The new approach
Yesterday I had a chat with a couple of pretty knowledgable poker pals, whose opinions I value. Despite the regular and reasonably vivid tournament updates on this website, those who know me in even more than a passing sense will know categorically that I really don't talk about poker. I don't pick hands to pieces, I don't labour on my exits, I don't sit with a bunch of nerds/virgins/neckbeards trying to hypothesise about the "correct" way to play a hand (that really is such bollocks, I wish they'd get over it), and last and by no means least I most certainly do not ever critique someone's play at the table either when I'm still in, or once they bust me. It's just a part of me being who I am, and love it or hate it it probably isn't about to change any time soon. There we have it. Just when you thought I couldn't get any more loveable.
The aforementioned discussion related to my not unsubstantial (cough, ahem) tournament record, and to my suddenly pondering if perhaps me doing the website updates regularly was in any way affecting my results or my play during tournaments. I'd be inclined to go with no...however I wouldn't discount the possibility and this was the subject on which we chatted at some length.
I'm a very private person. This might seem a paradox given my online ramblings. However the reason for this is a simple and honest one, which I've never tried to hide. Once I got the site up and running, I had a fairly loyal group of investers/followers, who were perfectly aware I could play poker pretty well (a lot of them knew me personally), and some of this select bunch were always going to take a small or larger percentage of my poker action even if my updates consisted of simply either "I'm out" or "I've won the tournament". They simply knew or liked me, and also recognised a business opportunity, or a punt (yes, I said a PUNT, stop sniggering at the back). Some for a small sweat, some for a substantial piece. These guys have stuck with me through thick and thin, and some have done pretty well from my efforts over the years. I think the biggest single chunk someone ever got for a percentage was $10,000. Very happy they were too.
My issue is do I play to the audience too much by writing too much in updates, and does this make me detract from my normal and fairly often winning style? I can't get it out of my head that the people who read the site, or maybe people who have shares deserve some bang for their buck, and cash or no cash I try to make the journey entertaining and readable for them in the form of my writing, videos and so forth. It is generally very well received (when I'm not being called a racist by trollers), but I did get to wondering if maybe a change of tack might be in order... That is to say, play the event, update later, allowing me more time to focus and play my natural game. As I say, this is pure speculation, so if anyone has any thoughts on it then please pipe up. In light of this, here is today's update, about 14 hours later...
Second hand of the event, I get dealt AA and lose almost half of my stack to AQs. Some emotionless burke wearing sunglasses makes it 175, I raise to 700 (we're at 25/50), and he calls. Flop 9 high 2 diamonds. He checks, and I bet 900, he calls. Queen on turn he checks I bet 1200 he calls. River is a diamond and he bets 1500 and I call to see he's rivered a flush. Breathe.
I play nip/tuck and run it back up to 5400.
I make it 700 preflop with queens against some bearded old rock who raised in early position. Flop comes king high and he bets 1k. Great. Fold.
I then get dealt AA again, and win 200 chips. I was the small blind.
I drift down again when the guy who cracked my AA calls my 500 river bet with 66, with an ace a queen and a nine on the board. Of course it's a good read.
Still at level 2 at 50/100 and one of the min-raise neckbeards at my table just stacked off 6k on a 3456 3 heart board with 10 7 no hearts. The old rock with the flopped flush, thought carefully, then called eventually for maximum pain. I feel like I'm playing a different game altogether. I guess I am.
I'm on 1400 chips at the first break, which is pretty disheartening.
Level 3. Back from break and the first hand I jam 77 vs a 375 raise, the old rock who had the flush earlier squirms and eventually goes away.
The very next hand another raise from a young aggro kid and I jam again for more, this time with 55. He calls me with... A9 offsuit... He flops a 9, the board then runs out 8910JQ and we chop. Not sure what to say about that. I'll just be happy I'm still in the chair I guess.
The same guy raises again on the button on my big blind, and I ship 1725 with 88, I tell him he has K10 as we talk a little.
He calls flips over...K10, I flop a set, back up to 3500. Phew.
End of level 4 approaches, and I've bled back to 2500. AdJd no good in 4 way pot.
Out, thelast hand of level 4 before the break. I shove with 77 for 2500, and get called by the big blind who tables....Q10 offsuit. He flops a ten. I have no words.
It was an inauspicious start but I played harder than normal and felt a bit unlucky in a few key hands, especially the second hand of the day and the exit hand. Of course anyone who buys in can play how they like, and good or bad luck is just the way it runs out. He said through gritted teeth.
I went home. Cooked a curry, and went to the cinema to see Jurassic World.
Sleep, rest up, try again.