Thursday, August 05, 2004

Cyndy Violette Poker Blog

"The best and the most beautiful things in the world,
Cannot be seen
or even touched...
They must be felt with the heart."

Helen Keller

Kind of like the unconditional love from a family pet.

Thanks to each and every one of you who left a comment or sent an email commiserating with our loss of Monty. I'm truly blown away. I'm really thankful for our little community of poker players who apparently aren't all cynical, jaded bastards. Well, maybe we are, but we still love our damn animals, don't we? I don't want to get maudlin about the past few days, but obviously it's sucked hard.

Di, my wife, is despondent. She is truly Dr. Dolittle, constantly taking sick and injured animals that are put in her path, and healing them. There are a million anecdotes I could tell, but for the sake of brevity, I'll assume you believe me. And when Monty finally came home, bent and broken from the accident, she fully immersed herself in taking care of him, 24/7. It's really not fair to say, but he was her favorite and vice-versa. And Monty was the type that even non-cat people loved. Unique. So, long story short, she's having difficulty with the loss. Thankfully, we are surrounded by tons of animal lovers and this helps ease the pain a bit.

So again, thanks. There's so much more I could say about this awful situation but I need to get back to what I do best. Blogging about poker. Even though my heart is elsewhere.

So I'm not sure what I should pull out of my little bag of poker goodies tonight. I know I've got some interesting posts from Daniel Negreanu and Sklansky. Assorted poker news. Some flames. Many new poker blogs, per always.

Oh wait, someone give me a drumroll, please.

I've picked a date for our overdue World Poker Blogger and Their Readers Tournament. This tournament is open to EVERYONE. Poker bloggers versus the readers. Otis, from Up for Poker, won the last one and will hopefully be able to defend his title. Trust me, folks, you haven't lived till you've seen Scott, Pauly and Al table-talk in the same tournament. Do yourself a favor and give it a whirl. It's worth the chuckles.

Sunday, August 22nd, 9pm EST.
Let's make it a $20 entry fee, shall we?

This will be played on Pacific Poker. Please, have a heart and sign up with my link to play. There are no bonus codes on Pacific - so you must use my link to sign up if you don't have an existing account there. For the record, I was hoping my man, Dann, was going to do a guest post about playing there because he is absolutely crushing the SNG's.

Here's the deal for signing up. You need to email me with your Pacific Poker username and email address by Thursday, August 19th to participate. I have to submit everyone who wants to play to support at that time. I will double-check this time, I swear, to ensure that everyone who wishes to play, can. Promise.

So let's try and have a decent turnout, ok? It's been months since we've gotten us all together at the tables at one time and Lord knows it's a hoot when we do. I need to put a bounty on Otis's head for this, too.

So damnit, sign up now! I'd love to see one of our readers take us down! :)

Damn, I feel some pressure to do well since Al named me as his poker tournament player on his Poker Blogging Dream Team. I've yet to have a money finish in a poker blogger tourney but consistently finish in the top third. Which is just as good as finishing last, damnit.

Allow me a pimp of BoyGenius, who I hit faithfully every day, as he writes about tackling the NL ring games on Party Poker with yours truly. I was very unhappy at the time, because it was awesome seeing my man build a nice stack...

Hrm, what next. How about another pint of Guinness? I'll be right back....

Allrighty then, much better.

So I was reading one of my favorite poker blogs today and saw an apologist post about Dutch Boyd. Yikes! Because I'm behind on my reading for obvious reasons allow me to time travel back a few years in the online poker scene.

I am loathe to even mention this because of 'controversy', hell, I don’t even feel it’s worth talking about. My humble two cents: the Boyd defenders are simply stunning to me. But then again, when this shit went down in 2000-2001, I was playing poker every nite on Paradise and Pokerstars and reading RGP three times a day (so very little poker content on the web, at that point), whereas many of you probably are having to backtrack and try to figure out the story for yourself. I never put one cent into the site, thankfully, but watched this drama unfold from the cheap seats.

One point: I don’t know about the crew and ESPN and don’t care. I don’t have cable.

But I DO know about Russ Boyd and Pokerspot and what happened there, from message boards and private emails. You can go read Dutch Boyd’s posts yourselves on the RGP archives where he promises 100% payback of money lost. He promises that there are NO financial problems with his site. He denies that he is having cash flow problems while still accepting players deposits. It’s all there, folks. I'd encourage you to verify this for yourself before passing any kind of judgement. I'm just throwing this crap out there to give you something to read at work tomorrow.

A rake free site is a wonderful idea for the hardcore players out there. But it won't attract the fish. I want to play the fish, not the guy who is aware of rake and it's implications upon his earn rate. Think this through...geepers.

Another mitigating point: Dutch is obviously a very bright fellow. Perhaps too bright, too much of a rationalizer. He's also, from all accounts, a fine poker player. And he still refuses responsibility, to this very day.

See, the kids all love The Crew. And they are spouting off on RGP and attacking 2+2 with revisionist history. It's insane. The reality is that it's all documented on RGP in the archives - go read it for yourself. Too lazy? Good, that's what I'm here for. :)

There are a gazillion threads, posts and columns about this, but allow me to post this excellent article by Eric Rosenberg:


Russ "Dutch" Boyd to Open a New Online Card Room

The former owner of the now defunct PokerSpot.com has announced plans to open another online card room, a move that is getting strange looks from much of the poker playing community.

This story begins on August 17, 2000, when a post from "WJR" appeared on the poker newsgroup, rec.gambling.poker (RGP), stating that he was having trouble receiving his cashout from PokerSpot.com, a new online poker room. Shortly after, the post was replied to by Russ Boyd, CEO of PokerSpot. Boyd wrote, "...we did not receive your cashout request. I am not sure why, and we are still investigating, but we have no intention of keeping your money. This is a very isolated incident, and I think you'll find very few complaints regarding our customer service."

Ahh, but as time would tell, this was not an "isolated incident" and there were not "very few complaints", there were many.

The posts on RGP started to build up. One after another complaining (and warning others) that their cashouts were not getting processed. And just as quickly as the complaints rolled out, so did the excuses from PokerSpot support, excuses like, "We are reworking our entire cash out system, and this has delayed all cash outs by a week or two."

One PokerSpot member, John Buchanan, who played under the username "MS Sunshine", claimed that Russ Boyd and PokerSpot owed him and his wife "over $56,000".

What was going on at PokerSpot? Did Russ Boyd and company run off with the money? The players wanted to know.

In February of 2001, Russ Boyd finally came forward with another address to RGP:

"As many of you are aware, we've been faced with some recent problems at Pokerspot. ... Due to a situation with Net Pro Ltd., the company that until recently processed our credit card deposits, a large amount of our funds, which includes player funds, has been stalled." Boyd went on to say, "As far as money owed to players, Pokerspot will make good on all pending cashouts."

But PokerSpot never did "make good" on all pending cashouts as Boyd promised. Some that did receive checks were out of luck when they reported that their checks failed to clear the bank.

In a recent email interview, Boyd said, “Net Pro told us that they hadn’t gotten the funds that they processed for us from their bank.” He says that after six weeks, Net Pro eventually avoided his calls and PokerSpot never saw any of the money that players had deposited. Boyd went on to tell us that many of the 1000 or so players were able to charge back their credit cards, but there was no way for them to claim any winnings that may have occurred.

This was not a new story. In fact, it was similar to the post that he had made in February 2001 on RGP. Boyd says that he is aware that much of the poker community doubts his story, “A lot of people naturally assume that I took all of that money and partied, buying a big house in the Caribbean and breast implants for a blonde girlfriend. But that isn’t true. When Pokerspot failed, it ruined me. I didn’t have a way to pay my rent, I didn’t have a job anymore, and I had no idea how I was going to turn it all around.”

Boyd says that he had filed a law suit against Net Pro to try and recover the funds, but claims that the company was judgment proof, “They didn’t have any money to collect.”

In our interview, Boyd never did discuss why he wasn’t up front with the players in the first place. He did not mention the excuses about not receiving cashout requests or his customer support team saying that the system was being reworked. Now, nearly three and a half years after we heard the first complaint about PokerSpot, Boyd is trying to get back into the online poker spotlight with the launch of a new card room called RakeFree.com.

While working as a consultant to a sportsbook who wanted to implement poker tables, Boyd says that he came up the new idea of a rake free card room, “I tried to get the sportsbook behind it, but they didn’t see the business sense in giving up a potential $50 million a year in rakes. But I thought it had a lot of potential, so I came back to the states to work on it in May.”

While the idea may have potential, Boyd realizes that he has an uphill battle to retake his place in the online poker world. Boyd said, “I can’t promise that Rakefree.com is going to be successful. I have a lot of critics who have made it clear that they would never play [at] a site I was involved in.”

Having graduated from law school when he was barely old enough to legally play poker, some believe that Russ Boyd is boy genius. He never did tell us whether he thought he was a that was true or not, but he did say, “I sometimes get real moments of clarity that even surprise myself.”

Perhaps it was one of those moments of clarity when Boyd tried to put himself in the shoes of his critics and said, “If I was on the outside looking in, I’d be skeptical too. And I wouldn’t be rushing to deposit money at Rakefree.com.

Article by Eric Rosenberg

Again, there are sooooooooo many threads to recount, I could easily fill a weeks worth of posts just focusing on this issue. What Boyd did is akin to "Check Kiting". He knew there was no money to pay the withdrawals, so he kept accepting deposits to attempt to satisfy the withdrawals. Had he done this with a U.S. company, there would be no "Crew" and Russ "Dutch" Boyd would be in jail.

Think I'm being harsh? Think I'm a crackpot? Wait, don't answer that last one.

I'll bet Boyd is an interesting cat, all the same. Here's a legitimate question: who scores more often, Russ Dutch Boyd or David Sklansky?

Here is 2004 WSOP World Champ, Greg Raymer weighing in with an answer to a question about Russ:


is supposedly his side of the story about what happened earlier. I'd
like to know what is supposedly false in this story.

If its true, I don't see where he "stole" any money. It just sounds
like a cashflow issue that broke them when a business partner folded,
and the corporation couldn't pay off its debts, like often happens in
that situation.

What's factually incorrect with "his story"?


I'm most likely wasting my time talking to another Boyd shill, or Boyd
himself in alias.

No, this type of thing does not happen every day in the business world.

Let's say you're going to set up a new business, as a general contractor.
You sell shares of stock in your new company to investors. You also sell
your business services to customers, who place orders with you to supervise
construction of their buildings. Whenever you sign a contract with a
customer, they are required to pay in advance for the work, starting with
10% immediately, and then they must continue to make advance payments in at
least an amount deemed sufficient to cover next month's expenses on your

Now the company folds. At the time, you had 10,000 shares of stock
outstanding. You also had $100,000 in corporate debt, money or supplies
lent to the company. You also had $200,000 in advance payments, the money
of your customers which had NOT YET BEEN SPENT on their behalf. However,
this money was gone, because you had been using it to pay for the debts of
the corporation, that is, if you hadn't used the customer's money, the
corporate debt would've been $300,000 instead of $100,000.

The money lost by the stock investors, that happens in the business world
every day. The money lost by the banks and suppliers who lent you cash or
supplies, that happens in the business world every day. YOUR illegal use of
the customer advance payments for corporate debts, that is illegal, and
while it happens a lot more than it should, it does not happen every day.
The advance payments were made in trust, that money NEVER belonged to the
corporation, it was supposed to have just been held for use in making
payments for that customer's projects, as the money was spent on their

That is what Dutch Boyd did. He took the money that player's had in THEIR
accounts, money that NEVER belonged to him or to Pokerspot, and used it to
pay debts of Pokerspot. Then, when Pokerspot folded, the player's money was
gone, and their was nobody or nothing left to repay them. That makes him a

I didn't ever play at Pokerspot, and didn't lose a penny. But many of my
friends did. If I ever enter a tourney and am at the table with Dutch,
well, I'll be stuck there. But he will know what I think of him.

Later, Greg Raymer (FossilMan)

And my favorite thread on RGP is when Dutch asked WHAT THE HELL CAN I DO TO RECTIFY THINGS?

Gary Carson had been slamming Russ since 2000, when the very first smoke rings from the soon to be raging infernos were puffing.

But Paul Phillips gets in his two cents, responding to a Russ post. Italics are quotes from Russ's prior post:

Given the circumstances, his "interview", such as it was, made you
look about as good as it was humanly possible for you to look; and you're complaining? That takes some serious balls.

Not the good kind, incidentally.

>Perhaps the reason I didn't explain the
>"reason I wasn't upfront with players in the first place" was because I
>wasn't aware the Net Pro problems were not a temporary problem.

More than one person has reported here that you assured them that their
checks were in the mail. All lies. It was not the job of the players on
your site to unravel the relationships between you and your partners. You
personally deceived them about the safety of their deposits and the status
of their transactions. You cannot blame that on a third party.

>You've been accused of giving me some pretty softball questions in the
>interview and not digging to the real truth.

Well duh.

>Now it's pretty clear to me that you most certainly did have an agenda...
>to paint my story as negatively as possible while still trying to appear
>as an objective reporter.

I don't know how much extra effort you think that requires, but no matter
how little, it's less than you think. Sheesh, I read that "interview" and
only came away with negative impressions of the "reporter"! And you don't
think it was fair to you. Wow.

And number #2 from my hero, Paul Phillips, responding to a direct question from Russ:

>So here's what hasn't been said before. I really am trying to correct my
>mistakes. So how do I do it? Seems to me that the two extremes are (1)
>taking out a great big life insurance policy and putting a gun to my head
>or (2) telling every Pokerspot player that I've washed my hands of it and
>this isn't a mistake that can be corrected. So what would you do, Paul?

I wouldn't be in your situation. Our lives don't fall from the sky fully
formed. They are products of our choices. Anyway, you've already said (2)
several times, couched in the language of the consummate excuse maker.

If I were unlucky enough to inherit your life on some freaky friday,
I would stop playing poker and stop trying to involve myself in poker
businesses. You will never, ever outrun pokerspot. Everything you
try to do in poker is destined for failure. I feel sorry for people
who might go into business with you without realizing that. And you're
compounding your sins by inflicting yourself on others that way.

Is the universe of your ambition so narrow? What kind of person would
continue to put all his effort into a field where he has earned so many
opponents, when endless alternatives exist? It's masochistic and it
smacks of an unhealthy desperation.

I must have 1000 quality snippets from players who lost money at Pokerspot. But I'll have mercy on you, gentle reader, and just post a few. Get comfortable and prepare to read. I apologize for the scattered order, including direct posts from Russ himself as PokerSpot began encountering problems, but I think it's better if I just dump it all here, instead of sorting and explaining. Enjoy:

Paul Phillips:

There have been ten zillion posts on rgp on this subject. He did not
steal the money in the sense that he ended up with it (as far as I know).
He did steal the money in the sense that he deceived trusting people for
no reason other than his own greed, and those people ended up losing
their deposits because of his deception.

That's still theft.

>I don't understand why a man who'd spent years
>developing Pokerspot and could make a fortune off of rake would kill
>his business and good name to make 400 thousand.

He killed his business and "good name" trying to keep his business
afloat in the face of an impending implosion, using the deposits of his
customers as currency for his effort.

>Wouldn't he have made much more over time if he just left
>Pokerspot as it was?

Perhaps, if he hadn't been about to go bankrupt.


Michael O Malley:

I find it amazing the following that Dutch has formed from that TV show and online poker. He has a group that follows him around and listens to what he says, of course only the positive stuff. They don't think he stole a dime and can't wait to play at his new site.

Will be another sad day when ol' Dutchy takes the money again and everyone tells his followers we told you so.


He's fundamentally never taken responsibility for the failure of pokerspot -- it was this guy, it was that company, it was sunspots. He was the guy in charge, and he's responsible.

The day one of the people who were robbed when PokerSpot went under gets one dime from that sleazebag, I will praise him.

Him SAYING he's trying to pay people back -- he cashed several hundred thousand in the series last year, and nobody mentioned getting a check from Dutch -- isn't nearly the same as him actually trying to pay people back.

He's a sociopath and a thief. Fuck him.


It's fairly easy to use a poker site that isn't vigilent to conduct credit card fraud and because of his incompetence he was sending fraudulent transactions to his credit card processor (not a business partner). As a consequence they froze his assets on deposit with them.

He then paid bonuses to new depositers to generate cash to try to pay off
withdrawls. That was fraudulent on his part.

He was a victim of fraud because of his incompetence, he resorted to fraud to
try to recover from that and it didn't work.

You can google it, but in a nutshell, Boyd kept accepting new deposits to
pay off current cashouts, like a ponzi scheme that eventually collapses.


If I steal a dollar and bet it on black, and if I lose, steal two dollars and
put it on black, and keep betting that progression until black hits, than I can
pay back what I stole. Am I still a thief?


First, he shouldn't have lied that cashouts were sent. I was told
multiple times that my "checks were in the mail" when they never were.
Boyd's excuse for lying is that "desperate men do desperate deeds."

Second, he insisted during the period of delayed cashouts that
everyone would get paid eventually, and if necessary, he would sell
the site's assets, including the software. After the site closed, he
received anr that would have given Boyd a few hundred thousand dollars
and on top of that, paid off the debt owed to the players. The deal
also included a non-competition agreement which meant Boyd would have
had to leave the online poker industry for 2 or 3 years. Boyd refused
that deal, saying that he "wasn't leaving the industry that easily."
He counterproposed with an offer of something over a million dollars,
and needless to say, the person who made the original offer laughed in
his face. At that point, Boyd's first concern should have been the
money that he owed other people, not whether or not he'd need to take
a few years off from the online poker industry.

During the cash out delay, he repeatedly mentioned a pending lawsuit
with the credit card processor, often e-mailing us saying that "the
lawsuit is coming along nicely and we expect to pay everyone soon."
But since then (I believe in the Live Action Poker interview), Boyd
says that he quickly realized the credit card processor had no assets
and any lawsuit would be non-collectable. So either he lied then
about the "lawsuit coming along nicely," or he's lying now about them
having no assets. Many people have asked Boyd to post details about
the lawsuit, i.e. a docket number, or even which country's court he
sued them in, but Boyd has never offered any evidence of that lawsuit
(he's actually never even offered any proof that there was a credit
card processor problem in the first place.)

When the Boyd FAQ is completed and posted, I assure you that there's
no way an unbiased observer could possibly side with Boyd.


From Russ's recent posts he doesn’t think he is responsible. His only
concern now is trying to make some money off of the whole thing and trying
to pawn his ideas of reopening the site off on the players that got screwed.
Russ..I gave you the benefit of the doubt after your first post, but since
then you have shown your true colors. YOU are solely to blame for the 1000
players getting screwed. Not some bank or cash processor, not the players
for talking and trying to pull their money out. As much as you would like
to think otherwise, you opened a business and it failed. That leaves you
solely responsible.


It is truly amazing what behaviors a person will try to justify if he
or she is a friend of the offender. Russ didn't just "fail in a
business venture." He outright stole money from hundreds of people.
It's not as if he asked me for five grand to invest in his business
and it failed. I allowed him to keep five thousand dollars of my
money in exhange for virtual "chips" that were supposed to represent
that money. Legitimate casinos are supposed to have enough cash in
reserve to cover the chips. Russ and his partners obviously didn't do

His company gave away a fairly substantial amount in freeroll money
that they obviously didn't actually have, which reeks of a ponzi
scheme to me--give away a lot of freeroll money and hope that enough
deposits come in that eventually the site can pay off that freeroll
money. Russ and his partners didn't just engage in a "bad
investment," they defrauded people.

I personally was told on at least two occasions that I was already never sent a check -- Russ replied to me in RGP that in "desparation" he instructed his support staff to lie about the situation. In any regulated industry, they'd all be in jail
right now. Instead Russ gets to play poker in Costa Rica and keep his
profits, rather than use them to pay off his debts.


Here's latest news:

Dear Pokerspot Players,

As many of you are aware, several weeks ago we began experiencing problems
with our then current credit card processor, Net Pro, Ltd. We promptly
stopped processing through Net Pro and have since been unable to take new
player deposits or process cashouts. We are pleased to announce that we
recently signed an agreement with Surefire Commerce, the most trusted name
in the online gaming processing community, to process all future player
deposits. All cashouts requested after March 15* will now be processed as

In addition, we also are pleased to announce we are at a point where we can
start repaying prior cashouts. All cashouts that have been requested prior
to the 15th of March will be paid according to the following schedule:

20% by April 15;
20% by May 15;
20% by June 15;
20% by July 15; and
40% by August 15.

Please note that we will be paying all players who cashed out in January or
February an additional 20% of their cashout as interest. We are pursuing
several different avenues that might allow us the opportunity to pay all
players before the above dates, including a lawsuit against Net Pro, Ltd.,
some short-term loans using the software as collateral, and a pending
licensing deal.

Once again, we apologize sincerely for the inconvenience this situation has
caused our players. We recognize that there has been quite a bit of damage
to our reputation as a result of Net Pro, Ltd. and Barclays Bank freezing
the player funds, and we can only hope that our reputation will be repaired once
we are able to pay all of our players.

On a side note, our service provider has upgraded our bandwidth to an optical
fiber connection. You should notice decreased latency, and increased playability. When new developments arise, we will keep you updated. In the meantime, we hope to see you on the site.

Russ Boyd
President, Pokerspot.com

* - Please note that this does not include cashouts made prior to March 15
that have been re-applied to a player's account.

>>Looks like we get paid

>>MS Sunshine


They don't have the money to pay you.

They are hoping to collect enough from players over the next 6 months so that they can pay you.

Gary Carson



Over the past two months, I've continued to see post after post where you
make assumptions about Pokerspot activities and attack the integrity of both
the site and myself personally. While I believe I understand your
motivations, I do wish that you'd at least accept the possibility that we
are handling a very bad situation as best as we can. There have been
numerous other online casinos and cardrooms which have faced similar
troubles which have simply disappeared.

The payment schedule is based on numerous things, not just a "hope" that
we'll be able to make enough money to pay off players. We are pursuing real
means to get the lost funds back, including filing a lawsuit and pursuing
asset-based loans. All of these means take time.

The current situation is bad enough without personal attacks. I lose enough
sleep at night without posts like I read the other night on 2+2, where a
player was (I believe jokingly) stating that he'd chip in to put a hit out
on me. The bottom line is that Pokerspot is here to stay. We will be
making good on all pending cashouts.
Once we are through our current
situation, I at least hope that you and our players will recognize that
although things haven't gone as smoothly as anyone would have liked, we are
trying to make things right.

Russ Boyd
President, Pokerspot.com

Guess who was right, after all?

Look, I don't begrudge Russ taking a shot on this crazy business and failing. Quite the contrary. And I admire him for having the balls to post on RGP post-Pokerspot, pleading his case, I truly do. But having spent the massive amount of hours back then, reading, and watching this all unfold, I expected him to be accountable. To have integrity. To not act like a slimy fuck lawyer.

My humble apologies to all of you NON slimy fuck lawyers out there.

Anyway, I don't give two shits about Russ Boyd. I'm really disappointed in myself for posting about this, but seeing that apologist post made me take pause. I felt it worthwhile to take some time and throw my two cents in.

I'm sad that I missed Dutch get his ass kicked by TJ on ESPN. Here's a post about the show that I'm dying to see:

Dutch Boyd is a fool.....

It may seem as though I have a firm grasp of the obvious, but Dutch Boyd
made a fool of himself on tonights wsop episode.

I know its popular to bash him, but this has nothing to do with rakefree
or any of that stuff.

He states on espn that poker is a "young mans game" or whatever which
obviously is an incorrect and ignorant comment, but then he gets totally
embarrased by TJ Cloutier a 65 year old veteran.

I dont mind if anyone when interviewed is confident or a little cockey,
but when you disrespect the older players and then to make it worse get
destroyed by one of those players you just look like a god damn fool.

The game of poker has no gender or age boundries, I am suprised he doesnt
grasp that simple concept. Of course he is part of the "crew" so I guess
he is special.

The crew had a good showing at the wsop that cant be disputed, but before
you "take over the poker world" you are going to have to win alot more
bracelets over the long haul.

And another:

The best part about the Razz show. . .

Before last night's show it was a bunch of kids running around with the "we're taking over the world!!!" crap. Halfway through Dutch says he's going to takeout T.J. "5,000 at a time. . .".

By the end of the show, Dutch played a mountain of hands like stone shit, and he limps away from the table with his head hanging. Then TJ is gracious enough to tell him he'll win lots of bracelets in the future, and Dutch just mumbles "we'll see. . ."

Humble pie is a beautiful thing. I loved it.

Anyway, enough already.

Here is an update from World Champion of Online Poker, Fast Eddie:

fast_eddie : 51,349
fast_eddie : I love it
iggy: cash out?
eddie : players on party
eddie : i have already lost everything on stars

He's been playing 30.60 on Poker Stars. Go take a shot.

Poker Stars is sending him an honest to God gold bracelet BTW. He's gonna sell it.

Here's a pleasant, succinct Trip Report of playing in the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown from a Joe-Six-Pack who lucked out and got to sit with none other than Phil Helmuth.

I just got back home after one of the most exciting trips of my life. I was in Vegas two weeks ago as part of an extended driving vacation, and saw a sign advertising the Mirage Poker Showdown. My wife insisted that I play in a super satellite which I was lucky enough to win. So after driving 13 hours on Monday, I flew back out to Las Vegas on Wednesday for the main event.

The tourney began Thursday at noon. I had never competed in such an event, and to see the pros whom I've watched on TV was a thrill in itself. For the most part they were all very personable and approachable. Annie Duke let several fans take pictures with her (BTW, I disagree with a recent post from Rufus on RGP which said that "her ass looks like a bag of nickels" after she became a mom...she was wearing jeans and an UltimateBet t-shirt and looked real good in them). Scotty Nguyen, T.J. Cloutier, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Dan Harrington, Daniel Negreanu, Hoyt Corkins, Erik Seidel, Barry Greenstein, Thomas Keller, Eskimo Clark, and lots of others...all immediately recognizable up close and personal.

I took my seat at table 35 seat 4, and who should I see at the same table but Tobey "Spiderman" Maguire in seat 6, Jennifer Harman in seat 7 and Billy Gazes in seat 8. If any table could be called a "featured table", this one was it. There were more people on the rail next to our table than any of the others, probably because of Maguire's presence. Other stars we saw included James Woods, Gabe Kaplan and Antonio Banderas. I am sure there were lots more we either didn't spot or didn't recognize.

About 2 hours into the tourney, the player in seat 10 busted out and who got moved there but none other than Phil Hellmuth. He immediately started nonstop chatter and announced that he was betting on every street whether he had a hand or not. And he pretty much did just that. I played heads up with him on 3 hands. I went over the top of him each time and he folded all of them. He busted out during level 3 after getting a huge amount of chips sucked out of him by Tobey Maguire. There was lot of preflop raising between the two of them. The flop was A-A-rag. More betting and raising. The turn was another rag and the river was a third ace. More betting. At the showdown, Phil turned over pocket kings. But Tobey had the case ace and took down a huge pot with around 30,000 chips. Hellmuth's comments cannot be posted (as you can imagine) and he busted out altogether a few hands later.

He brought it in for a 3BB raise UTG with a 5-4 offsuit (?!), then flopped the nut straight with a 2-3-6 rainbow board. He slowplayed it, and ultimately allowed another player draw out a backdoor flush. He left the table in disgust, and stormed out cussing up a blue streak. BTW, Maguire is a very solid poker player. He is still in it as of this writing, and I would not be surprised if he finishes in a high position.

I lasted into level 4 but had a slowly dwindling stack of chips due to the
increasing blinds and antes. I was in the SB and looked down at pocket aces!
The player who took Hellmuth's place in seat 10 made a 4BB raise and I went
all-in over the top. He asked for a chip count (he had me covered), and then
called (an idiotic call IMHO). He flipped over J-J, and the player to my
immediate left whispered to me that he had mucked a Jack! Feeling supremely
confident that I was about to double up and actually be in the top 25%, I
watched the flop come Q-rag-rag. The turn was another rag. Then the crusher:
the case Jack fell on the river. Like a lightning bolt it was over in an
instant. Everyone at the table and about 50 onlookers on the rail let out a
simultaneous "ohhh." I realize that everyone has a bad beat story, but this
has to rank up there with the best (or worst) of them, especially
considering the circumstances. Losing with rockets to a one-outer at the
World Poker Tour is pretty tough. But I am over it (finally!) and I now have
a great poker story.

I will never forget this experience.

Damn, I found this great thread over a month ago when an apparent sex-crazed David Sklansky was still on the attack in both 2+2 and RGP. David exhibits wonderfully condescending writing at it's best. David is answering this question from someone asking about Steve Badger's strategy column. Mister Badger must be in the Amazon or something to have not responded _once_ in this very cantankerous thread entitled:

www.winningonlinepoker.com.....horrible advice - Read it for yourself. I'll give you a taste, first the original question and then David deep into the thread, bashing Gary Carson, Linda Sherman & Andru Prock:

i'm reading this guy's website...he says that in a 2/4 game with a full kill,if you have won the previous hand you should lean towards folding your next hand in order to avoid having to post $4 for a kill pot. He then gives an example where he said that he would fold AQo preflop to a raise to avoid the possibility of winning the pot.

how fucking stupid is that? does anyone agree with this?


I like this particuar debate because there is no escape for the dissenters.

Andrew Prock admits that having to put in $4 on the next hand only costs you
about $2. In other words he agrees that Gary and Linda are wrong. He only
quibbles with the off the subject point of exacly how often that should make
you change your preflop strategy. Meanwhile he can not get around the fact that
he once claimed that he thought he would break even in the blinds. In a normal
10-20 game no one can hope to do better than lose $5 in those two spots
combined. We will return to that $5 figure later.

Linda Sherman is just totally confused. Her assertion that the kill will
sometimes cost you more than $4 because you are now forced to sometimes put in
more than that preflop, is the kind of mistake only beginners should make.
(Perhaps Andrew will explain this to her) Her poker instincts are also sadly
lacking. Otherwise how could she advocate a fold of something like 7763 three
suited (8/B stud) when facing what looked like one high pair and a hand that
was either a mediocre four card low
or a three card low and a pair. I don't remember the details but I do remember
that her hand analyzed to about equal on average to the other two, and thus
folding it in a 10-20 game was at least a $15 mistake. (I will let Andrew
explain this to her.)

Gary Carson brings up the point that the cost of the kill increases because you
must kill yet again if you win yet again. He is right but he overestimates the
effect. In other words if you should subtract $2 from the pot if you must kill
it only once, you should subtract at most $2.40 if you must kill it
perpetually. That's because your chances of winning the second hand is less
than 20%. I'll let Andrew explain that to Gary.

Gary alluding to KTs vs JTs relates to the fact that I rated the second better.
He claims that is wrong and in loose games he is correct. I had my reasons but
for the sake of argument let us say I simply made a mistake and had no excuse.
To equate a mistake like that with the ones committed by Gary, Linda, and
Andrew is ridiculous. Why? First of all because in Andrew and Linda's case the
cost of my mistake is negligible compared to their's. In real life it is
basically nonexistent. But even if you were to measure it for a particular hand
(meaning you tell your cheating dealler to switch your KTs to a JTs) that wrong
instruction, in games where it is wrong, is at most a 50 cent mistake in a
10-20 game.

The more important reason why the mistakes are not comparable is because
innaccurate guestimates, especially when they are only slightly innaccurate,
are not a sign of a deeper problem. Logical errors are. (And I guess that at
this point I will cut Andrew Prock some slack, agree that he doesn't make
logical errors and that his outlandish guestimate about blinds might have been
due to a bad day and lack of holdem experience. That's why I am assigning him
the job of teaching Gary and Linda to think properly.)

The reason it is a critical error to simply say to yourself " I won the last
pot and will now have to kill if I win again, so I will subtract $4 from this
pot" is not because that particular error will cost you much money. The problem
is that such thinking will spill over into other areas. In the most general
sense it is likely that anyone who doesn't understand the illogic in that
statement is apt to be illogical in many other decisions. And almost certainly
someone who makes that mistake is going to make similar mistakes involving
misevaluting fractional bet EVs.

Here are two examples:

When I was offerred the opportunity to write the forward for Poker For Dummies.
I originally accepted. But I changed my mind when I saw two bad errors in the
first few pages. One of them said something like "When you are in the small
blind in a 10-20 game don't automatically call if it's not raised. You still
need a decent hand. If twice an hour you flip in that five dollar chip when
you shouldn't, that's ten dollar an hour off your eventual profits." Though I
could have easily gotten that line changed I was not willing to be associated
with anyone who did not instantly see why he was making essentially the same
mistake as Gary Carson. Again remember that this mistake is not an instinctive
one but rather a thinking error.

A much subtler example of this mistake that is often made by good poker
players and even fairly intelligent analysts goes something like this: "I
didn't bet on fourth st. because the pot was small and even though I had outs
if he check raised me I wouldn't have gotten the right price to call."

Here the logical flaw is the implication that had the pot been bigger the bet
would have been okay because you were getting good enough odds to call a check
raise. Those who think that are confused by the fact that you can have an
overlay in a sense but still be better off without it. If you have a 10% chance
of winning something you would gladly take $300 to $20 odds. But you would like
it more still if you got $260 to $0 odds. I could spend more time explaining
this concept in more detail and showing why it ties in to The Gary Carson
Mistake, but I'd rather let Andrew do that.

He might, *just might* have a small weenie to go with that big brain.

Damn, did I just reference Sklansky's dick size? Hell, it's official. This stupid poker blog has officially jumped the shark as of this moment. Somebody make note of the time/date stamp for historical purposes. It's true - this is rubbish.

Oh the humanity.

This feels like a semi-uber post. Beer-wise, that is. I gotta get going here so I'm going to pimp two of my fave new poker blogs and hit the hay. Long week and I have a big presentation tomorrow.

"Daddy likes 'em stout."

He's a Phish-Head but we won't hold that against him. I'm a huge fan. I suggest starting from post one and working your way up. There's almost too many estoteric snippets for me to quote but here's Capitalism at Work per working a booth at a Phish show:

I think next summer, just for grins, I'm gonna set up a grill and sell whale pussy burritos. Now, I won't actually be using real whale pussy, but then again nobody cares when the seafood salad they're eating doesn't contain crab, but some shitty processed whitefish being pawned off as actual crab meat.

My whales aren't caged, they're not being fed antibiotics, and they aren't eating food treated with pesticides. 100% Organic Whale Pussy Burritos.

I may even use hummus.

Allrighty then. I really should start dosing again.

Broomcorns Uncle is a new poker blog that's posting daily, it seems. And that gets big points in my book. Plus, he's got a great post up right now about that TV Poker game I posted about a while back. A worthy read.

Sigh. I guess I'm done here for now.

Again, thanks for all the kind comments per Monty. Damn, this poker blog came in handy, for once.

Sign up on Pacific Poker with my damn link for our tourney. You won't regret it - it's always a fun time.

For old-times sake:
David Sklansky > Russ Boyd

Thanks for reading.

Link of the Day:
250,000 Words of Wrongdoing
NotProud contributes to the Maury Povichication of the Internet by soliciting anonymous confessions, like one wife's explanation of where she learned that new finger technique.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Eight weeks ago to the day, Monty, our nine year old cat and King of the Farm, was hit by a car and miraculously survived. You can see my post of that horrific nite right here.

It's been a long seven weeks since then. My wife has put every bit of herself into saving him and it's been a bumpy road, to say the least. Thanks to everyone who sent positive vibes & prayers his way.

Sadly, Monty died on the operating table this morning. My wife is devastated. I'm not sure if there is anything worse than witnessing a heart breaking into teeny, tiny little pieces. It's just fucking awful.

We have many animals, true, but he held a very special, unreplaceable place in her life. There will never, ever be another cat like him. I've been sick, wondering if I would have to report this news, and sadly, here it is. This operation was a last gasp effort, of sorts, but my wife never gave up hope. DAMNIT.

This first picture is a wonderful summation of Monty and his personality. He just fucking ruled. I've owned many cats in my life, but never loved one more than him.

Huge sigh. :(

RIP, my friend.

I rule this farm!

friends forever, enemies never

Monday, August 02, 2004

Poker Rules

iggy: i can only say that you are the finest named online poker player
iggy: ever
ih8vegans: thank you

Welcome to this humble poker blog. I'm drinking & I'm irked so while this likely won't be a full-fledged uber post, I'll do what I can.

I know you expect a new post at work on Monday. I'm here for you, damnit.
Think Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker.

Sigh. I played in the big Sunday Guaranteed Quarter-Million Tournament on Party Poker today. My first ever, amazingly enough. I'm a damn good NL tournament player but my dial-up modem makes attempts to play 6-8 hour poker tournaments highly speculative.

1600 players signed up. First place pays 63k. I only got disconnected twice.

I build a big stack easily and early. I double-through repeatedly, avoiding suckouts somehow.

After four hours, I'm at 12k with about 200 players left. Average stack is around 6k at this point. Hank, who is running bad, shows up to sweat me. Damn you HANK and your bad luck! I move in with Big Slick after seeing only 16% of the flops. You'd think someone would notice, damnit. Get called by TT and I'm sad.

So, now I have an average stack. Down to 150 players. Long story short, I lose with 99 to A4c. I'm very sad now. I'm still replaying that last hand in my head. A4c??

But hell, I had an outstanding weekend at the tables. I played a TON of poker and loved it. Party Poker is just as fishy as ever, I'm still wondering where all these players are coming from. It's been quite a long time since I've experienced a losing weekend on there. Also, I did an overdue update of Poker Tracker last evening and can happily report that I have had only two losing months out of the last 18. These were early last spring when I wasn't playing very much, for assorted reasons.

Gotta love those affirmation moments. When you realize you aren't just throwing dice or flipping coins. When the numbers are stark and bold - no rationalizations possible.

My friend, Royal Poker, once blogged about sharing his bankroll fluctuations with his wife, for the sake of sheer spousal support - scrutiny. I'm a proponent of that because it ultimately gets at the root of things. We all play poker for different reasons and it's truly important to understand our true motivations for doing so. Honestly, for me, it started out as an obsession of knowledge. Like any complex subject, the more I learned about poker, the more questions I had.

Money issues are the number one cause of divorce in this country. Be honest. Accountability is a good thing.

I just asked my wife about this and she said, "Well, if you were a losing player, things might be different. I'd have dumped your ass a long time ago."

Nuff said.

My poor wife. Trying so hard to keep Monty alive. And it's a losing battle. Internal injuries - he ain't gonna make it. :(

So let's link up some stuff, shall we? I'm drunk and snarky. I feel like flaming Stinky but he took his lameass poker site down.

All Shall Fear StinkyPants
Stinky leaving the 2004 WSOP

I'm sad to see my Fast Eddie post disappear into the archives. Here's some follow-up info. In the WCOOP event the next day, I witnessed this chat from him:

AustinKearns: they sent me a bracelet
AustinKearns: its white and says poker stars across it
DirtFli: really?
AustinKearns: yes
AustinKearns: its white and stretches

Good God, he's telling people at his table that Poker Stars sent him a rubberband as a bracelet for being a champion. So very damn funny.

Eddie graciously sent me this email he received from Lee Jones at Poker Stars after winning 50k.

Hi Eddie - I understand getting pretty excited about winning $47K (it's never happened to me, but I imagine I'd get excited too . And I thank you for the apology - though you might want to consider staying sober until you've actually won the event. That's a lot of money to be on the line when you're drunk! But whatever, congratulations on your excellent play and your big win.

Best regards, Lee Jones PokerStars Poker Room Manager

Per previous doubting comments in this here poker blog, Doyle's Room is up and running. Yup, Doyle Brunson is back in the online poker business.

I may have to purchase this:

Mike Caro's Pro Poker Tells video just came out on DVD. We have it in
stock. We'll ship it in one business day. (We still have it on VHS, too.)

A huge thanks to Kevin for sending me a VHS tape of the Fox Sports Net live poker match. American poker championships or something? Watching Phil Ivey play poker is a joy. THANK YOU!

I'm happy to report Zerorake is dying. I have a littany of info about this site but have been loathe to give it any free pimpage. Fuck Dutch Boyd.

Zerorake and rakefree

Dutch Boyd and his old site zerorake.com and rakefree.com were all registered to the same PO box iirc. Do some whoising and you should get your definitive proof.

The fact that zerorake, after explicitly stating they were not affiliated with Dutch Boyd, has not responded to these allegations speaks volumes to me.

He still owes $400,000+ to previous players.

And a taste more:

Dutch Body and his "crew" realized all the heat www.rakefree.com was
getting on the message boards so he decided to use a similar domain
name to start his poker site.

Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Created on: 15-Mar-04
Expires on: 15-Mar-05
Last Updated on: 23-Mar-04
Domain servers in listed order:
The domain name was recently registered as can be seen above.
Zerorake.com uses actionpoker.com for its domain servers. If you look
up the registrant of actionpoker.com you will see that it is exactly
the same as pokerspot.com. Pokerspot.com was Dutch's old venture where
he cheated everyone out of there money.
Action Poker
PO BOX 2372
St Johns, St Johns 2372
Antigua and Barbuda

Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Created on: 12-Oct-99
Expires on: 12-Oct-05
Last Updated on: 20-Feb-04

Registrant: Make this info private
PokerSpot International (24759286O)
No. 6 Temple Street
P.o. Box 2372
St. Johns, AN
No Valid City, No Valid State
Phone: 999 999 9999
Fax: 999 999 9999


Administrative Contact , Technical Contact :
Boyd, Robert
No. 6 Temple Street
P.o. Box 2372 St. Johns N/A 00000, AN
Phone: (650) 562-1900
Fax: (801) 749-1553

Record expires on 16-Aug-2004
Record created on 16-Aug-1999
Database last updated on 07-Jul-2004

please go to netsol.com to verify the information i have provided.

K, I'm fading fast. Time to link up and pass out. I have many great new poker blogs to pimp but it shall have to wait.

Here's some David Sklansky fodder for you lucky readers.
ML = math logic

The Bottom Line For Me

Here is where I am coming from as precisely as I can put it.

I have for many years felt that I owe my father the responsibility of persuading as many people as possible that being good at and/or studying math and logic will help you in more fields and to a larger degree than what most think. It is the reason I started writing poker books in the first place. The fact that the more I succeed with this persuasion, the greater it will benefit me, is of secondary importance.

By math and logic (ML) I do not mean merely simplistic arithmetic or naming fallacies. What I do mean is not relevant to this post though. That can be discussed elsewhere.

Of course most people admit that ML is critical for a few endeavors and somewhat helpful in a few others.

Where they differ with me, my father, and others, is not realizing that ML can help alot in many fields and help a little in almost all fields. Being a baseball manager is one of thousands of examples. But again this post was not written to argue my agenda. Only to state it.

Someone posted that they ageed being or getting good at ML will help you become a success but the same can be said for other things such as athletics or music. The problem with that comment is that athletics or music talent is almost worthless to your success unless you are truly superb at it. That is not the case for ML. Going from poor to fair, from, fair to good, or from good to great, will help you regardless, in many endeavors. That is my stance anyway.

A good analogy to ML and myriad endeavors, is exercise and sporting endeavors. Both ML and exercise will help you somewhat, but both are no guarantees of success by itself. Many people become successful without them. In fact so many people are successful without them, and so many people are unsuccessful with them, it clouds the fact that doing ML or exercise nicely increases your chances for success. Trotting out counterexamples to refute this point are misleading and in fact a perfect example of arguments by people weak in ML. Its a Bayes' Theorem error that I won't go into here.

Poker is an example of a field where ML is of rather strong importance, especially limit poker. The average player thinks it is of mild importance. Thus it is one field where my agenda fits. Make people realize that it is more important than they think. If I can persuade them about poker perhaps they will more readily accept the same point about other things. (Put succinctly by my father "If you really know math well, you can be good at almost anything." Or more recently on a TV show for kids about math, one 25 year old girl says "That kid Johnny who usually had his head in a math book, what is he doing now? Other girl answers "Whatever he wants.")

Depending on the endeavor and the degree to which you understand ML the greater you increase your chances of success. In some fields you may go from 2% to 4% in others it may be from 0% to 10% (eg physics). In almost all fields I believe the increase is higher than most people think. But again it is no gurantee. To be a better major league baseball manager than one who you are much better than in ML, you must be only very slightly worse than him at recruiting, understanding pitching and handling people. Most ML experts don't meet that criteria. But some do, or could learn to. I believe that those few could win more games than any manager presently out there.

Nowadays, at least 40% of the best 200 poker players are proficient at ML. While only maybe 5% of those who try to make money at poker are. It is a sad commentary that so few see that as strong evidence of my position, at least as far as poker playing is concerned.

When it comes to poker writng the effect is even stronger. Now it is almost impossible to be good at the field without strength (natural or learned) in ML. I would think that would be obvious. But apparently it is not. Usually I give poker playing the most emphasis in pursuing the agenda that I owe my father. Because that's my specialty and that's where most pay me mind. Sometimes I use other examples. Such as Barry Switzer's criticized but correct decision to go for it fourth and two from his 27 with the scored tied and 1:45 to go on the clock. I wish obvious examples like this in sports and other fields were presented to me more often. They are not.

What is presented to me once in a while however is a chance to tout ML when it comes to the field of poker writing. To argue that lack of ML must almost certainly result in a flawed book. But to make that argument I must first assert that the author is in fact weak at ML. I cannot simply criticize the book. I must clearly identify the author as someone who has the temerity to believe that he is qualified to write poker books without good ML and to point out that THAT is most likely WHY the book is flawed. I owe my father and the world at large that. And IF (and only if) being a bit rude (up to a point) increases my chances of succeeding, I will do it (without guilt, but not gleefully either).

But still, we want to know what kind of ass you're getting, David! Fess up!

Geepers, this is getting long. This might be a pseudo uber post. What the heck, let's post this long article about low-limit player done good, Daniel Rentzer, by Jon Eaton. This was written for a college class by Jon Eaton and posted on RGP.

Subject: article about danny rentzer

Daniel Rentzer, a 27-year-old amateur poker player, was in the
midst of playing for a $500,000 first prize in the LA Poker Classic
tournament at the Commerce Casino among poker's elite. He looked down at
his cards: a pair of threes, a hand nicknamed "crabs" in the poker world.

Just moments before, Gus Hansen, a professional poker player,
had made a raise from the $6,000 forced blind-bet to $18,000. The other
three players still left in the tournament folded to Rentzer, who had
already invested $6,000 "blind" (two players start the hand with two bets
that they must make before receiving their cards).

The game was No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em poker. Players take two
cards down that only they see and combine them with five cards in the middle
that everyone can use and make the best standard 5-card poker hand they can.

I think he has ace-king, Rentzer thought to himself. Rentzer
called with the pair of threes, knowing he was probably a slight-favorite
with the pair against a non-paired hand.

Rentzer had made a daring call in the hand when the community
cards were queen, six, 10, six, two. That meant that if Hansen had any pair
higher than threes as his down cards, or any single queen, six, or 10, then
Rentzer's hand was beat. However, he made the call, because his instincts
led him to believe he had the best hand.

Rentzer confidently showed his cards, and said, "I got a pair of threes."

"Good," Gus said, and leaned back in his seat, stunned Rentzer made such a
bold call.

Rentzer, who has played cards since his childhood, has developed a talent
for the game that allowed him to make a living playing poker.

"I think I have a gift for the game of poker and don't want to
waste a talent that I have put so much work into," Rentzer said.

Rentzer, having just recently graduated from Pepperdine
University with a bachelors in business management, is currently juggling
his career as a poker player with law school. He wants to ensure that he
has an option outside of poker for a living.

"I hope that I can choose either profession as a means of paying
the bills," he said. "I love poker and will always play the game regardless
of whether I choose to find a second occupation or not."

Rentzer rode the recent wave of poker on television and the
Internet to win his way into the 2003 LA Poker Classic at the Commerce
Casino in Los Angeles, by way of a $220 "satellite" tournament, a smaller
tournament designed to let players with limited funds win their way into a
higher buy-in events. The event was televised on the Travel Channel's World
Poker Tour, which airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Rentzer has a love for the Commerce Casino, the place he calls
his "home away from home." It was only natural his first major tournament
appearance was there.

"I have been playing there ever since I turned 21 and learned the most about
the game of poker at the casino," he said. "I have also developed tons of
friends at this casino."

Rentzer ended up finishing second to Hansen in the LA Poker
Classic. His ultimate goal, however, is much more than just to win money
and tournaments.

"I want to make poker more respected and better for everyone,"
he said.

Rentzer has played in numerous tournaments, including the World
Poker Tour Championship event, held each April at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The $25,000 buy-in main event is one of the most prestigious events in the

Having tangled with the best of the best in the poker world,
Rentzer actually considers the inexperienced players the toughest to play.

"People that don't know how to play can have any hand at any
time, and there is almost no way to get a read on someone who does not know
what is going on," he said. "I think all professional players would have a
tough time playing in low-stakes games where everyone is gambling instead of
playing fundamental poker."

Rentzer is also a regular in online card rooms. On any given
night, you can find him playing in high-stakes games against others around
the world. Obviously, online poker has had a huge impact on the poker
world. Now, people can play virtually all day against others at various
different games.

Online poker has even given people the chance to win entries into larger
buy-in events for much less than even in real casinos. Chris Moneymaker,
the 2003 World Champion of poker, won his way in for $40, whereas others put
up $10,000 to enter the event. But the full impact of online poker is still

Rentzer has a lot of praise for online poker.

"Online poker has given tons of people a chance to compete in a realm where
they were never before able to play," he said. "It has also given tons of
players a chance to compete with professional players that they may never
had a chance to play against before."

Rentzer said that among the most complex things in poker, such
as the psychological aspect, the mathematical aspect and the mental aspect,
the most difficult thing to master is patience, and not going on "tilt."
Tilt refers to a player playing recklessly after having a good hand being
beaten by a weaker one, where the winner was actually mathematically a
long-shot to win.

But of all the things that he has encountered, Rentzer keeps
coming back. The losses, the wins and all the money are just things that he
keeps in the back of his mind. He no longer plays over a few beers with
friends, he is playing to pay the bills.

But it's not just the money that keeps him coming back. Poker is a game with a never-ending supply of new situations.

"I keep coming back for the love of the game," he said. "Every
time I play, I learn something new."----

I suppose I should have just linked to that, but it seemed worthy in my Guinness fueled haze.

OK, let's wrap this up with style. This past week of poker caused me to take pause. Fast Eddie won 50k and a few days before, Senor Beef, a regular on RGP, won 93k in a big online tourney. DAMN. Why am I wasting my time grinding?

I'm an idiot. Tis funny cause it's true. Most folks who know me think I'm profoundly retarded for grinding out win after win, instead of taking a shot at a nice payday. I think I finally see the light. Thank you for your patience.

Fast Eddie is 23.
Senor Beef is 22.

Senor is a low-limit player. And a pretty cool guy, from what I can ascertain. Senor won his first satellite into the event for $62 (buy in, rebuy, add on), and kept the seat. This a great freaking story. I hope you enjoy it - it took forever to format with this new shitty blogger editor.

Trip Report of winning a big multi. Parlay $60 bucks into $93,000. That's why we play this silly game, isn't it? Here's a first hand account - a blow by blow.

This is long but sooooooooo worth it.
Hoyt = Hoyt Corkins, WPT star & poker pro

Tourney report: $500+$30 Sunday. Long.

From: SenorBeef (senorbeef@yayforspam.com)

The guys at 2+2 wanted me to write up a tourney report, so I did. I figured people here might be interested, so I'd cross post.

I'm not really sure all what's supposed to be included in a tournament report, so I'll just discuss my overall strategy, big hands, and my thoughts behind some stuff. Might be some inaccurate info there as this is from memory, but I'm not going to comb over every hand history for the tournament.

A bit of history: I played tournaments when I was first learning to play poker because you could get a lot of play out of 5 bucks. I do think I had a bit of a talent early on - I was making final tables in 200+ player events fairly frequently, but these were just $5 tournies, or $1 rebuys, or whatever. After I became more experienced, I started leaning towards cash games. I did play a significant amount of sit and goes, but playing multitable tournaments went out the window for me except for an occasional one just for kicks for about 9 months. The sunday before I won, my poker stars account (not my whole bankroll obviously) was down to $41.85. I decided to take a long shot on the 5am $20 tourney, and I ended up winning out of 180 players, for $1080.

From there, I began playing more tournaments in the $10-$50 range - I got 6/887 in a $10 rebuy for $1400, which was particularly frustrating because at the final 12 or so I had a dominating chip lead (30% above second) and I believe I was the most skilled player left. I called big stacks with hands like AQ and got sucked out by A8 - I doubled 3 small or medium stacks up,with, IIRC, 2 hands I dominated and one coin flip. Crippled me enough to make the final 6 but not beyond, when my blind attempt steal ran up against AK and I busted.

I decided to play one of the $22 rebuy satellites to the $530, and won in my first. I found the structure to be crazy, but if one adjusts properly, the games to be very soft. I ended up playing 6 of those satellites and winning 4, giving me a lot of tourney bucks to work with.

Out of 12-15 tournaments, winning one, 6/887 in another, and winning 4 big satellites where only about the top 10% qualified made me reconsider playing more tournaments because it was clear that I at least had some talent for them. So I looked towards the $530 optimistically, though realistically expecting to bust before the bubble.

As it began, I played a more conservative style than is typical for me. I knew I was going to be up against a tough crowd, and while the blinds were still low, I only wanted to enter hands with a reasonable chance of stealing or when I had a good chance of being the favorite. I was in 322/655 at the first break, not having gone anywhere.. up a whole 300 chips. I played conservatively, won a few small pots, but didn't have much opportunity to win anything big. There was a big hand in which I held jacks and AK vs AK went all in against me. I couldn't call there, but it would've been sweet if I did, as I'd have tripled up early.

I became a bit looser as the blinds went up, and won a few medium pots in the second hour.

By the end of the second hour, I was doing much better - a little over 10k chips (4x starting chips), in 52nd of 356.

I was sitting to the right of Josh Arieh during the third hour, which I thought was pretty cool. I'm still a low limit player learning the game, so sitting at the same table as the guy who came in third in the WSOP main event was a bit exciting for me. I wasn't intimidated, although I did watch him more than other people probably.

I had another opportunity like above - I threw away 77 when AK and AK both went all in before me. I don't recall the exact chip positions, but in this case, at least one of them either had me covered or had enough to do significant damage, and so it was a relatively easy throw away.

Again, neither hit, and I'd have taken down a HUGE pot if I called. Ah well. In the third hour, I was willing to be looser because of the blinds, but was running pretty dry. I made about 3k chips to be around 13k, 73/151 at the time.

One memorable hand: I called a short stack, IIRC about 1/4th to 1/3rd my stack's all in from middle position with 66. In tournaments like that, I don't mind taking a coin flip with someone who only has the ability to take 1/4th my stack. I was up against AK and the flop came KKx. I begged "save meat the river, stars..." and I hit my two outer. Lucky, obviously, but it wasa coin flip in the first place and I was in a position where gambling couldn't cripple me.

*** FLOP ***
[Kh 8s Kc]SenorBeef said, "brutal"
SenorBeef said, "save me at the river stars"***
RIVER *** [Kh 8s Kc 7d] [6h]
SenorBeef said, "oh man"
Ector said, "all u have to do is ask"
SenorBeef said, "that river miracle worked on my side for once"

I made some money stealing blinds and raises at this point, and that was a significant booster because of the blinds at the time. Once we start getting near the money, I like picking on smaller stacks, as no one wants to bust out right before the button, and they're apt to give up a hand much more easily. Having one of them raise 4x the BB and then being able to steal that gives you a significant boost.

I got lucky and hit a 3 outer when I was all in preflop with AQ against KK.

I'd reraised a small stack 4800 preflop, and they went all in for another 3000 - I had to call with AQ, I think. Was up against KK and got lucky. I was only gambling for 1/3rd of my chips at that point, though - that was key. I'm always more willing to gamble obviously when losing only takes 1/3rd my stack.

Looking over my hand histories, I notice I stole some big pots without a showdown from Erik123. I know that name from somewhere, so perhaps he's a famous online player and I don't recall it. I ended up going from 13k to 40 kwith only one showdown and that was only for a net +7000 pot. (Unless I'm forgetting something). I was using pressure very well against smaller stacks, especially before the bubble when they were extra cautious.

I gained about 18k chips (to add to my 38) when AJ went all in against me preflop when I had AQ and it actually held up. I raised 4x BB in the SB, and the BB reraised me all in. It was entirely possible they were making a play against a steal with a crap hand, so AQ seemed like a no brainer calling hand there.

I busted a few very small stacks (like 4k to my 60k) with stuff like AJ - I became very aggressive and loose towards tiny stacks that couldn't really dent me when I had a reasonable hand.

I think I was the chip leader during this time period for about 45 minutes. I was getting excited but not overly so, actually, I was surprisingly calm I suppose.

Glancing back over the hand histories, I was playing tighter than I would normally be under the circumstances. The size of that tournament's pool changed my play, I think - that's probably a bad thing, but I adapted pretty well. I might've been a bit shell shocked from when I got 6/887 before when I was in the chip lead and doubled too many people up. I didn't want to risk the chip lead so early I suppose with big gambles. I stole my share of blinds, but not much more than my share.

I doubled some small stacks up in this time period too, so it wasn't all swinging my way.

I lost the lead when medium stacks with 40k start going all in against each other once we hit the money and whoever won became automatically the new chip leader. I was still in the top 10 for a while though. AQ seems to be my lucky hand of the tournament - I won a lot of pots with it, I'm noticing.

A bit after we got in the money, I was sitting next to Scott Fischman, of recent and fleeting ESPN WSOP coverage fame. He was getting absolutely hammered by observer comments about "the crew" and, well, their supposed circle jerks to petting zoo molestation and everything in between. I almost joined in myself just for the hell of it and said "I'd try to join the crew if I win this tournament, but I think I may be too heterosexual", but decided it was in poor taste. Apparently not too poor to put up in a tourney report, though... It would've just been friendly joking though, as I don't really have an opinion on them either way. He was lucky to survive for as long as he did - he had about 1/3rd to half the average stack and kept going all in to steal blinds and never got called. He exposed himself constantly though, and not always from late position.

Looking back, I doubled up a LOT of small stacks trying to bust them, but only ones small enough not to be significant. I stole a decent few blinds and won some small and medium pots to make up for it though.

The observer chat when we were down to 60 or so was flooding. I was considering turning it off as a distraction but a few people I'd met earlier in the tournament from near my home town were talking to me. But damn, those railbirds get noisy towards the end. The observer chat was shut off when wewere down to maybe 5 tables, IIRC.

mal247 [observer] said, "senor are you giong to be *****ing about bad beats on RGP all week"
SenorBeef said, "yes mal"

We were down to 34 when I busted Eric Lindgren. Unfortunately, I can't claim any big stories where I busted him with a huge pot, or that I outplayed him - he was crippled by the previous hand and called all in because he has less than the BB. I was in the BB and had a free flop.. beat him with K4o. Still, I thought it was cool that I got a chance to bust a famous (for poker), WPT winning player in a big tournament. I'd rack up another one later....

At this point the blinds were 3-6k and I was stealing with just about anything from late position. The increased value of the blinds and antes offset the risk of exposure.

SenorBeef said, "this alone might put me on the yearly tourney leader board,eh? :P"
sevup [observer] said, "ive got money beef the mouth doesnt even make the final table"
SenorBeef said, "yeah you're right, I'm gonna end up busting 29th because of my arrogance"
sctirish1 [observer] said, "i wonder when beef will be done talking about how good he is"

I got raised in the SB by the button for 24k (of my 95k stack), and the button had me covered, so this possibly was a fool hardy move, but I figured he'd raise with plenty of hands he wouldn't call with there.. I raised allin with 55. I was playing to win at this point, not come in 25th...

SenorBeef collected 59200 from potSenorBeef: shows [5h 5c] (a pair of Fives)SenorBeef said, "behold the power of presto"
SenorBeef said, "!!!!"

That reraise steal with a low pair might've bought me some action later, too.. in retrospect it's probably action I didn't want. I just got too drunk with the power of presto.

Here's the biggest hand of the tournament for me, so I'm going to paste the history. It's a modified history - I wrote a little program to clean up my hand history file so I could follow it more easily. It cut out the chat, emphasized what hand I was dealt for easy tracking, cut out ante posts, and deleted people from the showdown info that didn't contribute any money to the pot.

*********** # 374 **************
PokerStars Game #569074819: Tournament #2039022, Hold'em No Limit - LevelXVII
(6000/12000) - 2004/07/25 - 22:38:32 (ET)Table '2039022 71'
Seat #1 is the button
3: SuitedAces (89940 in chips)
Seat 6: easyH (109762 in chips)
Seat 1: SenorBeef (111072 in chips)

I'm still among the top half of chip positions at this point, with 19 people left.

Seat 2: lucky karma (63496 in chips)
Seat 7: emptyseat88 (27348 in chips)
Seat 9: melonhead (99829 in chips)lucky karma: posts small blind 6000
SuitedAces: posts big blind 12000

*** HOLE CARDS ***

***-------------------------> Dealt to SenorBeef [As Qd]

easyH: raises 24000 to 36000

Hoyt (Hoyt = Hoyt Corkins) here has been trying to run over half the pots since he came down to the table. His game is all about putting massive amounts of pressure on everyone. I figured him to be raising with a large variety of hands, nothing likely to be too strong.

emptyseat88: calls 26748 and is all-in

He's very short stacked and he also knows that Hoyt is putting on pressure without the best of hands, and therefore, his call doesn't necesarily signify an especially strong hand.

melonhead: folds

SenorBeef: raises 74472 to 110472 and is all-in

My plan was this: Since hoyt was probably just applying pressure, if I reraise all in (I have him covered) and he has a mediocre hand, he'll fold, leaving me heads up with Fischman, who I have very much out chippped, with alot of dead money from the blinds, antes, and Hoyt's raise in the pot. I figured if I was a coin flip against Fischman (very likely he had a low pair given what I said above), with all that extra dead money in the pot, it would be a very profitable play. Comments?

easyH: calls 73162 and is all-in

Uh oh.

*** FLOP *** [4h 5c Tc]
*** TURN *** [4h 5c Tc] [8s]
*** RIVER *** [4h 5c Tc 8s] [Kd]
*** SHOW DOWN ***

easyH: shows [Jd Jh] (a pair of Jacks)
SenorBeef: shows [As Qd] (high card Ace)
easyH collected 164828 from side pot
emptyseat88: shows [Qh Ac] (high card Ace)
easyH collected 101844 from main pot

*** SUMMARY ***

Total pot 266672
Main pot 101844.
Side pot 164828.

Board [4h 5c Tc 8s Kd]

Seat 3: SuitedAces (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: easyH showed [Jd Jh] and won (266672) with a pair of Jacks
Seat 1: SenorBeef (button) showed [As Qd] and lost with high card Ace
Seat 2: lucky karma (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 7: emptyseat88 showed [Qh Ac] and lost with high card Ace

Figures. The situation I described above - matching overcards vs an underpair - is something I shied away from earlier and it cost me 2 big pots. This time, I play it, but I'm on the losing end. I don't feel I made a bad play here for the reasons I outlined above, it just didn't go my way. I'd appreciate comments about this hand.

Seat 8: SenorBeef (1310 in chips)
SenorBeef: posts the ante 600

I had 710 chips left after posting the ante on that pot. Average stack at the time was ~100k?.

I had a miraculous run. I was dealt Q9 there, won an 8k main pot from blinds and antes. 82o the next hand, UTG+1. Next hand, UTG, I have K6.. better to go all in here than be forced all in with a random blind hand, so I do.

Someone raises me to isolate it heads up (yay for me) and I'm against 66. I get lucky and catch my 3 outer, and now I'm up to 32k. However, I have to post a 12k blind.

This is perhaps my most questionable play of the tournament, but I don't feel it was clear cut bad: a middle position player raises all in when I'm in the BB with 37o. 37o is only a 3:2 dog to big cards. I have more than 1/3rd of my stack in, with the blinds, and also, 18th to 10th pays the same payout, so I have no concern over busting in 18th place. However, if I want to rebuild a chip lead, I'm going to have to mix it up and get lucky. So I called, heads up. He flips over AQ - as I'd hoped, I'm only a 3:2 dog. I caught a 3 and now I'm up to 75k. I made a recovery from 710 chips to 75k in 3 hands.

Granted, I got lucky, but I didn't make any bad decisions, I don't think. You can argue the 37 decision, but I think I had sound logic for making that call. Also, the hand that crippled me I played fairly well too.. so even though I got lucky, I don't think I made any bad decisions there. I'd love to hear comments though.

From there, I played my 75k very well and built it up fairly quickly.

A few hands later, I still needed chips, I made a steal play from MP with 33 against a small big blind (30k) figuring I had a high chance of getting called, but probably being a coin flip. Keep in mind: 10th to 18th place pay the same, it doesn't matter. I have no reason not to take risks here. I'm not playing to squeak out 9th place. I got called by KJ and won that coin flip, getting me back up near average stack.

I got 33 again a few hands later with a raiser (with a decent stack) in front of me and folded.

I busted a guy with jacks again AK and got back up amongst the chip leaders at 225k.

Won a coin flip with a guy with 50k. I've been mostly lucky on coin flips after that miraculous recovery - but I've been putting myself in situations where I'm up against a guy with 1/3rd my stack, tops - so it's not like I'm putting my whole tourney on the line and getting lucky.

I busted the 10th player out with QQ vs Q9 to get to the final table. At the final, the starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 3: easyH (726412 in chips) out of hand (moved from another table into small blind)
Seat 4: lucky karma (90184 in chips) out of hand (moved from another table into small blind)
Seat 9: melonhead (173467 in chips)
Seat 1: BigArmo (77296 in chips)
Seat 2: the new plan (147515 in chips)
Seat 5: delta3 (133672 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (169504 in chips)
Seat 7: dass (304115 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (312835 in chips)

The only person of the group I knew well was easy H, Hoyt. He'd been trying to run over my table for a while now, and I was afraid of him. He was willing to risk his entire tourney, put me all in, at any time, and that was dangerous. I tried to avoid him until later stages because I didn't want to take the risk. He knew that, of course, and that was part of his strategy.

BigArmo I had played with a decent bit, along with delta3, and dass at least for one table, so I had at least vague reads on their style or better. The other ones I don't recall knowing, although they may have been on my tables at some point.

I became more conservative when we hit the final table. I was playing to win, but.. I had the stack to ride out a few people busting. When I was in 18th and 10th to 18th paid the same, I could throw caution to the win and go nuts. But now... I would move up 5k or so for everyone that busted out. I wasn't timid, I just wasn't going to tangle with the big stacks that early, there was no reason to. I was still very aggressive when I entered a hand, but I was playing tight, and playing position strongly (steals, etc.)

I got a lucky break when a 270k stack (dass) who had me covered went allin in MP and I called with QQ. Possibly a risky call with so many people left and him having me covered, but I figured I was either a big favorite or a coin flip. I wouldn't have expected him to go all in on AA or KK, so I figure.. either I dominate him and have a good shot at doubling, or he's got AK and we'll play a coin flip. Under the circumstances, though risky, it seemed worth the risk. I called, he had A7, my hand held up, and I had doubled up.

A hand I get some flak for - I caught Q3o in the BB which was 30k. A player goes all in for 80k on a blind steal, him in the SB, me in the BB. He's short stacked and very aggressive (dass) and I figure he can be going in with any 2 hands here. Q3 is not a good calling hand, however, I'm risking, at worst, 1/10th my stack, already have 3/8ths of his bet invested, and have a chance to knock out a good player and move myself up 5k, with little risk to myself in terms of chips. I get a lot of inexperienced rail birds saying "you play q3?? you suck!!" but I think under the circumstances it was a good decision. Comments welcome. He ended up having AK.. and I caught a boat - yeah, lucky, but it wasn't a bad call under the circumstances and I was only a 3:2 underdog.

I had a similar lucky hand a few hands later: A player ahead of me, UTG + 2, goes all in for 90k. This is arguably my worst call of the tournament. He was being somewhat aggressive for blind steals, but not especially. A 30k blind, however, was about thit his 90k stack, so I figured his raising requirements to be relatively low. I was hoping he had maybe king high or a low pair.. and I called with A6s. That was a loose call, and maybe a bad call, but I have a lot of chips and I'm very anxious to bust people. He flipped over AQ and I ended up lucking out and catching a flush. That's the only hand where I got lucky where I may not have made a good decision, I believe, but as always, comments are welcome

He busted, and with 5 left, the table looked like this:Seat 3: easyH (637884 in chips)

Seat 4: lucky karma (71392 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (272888 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (749058 in chips)
Seat 9: melonhead (403778 in chips)

My goal at this point was to avoid Hoyt or catch him with a big hand when he's trying to run me over (QQ-AA) I wanted the small stacks busted because the prize money really moved up from here and I wasn't afraid to try to bust them myself. I still played relatively conservatively towards the medium stack and hoyt, but was very aggressive towards the low stacks.

S 18 finally called one of Hoyt's bullying preflop raises and doubled up off him. I was relieved. No disrespect to S 18, but I thought I could handle him better with chips than Hoyt - and that I could handle Hoyt pretty well if he was a small to medium stack.

Down to 4:
Seat 8: SenorBeef (604558 in chips)
Seat 9: melonhead (400278 in chips)
Seat 3: easyH (321820 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (808344 in chips)

I open-raised from the SB with melon head in the BB with TT for 120k (4x BB). He went all in for a little under 400k. It's a risk to my stack, but.. he could easily just be making a play against what he feels is a weak blind steal attempt, and hoping I fold. I decide with 120k already in, I'd call the 280k, because it doesn't take him a big hand to make that move from the BB. Turns out he did have a big hand - AK, and I won the coin flip.

And we're down to 3.

Seat 3: easyH (453820 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (716344 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (964836 in chips)

I'm feeling extremely confident at this point, and my strategy is more loose aggressive because the worst I can do here is 38k if I bust. I might as well go for the win.

And.. Hoyt keeps up his pressure tactics, and I get a hand I feel is worth calling:

*********** # 447 **************

PokerStars Game #569231629: Tournament #2039022, Hold'em No Limit - Level XX(20000/40000) - 2004/07/25 - 23:45:05 (ET)

Table '2039022 31' Seat #8 is the button

Seat 3: easyH (453820 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (716344 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (964836 in chips)
easyH: posts small blind 20000
S 18: posts big blind 40000

*** HOLE CARDS ***

*** -------------------------> Dealt to SenorBeef [Jd Ah]

SenorBeef: raises 80000 to 120000

easyH: raises 331820 to 451820 and is all-in

S 18: folds

SenorBeef: calls 331820

*** FLOP ***
[5d 8s 3h]

*** TURN ***
[5d 8s 3h] [9h]

*** RIVER ***
[5d 8s 3h 9h] [8h]

*** SHOW DOWN ***

easyH: shows [Qs Jh] (a pair of Eights)
SenorBeef: shows [Jd Ah] (a pair of Eights - Ace kicker)

SenorBeef collected 949640 from pot

*** SUMMARY ***

Total pot 949640
Board [5d 8s 3h 9h 8h]
Seat 3: easyH (small blind) showed [Qs Jh] and lost with a pair of Eights
Seat 6: S 18 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: SenorBeef (button) showed [Jd Ah] and won (949640) with a pair of Eights

AJ Isn't the greatest hand, but he's raising with nearly anything on the button, and I have the chips to risk busting him. Turns out I had him dominated, and I was much relieved to have him gone. He'd refused a deal when we were down to 4.. so I dunno how happy he is with his 38k. Probably not too sad...

It was a few hands after this that S 18 and I made a deal, which, since this post is already huge, I'll address in another thread. I got 92.5k, he got $74,030. I'm happy with the deal I made. After the deal, after all that tension and 7 and a half hours of playing.. after all we were fighting for were TLB points, we both just sort of went nuts. The hand that won it for him was 33 vs QT.. he won the coin flip with 33. He technically took first place, but for all intents and purposes, I won the most money, had a 3:1 chip lead at the end, and made the favorable deal.. so I consider myself to have won.

Fuck blogger. That took WAY too long to format. VERY angry. I should be writing, not formatting text, damnit.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I've still a ton of great poker content for you in the que but it shall have to wait till next time.

And remember, I don't do this for free, err, wait.....yes, yes, I do. Please consider signing up for Party Poker with bonus code IGGY as a way of supporting this humble poker blog. 20% deposit bonus for new players plus now offering rake kickbacks for those of you who care about these things. Email me.

Damn, I'm drunk tired. Thanks to anyone reading this drivel. I'm just making this up as I go along....

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