Grinding Hard & The Mental Game of Poker

May 9, 2012 1 comment

Just over a week into the month and things are looking pretty good. My friend Dave and I made a bet with each other to help motivate us to put in some solid volume. My side of the bet is to play 150k hands this month which was already one of my goals but a little added incentive can’t hurt. Dave’s is to play 60k hands (his is lower for various reasons). The bet is won if one of us hits their goal and the other doesn’t; if neither or both make it it’s a wash. At stake is $500 to the winner and $500 to a charity of their choice. I felt comfortable when the bet was made but then went through a few days of “oh noes” when it dawned on me that a) I was already behind pace and b) the most hands I have ever played in a month was around the 130k mark – and that was a December month with SNE waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. Now though I am back feeling comfortable for a few reasons:

  • I have already played 30k hands and while this is slightly behind pace, I only need to get in slightly over 5k hands per day. Totally doable.
  • I have no travel plans for the month and no significant time consuming events coming up.
  • I’m feeling really good about my game and my health both physically and mentally – this is one month I don’t envision getting burned out in.
MTD May 9th 2012

Month to Date

Going into a bit more detail on that last point – I have been eating exceptionally healthy for the last few days and plan to cut out alcohol entirely for the rest of the month. Both of these add up to having far more poker energy and will help me stay alert at the tables for longer. In addition to this I have been working my way through The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler. It’s a fantastic book. It’s not the easiest read – in fact I have hadThe Mental Game of Poker it downloaded on my iPad for a few months and it took my most recent and most concerted effort to get the book to stick. It’s not a book that you can just read cover to cover and expect to get help out of. There are exercises, writing tools, processes and learning models that require constant work. It’s worth it.

I now begin every poker session with a short warm-up which constitutes of getting myself into the right state of mind and looking over some pre-written notes about my overall game plan. I end sessions with a short cool down which is logging my results into a spreadsheet with a few ratings on my play and comments of the session. I focus more on keeping my attention on the tables and not on twitter, skype or reddit. 2p2 being down is certainly helping in this regard. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what is possible by applying the techniques within The Mental Game of Poker and am already noticing a marked improvement in my play. My results have been pretty good too but as they are subject to great variance I am learning to apply less weighting on day to day results and more on how well I play.

In other news it’s that time of year again at PokerStars and the SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) is upon us. Day 3 has just completed and I’ve only played two events – but all the omaha ones are yet to come and I don’t plan to miss any of them. I’ll make another post detailing my schedule a bit more. I also get to host two events as a part of my role as a part of team online – I will be hosting event #24 PLO 1R1A ($11/$109/$1,050) and event #36 PLO 6-max ($55/$530/$5,200). The structure is great in that anyone can give the SCOOP a shot starting out with their low events – so jump in and I’ll see you at the final table!

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Poker Update: April Roundup + May Goals

May 2, 2012 2 comments

It’s been too long since my last one of these. April was a pretty good month all things considered. I almost exclusively played 2/4 and 3/6 and while I didn’t run too well, things could certainly have been worse. I felt like I was playing really well and my game is as good as it has ever been.

MTD April 2012

I’m going into May wanting it to be an epic month – mostly in terms of volume but hopefully with results to follow. Day 1 got off to a great start with me putting in almost 8k hands – not a pace I expect to sustain but I would be happy with anything north of 5k/day average for the month. On that note I should come up with some goals. I was reading an article earlier that mentioned a person is considerably more likely to follow through with goals they set if a) they are tangible (ie “I will play 150k hands” and not “I will play more”) and b) if there is a sense of accountability. That accountability can come from anywhere – a bet with a friend, a training partner, friends/family or in my case, the blogosphere. The thought behind it is that if you put your goals out there and have other people know what they are you are far more likely to follow through and succeed because there is an inherent desire within people to want to please others / not disappoint others. So, on that note, goals!

  • 150k hands of poker
  • 8 poker videos (5-6 for UltimateGrinders and 2-3 for PokerStrategy)
  • Follow through with C25K – I’ve been out of shape and inactive for too long and this seems like a good way to get going again

That’s it. I’ve found making too many goals is unrealistic and results in me trying to spread myself too thin and ending up not getting anything done. If I can do the above 3 i’ll be very happy and will look at adding something new for June.

Hope everyone else had a good April and I wish you all good luck for May 🙂

Categories: Poker Tags: , , ,

I’m getting married!

April 20, 2012 6 comments

I’ve had a draft of a post written for a week now, started while in Queenstown, entitled “Some quick food & drink reviews of Queenstown”. So when I came to make this blog entry I had to decide between writing a post about my recent engagement or completing the one on food and drink. This was no easy decision. I’ve recently somewhat come into a smidgen of this annoying thing known as ‘maturity’ and that small portion of my being decided to take the reigns and prioritize the news of upcoming nuptials over the news of an awesome steak. Don’t fret – I’ll post of the steak and other amazing foods and foodspots soon enough.

Okay then – back on track. Yes, Puneet and I are engaged. Yay! I proposed to her on our last night in Queenstown but it isn’t official until it’s on Facebook, Twitter and my Blog – right? right. Without getting  too mushy gushy about it all I’ve chosen to document the evening via photography:

Walking to duckies

After an amazing day spent in Glenorchy, Kinloch and Paradise we get back to Queenstown and decide to feed some duckies. We buy some food and head down to the lake

View

Seriously, what an amazing place. We walked out onto the rocks and were loving life, the ducks and the scenery

Especially happy

Someone seemed especially happy. I had been carrying the ring with me all day (the box is not an easy thing to conceal on your person!) looking for the right time/place and when I didn't find it in a place literally called "Paradise" I was a bit worried. Then we were here and it was perfect so I popped the question, she almost fell into the water, but didn't, and said yes

Champagne

We headed back to our hotel room and called the families then went down to the bar and ordered two glasses of some fine champagne. The hotel decided to just give us the bottle. Thanks Sofitel Queenstown! 🙂

Drinking Champagne

*clink* Cheers!

FIRE

After our drink we headed over to the Bunker for dinner. When we arrived wouldn't you know it but the concierge from the Sofitel had called ahead and organized another glass of champagne for us. What were they, trying to get us drunk or something? I unfortunately didn't get any photos of the place which is a shame because it was spectacular - very rustic with several fireplaces and an indoor/outdoor setting for their upstairs bar. Trust the one photo I did take to be of fire though - I love fire - but the food was excellent and I highly recommend the place either for a cocktail upstairs or food in the restaurant.

And there you have it. The next day we flew home. The perfect end to a perfect trip.

My favourite city in the world: Queenstown

April 7, 2012 6 comments

I thought long and hard before creating this post with the title that it has. It’s a big call, especially given how many great places I have travelled to. I thought of the obvious places like Rome, Paris, Sydney, San Diego, Vegas, Madrid and then some less obvious but still amazing places like Playa del Carmen, Hamilton Island, Silver Star and Racha Island. But my fourth and current visit to Queenstown has proven its place at the top of my list. I surprised Puneet with the trip this Easter long weekend (she knew we were going somewhere but not where, at least until the damn fools at the aereporto check-in counter gave it up). The city is indescribable. From the pristine water to the friendly locals to the backdrop of mountains surrounding the town and everything in between it is nothing short of perfection.

Queenstown Lake

The air is clean and during the cooler months the smell of fireplaces burning all around town envelops the town. There is so much to do: if you’re into the great outdoors then you’ll find no shortage of adventures or if you prefer to spend your time indoors there are a plethora of quaint restaurants, bars and places to chill out. An obvious favourite of mine is Wine Tastes the wine tasting centre in the middle of town. The idea behind it is that upon entering you are given a card which you can then insert into any one of the many machines surrounding the edge of the restaurant littered with wine bottles and descriptions to get either a taste, half glass or full glass of the particular wine. It is an excellent way to taste wine and the little touches of being able to order cheese or dip platters as well as the warm decor only adds to it’s charm.

This isn’t going to be a particularly long entry, and I will be sure to update at least once more on the specifics of what we did while here but there are two things that have excited me greatly this time that did not on any prior trips. The first is the availability and awesomeness of the Bluff Oyster. I had never heard of it until on this trip when we were walking throughout the streets of town and written in chalk on every specials board of every restaurant was “BLUFF OYSTERS AVAILABLE NOW” or “BLUFF OYSTER SEASON HAS BEGUN”. And if the restaurant didn’t have a specials board, they pulled out a board just to announce the arrival and availability of the bluff oyster. Needless to say I was intrigued.

A little online research of the bluff oyster found countless references to it being the best oyster in the world or, if the reviewer was particularly nitty, it fell to the pitiful rank of one of the best oysters in the world. So, today with lunch, I ordered up half a dozen of the bad boys:

Bluff Oysters

Outstanding. 10/10. The best oyster (perhaps the best thing ever) I have eaten. For starters they were enormous. The were creamy, but not too creamy, especially for an oyster of the size. They were intense in flavour. The first thought that came to mind was “this is a sydney rock oyster on steroids”. They were served with a sherry vinaigrette but they didn’t need it and I didn’t use it. They were perfect as is or with a bit of lemon. Holy moly. You probably think i’m overselling these things, but i’m not. I’ll be eating them every day for the rest of the trip, that’s for sure.

I mentioned two things but the second doesn’t seem all the exciting (at least not yet) compared to what I’ve just written. Tomorrow we’re heading out on a private fishing trip with Clearwater Fishing for 5 hours – something I have wanted to do ever since my friend Daniel went on one in Sydney a couple of months ago. I’ll definitely be taking photos and reporting back with a trip report after the fact but for now i’ll just end with: Queenstown is the nuts and to be continued…

p.s I also found a cool tree:

Tree!

PokerStars Team Online!

March 30, 2012 8 comments

This post is coming from a very good place – I have been asked to become a part of Team PokerStars – Specifically the “Team Online” subdivision (I accepted, naturally). This has been a goal of mine for a long time now – originally it was to be sponsored by a website and then it became more specific to be sponsored by Stars. Part of the reason they chose me is because of this blog and the following it has gathered, so a very big thank you to everyone reading this right now. I must say that when I began this blog I had dreams of it becoming large enough to garner notice but it was always more of a pipe dream than something that seemed realistic.

I’m honoured and humbled to have been asked to be a part of PokerStars Team Online and will do my very best to represent my position with the site both here in the Australia & New Zealand region as well as around the rest of the world both online and off.

I was asked to answer a few questions regarding this Team Online assignment and I think snippets of the answers will be posted on the PokerStars.com Blog but I’ll post the full responses here for those interested in what becoming a part of team online means to me + what I hope to achieve being on the team:

PokerStars Team Online

1. How do you feel about becoming a member of Team PokerStars Online?
I feel incredibly humbled and honoured to have been chosen to be a part of Team PokerStars Online. It has been a dream of mine for a while now and to actually see it come true is an incredible feeling.

 

2. What do you hope to bring to the game of poker in ANZ?
Currently the main game of poker is No Limit Hold’Em with PLO being a distant second. It is like this in most places in the world but I would like to close the gap between the two and bring more popularity to the wonderful game of PLO. I truly believe that the game is more fun, complex, interesting and challenging and that all poker players should learn to play it.

 

3. What can we expect from you in 2012?
In 2012 I hope to continue to advance as a poker player putting in a lot of volume on PokerStars.com eventually leading up to reaching SNE for the third year in a row. I’d love to work away from the tables as well on increasing the popularity of PLO both in the ANZ region and worldwide.

 

4. How do you think your blog readers will react to the signing?
My blog readers have been incredibly supportive ever since its creation over a year ago. I believe they will be happy for me and eager to see what I can and will do with my new position as a part of the team. I appreciate and value the support of my blog readers incredibly highly.

 

5. If the public should know one thing about Roy Bhasin the man, what would it be? And how about GodlikeRoy the poker player?

 

As a man it would be that I am always eager to try new things and expand my horizons. Whether it be travelling to a new place, eating a new type of food, attempting a new activity or anything in-between. Much in the same veign as that the one thing about me as a poker player is that I am always trying to adapt and am open-minded about all forms and types of poker. I will play try any variant, any format (tournament, cash, SNG) and any number of players (FR, 6max, HU) as well as all ranges of starting stack sizes. I find this approach to poker more interesting and it allows me to stay fresh at all times.  Basically, I just love poker.
So there you have it! As you can imagine this is an incredibly exciting time in my life and a great opportunity for me. I’ll be making a few more posts in the upcoming weeks about what else I have been up to over here along with a well overdue poker update. There is also an upcoming promotion for those in Australia that will be revealed in the coming weeks which I will be a part of – stay tuned 🙂 Hope everyone is well! Cheers!
Edit: Here’s a link to the article on the PokerStars Blog

Trip Review: Philip Island & The Penguin Parade

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the highlights of our recent Melbourne trip was the day we spent at Philip Island. For those who don’t know, Philip Island is a 90 minute drive south of Melbourne accessible by driving over a short bridge. The island is famous for their nightly penguin parade where the world’s smallest penguins waddle in from their day hunting for dish in the ocean across the sandy beach to their burrowed homes among the hillside. Super cute. Aside from the penguins there was a koala sanctuary, heritage farm on a nearby island and several charming beaches. It’s quite the place.

All seven of us set out at midday after picking up the keys to our rented Toyota Tarago. Puneet was charged with driving, I was in charge of directions and the rest were in charge of staying out of trouble. We all failed. I kid, I kid, it was quite the success actually.

Our first stop was Churchill Island. You access the island via another small bridge just off the main part of Philip Island. The main (only?) attraction here is a heritage farm. None of us really knew what to expect and this stop was a part of a package deal that we’d booked, we all mostly wanted to see the penguins. But we were pleasantly surprised. This place was awesome. For starters it had spectacular water views that appeared behind enormous green fields.

Churchill Island

Churchill Island

Churchill Island 2

Churchill Island

Churchill Island 3

Churchill Island

The animals were charming and ranged from sheep to ducks to horses to chickens to turkeys and our favourite of all – their border collie sheep dog. We managed to catch the dog in action as they have a daily show where he rounds up the sheep – it was awesome to watch. After he’d done his work his trainer decided to show us it’s not just sheep he can round up and had him chase down the two turkeys within the enclosure. If you’ve never seen a turkey bolt for it’s life you are missing out on one of life’s funniest experiences. The only way I can explain it is if you can imagine the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail after he had lost both arms running for his life, jumping back and forth from one foot to the other.

We were in tears. It was just one of the turkeys too. The other one was smart enough to realise that if he just stood still the dog would stop trying to chase him down and round him up. Not the most clever turkey to have lived but oh so funny. I wish we took some photos or video footage but we were too captivated to consider that. So instead, here’s a duck:

Ducky

Ducky

Next stop was the koala sanctuary. This place was pretty cool but not the most exciting koala sanctuary that I’ve been to, especially since I grew up only a few minutes away from the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. A few photos:

Sleepy Koala

Sleepy Koala. Actually he's just a normal koala - all they do is get high on eucalyptus leaves and sleep all day.

Koala Daniel eating some Eucalyptus..

Koala Daniel eating some Eucalyptus..

Koala Daniel is one happy chappy

Koala Daniel is one happy chappy

After the koala sanctuary we were starting to get hungry so we made a dinner reservation and headed into the beach side town to kill half an hour  before we ate. Once again not really knowing what to expect we were blown away when we stumbled upon this fantastic beach:

Beach at Phillip Island

Beach at Phillip Island

Dinner was pretty lackluster. We went to Infused based on some good reviews and the fact that we could get a reservation and they were opening early. Service was bad, cocktails were undrinkable and the starters were mediocre at best. The mains were all around excellent though which at least let us end the meal on a high note.

From dinner we rushed to the penguin parade as we were starting to get short on time. We unfortunately had to miss “the nobbies” which is a place at the edge of the island where you apparently get spectacular ocean views and get to see seals close up. Oh well, it’s a good excuse to head back! The penguin parade itself was incredible. They didn’t allow any photos or video to be taken while there so I have nothing to show you but I highly, highly recommend it. Despite it being a true, hot Australian summer day the evening/night got down to very cold temperatures, probably because of the chilling winds blowing up from Antarctica. I googled a couple of images to give you an idea of what we were looking at while there and just how small these penguins were!

Penguin Parade

Penguins!

Penguins!

More Penguins!

 

All in all it was a fantastic trip and I highly recommend a visit to Philip Island for anyone wanting to get out of Melbourne for the day.

2012 Aussie Millions Recap + A Restaurant Review: The Atlantic

February 13, 2012 3 comments

That time of year has come and gone again where pros and recreational players from all around Australia (+ those game enough to travel from anywhere else in the world) came together for the Aussie Millions Poker Championship in Melbourne. It’s always a different experience for everyone who comes: some grind a tonne of cash, some play all the tourneys, some just the Main Event and others stop by just for the fun non-poker related activities. For me and the group of friends I was staying with it was mostly a few tourneys + a lot of non-poker related fun. This included a bunch of fantastic meals, a trip to the aquarium and a road trip to Philip Island to see the penguin parade not to mention some more off the beaten track Melbourne exploration. Well I say “off the beaten track” but in reality it was still all very central and beatenly tracky. The thing is — at least when it comes to poker players — anything further than a 5 minute walk away from the casino is basically the outback. So we hopped on our kangaroos and discovered (or re-discovered where others had told us to go, and by others i mean the internet) a few funky bars and one particularly awesome coffee/breakfast joint (ok, this one was recommended by a real person, thanks to Jay “seabeast” Kinkade for recommending it on 2p2!).

We had rented a 3br apartment across the road from Crown where we all stayed. It was Puneet and I, Gavin (Gavz101) and his gf Olivia, Mike (gordo16) and his lady friend Emma and Daniel (he plays euro sites so he has no screen name) and his female counterpart, his 27″ monitor.

Puneet and I were only there for eight days, as were most of the others, so that in itself didn’t leave for a lot of time to fit in cash games, tournaments + other stuff. I personally restricted myself to two tournaments and zero cash games. It wasn’t so much a planned restriction but when there were other amazing and more fun things to do the prospect of grinding live poker just wasn’t high on the list. Besides, I was able to at least muster together the motivation to put in a few hours playing online each day. Daniel and I found ourselves waking up at 7-8am most mornings, walking down to St. Ali for some breakfast + amazing coffee then returning home to put in a few hours of poker. Those sessions definitely stemmed my already limited desires to play live cash.

I played the $5k Chinese poker event as well as the $2.5k PLO. I failed to cash in either but both were fun events and I had swapped 5% with both Daniel and Mike who placed 6th and 7th respectively in the PLO. Also congrats to Mike for placing 2nd in the Chinese poker tourney. I forget Mike, did you get a trophy for that? (excuse the inside joke). The only other notable result was Gavz bubbling the main event by a handful of spots.

On the food and drink side of things we managed to hit up quite a few places: Flower Drum, Spice Temple, Movida, Movida Aqui, Lucky Chan, The Atlantic and St. Ali. I’d like to review them all but that would take forever so I’ll start with one or two and add the rest either as smaller/quicker reviews and/or will post them later as I have more time. Let’s start with The Atlantic:

The Atlantic is a restaurant specialising in seafood (surprise surprise) within Crown along the Southbank side. I went here three times, all for lunch, and all were excellent. In addition to the restaurant part of the venue they also have an oyster bar and a downstairs cocktail lounge called The Den. I didn’t try either but Puneet and Emma went to the cocktail lounge one night while Mike and I were in tourneys for a drink and said it was very nice. Despite not trying the oyster bar per se, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to order oysters off the menu each time I went. They had four options: Cowell Bay (South Australia), Duck Bay (Tasmania), Cloudy Bay (Tasmania) and Moreton Island Rock (New South Wales). They varied in flavour and texture but all were excellent, very fresh, and perfectly shucked.

Oysters at The Atlantic

Oysters at The Atlantic

The food was consistently very good. Twice we ordered individual dishes and the third time we ordered a bunch of their sharing plate options, the food was great in all instances. The Smoked Slow Roasted Quail with grilled figs, rocket salad, quail egg and blasamic jus gras was my favourite starter and of all the mains that I had and tried the Steamed Wild Barramundi with confit fennel, blood orange, fennel foam and pink peppercorn powder was the best. Drinks went off without a hitch too with all the wine we ordered being great not to mention the excellent cocktails. I’ll give the food & drink an 8.5/10.

Steamed Barramundi from The Atlantic

Steamed Barramundi from The Atlantic

Service was a bit of a mixed bag. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t exceptional either. A couple of times we had to wait exceptionally long to place our orders or ask for something else but for the most part it was decent enough. On one occasion our waiter or the manager deduced we were poker players and it was a lunch right before the Chinese poker event Mike and I were playing so he immediately ran to ask the kitchen to rush our food out – that was a nice touch. Overall I give the service a 7.5/10.

The Ambiance of the restaurant was incredibly pleasant. Everything from the decor, layout, lighting and presentation of the space to the indoor/outdoor seating areas and individual rooms that gave you a very private dining experience worked wonderfully together. I sat in three completely different areas each time we went and none were even close to the others. They have a large space and use it very well — it’s not just one giant seating area with a bunch of tables. It’s far enough away from the gaming floor that you could convince yourself you’re not even at a Casino, especially if you enter from the Southbank side. I give the Ambiance a 9/10.

The Engine Room at The Atlantic

The Engine Room at The Atlantic

Value for money is always a tricky one. You can usually expect to pay a premium for any restaurant located within or in close proximity to a casino (especially one as prestigious as Crown which prides itself on offering high-end dining). The Atlantic is no exception but it certainly doesn’t use this fact as an excuse to unreasonably inflate their prices either which is refreshing. It’s definitely not a cheap eat, or a “cafe style” lunch but for a bit of a splurge and consistently good food it lives up to expectations. I’ve definitely had worse food for the same or more money and comparing it to the other options available in and around Crown it fares well. Oysters will set you back $3.50 to $4.50 each with a dozen ranging from $38 to $48 depending on the variety. Starters hover around the $25-$30 range and most main courses hit around the $40-$45 mark. Exceptions are the crayfish platter or “today’s catch” which are both sold at market price. All things considered I give The Atlantic an 8/10 for value for money. If the food wasn’t as good as it was this number would definitely drop quite quickly.

Verdict: I give The Atlantic a 33/40. If you’re in or near Crown and you like seafood, this is the place to go. I’ll definitely be returning.

After the Aussie Millions we returned home and Gavin and Olivia came too to spend a few days in sunny rainy Sydney. We made it out to the Hunter Valley one night where we hit up some wineries and had an incredible meal at Muse (more on this later). On the one day of sun we had we took full advantage: an afternoon at Bondi Beach, evening hanging out in our local park by the water and by night we had a feast. I BBQ’d some chicken wings then cooked my infamous rib-eye’s inside. Gavz and Liv made one of the best chocolate cakes in existence and Puneet was on cocktail duty. A pretty much perfect night.

Cake & Cocktail Production

Cake & Cocktail Production

I have much more to say and share but for now I’ll wrap this post up. My plans for the immediate future are more online grinding for a week until I head to India for 8 days for a cousin’s wedding. I haven’t been back for a few years (far too long!) and i’m sure the wedding will be amazing so i’m incredibly excited — i’ll have to remember to take plenty of photos and post some up when I return. Hope everyone is well – Cheers!