Saturday, January 09, 2010


99% Perspiration

Don't get excited, this is nothing to do with Bluescouse. I just wanted to reference the saying that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration in regard to poker.

If I asked you who was the most natural godlike genius in the world of poker then I think the most common answer would be Phil Ivey. It would be my answer. In the latest Million Dollar Cash Game, the producers have somehow managed to squeeze a decent interview out of Ivey that's quite revealing. In it he admitted that when he started playing poker he played "18 hours a day for 3 years - poker was my life".

Funnily enough, 18 hours a day for 3 years comes out damn close to Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour requirement to become world-class in any field. If anyone's playing better than Ivey right now good luck to them - in the first episode of this cash game he played a pretty tough table like his own personal fiddle. Even so, it's well worth remembering that Phil Ivey did not just walk up to a poker table and start owning everybody from Day One. The message that you need intellect and a hell of a lot of hard work to succeed in poker is, fortunately, not one that's ever presented in the poker media. It is massively for the best that instead the media and "TV players" constantly talk up nebulous concepts like "heart" and "reading people", characteristics that new players and fish alike can easily convince themselves that they already have.

As for me, I've taken some time to examine my own game and I think I have patched up a couple of medium-size leaks. It's always good to look for things to change during a dry spell (without changing just for the sake of it) ; when you're running good, just keep doing what you're doing and ship the cheese. When you're not, it can be good for your confidence to take some different ideas into the fray. "Trying them out" helps motivate oneself to keep putting the hours in, even if the new concepts only come into play in a small percentage of hands. Tonight I played my best session for some considerable time, I was really happy with the way I played. Of course I blobbed everything 0/15 for -$3000, but that's variance for you.

I'm off to La Manga this week (screw all this snow crap) ; hopefully I'll still be able to play online in the evenings. I'm sure that might sound a bit sad but if I can put some sessions in and feel that I'm earning money (Sklansky bucks at least) then it'll be a lot easier to justify staying out there for longer, if I like it. We'll see how it goes.

Update 11/1 : If anything I played even better last night, and to prove it I cashed once for $340. Luckily I had a small swap with Neil in the iPoker Million just before I bubbled it. If you can't play well, swap well !

Sunday, January 03, 2010


December and 2009

Contains yearly results (aka brags) so if you don't want to see it, look away now ...

I will gloss over December ; to even call my effort in the month half-hearted would be overstating the case. Oh well, I probably deserved a bit of time off. 2009 overall was a strange one. On the surface, it looks competely in line with previous years - in fact my Net $ per tournament is insanely consistent, being $179 in 2007, $182 in 2008 and, believe it or not (I wouldn't) $182 in 2009. The insanity comes in because more than half of this year's profit came in one tournament.

It wasn't the only time I went deep in a Sunday major but it was by a large margin ($131K compared to $81K) the biggest first prize on offer for an online final table, and obviously binking it made a huge difference to my final total. The six months following that were very sketchy ; mostly I'm sure I wasn't running, let's say, as good as I usually do, but even so I think my play has been a bit sub-par. I've been watching a lot of cash videos and while I've learned a lot, it has kind of screwed with my tournament game because the play is so different (especially compared to high limit cash). The bottom line was I made $253K online which was about $20K down on last year and $50K down on my target.

I broke even live results-wise, meaning that I profited by the money people gave me to play with (for some reason known only to them). If I was lucky in my biggest online final I thought I was a bit hard done by in the TV final (the one Roberto Romanello won) so maybe it does even out to an extent.

Moving onwards and upwards I'm not going to deal in targets this year, I'm just going to play as many Sundays as I can (being one of the few people in the online MTT world who is actually rolled to play them) and apart from that as and when I feel like it. Live isn't a priority ; I'll have a look at what comes up regarding UK TV tournaments, and maybe play the odd satellite online if it fits my schedule, but I'm definitely looking to tone down the sponsorship angle and just try to GIQ (for a change). I think there's no point learning online NL cash by now, that ship has sailed. Maybe PLO or Mixed Games but every time I do start on these I give up pretty quickly !

Outside of poker (this is as good a place as any I suppose) I'd like to take more care with what I eat ; I get plenty of exercise with the golf so that's no problem. And nuts to football, as I said in that blog a few weeks ago. Apart from that, just remind myself that life is good, as we all have a tendency to take things for granted after a while. I might take a few bad beats or have a few months where not much goes right but it beats heading off to work at 8-30 on a Monday morning !

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