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 profile here:

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