Just doing my thing

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Feb 282012

Normally I never have problems to write a blog but somehow today I can’t really put myself to it. I don’t really know where to start and that is in line with how I’ve been feeling the last two weeks. A bit lost, doing my thing but not really pushing myself doing one thing or the other. I’ve been living my life which is a good life so it’s no problem but I prefer to spent my days more, well I don’t even really know what I want to type here. You can’t always be the happiest man on earth and I’m still in a pretty good mood but I’m searching for something, I’ll let you know when I found out what it was exactly.

Last week I played a couple of session, things didn’t really work out the way I planned but I didn’t lose any big amounts. On Sunday I was happy to play poker and had a pretty good day, Monday afternoon I lost some money and I just didn’t feel like grinding in the evening. Since I was getting my wisdom teeth pulled on Tuesday I figured I really had to grind some more that evening. Obviously I lost (why else would I write about it) and was even more grumpy when I got into bed. When you really don’t feel like playing, don’t! A pretty obvious tip but I have to remind myself to it sometimes. On Tuesday I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled in the hospital, after getting my anesthetic the doctor needed more than 35minutes to get my bottom one out. Pretty weird that you see a man doing something to yourself which normally would be very painful but you don’t feel a thing at all. The other one didn’t even take 5 minutes and within the hour I was done. A couple of hours later I already ate lunch and apart from a swollen cheek and occasional mild pain it wasn’t that bad at all.

Last week was also the first time I took a ride on my bike this year. I went for a quick ride with 2 friends and was pretty happy we agreed that we would go under any weather conditions. When I woke up it was sunny, when I jumped on my bike it was raining and underway we even had some hail. Sunday I did another quick ride and already felt so much better than last week. I’m still pretty fit but I’m also pretty fat and I just can’t really lose the weight I’ve been trying to lose over the last couple of months. Not drinking any alcohol doesn’t really make the difference but if I hadn’t stopped I would have probably been even heavier then I am now. I know for certain that for the next couple of weeks I have to be on my bike at least two times a week to be ready to cycle 150km over pretty though hills on the 14th of April. Also I would love to play some tennis again as well but currently my tennis buddy is injured so it will have to wait, trying to exercise at least 2 but hopefully 3 times a week should really by top priority for the coming weeks.

Since I’ve been back from holiday I’ve been taking up a new role at my job. I already decided in 2010 I was going to take this role but because I had to finish a really important project up till now I could never really do the actual work I had chosen to do. Nowadays I’m working as IT-Architect and while being a pretty practical guy myself, IT-Architecture is a really theoretic thing. I also used to work in the Human Resource department of my company but I’m now doing the IT-Architecture for Facility Management so it’s two new things at the same time. So far it has been a lot of reading (not a big fan) but the transition to this new role has been easier than I anticipated. In this new role I really hope I can be part of the strategic discussions of how to bring our company forward and I’m pretty happy I’ve been given the opportunity to take on this role, especially working part-time. It’s really good to have this balance between a real job and poker but it’s getting harder and harder to keep balancing these two things, together with trying to stay fit and live a happy social life. Luxury problems so nothing to really complain about but it has been keeping my head busy these last couple of weeks.

Last Saturday I did a twitcam session and was happy to answer twitter questions from my followers. Unfortunately I was airing at the exact moment Mickey ‘mement_mori’ Petersen was playing Pierre Neuville Heads-Up for the victory of the EPT Copenhagen. Team Online colleague Mickey Petersen eventually won the Heads-Up and took home €338.221 , winning in his own country made it even more special. You can check my twitcam session below, feel free to ask any questions in case you still have some.

Sunday I’ve been playing some tournaments since I was planning to play the Red Spade Open anyway. I don’t really like to mix MTT’s and Cashgames so figured I would fire up a couple of more tournaments. Already after an hour I noticed I was really tired so I didn’t start to many tourneys and was playing pretty bad overall. Still I had an early double up in the Red Spade Open and managed to get some more chips from people who were really trying to give away their stack as soon as possible. In the Sunday Million I was doing okay as well until I really butchered a hand to go down to only 2,5k. However within 10 minutes I double up 3 times and from there I played pretty decent poker. Pretty quick the Sunday Million was my only tournament left and I even managed to get a top50 stack when playing the bubble. After that I didn’t play a single hand for 4 orbits! Lost some, won some until my KK wasn’t good enough vs AJ on a J high board. He shoved his whole stack in the middle on the flop, I only had to call, smile and watch the J hit the river. I busted around the 400th place or something, I really hate tournaments! I try to stick to cashgames to coming weeks but already know that on the 11th of March I will be doing a MTT Sunday again since then it will be the 6Year Anniversary of the Sunday Million. $6.000.000 Guaranteed and $1.000.000 Guaranteed for the winner so it would be a good idea to save my rungood for that day! For the Dutch readers I know there is a  special promo around this tournament, you can check http://www.pokerstars.nl/poker/promotions/dutch-sm-celebration/ but probably PokerStars will be doing a lot more promo’s around this tournament so keep an eye on the website!

Also there have been a lot of talks about the introduction of ZOOM (Rush) poker at the PokerStars Client. I’ve been doing some testing myself in the closed alpha and beta but at this moment you can test the ZOOM feature yourself on the PokerStars Test Client. You can read how to sign up for the test client here: http://www.testpokerstars.com/instructions.html . I don’t know when the official launch will be but as soon as it’s public you will probably know it asap since I think a lot of people have been waiting for this.

Well, that’s it for today. Tonight I will be going to a concert in Amsterdam. Justice will play at Paradiso and I’m really looking forward to their show. Till next time.

 Posted by at 4:01 pm

Poker, Poker, WBCOOP, PokerStars & Poker

 Poker  Comments Off on Poker, Poker, WBCOOP, PokerStars & Poker
Feb 172012

Ah, a blog about Poker! Or well that’s the intention 😉 I’ll just ramble away like I normally do but because the last two weeks I’ve played a lot of poker hopefully it’s poker what I’m mostly going to talk about.

I got home from my trip on Saturday and since I was pretty tired and my girlfriend was meeting up with her friends I just sat on the couch and watched some TV. I didn’t really feel like sitting behind my PC and grind but I did want to just play some poker. I grabbed my laptop and joined some random HyperTurbo MTT’s. I couldn’t really care about the buy-ins, I just wanted to have some all-ins and feel lucky. I played 2/3 tables and was doing pretty good in the $1 HyperTurbo! Some railers were asking what the hell I was doing and one guy asked if I could spare him some money because he was broke. Obviously I declined but since I was pretty chatty and was just having fun I challenged him HU4Rollz! To my surprise he accepted which also meant he wasn’t broke but I’ll forgive him for his lie 😉 I accepted him to my PokerStars Home Games and I set-up a really deep (20.000 Stack with 20minutes blind levels) $3,30 MTT just for the fun of it. At the same time I had put myself on the waiting list of a $50/$100 LHE 6-max table, why I don’t really know. While still being in the HyperTurbo and playing the beggar HU I got the pop-up to sit in at the LHE table. On my laptop I have no HUD, I had never played $50/$100 but I was still in holiday mode so I sat in and played. 36 hands later the game broke (fish left) and I was up $933 and a happy man 🙂 I was still playing the HU (for over 2 hours already at that moment) and had some trouble winning the big pots. After busting the HyperTurbo I focused on grinding the guy down and won and we actually had good fun chatting while playing, a great first day back at the tables!

On Sunday there were some great sport events to look forward to. The day started with the final of the Australian Open, Djokovic vs Nadal then during that match the biggest soccer match of our competition, Feyenoord – Ajax started. I went over to my favorite bar where I met all my friends which are all Ajax fans, myself being the only Feyenoord fan. Ajax was the huge favorite and after being 0-1 behind Feyenoord won the match with 4-2. When Feyenoord was 3-1 ahead most of my friends didn’t really believe in it anymore, the whole bar was quiet since 99% are Ajax supporters. When Ajax scored the 3-2 after a big mistake of the Feyenoord goalie, all my friends were back at the edge of their seats again and you just saw the hope in their eyes. The best moment of this football season was when Guidetti scored the 4-2, for all my friends a soul crushing moment after just being sparked with hope and for myself the most beautiful goal of the season! Djokovic and Nadal were still playing in a great tennis match and I really watched some breathtaking rallies. During the evening I played the last TCOOP (Turbo Championship of Online Poker) events and watched Stefan Groothuis win the Sprint Speed-skate Championship. A day full of awesome sport events, another great day back home.

Since I had been away for a full month I had plenty of stuff to catch up with. Also I had a lot of time to think about 2012 and how I wanted to go about playing poker this year. I’ve been together with my girlfriend for 2,5 years now and we have planned to officially start living together as of March 1. The last couple of months she was already sleeping at my place 7 days a week so nothing really would change but I felt I had to change my schedule to make sure I wasn’t trying to hold on to a schedule which I already knew I wasn’t going to follow. Late 2011 I already made the transition to 6-max, played less tables and tried to remain focused on playing poker while not playing 24 tables (since when playing 24 tables there is no way to lose focus). I made up a lot of excuses to not play poker last year, one of my biggest excuse is that i.e. I only have 2 hours and I don’t like to put in small sessions. For 2012 I had decided to do some things completely different. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday will still be my “work-days” I play poker on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Where normally I would start grinding at 20:00 till late in the night, when living together a 9-5 rhythm makes a lot more sense. I wasn’t planning on doing 9-5 but that old fixed schedule just didn’t work anymore. Before 20:00 I would always tell myself I would start playing at 20:00, then around 01:00 my girlfriend would go to bed and I would join her so basically I was fooling myself. The idea for 2012 is just to play when I can, really simple. On Sunday till Tuesday I’ll just play when I see a good game or feel like playing. Maybe 1-2 hours when I wake up, do something during the day and start grinding at 16:00 again just before diner. Then after diner fire up the tables again and go to bed around 01:00. The schedule fits better with my girlfriend, fits better with my normal day-job and still doesn’t have to be a 9-5 boring grind, since I probably never wake up before 11:00 anyway. I still plan to play 20+ hours a week, grinding 1/2 hours on a Wednesday/Thursday evening is fine as well. Not having a fixed schedule can be dangerous but I think this rhythm just supports my current phase in life a lot better.

Since I was running hot on the $50/$100 that first Saturday I also decided to jump into those games more often. I’m definitely playing with the best LHE players out there at those stakes but these games never run anyway without a fish sitting. The higher LHE games really only run around fish, any table at $5/$10 and higher breaks as soon as 6 regulars are sitting. It makes sense but it’s also a problem for the poker community, something I might discuss in a future blog. For now I consider my normal grind, 8 tables of $5/$10 6-max LHE. So when I want to grind for my VPP Goals I would do it at those limits, probably on the Sunday/Monday evening. I’ll always keep lurking at the lobby to watch if I see any good $30/$60 or $50/$100 games running and if I can join any of these tables I will quit my $5/$10 tables and really try to focus on the High Stakes games. During the day less tables run so I’ll just try to table-select a lot between the $5/$10 and $50/$100. I did already play a couple of $100/$200 hands but I really want to try and avoid those stakes. I played in a game with 2 fish and since 1 regular was sitting out it was 5-handed which is really juicy but currently I just can’t afford the swings on those limits. A game like that is hard to pass, but when only 1 fish sits in I’m just not going to sit in. I’ve been following this “schedule” now for the last 2 weeks and the sample isn’t that big yet but till yesterday it was pretty successful.

On Monday I did the same as any other day and a lot of good tables were running. I try not to look at my results nowadays when playing but I really needed to take a piss for over 2 hours already. When I eventually took a small break I saw that I was down $3.7k at one moment but had grinded it back to -$600, pretty promising and I rushed back to keep the good run going. I again didn’t look at my results but after hitting a really good streak of hands ($2k in a couple of hands) I knew my graph would skyrocket so I wanted to see how I was doing. It was exactly 00:00 at the moment, a perfect time to go to bed. I just needed to win $600 more and go to bed, unfortunately I lost a $1.300 pot and obviously never even considered any more to go to bed 🙂 Later on the $50/$100 and $30/$60 tables broke and I probably wasn’t playing my best game anymore on the $15/$30 proven by a hand in which I managed to put in 11,5 Big Blinds (The max you can put in yourself in a LHE pot is 12 Big Blinds) with A5s on a 789sss board. It was against a regular which I hadn’t played a lot of hands with and he was playing really aggressive. Capping the flop and turn was fine (considering how the action went) but 3-betting the river, which resulted in him capping with a Straight Flush was just a small moment of tilt. I really didn’t tilt in any other part of the session and since the big games were gone I decided this was a really good moment to go to bed. Down $4k, not happy but not uncommon on those limits.

Still these swings are pretty normal and I really shouldn’t worry about it. I should just try to focus on BB’s and not $ lost and actually I’m not worried about these kind of losses at all. However If you think about these amounts outside of poker it’s pretty hard to explain to people that these swings are pretty standard. TPirahna mentioned in his recent blog a $40k downswing, that’s something I’m definitely trying to avoid 😉 Because of Mondays session I decided not to play any poker on Tuesday and wrote two blogs (The previous one and this one). Obviously the same two fish as to whom I lost my money on Monday are currently playing as I’m writing this blog but it’s also Valentine’s day today, so after I’m done writing I’m going to give my girlfriend some quality time!

I’m trying to stay away from tournaments but PokerStars is not really helping with all the promotions they have (like last Sunday’s Double Vision). I did play the $215 weekly LHE tournament on Saturday because I was playing the $1.000.000 SuperNova+ freeroll and I final tabled the LHE tournament finishing 5th for $880. Since I was already all-in in the first hour (pretty hard to do in a LHE tournament) I felt pretty happy about it and PokerStars had just introduced a new table theme for people who manage to get to the final table so at least I saw that one as well 🙂 Also from the 23rd of February till the 4th of March PokerStars is holding the WBCOOP (World  Blogger Championship of Online Poker) again. After blogging about the WBCOOP and submitting your link you can earn a lot of tickets to SCOOP events in 30 separate freerolls and even $5.000 cash in case you are awarded to be the Best Blogger or $1.000 for the best Live Tweeter. For busting any of the Team Pro’s you also receive $11, so I wish you good luck in busting me. I would suggest to read the rest of the information at the PokerStars Website.

I’ve also been busy planning my WSOP 2012 schedule! The schedule came out a week ago and I really can’t wait to go to Vegas again. I really want to be back home before the 1st match of the Dutch soccer team in the European Championship at the 9th of June but the schedule in exactly that week is just so awesome. On the 8th there is the Razz event, the next day a LHE, the 10th the 2-7 Triple Lowball and the 12th another LHE event. The 4 events which I really wanted to play all in one week! I’ve been thinking about it a lot but also because I’m not alone in this decision we decided to go to Vegas from the 28th of May till the 8th of June. On the 5th of June I will be playing the $1.500 LHE WSOP event so I can at least play one LHE event this year again. We are going with a pretty big group this year (8 people) and I’m really excited because it will be the first time for one of my best buddies. We’ve been talking about bringing him to Vegas for several years now and this year it’s finally going to happen. Showing him all the places which I always talk about is just so great. It’s been 8 years ago since the last time he joined us on holiday, unfortunately one of my other good friends can’t make it this year but for sure we are going to have a lot of fun again!

PokerStars has been busy as well and the guys from PokerStarsblog.com did an interview with me when I returned from my holiday. Also they just announced that PokerStars have now launched their mobile app in the UK market for both IOS and Android after already a successful launch in Italy. I think a lot of people are waiting for being able to play on their IPad so we just have to be patient for PokerStars to launch it in the rest of the world. Probably PokerStars wants this as bad as the players, so I expect that they will do anything to launch it as soon as possible (probably also depends on licensing in each of the countries). Luckily PokerStars hasn’t sit still on that either so for Swedish and Finnish players they have now opened PokerStars.eu, hopefully more/all countries will follow soon so we finally can leave all the ridiculous tax related differences in the European Union behind us. Again you can read more at PokerStarsblog.com

One last thing to add is that on the 25th of February I will be doing a “Twitcam” session. It’s actually just past midnight on the 26th but just to get things clear, it’s Saturday-evening/Sunday-morning! From 00:00 till 01:00 I will be answering questions on webcam, people can ask questions via twitter. You can follow @RTL_Poker on twitter or use the #rtlpoker or #askrichard hashtag to ask questions so feel free to start brainstorming 😉

Well, I think that’s it for now. Three blogs in one week is a lot but I really needed to catch up. Hopefully I can show some good results on the High/Mid Stakes LHE tables next blog, only time will tell!

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Feb 112012

So I haven’t blogged for almost 2 months and this wasn’t because I had nothing interesting to tell. Actually since my last blog I’m having the time of my life! These last 2 months have been incredible but my new blog is really overdue. Being away for a month and having to catch up with a lot of things when I got back just didn’t allow me to put any time into my blog. Since it’s been so long I’m probably going to cut this blog into smaller pieces.

The good life started on the 23rd of December. A couple of months ago I promised myself not to drink for a while. I agreed on a couple of exceptions upfront: Christmas, NYE & my holiday to Aruba/Curacao. At that time I didn’t know yet that I was going to the PCA and since I’m the all-in or fold kind of guy I decided that from the 23rd of December, till I got back again on the 28th of January, I had an excuse to drink again. It’s only a couple of days difference anyway, hmmm why am I explaining my drinking habits anyway to you? Those couple of months I didn’t drink, did had some good results. I felt fit, lost 5kg and played tennis on Saturday or Sunday where normally I would need to sleep out my hangover. Let’s get back to the 23rd of December! Since most of the time around Christmas is taken up by family, we decided to have a boys night out. The things I do remember about that night is a lot of irresponsible drinking, a lot of dancing and coming home completely wasted around 05:00. A good night out, but so much alcohol after a long period of no alcohol at all was probably not the smartest thing I could have done. I stayed in bed till 17:00 the next day but in the evening there was another night out planned. I tried to be a little smarter by not drinking that much and could note the difference the next morning 🙂

It was Christmas and I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas. I love my family 365 days a year, not just this one day and I do not believe in god so for me the best thing about Christmas is that I don’t have to work that day. Since this year Christmas was on a Sunday, you could say it wasn’t special at all. Since I was young we always gourmet with Christmas which always resulted in eating way too much and feeling stuffed for two days. This year Eric (the new husband of my mother) and my mom cooked dinner with most of the kids and grandkids, unfortunately my sister couldn’t make it. It was the first time in years I didn’t feel stuffed and since in the Netherlands most people celebrate two days of Christmas (3 including Christmas Eve) this was a good start. Next day we celebrated Christmas with my girlfriends family where we again had a great diner and good company. I really liked this year’s Christmas and maybe even start to like this whole family get together. However it wasn’t over yet since we had organized a big finally on 3rd Christmas day! 3 couples, the guys only had to drink and eat and the ladies would do all the work in the kitchen and keep our glassed filled at all times. It can’t get any better right? The ladies had planned a meeting to discuss the secret menu, shopped twice to get all the food and drinks together and they were nervous. They knew that nothing could go wrong and that everything had to be perfect because the men were watching! Well actually that’s probably what they thought in their heads, us guys just wanted some food and drinks 😉 The preparations started at 10:00 that day and unfortunately I invited them in my house so I had to get out of bed as well 😉 They had made a complete menu:

This whole evening was fantastic! The food was superb, the different wines tasted really good and the company was great. Unfortunately you can’t have all your good friends at the dinner table at once but having a meal like this with the 6 of us was really great. Each of the guys had its own personalized menu-item. Mine was the desert, which is normally my favorite course anyway. My girlfriend made “Richard’s Chocolate Fantasy”, a brownie, vanilla ice with chocolate sauce and a scroppino, my 3 favorite deserts in one!

The evening went on till about 02:00 and unfortunately both my girlfriend and me had to work the next day. I had only three days of work left to do and since I wasn’t going to work a single day in January, it wasn’t a real problem to motivate myself getting out of bed. Those 3 days went by very smooth and I could finish 99% of my work before I left the office. Leaving my inbox with 0 e-mails, something that never happened before in those 12,5 years I’ve been working.

It was finally time for New Years Eve and some friends of us had organised a big private party. About 100 people, many which I call friends at a pretty deserted location so we could do anything we wanted without disturbing anybody. There was a theme to the party as well: “Bad Resolutions”. We partied till 05:00, everybody got really hammered and it was a really awesome party to start the year with. I definitely hope to do it again next year, same location, same people. I was smiling the whole evening anyway because in a couple of days I would fly to the Bahamas again! Knowing that you have 4 weeks to relax ahead of you is just the greatest feeling on earth.

The plan to go to the Bahamas was put together pretty late and since last year I didn’t do a lot at the Bahamas I didn’t had a lot of expectations. I was hoping for some good weather to enjoy the pool/beach and had planned to play some poker, but due to the Dutch tax regulations it just doesn’t make sense to play a lot of tournaments abroad unfortunately. The first day, our Team Online manager Dustin had organised a meeting which started at 10:00. A pretty bizarre time knowing that 18 poker players had to show up but it worked out okay. I knew some of the Team Online members via Twitter, I read most of their blogs but I hadn’t met any in real life yet. Probably most of the other people had never met each other as well so we really started by doing an introduction of everybody. As being the only guy who plays LHE I explained how easy my game is by having only 3 options. Then Björn ‘Bjoerni89’ Schneider explained that he only had 2 options (Shove or fold) while playing since he plays Hyperturbo SNGs. It might be time to switch games 😉 A lot of people had similar backgrounds, some used to play Magic The Gathering (like I did), others were professional online gamers and others had a chess background. I also found 3 other Team Online members who played tennis, so a tennis match was quickly setup. The next day we had planned to go swimming with a small group. Tyler “frosty012” Frost (Canadian), Andre “acoimbra” Coimbra (Portuguese) & Diego “vgreen22” Brunelli (Brazilian) came along. It was probably around 25 degrees (Celcius) and Tyler and me were really enjoying the water. Andre and Diego were freezing and wanted to get out of the water asap! The next day Andre even brought a jacket to the pool, I guess for some people even the Bahamas can be a cold place.

The next day I played tennis with Tyler, Diego and Shane “shaniac” Schleger  and when warming up Tyler hardly hit any balls. On the other side, Diego was already killing it so the teams were made up pretty fast. Tyler had fooled us because his first serve was immediately a good one and again I remembered you always have to be careful not to get hustled when you are around poker players. Diego was by far the best player I had ever played tennis with, so playing some rally’s with him was a pretty big challenge. Obviously Shane and I lost but we did have a lot of fun. Later that week I also played a singles match against Shane. I think we were pretty equal and since we both played pretty safe we had some really long rallies trying to force the other into making the error. I had Shane on match-point but still lost the match, unfortunate but still happy about my overall game.

Dustin had planned another diner with all the Team Online members at Mesa’s grill. It was a real good diner but what always happens when you put 15 poker players in 1 room, they want to prove themselves. We decided that we had to play a Team Online Sit & go. Sure a regular SNG would be too easy, so we decided it had to be a 8-game SNG. We ended up playing an 11-handed, 8-game SNG which is pretty ridiculous because a lot of games in the 8-game rotation can’t even be played with 11 people.

Some people (like Tyler Frost) didn’t even know how to play any other game then Hold’em or Omaha so we explained some of the rules while switching to the specific game. This resulted in Grzegorz “DaWarsaw” Mikielewicz throwing away the 2nd nuts in Razz, because Andre could only have the nuts (pure bluff) and Tyler checking back a wheel/straight on 6th and 7th street in Stud-8. Let’s say that the table was pretty soft 😉 That didn’t really matter because we played mainly for fun and only had a small last longer bet going. Obviously the guy who didn’t want to participate in the last longer and didn’t know most of the games won.

As you can see I had to cry myself asleep while Tyler was the happiest Team Online of the evening.

We went to the pool most days and I spent a lot of time with Tyler and DaWarsaw. DaWarsaw had explained us during his introduction the first day that he was still playing small stakes NL cash, because every time he build something that looked like a bankroll he would throw it away in a stupid propbet. Now sure that’s something you should never tell to a group of poker players but we didn’t try to exploit him to much during the trip. On one night when we just had diner he felt like doing a stupid bet. He first wanted to eat 16 pickles and 4 white/green tomatoes within 1 hour. I offered him $80 but he wanted $200 so that didn’t happen. He still wanted to do something stupid which resulted in him trying to eat a disgusting tomato within 35 seconds for the crazy amount of $5. How much fun can you have for $5? the answer is here:

Unfortunately the trip had to come to an end. The last evening we planned a big diner at Nobu where we all enjoyed the great Sushi and other Japanese cuisine. For most of the Team Online members this had been a great trip, either because they cashed or even won (Talonchick won the Omaha/Stud Hi/Lo $1k event) playing poker or because they just had a lot of fun at the pool or in the club. For poker players it’s pretty normal that at the end of the evening the bill is getting paid by the loser in a game called Credit Card Roulette. It’s pretty simple: You put all Credit Cards in one big hat, you let the waitress pick the credit card and whoever owns that credit card most pay the whole bill. I normally don’t hang out with a lot of poker players so this was only the 2nd time I played it. We played a different version where not the credit card which was picked had to pay but that credit card was out, so we would draw credit cards until there was only 1 left and that one had to pay. Obviously it was me and Javier ‘El_Cañonero’ Dominguez left and I opted to split the bill among the two of us. In the end we gambled and I lost, resulting in me having to pay a $1300+ diner. Since I had to get out of bed at 04:00 and it was already 00:00 I decided not to go to bed. I wasn’t planning on drinking but the club was open and many people would leave the next day so everybody was planning to go out. We joined up with Caleb and some of the other PokerStars employees for another fun night out.

This was probably the best poker trip I’ve ever had. Meeting a lot of cool Team Online Members (& friends) but also getting to know the people behind PokerStars which is really important as I’m representing PokerStars as a Sponsored player. Knowing that there are so many poker loving and dedicated people working for PokerStars just makes it so much easier for me the be proud on being a member of PokerStars Team: Online.

Stay tuned for part 2!

 Posted by at 2:45 pm
Dec 132011

Poker has been the #1 thing on my mind the last couple of weeks. Basically since the leaderboard promo all I could think about was poker. Sitting in the train to work, on the couch with my girlfriend or just before I went to bed, I had that itch again and although I’ve never been fed up with poker it was a long time ago since I had that itch. Poker has become more “work” then “hobby” and seeing it more as a hobby sometimes can only be a good thing, since who really likes work?

I’ve been looking a lot at my pokertracker database. I’ve looked how I play, how others play and who are good regs and which are bad. By now I’ve tagged about 400 people from “High Stakes Pro” to “Low Stakes Loser” in the PokerStars Client by assigning a color to them. I’ve always did this but this time I’ve done things with a lot more detail. The lobby now tells me instant what kind of line-up is playing and that can help me a lot with table/seat selection. When grinding Full-Ring this is less of an issue and often when you are playing 16+ tables you can’t really table select anyway but for 6-max I think it’s a must unless you are the best player in the world. My lobby now looks like this:

I’ve looked a lot at “Open Raise” ranges per position and especially at 3-bet ranges preflop. I’ve analyzed many winning players and have completely changed my PokerTracker HUD. I’ve worked out which stats I find useful when playing. Per stat I’ve assigned 3 colors, green means average, red means to passive and/or tight and orange means to aggressive and/or loose. I have RFI/3bet% per position stats, a lot of stats about flop/turn play and blind steal/defense situations. For some time now I’ve also been paying a close watch to the “higher” games, 15/30+. These games basically run almost all day but it isn’t that simple. The games only run when there is at least 1 fish sitting in, you never see a table with 6 good regs. This might sound trivial but at lower stakes you often see 6 regs sitting at one table just because they are probably mass-tabling or just are not aware they don’t have an edge in that specific line-up. It doesn’t make sense to grind a game with 5 other good regs, there might be a small difference in edge but this probably most of it (if not all, especially at lower stakes) is taken away by the rake that needs to be paid. Still these midstakes games run often enough which means there is enough fish that keeps these games going. It’s just extremely important that you know who the fish is and if you can act quick enough, take position on them at the tables. It’s really a bumhunt game and there are many regs who are doing this. At the High Stakes it has become a game where most players are waiting more then half of their time most of the days. Assigning colors to anybody I come across really helps when you want to bumhunt so as already mentioned this is really a must.

So after doing all of the above it was time to test the waters. I played a couple of session of $2/$4 6-max and at first I had to get used to my new routine. My HUD had changed dramatically, I didn’t want to sit at tables with 5 other good regs so I had to pay a lot more attention to the lobby to keep playing at soft(er) tables and because of that (but also because I wanted to) I played less tables at the same time. I kept it at roughly 10 and where normally I get bored with playing “only” 10 tables this time it was different. Because I had more information at hand at the tables I had a lot less idle time since with this extra information I needed a little more time to make my decisions. Together with keeping track on what happens in the lobby this means I could play less tables, remain focused and probably make better decisions in some situations with the extra information at hand. I played 14k hands, with the regular swings I was up a bit and was pretty happy with the changes I made to my game.

Then on Saturday night I came home pretty early (01:00) and looked at the lobby. I saw some pretty good tables with 2 bad players and 3 good regs but not the best ones. So these people are winners in the game, but not by that much. With some decent seat selection I should be a winner in these games so I decided to give it a go. After being up for most of the session I finished up only $100 but with the small sample I couldn’t really complain. What was more important was that I felt pretty confident at the tables and it tasted like more.

It’s Sunday morning and my girlfriend wants breakfast at bed. I go downstairs, check the PokerStars Lobby and find the same fish which was playing $50/$100 when I went to bed, at the $30/$60 tables. I see another big fish, 2 break-even players and 2 good regs (it was a Full-Ring table). I can get position on both of the bad players so I really can’t turn down this opportunity. I win a huge pot ($1165) the first hand I play and after 35 minutes I really have to quit because I’m going to watch Utrecht – Feyenoord (soccer) later that day. I never played $30/$60 before so it was fun again to fistpump when making your flush in a big pot. Also it felt like the time I invested in my game was paying off and I could see myself doing this more often. My $10/$20 and $30/$60 graph combined:

I enjoyed myself all day at FC Utrecht. I didn’t see a live match for a long time and I really loved to see one again. Unfortunately the match ends in a draw after Feyenoord already taking the lead in the 1st minute of the match. I’m happy to get home for what will be my first real evening of grinding the mid-stakes. It starts with some real good $10/$20 games a $15/$30 and even a $30/$60. I’m up another $1.000 quickly and keep looking at the lobby on what’s happening. There are a lot more good pro’s waiting in the queue so you need to act quicker to join the tables. Also the line-up is most of the time tougher then I played earlier. The regs are better and the fish is not as fishy as the guy who played all night for example. However I feel pretty good about most of my game and I’m up about $1.700 at the top. From there on I manage to hardly win a pot for about 600 hands and at the stakes I’m playing that means burning money. I’m all of a sudden not so happy anymore but keep my cool pretty good. I’m not really thinking about the losses and just tell myself this is the variance you will have to deal with. If you can’t handle the swings, don’t play the game and I’m not really bothered with the swings. A $100/$200 game just starts with a pretty well known bad player which almost keeps the High Stakes LHE games alive by himself. I can get direct position on him and ponder if I should join. I sit in, think about quitting all the other tables but chicken out eventually. $50/$100 might have been doable but at that moment I was already down $5.000 from the top and decide that although EV wise it might be a good opportunity, I would pull my hair out of I lose $10k in 1 day, which is easily doable when playing $100/$200. The next guy in the queue probably would have paid for my seat but well, I’m just not all of a sudden good enough to play a game that high. I continue to play $10/$20 and $15/$30 tables but it doesn’t really seem to matter what I do. I just get beaten out of every pot. I never manage to get a proper streak going and after checking PokerTracker and seeing I’m almost down -$5k in total (both days combined) I feel pretty disappointed.

I’m pretty sick about what happened. The money is one thing but the fact I lost plays a bigger part. It’s only a 3k sample so I’m not sure what to make out of it. Is this variance? Looking at how steady the line goes down I would think it isn’t but on the other side a -7BB/100 winrate is something even the worst regs don’t have. So for sure some part is variance, probably a big part of it is but that still doesn’t mean I should have been a winner in these line-ups. Taking shots and winning makes it all seem so wonderful but after losing like this it really becomes hard to decide on what to do. I just don’t have another $5k to spent on finding out which probably means I shouldn’t do it anymore. That however makes these losses pretty “final” while normally I consider losses just a temporary evil which comes with winning in the long term. Sure jumping from $2/$4 to $30/$60 doesn’t sounds like the smartest plan in the 1st place but I still think that some of the $2/$4 tables are a lot tougher then the $15/$30 tables I played. A fish at $2/$4 is often trying his best in poker but just isn’t good enough (yet), many fish at $15/$30 just have to much money and want to gamble it up. Sure the regs can be tougher but sometimes you play the exact same regs so it’s all about table/seat selection.

For now I’m not going to join these games for at least some time. I’m going to do the one thing I skipped and that’s watching training video’s which should help me to improve my game. I think all the effort I’ve put into my game is going to help a lot but I’ve probably should have waited a little longer to take these kind of shots or at least consider it as taking shots and only pick out the best of the best “bad” tables and not just any table with 1 bad player. In hindsight it’s all so easy and although it will take some time to grind back the money, I probably learned a thing or two off it.

I have plenty of other things I want to blog about but I just never seem to be able to keep these blogs very short. Coming weekend we have the 10th Anniversary Sunday Million which had a guarantee of $10.000.000 and a first price of $2.000.000. We’ve seen a lot of crazy promotions lately by PokerStars but getting 50.000 players to play the Sunday Million is nuts as well. I’m however happy to take it down so hope to see you all playing next week. I’ll have to grind another 10.000 VPPs before I’m really done for this year and I’ll probably write one last blog somewhere at the end of the year before being on holiday for almost the complete month in January. (I just booked my ticket to the PCA, but more on that in my next blog).

 Posted by at 5:19 pm

Veni, Vidi, Vici?

 Poker  Comments Off on Veni, Vidi, Vici?
Nov 292011

Like I announced in my previous blog this weekend I had a personal challenge to play lots of poker. I wanted to win the Low Ring Game Leaderboard at least once and play about 50.000 hands of poker in 4 days. I’ll start with Saturday and will walk you through these 4 days of grinding.


My girlfriend’s alarm is set for 06:45. I prefer not setting my own alarm so I can pretend I don’t have to get out of bed. I always ask my girlfriend to wake me up when she’s done showering, being woken up by your girlfriend just feels better then being woken up by your own alarm. It’s funny how you can play tricks with your own mind. I can’t remember that I’ve ever set my alarm to grind, I never grind during the day and isn’t not setting your alarm one of the big luxuries of being your own boss? I check the leaderboard which resets at 05:00 and see some players have already begun storming the leaderboard. Both are 100nl cap players and after the first 2 hours they are at 940VPPs. After a quick breakfast I fire up my tables and start at 07:27.

All day I try to keep the amount of $3/$6 6-max tables at a minimum of 12. If there are not enough tables I add some Full-Ring or $2/$4 6-max. After 2 hours I’m #7 at the leaderboard and getting 2.230 VPPs in 2,5 hours is above expectation. Around midday I take over the #1 spot and looking at my VPP-rate there is nobody who can catch me, however I’m only about 30minutes ahead of my competition and I haven’t taken any breaks longer then quick pee-breaks. I started the day winning some money but it looks like I’ve found the doomswitch. I start playing more then 12 tables for a long time, I just wanted to get ahead of my competition so I knew I had things in my own hand but this didn’t help my game a lot. After 7,5 hours of grinding there are still 13hours left. I eat while playing and the only thing I do besides playing poker is checking Twitter and every hour at xx:15 the new leaderboard ranking.

Now this feels like proper grinding again. I haven’t grinded for 10+ hours since April (Black Friday) and I kinda missed it. I’m out of “A State of Trance” podcasts and listening to the “Dance Department” podcast. I’m in a zone, doesn’t even notice what time it is but the only difference compared to last year is that after 10,5 hours of grinding I’ll have to do another 10,5 hours. I try to drop down to just 12 tables but these $3/$6 Full-Ring tables are just so juicy so I can’t resist the temptation. On Wednesday the #1 had 13.965, Thursday 15.860 and Friday 16.895 and for a long time I’m on pace for roughly 18.000. The 2 cap NL players are still grinding as well and are not to far behind. I can’t stop grinding now so why not brake the current record? Setting records is fun and since I’m almost there, why not? After 17,5 hours of non-stop grinding I notice my body aching for the first time, 14,8k VPPs so there is still 3 hours of grinding to go. I stretch a bit, walk around but quickly get back to my desk.  At exactly 04:00 I’m done. 17.022,45 VPPs in 20,5 hours of almost non-stop grinding. 1180 Hands/hr and 830VPP/hr I could grind for another hour but I have the record and see no real reason to keep going. Happy with the #1 spot on the leaderboard, $1.000 won but an awful lot of money lost on the tables.


I wake up a little before 12:00 and got a headache. I never have headaches unless I have a hangover. Well there have been other occasions and it’s not a coincidence that I had these headaches after other long sessions of poker. When I grinded last year for SNE I played 12-15 hour sessions and always when I woke up I had a light headache, it’s probably related to my monitor which I’m constantly staring at. You don’t need more proof that grinding out these long sessions are not very healthy. I should probably lower my monitor brightness or use sunglasses which a lot of SNE grinders bought after they got promoted in the SNE thread on 2+2. I use this day to review my hands. I didn’t only want to grind out these hand just for the grind. I switched from Full-Ring to 6-max recently and since I didn’t really grind a lot lately I didn’t had a decent sample to know if I was doing the right thing. Analyze a sample of 5.000 hands just doesn’t really make sense so it was time to set a sample and see how good I actually do at 6-max.

Well I didn’t do good at all but saw a lot of opportunities for improvement. The first thing is that I shouldn’t grind more then 12 tables at the same time. This seems really simple but it just isn’t. When you play 12 tables and a new table opens up it just feels so tempting to add that extra table. New tables are often filled with more fish so it makes sense as well but what I should do then is closing another table. I never close a table because I feel I would miss out or something like that, it’s just plain stupid. It’s easy to grind more then 12 tables, I could probably keep grinding 18 tables non-stop. 90% of the time it feels pretty okay but that other 10% of the time you just know you are playing to much tables. It’s also just impossible to notice any real gameflow at the tables. Most people probably think this isn’t even possible at 12 tables but you get used to certain things, some people already get confused after playing more then 2 tables, other people can soak up all information even when playing 24.

The other thing I could improve is my 3-bet range. I have a pretty standard list of what I open-raise which only changes in the cut-off/button/smallblind depending on who is sitting to my left. However my 3-bet range is way to loose. This comes from the fact that I’m used to Full-Ring tables. When I look at people’s PokerTracker stats I think, wow they play loose. Which actually isn’t true because 6-max stats are way different then Full-Ring. That’s probably the hardest thing to which you have to adapt. I still have to get a better feel for the 6-max stats and looked at my own play on how to tighten up my 3-bet range. With these two things in mind I fired up another session to see if I did better at the tables. I put $100 up on twitter for anybody who caught me playing more then 12 tables and started playing with my new 3-bet range in mind. With only 12 tables I’m still playing 1000+ hands/hr which is more then enough. I did a lot better and was ready for the next day. I had already decided I would go for it again, now with my “improved” play I could hopefully do a lot better. With the $1.000 extra “rakeback” it’s an ideal moment to “practice” so I went to bed around 00:00 and had set my alarm again for 06:45.


This time it’s my own alarm which wakes me up at 06:45. I jump out of bed, get some food and have breakfast behind my pc. I start playing at 06:54 and I’m already #1 again after 2 hours of grinding. I try to keep it at 12 tables and seem to do a lot better. I’m just more in control of what happens and although I’m still losing, I have the feeling I might actually be able to turn this into a profit. When I see I have a small upswing I hope it continues but unfortunately it’s never enough to get into the green. I play some Full-Ring tables on the side since there aren’t enough 6-max tables and like Saturday I seem to do pretty fine on the Full-Ring tables so it makes sense to play these. However soon I’m again playing more then 12 tables, haven’t I learned a thing? I was feeling happy with my improved results and the competition was a lot less then Saturday so I felt I could grind this out pretty easily. My afternoon was a little messy. The cleaning lady comes by, my girlfriend drops by twice and the distractions don’t help my game. I really don’t like to have people around when I’m grinding, still one of the bottlenecks to actually start living together with my girlfriend as well 🙁 After a small upswing I’m back where I started again and I’m still doing better then Saturday but I think it’s a good idea for a proper diner break. After an hour I fire up some tables again and stick to playing 12 tables, it doesn’t help at all as the results are really really bad. It’s 23:00 and I don’t see the point to grind some more. I’m way ahead of my competition and they have probably already given up a long time ago. They probably know I can grind out 17k VPPs if needed so why even bother? Since there are still 6 more hours to go I can’t go to bed just yet. I watch some TV for 2 hours and see that Mieses88 is gaining ground pretty quick all of a sudden. He grinds LHE as well so if needed I can always grind the exact same tables as he does so there is no way he can ever get passed me. I do however have to grind some more and start playing again around 01:00.

After a little more then 1 hour I’m really fed up with grinding as the results are not getting any better. I stop grinding but after the hourly update of the leaderboard at 02:15 I see that I’m not safe yet. There are 3 more hours to go and Mieses88 is 3.000 VPPs behind, that’s doable for sure but not easy. A couple of minutes later I start grinding again and at 03:30 I’m at 12k VPPs and know for certain he is never able to beat that. I check my results, clean up a bit and surf the web. At 04:15 I check the hourly update again on my laptop in bed. I’m still 1.500 VPPs ahead and it’s just not possible to grind that out with only one more hour to go. He is playing 18+ tables but tables are breaking up and he is playing a lot of $2/$4 or Full-Ring tables. There are even some $3/$6 6-max tables on which he isn’t playing so I figure out he probably isn’t even going for it. He is just grinding what he always does and for a SNE in November it isn’t that strange to grind out 10k+ VPPs. #1 again and really done with poker since in the end I have about the same results as Saturday, pretty disappointing.


I wake up at 11:30 after a short night sleep. I need to pee and plan to get back to bed as soon as possible. I check the leaderboard to see the end-results of Monday.

You got to be fucking kidding me? 60VPPs…. 60? I doubt Mieses really stopped grinding after he beat me by 60. I actually think that he did about anything he could and finished 60VPPs ahead of me at exactly 05:00. That’s like 5 minutes of grinding. Wow I feel like a sucker. I’m awake now and just can’t believe it. I already thought around 23:00 nobody could catch me and started grinding again at 01:00 till 03:30 and that still wasn’t enough? I watched him play till 04:30 and was so confident he would never be able to beat me, wow, just wow! It’s pretty obvious that I’m a big sucker and he is my new hero, wow, just wow! I wasn’t really happy with how things went on Monday but now I’m really pissed at myself. Pretty annoyed I’m watching some TV-Series which I haven’t done in 3 weeks. Some friends ask me wtf happened and getting reminded about it doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s just $200 less and in two weeks I’ve probably forgotten about it but I still feel like a sucker.


I’ve played about 45.000 hands in 3 days of poker and decide not to play anymore on Tuesday. I wanted to play 50.000 hands which I didn’t achieve but I did have fun grinding till about Monday afternoon. At least I know I can still grind like last year if needed. With all the rakeback and the $1.800 I won from the leaderboard I broke even which means I grinded 41 hours for nothing, I’ve had worse results but this isn’t great of course. I did qualify for the $500k freeroll so maybe I’ll just ship that one. When I went to bed at Saturday I was thinking if I could achieve SuperNova Elite again next year if I wanted. That’s just isn’t possible. It would mean 28 hours of grinding each week when playing 12 tables of $3/$6 6-max for 45 weeks. I have a job, a girlfriend and just don’t have to time to do it again. I’m far away from moving up, I’ll probably have to move down to be realistic so going for SNE just isn’t an option. Grinding for a “bigger” goal would really make things easier for me but it just isn’t going to happen. During these 3 days I’ve played some Full-Ring as well and noticed how easier it is. For one reason it’s because I’m more comfortable with the stats but there are also less (rakeback) pro’s playing Full-Ring. I would like to keep working on my 6-max game but really have to improve a lot still. I’ll probably go back to $2/$4 again and keep working on my game. It improves my Full-Ring game as well so it can’t hurt much anyway but grinding out Full-Ring really looks attractive. It’s a lot more fun when putting on some green numbers on the screen and even when losing pretty big at the 6-max tables I did win some money at the Full-Ring tables which says a lot. However there just ain’t enough tables running anymore at Full-Ring to really make it a grind, which is just to bad.

I’m going to keep grinding the 6-max tables for now, by playing 45k hands I have learned a lot. I will have to stick with 12 tables for sure and since I have a lot more information about my opponents I should start table/seat select as well. On most tables there are 1/2 people who are winning, 2/3 rakeback pro’s and 1/2 fish. It doesn’t make sense to grind tables with 5 good pro’s or 3 good pro’s and 2 rakeback pro’s. I have tagged most of the regulars by now and this should be a great help. I’ll have another 20K VPPs to go for my next milestone bonus, playing these 45k hands was a great help and I’ll use the remaining month to play some more 6-max, work on my game so at the end of the year I can decide what to do next year. The Leaderboard promo is still going till Friday so maybe you can try to break my record 😉

 Posted by at 10:10 pm