Wednesday, January 19, 2022

What’s another year?

On a recent Lock In, Lappin and I joked that this isn’t a new year, it’s the 25th month of 2020. The pandemic has warped all our senses of time, but let’s pretend years are still a thing and kick this one one off in the manner I have every year since I started playing poker: with a review of the year that’s just finished.

Live poker

This was barely a thing in 2021, but I did manage to squeeze some in right at the end. I basically played just two festivals, the IPO (where I came 27th in the main event that got 974 runners), and the WSOP. I had a good two weeks at the WSOP,  cashing four events and final tabling my last event, so I have reasons to be optimistic that my live game has come through the pandemic not just intact but perhaps stronger than ever. Tiny sample size obviously, but I do feel that those who continued to work hard on their games during lock down and put in volume online have opened up a skill gap on those who didn’t (and I obviously consider myself as one of those who kept working and grinding).

Which brings me to...


As I noted in last year’s roundup, the start of the pandemic felt like a return to the glory days of online, as live players were forced back online for their poker fix. It was never going to last but it was glorious while it did. Over time many of the returning players drifted away again, until the sites realised that while it might not be possible to get them to play the Big 55 every night but they could be persuaded back for a big series. 

Pros like myself also adjusted to this, going hard during series and catching up on other stuff in between. The glory days will probably never fully return. Ten years ago when my average nightly expectation was low four figures and playing poker was pretty much my only income generating gig, and it was possible to continue beating the game comfortably without having to really study, I was heavily incentivised to just play as much as possible. These days, my nightly expectation online is mid three figures, and I have many other income streams, and it’s necessary to study pretty hard to keep ahead of the game. I can’t just get away with playing every night, so I’ve moved to playing 4-5 days a week when I’m at home, and spending the other 2-3 days doing the other stuff I do, and studying. 

Other stuff such as....


This year I published my third strategy book with Barry Carter, “Endgame Poker Strategy: the ICM book”. Like the first two it topped the Amazon poker charts on both sides of the pond, which is very heartening, and so far has been very well received.  Although not exactly a massive money spinner, I do enjoy writing with Barry a lot, and we are already well advanced on our fourth book. Additionally I’m working on two other books that might come out this year, one alone (non strategy), and one with Lappin (strategy). 

I also wrote quite a few strategy articles this year for sites like PokerStrategy and PokerNews, as well as for my own free strategy newsletter. I was less active on the blog front although I did write a few for GambleOnline in addition to those I published here. One of the reasons for this was no live poker: as it returns more fully I expect to have more to blog about. 

With writing taking up more and more of my time it’s meant having to cut back in some areas, such as...


I think I’ve always been something of a reluctant coach. I only started it because as part of the staking group I founded (The Firm) I was expected to do some, but I always felt the other lads were just better at it. However, the advent of the solvers changed that to some extent, as I was an early adapter and felt I was better at using and interpreting them than most. Nevertheless I’ve never gone out of the way to attract students: I don’t really advertise my coaching services. I don’t take on everyone who comes to me for coaching. When I do, I try to get my students self sufficient as quickly as possible (unless they really don’t want to). However, over time I have started to enjoy coaching a lot more, and 2021 was a particularly satisfying year with big results for several of my students that I felt I contributed to. I’m really not sure how much I’ll do in 2022: there’s no real plan on the front.



Something I (and David) do put a lot of time and planning into is our podcasts, The Chip Race and The Lock In. At time of writing, we have just been nominated for another GPI award, which is very heartening. Thank you to everyone who voted for us.

Last year our audience continued to grow and globalise, and we hope to continue that this year.  I also appeared as a guest on a lot of other pods: I particularly enjoyed my appearances on Thinking Poker, The Grid, Cardschat, RecPoker, People Who Read People and Chasing Poker Greatness.

Other content

Barry and I produced a Satellite Masterclass for LearnProPoker ($20 off if you use the code DOKE) and are collaborating with Ryan on an ICM series. 

I appeared in the GPI nominated Finnish documentary series “Last Call”. I absolutely love this series and am very flattered and proud to have been involved. 

I also did a couple of Twitch streams with my buddy Kevin Martin, and Unibet streamers Ian Simpson and Emily Glancy, and one with Conor O’Driscoll.  Additionally Barry, Lappin and I did some strategy videos together that appeared on either the Chip Race channel on YouTube or Barry’s own channel

I also did some commentary at the IPO this year, and have been hired to commentate alongside Fintan Gavin at the forthcoming WSOP Circuit main event in Rozvadov. Commentary is something I do enjoy a lot and hopefully I’ll get to do some more in 2022. 

Plans for 2022

Hopefully I’m not jinxing it, but I expect to play a lot more live poker this year as things hopefully start to return to normal. I generally plan in six months chunks, and the plan for the first part of the year include the IPT Grand Final in Limerick in February, EPT Prague in March, the Norwegians and Irish Open in April, and the WSOP in May. 

One thing I want to prioritise much more next year is my own study. I did better on this front last year than in previous years. And I feel it really improved my game, so I’m keen to redouble my efforts on that front in 2022.

Finally, to sum up, I’m very excited at the prospect of the year ahead, and hope you all are too! Hope to see each and every one of you at some point in 2022.



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