Friday, May 20, 2005

"I haven't taken a crap in 21 days. It's just not the same when I don't have a new uber-post to keep me entertained while sitting there. I stopped by here this morning, saw you had a new post, printed it out and headed straight for the restroom.
I'm now 23 pounds lighter."


Thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog.

Once again, my poker blog credo:
Destroying Workplace Production One Post at a Time.

It's been fun to run thru my blogroll and see some posts anticipating the Vegas get-together. Hell, I still haven't gotten my tickets because I'm actually a little weirded out by it all. Last time the group was pretty small and I felt like I knew everyone already. This time is something on an entirely different scale.

It's gonna be quite insane, I'm sure.

Quite frankly, though, I'm sure you have a mental picture of each blogger as they type out into the Blogosphere. For those of you thinking of me, this is about as close as it gets.

Although I kinda like this one, too.

Playing for a Living Update: I'm still running bad.
But the Worm is slowly turning.

The only thing I regret since going pro is the fact that I've played almost zero tournaments. Hell, I haven't even tried to win a WSOP seat, outside of the bloggers tourneys. As BigSlick once said, "Staying up til 5 am to go out as bubble boy feels like someone put out a cigar in your stomach."

But I'm thinking of taking a week or two away from grinding and attempting an experiment, of sorts. Nothing but SNG's. 24/7. I know many successful players earn good coin beating the hell out of these and I'm tempted to give it a whirl. Stay tuned.

There's a jillion things I'd love to rant about right now. Especially since I'm in a downswing, I tend to think much more critically about the game at these times. It's all about how you handle losing, after all, that separates the men from the boys.

But, quite frankly, I have too much random poker content and linkage that I need to blog. My pithy platitudes about losing at poker ain't gonna help anyone.

Here we go.
Commence Guinness-fueled copy and pasting.

In a follow up about 'team play' - Jerrod Ankenman explained his team and how it works. Yikes, this is obviously a huge grey area but I'm thrilled to see civil discussions about it. I sure as hell wouldn't mind having my own damn team of experts to help when I play.

The Best of Poker Message BoardsTM right now is at 2+2. First off, Daniel Negreanu posted an open challenge to David Sklansky and/or Mason Malmuth.
A Special One Time Offer!!!


If you act now and your name is Mason Malmuth or David Sklansky you can take advantage of an astounding 10% rebate on your money in a heads up match against Daniel Negreanu!

Rush to your phones gentlemen as this is a limited time offer for memebers only!!! Not only will you receive 10% of your money back, you'll also get to choose how much you want to risk! (Between $100,000 to $500,000)

Not only that, you will ALSO get to pick your game of choice! That's right, for a limited time only you will receive:

-a 10% rebate on your money
-your choice of stakes (min. 100K)
-your choice of game

An offer too good too pass up? Absolutely! Mr.Negreanu has already given away $200,000 to lucky winner David Oppenheim anf you Mr.Sklansky or Mr.Malmuth could be our next big winner!

Remember to act now as this is a limited time offer. An offer so good it's IMPOSSIBLE to refuse!!!

Mr.Malmuth has said it himself, "Daniel will be an underdog in almost all of the matches he plays." You heard it here folks, Mr.Malmuth has stepped out and made his claim... is he willing to back it up with some greenbacks? Inquiring minds want to know.

Go read the thread, damnit. You'll see both Mason and David refuse, not that I blame them.

But hold your horses! Mr. Sklansky apparently slept on it and posted a challenge back at Daniel AND the critical trout who swarm his board. Woohoo!
Accepting Daniel's Odds

Just repeating what I said on another thread that I would play Daniel, at the Wynn, accepting his ten percent rebate offer, if he will play for $10,000. Eight or Better Stud. 150-300, $25 ante, $50 bring in. No media publicity. Will play a second game at least, if I win the first.

This is not a challenge or even really an offer. Just a statement of fact. I expect Daniel will only consider playing to satisfy his curiosity. Without big money or publicity, its otherwise irrelevant to him.

And to those who think the 10-9 negates a significant skill difference, I also offered to LAY those same odds (10K to 9 K playing the same game) to anybody (other than Daniel) who criticized me (up to this point of course) on any of the threads involving this subject.

No word back from Daniel yet, but suffice to say, I'll be watching. The following thread by David entitled Goofy Games is pretty interesting, imho. David even got quickly bitchslapped by a regular:

No one is denying that in a fantasy world created to your specifications, you would be the alpha-male. I have personally found it better to concentrate on the real world, however. Unfortunately, we live in one collective reality. If you want respect, you have to accomplish things within that reality. In our current reality, you are a successfull high limit poker player and author. You are not a world class mathematician/game theory expert, Nobel Prize winner, or the biggest winner in poker. If we could make our own rules, ugly people would be models, the tone deaf would be rock stars, and I would be the unified Middleweight Champion of the World.

Most successful people have big egos. So do a lot of unsuccessful people. The successful people say I did A, B, and C, therefore, I am great. The unsuccessful say I could do D, E, and F, if it weren't for X. While you are actually a member of the first group, you are acting like a member of the second.

Moving along, everyone's favorite jerk from the 04 WSOP, Josh Arieh, has some fun stories that Doyle Brunson regaled the table with. He even asked permission to post them. Of course, compared to Antonio, he's a regular Mr. Rogers.

I'm still taken aback by the new look over at Poker Works. Does anyone think I should follow suit? The possibilities are endless, I suppose.

Because Gracie has fine taste, enjoying both Elliot Smith and Ira Glass, when she recommended listening to Lord Admiral's poker podcasts, I gave it a whirl. And enjoyed it. It's pretty good stuff for when you're sitting and folding on Party Poker. Best of all, I find Canadian accents endearing.

I refuse to link to Jackpot Jay's last column. Worst yet, and that's saying alot.

Moneyball emailed me his excellent comprehensive paper entitled: Pocket Aces: A Comprehensive Look at the Legality of Off-Shore Internet Gambling Within the USA. It's a pretty damn fascinating read.

Two egregious links and threads on the same topic.
Online poker and having to use the bathroom.
Some disturbing fuckers out there.
2+2 thread

The guessing about how much Party Poker is making is over.
From egaming review:

"Poker giant Party Gaming has revealed 2004 profits of US$391m and appointed two non-executive directors in a sure sign it is going ahead with a US$10bn listing on the London Stock Exchange this summer."

I suppose I should acknowledge the Empire closing accounts fiasco, even though I don't think it's that big of a deal. Had my account been closed, I'm sure I'd feel differently, but it wasn't. My personal favorite take on it was Bill Rini's response to some knuckleheads in this great post. He also has a fine post about Designing The Perfect Online Poker Room. Damnit, I have to blog about Bill's posts since I can't comment there.

Common knowledge but it bears repeating. From CardPlayer owner Barry Shulman:

"Harrah’s expects and can accommodate 6,600 people in the WSOP main event.
It will take place in three one-day heats.
Almost half the seats have already been sold. Almost all signups have been generated from Internet sites."

Zee Justin has a new site up, complete with a journal. I enjoyed this post from May 2nd:

I've been in a rut over the past two months. I've been at the point where I can make a very solid $300 an hour for over a year now via multi tabling $200 sit'n'gos. If I play 8 tables at a time, I can average about 12 sngs per hour. At that rate, I only need to make $25 per sng (approximately a 12% roi) to make over $300 an hour. If I 12 table, it gets even easier.

I'm certainly grateful to have ever gotten to this point. Two years ago, if someone came up and told me, "Within a year or two, you will be getting paid $300 an hour to play a game" I would never believe it. It would be too good to be true. Despite all that, I've realized something. I haven't been studying the game nearly as much as I should be. There's very little I have left to learn from grinding it out in sit'n'go's all day long.

Over the past few weeks I've decided that I'm going to sacrifice some EV and lower my hourly wage a bit, and maybe even be a break even player in some bigger games, like $10/$20 NL on Stars. I'm also going to be playing fewer tables for a while. On top of that, I've been having regularl conversations with a few players that are better than me, like Oz of PSCrew fame, and from them, I think my game has improved a great deal.

No more are the days of playing ABC poker and grinding it out vs the donks. I'm no longer satisfied being a good player, I want to be an expert, and so far, I've made some great progress.

— Justin Bonomo

Nice interview with Kathy Liebert over at PokerLizard.

I'm only mentioning this next bit because I caught part of the show while eating and flipping channels.

Anyone watching Dr. Phil?

Funny stuff.

Some guy sold his business to play poker, and now his wife's mom is paying their mortgage.

Dr. Phil is grilling this guy hard, and he is giving every cliche in the book. You have to lose while you learn, its not gambling, etc. etc.


Dr. Phil asks Shane if he thinks his poker playing is a problem.

"I do not think it's a problem," he replies.

"I do," Tammy says.

"Do you think it's a problem, dad?" Dr. Phil asks David.

"I do," he says. "If he's spending three hours a night [playing poker], I think he should be studying or involved in social activities."

"And you don't think it's a problem?" Dr. Phil asks Diane. "You know he's playing for cash, right?"

"I think he did that on one occasion is my understanding," she says.

Shane only put $50 in his online account and played for money one time, and says he won $150 online and $75 playing with his friends. Dr. Phil asks him, "Do you want to be a professional player?"

"It's not my main goal, but it'd be nice," Shane replies.

Dr. Phil explains his definition of a compulsion or addiction. "If it's to the point that it's interfering with your life — you should be working, you should be studying, you should be parenting — places that you need to spend your time, but yet you're pulled to this ... Then that's a compulsion. That's an addiction and something that you need to stop," he says. "And you don't think it's interfering with school, work, productivity?"

"No," Shane says.

Tammy disagrees. "I know how tough it is to move, to make friends and fit in. I just see that Shane is spending that time that he could be doing that, becoming more social, meeting new people. He's choosing to be almost secluded in playing poker," she explains.

"You've heard my definition of compulsion or addiction. Does that make sense?" Dr. Phil asks Shane.

"Yeah," Shane replies

Check out this story by Thomas Keller about Phil Hellmuth getting sent to timeout at a WPT event. Oh Phil, when will you learn? Funny fucking shit.
Deal Me the - - - - In!

I'm quite sure Paul Phillips was deeply relieved to see that Crazy Russ listed him as an honest player.

GCA "Honest Players?"

People keep stating I've named close to every person as being a cheat, when this is as far from the truth as you can go. I've named between 100-200.

The fact is this, at the higher levels of cash games, you either cheat or you get cheated, simple as that.

In the games I played in, most of the more knowledgeable honest players stayed out, same as with other groups of scammers games.

Does it make sense if I survived for almost 40 years in these casinos, others have not done the same? Does it make sense if I've scammed games this long, with others, some younger brought in later on, others have not done the same?

Players such as Dan Harrington, Kasey Castle, Chris Ferguson, Tom McEvoy, Mike Caro, Roy Cooke, Mason Malmouth, Vince Burgio, Chris Bjorin, Mel Judah, Max Stern, Stan Goldstein, Chad Brown, Kathy Liebert, Barbara Enright, Mike McClain, Bob Golick and hundreds of others I'm 99+% sure are honest in poker. I know all of the above and
the worst thing I could accuse them of, is KNOWING more and talking less.

All of the above I know personally, with Chris Ferguson just getting a nod if we pass by.

Many others I know are honest, yet I don't know them personally. All of the above I've known and talked to for years, even if we didn't like each other or vice verse.

All I have named as cheats, I have know for years, decades or longer, along with John Martino who is also a source for our list.

Players such as Steve Zolotow, Barry Shulman, Jeff Shulman, Linda Johnson, Paul Phillips, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Andy Bloch, Rose, Wendeen Eolis should be put into the same category in poker. Many of those above I know, many I don't. If forced to bet, I'd lay a gigantic price they were all honest in poker.

So for those who state I call all players crooks, you'd better learn better, for here is a tiny list of honest players I have compiled. I made this list from names most of you would or could know.

I could go through poker and tell you hundreds of others, honest or dishonest, but many of the names you wouldn't be familiar with.

Russ Georgiev

Damnit, there I go again, quoting Crazy Russ.

I think I've been remiss in linking up 2+2 poker t-shirts. But actually, I just ordered one of these tshirts.

One quick little side story. You remember that crazy lady who decided stealing poker blogs' RSS feeds was the best way to create a website? One of her first emails to complain about me was to Support @ Pokertrackerguide.com. Not too bright, eh?

Some folks thought this was funny so I'm posting it.

Subject: The Funniest thing EVER WRITTEN about poker

I recently came upon Buster Highmun's post about a hand and how he played it according to the philosophies of Ben Dover. I think Mr. Dover's work is not the ultimate authority on poker play, but his starting hand selection is marvelous. For those of you who have not read it, here goes:

Top 10 hands:

"You MUST limp raise with these ALWAYS, even if you are in the big blind.
The important thing about the limp raise preflop is that it's really hard for your opponents to put you on a hand.

1. 89s
2. A9o
3. A3o
4. T7s
5. J6o
6. 55 sooted
7. 46o
8. 69o
9. 23h
10. AQo, but ONLY with the queen of falcons.

The most important thing about having an offsuit hand is that you can make 2 flushes instead of just one. This gives you a HUGE advantage when 4 of that suit come on the board, because this is the time when you will get the most action from your opponent."

What Mr. Dover says about play on the flop:

"Look for opportunities for multiple draws and then redraws on the flop.
For example, if you are holding QJs and the board comes Ks 6d 4c you have the nut 3 straight and the second nut 3 flush. This means that if the perfect card comes on the turn, you can pick up 8 or more outs to win on the river."

The turn:

"You NEVER want to make your hand on the turn (unless it is a royal flush) because there is still one more card coming. Someone out there always has at least 15 outs no matter what nutty hand you just made, so if you make the stone cold nuts on the turn, e.g. 88 on a K884 board, you should usually let it go if there is a lot of action. Someone is almost guaranteed to make quad Kings on the river, or is holding 56 sooted and will spike that sooted 7 on the river to straight flush you right down the proverbial holdem toilet."

The river:

"No Limit Holdem is undoubtedly a river game - therefore, if you make that flopped 3 straight or flush, you most likely paid a lot of money to get it there. This is why river play is almost inconsequential. If you are drawing (and if you've been studying my book you MOST CERTAINLY will be) you should usually have all your chips in before the river. Therefore, the only advice I can offer you for river play is to just turn your cards over, stand up on your chair, scream "The deck has deservedly taken a giant SHIT on me!" and stack your chips, hiding your highest denominations
behind your lowest so every one of your opponents will ALWAYS get distracted when they ask you, "How much you got left?"."


"One of the most important things to know when you start off playing white chip games are that sunglasses are a MUST. The gleam from the white chips will eventually make you go blind and as a consequence, you won't be able to see your hole cards. This is why you routinely see people playing garbage at white chip tables, they're so blind they think AK is 74o. For those of you lucky enough to read my book you will know this - therefore, it is correct to play 84o in most situations because you will have them outkicked."

For those of you who aren't believers in Mr. Dover's philosophy yet, it is available with a special forward from David Sklansky entitled "If jumping off a bridge was mathematically correct, I'd do it", and another from Mason Malmuth entitled, "How a young squirrel became a holdem champion". It's available from 2+2 for the low price of 30 $W.

Quit your job to play poker? Sometimes think about rejoining the rest of the world by actually doing something productive with your time? Read this young mans perspectives:

From Poker to the Real World -- Almost a Year Later

It is funny going back and reading my old posts.

Quick background -- Got an MBA from a Top 20 school, had a job for a year at an Internet company (made and lost large $$$ in options), company folded and then I ended up playing poker.

I made on average $3,000 a month at poker over a period of two years. Probably in the top 5% of all players. I had one bad month (lost $5k) and realized this was not the life for me. I guess hypothetically I could have moved up in bankroll and made more money, but for some reason we get to a certain level and feel comfortable.

I looked for a job for about 6 months. Very difficult explaining a two-year gap on the resume. I made up some stuff about consulting. But it was pretty obvious I hadn't work. Nothing scares a potential employer more than someone who hasn't worked in a long-time.

Somehow, this agency got me an interview that I nailed (I can bluff well). Job paid $85k (not as much after taxes, but significantly more than I made at poker). Job requirements (not stated) included waking up early in the morning, shaving, dressing sharply, and staying minimumly from 9-6. Ouch. What a difference from poker and waking up late and doing whatever I wanted some days.

At first, the day dragged forever. Eventually, I got used to it (and addicted to the direct deposit).

Lo and behold, the company announced they are closing my division. They give me 6 weeks severance and said to hit the road (actually, they let me keep working an additional month and let me look for a new job).

I don't know if the economy has improved that much, but lo and behold I have had 6 interviews and gotten 4 offers. One was for over $100k, but it was for an Internet company and I wasn't interested in going back there. But I did accept an offer at a cool entertainment company making more than I do now.

And I still do play poker. Not as much. But I have managed to pull down an average of $1,500 a month over the last year. And I have more fun playing. It was serious business before and it became an absolute grind.

I just didn't see myself having the opportunity to earn $250k+ playing poker. Money isn't everything of course, but I live in Southern California and it is not cheap.

I just don't want to rely on poker for my living for the next 30 years.
Health benefits and 401k's aren't offered at Pokerstars. That is something else.

For those that can make it at poker, god bless. Far and few will make a career out of it. Too much variance.

Best to all. I am a work-a-day sucker.

Random Dutch Boyd Cheap Shot Award of the Week goes to:

Tiger Lily demands answers...gets none.
TigerLilyDaKitty: meow...
rakefreecom: who dat?
TigerLilyDaKitty: your dead feline friend...
rakefreecom: oh... gl
TigerLilyDaKitty: I couldn't help but read your blog from up in heaven
TigerLilyDaKitty: Trying to rationalize my death as an "accident?"
rakefreecom: fuck off
rakefreecom signed off at 11:14:32 PM.

In the following vein as the above post, here's another:

Why I don't want to turn pro

I hear alot of people trying to work to get better so they can become pro, and if they make it more power to them. I have no problem with pro poker players (as long as they aren't sitting at my table).

So let me start off by saying I am not good enough at this point to become pro at this game, however I believe if I worked hard enough I could reach that level. I do plan on becoming better at poker and using it as a side income.

My first reason is job satisfaction, I enjoy my job. I work in a research lab. I am actually managing to use my B.S. in Physics. I hear alot of people dread going to work, however I look forward to it. It might be where I am employed or what I do, or a combination of both, but I honestly enjoy my time there. As a pro, your 'co-workers' are your opponents. my coworkers are just that. they are a great bunch of guys who joke around alot and have fun.

My second reason is job security. Yeah I may have a bad day or two at work, but I'll still get paid for them. I also get benifits from work. It is nice not to have to pay all your medical bills out of pocket. Research in physics will always be there. Poker is in a boom, but there is a possibility it gets worse. I know it will always be around, but it may become less fishy.

3rd, Poker is fun to me, that might change if it was my livelyhood. Some people manage to turn thier hobby into thier job. I imagine that many get burned out from it though. I think I would too, who knows I may eventually burn out even with it as a hobby.

4th, I probably could surpass my income right now by playing poker, however my expected value several years down the line will be larger. I plan on going back to school to get my Masters and possibly my Ph.D.

So overall, I believe this decision is +ev for me in both financial wise, and well being wise. Health wise too, cause occasionally on our breaks we play B-Ball. Even just having to stand constantly while in the lab will keep the fat off easier than sitting my ass in a chair in front of a computer.

I'll just restate that I see nothing wrong with going pro. It is just not for me. ZeeJustin stated that he didn't feel college was for him, and that the poker route was better for him. I feel the opposite for my life. We may both end up making the same amount of money and have the same amount of happiness, just we chose different directions to achieve this.

just thought I'd add my thoughts into the mix, because I see many people wanting to go pro. thought I would just add a counter point.


I shockingly agree with Dr. Al Schoonmakers's response:


You have stated an intelligent position extremely well. Poker sucks as a career, but it's a great second job.



And damnit, in a move of overkill, I enjoyed 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 subtract my 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 client.

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?

Although I did stumble upon this old thread about pre-flop raising and variance.
Andrew Prock asks the question, "Fact or Fiction: Raising increases variance?"

Interesting. A book on Andy Beal and The Big Game. I just went and read the beginning of it as he suggested in his RGP post. I'll be buying it, fer sure.

Excerpt of my book on the Andy Beal games on Amazon.com


My book, THE PROFESSOR, THE BANKER, AND THE SUICIDE KING: INSIDE THE RICHEST POKER GAME OF ALL TIME, is available starting June 2. My page on Amazon.com has the Preface (about my own meager skills, how I learned about the story, and some of the things I learned following it), Introduction (titled "Ted Forrest's Wild Ride"), and the first
several pages of the first chapter, titled "Flipping Pennies," about Andy Beal's first visit to the Bellagio poker room.

Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time

(Just click the picture of the book's cover to access the excerpt.)

In all, 28 pages FOR FREE!!! I love you guys that much that I'll just
give away the first 10% of the book.

Michael Craig

Here's the very first Usenet reference to Andy Beal and The Big Game. I first read about it from Linda, at PokerWorks. Most of her stuff ended up removed, methinks.

And finally, this typical RGP question and answer:

Top 3 most attractive MEN in poker
What do you think?


I think it's safe to say that you're a faggot.

And so it goes. It's painful to cruise in the burnt shambles of RGP. No Abdul. No Caro. No Izmet. No David. No Paul. No Daniel. No Andy. No Morten. No Badger. Hell, even cranky Carson has flown the coop. It used to be a once proud and deep discussion arena for poker. And now it's....well, it's hard to put into words what it is now.

But I did discover this bizarre post about Howard Treesong dreaming about Amir Vahedi and The Hammer in the finals of the WSOP.

Subject: Poker Dream

Last night, I dreamt I was playing on the first day of the WSOP finals, downstairs at the old Horseshoe. I was late to the tourney for unknown reasons and sat down in the middle of a hand. The chip denominations, however, were very odd: in addition to the usual 1Ks, 500s, 100s and 25s, there was a plate of various sausages at my seat: patty, link, and polish.

It's limped to me on the button; I look down and find 77, so I push a plate of sausages into the pot. The SB folds, but the BB, a Texan gentleman with a large hat, says "Ahm hungry, so ah call." For some reason, there's no more betting even though both of us have a relatively deep stack of chips. He shows 2 7 and it flops A 7 2. I stack up a deep pile of sausages, and Amir Vahedi, one seat to my right, says "Yum, Yum."

Freakin' weird. Just plain freakin' weird.

-Howard Treesong

Damn straight.
The Hammer meme continues unabated.

And so we wrap up another installment of drunken ramblings. Thanks for reading.
Bonus Code IGGY damnit on Party Poker.

I'm going to leave you with an outstanding 'online poker is rigged' troll from 2+2. They feed the troll and the troll fights back. Good stuff - go read the thread for some good laughs.


Before you lose your whole roll playing online poker I just wanted to tell you to stick to live game play. Online poker is rigged 100% & if you continue to play you will lose all of your money. I am a professinal poker player trying to get the word out. I make a living playing live games & consistently dominate these games. After losing constantly online I decided to do some studies & research these randomness of the cards & came to the 100% conclusion that they are set against you. I have several friends that play professionally & know many more that do & have never known anyone that could beat the online game consistently. If youre winning now its only because the site has you in win mode & soon you will hit distribution mode. New accounts & poorer players are givin better flops to keep tables full so the sharks wont take all their money, this keeps tables full & rake up. They also have site shills that play for site to take your roll. I learned the hard way. I hope to spread the word. These sites are mafia run & locate offshores so they are not regulated. Oh & ive heard all the #$%^ about why they wouldnt rig because its not in their interest. These are nieve gullables or paid site shills. The rake is no competition for taking your whole bankroll. Those who dont believe in conspiracy are fair game for those who conspire. The @#%% with the illuminati & all those work for them.

Link of the Day:
Where the Guilty Party
GroupHug.Us offers 185,502 confessions by anonymous Internet users, most of whom would feel sorry for this guy, whose right-curving erection may be the least of his concerns.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

In honor of the Star Wars opening, I give you this link.

Blessed are the Geek
If you think this gallery of costumed Star Wars fans is horrific, you should stick around late enough at a convention to see their mating rituals.

Back with poker once I get a beer or two in my belly.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Statistics are like bikinis; they show a lot, but not everything."
Lou Piniella

Quick post even though there is much to blog about.

I can't believe we lucked out and got four legit bloggers into the damn WSOP.
It feels really good - something tangible and worthwhile after writing post after post into the Ether. Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Two weeks till Vegas...

I'm experiencing a horrific month at the tables. Tibetan buddhism distinguishes 18 varieties of void, but my play this past week surely constitutes yet another.

My old friend and home game original, Mr. Fabulous, wrote up a great post called I am poker’s bitch in his new blog. It's a must-read.

It's fairly evident that I'm a Paul Phillips fan. I wore black for weeks after he left RGP.

So after watching the NBC Heads Up Championship this past Sunday and seeing Antonio Esfandiari pitch an All-In magazine article he wrote, I went and read it. And laughed and laughed and laughed. Something about the Magician always rubbed me the wrong way and this article just confirmed things.

And so it was with much joy that I saw Paul apply a light smackdown on Antonio in his blog and enjoyed the comments. Ah, Paul, you still rule.

My fave:


As unbelievably horrifying as that All-In article was, and as horribly pathetic as his website currently is, the fact that he actually quoted from a song by Crowded House, and MEANT IT, is something that I will never, ever, ever let him live down. He is forever tainted in my mind. One can only hope that the madness ends for him quickly so we can be spared from any more lyrics from bands that absolutely sucked beyond belief.

As they say, what a jopke.

Antonio Esfandiari Home Page

There is a bigass RGP thread about Jerrod Ankenman blogging about 'team play' in online poker. Interesting thread, as it is, but I'll refrain from my two cents and just encourage you to read it yourself.
Jerrod Ankenman Poker Blog

RGP Thread

Addendum: I just noticed that Paul weighed in, as well. Excellent.
"the team"

I'm trying to summon the strength for an uber-post. Perhaps tonight.

Whoa, I just noticed that my favorite poker blog, Linda over at PokerWorks, has her new site up.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Somehow, a blogger won.

The bloggers only had two horses in the race at the end, but we won.

Joe at The Obituarium.
WSOP Bound.

Doctor Pauly has the best in WPBT writeups.
Go Now.

Again, thanks for playing - hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

We're underway with 66 players for the final WSOP blogger seat.

Thanks to everyone for participating and making this a success, and better yet, so much damn fun.

Good luck!

Holy smokes, I nearly forgot about our final WSOP tourney tonite. Thank God I hit Pauly's site and was reminded.

Anyway, we need at least 50 players to give away a seat.
Cmon folks - last shot at glory!


WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament
Poker Stars
May 15, 9pm EST
$30 + 3 No-limit
One WSOP seat awarded for every 50 players
Password = tequila

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Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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