Sunday, 28 June 2009

Long Overdue Post

What can i say? I've been busy so I may well fill this post with a lot of chatter, so going to start by sticking a few facts down to help me remember the past week. Here's a quick breakdown of what I've been up to since my last post - beside working hard 9-5 in the office. REAL hard if anyone from my work is reading this :-)

Tues - 9 a side football

Wed - Go Karting

Thur - 5 a side football

Fri - Drinks in town from 5 pm to 5 am

Sat - Sleep / Thai meal in town

Sun - 7 a side football

After my last couple of worried posts I decided to try and not stress too much - despite many of the 'helpful' comments I've been getting on here- and concentrated on getting my fitness back instead of playing poker. My legs have been aching today so guess that's a good sign I'm on the right track - same again next week and I'll start feeling a lot better I'm sure.

I went to go karting with work and thought it was awesome. For a discounted £20 we got a 15 minute qualifying secion then a 30 minute race. Despite spinning off on the first lap of qualifying and in the race itself, I managed to finish a respectable 7th of 15 - not bad when half the field seem to be semi pros! Phil 'Red Fish' Baker won (again) so I'll be trying to bribe him for more driving line secrets to get even better for next time.

Friday night was meant to be spent at Durham CCC in the sunshine, watching the 20/20. As I run bad at life when it comes to big days out (see also Epsom Derby), it decided to piss it down with rain, despite the fact the other 6.25 days of the week were glorious sunshine. Thankfully we made the correct call at 4:45 and decided not to trapes all the way to Durham and instead headed to Centurion to watch the U21's and get hammered. By 6 pm job was done :-) An XL Bacon Double Cheesburger Meal at 8pm kept me alive enough to make it to Madame Koo (?), Floritas and one more bar that I always forget the name of but hear that John and Carl like quite a lot....

Sleepawody duly showed up at midnight to be ushered out of the bar with no name, shortly followed by Briggs on his way to a pre scheduled appointment with Facebook's main rival. It was well worth it apparantely, and things took place there that I could never repeat on here. However if you really want to know more then head to Thai Siam and ask the staff there - 4 of us (me, K, Briggs and Brennan) were there on Saturday and they heard all about it!! Some people just don't know how to whisper....

Poker wise I've actually made a mini recovery and now back in profit for the month - £64 up on Laddies. Me and Brennan also hit Aspers on Friday night / Saturday morning and combined our winnings to take home £142 profit each. Not bad when you consider I lost £80 on my second hand, but I should never have worried as I proceeded to get £200 AI pre flop with AA against a crazy Chinese man who called a £180 reraise with JQ. Brennan luck boxed his way to a few pots which also helped, so we called it a night in a healthy profit if not so healthy worse for wear.

Only one more week at work for me now, then full on poker life. I can't wait :-)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

That worried feeling…

It’s been a while since I posted anything on here and that’s mainly down to the following reasons:
1. I’m still pretty busy sorting out the house move – getting forms filled in, references done etc etc
2. I’m in a bad run of poker form and I don’t want to post whine after whine about my losing sessions
3. I’ve been feeling really shitty, suffering from headaches and dizziness, meaning I’m reluctant to play and even less inclined to write up when I do play.

To be honest, I also think the bottom 2 points are feeding off each other. I’m not playing well as I’m not feeling great, but I also think that I’m not feeling great because I’m starting to get worried about the fact I’m not winning and I’m leaving work! This is probably the poker definition of a vicious circle, and I need to work out a way to break it.

I’m hoping that once I have left work (my last day next week) and move house (July 6th expected move date) and then get internet sorted (maybe July 10th??) and then make sure that K has a good birthday (July 12th) I’ll start to feel a bit better and less stressed. Until then, I’ll just be playing a few hours when I get a chance but will hit the tables massively July 13th onwards :-)

Friday, 19 June 2009


I hope the couple of days aren't trying to tell me something. I've lost just over £300 to put me a whopping £7 down for the month - hardly Brenos panic stations but it would have been nice to go in to my first pro month with a healthy profit. Still a couple of weeks to go but not looking fantastic.

I've gone through the hands and I don't think I'm making a lot of mistakes. I might have been a little over aggressive in some spots, but then when I think I get them in good with trips / flush etc, I turn out to be 2nd best hand. Either that or the board runs out crap - like the hand this evening where I flop top set with AA on AT2 board, where villain check / calls flop and turn before donking pot on river - AT284 - 4 suited. I think I might have angry called them in the past but took a deep breath and folded. I just hope cards run better for me next month!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Championez Championez

Ole Ole Ole!!

Our 5 a side team triumphed tonight in our works league, winning the semi final and final on finals night to claim our 4th title in 7 seasons. I'd like to say that I scored 5 in each match, was MOM and collected player of the night ..... so I will :-)
I would of course be lying - it was a squad effort and even though I managed to throw away our precious 7-6 lead in the last 10 seconds (ably assisted by John's suicide / hospital pass aross our box direct from KO) to mean we drew the final 7-7, Paddy and Homo saved the day by scoring the decisive penalty and saving their 3rd respectively. I was a very relieved man for 2 reasons, as I had also put my name down to take the first penalty in sudden death but was reprieved when Paddy bagged. I'm not sure my nerves / bottle would have held up but we'll never know now!!
Still not really playing much poker - lost a bit last night so now only £130 up for the month. Hoping to play a bit over the weekend the push up roll even further, but obviously still just waiting for work to finish so I can attack it all guns blazing.
I was going to write a long match report and also talk more about poker but it's late here - plus K keeps singing 'The Old Bamboo' after watching Big Brother, so I need to stop writing so I can shut her up - in a nice way of course :-)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Work dragging but new flat found...

Days are dragging like hell at the moment. I’m making my way to work, early if I can get myself out of bed to leave early, but once I’m at work I am so bored. I moved in to a new department to look after a project due to go live July 1, with the real work not taking place until August. The plan was for me to spend the first 8 weeks or so learning my new job so that by the time August comes around, I’ll be a Zeuss. Since I handed in my notice last week though, that plan has gone to pot and left me with nowt to do all day. Although Briggs has made a career out of doing nothing, 3 weeks of this and I’m climbing the walls.

On the plus side we (me and K) have sorted out our flat move. We’ve been living in a mate’s flat, and although it served it’s purpose when it was me and Briggs (it was cheap, we saved money to go away to Thailand), it wasn’t exactly perfect to be living in with your girlfriend. Even though I’ve quit work and K is on a modest student + part time work income, I’ve decided to upgrade and rent a place on the Newcastle quayside. It’s got a great view of the river, and we are on the top floor (4th) of a new set of apartment blocks. We’re 10 minutes walk away from nightlife, so I figure the extra rent will in part be off set by the money saved in taxis – not to mention the happiness +EV this is bound to bring me at the poker table J

Talking of poker, I haven’t actually played much this month. I’m desperate to get stuck in to it, but as I know I’ve got a clear schedule ahead of me I’m not taking every opportunity to play in the evenings / weekend like I had been in the previous 2 months. In the only 2 decent sized sessions that I’ve had, I was mega aggressive bordering on reckless in one (losing £150) but played well and ran good in the other, meaning I’m about £180 up for the month overall. Needless to say I’ll be playing ALL the time once I’ve moved and off work, except when the Ashes are on of course….

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sink or Swim

After a great deal of contemplation and thought, I’ve made the big decision and bitten the bullet: I’ve resigned from work to try my hand at professional poker.

I’ve spoken to all the important people in my life (K, family, friends, work colleagues I respect, random professional poker players!) and collected everyone’s opinion, and although I’d be lying if I said they were all in total agreement with my decision, I received enough encouragement and positive feedback to take the plunge. Here is the shortened version of the pros / cons cliché list that was pulled together before making the decision.

- I love poker and really really want to play as much as I can and learn everything about the multiple versions of the game.
- No more 9-5 rat race!
- Unlimited holiday time – within reason – when I want it
- Performance related pay rather than performance makes no difference pay, i.e. you all get paid the same / only £1000 difference per year no matter what you do
- I think I’m good enough and disciplined enough to do this for a living.

- I might not be good enough!!!
- No sick pay / holiday pay / hangover pay – complete lack of financial security
- No credit! This will make credit card and mortgage applications a nigh on impossibility.
- Lack of daily social interaction could lead me to become mildly retarded around others…. mentioning no names….. <> <> <> <>

On serious note, I know this could go wrong and backfire. I’ve saved up 9 months worth of rent / bills / expenses on top of my starting poker roll of 3k + 1k emergency, with the plan being to start looking for real jobs again in 6 months if my money does start running dry. I’m under no illusions that there will be tough times, that I’ll encounter long losing spells and go through periods of hating the game, but I want to try. I’ll always have my CIMA qualification to fall back on too, but if I don’t take the risk and gamble now then I never will and I’ll never know – and I can’t think of anything worse than living out my life wondering ‘what if??’

My final date at work hasn’t been confirmed yet but as soon as it is I think I’ll put a countdown clock on here to track my progress towards freedom. In the meantime, I’ll keep playing away and updating this blog with progress. Wish me luck!!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Derby Day

I haven’t mentioned it on here, but most people know that I won a VIP day to the Epsom Derby through Ladbrokes. I say I ‘won’, but all I actually did was send my name via email to the VIP team, then my high raking month of April meant I was a shoe in for 2 free tickets. Me and K – and Mark + wife and Brenos + wife (Briggs) – therefore spent Friday night on the train to London to spend the weekend in London, using a 4 star hotel just outside Victoria train station as our base.

Saturday started early, with a 7:30 am alarm to make sure we were up in time and dressed suitably for the best dressed man / woman competition. New Thailand suits for the men, pretty dresses for the women- although I think Briggs should have gone long dress rather than the slutty short one he chose to wear! The open top bus ride to the racecourse was planned brilliantly – there were multiple bacon sarnies for all, and free champagne and bloody mary’s to wash them down with. I bottled out of the bloody mary after smelling the evil concoction but didn’t pass up the opportunity of the champagne – a theme for the day! :-)

Ladbrokes also hired some musicians to keep us entertained on the bus rides there, with the intention of having them play to us on the top deck, however they failed to anticipate the typical British summer weather. Rain and wind meant most people huddled downstairs, so our musicians, a 110 year old accordion I recognised from my junior school class and a 1920’s jazz singer, sat at the front and belted out the Charleston, Charleston acoustic and Charleston dance remix amongst other classics. Unfortunately the only people that could actually hear them were the 2 Ladbrokes promotion girls, and me and K – meaning we had to sit there for 90 mins grinning and clapping like fools! To be fair to them, they were good at what they did, but the intense social awkwardness led me to drink more than my fair share of champagne. Luckily for me Brennan and Briggs must have been having their own social awkwardness problems (lovers tiff??) as they were both hammered, deflecting attention from my own inebriation.

Welcome drinks followed, so not looking to look a gift horse in the mouth (boom boom) we helped ourselves to more champagne, expecting the well to run dry at any moment and forcing us to purchase our own beverages. How wrong we were! Ladbrokes must have done a deal with a champagne company as Briggs soon spotted the not-so-secret stash of unopened champagne boxes, and we were subsequently plied with top ups at every opportunity – probably by waiters / waitresses trying to keep moving in order to stay warm! Lunch of lobster cocktail starter, roast beef main and strawberries and cream desert slipped down very easily with complimentary white wine, before we were on to the main purpose of the day…… more champagne drinking :-)

I seem to remember a few horse races taking place as well, without much success until K successfully picked out the Derby winner in the sweepstake and backed it at the bookies, putting us even for the day on gambling but massively up on expenses not paid for! The weather even turned in our favour and K began to stop shivering, until I drunkenly demanded we go on the top deck of the bus on the way home for a sing song with the musicians. At least that was the plan – a plan that Ladbrokes should have known was never likely to take place when 30 poker players aged 25-40 are loaded with free booze all day (which Ladbrokes continued to serve on the way home). After one chorus of ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’, the 20’s jazz singer soon realised her folly and sat back down to listen to the inevitable barrage of football chants, Oasis songs and more than a few references to me and how I spend time with my dog – all of which are unfounded (I don’t even have a dog!!!). I saw the funny side though as was all in good jest, although the passing London traffic and pedestrians must have wondered who the hell Benny Holmes was!

Needless to say, I had no idea what time we made it back to the hotel, although I am sure it would have been sooner if we hadn’t made two unscheduled stops for natural causes – first where 15 men ran up various alley ways to lose some of the excess alcohol they had pludered in the previous 7 hours, the second where Briggs single-handedly demanded a pit stop and was nearly left abandoned in London! I then (predictably?) passed out for an hour in our hotel room before rousing myself for a final trip to the hotel bar just in time to hear check_lol berate everyone else at Heads Up poker and challenge half of London to ‘play for rolls’. I can’t wait to see if anyone takes him up on this… Our day ended at around 10 or 11 (I think) with a room service pizza, thoroughly exhausted but thoroughly entertained by the whole day. I had already put my name down for Royal Ascot and now definitely want to win tickets there too – if you’re reading this Ladbrokes – help make sure I’m there!!

Just in case anyone is wondering, I’ve played virtually zero poker this month and don’t expect to for another few days at least. My volume will pick up a lot next month though – more news to come on that in a later post….

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The World Explained - Part 1

(Confucius - not as wise (or as old) as me!)

Part 1 of 1

After a lot of struggle and many false starts, I think I’ve managed to crack one of the biggest mysteries in life: How do people get up early to go to work?

For 8 years my body has manipulated my brain in to thinking it was impossible, that my limbs NEED that extra 9 minutes (then another 9, then another 9….) that the snooze button represents. It’s done such a good persuasion job that I think I have only seen the office about 5 times before 8:45 am during my entire career, and on every occasion I’ve had to fight the sleep demons from 2 pm onwards. Not any more though, for I have discovered the answer….. magic 4:30 p.m. poker!!

It started about 2 weeks ago, when for some unknown reason I couldn’t get back to sleep when K was setting off at 6:45 am to get to her all day shift in Morpeth. I zombied my way through the early morning shower / breakfast / ironing / drive to work routine, surprisingly avoiding any eye-resting / Azz at 1am in a nightclub after kind of accident, and got through work thanks to multiple trips to the coffee machine. At 3:30 pm I started grinning and realised that my day was nearly completed, and started plotting my early evening before K got back from work. As I’m sure most of the people who are reading this can testify to, if your other half is out of the house for any reason for any length of time there’s only one thing that can / should be done – and it isn’t the washing / cleaning before anyone chips in!

I therefore get home and immediately fire up the laptop for an illicit afternoon poker session. I’m not sure whether it was the fact I was still fully awake and able to play my best game, whether the cards fell my way or I just found some fish, but I quickly forgot about my previously horrific month and rattled off a few buy ins in profit. When K arrived home at 7 ish, instead of my usual frowning face signalling the recent end of a long boring day at work, she was met with a more pleasant (I hope) smile – probably prompting wonderings about why the hell I was so happy – until of course I’d explained the previous 2 hours.

This is now a regular event, and in the past 2 weeks and 6 early evening sessions, I have yet to lose more than ½ a buy in and won considerably more on my good days. My morning alarm is now no longer greeted with a loud groan and mutterings of abusive language normally only directed at Newcastle United FC board members –instead it’s like a lightening bolt firing me out of bed, as I know that the quicker I’m up, the faster I’m at work and the earlier I can leave… which equates to more poker and hopefully more profit!

Yesterday’s poker session was cut short by K coming home early, but in the 25 minutes and 81 hands that I managed to win £110 to put me in profit straight away for June. I’m hoping for the same again tonight before I head off for football – although I am now panicking that the legendary Holmes Blog curse is going to kick in and punish me for showing off about good results….

We shall see soon enough….

Monday, 1 June 2009

May P&L‏

Up and down kind of month, with a few off the table events causing me to spend less energy on poker and more on normal life. I’ve still managed to log a fair few hands and if I hadn’t ran so bad (~ £700 missing EV) then I would have been on for another very good ‘part-time poker player’ month. Final stats:

NL Cash: £604
Rakeback / Bonus: £504
Total: £1108
(12.3k hands - 6.14BB/100)

My post flop game has improved massively, with my gay red line turning in to a positive manly profit maker for the first time in my poker career.
Linked to the above, I also feel as though my hand reading and pot controlling / value betting skills have got a lot better, meaning I feel in control of hands rather than be dictated to.

As explained in an earlier post, although my A game is good, I’ve burnt money this month by playing at bad times and / or in a bad frame of mind. I’m already making sure this stops so if I see myself post another one of these kinds of stories on my blog then I’ll be really pissed off with myself!
My motivation to complete 9 to 5 work has completely vanished. I had hoped moving to a new job would give me the inspiration to learn something new and prove myself in a new team, but to be honest the opposite has happened. I have some serious decisions to make in next week or so….