Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Poker blogs, poker blogs and even more poker blogs.

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
Thomas Jefferson

I meant to post last evening, but it obviously didn't work out. I received an email from my buddy, Dann, this morning in response to my "uber-post coming."

It simply said:

True enough, so allow me to pour myself a Guinness and commence to rambling. We've got a full docket today: interesting poker news, WSOP satellites, brand new poker blogs and my own drunken ramblings on bankroll management. Sadly, I've already been drinking (damn happy hour!) so please excuse any typos or stupid statements. Hopefully, my dozen fifteen readers won't mind.

Anyway, thanks for visiting this humble poker blog. I heartily encourage anyone at work right now to take the time and visit the poker blogs on the right. If you are tired of the nonsense on RGP and the attack dogs on the poker message board forums, you'd be wise to peruse this community if you are interested in real poker content. Nuff said.

Ready to kill some time? I'll try to deliver on my promise.

Per my latest online poker adventures: Saturday and Sunday I played largish NL multi table tournaments. Finished on the bubble both times. Dern frustrating. So Tuesday night, I was itching to redeem myself, or at the very least, build a big stack for the third evening in a row. That's often half the battle in these giant tournaments. Also, learning how to play properly with the big stack is perhaps an even more important lesson. One I had been failing.

So Monday evening I signed up for Party's nightly $30 NL multi table tournament. 1400 players. Paid out the top 135 places. First prize is 8k. I hit some cards, outplay the typically bad players and build up to 35k, the 15th biggest stack in the tourney after a few hours. I'm feeling good.

Big mistake.

All it took was two hands, one was a terrible misread and the other a suckout, to chop my stack and I end up limping into 70th place. Sure, I made a little money, and it's a moral victory considering the 1400 player field, but I'm still disappointed in my play.

I could write an entire post about playing with a big stack in a tournament. Lord knows I've made every mistake in the book.

For the record, I'm playing far looser and aggressive in tournaments than I ever would in NL ring games. As a matter of fact, because of all the great poker blogging tips about the NL ring games on Party, I've been playing them the last few days. And yes, it truly is insane. If you are able to practice extreme patience and not let the egregious bad beats effect you, these are veritable ATM machines. Sure, I've had Mister Runner Runner beat me three pots in a row, but you *will* get his stack, over the long haul, if you can successfully tag and track him.

On any given day, at any given moment, the improbable triumphs over the probable, and appears to do so frustratingly often. But, over the long haul, luck gives way to the favorite.

In that very vein, I discovered this Epic comment by the Dude, who FINALLY took my advice and decided to quit playing at Poker Stars for a bit and try out Party Poker. Oh the humanity - this event portends Armageddon - I'll bet the four horsemen are dusting off their saddles right now. For the record, allow the Dude to speak:


while some might find it fun to lose repeatedly to good international poker players at pokerstars, i on the other hand have finally seen the light. i just used IGGY and doubled my money on a .5/1 table at party in literally 15-20 minutes. why didn't you tell me about this sooner? ;)

i'm only an average player at best, but these party poker players make me feel like i could do this for a living. put simply, they are terrible.

Thanks for trying it out, Dude. Funny how everyone who tries Party Poker is always shocked at how loose the games are, especially after playing somewhere like Stars, Paradise or UB. Damnit, feel free to use my bonus code, IGGY, or not, but please, just give it a try. Your bankroll will thank me. Again, as someone wiser than me stated, 'it's not shilling if it's true.'


Interesting debate on 2+2 about which game has more luck - no limit or limit. That's not necessarily the way I would look at it - I would prefer to figure out which game has a greater "edge" to the skilled player, no limit or limit. One of the few things I agree with Russ Gorgiev about is that pot-limit is the most difficult game to play of all. Too bad I can't talk my home game into playing it, damnit.

Snippet from said debate:

If what you believe in is "short-term" luck, ask yourself whether, given basic math, a short term "cards" variance is accentuated or diminished financially by the amount of money which can be potentially risked in each case.

Doesn't the fact that there is a LIMIT to losses in any given hand in limit holdem sort of overwhelm a luck of the cards factor, compared to where there is no such limit ? (The corrollary, that there is a limit to the amount won in a given hand, also supports the same proposition.)

In a Guinness-fueled way of thinking, this kind of ties back into risk management in poker. Or degree of risk, per your poker bankroll. I remember reading an old column by Mike Caro talking about "Plodders" versus "Adventurers." The point of his piece: it was nobody's business but your own how much of your bankroll you risked on a single wager or on a single bet.

As a limit grinder, I consider myself a plodder. As a no-limit tourney player, I'm an adventurer. When I moved to Vegas in '92 on my birthday, I had begun reading about that magical elixir, money management and/or betting systems relating to other games besides poker. To misguided minds (me, back then) or others who bandied about the term money management - it meant some kind of magic salvation from losing. I know people today who still believe in this clap-trap - a secret to beating casino games where the odds are against them.

Caro's point was that the more you risk, the more you stand to gain, and the more likely you are to go broke in the attempt. Whether or not the risk is worthwhile is a wholly personal decision. Only you know what the factors in your life are.

So allow me to come full-circle with this thought - money management systems DON'T WORK. I see it over and over, this pre-conceived notion of Stop-win or Stop-loss sessions. I read about it on RGP, 2+2 and even in a few poker blogs. Hell, I've been known to do it, even though it's utterly incorrect. IE: once I win/lose X amount, I'm done....

Losing in poker, by Mike Caro:

Player react differently when they're behind. It's practically a universal trait - this single tendency is responsible for more bankroll failure among capable players than any other fault. We've all done it - gotten punished, sucked out on by horrible hands and lost a nice chunk of money. Beyond a comfortable loss. From that point on, adding to the loss doesn't seem like the same thing, dollar for dollar. In fact, since the sorrow of losing is already heavily felt, additional losing doesn't register at all.

Mike Caro calls this "crossing the threshold of misery." Once you're past it and feeling sufficiently singled out and betrayed by the Poker Gods, you just quit caring. Low limit players turn $38 worth of bad cards into $80 losses. Middle limit players stretch $460 into $1000 losses. It happens every day.

Why? Again, because players are looking at session based results. Each time you sit to play, it's not a win-lose proposition. You don't need to play to "get even." The correct attitude is very different. You are always EVEN at the start of every hand - no matter what's happened, you should only pay for a hand what it's worth NOW. And the next hand, and the next.... This is an important concept - it prevents you from squandering your bankroll.

Poker is hard. Even if you are winning. Hell, I know certain guys who stop playing quality poker once they are winning significantly. That's because the money won isn't yet theirs in their minds. So they treat it as less important.

Tip of the day: play each hand as you think it *should* be played. Forget about the last one. Forget about the last hour, the last session. You are even from that moment on.

Geez, I sure can ramble, eh? I can tell you are getting restless, so let's get to the good stuff. The best of poker linkage for today:

I feel obligated to link to a Mike Caro column and this one should prove to be enlightening to any of you tournament players out there.
Conceptual Problems With Poker Tournaments And How To Fix Them

players have to decide whether they want to sacrifice profit and play for the first-place trophy or go for full profit and lean more toward survival and finishing close to first place. Tough choice, especially if you're an egomaniac like I am, interested in proving that he's the best. The only way to do that in proportional payout tournaments is to sacrifice and lose money!

Mike Caro > Phil Helmuth

Damn, I'd love to see the Mad Genius at a WPT final table.

Per all this talk about poker tournaments, there has been some hub-bub the last few days about Pokerstars not allowing table chat when you are involved in a hand in the multi-table tournaments.
Some folks think it's great, others hate it. I'm ambivalent as I only use chat as a weapon very rarely in ring games, and that's mostly to deflect attention from the fish.

I hate online table coaches. Pet peeve. See the archives for prior rants on said topic.

I've posted about this before, too:

A message board snippet to the online naysayers who say online poker is rigged and that anyone who says they win is a shill:

I find it amusing when people imply that anyone who claims to have
made a nice chunk online must be lying (one word there: projection).
It's really not rocket science, people. You don't have to be
world-class to do it. You just have to be better than most you play
against, and that's not hard to do. There are a stunning number of
really bad players in the online poker world. With patience and good
decision-making, a lot of their money will find its way to you. It's a
different game than B&M. There are more weak players. That can lead to
some bad beats, but in the long run, you WANT those fish chasing after
everything. The percentages work in your favor.


Per the poker blogging scene: I'm gearing up for another guerrilla-style public relations campaign for us. I love to pimp the poker blogs! Our burgeoning corner of the BlogSpace keeps expanding by leaps and bounds. The article I wrote for PokerSavvy.com seems like ancient history - it's time for me to crank it back up again.

Speaking of our fine friends at PokerSavvy, they re-launched with an "updated design" this week. It was surprising to see that the new design was simply the addition of giant, garish flashing banner ads for Absolute and the very unpopular Royal Vegas Poker. Geez, I hate giant blinking banner ads - who on earth clicks on these things anymore? I think most people (or me, anyway) just want valuable, timely content, not giant freaking banner ads that annoy and obstruct.

Poker Blogs > Banner Ad sites

Hell, I'm probably being too harsh and should just ignore the banners - I enjoy the site, so allow me to link up their latest column:
Winning Online Tournaments, Part I

Here is some great, late-breaking news about the United States and the effort to halt online gambling in Antigua. It seems that Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean island nation, has won a World Trade Organization ruling in a finding that U.S. legislation criminalizing online betting violates WTO commercial services accords. Read the spin from the Las Vegas Sun newspaper:
U.S. loses WTO ruling covering online gambling

As TheFatGuy so eloquently once told me, gambling is the world's second oldest profession.

It's a conundrum. Poker's popularity is exploding while the government seeks to shut it down. I don't have any clue where it's all leading, but I'll be paying attention, that's for sure.

Well hell, I promised an uber post and doing my damndest to deliver. It's harder than it looks, trust me. So let me link up some quality poker blogs and news and we'll see what I have left over.

There's been some noise about the new poker magazine, ALLIN, that is publicizing itself all over the damn place. They have zero free content on their site, just a single page leading to their yearly $18 subscription order form. Hard to say if it will be worth a damn, go look for yourself.
ALLIN Magazine

I read a hilarious thread on RGP where this jackass guy posted a troublesome hand history, asking for help and then asked for people to go read his 'poker blog' on his web site.

Oh the humanity.

The site is www.ukpoker.com and it redirects to http://www.poker-in-the-uk.com. Once you get there, he announces (between all the garish banner ads) this:

This page now acts as a gate to the website WWW.UKPOKER.COM
This site is SUBSCRIPTION ONLY and you can purchase your subscription by visiting WWW.BITPASS.COM & signing up as a SPENDER.
Subscription rates are as follows:
Daily Subscription - 25c
Weekly Subscription - $1.00
Monthly Subscription - $3.00
Yearly Subscription - $30.00

Rinse and repeat: Oh the humanity.

He got flamed pretty hard but I'm still surprised to see a subscription based poker site like this. Thing is, how many other content orientated sites charge a subscription? Salon? Porn? ESPN?

It's against my philosophy, per the web. There isn't a site out there that I would personally pay for. A basic tenet (and attraction) of the web (for me) has been 'information wants to be free.' I'm happy to have even two dozen people read my Guinness fueled rants, I simply can't imagine charging people, no matter how uber my posts are. There are hundreds of poker sites and I cant think of a single one that charges for access.

So eff him and his subscription. Real poker blogs will always be FREE. I'm not writing these uber-posts to make a buck - I mean, if you sign up with my bonus code, great, but that's not why I'm doing it. I love poker and I love to write. This blog is just an excuse to practice both and hopefully to entertain a few people. If you get some value and use my code (that's IGGY for Party Poker!) then so much the better. At least I'm trying to provide some value - pay it forward as Grubby says.

For my one local reader (hi Mom!), here is a local (Wilmington) WSOP satellite tournament the weekend of April 2nd.
25k guaranteed first place.
2004 No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Championships of Ohio

I can barely keep up with the new poker blogs. Let's give a shout out to the new kids on the block. Please visit these guys and show your support. I really admire anyone who takes the time to write up their thoughts:

The PokerNerd gets an additional pimp because #1 he's funny #2 he writes long posts.
Adventures of a Poker Nerd

Some obnoxious kid named Hollywood Dave or something like that was in the middle being a total jackass. Think Tobey Maguire minus human growth hormone plus heroin.

As far as I'm concerned, Iggy is the king of the bloggers. He's more of a "hub" for poker bloggers, i.e., he doesn't write much about his own play, but it's the first one I look at every day.

The Pokernerd also explains that he hates country music and why he thinks Def Leppard's Armageddon It video is over-rated. For the record, I don't write much about my own play because I think it's boring. Face it, grinding is like watching paint dry.

I have very high hopes for this next blog. Must read. Experienced players and some solid writing. What else can you ask for? Please keep it up guys!
All-In: Confessions of a Chicago Poker Duo

Finally, I wrote Roy Cooke of Card Player Magazine an e-mail asking him to explain exactly what he means by, “…the recurring sum of volume times edge will equal expectation, and over the course of time will equal earn.”

Here is what he replied: “What it means is if you continuously add the amount you bet times the edge bet at into a field that that number will equal your expectation over the time of the equation.....Assuming luck to be a neutral factor over time...the recurring field will equal your earn.”

Next up, Icey in the world of Poker - he's a college student playing on Pokerroom and some other Godforsaken site. Cmon, my man, if Party Poker is good enough for the Dude, it's good enough for you!

Icey asks the question that I think ALL bloggers can relate to:

Is anybody out there reading this???

And lastly, a 17 year old poker player who claims to have three years of texas hold em experience YET states that he likes QQ over AA. Oh the humanity.
The Diary of an "Extremely Young" Poker Player

To date, I have never won a Texas Hold 'Em hand, in real life or online, with Bullets.

Good gravy. While I admire a 17 year old trying to learn poker, he obviously has a way to go. Good luck Alex and let me know if I can help!

Also, make sure to read Hdouble - great post (per always) about playing online versus bots, specifically against Poki. Hank then uses his giant chess club brain to deconstruct poker bots. Great stuff.

Is this an uber-post yet? I'm hoping to stay sober enough to post this great thread between Sklansky, Abdul and Carson from the archives, but the Guinness is beginning to take it's toll. Plus, I don't get to play tonight, either. I found this wonderful thread where Barbara Yoon, the fiercest pit bull in RGP's dog pound, has her formidable incisors sunk deep into Mason Malmuth's meaty left thigh. I fear it shall have to wait.

So let's hit the rest of the best poker linkage, shall we? And thanks if you've read this far.

Travel Channel Poker Challenge

This is the first article in a series that Mathew Hilger is calling the Top 10 Mistakes of Online Players. Each month he will be speaking about a particular common mistake.
Top 10 Mistakes in Online Poker

I keep track of all my hand histories using Poker Stat and Poker Tracker software. These two products provide you with a wealth of information, including how often you see the flop. One interesting analysis I did was to look at the top 20 winning players that I had played at least 2000 hands against. I then did a benchmarking study for different criteria. In this particular analysis, I found the range of hands played by the winning players was between 18-28% with most players falling in the 20-22% range. This analysis was done for a relatively tight game so you ought to see slightly higher percentages in looser games...but this should give you a good idea. In general, most players should be playing between 15%-25% of your hands.

The next one is : Mistake #2: Drawing to Outs that Won't Help You Win.
A very important topic, imho.

K, time to hit the news desk.

I'm jealous of these folks. We've got gambling boats aplenty around here, but nary a one spreads poker.

After 2-year fold, poker returns to city

Poker — not the type on video screens — is back in Vicksburg for the first time in two years.
The first of what Horizon casino managers hope will be many hands was dealt Tuesday afternoon in an area set aside from the slot machines and other table games. Players said they were happy to see competitive play return.

“You can never have enough poker,” said Mack Boyd of Brandon.

From TechNews - The British Internet security firm mi2g Intelligence Unit -- in a written statement earlier this month -- said there is a correlation between organized crime and hacking attacks that are both politically and ideologically motivated.
Global Extortion: Online Gambling and Organized Hacking

Here's some hope for us all. And another tangible reason to play on Party Poker.
Olympia poker player cruises to $441,163

He started playing on PartyPoker.com about seven months ago and is on the Web site about twice a week. The Olympia High School graduate sometimes travels for work, but plays at the Hawk's Prairie Casino and Restaurant when he's home.

Who didn't know this?
Dealing them in: Poker TV shows lead to rise in home games

In her 25 years of selling poker supplies, Odessa Woodert said, she has never been busier.
Two or three sales of chips, cards and other basics used to be a pretty good week, she said. Now, that's an average Saturday.

Poker at college continues to go through the roof. What I wouldn't give to be playing poker with nubile young co-eds:
What happens in Vegas...
Gambling not strictly limited to Sin City; Aggies ante up in town, on campus

"Poker games are permissible on campus as long as they follow Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal Code," said Sgt. Allan Baron of the University Police Department. "But if you are going to play poker, just make sure you take other student rules and regulations in mind when doing so."

Wow, that's huge when Texas cops say poker is permissible. I think TheFatGuy should head back to college ala Rodney Dangerfield.

Damnit, I am done. I hope this was a worthy post. I didn't even get to rant about Sklansky.

The main thing that bothers me about Sklansky literature is that he doesn't discuss multi-way / loose game pots very often. And that's online poker, in my humble five year experience. If you are playing heads-up on the flop more often than not, for the love of God, change tables. Or change sites.

Play on Party Poker. Use my damn bonus code (IGGY). This is hard work - writing all this out. Trust me, ask any blogger. Hell, I give so much and ask for so little. :)

I won't even tell you how long this post took to write up. I measure these things in beers. Let's just say I'm Guinness-fueled and be done with it. But I'm happy, I stood and I delivered a freaking UBER POST.

Thanks a ton for reading, I truly appreciate it.

Link of the day:
Are You Being Served?
"You haven't lived until you've made a lawyer crawl on his hands and knees," writes former process server John Marcotte. His job exposed him to people from all walks of life, but mostly deadbeats.

All Content Copyright Iggy 2003-2007
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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