It’s hard to find a good moment to write my blog. During the evening I prefer to play poker and during the day I’m watching TV-Series and work out on my bike. I really want to update this more often, but I think I’ve started the last couple of blogs with a same sort of line. There is plenty to tell! Last weekend I cycled the Amstel Gold Race, I’m still playing poker and a couple of regulars in my main game were caught softplaying.
This time I’ll start with the non-poker stuff, as I am a happy man. Last Friday I traveled with a friend to Valkenburg to cycle the 100km Amstel Gold Race. I didn’t train as much as last year when I cycled the 160km, but I did had the feeling it wasn’t going to be a real problem. As I cycled more km last year I was sure I could handle the distance, the difficulty were the 8 hills I had to climb during those 100km, something I can’t really train for as where I live there are no real hills.
On Friday we arrived in the hotel and we caught up with 8 others from my home town to have a drink before the race on Saturday. I was planning not to drink any alcohol on Friday but after seeing the party that was going on in the bars & disco’s I did had a couple of beers(group pressure?). When I woke up on Saturday I was fresh and ready. We were planning to start at 10:00 and around 08:30 I made sure I ate enough food to start the long journey. At 10:23:46 I passed the Start line and the fun could begin. We cycled with a group of 4 guys and two of them were really hung over from the night before. The pace was slow and the first hill was really easy. The weather was beautiful so we could really enjoy cycling and I was smiling on my bike.
A long flat period followed and the Maasberg was the next hill to climb. This one was a bit more difficult mainly since it was a brick road and also because it was really crowded so you had to pass people while you were shaking all over the places on your bike.
The road continued to the Adsteeg which was easy as well and we finished the first half after the Lange Raarberg, again I had no problem getting up there and was even making jokes on the bike. Then after 50km there was an area created to refill your drinks, to eat something and take a piss before cycling the next 50km. My idea was that if the 2nd 50km was like the first, it wasn’t going to be any problem to finish the race but oh boy, what was I wrong.
From the moment we got on our bikes again, it started going uphill. There where 4 small hills and every time I was down one, the next one started again. I just couldn’t get any rhythm going and I when asking around how these hill were called, people said these hills weren’t part of the 8 hills I was counting on… Jikes! I cycled another not named hill and when I was at the top I really wondered how much longer I could continue. I could still cycle a good pace, but as soon as it went uphill I really was out of breath.
The Wachelderberg followed which was for me the biggest killer of the day. With a max percentage of 14% and people falling of their bike in front of me I could barely get to the top. With a little help from one of my buddy’s I did manage, but wow! I could only hope this climb was the worst at that moment, because I knew for sure I couldn’t handle any worse then that.
When cycling down I already saw the next hill which looked really high and I was still completely out of breath when starting the climb. It was a long one (fromberg) but not that steep and I was able to manage it myself, still completely out of breath however.
I knew there where only 2 more hills to go and since I really couldn’t follow anybody’s pace no more I told the other 3 to continue without me. I could catch my breath a little (I was still cycling) preparing myself for the last 2 climbs and since it was only 10km more to go, I motivated myself to really finish this without getting off my bike. The Sibbegrubbe followed which was the longest climb of the day (2.100m) but somehow I didn’t really had any issues with the climb. As long as it doesn’t get to steep it seems I’m okay and this climb was long, but was pretty constant and I was surprised about myself I managed so well. Now I knew there was only the Cauberg left and for sure this wasn’t going to be easy.
I cycled down the sibbegrubbe and road into the village of Valkenburg again. I saw loads of people left and right and when I turned around the corner there where only 900m left to go! The beginning was doable but when I looked up I was shocked! I could really see the steep parts in front of me and knowing that they “only” lasted 200m I really didn’t want to get off my bike. I saw loads of people who stopped at the steepest point and walked and just as I wanted to do that myself I could see the “easier” part ahead of me. With a last sprint I managed to make it and when cycling over the finish line I couldn’t be happier!
Cycling 50km in pain, I managed to reach the final after a total of 4 hours and 17minutes, only 2 minutes later then my buddies. There where 12.000 others who did so as well, some only 65km, some 250km but all people gained my respect when doing the 100km myself! At the top it was a big party and with the beautiful weather still out there I had a well deserved cold beer!
The steep parts really killed me and I really wonder how I can ever manage to get on top of Alpe D’Huez. I think it helps a lot that it’s easier to get into a rhythm as the climb is more constant and that’s something I seem to handle pretty well. Still it’s 13,8km uphill with parts that go up till 11%, I don’t even want to think about it at the moment! I already started my training for Alpe D’Huez yesterday again as I do realise I will have to train a lot the coming 4 weeks if I really want to get to the top in one go. It would also be good if I can drop a couple of kilo’s in weight, but when working out a lot I do have to keep eating so I have to find a good balance the coming 4/5 weeks! The rest of the weekend was really fun as well, going out on Saturday and sitting in the sun on Sunday were a nice treat and I will definitely be back next year!
So I started writing this blog on Tuesday but since I also wanted to play some poker I’m now (Wednesday) going to hopefully finish the poker part. Why can’t I never keep things short?
April so far is not that good. I was very happy about my March results and was really looking forward to grinding in April. The sidebet would make sure I would play enough so I was prepared for another $10K month (Incl FPPs and Milestone Bonus). The month started good with a $613,50 session but soon I had 3 big losing days (-$1.474,- / -1.088,- / -1.667,-). Down -3.5K isn’t fun but I really believe this was mainly due to a small downswing. I couldn’t hit a single AK/AQ and was playing against a lot of aggressive players. I wasn’t hitting anything and when trying to call down with Ace high, I was off almost every time. I was only losing at $5/$10 and still winning money at $3/$6 which was the exact opposite of last month, which I prefer 🙂
From the 13th on, I had five small winning sessions in a row winning back almost $1.100 . The best day was a Thursday when I was really relaxed playing a little over 3 hours while watching TV and winning $712,-. I shouldn’t watch TV while playing but I do have to grind a lot more in the evenings during the week now and I can’t always play my A-game. That’s okay as far as I’m concerned during the week, on my real poker days (Sun/Mon) I should always play my A-Game and that’s normally no problem.
Because I came back late from the Amstel Gold Race weekend I didn’t want to play Sunday night. I was fit, not that tired but I had the feeling that I would get tired half way the night. When I start playing I don’t want to stop and if I lose money I will beat myself up for playing while I knew I wasn’t prepared enough for it. A good reason not to play but it did put me a little extra behind pace for the month and also for the bet! (have to get 80.000VPP this month) Now I did plan to catch up on Friday or Saturday but now I’m also have something planning for coming Sunday evening. I’m going to watch the first match of the Dutch Soccer Cup Final, Ajax – Feyenoord! Only Ajax supporters are allowed and I’m a Feyenoord supporter 🙂 I’m going with loads of Ajax supporters and I’m not a real die-hard or anything but it will be hard not the cheer when Feyenoord scores. I’m sitting in a stadium with probably 50.000 Ajax Supporters so I better not 🙂
Getting to 80.000 should be still doable, I’ll just have to grind whenever I can! Below my month so far:
Something I can’t leave unmentioned is the fact that 4 FR LHE regs where banned from PokerStars caught softplaying and/or cheating. This has created a lot of fuzz for a couple of days in the Supernova Elite Thread on 2+2. It started with a post from Mcbrag here. There were two cases 1) Diamond789 & Qwer234 2) Furbean & Fua999. The first case wasn’t discussed in to much detail but I did play a lot with diamond789, I’m not sure if he was a SNE but at least he grinded as much as I did last year. I wasn’t really familiar with Qwer234, but I did play a couple of thousand hands with him. With Furbean and Fua999 however I did almost play every day. I even had a bit of contact with Furbean every now and then and was reading his blog every day. When he suddenly quit his blog and stopped playing beginning of March I wondered what happened but because he said he would be back in April I thought it was something related to his private life.
In the 2+2 thread it was disclosed that Furbean and Fua999 had been softplaying eachother since late 2008! To be honest I was very shocked! I’m not stupid enough to believe nobody tries to cheat/softplay on PokerStars, when it comes to money (or even without) people will always try to cheat to win, but I was surprised that people who play so much would even consider doing this! Since you are talking about your own job/life support I would really think people would never take this risk. If there are millions to win, sure I understand why people try (not that I support it in anyway) but when you “only” softplay each other there isn’t that much to gain and so much more to lose! It seems that Furbean/Fua999 really only softplayed each other which comes down to not defending or stealing each others blinds and when HU not call/raise any bets with weak hands.
So I was shocked about Furbean/Fua999 doing this but I was also really shocked that PokerStars never detected this! Maybe the did somewhere in February or they did get a tip but if you spent 5min looking at the hand history both players have with each other it’s so obvious I couldn’t even think of a single point to defend Furbean when he was still only accused (he came forward himself a little later in the 2+2 thread). If two people who play so often together never go to showdown HU (in over 2million hands I believe) I wonder why this was never detected. Both players are SNE and I really thought PokerStars would better look into high volume players like that!
I can’t be that pissed about the whole softplaying to be honest. In one way yes, sure I was fooled and cheated. Less VPPs were gained on the tables and stats were “fooled” because Furbean/Fua999 softplayed each other. On the other side I do believe they never “teamplayed” and we all did get more hands in per table to make up for the lost VPPs. Yeah it’s wrong to do it, but to me there is a big difference between softplaying and teamplaying, although there could be a grey area in between which makes it hard to really split these two things. I would never do it myself and my best buddy and I even never play at the same table together but I can understand the why. I just would never be that “stupid” (sorry furbean) to do it risking my income and also bankroll!
For me personally there is also an extra added downside to these people getting caught. Furbean, Fua999 and Diamond789 where all 3 in my top4 people I won the most money from! This means that I had a good edge on these people and since I played almost daily with them they did make out a good portion of my winrate. Often on almost every table I played, all 3 people sat down. Also these players together added 5/6 tables extra to the $3/$6 and $5/$10 FR LHE tables and since March the amount of tables have dropped sometimes not even getting above 16 on a regular evening.
So in one way I’m very unhappy about these people getting caught, but on the other side how unhappy can you be about “cheaters” getting caught? I think it’s always a good thing! I did sent a mail to PokerStars stressing the fact I really wondered how this could have lasted so long and for the first time I haven’t got a reply after five days! Time to sent a reminder.
Of course there is other stuff as well 😉 The season finale of Spartacus was just WoW! If you haven’t watched it yet, please give it a try. Even people who don’t like the “cartoonish” (how can you not?) graphics, love the story! It’s not just Sex & Blood, the story really has some unexpected twists and even most good series out there, hardly ever surprise me. Flash Forward is also still cool, I’ve also finished the first season of True Blood which I liked as well and with Lost, The Pacific and Fringe still airing there is still plenty to watch!
I mentioned I had a tough decision to make at my job and I’ve chosen to follow the ambitious route! Within the coming 3/4 months my boss will need to find a replacement so I can start doing more IT-Architecture work. My new boss is really looking forward to utilise me as soon as possible and I’m really looking forward to it as well. It is going to be tough but I haven’t doubted since I’ve made my decision, which is a good thing!
I got plenty of other stuff (poker and non-poker) but I’ll leave it for now. It’s already late and I still have to re-read the whole thing so I’ll wrap up with a short Year-To-Date overview.
— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 360.063
Ahead of Pace: 58.693
Total # hands: 467.206
Total # Hours: 373,37