Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 Review

2014 was a decent year for me poker wise. An overall profit of around $2300 is nothing to get too excited about but it represents progress and a period when I made money on all the three poker sites I play on. I also made a profit in all the different Jackpot Sit N Go formats. Above is the combined position on Betfred for the year (95% jackpot sit n go games), which overall I am pleased with. I definitely gave myself a chance to win big whilst making a modest profit. Not a bad scenario when you are having fun. Timing wise I am on a bad run, so the year end is helpful in a way.

For 2015 my approach is to start off by concentrating on what I am good at. On Full Tilt I will continue with the Flipout Tournaments, on Betfred the Maui Jackpot Sit N Gos where the jackpot is currently 50,000 Euros and on Pokerstars my old favourite the $7 45 man games. I will work on my sit n go strategy via Nick Wealthall's on-line course which I need to spend further time reviewing.

Ideally I will make twice as much profit in 2015 and make twice as many blog posts which I have neglected a little last year. The two are not mutually exclusive. If I get the chance at a big win again all the better. 

Good luck at the tables in 2015.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Focus On Fish

If you want to progress in sit n gos you need to focus on fish. That was the message from Nick Wealthalls latest marketing campaign for his new online training course Sit N Go Shortcuts. The solid premise being it is easier to win more from poor players than improve against the good ones. Sounds good. Count me in. For me this is a chance to update my game, review my strategy and focus once more on maximising my win rate in the jackpot games. 

A few weeks into the course I am happy with my decision. The material is interesting, useful and sometimes quite amusing. I tend to listen/watch the videos whilst playing which is probably sub-optimal in lots of ways but I am enjoying them and my game is improving. I have definitely already made a couple of adjustments. I am changing the way I deal with a specific tricky spot and have an improved heads up approach. I still though have a long way to go to entrench this material and work through all the action steps. Most of all my general confidence has improved because I am working on my game and enjoying it and as a result my results have progressed.

Recently I have had a couple of near miss sequences on the Jackpot trail. The Maui games saw a sequence of 11151 when playing for 41000 Euros and in the Rio games I played a run of 151111 for 110000 Euros. In both cases I was a coin flip or two away from the big one. Having won four Rios I had a realistic shot at a big pay day, perhaps one in twenty-five to win £100,000! Normally my fifth place in the next game would be a source of great frustration but not following my recent work with Nick and some personalised feedback relating to the jackpot games. I had e-mailed him a very specific question about the adjusting your approach/game once closing in on a jackpot winning sequence. This is part of the deal for the first sixty days after sign up. My response was in short excellent. I consider myself a bit of an expert in this sphere having played around 15,000 jackpot games and I liked/agreed with what he had to say - but it also meant quite a lot to hear another point of view on this specialist area. Without giving it all away there was three key aspects to his advice that I empathised with most:

1.Having won three or four games jackpot games on the bounce you will probably lose the next one - that's just the maths. Very true.
2.Keeping the jackpot situation out of your mind is very important. Agreed.
3.When in the later stages of sequence be absolutely playing your best poker, disciplined, focused and always aggressive. Good stuff.

Cheers Nick.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Flipin Obvious

Earlier this year, following the end of the Daily Double promotion on Full Tilt I was looking for some new action to satisfy my multi table tendencies. I found two options that complied with both my time frame and my bankroll:

1. As a sit n go player who really loves an MTT but hasn't really got the time the new Flipout Tournaments are great. The tournament begins with a shootout round, which features a flip tournament format. In this round, all players go all-in automatically on every hand and one player per table progresses to the next round. The bubble bursts at the end of the first round and all players who reach the second round in a Flipout Tournament will share in the prize pool. They are effectively a sit n go disguised as a MTT - but with an added bonus - random players not the best players make it to the latter stages. My results are as below. A higher than normal win rate with super time efficiency built in.

2. I also identified a knock-out tournament which fitted perfectly into my poker evening. OK so its turbo structure was a bit on the fast side for my patient MTT game and at $24 was a little pricey but surely I could adapt and get stuck in when needed. Or perhaps not! See below. A series of min cashes has done nothing for my overall result. In these tournaments the money is at the final table and I have only made one brief guest appearance finishing ninth. Whilst the graph does ignore probably $200 worth of bounty prizes there can be do denying my poor run playing this game. Certainly whilst luck plays a bigger role in this type of turbo structure I probably played bad as much as ran bad.

Incredibly, given the charts above, this is the same player, playing the same site, the same variant of poker at the same time. I wonder which game I should focus on - Flipin obvious really. I have removed the knock-out game from my options. See you at the flipout tables soon. 

On the sit n go front I have just embarked on a new learning chapter designed to give me the best chance possible to improve my Jackpot game win rate.  More next time. I continue to play the Maui games and this new information should help me maximise my return whilst working on improving my game.

Good Luck.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Five A Day

I am introducing a shift of strategy which I think will be good for me. So far this year I have enjoyed some solid progress and profit. However, my good run in the dirty dozen games has waned of late. I have become a little unfocused and also distracted by other less profitable games. I have also not been enjoying my poker as much. Ultimately I think I am a little unmotivated by the goal of winning a 2000 Euro Jackpot. Sure it is a decent amount of money but great as it would be, it would not really be a big step forward forward in poker or in life. To play at my best I need to be fully motivated so I am shifting back to the Maui games which conveniently has a current jackpot total of 31000 Euros. Enough to help me exceed my overall poker target of $50,000 and also enough to impact on my non poker world. As a family we could do something really significant with that.

In my first five Maui games for a long time I managed a win which gives me some encouragement. So I plan to play five a day to focus me back on the jackpot goal. If it also reminds to eat more fruit and vegetables that can't be a bad thing for my poker either.

Good luck.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

World Cup Winners And Losers

Congratulations to Germany on winning the World Cup. Can't say I'm happy about it but there can be no doubt about their quality. They are one of only a few teams who would have been deserving winners. A great winning goal for Germany and a superb tournament. Fantastically this World Cup showed us that teams who are hard-working, organised and perhaps lacking in overall quality can mix it with the best countries in the world. Some of those collections of individuals who are better players just don't have the same discipline, desire and focus. The USA and Costa Rica demonstrated this more than any other. Very few, if any of their team would have made it into the England squad. As I prepare for a season watching Burnley in the Premier League this gives me great heart. Also a decent bet on Burnley to finish in the top ten at 16-1 should help pull me out of my World Cup betting hole! During the final I questioned my son Jake, now seven about England's potential in the next World Cup in 2018. Could we win it? "Don't be an idiot Dad, quarter-finals at best." Slowly but surely my unjustified optimism is starting to rub off on him! I still believe and one day he will too. 

Poker wise the World Cup has been something of a negative losing period for me as I tried to fit poker games around football games, played different games to my normal schedule and dealt with reduced leisure time combined with increased tiredness levels. My initial aim to scale down my activity and take a break never really happened. I am a creature of habit and need my daily poker fix. With the tournament over though I am ready to re-focus and get back on track with the good 2014 I am having. As long as I don't get too distracted by The Tour De France and the upcoming British Open Golf!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Five Hundred Games

In 2014 so far I have played five hundred twelve player jackpot sit n gos. My progress is charted above and below. I am particularly pleased with the positions chart and the fact that I am winning thirteen percent of games.Good, but still open to improvement. Interestingly first and fourth are my joint top results followed by second then sixth. Obviously these are all key targets  - winning, getting heads up, cashing in fourth and reaching the final table of six. My ROI is 18% which equates to fifty cents per game. Following a break for the World Cup I intend to literally double my efforts, playing a thousand jackpot games over the rest of 2014, at least maintaining the win rate described but whilst playing more games simultaneously. These will be played alongside some MTT games on Full Tilt where I continue to prosper despite the cancellation of my favourite games.

Whilst playing the jackpot sit n gos I also intend to develop a strategy document showing how to best beat this game, a process which in itself will help me progress. It will keep me focused on the correct approach and minimize my mistakes.

Good luck to England and lets hope its a great tournament.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Winding Down For The World Cup

The upcoming World Cup should provide a much needed mid year break from my 2014 poker exploits. As good as the year has been (currently up around $2000) I am currently somewhat frustrated. In their wisdom Full Tilt have recently cancelled the Daily Double tournaments which have been the source of two-thirds of my profits over the last six months! Over the next two weeks I intend to wind down my poker activity, playing only the Dirty Dozen jackpot sit n go games to complete five hundred for the year just before the start of the tournament.

England are 33-1 to win the World Cup. The biggest price they have been in my lifetime. They are third favourites in their group and should get no further than the group stage. Ironically I strongly believe this really improves their chances. Unburdened by expectation this newer England squad, filled with young talent, yet bolstered with experience have a real chance to make an impact on this years tournament. Anyone who has watched the likes of Sturridge, Lallana, Barkley, Sterling and Shaw shine in the Premier League this year will know they can offer both real quality and a significant threat to any opponent. Sterling in particular excites me. The composure he showed in front of goal late in the season (especially the goal against Manchester City) tells me he is ready. I can only hope Roy Hodgson feels the same and gives these fearless youngsters some significant playing time. My optimism however was brought back down to earth the other day by my six year old son Jake (above) who is currently obsessed with football. I asked how far will England progress in the tournament. He considered the three group fixtures and after significant thought concluded we probably won't beat Italy, we will lose to Uruguay and beating Costa Rica won't matter. "Group Stages Dad!" I was really impressed and saddened at the same time.

He might be right. Certainly England's chance can seem exciting until you look at the squads of the leading competitors. Holders Spain have more options than current GCSE students while Belgium have a quality squad and an easy group. I see both putting in strong tournaments but neither will be able to touch the quality of the hosts Brazil. Whilst I have had a small bet on England and Belgium, I am currently in the process of re-mortgaging my house to secure a decent bet on Brazil. Hosts have a great record and all tournaments held in the Americas have been won by a South American team! In Hulk they even have a genuine superhero on their team. So confident are the hosts that they are currently protesting against the tournament, presumably because the opposition is so weak. They are even taunting their rivals by naming their players after my dads bowling team-mates William, Bernard, Oscar and Fred. The main danger to Brazilian victory is possibly their over confidence or perhaps massive domestic political revolution!

In my next post I will review the five hundred Dirty Dozen Sit N Go games I have played this year. I am currently winning around 50 cents per game and have a win rate of 13%. Pretty good but I am aspiring to do better.

Come on England.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Stars Align - Finally

For at least a year things have not gone well for me on Pokerstars. My confidence has been affected when playing which in effect kept the bad run going. This year I took the slightly cowardly approach of not playing very much on Pokerstars, concentrating instead on Ipoker and Full Tilt where things were going well. When I have played as almost expected the losses have continued...........

Until the other day when something changed. Things went well and kept going well. Finally success. A tentative entry into my old stomping ground, the $7 forty five man sit n go ended in victory. A truly international final table below looked on in shock as one of the worst players on the site over recent times recorded a win and a $90 cash, almost wiping out my year to date losses. Whether it was cosmic forces, probability just catching up with itself or my lucky underpants I really don't care. I just needed a win to get me back on track. Over the next week or three I will see if I can build on this progress.

PokerStars Tournament #904915668, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $6.42/$0.58 USD
45 players
Total Prize Pool: $288.90 USD 
Tournament started 2014/05/03 17:42:14 ET
Tournament finished 2014/05/03 19:01:23 ET
  1: Kartajana (United Kingdom), $89.58 (31.007%)
  2: gyumo34 (Hungary), $62.11 (21.498%)
  3: edge_n (Norway), $47.66 (16.497%)
  4: Japoska2 (Russia), $36.11 (12.499%)
  5: Guzman092 (Mexico), $26.00 (8.999%)
  6: tdenhamer (Canada), $17.33 (5.998%)
  7: tiaguafonsu (Portugal), $10.11 (3.499%)
  8: mephi54 (Germany), 
  9: LaBanda014 (Argentina) 

Two days and two tournaments later I won another forty five man sit n go for $90!

Friday, 4 April 2014

A-Game Journal

I have recently started to re-read Jared Tendler's The Mental Game Of Poker 2 which largely focuses on positive elements of the mental game such as playing in the zone consistently. Part of his approach is to write down in an A-Game Journal the conditions that exist when your A game is achieved and learn from this information. Last night was such a night. I was really focused, playing instinctively and using what Jared describes as intangible competence and conceptual competence. Here are my notes:

Rice Krispies before I played.
Minimal internet distractions.
Positive mental attitude based on a good, though tough week at work.
Happy family situation.

These conditions existed as I played my usual set of evening poker games in a year where I am playing well and running better than Usian Bolt in a pair of turbo trainers. I failed to cash in my two Full Tilt Daily Double games but was happy with my play and am feeling good about my 30% cashing record in 2014. I also played five dirty dozen jackpot sit n gos following a good set of games the previous night. The result was more than impressive with a sequence of first, second, first, third and second. Whilst playing I was never in tune with the order of games but was focused in all the games on winning, though I never really felt I had a shot at winning four in a row. If I had known my last game the previous day was a win I might have felt/acted differently! Upon checking afterwards my sequence of 1121 is as close as it gets to the two thousand Euro jackpot, though I never had more than 20% of the chips in the heads up battle I lost. A really encouraging night which I should learn from and be encouraged by. It is clear I need to put in a little more volume to ensure a jackpot win is inevitable rather than likely.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Back Trouble, Login Issues and Timing Problems!

I have reported recently on a successful start to 2014. January and February went really well and I have amassed over $1000 which is as good as it gets for me in a couple of months. I am very much a creature of habit and my success was largely based around playing the same regular session each night. I integrated some Dirty Dozen sit n gos on Betfred Poker with the scheduled Daily Double games on Full Tilt which I join around 10pm. My session then lasts between an hour and three depending on the level of success in the tournaments. In March however my poker routine has been disrupted by a few difficulties and as a consequence my results have suffered.

Back Trouble: I have had a re-occurrence of some back trouble from last year. The pain ranges from discomfort to severe but sitting for long periods is not great so neither is playing poker. Playing when uncomfortable is also not conducive to A game play and is not a good idea. I am currently seeing a physio and will be looking at making some changes to help my situation. My back is currently improving but I am not there yet.

Login Issues: I managed to get myself locked out of my Betfred account early this month and for some time could not get access. A combination my own incompetence, poor customer service and a catch twenty-two situation frustrated me for a few days. Emailing support, resetting my password and live chat all failed to deliver the goods. Eventually a nice lady called Natalie at the Betfred call centre sorted me out but my poker routine was again disrupted.

Timing Problems: Just as I was back on track with Betfred, Anglo-American timing moved an hour so that my normal game times were now an hour too early to fit in with the non poker world. This will not correct itself until the end of the month when the British clocks change. As a consequence I have been playing games I am less suited by on Full Tilt. Worse than that I have also been playing some games on Pokerstars where my luck ban apparently still remains in place!

I am hoping by the end of the month all three issues will be fully resolved and I can resume my progress based on talent, discipline, focus and of course routine. In the meantime I intend to have a quiet two weeks poker, playing only a minimal number of Dirty Dozen jackpot games and resting my back.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Disney Feel Good Factor

On returning from a family holiday in Disney World Florida I was expecting to be a little rusty for my return to online poker. I had genuinely low expectations as I sat down for my usual nightly set of games given my overnight flight the day before. However, following a wonderful break I was mentally refreshed and in a happy place. As such any jet lag was offset by what I will call a feel good factor. This is a great mental state to make good aggressive poker decisions. In previous blog posts I have strongly linked my good results to a very positive mindset. 

    Having cashed in a couple of dirty dozen sit n gos I was also showing good promise in one of the two daily double contests. Without too much trouble or too much luck I made the final table and before long was down to the last three, albeit with only ten percent of the chips. Of the two remaining opponents it was clear one was very good and one was not. With enough time left even with my chip stack I was able to slowly pull myself level with the other two players. I then knocked out the good player in a classic coin flip and was able to seal the win against a very passive heads up opponent. It was quite a stressful heads up process though as the winner got an extra $100. With relatively low blind levels I choose to take a low ball approach to this contest given the clear edge I had. Twice my opponent was on the ropes but fought back but I eventually prevailed. A $297 return on my first night back is very satisfying.

Thanks a lot Mickey and friends. See you next time. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Successful January Shock

For the last two years January has been associated with poor poker results for me, terrible weather, bad health and generally depressing blog posts. See Janaury Blues and Routine Losses.

So to be able to report on a successful poker month, a period of good health and even only fairly miserable weather is massively satisfying. Whatever happens in the next few days I will make $600 plus this month thanks mainly to five visits to Full Tilt Daily Double final tables, including my first win in such a game for $372. These profits have been topped up by some solid results in my Dirty Dozen Jackpot games.

One feature of my poker sessions this month has been listening to poker related material while I play. This seems to really help with my focus.  So whilst playing upto six games I am also soaking in Jared Tendler Podcasts or Nick Weathall Winning Poker Blueprint training instruction. Both are of a high quality, though I now need some new material. If anyone can recommend a quality poker podcast please comment below or e-mail me on

Thanks very much.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Double Trouble For Full Tilt's Hana Soljan

Now I am not in the habit of interacting with beautiful Croatian women. Last night however was an exception as I tangled with Full Tilt Pro Hana Soljan in my regular Daily Double MTT game. Our encounter culminated in a defining hand that doubled me up at a crucial time and left her very short and quite soon after, out of the tournament.

I started this key hand in reasonable shape with twenty big blinds, not far off the money bubble and raised with nines. We had played a couple of hands already. Hana had been very active playing nearly every other hand. When she called from the small blind I was certainly more excited than afraid. A 533 flop saw her make a bet which I raised. After a short pause she went all in and I called. Her pair of fours got some help on the turn when a two came but my hand held up giving my general confidence and my chances in this tournament a boost. 

The pot set me up nicely to cash and via some good play and good fortune make my first final table of the year. Snagging fifth for $91 is not a big score for sure, but its a start. 

Cheers Hana.

The hand was recorded as follows:

Full Tilt Poker Game #33767926807: Daily Double - B (263436762), Table 4 - NL Hold'em - 150/300 Ante 25 - 17:31:37 ET - 2014/01/14

Seat 1: BadBRM (4,980)
Seat 2: grigoreb (14,545)
Seat 3: nutslikeme (8,845)
Seat 4: MopsRoll (7,100)
Seat 5: Sachs777 (7,222)
Seat 6: Hana Soljan (7,960)
Seat 7: sergos1 (13,420)
Seat 8: Kartajana (6,110)

Hana Soljan posts the small blind of 150

sergos1 posts the big blind of 300
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Kartajana [9d 9h]
Kartajana raises to 800
BadBRM folds
grigoreb folds
nutslikeme folds
MopsRoll folds
Sachs777 folds
Hana Soljan calls 650
sergos1 folds
*** FLOP *** [5c 5s 3h] (Total Pot: 2,100, 2 Players)
Hana Soljan bets 900
Kartajana raises to 2,700
Hana Soljan raises to 7,135, and is all in
Kartajana calls 2,585, and is all in
Hana Soljan shows [4s 4h]
Kartajana shows [9d 9h]
Uncalled bet of 1,850 returned to Hana Soljan
*** TURN *** [5c 5s 3h] [2s] (Total Pot: 12,670, 2 Players, 1 All-In)
*** RIVER *** [5c 5s 3h 2s] [Kc] (Total Pot: 12,670, 2 Players, 1 All-In)
Hana Soljan shows two pair, Fives and Fours
Kartajana shows two pair, Nines and Fives
Kartajana wins the pot (12,670) with two pair, Nines and Fives