Thursday, 21 June 2012

Almost want to go home

Almost. This is Las Vegas after all.

I'm coping with the heat pretty well, it feels less humid than the last time I was here during the summer. The food is good, although admittedly I can't even get close to nutrition targets set by Tom. We have a fridge in the hotel room, but I don't know anywhere on the Strip where I can get some nice fruit to keep in it (sad looking red apples in Walgreen's don't count). Eating multiple times per day is not financially possible. Having said that, I've not eaten as poorly as I could've done - very little in the way of fast food at least. When Tom said to focus on healthy eating rather than the gym if I only did one I can see why he said it - I'm feeling noticeably more lethargic. I'm still better than I used to be and I'm not exactly spending 12 hours a day in bed, but the change is there. Haven't hit the gym either. Was full of good intentions too, but it is my holiday!

And maybe it's affecting the poker. Which has gone utterly dreadfully since I've been here. I've not played a great deal, but I'm already in the mood to sack it off for the remainder of the trip. Might go on a road trip to LA for a day, catch a couple of shows etc and try to enjoy the holiday.

A quick run down of the poker played:

$200 Venetian DSE III side event - 95/156
Never really got above starting stack, got nearly halfway through the field before running TT into AA preflop for 27BBs. Board ATxxx. The annoying thing is I could get away from the hand pre-flop (he limp reraises), but he was pretty lolbad. Wish I hadn't stooped to his level, even if it had left me with a 20BB stack.

$125 Rio STT Satellite - 7/10
Standard was utterly abysmal, unfortunately I never got a hand to take advantage of. Lacking time to grind it up (starting with 1,000 chips at 25/25 on a 15 minute clock) I jammed 7BBs from the BB over 4 limpers at 50/100 with Qh5h. Second limper calls with KsJs and holds on a J5xJx board, my flush missing on the river.

$175 Rio STT Satellite - 8/10
Doubled 2nd hand, opening to 125 on the button with QQ. BB defends and donks 250 on a T65r flop before committing himself on turn 7 with T9. Attrition drops me to 1400 at 100/200, where we're still 8 handed and I'm 3rd in chips. Terrabad chipleader (2k) opens to 600 UTG, I make a reluctant shove from MP with AQ. SB, second in chips with 1500, after my shove for 1400 and with the UTG CL raiser behind, decides it's an awesome spot to call with 77. UTG folds AJ (would've called me and lost) and the board blanks out.

$1000 WSOP Event #33 - ~950/2795
3000 starting chips at 25/25, on an hour clock. Double first level to 6k, flatting an MP raise to 75 with AK, and seeing a 5 way flop of AK4r. Checked to me in position and I fire 250, only the SB calling. Turn 9, I lead 450 and the SB check-raises to 1950 with just a few hundred left behind. I move in and he calls off with AQ. River A so I was probably getting it anyway. Grind up to 6.8k, I'm the most active player at the table, with a superb image and seat, with weak opponents. So I obviously get moved to a table with Brits Andrew Teng two to my left and Craig McCorkell three to my right. I played with Craig regularly a few years ago at Southampton Grosvenor when he was at university nearby, so it was an interesting 'reunion'. Bust a player during level 3 with AK v AQ all-in pre and move to 8.1k. Took a few chips off Andrew Teng, again with AK, but this time calling his 3bet OOP and a single barrel on an 875 flop, the rest of the hand being checked down. The Brits were dominating the table, with all three of us over 10k midway through level 4 (75/150). By the end of the level I'm up to 12,225 after AK hits again.

Then, as per my previous two WSOP events, I hit a brick wall after getting a stack.

Shortly after we return from the second break, Craig raises to 400 from UTG+1. A random move-making German (who has iso-raised and UTG limper pre, then 3bet shoved a QT9 flop with little apparent fold equity, then shown a 4 when UTG passed JJ) flats the 400. I make it 1150 in MP, Craig snap folds and the German moves in for 5675. I'm calling pretty wide here, so AQ is an easy call. He shows 77 and I miss the lot on a KJ589 board. So of the many hands I call with here, only AQ and AT lose. Fun. The flip would've got me to near 20k on a beautiful table to be chip daddy, and felt I'd be a favourite to cash. Not to be though.

I'm left with 6k (30BBs), and with a bunch of 15-20BB stacks to my left my hands are tied a bit. The blinds eat some up, and K7 v A7 on a 97432 board takes another 1.5k. A big stack has been moved to the table and has immediately got to work. He's already folded an UTG open to one small 3jam and I put him to the test by shoving 3450 with Ad7d over his 450 UTG+1 open (we're 8 handed and he's seen me play one hand in 45 minutes). He takes over a minute to call with 88 and he holds on a KJ527 board. Dream over for another year.

$1/$2 Venetian NLHE cash - -$300
Less said about this the better. Made a good call with K high on the river vs Q high. Lost AK v J9 on KJ9. Got two streets from AA with T9 on a TTxxx board, and some more with TT flopping a set vs a small all-in and 2 other calls. Then spent the rest of the session betting scare cards, only for Villains to have called with air and binked the scare card I was trying to rep (KQ on a 952 board turned a Q vs my A5, 3 barrel bluffed with 88 on a QT7A9 board into a flopped two pair). The change went with Q7 v AQ on a QxxQx board. Played pretty poorly and pretty tilty - given the hands I had I probably should've booked a win and realised Villains were going to play their hands so sub-optimally. It's a major weakness of mine - levelling myself into oblivion at the moment.

$240 Golden Nugget PLO - Last out of some runners
Yep, I lasted seven minutes, second hand A953ds flopped nut flush draw, mid pair plus backdoor flush and straight draws, turned the nut flush and got one-outed on the river by a gutty straight flush that I didn't even see. We both played our hands rather poorly, but all I do by playing mine better is getting more money in on flop and turn before going broke regardless.

I only ever get one-outed in Las Vegas. It's fucking me right off.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bad Beat


Bad Beat: The day before I head to Las Vegas for two weeks is the day I discover my roof is leaking. Ceiling bulging, part of it has come away. Great. Spent the morning on the phone to the insurance company and a local roofer.

Good Beat: It happened while I was here, rather than away, and at least we managed to find someone to fix it today. Just a broken tile and I'm 'only' £60 lighter at the moment.

Had to sack off the gym as a result today (possibly not terrible as my legs still hurt from five days ago) given I spent my time sorting this out rather than getting ready for Vegas. I was hoping to do my first BioSignature in two weeks yesterday, but the body measurements were shifted to today. And now I can't go and get them, so it'll be another fortnight before I have an update. Guess I'll see what two weeks of training followed by two weeks of Vegas does to my body.

I have a sneaking suspicion the former won't quite cancel out the latter, regardless of my good intentions.

At least Friday signalled the end of the Gironda protocol. I'm now moving onto a shorter, more intense session where I'll do 2RM, 4RM, 6RM and 8RM on four different exercises one after the other. Four sets with two minutes rest between each. I much prefer this type of session, even if I experience a massive drop-off in strength quite quickly, though this has improved a little over the previous weeks.

My new nutrition task is to complete 14 days in a row with no carbs apart from morning blueberries and 50g of leafy vegetables. Still have to eat every three hours and a fibre supplement will be added. I'll have next to no chance of eating regularly in Vegas, let alone avoiding carbs. But one day is better than none, so I'll see how that goes. I do intend on hitting the gym, but Tom has told me he'd rather I eat well rather than gym if I had to do one of the two.


I'll see if I can do 14 days in a row on my return, but really not looking forward to it. In fact I'm dreading the monotony of it.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Pretty much how I'm feeling.

Not much of a week 3 update thanks to Her Majesty celebrating 60 years of travelling the world and eating posh dinners. Gym is closed bank holidays, so holding off the stats update until my next BioSignature next Monday. Despite this I'm still fitting in three sessions this week. Upper body session was today, continuing with the Gironda protocol, this week with just 15 seconds rest between each set. Felt really weak today, and no motivation made for a thoroughly unpleasant session.

Ah well, four sessions to go until Vegas.

On a brighter note, I did get my first comment of 'Are you losing weight?' on Thursday. Well no, but I am losing fat. So much so that I could get into some 36" waist jeans for the first time in quite a while over the weekend with only slight muffin-topping.

Nutrition-wise I'm now aiming to eat every 3 hours to keep my body in the anabolic zone which builds muscle and loses fat. Each meal must include 200g of animal meat I've cooked myself. After a dodgy start to this last week I'm beginning to get the hang of it. I've taken up the BCAA option in addition to cover the awkward times in casinos - not that popping ten capsules one after the other in a public place is not awkward. Just as well I'm not the type to give a shit.

Poker sucks though. Final tabled the £50 freeze at the Grosvenor on Thursday for the second time running. Only to lose with 22 v 33 on a 88243 a raised pot...with action on every street. Sigh, at least the important one went well - and I haven't been able to say that for a long time.

Friday's cash session did throw up an interesting hand. The most productive thing I've done this week is spend 2-3 hours analysing this.

Background: £1/£1 live cash game at Southampton Grosvenor. Both Hero/Villain playing ~£180

Villain: Young LAG. Thinks I'm uber LAG. Both know the other is capable of making moves. Villain is tilting after butchering two hands, one against a nit and another against American Golfer Tourettes Man (the most annoying player at the table). First involved him 3-bet folding 60% of his stack with KK on a Q85 two heart board vs the nit, the second involved him calling a check-raise and two further barrels including a river shove on a AT858 board with what I presume to be a big Ace.

Hero: I've doubled up playing pretty loose with a small stack, and playing one hand rather weirdly as far as the table was concerned (TPTK actually backdoored the nuts).

Folded to me on the button and I raise to £3 with J 9

Villain calls from the SB.

Flop (£7) K T 8

Check, check.

Turn (£7) 7

Villain bets £5
Hero raises to £15
Villain raises to £55

Villain has approximately £125 back. Seemed like a reasonably simple spot, pretty much everyone I know and respect agreed with my line, but the EV calcs I did made it seem a lot closer than normal. Key is what range he puts me on, and therefore what range he can subsequently 3-bet with. EV calcs are based on a set of assumptions, and I simply don't know whether they are right or wrong.

Results below:

Hero calls £55

River (£117) 3

Villain shoves £125
Hero calls £125

Villain shows Q 6 and wins £367 with Flush: Queen High.

Movies Watched: Marvel: Avengers Assemble - Of all the characters involved, I've only seen Captain America, so I didn't really know what was going on. It was pretty impressive though, I like action movies. Bright lights and loud noises are more than enough to keep me entertained.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Health Challenge Week 2

Well, thanks to APAT Cardiff and lack of access to a kitchen the healthy and regular eating took a bit of a back seat. Simply impossible to follow a paleo diet and eat 6-7 times a day being away from home. Especially difficult if I'm sat at a poker table for multiple hours a day as it was at the weekend.

Tom at Winning Health Solutions uses Charles Poliquin's BioSignature Modulation methods. BioSignature is all about correlating where someone stores their body fat with their hormonal profile. Fat caliper measurements from 12 sites around the body are taken and from the results I then get offered recommendations on nutrition, supplementation, and training. My results from the first two weeks of the challenge are below:

Note: As these are manual measurements there is clearly a margin of error, perhaps from sweat making it difficult to grab the fat, or Tom's technique altering slightly week to week (i.e. between week 2 and 3 he adjusted his method of taking the hamstring measurement). The main aim is for the sum of the 12 sites to be on a downward trend over the next three months.

As I store fat on my chest and abdomen I fit into the insulin and cortisol types (see hormonal profile link). As part of the weekly assessment Tom will give me a suitable task dietary wise to follow rather than bombard me with everything I could do. Last week was to eat 6-7 times a day, each meal to include 200g of animal meat. Failed miserably at that, couldn't get more than 5 - lack of organisation, money and laziness all to blame. As stated above, travelling for poker makes this aim near enough impossible, therefore this week's suggestion is to continue focusing on eating regularly where I can. If I go to a casino take some dark, thin-skinned fruit such as blueberries in with me if I can. If I order from a menu, choose the least-worst option (I do this already - steak and eggs is my favourite anyway!). In situations where neither of the above are possible, then he's asked me to consider BCAAs as a supplement in lieu of eating actual food. Before yesterday this would've been a no due to the expense, but I will probably give it a go - hope I can take some on the plane to Las Vegas!

Due to my hormonal type my body is 100% affected by what goes into it, so the responsibility is mine. I'm unlikely to see a significant decrease in weight during the first three months of training, but I'm looking forward to seeing a steady decline in body fat and a steady increase in lean mass.

Workout wise I am continuing to follow the Gironda protocol, eight sets of eight reps over six different exercises. Last week was 30 secs rest between sets, this week is 20 secs and next week will be 15 secs. Thoroughly unpleasant. Upper body was covered yesterday, with legs today. I'll book in an arms session Thursday or Friday, and for the first time I'll be able to attend a strongman session on Saturday to hit the optimum number of training sessions for the week. The workout tracker on BodySpace is still unavailable (apparently was only going to be down for 24 hours - that was 10 days ago) but I'll post a summary once it's back up and running.

Genting Las Vegas Challenge Play-offs & APAT Cardiff

The Genting Vegas Challenge league was completed as of Sunday 27th May, with me finishing in 5th after not playing any of the last five tournaments. Weirdly, some players around me who were guaranteed top 11 places with no chance of the outright win kept playing. Hardly +EV when there are no meaningful prizes to play for - hopefully such bizarre decision-making would manifest itself in poor satellite play. My recent poker track record has hardly been stellar, and with three play-offs available paying five packages (2 packages out of 10 players, 2 out of 37 and 1 out of 28) it would still be an uphill battle to bink a $7,500 prize.

Monday saw me tangle with the other players from 2nd-11th in the table, starting with 5,000 chips on a 10 minute iPoker structure. Got dealt a dreadful seat, to my left was a station, to his left was the most aggressive 3-bettor. Four nits to my right, with the crazy 49/40 player diametrically opposite where I couldn't really get at him. Needed to pick up the odd hand here and there given my reputation, so of course I spent the tournament largely card dead. So in essence I couldn't raise too light, and my 3-betting opportunities weren't looking too hot either.

I finished the first hour 8th of 10 holding 7% of the chips in play, hitting the chiplead briefly shortly after when I check-shoved the nut flush draw in a perfect spot. Doubt he did, but given the situation I think UTG could even pass AK or AA here.

Genting TVC Championship Play-off 60/120

Button (4895)
SB (5410.50)
BB Hero (4235)
UTG (5173)
UTG+1 (3820)
MP (3207)
MP (6260)
MP (6664.50)
CO-1 (4620)
CO (5715)

Preflop: Hero is in the BB with A J
UTG raises to 240, 5 folds, CO calls 240, Button calls 240, SB calls 180, Hero calls 120.

Flop (1200) 9 8 K
SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets 900, 1 fold, Button calls 900, 1 fold, Hero raises to 3995, 2 folds

Hero wins 6995 with High card: Ace

By the end of the second hour I was back down to 5.7k, 5th of the remaining 5 players. Had 3-jammed a couple of times and shoved AK once, but with three players over 10k, my VPIP dipping to 7%, and me holding just 11% of the chips it was beginning to look desperate.

I needn't have worried.

In the league games I took the approach of open-shoving 10-15BBs, maybe slightly more. It hadn't really served me well, so going into the third hour I decided I was going to raise-call from smaller stacks than I usually would as my opponents weren't really adjusting correctly. It clearly flummoxed this guy:

Genting TVC Championship Play-off 200/400/50

Button (7151)
SB (12835)
BB (11550)
UTG (13779)
MP Hero (4885)

Preflop: Hero is in MP with A J
1 fold, Hero raises to 800, 1 fold, SB calls 600, 1 fold.

Flop (2250) K 6 2
SB checks, Hero bets 1200, SB calls 1200.

Turn (4650) K 6 2 5
SB checks, Hero checks.

River (4650) K 6 2 5 9
SB bets 3200, Hero fecking snap calls 2835 (all-in)

SB shows J , Hero shows A 

Hero wins 10320 with Flush: Ace high

This pot put me right back in the hunt, and from there on in I was the only player of the final 5 not to make any massive mistakes. The only time I was ever at risk was 4 handed, with blinds 250/500/50 UTG (4k) passed, the button (21k) min-raised - again, the SB (15k) flat called, and I moved in for 10.5k with TT from the BB. The button made a dreadful call with AJ and I held to take 40% of the chips in play. From there I was able to comfortably maintain my stack as the other chipleader was insistent on tangling with everyone (including me). I barely played another hand, took the blinds a couple of times but he knocked out the remaining short stacks in quick order. His strategy was somewhat questionable, but I'm not exactly complaining - my path after the double up was effectively risk free as a result.

So after investing over $1k in a league with no meaningful payouts aside from the packages, I've come up trumps and am now $7.5k richer. Las Vegas was already planned and booked, but this rolls me to play a variety of tournaments in the $100-600 bracket plus WSOP event #33 $1k NLHE.

2 Las Vegas leagues, 2 packages. Looking forward to next spring!

Finally, the APAT Welsh Amateur Championship was held in Cardiff over the weekend. Nothing to report from the £75 main event for either myself, Tony or Perry. Aside from my 3bet shove on the turn with an open-ender into the nuts. Oops. At least we were out early enough to watch the football and boxing - with Perry being out early enough to fit a film in too. You suck.

We all flicked in the £25 PLO side event on the Sunday. Perry took a nasty beat early, with Tony hanging on before an attempted steal gone wrong around the mid stages. I on the other hand had AAxx hold up 2 out of 3, and with a passive table I was able to steadily accumulate to reach the final table with an average stack. It was an absolute grind with no cards for a while (would've smashed up a Badugi tournament), but I was able to hang on long enough to pick up a couple of double ups. Once I finally reached a decent stack the playable hands kept coming, and although an erratic Italian Gianluca caused me a few problems heads up I fell on the right side of a couple of coolers and got the job done for £295. Not much, but prior to the Genting bink last night it was the biggest score of the year so far!

Feel like I've finally got what I've deserved - haven't had that feeling for a while. Really believe that I've turned a corner and I can now go to Las Vegas with optimism. How much is down to a couple of slight strategy adjustments, and how much to an improved lifestyle - who knows? However it's given me added motivation to cope with the Gironda protocols in the days and weeks to come!