Stephen Groom A HUD does not a winning player make

18Nov/130

Open Face Chinese Poker now available for Android, iOS and your computer!

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Today marks the release of Open Face Chinese Poker for iPhone which alongside Open Face Chinese for Android and openfacechine.se makes it the first game of it's type where you can play with the same player pool and account across all three devices.

Download the mobile apps today and don't forget to rate us in the App Store!

The other good news about this release is that now I have finished the difficult task of releasing the mobile apps, I can spend some time developing new features.  I will be starting to blog soon @openfaceblog.com where I will be discussing new game types & features for the apps, and hope to include some strategy posts and editorial stuff.

Until then, good luck at the tables!
Stephen

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Filed under: Gaming, Poker, Software No Comments
13Oct/130

Open Face Chinese Poker for Android

Today I have launched the Android version of my Open Face Chinese poker app.  This is the first in a series of upcoming changes, which will include an iOS launch and many new features.

The app includes:

  • 2-4 player games
  • Fantasy Land - QQ+ fantasy land is included at no extra cost
  • Private game mode - Play with just your friends, or leave public to meet new players
  • Facebook integration - Single click sign in

You can find more details at http://www.openfacechine.se or by viewing the app in Google Play.

Stephen

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8Jul/130

No more blogging!

So today I come back to this website after a year break from blogging.  I am all together busier now than I have been for a long time and won't be blogging frequently any more.  This blog can stay here indefinitely though as there is some pretty good content.

 

I'm going to sign off this blog with a round up of the last year.  Rather than writing 1000 words I can probably sum it up in a list

  • Stayed in AppleCare for 11 Months - didn't enjoy it that much
  • Played a bit of poker during this time (broke about even but enjoyed two high 4 figure up & downswings). ¬†The funniest thing about the variance was the way it affected my spending. ¬†One month I won like ¬£5k and spent like a manic. ¬†I lost back that ¬£5k over the next 2 months and literally didn't spend a penny. ¬†It's a weird lifestyle.
  • I took on a horse. ¬†He plays micros and is definitely good enough to move up and beat higher games with a bit of coaching (mostly for confidence rather than skill TBH)
  • I learned Open Faced Chinese Poker. ¬†This game is crazily addictive. ¬†It has a very definite high skill factor but it is a new(ish) game which hasn't really been solved at all yet so the edges are so big. ¬†Even good regulars disagree on so many spots. ¬†It is the swingiest game ever too. ¬†I don't know how long it will take to realise a true winrate but I know at even the lowest stakes you can win/lose crazy amounts of money in 1 hand. ¬†So fun :)
  • I quit my Apple job 4 months ago and played poker to get by
  • During this time I basically taught myself C'# and Actionscript 3. ¬†I made an open face¬†chinese poker app
  • I then made a¬†yet unreleased iPhone version
  • At this point a friend of mine spotted my talents and I was headhunted for a¬†temporary role as an iOS app developer. ¬†This is what I am doing currently and will be for the forseeable future. ¬†This has taught me that this is definitely the career path and industry which I want to be in. ¬†Medium to Long term I will be trying to keep renewing my fixed-term with my current employer for as long as possible and then try to either make a full time occupation out of my chinese game or start to do freelance work.

So yeah.. If you want to see where I am currently I will likely be at OpenFaceChine.se ( <3 domain hack ).  If you don't know how to play and would like to check out my How to Play Open Face Chinese Poker guide.

Sooner or later I will be replacing this page at www.groomi.net with a portfolio, or a CV type website.
It's been fun
Laters
Stephen

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15Jul/125

The productive routine

The context of this blog might not make so much sense placed next to the article immediately below but a lot of this stuff was inspired by my friend Olly who contributed some really insightful and thought provoking comments on my last post.  Bear with me as this post might get a little TL;DR so if you wanna just skip to my "monthly graph" section scroll right down to the bottom and I'll probably talk about poker a little bit and post some pretty pictures.

In the last month or so I can probably say that my overall quality of life and happiness has increased more than it ever has.  This is strange as I can't remember one significant week, day or even event that I would say was amazing.  It's just all the small stuff is... better.

I already alluded to the fact that having a routine would be a huge positive of my new job.  I think that this is probably the route of a whole variety of changes that have happened very suddenly in my life that are making me feel a lot more positive and happy on a day to day basis.

The job it's self is great.  I really get along with a lot of people at work and the office is generally a very happy and up-beat place to be.  I have a lot in common with a couple of people who started the job at the same time as me so I will never be short of friends while I stay here.  As with any job, there is the work; And I really like it.  My average day consists of sitting with a group of people sharing jokes, pictures, stories etc and answering technical questions from our mostly really cool and friendly customers.  I do remember a time when I had a similarly positive outlook about the job I had gotten at Aspers though so we will see how things progress as time passes.

Outside of work my days are loads more productive too.  This week I have found the time to work 8.5 hours per day, play poker for 2-3 a night, watch a TV series, go to the pub, go clothes shopping and go karting.  Today on my only day off this weekend I found the time to tidy the house, do my laundry, write a blog, do some coding, file my mail and sweat a friend for an hour.  I can't think of a Sunday or a week for a long time when I have accomplished so much stuff as this.  Nothing has changed other than my self-motivation as a result of having been at work all week.

So now I have realised that working a normal job has loads of massive knock-on positive effects on my life that I wasn't expecting I should move on to what should be the negative:  Finance.
I don't get paid a great deal from work, and I certainly don't make as much as I was making grinding 50nl on Sky Poker.  Hell, I probably don't make as much as you do!  Still I am doing better financially this month than I have done for quite some time.  As I predicted poker is providing a very good second income but now it is stress-free and there aren't any life-changing circumstances to consider if I lose my online bankroll.

Month to date

I made my mind up while speaking to Olly that I would grind online and focus on playing less tables, making better decisions and improving my game and bankroll to the point where I can make more money live. ¬†So as it stands I am grinding ‚ā¨20nl 2-6max on Microgaming with shots at ‚ā¨50nl and playing 2-6 tables. ¬†My win rate isn't massive but that it indicative that I am not as good as I thought I was but I am consistently winning over a large sample. ¬†I am so much more motivated and hard working now that I am¬†inadvertently still¬†on track for my volume target that I had when I was professional despite the fact that I am playing part time.

Something else that has really helped my game lately was meeting someone from work who was interested in poker but no offence to him was terrible at it too.  For the last 2 weeks or so I have been sweating him and basically building him a basic winning strategy from the ground up which has really made me go back and justify everything that I have in the basics of my game, helping me break a few bad habits along the way.

So yeah overall at the moment life is good.  I always do the best I can to reflect on stuff and so far this month I can see that all of the lessons learned since leaving Higher Education by making mistakes and trying new things have started to come together and work out for me.  All is well apart from my Student Loan debt :p

Thanks once again for reading
Stephen

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9Jun/126

Back from busto! ‚ėļ

In the past two month since I posted my last blog a lot of stuff has changed.  The problem is though that most of it is personal/financial and not too many people really want to read about that.  In an effort to keep this blog current though I will dedicate the next half-hour or so to typing what I can remember, and maybe summon something interesting to talk about.

So in my last blog I spoke of my new job at the Hilton Hotel.  This was cool in that I met a bunch of really cool people and actually enjoyed the work.  The problem was that they didn't have enough shifts available for me to even support myself and I didn't get the full-time position which I applied for.  Since then however I now have a full-time job elsewhere which I started on 21st May (which coincidentally was my 22nd birthday).

I could've blogged about this when I was offered the position (Late April actually) but I'm glad I didn't as there was quite a high chance (5/19) that I wouldn't have made it through the training period over the past three weeks.  Out of the 19 people who started in my training class there have already been five casualties, four of whom were due to failing their knowledge tests.  Happily though I was one of the lucky ones and start next week in my role as Technical Support Advisor for a well known computer manufacturer.  In training I was advised not to mention who it was that I worked for as I would've received a barrage of technical questions from friends, family or complete strangers and based on the few people who I have told so far, this was completely correct! (have you guessed who yet?)

I always told myself upon leaving school that I would hate working 9-5 in an office sat behind a desk and this was my justification for failing an ICT qualification despite being IMO the most capable member of the class and pursuing further and higher education in Music Production (Another rant for another day.  In fact I already did.).  The reality of it though is that it isn't half bad!

Considering that for 6 months of last year I effectively lived a life consisting of all of the negatives of being an office worker without including many of the positives - the once considered horrible idea of being 9-5 in an office full time seemed like a much better proposition.  There's the:

  • Routine
  • Sociable hours
  • Socialisation, meeting people + banter
  • Guaranteed Money
  • Variety
    (contrary to what I thought it seems like my job will be different with almost every call)

which all put my current position ahead of being a poker pro and the only thing I have had to sacrifice is probably about £3/hr.  Not forgetting that I now have a replenishable bankroll which I can now use to play poker on evenings and weekends when I have spare time to make a significant second income without having to worry too much about my risk of ruin.

With regards to poker I'm still not sure which direction to travel.  There are a few things which I have been trying to weigh up but without trying everything I will have a hard time deciding.

There are:
online cash games in which I am a proven winner but most of my income from that is rake back.  Without time to play tens of thousands of hands per month I cannot reach the level of rake to be able to make more £/hr than I do at work (which isn't the objective).  For online cash games to be my best option I would have to have enough money online (probably 10-15 buy-ins as I now have this replenishable bankroll) to be sat playing 100 or 200nl depending on currency.  I am smart enough to know however that I cannot beat those limits.
online tournaments are fun, but I have no real evidence that I am a winner in these as the majority of my stats are from many years ago when I was a terrible fish.  Any hourly rate, ROI etc that I give myself from tournaments would purely be figures picked out of the air.  There is the well known fact though and that is that tournaments are fun!  The small number of online tournaments that I have played over the last two years has confirmed this and there is nothing better than the rush you get from being on the final table of a game which awards five figures to the winner.  The main drawback of tournament play and the reason I never really gave any attention to them is the massive down swings and spells of hundreds of games where you are losing.  Again this replenishable bankroll that I now have means that the drawbacks basically don't matter and tournaments are once again viable.
live cash games are looking like my best option at the moment and for a few reasons.  I can play higher due to this bankroll that I keep bleating on about and probably play in games on weekends where my expectation is to make ~£10/hr.  I have a proven winning sample in cash games and this includes a small sample of live games too.  The games are easier and with a higher winrate comes lower variance.  This means that I would be comfortable playing in games with as little as 10 buy-ins (or 1,000bb) available.

There is nothing stopping me playing some of all three of the above games in the future but as it stands (or will stand come pay day) I only have the money to choose one.  I haven't quite made my mind up but I am currently rating them something like live cash > online tournaments > online cash.  What do you guys think?  What would you do in my situation?

Hopefully I will have made my mind up soon and by next month I should be back to posting regular poker related posts to take my mind off of technical support.

Thanks for reading
Stephen

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