Grounded, by Julian Thew

julian-thew-thumb.jpgChoosing between playing the San Remo EPT and the Grand Final at Monte Carlo wasn't too difficult; both would boast a first prize well in excess of €1,000,000, one would cost €5000, the other €10,000 and last but not least, one would have a field that was sure to be significantly softer than the other. You guessed it I opted for the Italian Job, but unfortunately I hadn't counted on an Icelandic volcano grounding all flights out of the UK. I was due to fly out on the Thursday and managed to re-book a flight from London at 6am on Friday which would get there in time for my Day 1b start; alas I knew before lights out in my Gatwick hotel room that the morning would see me heading north not south, home on the train instead.

The week before had seen me travel the short trip from Nottingham to Coventry for Leg 3 of the UKIPT. Sadly, Level 5 was the last I played, a bad day at the office culminating in running T-T with a short stack right into kings. These two, severely curtailed trips don't really count as an article so I guess I should keep you abreast of how I'm finding life as an online grinder.

Most people who know me on the circuit will know that I've pretty much always shied away from the online scene. Sure, I'd dabbled over the years, but always had something else going on; feeding and watering myself, feet up on the sofa, a spot of TV, roughhousing with the kids, marital discourse, often all five at once.

Being a PokerStars Team Pro means that I'm required to put some hours in every week and this clearly required a more structured approach. My initial thoughts were that I'd focus most of my attention on the cash games, starting off in the low limits and gradually moving up. Reality though has seen me flit between cash, SNG's and MTT's. A typical day finds me getting a couple of hours in in the morning and then a longer session in the evening, once the kids are tucked up in bed.

I'm playing up to four or five tables and tend to play a mix of cash games and SNG's in the morning and MTT's at night. I still feel I'm struggling with the balance of performance vs. number of tables in the tournaments; on one hand, the volume means that by playing seven or eight tournaments in an evening I might have a deep run in one or two, the downside being that I'm unable to focus anything like 100% on all tables. Hopefully that will come.

The bottom line, so far, has seen me breaking even in the cash games, just ahead in the SNG's, with the best profits coming from the MTT's. This is probably what I would have predicted and pretty much mirrors my live game. The online MTT's have that same lure of bigger money up top and an instant big score. It's still very early days of course and I would like to put more time and effort into the cash games; sometimes though, It just feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to really immerse myself in this new world.

I'm hoping that all of this practise might translate into a final table or two at the upcoming SCOOP festival. I've earmarked five nights of play, predominantly at the lower and mid level buy-ins & I'll also be hosting one of the final tables, Event 21L.

All of this means that obviously San Remo just wasn't meant to be and that most likely I'll be taking a seat next week in the swankiest cardroom of them all, the Grand Ballroom, Monte Carlo Bay Hotel.

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Brad Willis
@BradWillis in PokerStars news