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