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Author Topic: There and Back Again: A Punter's Tale by Matthew Harris  (Read 94972 times)
Rexas
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« on: February 07, 2013, 04:04:42 PM »

I figure, for my first proper entry into the forums and my first diary/blog/whatever, I should start with a bit of personal background. I might move on to talking about the odd strategy point that has helped me develop as a poker player, but I certainly intend to keep this as a diary with weekly entries. If anyone has any comments or suggestions for future entries, please feel free to post! This one may be a little boring, but its a start I guess. I hope you guys like it!

I first started playing poker when I was 14, in Austria, on a school skiing trip. Everyone seemed to be playing, so I figured I'd sit down and try to learn. I started playing heads up with a friend, with another friend dealing, and for about an hour I won nearly every pot (little did I know, the dealer was fixing the cards for me basically every hand, if I'd know what a flush was I'd have won every hand!). From there, I went home, set up an account on Zynga Facebook poker, and played pretty avidly every day for a good few years, grinding up a good $5mil roll playing mostly sit n gos. By the time I hit my GCSE study time, I was regularly playing for my bus fare home, and consistently beating the game. This continued for quite some time, before A levels started to come along and poker took a back seat in my life for the next few years. Towards the end of this time, I managed to get a job as a technician at my local bowling alley. I kept this job for about 7/8 months, before ending up on massive life tilt with my boss over my hairstyle (I was, unfortunately, a grammar school boy. We were told we couldn't have hair below the collar, I was/am a bit of a rebel/wanker so I grew my fringe down to my chin) and handing in my notice.

In the meantime, I had discovered that a couple of local pubs ran a pub poker league, registered, and sat down to give it a go. I still play that league whenever I can, I owe the Champions Poker League an awful lot. The top however many percent of players at the end of this league go through to a finals day, which i achieved three out of three attempts, bubbling twice. Through this, I started to feel like I could see the skill edge in this game, and became pretty obsessed with finding winning strategies. My style developed fairly quickly, I started working out common tells and betting lines which correlated to hole cards, betting lines and board textures etc. that left me captured. Beating the luck became a priority. By the time I'd lost my job, I had played my first big live tournament. I won a seat to a satellite in a raffle, bubbled the satellite getting silly happy with 4's, and then used the overlay money to play a side event that was running that day. After busting the very first hand and re-entering, I played probably the most solid game I have ever played and final tabled. This would lead up to one hand that would define my poker over the coming months. Utg +1, who was tired and just about had me covered (I was about average stacked) raised, and it folded round to me in the BB. I looked down at QQ, and shoved it in, getting a somewhat loose call from 77 given how tight I was playing, but obviously I don't mind. Winning this hand was giving me very nearly the chip lead, and as I was busy checking the payout sheet, the guy spiked a 7 on the turn to take me out. Obviously, this is just one of those wonderful variance things that we all know and love, and obviously now that I've played a lot more, it's fairly easy to take and just move on. At the time, however, this was crushing, and very nearly ended my career before I even thought it was possible to have one.

After some time staying on the pub scene, and gaining a reputation for my pretty fiery temperament, I took another shot at a local poker festival. I bust out early from a side event, during which I layed down AKs preflop and got shown AA and felt like God for all of another 10 hands, I then sat down in their main event, made day two, and bubbled. I was starting to see a bit of a trend here, but over time my view had changed. I felt like I could recognise a few mistakes I had made during the tournament, and developed a real sense of "you aren't a champion, until you've earned it". Whilst still frustrating, I felt that I had now made some decent runs in some decent tournaments, and could see myself improving every time I played. I started to play the odd cash game and tournament at these places, and found myself having some success. I felt like I'd got a taste of the life of a professional poker player, and was hooked on that lifestyle. I will also point out that I have never read a book on poker, preferring instead to develop my own game and be influenced only by what I've seen work instead of falling into the common trends. Now, I am starting to look at some poker literature, but I feel like I've defined my own style and am now looking to understand how other people think a little better, as well as making a few adjustments to my game as I now have a roll to experiment with new lines and lose for a little while.

I didn't make enough to avoid coming to University, so I decided to apply and enroll at Loughborough, which is a short drive from Dusk till Dawn (what a shocking coincidence...). Up until this point, I had always viewed professional poker as more of a dream than am actual possibility. Then, I joined the poker society, and started to play regularly at DTD. The group that has come together really is incredible, the standard of player that I get to play with and learn from at this university is truly stunning. The core group are all proven winning players, and the discussions that we have about poker theory and spots on a daily basis are helping us all to improve to a level where we can all see ourselves spending a long time in this game. Grinding the 50/1 game at dtd to pay through university has shown us what it really feels like to play for a living, and I can only hope that I can live up to the standard that I expect from myself and make it in this business.

Right now, I have just come away from placing second to "lil" Dave Nicholson at the dusk till dawn £300 deepstack event, for £21,000. Not only do I feel like this is my shot at my dream, but I also feel like the group I'm with will make it with me. We can all feel a big year, and now that I'm sitting on a £25k roll, I feel like I can start hitting the UK circuit. I'm currently preparing for the GPS Star City, and having a bit of a sentimental moment, reflecting on how my attitudes to the game have changed, and how much our group have improved as players over the last few months. I know I haven't made it yet, but if this is my one time, I intend to take it.
 
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 03:10:39 PM by TightEnd » Logged

humour is very much encouraged, however theres humour and theres not.
I disrepectfully agree with Matt Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 04:33:18 PM »

This could be fun. Gl
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Royal Flush
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 04:51:11 PM »

Thought you had a chance but then you said you got beaten by lil D at HU holdem?
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[19:44:40] Oracle: WE'RE ALL GOING ON A SPANISH HOLIDAY! TRIGGS STABLES SHIT!
Rexas
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 04:54:17 PM »

I lost HU in the deepstack over the weekend to Lil dave, but still came second, which got my bankroll up from like 4k to 25k.
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 05:13:29 PM »

Flushy (Royal Flush, a.k.a James Dempsey) is whimsically suggesting that only a terrible poker player could lose to me at HU nlhe, not a format of the game I'm known to excel in, you just happened to walk into me on the wrong day Wink

He's very old though so unsurprisingly comes across a bit grumpy Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2013, 05:20:35 PM »

Matt played great all weekend (spesh on the final, if a little FPS'y at times - lose some of the OOP floats imo Wink ), struck me as a really nice kid and had a lot of fun playing poker, was laughing and joking and messing about on the final which is good to see too many of these finals are dreary affairs (so i've seen) sure there's plenty of money at stake but doesn't mean we can't have a laugh.

Also, mad props for this, i offered Matt an un-official £4k saver heads up and he turned me down like a fkn ballllllla! £16k 60bb HU sng lessssssssgo love it, man after my own heart Smiley there's an indication of the respect I had for the way he played as I wouldn't have offered that to someone I thought i was miles better than.

my two pieces of life advice would be;

1) try not to spunk all your money away, and

2) if you are going to, please do it on hookers/drugs/crazy nights and degen sports bets and not on playing poker tournaments Smiley

See you in Vegas thumbs up
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shipitonetime
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2013, 05:29:47 PM »

Congrats on the result. Sub'd!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 05:36:58 PM by shipitonetime » Logged
Rexas
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 03:00:45 AM »

Played the first day of my first GPS today in Birmingham today, up to 163.4k where the average is in the high 60's. Played good, run good, pulled off a very sexy OOP float that I just know Dave woulda loved Wink
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2013, 10:21:30 AM »


my two pieces of life advice would be;

1) try not to spunk all your money away, and

2) if you are going to, please do it on hookers/drugs/crazy nights and degen sports bets and not on playing poker tournaments Smiley


Possibly the best advice I've ever seen on Blonde.
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Motivational speeches at their best:

"Because thats what living is, the 6 inches in front of your face......" - Patrick Leonard - 10th May 2015
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2013, 12:29:01 PM »


my two pieces of life advice would be;

1) try not to spunk all your money away, and

2) if you are going to, please do it on hookers/drugs/crazy nights and degen sports bets and not on playing poker tournaments Smiley


Possibly the best advice I've ever seen on Blonde.

lol.
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2013, 01:19:18 PM »


my two pieces of life advice would be;

1) try not to spunk all your money away, and

2) if you are going to, please do it on hookers/drugs/crazy nights and degen sports bets and not on playing poker tournaments Smiley


Possibly the best advice I've ever seen on Blonde.


Experienced with this cycle so i believe Mr Russel?
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EvilPie
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2013, 01:27:01 PM »


my two pieces of life advice would be;

1) try not to spunk all your money away, and

2) if you are going to, please do it on hookers/drugs/crazy nights and degen sports bets and not on playing poker tournaments Smiley


Possibly the best advice I've ever seen on Blonde.


Experienced with this cycle so i believe Mr Russel?

Pretty much every pay day Smiley
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Motivational speeches at their best:

"Because thats what living is, the 6 inches in front of your face......" - Patrick Leonard - 10th May 2015
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2013, 01:46:04 PM »

Thought you played brilliantly on the final. GL with the diary/making it
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cmon JAYYKAYYY winnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

I really really do feel like you might win one of these!

Last time I felt this strongly was when I felt like Jake was going to "bink something live" about 2 years ago Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2013, 10:56:03 PM »

my two pieces of life advice would be;

1) try not to spunk all your money away, and

2) if you are going to, please do it on hookers/drugs/crazy nights and degen sports bets and not on playing poker tournaments Smiley

See you in Vegas thumbs up

Classic Lil'Dave, brilliant!

Will be following this diary closely.
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2013, 11:05:28 PM »

Glgl don't go after every pot.
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Worst playcalling I have ever seen. Bunch of  fucking jokers . Run the bloody ball. 18 rushes all game? You have to be kidding me. Fuck off lol
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