In which I horse about…


has pretty much been lacking from my life the last couple of weeks, which kinda sucks and as a result, it’s 6am, I’ve been awake all night and am completely unable to sleep.

In an effort to finding some structure, as well as fixing my sleeping pattern, I decided to take a slightly more aggressive approach to job hunting, and it’s gone decent — I had a couple of phone interviews last week and I should hear sometime this week whether all is well.

In the meantime, I obviously still have a decent amount of free time, so I decided to talk to Ben and James about joining their stable to play cash. The benefits of being a horse, especially where there is a good deal of coaching/support are pretty obvious, especially when you’re currently funemployed.  In any event, I’d (briefly) spoken to James about a coaching (but not necessarily backing) deal in the past but never really had the time to commit to anything.

When James posted that the stable was looking for new horses, it felt like serendipity, no, not a shitty rom-com with $romcom_actor in it, but a happy accident because I have more time on my hands now, and joining the stable gets me the coaching I am looking for, as well as hopefully making us all some money. At the beginning, though, it’s not really about money, it’s about adapting to cash games and learning from the rest of the stable.

I’ve had a couple of sessions with James/Ben so far and unleashed the bowlhuzz force on the Sky regs for the first time today where I won roughly three buyins. To be honest, had I run a little bit better, it’d have been four or maybe four and a half buyins, and had I cut out some of the absolute bullshit, I’d have won even more — there are a couple of hands where the lads will probably just give serious consideration to dropping me there and then, some ambitious peels and bullshit bluffs the main culprits.

Tomorrow I’m going to play another couple of sessions (I’m only 3 and 4 tabling atm…) and then review the biggest pots won and lost today with the lads in Skype.  James and Ben make themselves (and the rest of the horses, who have all obv played these limits recently) very accessible for help and advice, so I’d have a huge meta-leak if I wasn’t making use of that and obviously I live with that Haggis fella who has been known to beat the odd 1p/2p game in his time and who actually explains stuff really clearly (albeit in a weird accent!) so I’ll be nagging him as well, no doubt.

Anyway, day one of the Sky Poker adventure, 3 buyins up. More of that please.

Til next time,


In which I need a push…

He warned me this would happen…

He, in this context, being Steven Brennan, sage of our time and self-help guru to nobody but himself. Of all the people I thought would make the best predictions about what would happen to me whilst being unemployed, I didn’t expect it to be this man:

Steve, in his less addled days

For many years, I’ve been a proponent of not listening to Steven Brennan. In my defense, he’s absolutely fucking insane. The man believes in lizards who inhabit human suits. Sure, spend a few hours punting off money to him at Chinese and Big2, shovel him the odd Marlboro Light when he’s definitely, absolutely quit smoking again and  make use of the fact that he lives close by, owns several cars and will happily tolerate having another human in the car for short journeys, but under no circumstances listen to a single word he has to say.  Not one single word. That’s just the rule, and if you stick to it, life will be better, both for you, and for Steve.

I made the cardinal mistake of listening the other day. He had a not-so-cryptic warning for me, and all the worse, it didn’t involve lizards or impending doom. He proffered that if I didn’t start taking the job search seriously, make plans or actually do something throughout the day, I’d end up like a sloth.

Fuck. He’s actually right…

The one time I listen to him in years and he somehow pulls a nailed-on, laser guided truth missile out from his arsenal.

I read a blog today by somebody who’s life story is pretty similar to mine (although they are a little older than me) and as he was describing his life and how he’d gotten into the job he’d been doing, he described himself as someone with low inertia. What he meant was that he finds it incredibly difficult to get something started and up and running. I think laziness is an unkind word, although that’s what some people will surely call it, but I read it and thought: ‘yip, that’s me’.

Where we differ is the fact that once I start something and build up some momentum, I throw everything into it, I can’t be detached, I like to know everything about everything. Inertia, as it happens, isn’t an easy thing to come by — not working sucks a lot and I’m not liking it, but I can equally be distracted from the feelings of worthlessness by the internet at large and not just the generic, bland job search websites where I might find suitable employ.

Inertia comes, and it goes. It’s certainly not constant — there are days (although admittedly few and far between) where I feel full of life and dive into doing the things I know I need to be doing and there are other days where even lying on the sofa watching SSN is too much effort. Most days, I’m somewhere between the extremes, but Brennan was right. I’m getting to be sloth-like and feel a lot of different (and not very pleasant) emotions — I even signed out of Skype because I just couldn’t be arsed with people any more. With each day that passes, I’m getting worse – relationships suffer, self-esteem suffers and the worst of it is that I *know* all of this, but most of the time I can’t be arsed to do a damned thing about it. It’s all about inertia, and my needle dropped to zero.

I actually have no idea how to solve this problem, I thought that writing a short blog post about it might be cathartic, but it wasn’t. Urgh.

Til next time,


In which I get trolled….

Lately it seems like…

I’m getting trolled everywhere I turn.

For example, recently, we bought some bags of sweets from the shop, and in the traditional house flip, I won the two bags I most wanted. However, since I’m not mental, I decided to not eat them instantly and save them for whenever. Having left them unattended for no more than 12 hours, Archie and Scotty cut open the bags, removed my sweets and replaced them with inferior, but similar sweets and resealed the bags. Took me fucking ages to notice, all I could think was ‘something’s not quite right here…’ but couldn’t place it until Archie offered me one of my own sweets from his bag, the fucking pipe.

That one was funny, I grant them, some world class trolling, but like I say, lately every Tom, Dick and Harry is trolling me

You mad, bro? Well yes, actually….

Bowlhuzz visits the job centre…

How can’t we be of service…?

These people are the greatest trolls of all. I’m still raging a little bit from my appointment yesterday, but here’s the greatest hits:

[  ] called me Marc

[x] called me ‘Andrew’

[  ] turned up on time

[  ] apologised for tardiness

[  ] appreciated my dryly asking if they thought I’d get a job if I turned up 25 minutes late to the interview.

[x] said it was ‘busy’ that day and that’s why I had to wait.

[  ] was busy

[x] used words like ‘service level agreement’, ‘HMRC mainframe’

[  ] in context, correctly

[x] questioned whether the fact I’d lived in Gibraltar made me a ‘habitual British resident’

[x] were serious

[x] understood the words ‘resident’, ‘habitual’ or ‘British’

[  ] appreciated me asking if they were sure they understood said words.

[x] finally concluded that living in this country for 20+ years was conclusive as to me making a habit of residing in Britain.

[x] appreciated me completing their crossword for them whilst they went to the photocopier.

[x] told me to ‘check the internet 10 times a week for jobs, but don’t necessarily apply for one’ in order to get paid some cash money

[  ] people sure get jobs following that sterling advice

[x] patronised me about the state of the economy

[  ] appreciated being corrected on the state of the labour market.


All in all….


[  ] went well

[x] back on Friday

[  ] hurray.


Please let me find a job soon.



In which I get some heat….

This sure is going…

To be thin. Absolutely positively a thin brag. I’m on a pretty decent live poker heater at the moment — not withstanding not ever being able to win a pot from Craig Mac ^^ — but after Craig busted me from the Thursday’s G game, I entered some freeroll at Genting for £23 and have subsequently turned it into almost £1000 by winning that freeroll and then chopping the Genting £55 on Friday for £720 or so.

Life is pretty easy at the minute. It always is when you got some heattttttt.

Other Stuff….

Well, officially made redundant without my boss saying a word to me which I thought was pretty [  ] classy of him, but I expected no more, he’s a bit of a pipe – actually, he’s more than that, he’s a cancer that will kill the company if they don’t get rid of him, at least in the opinion of everyone who has had the displeasure to work with him. The guys that actually own/founded the company are completely stand up and handled the whole situation really well though, so no real hard feelings, times are hard and difficult decisions have to be made.

Next Steps….

There’s a possibility of a return to Gibraltar for me, but I don’t really want to say too much about that yet, not least until I’ve properly spoken to the lads in the house about what that might mean for the ranch. In any event, I’m looking into the prospect of getting some life rakeback in the meantime. That’s not something I’ve ever wanted to do, but now that I have firm commitments to pay rent etc, I think it’s absolutely fine, given I’ve paid my tax into the system, I don’t see a problem with taking some back — the problems with the social security system in the UK are many and varied, but they certainly aren’t caused by me making a small claim in the event that I don’t find a job soon.

‘Til next time,


In which I move on….

That was quicker…

Than I expected. Yesterday I planned to hang out at my parents and just catch them up on what’s been going on with work and stuff and I was there when Archie text me saying that there was a guy on 2plus2 looking to employ someone as a marketing expert for an affiliate marketing company that he’s setting up. Archie got in contact and I agreed to talk to this guy for 15 minutes on Skype, just to see if I could help him.

2 hours later…

15 minutes magically turned into 2 hours…

I’d had a passionate discussion about the future of the igaming industry and outlined where I thought I might be able to help with this particular product. The guy in charge is building a team of super smart people to set up an affiliate business loosely connected to poker, sports betting and forex trading. It turns out we connected quite well and we agreed that I would work as a consultant in setting up and marketing the product, which should provide some walk around money for the next couple of months. I already have my first project, which is setting up an acquisition test promotion and on the back of that, setting up a digital marketing and acquisition plan for the business — quite heady stuff, but I was very interested in the fact that we both agreed that most companies have absolutely zero idea of how to measure the ROI of marketing campaigns, preferring to think of things like CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per acquisition) rather than thinking holistically about the campaign and the effect it has on the business.

Having the opportunity to work at something which is effectively a start-up is very interesting for me, as you get a whole load of autonomy and get to work on lots of different but inter-connected topics, something that was definitely missing for me lately — they say ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown’ and I fucking love crowns, regardless of how heavy they are.

For the first month, we’re going to work on a payment per task basis and as things get going we’ll probably switch to a day rate or a monthly retainer — I’m pretty easy about that — I will probably still try and find some other projects or a ‘real job’ to work on as well, but doing some piecemeal consultancy gives me less of a time pressure to do it — whilst keeping my brain engaged and switched on.

No time to waste…

I’m off to write a marketing plan and create a promotion to earn some sweet dollars. Will probably grind some tournaments tomorrow at the Ranch with Herchie, HamJ and maybe even JuniorHommer. Good times.

In which it happens again….

This isn’t the post…

I wanted to make today. I wanted to tell you all about an absolutely world class bit of trolling by the other two boys in HHH which made me think I was going insane. Another time, maybe. There are more important things happening today.

If you recall the post I made yesterday, I said that I had some professional concerns which caused me to rethink my involvement in the staking market this summer and longer term.

It turns out that those concerns were, as they so often are, well founded because today I was given notice by my employer that my role was at risk of redundancy. Since I’ve worked for the company for less than two years, the law says that I’m not entitled to much, in the (highly likely!) event that I’m made redundant at the end of a legally enforced ‘consultation period’. I’ve been in this position before, facing (but not taking) redundancy on two occasions when I worked in a call centre and subsequently I guess many of you know the story of how I came to leave in 2011.

It’s appropriate to remain relatively taciturn whilst the consultation period is ongoing, but I should say I think the two people handling the process have done an excellent job so far — having been on both sides of the table I know it’s not an easy conversation to have.

What now….?

I really don’t know. I guess I’ll look for another job and I’d like to stay in Newcastle for now, *not least* because it would be unfair of me to leave the boys in the shit with the house etc, at least whilst I have the possibility to stay here.

I’ve updated my CV today and spoken to a few people in my (lol word incoming…) ‘network’ about possible opportunities and I’ll keep doing that over the next week or so whilst I decide what to do — I need to act relatively quickly though, not least because the time I spent out of work at the end of 2011 was one of the single most depressing times of my life. For all the fun the boys make, I do love work. I love solving puzzles and being part of a team that’s solving problems. Unfortunately, this time, we couldn’t solve the biggest problem that faces any company together in time.

I’m leaving (again, not confirmed, but it’s a million that I can come up with a solution, I think) with no hard feelings and few regrets — I only wish I’d been able to leave on my own terms, which is something that many of you will know that I’d been considering for at least a couple of months.

Is it me….

Or just good old fashioned variance? I seem to have been in this spot quite a bit (lol, sample size!) but it does make you wonder a little whether you’re doing something wrong, or  whether the universe is conspiring against you in some way. The more likely answer to that question is that I’ve so far chosen to work in industries with high risk — gaming and video games aren’t exactly known for being a low variance way to make money — they are industries in which margins are constantly being squeezed and where if you’re not first, you’re last. I really don’t know for sure if this is the reason for it all, but that’s what I’m choosing to believe this time.

One thing is for sure, I’m handling it a lot better this time around. Last time, some things were said that didn’t help anyone, I guess I’m older and wiser now and have a slightly more que sera, sera approach about the whole thing.

We’ll see what happens next, I guess maybe I’ll try and find something a little more low variance.

Geeee elllll me.

Hoping to post something more positive next time,


In which I count beans…

I’ve never been good…

As an accountant. I get the idea, I’m just not very good at it. I have a compulsive personality, which means I’m very good at saying ‘Yes’, but not all that great at saying ‘No’, especially when I think I’ve got the best of it.

These facets of my character, for better or worse, mean that I’m a pretty active in the staking market for poker. And when Vegas and the WSOP comes around, I’m like a moth drawn to the brightest of lights — seeing the chance to get a big score with very little effort indeed, just a few clicks on a mouse or a quick telephone call to the bank and we’re in. Qualified, as TonyG would say.

Unfortunately, this is the year I think I may fly too close to that light and get burned. Between a small couple of pieces on the NPF and some other action I have elsewhere, I’ve got a pretty decent chunk of my life roll in play. Make no mistake about it, if everyone bricks, it’ll sting. It won’t be fatal of course, but it will absolutely sting. Tails will be placed firmly between legs and I’ll be this guy:

don’t make me be this guy…

I’ve just done the sums, which is something I’m loathe to do — I think I much prefer the absolute sweat of never knowing how much I’ve got in play, but I forced myself to do it this morning and I’m feeling quite exposed this summer. Actually, in the end, it’s not *that* much money, but it’s a bigger percentage of my net than I’m realllllly comfortable having in play — I think 5% is a pretty golden number, but I’m some way past that already.

The compulsiveness is the issue, every time I see what looks like a decent deal, I can’t help but grab a slice, especially as I feel the staking market is pretty inefficient right now, especially for Vegas where people can’t really know their true ROI and I might be able to find some margin.

There’s only one thing for it…..



The only possible plan is to stop punting — big field events are massively high variance, even if you think you have the best of it. I have some pieces of players at 1.5 markup in some events and that’s pretty much the absolute max I’d pay for anyone in anything, the variance is usually just too high. On the other hand, I have pieces of Stumpy and Dan mfkn Trett at 1.2, which are both clearly excellent value, even if Dan’s game is more high variance than Peter’s, I expect to print money with either investment.

The plan is to settle any existing liabilities and not take any more action, in anyone, in anything, for a period of at least two months. That’s a bit of an arbitrary number of months, but my current (over) exposure coupled with some growing insecurities I have about some professional stuff going on, it just seems like a sensible position to take. Regardless of what happens this summer, I’ll still be able to enjoy a pretty decent lifestyle, but making this decision now just gives me some more security (cf professional insecurities…)

Other Stuff…

Found out yesterday that a family member sadly passed away in the early hours of the morning. I feel quite weird that I don’t really feel anything about it. I hadn’t seen Mary (an ‘aunt’ of some description..), or any of ‘her’ family since I was  a pretty small child (including at my grandfather’s funeral a few years ago) — whilst by all accounts she had a pretty torrid last couple of years, as  a result of a rare, degenerative brain disease. It’s a weird feeling, because I don’t really feel anything more than ‘it’s a shame that an old lady has died’, which is approximately what I’d feel if the Queen passed, and monarch or otherwise, she isn’t a member of my family. Don’t know what to make of that, pretty sure I should be more upset, or something. Maybe I’m just a sociopath.




In which I weep for the state of the nation…

Last night…

I couldn’t sleep. That’s not particularly unusual for me, but last night it wasn’t the insomnia which kept me awake, nor the usual mix of nicotine and caffeine coursing through my veins. Last night, it was the rage. I’d made the same kind of mistake I’ve always made. I peered into the vast cavity of the human condition, drip-fed on Facebook and Twitter in the aftermath of the terrible events in Woolwich.

abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.

Facebook and Twitter need a health warning at times like this..

It’s obvious to everybody that the events in Woolwich were terrible, unforgivable and a whole host of adjectives. I feel deeply for the solider who was killed and their families and friends and the Community-at-large in Woolwich. We don’t really understand the motives for the attack, and we may never understand them, but what is clear to me that people have jumped far too quickly to use the T-word. It’s a word with stigma, and one which rightly causes an outpouring of all kinds of emotions.

My issue is that people are leaping directly from an attack, cowardly and pathetic as this was and calling it terrorism, as if that were a handy heuristic name for ‘motivated by religion belief’ — once you’ve gone there, the rabbit-hole into ‘all Islam is fundamentalism and all Muslims are terrorists and they should fuck off back to their own countries’ isn’t particularly deep or uninviting. Having just typed those words, I think I need to wash my brain — obviously it’s filth of the highest order, but even typing them in satire doesn’t make me feel particularly great — I feel a little dirty, if I’m honest.

I could talk for hours on the true definition of terrorism (Scotty and I debated this point at length yesterday evening, and it was a very interesting discussion to have) but this isn’t the point of this blog post — suffice it to say for now that I think terrorism contains two elements — ‘extraordinary scale designing to cause loss of life and strike fear into the community at large’ and ‘symbolic or explicit reference to a political, social or religious cause‘, and broadly (although we disagree on the particular weighting of those factors), Scotty agrees.  As shocking as the events in Woolwich were yesterday, I’m not sure that they are terrorist acts — to me, they are the act of fucking madmen. Again though, that’s not the point, we’re just setting the scene for what followed.

Send in the Clowns…

english defence muppets

The Clowns source:

The utter vitriol that has been spouted by these morons in the wake of these attacks has disgusted me — the cause of the rage which kept me awake last night. Reading their Twitter stream was like looking into Sauron’s eye – once I started, I couldn’t stop, with each swipe down my iPhone the anger grew and grew to the point of insomnia. Their response, usually in CAPS was ‘anybody who can — get to Woolwich now!’ — and like the Siren’s song they came. They came to fight the police and get pissed and attempt to vandalise places of worship and fight with ordinary citizens who were equally shocked and appauled at the actions of these two psychopaths as the rest of the country. They came to use such shocking events as a recruitment tool — engaging in the very tactics they supposedly despise when the shoe is on the other foot. If my Facebook and Twitter feeds are to be believed, it’s working, at least to some extent. The number of comments beginning ‘I’m not racist but…‘ and ‘I’m not being funny, but..’  was sickening to behold, as if those four little words allow the speaker to wash their hands entirely of any responsibility for what comes next.

I get it. I get that people are rightly outraged and sickened by what’s happened. I get that when crimes of such a magnitude occur, they engender feelings of anger and rage. I get that. The rage, however, is clearly misplaced. These people are standing at the top of a very slippery slope when they compare the actions of two men to the belief set of an entire religion, and with those four little words they have put the skis on and are headed straight down at pace.

When rage becomes misplaced like this, it begets a false sense of entitlement — “I can do X because I’m so angry at Y” and like the skiier flying down the piste, the steeper and more slippery the incline, the faster and faster the hate begins to snowball. This is how riots start, lest we forget. It is impossible to end in a good place when starting out like that — there are no positive solutions to that particular equation, and nor should there be. These morons come together under this false banner of entitlement, determined to let all the deficiencies in their character play their part in destruction, violence and, at its very core, racism. Dirty, nasty vindictive racism — as if there were any other kind – appears to have gripped the minds of these people and there is to be, in their minds at least, no turning back, no surrender. A siege mentality has been created, and opinions never wavering now — notwithstanding the fact that right now there’s never been a better time to be alive in all of human history, they still see the multicultural mix which has served to define Britain since the last Great War as the enemy.

You don’t speak for me…

Except they don’t say it outwardly — they claim ‘how can we be racist? Islam isn’t a race!’ — I don’t know whether I believe that anybody could be that deliberately obtuse as to really believe that can be true — we know that when ‘semantics’ is the base of your defense to charges levied against you that you’re probably in trouble and should just concede the point. We all know that — those with a modicum of intelligence and the merest soupçon of goodness in our hearts know that. But I’m not sure they do. And that’s why I’m weeping for the state of the nation.

There’s much work to be done and much goodness in Communities all around Britain, fighting against this kind of extremism, on both sides, but until there isn’t a reason for the EDL to be laughed at as roundly as the BNP are (cf Nick Griffin’s Newsnight appearance) then we still have problems. We’ll never be able to predict or prevent random attacks by psychopaths, not without giving up more liberty and democratic freedom than is good for us — but we can eradicate and irradiate the kind of irrational and illogical thinking which causes people to believe that the EDL is speaking for them. It starts with education. It starts now.

source: @MartinBelam on Twitter

Until next time,