Something has been tilting me hard recently. That thing that will tilt even the most untiltable poker player. Yeah, it's my crappy internet connection. While it's been solid for most of the last 6 months, recently, at random and inconvenient times, it has been awful. It's certainly related to the weather, which has been bone dry here in Thailand for the last 6 months but the now the (very) wet season has begun.
I've become somewhat of a psychic at accurately predicting when the power and internet outages are about to occur. But just like every other fortune teller, there is a rationality behind my predictions, rather than some supernatural nonsense. Whenever I hear thunder, I think to my self "uh-oh", then I hear the rain, I think to my self "here it comes", and then more often that not there will be a power cut or my internet will become unusable.
The power and telecom cables are all above ground here. They run down every street in their hundreds, tangled together like spaghetti, frayed, and stuck together with tape. It's a laughable sight and a true wonder that the power and internet work at all, instead of just crapping out when it rains.
The power cuts are not really a problem, as I bought a UPS for my PC and modem. It just means that sometimes I have to grind in the dark for 5 minutes. But any effect to my the internet connection is a huge inconvenience. It's not that it keeps dropping, it almost never disconnects, it just drops a lot of network packets and has high ping times. This makes doing any real-time activities (such as playing online poker!) extremely frustrating - a whole lot of lag and timing out. I have 2 different 3G backup internets but they also become unreliable during the insane storms.
I just played a ZOOM session where I got all in on the flop for a 400 BB pot, with the guy drawing dead to 2 outs. It takes a real chump to get 200 BB in in such bad shape at PLO, so I was fist-pumping like crazy. Normally the cards are dealt very quickly after someone is all in and there's no more action. Well obviously my laggy internet connection causes my table to freeze on the turn card, and only after 15 seconds I see that I am sitting with few chips. I dig out the hand history in the replayer to see that the fool hit his 2-outer on the river. Just the ultimate dirty slowroll.
How can you not tilt at stuff like that? It makes me feel like Ballistic Bob from popular Scottish comedy sketch show Chewin' the Fat, ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
One of the real problem I have when it comes to putting in volume at poker is playing during a bad run. Grinding out the volume is no problem when I'm winning, but if I'm losing I just want to quit early, sulk, and not play for a while. It's quite counter productive, because when I lose it's due to negative variance, and the only way to combat negative variance is to play higher volume and realise your long term equity sooner.
After poor results and low volume in April, I took the first two days off at the start of May then decided I would settle in for a long, hard grind for the rest of the month. Of course my very first session was as brutal as it could be. I lost 18 buyins, running 20 buyins below my all-in equity.
A truly cruel joke by the poker gods. Talk about being kicked in the nuts when you're already down. Needless to say my plans of a high volume May didn't go as planned, but I have been picking it up significantly recently and getting back on track.
As I have quarterly targets with PokerStars, that I can't afford not to hit, I now have an insane grind ahead of me until the end of June. I will likely be playing at least 12 hours per day, every day. Yeah, we'll see how that turns out.....
I've now been in Thailand for close to a year and a half and, as much as I like living here, I feel like it's time to move back to the UK. It won't be easy though. Before I left to go travelling I gave up my apartment and sold or threw away all of my large possessions. So as it is I have nothing to go back to.
The relocation is going to be expensive and inconvenient. I'm thinking of the $2000 for a premium economy flight, then the lost time finding an apartment in a suitable location - that I will have to commit to for a 1 year lease. Paying 2 months deposit on it. Waiting 2 weeks for internet to be installed. A real pain in the arse.
For convenience I may look to share a house with other poker players but I'm really not sure how I'd handle that. I've lived alone for all of my adult life as that is what I want and what I'm used to.
My current Thailand visa expires in 3 weeks, but as I mentioned, with my plans to grind hard until the end of June I won't be going back to the UK at that point. I will probably just fly to Kuala Lumpur and back on the same day (gg 200 quid and a day of my time) to get a 30-day visa exemption stamp so I can continue the grind.
There is a tournament series on in Macau at the time my visa expires, and one in Goa, India straight after that. It would be somewhat of a viable option for me to attend these if I knew for sure that I'd have stable internet connections there to continue grinding. But internet service when you're travelling is a total lottery and I run bad at eeeeeverything, so..... maybe not.
I haven't played a live tournament for about 8 months now. Most likely my next one will be the UKIPT event in Newcastle in September, as I will surely be back in the UK by then.
I decided to play a reduced schedule at this years SCOOP. I've been so busy trying to get back on target with earning VPPs, so wanted to concentrate on that rather than 20-hour long tournaments. Since I wasn't going to be playing so many events, I chose to play only the Omaha events - as I see those as where I have the biggest edge over the field.
I ended up playing 10 events with 2 min-cashes and one medium cash. Pretty disappointing, especially when I felt like I played all of them very well. Still, I had a lot of fun playing the events and at least I didn't brick every single one. I also had my first experience playing with Viktor Blom aka Isildur1 for the first time, being sat to his left in the 6-Max PLO cubed. A good seat to have over someone that was 3-betting around 35% of his hands, but disappointing I never had the chance to bust him.
PokerStars is trialling a new hand replayer website called Boom Player. It should be available to everyone on the .com site in the near future. Players will be able to post hands straight from the table to the site (and to twitter). I used it to capture some of my interesting hands from the SCOOP:
REPLAY: SCOOP-18-M PLO Rebuys
I flopped a 17-card wrap against a very weak opponent who thought that his rag bottom 2-pair was the stone nuts. Turns out he was right, as I bricked the turn and river hard. With a stack to pot ratio of 9, on such a dry flop, the worst possible hand I'm getting stacks in with is a wrap - the only hand that doesn't have his completely crushed, yet I still was a 56% favourite to win the hand.
REPLAY: SCOOP-22-M Mixed NLHE/PLO
In the PLO round a shortish stack opened, I 3bet then a player decides to cold-4bet commit with T534ss. Easily one of the worst plays I have ever seen in poker.
REPLAY: SCOOP-24-M PLO 1R1A.
Double up through a very bad, passive player. I suspect that he has a faulty version of the stars client that only has a CALL button.
REPLAY: SCOOP-35-L No Limit Omaha Hi/Lo.
I busted the player James Obst aka 'Andy McLeod'. He limped UTG and I overlimped with QQJJss. I would very rarely play a high-only hand like this in O8, but we were 140BBs deep and I had position. I don't mind flatting here for a fraction of my stack as I can pick up a lot of chips on the flops that I smash hard and lose little to nothing when it comes all rags.
Flopping top set with only one low card on the board is obviously the dream flop. The turn card was brutal though, and he then had a wheel/flush/low draw. Of course all the money went in there and thankfully I won. The equities on the turn were straight 50/50.
REPLAY: SCOOP-35-L No Limit Omaha Hi/ Lo.
Bust out hand. I 3bet jammed 25BBs with AQ64ds suited Vs a very poor player's open raise. He makes a horrific call with KKQJds, a 'one-way hand'. He caught me with close to the bottom of my shoving range (which has a lot off AAxx with 1 or 2 low cards in it) in that spot and still I had 57% equity.
REPLAY: SCOOP-35-M No Limit Omaha Hi / Lo.
I got crippled after getting jamming it in over a flop lead with an over paur of AA, a nut flush draw and a bad low draw. I'm happy with the play as I will mostly take down a pot worth > 20% of my stack, or get it all in with decent equity. Unfortunately the third player in the hand had a set and a better low draw. I still had 35% equity in the pot but unfortunately got scooped.