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Yesterday we got an insight into the life of poker pro Sam Grafton where he talked about his daily schedule, his quest for endurance and professionalism within the world of poker. Now join us for part two as Lee Davy continues with his fantastic “A Week in the Life of…”

Are there any particular satellite formats you prefer over others?

Not really, although I do like the Turbo’s. I just feel you have a massive edge in any satellite because people don’t understand how they work. Even if intellectually they understand it, it is a really hard thing; even very good players find it hard to switch off the mentality of, “I have got to win every chip”. Turning down a spot that is +EV is counter-intuitive and you have to turn down a lot of +EV spots in satellites.

Even very good players find it difficult to fold the best hand despite knowing that your hand beats their range. So I feel like I have an edge in satellites because people aren’t willing to make the appropriate adjustments to satellite strategy. That’s why I like to start my Sunday playing them.

Were you up or down this week?

I don’t pay any attention to whether I am up or down because I need to be professional about it. Back in the day, when I used to sit in a cash game with £200 in front of me it was different. It was all mine – win or lose – and I would always know how much I was up or down to the absolute microscopic level. If I were £100 up at one point and then only £82 up the next, I would know about it. I would be thinking, “Damn, I should have left an hour ago”. But that’s the amateur mentality.

I am going to make money

People who are playing the game for the long run have to try to make +EV decisions in the moment of, “Should I or shouldn’t I play this hand?” Whether you’re up or down shouldn’t matter to you, and shouldn’t affect your decisions in an ideal world. In the long run I am going to make money and I have proven this. My track record is good. I made this point earlier; there is a slight counter balance. You can’t switch off the part of you, which tells you whether you are playing good or not. You could be losing and playing well, or winning and playing badly, that’s the obvious difficulty with poker and that’s why so many people lose money as they get results above expectation.

You need to scrutinise your game all of the time

…and when you are having a downswing it doesn’t hurt to be reviewing hand histories with friends. You could ask them, “What would you have done here?” Or, “What did you think of what I tried there?” Going back to the push-fold chart on your bust out hand to just see how it matches up to what the math says for example.

Having a downswing is a time to look at how to improve. The game changes so quickly and it’s how top players change so quickly, and are constantly evolving, that makes them top. You need to make sure you are on top of what is new in the game. On one hand I don’t pay attention to whether I am winning or losing, but on the other I really hope I am still questioning whether I am playing each hand in the optimal way?

When it comes to learning do you think that players take their foot off the gas once they become successful and have you?

I am sure that’s the case. I suspect people don’t do much reviewing when they are either winning or are financially comfortable. I don’t doubt that in a decades time people will look at this period, in poker, and think it was like rugby union players were 20-years ago. The idea that we would all go out boozing the night before a £5k tournament will be seen as absolutely insane.

It’s Ridiculous

The fact that people are running stables with turnovers between a half a million and a million, each year, with no accountant to run their books and keep a check on where the money is going it’s ridiculous.

Hand reviewing is such a rarity these days and players can go through an entire tournament without even talking to their backer. When does a backer ever upload the entire hand histories for a tournament and go through them just to keep sense of how they are playing?

All of these things are amateurish. I am just the same sometimes. Even at the GUKPT Jake Cody and I got through Day One and it was my friend’s birthday. We got in a cab, Jake dropped his bags at the hotel, we went to the club where he was having the party; we couldn’t get in so we tipped the doorman to let us in and went in and left, went to some after hours bar and got in at 04.00.

And that’s the behaviour whilst playing in a £2.5k tournament. When a footballer goes out the night before a match, and is spotted, it makes headline news that they are being irresponsible, but you don’t get that with poker at all. Not yet anyway.

Coming Up in Part 3

In Part Three, Grafton talks about his favourite hand of the week, and why he doesn’t need to frequent online training sites anymore. Missed the first part? Read it here

About the Author

Lee Davy is a writer from Ogmore Vale in South Wales. You can follow his views and opinions through his blog at or on Twitter

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