Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Anniversary thoughts

One year ago today, I sat down with the brother and he gave me my first lesson on this bizarre form of poker where everyone got 2 cards and 5 cards gradually appeared on the middle. The brother had been playing for a few years on the club circuit around Dublin making modest but decent amounts. I'd played a bit of draw in my childhood and was pretty good, but this type of poker looked a bit scary and mad. I'd decided to go for it after watching Nicky Power on TV in the Irish Open: he made it look like gas crack altogether, but also something where a quick sharp mind was an advantage.

I've always had a bigger ego and ambitions than the brother so I was never going to be happy as a decent recreational club player. The long term aim was to gradually improve to the point that by 2014, the year I intend to retire from both the business and the running, I'd be good enough to be competitive and maybe make a bit of dosh doing something enjoyable.

After the lessons from my brother, I played a freeroll on Ladbrokes, and won $117.12 when I was second in a field of 6000 or something. I didn't have much of a clue what I was doing but I was already playing tight aggressive, and running like God. I used that money to play Limit cash in the background as I worked for a while and gradually built it into a 4 figure roll.

At the end of June, I went along to my first live tournament in the Fitz. I think it was scalps and I ended up getting runner runnered when headsup with Smurph. I wasn't experienced enough to be devastated by such misfortune: I was just thrilled to be walking out of there in profit having given a decent account of myself and lost to a quality player. That night, I made my first entry in my record keeping copybook: up 690.

Started playing the Fitz regularly and cashing regularly. Online, I played 10 seater sit and gos for a while, then some headsup, then NL cash, gradually moving up the levels as my online roll expanded to 5 and then 6 figures.

In January, I bought in to my first major live multiday event. I was last player out on day one, but playing at the same table all day with Roy Brindley and Neil Channing (and Maud Mulder!) was a great experience.

In February, I bought in to the European Deepstack. I almost didn't after I failed to satellite in. I was convinced I was both running and playing bad having put together my longest ever streak of non cashes (6), but my better half persuaded me that the money I was already up and had won online rendered the 1500 Euro buyin insignificant. Lucky she did, as I ended up landing my first really big live score.

In March I played the Irish Open having satellited in for $11. I lasted just over an hour.

In April I made my first appearance in the UK, being one of the last ones out of the Manchester GUKPT day one, having satellited in for $11.

In May, I made the final table of the JP Irish Masters (having again satellited in) and cashed in the Newcastle GUKPT. I also satellited into the main event in the SE festival in the middle of a hot streak which has seen me cash 8 times in my last 10 live tournaments (I was 7th in the Fitz last night).

Looking at my record copybook, I see I played 78 lives tournaments this year. I won 8, had 5 seconds, 2 thirds, and 13 other cashes. My ROI live works out at over 300%. So it's been a very good year, way better than I could ever have anticipated. There's no point in being bigheaded about it though: I've been very lucky and there are much better players than me who have had worse years. From talking to a few of the more seasoned pros, I know the beginner's luck first great year is not that unusual, and is often followed by a difficult second year.

Looking forward to the next year, I hope to continue to improve as a player. I can still improve technically, and I think as I play against the same good players I'm going to have to mix my game up more. Solid ABC poker has served me well so far though, and I don't intend to stray too far into the realms of unorthodoxy.

It's been a great ride so far, I've been lucky as Hell to be ahead from day one, and I've met and got to know some really great people.


you cant put the year you've had down Luck Dara, you crush. crush year two imo, starting with vegas.

awesome stuff, i hope next year tells a similar tale..

Great stuff and keep it up. Like you say dont try to remodel your game too much because only Tiger Woods seems to be able to get away with it!.
Retire in 2014? Your either very rich or very old?. Would you settle for somewhere in between!?

"very rich or very old?. "

A little of Column A, a little of column B :)

Thanks for the kind comment, and advice on not remodelling too much. It being the "anniversary" I'm having inevitable thoughts about what I might need to do to keep improving, but even in the short time I've been in poker I've seen too many good solid players go bad because they start thinking they can play almost any hand hyperaggressively. Obviously as your post flop play improves there's a case to be made for loosening up your starting hand requirements, but I don't think it's ever right to call a pf raise with 94o.

You have my utmost respect Dara... Only one year!?? I'm in awe!!!! I've sat on same table as you, playing your usual game in the local pub week-in, week-out, thinking "Uh oh! Here's an seasoned pro..."

Must get lessons from your brother! :D :D :D

Good luck in Waterford this weekend!


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