Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Experiment in Taking Stuff Seriously

So I've been really frustrated with my results and hours put in this month. And I realized after a coaching session the other day that the kind of clarity and focus I have when analyzing a students hand should be what I strive for when I play. But for whatever reason I haven't had that kind of mindset in the latter half of 2011. The kind of focused, thinking, grinding mentality that I used to make a lot of money over the last three years.

Part of my problem is that I think I spent a lot of time studying the game when I wasn't playing as much this summer, and while all of that information is valuable for improving my ceiling as a poker player you have to be very careful how you implement new information. I think for one thing I got very very fancy and over aggressive and just assumed that I could make certain moves against people or that they were trying to make similar moves against me. In the end to make money a good solid ABC strategy goes a long way in most hands. It's great to know when to take a different line, or get thin value or run a big bluff against a regular. But those things are successful simply because we don't do them so often that our opponents begin to expect it as our normal play.

I think one common mistake is to start flatting 3 and 4bets because you think people are trying to run you over, and then just ending up with weak hands in bad spots postflop. Another is seeing a flop and thinking that you can easily rep a nutted hand and starting to a run bluff. Such bluffs tend to work a decent amount of the time, but they work because you don't do it every time you think it might work. For the last few weeks every flop looked decent to donk or check raise, and every hand looked good to flat or 3bet. And that's when you need to find a way to change you're mindset.

All of this gets to the point of the blog. In order to make myself take a more workman-like approach to my sessions I've started treating it like work. I'm starting at a certain time everyday. I'm playing until a certain time everyday. And everyday after my morning breakfast and shower I'm getting dressed in a dress shirt, slacks, and a tie. Yeah I know it seems counter-intuitive to the point of being a professional poker player. Part of the fun is being able to sit in your shorts and grind a few hours a day when you feel like it. But this is a job for me. And I have bills to pay and things I'd like to do with the money I earn. And so if my mental game is getting distracted or weak it's time to get back to treating it like a job.

The idea for this stems from when my friends and I used to get dressed up for tests in college. We felt like we performed better if we felt good about ourselves, and I think dressing well helps focus you and creates confidence. We would get up for early exams and shower, shave, and get cleaned up and then head to the test looking sharp. I think it definitely can help you get out of a rut, and I think it certainly sharpens your focus.

So far so good. Two days of 8 hours of work in a tie behind me and I'm already feeling better about my focus and results. I also don't mind getting a little bit cleaned up as I've always liked wearing ties.

will update later in the month with the continued experiment in dressing for success.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday night journey

iPhone just told me that if I want to take public transportation from my current location in Quincy center to my home in Fenway I'll need to go across the river into Cambridge and take a 1am bus from Cambridge to a stop near my apartment. This seems slightly absurd to me as I'd normally try to catch the green line subway after I got back into the city and take that to my stop. Or worst case scenario I'd walk. However something about this journey seems slightly intriguing. Maybe I'll just ride the subway to Cambridge and see what happens. Worst case scenario I have to walk across the river back to my place. Which isn't that bad considering I've done it in freezing rain before when I didn't even know where I was going. Let's see where the night takes me...

Monday, October 24, 2011

a star does the anthem justice

no personal touches, no stretching it out, no wavering voice, nothing but the anthem the way it is meant to sound. It was a beautiful performance.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Just won a tourney for about $7k. Played 6 tournaments on Merge today with VIP points that I had saved up. Made two final tables, finishing 9th in the first and winning the second. The second tournament was a pretty tough final table with only a couple of players that weren't really solid. And those guys were simply playing very very tight and winning all of their shoves. So stacks got shallow pretty quick and the big stacks were definitely picking on people. Eventually though a good player busted, and then the nit. At that point I was 3rd in chips and relatively low. I had been stealing and restealing some, but I couldn't go crazy because I knew the nit would bust and waiting him out was worth about $700. So when he busted I was able to reship a Q8s from the SB and the BTN called with K9o and I won the race. After that I was successfully stealing and then busted him when he shipped into my BB and my A9o held over his K8o.

The HU match was pretty tough as this guy clearly knew what he was doing and was stealing and restealing and fighting for pots. I was borrowing from a HU strategy Dr Giggy wrote in his blog last year that he and Jon Duhamel settled on before last year's WSOP Main Event final table. It included limping a range of hands, and minraising a range of hands as long as we had over 30bb. When we got under 30bb I shifted to a minraise or shove strategy, although throughout I was restealing with both shoves and small 3bets. I was a little surprised that none of my 3bets got called or reshipped on, since this player had been very aggressive in restealing earlier in the tournament. I'm pretty sure I shipped over his first 3bet, and after that he made most of his 3bets a shove.

Anyway both of us are shipping chips back and forth but I finally get a little of a lead on him and then I run 99 into JJ and he's got the chiplead. A few hands after that I reship J8s for a little over 20bb and he snaps with A8o, but I bink a J on the turn to suckout and retake the chiplead. After that I was fairly successful in chipping away at him even though he was shipping enough to stay afloat. I did end up running one ill timed bluff when I floped the nut flush draw in an 8high flop, turned a gutter, and barreled a 9 river before getting c/shoved on. That briefly gave him back the chip lead, but again I was able to steal and resteal back into the chip lead. Eventually he shipped his BTN with T7o for about 13bb when I had 30bb and I called with 33, floped a set, and won the tournament.

that was that. A nice score that gives my bankroll a much needed boost. This will allow me to comfortably mix in more 2/4 and 3/6 games along with the 1/2 that I'm regularly grinding.

hope everyone had a nice weekend.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baby Steps

When you're finally getting back into the grind and trying to work off some rust that is usually when the poker gods decide to smack you with the variance stick. Not that I have been playing my best lately, but the fact is I've played some pretty good poker to be losing money hand over fist this month.

But since I'm keeping considerably less online right now the losses seem to hurt even more. It's no fun to lose 7-8 BIs and drop half of your account balance. But that is precisely what has happened to me earlier in the week on a site I was playing PLO on. Similarly my NLHE efforts had mostly been a lot of running in place due to some runbad at 2/4 and 3/6 and some all-in EV not going my way.

But today after a coaching session and a little break I sat down and grinded out 3 hours of A game poker. I think I only made one bad decision where I shoved KK pf against a nit when I didn't realize we were 200bb deep. I should have just flatted his 3bet and played postflop IP. Other than that I think I played well. Graph is pretty much all NL200 with a couple tables of NL400 and a table of NL600. I lost at 3/6, won at 2/4, but did nearly all my work at 1/2.

I know it's not impressive like some of the big wins I've had in the past. Heck I didn't even win 10 BIs for the day. But I needed this kind of affirmation that I can still play the game properly. My confidence and mental approach have been sorely lacking lately, and I think it's resulted in a lot of spew and hopeful play (both pf and at the river). Hoping is not a good strategy when playing poker.

Here's hoping the poker gods decide to smile on me a little longer and I can keep it going through the weekend.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

plo is fun but ridiculous

just played for 7 hours and ended up down 7BI. effing gross. I'm learning the game and actually feel like I played decent considering I finished with a W$SD figure of 37%. That means that I barely won a third of the hands that I showed down. Now I certainly made some bad calls and got some money in bad when I was overdrawn or one time when a maniac fish repped the nuts and I just didn't believe him. But when your EV for the session was to win a little over a BI and you ended up losing 7 there just isn't much you can do.

the upside of playing PLO is that I find it interesting and the games are unbelievably fishy. The downside is that I'm not very good yet and I'm running like dog shit. I think I'm going to stick to PLO at the beginning of the week and NLHE on the weekends. See if it keeps me grinding serious hours.

That's all for now. Hope other people are running and playing better than me.



Monday, October 10, 2011

back and looking forward to the fall grind

Back from a two week trip that was half vacation and half visit with family (with a wedding thrown in). Played two hours of PLO today and won a couple of BIs so that was a nice welcome back. Looking forward to getting my grind on this month to clear a lot of new bonuses I have on various sites.

Going to watch some baseball with the wife and some friends since it's her last day on vacation. Also need to get out in the 80F weather here since that is soon to change.

hope everyone has had a good start to the month. will be posting more often soon.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

playing tournaments today

decided to use up a bunch of frequent player points for free tournament buy-ins and have a relaxing day of tournaments while football and baseball games are going on.

2:58 PM: first up is a $10 9-handed freezeout where my over-pair (QQ)lost to a set from a loose fish that limp called TT and hit top set. and I'm down to 15BB 45 min in. Will keep update with new tournaments and new results as the day goes on.

this could get boring, lol.

3:16 PM: busted from that one after building back to a starting stack by getting AK vs KK all-in for 25BB. Then I shoved a couple of times one a flip, and lost a flip and was out.

Now I'm in a $60 9handed $15k freezout. Have lost a few BB over the first level.

3:59 PM: In chiplead in $15k guaranteed freezout. 5bb over average in $4k 9handed freezeout. Just started the $25k guaranteed RB+addon and the $100k guarantee freezout.

4:18PM: the i'm an idiot update. busted the 100k trying to run a bluff on a moron after he misclicked pf and i knew it. shoved a turn where i should have had 30% equity worst case scenario instead I had 4% equity. I suck. still in the 25k, still chipleader in the 15k, and got a double stack in the 4k.

5:56PM: in 8th place in the 15k guaranteed about to hit the money (36 players). Have half of an average stack in the 25k RB (took one addon) with a little over half of the field still running. Half of an average stack in the $5.5k guarantee with a little less than a third of the field remaining, half of which will get money. 15th place in the $8k shorthanded at the first break with about 15% of the field eliminated.

and I'm supposed to go to dinner in 2 hours. If I'm about to final table any of the tournaments I'll probably send the wife ahead and take a cab or something. If I'm shortstacked I'll just start shoving every hand and see what happens.

6:11 PM: just busted the 8k after I ran AK into KK pf, then lost a pot bluffing a turned GS against a sticky CCing player. Then finally got all-in AQ against QJ and he jacked the river. got set over setted to get knocked out of the $5.5k 20 short of the money. still got a tiny stack in the $25k guaranteed rebuy. and in 3rd place in the $15K.

EDIT: just busted the $25k. only got the $15k going. 28 players left.

7:05 PM: busted in 12th for $240. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Idiot chipleader (probably second worst player left in the tournament) opened for 3x when average stack was about 20bb (lol) I reshipped KTo and he tank called it off with Q8s. Hit his 8 on the river and that was all she wrote. Would have been a nice double up to put me in second place right before the final table. First place was $3.2k which would have been a nice score considering I spent the afternoon watching sports and sending emails while playing these stupid tournaments.

the only tourney I think I played bad all day was the $109 which was obviously the most expensive one. What can I say I'm and idiot. Overall I spent 28,000 carbon points to make about $210 so the exchange rate was only slightly worse than what I would get if I didn't have RB. not too bad.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

one time?!?!?!

Who knows what the odds of this happening are, but hey I might as well throw my 1-TIME on it.

French Investors Consider Purchasing FTP

Saturday, September 17, 2011

would be nice to win at showdown...

Hands: 8016
Results: -$1516

going to grab some dinner. Frustration ends the night early.

frustrating night

Hands: 5685
Results: -$1283

Ran really bad for most of the sessions, then I think I tilted a little at the end and got a little speculative and passive. A few too many weak bluffs or optimistic calls. That being said I was certainly running into the top of people's ranges as at least 3 times I ran AA into a set in a 3bet pot beyond other attemps at thin value that ran straights into flushes, top pair into rivered flushes, and overpairs into rivered trips. In general I don't think I made too many horrendous plays, but I think I can play better.

I was down about -$2400 at one point, and decided to call it a session when I got it back to -$900. Then as I'm closing tables I flop middle set against a fishy and slowplay and he turns the gutter and stacks me for 150bb. yay.

oh well tomorrow is another day. Only 28% of the way to the goal so still plenty of time to pick up 4-5 buy-ins and get back to even.

huge win for the red sox. Was a great game to listen to while I played. Hope everyone had a good friday.



Friday, September 16, 2011


Hands: 1747
Profit: -$619.20

the night is young. overall feel pretty good about my play. made one loose 5bet shove that cost me $225 and one turn semi-bluff in a 3bet pot that cost me $300. Made a couple of call downs I didn't like, but in general most of my value bets and bluffs I felt were decent.

Going to grab some food and take about an hour break and then get back after it.


20,000 hands by midnight on Sunday September 18th. I'll probably need to be playing about 80% of the time I'm awake and not eating.

Will update with progress.

let's gogogogogogogoooooooo!

the weekend

got big plans for a lot of poker this weekend. will post goals on blog tomorrow. pumped to put in the hours.

also the sox need to figure some stuff out fast. Basically Lester and Beckett need to win two games apiece down the stretch and they need 3 other guys to step up and beat the Orioles. That will probably be enough to make it to the playoffs.

however, considering the importance on pitching in the postseason I can't feel too confident about their chances in October. In general it's easier to find a way to win playoff series with your pitching intact and a banged up lineup, than vice versa.

Had a great dinner with some friends and some folks I only slightly knew tonight. Everyone was a blast to hang out with, the birthday girl is one of those awesome people that you immediately like as soon as you meet her, and all of her friends were equally cool. The husband of the b-day girl picked up the tab like a pimp, so it quickly became the best free meal I've had in awhile.

here's to free meals!

also managed to lift about $300 off of a few people playing HU while reading the forums, so that was nice. Now time for a little Battlestar Galactica ***nerd alert*** and sleepy time.

word to your mom


fun mix

Filterglove Launch Mixtape by Jean Tonique

Thursday, September 1, 2011

getting back to the grind

August was the first month since Black Friday that my poker winnings were worth reporting:

For those keeping score at home that means I had nearly 4 months of potential income stolen by the DOJ and the various entities that sponsored and supported their attack on our game. I'm not going to get into the Full Tilt issues because, frankly, it's depressing and there is little I can do about it. I hope that the personal ethics and honor of the people that stole and mismanaged the player's money will eventually matter enough for them to find away to return our cash. Obviously there isn't a lot of hope for that at this point, but raging against those thieves and charlatans won't make me a happier person.

Referring to the graph: That is almost all 1/2 though I took several shots at 2/4 and got crushed. Without those 2/4 shot I might have made 5 figs with RB and bonuses. The important thing is that I've requested a cashout and expect that I should have the funds in hand in a few weeks.

I'm not totally happy with my results. In general I expect my redline to be better, and I think I played very very poorly during the big downswing on the graph. But part of the redline being BE for the month comes from playing against my opponents. In general the 1/2 players on this network are very very good, and most of them play a very aggressive pro-redline game. I think this creates situation where you need play some hands in different ways and counter their default aggressive mode. I'm not sure that fighting aggression with more aggression is always the most profitable course, especially when out of position.

Other updates include the fact that I've taken steps to start playing on other networks. I won't go into the details because 1) it's relatively boring and 2) I'd rather keep it private. But I believe I should be able to continue playing through this interim period until the US government legalizes and regulates online poker.

I also have some personal goals for the last 4 months of the year. I want to have another 6 figure year which means I need to make about $50k over the final 4 months of the year. This is a pretty significant challenge considering I'll be playing mostly 1/2 to build bankrolls over that period, hopefully eventually transitioning back to mid-stakes. But I think I can do it, and it gives me something to shoot for.

Having a 6 figure year would be a big deal to me considering I essentially lost 4 months of work figuring out stuff after BF. There also is the frustrating reality that despite that profit if I don't get the money back the money lost on Full Tilt equals about 65% of that profit. Which is really disgusting.

But I can't complain about life. My team had a good summer of baseball, my wife is doing well despite her serious work hours during her intern year of residency, and I have my health and plenty of cash for living expenses. I even have enough of a bankroll that I can continue playing the game I love for a living after getting screwed by my government and Full Tilt.

The weather is awesome and I feel like grinding some. Hope everyone is doing well.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

some pics from the summer

Beer on the beach in Mexico:

Icing out a friend the night before his wedding:

Down by the harbor in Boston:

Sublime/311 concert:

All taken and edited on the iphone. It's not a bad camera. So far summer has been good. If we can find a way to win the Boston Park League championship it would be a fantastic finish. Just wanted to put out a fun positive post after my woe-is-me BS from the previous post.

realized after I made the last post...

that maybe people were confused when I was talking about my thirty buy-in for 1/2 roll. I was not referring to my entire poker bankroll. That is simply my roll on Merge right now. My actual bankroll is still pretty healthy and large enough that I could play 1/2 with good 2/4 games and have very little risk of ruin.

that being said I don't like busting account balances, so when I refer to my roll on Merge I'm talking about the money I have on there to work with from my initial 1k deposit.

team clinched #2 spot in the playoffs with a nice win is some crappy weather tonight. Playoffs start on Thursday. Going to try and grind a bunch tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

getting crushed lalalala

So I've been getting my grind on seriously for the first time in awhile, putting in 22k hands already this month most at 1/2. And things started off well. I was up about 13 BIs and playing well and thought I had fixed a lot of leaks and was really feeling good about things.

In comes my last two sessions where I drop 7 and 11 buy-ins respectively and my month is back to being shit. It's tough to keep a level head when almost all of your roll is seemingly lost on FTP, you're waiting for time to get up setup so you can actually cashout your low stakes grindings in the near future. I only put $1k on merge after BF, and I'm just really disappointed with my results on the site. I've made money mostly through RB, bonus clearance, and PLO. But through 120k hands at the site I'm basically breaking even and actually down close to 2k because all of my run bad has come at small stakes (run good seems to come at .25/.50).

I'm trying to maintain confidence, and focus on the next hand and just grind. But when you continually get beat down both by good players, tough spots, and getting crushed by the deck it's very hard to have a feel for whether or not you are playing your A game. All of this would be a moot point if I had my tilt money in my bank account because I'd have no pressure to earn. But as that money seems gone for the near future I'd like to gain some traction in bankroll building on other networks.

Plus I've basically got one more tough session in me at 1/2 before I'm going to have to drop back down to .25/.50 (unless the BBJ gets above 220k or so in which case I can play .5/1 profitably). In general I stay away from .5/1 on merge unless the BBJ is really high because the rake is pretty tough to overcome.

Right now I'm basically playing 1/2 on a 30 BI roll (down from the high of a 47 BI roll for 1/2). I don't really feel comfortable playing much shorter than 25BI on the roll so I'll probably have to move down at that point.

not really sure if there is much reason to post hands or anything. this was mostly just a blow off some steam post. I haven't posted on 2p2 in weeks because I was saving my 5k post for something worth doing. But tbh I don't really see much of a point in doing that now. I haven't had meaningful results since Black Friday and unless I get my roll back from tilt is going to be awhile before I'm a full time midstakes grinder.

just gotta keep my head up.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

don't make people into idols

UPDATE: good cliffs thread here: More info has come out, and it just gets worse and worse. The supposed prodigy is clearly nothing more than a scamming con artist, and the more information that comes out the worse that the people involved with him look. Just a really sordid affair.

read this thread if you are bored and want to see the kind of scummy stuff that supposed high stakes brilliant players will do for money:

Just a quick rant. I've never made a huge effort to engage in the rest of the poker community like most of my peers do. Part of the reason is that I think it creates huge imbalances in life styles, encourages an unhealthy disconnect with money and it's intrinsic value to your current happiness, and because I know that many people that play as "pros" probably are degens at heart and degens can't be trusted when they need their fix (in this case money or action).

I've gone on rants before about groups that have formed on twoplustwo to start private forums and specifically discuss strategy and how I thought it was ethically wrong (if not actually breaking TOS of the site) and I've avoided taking part in those discussions or joining those groups in the past. I know others do, and I know that certain players gain and edge by sharing information that I am losing out on. But I feel that I've earned my money honestly and have a clean reputation and that in my mind still means something when I go to sleep at night.

Everything about the story I linked above disgusts me. First that high stakes players would form these little private covens to discuss strategy of how they were going to fleece the fish and then try to set up games for each other. Not surprisingly the kind of people that don't see anything ethically wrong with this borderline collusion would then be willing to take it a step further and try to set each other up by sweating hole cards while feeding the information to a friend. It's abhorrent behavior on nearly all levels. Certain things have not been confirmed, but I think the evidence seems to point that several high stakes "crushers" were ghosting under the account of some 18 year old wunderkind that they essentially created with their own vouches and claims on various forums.

None of this is confirmed but it is my guess they used this player to gain access to sites and opponents that they wouldn't have been able to play otherwise. That they even discussed buying heavily losing accounts in order to play under them and get action is absolutely disgusting. And it is laughable that this 18 year old Portuguese player is a sponsored pro on a site despite having little to no long term history of success in poker.

I'm not trying to be self righteous here, because I don't think how I approach the game is vastly different than many other pros and most amateurs. But I'm sick of reading about players crossing ethical boundaries and then giving some sob story apology after they get caught. As far as I'm concerned this kid and his fellow conspirators should be banned from the sites they played, ostracized from the community, and all potentially ill gotten funds confiscated.

I may not ever make it to high stakes (less likely now that 80% of my roll is seemingly lost on FTP) but I can promise you I'll never cross those boundaries in the effort. I may be as much of an outsider as someone can be who has made half a million dollars in the poker world in the last three years. But as a result of keeping at least one foot firmly planted in the non-poker world I feel like I've avoided the trap that has snared many young poker pros. Money becomes god and the latest high stakes crusher is their idol. In the end they chase god, and want to become the next idol to get the fame and attention of their peers and followers. Ethics and codes of conduct eventually take a back seat, and chasing the money and attention becomes the consuming goal.

I'll stick to playing baseball in the summer and paying bills, and leave the legend creating to the forums.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

my wife's answer to the hypothetical:

Three million with the stipulation that I would not have a criminal record.

I actually thought this was a pretty low number considering her future economic prospects as a medical doctor. But she said she didn't think prison could be that much worse than 3rd year of med school or the intern year she is currently spending in the hospital. I don't know how much sarcasm was involved in that comment. I'm sure some, but probably less than you think.

What's your number?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

hypothetical #1 and some updates

Hypothetical question #1: (please answer with your response in the comments section I will probably blog my own thoughts along with your comments in the future)

You have the option to spend the next year of your life in jail (starting in 4 weeks) in exchange for a lump sum cash payment upon your release. Would you take this deal, and if so what is your price?

quick updates:

- played some awful golf for the park league tournament yesterday, had a blast.
- team went 10-3 in July and currently in second place with a playoff spot locked up. if we sweep the last two games of our schedule this week we'll likely finish in second place and start the playoffs on Monday.
- finally getting things going to start playing poker again seriously. Hoping to have everything done by the end of august so that I can put in 100k hands a month for the last few months of the year. Have plans to make a bank-roll building challenge that i update frequently with graphs and maybe even HHs and some strat. Basically I'm going to try and resurrect the blog as a personal motivational tool.
- also considering starting a blog segment called Second Tier where I review stuff that is good but not great. Movies, food, books, etc. Better writers and smarter people than me tackle the truly great things in the world, somebody has to talk about the rest.
- would like to get the podcast going again with my friend but he's going to be doing a lot of traveling in the near future so it doesn't look likely.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

some questions I was asked about baseball:

a blog reader asked me a bunch of questions about baseball at the youth level and playing in college. Since the poker stuff is not totally interesting right now I figured I'd post this up for a change of pace. I haven't edited what I wrote so some of it may contain poor grammar or be redundant.

it's a lot of stuff but I tried to answer everything to the best of my ability and memory. I haven't proofread it so if anything doesn't make sense let me know. I might turn this into a blog post if you don't mind (obviously keeping all of the information about your son out of it as well as your email).

1. I assume you pitched for Duke, did you receive a scholarship(full,partial)(Baseball or academic)to play and go to school there? I did pitch for duke (removed link to my stats if anyone is interested you can PM on 2p2 and I can provide link). I went to Duke for academics and was an invited walk on for the baseball team. I was cut the first year for some frustrating reasons, but made the team as a sophomore and played 4 years, including 2006 when I was getting a Masters from Duke's Engineering Management Program. I received some scholarship help for academics (including a significant amount of aid for my Masters Program) and my coach for my first 3 years had planned on giving me some partial scholarship for my grad school work in 2006. However he was fired in the summer of 2005 and our new head coach chose not to provide me with any financial aid.

2. Did you choose duke because they offered you a scholarship or did you have offers from other schools? I received an offer to play at Youngstown State on a full academic scholarship, I had a full academic scholarship to Marshall and the coach told me I could walk on, and I a few other coaches in WV were interested in me as a walk on. However most coaches knew academics were my #1 priority and so they didn't recruit me heavily when they found out where I was applying and what my interests were. Also at most of the smaller schools, where my talent was potentially worth an athletic scholarship, I would have qualified for academic scholarships so the coaches knew they were better off saving their scholarships for other student-athletes.

3.If you had multiple offers did you choose Duke for baseball or academics? Duke was my #1 choice for academics. I would have gone there even if I had no chance to play baseball. I applied early decision in the fall of 2000 before I had ever spoken to the baseball coach about the chance to play for the team. I always wanted to play college baseball, and planned on trying where ever I went, but once I was accepted to Duke I knew that was where I was going to school. Academics always came first to me.

4. Were you a dominant pitcher in high school?
I was a dominant pitcher from age 12 until age 18 for all but one year. I started pitching at 10, was a starter at 11, and was one of the best pitchers in the area during my years in Babe Ruth ball (13-15) and American Legion Baseball (17 and 18 y.o.). My 16 year old year I struggled to adapt to a growth spurt and lost my control of my pitches. I spent that year playing second base and shortstop and was the starting second baseman on my district all star team in Senior Little League. In high school I was actually cut from the team as a freshman (honestly it was bull shit politics) and my sophomore year I played JV and hardly got any playing time (our JV schedule was 10 games and our coach was a joke). My Junior year in high school I became our #3 starter about half way through the season. My senior year I was our #1 starter and went 9-3 with a sub 3 ERA and was responsible for almost half of our wins that year. I beat 5 top 10 teams in our state and was Honorable Mention All State. In my opinion I was the best pitcher in the district that year. But obviously I'm biased ;-)

5. Did you play travel ball? My American Legion team traveled to lots of tournaments when I was 17 and 18, but in general no. I had offers and occasionally did a little mercenary type weekend stints with AAU teams. But I played locally until age 16, and in general found my way on to all-star teams or the best local team that was recruiting. We played mostly other teams within 2 hours or so of my hometown. When I was 17 and 18 we typically played double headers every week night, usually playing 10 games a week when we didn't have a tournament. In general we'd play anyone that wanted to.

6. Did you play and practice year round?
I played usually from March to August. Then I would take the rest of the year off until late November or early December when I would start practicing for the upcoming spring. Usually throwing a couple times a week with longer sessions the later it got in the winter. I didn't do much weightlifting until I was done growing at age 17, and I didn't take up running until I was 16. I built arm strength and velocity by throwing a lot. A lot of long toss, a lot of bullpens, and lot of games of catch.

7. Did you play other sports in High School?
I played soccer all throughout high school (I had played since I was 5). I wasn't very good but I loved the sport and it was my first serious experience with conditioning (mostly a lot of sprinting and distance running which I was surprisingly good at). I played golf competitively when I was 12 and 13 but couldn't find the time for it because of baseball after that. I played basketball until I was 13, and afterwards coached a team of 8-10 year old with my father until I graduated from high school. Volunteering my time coaching was really rewarding and I think helped me learn a lot about being a leader and a teammate. Soccer was also humbling because I was always fighting for playing time amongst other players that frankly were assholes. It taught me how to treat fellow teammates when you're a better player on the team, and how to perservere when things weren't going your way. It helped a lot considering how hard I had to work to get the attention of my high school baseball coaches. There was a lot of politics on those teams, and in general they were not good coaches.

8. Did you ever get tired of baseball in college, was it ever too much?
This is a tough question. I definitely had times where I hated having to go to practice, and especially hated weight lifting. But my college experience was different than most athletes. Academics was my top priority. I double majored in Civil Engineering and Political Science, I made the Engineering Honor Society, and made All ACC academic Honor Roll for 4 years. So I basically studied my ass off for 5 years (including getting my Masters). Some of my teammates worked hard in the classroom, but others came to school as much or more for baseball as academics. So often they majored in easier studies (History or Sociology) and they just wanted to graduate. My parents expected me to get good grades. They were not happy when I got a C in physics. I also needed to make money in college if I wanted to have any spending cash so I took a job delivering laundry for a student owned and operated company my freshman year (when I was not playing baseball). By my sophomore year I had been promoted to Daily Operations Manager of the company and was doing scheduling, payroll, customer service, and everything else that went into the day to day work of the company. I might have been the only student on campus getting paid $20/hour, but it cost me a lot of sleep. I'd say my sophomore and junior years on campus I averaged less than 4 hours of sleep a night. My senior year I decided the laundry company was too much work so I waited tables over the summer and for a few weeks in the fall, and stocked shelves in the bookstore on campus. As far as I know I was the only guy on the team that had a job as well as going to school. I also went to summer school twice so that I could graduate on time. My last year while getting my masters I was working an internship at GlaxoSmithKline as well as playing ball. Looking back on it I think I would have done better at athletics if I had put less effort into other things. But would I be better off for that as a person? probably not. My academic success is worth considerably more in the long run, and my time working jobs helped mold me into a better person. I think everyone should have to work different jobs at that age that they apply for and get on their own. Even if it is only over the summer. However considering that most college baseball programs require 30 hours a week or more of commitment from the players (including multiple days of 6 AM weightlifting and conditioning) I'm not sure that having jobs during the year was the best thing for my game. But I wanted the money, and I wouldn't ask my parents for it. So that is what I did. But I never regretted playing baseball in college even though I don't have the same carefree memories of college that a lot of folks do. College was serious work for me. I rarely got to relax or take time off. I busted my ass for 5 years. But I made my best friends (many of them through baseball) I had unbelievable experiences, and I learned so much about myself and the world. It wouldn't have been the same without baseball.

9. Are you a natural athlete or did you just put in the work? A little of both. My dad was an all state football and basketball player, and after his knees gave out on him when he was 18 he still had offers to play college golf from small schools in WV. He's 6'5" and just in general a big strong guy. I never saw him at his athletic best because he had arthritis in his knees and back 15 years before I was born. But by all accounts he was a great athlete. I was a decent athlete growing up, but probably benefitted as much from pratice and just hard effort as any natural skill. Throwing a baseball hard was really one of the few things that I did naturally well. But I kept growing all through high school and was 6'4" by the time I graduated. I was skinny and frankly didn't start putting on much muscle (despite a lot of weight lifting and eating like crazy) until I was 22. I started running seriously at age 16 by working out with some friends that ran cross country in the summer. I started lifting on my own (light weights high reps) at 17. I think a lot of my velocity came from having very long arms and being flexible (not having tight over developed muscles) along with a LOT of throwing. I full believe that long toss and practice develops arm strength and velocity. Weight lifting is a great cherry on the sundae when you get older and your body grows up. But as a kid you'll get more out of just throwing a baseball a long distance than you will out of any advanced training techniques. If I had to recommend something to a teen age pitcher I'd likely suggest running, squats, pushups, and yoga. Those are things that will develop a strong, lean, flexible frame with improved endurance.

10. How tall were you when schools started to look at you for college? How fast did you throw? I was 6'2" my junior year when a few coaches started to notice. As a righty you've got to put up terrific numbers or be over 6'4" to get noticed in high school. I topped out at 89 my senior year, I consistently threw 86 plus. The scale is much more flexible for lefties. Any lefty throwing over 82 with success in high school will get a look from at least some small schools. I'd also say any lefty over 6' is going to get some interest.

11. Did you have any pro teams looking at you? My 3rd year at Duke I had some scouts from the Braves, the Devil Rays, and one other team (can't remember) ask about me. In general the consensus was that if I had a strong 4th year I might be a late round pickup in 2006 or get a free agent signing. I shit the bed my 4th year (2006) when my new pitching coach decided to change most of my mechanics in the fall. In my opinion that is the worst thing that ever happened to me as a pitcher (even worse than the tears in my rotator cuff that happened in 2002 and 2009). By the time you get to that age if you're having success coaches shouldn't be breaking you down unless they've committed to you for 4 years and have a chance to work through the inevitable problems with you. I only had one year to go at Duke at that point, and I was mentally and physically lost for most of my last year on the mound. I figured things out myself in 2007 and in 2008 was invited to spring training by a couple teams in the CanAm league here in New England. I was cut by the Worcester Tornadoes on the last day of spring training (last pitcher cut out of 19 vying for 3 roster spots) and basically gave up on pro ball after that. I decided that trying to play in the MidWest or the West and spending all of that time away from my GF (now wife) just wasn't for me. I was making good money playing poker and just decided that at 25 I was too old to keep trying to play pro ball considering my ceiling.

12. What state did you go to H.S. in? West Virginia

13. Is the play better in some parts of the U.S. then others? I have been told that the best ball was played in California, Texas, and Florida do you find this to be true or is baseball-baseball no matter where you live? baseball is baseball no matter where you live, but the competition is definitely better in the south and california. you have better weather so the season starts earlier and lasts longer, and there are more teams, better training facilities, and more interest. But the fact of the matter is great players come from all over. I never went to any big recruiting camps, never played big time travel ball, and was never seriously scouted during high school. But I outplayed a some of the heavily recruited players in the ACC. I had as much talent as some of them, but outworked a lot of others. I was told I wasn't good enough to play at just about every level at some point, and I took a lot of pleasure in proving people wrong. I think a lot of big time players from those states get a little full of themselves when people talk about how great the competition is and they start ranking AAU teams and recruits and all that bull shit. At the end of the day you've got to get it done on the field under the lights. Doesn't matter how enamored some scout is of your heater in a bullpen at some camp.

14. Any general advice for my boy?
- Make the work fun. Learn to love the game and playing the game. If the way you practice and approach isn't making you smile figure a way that would be fun. if you don't like normal long toss setup a trash can and try to throw the balls into the trash can. If bullpens aren't fun try making some kind of a game out of it that keeps you interested. keep score so you have something to shoot for.
- Always keep your ears and eyes open. Try to learn and listen from everyone, but have confidence in what you do. Listen to people's advice, but if it doesn't work for you stick to what does. Watch pro ball and watch what those guys do well. Even if you aren't capable of throwing like that, learn how they think about approaching hitters and situations.
- Learn how to keep your composure and focus on the next pitch. always the next pitch. just execute the next pitch. you can never change the past, you can't prepare for every possible future, but you can focus on the present. have a short emotional memory but learn from experiences.
- Try to get a feel for your own body and how you throw. This is really really really hard for kids and teenagers. It's the reason that so many pitching coaches spend so much time teaching kids only to see them make the same mistake over and over again. In general most kids struggle to make adjustments and feel what they are doing right and wrong. That part of pitching doesnt come easy to people usually until they are 23 or older. But if you try it can't hurt. Being able to feel your own mistakes and recognize how changing parts of your delivery affects your results will help you understand how to pitch. especially when tired.
- Also school always has to come first. Academics have to come first. You can't even think about playing baseball in college if you can't get in to college, and playing ball is a lot easier if you can get it in on academic merit alone. All coaches want hard working good students on their teams. It makes their lives easier and sets a good example for the freshmen.

stats to date in the BPL:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Going to try and get back to updating soon. Lots of crazy stuff going on in the poker world, but tbh it's probably not helpful for anyone for me to write some 1000 word recap. just head over to 2p2 and browse NVG and internet poker and you can figure it out if you're out of the loop.

Also if you happen to know any professional poker players living in Montreal that would be interested in making a little cash on the side by helping another player out let me know by leaving a comment in the blog with your email or a way to reach you. FWIW I'll need references or someone to vouch for you to know that you're reputable, but any help is appreciated.

Hope everyone in the northern hemisphere is having a good summer.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

rain sucks. and 5000th 2p2 post?

My baseball season was supposed to start last night but we got rained out. Unfortunately things don't look much better for a game tonight, and I'm not even sure it's going to clear up for tomorrow. Typical lousy Boston spring. We've only had 3 days above 70 degrees so far for the year.

On another note I'm quickly approaching my 5000th post on 2p2. I've been a member for almost 5 years, and I think I'm finally going to make a milestone post. I've always avoided it because I felt I didn't have much to add that others hadn't already covered. In general I don't feel like a brilliant poker mind or innovator, just a hard studier and a quick learner.

But I think there might be some away from table stuff that I could add that might be valuable to other pros. So I'm going to work on a draft, and if I feel like it's something worth posting I will. I'll probably post it in the blog as well.



Wednesday, May 4, 2011


In the process of updating the layout of my blog I decided to update the coaching info. However the formatting became an issue, so I removed the text from the bottom of the blog. I decided to post it here until I find a way to affix it to the layout. I'm reconsidering coaching again after an extended hiatus do the free time I have since Black Friday. If you're interested post a comment on my blog and we can discuss.


As many of you know I’ve been playing poker professionally for the past 3.5. I built my bankroll up over the course of 2 years grinding from the micro-stakes of NL25 and .25/.50 limit. I now am a solid winner in the 15/30 limit games and NL1000 games online. If you would like to read a little more into my poker story please check out the write up I did when I introduced my blog in Oct 2007.

Over the past seven years I have learned that it takes a lot of study and work to become a winning poker player. One of the best steps I took as a player was getting some outside assistance (in the form of video coaching) from pros that had also climbed the ladder from micro-stakes. It is very hard at poker to improve through self-analysis alone. We all struggle to identify weaknesses, and honestly assess our own game. But whether you are playing purely as a hobby, or looking at poker as a second income, serious coaching can be the first step towards taking your game to the next level.

Since turning pro I have done some hand history and session reviews for a few people, including a couple of players from I’ve received positive feedback from those I’ve worked with, and greatly enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience. Because of that I’ve decided to offer coaching on a more serious basis.


  • I have played over 4 million hands of cash game poker online in the past 3.5 years.

  • I’m an established winner at both full ring and shorthanded hold’em games at mid stakes (up to NL1000 and 15/30 limit).

  • I have read and reread almost every available poker book on limit and no limit HE.

  • I post and follow along in the latest strategy threads on multiple online forums.


  • Analysis of your game (examples: strengths, leaks, dealing with tilt, game selection, etc)

  • Specific strategy discussion (examples: preflop play, playing the flop, bet-sizing, stealing and defending blinds, etc)

  • Live sweating (you sweat me or I sweat you and we discuss the hands as they are played)
    Hand History review (you send me a set of hands and I write up a detailed hand-by-hand analysis of your play)

  • Video Review* (you provide video or a set of hands and I record analysis of your play at the tables)

  • PokerTracker stat reviews (you provide all of your relevant stats and I look for leaks in your play)


  • littlebu – "I had him do a HH review for a couple of 6-max limit sessions and what I got back was amazing. Very detailed analysis and very organized. If anyone is thinking about having HH reviews done you won't be disappointed."

  • Big Mike – "I had Jim review one of my HH. He did a very thorough job, and pointed out some profitable situations I was missing (including preflop, where I thought I was doing OK!) I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to take their game to the next level."

  • Savior17 -- "I just had a sweat session with Jim this past Saturday. Let me say that this was a very informative (perhaps too informative - a good thing) session. Jim immeidately made adjustments in my game from PF raising requirements to post flop betting and hand reading. He easily picked out weakness in the other payers that could be exploited profitably. He also turned my game into a more aggressive game, and I thought I was already somewhat aggressive. I saw immediate results by the end of our 2 hour session. For sure, I will have more coaching sessions with Jim in 2008. Thanks Jim!!!!"

  • Ace'sFull -- "I won MJ2K posting contest and I chose to have Jim sweat me during a session. I have to say without a doubt this is tsingle best thing that has happen to my game. Jim is a WONDERFUL coach. We ended up +$1 for the session (I play .05/.10) Lost a big pot to a suckout but won it back in a later confrontation. However the info that Jim gave me in the hour or so we spoke has made drastic improvements to my game and most imporantly my bankroll. I have played about 3K more hands sence our sweat and I have come real close to doubling my bankroll. So if you are thinking about a coaching session with Jim I will tell you with worth way more than he is charging. I will be back for more coaching..."


  • Coaching, strategy discussion, and sweating can be reserved in 1-hour blocks.

  • Hand History review can be as many or as few hands as you like. Payment he is based on the amount of time it takes me to complete the review, minimum of half an hour charge. (100 hands of 6max limit typically equals 1.5 hour of review time)

  • PokerTracker stat review is based on amount of data you wish me to review.

  • Please contact me via email to discuss rates for each option.

  • Long term coaching plans are also available. PM and we can setup a plan and rate.


  • All coaching and discussion are completely confidential.

  • I have no trade secrets. Anything I have learned is fair game and will be shared.

    If you are interested please put a comment on my blog. I will respond as soon as possible to discuss what I can do to improve your game. I have flexible hours so I am fine with any time zone, and most of the time should be able to work around your schedule.

playing PLO and really enjoying it

for the first time I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of PLO a little. I actually feel comfortable playing more than 4 tables, although I notice that I play significantly better when only playing 4. I'm grinding small stakes PLO on carbon right now. I've won 11 BI so far, and when I win another 10 I plan on moving up in stakes. Because full tilt is no longer allowing for new US customers I'm replacing my full tilt banner adds raketherake banner adds. I'd suggest for guys looking to grind some small stakes in the US you can click on a link and sign up for rakeback at one of the merge sites. I'll get a little bonus for referring you, and you'll get rakeback, sign up bonus, and vip rewards from the best and most reliable rakeback site online. they also have freerolls and rake chases, so it really is a solid deal. I know there are others that are advertising under the table higher % RB deals, but without of the doubt in the market as is I'd prefer to have a highly reputable affiliate.

Other than that it is just usual stuff. Pitching, watching nba playoffs, working out, etc. Played 9 holes of golf on sunday and shot a 41 with only about 3 mulligans, and made it the whole 9 with the ball i started with. Considering I had not swung the clubs since last september, I was pretty happy with the results.

going to throw a pen now. hopefully we'll all hear something from FTP in the next week. Got all of my stars money back, but I had the majority of my online roll on FTP and had hoped to be able to withdraw it this week.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

CNN article about online poker protest:

update on the list:

adding a #7 which is learn PLO.

1. p90x workouts: 1xchest and back; 1x plyometrics; 1xshoulders & arms; 1x abs
2. 1x bullpen, getting ready to go throw another in an hour or so.
3. still need to clean my desk today
4. 4x lessons of coffee break spanish.
5. have a tire that needs patched on the car. if I get that done after baseball might consider the woods
6. fail.
7. watched ep. 1 of Hellomaha on DC. played 348 hands of 50PLO, lost $8. Still a lot for me to figure out in the game. Right now I think I've fixed some of my preflop leaks that I used to have that had me leaking non-SD money constantly. But I still have trouble folding bare two-pair hands when there is dead money in the pot. I think I'm overrating having set-blockers, which really don't matter that much because two pair without a redraw simply isn't that strong of a hand.

apparently the PPA said they have been talking to FTP reps about releasing a statement relating to cashouts, and they said the feedback was positive. So hopefully we'll hear something from them next week. I'm pretty disappointed with their support since the 15th, but I still have faith that I'll get my full account balance back eventually. As to the approximately $8,000 in VIP rewards I had earned, I have less faith.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

what I've gotten done, and an answer to a question

a running tally of what i've accomplished on my list of things:

1. p90x workouts: 1xchest and back; 1x plyometrics
2. threw a bullpen today. felt pretty good and had decent pop and movement.
3. fail. need to clean my desk tomorrow.
4. listened to the first four episodes of coffee break spanish podcast. A reader suggested that I order Rosetta Stone, and now that I'll have my Stars money back within a few weeks (about 27% of my online roll) I might do that since I'll finally have enough in checking to not have to worry about budgeting for at least the rest of the year.
5. haven't been back down to foxwoods, but thinking of going on thursday night, not sure.
6. fail.

I'll likely continue to update this list as I think it will be motivational.

As to a question proposed in the comments section, I have noticed that several sites are still allowing US players. And after getting some solid info from another online pro and fellow blogger Doublefly (see his blog on left) I decided to make a small deposit on one of these sites and check the games out. I found the process relatively painless, and it kind of brought back fond memories of my early days online when I was first moving my roll from Party to Tilt and I was very concerned to make sure that everything got transferred successfully. Those were the days when I was clearing Tilt and Absolutes bonuses and feeling like it was raining free money. I might try and find some old posts from my Chiptalk days and see if they would make for an interesting blog retrospective.

I used my rakeback affiliate RakeTheRake to get rakeback and figured out what would be the best deposit bonus. If you're signing up for a rakeback account anywhere I highly recommend them, and you can click on the banner ads on my blog and I get a small referral bonus (won't affect your RB or promotions). I actually played some small stakes PLO today and enjoyed myself. The site works with my tracking software and HUD so it was almost like being able to grind in some small way.

The question now is do I try and grind small stakes on my tiny roll on the site, or do I try and learn small stakes PLO. I'm thinking PLO since at this point the money probably isn't really comparable either way, but learning PLO should be more fun. I think I'm going to start watching nothing but PLO videos at least for the next couple of weeks and I'm going to try and update on my thoughts and results. Until I get setup to grind on any major sites in the future I think I can take advantage of this time to try and learn other games and expand my poker repertoire.

that's all for now. Hope people were excited to be able to cashout of Pokerstars today, and if we're lucky this means that things will be in the works for full tilt. Although I'm not holding my breath that Tilt gets things figured out within a month. sigh...

Monday, April 25, 2011

what am I doing until I can play online poker again?

well first let me say I'm hoping I can play online poker sooner rather than later, but I'll probably have to keep my updates on the subject to the minimum until something substantial happens with congress or the DOJ.

Regardless, for at least the time being (probably a month or so?) I have lots of free time. So what am I doing with all of those hours that I normally spend studying and playing poker? Here's the rundown:

1. get in shape. this is something I always try to do, but I have plenty of free time now so there is no excuse not to work out at least 5 days a week. I finished the first 3 weeks of p90x and then went on vacation and pretty much shot that work. so I'm just starting over now, although I might have to skip some of the arm workouts occasionally because of...

2. throw a lot of bullpens. Last season I had some rotator cuff issues that kept me from really preparing fully. When the season started I was not only dealing with pain but I was probably only about 40-50% ready. This year I haven't experienced similar pain, and I think I can get up to full speed before the season. I have some goals in prep, but in general I want to be ready to throw +5 innings at full strength, and have command at the beginning of the season. That is harder than people think coming off of an injury and then a year of closing, but there is no reason I can't accomplish that.

3. clean the apartment, and keep it that way. Yeah this sounds silly, and makes me seem like a house-husband, but honestly it just feels nice to wake up in a clean place. and it is much easier to get things done when the mess around you isn't constantly in your peripheral. In general our apartment is in decent shape right now. But a good hour a day is probably enough to turn a somewhat messy apartment into a really clean environment. If only I could get the wife on board with this.

4. learn spanish. I know I've been saying for years that I want to do this. But to sound cliched, there is no better time than now. Starting a free spanish podcast today. hopefully I can continue this.

5. play some live poker. I did this on Saturday. went down to the woods, and played for about 8 hours. I won about half a buy-in, but I was playing very low stakes since I haven't played much live poker in about 3 years. I think until I get playing online again I'll probably be making a couple of trips to Foxwoods each week. TBH the play is fairly boring and slow, mostly because you only encounter 1 to 2 interesting spots a day, but it gives me a feeling of getting some work done so it is satisfying mentally.

6. volunteer some of my time This is my final goal, but some would argue it's the first thing I should do. I haven't decided where or when to do this, but I think spending 1 day a week (monday?) volunteering 4-8 hours. The wife has suggested an animal shelter since it would put me in a great mood every time I did. Instead of providing favors at our wedding we made a small donation to a local animal shelter. So we already have a very brief relationship with them, and it would be easy for me to get in touch. Hopefully I'll have some positive followup about this soon.

That's all for now. Might update with my thoughts on low-stakes at Foxwoods, but I'm not sure if it's even interesting enough for a blog post. Also I'm going to try and continue to update about how to fight for legal online poker. Didn't get any feedback relating to my letters to the editor so I guess I whiffed on that attempt. But I'm going to stay after it and hopefully everyone else will and in the not too distant future (2012 plz) we might have legal online poker in the US.

hope everyone had a great easter.



Friday, April 22, 2011

letter to the editor

sending this to the boston papers tomorrow. hopefully one of them will run it:

On April 15th the Department of Justice indicted three providers of online poker. Ten million Americans play poker as a hobby. Some, including me, play professionally. We are now denied service. More importantly, this action is wasteful and reeks of hypocrisy. In this economy should our government really be focused on this? Regulation and taxation of online poker would make far more sense.

The DOJ’s actions are an enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a bill passed in September 2006. Sponsored by Senators Frist and Kyl, the bill was attached to the unrelated port security bill and passed in clandestine fashion without serious debate in Congress.

While poker players are being denied the right to play, we have state lotteries and online horse betting. These games have no element of skill, yet they are legal because our government profits from them, and the horse-racing industry has greased the right palms. By contrast, poker is a game of skill in which players compete against each other, and skilled players win in the long run.

The sites being indicted have asked for years to be regulated and taxed. It's projected that online poker could generate $35 billion in tax revenue over 10 years. Regulations could safeguard against gambling addiction, underage play, and fraud. Given the current economic climate and budget deficits, it is logical to regulate online poker. Instead, we are wasting tax dollars and man-hours denying Americans a game we love.

As a professional poker player, this issue has a huge impact on me. Since 2008, I've help put my wife through medical school, paid off 80% of my student loans, established a retirement fund, and paid over $150,000 in taxes. My tax dollars are now being used to prosecute the same companies that provided me a way to earn that income.

Poker is a great American game, invented in our country. But now we can no longer play with the rest of the world online. Support legal online poker, and tell congress and the DOJ how you feel about their actions.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

youtube from PPA board member about stuff

if you don't like reading you can take a look at this and it helps inform people what they can do help fight for legal, regulated, online poker.

note: in the past (and even now) I haven't always agreed with everything the PPA has agreed with. That being said they are our best lobbying effort right now, and are generally interested in making the game available to all americans. I understand why they have aligned themselves with US corporate gaming interests. And while I'm frustrated that Harrahs and Caesars have supported the actions against Full Tilt and Pokerstars, I realize that the best hope for upcoming regulated US-based online poker probably lies with these corporations. It's sad that the same people that have fought against an open market for international companies in the short term may be our best hope for poker in the US in the future. But I'm a logical person and I understand you can't have it all.

The fight isn't over...

but at least we're getting our money back:

As Part of Agreements, Use of Domain Names and Will Be Restored to Facilitate Return of U.S.
Player Funds

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced today that the United
States entered into domain-name use agreements with PokerStars
and Full Tilt Poker, two of three online poker companies named as
defendants in an April 15 civil money laundering and forfeiture
Complaint (the "Civil Complaint"), alleging bank fraud, wire
fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses. The
Complaint, a related Indictment, and a related Restraining Order
issued against multiple bank accounts utilized by the companies
and their payment processors do not prohibit the companies from
refunding players’ money. Nevertheless, this agreement will
facilitate the return of money so that players can register their
refund requests directly with Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: "On April
15th, this Office and the FBI took specific legal action against
11 individuals who allegedly engaged not merely in the operation
of illegal gambling businesses, but in massive wire fraud, bank
fraud, and money laundering, despite repeated warnings and clear
notice that their conduct was illegal in the United States. No
individual player accounts were ever frozen or restrained, and
each implicated poker company has at all times been free to
reimburse any player's deposited funds. In fact, this Office
expects the companies to return the money that U.S. players
entrusted to them, and we will work with the poker companies to
facilitate the return of funds to players, as today’s agreements
with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker demonstrate."

Under the terms of the agreements with PokerStars and
Full Tilt Poker, the companies agreed that they would not allow
for, facilitate, or provide the ability for players located in
the United States to engage in playing online poker for "real
money" or any other thing of value. The agreements allow for
PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to use the and domain names to facilitate the withdrawal of
U.S. players’ funds held in account with the companies. The
deposit of funds by U.S. players is expressly prohibited. In
addition, the agreements do not prohibit, and, in fact, expressly
allow for, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to provide for, and
facilitate, players outside of the United States to engage in
playing online poker for real money. The agreements also require
the appointment of an independent Monitor to verify PokerStars’
and Full Tilt Poker’s compliance with the agreements. The
Government stands to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker
if it so chooses.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This is the guy who lead the charge against online poker:

Senator Bill Frist, in a nutshell:

The FEC (Federal Election Commission) found that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s 2000 Senate campaign committee, Frist 2000, Inc. violated federal campaign finance laws. "In June 2000, Senator Frist took $1 million of the money that had... been contributed to his 2000 Senate campaign and invested it in the stock market, where it promptly began losing money. In November 2000, Senator Frist sought to collect $1.2 million he had lent his 1994 Senate campaign committee. As a result of the stock market losses, however, Frist 2000, Inc. did not have enough money to repay the loan. Senator Frist solved this problem by having the 1994 and the 2000 campaign committees jointly take out a $1.44 million bank loan at a cost of $10,000 a month interest. Frist 2000, Inc. did not report this debt on its FEC disclosure forms."[29] In both 2005 and 2006, Senator Frist was named one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" [30] by government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for ethics inquiries stemming from his troubles with the FEC and an investigation by the SEC for stock sales potentially based on inside information.[31]

Hypocrisy at it's Finest: Keeping Us Safe from Poker

Article in Time about the hypocrisy of the current case against the Pokerstars and Full Tilt:

Keeping Us Safe from Poker

Current PPA action plan:

Monday, April 18, 2011


Corporate gaming interests in the US under the guise of religious right moral correctness have lobbied the federal government to spend our tax dollars to prosecute online poker sites. These same sites have asked for years for our government to legalize, regulate, and tax them so that they could more easily provide the freedom for US players to play OUR GAME.

Now the DOJ and the FBI are wasting valuable resources pursuing a case that no one cares about in the first place. And in the process are preventing an industry that could provide 35 billion or more in taxes in the near future from being legalized and regulated. Instead of using that money to provide health care or education for Americans we're going to allow it to leave the country in order to pave the way for big gaming (Harrahs, Caesars, Nevada Gaming Commission etc) to take over the industry. The United States has long stood for freedom and free market capitalism. But in this move the federal government is making it clear that those values only apply as long as big business supports them.

At the same time this case is leaving thousands of Americans without a source of entertainment and/or income. All of this is happening because Big Brother is here to tell us what is best while they take money under the table. Stop the hypocrisy, and fight for your right to play. Please go to the PPA website and contact your representatives, the president, and the DOJ to express your displeasure:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

fucking rush poker

it's so god damned addictive, but I think I might just suck at it. My lifetime win-rate at rush is worse than at regular tables, and significantly enough worse that I really shouldn't be wasting my time with it. But every once in awhile I just want to sit down and grind and be able to quit in 90 minutes if I'm losing focus and not feel like I wasted a session.

see when you're a +16 tabler at +2/4 it takes usually close to 30 minutes to get 16 tables fired up. I play both 6max and full ring, and I usually play HU on 3-4 tables to get games started when I start a session. But even considering all of that it takes awhile to finally get in 16 decent games. If there are any games at all to choose from I usually try to not to sit at an all reg table. Especially at FR where the action is just going to be boring and if I'm in a bad seat I'm pretty much effed (good regs behind me nits in front of me). So after you've done all of that work to get in some decent games and get things going you feel like you should put in at least 3 hours to make it worth your time and focus. So you really have to get your grind on.

But some days I'd just like to play 3 or 4 short sessions. Just fire up some rush and play for 60-90 minutes and then quit. And this would certainly be a good plan if I didn't find the game so fucking frustrating. TBH I think I just play too loose and splashy. It is for the most part a very nitty game, with mostly uncreative regulars (this doesn't mean bad fwiw just more typically tight aggressive). And the few regs that tend to get out of line tend to get way out of line, but it is hard to get a read on them because you don't build up meta and history since every hand goes down in different positions and with different stack sizes. I think part of the strength of my game is getting in opponents heads and either understanding how they think, or forcing them into playing my game by widening ranges and ramping up aggression in certain spots. but that just doesn't work against nitty regs at rush. in general they are playing strong tight ranges in a lot of spot, and my efforts to float or bluff them are just too thin and spewy. A lot of the 200 rush regs just have huge leaks in their game, and I can see them, but then I stupidly try to take advantage of them in every pot I possibly can with them. which is overkill and these guys are decent players and definitely smart and capable enough to realize when some guy is just trying to play-master them. But since every time I click the fold button I'm at a new table with a new lineup I just keep trying. It's like in my mind I feel like every new hand in rush is kind of a fresh spot and so I have a clean slate to try and run over people. But I don't have a clean slate because these guys have seen me spew for the last several thousand hands. sigh.

Plus I have a bad habit of seeing pretty hands and wanting to see a flop regardless of whether or not seeing that flop is a profitable decision. I just love seeing flops. Which is why I found PLO so much fun, but was even more spewy at that game. with 4 cards in my hand how could I not want to see a flop nearly always?

anyway the point of this was that I need to stop playing stupid rush. My hourly on it is not horrible, that is I could make a very good living playing rush. But compared to my hourly in regular midstakes games it's pretty bad. Plus the stakes are lower, the rake is higher, and I don't earn as many frequent player points.

so for now I'm going to try and stay away from rush. that and getting bored and trying to crush 200nl HU nit bumhunters. I sit at the their tables and they either cooler me or quit. if I win a BI I know the game is over, and the only way I'm going to get any action is if they are coolering me for a few hundred hands. it's honestly stupid to keep trying to get action. I just like HU.

oh, and I leave for Cancun in 7 hours. will update with some pics when I get there.



Monday, April 4, 2011

updated some stuff on the blog

I added blogger and poker pro zephendrix. zep is a very good mid-high stakes player, a ridiculous grinder, works a legit job, and goes to school. his latest post is about his work and poker setups and has some great pics. check it out.

I've also added a few features so people can subscribe more easily via google reader or email or whatever. I'm thinking about changing the theme to something else later this week. I liked this theme when I first started, but I think it's starting to get a little old.

time to get some stuff done around here. It's a chores, poker, workout type afternoon. It's raining and cold outside so that trip to cancun on wednesday is looking better and better.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

New month, let's make some goals:

Here's March, it's my first good month of the year so I want to pay homage to the poker gods by posting a graph and thanking them for all of their rungood.

I also was going to post a graph of last year but I can't find it. I'll sum up 2010 by saying that my hourly dropped a little from 2009, and I played a few less hours. So my total net for the year dropped by about 25%. if you want to get an estimate of what I made for the year just check out the graph I posted in january 2010 of 2009 and multiply by .75.

I'm also going on vacation leaving on Wednesday for a week with the wife. We're heading to Cancun to stay at a pretty nice hotel and just chill on the beach for a week. Should be great since neither of us have done a beach vacation in about 5 years. I've also decided to bring along some stuff to do and try to be productive on vacation. That may sound silly, but I have this habit of finding myself ready to go home like half way through a lot of vacations. And I think part of this is just becoming frustrated with a feeling of uselessness and laziness when I'm not accomplishing anything. However I feel like if I can play a little poker each day, workout each day, and get our wedding thank you notes finally finished I'll enjoy the scenery and the rest of the relaxing atmosphere all the more. That may sound silly to some people, but when I want to vacation I often just want a change of scenery and some nice weather, I'm not looking to just sit on my ass for a week.

So here are the goals for the month:

1. play 100k hands of poker. focus. play well. don't passively tilt. take breaks.
2. play at least 4-5 big tourneys. focus. play well. don't sweat it if you don't cash.
3. throw a bullpen 10 times. This is going to be hard to do with vacation, but I only have about a month and a half to get ready for the season and I really need to crank it up. I've been doing p90x for the last 3 weeks so my fitness is pretty good. I've gained weight and increased leg strength a lot. but pitching is a skill and needs to be practiced and I need to get after it.
4. write 20 blog posts. why not? even if it's just a post late at night with a list of things I need to get done the next day, that should still motivate me to keep me on task. also is helpful to clear my mind after sessions.
5. record a couple of podcasts. we haven't recorded an episode of the podcast in probably a month. I was enjoying the process, so need to get back to it.
6. work on my note taking. I should pick a regular after every session and break them down and take notes. I'm really really bad a note taking as I tend to try and focus on how people are playing that day since I think people's games are relatively dynamic from session to session. That being said everyone has tendencies and they have certain things they tend to default to. I should be looking for these tendencies to help me make decisions in the future.

that's all I can think of for now. I reserve the right to add more goals if I can think of them.

I'll wrap this up by posting a link to a blogger who is extensively covering the former UB/AP cheating scandal. It helped remind me why I happily withdrew my entire roll from those sites in 2008 and I'm glad I've never gone back. The whole thing is pretty sordid.


later folks

Monday, March 28, 2011

NYT article about jungleman, and my thoughts on high stakes and why I haven't taken shots...


quick caveat: The following email was something that I sent to a friend in response to our discussion of the article. In it I explain why I haven't tried to play high stakes and talk about some of the traits that I share with those players just not at their extremes. HOWEVER, I'm not suggesting that I am good enough or skilled enough to play with or beat nosebleed high stakes players. But it's fair for me to talk about it because I understand the mental transformation that takes place when you start gambling for serious sums of money. I also am skilled enough at NLHE where I would have a decent chance of making money if I tried to shot take at high stakes.

here is my email to my friend:

but I'll never get to that level because I don't have the disconnect with reality and money that those guys do. It's why I've never been comfortable playing higher than 5/10 or 10/20, and when I lose more than $5k I feel like shit. I think it's probably somewhat genetic, but also has to do with the environment I was raised in. It's why I had to wait so long to tell my parents about poker, and I could never have lost thousands learning the game. they would have killed me. Plus I've always put away money for retirement and paid off loans instead of taking shots at higher stakes despite having the bankroll a few times. I definitely have had about enough money in my accounts more than once and could have tried to grind 10/20-25/50 nl and have a few big 5-figure scores, but I've always chickened out, withdrawn a big chunk of it and stayed at midstakes.

i think the guys that are comfortable playing that high, and have that gamble in them are just a different psychological makeup. I kind of admire it, but at the same time I think it makes it tougher for them to connect with the rest of the world for whom money has a different meaning. I have trouble sometimes seeing money the way other people do, I can't imagine how different it would be if I was losing and winning like jungleman and durrrr are. Especially if the only people you have to discuss about it are online friends. (Which is an entirely different discussion about the mental health aspect of the guys who's social life is now mostly related to the internet and online relationships that they have developed through poker.) I try to not talk to online people about winning and losing because I hate showing weakness to my opponents. I don't want them to know if I feel weaknesses in my game or if I'm not playing confidently because of a downswing. However talking about it with my wife rarely works because as hard as she tries she doesn't really have a grasp of what making decisions for a couple of thousand dollars over cards feels like. Similarly to the fact that I don't understand what making decisions in the hospital for her is like.

It's just kind of weird how your stress, ego, and mindset are altered by the game both in the short term and long run. And it can be even weirder how winning and losing can you make you feel for short stretches. When I'm on a hot streak and owning guys and all of my decisions feel perfect I feel like some kind of genius aggro gambling beast. and when everything is going wrong you just feel like a total lost fool and everyone is just making fun of you while they rob you blind. you finish a session where you win +5k and you are just like "fuck! I can do anything I just made $5k in 3 hours". and you finish a night where you drop like +5k while grinding till the sun comes up and you just want to crawl under the covers and hope it was a nightmare. I start questioning whether the game has passed me by and if I should start looking for jobs. and eventually i just study and work harder and the variance swings the other way and I feel like a genius again.

it's very addicting if you have a competitive mindset. It provides mental stimulation that most regular jobs never approach. I don't mean addictive in a gambling addiction sense, but addictive in that you want to be better than your competition, you want to win and the struggle feels more real than other things. In a comparison of mental and emotional stimulation the many jobs I had from high school until I worked for an engineering firm were not even close. And it's kind of like a sport but in sports your body is a limitation and can let you down and you may never understand why. but in poker there is no limitation only your mind and work ethic, and if you make mistakes you can pinpoint them and there is noone to blame but yourself.

But the money is real enough to me at 5/10. at 50/100+ where those guys play the money would just be a nightmare and I'd probably have a heart attack and die in the middle of a session.