Jamie Burland: Morale is high!

Greetings, poker fans! Morale is through the roof this month, so much so that if you rolled this page up and cut it sideways you’d see the words ‘MORALE IS HIGH’ running down the middle like a stick of Brighton rock. You often hear poker players gauging their moods in terms of their morale. But why do players put such an emphasis on morale? I had this conversation with Kevin Williams and we mused that it has to be down to the nature of the job. Essentially, pro poker is self-employed work where the pay is 100% performance-related bonuses. There are very few careers where you can carry out your work to the best of your ability and be in a worse financial position than you started.

This can be very tough mentally, so I think it’s really important to have that emphasis on keeping morale high and filling your day with as many little wins as possible. Everyday life tasks can be turned into games where you have little wins, and I find it really helps me as I trundle along on the MTT grind to have these small victories on a daily basis.

Lovely jubbly

The main reason morale is so high is due to the fact my suitcase is neatly packed, with a plane ticket to Nevada resting in my inbox. This time next column readers, we could be millionaires! No wonder spirits are high. Back in the online world, last month I spoke about getting into good positions. Like Ruud van Nistelrooy for Man United, half the skill behind his formidable strike rate was getting himself into those positions to score easy tap-ins. This month I did just that, and scored a bunch of easy tap-ins myself. Here’s how…
The game plan for the first part of the summer was to skip the UKIPT in Marbella, and play as many online MTTs as possible before Vegas. In the month before heading out, the only live game in the diary was the ISPT at Wembley.

Fox in the box

The reason for skipping Marbella was simple. I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I’m going to a festival, which could so very easily turn into a week long piss-up, when the games are so good online.
Thankfully, my late dash into the box paid off and June (as in 2012) has once again spiked as my most profitable online month of the year. The games, in particular MTTs, are great during the summer months because the best players in the world are already in Las Vegas where it’s still illegal to play online. The standard drops right down so even an average grinder like me can pick up some decent scores. My best night came on June 12 where I picked up eight cashes including a second in the PokerStars Big 109 for a total night’s cash of $19k. I hope UKIPT Marbs was fun lads, but some of us had work to do!

Hand of the month

PokerStars, $100 Buy-in (30/60 blinds, 5 ante) No-Limit Hold’em Tournament, 9 Players
SB: 3,175
BB: 4,423
Hero: (UTG+1): 2,201
UTG+2: 5,617
MP1: 2,166
MP2: 4,203
MP3: 2,885
CO: 5,842
BTN: 3,476
Hero is UTG+1 with Ah-Jd
Hero raises to 123, four players fold, CO calls 123, BTN and SB fold, BB calls 63
Flop: 4c-7c-Td
BB checks
Hero checks
CO checks
Turn: Js
BB checks, Hero bets 180, CO calls 180,
BB raises to 680
Hero folds
My hand of the month this month comes from the PokerStars Bigger 109, one of the best value games on a Sunday. In the hand I’m up against two winning UK grinders – the cut-off is checktrap11 and the big blind is friend and general sicko Mat Frankland.
In the hand, I open A-Jo UTG and get peeled from the cut-off and BB. The flop of Td-7c-4c checks through. I hit top pair on the Js turn and bet/fold to a check-raise from Mat in the BB.
I think it’s a really interesting spot to deal with because I’m betting for value, but fold to a check-raise. It’s a spot where versus a strong opponent it’s fairly clear my range is capped at one pair, and for this reason he is able to leverage my stack and apply a lot of pressure with a turn check-raise. Half the deck is bad for me on the river so even if I’m ahead I might be put in some gross spots on a lot of rivers.
Furthermore, the cut-off has called my bet on the turn which makes Mat’s squeeze doubly effective. One final factor was that this is from relatively early in the session. Mat would likely be 20-tabling and is he really going to get busy without just having it at this stage? I folded but felt pretty owned

Sundays with Jamie

Date: Wednesday June 12th (in the words of Morrissey, Everyday Is Like Sunday)
Started grinding: 5pm
Finished grinding: 4.30am
Total buy-ins: $3,675
Total cashes: $18,938
Total profit/loss: $15,263
Number of tourneys entered: 36
Total cashes: 8
Biggest cash: $14,440 (PokerStars, The Big 109)
Tilt factor: 2 (out of 10)
Soundtrack of the day: Queens of the Stone Age, Like Clockwork
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