The margins between success and failure on a Sunday can be so tight. Fellow PokerPlayer columnist Sam Grafton once said to me that half the battle of tournament poker is getting yourself into good positions. Cashes turn into deep runs, deep runs into final tables and final tables into wins. This month I didn’t get myself into enough good positions and so I often found myself at the back end of a fairly brutal session, having to rely on a top three finish in a tournament to get me out of the red.
On the plus side, I’ve definitely found my new favourite comp – ‘The Ceratops’ on Full Tilt. Full Tilt are breathing new life into their regular tournament schedule and giving tournaments clever names like ‘Ceratops’ (you’re allowed three $26 re-entries), really helps encourage punters to give the games a spin. It recently got over 8,000 runners and $10k for first – not bad for a maximum outlay of $78 – especially good value considering the structure is really deep throughout.
My main focus before Vegas is to get as much volume in online as possible. I have booked to go bracelet hunting for the back three weeks of the series, but am looking forward to the virtual grind in the lead-up just as much. The end of May/June last year were my most profitable months online and I have to put a lot of that down to the fact that most of the best online grinders in the world will be in the US where it’s still illegal to play.
With a long online grind ahead, I was over the moon to receive an invite from UK pros Kevin Allen, Richard Trigg and Jamie Roberts who had put on a party bus from Romford to Newmarket for the 1,000 Guineas Day to celebrate their recent good results at Dusk Till Dawn. When a bunch of poker players get together the chat invariably turns to the game so I was slightly relieved that Kevin’s only rule for the day was that anyone starting a sentence with, ‘So I had A-K on the button’, or any other such poker chat, would have to drink a shot of Aftershock.
Even though everyone tried their best to talk about something else, the whole bottle had been consumed by the time we arrived at the races. I’m adamant that this has way more to do with Kevin Allen being an absolute sheriff with the forfeits rather than us all being a bunch of boring old bastards. In all seriousness though, it’s amazing having such a big group of mates in poker. Drinking rules aside, it’s just so valuable to be able to bounce hands and fresh concepts off each other. I’m a big believer in life being about getting as many small victories as possible to get you through, so it was really great to be able to share in the celebrations following a couple of the good guys’ success.
Hand of the month
$26 re-entry, Full Tilt Poker
MP2 (Jamie Burland): 465,946 [9h-9c]
Jamie Burland raises to 20,000
SB three-bets to 48,775
Jamie Burland four-bets to 103,755
SB raises all-in to 528,000
Jamie Burland calls all-in for 361,191
Flop: 3s-4d-Jh, Turn: 7h, River: 6c
SB shows 4c-4s (three of a kind, Fours)
Hero shows 9h-9c (a pair of Nines)
SB wins 948,892 pot
My hand of the month is my bust-out hand from a deep run I had in The Ceratops. Yes, it’s a bad beat, but I think the real focus should be whether this was a good spot to get the money in and whether I made the best decision preflop. I felt like I was doing okay on this table so usually I wouldn’t take too thin an edge with so few players left to go before the big bucks.
The villain in question had really started opening up and was playing 30% of pots and had a 23.8 three-bet percentage (albeit over a relatively small 87 hand sample).
I opened 9-9 to 20k from a 46BB stack at 5k/10k blinds and he three-bet to 48,775. While I don’t want to put too much emphasis on such a small sample size, at least I could be sure all those 87 hands were taken from this stage of this game, and that my HUD wasn’t also using stats gained from other stages of other games. The sample was a reflection of how this guy was playing at that moment and my read was he was taking every spot.
With that in mind, 9-9 is well within my value range so my options as I saw them were to four-bet shove or four-bet to induce. I took the latter and lost to a five-bet shove from 4-4. On reflection, the read was good, and I put myself in a good position equity-wise to win this tournament.
Sundays with Jamie
Date: Sunday April 28
Started grinding: 4pm
Finished grinding: 2am
Total buy-ins: $3,564
Total cashes: $457
Total profit/loss: -$3,107
Number of tourneys entered: 33
Total cashes: 4
Biggest cash: $176 (Full Tilt Poker, The Ceratops)
Tilt factor: 8 (out of 10)
Soundtrack of the day: Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito