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Author Topic: James "MC" Atkin: In the Well  (Read 81161 times)
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« Reply #90 on: December 22, 2009, 02:21:00 PM »


In that one answer all the men on the forum thing you are god, all the single women think you are sweet and all the mothers on the forum are cursing your name.

And the single mothers?
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« Reply #91 on: December 22, 2009, 03:31:12 PM »

What's ur fav street fighter character?
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« Reply #92 on: December 22, 2009, 11:08:57 PM »

Been busy the last few days so apologies for taking so long to answer my next batch of questions. This is gonna be a long post I'm sure...

When i first came to know you James you were playing the highest stakes available on Tribeca $2k SNG's $20-$40 NL and $150-$300 limit cash.

I was wondering if you don't mind giving us the story of how you happened to get to those stakes, and then the journey back down the ladder again, as someone who doesn't appear to be a mad spinup merchant i imagine it will be rather unique.

Okay, so I started playing poker in my 2nd year of Uni, when all of our house went round to our nearby friends' house to play a home game they held often. I did well in that game through beginners luck only I'm sure, and ended up signing up to 888.com and donating small amounts on there as I obviously had no idea what I was doing. I'd go to play a £20 rebuy or whatever occasionally and eventually joined the poker society at Uni and stuff. I'd say I mucked about like this for 9-12 months without ever taking it seriously, though I think I did run up a decent roll ($2-3k or something) one time playing heads-ups on 888, but I think I tilt monkied it off.

Shortly into my 3rd year at Uni (around October 2005) I deposited some money on a Boss Media skin which one of the guys at Uni told me about, and I won $1k or something playing heads ups, and I moved this onto VC on Tribeca after the student promotion they had going alerted me to the superiority of the software (may it RIP). I did okay on there playing heads ups for a couple of weeks, and maybe built to $3k or something. I think something to do with their customer service pissed me off and I moved onto Blue Square which someone told me was the same software. I started playing the $500 Heads Ups when I was obviously under-rolled to do so, but I just started to rake it in. I started playing $1k Heads Ups, and all I can say is that I built up to $35k in several weeks without any major downswings. I obviously ran good not to busto with my original lack of buy-ins, but had some kinda knack for the game.

I remember seeing a game going whilst back home at my parents house, sat on their computer, it was $150/300 fixed limit and a full handed game was going. People were sat with $6-10k and for some reason I took a shot at the game with my $35k. I had a sickly good session, and won like $12-15k over a couple of hours, which spun my head at how easily I'd just won so much money in a short space of time.

I think I still played heads ups when there wasn't a game going, but I now played $150/300 and did very well at the game, which was mostly short-handed. I think I went to play the Midland Masters in Walsall around this time after Blue Sq gave me a call and I went to play my first 4 live tournaments that weren't dodgy £20 rebuys. I remember busting in the 1st £300 freezeout and going back to my Uni room and making more money than 1st place in the $150/300 game. In the subsequent £500 and £750 I finished 3rd in both, and I remember Alan McClean knocked me out the £1500 main event when we both had like 3x or 4x the average each and got it in with on Two Clubs board against his Kings. Soon after this I definitely took 3 weeks or so off poker to finish all my essays and study for exams and stuff.

I built my roll up to about £100k playing the $500/1k heads ups and $50/100 and $150/300 limit. It was my second semster at Uni now. I remember going to the Union one night, coming back drunk, and deciding to play a session (wp me). I killed the game and I closed my laptop $11k up or something. Went to the bathroom or whatever, came back and thought "fuck it, I'm doing so well, I'll play a bit longer" (wp me). I went on to lose about $20k from this point, which was perhaps my 2nd biggest downswing to this point, and definitely my most rapid hit. I obviously regret going back on the computer, but I think worse than that was that rather than take it on the chin I did something incredibly stupid the next day and deposited something like £20k on Cryptologic and lost £19k playing £150/300 limit on there. I went to dinner with a girl I fancied at this point (lol), I can't imagine I was good company but I did my best to disguise the inner turmoil I was going through. I remember I went back online and somehow ran that £1k into £20k playing heads up limit cash games. But then I sat back in the £150/300 I had lost £19k at earlier (wp me) and lost the lot.

I was obviously new to dealing with losing money, let alone the astronomical amounts involved here, and the truth was I couldn't deal with it. I spent all my days trying to win my money back, rather than studying. I went to lectures, but I couldn't concentrate. I remember spending a whole lecture trying to take my mind off how much money I had lost by thinking about wrestling, which is something I enjoy watching. I wasn't quite so stupid as to lose my roll on Cryptological in the manner I had lost that £20k, but I think my roll gradually dipped to £55k or something. At this point I refused to re-deposit more than like £1k at a time, and I tried to rebuild from that, playing heads ups. I made my money difficult to access so it would always take me a couple of days to deposit, and I remember effectively locking myself in my room watching DVDs all day on a couple of occasions. I was a mess. My housemates were worried about me. I used to always be late going out with them because I would play poker, then go out at like 11.30 so I just made it on time. I definitely rang the samaritans once in this time, and part of me never wanted to play poker again. Which on reflection of how I donked off my cash might have been wise. I clearly had a gambling problem.

It got to be the day before "hand-in-day" and I had 2 4000 word essays due of which I had written down approximately 40 words (about the total of the combined title's of the essays). I went to student support and told them what had happened. I showed them my bank statements for the last 6 months, and they gave me a leave of absence from Uni so that I could come back and repeat the semester next year. I was so happy about this at the time.

I think this ease of pressure helped me stop being such a retard with poker, and I didn't spunk off any more of my roll in the way that I had before. I can't really remember what happened over those few months. I went to Barcelona after Blue Sq put me into the Heads up Championships in May. I think I was playing heads ups and doing quite well, but perhaps having the odd session where I'd do my money playing out of my roll. I'm really not sure. I know one of my second semester modules I was going to redo got moved to being in the first semester the following year, so I commuted to Uni once a week to study for that, and perhaps wasn't playing too much poker.

Sometime in December (2006) though I got back into doing well in high stakes. I had a decent online MTT win or something, and also got a 2nd in a live event in Luton that I had decided to go and play. For some reason I noticed for the first time a $20/40 NL game running and being Mr Bankroll Management, I sat down with $3k or something. I guess I went on some sick spin up, cos I went on to rebuild my roll to its former glory playing this game of about £100k. I would sit in with the 200 big blinds you were allowed to and just crush it. I swear down this game was easier than your average $1/2 game is these days.

I'm sure I ran good as well. I have to tell you about my most interesting pot ever. I was sat with $14k in this game, and villain just had me covered. He min-raised under the gun. I 3bet the small blind with KK, he 4 bet to like $1k and I called. It came down a K83 rainbow (mbsfn), I lead the flop and we get our money in. He has 88. I turn my head from the screen keeping one eye on the table, thinking please no 8, and I just about can make out that the 8 hits the turn. Before this has time to sink in, the King hits the river. So unreal.

I went to Atlantic City in January 07 for the WPT festival at Borgata. I ended up bubbling in the very last satellite to the $10k event when there were 13 seats available, and I lost a bunch of money playing online in my hotel room that day. Again there was almost like a trigger to the downfall, which was always inevitable because you can't have everything go your way in poker forever. I just let it affect me so much more than it should have done. I would have been one hell of a player at the time if I just had some self control.

In the next couple of weeks I didn't do great in the game. I remember making a hero call for a $18k pot in a 3-way pot where the guy overjammed the turn when it checked to him on a 68T7 board. I made this sick call with JT, based on my knowledge of the player. He had A8 and binked an Ace. I know that's kind of a standard beat, but it was significant for me at the time, it was like the last straw of a downswing that had put me back down to £70k. I was back at Uni now, and there was this girl I had met, and I think I just stopped playing for a period.

Actually at some point whilst I was still at Uni something happened that had a negative effect on the next few months. I let a friend on my account to play a satellite or something, and he decided he would lose £2.5k of my money playing blackjack. You would think this would help deter me from ever touching the game, but for some reason I started playing a bit of blackjack as well. It was something to do with the fact I had no time to play poker, but I guess my gambling brain was missing its endorphins. I didn't play that much at this point, but this was a prelude to bad things happening down the line.

You might think that staying away from poker would have helped me finish my degree, but the truth is my heart just wasn't in it.  was preoccupied with this girl that I met and really liked, and on top of that I just didn't study enough. I did well in 1 of the 4 modules I had redone, but that was about it. It's one of my biggest regrets cos I was so close. One day I'll finish it off lol.


Okay time for a breather, I'm sorry this is all just rambling really, but I said I was going to be explicitly honest in this well. I think perhaps only my girlfriend and perhaps Dan Carter know the full story of my poker career, but this was all a long time ago now and perhaps I've reinvented myself so dramatically I can talk about all this stuff without being ashamed about it.

Cliff notes
Played for about a year doing not very much, moved onto Tribeca, won £100k playing Heads Ups and $150/300 limit in a few months. Lost about half. Played not making money for a fair few months. Did well in a couple of MTTs. Spun it up on $20/40 NL and got my roll back to where it was. Lost about 1/3. Had a break from playing poker.

Next up, Las Vegas in June 2007 ----------------> Becoming a grinder
« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 11:24:39 PM by MC » Logged

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« Reply #93 on: December 22, 2009, 11:10:01 PM »

Why do you rap like a yankee?

gtfo

(+ I guess it's cos all the hip-hop I'm into is American)
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« Reply #94 on: December 22, 2009, 11:15:38 PM »

great post James - had no clue about some of this stuff.

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« Reply #95 on: December 22, 2009, 11:19:37 PM »

great read bud and love the honesty
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« Reply #96 on: December 22, 2009, 11:21:25 PM »

Thanks guys. I'm sure I've missed lil' bits out and I'm sure it could have been more coherent but nm!


Do you ever think to yourself that there must be better things to do than play a silly card game?
Yeah, definitely have these moments. It's not like it's the most morally rewarding job that's for sure. I hope I get round to being a Primary School Teacher at some point, because I think I will be really good at it and as you infer it would be more rewarding.

When someone asks what you do for a living do you answer with a sense of pride or awkward embarrassment?
Definitely the latter, although I'm not sure why. My gf said I should start answering like it's a good thing because people perhaps react to the way you say it. Most people just assume you are a gambler which is annoying (although based on my above mega-post, probably wouldn't have been inaccurate 3 years ago). Inevitably when they realise you make your living taking money off other people you are almost made to feel embarassed anyway!

Have you ever thought about transferring your skills to the money markets?
My brother tried to turn me onto this, even using some of his contacts from Uni to try and get me an apprentiship in London for a financial company because of the poker skills (before I ballsed up my degree the 2nd time). Not really something I was bothered about myself in retrospect.

Mick Mccool said in his blog that you bore the tits off him; are you bothered?
Lol nah man, I thought it was funny tbh. If this is the biggest insult Mick has ever thrown at you then he really must like you!

Live tells - important or over rated?
I think they are important, I wish I was better at them. The most I really get is a feeling rather than a dead accurate tell. They say any edge you can get in poker is important, and if you can make a decision you wouldn't make online because of a reliable tell, then that has to be a good thing...
« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 11:23:05 PM by MC » Logged

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« Reply #97 on: December 22, 2009, 11:26:39 PM »

Great post James. Thankyou for taking the time.

Uncomfortable reading, especially about the gaps in your memory. Do you ever worry you'll go back to the way you were before?
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« Reply #98 on: December 22, 2009, 11:56:38 PM »

Been busy the last few days so apologies for taking so long to answer my next batch of questions. This is gonna be a long post I'm sure...

When i first came to know you James you were playing the highest stakes available on Tribeca $2k SNG's $20-$40 NL and $150-$300 limit cash.

I was wondering if you don't mind giving us the story of how you happened to get to those stakes, and then the journey back down the ladder again, as someone who doesn't appear to be a mad spinup merchant i imagine it will be rather unique.

Okay, so I started playing poker in my 2nd year of Uni, when all of our house went round to our nearby friends' house to play a home game they held often. I did well in that game through beginners luck only I'm sure, and ended up signing up to 888.com and donating small amounts on there as I obviously had no idea what I was doing. I'd go to play a £20 rebuy or whatever occasionally and eventually joined the poker society at Uni and stuff. I'd say I mucked about like this for 9-12 months without ever taking it seriously, though I think I did run up a decent roll ($2-3k or something) one time playing heads-ups on 888, but I think I tilt monkied it off.

Shortly into my 3rd year at Uni (around October 2005) I deposited some money on a Boss Media skin which one of the guys at Uni told me about, and I won $1k or something playing heads ups, and I moved this onto VC on Tribeca after the student promotion they had going alerted me to the superiority of the software (may it RIP). I did okay on there playing heads ups for a couple of weeks, and maybe built to $3k or something. I think something to do with their customer service pissed me off and I moved onto Blue Square which someone told me was the same software. I started playing the $500 Heads Ups when I was obviously under-rolled to do so, but I just started to rake it in. I started playing $1k Heads Ups, and all I can say is that I built up to $35k in several weeks without any major downswings. I obviously ran good not to busto with my original lack of buy-ins, but had some kinda knack for the game.

I remember seeing a game going whilst back home at my parents house, sat on their computer, it was $150/300 fixed limit and a full handed game was going. People were sat with $6-10k and for some reason I took a shot at the game with my $35k. I had a sickly good session, and won like $12-15k over a couple of hours, which spun my head at how easily I'd just won so much money in a short space of time.

I think I still played heads ups when there wasn't a game going, but I now played $150/300 and did very well at the game, which was mostly short-handed. I think I went to play the Midland Masters in Walsall around this time after Blue Sq gave me a call and I went to play my first 4 live tournaments that weren't dodgy £20 rebuys. I remember busting in the 1st £300 freezeout and going back to my Uni room and making more money than 1st place in the $150/300 game. In the subsequent £500 and £750 I finished 3rd in both, and I remember Alan McClean knocked me out the £1500 main event when we both had like 3x or 4x the average each and got it in with on Two Clubs board against his Kings. Soon after this I definitely took 3 weeks or so off poker to finish all my essays and study for exams and stuff.

I built my roll up to about £100k playing the $500/1k heads ups and $50/100 and $150/300 limit. It was my second semster at Uni now. I remember going to the Union one night, coming back drunk, and deciding to play a session (wp me). I killed the game and I closed my laptop $11k up or something. Went to the bathroom or whatever, came back and thought "fuck it, I'm doing so well, I'll play a bit longer" (wp me). I went on to lose about $20k from this point, which was perhaps my 2nd biggest downswing to this point, and definitely my most rapid hit. I obviously regret going back on the computer, but I think worse than that was that rather than take it on the chin I did something incredibly stupid the next day and deposited something like £20k on Cryptologic and lost £19k playing £150/300 limit on there. I went to dinner with a girl I fancied at this point (lol), I can't imagine I was good company but I did my best to disguise the inner turmoil I was going through. I remember I went back online and somehow ran that £1k into £20k playing heads up limit cash games. But then I sat back in the £150/300 I had lost £19k at earlier (wp me) and lost the lot.

I was obviously new to dealing with losing money, let alone the astronomical amounts involved here, and the truth was I couldn't deal with it. I spent all my days trying to win my money back, rather than studying. I went to lectures, but I couldn't concentrate. I remember spending a whole lecture trying to take my mind off how much money I had lost by thinking about wrestling, which is something I enjoy watching. I wasn't quite so stupid as to lose my roll on Cryptological in the manner I had lost that £20k, but I think my roll gradually dipped to £55k or something. At this point I refused to re-deposit more than like £1k at a time, and I tried to rebuild from that, playing heads ups. I made my money difficult to access so it would always take me a couple of days to deposit, and I remember effectively locking myself in my room watching DVDs all day on a couple of occasions. I was a mess. My housemates were worried about me. I used to always be late going out with them because I would play poker, then go out at like 11.30 so I just made it on time. I definitely rang the samaritans once in this time, and part of me never wanted to play poker again. Which on reflection of how I donked off my cash might have been wise. I clearly had a gambling problem.

It got to be the day before "hand-in-day" and I had 2 4000 word essays due of which I had written down approximately 40 words (about the total of the combined title's of the essays). I went to student support and told them what had happened. I showed them my bank statements for the last 6 months, and they gave me a leave of absence from Uni so that I could come back and repeat the semester next year. I was so happy about this at the time.

I think this ease of pressure helped me stop being such a retard with poker, and I didn't spunk off any more of my roll in the way that I had before. I can't really remember what happened over those few months. I went to Barcelona after Blue Sq put me into the Heads up Championships in May. I think I was playing heads ups and doing quite well, but perhaps having the odd session where I'd do my money playing out of my roll. I'm really not sure. I know one of my second semester modules I was going to redo got moved to being in the first semester the following year, so I commuted to Uni once a week to study for that, and perhaps wasn't playing too much poker.

Sometime in December (2006) though I got back into doing well in high stakes. I had a decent online MTT win or something, and also got a 2nd in a live event in Luton that I had decided to go and play. For some reason I noticed for the first time a $20/40 NL game running and being Mr Bankroll Management, I sat down with $3k or something. I guess I went on some sick spin up, cos I went on to rebuild my roll to its former glory playing this game of about £100k. I would sit in with the 200 big blinds you were allowed to and just crush it. I swear down this game was easier than your average $1/2 game is these days.

I'm sure I ran good as well. I have to tell you about my most interesting pot ever. I was sat with $14k in this game, and villain just had me covered. He min-raised under the gun. I 3bet the small blind with KK, he 4 bet to like $1k and I called. It came down a K83 rainbow (mbsfn), I lead the flop and we get our money in. He has 88. I turn my head from the screen keeping one eye on the table, thinking please no 8, and I just about can make out that the 8 hits the turn. Before this has time to sink in, the King hits the river. So unreal.

I went to Atlantic City in January 07 for the WPT festival at Borgata. I ended up bubbling in the very last satellite to the $10k event when there were 13 seats available, and I lost a bunch of money playing online in my hotel room that day. Again there was almost like a trigger to the downfall, which was always inevitable because you can't have everything go your way in poker forever. I just let it affect me so much more than it should have done. I would have been one hell of a player at the time if I just had some self control.

In the next couple of weeks I didn't do great in the game. I remember making a hero call for a $18k pot in a 3-way pot where the guy overjammed the turn when it checked to him on a 68T7 board. I made this sick call with JT, based on my knowledge of the player. He had A8 and binked an Ace. I know that's kind of a standard beat, but it was significant for me at the time, it was like the last straw of a downswing that had put me back down to £70k. I was back at Uni now, and there was this girl I had met, and I think I just stopped playing for a period.

Actually at some point whilst I was still at Uni something happened that had a negative effect on the next few months. I let a friend on my account to play a satellite or something, and he decided he would lose £2.5k of my money playing blackjack. You would think this would help deter me from ever touching the game, but for some reason I started playing a bit of blackjack as well. It was something to do with the fact I had no time to play poker, but I guess my gambling brain was missing its endorphins. I didn't play that much at this point, but this was a prelude to bad things happening down the line.

You might think that staying away from poker would have helped me finish my degree, but the truth is my heart just wasn't in it.  was preoccupied with this girl that I met and really liked, and on top of that I just didn't study enough. I did well in 1 of the 4 modules I had redone, but that was about it. It's one of my biggest regrets cos I was so close. One day I'll finish it off lol.


Okay time for a breather, I'm sorry this is all just rambling really, but I said I was going to be explicitly honest in this well. I think perhaps only my girlfriend and perhaps Dan Carter know the full story of my poker career, but this was all a long time ago now and perhaps I've reinvented myself so dramatically I can talk about all this stuff without being ashamed about it.

Cliff notes
Played for about a year doing not very much, moved onto Tribeca, won £100k playing Heads Ups and $150/300 limit in a few months. Lost about half. Played not making money for a fair few months. Did well in a couple of MTTs. Spun it up on $20/40 NL and got my roll back to where it was. Lost about 1/3. Had a break from playing poker.

Next up, Las Vegas in June 2007 ----------------> Becoming a grinder

wow mate, this is gonna be a great read.
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« Reply #99 on: December 23, 2009, 12:06:23 AM »

Great read so far and fair play for being totally honest.

A fair amount of the things you describe I remember myself doing similar(but on sports betting not poker)and also with regard the social aspects you describe.Somewhat similar paths I believe,but you are maybe 1 year further down that path than myself at the moment,making it all a fascinating read(as well as your blog)
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« Reply #100 on: December 23, 2009, 12:11:43 AM »

Riviting stuff James. can't wait for Las Vegas in June 2007 ----------------> Becoming a grinder
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« Reply #101 on: December 23, 2009, 12:16:33 AM »

That long post was a bit odd James.

It was riveting reading and everything, but it just didn't rhyme at all.

Looking forward to the next bit, as long as it's a proper rap.
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« Reply #102 on: December 23, 2009, 12:35:45 AM »

so very good
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« Reply #103 on: December 23, 2009, 01:14:36 AM »

Great post James, i am so very glad you agreed to do the well, thanks.
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« Reply #104 on: December 23, 2009, 02:24:03 AM »

so very good

+1 ... Keep them coming!
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