January was quite a lazy month for me. Recovering from the holiday season and a tough end of year grind. But even with it being a lazy month there was plenty of poker developements for me.

For the first couple of days I didn't really do much but get my plan for 2014 thought out. It may not seem like I had things thought out so early since I only posted my blog about that yesterday but I promise I did have plan before I got stuck into the new year. You can check out that blog here if you like.

The main change for the year was my attempt to take a shot at 5NL Zoom. For a while now I'd been working on 2NL Zoom and although things hadn't been going fantastic exactly I was playing well and figured I had the bankroll to move up. It's been quite a change from 2NL, the play in some spots is a lot more irratic believe it or not. Strange 3-bet sizings, especially from the blinds. A MASSIVE increase in the amount of limping, mostly from UTG and the CO. I'm still not sure where this strategy is coming from because it's definately not the old limp/raise with a monster. In these cases the range is very wide and the most common reponse to a raise is to call. Still not sure exactly what this line is all about or why it's started happening. There's also a lot more flatting from the button by some villains and it's with a pretty wide range it seems too. Sometimes leads to huge pots which can either be great or disasterous.

As for how my sessions have been going.. well about 90% have been almost identical. Start off great with me gaining about a stack or so then I'll lose a massive flip then get coolered and bad beat until I'm down around three to four stacks for the day. This is usually within the first 300 hands by the way. Then I'll grind my way back to even for the day and be feeling great before I get one more bad beat to put me a stack or so down and I end up stopping before any tilt kicks in. So overall I lose a little bit per session despite me playing what I feel is pretty good, even after some review. Guess I'm just going to have to ride it out and keep working on finding some better spots to exploit.

Other than that the only real poker I played was a few tourneys because of the January Challenges promo. I decided since I enjoyed the Storm I would satty into it if I could and give it a go. And boy am I glad I did. The first week it took about $7 to get in and I min cashed for about $15 or so (I forget exactly). The second week I used some FPPs and got in for about 460 of them or so. This one went way better. It was a huge field that week with over 50k runners. I played really well but eventually lost JJ to AQo all-in pre but still I managed to finish 1215th for almost $95! This pretty much saved my month and without it I would be way into the red right now.

Oh yeh.. I also used up my $215 ticket that I won for topping last years PSO series leaderboard. I used it to enter TCOOP #03.. but yeh, it was a complete fail. Didn't play great, completely card dead and in the first real big hand I played I made a semi-bluff shove on the turn with second pair with straight and flush draws and got snapped by top pair, no kicker and the river was a brick. Easy come easy go I guess.

So on to the only real positive for the month. The PSO Tournament of Champions! This was a private game for all of the players that one at least one of the PSO Home Game series throughout 2013. Having won three myself I was eligible and really wanted to take it down to solidify my place as the 2013 player of the year title which I claimed. It started off with only ten players but it was not an easy game. I actually started pretty badly and a few times came close to busting but it seems luck was on my side and with a little aggression I started to make some headway. As it was essentially a winner take all game I made some plays that most would call crazy but they worked out and after a couple hours I found myself heads up with another multiple champion, A-FISTFULL. I started the heads up as an underdog but managed to keep things going until I won a huge pot with pocket fives. After this I was a massive chip leader and it didn't take to long to close it out. Really well played by my opponents and I want to thank them for a good game. And I'm now officially PSO Champion of Tournaments 2013! Pretty sweet eh?

So on to the figures..


Starting Bankroll (Jan 1st): $406.51

Current Bankroll (Jan 31st): $482.86

VPPs Earned: 375.27

Fadyen's Monthly Masterclass

This hand is actually the now infamous pocket fives hand from heads up of the PSO TOC!

So heads up any pocket pair is a good starting hand and here I have the button. I make a standard open and FIST make a 3-bet that they have done several times before. I had figured this was most likely an Ax type hand but couldn't be completely sure. So I called and decided to re-evaluate on the flop, which come T23, pretty nice for my hand. FIST checks, which after 3-betting pre seems a little odd so with only one overcard to my pair I make a bet for value and get jammed on. This seems like such a scary bet and I admit I had to take quite a while to think it through. I came to the conclusion my original thought of Ax that has been turned into a bluff made the most sense as this line just didn't check out for anything else. I made the call and was very relieved to see I was correct. I think in general the 3-bet pre and check/raise flop is a line where the villain almsot never has it in most situations when it comes to heads up. Just think the hand through and logic will prevail!