Sunday, 29 April 2012

No man's land

Since my last post I've done the decent thing and handed my notice in 'officially' at work. It is a real wrench to leave the school - I love teaching and I'm lucky enough to work at a great school and with great people. However, it's also very exciting and I can't wait to get started on the next phase of my life.

I've agreed to work until the end of the Summer Term which is only fair to the pupils in my classes. This does leave me in a bit of quandry poker wise - I'm desperate to put in more volume and play more but am finding it difficult to because of work commitments. Without going into financial specifics its almost difficult to justify going to work at the moment - the games in Blackpool are rocking and there are so many tours, events and festivals that I want to attend and play but can't because of work.

It's extremely frustrating as I don't feel I'm a poker player nor a teacher - I'm stuck in a kind of stasis that I'm terming No Mans Land. I've come flying out the trenches of teaching and am desperately trying to cross the gap to the poker world on the other side, but the quagmire in between is draining my strength and preventing me doing either thing as successfully as I'd want to!

I think logic should overide passion here and my focus has to be on teaching until the end of July. I'm going to continue to grind when I can live and had a couple of nice results over the last week. I played and binked a £50 live donkament last weekend at the new poker room in the Paris casino and this weekend I've been away playing the Grand Prix at DTD in Nottingham. I bust the comp in redic fashion but the cash games were good to me and I booked a solid win in a very passive £2/£2 PLO game. I also managed a decent win in the local £2/£2 dealers choice game Saturday night to add to the growing bankroll. It all adds up to me booking a £2k win overall for April - not bad for a part-time amateur player (especially as my first game this month left me in a £1k hole!).

My aims between now and July are to just continue to play where I can and add to the bankroll wherever possible. I've put the online side of poker on hold for now until I have more time to plan which games to specifically target and prepare myself for the rigours of online play.

The mind of a live player

This is a transcript of my mental ramblings during a hand I played live recently. At the start of the hand I had about £250 in front of me and the game is £1/£2 NL. Its a standard lol live lineup - a couple of shortstackers looking to get lucky, a couple of drunks and one or two solid, winning players grinding out a few quid. UTG in this hand has just had a bit of a beat vs one of the shortstackers and is in full steam ahead mode. He has about £300 in front of him and has just ordered a lot of alcohol of the valet.

These are the thoughts that were growing through my mind during the hand almost verbatim.

'Haha, what a dick. He's lost £20 in a standard spot and he's losing his rag. I've got the button here, lets see if I can get him before he spews it to someone else. WTF... £28? Wtf with the 14x open....... ok. Pass, Pass, call and leaving himself £12 behind wp dickhead. Pass, pass lets have a look. AJ of diamonds.......Call or 3bet, call or 3bet. I've got the button and he's steaming but I want to stack him, so flat this and force him to play deep against me out of position.
 'Call.... OK, both blinds pass.

Where the fuck is my coffee, Jesus.

Flop 7c8d9d.

Bingo.......... if he bets here I'm going to stick it right... check. Fuck. Shortie all in for his £12, wp preflop imbecile. OK, lets think. UTG steamer got big stack but looks disinterested. He's showing the guy next to him his hand, he must have AK/AQ something and hating flop. I lose him if I raise, I'll flat and hope he comes along 'for value' and tilt pay me off if I make my hand.


Yep, he's ranting its only £12, how can I pass. Perfect.

Turn 2d.

Delicious. Please have the K or Q diamonds under there. Thats it, have a look. OK, he looks interested, we could be in business here. He's checking very dramatically, reckon my read is spot on. I'll bet something small, and try and build a side pot for if the diamond hits so I can try and get stacks in. I'm sure he's got one big diamond. Sizing important here, price him in don't scare him off. Pots about £120, I reckon £25.

Call. Perfect............ now put the fucking diamond out there. Stop tapping me on the shoulder during the hand FFS, piss off. I'll talk to you later you fuc......


Smoking, now how do I get stacks in here. Should I just shove or bet to induce.Whats the right bet size to induce him to........... oh, he's already all in.

'I call, I've got the nuts. Unlucky mate'.


I'm a very troubled man who likes coffee obv.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Feel free to leave a comment and hit me up on twitter if you want to discuss the hand or my thought processes.

Monday, 16 April 2012


In February last year I managed to ship the now defunct Blackpool Megastack £100 tournament (even sweeter I stacked NoCash in the final!). Before you switch off thinking this is a blatant brag post, just bear with me.

At the end of the tournament I did my usual facebooking and tweeting about how everyone sucked and about how awesome I was. It's all said in jest and just for shits and giggles, but little did I know that karma was waiting round the corner for me. Following that tournament I didn't book a winning live session for 3.5 months. Not a single one! I was playing cash games, tournaments, NL, PLO, dealers choice...... I'd have played anything to try and break the downswing! I couldn't win a flip, every draw was getting there vs me and my draws were bricking left right and centre. I begun to get into really bad habits, playing boards in ways to try and minimise variance rather than maximising EV. I was playing very passively preflop, scared of getting into flips or 60/40s as I knew I was 'cursed' and 'couldn't ever win' any of these hands.

I was very down on the game, myself and was on the verge of quitting and finding a new hobby. Fortunately for me, I'm lucky enough to know some quality people in the game who I can talk to about things and gain perspective. I'm also extremely lucky to have such a wonderful, nurturing home life to fall back on and make me feel better about myself. I spent a lot of time analysing my game, trying to 'break the curse' that I thought had fallen on me.

I am not a religious man, never have been really. As a Scientist I am a big believer that we are just very little people on a very little rock flying though an infinitely big universe. I do not believe that whichever God you choose to believe in created life. I am a firm believer that life evolved and by the process of natural selection inched its way forward, changing slowly and gradually until it became an overweight, balding bloke sat in his dressing gown writing a blog on a laptop. Natural selection, for those of you who don't know, is based on the principles of 'survival of the fittest' - certain members of a species gain an advantage over the population and pass these advantages onto their offspring who in turn do the same and so on and so on. The rest of the population either adapt or they die.....simples.

I don't think there is a better analagy for poker then this. Making a career in poker really is 'Survival of the fittest'. You either adapt, evolve and survive or your bankroll becomes extinct. Last year's downswing for me was my moment in time where I either adapted or became extinct. I made a conscious decision to engage my horrendous attitude towards the game and do something positive about things. In short, I bought a book.

If you haven't read this book and want to be successful in poker, read it. Then read it again. Then read it again. It changed my attitude towards my game immeasurably and helped to resolve the deep rooted mental game issues I had developed and tortured myself with.

I began to put some of the suggestions in the book into practice and I think the big turning point for me was a cash game session I had during the APAT World Championships at DTD last August. I had had a solid week, coming third in the HU comp and putting several solid winning cash game sessions together. Also, a couple of heavy morale boosting drinking sessions had taken place and life was good. NoCash was crushing the ME and I had sat down, with a NoCash inspired hangover to play some £0.50/1 NL to pass the time until he was done. Within about an hour I was 5 buy-ins (£500) down. I hadn't played a hand badly or been coolered, I was just having one of those horrible runs of cards we all experience from time to time. Two months earlier and I would have ranted, raged called my opponents retards and the poker Gods cunts. Basically, I'd have done all the things mental game fish do. In that moment of time, I didn't do any of this; I calmly reloaded and proceeded to play in exactly the same way and 4 hours later I was out of the 5BI hole I'd dug. As NoCash continued to crush, I continued to play my A game in the cash game and by the time Nocash had reached the final table, I'd booked a nice win. MBN to also have 10% of the reigning APAT World Champ as well!

This session gave me belief in my game and belief in my mental strength. Its a fond memory I draw on when times at the felt are tough and I need to inspire myself.

It was the moment I came splashing out the water and used my fins on the land.

It was the moment I evolved.

8 months later, I can honestly say I have not tilted in a cash game. I don't win every session obviously, nobody does but its not the most important thing for me anymore. Whats more important for me is not the monetary result of a session but how I played during the session. I keep stringent records of my wins/losses in terms of money and in terms of what level game I think I played. I am brutally honest with myself and continue to work hard on my game at every opportunity I have.

This mental strength and positive approach to my game has been the final straw that has tipped the balance in my difficult decision I described in my last blog.

The decision has been made and I have officially handed in my notice at work today. At the end of this term, I will no longer be a Science teacher, I will be the fish that has crawled onto land and attempted to pick up the playing cards in front of him.

Thanks for taking the time to read, feel free to hit me up on twitter (@Awesome_Hutch) if you want.

Next blog post will be something completely different, stay tuned.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Beginnings and future?

Like a lot of people, I got into poker by seeing it on TV. Watching Late Night Poker, I was intrigued by these larger than life characters playing what to my naive eye looked like snap! It didn't take me long to realise that there was a lot more going on here than I first thought. As a young boy, I played chess to quite a high level and I appreciated the thought processes that were going into the decisions. I also liked the bluster and the banter.

I downloaded Pacific Poker (remember them?) the next day and played some play money games. I tentatively made a small deposit and played a £2.50 STT and won. The adrenaline buzz from pressing a few buttons was indescribable and I was hooked.

Next weekend I went to Blackpool Grosvenor as it was called then and played a £5 rebuy tournament. It was fast and furious and I had very little idea what was going on and I sat quiet just watching the carnage that was taking place. Eventually I got dealt AK, and just like on TV put in my 3x raise. I got 8 callers. The flop come Ace high - fantastic! I bet my remaining 550 chips and got 5 callers. Unbelievably my hand stand up and I'd raked my first live pot. The adrenaline was coursing through my veins now and I quickly got into the swing of it. I eventually cashed 5 hours later for £110 and am proud to say that I have never played poker with my own money since.

This was about 2005 although my memory is a little hazy. I have been playing live poker ever since then as a hobby and am proud to say I have never had a losing year. I am constantly thinking about poker and spend a fair amount of my time striving to improve and analysing my play.

Part of the reason I decided to start writing a blog was I feel I am at a crossroads in my poker career. It has always been a hobby for me but for the past year it has become a far more important source of income for me and my family. I have never 'built a bankroll' and have always spent my winnings on my family and home once they had accumulated. I paid for my wedding, honeymoon, home improvements and holidays using money won at the tables but I have come to realise that I will never progress in the poker world with this attitude to bankroll management. Like I said in my opening post, I want to be winning bigger buy in tournaments and playing bigger cash games and this will never happen if poker remains a hobby for me.

This year I have not spent a single penny of my poker earnings.

Not a single penny.

Shortly, my wife and I will be making a decision. The two options are:
1. Do the sensible, safe thing and keep poker as a hobby. Continue to play at weekends and make a few quid here and there whilst maintaining the sensible, safe teaching career.
2. Go all in. Fuck the job off, use the growing bankroll and chase the dream.

I am genuinely torn between the two and no decisions have yet been firmly made. History tells me I am a winning player, but am I winning enough to support my family? My teaching career is solid, reliable and at times, rewarding. I often become frustrated with being unable to play tournaments due to work commitments but show me a poker player who hasn't felt that! This is not a decision I am taking lightly and I feel whatever I decide it will be clouded by a tinge of regret.

That being said, it's exciting.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Follow me on twitter @Awesome_Hutch and feel free to message me with comments.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Introduction - all about me!

Poker is a game ridden with cliches and bullshit. You've all heard the people at the table spouting shit like 'chip and a chair', and ' I'm priced in, too much value'. I guess to a certain extent I am one of those cliches.

My name is Ky Hutchinson and I am a poker wannabe. I want the fame, riches and bracelets poker promises. I want the sponsorships and the TV deals. I want to play in the biggest tournaments and cash games the world offers. I want to be the player people are talking about on forums and in casinos throughout the world.

This is my blog and I plan to document my journey in the poker world in the upcoming years. I will try my best not to be the cliche I described earlier but secretly I think that's what we all want.

Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope that you will enjoy my thoughts on the game.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter ( @Awesome_Hutch)and facebook (Ky Hutchinson)