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Skalie’s Diary …- By Jon “Skalie” Kalmar (UK Sponsored Pro)

On a Mission – Day 1

It is widely known that I am currently on a terrible run of luck. I have written about the run and many players have witnessed it for themselves just recently. This has at times also led to me tilting and leading to bad play – all compounding the situation.

So much so, that I have neglected my blog. It is not easy writing about losing all the time and besides – it gets to a point where either people don’t believe you or simply can’t be bothered to listen.

This is by no means my first bad run, but it does not make it easier to handle.

With the pressure of a living up to a sponsorship deal and a quickly diminishing bankroll, things need to turn. I need some good luck or at least a lack of bad luck, and more importantly find a winning formula again.

During my time in St. Kitts recently, for TioKev’s wedding, a drunken conversation with Padraig Parkinson led to me setting some goals. Nothing outrageous, no ludicrous claims of winning 2 bracelets blah blah blah, but simply to finally treat poker as my job.

From this I set myself a mission. To spend six weeks in Vegas determined to make a healthy profit.

Almost everyone that I have told I am off to Vegas for 6 weeks has said “ya jammy bugger”.  However, for the first 3 weeks, or at least until I am joined by Kila and the Ladbrokes contingent there will be no gambling, drinking or succumbing to any other of the Vegas temptations. I will simply spend around 12 hours a day at the poker table.

At least that’s the plan.

I will be doing daily updates of how I am getting on here starting today.

Day 2 – Wednesday 3rd of June.

Back in January when I was running well, I took advantage of the Virgin Atlantic sale. I got a return upper class trip to Vegas for a bargain price. Admittedly, had I been booking the flight in recent weeks I’d have been flying a transatlantic equivalent of Queasy jet, (shudder).

Things could not have started better. Bev Pace (cbass) gave me a lift to Gatwick and the M25 was amazingly clear. Check-in was a doddle. I got to the Virgin lounge and it was truly amazing. Free fry up, massage and haircut then it was time to jump on the plane.

By far the best service and comfiest seats I have ever had the pleasure to experience on a plane. Slept for a large chunk of it and arrived refreshed and ready to go. I was feeling good.

Due to my play on the evil tables this time last year I found an offer for 5 free nights at the Rio (no strings attached by the looks of things). While checking in I asked for an extra night. They said if I wanted to check in via the VIP room I would no doubt get that comped too. Hmmmmmmm I don’t need temptation I will just pay for it.

I went to the Amazon room to play some cash, card dead was not the word. In 3 hours I saw AK once and pocket 3’s. Still it’s hard to lose much when you’re sitting out. I quit 150 bucks down and wandered over to the Bellagio. I pick up kings early on and when the flop comes 2 3 5 all hearts (me holding the king of hearts) it wasn’t hard to call an all in of 300 bucks. A 2 on the turn meant his pocket 3’s were plenty despite making my flush on the river. Things went from bad to worse and the usual 2 and 4 outers continued through the evening. Then the tilt monster struck. I raised with pocket 10’s to $70, and was re-raised to $270. I call. The flop comes 8 high and my opponent bets 300. I push for 1200 which he quickly calls. His aces were plenty and I refused to buy back in.

I lie in bed pondering why I even wanted to see the flop.

I am currently writing this toying with playing the $2000 NL at the Rio. I am leaving it till last minute to buy in. If I miss it I will play cash, if I make it in time maybe I was destined to play.

One thing that did go right tho. I never so much but put a dollar in a poker machine or was tempted by a beer…Ok I was a little tempted.

Day 3 – Friday 5th of June

As I am registered for the $5k event at the Rio on Saturday I thought I’d go play the $1000 event at the Bellagio. This is a one dayer instead of the 3 day $2500 event at the Rio. I set off early and thought I’d try a little cash while I wait for it to start. Despite it not even being midday there was still quite a wait for the cash. I locked a seat up and instead played a $240 satellite for the $1000.

Now when you are running bad at poker it strangely cheers you up when you find a fellow player sharing your misery. I’m not saying I want to hear about his bad beats, I don’t. (and I don’t want to hear yours either so please don’t tell me, I can’t even pretend to be interested anymore) It’s just that sometimes it’s nice not to be alone, and poker is very lonely when you’re losing. It can get you down even more when everyone around you is getting the lot. Its not that you’re not pleased for them, you are. Ok, maybe we get slightly jealous, but you wonder when your turn to play on the swings will come round again. Instead I’m stuck on the roundabout and I’m starting to feel sick.

I found my brother in arms in Trevor Reardon (BigTR), wandering around the card room. Trev’s a good friend of mine and I have known him since I starting playing poker and indeed we often swap a piece when in the same event. Only natural we swap troubles of woe. He asked what I was planning to do that afternoon, and convinced me to skip the cash game and come join him at the Venetian “Deepstack”. It was only $500 and should pay big for 1st. Ok, why not? The Bellagio was not being good to me (I soon got knocked out of the satellite), a change of scenery might help. Trev and I swapped 20%, more than usual, but to be honest neither of us thought we’d cash the way we are running so it might as well been 50%. If by a miracle one of us won it, 20% would feel like a win to the other.

After I sat down with my 15k starting stack I looked at the board and thought hmmmm, juicy, 577 runners $80k 1st, delicious. It then dawned on me that this was not a one day event. B**%*, if I get through I am going to miss the $5k, the 1 event I was looking forward to the most bar the Main Event. Oh well, lets see what happens. I have made the mistake of not trying in events before because I’d rather be doing something else, this was not going to be one of those times.

My table was fun, a few people recognised me from the WSOP and I explained that I was running bad since, and this was all I could afford nowadays. I don’t always like people pointing me out, but in fairness everyone was in good spirits and it was a joy to share my story, it’s pretty much all I have left.

During day I met what I would describe as a cretin. He was on the other end of the table wearing his “poker academy” sweater. A smug prat to say the least, he bluffed a few pots and couldn’t wait to show. He then said, “I went to poker academy, the ex- head of the FBI teaches you how to spot tells, that’s how I know I can make those moves.”

I cough, “Coooooooghhccckkkkkk.”

Day 3 – Friday 5th of June

With the blinds at 1200/2400 3 people limp into my big blind including Mr Poker Academy. The flop comes Ah Kd 5d and I’m holding ace 2 of diamonds. We check to academy who bets out 3600, I push for 23k and he snap calls and flips his pocket 5’s. Quite smugly I might add. The turn is a 2 and the river the 8 of diamonds, giving me the nut flush, he was far from pleased.

“How do you make that move” he said. I was not the only one to smirk at this outburst.
“Tough break mate, that was the beat of the century, someone call Ripleys, besides if I flat call I’m going nowhere when the two comes am I”
“You were still behind!” he protested.
Obviously the ex-head of the FBI didn’t tell him how not to tilt, and it gave me great pleasure to see him push 40k in cold with QQ and run into pocket kings. The poker Gods answered my prayers.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed today. No matter how I went out I wouldn’t have cared. For the first time in quite a while I enjoyed playing the game, unfortunately I made day 2 and have now unregistered from the $5k. In 14 hours I didn’t see AA or KK once, maybe that’s why I’m still hanging in with 201k. Average chips is 280k with 34 left. The blinds are 6k/12k “Deepstack” my arse.

No doubt I will go out early and make a whopping 100 bucks profit for 2 days work, but who cares; I am falling in love with poker again.