I'd tighten up my game, hopefully plug some leaks and start my quest on a winning run.

I kicked things off this morning and played for an hour or so and turned a small profit. There were only really 2 eventful hands as shown below;

Pocket Jacks beating pocket 4's - Do you see what I mean about calling stations!! Madness, but great for me!

Then about 40 hands later I pick up pocket Q's. I can't say I'm a big fan of queens but the flop was helpful for once and I took the pot on the turn.

So given session 1 of the pre-poker pro challenge I am $87.45 shy of my target!

Correction : $77.65 to go

This is going in the right direction!!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Poker Reading

So I'm currently reading a book called 'The Big Deal' by Anthony Holden and I got to thinking about the next book I'm going to read, and then on to all the poker books I have read and thought it might be good to share my thoughts. With that, if anyone has read a particular poker related book that I haven't included (the list isn't that large!) then please share. As you know, I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands in the coming months so some good reading material is essential!!

Right, here we go, and in no particular order;

Syper System by Doyle 'Texas Dolly' Brunson + guests
The original version, not the re-hashed SS2. I have to say that yes, this is a fantastic book and as a read for an intermediate player it opened up so many new ways of thinking that would have taken me years and a lot of money to figure our on my own. However the one downfall with this book, and its not the books fault, is that everyone has read it and it means many of the players you are up against play the way that is outlined in the book. This can be problematic as its very hard to judge where you are in a hand if everyone is aggressively betting a flush or straight draw, or you are continuation betting a missed hand and people start playing back because they know what you are thinking and don't have a hand themselves! Overall though, thouroughly recommended.

Small Stakes Hold 'em: Winning Big with Expert Play by David Slansky et al.
This book is tough going. It was the second book I read after picking up poker and its hard work. Its very mathmatical and derives everything from a plays Expected Value. However even though its hard going the book does try to deliver its principles in a simple enough fashion and there are some great insights into the statistical side of the game. My only problem is that its totally focussed on Limit Holdem.

Poker Tournament Formula by Arnold Snyder
This book takes a look at poker tournaments from a completely different angle then some of the other great books like Harrington and Slansky's. Having said that its focus on the blind structure and tornie speed really doesn't give you enough wepons in your armour to be successful. Recently Poker Player magazine invested $150 in online tornies to see of the principles worked and they made a return of $0. I would say that if you can borrow this then its worth a read. This book cannot give you a full tornie strategy that will work but will give you more wepons and another way of thinking when playing.

Texas Holdem Poker: Begin and Win by Paul Mendelson
I love this book. For anyone that wants to read a short and concise book on the basic principles of poker play then this is the book for you. Dirt cheap as well!!

The Professor, the banker and the suicide king by Michael Craig
I love this book!! Its basically an account of the richest poker game of all time between Texas billionaire Andy Beal and a consortium of Vegas pro's that pooled their bankrolls to play at the highest stakes ever seen. The book is extremely well written and really captures the tensions and feel of the games. I would definitly recommend everyone reads this as its a great true story but it will also spark some ideas for your game.

One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey ', the Kid', Ungar, the World's Greatest Poker Player by Nolan Dalla
Another factual book following the cursed life if Stuey Ungar, an amazingly gifted card player who had the world in his hand but turned to the destructive powers of drugs. This book recounts his life, his games, his wins, his losses and his tragedy. Its compelling and heartfelt and the poker world was lucky to have him, even though all to briefly. Please read this book as it is worth the investment and you will be amazed at some of Stu's plays and reads. He was remarkable!

Books on the shelf ready to read;

The Big Deal by Anthony Holden. Reading this now, I will post a review soon

Holdem Wisdom for All Players by Daniel Negreanu. Kid Poker is, in my opinion a true star and I think this book will really help clarify some areas and push my game on.

Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments: Strategic Play v. 1 by Dan Harrington. This is a big one, better prepar myself!

The Education of a Poker Player by Herbert O.Yardley. This is a classic and am really looking forward to reading about Herberts life playing poker during the war.

As I say, any recommendations are more then welcome and I hope you find some of this useful.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You can't rush poker

Hi all,

I just experienced, again, the problems of trying to rush a cash game session with huge consequences. After flopping a set and turning a full house I should have read the fact the only other player left in the pot had the higher full house. But oh no, in the vain hope that I could rake that pot in and quit my session in time for some good TV caused't me to miss something which in hindsight was blindingly obvoious. Anyway, end result, wasted an entire buy in and left the table very annoyed with myself!! If I'm gonna move up the stakes when I leave work then I'm gonna have to avoid such stupid things. I feel that I need to plan in a least a good 2 hours to play through c0mfortably and come out the other end in profit, anything less and I'm just rushing myself and I'll lose.

But anyway, enough about a bad beat. I mustn't dwell. Tomorrow I have 3 tests, firstly a fertility test to make sure the little guys are all good, secondly a lung test to ensure they are working good and proper, and lastly a hearing test as apparently a side affect of the chemo is the dulling of your hearing so they need to benchmark me. What a great day I have planned!! After that I'm meeting up with an old friend to give him the good news about me and have a few jars after (no one has said I can't drink yet!!).

Next poker session will be friday so am looking to make amends for todays stupidity!

Run well all

Monday, March 26, 2007

My plan

Hey all,

I've been running through my options to begin my pro (ish) career and I've decided that I want to progress to either $1/2 or I'll be able to cope with the swings and I won't be jepordising anything that could change my life financially. After all I don't want to be playing with scared money.

First things first though and over the next few weeks I'm going to tighten my game up on the 0.25/0.50c tables. These tables are so random that it will hopefully keep my game solid ready for the higher stakes. I'm also going to use this time to put together a decent enough bankroll to kick things off with, I'll probably look to run with around $500 to a $1000 and work from there.

I will make sure I post my progress on this blog but don't just want to bore you with poker stories and bad beats so you will have to listen to how I'm coping with the chemo, if I kicked ass on my new PS3 online or anything else that crosses my mind duing the many hours I will have sitting about having chemo!!

Hope that all makes sense, make sure to pass on a link to my blog to all you friends, they may just like it! Or email me if you wanna chat.

Take it easy

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Poker and Cancer!

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog :)

This blog is dedicated to the art of poker and will follow a little journey I'm about to undertake. I have been diagnosed with cancer and am about to undergo chemotherapy to cure me of my ailment. First things first and that to let everyone know that I will be fine. I caught it early and after about 12-15 weeks of chemo I will be fine.

During this rather unpleasant journey of mine...what chemo is nice, lets be honest!...I'm turning poker pro. I've been playing for about 6 months with some good success and since I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands I figure I might as well go for it.

Now I've chosen to play on Blue Sq Poker as a pro mainly because of the selection of games and the numbers of players. I've played on many other sites and although I've only been a member of Blue Sq for a week I'm very impressed by the software, the number of options available and the bad players!!

I'm hoping over the next 3 or 4 months I can build myself up into a player that can make a decent living through online poker, and when I say build myself up I mean that I will be starting off on some of the lower tables initially just to get myself moving in an upward trajectory, after that the sky as they say is the limit.

So to everyone reading this post, please join me on my journey and please feel free to get in touch with me and offer any advice etc as I will probably need it -

See you all soon