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The Year That Was

A long and rather tiring year has come to an end. It didn’t go as expected, but that’s not a negative. My year just headed in a different direction than I originally thought. My plan was to play more, but I ended up working more events than playing.

Here’s what I wrote on PokerNetwork at the start of the year:

My 2009 started with me winning a seat into the Aussie Millions Main Event and then the APT Manila before the first month had passed. I proceeded to bust out of the AM before the dinner break on Day 1, and then managed to bust in Manila in 40 minutes.

At that point I still considered myself a cash game player, and wanted something to motivate me in tournaments, especially live where I hadn’t cashed in anything of significance. Ducky came up with a prop bet of first to 10k in cashes which gave me the motivation to turn my attention to tournaments which I am thankful for. I didn’t particularly enjoy the variance compared to cash games, and still don’t, but I put time and volume into MTTs online, despite struggling to break even.

In March I then grabbed my first decent live cash with a deep run in the JHDSS Main Event. I finished the rest of the challenge online and won the side bet.

In around April-May, I turned a $16 sub-satellite into a $215 satellite entry for the ANZPT in Melbourne. There were two seats up for grabs, and when three-handed my QQ held up against KJ to win a seat. Ironic how QQ would haunt me later. The other chap who won a seat in that satellite was some poor sod called grunter321. Has a future that kid.

The ANZPT Melbourne event itself was an unbelievable three days. I remember talking to Ducky the night prior to it starting, and saying how awesome it would be to finish Day 1 with 100k. I ended up with 210k. I ran like God until heads up when that QQ would end up giving me nightmares as it lost to Chris Levick’s AJ for the title. I hope I one day get that opportunity again.

I went to Vegas for work and didn’t play any WSOP events this year. I was offered an opportunity to play the WSOP Main Event but turned it down for various reasons. One of my goals for 2010 is to win my way into the WSOP Main Event.

I won a seat into the ANZPT Queensland and had another deep run but missed the money. This was the most enjoyable event of the year for me, and another goal for 2010 is to qualify into as many ANZPT events as possible, as I think the tour is brilliant.

The last few months have been rather brutal, as variance got hold of me. I had some deep runs at JHDSS3 but swung bad at the wrong times, and didn’t cash, and then struggled online. But its a funny game as the last two days have been really good, and today I hit my biggest online MTT score to get myself back in the black. It’s been an amazing 2009 and exceeded all expectations, so I look forward to 2010.

2010 goals:
– Continue to put in good online volume
– Reach more online FTs and four/five figure cashes
– Get inside PLB Aus Top 100, then top 50
– Forget about cash games, maybe just play live for fun
– Play Aussie Millions Main Event
– Win into multiple ANZPT events
– Play WSOP Main Event
– Bring home a trophy!


Well I’m at pains to say that I achieved pretty much zero of my goals. Yay for goal setting! In March I received an offer for heads-up cash game coaching/staking which I accepted. For the most part it has gone really well. I’ve learnt a lot and improved considerably post-flop. It looked like I’d reach my profit targets when December started off at a record-setting upswing. Unfortunately it then spiraled out of control in a record-setting downswing that was twice as large as the upswing with my two biggest losing days ever. As such I’m floundering my way to the end of my 100k hands goal.

Is 100k hands in nine months good volume? Not really, but considering I’ve worked way more events this year than I anticipated, I guess it’s acceptable. After working my third WSOP in July, I received an offer to work the ANZPT/APPT events for PokerStarsBlog. This has been a really refreshing switch to work with such a well-respected and well-managed company. So this has meant that I qualified and played in exactly zero ANZPT events this year. Fail #2. It was pretty hard working the ANZPT Melbourne event when the year prior I was sitting there playing heads-up for the title. The good news is that there are so many tournaments on nowadays that I don’t mind missing the ANZPTs for now as I can easily get my fix of play time in other tournaments if I wish.

Since I was playing HU cash for most of the year, I didn’t play too many MTTs. I still play Mondays when I get the chance, as infuriating as it can be. I swear it’s shaving years off my life. I picked up the odd four-figure score but nothing major, and nothing close to five-figures. I really have to rectify this if I want to be profitable in MTTs online. My ITM% is good, but just too many min-cashes and not enough deep runs or big scores.

I won’t be playing the Aussie Millions Main Event this year which is also disappointing. But I really haven’t put in any effort into qualifying so it’s no surprise. If I ever get back into a fuller playing schedule then this is definitely a huge goal for the future, as well as the WSOP Main Event. I won’t be working the WSOP again, as it’s just too brutal, so that definitely opens the door to playing in future.

Still no trophy in the cabinet (sigh) but was proud to finish 3rd in the State of Origin event during the year in a super tough field. Again, if I play a fuller schedule then this definitely remains a goal.

So while I didn’t reach any of my playing goals in 2010, I certainly picked up plenty of work opportunities and was able to travel to some great places which was awesome. Cebu was the absolute highlight of the year and I can’t wait to go back, while it was also great to goto Darwin for the first time, and return trips to the Gold Coast and Macau. Perth and Queenstown are on the radar for 2011 as I’ve never been there before.

In 2011 I expect to be playing less, so maybe that means it will turn out that I’ll actually end up playing more! The December downswing has left me needing a break from playing and once I finish off the 100k HU hands, I expect to leave poker alone for a while. I’ll be pretty busy working at the ANZPT/APPT events again this year, and I want to make more use of my downtime in between events to work on other projects and enjoy some things away from poker.

I think it’s important to get prepared for life after poker.

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