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Nick “The Cloud” Cantwell reflects on his first full week playing the PartyPoker Bankroll Challenge. How far can he take his $25?

Current Bankroll: $33.87

So there I sat, all set to embark on my challenge – how far can I take $25? I took just $2 to the first table, and here were my first two cards – 4-5 suited in the big blind. A couple of limpers, I check, and the flop is three overcards so I let it go. An easy decision.

Then something amazing happened in the second hand – I got dealt A-A! An early raiser, another caller, so I re-raise for a third of my stack (16xBB) – and I get one caller. The flop is K-Q-4 – a worrying flop, but I still think I’m ahead. My stack is the same size as the pot, so I shove to find that my opponent has a pair of fours for a set – which is a little annoying as my stack isn’t big enough to warrant his pre-flop call. So I’m down to $23 after two hands.

I reload. Then another big hand two hands later. I flop a full house after completing in the small blind with 5-2 (5-5-2 flop). I don’t intend to slow play much at the $0.02/$0.04 levels, but this was an occasion when I thought it might be safe. How wrong I was! The big blind had flopped trips, and was also slow playing, and hit a bigger boat on the river. Ouch.

So here we are, four hands in and four bucks down. At this rate of losing a dollar a hand, the whole challenge will be finished in another 21 hands. I’ll be labelled a failure, people will laugh at me in the streets and my poker reputation (what is left of it anyway) will be shot to pieces.

On a more serious note, I am now sweating. I really wanted to get off to a good start, and this is an absolute disaster, and already I can feel myself beginning to suffer the dreaded T word – T I L T. So I do the only thing I can do in this situation (apart from kicking the cat – well next door’s cat, I don’t actually own a cat) is to stop playing, and regroup.

The next day I come back and win $8, and now I’m ready to move onwards and upwards – up to $29 now. Unfortunately, going onwards and upwards isn’t helped by what I now call the “Night of the Seven Suckouts” (soon to be made into a major feature film starring George Clooney – as myself of course), where I lost every showdown I played in. $29 is now $18 and I am in trouble with a capital T.

This is where I made a big decision. No more small buy-ins. I am going to take the maximum $5 to the tables, and with only $18 left, I have no margin of error whatsoever.

This is make or break.

And fortunately this is where things have started improving. In the last two or three days I have almost doubled up, with a mixture of solid and spectacular hands (flopping three fours whilst holding 4-2 in the big blind helped) and now have $34.

Overall, $9 profit is not the most spectacular start to the challenge, but a profit for the first week, I haven’t gone bust yet, and it’s been quite a ride already!


Follow Nick’s progress each week. The PartyPoker Bankroll Challenge involves starting with $25 and trying to make it grow to as much as possible – but by following basic bankroll management. That means not playing with more than 5% of the roll at any time.

If (or when!) Nick busts, we’ll have another player lined up to have a go, or maybe we’ll run two together. If you fancy having a pop, drop us a line at

If you’ve done a similar challenge, or have something to say, feel free to leave a comment.


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