Thursday, November 11, 2004

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves that we are underlings.


How about an old-fashioned, rambling, Guinness-fueled post?

I've updated the now out-of-control poker blogroll on the right. The one downside to the exponential popularity of poker blogs is that I drink far too much Guinness while digging through them, wondering what the hell I should write about.

My humble apologies for the following drunken post.
Pure drivel.

Actually, it pains me to stay away from the poker tables tonight because I'm killing the limit ring games at Party Poker. If you are playing anywhere else, you need to cut back on the huffing. I'm amazed at the terrible players - how long can the insanity continue? But this current rush isn't really about the terrible players (although I am continually getting paid off - some guys do NOT know how to fold) - it's more about the deck hitting me in the face.

Anyway, nobody cares about The Grind. But I'm still gonna give you a mini-update on what I've been doing, for the sake of posterity. My first week off work was so disorienting that I chose not to play. Instead, I worked on a freelance project and started re-reading Ray Zee's seminal poker book, High-Low-Split-Poker. So this week I've been fooling around with the 5.10 Stud8 tables on Party. Great stuff, if you can handle the wild swings.

I'm not the only one that loves Party Poker. Here's a great link for all my faithful readers. It really did my heart good to read David Ross's update on his last six months of Playing Online Poker for a Living on Party Poker. He really should write a damn book. Enjoy:
Playing online for a living - Year 2, the first 6 months

For the record, if you are new here and haven't read David's weekly poker posts, you are truly in for a treat. And fortunately, one of my old readers got David's permission to post them all in his poker site. Go to School of Hard Knocks and scroll down till you see David's posts on the left. 46 weeks of tasty online poker goodness.

Another reader, a neophyte poker blogger messaged me the other evening, asking if he should reap the fruits of Izmet's advice in limit play. Oh the humanity - that would be a resounding YES. If any of you are new or hell, even if you're experienced poker players, take a jaunt through both Abdul and Izmet's essays. Print them out and read them a few times, letting it slowly seep into your brain.

Per Izmet:
Preflop: tight, tight, tight. Postflop: pound, pound, pound. Yes, your variance will increase, but overall, you will win more and lose less if you maintain focus and pre-flop discipline. This strategy works best when you have a tight table image.

The new CardPlayer just hit the web and has a superb interview with Phil Ivey.
Must read:

The Art of Winning — A Conversation With Phil Ivey

I guess I should post some snarky stuff. Let's share this Annie Duke diatribe for the hell of it.


Subject: Annie Duke is no angel, that's for sure (long)
Author: Jordan Meisner

The past few days, I've been browsing through some archived WSOP coverage
(journals, reports, video, audio, etc) and after looking at a lot of
stuff, I'm really shocked at how Annie Duke came across as a total bitch,
and there's really no other way of saying it. I don't know if other
people already knew about the deal with her in the WSOP (I didn't follow
it extremely closely day to day, I would mostly just look at the chip
counts), but it was pretty pathetic.

The first thing I read about her was from Dave Scharf's WSOP journal (guy
who got pretty far in the tournament, was crippled in an all-in hand
against Dan Harrington where he was almost a 2-1 favorite). After Dave
doubled Annie up after making an all-in bluff against her on the turn
after she had flopped top two pair, Annie didn't win with grace, as she
apparently stood up, walked over to the ESPN cameras and boasted how she
had "taken Dave to school". Of course, they would never show anything
like this because they portray Annie to be a complete angel, whereas they
target and feast on other players like Josh Arieh. Then at the next
break, she was reportedly again putting down Dave's play right in front of
him while she was talking with Gus Hansen.

So what does Dave do? He came right back and murdered her in a pot where
she left 2/3 of her chips on the table when she folded to his all-in bet.
Dave showed his bottom pair and flush draw to Annie, and you know she
couldn't have liked it.

So after this Annie was down to 25k of the 75k she started the hand with.
In a three-way pot she played shortly after this, the 456 flop was checked
around and a 5 hit the turn, whereupon she bluffed all-in with KQ. One
player folded, and another made an absolutely brilliant call on her with
AQ after a long dwell-up. I mean, he was staring at a 25k-ish bet into a
15k pot with one to come and AQ high and he called her. If I was Annie
Duke, I'd just have to shake my head and admit I got outplayed.

But did Annie Duke do that? Of course not. After losing her entire
tournament in essentially two pots to players who completely ravaged her
with their superior play, she did an interview with the Gutshot Collective
(www.gutshot.co.uk), where she said something along the lines of, "There
were some real inexperienced players this year. I bluffed all in with KQ
on a ragged board and some guy called me with AQ. Obviously, no
experienced player would make this call. I mean, everyone was telling me,
'That was such a great bluff, I can't believe he called you!'" (this quote
is from memory, because the video file is currently down on the website).

Now, this was a completely stupid thing to say, and it stands in stark
contrast with what appears in Phil Hellmuth's article entitled "2004 WSOP
Eliminations" where Annie Duke is quoted as saying, "... kudos to him for
making a tough call." Clearly, she was just trying to cover for her
inappropriate behavior which was recorded in Scharf's journal and on the
Gutshot Collective site.

What's most amazing about this whole thing is how Annie's actions mirror
those of a player she constantly needles, Phil Hellmuth. Phil is of
course known for berating players when they make what he views as "stupid"
plays, but they are often cases of others simply outplaying him. What
Annie did to Scharf and whoever made the call on her with AQ is the exact
same thing. She was clearly feeling pretty down about getting so badly
outplayed, so she took out her frustration by insulting other players.
How childish is that?

Speaking of which, watching the interaction between the players at the
WSOP TOC reveals even more about this whole mess. Throughout the whole
event, Annie Duke was constantly taking her shots at Phil. For example,
when Phil asked the table if he was being too slow due to Doyle Brunson's
comments about Phil "posing for the camera", Annie Duke responded, "What,
do you mean mentally slow?"

I really get a kick out of Annie Duke's critique of Phil's play, because
quite honestly, she is the far inferior player. Howard Lederer and Annie
Duke were insulting Phil incessantly, and they can get away with it
because ESPN is in love with them for whatever reason. But the fact of
the matter is, Phil Hellmuth has 9 Hold'Em bracelets, including a main
event win. How many Hold'Em bracelets do Annie Duke and Howard Lederer
have combined? ZERO. This brings up the question of why those two were
even invited to participate in the TOC, but that's a whole other issue

Another interesting situation showing Annie's bitter side is her poker
relationship with Daniel Negreanu. When watching FOX Sport's coverage of
Championship Poker at the Plaza when Daniel and Annie were sitting at the
same table, it was pretty obvious that Daniel was just destroying her
(along with all of the other players). That particular tournament had an
unprecedentally slow blind structure and special short-handed tables
halfway through the tournament to the finish, an environment in which
Daniel Negreanu will tear through the field with a vengeance. He is
undeniably the best tournament player in the world right now (and from
what I've heard, the best side-game player as well), but don't tell that
to Annie Duke. She was her usual incessantly chatty self at the table,
but didn't seem to be taking too kindl to Daniel at all. In fact, at the
TOC, she even made a remark when Daniel showed down his 57s against her KK
in an AIPF situation when she was short-stacked that "Daniel gets lucky
with those hands more than anyone else". Not too long after that, Daniel
came out with a CardPlayer article detailing a hand in which he absolutely
destroyed Annie Duke with... you guessed it, 75s high on the flop. Hmm...

Overall, it just seems to me like Annie Duke is a self-conscious player
who wants to believe she's a better player than she really is. She seems
to believe that she's the best female tournament player in the world
(actually, in the WSOP broadcast, she blatantly says that), evidenced by
her refusal to play in the Ladies' Limit Hold'Em event this year. She
then of course got all the coverage in the world when she won her first
bracelet, but Annie, I've got news for you, you're still behind Nani
Dollinson, Jennifer Harman, Barbara Enright, and Susie Isaacs in that

Also, Annie Duke is not a "stone babe" (ultimatebet.com), she's ugly.

The End.

Mitigating factor: she DID win the TOC and tilt Phil.

You gonna eat that?

I suppose now I should repost the open letter from her brother, Howard Lederer, to Daniel N.

But moving on, a story I forgot to blog about when I read it on Pokerati last week, and then was followed up on RGP. I certainly hope nobody is surprised by this revelation.

Here's the original post and several responses in the threads:

Hellmuth-Doesn't play under his "Official" UB Name
Author: Stinch

I always wondered if the Poker Pros really Play on Ultimate Bet. It turns
out at least one doesn't. I was watching Phil Hellmuth play on UB when I
remembered I was planning on going to go see him at the Barns and Noble in
Dallas tonight.

At 7:30pm CT I called Barnes and Noble, and to my surprise, he was there,
speaking! The very moment he was playing a hand on Ultimate Bet.

I exposed the situation to the others in the Online card room, I even gave
out the Phone number to Barns and Noble. Many players called and
confirmed: IT WAS NOT Phil Hellmuth Playing under his UB screen name.

I play at UB and I am a big fan of the site. But having someone pretend
to be a pro is a SCAM. People play against the pros for the thrill. Some
even play looser than usual. Just to "beat the pro." That is why I am so
troubled by all this.

There is no proof UB is aware Phil does not play under his name. But I
have the proof, on at least this nite, he does not.

I am a seasoned TV Journalist who knows how to nail down a story. And I
know a Con when I see one. Those playing against the so called "Phil
Hellmuth" on UB Sat Night at 7:30 were duped.

The question remains: How many other times have we been duped?


Hello Stinch,

I realize others may gripe that you have posted this already however I am
grateful that you did so as I do not have the opportunity to scroll
through historical posts with the zeal of others. I found your
information to be very interesting and to be candid I am not surprised.
UB has at bare minimum a moral and ethical obligation to respond to this
assertion. The UB "stars", I use this term loosely, are a potential draw
to the storefront and a willful or inadvertent misrepresentation of their
attendance is a disgrace.

Please let us know if you are to find out anything further.

Opening the door for Gary Carson to slam Phil:

Phil got caught in fraudlulent behavior.

I suspect he has an ownership interest in UB, but he's afraid to admit it becuase he's afraid of arrest.

But, generally, it all looks to me like his ethical values are severely lacking.

I have some bonus bucks on UB and will probably play there now and then until I
work them off.

But, other than that, UB just seems to pile on new evidence every day that the managment and ownership of the site just can't be trusted.
So Phil defrauded them -- he gets paid to play and then subcontracts that to
someone else.

And, they don't really care?

I'm sorry, but I'd beleive them if they fired him. But, for them to just say,
"Please don't defraud us again", just doesn't impress me.

Employee fraud in an online poker site is serious fucking business. They seem
to only care that it's bad PR.


and from poker industry consultant, Michael O'Malley:

Decide for yourself. But if you think every site that has a named player or
pro has that specific person playing every time, you gotta be drunk. It's a
great sales tactic or marketing strategy, and the new TV found players love it
and really have no clue it's not the pro's they think it is, but it works
getting the newbies at their sites to play.

UB emailed Stinch back and offered some shit explanation. You can read Phil's excuse here at Pokerati when Dan interviewed him.

God, it's fun to hate Phil. I need to write a screed on this.

FilmGeek emailed me this legit posting on Craig's List that went up on Wednesday, by some guy in Philadelphia:

"Straight male seeks Bush supporter for fair, physical fight. I would like to fight a Bush supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery streak, please contact me so we can meet and physically fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you."

New column on Poker Pages on a topic I've ranted about several times.
Confessions of a River Rat Part IV

Let's face it you will never become a great poker player unless you know how to be a winner. That's all good and true, but I think you will never be a good poker player unless you know how to be a good loser. The reality of it all is that there will be times when you will go home broke from the casino, sit in your dark living room drinking whiskey and listening to Sarah McLachlan. You can't be a great poker player unless you learn how to deal with your emotions and control your self-pity.

I doubt anyone local is actually reading this deep into a post, but if so, here's a detailed 2+2r's review of the newly opened Grand Victoria poker room in Rising Sun, Indiana. It's about an hour away.
Grand Victoria poker room review

Hrm, I initially thought this was a joke but it's not.
From the BUY A FUCKING POKER BOOK OR TWO section of this blog, came this press release:


Attendees to Learn the Secrets of Tournament Poker from WPT Experts

West Hollywood, CA (November 10, 2004) -- WPT Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:
WPTE), the entertainment company that transformed poker into a riveting
spectator sport, has once again broken new ground with the announcement of
WPT Boot Camp™. This new initiative can put those who dream of playing in
a WORLD POKER TOUR™ tournament on the fast track to a WPT Final Table.

WPT Boot Camp will be offered in cities throughout the United States and
will feature an integrated curriculum that includes live lecture, archived
footage, and game play. Students will receive tutoring on all aspects of
competitive tournament Texas Hold 'Em poker, from some of the greatest
minds on the WORLD POKER TOUR.

The multi-day boot camps will utilize courseware exclusive to WPT. The
experience will be hands on, filled with tips and tools for amateur
players to better understand the tells, reads, and strategies integral to
improving their own game.

The WPT Boot Camp schedule will be released shortly; those wishing to be
notified of the national schedule and read the complete press release, go
to, WPT Boot Camp

This was actually an interesting poker conference write-up. It could just be the Guinness, however.

Subject: WPPC Report Sent: Nov 8 2004 6:33 PM
Author: Rob Perelman (rob@vrob.com) Post Options: Hide

View: Normal | Header | Full Thread

Options: Print | Email

This past weekend I went to Las Vegas to attend the 4th Annual World Poker
Players Conference. As a standard disclaimer, I plan to discuss my entire
weekend, so feel free to scroll down if you only wish to read about the

I left San Diego on Thursday afternoon with a plan to stop at Pechanga to
play some poker while traffic to Vegas died. Ended up getting trapped
there as the $3-$6 table I was at was very loose, and I walked out over
$200 up. Unfortunately, I left after 10pm and didn't get to my hotel at
state line until 2am or so due to construction on the I-15. Checked into
my room and walked by the poker "room" -- I think there was one table
going, and they looked miserable. I was tired and passed, but played a
Wheel Of Fortune slot on the way to my room. Won $50, paid for my room
for the night, so that was that.

Woke up the next morning to head to Vegas and check into my room at
Binion's. Did that, and then walked around downtown to find some food. I
think I ran into Penn or Teller, but I couldn't remember which was which,
so I skipped asking the guy if he was Penn or Teller. 8:1 pot odds say it
was him.

Played a little 2-4 at Binion's waiting for a 4-8 table. Broke about even
on both tables, but I had to cut my sessions short to go logon to
PartyPoker from my room and play the PPM tourny. Didn't catch any cards
in that tourny and busted out about 1000'th out of 1800+ players. Nothing
too exciting about that except I had to disconnect from my room and run
down the street to Krispy Kreme because my table was complaining about my
lag time due to dialup. That probably cost me the tournament, lol.

Then I headed down to the strip to play at my favorite room, the Mirage.
Got a $3-$6 table and played for about 4 hours and made over $200. That's
about right for a Mirage $3-$6 table. By now I can't remember too many
hands, but it was loose loose loose. Pulled myself away from the table
finally at 1:30am as I had to get up early the next morning for the

---> OK, so here's where I talk about the conference. I got there about a
half hour early to get a good seat and get some grub. The continental
breakfast was very nice, so I had some fruit and coffee while waiting for
the seminars to start. Met Linda Johnson who was very, very nice. I'd
vote her "Nicest Person In The Poker World" if given the option. The
conference started and here are my notes on each:

1. Lee Jones - "How To Beat the NL Sit and Go's." Very good speech, and I
can't wait to try out some of his tips.

2. Daniel Negreanu - "Final-table Play." Another very good speech. I
love the guy and was most excited to hear him speak, and he didn't
disappoint. Very funny, and some more great tips I can't wait to try out.
And now I need to go make a shirt with Daniel's face on it with the
phrase below it, "Bring Back The Limp."

3. Mike Caro - "Winning Poker Concepts." Caro really is a genius, and it
showed. I wish there was more math here, as you can tell Caro wanted to
go into it, but it would have been a bit high level for the audience. I
talked to Caro on the break and told him I'd love to go to an all day
seminar with just him speaking, and he said it's in the works. Cool.

4. Mark Gregorich - "How I've Survived as a Professional..." I've seen
Gregorich on TV and didn't realize his background. Nice guy, and course
since he's on TV, he had better presentation skills than most. Nothing
learned in this seminar, but fun to listen to.

5. Barry Tanenbaum - "Maximize Your Poker Profits." Probably my least
favorite seminar as I have 0 notes from it. I'm sure it was good, but if
I can't remember anything about it, I must not have learned all that much
from it.

6. Linda Johnson & Mark Tenner - "Common Errors Made by Omaha/8 Players."
I am not an Omaha/8 player, so I almost ditched this seminar to go get in
an hour of poker at the Bellagio. But I stayed and heard a few things,
and if I ever become an Omaha/8 player, I now know what some common
mistakes are and can avoid them. Linda also told a classic joke that made
it worth the whole session.

7. Mike Sexton - "Sexton's Secret To Success." Very misleading conference
title as it was a lot of general tournament strategy. Learned a couple
things, but it was great to hear Mike's enthusiasm for WPT and the
upcoming PPT. Took my picture with Mike after the conference for whatever
that's worth.

8. Q&A Panel w/Doyle Brunson, Roy Cooke, George Epstein, & Jennifer
Harman. I left the room for half of this one -- while the panel was
great, almost every question was directed to Doyle (predictable), and they
were some of the dumbest questions I've ever heard. I guess I'm a little
further down the poker road than some of the attendees, but I smiled with
Doyle as someone asked a question like: "If I'm in late position with TJs
and three people limp in a pot, should I raise?" Yes, he was serious and
wanted an answer. To summarize Doyle's response, "There is no magic
formula. It depends." Duh.

After the conference, I hopped up to the front for the inevitable Doyle
meet & greet. Sure enough, everyone brought their Super/System to get
signed, as did I. I came up with a clever line for Doyle to write: "I'm a
10, you're a 2." He seemed to get a kick out of it and the picture we
took, where he flashed ten fingers and I flashed two (a peace sign,
actually). Funny on so many levels if you ask me. Doyle's a good guy to
take all the poker fame in stride.

Actually went over to talk to Jennifer Harman as her line was quite short
compared to Doyle's. I mentioned to her that I appreciated a comment she
made in the Q&A where she talked about moving up through the levels of
limit hold'em. She basically told me when she felt she mastered $3-$6,
she'd start taking stabs at the higher limits until she felt comfortable,
and then she'd move to let's say $6-$12 and start taking stabs at the next
higher limits. This was just what I wanted to hear, as I've been beating
every $3-$6 game I've played. I'm pleased to say I sat in two $6-$12
games at the Mirage over the rest of the weekend and turned a profit in

So that's about it for the conference. Bought the Caro "Tells" DVD for
$40, so that was a good deal as well. Overall, I don't feel like I
learned all that much, but hey, it was an excuse to come to Vegas and meet
a couple poker celebs.

Anyway, there was one hand at the $6-$12 table that night that I just want
to pat myself on the back for. I had been playing at a table and this
nice guy across from me was chatting with me all night. We get into a
hand where I have A2o in the small blind, he was in the big blind, and
only one person limped into the pot. I completed the bet, BB checked, and
the flop came 228. I bet right out as there were two clubs on board, and
I figured BB could call with an 8. Sure enough, he called and the other
player folded. The turn came a blank, and I fired again. BB called.
Yup, definitely a 8, or maybe an overpair where he figures I'm betting an
8 and he wants to raise me on the river. Let's see the river...

Oh no, it's an 8. I now have bottom full house, and my plan failed. He
just made top full house... I check. Sure enough, he bets. Shit, I can't
believe he hit his 2 outer. I'm about to muck my cards, but I want to
make sure I am beat and he's not bluffing. I look up at him to see his
demeanor. He looks back and me and trys to lament me... "I had you the
whole way." Wait a second, if he had an 8, how can say know he had me the
whole way? If he has an overpair even, how can he say that. Unless he
had pocket 8's, he's saying he has a 2. I call. Sure enough, he flips
over K2. Uh uh little buddy, I had YOU the whole way. Glad you spoke up,
or I would have mucked my hand. Good read on my part, pat on the back.

Boy did he play this hand wrong. He said after the hand that he was sure
I didn't have a 2. Well if I didn't have a 2, what the hell did he think
I was betting? Either an overpair or the 8. An overpair he can beat on
the river, but if I had been betting an 8 and checked it on the river, he
should never have bet, as I would have been check raising him. Terrible
play, and I'm glad it all worked out. Walked out $96 up.

Played $6-$12 again on Sunday for about 4 hours while traffic cleared and
the rain poured and didn't do as well. I was up for awhile, but the table
was a lot tougher (predictably so on a Sunday evening than a Saturday
night). I was down about $70 and was about to leave when I got 89d under
the gun. I was about to muck it and walk but I decided to play since it
was going to be my last hand either way. Terrible position, I know. Flop
came Q99, I bet out and got two callers. Once again, they're calling with
the queen. PLEASE don't let the queen fall like the 8 fell before!! Turn
is... wow, a 9. OK, I have quads, the nuts. I can't check as that's too
predictable, so I bet out again. Both players call again. River's a
blank, I bet, they both call. I win a decent size pot and end up $22 up
for the session. Whew.

So that's about it. Five hours of driving home in on and off rain and a
good night's sleep and it's back to the normal life. Hope someone made it
this far and enjoyed some or all of my post...

One quick rambling poker thought: Sometimes I struggle with the grinding aspect of limit poker from a diminishing returns perspective. It takes so much damn time (Mike Caro: the more you play, the more you win!) that I often feel my time is better spent focusing on SNG's (single table tourneys, for the uninitiated) and/or some big payout multi-table tournaments. My bankroll is more than sufficient to bang away at these and I've enjoyed success in the past - what's stopping me?

Perhaps it's a case of laziness. Beating the low/mid limits at Party Poker is literally shooting fish in a barrel. My game has likely suffered without the challenges you face in higher limits, or just moving up, in general. Stasis = death in poker.

Poker is very rewarding as a hobby. Compared to golf, (have you ever paid the greens fees in Las Vegas?) it's a grand slam. I feel very fortunate that my hobby brings money in, rather than costing me. How many people can say that? God Bless Party Poker.

But it's not easy. And what to do with your precious bankroll is likely the most important decision a poker player (even a poker-hobbyist) will ever make.

But hitting the big payoff is every poker players dream. The reality of grinding is quite a different scenario. Why not take a shot at a life-altering payday? But then again, what's life altering? i've already quit my freaking job, for God's sakes.

I think it's time for a strange, random picture.

Damn, I'm flying out to Vegas in about 72 hours. Not simply for poker, mind you. I'm going to a Little Person marketing conference and also reconnecting with some friends. Oughta be a hoot.

Hell, I'm drunk and tired.
Pure drivel. My humble apologies.

I leave you with an Open Letter to Daniel Negreanu from Howard Lederer.


I would first like to say that, in the past, I have always rooted for you.
I thought you had the kind of engaging personality and charisma that the
game of poker needs. Sadly, however, you have allowed your desperate need
for public recognition, both for you and your close friends, to turn you
into a mean and vindictive person. You try your best to keep this from you
adoring fans, but tourney regulars know better.

My motivations for making this post are many, and I think I should detail
them now. As most RGPers know, your post from a couple of days ago was
about my sister Annie Duke. You claim you wanted to keep her name out of
it. This is a complete lie. First, you knew I would figure out who the
post was about. You also knew that a lot of other high limit players would
be able to figure it out. You thought it would be cute to continue your
smear campaign against my sister just under the radar. Then in one of your
follow up posts to my "Grow up" thread, you wrote, "The same person that
will tell a player NOT to educate the other players, then five minutes later
ask the player she told not to say anything a poker question?" The use of
the female pronoun seems intentional. I can only conclude that you really
did want to publicly embarrass her. But this post is only a culmination of
a summer full of public attacks on my sister, a campaign that has hurt her
deeply. My sister has been inclined to not fight back. But I can not sit
idly by any longer.

You have also made it clear that you are willing to damage your own
reputation to bring Annie down. I will get into your reasons for this
later. I know that if I can diminish you in any way in the eyes of the
public, you will feel personally diminished. Sad but true.

For me, violence is not an option, so the only thing I can do to make you
pay something for the pain you have caused my sister is to make the public
aware of your true nature. I spoke to you privately about this issue, but
the smear campaign has only intensified. Also, though I admit that I was
extremely steamed when I made my post two days ago, the last couple of days
have only brought me down to a simmer. I need to make this post to feel
better. I don't like feeling angry all the time.

Your reasons for going after my sister's reputation as a poker player are
obvious to anyone who knows you and many others who don't. First, you
simply feel that the only female poker player who deserves any media
attention is Jennifer Harman. Second, you just don't like my sister. There
is something about her personality that rubs you the wrong way. I can't
blame you for this and would never hold that against you. We all have those
people we just can't get along with.

Your obsession with the public's perception of Jennifer's place among the
top women players combined with your general dislike of Annie has caused you
to lose all objectivity where she is concerned. If we only look for the bad
in people, whether it be their conduct or their play, there will always be
something to find. Nobody is perfect. But this obsession is causing great
harm to Annie, and it needs to stop.

I could almost stomach the attacks on her play if that was all you had been
doing. But you have gotten really nasty and personal. You have been heard
at tournaments, where Annie is not present, referring to her as "Annie
Puke." You have also complained that she doesn't have any nice clothes and
she looks disgusting. I am sure your wardrobe would be just amazing after
going through four pregnancies in six years. This is grade school stuff on
your part, but it still hurts. When I ask your friends about why you have
gone berserk on this Annie thing, they just shake their heads and can't
really explain it. I would be surprised if any of your friends think this
has been a good thing for you to do.

I would not have had to make this post if you had been even a little
contrite in response to my post of two days ago. But, instead you showed
your true colors. Your first response to me, at 5:42 P.M., went like this:

"I just thought the post was funny. I didn't name any names did I? All
that stuff REALLY happened. If anything, it's a good advertisement for the
Bellagio game."

We now know this wasn't the real reason for your post. You didn't want your
adoring public to think that your post might have been mean spirited. But
you couldn't stand it and 16 minutes later you posted:

"One more thing 'the self proclaimed 'expert' deserves all the criticism the
expert gets. The expert, is the same person that routinely takes part in
all of the stupid conversation that goes on in those games. All of the,
'how bad does he play' talk. The expert deserves to hear some of that same
criticism. If the expert were a gentle, nice person who wasn't so rude and
obnoxious at the table, I never would have posted any of this stuff. The
expert, is the same person that will look at your hole cards when out of a
hand, but won't let you look at theirs. The same person that will tell a
player NOT to educate the other players, then five minutes later ask the
player she told not to say anything a poker question? The expert is a stuck
up bully, that deserves everything the expert dishes out, ten fold."

It was nice of you to call yourself on your own lie so quickly.

I have also noticed a pattern where outrageous behavior is OK if it is you
who does it. While drunk in a medium stakes poker game, you tried to snatch
a player's toupee off his head. You then told him that he should get it
washed. You now fondly recall this incident as funny, funny perhaps to you.
Your repeated comments calling Henry Nowakowski an idiot during your final
table WSOP web cast where uncalled for and colored by personal issues.
These are just two events, but they show that personal attacks aren't just
reserved for my sister. You seem to be able to justify any action toward
someone if you personally dislike that person. I find this part of your
personality quite distasteful.

I also find it amusing to see how creative you have gotten at trying to call
attention to your poker skills. You couldn't just come out and say, "Look
at me! I have won 7 tournaments this year in only 13 final tables." So you
did the next best thing. You wrote an analysis of the other top players,
with special attention to their finishing skills, hoping that your adoring
fans might look up your finishing record and drool. That these capsules

about your colleagues might upset some of them was of little consequence.
You'll do anything to further the Daniel legend.

I am not trying to change you with this post, as I will never again have
anything to do with you. I will, from now on, ignore you entire existence,
unless, of course I am trying to bust you at the poker table. You have
crossed the line, and I don't really care if you ever come back.

Howard Lederer


Sad Link of the Day. From Cincinnati:
Dan Bucci Has Left the Channel
On the next ABC Afterschool Special: Boy goes on IRC, boy eats shrooms, boy strips naked, stabs himself, and is killed attacking police.

Post pending once I get some Guinness in my belly. But I was sitting and folding on Party when a buddy emailed me this article from Forbes about the hypocrisy of US gambling laws. In big news, the WTO ruled against the US. Get the skinny here:
Antigua Gets A Piece Of The Action

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Whew, ignore the post below for now. I must thank MtDewVirus for the obvious fix.
For now.

Anyway, please go read Grubby's announcement and wish him good luck.

In honour of this historical event, I'm heading to Vegas for a week.

Fuck me.

I wanted to write up a Guinness-fueled uber-post tonight, but circumstances dictate different.

Very frustrated. Can use any tech detectives or legal help. :)

Here's the sordid tale. My entire site has been hijacked. And this cockroach is hidden under so many layers that I am currently stymied. At least until business hours begin tomorrow morning, and I can make some calls.

When you hit this following site, it is NOT mine.
Go hit it and wait 5-7 seconds. It will redirect and load my entire fucking blog into his site.


Oh the humanity.

Go do a whois on this domain and let the rabbit hole open up.

I can email him at 13819037.fly@spamfly.com which is an identity protection service.

I got a reply from him that said this:

Trauriges I'm verstehe ich nicht, ist mein Aufstellungsort Guinneß und Schürhaken. Ich mag das Bier trinken und die Karten spielen. Ich verbinde mit Ihrem Ort des Netzes für Unterhaltung Wert. Frieden und ist glücklich.

Per Babelfish:

Sad I'm I understand not, am my place of assembly Guinness and Schuerhaken. I may drink the beer and play the maps. I connect value with your place of the net for maintenance. Peace and is lucky.

Um, ok. But in doing some IP tracking, I got this from the email header
X-Originating-IP: []
which resulted in being traced to the European version of the huge web hosting company, 1and1.

He sent a second email, mocking me.

Registerfly, the fuckers who are hiding the hosting and personal identity of this bastard have been very unhelpful. My attorney suggests I may have to go after them if this guy won't stop the hijack.

Yes, it's still my banners and all that. BUT THAT MISSES THE POINT.

It makes me sick. Why even bother write this up if it's just gonna get ripped off?

It's the principle of the thing.

I sure would like to find this guy's identity. Any help? Advice?
Trolls, avoid the cheap shots, please. It's no fun to get something completely ripped off, especially when you've worked very hard on it.

I guess what I should do is delete my blog and then put up a page with a giant Nazi flag for my German friend. Anyone know of a decent blog archiver?

Monday, November 08, 2004

I was eating at Steak and Shake this evening where I read this feature story in the USA Today Money Section.

Why on earth is poker NOT MENTIONED ONCE?


Casinos struggle to find way to deal in next generation
By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

LAS VEGAS — Twentysomethings have seized on the new Las Vegas as a 24-hour playground where the partying never ends. There's just one problem: They don't gamble as much as their baby-boomer parents.

And when they do gamble, they're more likely than their elders to snub slot machines — the casino industry's top profit center — in favor of table games. Says student Lauren Cardinet, visiting the Hard Rock resort here from her home in Santa Barbara, Calif.: "I don't like gambling by myself." Slots, she says, are "pure luck, and there's not that much to it."

But the casino industry sees huge dividends in overcoming the indifference of young gamblers like Cardinet to slot machines, which offer faster action than table games and are less costly to operate.

Manufacturers are rolling out new slot machines that have more in common with the latest video games than with the old one-armed bandits.

As a result, casino executives are increasingly hopeful of snagging the iPod generation, and perhaps locking in for decades a customer base they can depend on.

Being pushed to the background are the three-reelers that mimic the mechanical one-armed bandits that paid off for matching cherries, oranges, bells or bars. In their place are updated devices that offer lots of action to keep players transfixed — from animated characters, video loops and dozens of winning combinations to bonus rounds as a reward for sticking around.

There are also new electronic devices in the pipeline that mimic table games. The devices offer younger gamblers interaction with other players, just like real table games. But they lack the higher stakes of a live table game, as well as the potential for intimidation by a dealer.

New-style slots are still outnumbered in Las Vegas by the traditional models. But the new models have become commonplace, and they're expected to continue to gain market share as casino operators chase the younger set.

Young players could become a huge growth engine for a casino industry already on fire. U.S. gaming industry revenue has risen steadily in recent years, even through 9/11 and the 2001 recession. Gambling brought in record revenue of $27 billion last year. The industry's mega-acquisitions earlier this year — Harrah's buying Caesars, and MGM Mirage picking up Mandalay Resort Group — called attention to the increasing influence of big, sophisticated, publicly traded corporations in the business.

The spread of legalized gaming to Indian reservations and racetracks has fueled growth nationwide, which, in turn, has spurred interest in the Valhalla of gambling, Las Vegas. The city is on pace to hit 37 million visitors this year, surpassing the record 35.8 million in 2000.

Touchy subject

The appeal to young gamblers is touchy for some in the business.

Slot-machine manufacturing is dominated by International Game Technology, a Reno-based company that has an estimated 70% market share. It says it doesn't target particular customer groups. Its slot machines are aimed "at the broadest appeal possible," and the company "isn't necessarily pinpointing the younger customers as a slot player," says IGT Vice President Ed Rogich.

But others acknowledge the aim of appealing to a new generation with updated machines.

"We had a younger player in mind," says WMS Gaming's CEO Brian Gamache as he showed off a new highly animated slot machine based on the movie Men in Black at a trade show recently.

Some casino executives, too, acknowledge the need to market their slot parlors to the younger, hipper visitors to Sin City. The latest slots have "greater relevance to 21- to 35-year-olds who have grown up on Game Boy and Xbox," says Harrah's CEO Gary Loveman.

The Hard Rock resort, a Las Vegas hot spot with the younger crowd, is impressed enough with the new games that it plans to build a promotion around them next year. The prize to the winner: a surfing safari.

Not an easy task

Luring younger customers won't be easy. Says consultant Steve Szapor of the Innovation Group: "The majority come with a bunch of money in their pocket, but it is going for the nightlife, food and entertainment."

They love the idea of hanging out in Las Vegas but haven't developed into the hard-core players of their parents' generation.

Research by Yesawich Pepperdine Brown & Russell, which publishes a profile of U.S. gamblers, suggests the most devoted gamblers nationwide are well-off empty nesters. Their mature offspring aren't emulating their gambling behavior.

Younger adults "are attracted by the nightlife and the action more so than the gaming," says CEO Peter Yesawich. "The gaming appeals mostly to the older, more mature population."

Jim Hughes, vice president of The Palms resort, another twentysomething Las Vegas mecca, notes an obvious reason for the generation gap in gambling: Older people generally have more money to gamble.

"Do they gamble?" Hughes asks of the young adults. "Sure, they do. Do they gamble as much as the boomers? No."

At the Hard Rock, only about 35% of casino floor space is devoted to slots. That's about half the proportion in a typical Las Vegas casino.

Hard Rock President Kevin Kelley says the scant space for slots recognizes the preference of many younger gamblers for table games.

That preference for less-lucrative live games and the tendency of younger visitors to seek a good time outside casinos partly explain why the mix of Las Vegas' resort revenue has changed.

Most of it now comes from rooms, food, drinks and other non-gaming activities. Back in the 1980s, resorts depended on gaming for as much as 70% of their revenue, often discounting food and rooms to attract bettors, says Terry Jicinsky, an executive at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Data from demographics researcher Claritas show that the propensity to gamble in a casino appears to be a function of income rather than age. Younger people generally earn less, so there's less money to part with in a casino. But the gambling industry and Las Vegas boosters aren't content to leave it to chance that today's younger crowd will just grow in to the gambling habit.

In its five-year marketing plan, the Convention and Visitors Authority has begun targeting first-time visitors, ages 25 to 34, even though they aren't as immediately profitable overall.

"It is important to strive to increase their gaming and non-gaming expenditures to make them a more lucrative part of the visitor mix," the report states.

This isn't the first time that Las Vegas has dealt a youth invasion. A decade ago, the town went through a family-friendly phase. Casinos such as the then-new MGM Grand opened a theme park.

Circus Circus had an indoor roller coaster. Dads pushing strollers jammed the Strip, and kids were shooed off casino floors. The problem, casino executives soon discovered, was that parents were too time-pressed with their kids to gamble.

This time, at least Las Vegas is seeing a population old enough to get past its 21-year minimum age.

A new aura

On a recent warm weekday afternoon, passing through the gambling pits at the trendy Hard Rock feels like tiptoeing through the public library.

The action is outside. The pool scene rocks with pop tunes wailing over loudspeakers. Even the pool attendants are showing off their dance moves to each other.

Even if today's younger visitors don't gamble much, at least they bring a new aura.

They are making Las Vegas cool again. Resorts are scrambling to add nightclubs and "ultralounges," such as Tabu at the MGM Grand, Tangerine at Treasure Island and Ghostbar at The Palms. They are re-establishing Las Vegas as a celebrity hangout. Last month, Paris Hilton, 23, said she would open her own Club Paris and design a suite at the Aladdin hotel casino.

About 71% of casino executives participating in a survey conducted for a recent industry trade show say they expect that resorts will redesign themselves with young customers in mind. "The casino of the future will be younger and hipper," predicts Frank Fahrenkopf, CEO of the American Gaming Association.

In a bid that could bring in younger bettors, gamemaker Shuffle Master is developing electronic games that play like live ones — using attractive virtual dealers instead of live ones.

Being tested in some California Indian casinos now and expected in Nevada within a year pending approval, they let up to five players at a time play blackjack for as little as a dollar a hand, instead of the $5 or $10 minimums often found at the live tables.

They're more profitable for casinos, too, without a live dealer, says Brooke Dunn, a Shuffle Master executive. They fill a need for younger players. "They want the socialization. They want the ability to interact — not to play solitaire."

New-style machines are getting more sophisticated and play faster, attributes that could attract younger players. Driven by personal computer technology, these machines offer dozens of winning combinations and video clips or animated characters that run around on the screen.

For instance, IGT's Star Wars slot machine lets winning gamblers who play long enough bet on the outcome of a light-saber fight between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and see the Death Star unleashed. Some games have themes based on personalities or TV shows of interest to younger players. Pamela Anderson, for instance, will grace a Bally Gaming and Systems slot machine.

The games play fast, about 13 to 18 spins a minute, twice as fast as the old reel machines, says Butch Witcher, an industry consultant based in Monterey, Calif.

'The cartoon things'

The new-style slots worked on Tom Kilcoyne, 26, of Cleveland. Kilcoyne says he made $30 playing new-style video slots with names such as Money Storm, Texas Tea and Hexbreaker. He says slots have never held much appeal for him, but he was attracted when he saw people playing what he called "the cartoon things." Said Kilcoyne: "Those were the ones I ended up playing, too."

Experts are divided about the possibilities of turning a party crowd into a gambling crowd. "To try to fundamentally change that younger generation's attitude is going to be a challenge," says consultant Szapor.

The Palms' Hughes has his doubts, too. Some of the newest games are yanked quickly because they are so sophisticated that players can't figure them out.

"The fact is young people don't traditionally play slot machines, and that's who they are making some of these games for," Hughes said.

Counters Sharon Lewis, a gaming industry consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers: "If there's gaming activity and excitement on the floor, they may decide to stay and gamble a bit."

All agree, it's a bet worth making.


On a more interesting note, go read John Perry Barlow's reflections on the election: "magnanimous defeat."

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
George Bernard Shaw


My parents came in for a visit this weekend. My mom nearly had a coronary upon hearing that I had quit my job and become a professional poker player. I think the phrase 'conniption fit' might be apropos.

At one point, the phrase 'it defies logic' was bandied about.

Oh the humanity.

A fun, free suggestion from me to you: If you want to torment your family, call them up (hell, do it on April Fools Day if you aren't that cruel) and tell them you are now playing poker professionally, you don't need no stinkin job. It's good stuff, try it out. Bonus points if they know absolutely nothing about poker outside of what they've watched on the Sopranos.


Needless to say, I didn't play any poker this weekend.
But that's fixing to change. I've an impending shoulder surgery (torn rotator cuff), a trip to Vegas and a free-lance web project all due by the end of the month. But grinding out some serious hours in poker is still near the top of the priority list.

Speaking of my Vegas trip, a friend wrote these fine words about that panacea in the desert that I thought I'd share:


Vegas, Baby

Here’s the thing about Las Vegas: I can’t take it for too long. It’s an overwhelming mass of nearly everything all at once, everywhere, forever. The unending incoming tide of light and sound and people swarms over you as you’re lying there on the hot sand of its sidewalks, or standing motionless on its ugly casino carpets, or even when you’re back in your suite, “the biggest suite on the strip,” looking out the wide, clean windows at this oasis of gleaming metal and curved neon and thinking you should probably be somewhere else doing something else than this (nothing) but you’re too overwhelmed to make a decision.

I’m not a gambler in any sense. I don’t enjoy the feeling of the unknown, or the idea of chance because I know that chance is playing against me, and not with me. The idea of winning is certainly appealing, but the reality occurs so infrequently that I am left feeling duped and foolish.

That said, I enjoy video poker. I also enjoy watching other people losing their money. I like the looks on thier faces, the determination and concentration as they watch the cards play out, or the wheels turn, or the ball clacking along the roulette. They have hope, and it’s dark and evil and mean, it’s not the hope of fulfilling love or the hope that someone on their death bed won’t actually die, it’s the hope that they’ll beat the fucking odds and show this fucking town who’s boss. The hope of vengeance and shoving a finger in someone’s face and laughing, ha ha, I showed you, motherfucker!

The people watching is unsurpassed in Las Vegas, if you’re into freaks. And I am. Sure, you can go to Barcelona or Istanbul or Paris if all you want to see is beautiful people dressed in beautiful clothes doing beautiful things. But come to Vegas if what you hunger for is outlandish, huge, balloon people dressed like Rosa Parade floats downing giant, grotesque portions of food and drink while being loud, loutish and incredibly, amazingly rude. It is, in some ways, the most American of American cities.

As I've often said, speaking from my own experience, "Vegas is a great place to visit, you just don't want to live there."

Someday, I'll tell my story about moving there on my 25th birthday. It involves several felonies.

Let's move on, shall we? I'm already getting buzzed.

Someone asked Daniel Negreanu about new features and what separates his new online poker site from others. Here was his reply:

It's up right now for play money and should be up for real money any day now.

I'm extremely excited about the site and waited a long time for a winner
like Poker Mountain to come around. I've turned down several deals with
online poker sites because they lacked in one area or another.

Poker Mountain doesn't lack in any areas in my opinion. They are
extremely well funded and dedicated to providing a top notch product. All
of the people involved, while knowledgeable poker players themselves have
proven themselves successful in other business ventures in the real world
and that attracted me.

Poker Mountain developed an alternate payment option called Securus that
allows for speedy transactions as well as accepting all major credit

As for what will make them better? Well, I am confident that they are
willing to spend the kind of money it takes to fully promote a site
properly by giving back to the players in various ways.

Of course the one thing that will seperate Poker Mountain from the rest
is the speedy transactions. You can get money in your account quickly,
and will recieve your money faster than any other site on the net. From
what I can tell by reading RGP, that seems to be a pretty important factor
for most players.

Take care,
Daniel Negreanu

Note to Daniel: don't build an online poker site by what you read on RGP, fer fucks sake.

Rafe Furst from TiltBoys surfaced on RGP and posted a truly goofy question:

Subject: Return of the Magic Glasses
Author: Rafe Furst

Years ago on RGP (maybe when it was just RG) there was a thread about
"magic glasses" with which you could see your opponents hole cards. I
think there was even more than one such thread. The arguments got
very heated and it was all very interesting reading. I am not going
to rehash those threads here. Instead I have another use for the same
magic glasses. It's a thought experiment posed to me in a
conversation within the last year, but I can't remember who to give
the credit to (sorry!) I apologize in advance if this has been
discussed on RGP before, I looked but couldn't find any such

A New Magic Glasses Thought Experiment

Imagine you have magic glasses that allows you to see the hole cards
of all opponents at your table. Your glasses don't work on the
remaining deck, so you have to wait just like everyone else to see
what the flop, turn and river hold. You enter the WSOP Main Event in
which there are 1000 players. Assume that your normal game without
the glasses is average (i.e. you have a 0.1% chance of winning the
tourney). Also assume that your opponents don't know that you have
these magic glasses, nor do they ever suspect that you have them at
any point. What percentage of the time do you estimate you could win
with the magic glasses and why?


I highly recommend the NPR episode of This American Life featuring Phil Gordon and Rafe at the World Series of Poker. You actually hear 'live' the historical back-to-back pocket aces in the 2001 WSOP that Phil Gordon was knocked out with. You also get to hear them play Roshambo.

A must listen, especially if you are at work:
Meet the Pros


The story of one man's journey from obscurity to international professional celebrity, aided only by his own hard work, a sneaker commercial, and mad handles. And other stories of amateurs hurtling themselves at the pros whose jobs they covet.

Ira with Stephen Goldin, author of an online guide which prescribes 23 rules for comic fans to follow when mingling with professional sci-fi authors at sci-fi conventions. For instance: don't try to get in a discussion with the pro on the way to the bathroom. This week, Ira explains, our show breaks eight of the 23 rules. (3 minutes)

Act One. Crispy with the Rock.
The story of two amateurs meeting the pros. On amateur is a teenager in Jersey; the other, our reporter. Joel Lovell visits with 19-year-old Luis Da Silva, one of the stars of a popular series of Nike commercials, featuring professional and amateur basketball players doing dribbling tricks. Luis didn't even start for his high school basketball team. (17 minutes)

Act Two. Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run.
Host Ira Glass travels to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, gets hooked on poker, and tries to figure out what it would mean if he'd ditch his job in radio to become a professional cardplayer. What he learns: a professional gambler can suffer two heartbreaking losses back to back, costing over $100,000, yet moments later, at the casino bar, calculate the million-to-one odds of his unlikely losses... in his head. (26 minutes).

You blackjack players might enjoy this rejoinder from Gary Carson on RGP:

I have made an interesting observation
Author: JacksUP

Alot of the top video/computer game players are doing very well in poker.
I guess since they were able to be the best at counterstirke or warcraft
etc, they have used those same qualities which made them into the best
players at those games into some of the best poker players. They see
online poker as just another computer game that can be beaten. I know some
of the top NL $5/10 players in the Stars game used to be great at computer
games aka. Tillerman.


Ken Uston became a great pac-man player after he got barred from blackjack tables.

Some people just like to play games.

Gary Carson

As an ENTP, I concur. I could truly blog my ass off on this topic, but I'm too full of Guinness and should wrap this up. Another time.

Someone reminded me that I missed halloween so here's a makeup photo for that...

Oh dear, some sick fuck asked where he could buy an inflatable Annie Duke love doll on RGP. The things I go through for my readers.

And all I ask is you consider Bonus IGGY damnit on Party Poker. ;)
60,000 white-hot schooling fish there right now.
22,000 this time last year.

And to think I was pinching myself every evening, last November.

Two last nuggets and I'm off to play. First of all, old school poker blogger, Maudie, just hit her one year anniversary, with a wonderful retrospective of both female poker blogging and playing. Please go read: The paper one.

Well, hell.

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 their 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.

So for now, I leave you with: Another chapter in The Biggest Poker Game on Earth.

The World's Biggest Poker Game — A Proposed Compromise
by Barry Shulman

As you regular readers know, I have been in the middle of trying to help two sides square off for the biggest poker game ever.

There is a fair deal to be made here. If I were an appointed arbitrator, it would be done by now. The real issue is whether either side really wants a fair deal. Both sides slanted their offers to give them an edge. That is how it should be in poker — especially if it is the biggest game ever.

On one side is Andy Beal, the affable Texas financier who has come to Las Vegas several times and played in giant games heads up against some of the biggest-name, best players in poker.

On the other side are those players, who include Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, Ted Forrest, Gus Hansen, Lee Salem, John Hennigan, Ming Lau, Lyle Berman, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, and Hamid Dastmalchi.

Let's compare the two proposals, and I will provide my solution. (See the chart below.)

The biggest issue by far is determining the player against whom Andy will compete. He wants to pick the player from Doyle's group, and the group wants its own designee.

I say, let's compromise. Doyle should present a slate of eight players and Andy should be allowed to pick any four.

As for the stakes, again I propose a middle ground. Higher stakes helps Andy, in that there is a greater element of chance, and he might get them out of their comfort zone. On the other hand, $100,000-$200,000 is so high that it is too much of a crapshoot. I suggest that changing the stakes to $50,000-$100,000, which is 400 big bets (a tremendous amount of play), will provide plenty of room for both skill and randomness.

I think the arena needs to be Bellagio. Not only are most of the players from Las Vegas, but the even bigger issue is security. Bellagio has the dealers, the cameras, and the security, and can protect all parties.

In the past, I noticed that Andy was not on a level playing field, because fresh players were continually brought in against him. Therefore, I suggest that the game last exactly four hours each day, with no substitutions during those four hours.

Finally, there's the amount of money to be played for. Each side putting up $40 million is plenty, and that provides a finite amount. Besides, it is just a game, and we certainly don't want anybody getting hurt.

TermsBeal's ProposalBrunson's ProposalShulman's Compromise
The GameHeads-up limit hold'em Heads-up limit hold'em Heads-up limit hold'em
Stakes$100,000 - $200,000 Start at $15,000 - $30,000$50,000 - $100, 000
LimitUntil broke or "cry uncle"$80 million freezeout $80 million freezeout
Who Plays Doyle puts up 6 names; Andy picks one Doyle picks one Doyle picks 8 players,
from which Andy picks 4
Time Frame 4 hours daily -4 hours daily - no substitutions
WhereDallasLas Vegas Las Vegas

Link of the Day:
Willie Wonka and the Rat Bastard
This site confirms my suspicions about Grandpa Joe, the devious old man who pretended to be bedridden for years, supported by the child labor of his 10-year-old grandson Charlie.

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