It's been a decent start to the year, I'm well in profit and I'm closing in on a Premier League spot. That's not to say I'm playing totally well as there's still room for improvement and I'm making some really bad mistakes.

It's making less mistakes that's winning me money. Overall my game is OK but still needs improving. I've ironed out a lot of my little mistakes but I'm still prone to the odd huge one that costs me my tournament.

That graph is for all poker sites and doesn't include a couple of small but decent bonuses like a couple of £20 free bets (which I turned into £16 risk free via matched betting) but it's 2 or 3 games in particular that's winning me small but consistent profits. They are small field tournaments that are whale filled but usually have an overlay. That's a great tip: always look for games that have added money or have an overlay.

I've done as I said in my last blog. I'm playing far less, sometimes just 1 or 2 games per night and I've switched mainly to MTTs. That's great for my ROI but not so good for my VPPs. I've generated just 36 VPP's this year.

Most of my play is elsewhere and this wouldn't normally bother me but my number 1 aim on Pokerstars is to make the Premier Skill League. I thought it might have taken me a few months to make it but I'm running good this month.

The Premier Skill League Qualifiers are a far easier route into the Premier League compared to the Open Skill. If you have the bankroll I'd suggest you use this method for qualification rather than the Open Skill route.

I've been placed 2nd, 6th and 8th in the 10 games I've played but I've also busted 253/ 255, 224/ 258 and 224/ 246 or that position would be so much higher. In a couple of those top spots I've hit really lucky but with the shoe on the other foot I've also been unlucky with some of my exit hands.

By reading the forums, It's been drummed into me that survival in these leagues is really critical but sometimes I just haven't paid enough attention to this fact.

I'm still fuming with myself over this play. Only 3 hands into the game and villain had played every hand and been laggy. I had a steal opportunity but it's too early to be going broke. Bad players can get good cards! I'd err towards just folding here but I certainly wouldn't be going broke if I had to play this hand over.

I'm haunted by this but I actually think I played it OK. My only question is my position but I was in bullying mode and this is a final table bubble spot. It's normally an easy fold but I hit the flop so strong and I counted 14 outs with a couple of possible backdoors. I like my hand in this spot. Villian was a LAG that liked to bully but had folded a few times to aggression. His pot bet indicated he was strong but as this was a bubble spot I thought I could push him off. As it was he only seen his own cards and never thought about what I could have. I think my shoving range dominates his but sometimes our semi bluffs go wrong. I'm happy with my play. I finished 6th by rebuilding my stack and playing well. It's games like this that I'm playing my A game and identifying spots like this that I would normally fold.

For the life of me I can't find my best play. It was a KK fold pre flop in a multi way pot. I 3 bet to an early positional raise. 2 limpers, then a 4 and 5 bet but 2 of the villains had very low raising stats and 1% 3 bet stats. I'd also over 100 hands on both villains. It cost me a lot of chips but I folded. Sure enough 1 of them had AA and the other JJ. Heads up, KK can be an 80% favourite but in a 3 way pot it drops to just over 50%. I'll take those odds most of the time but there are spots where a HUD can be really useful and can save you chips.

I don't think I'll play any more of these unless I have to. I'm 83rd and qualification requires a top 200 spot. I'll just keep an eye on my placing and maybe play some more if I drop below 175.

My only problem now is volume. To hit a high prize you need to generate 150VPPs. Playing MTTs is not a great way to generate them. I've enough to consolidate a low prize if I were to reach the Premier League so I may just worry about getting into the league and then generate the VPPs when I'm there.

We'll see....

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I've attended a couple of Pokerschool training sessions but I'm learning a lot from Twitch. I'm not knocking PSO, it's a great place for a beginner but some of the streamers on Twitch are top level pro's. Just like PSO training sessions, you can ask questions and pick their brains. Some like Gripsed stream the Sunday Million while others like Pokerstaples are $10k in profit for the last week. I'm even learning from the average guys, you can see their thought process and compare it to your own.

For a beginner I'd recommend you get your basics right on PSO but for a bit of a higher level I'd recommend Twitch. I'm learning a lot which is reflected in my own results.

Until next time, good luck at the tables

Mark