Poker is not just Poker

    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Hi,

      My name is John and I am 36 years old. I am probably like most players out there who wins a bit and loses a bit but still dreams of giving it all up and going Pro! I do often question whether I am smart enough to succeed at this game as I am not the brightest guy.

      My SN on most sites is Zachrina but I also use a couple of others on some smaller sites. Don't be surprised if you check me out and discover I am majorly in the red on one site we all love, it is me and yes I am that bad! I am a pretty open book so I may as well tell you that to date I am almost 4k down on Stars. 1.6k in profit on Full Tilt and pretty much even on other sites. I work full time so being 4k down over the last 6 or 7 years is not a massive hit. I see this as a hobby and an investment in my training to becoming a better player.

      I was on holiday in 2005 when a guy asked if I played poker. I had never played before but always liked a game of anything for money as I am very competitive and basically like money. We played a few what I now know to be SNGs and from then on I was hooked.

      Since that time I have played with no studying apart from reading the odd book (all the old school stuff). I started a home game which we played every Thursday evening for around 2 years until I moved away to live with my now wife. During these home games I grew frustrated as I had not gained any info on any of the people I had been playing with all this time. I was only really playing as a gambler as I am or was partial to a bit of gambling, sports betting etc.

      In February 2012 I went along to Galway in Ireland with my friend who had won a package to the UKIPT. I played a few side events and managed to cash in two of them so returned with a profit which was brilliant. I got blind drunk most nights and somehow managed to hold on to my money at the cash tables. The Guinness took its toll and I felt really ill for days after.

      I also had another crazy drinking/poker session at my local casino last summer whilst the GUKPT tour was in town. I don't remember the end of the event I was playing and woke up to find I'd blown around £700 and I could not tell you how TBH. To me this is a lot of money as I earn around £400 a week as a truck mechanic and often work hard for it. From that weekend and for 8 months after I didn't touch another drop of alcohol which is such a challenge when you are a social person as so many situations involve drinking.

      At the end of 2012 I decided to look for some coaching or online training. I was willing to spend some money on this as I had had some success on Full tilt but wasn't sure what I had done differently. I decided that I wanted to take the game more seriously as I knew I wasn't going to stop playing. Also I saw this as a way of earning extra cash and who knows, maybe one day I won't have to work in a job I don't particularly enjoy.

      I somehow stumbled upon Pokerstrategy.com and the NL beginners course. This course is for cash game strategy so I was a bit reluctant to start it. I soon realised that there was so much I didn't know about the basics (maths, equity, position, player types, etc.) and felt like such a dumbo after virtually playing blind for so long.

      I recently finished the course and have not received my results yet. I feel that my results are irrelevant as I am aware that even at the basics I still have a long way to go even if I pass.
      The course and poker in general has taught me that to be successful at anything we need to work hard and sometimes change our lifestyle. I stepped up my poker playing considerably after stopping drinking and am improving week on week. I do drink occasionally now BTW, I decided life is too short to not do something that you enjoy :D

      The title for my blog "Poker is not just Poker" comes from my observations in life where I compare them to this wonderful game! Rightly or wrongly I draw comparisons to poker with many situations. I have recently got a new job and feel that my poker knowledge definitely helped me succeed to get it (handing in my notice is a virtual "All In", Oh shit, I think I'm obsessed).

      I also often look around the card room at the diversity of the players, from young to old and from all walks of life. An unemployed gambler sat next to a doctor. A retired lady check raising a teenaged internet whizz kid. It's a great game and there is no other where these people could compete in such a way. Only the other week at my local casino I was listening to music whilst taking a look around, the scene almost brought a tear to my eye. People stood up praying for the one outer, people with their head in their hands, others walking away from the tables shaking their heads "how the f%&k can you call there". And above all the laughter.
      This is why for many it is "Not just Poker". For many it is a way out, a night out, a living, some company and for many like myself it has become as bigger part of my life as eating and sleeping. I don't like to call it an addiction as I think this term is over used. It seems we can't enjoy doing anything anymore without being addicts. Maybe we are.............. ?(

      So, my reason for writing this is because I have things I like to share. I think it will be a good way to meet like minded people and a place to improve our game. I also think it will be a good motivator and hope I can keep it going long enough to make some friends in the game. I was originally advised to do a blog by a coach whilst doing the course but put it off (as I do lots of things) and I am pretty pissed at myself as I would have liked to have done it before this weekend as I have had a major success in my poker career! :f_cool:

      For the last 4 months I have been playing mostly NL10 but had to drop down to NL5 as I struggled to beat that limit. As I stated above I have had some success on Full Tilt at the end of last year and still have most of the BR I made on there (around $1.5k). I mostly enjoy going to my local casino and playing the Friday £25 FO or Saturday £30 DS FO around once or twice a month but it is getting more now as I promise the wife I will be home for 4am which doesn't ruin my weekend as I can function okay after a shit load of coffee! I enjoy tournaments far more than FR cash and live poker is definitely a great buzz for me. I have started to enter more and more satellites to live events recently and this weekend I won a seat to the Salford G casino 25/25 series in Manchester (£220 BI) for just £25 online.

      I managed to come 3rd for £7k which has obviously blown my mind as it has beaten my best live score by £6.3k and my best online by £6k.
      I say I am not happy because I would have liked people to have enjoyed the journey of this weekend with me. In my next post I will give as close an account of how the weekend unfolded and the highs and lows of the tournament. I don't suspect I will be playing much this week as I am still worn out but I may get down to my local this Friday as I want to receive some congratulations from the other guys.

      I hope you enjoy my writing which will often be all over the place and possibly even rubbish but hopefully a few will get something from this, I know I will. I am also going to come up with a long and short term plan and welcome assistance in coming up with what I should do next.

      I would also like to add that I am also striving to convince my wife that I am very serious about this game. She is not a big fan of the game TBH and things could get ugly :heart: . This is the reason I am unable to play 24/7 which is what I would be doing if I were single!

      Until next time guys, sorry for the long winded opening.

      Zach, John, Zachrina or what ever you prefer

      If you do persevere with this blog, things have changed by 2014. I am now playing 6 max STT's and still occasionally live. Cheers. :f_biggrin:
  • 541 replies
    • muumionu
      muumionu
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.07.2012 Posts: 816
      Charles it is
    • thazar
      thazar
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.09.2009 Posts: 6,561
      welcome to the blog section


      I am subscribed :) , best of luck
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Silver
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,979
      Good luck John!
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Thanks guys,

      Any advice on what to do next?
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      My Mind blowing weekend

      25/25 series Salford. £220 BI. 297 runners.

      So, my tourney started the week before when I entered a qualifier online. I was fortunate to be on the right end of a brutal cooler and took a seat.

      My wife was away for the weekend with friends so my friend and I decided to have a full weekend of poker.

      Friday 8pm £25 FO at local casino (+cash if I bust early)
      Saturday 12pm £220 re-entry £25k gtd (2 day event)
      Saturday 8pm £30 FO (+cash if I bust early)

      I finished work Friday and we decided to get straight down to the casino to play some cash. I don't get to do this kind of weekend often so wanted to play as much as possible.
      We sat down at the 25p 25p blinds cash table and as usual the regulars who are not very good to say the least proceeded to open with any 2 and call or raise with any 2. Strategy for this table is play big hands ultra aggro. Pick up aces and you need to raise 20x minimum here and that could often get 6 callers! It is so much fun though and when the tourney start time came around I was £10 up.
      I don't really think my mind was on the tourney that night as I busted quite early. UTG min raised and I called from the BB with A10. Flop came Ah2cAs, I check, UTG checks, turn 9h so I lead out for 1/2 pot, UTG calls. River is the 6s so I plan to check call. UTG over bets the pot and I almost insta call. Villain shows pocket 2's for a flopped FH and I'm crippled. Busted 2 hands later with AQ v same guy who had JJ and rivered a straight.

      With that I took myself off to the 50p/£1 table, planning to stay until 2am at the latest as I had a 12pm start for my main event the next day.

      Time flies by so quickly at the tables as we all know and one more hour is never one more hour. I ran so bad on cash and I was finished off when I picked up Q5 in the BB when UTG limped, I checked and the flop came Q25, I lead out and was called by the limper. Turn 10, I again lead out and am again flat called by the limper! River 5. BINGO FH. I have around a pot sized bet left behind so shove it over the line and am snap called by villain who rolls over QQ, FML It's now 4am and I'm £320 down on night 1. Bollocks!
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Saturday morning arrived as I woke at 8am and couldn't get back to sleep.

      I got up and started making notes on blinds and antes for the day ahead. I basically worked out how much each Level would cost me if I folded every hand, also noting how much each orbit costs. I know this is not too difficult to do in play but felt I could concentrate on what other people were getting up to more if I already had this all worked out.

      At 9.30am I received a call from ny friend. He was still at the casino and had managed to dig himself out of a hole, still having £150 if his £220 weekends BR. I told him all mine was gone and went to pick him up. We joked about how shit we are at poker and both felt pretty rubbish. My friend went to bed and I read an article on PS about playing MTTs with different stack sizes.

      12pm soon came round and there I was taking my seat in the casino feeling pretty nervous and even more tired. We were to play 11 40 minute levels and was due to finish at around 8pm.

      For the first 2 levels I played pretty tight. Only getting out of line once with 910o, squeezing after 5 limpers and taking down a decent pot.

      After chipping up a bit I picked up KK in the BB and 3bet a button raiser. He shoved and I called. He showed A10 of clubs. Flop Club, club, club. FFS! Down to 8k and back to the drawing board.

      I pulled up the PS stack size article on my phone and began grinding the 10 to 20 BB strategy. Steals and re-steals.
    • thazar
      thazar
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.09.2009 Posts: 6,561
      tell us what happen!! lol
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Sorry guys I'm falling behind a bit here! Life just goes by so quickly :(

      25/25 series cont.............

      So, at the last break and with 3 levels left I'm still grinding around 16k with the B&A's at 500/1000 100 ante. I then pick up 99 in the SB and shove to a CO raiser who folds and shows AJ He had around 50k behind and I think I would have to call a short stack there if I were him?? I then get the much need double up my AQ shoved over the top of a HJ raiser who called with A7s, this was the A10cc guy from earlier, my hand held. He bust a few hands later :D

      I was now up to around 35k and managed another double with AK v KQ aipf. An ace in the window to ease the sweat was nice. At around 90k I picked up AA utg and raised 2.5x, MP flatted and the BB tried the squeeze, raising to around 13k. I shoved and the MP guy also shoved. BB moaned for a bit then fold 99. I show the bad news and MP also rolls over AA. No horrible flush suck out and we both make a tidy profit.

      I then proceed to dominate the table through the last level as so many people, even those who were a threat just sat back happy to take their stack into day 2.
      I bagged up 137,900 and went into day 2 9th in chips out of 96 survivors :f_cool:

      I then went back to my local casino (after going home to feed the cat) and decided against late reg'ing the £30 DS as I was really tired and really felt confident I could do well the next day. I sat at the cash table for 1 hour but my heart wasn't in it so left to get a Chinese and watch MOTD (match of the day). I had forgotten how good it is to have a Chinese, a beer and watch MOTD, Life is good when you're winning, Poker is not just Poker :rolleyes:

      Day 2

      Day 2 arrived and I had not gone to bed as early as I'd liked (1.30am) and also drank 2 very large beers which I could feel when I woke at 8am. I woke to a call from my friend who had done his BR and needed a lift home. I happily obliged and off I went. We talked a bit about his 'key' hands then about my day ahead. He went off to bed and I sat nervously reading strategy and making notes.

      1pm start arrived and I took my seat. I took my seat next to an Asian guy who had a full beard, long hair and an NY cap on, a great look for the table IMO. He wished to remain ANON. I recognised a couple of faces from my local and a big fat guy who was wearing some funky white and black rimmed shades. Not a good look IMO.

      I started pretty bad going down to under 100k after creating a weak image employing the raise/fold to 3bet, and the cbet fold to check raise strategies. Not funny!

      I soon picked up on what everyone was getting up to - if there's one thing I've learnt in the last few months, it is that in poker the cards are the easy part, we can't do anything about the cards we are dealt. What we can do is adapt to the people we play against, if we don't know what is going on, we may as well not play - I decided to raise MP with J6s into a weak blind who called. flop came K83r, BB check and I cbet, BB called (shit), turn was a 10, BB checked and I again bet, planning to 3 barrel as he looked too uncomfortable. River was a 7. And again BB checked to which I decided to" take it down", putting him on some pair or K with a bad kicker. I bet just about half pot and BB tanks then open folds K10 for top 2, saying I think you flopped it! I show my bluff. He then goes on tilt and busts shortly after. How can he fold that (to me).

      Up until around bubble time I'm feeling ultra confident although tired so I decide to have a red bull. I get moved to another table and look down at KK my first hand on the button. utg ( a Polish girl who just won the GPS Newcastle who is sponsored by Genting) raises and it folds to me, I 3bet and she shoves. When I call she grimaces so I know my Kings are good and she rolls over QQ. My Kings hold and I'm now around 400k. It was at this point when the blogger decided to ask me who I was. I then lose a big flip my JJ beat by KQ and down to 240k.

      I then get moved again and we are 6 from the money. I look down first hand at AA, I raise from MP and the SB shoves for around 100k, I call and he shows 99. My aces hold and I'm now healthy for the bubble. The very next hand I look down to see AA (yes again) and raise to some suspecting looks, please shove please shove please shove, everyone folds and I obv have to show how I just do not bluff :f_cool: . I then decide to go on a stealing spree but donk off around 100k (not a good idea after getting back to back aces). Some other fat guy to my left comments that too many people try this strategy but it doesn't work at this level as the money isn't that great ( I later googled the guy as I saw something on the tourney blog and discover he is a WSOP bracelet winner, LOL, how I underestimated my opposition, ignorance is bliss).

      The bubble burst and we are down to 2 tables. I now have history with a guy that 3 barrel bluffed me then sniggered and showed it. I have learned not to steam. I'll get him later.

      I start to build up a decent stack and with 12 left I pick up QQ, I raise my bluffing friends blind who decides to shove, we have since had a few encounters where I have squeezed his raise and also flopped a set after limping with pocket 2's on a DDD flop, I check raised AI to his massive bet. He folded and was not happy "who f£$king limps, who f&%king limps at this level" LOL, I wound him up by saying I didn't realise you couldn't limp in Salford and apologised, he stormed off for a cigarette.

      Anyway, QQ v 99: As it was reported on the blog.

      Bluffing friend moves all in for 400,000 after an open from chip leader John Bell. John makes the call and cards are tabled....

      BF... 99dh
      John... QQhs

      The first card out is 9c !!! Followed by 7c As on the flop.

      The turn card is 6d .

      The river card Qd !!!!!!!

      Sick for BF who is rivered for the 800k pot.

      BF leaves us in 12th place for £740.

      Oh yes I forgot to mention I was the chip leader!! And sitting even more comfortable now. On 1.6 million. Avg. 675k.

      I lost a couple of big flips and would have taken over 3 million onto the final table (around 7.5 million in play). I had joked with my friend about how good it would be to take 50% of chips in play onto the final table. Almost. As it happens I was still chip leader with 1.4 million when we were down to 9 and the FT.

      I decided to approach it like a SnG and play pretty tight unless I could exploit a decent spot or two. A couple of people bust pretty early and then I lost a big one against a guy who had been struggling for a while. I raised in LP with 66 and he shoved his last 600k. I only had to call 425k into a pot of 800 for a 1.2 mill scoop so I called, he showed A10o and hadn't hit by the river. I then blocked the river card with my hand and heard the bad news, 10 on the river, shit down to 850k.

      I then struggled to find any spots or cards and blinded down to 10 bigs when I picked up AQo with 6 players left. utg opened and I shoved, he called showing KQ. My hand held, I was up to around 1.3 mill and the other guy was now struggling. He bust the next hand.

      We then decided to talk about a deal as we were all pretty even. I went to toilet and returned to a deal proposition. Pay-outs were originally:

      1st - £15,990

      2nd - £10,655
      3rd - £7,105
      4th - £4,145
      5th - £3,195
      (6th - £2,605)

      Deal which we all accepted was:

      1st - £11,090

      2nd - £9,000
      3rd - £7,000
      4th - £7,000
      5th - £7,000

      I decided I would open up a bit as 3rd to 5th was the same money, but everyone else had the same idea so I then sat back and let a couple kill each other. We were soon down to 3 and I got it all in with AQ v A10. flop comes 7KK and villain calls for a chop pot. turn is 2 and again he shouts chop! river brings a 7 and he gets his wish, I can't really complain can I. Villain from that hand was my ANON Asian friend from earlier with the beard, nice guy. I then shoved my last 10 bigs or so on the button with K7s and was called by ANON with QJ, he hit a J and I was out. No trophy this time but what an amazing experience.

      I got home around 3am and woke for work at 7. I was pretty buzzing so breezed through the morning and went home at lunch on half days holiday planning to sleep but didn't.

      The guy who won it was the guy who rivered me with A10 against my 6's. He turned around a 5.9 to 2.6 mill chip deficit and deserved the win as he played so well when he eventually got some chips. WP all.

      I can't play the next and last leg in Blackpool but at least now I have a decent BR to play some more. I still don't think I will be stumping up a £220 direct BI but I may when next years series returns if my BR has grown. I am looking at getting down to DTD in Nottingham for maybe one or two of their DS tourneys which have lots of soft satellites and maybe even Wembley for the ISPT!
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Just so I'm up to date.

      I went to my local casino last night to basically show my face and receive some respect for my win. LOL, such an idiot!

      75 runners in the £25 FO. I came 4th for £165. Well happy to get another result and heaps more respect. I don't think shoving K2s with 4 left was a great move, although I did flop trip K's. v AsQd. flop KK4dd, turn d, river d.

      would've been a big pay jump and there was another shorty left. Must read about that ICM stuff!!

      My next session is this Sunday online, lets hope my form can carry on into cyber land.
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      GOOD LUCK TO HULL CITY

      We can go up to the Premier League today.

      This is me bottom right when we were down to 11 in the 25/25 series. I have the chip lead and a steely glare. That was not my favourite dealer. She dealt the A10cc hand and 2 more flip losses! One were I flopped TP and villain turned a set for a huge pot!

    • thazar
      thazar
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.09.2009 Posts: 6,561
      nice update thanks

      :) well done on the 7k? win
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Thank you,

      It was £7000 (sterling), around $10500.

      why "the 7k?" ??
    • TJtheTJ
      TJtheTJ
      Silver
      Joined: 12.10.2011 Posts: 6,582
      7k as in 7000 :)

      Really interesting blog! Will be following :)
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      LOL

      So, my run good continues.

      Hull City squeak their way back into the Premier League in dramatic style!

      I think I'm going to post my graph from Stars as motivation to get back in the green (or is it black).

      I am so dumb I don't know how to post a graph from Shark scope, I can from my HEM2 but that one is not from the beginning! Any help appreciated.

      TY
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      I just got home from a christening, which I normally find pretty painful as you have to join in with the singing and often have to sit through the full Sunday service. They also cause my wife and I some upset as we are struggling to have kids of our own and are currently waiting for our second round of IVF but I won't bore you with that ran bad story. Just wanted you all to pity me a bit so you think I'm a nice guy :f_cry:

      Poker is not just Poker

      This one wasn't too bad TBH. Yet again I managed to draw comparisons to Poker.

      The minister seemed to be doing a sales pitch to get more followers into the church. I have always thought in the back of my mind that church could be something I would attend when the shit hits the fan! I think we are all looking for something to follow, for a purpose.
      If there is a God I doubt his plan for me was to be a poker professional but poker can be a means to bringing good to so many people. It doesn't matter if we are successful at poker, football, business or whatever, this is the thing we love to do and if it makes us rich then we can do some good with either the financial gain or by being a role model for other people who aspire to be successful in our field, whatever that may be.

      I didn't partake in the customary after ceremony drinks as of course it's Sunday. And Sunday is the day we all attend our church (the world of big guarantees).

      So good luck everyone,

      GAME ON!
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Really bad Sunday.

      Played against all advice and my BRM.

      Played 3 FTOPS ME sats, totalling $22.90 and more or less bubbled 1 and whiffed in the others.

      Full Tilt
      super stack 5k $11, Double Deuce $22, DD sat $5.50 and as a treat for winning big last weekend bought into the FTOPS ME $75.

      Stars
      Bigger $8.80, SM sat $11, Bigger $11, Storm $11, $1 rb 60k gtd.

      Cashed in the Bigger $8.80. Went out in 1041st for $16.32 running my KK into AA for huge pot. Busted the $1 rb in a 120k pot when my AKs was beat by KQo.

      I need to get my head into gear and not get seduced by the big tourneys. I just don't think I am very good online.

      Wow, just totalled up and tonight I blew $176.88. I learnt that my run good has officially ended. Although I am still in the DTD ISPT satellite which I sat'd into through a free roll. So I could still win a seat to the Stadium tour to be held at Wembley. Add on break coming up so I will add on for 30 euros and 20k chips. I am doing pretty bad in this one too though. clinging on after running 1010 into AA. GL me. 200 300 euro seats gtd BTW.
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      OUT

      set over set.

      FFS

      Need some time off to study and decide on a plan before I spew off my BR of $1257 on FT and a few $'s on Stars. Plus a few $'s on other sites. Live roll still obv healthy but online always tilts me so bad.

      I always keep calm when playing live, online not. I think I try to get in too many games and when I'm struggling I don't concentrate because I know I can just reg into another. Last weekend I was grinding 10 -20 bigs all day on day1 and went on to get the big score. I need to replicate this online, this I know but find it so hard.

      This week I will come up with long and short term plans. I am going on holiday next Saturday to Marrakech, Morocco for a week so this will give me some time to clear my mind. I will be reading The Mental Game by Jared Tendler.

      I may play some cash this week. While I find it mechanical I do enjoy watching the graph slowly inching upwards! (or downwards as it has for some time).

      GL guys.
    • TJtheTJ
      TJtheTJ
      Silver
      Joined: 12.10.2011 Posts: 6,582
      Reading that book seems like a really good idea for you. I haven't read it myself, but from what I've heard you really need to apply what's written there. If you do, it should really help your mental game.

      Of course playing live and online is quite different, but it does seem odd to me that you have a different mindset live than you do online. But taking a break and reading that book should definitely get you on the right track again :)

      And have a nice holiday! A friend of mine went to Marrakec last year, and he said it was absolutely great there :) So have fun! :)
    • zachrina
      zachrina
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2012 Posts: 934
      Thanks man,

      I find live easier and more enjoyable but it's just not practical to play so often live, especially when you're a married man :facepalm: .

      Unlucky today, you'll pick yourself back up because you love the game. As will I.