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March 09, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Last week marked the anniversary of me quitting ‘proper work’ and opting for a life of smoke filled card rooms, hotels, travel, blinking avatars, bad beats and poker stories. In some ways it seems like only yesterday that I was handing in my resignation letter, banking my wad of Walsall ‘wonga’ and booking my flights to Vienna filled with anticipation, excitement and hope of a future as the ‘next big thing in poker’ – well, I could have been :-). Although it does literally seem like yesterday, when I look back on my experiences and remember the games I have played and places I have been it also seems like an eternity ago too – I guess 12 months is a long time in poker.

I thought it would be useful for me to outline my thoughts and reflections on this experience mainly for myself as a reminder but also as a guide for anyone thinking of taking on such a journey themselves. – So it reads clearly, I’ll set out some sub-headings….

How did it start?
I had been playing some really good poker (IMO) at the back end of 2004 and had managed some nice results at Nottingham in the £20 and £30 competitions. This form continued into 2005 and in February I managed to win the monthly £100 PLH competition for £7500. The following week I played a £50 super satellite for the £1500 main event at the Walsall ‘Midlands Medley’ and managed to scrape a seat. I played the best poker of my life in the main event a few days later and managed to get 2nd place winning £36,800. For detailed trip reports on this competition click this link to get to the start and then work chronologically through the archives for the rest as its in parts 1,2 & 3.


Armed with enthusiasm, confidence and a tentative offer of some sponsorship I jacked in the job, I paid back all my student debts and my car loan and took what was left of my new found wealth off to Vienna for the E-WSOP.

Where have I been?
I decided that my best strategy of achieving some sponsorship, recognition and results was to ride the wave of my recent success and form. I planned to top load my schedule and play as many main events and high profile tournaments I could reasonably afford without crippling myself – although I knew I was nowhere near bank rolling myself correctly but I was taking a shot at the big time and didn’t have time to think about a little thing like bank roll management. With this in mind I travelled to Vienna, then on to Dublin, stopping off at Sheffield, Luton, Blackpool, The Vic, and back in the sky to Jesolo (Italy). I then hopped over to Las Vegas for the WSOP, which was an amazing experience. My final big competition of 2005 was the made for TV, William Hill Grand Prix, which was filmed at the Enfys TV Studios in Cardiff – I think I made quite an impression! It’s been a fantastic journey, filled with some good results but a lot of disappointments, I’ve met some great people and some of the inevitable toe rags as well but I’ve pretty much loved every minute of it.

What have I learnt?
I feel like I have learnt a tremendous amount about myself, other people and of course about the beautiful game. I feel like a much better player than I was a year ago and it’s become obvious to me that you never stop learning at poker and no matter how good you think you are there is always someone capable of outplaying you or worse still – getting lucky!

What have I achieved?
I feel I have achieved a lot over the past twelve months. I have won more money than I ever thought I would, although nowhere near as much as I would have liked since my 2nd place finish at Walsall. I have managed to sustain a living from the game, move out of my parent’s house, pay off all my debts and generally live how I wanted with no pressures of work. I have found a game that I think I will love forever, I have met some great people and some new friends and I’ve even been on the television :-). What more could I want?!

What have I enjoyed?
There is no doubting that life outside of the 9 to 5 grind is one that cannot be underestimated or undervalued. You can do what you like, when you like (within reason). Get up when you want and generally you are your own boss. There is no rush hour traffic, no office politics and no annual review with the boss and best of all… there’s no tax.

What have I disliked?
There is a downside to the lifestyle though. It can get a bit repetitive and boring when not travelling around the circuit. If you’re at home for a few weeks then long sessions of internet poker tend to ensue, which can be boring. However it’s only a small downside and I guess if your disciplined, have plenty of other things to do and structure your days correctly there are huge benefits.

What’s Next?
The main difference to my life now and my life 12 months ago is that I now have responsibilities; I have a beautiful girlfriend who I want to spend time with rather than be sat in a room passive smoking with ugly old timers. I have a mortgage, a house to furnish and upkeep and bills to pay. I decided to invest a lot of my winnings in a house and consequently I don’t really have the bank roll now to continue travelling around the poker ‘circuit’ and can no longer stump up the big buy-in’s to main events that I use to – I pretty much pick and chose when I want to play and have to budget my gambling spend. Maybe I will be back at work soon – you can’t live off fresh air forever! Or maybe there’s a huge win just around the corner… who knows? I will continue to write poker articles, update the blog and play as much poker as I can when I can. Whatever happens, it’s been an experience so far, one to remember and draw on in the future – here’s to the next 12 months of poker.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

best of luck gregory have been reading the blog since i seen ya on william hill heat..

hopefully another big win soon!

and maybe i'll be having a crack at this pro poker job in a year or two..!! see ya on the tables...


9/3/06 5:34 pm


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