My big poker news is that I've been selected to represent Poker School Online at the Pokerstars player meetings next month! I get an expenses-paid trip to Pokerstars HQ on the Isle of Man, and several days of meetings to discuss all aspects of their present and future online poker offerings. Sounds great. Ok, I was chosen because I was the only eligible applicant for the job, and I understand that not everyone can just cancel everything for an unpaid trip, but it's still an exciting opportunity. Thanks PSO for the chance.

I'm still waiting for confirmation and further details of the trip, but all being well I will be blogging more about it in the near future, and I certainly plan to pick the brains of the PSO community for ideas, requests and concerns before I go.

One issue that is sure to come up is the UK tax situation and the new UK-only client that will be needed from October onwards. As you might imagine I have been reading avidly on the subject. The tax change has been coming for a while, and while some reduction in our VIP bonuses seems inevitable as a result, I am reassured that at least the regulation regime provides a model that keeps the international player pool together, which is surely an essential for a successful online poker industry. That said, I am hoping Pokerstars will take at least a good part of the tax liability on themselves and not try to pass it all onto us players in reduced bonuses. The discussions with Pokerstars about VIP bonus changes at the forthcoming meetings will now be extremely interesting to say the least.

Meanwhile, back to my regularly scheduled poker game. I am facing the new challenge of 16nl. Having run really well at 10nl it was time to move up again. Moving up in stakes is something I always find stressful. A little help from the poker gods at this time can  make a big difference. I tend to play fewer tables and/or shorter sessions at a new level, and take longer breaks between sessions, especially if I am running extremely hot or cold. Yes, this does slow my progress in terms of volume of hands played, but I do think it's worth it. In the stress of getting used to a new level, there are different bet sizings and different regulars to get used to. There are probably fewer fish in the pool as well. It's more important than usual to stay on an even emotional keel and keep concentration levels at the maximum. The last thing anyone needs when moving up to a higher stake is to go on rampant tilt and blow a big hole in their bankroll.

I'm still at the point where one good or bad session can transform my 16nl winrate for better or worse, but I am getting a strong impression that I have the game to win at this level. It is a small player pool though, so it will be important to get good reads on the other regulars and find ways to exploit them, as I guess I will be spending a lot of time playing against them in the next month or three.