Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Review of 2022

 It’s been my custom in recent years to start every year with a blog reviewing the previous year and I see no reason to break with tradition this year. So here goes, a totally personal account of my year that was.


This came back in force this year. I got back to playing my usual volume, including EPTs Prague, Barcelona and London, a Unibet Open in Malta (followed by Battle of Malta), the WSOP and the WPT World Championship in the Wynn, as well as all the normal stuff in Ireland. From an experience point of view the highlights were Malta, London and the Wynn. 

I also greatly enjoyed the return of the Irish Poker Tour, particularly the Cork stop in the Macau, and the one at the start of the year in Limerick (my first time ever playing there). 

From a results point of view, I cashed with my usual consistency, but the really big one eluded me, and I had a pretty miserable WSOP which all added up to one of the most lacklustre years of my career on the live felt. I recorded 25 cashes on the Hendon mob, a new personal best and in the process became the first Irish player to pass 200 cashes lifetime. Highlights were the last cash of the year, a 4th in the team event with David Lappin in the Wynn, and a four way chop in the EPT London Seniors event. 


In the first half of my career almost all my income and most of my time came from and went to playing online. It was incredibly lucrative and enjoyable. Over the second half of my career, the trend has been to play less and less volume online every year. There’s a number of reasons for this. The banishment of HUDs from most sites means I’ve had to scale down to the number of tables I play. The gradual growth of my coaching and content creation has also reduced the amount of time I can devote to online. The financial incentives are not the same: in addition to more of my income coming from other sources, the hourly achievable playing online has dropped considerably. 

I also think I just can’t grind 100 hours a week like I did at the start of my career. I can do it in bursts for online series or whatever but when I tried to go back to doing it full time at the start of the pandemic I quickly found myself burning out. 

My focus with online has switched away from being something I do purely as my primary source of income to something I do primarily to keep my game sharp. 


I’m very happy and proud to continue my role as ambassador for Unibet and Cardschat, two companies I strongly believe are positive forces in poker. I am also happy to have joined the Irish Poker Tour as their strategy expert, writing an ongoing series aimed at teaching beginners and improvers the most important foundational concepts. 

Chip Race and other content

The Chip Race and it’s YouTube sister show continued to flourish in 2022. It’s a real pleasure working with David.

I also wrote a considerable number of strategy articles for various sites, and started writing regular articles and logs for VegasSlotsOnline. I also produced videos for Cardschat and Barry’s YouTube channel


Every year I say I’m getting out of staking, and every year I report that I didn’t manage to. The death of my latest staking partner Jan Suchanek late in 2022 might provide the impetus to finally exit the arena. The sheer joy of working with Jan and talking to him every day was a big reason I got pulled back in. I miss Jan and our daily interactions terribly. 

2022 was my biggest ever losing year overall on the staking front, something else which might encourage me to finally quit. 


2022 was my busiest year ever on the coaching front, and the most successful for my students on the felt. On the coaching my approach has changed a bit down the years. Initially I thought my only job was to teach people how to run the sims but I’ve come to the realisation that most people don’t have the time or inclination to spend 100s of hours doing that. So these days I largely just take relevant solver output and explain it conceptually (the why) so students can implement it. I also have analysis software that can be used to identify leaks you might not even be aware of.  I use Zoom to record the sessions so students can watch them back afterwards.

Like all the other things I do I enjoy coaching there’s a happy balance as far as how much of it I do. It’s not something I could do full time 8 hours a day, or even 4 hours, so I’m forced to limit the number of students I can take on (I only take on those I think I can help enough for it to be worth both our whiles).


This year I joined Faraz Jaka’s training site, initially as a guest coach to deliver webinars on satellites and ICM, but have now joined to produce one webinar a month. To sign up, use the link https://Jaka.Poker/Dara and enter the code DARA15 for a 15% discount. I recently did my first ever live play and explain session where I played online and explained my thought process in real time to students, and will be doing another one of those every few months. 


Studying is an ever increasingly important part of the routine of any poker pro who wants to stay profitable online. In recent years my own study has mostly revolved around specific topics for content I’m making, the books or webinars, and work with students, but I definitely want to put more time into my own independent study and training in 2023.

For training I still predominantly use DTO, and for study 2022 was the year GTOWizard replaced PIO as my main study tool.


In 2022, I did commentary at the Patrik Antonius challenge in Tallinn, the Irish Open, the Battle of Malta, different Unibet events, different events in Rozvadov, and a GG Millions final table (with Kevin Martin).

Kicking off 2023 I’m joining my Chip Race cohost David Lappin to do commentary on a Merit event in Cyprus. 


November saw the release of my fourth collaboration with Barry Carter, GTO Poker Simplified. I was genuinely concerned there might not be an audience for this book so have been blown away by the response. Not just the sales figures (it became our fourth #1 best seller in poker on Amazon and at this stage looks like it could potentially eventually become our biggest seller yet), but also the reaction and reviews like this one.

Barry and I both greatly appreciate anyone who takes the time to write a review for us. As self publishers we don’t have a big publishing company to push our books for us so we rely almost entirely on word of mouth and reviews. 

The list of languages the books have been translated into continues to grow:

Poker Satellite Strategy - French, German, Spanish, and coming soon Japanese 

PKO Poker Strategy - Italian, Spanish, Czech 

Endgame Poker Strategy - Italian, Spanish, Japanese (by end of year)

GTO Poker Simplified - Spanish soon

Onwards and upwards 

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support and interest, and wish you all a happy new year. Hope to see you all at some point at a live table in 2023!



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