Thursday, 29 December 2011

New Blog: Resolutions


Time for the obligatory new year blog. Obvious I know but I've done it for the last few years now and it is a good way to track results. First though I want to follow on from my last blog.

I've not blogged since October for the simple reason: Twitter makes me lazy. The purpose of my blog has always and always will be to document my life. Why? I don't know, hopefully it will bring me joy when I'm older and hopefully serve to inspire my kids one day. (if you're reading this junior, fetch your old man a beer!)

Actually I just checked and my last real blog was fucking August! The last two were just cut n pastes of old articles to show in some discussion or another. Wow, almost 6 months since I last blogged? Can time of really gone that quickly? A blog at least once a month has to be a resolution. Right, let me write down all the subjects I need to cover...

*checks twitter*

Phew. Right. Here goes.

Let's start with Black Belt Poker as we've had some amazing things going on recently, the biggest undoubtably being Nottingham Live.

For such a small company, we've always had big aspirations and doing a second large live event was definitely ambitious. Still, we went full steam ahead and ended up going well over the 400 runners needed to make the guarantee, in fact finishing just shy of 500 runners. As expected DTD was a quality venue and everyone I spoke to had a great time.

I didn't fare too well, with a super aggressive opponent directly to my right (opening 80% of pots) and the rest of the table being super tight. I was really card dead so never had a chance to really win anything.

Great weekend and I'm really looking forward to our live events next year. We will be going one step further, at least adding a 3rd event to the roster, and then who knows...

As well as all our successful academies, we did a free poker workshop inviting players who hadn't played on Black Belt Poker for a while. The venue was, of course, the Vic and this was the first project I was fully in charge of. I was very happy with the end result and think we learned a lot to fully unleash this once again later in the year. Here is the Vic looking all tidy before we started:


This was, shamelessly, the first time I'd heard any of our pro's in an academy type setting and I was really blown away, especially by Blue Belt Kevin Williams. It's not that long ago I was learning the cutting edge of 6max theory (5 years) but the game is completely different today. We watched Kevin play for a while and some of his theories were amazing. My favourite was bluffing one street knowing we would get called so we could get more money in the pot knowing another barrel would make them fold. Awesome.

We also did something a little similar for high roller players, inviting them for a free night out at the Ritz and offering them something a little special. I didn't attend as it was a school night, but it went well and we have a new Blue Belt from it, Mr Ross Jarvis.

For those who couldn't make the event we did a follow up one at the Vic and had a low turnout (one person lol) but the night was a fun one. We decided to sit down for dinner which was superb (Grosvenor food in general is excellent, Genting food however is TERRIBLE). Neil got a call while at the table and said we were going to be joined by a guest, which turned out to be none other than Ms Jennifer Tilly! Yes she's made a few errors on screen playing poker but she's had an amazing career (see the excellent 'Bound') and it was fascinating spending time with her, she had some great stories about the big Hollywood poker games and she was very down to earth.

Online we hosted the iPops, the iPoker Online Poke Series, which had $1m in Guarantees. This was super sick and one the online tournament pro's really shouldn't of missed out on as there was over $100k in overlays! Whether this will happen again or not is anyones guess, but I'm sure someone at iPoker is in trouble.

Last week we had the office christmas party at, your guessed it, the Vic. Great food and great banter, all the BBP pro's and office staff came together as well as Ken from Northern Poker Stars and Karl from the Little Vic in Slough.

The food was great and afterwards we had a £100 SnG. I was eager to play but against a lineup of Channing, Wooldridge, Bradpiece, Williams and Burland it was not a great idea, so I sold half my action to a missing Sam Razavi.

Whilst nearly everyone else had had a drink, I drove in and actually tried to win the damned thing. I said to myself I was going to play tight but couldn't help raising T5o in late position and getting called by Bradpiece on the button. An 88J flop wasn't great and I was sure if I bet I was getting called, but I bet anyway. The turn T was a lucky card for me and usually I would check here, but I wanted to stick with my plan and try double barreling, assuming Jerome called me on an obvious floatable flop. I bet again and Jerome finally folded, claiming 9's. Yes! What an ego booster.

I continued playing aggressive before getting my dream two opponents 3 handed, Mr Channing and Mr Wooldridge:


With the blinds nice and high and some decent shoving spots, I made quick work of these two amateurs and took it down. It's going to be a fun year of bragging in the office. In fact, the first thing I will say when going back in tomorrow is 'anyone played any poker over the holidays?' and 'I only played once, but won' hahaha.

I've been playing quite a bit of poker, trying to play at least one tournament a week. I've been playing most my poker at The Little Vic (an article I wrote about the place) which has been fun, but I've not had many results, save for a couple of final tables. I've travelled around a little and had another final table at the Western, but again not for much. The biggest win I had was the christmas party SnG. However, I do think I've had my best year ever, with 3 wins, so that feels good.

My poker plans aren't changing much really, just trying to play whenever possible. Now BBP has Razz, I'm going to try and play that as much as possible, but really I'm not planning on doing anything serious.

After missing last year, I made the trip to PITP this year to see BBP win a couple of awards. We were going to host a tent, but after getting a quote and analysing player performance from last year, we decided it wasn't a cost effective exercise. I bumped into Sam Trickett for the fist time in a couple of years and it was great to see him and humbling he seemed so happy to see me. For those that don't know, I was one of Sam's agents in my first major poker role, the head UK agent for PokerIcons. This was sadly just before Sam broke into the big time, otherwise I'd be driving a Porsche now instead of being in debt!

Anna came with me and we headed into China Town for some munch:


(mmmm, beer in the photo, brb getting one...ahhh nice) Sadly we ended up in a restaurant that catered mainly for real Chinese people as the food was 'weird', no sweet and sour british chinese food in sight! It was still nice though and afterwards I took Anna on her first gambling expedition, first to the Empire where she hit a number on the nose playing roulette and then to the G Casino where we had cocktails and I won a little playing BlackJack. I've started teaching Anna to play poker as it I'd love to take her to some small competitions, it will be interesting to see how the guys react to playing against a tiny asian girl!

I've been on the hunt for a decent pair of Noise Cancelling headphones after my Bose QuietComfort 2's literally fell apart. I've had them for the best part of 5 years and they've been used vigorously, so they'v done the job well. I researched hard to find a cheaper replacement as the Bose's go for ~£27o new. I first tried the JVC HA-NC250's which had great reviews on Amazon and were only £81.

In terms of sound quality and noise cancelling capabilities they were great, however, I found the on-ear design (as opposed to the Bose over or around ear design) became super uncomfortable about a couple of hours use. A shame but they had to go back. I then tried the Sony MDR-NC60 which were a little more pricy at £135, but had the over ear design I needed. They were super comfortable and the noise cancelling was fine, but they picked up and amplified the signal noise from my BlackBerry like crazy, making it unbearable without having the phone miles away from you. I could of gone back to using an iPod, but these days I like travelling as light as possible and having a 35GB memory card in my phone means I shouldn't have to use anything else.

So back to square one, looks like I will have to shell out for the Bose's. I'm a little worried as there's been two models since the QC 2's, the QC 3 (which were on ear) and the new QC 15, which go back to the QC 2 over ear design.

Am still building up my Cigar collection and my humidor is now bursting at the seems:


Holy cow, the SMELL when opening it up is amazing. I shall definitely partake later on tonight. Here is a recent pic of me and Anna on a nice cold evening while I was puffing away. I really like this one:

And another of her looking beautiful after we had a little candle lit dinner:


TV wise I watched all of Breaking Bad an loved it, for the most part anyway. It dragged a few times but the ending of Season 4 was amazing. Looking forward to Season 5, who knows where they'll take it. Also watched The Walking Dead and enjoyed it too, the same thing it dragged but the mid season finale was pretty epic and the preview makes it look like it will step up a gear when it comes back.

Curb Your Enthusiasm was awesome. That's all that can be said. Movie wise I've not really been impressed much this year, although X Men First Class was brilliant. Here are my epic moments of 2011 (SPOILERS OF THE ABOVE SHOWS/FILMS):

The end of Gus. Holy FUCK this was amazing. I loved this character and the fact he went out the way he always lived, being smart and professional.

The hunt for Sophia was pretty boring and drawn out, but I never would of guessed her end. When you saw one more person was coming out the barn, you knew it was her, great ending.

What can you say, the bringing together of my two favourite comedians, and a proud day for all us Readingensian's.

It was brilliant to see Kevin Bacon back in a popular movie and his end, plus the creation of evil magneto, was great viewing.



And finally, it was a big year for UFC. Am looking forward to seeing Overeem take the title, but my favourite fight was a short one, Mir breaking Big Nog's arm. Amazing show of Jiu Jutsu.

Music wise I've had a nice and varied year. I won't go into it but here are my top artists of 2011 according to last.fm:

1. The Black Dog
2. Stars of the Lid
3. Back to Comm
4. Brian McBride
5. Jóhann Jóhannsson
6. Clams Casino
7. The Flashbulb
8. The Sight Below
9. Kriptic Minds
10. M83

So, a recap of last years resolutions (blog). I'm actually quite proud with what I've achieved.

1. Advance my experience/career/results as much as I have done over the last year.

What can I say about this one. This time last year I was sat in my room all day every day struggling with my last job and now I'm working in London for Black Belt Poker. I more than achieved this goal.

2. Work in a more efficient manner.

I achieved this by default as working for Black Belt Poker means regular(ish) office hours so I sleepy normal times and pack as much work as possible into the times I'm at my desk.

3. Take up a martial art.

I DID IT! Finally! After years of saying I'd do it, last month I joined a local MMA school. I almost started Wing Chun, but a friend was starting MMA and deep down I knew that was what I wanted to do. First the first year or so I'm just attending their striking classes, a hybrid style including elements of Mui Thai, American Kickboxing, Boxing, Karate and San Shou, which they call Thai Kik Jutsu. I am LOVING it, it's such a great workout. Here is the promo video of my school and what they do:


It's the perfect school for me as it combines everything I'd want out of martial arts. Effective styles (striking and grappling, I wont be doing the Kung Fu) with just a little bit of tradition (uniforms and gradings). Looking forward to getting my Yellow Belt this year!

4. Become healthy.

This one has been a fail. For most of the year I stopped playing squash and except a few sporadic diets where I lost some weight, I'm back to square one. However, I'm not too disappointed as I've made preparations to start getting fit with the MMA training and have joined the squash league again. I will touch back on this in 6 months.

5. Complete at least one large personal project, either launching a small business, finishing a poker documentary or releasing a piece of music.

Another majority fail. I've done little tweaks here and there on each thing though, so not completely stagnant.

Here are this years resolutions.

1. Make some big achievements with Black Belt Poker.

Hard to qualify what this is going to be, but I will know in my heard next year if I've worked as hars as I could have.

2. GET HEALTHY (inc. get my yellow belt and win squash league).

I'm turning 27 in a couple of weeks, so using my youth to compensate for bad eating habits has finish. I will get healthy this year and have two mini goals of getting my yellow belt in kickboxing and winning at least one squash league.

3. Complete a creative project.

This is releasing a piece of music, launching a small business or doing a mini film. I still have a few of these in progress and there's no reason why I can't finish one this year.

So that's it. If I can achieve these three things, it will of been a good year.

Hope everyone has a cracking 2012.

New Blog: Introduction to Razz

Can't believe it's been around 3 months since my last proper blog. Will definitely write one next week. Until then I wanted to post an article I wrote about 3 years ago, introducing the game orRazz. BlackBeltPoker.com now has Razz tables and I'm trying to get a Razz game going tonight, so hopefully this helps those who have never played!

Razz is a simple game. It is played identically to 7 Card Stud with one key difference, the lowest hand wins.

Straights and flushes don't count against your hand, while pairs or better do, so the best possible low hand in Razz is A2345 (called a wheel or a 5 low), then A2346 (or a 6-4 low) then A2356 (or a 6-5 low) and so on.

The simplicity of Razz gives it a unique quality over all poker games in that your receive much more information about someones hand. Let's say in Hold'em the board shows 2 3 6. While these cards are weak, it is still possible to make a very strong hand such as a set, a straight or two pair. Similarly in Stud, if someone has a deuce as their doorcard (or upcard) they could still have a strong hand with any large pocket pair, or a very strong hand with rolled up deuces (three of a kind).

In Razz however, as we only play for low, high cards can't be part of a good hand. So if someone is showing a King as their doorcard we know they don't have a good starting hand. This kind of information means that we can steal antes and bring-ins with relative ease, much more so than other games.

A good starting hand in Razz is, as you might of guessed, three low cards. The lower the cards, the better the starting hand. As a general rule you don't want to be playing a hand for value unless it contains three cards 8 or lower. You can be slightly tighter than this to begin with by never playing a hand worse than 8 6 x in full ring games. Like other poker games the value of hands goes up the shorter the table, however to begin with its probably best to never show down a worse hand than an 8-6 low.

Another major factor on how how strong your starting hand is in Razz is a general Stud concept, how 'live' it is. If you see that there are lots of your pair cards (cards that if dealt to you would give you a pair) out as doorcards then this makes your hand considerably stronger. Conversely, if there are none of your pair cards but lots of low cards as doorcards, then this can make a starting hand like 8-7-6 very weak as there is less chance of improving.

Finally, now that we know all of this, we need to look at stealing. Lets say we are dealt (KQ)A, with the Ace being our doorcard. The player to our left brought in (in Stud games, instead of blinds, the worst upcard must make a forced bet) with a Q showing and the action was folded to us. We know he does not have a good starting hand, yet he can't know that about our hand. We can raise him and even if he suspects us of stealing, there is little he can do about it. Even if he does calls, we can confidently double barrel if we catch another low card and he catches another high card or open pair. Because you can't get trapped by a deceptively weak looking hand, stealing is very important.

Razz is a simple game on the outside, yet it is often played at a very low standard. Following these basic strategies will help you gain an edge very quickly in this fun and unique game.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

New Blog: Live Poker Advice

I will write a proper blog in the next couple of days but as Black Belt Poker Nottingham Live might be the first live tournament for a few people, I thought I'd copy a couple of old articles I wrote which contain some pretty good advice.

New to Live Poker?

These days I seem to encounter many more good and observant players in small buyin tournaments and cash games. While it can take a while to figure out who these players are, you might be able to spot one or two before the game starts or during the early rounds. Here is what I look for:

1. A player starts doing chip tricks as soon as he sits down. This is a great indication of confidence and usually means this player at least has some experience.
2. Poker stories. If someone is talking about a poker hand, pay attention to how advanced their explanation is. This can reveal valuable information on their skill level.
3. Well known players. If you see someone shaking hands with another player in a bigger game before sitting down with you, then there is a better chance he is a good player.

I will also try and chat to anyone sat alone at my table and see what information I can pick up. While these pointers aren't always accurate and shouldn't be taken too literally, they can at least give you a head start in developing reads.

So let's assume that at least one player is watching how you play, how should you act at the table during a hand? One word is very important here, REPETITION. What I mean by this is that you need to behave exactly the same whatever the strength of your hand. Find a relaxed seating position, which if you're unsure is usually how you are sat when you're studying a hand you are not involved in or when you have a big hand.

Here are some things to take note when you're playing a hand:

Time. Take the same amount of time to bet whether you have a decision or not, or strong or weak hand.
Betting. Make sure your betting action is the same regardless of your hand strength. Also take notice of your chip denominations and use the same ones each time, for instance don't bet lots of small chips when weak and a few big chips when strong.
Eyes. Be relaxed about where you look. If you never look at a player when bluffing, then never look at him when strong.

To reiterate, repetition is the key. For extra nervous players, take one hand out of action by resting it on your cheek or thigh and have your chips separated so you don't have to fumble with them during a hand.

Another major point to look at is talking. Against good players my advice is to never talk, even when they start asking you questions and even if you think it is your only chance to win. More often or not you will give away information about your hand, or more dangerously how you act when weak/strong. Let your betting do the talking. Against bad players it's sometimes ok to try and sway their decision with a few words, but always be aware of what it's doing to your image.

After you are comfortable at the table you can start to use these pointers against the other players. Look at how they react in different situations and try and spot breaks in any repetitions they have. Of course, these need to be backed up by solid reads on how they play hands, but noticing some physical tells can help sway decisions. Don't worry if you don't notice anything straight away as it mostly comes from experience. Also, watch the good players as much as the bad players as it's usually the better players who have more concrete tells as they make less random moves.

Finally, don't get too stressed or bored at the tables. Have a good chat and laugh between hands to relieve tension, this can often be more beneficial than trying to watch every hand. Be friendly to the other players as they are your 'customers' who you don't want to scare them away! Live poker can be an immensely fun and sociable experience if you treat the game with respect...and stay away from the casino games!

Preparing for a live tournament

As I sit in the lounge area of the Full House in Reigate, soaking in the ambience of poker chips shuffling together, Sky Sports on the big screens and the hum of the coffee machine I feel extremely relaxed ahead of tonight's tournament. This is by no mistake, I take careful steps to make sure I'm feeling great before a tournament. Just because poker is not a physical sport does not mean you shouldn't carefully prepare both your mind and body.

Being on a good sleep schedule is very important, so try and get as many good nights sleep as possible leading up to a tournament. If you are an early riser and your tournament is later in the evening, try catching a power nap before you leave. A power nap lasts 20-40 minutes and can help revitalise the sleeper much like a decent nights sleep. Be careful not to sleep longer than the stated time however as this can result in you entering a deep sleep without completing it, leaving you feeling more tired than you did before!

If you are a regular exerciser try not to have an intense workout on the same day as a tournament especially if you usually feel very tired after one. Definitely have one the day before and on the day do some low intensity cardio such as walking or cycling as this will help relieve tension.

Avoid caffeine until absolutely necessary. When I played my first big event I saw a player with about six Red Bulls lined up on the bar and when I tried copying him I soon found out what a mistake I had made! Caffeine can provide more negative effects than positive ones including dizziness, confusion and irritability. When you have been playing for eight hours straight and your eyes are starting to drop, then its time for some caffeine. Otherwise, try to build and rely on your body's stamina through a healthy lifestyle.

Similarly, try not to eat too many sugary/processed foods whilst playing as these can give you unnecessary highs and lows. Fruit is a great snack when playing but I have found casinos don't usually have any, so stick a few apples in your bag.

When travelling, plan your journey ahead. Allow time for getting lost especially if going to a venue for the first time. There is nothing worse than arriving in the nick of time, flustered and stressed, or even worse missing the tournament altogether! If playing a multi-day event then book hotels well in advance as you can usually get some great deals.

Remember, you want to be relaxed and ready to play when you sit at the tables. Do everything you can to help and this will give you an instant advantage over your opponents.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

New Blog: Breakage

Thank god for Twitter! 3 monthly exactly since my last proper blog, if it wasn't for me Tweeting everything I would of forgotten if I'd done anything half interesting.

Starting with Black Belt Poker, what a great few months it's been!

I think we need to start with the incredible performances some of our team had at the WSOP. Black Belt Poker definitely made its presence felt. We sent a team of 11 out there to stay in a super sick mansion and it wasn't long before Richard 'Chufty' Ashby made a final table, coming 4th in the $10k O8. A great feat in itself, he bested it a couple of weeks later by coming 3rd in one of the hardest tournaments of the series, the $10k 2-7 NL. What a 3 handed game it was, Chufty, Juanda, Hellmuth. That would of been a spectacular win. Still an absolutely sick run. Here is Chufty being consoled by Hellmuth, out of all the pics this is the one I'd want framed, really captures the essence of the WSOP!


We had some great performances from our other players, but the stand out show was from Black Belt CEO Warren Wooldridge. Warren outlasted 4573 players (!!!!) to come 3rd in the $1,000 NLHE event. This was streamed live and sweated every moment of the final table, I've never been so excited! It was amazing to watch but sadly the boss couldn't fade a 3 outer AIPF and had to settle for 'just' 3rd place and $288,946. Here's an excellent final table shot of Warren:


This win made Warren our newest Brown Belt. He now has $4,000 a month to play the circuit for at least 6 months, sick! Fancy some of that? http://blackbeltpoker.com/rewards/

We ran one of the coolest promotions ever during the WSOP, the 'Vegas Prize Fund'. Out of any cashes our 11 pros made (in sponsored events), we would take 3% and share it out between anyone who was Orange or above through June and July. With Warrens 3rd place, the Prize Fund ended up at $9232.76, giving each of the 127 eligible players a $72.70 bonus just for maintaining their belt! Sad you missed this? Read on...

It wasn't just the WSOP we've done well in since my last blog; Black Belt Sam Razavi won the UKIPT Cork for just over $100k!


You have to zoom in to see the ridiculous sized patch. Thanks Stars.

Anyway, not only did Sam win, but 3 of our Orange Belts had shares in him. How? They came 1st 2nd and 3rd in a MONTHLY FREEROLL. That's right, every month we give away shares in all our pros, only available for Orange and Purple Belts:

http://blackbeltpoker.com/promotions/orange-freerolls/

Because Sam won the UKIPT, 3 Orange Belts shared out over $16,000! There's the potential for this or even more every month, so get your Orange Belt now, it's so freakin' simple.

We made the decision to move all our Academies to the stupid price of £99. This for a full days training with all our top players is just a ludicrous price. Our next one coming up is 'Poker In The Modern World' where you'll learn exactly how to get yourself set up for online poker. Essential.

http://blackbeltpoker.com/1562

Finally, just a little preview of something I've been working on:

This little baby is going to be free, too. More info to come.

So, onto what's been going on with me. (Warning: a little deep at times, but it's very therapeutic to write! If you only like reading about poker stop reading now!)

May was a sombre month as my Grandmother passed away. My Father passed suddenly about 7 years ago now and since then I always found it hard to visit her as there were just too many memories of him lying around. I feel guilty about doing that for the first few years when she really needed us as she lived closer to him, but for the past few years she moved close to my Aunt, so had regular company with that side of the family there.

The irony is I was planning on phoning her to arrange a visit, but was interjected by my aunt saying we had to go up there. We barely made it and had time to say goodbye, and within a matter of minutes she'd passed, very peacefully. Complications bought on from Pneumonia if I remember correctly, but she was in her mid 80's, so had lived a very full life. So that was quite sad.

I bought myself a Blackberry Playbook, which I'd been waiting for for months. The excitement of waiting and wanting this new gadget was immense, but after I'd finally bought it and set it up, I was lost. What do I do now? I've hardly used it, there's really no time I need it, and to be honest I've found it quite stressful adding another screen/gadget to my almost ridiculous collection and finding times to use it to justify it's worth. I've thought about getting rid of it, but it might come in handy some time? I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards selling it. If anyone wants a bargain, give me a shout.

I've still been getting more and more into my cigars, buying a new humidor and filling it up nicely. My collection is now extremely respectable:


The SMELL when opening that up, my gosh, perfect. I almost like the collecting and storing of the cigars as much as the smoking! I've cut right back since I've been unwell (more on that below) but am still regularly adding single sticks here and there to the collection. The next I want to get into is liquors.

I hosted a little cash game for mates the other week and during it started feeling ill. Mostly chronic nausea. This went on for a few days, then week, and I'm now only getting over it. It got to the point where I had a bunch of blood tests, for which I had the results today, but everything was fine (save for some high readings from my liver, but this is because I'm still a little overweight and is easily rectifiable).

So what was the reason? Well, in 2009 I was having a shitty time. Very depressed. Post-Uni blues (sounds silly if you've never had it, but image having the most fun filled few years of your life and then coming back to 'reality', it is very hard to manage) coupled with another major bereavement AND worries about my career. I couldn't take it and finally gave in, went to see my doctor, and got some tablets. It wasn't a miracle cure, but at least it helped me sleep and not feel to low. I stayed on them last year as it was still a stressful time for me, plus I still hadn't gotten over that bereavement (in fact, I didn't to any grieving at all).

This year things are a lot better, so once my last course of these tabs ran out about a month ago I decided it was time to come off them. My doctor recommended coming off of them quite quickly, but it seems like this was a bit of a mistake. There seems to be some very serious side effects from doing this and low and behold this includes nausea. I've also felt quite low because of this.

What's the solution? Well one of them is to go back on to the tablets, but I really really don't want to. I can do something about it now. So I'm a) going to ramp up my health, no bullshit this time, and b) get some counselling. I put off that Bereavement for too long and now I have this new one to contend with, there's a slightly too big of a backlog for me.

I think, with this done, I'm going to be a much happier person. I'm alright most of the time anyway, and to other people, but you have to work the kinks out! It has to be done!

Felt good to write that.

I've been playing a little poker recently, averaging out about once every couple of weeks. I'm enjoying playing evening tournaments again, something I got bored of. The local casino does a £40 freezeout every Thursday which is fun, as it's a really nice place and the first place I ever played! Got deep a couple of times but no cash, but I'll most definitely be there this Thursday.

There's a been a new venue in Reading for a couple of weeks but to be honest nothing really took my fancy there, however I decided at the last minute a couple of weeks ago I wanted to play and it being 5 mins away was the only choice.

Not my preferred tournament, it was £30 for a bunch of chips with £10 rebuys and a £20 add on. Not being any good at rebuys, I just sat there and played about 2 hands, doubling up on one and winning a big pot on the other. After the rebuy period things calmed down and I put my aggressive hat on. To finish the story quickly I won, and it felt good! Everyone was playing very timid - trying for the money, but I just raised myself onto the final table and stole so many pots. Fearlessness is definitely key in these things.

The recent new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, probably my favourite show, has stirred me into watching them all again. Very addictive, I'm already one season 6! To cope with the loss of finishing it again, I've been auditioning new sitcoms. How I Met Your Mother is in the lead right now, and with 6 seasons and 'the new Friends' tag, I'm looking forward to getting into it. Also to try out is 30 Rock and some classics, Everybody Loves Raymond and Seinfeld - I mean it would be crazy not to.

So that's pretty much everything important that's been going on. If you want to follow me on Twitter please do: http://twitter.com/1tripz1

Otherwise here is my favourite song, from my favourite album, of the year so far:


(Oh and Breakage refers to the DJ I'm listening to right now!)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

New Blog: Music and Poker

Got a little bored the other night so wrote an article. Enjoy!


Music and Poker


Walk into a cardroom or watch any poker on TV and you’ll inevitably see people listening to music at the table. This is a great idea if done for the right reasons. Occasionally though players will be doing so because they see others doing it, or even worse; to look cool.

Music a great way to accompany your live poker experience, but you must be doing it correctly.

Why?

There are three main benefits to listening to music at the table. First, it can help you relax. Listening to some soothing music can calm even the hottest headed person. Secondly, it can really help you focus. With the distractions taken away from around you, it’s much easier to take notice on what’s happening. Finally, it can stop you getting bored. Yes, we all love poker, but a cold run of cards can distract the most dedicated fan.

A non direct benefit can be misdirecting the players. If your opponents think you’re focus is elsewhere, they may try and pull some bigger moves against you. If you’re listening to music in the correct way however, you’ll have the last laugh. You can ever be extra sneaky and wear your headphones without any music playing. Just don’t let on!

How?

Turn it on and stick it in your ears you might think is the obvious answer, but you need the right set up for poker. A decent pair of headphones is essential. You want the music to be prominent in your ears, but not so loud you can’t hear someone speaking up, or so loud it damages your ears.

In ear headphones are bad for prolonged use. You’re pushing them right up against your ear drum, often resulting in tinitus (ringing). Tinitus is when your inner ear is damaged; after a while it never fully recovers.

On or over-ear headphones are the solution. Sure they look big and clunky, but we’re not here to win a fashion contest. When choosing a pair, you want them to feature noise cancelling capabilities. This means the headphones eliminate the ambient (outside) noise around you, meaning you can listen to your music at a lower volume. My Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones have served me well over the years, but at £250 a pop for the newest model, they don’t come cheap. The JVC HA-NC250 come in at a more reasonable £85 and have an excellent track record.

Music player wise, there’s tons of choices out there. For me, I like to travel light, and can load 5GB of music onto my Blackberry which is more than enough to last a tournament.

What?

Of course, music choice is very much down to taste. My preferred styles for poker are Ambient or Dubstep. Some of my favourite artists for the tables include Stars Of The Lid, Brian Eno, Burial and Clubroot.

Whatever your choice, make it relaxing and not a distraction. Don’t play your favourite rock ballards or indie anthems, you might end up folding a couple of blinds whilst you air guitar with your eyes closed (plus you’ll look ridiculous).

Etiquette

There is some basic etiquette to adhere to. Don’t have the volume up so loud it bothers other players. But most importantly, don’t let it slow you down at the tables. If you keep getting distracted and holding up the game, perhaps music whilst playing isn’t for you. Stay focused.

I couldn’t play poker without music. It’s an essential tool for my survival in tournaments and sanity in cash games. I always plan ahead however, taking the above tips into consideration, making it a benefit instead of a hindrance. Happy listening!

Monday, 9 May 2011

New Blog: Homework

Wow, nearly two whole months since my last blog. I've kept putting it off as it's been a hectic time! Settling down into the new job, new office, and finding somewhere to live. Time for a recap.

Firstly, the new job is going brilliantly, I couldn't be happier. The last few years have been a grind, but it's definitely paid off. A combination of more sensible hours, less pressure and having an actual team to work with has completely lightened my mood. Following on from the last blog, we ended up moving to the new office and it's excellent.


You might of seen it when travelling up the M4, one of the towers at Chiswick roundabout with the 'Missions Logo'. That's us! (well, on the second floor, on those 4 tables). Much more relaxing, comfortable, accessible, productive, just great. For me anyway. Couple of the guys now have to travel through London, which is always a nightmare.

For me I decided not to move into London straight away. I instead moved into a new house closer to the M4 in Reading, in a new development called 'Kennet Island', a stones throw for Madjeski Stadium. While some rough areas are only a 5 min drive away, being in a new build is super surreal! I got the master room (ensuite) for £475 all inclusive. Find that in London! Oh, the house has a bar too:

And our local is the luscious new Hilton Hotel, where we get 20% discount for being residents of Kennet Island. MBN2BME!!


London Live was a great success. We sold the event out at 400 runners, then sold it out again at 414. Throughout the whole thing I really wanted to play, but was doing my first stint a live blogger. Not something I'd really want to do again, I was fucking EXHAUSTED after the first day. I mean I was completely dehydrated. Luckily for me I had a half shift on day 1B and the Sunday I covered the 3 tables of High Roller event. Much easier! It was fun to watch some great players splashing chips around in a bit of a crapshoot. 3 tables went to 1 in a few hours and the FT didn't last long as it was chopped 5 ways! Thanks to all who attended. Hard to believe a handful of guys organised such a successful event, making live poker clubs/promoters jealous the world over! (smug alert).

For those who still haven't looked at Black Belt Poker properly, what are you waiting for! The first level after depositing, Orange Belt, has recently been revamped. There are now 4 exclusive Orange Belt Freerolls, awarding Merchandise, season tickets to our League, Academy Tickets and free stakes in our Black or Brown Belts. Incredible value! Oh, and if you work up to Black Belt, you can $10,000 a month to play the circuit. Pretty sick too.

With the more sensible hours I'm now leading, I've been able to play quite a bit of poker. Still nothing like the olden days (I would play live 4/5 days a week and grind 4+ hours a day online), but at least once or twice a week. To put that im perspective, I think I've played more this year than 2009/10 put together. Most of my sessions have been playing cash at either KC in Swindon or the Western. Results have been good, winning 7 our of my last 10 sessions. I have played a few fun tournaments though!

Black Belt sponsored a charity event called Villas 4 Vets, a charity set up and run by 2 Afghanistan soldiers. Sadly the turnout wasn't great, so I ended up going along to play. We were 7 handed and amongst the lineup was Black Belt Poker's Nik Persaud and UK superstar Toby Lewis! Toby had position on me and it was the first time I'd played against one of these young guns. Of course it was a turbo SnG, so I couldn't experience it too much, but what I was able to do was call down a little lighter than normal, confident he would C-Bet he double barrel a fish like me. I ended up getting heads up with one of the young war heroes and ended it there, giving him the prizes. Very humbling meeting this guy, 5 years younger than me, already done so much more.

I also went to play the £50 Deepstack at KC and ended up chopping it heads up! I played probably the best poker I've played in a tournament, playing a super duper aggressive LAG style and confidently so, winning so many uncontested pots. Ah, to remember the days of being a poor student, when I'd literally fold my way into the money, 1st place or go home now baby! There was however an 'incident'. A quiet, grumpyish older guy was sat at the table. I'd played him at cash before and he is basically a huge station, but nice enough. We even had a chat about his the work he does earlier in the evening.

As I said, I'd been playing super laggy. We were down to the FT bubble and playing 5 handed. With nearly 1/3 the chips at the table, I raised the button with 4c2c. He shoved from the BB, something he'd done a few times over my opening raise. I asked for a mandatory count just so I didn't look too weak, but found out I was getting 2/1 on a call. In a gambling mood, and with tons of chips (losing pot wouldn't make a difference), this was more than decent enough to call! I flipped my cards and he looked at me in total disgust. He only had QJo.

The window card was a 4, then a Q, then a 2! another 4 on the turn finished the hand and without thinking about it I put my hand over and said 'unlucky mate' (very genuinely). Noticing he didn't shake it I looked up and he called me a 'fucking prick' !!! I was super shocked, asking 'did you just call me a prick?' and he was like yeah, what you gonna do about it? He walked round the table and looked like he was gonna smack me. People quickly intervened and he left. I was in total shock, I don't even think I would of retaliated (the Uxbridge boys were there to back me up!), we're there for a friendly game, why be like that? Spoiled it a little bit, but taking it down for £64o made up for it. Obligatory pic of me stacking the chips (forward tower ftw):


I had a fun night at the Western a few weeks back too. I was playing (and busting) the evening tournament and saw that Sammy 'any two' George had come in. I went to get some chips for the cash game and heard Sammy shout 'find someone to play me heads up!'. I didn't even think about it before he added '...for £50!'. Go on then.

It was fun. He was quite animated, but also humble. Heck, you'd have to be to go from playing millions dollar pots with Tom Dwan to stressing over a £12 call against me! We played two £50 Freezeouts, I won the first, he won the second, after calling my 99 3-bet with 73ss and flopping quad 3's :).

I also won one of the Black Belt Poker league games, it was great fun! I'm not playing the rest of the games so the top spots are wide open. Winners get a % share in either Neil Channing, Sam Razavi or Richard Ashby in the WSOP ME, amazing prize. Here's my write up with a few interesting stories involving Jamie Gold and Paris Hilton:

http://blackbeltpoker.com/articles/read/League-IX-Chris-Edwards

I went to my best mates engagement party, the first one to 'grow up'. For years people have been telling me you reach 'that age' when all your mates start getting hitched. It's quite scary! Anyway, at the reception I saw the pub had a selection of Cigars, so I bought one and really enjoyed it. I've since read some reviews and bought a few to try, my favourite definitely being the Nub Cameroon. Just 4 inches long, but still takes nearly an hour to smoke and lovely smooth creamy flavours. Expensive at £10 a stick though! Have to limit myself to one a week.

Delicious.

Anna is still in the Philippines and I'm missing her like crazy. She's applied for a new student visa and will be here for some time, which is amazing. We're now waiting to see if she gets it approved. Horrible waiting game. I watched one of those immigration programs on Sky last night and they were letting loads of mugs in, she's always been very compliant, so why wouldn't they? I'm going to be crushed if she doesn't get it granted. Will be lots to think about. Here's a pic of here enjoying her homeland and looking beautiful as always:

TV wise I've been watching lots of UFC and getting back into the X Files. I was SUPER pumped for the Machida vs Couture fight and it didn't disappoint. Best knockout ever? Maybe. I've also been enjoying the Van Damme documentary. He seems like a very genuine guy with a very serious illness. My father had Bi Polar and it's not easy to cope with.

Music wise there's been lots of new bits but I'm honestly written out now so I'll just leave you with one of my favourite songs of the moment. Thanks for reading as always and send me a Facebook PM or email (chris@blackbeltpoker.com) if any questions.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

New Blog: I'm back!

Wow, nearly 2 months since my last blog and lots to catch up on!


As most know the new position I was talking about in the last blog is with BlackBeltPoker.com


My job title is Business Development Manager and I honestly couldn’t be happier with this. I had a few opportunities upon leaving my last job, but choosing with such a UK focused and innovate skin was a no brainer.


What does my job entail? Well it’s pretty much ‘what is says on the tin’, I’m going to be implementing and developing various parts of the business, both new and old. BlackBelt’s success means they have grown at a ridiculously fast rate so I’m going to help them take advantage of all their opportunities.


With that said, if anyone is interested in talking about event, club, society sponsorship, affiliate deals, private leagues/tournaments or any other type of partnership with BlackBeltPoker, drop me an email chris@blackbeltpoker.com


A little about BlackBelt, we’re on the iPoker network which is easily the biggest network in the world. It’s also currently the 4th biggest site overall and regularly makes it to 3rd. That means you can log in any time of day and find the perfect game you want to play.


Our most exciting event coming up is Black Belt London Live II.



Join Black Belt Poker to register for the best value deepstack tournament in the UK! 400 players will compete for a $100,000 prize pool with a guaranteed first prize of $20,000 with up to 20% added to individual prizes and 20 bounties up for grabs.

This really is going to be a fun event, an absolute no brainer for players from the South and a serious consideration for those a little further afield!

Next blog I'll go into a little more detail about our grading system. BlackBelt is unique, instead of offering the regular boring bonuses we offer complete training and sponsorship packages. The best way to improve your game and play the tournaments you really want to enter.

I'm still not living in London. It's SO HARD to find somewhere decent to live! So much keeps changing too, 2 of us moving in, 3 of us moving in, job worries, and now Black Belt might be moving office. So I'm currently commuting from Reading, which even though is not too far, is really draining. I don't get home till late and hardly have any time to do anything, which is why this blog has been really hard to write!

The office move is a good thing though, the office in Camden is terrible. You wont be surprised to learn that it's an easyoffice, yes owned by easyjet! Just think of their flights, ok for once in a while but you wouldn't want to do them for 8 hours a day!

We viewed another office in Brentford which would mean a complete change in where I'm looking to live; I could realistically stay in Reading. I know I want to live in London, but to begin with I'd be happy to see how my finances work in Reading. But it doesn't matter as of this moment as no new office is sorted, so my accommodation search is temporarily on hold.

I have a nice little set up in the office.

I bought a few things to stay there: The monitor is a 19" Hanns G. I have a 28" at home which I love, but it's a little unnecessary for the office as I won't be watching movies or anything. The little 19" works fine and I just dual screen with the laptop which gives me about the same workspace at the 28.

The stand which is essential for all those working on a laptop, I can't emphasise that enough. The mouse mat is a SteelSeries QcK which is amazing for the price, works so well. Then I bring my mouse and keyboard with me which is no big deal. The one thing I was also going to invest in was a pair of Gunnar Optiks, which I think I've discussed before, however I was shown a program called F.lux which automatically dims the screen in the evening giving it the same yellowish tint as the Gunnars.

I have to say it's absolutely awesome, and even better, FREE! Since using computers for lots of hours I've always had terrible eye strain and headaches, which I now know is due to super bright screens in the evening. F.lux is like an eye massage at night, plus it's real exciting when it automatically activates, you know it's getting to the end of the day!

Next month Anna comes back to the UK and I'm SO EXCITED to see her again. She went back to the Philippines at the start of the year as her visa ran out and she wanted to decide what to do. She's going to come here and study which means we'll be able to spend a lot of time together. I've really missed her.

Something a little exciting came up; the other day I had an hour long chat with the BBC about possibly assisting them on a documentary about young gamblers. That would be great fun. Still early stages but I'll keep you updated.

Other than that it's just been grinding hard in the office. I'm super determined to succeed in this role and stay with the company for a long time. Hope you can all support me!

I'll leave you with an amazing piece of music. The Jurassic Park Theme Tune slowed down 1000%. Sounds crazy but it turns it into a beautiful orchestral ambient piece. Give it a go.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

New Blog: Moving on...

Yesterday I made the announcement that I've decided to move on from PokerIdol.

It wasn't an easy decision as I enjoy the freedom this job has given me and the hard work I've put into building the brand, but the opportunity I've been given isn't one I could turn away. And that opportunity is...I can't reveal just yet. But the brand is a much better fit for me as it's aimed towards the UK market, my speciality, and has a great USP behind it. It's already done really well in it's short time and I look forward to helping it expand. My new job role is 'business development manager' and I cannot wait to start.

The best thing about the job is it's based in the London, the small team work together in an office in Camden. If I'm honest I've always wanted to move to the city for a while (see my blog 'London' from Nov) and now is the perfect time. The one thing worrying me was moving into a house share full of people I didn't know. This is always a risk and I didn't want some bad housemates ruining my experience.

However, after posting a tweet asking for housemates, I got a call from Simon who I shared with at University. The first year of my course I stayed at home due to living in the same city, so didn't really socialise with others from my subject. I moved into a large shared house with 3 guys I knew, one a friend from the course and 2 of his housemates I'd met, and then 2 others I didn't really know. The irony being that at the end of the year I was sick of the 3 I knew and much happier with the other 2.

We then found a 3 bedroom place for the third year and it was brilliant, we lived very easily together. So it was exciting when Simon called and said him and another friend from Uni had been planning on moving to North London for the past year! Absolutely perfect timing and I'm so excited I'm going to be sharing this experience with them. We're going to start looking for places next week, hopefully we can get settled in before I start as I don't want to start commuting, even for a couple of weeks.

Thanks to everyone who supported me during my time at PokerIdol, especially the team there. They are truly a great small company, one of the most honest I've ever come across, and if you're thinking of playing on the OnGame network I couldn't recommend them more.

Since my last blog I aged a year, turning 26. Scary! While last year I felt old, this year I feel young. Weird? Not really, I measure my age against what I perceive I should be doing with my life at the time. Last year I still living at home, facing at least a few more months doing so, just stating a job/continuing in an industry I wasn't sure about, single, all these things I felt I should of had sorted by that age.

But now, just a year later, I'm firmly rooted in the poker industry with invaluable confidence and knowledge, about to move to London to (hopefully) have the time of my life and am in a brilliant relationship. What a difference! It's been a fantastic 10 or so months with Anna, lots of ups with not so many lows, but sadly next week she's off back to the Philippines for a few months as her visa has run out. We're going to work hard to bring her back a few times though, hopefully permanently, and the two of us are going to work hard on our relationship to make sure nothing changes while we're apart. Thank you so much Anna, I love you :)

So, now I have four weeks of unemployment to look forward to! I was planning on doing my documentary idea but I just don't think I'm gonna have enough time, I'd rather spend time planning it once I'm settled in London. What I am going to do is write the three articles I mentioned in one of my past blogs and try to get them published. Can't wait to get cracking on those, might go to the coast for a few days of relaxation while I do them.

Not been playing any poker, but been watching a bit. Happy to see the Million Dollar Cash Game back on TV as it's always been a good cash game show. Isilidur1 being outed as Blom was a bit of an anti climax. I was hoping some of the other rumours were true, mainly it being Prahlad screwing UB or even funnier to being PH. Speaking of PH, my predictions for his move are (in no order) 1) Stars 2) Zynga 3) WSOP or 4) His own brand. I can't see him joining FTP even though he was speaking to them as they're more a cash orientated site.

I've been making a few purchases recently. The first being a Kodak ZX1 which I found for a great price on Ebay. What advances have been made in the world of camcorders! Never being into filming it's an area of technology that's largely passed me by, but with the prospect of doing documentaries I decided to invest in something half decent. The ZX1 is a simple little thing, but records upto 10 hours of HD film which is just right.

Next I bought an iPhone 4 and then returned it 24 hours later. Yes, the apps are crazy for it, which is what bought me to getting on, but when I tried setting it up as a business phone I wasn't happy at all with the results. Two big things; 1) You can't select all emails as read, I mean what a simple thing, but if you get 20+ a day it's going to be mega annoying. 2) you can't easily sync the To-Do list from iCal, which I use to run my life, so that was the deal breaker. I missed my Blackberry straight away, so went and got the brand new 9780. I actually prefer the old Bold, but the new apps for the 9780 are great (Twitter's own app especially) and of course it's perfect for business. So I guess I'm a Blackberry man for life!

I also bought my first tapes, the Pyramids 'Wvndrkmmer' album. A great idea and beautifully presented. To play the tapes I decided to buy a vintage tape deck that would look as nice as it sounded. I found a good condition Technics deck, instantly falling in love with its 70's styling:

So nice looking! Sadly though it arrived damaged. The sender refunded me instantly which was nice (and a little suspect) but I am going to try and get it working. Luckily though some digging around found my last ever casette walkman, which was boxed and in great working order. Here it is above the Pyramids album set:

Have eaten out a couple of times in last few weeks. I finally had my first sushi experience at Yo! Sushi. It was really nice although I preferred the cooked food rather than the fish. I then convinced my friends to eat with me and Anna at the local Grosvenor. Most people don't realise that every casino has a really good, reasonable restaurant inside it! We made it a double celebration as they'd just got engaged (Congrats Marc and Punam!) and it was my birthday. As expected it was empty, so we could relax and enjoy our food slowly, just a few hundred yards from all the chain restaurants charging crazy prices for boring crap getting you in an out as fast as possible!

Tonight me and Anna are going to TGI's as I have a craving for the JD ribs, they're soooooo good. We'll then go for a Shisha.

Thanks again for reading and here's to a much more exciting blog in 2011!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Blog: Obligatory

Yes, the obligatory new years blog. I've done one every year I've been writing (except 2009) and it helps but the year perspective.

What I like to do it look back at the previous years resolutions and see how close I've come to completing them. This time last year I was struggling, having left my last position in September and not hooking up with PokerIdol until a couple of weeks into January. I guess my main resolution for 2010 was to get my career sorted.

I'm extremely happy with how I've done. PokerIdol gave me an amazing opportunity with what was some interesting, but fairly flaky experience. It was a slow starter for me, but over the year I feel I've become a completely different person, a much more confident, relaxed young professional. While I've struggled in some areas of the job, I feel I've overal helped the company and have been extremely proud working for them. PokerIdol really strive to innovate and improve the playing experience and I'm thoroughly looking forward to 2011 with them.

So time to set some resolutions to complete this year. I'll list them out and go through them each in some detail.

1. Advance my experience/career/results as much as I have done over the last year.
2. Work in a more efficient manner.
3. Take up a martial art.
4. Become healthy.
5. Complete at least one large personal project, either launching a small business, finishing a poker documentary or releasing a piece of music.

1. As I said earlier, I feel I've moved forward considerably this year, but I want to keep going and either be in a more senior position next year or to of really increased my results. This will be tough, but with some real hard work balanced with an excellent non work life it's definitely possible.

2. Regular readers of my blog will of heard me complain about my efficiency more than once. Spending 10 hours working with only about 6-7 of them being productive is just no way to live! Imagine what could be done with those extra hours.

3. This links into number 4 as well but I've specifically wanted to start a martial art pretty much all my life, just never having the time or money. Now I have, I've spent the last year or so deciding which one to take and have come down to a few decisions. Wing Chun, Mui Thai, BJJ or traditional boxing.

4. Yes, the cliched one on everyones list. This year has been bad for my health. I started alright, but adjusting to the work load of this job and being inefficient has made me terrible. I've stopped exercising, become lazy and have been eating terribly. I'm on the verge of becoming a bit of a slob really, but my effort over the last couple of years hasn't completely worn off, so I should be able to pull it back fairly easily. I don't want any crazy results, just a couple of inches off my waist and a decent level of physical fitness. Adding a Martial Art to my list of other sporting activities (squash, golf, gym) will help keep things mixed up and interesting.

5. While 2010 was successful career wise, it's been extremely poor creative wise, which has killed me. First and foremost I'm a creative person, but my most productive thing this year has been this blog, hence the long, media rich posts! The two types of project I've been working on the last couple of years are business plans and documentary ideas. Both really interest me and I think I have great ideas. Then of course music has been a passion for years. I want to have something big by the end of this year I can be proud of completing.

As of now the documentary idea is the one I'm most likely to do and the one I feel most passionate about. I have two main ideas, a small one that will be fairly easy for me to do myself and a huge one which will be near impossible to do unless I have a lot of backing. Of course to get that I'll need a track record and therefore am going to start making lots of small films, whenever possible.

On new years eve-eve I was finally in the position to play some poker so headed to the new poker room in Basingstoke. They were playing a £1/£2 dealers choice cash game (NLHE, PLO and Irish). While my live cash game is rusty, and I'm still unexperienced in PLO and have never really played Irish, I decided to sit for a while. The players were all fairly weak passive and I did well building my starting stack up, but ended up even after playing for a little too long.

I decided to take another shot yesterday and decided it would be the setting of my first attempt at a mini film. Below is the result.


Video editing has never been a strength of mine, I used to use some very advanced programs on the PC and create some very bodged jobs for Music BA Coursework. However now I'm blessed with a mac and the very easy to use iMovie. I picked it up very easily (I guess experience of various audio and video editors help) and am really happy with the result.

Of course if I was to do anything serious, I'd use a more professional editing suite and get a proper editor in to do the job, but at least this way I can get some experience myself from a directoral point of view. This video was shot using my mac webcam and the camera on my Blackberry, so it's not the best quality. I'm getting a 32gig iPhone this week though, which has decent quality video, but I might also purchase one of those small flip HD cameras. Anyway, feedback on the video would be GREATLY appreciated. Go on, just fill out that little comment box.

So on to what else I've been getting upto since the last blog.

Christmas was really nice this year. The family is settled into the big house and all the building work is finally over. Anna came over which was awesome, the first time I've spent the holidays with a girl and it was definitely worth the wait.

New year was really quiet, Anna was working, and just a four of us was at my mate Marc's house. Still, we got the beer pong going which is always fun.


Movie wise I've not been watching much, although I did see the film 'Primer'. Made in 2004, it cost just $7,000 to make! A very geeky sci fi film, but I found it quite entertaining. I certainly didn't find it any less enthralling than Inception which cost $160 MILLION to make. Jesus.

I've had an interesting musical year in 2010, finding new artists has been my second creative release. To see my top 10's, head over to my last.fm profile here: http://www.last.fm/user/1tripz1

Other than that 2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year. Thanks to everyone who's been reading and have a cracking 2011.