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The Second Cut

Posted by QTip

My wife and I have been married for 12 years now. We have a 4, 5 and 6 year old, so things stay pretty busy around our place. We try our best to get a babysitter 2 or 3 times a month to get some time to ourselves. These are our date nights. A couple nights ago was one of these date nights. We were able to head to a nice restaurant and enjoyed a really great meal. She got a filet mignon, and I got a rib-eye. When our meals arrived, we both took a bite and melted a bit. As I began making my second cut, I looked up and saw her making her second cut. I knew we both had the same thing in mind. Each of our second cut was for the other. We simultaneously reached the 2nd bite across the table for the other, excited to share the great-tasting food with the other. The filet truly was amazing and even though mine was delicious as well, I was questioning my decision to get the rib-eye :) But, I reflected a bit on how great it was to have someone as special as she is to share the ups and downs of life. With her around, regardless of my life winnings graph line, my EV line is always heading Northeast.

Of course, relationships can be challenging, especially if you're a poker pro and are home all the time. Someone once told me, "You see what you look for, so look for what you want to see." So true. One book I really recommend for relationships is called Love Busters. It's a great read.

On the poker side of things, I've started another reading of The Mathematics of Poker. This always gets my brain going. I'm wanting to spend some time over the next couple months getting more involved in head's up no limit games. So, that should be interesting. Of course, I'm also wanting to get better at PLO and backgammon. So, lots to do :)



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Dusty: Huge Poker Weekend!/ Poker Scandals…Sigh

Posted by DTB Admin

I am happy to report I had a killer weekend at the tables. I ended up winning a little over $30,000 on the weekend bringing my year total to about $67,000 on the year. It has been a great start to the year given that I really haven’t played a whole lot. In fact, the past 6 weeks have really been nice. I won about $65,000 over the last 2 ½ weeks of December, so it has been a $130,000 + run over the past 6 weeks, with limited play. I would’ve liked to have played a lot more poker especially since it has been going so well, but with the release of my new book, I had to focus on that quite a bit and it has left me with somewhat limited time to actually play poker.

Life has been great lately. My baby daughter Lennon continues to evolve all the time. You blink an eye and she is doing all sorts of new things. It is just so much fun to watch her just do her thing. Each and every morning after I wake up, I go straight to her bedroom to watch her sleep for a few moments and it is one of my favorite parts of the day. I think she is really going to become something special some day.

It has been interesting to watch this Jason Ho (a recently banned coach) thing explode on the internet. I am not going to comment on whether I believe all of the allegations are true or not, but I do know from my experience that he made attempts to try and scam me as well earlier this year. He kept trying to get in touch with me about trading services. He claimed he could help me out with some areas in my game and that I could help him. He was a big math guy (or so he claimed) and I have no clue about how to figure out most of the math related poker stuff so I agreed to talk with him on the phone.

While talking to him on the phone we started talking about what we would do in certain situations and I thought his advice was ridiculous so I didn’t work with him again. He was advocating some of the stupidest stuff, and I had a very hard time believing he was a good poker player. He later tried to get me to transfer him my entire database of hands which I declined. Very recently he told me he had “solved” PLO CAP game poker and wanted to talk to me because he felt he could easily make 4-5ptbb/100 at that game. I had no idea why he would want to tell me how to play as well as he was claiming he could play PLO CAP, but I just decided not to bother with him.

He really lost me with his bizarre pictures in his blogs of him with his shirt off and all of the “photo shoot” type of pictures of his supposed girl friends in his blogs. It was quite obvious that there was no way on earth he was dating these women, but to each his own I suppose. In any event, I am sure glad I didn’t involve myself with him more than that single playing “lesson” where he just basically taught me what a mediocre poker player he was.

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QTip: Four Eyes!

Posted by QTip

Four eyes!

So, I’m starting to approach the mid 30s, and I guess it’s time for me to start looking older with glasses. I really can see pretty well with both my eyes open, but if I cover my left eye, my right eye has things blurry. Many times at night I have pressure headaches so I thought maybe that eye has something to do with it. I thought getting glasses was going to be a very simple process. Go in, stare in a machine, they hand you glasses. Nope. A month later I finally have a pair. Well, part of the delay is I’m always looking for deals. So, I found a frame I liked in a store. Then, I found that frame online for $100 less. So, I ordered that frame and then took it to a store to have the lenses put in. I really didn’t want to order them straight through an online glasses provided because I like to be able to head to a store and talk to a real person if I’m not happy. And, if you order the glasses with the lenses online, there are no refunds because it’s specific to your eyes. Anyway, I got them and put them on. Things far away are like 1080p. However, up close things are super distorted. The ground is like up to my knees and squares turn into trapezoids when I move my head. I was really distraught by this and went to the store straightaway. The acted like they’d never heard that before. “Give it some time to get used to them”, they said. So, I looked it up online and it’s a fairly common story when fixing astigmatism. So, I’ve just been wearing them around the clock for about 4 days now. I think things are starting to get a little better. But, smudges really bother me, so I’m always cleaning them. So, my hair is super thin on top and now I have glasses. I’m probably just going to get it over with next year and get false teeth, a hearing aid and slap on a pair of depends. Ah well.

Watching our lobby fill up with videos has been really fun the past couple of days. There are some really great titles to the series from PokerSwat that I think you’ll all really enjoy. Also, Bill Robertie is going to be starting a new Backgammon series. I’m going to be visiting with philN in a couple weeks and he wants to play some backgammon. I’ve only played 1 game in my life, so I’m going to have to watch all the backgammon basics series very thoroughly over the next couple weeks. Maybe we have a competition here at Drag the Bar before long. If you’ve not checked out Backgammon before, make sure you at least give Backgammon Basics Lesson 1 a chance. Look game looks really amazing.

Unfortunately, life has been staying very busy for me lately. I’ve only been able to put about 10k hands this month. Next month will start slowly too, but after that, I’m hoping to really do some grinding. I’m going to be ordering Dusty’s book soon too, so I have something great to look forward to reading soon. I’ve heard good things.

So, that’s the old-man’s update.

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Players Only FTW

Posted by Hunter Bick

Discuss it here:

I’ve been through a lot since I last blogged, so here’s a little recap complete with a very deserved public thank you to the management of Player’s Only, a poker room on the Cake network. I’ve been playing there a lot for the last 6 months or so because I tend to find good games on Cake and I feel that I play better without a hud than most of the regs do. Back in October, I blogged about winning an Aussie Millions package in a winner take all $320 satellite on the site. My wife and I were really pumped since we’d never been to Australia and we started planning a big trip around the tournament.

So a couple weeks after that I had a bad cold and fainted after getting out of bed, Deidre called an ambulance and everything at the hospital checked out, but they referred me to a neurologist. He ordered a round of tests including one called a tilt table, where you lay flat then the table is elevated to about 80 degrees to simulate fainting conditions. That took place in early December and I passed out on that very quickly. It turns out my heart stopped during both of these incidences and I had to spend the night in the hospital following the test. Scary stuff considering I’m 28, I work out a lot and eat pretty damn well. So after more tests they determined my heart was structurally healthy, but I have a very sensitive nerve condition that caused all this. I had to go see a cardiologist and take it from there, meanwhile being careful not to stand up too quickly and to lay down at the first sign of being light headed. Fun stuff.

So basically a trip to the other side of the planet no longer seemed like a very good idea and the cardiologist recommended I take things easy and not travel until we were sure that my body could handle the medication and that things would get back to normal. For example an 18 hour plane ride sitting upright could potentially trigger something, and having that happen up in the air could be pretty bad obviously. The good news is that long-run I should be fine since this is treatable, but I have to be cautious for a few months.

I emailed Players Only and explained the situation, but honestly was not expecting much considering that their TOC clearly says that tourney packages are non-refundable and non-transferrable. This is a very standard policy that every single poker site implements, so I wasn’t expecting much but figured it’d be worth asking. So one of their people checked on it and said they weren’t sure what they could do since they may have already bought me in.

About a week goes by w/out me logging into my account, and when I do, I see an extra $11.5k in there ($13k total package, and they shipped me $1,500 in October for travel), which even covered the hotel room refund! Needless to say I was very pumped, having these health issues has been hard enough to deal with, and having to cancel a trip my wife and I were really excited really added to the frustration. Then there’s the $10k in equity I thought I was having to give up, which makes getting the cash a nice relief so we don’t feel like we are completely wasting a great trip or giving up that equity. All in all, very awesome of them to ship the cash over, it would have been very easy and within their rights to just say “sorry, nothing we can do.” Without question that’s some of the best service I’ve ever gotten from a poker site and its very refreshing to see in the current climate. Thanks again guys.

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Raped by Rush Poker

Posted by QTip

So, it’s been a bit of a refreshing reminder about the stretches you can go through in poker. It’s been a while since I took a real colon pounding. It’s important to remember these things. I just finished up a little 6 tabling of it at a pace of 2k hands for the hour. So, I have 6,384 hands in of NL100 Rush Poker right now. I’ve lost a bit over 15 buyins for a -24bb/100 pace.

I’ve flopped 9 sets that went to showdown and I’m down over a buyin over all. I’ve flopped 36 sets total for a total profit of 2 buyins. KK 38 times and I’m down $40 with that hand. QQ 21 times and down $114.

So, pretty impressive results over this sample. Perhaps the fastest downswing I’ve ever had. I’ve only ever had 2 downswings larger than this, but they weren’t this quick. It certainly is RUSH Poker 

The great this is my state of mind through it. Over the last 2 years, I’ve really worked diligently to solidify my mental game. Never once did I sigh or complain and held on to my A game strategy the entire time. I’m going to continue to share my thoughts on the mental game of poker in my Headstrong series.

I’m not done with Rush Poker. I want to gather quite a few hands from 100NL there and do some analysis on the player base there. I’ve put a couple tips and so forth in the forum under my last blog’s discussion thread.

Anyway, it’s late, so I’m gonna hit the sack. Catch you all later.

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Rush Poker

Posted by QTip

Rush Poker…Man, this is an addicting thing. I played NL100 this morning for 70 minutes. For the first 25 minutes I played 3 tables and then I realized I needed at least one more and popped open a fourth. I’m probably going to land about 5 or 6 before I just say that’s enough to just be comfortable and not have actions waiting. If I programmed some scripts, I'm sure that could get higher. I’m gonna mess around with this game for a bit because I find it fascinating so far. So, in 70 minutes I put in 1218 hands.

One hand I started 400x effective with 99 utg. I open and +2 (FR) calls me. Flop is J93. I bet and get raised. I called. Turn is a 3. Certainly the worse card in the deck for the proceeding action. I c/c pot bets on the turn and river. I think the river is probably a losing call. In any case, I managed to lose 197x on that hand. However, I think I made reciprocal profit. Despite this huge loss, I managed to clip at 7.7 bb/100 while feeling very relaxed with four tables.

A quick question for you folks. What do you think the major differences are between playing rush poker and just opening like 24 tables and stacking them at Poker Stars?

I’ve found it interesting reading different forums about playing this game. People are talking about playing looser in this game. I’d be willing to look at creating a wager on this. Something like this:

We play 120 hours in a month of rush poker NL100. Full Ring or 6 Max, player’s choice. You keep your vpip over 21. I keep my vpip under 14. Person who wins the most in that month wins the wager. The player must have at least 100k hands in that time period. There is no max to the # of hands a player can put in as long as it’s within 120 hours. I’m open to other ideas. The player with the best hourly wage (including 27% rakeback) wins.

Regardless, I’m going to really polish up my grinding skills with this game for a little while. The innovation has my attention and it’s a bit refreshing to have something this new to mess with.



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James Davis: A bad year(An Awesome Blog Post)

Posted by James Davis

This is going to be an awesome blog post. I, like Milwaukee2, have never blogged before, so here I go.

First things first. I had a bad year last year. Real bad. The worst of my last 5 years. In fact, it was so bad that it is a bit embarrassing. But hey, I made some money, have some savings, and am not busto yet.

My first year as a pro was amazing. I won more money than I could have imagined. Party Poker made 10 20 NL the next year, and I made 4x than I made the year before. The year after that I increased my winnings another 30%. Then the UIGEA happened. My winnings were cut in half the following year.

This was pretty damn discouraging, but I was still cruising well enough. Then last year happened. I played more hands than I ever had in a year. I had my worst year ever.

I figured it would be best to just be up front about it. My tableratings for my well known name(hellopuppy) simply aren't very good. I have made more than it says, but the idea remains: my results last year sucked. As a grown up, all I can do is try to figure out why.

I spent December really reflecting on things, and I came to a few realizations.

1) I was playing way too many tables. I was playing up to 12 at a time, and it was just too much.

2) I wasn't table selecting.

3) I was spreading limits too much, which leads to the worst one...

4) I was tilting! For the first time ever, tilt became a regular occurrence. I don't mean raging moron tilt, but the subtle, self-loathing kind where you are pushing variance all over the place.

5) I wasn't studying.

6) I pitied myself for having bad luck. All-in EV is sort of a joke in a lot of respects, but I ran 40 buyins below all-in EV. I would stare at HEM every day, being pissed, and hating life. My life is awesome, what the hell was I doing?

7) I let the pressures of real life get to me. For my first 4 years as a pro, I had few expenses. After buying my house and having a much larger monthly nut, the seriousness of making money was really weighing on me. I started to press even further when I found out that my wife is pregnant with our first child. It was really an adjustment to worry about real life...I honestly hadn't in 4 years. I am adjusted now, and ready to kick ass.

The good news is, I consider my self reflection successful. I finished December off in a great frame of mind, and I have approached this year with a much better attitude. I had very tough luck in week 1 of 2010, but never tilted. I studied every day. This week has been great, and I am up solidly for the year already.

I believe I can really teach poker. I believe I can really play poker. Thanks for coming to DTB, and I hope that I can prove both to you in 2010.

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The Winrate Rant

Posted by DTB Admin

I just finished reading the PTR article on winrates online, and I’m just shaking my head about it a bit. Sometimes when I hear players talk about winrates, it all sounds like such silliness. I don’t think most players really have a grasp on the factors involved in this game. Let alone the additional factor of which hands PTR has gathered. Most players who have played millions of hands have their head screwed on much more solidly. On the other hand, seeing someone posts “if 2.55 is an average winrate, I think there may be a few too many below average players out there…” let’s me know right away, he’s not been around the game very long. For example, if someone multitabled the Stars mid-stakes full ring games at 10-2 EST and came away with a 2.55BB (5bb/100) over a large sample, I’d say they’re an exceptional player. The mix of the # of players at the table, poker site, time of playing, # of tables, the environment in which the player is playing, etc all play a huge roll in the winrate. Obviously a player can make choices to maximize this mix for the best winrate, but often it comes at a life cost that may be more life –EV than the increased winrate is worth. A simple example could be someone leaving the US to play at other poker sites. Sure, the winrate would go up, but what about leaving all his friends and family? Is another 2BB/100 worth this? There are plenty of examples with this. I’ve always felt and seen empirical evidence over my 2.5 million hands, that I could have a much higher overall winrate if I played hours that resembled a 2nd shift job EST and also weekends. However, this is not a sacrifice I’m willing to make. So, I don’t do it. I’ve always felt that if I played in a secluded room, my winrate could be better. However, one of the benefits of this job is it allows me to be around my family much more frequently. Having my kids being able to come over and show me their latest masterpiece is worth the impact on my winrate. Some of these things are not understood until experienced. I’m starting to watch some of my poker friends have kids now and hearing the stories now are making me chuckle.

And, as always, people underestimate the stretches a player can go through. 280k hands does not “virtually eradicate the luck factor” in a winrate. Any player with a ton of hands logged will be able to tell you a 100k-hand losing or breakeven stretch finds its way in your graph from time to time even while you’re on top of the game. Have that stretch in your 280k sample and then talk to me using the term “eradicate”. The differences in 100k samples I’ve had at different points in my career have been amazing to me. When I first started playing NL 6max, I was a pretty poor player. However, I 10-tabled the 200NL day games at stars and beat it for 6BB (12bb/100) over 130k hands. That’s just stupid. I take little credit as a player for this happening, especially at that stage in my learning. Winrate, winrates, what can we say? The game is all about the money, but the measurement is so squirrelly.

I guess that will end my rant.

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Milwaukee2: A New Year

Posted by DTB Admin

Hey fellow Dragthebar members. I have never had a blog before, and this is my first blog post ever.

I was just reading some of my fellow coach's blog posts and figured it might be fun to start one myself. Anyways, we are almost 2 weeks into the new year and I am finally feeling like I will be able to really start grinding. The holidays and a couple of other unexpected events have slowed down my poker playing the past few weeks. Some of you may know that I play poker as a full time job, and have been doing so for a bit over 2 years now.

In 2009 I averaged 97hrs per month playing poker, which I am fairly satisfied with. That said, I definitely think there is room for improvement in that area. While I don't think 40 hour work weeks are realistic for most multi-tabling online poker players, I do believe that 120hrs per month is attainable for myself. I often find myself quitting sessions early when I have a big win, and overall just spending too much time surfing 2+2 and other sites.

I will not be able to put in huge volume in January because of my slow start, but hope I can be in the 120hr range for the rest of 2010.

There are a few other things I would like to blog about but this is getting long so I'm going to end it here. I will include those things in a later post. I am optimistic about 2010 and hope you are all able to accomplish your poker goals for the new year!

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Of course….

Posted by DTB Admin

or the past few days I have been at a resort along the Oregon coast with my wife, my mother in law and my wife's aunt. We have had a great time so far and my mother in law and aunt have been kind enough to watch our newborn baby which has allowed my wife and I to actually go out for a drink and a nice meal for the first time in what seems like forever.

We have been looking forward to this trip for quite awhile because we have nearly forgotten what it is like to have an adult conversation and be able to have a few drinks, relax and not worry about our daughter's every move. But one thing I have learned over the years is that the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" like existence that is my life never makes things that simple.

The town we are in is pretty quit right now because it is out of season for the resort we are at. As a result there were very few people in the 4 star restaurant that they have on site. When we arrived we were pretty stoked about that because we figured it would be nice and quiet and we could enjoy each others company and get excellent service. NOT! When we got there there was only one other group dining. That group happened to be a man and a woman and........of course, a baby. That's right, a baby. Of course there is a baby at a 4 star restaurant when there are only 2 other people in the entire place. Of course they had the one Godforsaken thing we were trying to get away from!

And this wasn't just your average baby just sleeping the evening away. This was a screaming, demanding baby who was letting out blood curdling screams in the We couldn't even believe this was happening. Well, the thing is, we could actually. You see my wife and I have a standing joke that I am being followed around with cameras 24/7 like the movie The Truman Show. My life has been so crazy and has had so many inexplicable things that seem to happen all the time that it just doesn't even seem like it could be real. My good friend Matt Amen (Forcewithme9 to the poker community) says he can't even believe how so many crazy things happen to

So naturally when the baby was screaming I was kind of nodding to her and saying, "I wonder where they are hiding the cameras this time?" Then just when we were about to leave we overheard them say they should probably get going. But not 2 minutes later the waiter came by and the wife decided she'd changed her mind and asked the waiter for a dessert menu. No joke! I then leaned over to my wife and said, "It wouldn't have been good for the ratings if they had simply walked out of the restaurant."

After that we pretty much threw our arms up in the air. I got the waiter over and thankfully they had an upstairs bar area and the waiter was kind enough to move us upstairs and serve us up there.

The other random "Truman show" like thing that happened was when we got to the restaurant the waiter said, "It's good to have the two of you back." We dined there last summer and we did in fact have the same waiter, but how the hell does he remember us? He then asked us if we
would like the same seat as last time?" and promptly sat us right where we sat last time we were there 6 months ago. Scary....

Obviously I am joking about the Truman show thing, but it truly is incredible all of the things that I go through in this life. My life has got to be about the least boring thing in the world. I have actually come to not really plan anything more than a few weeks in advance because my life seems to take so many twists and turns all the time that planning seems to make no sense. And I do get plenty of really weird things that leave that .01 percent chance open that maybe, just maybe the whole world is leveling me and you guys are watching me as I type this right now....haha.

Check out my book, Treat Your Poker Like A Business at my website

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A Better Mousetrap

Posted by DTB Admin

What’s up my fellow Drag the Bar members!?

First things first for 2010. This product is amazing!

An actual better mouse trap! I love this thing. I normally lose a couple years off my life setting a normal mouse trap. This thing is perfect. I love these type of innovative ideas.

Anyway, I’m pretty pumped about 2010. I’ve not had a lot of time yet to really start grinding off some hands this year. I’ve been busy working with some cool projects with Drag the Bar. I have a couple of cool video ideas as well. Hopefully in the next month or so, I’ll be able to release those. I’ve also started my video series entitled Headstrong. I think they’ll be some things in that series everyone can benefit from.

Also, at this point, most of my videos have been geared towards beginning players. And that’s just how I start. I like to take it from the top and make sure no one is left behind. If you know some beginning players, point them that way. I’m trying to include quizzes in my lesson videos as well. If you have time, you might check out the quiz in Poker by Number part 3 as see how you do. It’ll keep track of your progress as you count outs. It’s kindof fun. You can find the quiz by the download and ipod buttons after you click on “Watch Video”.

Catch you all in the forums.

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"Hey DragTheBar Members!" by Leatherass

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"Brawlin" by ChipSteela

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"The House Hunt" by ChipSteela

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"Mini Heater" by ChipSteela

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"Vagabonding" by Brent Sheirbon

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