So I went to the Wynn the other night to meet up w/ some friends and maybe play some poker. I ended up playing $20/pt chinese poker w/ Joe Tehan (a good friend of mine that has a ton of success in live mtts inc. the Mandalay Bay WPT me for $1mil), Steve Yea, a red name pro on FTP from S. Korea, and 2 local poker pros. If you don't know what chinese poker is, it is basically a 4handed game where each player gets dealt 13 cards and each player sets 3 poker hands (3,5,5 w/ the 3 card poker hand being worse than the next 5 card hand and that hand being worse than the next 5 card hand...eg, AQJJ9TTT87442 would be set AQ9, JJ872, TTT44...flushes and straights count as well) and the object of the game is to beat each of the other 3 players 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 3. You win 2pts if you beat an opponent 2 out of 3 and 4 pts if you scoop (win 3 out of 3). There are added ways of scoring, such as having royalties count, where you get bonus pts for having quads, straight flushes, trips at top, etc. So at $20/pt, if I beat everybody 2 out of 3, I win $120 total ($40 from each opponent). If I have a straight flush at the bottom and beat everybody 3 out of 3, I win $480 (the multiplyer for having a straight flush is 4x,6x,8x...4x if you lose 2 out if 3 spots, although you win $ regardless for having the royalty, 6x for winning 2 out of 3, and 8x for scooping an opponent). That's pretty much the gist of it. Mid to high stakes poker players love to play chinese, maybe for the simplicity and speed of the game. There is a small added skill element to it, that being how you set your hands. I know that the best players can pick up tells on others as well, eg. how they're holding their cards in their hands, eg. if a guy is holding 10 cards in the middle of his hand, then has 3 cards on top of those, it is probable that he has separated trips in the 3 cards to see what the rest of his hand looks like.
So anyway, I started the game down $1500 right off the bat but after a few hrs later, ended up losing only $125 (a run of numerous quad hands helped). I've played chinese as high as $100/pt and have won and lost $5-$8k at it. I know some of my friends have played as high as $200/pt. There is the story of Phil Ivey taking Phil Hellmuth for $500k (or some ridiculous #) one night in an european hotel room, playing $1k- $5k/pt (again another reason why Ivey is the man, and Hellmuth is, well, Hellmuth). Also, my friend Steve Yea (who is an oft mentioned "villian" in the ftp regs thread) has been crushing the $10-20 to $25-50 nl games around town to the tune of about $100k the last couple of weeks. Made me think that I need to cash out some of my online roll and start playing live more. I'm a more polished and experienced player than he is, but he is probably the more aggressive player. Seeing him win $100k in a couple of weeks makes me think how much I can win in these games (sorry Steve, but I'm probably better than you). W/ that said, I will probably start to play live a little more down the road.
I've haven't been playing much online poker the past few days. Just been busy w/ family life and having friends in town (happens frequently living in Vegas). I did, however, read most of this thread...
If you're much into the online poker scene it may interest you. Basically allegations came out that accused Nick Grudzien aka Stoxtrader of multiaccounting and colluding w/ known associates in the bigger games online. Nick is the primary owner of Stoxpoker, a well known instructional poker site. Inside sources within the company leaked the info then members of the 2+2 HSNL community did some detective work and managed to find some incriminating evidence against Nick. After dodging the allegations the last couple of days, he came out and said he was resigning from Stoxpoker and severing all ties w/ the co. He admitted to multiaccounting but denied colluding. This is still being speculated on, but there seems to be some damning evidence against him on this as well, and this process is still ongoing. This story is pretty big in the world of online poker. Stoxpoker has a healthy # of members paying $ monthly for their services (not me though) and this casts a big dark cloud in the world of poker training sites and online poker. They are affliated closely w/ Cardrunners, the original and maybe the leading poker training site. In turn, CR and Stox are affliated w/ Full Tilt Poker. Also, CR and Stox are affliated w/ 2+2, although Mason Malmuth came out and said they were severing ties w/ them for now until a clearer picture is cast and it's safe to resume business w/ CR and Stox.
I spoke to Nick briefly through pms about a year ago when I was looking around to see which training site to join as a pro (I decided to not join any). Seemed like a nice guy, and a good poker player. I read his book "Winning in Tough Limit Hold'em games" which I consider pretty good. I guess some people will look for any and every edge, even if it violates rules, and I think that is scummy (the fact that one does it violating rules and tos). I'm sure he will be an outcast from the poker world now, after having such a great and clean reputation for a number of years. Just goes to show that you shouldn't try to take illegal short cuts to succeed in poker, or any business for that matter...because you may get caught. I feel for the guys that have lost money to him and his associates if they are guilty of colluding (again, its speculation right now, but there does seem to be some empirical data suggesting its a very strong possibility). I'm almost happy that I never ventured into those higher stake games the past 1-2 years when this was allegedly happening. I do believe that for the most part the online games are clean, even the higher stakes games. There are definitely instances of mulitaccounting going on, even today, but for the most part, I don't think it will spell the end of high stakes online poker. I, myself, am personally looking to ascend to $25-50+ games this year and will not be turned away by the possibility of collusion, although I will be on the lookout for it. I think this is a big reason, one of many, that online poker should be regulated in the US.
I've been watching High Stakes Poker regularly this year and I must say, outside of Ivey and Tom Dwan (Durrrr), the play has been pretty bad. How many times will guys stack off for 200+bbs w/ top pr or overpr type hands on the flop? Gus Hansen stacks off for 200bbs on a 752 2flush flop w/ QQ vs Daniel Negreanu. Dario Minieri does likewise w/ K3 on a T32r flop vs Dwan. There seems to be a consensus among the good online players that even Negreanu (who is one of the poster boys for today's great poker pros) is playing horribly. I will take the consensus of the good online players vs Negreanu's judgement everytime. Granted I'm not a successful high stakes player (yet), but watching the show makes me think how good I really am and someone should back me and put me on that show!
I should have some free time in the coming days and hopefully I will be able to put in some hrs grinding online. So far I've logged in 42 hrs of online cash games this month, which is pretty bad for me. I am up about $26k so my hrly is very good and I'm still crushing. Obv. I'm hoping this ends up as my best month of the year, although it's only the 3rd month. I have started putting my monthly totals on the side bar for those interested. Also I will be writing a Q and A post soon regarding the many questions that were sent to me here or via email, so I won't have to keep repeating myself.
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