Thursday, April 08, 2004

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge."
Daniel Boorstin

If you sign up on Party Poker with deposit bonus code IGGY, then maybe SOMEDAY I'll get out of this chair and walk!

Thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog, bad jokes aside. If it's poker content you want, you've come to the right place. My goal is to singlehandedly destroy workplace production, across the country, by 20%. I've got tons of links, poker rants, poker site updates, new poker blogs, and poker news. I can only pray that you are sitting in a cube or office, somewhere, with unfettered web access.

So where to begin? Let's commence with what I've been doing (the boring stuff):

My blog hiatus was truly beneficial for my game and mindset. Just what I needed - to simply focus on playing poker. I took a shot at the $200 buyin WSOP satellite for the NL Championship event on Empire Poker - they were giving away two seats and only 67 players bought or won their way in! Can you say overlay?

But this was a freaking LIMIT tournament, which makes zero sense to me. Is it any wonder that Empire is losing money in their multi-table tourneys? You should sign up now just for that - it's a joke. Again, folks, they are LOSING money. Get it while you can.

Anyway, abridged version of this tale: I finish 17th. Made a solid effort, but didn't get lucky when I needed to. Let's blame it on sobriety, shall we?

Segue to the last week: been playing SNG's exclusively for the first time since late '02 - early '03. Why? I can actually get in them now with my lowly modem. I enjoy the focus of SNG's - the strict time allotment, the immediacy of results. It's very different from grinding, and far more fun. I've enjoyed such a nice run on the $30's and $50's that I treated myself to a cashout. Woohoo!

I've said it before, I'll say it again:

I've lost the link but there was an interesting thread about poker sites and current / past market share. Backstory: Paradise Poker was the big dog for quite awhile, before Party crushed everyone. Ever popular, old school veteran poster, MS SUNSHINE, had this to say after predicting Paradise Poker's demise:


Well, *puffing out chest* not to gloat, but I was one of them. Party's PPM guaranteed of $1M first prize brought in the fishes before WPT. Paradise's lame-o promos couldn't compete for the fish's attention. The games were was always softer than anywhere else especially Paradise.

I think I called Paradise the NEW Planet and was soundly heckled.

I'm not knocking Paradise's customer support or the the software, but they never got the handle on marketing themselves to the fishies. Sure, they could market themselves to POKER players with Card Player ads and banner ads here, but they didn't get Joe Sixpack and his son Joe Jr who is away at school to pony up some cash.

Poker players, even the dim ones, like easy games. If you want my rake dollar then I want good product and 18% flop average games is crappy product to me. Any market leader that doesn't gain players during the biggest poker boom ever is doomed to wallow with the Planets, Deltas and Pokerrooms of this industry. We don't want the coolest looking drinks next to our icon. We want players that are willing to lose a pocket full cash most nights and call it fun.

Preach on - you've got the choir right here!

Here are several interesting Party nuggets that you may or may not know. I've noticed that Party's player base has hit a plateau the last few weeks, ever since the banning of poker commercials on television. Party's still far beyond every other site, but I've grown so accustomed to watching the player count steadily increase that the leveling off is slightly disconcerting. Poker may not have jumped the shark, but I think it's fair to say it's crested because of the current television ban.

But again, the Party Poker marketing department proves they are way ahead of the curve by sidestepping the stoppage and creating a new site at PartyPoker.net, which is an "online poker school." Play money only, no real money games. And they are advertising this site on cable television.

Of course, once people sign up at partypoker.net, they'll learn about partypoker.com. Brilliant!

Did you notice that Party Poker made several changes to the "my account" section of their web site. You can now search on your account activity in one-week blocks. It used to only show your activity for the previous time you logged in.

There is also an option to change your screen name. This is available once every six months due to security and privacy concerns. I'm not real thrilled with this last development.

Addendum per the Google and Yahoo advertisement bans (no more online ads allowed) - this is a $5.7 billion industry, including sports books. I fully expect these sites to remain undaunted and aggressive with their marketing. Quite frankly, Yahoo and Google may have just written a blank check to all of their competitors.

Google's official statement: "This change was made as a part of Google's ongoing commitment to enhancing our advertising policies to ensure that we provide the best search and advertising experience to our users," said David Krane, director of corporate communications for Google.

Hopefully someday poker will be defined differently, like pool or darts, perhaps on a tournament level. I'm obviously not holding my breath.

Hell, I have tons to post and I'd love to rant, but I'm gonna begin the best of breed poker links so I don't end up too drunk tired to play afterwards. Let's roll, shall we?

David Ross update. I sure hope he gets a book deal.
Playing online for a living week 49

Only 3 weeks to go to complete a full year of playing. It is my intention to stop the posts at that point. I think I will spend a little time writing an outline for a book and see if there is any interest from the poker publishers.

Because of the hiatus, I missed two kickass posts by WordPerfectTM author, Richard Brodie.
Never, ever miss an installment of: Lion Tales

Andy "The Rock" Bloch had set up dinner once again at Andiamo. This time we were joined by Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, John "JJ" Juanda, Paul "Beanie" Nobles, Avi "Wookie" Freedman, and Steve Brecher. Only Steve, JJ, and I were still in the contest and I was near the chip lead with almost twice the average count. I had the excellent beef carpaccio followed by a nice grilled salmon with the very sweet sauce on the side. As a rule I don't eat dessert but the chocolate Galliano cake had been lucky for me so I had just one.

As lucky as we are to have Richard detailing his exploits in the WPT, we are just as fortunate to have Linda. All-time favorite and I can only admire her posts from a place far, far away. Why? Here she posts about dealing uber high-limit poker at the Bellagio to the most hated man in poker, Sam Grizzle. A must read.
PokerWorks - Dialogue Dance Floor

Right after Sam G., in the 2s, raised the opener, got called and ended up being the caller on the Sixth Street and the River, and was shown 5's full of 7's by his opponent, I got slammed into the middle of the Dialogue Dance Floor. Sam G. was my opponent...ahhh...errrr...dance partner. He was grim and unforgiving as he tried to stomp my toes on every spin and turn.

Go read world class needling and how Linda handles it with aplomb, per always. I hope I can buy her a Guinness one day.

By the way, if Sean from Anisotropy is reading this, please zip me a message. Damn, I miss his blog.

This is for the dedicated readers out there. Utterly fascinating story (10 pages! but worth it) of:
The inside story of two yankees who dodged the law, flew to Belize's Export Processing Zone, and flipped the switch on a get-rich-quick Internet casino. Too bad nobody mentioned the bugs.
EPZ Money

This article is over four years old, so think about these numbers:

Just to get started, it can take 20 minutes for this 5-Mbyte program and others like it to drip onto your hard drive, and days to set up the offshore bank account. Apparently, gamblers are patient people: According to Bear Stearns, 18 million of them have waited through enough downloads to make Net gaming worth $2.2 billion annually, a total projected to triple by 2002. In 1998, a Cook Islands-based Web site called Casinos of the South Pacific claimed to pull down $4 million within four days of its launch. The promise of easy, semi-licit money has led to the registration of about 1,000 gaming URLs, up from 40 just three years ago.

It's a long but interesting read about the shady world of casino start-ups in Belize. Come back and hit it some time when you get a chance.

Uh oh. Now that Sylvester Stallone has appeared in a major film role about Texas Hold Em, this may be it - poker officially Jumps the Shark. Only time will tell, but this could be the watershed moment.

Poker Sting Film 'Shade' To Premiere in Las Vegas in April:

A major motion picture with a plot involving sleight-of-hand tricks used to exploit poker games will premiere in Las Vegas in late April against the backdrop of the World Series of Poker.

The movie, "Shade," is the story of an ingenious sting dreamt up by a grifter and a crafty card mechanic. that works to his benefit or that of his partners.

The cast includes Sly Stallone, Stuart Townsend, Gabriel Byrne, Melanie Griffith, Janie Foxx and Thandie Newton. Rumor has it that this movie, distributed by RKO, is slick, timely, and hot - strong on sex and the
adrenalin rush of high-stakes poker.

The premiere of "Shade" will be the central event in a themed series of "Hollywood Stars Meeting Poker Stars." Along with the movie, there's to be a celebrity poker tournament for charity and a charity golf tournament. The "Shade" premiere promises to be a big, glitzy, Las Vegas style promotion.

Here's the corporate flash site for you to peruse:

Oh the humanity.

Oh yeah, I saw a pretty cool interview with the Patron Saint of poker bloggers , Wil Wheaton, in Developer Shed magazine where Wil pimps The Hammer! Too damn cool.

Wil Wheaton > Sylvester Stallone

Allrighty then, last but certainly not least, time to finish up with an official pimp of the new poker blogs. It's *almost* to the point where I can't keep up anymore. Please don't bother pointing out the obvious RSS solutions, you damn web hippies. I understand...

Cheap Thrills is a well-written blog by JD. He's really hitting his stride, posting his latest thoughts on that tricky question, "Why Poker?" Very good and truly worth a read.

Litton is a very cool poker player, having emailed me several times, and is currently in Taiwan. I'm stoked that he started a poker blog, so go check out:
Tilted Litt
Tilting on the Party Poker fishpond

I had a ton of fun reading Ditty Runs the City. You owe it to yourself to keep up with this one if only because he documented his daily food intake, ala Grubby.

Meal 1: 2 egg white omelet with turkey (9:30 am).
Meal 2: Chicken breast and apple (12:30 pm).
Meal 3: Mesotech bar (3:30 pm).
Meal 4: Myloplex shake (5:30pm)
Meal 5: Chicken breast with potato (7:30 pm).
Meal 6: Chicken breast (9:00 pm – snack)

DAMN, Grubby's meals suddenly look a whole lot better now.

Stephen has been faithfully posting since the beginning of the month at Life is a Game of Poker. I understand where he is coming from with this snippet:

it's really interesting to see the different opinions people have of poker. all of my non-serious poker playing friends call it a friendly gambling game. and when i try to discuss with them the differences i see in poker and gambling, they all just laugh and believe i'm some kind of gambling addict who's denying that poker is gambling. but there are a few people who are starting to understand what i mean once they have played a few hands with knowledge of starting hands, position, basic odds, etc. and it's always good to see them play and progress.

And honestly, this last one is a must read. I've been meaning to link it up for while. Damn Guinness.
The Poker Chronicles
My life as a professional gambler.

Last Wednesday I was playing in the $540 NL tourney at the Bellagio, which had just started, when Daniel Negreanu happened to walk by my table. I had talked to him a decent amount on the Party Poker cruise so I said hey and asked him if he was playing in the tournament. He said he was broke (obviously joking) and told me I should stake him in the tournament and we would go 50/50. I laughed and told him I was a poor college student and couldn't afford it, but after a few minutes I started thinking that I should have just staked him. I mean I'm not rich but I can afford to blow $540, and he is definitely well worth it. Personally I doubt I would ever stake one of the many pros who are always broke (for real) and looking for a backer, but Daniel on the other hand appears to be far from broke and doesn't really need the stake. If he played he would play only to win it, as winning the tournament would be far more important to him than his half of the prize, and I like that a lot. All in all backing him would be a risky proposition but a profitable one, so if he was willing I should have just done it.

Excellent blog. Hope he continues.

I could spend an entire post just linking to the superior poker blogging going out there amongst my peers. I must confess, it's been awesome to just come home and READ THEM and then play poker. Or to read them while playing, whichever. Bottom line, this blog takes time. I don't get paid shit to come on here with my Guinness-fueled ramblings so please consider using my damn bonus code when signing up for Party or Empire.

That being said - allow me a shill for Empire since the tournaments are so juicy. If you have a current Party Poker account, take the time to consider registering on Empire, if only for their multi-table guaranteed money tournaments. They are losing money on these - strike while the iron is hot. It won't be this way forever, it never is. In that vein, here was a post about HOW to sign up on Empire Poker if you are currently playing on Party:


I personally signed up for Empire over a year ago, but since then I've heard of some problems opening an Empire account after a Party account. Here's how to do it these days with no problems.

1. Get a second email address.
2. Open a new funding account with that new email
3. Get to a PC with no poker software on it and a different IP address than
your regular poker PC.
4. Sign up on that clean PC
5. Deposit on that clean PC
6. Now you can play from your regular PC.

K, enough on that. It's there if you want to take advantage of it. And if you believe in bonus whoring, you should. It's free damn money. IGGY1 for Empire!

I do want to take the time to point out Ed, at Openers - A Poker Blog, for his post about his trip to Thailand and Cambodia. It's always fascinating to read West Meets East perspectives, at least for me.

Speaking of mentalities, I think most of us avid players thrive on the psychology behind successful poker. And frankly, it's a difficult concept to write about. I should know, I've ranted and raved about it several times in this here blog (see archives). But the good Doctor sums it up rather well here in this column for PokerPages:
Social Psychology and Poker

The Fundamental Attribution Error is a pretty straightforward concept, which has been supported in countless studies across all types of behaviors. Essentially, what it means is that individuals have a tendency to attribute other people's behaviors to internal rather than external causes.

Geez, I think he read or stole one of my prior posts. Blogbomber! :)

K, I think this should suffice for now. I didn't get to everything I wanted to but hell, I'm sure your eyeballs have glazed over at this point. I hope this was worth your while.

One last thought: if you're going to play poker, whether you are new, playing for recreation or even for a living, make sure you're having fun. There's no real point to it if you're not.

Late edit:
Speaking of fun, I played with Pauly and BG after writing this up - here's Pauly's take:

Now we also have BG's post about the SNG fun: An offer I can't refuse.

Link of the Day:
And Here is the Steeple
After months of hearing concern about his penis from strangers in e-mail, John Hargrave broke down and shopped for Viagra pills online. Then he tested the pill's powers. In church.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Hopefully, I'll write a Guinness-fueled post this evening. Yes, the hiatus is over.

Go hit the TheFatGuy for his take on the RSS - BlogBomb nonsense. It really is a joke that the scam-artists can build websites from the hard work of bloggers. This software (and variations thereof) is just the tip of the iceberg and is reason enough to just say NO to RSS. Unless, of course, you enjoy having your posts hijacked by thieves. I work too hard on my damn posts to allow this to happen. I refuse to link to these bastards but go hit http://www.blogbomb.com for the down and dirty.

I have much to report on, but for now enjoy this post from a fellow asking about the feasibility of going pro. There was one long, thoughtful reply, and one succinct, not so thoughtful reply. Hey, it's not David Ross, but still, enjoy:


I have searched through this group and read a few older posts on playing
poker for a living, and wanted to get a few thoughts and opinions on this
subject. All I ask is that we keep the flames and stupid replys that have
no vaild info low. Maybe future people can use this post to answer there
questions before reposting the questions.

First background on me and why I am asking. I work 50+to 70 hours a week
during holidays working a retail Job. I make very good money around $60K a
year now going up very quickly. Right now I love playing poker more then
anything (only been playing 1 year) and I know if you can make a living
doing something you love go for it! Plus I would get more family time.
Anyway I am only playing $2-$4 working up my bankroll and paying off debt
and will slowly move up as I get a bigger bankroll.

What I want to know is if you can make a decent living playing limit holdem
or do you need to develop your tourny skills and get into the big money

I think I will know when I can make a decent living, (debt free $50k bank
roll) winning player for couple years. Is this accurate?

For those making a living doing it do you regret it or do you still love
what you do like you did when you started?

The way I would plan on beating the game and others is playing more then 1
table at a time online. I have played up to 5 at a time with a large
monitor setup. What I would like to do is play 2 or 3 higher limit tables
once I get more confident and more money. As well as playing my way into as
many large tourny's as possable.

Any other thoughts on playing for a living please fill us all in, I have
already set this as a goal over the next couple years.

And the thoughtful response:

I expect most responses you receive will discuss, in general, your ability
to make enough money at 2-4 limit to support yourself. I suspect they
might have a point, and think that if you are to be a pro you should aim
yourself at higher limits. But as I'm not a limit player, but rather a NL
player, I'll instead give you an idea of what life is like for me...
something that should complement what I expect you will hear from others.

In any case, I think it's MOST IMPORTANT to first verify for some
significant period of time that you can attain the level of winnings per
hour that you need to make your living. The SECOND MOST IMPORTANT thing
is to start with two separate pools of money: One to be your bankroll,
and another for your living expenses, that can cover a few months should
your bankroll bust, so that you can still eat while you look for a job.

I have only been pro for about 4 months. I quit my job making $55k where I
was due for a raise (expecting $60k) when I gave my 6 months notice last
June. I also worked a lot of hours some weeks, and worked a stressful job.

I quit my job without any particular plan -- just knew it was time to move
on. I gave poker a shot and it's been working out wonderfully. I've made
about $41,000 in cash (pretax) in the 4 months I've been playing, plus
I've won entries into three WPT events (I didn't make money in the
Pokerstars cruise or the Reno Hilton WPT events, but have yet to play in
the Aviation Club WPT in July that I qualified for on Ultimate Bet). My
money has come about half from online play and half from live play,
although I rarely play live and most of the live cash ($17,300 after you
subtractmy huge ridiculous tip as I didn't know they withheld 3% for
dealers, and the $5100 main event buyin) came most from this recent live
tournament win:


I play online about 50 hours a week, 3 weeks a month, under the handle
'ackbleh' on Pokerstars. I play 1-2, 2-4, and 3-6 blind NL games,
multi-table tournaments... $50 and up plus $any rebuy, and headsup NL
matches ranging from $50 to $1000.

I have found that the biggest challenge is mental, and not related to the
details of playing a hand. Sticking to your limit, not going on tilt,
playing games you're a favorite at, managing your bankroll properly, not
playing in games where you could significantly hurt your bankroll in one
session, not playing after/during drinking, NOT ALTERING YOUR GAME OR
WHINING WHEN YOU ARE ON A COLD STREAK, and not giving into the gamble...
these are the challenges of a pro online poker player these days. As far
as playing specific hands... if you know good math, and know poker, and
have been a winning player... the issue there is simply how much, not
whether you will win. It's maintaining control of the long term state of
mind that is the key.

Of course, my game HAS improved leaps and bounds in the four months. I
have several friends who also play online, a few of them also pros, and
discussion with them is invaluable. We keep each others' heads straight
when cards are cold. I also continue to read and reread books to continue
my education. Finally, I have paid Bob Ciaffone for a few phone
conversations and email analyses of hands ($100 for 2 hours, mail
thecoach@chartermi.net). These have also been very helpful sessions in
keeping me grounded when cards are cold and FPS (fancy play syndrome)
tries to take hold.

I don't happen to think four months is a long enough period of time to
declare my experiment a success. I do know that I'm a MUCH happier person
now than I was. I love what I do each day. I am a learner -- one thing I
really enjoyed about my previous job as a Project Manager was that I was
always learning new things. But now, I not only enjoy learning and
becoming better -- I actually inherently LIKE the thing I'm learning about
and getting better at! Much better! And I don't have the old situation
where I would take the stress home with me all the time. Life is fun! I
do what I want! And what I want often includes poker! It also includes
travelling for one week a month, which is wonderful now that I don't have
to show up places every day at 8am in a dress shirt and slacks to please a

That said, there have been some tough times. Some bumps. Some rough
points. Being up $4500 after one week in February and ending the month up
only $3500 was... a challenge for those two losing weeks (I spent one week
at Whistler snowboarding). It's mentally trying. It's not for the weak.
It's not for the average. It's for the mentally strong.

Poker is nice. I had a goal of being a millionaire by the time I'm 30. I
may achieve it through poker. I may also have to get a job in 6 months.
I won't go broke -- I'm too financially disciplined for that, and maintain
0 debt. Ideally, I'll make enough money soon (would love to well in WPT
Paris) to help my father retire soon, instead of in three years like he
wants to. If not... oh well, at least I gave it a shot.

<.unwanted philosophical rant>
But... Poker is not a lifetime vocation. Why? It's not constructive. It
doesn't contribute anything to the world. It's leeching extra disposable
income off of people. Providing them entertainment? No, I don't think
so, not like a movie or ballgame. Because they don't come to lose. They
don't come to pay me $40/hour to enjoy playing poker. They come to win,
but don't (on average). This is not being paid for entertainment.

We only have one life, and I think to spend all of one's working years
leeching extra money off of the rest of society is a waste. It's sure
great for a while though -- a great way to pay for travelling the world,
meeting great people, and building life skills like money management,
discipline, independence, and people-reading. I wouldn't be surprised if
five years from now, 'ex-poker professional' is a great line to have on a
resume when applying for a position as a negotiator, for instance.
<./unwanted philosophical rant>

I'm a smart guy. I missed two questions on my SATs, won lots of Academic
awards, particularly in math, etc, etc.
I'm very independant. I don't give a flip what most people think and just
do what I think is right.

I don't think that I'm some super special guy, and the purpose here is not
to brag. There are LOTS of people who can say things similar to the
above. But I think that you DO have to be smart and independant to
succeed at being a pro poker player. If, when asked to describe yourself,
you wouldn't mention the above without being prompted... I'd advise
finding another line of work.

I hope the above information is enough to help you make your decision.
Please, do consider multiple sources when making your decision, for as I
mentioned I've only been doing this for a little over four months, and
savvy readers will note that without my recent live tournament win, I'd be
up only $24k in four months... not that big a number when you consider
paying your own health insurance and a full 30% to Uncle Sam. I do have
to tell you -- I'm a really happy man, and in a lot of ways an envy of my
former coworkers. Life is good. Really good.

Best of luck, whatever your decision.


And the NOT so thoughtful response:

First of all you are a fucking idiot. It takes years to build up a skill
of poker to even think about going pro. One year aint gonna cut it bud.
And another thing, trust me from experience, you will not have more family
time. You are always gonna be in a casino trying to hit it big. Get
your shit together first and then consider if its for you


Gotta love RGP, eh? Thanks for visiting and hopefully I'll be back with a real post very soon.

Link of the Day:
Eastern Europe's Forgotten Jewel
"Most people get to Molvania either by air and by accident," according to the travel guide Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry. "What it lacks in old world charm it more than makes up for in concrete."

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I've had folks harass the hell out of me to provide RSS for my blog. I won't go into all the reasons why I won't, but here's one: there are tons of affiliate shill scumbags out there currently using software called 'BlogBomb.' This software looks for anyone with an RSS feed with content similar to what said affiliate is selling.

Specifically it looks for anyone saying: "Syndicate this site" as an open invitation to hijack your content and then repurpose it on their shill site.

I discovered over a dozen sites ripping off our poker blogs and shut most of them down, liberating content for Hdouble, Chris Halverson, Jeremy and Felicia, to name a few. The site owners were 'happy' to remove the ripped off content after some gentle Iggy persuasion. But there are still yet other poker web sites out there, pulling your RSS feeds into their sites as their own content.

Scroll down the page of this crappy site to see what I mean. The content will be a new poker blog tomorrow. Perhaps yours?
Place a Bet

New "real" poker post forthcoming.....I hope...

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

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