Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The week that was

I've been getting back in the grind mode lately. Since there is another day left in the month, I'll wait to post my final results next time for the month. Been doing ok, winning at about 2ptbb/100 at nl400 and nl600 after getting off to a very slow start early on for the month. Here is the past week where I ran good and played well (will post my entire month graph next time, not as pretty). Been playing an hr here, 2hrs there, etc. for a total of about 7hrs which I guess is pretty bad for a week but whatever, can't complain about the results!

Obviously I'm not going to run this well all the time but I'm going to keep on striving to play my A game all the time which is the most important thing.

Also I did another podcast and am beginning to really enjoy talking on the air about poker. I may not be a natural, especially w/ my intonation but I am trying to get better in all aspects...

Our show is now sponsored by Cardrunners as well and the podcasts can be found there as well.

***Fantasy Football update***

Finally in fantasy football, my teams went 2-1 but again lost where it mattered the most, in 3dime. Ended up a little bit up in side action there so it was a profitable weekend. Vick essentially carried the team while Foster and Sjax had mediocre games. Great news that Sjax is not hurt seriously. In that league you really can't afford injuries to your main guys because there is nobody to pick up. The guys that are available are guys like Fred Taylor and Larry Johnson (even guys like Blount, Torain, Kuhn are all gone). When you have thousands of dollars on the line every weekend, you wanna have your best guys out there. My wr trio of Jennings, Colston, and James Jones sucked so I'm happy to have won in side bets even though I lost my hu match to fall to 1-2 in the 14 team league. I've been projected to win every hu match so far and am again for next weekend but projections don't mean squat I guess.

In 1dime my team finally won to go to 1-2 but I still feel like I got a shot. Flacco and AP went off but again my wr trio of Fitz, Welker, and Crabtree left a lot to be desired. I'm not too concerned about the 1st 2 wrs but Crabtree looks terrible stuck in a bad offense. There are really no side bets except for a couple of $500 total pts bets so I'm really sweating the hu wins and losses in that league.

In nickel, I traded away Flacco, Colston, and Knox for Ryan, Jennings, and Demaryius Thomas. The trade doesn't make much sense because we traded the same position players but I'm bullish on Jennings (over Colston) and Thomas has a chance to bust out in a big way. Also I have a lot of good wrs inc. Collie, MWilliams (TB), White, Jennings, Smith (NY), and Floyd so I felt the gamble for Thomas over Knox was worth it. Thanks to the Manning to Collie connection I was high man again, which effectively nets me $550 in side bets (that's 2 weeks in a row). I'm sitting in 1st place in the league w/ a 2-1 record w/ most pts scored. My buddy Joe just traded Ronnie Brown/SSmith (Caro)/Portis for Ray Rice (we're trying to cause a furor over that trade because Joe got way the best of it and there are hundreds, almost thousands of dollars on the line) and traded Brady for MJD/Favre. So his rbs were Chris Johnson, MJD, Rice, and DMC which is about as strong as it gets (1st 3 were considered 3 of the top 4 picks in most leagues) but he just traded MJD/Favre for Brees (which I wouldn't have done) so he's got a powerhouse team that I'll have to try to fend off. We have $100/wk and a $500 total pts bet so hopefully I can manage my team better than his.

Finally if you watched the MNF game you saw that GB tried to stop Chicago from punching it in w/ about a min and a half left in the game when the game was tied and Chicago was within a couple of yards of scoring. I guess some coaches don't understand ev because it was a higher % of winning for Green Bay by letting Chicago score the gimme td then trying to score a td yourself w/ over a minute left than stopping Chicago at the 1 and letting Chicago kick the game winning fg w/ a few seconds left. I read earlier that according to stats (Chic kicker's history of missing xtra pts, GB's probability of scoring a td in a min., etc) , it was determined that GB had an 8% chance of tying the game vs 2% chance of Chicago missing the chip shot fg to win it. It's weird how a lot of decisions in life could and usually should be based on ev, but some people, even people that are expected to know it, don't utilize it. Oh and the $100 I lost betting on GB had nothing to do w/ this rant, honest.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A road trip (Part 3 and Final)

Continuing on, I met a girl in Vancouver (same girl from last post), and being smitten w/ her settled down there for a bit. She became my girlfriend and early on she continued working as a waitress while I played poker. We decided to move in together and life was great. Eventually she would start accompanying me to the local casinos and poker rooms and sit behind me while I played. She had never played poker before and asked me to teach her because she saw me winning consistently and thought she could do the same. I was against it for awhile because even though I made it look easy, I knew it was difficult to win at it long term. Eventually I gave in and started teaching her and I don't know if it was beginner's luck but she started winning right off the bat. Again we were playing $5-$10 to $10-$20 limit hold'em back then.

Also we started having a few arguments here and there, but nothing serious. A few of them involved poker. Sometimes we would sit at the same table (because some of the rooms only had 2-3 tables) and I would see mistakes she would make. I would tell her of her mistakes and early on she agreed but later on when she started winning more than me (short term), she started disagreeing w/ me. That led to arguments because I know she was thinking "well I made more than you so I must be right and you're wrong". I knew eventually I would end up winning a lot more than her and she would realize I was right, but damn, women sure get stubborn! I guess if someone reels off several winning sessions she feels like she is doing nothing wrong...that was the case w/ my gf at the time.

Eventually she felt confident in her poker ability to quit her job. She was still attending college part time though, which I encouraged. After a few months we decided to get married. No one really proposed and I can't even remember who brought it up first but we really don't care tbh. We also decided not to have a big wedding and ended up getting married fairly quickly after we decided on marriage. After that we applied for her to come live in the states permanently because I was an American, not a Canadian. Along the way she got pregnant and we continued to play poker to support ourselves until she was allowed to become a permanent resident in the U.S. During her pregnancy I worked my ass off trying to save up as much money as I could so we'd have a nice foundation to start w/ when we moved down to the U.S. She didn't play much because of her pregnancy.

One of the first things I did was order every poker book out on the market, notably 2+2 books such as "Theory of Poker" and "Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players". I read every Cardplayer issue as well. I digested as much info on poker as I could during that time. I wanted to be able to make the most money I could playing poker and I became a student of the game. I remember thinking I never studied this much before, ever, even in high school or at UCLA.

Now I'm gonna brag some and say that I crushed the $10-$20 limit hold'em game at the Holiday Inn in downtown Vancouver back in those days. I kept an accurate log of my wins and losses and hrs I spent playing for a couple of reasons. They were that I wanted to see how I was doing per hr and I knew I needed to pay taxes on my winnings, even abroad, and needed to have a good record of my income in doing so (not to mention if I got audited). I mentioned this before but a big bet/hr in limit hold'em is considered very good for a pro but I was beating the $10-$20 limit game for over $40/hr. I also befriended some Canadian poker players during my time up there including Greg "FBT" Mueller and Adam Schwartz (does a lot of work in poker media inc. hosting the 2+2 podcast). I still remain friends w/ all of them today.

Anyway after the birth of our daughter and after a couple of years living in Vancouver, we flew to Montreal to get my wife's paperwork which allowed her to live in the U.S. legally. We didn't really get to enjoy the city because we were there for a day. I remember there were a lot of friendly french speaking people though.

When we came back to Vancouver, we rented a U-Haul and hitched my Nissan Sentra to the back, prayed for a safe journey, and began our journey to the U.S. to start our new lives. We headed to Los Angeles to my parents' house from Vancouver. The drive would not be the smoothest drive. It is about 1500 miles I think so it is quite a long drive. I remember driving through Seattle in this big truck w/ my wife cradling our newborn in her arms (seat belts on). During the drive in Washington, it was snowing and the roads were very icy (it was early January). There were cars off the side that had slid and lost control. I'm not sure how but we managed to get through that stretch unscathed. Also when we got to California we hit a heavy patch of fog where visibility was a few yards. Again we had to drive very slowly and very carefully. Again I felt lucky that we did not get into any sort of trouble or accident. Finally we made it to my parents' house safely and thanked God we made it.

Now my wife and I talked about our future, after all we had a baby and wanted the best life we could for her. I told her since I did well playing poker in Canada I'd give it a shot here in the U.S. and if it seemed like I couldn't make enough to provide a comfortable life for us I would go look for a job. She agreed and we decided to get our own place in Los Angeles. We had $10,000 to start w/ and only half that after getting a place and putting a couple of months deposit down on it. My credit was not that good back then and actually had to persuade the landlord to take a chance w/ us and he did and am forever grateful to him that he did so.

So w/ $5,000 in hand I started playing poker for a living to support my wife and child. I started off low, playing $6-$12 limit hold'em around town in the local cardrooms like Hollywood Park, The Bicycle Club, and Commerce and did well from the get go. I was smart enough about playing within my bankroll while trying to get better at the same time. Even though I officially started playing poker full time back in Canada, I felt like this is what I wanted to do for awhile and wanted to do the best that I can to provide the best life I could for my family. This would be the start of my "career" as a full time poker player over the next 10 years (2 years previously in Vancouver) and where I am today. For a quick look back over the past 12 years in my poker "career", check out this link where I posted about it (mostly as an inspiration that one can live a normal life as a professional poker player, actually written 2 years ago)....

What started as a summer road trip for a buddy and me ended up w/ me getting married, having a kid, and starting life as a professional poker player.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A road trip (Part 2)

Continuing on from last time, we ended driving up to Canada. Crossing the border back then was a simple "What's your citizenship?" and "Reason for visiting?" and crossing. Nowadays it's more stringent because of 9-11. Anyway we headed to Toronto because my traveling buddy Dexter knew a girl there. The 1st thing I noticed is that Canada had a different set of measurements. It wasn't miles but kilometers (for speed limit) and it wasn't gallons but liters (for gas). As for Toronto it was a big city w/ a diverse group of residents from all ethnicities. I don't remember playing any poker there but I'm sure there are plenty of poker rooms and casinos there.

We headed west towards Vancouver because somehow Dexter had a job interview there. Now Vancouver is in western Canada while Toronto is closer to eastern Canada so it was quite the drive. We decided to drive through the U.S. again because, let's be honest, there aren't as many cities or things to see and do compared to the U.S. Now I want to mention that there are a whole lot of cornfields in America. I know because it seemed like we drove through nothing but cornfields from northeastern U.S. to northwestern U.S.

Anyway when we were driving through South Dakota we noticed a bunch of bikers passing us often. I remember thinking, damn there are a lot of bikers living in South Dakota. It turned out they were all heading towards the annual motorcycle rally at Sturgis, South Dakota. We went ahead and followed the bikers to Sturgis and it was quite the spectacle. There were bikers and girls in leather everywhere. I read they had over 750,000 people attend it in 2000, 2 years after we attended so you can imagine how crowded it was. Sturgis is listed as having a population of 6,400 in 2000 so to say it was crowded is an understatement. Again we were fish out of water. Here we are, 2 young asian guys, surrounded by (mostly) older white guys in black leather riding around on their Harleys. It was a fun time though.

Nearby Sturgis was Deadwood, a small town that allowed gambling. Now if Deadwood sounds familiar, that's because it was a popular HBO series based in Deadwood of the 1870s. It is also the town where Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead holding the poker hand appropriately named after him ,"dead man's hand" aces and eights. Anyway we played some poker there but unfortunately the state allowed a maximum betting of $5 per round so stakes were small.

Along the way we drove through a few different states but I remember driving through Montana because it was a vast land of openness and there was no speed limit. The law was to drive at a speed that was deemed safe, and for us 100mph+ seemed safe to drive at. We zoomed through Montana for that reason but did make a pit stop in a casino in Billings I think. I remember cleaning up in limit omaha 8 while playing vs. a bunch of white people (after all, it is Montana) and thinking these locals have no idea what hit them (literally...wonder if they've ever seen an asian guy in their city before...joke, somewhat).

We drove to Washington and hit up some casinos outside of Seattle before making our way up to Vancouver, Canada. Now once in Vancouver we had a few days to spend before Dexter had an interview (for a job in Dubai of all places). We ended up frequenting local casinos and poker rooms and did well. I believe the biggest games they spread at the time was $10-$20 limit hold'em. Also the conversion rate was 1.5 Canadian to 1 American so the games played smaller. Now if you've never been to Vancouver, I'd recommend visiting. It is a really beautiful city next to the Pacific Ocean. There is so much greenery around (trees trees trees) and it rains quite frequently. I believe Vancouver has the largest Chinatown outside of China in the world so the asian population is pretty big (ah, finally a place I didn't feel like a fish out of water).

Anyway one day Dexter and I decided to head out to celebrate his birthday. We went to a restaurant where we were serviced by 2 pretty waitresses. Dexter was a little smoother than me around girls I have to admit, and he managed to get the waitresses to go out w/ us once their shifts were done. We ended up going to a coffee shop (found out it was the Bread wife answered it when I asked her) and I somehow managed to get the prettier girl to like me by pretty much bs'ing the entire night (jk, I told the truth, mostly). Anyway we decided to meet for lunch the next day at Knight N Day (think a little more upscale Denny's, but Canadian) and almost fell off my chair when I saw her walk in in a mini skirt. I don't want to say it was love at 1st sight (probably lust at 1st sight, technically 2nd sight) but I knew I had a keeper if I could, well, keep her.

Anyway we ended up dating just about every day after that. Dexter had his interview and told me he was ready to go back to Los Angeles to get his things together before heading to Dubai for his new job. He thought we would be driving back together and finish our trip but he would be wrong. I told him I was serious about this girl and gave him money for a flight back to L.A. He wasn't too happy but understood and left w/o me. Somewhat sadly that would be the last time I'd see Dexter in my life. He did take the job in Dubai so I lost touch w/ him.

Part 3 and final part next time...

***Off topic, poker is meh...volume is horrible but I'll be looking to finish strong for the month. Also week 2 in fantasy football was not good. My 3dime team lost the hu match even though I got Michael Vick and started him. I lost all my weekly side bets except one in that league which hurt more. Edog has Mccoy and Best and it was torturous watching that game (Phi-Det) because both guys absolutely went off. It looked like those two were in a Madden game scoring 20+ yd td runs left and right. I also lost again in 1dime and am now befuddled because I thought I had a top 3 team. I still think I do and feel most of my guys have been underachieving so far (Flacco, Fitz, Crabtree, Zach Miller, Brandon Jackson, and getting 4 pts total from my kicker and def). I expect to make a run at the title in that league still. Nickel league was much better as I ended up high man which meant I swept all side bets. Peyton Manning, Best (it sucks to have a guy that conflicts in a diff. league w/ who I have a ton of action w/), Gore, Roddy White, and Pitt def. went off for me. Overall because of my team's lackluster showing in 3dime it was a bad weekend.

I was watching the games at a Buffalo Wild Wings and had my laptop open and my stattracker going (tracks stats of your players and teams) and the BW3 manager walks by and sees that and comments how bad his team is doing then asks me how my fantasy teams are doing. I truthfully reply, "I'm about to lose $10k because of their crappy showing". Obviously he was skeptical but then realized I wasn't kidding when I gave him that "does it look like I'm kidding?!" look. He gave his condolences and went back to his duties of trying to make sure all his customers were happy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A road trip (Part 1)

Back in 1998 a buddy and I decided to take a road trip centered around poker. We were winning low stakes poker players living in Los Angeles and thought it'd be cool to spend the summer driving around North America playing poker in casinos, bar rooms, poker clubs, etc. while taking in all the sights Canada and America had to offer. We didn't have much money at the time but thought we'd be able to win on the road to sustain our trip. Anyway w/ a couple thousand dollars each in our pockets, we hit the road in my Nissan Sentra.

Starting from Los Angeles, the logical place for our 1st stop was Las Vegas. I remember we stayed at the Flamingo for free because my traveling buddy Dexter had some comps. I also remember going out on the balcony looking out towards the strip and taking in the view while thinking we were going to conquer the world, one poker hand at a We were young and foolish and I guess at that age you tend to have a sense of invincibility and confidence. Anyway back then the only games spread were all limit games and we played limit hold'em and limit stud, stakes ranging from $3-$6 to $20-$40. We decided to pool our enormous resources, all $4k of it and make it a bankroll for both of us to use. I knew right away I was the better player and felt confident I'd be able to add to our roll, but did not feel the same way about Dexter, even though I felt like he was a winning player. He had tilt issues and a propensity to play higher than what our roll could manage.

Vegas was fun and we did what guys our age would do...gamble all the time (mostly poker but a little bit in the pit), drink when not gambling and hit up some of the strip clubs. This lasted for about 3 or 4 days and we set off on our adventure again. We drove past Hoover Dam and headed toward Arizona to take in the Grand Canyon. When I laid my eyes on the Grand Canyon I was in awe. It really is magnificent and for those of you that have not been there, it is definitely something that should be on your bucket list (things to see or do before you die). I know atheists point to the Grand Canyon and say that's a reason God doesn't exist because the bible only dates back a few thousand years while the Grand Canyon is evidence that the earth is millions of years old. I like to think something that magnificent and spectacular had to be created by a higher entity, and in my case God.

We decided not to head down to Phoenix and hit the casinos there because it was kind of out of the way. We headed to New Mexico next and thought we might come across some poker rooms or casinos on Indian reservations there. Wrong.

Next stop Texas. Now for sure there would be casinos or poker rooms in Texas, after all it is called Texas Hold'em...wrong again. Anyway we hit up Amarillo 1st where I almost got a speeding ticket but managed to talk my way out of it. Probably had something to do w/ the fact we were asian and the cop knew we were just driving through...after all, it is Amarillo, Texas. I remember we drove for countless hours in open grass land through Texas. I recall trying to keep myself awake driving during the day because there was nothing to look at for hours. We did end up spending some time in Dallas mostly because we were relieved there was an actual city in Texas after all the driving. We visited Dealey Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository. For non history buffs, the Plaza is where JFK was shot and assassinated and the Depository is where Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly fired the gun that killed JFK.

Our next stop was Louisiana. We hit up Shreveport and Bossier City and found out this is where Texans came to gamble, and gamble they did. The games were very good. We played $20-$40 limit hold'em and remember the games having lots of gamblers. Next stop was Tunica, Mississippi. Tunica is a weird place in that it is a very small town comprised of 4-5 large hotel casinos. To be honest, I don't even think there are residential areas in Tuncia. Now we did ok playing poker but Dexter, being the degen he was, decided to make $500 bets on the Don't Come #4 in craps. Based on our roll, he had about 10 bets before going broke. Luckily he broke about even but more importantly, we got comped for a really extravagant suite in the Horseshoe. It beat the cheap motels or nights we spent sleeping in my car in order to save money. That was one of the best nights of sleep I ever got!

We also got comped for food and ate all the crawfish we could handle. It is the south after all and they make crawfish in every flavor you can think of. We hit the road afterward and stopped by a little southern town in the middle of nowhere to grab a bite. It was a small mom and pops BBQ place and when we walked in, we were surrounded by black people. That's right, 2 young asian guys in a small BBQ joint run by black people located in a small black southern town. Now if that isn't fish out of water, I don't know what is. I don't consider myself having a racist bone in my body and treat everybody as I would like to be treated but I'm not gonna lie and say we didn't feel a little intimidated being there. I will say this though, the BBQ was good and I can see where the term southern hospitality comes from. They were very friendly towards us, in fact I can't ever remember another time in my life where I got friendlier service. We left the place thinking that was awesome and I for one wouldn't mind going back.

Next we headed north. Along the way we took a detour and ended up visiting a monastery. I did not know about it but Dexter had visited it before. It was a unique experience being in a place where everything was deemed holy. There were a bunch of monks that lived there and travelers were welcome to sleep the night in one of their many dormitory like rooms but you were expected to give a donation. They also fed you lunch and dinner w/ food they harvested. The monks did a lot of farming when they weren't praying or worshipping. I did find out they made most of their money in technology (I think it was running a printer cartridge company)...go figure. I definitely took it as an opportunity to try to find the inner peace within me (along w/ trying to get closer to God) and enjoyed the experience. Anyway after spending a night there we made a fair donation and headed our way.

We ended driving up to Dexter's home city of Chicago next. I gotta say Chicago is one of the coolest cities I've been to. We drove through the north side and got to see Wrigley Field from the outside, but alas did not catch a game. Also we got an awesome view of Lake Michigan driving along some of the freeways. We also hung out at Michael Jordan's sportcafe 23. I left Chicago thinking it was one if not the best city I've ever been to.

Pokerwise it was not a very good time. We ended up visiting some local riverboats in the area and Dexter ended up losing nearly all our bankroll. We had to stay a couple of more days in Chicago waiting for money that was owed to him. After collecting we decided to head east, notably New York.

I felt the opposite toward New York w/ how I felt toward Chicago. I did not like New York at all. I remember being stuck on one of the bridges due to traffic and having to go bad. I ended up emptying a soda cup and relieving myself in it while stuck in the middle of traffic. We spent most of our time in Manhattan which was very crowded w/ cab drivers trying to run you off the road. I can see why everybody takes the subways. We spent a couple of days there visiting people we knew. Anyway the next logical place to go was Atlantic City and that's where we went.

We headed down on the New Jersey turnpike and ended up in Atlantic City. We spent a whole lot of time just playing poker and didn't really get to see the city. I'm pretty sure we didn't miss out on much though. Next we headed back to NYC for another day then headed for north of the border.

We reached another beautiful destination in Niagara Falls. It was another break taking site. I remember seeing scenes of it in Superman 2 and to see it in person left me in awe, again. Anyway Niagara Falls stood at the border of America and Canada and we decided to cross the border into Canada, eh.

Now this would be the mid point of our summer journey. Along the way we visited numerous casinos, riverboats, public poker rooms but for the most part we avoided any shady places that had poker. If you were expecting something akin to Doyle Brunson's travels through the south back in the 50's and 60's where he and his friends visited a bunch of shady places that spread poker, I'm sorry to disappoint you. After all it was the 90's and why risk getting cheated or robbed when you can go to a clean establishment.

To be continued... including how I met my wife and how I officially started my poker career.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Gonna dish out a little poker advice today. I wanna talk about things not to do when it comes to poker. There are a lot of advice out there that preach what to do but not as much that tells you what not to do so I'll try to tackle that a little today. I'll also mention if I've been guilty of any of these don'ts as well by saying guilty which means I have NOT followed my own advice. In no particular order...

Don't let ego get in the way...ever. The only instance I can think of where it's ok is when you're trying to make a deal at a final table. You can, and should be talking about how great you are to try to get the best possible deal. Tell them how much you crush online poker for, how big your winrate is, how many mtts you've won, and how long you've been crushing poker.

Anyway you never want to get to a point where you feel you're the best or too good at poker. When that happens I can assure you you'll be looking for a new line of work in a year or two. If you don't believe me, ask arguably the world's greatest poker player Phil Ivey. I've seen interviews where he says he's always trying to learn something new every day, that there's a lot to learn still and how he's never satisfied.

*Not guilty but guilty about saying how great I am when trying to finalize a deal at the final table.

Now the correlation is that you should always be striving to get better. Never feel like you're the best and keep working at the game. I've had this mindset for 12 years and I think I have a pretty good track record because of that. You can have confidence but lose any cockiness or ego.

*Guilty and so should you be.

Don't play while intoxicated or high. Seems obvious but I know some of you guys have done that and need somebody to remind you not to do that, so I'm telling you now, don't. It's hard enough trying to beat the game when you're alert but trying to do so when your mind is elsewhere or in a state of inebriety is nearly impossible. Even if you are good enough to do so you are not going to match your normal winrate. You are theoretically costing yourself $ over the long run. After you win $, feel free to get as drunk or stoned as you want (err, probably not stoned since it's illegal).

*Not guilty but guilty of being inebriated and in other states when not playing poker...but that was a long time ago...really.

Don't blame bad luck. Luck exists but pretend it doesn't exist. What I mean is that everybody runs the same over the true long run (however long that is is anyone's guess). Everybody is going to make a flush after flopping a flush draw 1 in 3 times, be dealt aces preflop 1 in 220 times, and lose KK on a K88 flop to deuces 1 in 980 times (happened to my wife). Look at it this way, if you flip a coin 10x, it might come heads 9 out of 10 times. If you flip it 1 million times, you can be sure it'll be very close to 50% heads 50% tails. You can miss a flush draw 9 out of 10 times but over a million trials the times you make it is gonna be pretty damn close to 1 out of 3 times. There is nobody that is going to to make 10% or 50% of their flush draws over a million trials. I'm not gonna talk about deviation (because I know the einsteins out there are going to say I need to account for that, but that is a minimal factor when you have enough trials and also doesn't really relate to the main point I'm trying to get at). So knowing this we can assume everybody runs ("luck wise") around the same over a big # of hands, but what separates the winners and losers in poker over this long course of hands is skill, and not good luck and definitely not bad luck (again the # of hands is big but hopefully everybody gets the gist of my point).

*Not guilty...although I tell people I run effing bad sometimes as do lots of's what I call a "listen to how bad I run (show hand history to friend), now feel sympathy for me because I deserve it and acknowledge how bad I run" excuse for losing or not winning more.

This is for you Adam...don't criticize other players on the table. When you berate a guy for playing a hand badly, nothing good really comes out of it. If you berate a bad player 2 bad things may come out of it. 1) he may feel like the game is no longer fun and quit the game and 2) he may think you are right and decide to get better (which hurts your earning power).

Now there may be a couple of instances where it may be ok to berate someone (at the expense of you looking like a total douchebag). Maybe there is a waiting list and there is a worse player 1st up and you're trying to get a player off the table. Maybe your criticism gets the guy to play worse (but usually not worth it because again, he may just pick up his chips and leave). These instances come up so infrequently that I didn't even need to point them out. So you should try to go your entire life w/o criticizing anybody on the poker table (unless you like to be the table a**hole, then by all means go for it).

*Not guilty, but guilty of thinking how effing badly that donkey played that hand to bust my flopped set at the table.

Along the same lines, don't talk strategy on the table unless you're w/ a buddy and nobody can hear. There's nothing tilting than being on a juicy table and having 2 guys talking about polarization, ranges, balancing, etc. in front of everybody. Are you effing kidding me?! Again you don't want to be giving lessons on the table, esp. to the losing players. And no you don't look like you know what you're talking about, you look like a complete jackass to the guys that are actually trying to win at the table. There is a time to talk about poker strategy and it's definitely not on the tables.

*Not guilty...if I wanna hear lessons I'll go rail Phil Hellmuth's table.

Don't chase losses, especially when you're tilting.

*Guilty, and my bankroll hates me for it.

Don't quit when you're winning and the game is good. This is a time to win more. If you're winning that means someone or several people are losing and could be tilting or playing less than their A game. This becomes an even more +ev spot for you. In contrast, if you're losing you should think about quitting because that means others are winning and they are playing confidently and correctly more often. Also you may tilt and play less than your A game and it becomes a -ev spot for you. If you feel like you're still a favorite to win even when losing then keep on playing. Again I'll refer back to Phil Ivey. He can tell you this but he plays longer sessions when he's winning and shorter sessions when he's losing. Most people tend to do the reverse because they want to book a win or get even when losing.

Now there are a few circumstances when it's ok to quit early when winning. One such scenario is when you've been losing for days and need a win to regain your confidence back. It may be more +ev to regain that confidence back so you're assured that yeah, you are not doomswitched for life and can play your A game going forward. Also you want to quit if there are more urgent matters on hand, like having to pick up your kid or more importantly, watching Monday Night Football.

*Guilty way too many times...after all, who doesn't like the feeling of booking a win... the only feeling that may be better than that is sex,...and even a win feels slightly better sometimes.

Don't make excuses for your bad play during and after a hand. Don't come up w/ reasons that don't exist for calling, raising, and folding a hand. E.g. "Wow I'm running hot, I'm gonna call this 4bet w/ 76o here even though I normally wouldn't but hot damn I can't lose tonight!" and "this guy is bluffing because he hasn't bluffed once in the past 1million hands and he's due" (ahhh, the good ole' due theory.... notice it's a theory, not a fact). Make the most +ev play you think at the time based on logic, read, math, and your knowledge.

*Not guilty...except this one time I was pondering a hero call at the river even though it felt bad, because I held 44 on April 4th on a 3456A board w/ 4 flush w/ none of that suit in my hand and was facing a $440 bet and thought the moons were aligned right w/ all the 4's going through my mind. I finally called and was wrong, but hey everything just seemed more than coincidental to be folding the 44 there.

Don't lend money. You'll thank me for this. Learn from my experience. I've been around poker and gambling for over a decade and have befriended people I've lent money to over the years. I'm owed enough to buy a nice new car....the actual # might make you cringe. I've always been overly generous and it's been to a fault. The % that I've been paid back is very small. If guys are asking for a loan in the 1st place, they're probably not winning players or have a huge leak somewhere where they're constantly broke. Also if you ever run bad and your bankroll gets low, you won't be getting paid back when you need your $ the most and will be cursing yourself for ever having lent out that $ in the 1st place. So you should learn a very valuable word when it comes to lending out $... NO.

*Guilty as mentioned. And for those guys that still owe me money, pay up now or I will hire a professional hit man to take you out... just kidding, but I really would like to get paid or else my kid won't be going to college and you don't want that guilt on your conscience, do you?
Just like any other dad w/ a daughter, it's my goal in life to keep her away from the pole (I got that from Chris Rock fwiw).

Don't write advice on poker that may help your competition especially when it takes time away from playing poker for $...oh wait...


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fantasy Football (and a political rant)

I'll just get my poker talk out of the way and say that I've played 13 hrs in cash games and am stuck $800. My all in ev line is at +$1200 though. As for mtts I'm down another $1200 so not exactly a robust start to the month. I do have to say that my effort time wise is not good. I'm probably feeling too complacent after having a good month last month. I mentioned earlier I tend to do so and need to work on this. To be fair I've had my parents over for a few days and wanted to spend some time w/ them. Also it's almost NFL season which means 1 thing for me....fantasy football!

If there's one degenerate aspect of my life that would be fantasy football. If there's one blog post I hope my wife never reads, this would be it. I tend to go overboard in side action...maybe that's because I've been crushing it the last 2 years. I'm in a $500, $1k, and a $3k buyin league this year. That's $4500 in buyins which is probably about 1/10th in side actions, almost all of it in the 3dime league. There are some big degens (big gamblers is more appropriate I guess, or maybe it isn't) in the 3dime including Erick Lindgren, Brett Richey, and Matt Woodward and I have a lot of weekly and total points bets w/ them. Just about everybody in the 3 leagues are professional poker players except for the nickel league which has 1 non poker player (and yet he's the best ff manager in the league, go figure).

The nickel league is a friends' league that I've been a part of for several years and we have a mandatory $50 weekly bet vs each team along w/ the standard payoffs for 1st and 2nd place and for total pts leader. It's a 8 team full ppr (points per reception) league that starts 2 qbs and has 2 flex spots so it's unique. I managed to win the league last year. I won about $3k in it but better yet won a yahoo tshirt proclaiming me league champ for the year which is awesome because I get to wear it every sunday when I get together w/ my league buddies to watch games. I can happily point to my shirt whenever someone points out so and so on my team sucks. Childish, yeah, priceless, definitely.

As for the team I'm ok w/ it but felt like I could've done a slightly better job drafting it. I had the 6th pick (out of 8) and went w/ Gore in rd 1. I think I screwed up taking Tony Gonzalez over Arian Foster and Michael Bush over a couple of different other backs inc. Ahmad Bradshaw in the mid stages of the draft. Out of all the drafts, I felt like I did the poorest job here but luckily it is the cheapest buyin. I do come in as the reigning champ and hopefully I can become the league's 1st back to back champ. Nickel team....

Now the 1dime league is a new league for me. It's a mid stakes nl cash game players' league comprised of guys from 2+2. I don't know most of the guys in the league but I play against most on a daily basis in the cash games so I trust them (please don't check raise me anymore guys). I do know the man, the myth, the legend AeJones (high stakes pro, lead instructor at leggo poker). He is actually a pretty cool guy that I've met over the summer at the WSOP and is pretty down to earth and into sports (traits that I like to think I share). I'm trying to work on becoming the man, the myth, the legend myself but got a long ways to go. I think I'm at the footnote right now.

Obviously as true to form for good online players, this league is comprised mostly of young guys. I probably brought up the avg. age of guys in the league from 23 to 30 w/ my participation. I wonder if I would've ever been allowed in if they knew I was in my mid 30s. Too late now fellas! I was going in thinking "sweet, bunch of young guys who crush online poker, probably a bunch of degens....they'll probably want to wager (and lose) thousands to me!" but I'm beginning to think these guys value money more than I thought, oh well.

Anyway I was very happy w/ how the draft went. I loved getting the #2 spot out of the 12 teams. I'm bullish on AP this year and pretty much got everybody I targeted. I haven't really looked at all the teams but just the fact that this is a 12 team half ppr league I'm assuming I have one of the top 3 teams (it's all just a matter of opinion really....nah I really do have a top 3 team). The league pays top 3 spots and total pts leader so I'll be disappointed if I don't show a profit in the league. I guess I can always take their money on the poker tables (or maybe it's vice versa?). 1dime team....

In the 3dime league there are 14 teams and it's a half ppr (.5 pts per reception). So this isn't chump change, considering the prize pool is $42,000. Top 2 teams and top 2 total pts leaders get paid. Since it is a pretty expensive league I brought in a co manager to take some of the buyin and action. His name is Hemma and is a solid internet cash game pro that lives in Vegas so it'll be cool to sweat games w/ him. Also I figure a young kid from Iowa will know a little bit about football since they're crazy about their Wolverines there (haha, I'm kidding Hemma, I know it's the Buckeyes). We have several 4 figure weekly bets and 5 figure seasonal total pts bets w/ various teams so it's not a league for the faint of heart (Hemma, get on that grind so you can cover for both of us!).

Last year I managed to come in 3rd which sucked but managed to get 2nd place in total pts which was my buyin back if I recall. I did manage to clean up in side bets and won a car, errr the cash equivalent ($25k). Sounds cooler saying I won a car in fantasy football though. We did up our side bets this year so if our team sucks I could be paying back 2 cars worth (hopefully kia's if that's the case).

An additional bet I have w/ Erick (edog) is if I beat him in total points I get a red pro deal w/ FTP, and if he beats me I have to wear a dog outfit w/ a big letter E on the front at next year's WSOP (or maybe just a simple edog tattoo on my rear end would've sufficed). Actually I'm kidding about the additional edog bet but just in case he ever reads this, the offer will be on the table...for real.

Anyway we changed our draft format from the standard snake to auction which made it very interesting. A lot of guys were rookies (inc. myself) but I felt like I had a great approach and did a good job overall getting the players I wanted. Obviously w/ 14 teams and a 3dime buyin it was very competitive and bargains were hard to find but I think I found a few. 3dime team....

I have a 2ndary plan in place if we get pummeled... I hear Ecuador is a really cheap place to live and hard for anyone to find out if you're living there (get your passport ready Hemma!).

Anyway I'm excited for the upcoming season and to say I'll be sweating the games is an understatement. I'll be sweating and I'll be sweating (perspiration!...nah I don't really sweat perspiration...asians don't have much body hair, or does that matter??).

Now I do want to point out something. That the frick'ing gov't has no clue when it comes to regulation! They pass the UIGEA which bans payments to offshore gambling sites like online poker sites because it's the ethical thing to do (in their minds). Oh we can't let Americans play poker or bet sports on their own free will because they won't be able to control their habits and everyone will become degenerates and society will crumble as we know it. We will however, carve out an exception for betting on horses and participating in real money fantasy leagues much can people lose in those endeavors anyway. Besides, horses are pretty. I think I answered that question, and the answer is sometimes a whole damn lot more than in poker! Great sense of reality Uncle Sam.

Now they really didn't think like that. The reason that happened was all political. What I mean is that the politicians were paid to vote that way for the most part. E.g. the really right Christian groups contributing millions to certain politicians to vote and impose those laws. Also the NFL contributed a lot to it. They are a very strong entity in America and have millions of dollars to bribe, oops, pay politicians to do what they ask. The reason NFL is so popular in the U.S. is because of all the gambling that is done on the sport. The NFL knows this and they know fantasy football is a form of gambling when it deals w/ real money. They know fantasy leagues create tons of new fans and viewership. There is no way in hell they'd let fantasy football leagues be a part of the UIGEA hence they contributed lots of $ to convince politicians to make an exemption for fantasy football. Sounds funny actually but that's the reality of it. ***If any of the stuff I said is incorrect, forgive me...I'm a frick'en poker player, not a CNN correspondent***

Now I guess I can protest and abstain from joining fantasy football leagues but the degeneracy in me won't allow that. Also I'm planning on winning 2 new cars from them this year so how can I pass that up?!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Wrap Up

I'm happy w/ how the month went although there was a lot of dead time I could've spent grinding.

As mentioned in my previous post I started adding in some low stakes plo into my grind. I'll probably learn to play the game and play some more the rest of the year. It really is a fun game to play and I enjoy playing it more than nl. Most of my play will still be at nl because that's my strongest game.

Also I elected to leave out my limit results because there are some nuances that are so different than nl and pl that it skews the #s and graph. Looking at my HEM I lost $970 playing limit hold'em and limit omaha 8 after 2100 hands. Guess it's a good thing I just primarily play nl and pl. Actually I know I'm pretty good at limit games and my loss is mostly attributed to the variance over the small sample.

As for tournaments I had that nice live score for $25,400. I also had a cash of $2k in the FTOPs horse. I actually counted how many mtts I played this month and it was a lot. I played in 93 mtts w/ 91 of them online vs 2 live. The total cost of buyins was $8704 so almost $100/mtt. It's kinda skewed by the fact the 2 live mtts cost $900 total. If we just look at online, it's $7804/91 = $85 for the avg. buy in. Nearly all the mtts I played were on sundays w/ the exception of the FTOPs which ran during the week + weekends. Based on HEM I played 66 hrs but some of that was at the same time I was grinding cash games so it's hard to assess how much total time I put in last month playing poker. HEM shows I spent 77 hrs playing cash games. Also I spent 3 days playing live tournaments which I don't mind to get away from the monotony of playing in front of my computer. It's nice to actually see real people when playing poker!

What can we take from this? That grinding mtts online is a waste of time! No, seriously it's always been considered that winning in cash games is a more stable and profitable way than winning in mtts, especially for guys that can win at both. There will be exceptions but for the most part it's true and that's why I would suggest for most aspiring poker players to focus on cash games 1st, even though the learning curve is longer than mtts. A side benefit is that if you win in cash games you should be +ev in most mtts, while that's not true for winning tournament players wanting to play cash games. Heck most good cash game players welcome and want tournament players, inc. the winners, to join their games.

So for the month of August, looks like I won $38,549 in cash games + $2540 in rake back + $21,747 in mtts (after all buyins) for a total of $62,836. Again I'm happy w/ the month but looking to focus more on cash games and less on mtts going forward.

Also I know a lot of guys use PTR to check to see if a guy is a winning or losing player (esp. bumhunters) but it does seem to miss hands from time to time. I checked it to see how I stood among $2-$4 and $3-$6 winners for the month and it had me winning $7000 in August at $3-$6 which is only half of what I really won. Just to show how off it is (in my case anyway) it has me listed up $381k since March 18 '08 when in reality I'm up nearly double that (posted snapshots of my HEM since Feb '08 few months ago). It goes both ways though. My friend is listed as being up $350k or so when in reality he's only up half of that. It does a decent job of showing who's winning and losing but you can't really rely on the site for true winrates nor total $ won/lost in most cases (maybe winrates might be more accurate than actual $ won/lost though).

Finally even though I'm behind my goal of 7 figures, I am at about $250k for the year which seems to be a magic # for poker players, according to this thread anyway.

I did offer some insight in the thread starting at page 10 for those interested. I talked mostly about how hard it was to retire from poker after 10 years (assuming you never have to work another day in your life).