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58 And Counting

Posted by Leatherass

Well, I kept the streak intact thanks mostly to a pretty big night on Friday night where I finally got some momentum going in my direction. I scratched out a small win today as well in about a 5,000 hand session. I intended to play a ton of poker today, but saw that I got in the black for the month after finally checking the cashier and truthfully, I am just flat our exhausted right now.

This month has been incredibly draining for me. I think if I look close enough, I had to have sprouted some grey hairs. I have been sick for the past week with a nasty cold and never really felt like playing much, but with a 57 month winning streak on the line, my competitiveness took over and I had to get my grind on. If I was going to go down, I wanted to go down swinging.

I am going to take a few days off and get some tax stuff together so I can see how I am fairing with good old Uncle Sam. After a few years as a poker pro and running across some horrible accountants, I finally found a good one in Aaron Eichenbaum. I am going to insert his link here because I get tons of people asking me for a good one, so for anyone interested, you can reach his firm here

I really dread this tax stuff. I wish there was some kind of simple system. I know a lot of people argue it should be a simple system for a variety of reasons, but mostly for me, I just despise keeping track of all this ****. Keep a receipt from here, but not there, write this off don’t write that off….sigh. Between playing poker, writing books, caring for a newborn, trying to be a good husband, making videos for, and dealing with all of life’s challenges, who has time for this ****? Can’t there just be some simple way of doing it?

In any event, I am super relieved to have pulled out a winning month when I was losing just 72 hours ago. I can’t say I feel clutch or anything because really I just stopped getting relentlessly unlucky for a short stretch finally, but I guess I definitely take some pride in the fact that I did pull out a small win (I don’t have a final tally, but it will be somewhere between a $5k and $10k win which was helped greatly by my tournament win last week) despite feeling physically and mentally beat up. Running bad over a spread of 15+ high stakes tables with long sessions day after day, in conjunction with having a large number of responsibilities/obligations, can really wear on a person. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother caring. It isn’t like life will stop if I don’t make money for a little while. Nor will it really alter my life in any way. But there is just something internal that makes me feel like I have do things and I don’t really have a reasonable explanation for it.

Thanks to everyone who was following this pursuit and to the people who encouraged me. It definitely didn’t hurt to know that there were a lot of people in my corner pulling for me so thanks to everyone for that. I also look forward to reading the rants of the legendary Cardplayer commenter, “Venable.” “Venable,” I have been reading your posts and you are really making me laugh man. I love it. Please don’t stop posting. I will see if I can make some calls and get you a “lucky account” so that way we can be “lucky account” brothers.

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First Winning February, Book It!

Posted by Hunter Bick


So for the first time in my poker career I won money in February! I think I finished somewhere around +$5k, an amount that on any other month I'd be pissed about, but considering its something like $25k more than I made last February and the streak is over, I'm fairly happy about it. I definitely didn't run well (my EV line is $11k higher than my profit line) and it sure as hell still felt like February, but hey at least I booked a little profit. Getting that monkey off my back feels pretty good for sure.

At the same time I'm not happy with how I played this month, I give myself a B/B- overall on my quality of play. I've been struggling with managing my sessions lately. I usually work at least 12 hours a day on DragTheBar so when it comes time to play poker I struggle in a few areas. The first is that it can be hard to clear my head of all the DTB stuff going on, and if someone im's me during a session, that floods my poker analysis while I'm playing with business issues. I've talked to Jared about how to more effectively separate the two because I feel thats really important, but like anything else I need a little more practice before I'm really good at focusing 100% on either one or the other. It hasn't even been a year since we started DTB, and the workload has been at this pace for probably 4 or 5 months, so I'm still adjusting to it. Don't get my wrong, I love it and as a poker player and coach, there's nothing better, but I've also never worked harder in my life and with that will always come a learning process and some adjustments. I'm hoping I can successfully make those adjustments sooner than later.

Another issue that I'm trying to dial in is the number of tables I play. I used to play 8 tables at the most, but I rotated my two 30" monitors vertically recently so now they can each hold 8 tables instead of 6 (I like the default table size) and its far easier to play 12 tables with the vertical monitors than the horizontal ones. Anyway, I get into this mindset where because I often have only a couple hours a day to play poker, I think I need to play as many tables as I can to get my hands in. I've also never attempted 16 tables before, and its actually not that bad, but its definitely a few too many because I stop looking for the creative play, find myself just clicking a lot of buttons, and then my red non-showdown winnings line (which is usually around even) starts to dive. I need to find my optimum number, 10 tables is no problem, but 16 is definitely too many, so I'm thinking 12 is probably a safe bet. So there's been some trial and error with that. Because I was playing 16 tables a lot this month, I got a lot of hands in, but between running bad and not playing my a-game the profit doesn't reflect the number of hands I played. One cool thing about stretching myself with 16 tables for a few weeks is that I can play 10 tables like its 6 now, and 10 tables is still a ton of hands.

Lastly, I'm often pretty tired when I sit down for a session. Since I had that health issue last fall I wasn't working out much, so I'm trying really hard to get back in shape to up my energy levels. Also, I just realized I didn't update everyone on the medical stuff, I went to Indianapolis (where I grew up) in the beginning of February to see a world class cardiologist. My dad is an ER doctor and knows this guy, so I was very lucky to be able to sit down with him. He said I could immediately stop taking the beta-blockers that were prescribed to me and basically said as long as I stay hydrated, I should be fine and not have any more fainting episodes, and if I do, then up my salt intake by a few hundred % (start taking salt pills) so that my body holds more water, and that will do it. I feel sooooo much better now, the beta-blockers were rough and made feel absolutely exhausted all day every day. So anyway, I need to work on not playing if I am too tired, Stosh wrote a great blog on this subject.

So basically I have some things to work on that will help my results a lot once I get them under control. Bottom line is that long run, our results are our responsibility, so if yours aren't what you want them to be, keep looking for reasons that might contribute to that, and then fix those problems. My life is a lot different now than it was several months ago, so I just have to do a better job of focusing 100% on poker when I'm playing a session, and I have to not over-extend myself in terms of how many tables I'm playing. I'm not afraid to admit that I was knocked off my a-game for most of the month, it happens to everyone from time to time, and while it pisses me off to see my results diluted by 40k hands of mediocre play, as long as I learn some things along the way that will help me in the future, then it wasnt a wasted effort. Until next time.

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The Streak Is In Serious Danger

Posted by Leatherass

All right, so here we go. 3 days left in the February and I am down slightly on the month. I am in danger of my first losing month of my career. I have shown a profit each and every month since April of 2005. That is 57 straight months of making money at the tables and probably my most prized accomplishment in poker. There may be someone else who has done better than that, but either way, I am intent on keeping the streak alive.

I suppose the classy thing to say would be to say that I have played poorly this month or that I have lost my focus. But I feel saying that would diminish the hard work of the poker Gods. They have tugged on my doom switch and held onto it with some kind of kung fu grip that I can’t seem to get them to let go of.

In all seriousness, I am very proud of both the way I have played and how I have dealt with this emotionally. Never in my career of well over 7 million hands of poker have I seen anything like what I have experienced this month. I still am in shock that Ashton Kutcher hasn’t popped out of my closet and told me I was being punked!

Most of the long bad runs I have endured have come with some excitement. I may break even for 100k hands, but within those 100k hands, I have had numerous big upswings followed by a downswing. Those are emotional roller coasters as well, don’t get me wrong, but at least there are typically some periods of feeling like you know what you are doing. In this particular stretch, I would liken it to death by 1,000 paper cuts. I basically run about $6k behind EV every day and lose a little each day. My biggest upswing of the last 2 weeks is 5 buy ins!! This is not a joke. 5 buy ins!!

What is done is done. I can’t go back in time and undo bad beats or a lack of upswings. All I can do is play my best and hope that I am given something more than a lump of coal for my efforts. I am not sure what is at stake other than my own pride. I suppose if we kept official records like MLB or the NBA, it is possible that the 57 straight winning months streak might be some sort of record that was in jeopardy for me, but since we don’t, it is just my own personal competitiveness at stake here. I HATE losing. And I really HATE losing over a month’s time. But I suppose if it ends at 57, it will still have been a pretty good run and I know I will have gone out swinging.

Well, I’m off to the tables now. Going to play at least 20,000 hands before the end of the month so I do have some time. That being said, I am pretty deflated right now and while I feel confident about my game and it’s ability to go on a massive heater to end the month, I have stared at bad beats pretty much all month, so many of them in fact that it is almost hard to imagine not getting unlucky. It has almost become a way of life this month haha. But I know I can’t think like that. I have to envision great plays and the cards falling my way. With 20,000 hands left, there is still time.

I will keep everyone updated on the outcome.

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Thinking about goals

Posted by zerosum79

Its time AMIRITE? Here's to hoping not to run into a variance nightmare.


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Information Overload IV: Conclusion

Posted by zerosum79

This thread is dedicated to the discussion of this series.

Mostly I find it fascinating that throughout a whole human lifetime people are so out of touch with the way they make decisions. But as poker players we constantly analyze the minutia of every possible outcome so understanding our decision making process becomes critical.


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Purpose Reprised

Posted by GiantBuddha

December 24th, 2009:

"After reading some of Dusty’s blogs and half watching It’s A Wonderful Life for the nineteenth time, I remembered that I’d really like to do some things that help people in my lifetime. And a lot of those things take money."

This was one of my motivations for cranking up the volume this year. I felt like I had a purpose. However, this purpose was vague until recently: play lots of hands, make lots of money, help some people out. To explain how this purpose has become personal and particular, I first have to take you back 23 years to the day.

February 24th, 1987:
It was around 11 AM on a bright and cold Tuesday when the phone rang. I had stayed home from school, so I snapped up the phone. When the doctor asked to speak to my mom, I knew I would never see my dad again. I waited for confirmation while my mom talked on the line in the other room, but I knew. That was when I learned to read someone by the tone of their voice.

I was eight. For the next ten (twenty?) years, my mom did everything in her power to make sure I got what I needed to grow up happy and healthy. We had great friends, generous family, and quality schools. These things mean a great deal, and they make a huge difference. But they say a boy needs his father. Well, that's not exactly true. We need food, water, and shelter. But a father sure is a fantastic luxury to have, and one that should never be taken for granted by anyone.

So how does this give me purpose now? A few weeks ago I found out that my mom's friend's daughter's husband Johan has metastasized kidney cancer. He and Stephanie have four children. If he receives standard treatment, he might have one or two more years to spend with them. However, there is a high-cost treatment available that could give him a chance to see his kids grow up, and give his kids the chance to grow up with two loving parents. The treatment is expensive, but some things are priceless.

I have decided to take four weeks out of my life to do nothing but play and study poker. I will not be leaving my building for twenty-eight days. I will be playing over 300 hours of poker, and studying another 30 plus hours. I will be recording daily video blogs, plus short daily poker videos which will be available only here on Drag the Bar. How on earth is this related?

Well, my plan is to try to get action on some sort of prop bet. If I win, the money goes to Johan's treatment. If I lose, whatever. If I don't get any action because quarantining myself to play twice as many hours as I ever have in a month is not enough of a challenge, then I'll simply make a donation myself 28 days later.

If you would like to donate or find out more about Johan and Stephanie, here are some links:

Stephanie's blog:

Johan's blog:

Donation site:

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Running Hot in February!

Posted by James Davis

Hey folks. Well, I know February is not technically over yet, but I am riding high after a nice day today so I figured there was no time like the present to post to the old blog. I will probably lose 20k in the next 2 days, so I will pre-empt that by talking about the month's results to date instead!

It was another nice one for me. I managed about 45k so far this month thanks to a 12k day today. I ran well over all-in EV today to the tune of about 8k, but you'll never hear me complain about having good luck. I made a few nice plays, including a hand that played out this way:

I had TTKK and raised UTG. I had the Ks. CO, BTN, and SB all called and the flop was Ts9s7d. The sb lead into us for the pot. He was a straightforward player, and I was sure he had J8. I called, and the button called quickly. The turn was a 5s. The sb checked immediately, I checked, and the button checked really fast. The river was a 6d. The sb checked again, I contemplated a bluff, but didn't want to sb to be pot controlling a J high flush or something similar. Maybe I should have bluffed here, but I didn't. The button instantly potted it. The sb folded quickly, and now I am thinking...he can't have the A high flush. He would have bet the turn. I have the Ks. Is he really potting a smaller flush than that? If he had a straight, he would just check and hope it was I called. He had KQJ2 and I was good.

In another, I raise button with Kd4d8s9s, and the sb and bb calls in a PLO cap game. I've been experimenting more with PLO and having a pretty good time, btw. So the flop comes 4c, 7s, Td. The turn is the 2s, and the sb checks again. The bb now insta pots, and I call. The bb is a bluffy donk, and the sb is straightforward. I figure if the sb had anything, he would have bet. He folded. The river was the 7c and the bb instantly bets around 1/2 the pot. I didnt think he would do this with a 7(he'd bet more), and i didn't think he'd bother to bet with a T. And if he did, I think he would at least think before betting. I was a little worried he'd bluff a better hand than mine, but I was getting a good enough price that I called, and he had 9845 and I took it down. There are a lot of fun hand reading spots in PLO, and I am really enjoying them.

The thing I have been most proud about this year is my diligence in playing. I've played nearly 100k hands in 2 months, which is just a ton for me. The motivation of the kid being on the way has helped a lot, I think, as I have wasted far less time doing nothing during the day. I'll play about 2k hands every day from 10-2 or so, and that still leaves me plenty of time for my house-husbandly duties. It's amazing what a little motivation can do for your game, as I've been studying more, talking to people about poker more, and just focusing more in general. I honestly think this blog has helped a lot, since I don't want to come back here with my hat in my hand explaining away a losing month while secretly knowing it was due to me playing bad. I encourage you guys to have someone to hold you accountable to playing a lot, or not tilting, or whatever. It has certainly helped me a lot, and I've been at this 6 years now.

Til next time!


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Exciting First Day

Posted by Jared Tendler

Today is an exciting day. Not only is it my first day here at it’s also the day that my new SN/SNE program is released. The combination of the two has me fired up even though the weather in NY today is dreary.

Coming to DTB, is something that is really well timed in my career. It gives me the ability to work in an environment with a lot of flexibility and room to expand how I deliver unique content to all of you. That starts with the SN/SNE program, and I have plenty more in the works.

My goal here at DTB is to create the home for poker psychology. The program I’ve refined over the past couple years from my study and work with poker players is in the final stages of being complete. A program that has helped thousands already to eliminate tilt, reduce fear/anxiety, improve confidence motivation and focus, deal with the realities of variance, play more hours and tables, and actually improve their poker skill, has again been improved.

What makes the program so unique is that it puts clear logic and strategy to the mental game - words that aren’t often used when talking about it. The bottom line is once you understand some basic principals about the mind, emotions, learning, and performance – improvement get really really straightforward, logical and just makes sense.

My program is something I’ve been working on for the past 10 years. It started in a very different form and in a completely different sport.

As a golfer in college on a track to playing professional golf, I was derailed by my own mental struggles in the elite national events. Sports psychology was pretty new back then and what was available to me helped at all times except where I needed it most – in the big pressure spots. Despite the urging of friends and family, I wasn’t about to just try to play professionally knowing I had these problems, but I was convinced there was a better way and if I found it I’d either cure myself and play professionally or have a career.

Turns out they both came true, but my stint as a professional golfer was short lived in part because of poker.

The story from then to now is a long one. Taking me through a 5th year of college to add a psychology major, a graduate degree in psychology, 2 years of post grad work to be licensed, starting my own golf psychology business in AZ, working with 100’s of golfers including PGA and LPGA tour players, fixing my own issues and playing 5 professional golf events, meeting/working with Dusty, joining Stoxpoker, working with 100’s of poker players, to now joining DTB.

The cliff notes hides the incredible amount that I’ve learned from over that time, and more recently in poker. My program was solid from my work with golfers, but there were still lose ends. Ends that I never could have guessed would be tied together from poker, but it makes sense when you look at the premium that is placed on the quality of your mental game in poker mostly because of variance.

So starting with the SN/SNE program I’ll be rolling out what I’ve learned. Because making SNE is a major challenge that means there’s a huge premium placed on having the right information for you. So I’ve come up with a way for enough players’ to get customized instruction. Being just one person that’s hard to give to thousands of players, but I think I’ve found a way. By combining high level videos, dedicated forum, Webinars, and the SNE Project, the gap between working with me directly and just a video can be filled. Of course ultimately my performance is judged by you.

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Faith and BumHunters….

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

Well, 1 month after declaring that I’m going to be blogging more, I finally get around to posting another one. That’s 5 in 5 months. Consistent☺ Well, I’m stepping it up to (at least) weekly after this!

I’d like to nod in agreement with a couple of blogs by fellow coaches.

Giant Buddha makes a great point that every path to improvement usually involves challenges and sometimes failures. When athletes change their mechanics (golf swing, basketball shot, baseball pitching/hitting, football throwing), they usually have some struggles early before eventually internalizing the changes and coming out improved. Businesses normally face some backlash when they introduce changes, and investing is essentially taking a financial and efficiency hit now to reap multiplied benefits later. The key, that many don’t understand, is keeping the faith and embracing it all as part of the process. This year I’m going to focus on enjoying the process and smile when ‘struggle’, ‘failure’, and ‘negative variance’ happen, because I know they are really disguises for growing pains and opportunities to improve and become wiser.

I also have to totally concur with Hunter and Dusty’s takes on Bumhunting. It’s laughable that it has any derogatory connotation wrt Poker. It would be like saying in the business world that “target marketing” is so un-manly and cowardly. Bill Gates is no ****-swinger for targeting PC wholesalers and easy marks like consumers that are likely going to pay him for his products. Now, if he had gone north and sold Windows to every Eskimo in Canada and Alaska, he would be a real man! Not a billionaire, but a champion in the minds of minions☺ LOL. Poker is a business too. I guess I’m a Live Bumhunter, since I’ve chosen to live in Panama and play a lot of cash games and tournaments in Latin America instead of try and travel the WPT Circuit. Surprisingly, the money still spends the same no matter if I took it from a famous poker pro, or a Latin businessman. And, I’m still waiting for a Latina to blow me off because I’m a Bumhunter.

It took me a while to get organized this year, but I'm getting there now that Carnival is over here in Panama, so in the next post I'm going to talk about goal setting and poker. Maybe I'll throw in some random panama stuff and a couple pics, as well.


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All In EV

Posted by QTip

All in EV

So, we’ve all heard about this number a lot in sick graphs, etc. I don’t really spend a lot of time looking at mine; however, I got AA and KK cracked a ton of times today, and I was feeling a little despondent. So, I gave in to my demons and searched my all in EV. Now, I went ahead and looked at it with the filter set to “all in preflop = true”. This would give me a good feel for how things were really going this year in terms of true all in situations PF. Well, sure enough, this year I’m down 17 buyins in EV from all in preflop. So, I started to feel sorry for myself. Then I thought, well, let me check everything in this database. There are a fair number of hands in this database…somewhere around 1.3 million hands. Well…turns out I don’t have much to cry about. Here’s the graph for that:

So, I’m a pretty big luck box over a lot of hands. I was also interested to see that there were only like 4500 times I was all in pf with this sample…especially considering I’m normally tangling with shorties pretty often. So, as is so often the case, when I look at a larger sample, I can stop the pity party. It’s a shame because I was getting ready to open the bubbly. But, you can at least see the sharp decline at the end of that graph and understand why I was in the check out line for some streamers. I’d be interested in seeing some of your graph for all in PF EV.

Tomorrow I’m releasing the beginning of a new video series called The NLHE Treasure Chest. I’m excited about the content that will be in there. I’ve launched a lot of series now, so I have to actually start filling in some of the blanks in the other series I have going.

I’ve been messing with backgammon a little bit everyday and both that game is fun. If you’ve not checked out Robertie’s series on backgammon, you’re really missing a ton of fun. I plan on spending more time on this game and maybe join a tournament here or there.

I also just returned from a trip to Costa Rica to celebrate my 12-year anniversary with my wife. We had a fantastic time, so I’ll have to blog about that in a day or so.

Enjoy your games.


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Dealing With Variance

Posted by GiantBuddha

I played a show last night with my band, Villain's Lament. We played a pretty good show for an awesome crowd. Jared Tendler showed up, and it was great to meet him, particularly on a day that I was dealing with some serious negative variance.

The club's stage was tiny and rickety, and their outlets were so worn that the power strip I was plugged into repeatedly worked its way out from the wall. It's hard to rip it up on guitar when your amp keeps flickering on and off. On top of that, I had both cable and pedal issues so bad that I actually ripped them out of the signal chain for our closing cover of Paradise City. In spite of these technical issues, I managed to play well enough and actually enjoy the show.

I think I've mentioned that I hate February. Well, it hasn't been doing much to redeem itself. Outside of joining Drag the Bar (which I'm still exceedingly psyched about), things have been bleak. I've hit the first 500 Big Bet downswing of my poker career. Intellectually, I know that it's quite likely to suffer such a downer despite playing your best with a solid edge over the competition. If you play long enough, these things will eventually happen. I also know that I have not been consistently playing my A game this month, so I can take some responsibility for my poor results.

I think it's critical to recognize that things are rarely either/or. It's not that I'm either running bad, or I'm playing less than my best. I know that I'm playing my A game less often than I did last month, but I also know that I'm running as poorly as I ever have in my life. My absurdly low W$SD is evidence of that.

It's also critical to keep things in perspective. For instance, in a five year period my mom lost her mother, father, brother and sister. All this was only seven years after my dad died, leaving her to raise me on her own. Some people are born with missing limbs, senses, or mental faculties. A lot of those people don't spend their whole lives feeling sorry for themselves, so why should I? Having a little perspective makes it pretty hard to stay upset about losing a few hundred Big Bets, or having a guitar amp cut in and out.

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Quitting can be the most +ev play.

Posted by Stosh McConnell


I'm typing this late Saturday night (early Sunday actually). I was invited down to the city for the night by friends, but decided I would be a good grinder and play some poker instead. Ok, fine. After going through my pre-poker rituals, I sat down at my computer at about 6pm. I wasn't really liking many of the mid/high stakes games, but got did find a few decent tables to get on the waiting list. Meanwhile, I decided to screw around at some microstakes Rush PLO. After awhile it became apparent that good NL games were slim. I have found Saturday nights to be slow, so this wasn't a shock. After playing for a while, I decided to order the UFC PPV and watch that instead of playing. I told myself that afterwards, I'd sit down and put some hands in. Fair enough.

Once the UFC PPV was over it was time to hit the tables. I sat down and quickly found a seat at 6-7 good NL tables. Something felt off. Since I watched all those fights I was a little jazzed. I began bluffing and throwing chips around without thought. My thought process was non-existant. I tried to settle myself by listening to some calm meditation music. That didn't work. Crap.

It was time to call it a night. I wasn't playing my A-game. I'm a tad irritated that I missed a night out in Philadelphia with my friends and didn't even play much poker. Oh well, on the other hand, I'm proud of myself for being that in tune with my body. I quickly realized my head was in the wrong place, tried to work through it, failed, and did the next best thing. The next best thing was to quit for the night.

I don't think most poker players have that sort of self-discipline. You really need to look down deep and ask yourself these sorts of questions all the time if you wish to succeed in poker. Be aware of your mental state at all times. So after telling myself that I'd play all night, my total is 381 hands, for +$230.45. Not exactly the large volume I had hoped for. Oh well. Even though I set a goal for the night and didn't even approach playing a full days worth of hands, I'm still proud of myself for knowing it just wasn't best for me to play.

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Everyone Runs Like Garbage From Time to Time

Posted by Leatherass

Other than yesterday’s tourney score (which despite the tourney win, I am pretty sure I still lose money on the day), I have been on one of the top 5 worst runs of my career. Some people ask me what happens during very bad runs and mainly what has happened this particular time is that I am very rarely running a big hand into another slightly weaker big hand and another huge reason for running bad is that I am running into the top end of my opponent’s range nearly every time.

So what I mean by running into the top end of my opponent’s range is that let’s say against an aggressive opponent I raise a hand like AT. The flop comes T56 with 2 spades. I bet and get check/raised. Now there are games out there where you can consider folding, but at high stakes the check/raise is air quite often and mostly draws. So AT is a pretty big hand against what they usually have. So you can get it in on the flop or call and get it in on a lot of turns or play it a variety of different ways depending on the stack size. Well, what keeps happening is that my opponents have a set seemingly every time lately. When they don’t have a set, they have a flush draw that gets there.

Bottom line is that I just can’t win a pot right now and I am in some serious jeopardy of recording my first losing month of my career. I have never had a losing month primarily because I play so much poker that it is really hard to lose money over 100-200 thousand hands in a month. I have had tons of nasty 100k+ hand streaks where I have broke even or lost, but they have all come from the middle of one month to the middle of another month, so I have always scratched out a nice paycheck each month. While I have to think that over the next 7 days things will turn around, I am not optimistic given how deflated I am right now.

One thing people often don’t think about is that it is a great disadvantage in poker to run poorly. Now I know what you are thinking. “Of course it is a disadvantage to run bad in poker duh.” But what I mean by that is beyond the obvious reasons it is a disadvantage to run bad, there is also the reason where when you are getting all of the money in in a dicey spot and running into the nuts all the time, you aren’t learning anything about your opponent’s game, yet they are learning all kinds of things about your game. All you can see is their top set type of hand and they are seeing your entire range of hands since you are getting the money in with all sorts of stuff. So it is a MASSIVE disadvantage to run as bad as I am running because there is no question that people are learning things about me and I am gaining little to nothing on my opponents lately.

It is also a huge disadvantage because we are not robots playing poker here. We are human beings and when it feels like you run every damn hand you play into the stone cold nuts, all of a sudden when someone raises you on the flop your instinct is to not want to play back at your opponent with hands you might fight back with when you are not running poorly. After all, who the hell wants to play back at someone who has the nuts every hand?

So anyway, a lot of why I wrote this was not to whine (after 7+ million hands, it still is painful, but I am definitely getting used to it), but rather to let you guys know that everyone runs like total **** from time to time and for very long periods periodically. I know a lot of you watch TV and see guys like Doyle or Ivey and just assume that they print money every time they are at the table. That is far from the case. These people have (I can’t verify this, but am certain I am not wrong) all had massive ups and downs in their careers and while they may not want to admit it, I am certain they have felt at one point or another that maybe they will never win again or that they have lost their touch etc. The thing is, it happens to everyone and if you are getting endlessly screwed at the tables right now, you are not alone, trust me.

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Had A Nice Tourney Score Today

Posted by Leatherass

A couple of blogs ago I talked about making a run at the WSOP this summer. Since then I have thought about it some more and I am definitely doing it. It really sounds fun to me for once. Having had some success online, it has always made me wonder how I might do out there with the real bad asses like Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey etc. At this point in my poker career I am a NL holdem specialist, can play mid stakes PLO profitably, and could eek out a living at Stud HI/lo and PLO Hi/lo. So by no means am I proficient enough to play a well rounded player like a Brunson or Ivey, but I feel pretty good about my NL game overall.

The last couple of days I have begun entering tournaments online and had my first victory today! I won the $109, $40,000 guarantee for a nice $9,000 score. It was pretty thrilling to win a tournament because I am used to simply grinding out cash all day, so I don’t really get any thrills out of that. But to actually win a tournament felt pretty cool to be honest.

I can’t let this go to my head though and feel like I got this tournament thing down and don’t need to prepare very hard for the WSOP. I know that I have a very long way to go before I can expect to make confident decisions at the WSOP tables. I mean, I know I could kinda just show up to the WSOP and expect to do OK, but I don’t like to do anything just OK, I like to try and see what I am capable of.

Anyway, thought I would post this little brag since I never do anything worth a crap in tournaments and it felt pretty good to win a tournament, even if it was a smallish event.

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Posted by GiantBuddha

In 2002 I went to Korea with a few intrepid Taekwon-Do classmates. We went to train with the national selection team, which included World Champions and at least one Olympic Gold Medalist. While they practiced more of a sport than a martial art, their training was absolutely brutal. It wasn't any particular exercise they did, but rather the sheer volume of kicks. Between the morning and afternoon sessions, we were throwing over a thousand kicks a day. This can tighten up the hamstrings a little.

After our last morning session at Olympic Stadium, we went out to the track to take pictures. Being on the same field that the best athletes in the world had competed for the gold on was inspiring. Knowing that I might never get another opportunity, I asked if we could take a lap.

A couple of the other guys and I took off at a modest pace. After a quarter lap, the tallest among us started to pull away with long, loping strides. Being a somewhat competitive person, I took off at a dead sprint. I ran the rest of the way as fast as I could. It turns out that there's a reason they train and pace themselves; I was dying. My German friend passed me around the last turn. He had actually trained as a runner and was laying back until the end.

I pushed myself as hard as I could, but my legs were heavy from the thousands of kicks. It wasn't a question of will. My body gave everything it had, and I stumbled past the lane numbers barely a foot behind my friend. The first thought through my mind was how unbelievably brutal it must feel to train your whole life for one chance to win and to come up inches short.

Last night I was watching the Men's Olympic Skating. The gold and bronze medalists were beaming from ear to ear. But all the silver medalist could manage was a false smile. He was more than disappointed to fall a hair's breadth shy of the gold. I've done well at the various pursuits I've engaged in over the years, but I've never reached the apex of my field. Nothing's ever felt like it was quite enough to be satisfied with. However, if I'm fortunate enough to finish second at the WSOP someday, I hope I'm able to enjoy the $5M I win and not focus on the extra $3M that I didn't.

As for that day in 2002, soon it was time for the afternoon practice, where I found out what it really meant to reach back for something extra. I threw on an extra sweatshirt for training, and soaked it through. There's nothing like losing to whet the appetite for hard work.

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My First (And Second) Video For DTB

Posted by GiantBuddha

I just completed my first two Drag the Bar videos this weekend, and the first one came out today. I spent about 10 hours on one and 6 or 7 hours on the next. I'm not exactly a model of efficiency. It would be accurate to say that I'm something of a perfectionist. I could have spent twice as long on each and still not been completely satisfied, but I think the end product should be up to standards. As a musician, I'm used to spending 20 plus hours recording a 3 minute song, so poker videos seem like a bargain to me.

My first video is a stand alone titled Learning How To Learn. Aside from two Limit Holdem book recommendations, the video is intended for players of all games and levels. The general premise is that you should have a plan for how you're going to work on your game. If you want to be more efficient in your study habits, check it out.

My second video is the start of my series The Sixth Star, which follows my 2010 journey to Supernova Elite. Each video begins with a short power point snippet summarizing a few things I do to facilitate playing lots of hands. Like my first video, these segments should be universally applicable to players of all game types. The first one is pretty basic (yet critical), but future topics may be less intuitive. The video continues with some live 4 tabling action on Stars, followed by an in depth session review. How long the series goes on will depend entirely on how long it takes me to get my SNE. February has been a bit slow, but I have something thoroughly insane planned for March/April, so I should be making good headway at that point.

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People’s crazy Obsession With The Word Bumhunter

Posted by Leatherass

I feel like in the last few blogs there have been some pretty interesting stuff to talk about in the poker world. I don’t know why, but I just hear the dumbest things being said that make absolutely no sense lately. A few days ago I talked about Doyle and how he’s basically the man and somehow gets picked on by random guys who may have went on a $50k heater playing mid stakes and got a bunch of 2+2 cred…lol.

Then I noticed that Boywonder was getting flack when he pretty much destroys all of the regulars at his game and they are too prideful to try and figure out why. Much easier to just try and tear the guy down obviously. That almost seems like the substitute in our lazy culture these days. Can’t actually beat someone, no problem, just hop on an internet forum and tear them down! Why not? Spending that time trying to figure out how to beat them is for pussies. Why do that when you can sit behind a computer screen on an anonymous account and make **** up about that person? That’s the way the real stud puppies do it!!!

For quite awhile the fictitious issue of “bumhunting” has existed. I think AEjones may have been the person to first coin the term for 6-9 max players. For quite awhile he targeted me as the biggest “bumhunter” on the internet by telling everyone who would listen to him that my only real skill in poker was that I “bumhunted.” I suppose he felt it was advantageous to him as someone who had his own training site to try and tear me down as I worked for a competitor of his. Calling someone a “bumhunter” who regularly 16+ tables high stakes poker online was a comical claim to begin with for obvious reasons, but then a strange thing happened yesterday. He recently hired a internet phenom names Boywonder and Boywonder, much like myself, also plays high stakes poker across many, many tables. And when his prized new hire was getting flamed in the 2+2 forums for being a “bumhunter”, there was Mr AEjones defending him to death using all the same arguments that he argued against so passionately in the past.

I will say I have seen a ton of really pathetic things since I have become a poker player, but AEjones really is competing for top honor in spending like 2 years calling me out for a bunch of nonsense and now that the same nonsense is being said about his prized new hire, Boywonder, now Aejones magically agrees with me that it is nonsense! Funny how that works. Sounds like AEjones does what is best for AEjones, truth be dammed!

Before any of this happened, I have for quite some time been thinking about writing about why the issue of “bumhunting” is so ludicrous. But then I saw my friend Hunter Bick who is the CEO of write about it better than I ever could have.

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The obsession with the word "Bumhunter," and why it makes no sense

Posted by Hunter Bick

The obsession with the word "Bumhunter," and why it makes no sense
The term "bumhunter" gets thrown around like crazy these days, and it basically makes no sense at all. Originally the term was coined to describe someone who sits around waiting for heads up action, but refuses to play anyone who is not a total fish. Then it started to mean someone who only plays bad players but not anyone good, so the meaning started applying to more and more people, but the concept remained the same: heads up player who only plays weak players. Some people look down on that, which is their right, but then they bash bumhunters for their high winrate and high earnings by saying they suck at poker because they bumhunt. Alright fine, I don't really agree with that, but at least there's a reasonable thought process behind that argument when it applies only to heads up players.

But now the word "bumhunter" is thrown around like crazy at 6max players. How is it even possible to bumhunt at 6max? The very nature of 6max, and the reason I'm getting back into it, is that you simply cannot avoid playing with good players if they are at your table. You have to play pots with them, period. So the answer to that question is, well if there's a fish and 4 regs at the table, then you're bumhunting. That's just ridiculous, it literally makes no sense.

So what are the criteria for being a 6max bumhunter? Here are the reasons that seem to make up the prevailing "wisdom" and why they are so ridiculous.

#1. They only sit at tables with fish.

First off, why would sitting at a table with 5 other players be a particularly profitable situation? Are we trying to make money at poker or are we here to measure various body parts? I didn't realize that the egos of online poker players have eclipsed their greed. If that's what's happened, then poker just got a lot more profitable.

Secondly, a "fish" on most midstakes tables is someone who's playing a 35 vpip. Thats probably not a profitable style for them, but they are by no means a 60/5 type guy who is bleeding money. Yet even if you make the effort to find tables with one weak player, 80% of your competition is still good thinking players. So if you have a winrate of 3 or 4 BB/100 and are one of the top earners at your limit, despite the fact that everyone tries to find weak players (why else are the waiting lists long when Scout shows up), then you are a bumhunter and suck at poker. The fact is when 80% of your competition are tough, good players and you never have an edge against them, you can't win at 3 BB/100 just by having one fish at your table. This whole train of thought makes absolutely no sense

#2. They leave as soon as the fish leaves, and this in turn is bad for games.

Let's get something straight. EVERYONE does this at mid/high stakes. Everytime I play a session, I'll open what looks like a good table from the lobby, only to find the entire table sitting out. Or I'll notice that one of my 12 tables is not running because the fish sat out, so everyone else did too. People don't even wait for their big blind anymore, they just sit out. This is STANDARD, everyone does it, so singling out anyone specific as a bum hunter when they do this is simply ridiculous. I mean, when Scout leaves the game does everyone keep playing? Of course not, he's driving the action, and he's why everyone is there. This is just how poker works, but suddenly everyone is a bum hunter if they decide to waste their time playing a bunch of other good regulars instead of using that time to find a more profitable table? Some say that you should play an orbit to "keep the game going." Who cares if that one table keeps going or not, there are plenty to choose from, we're online here, its not like we're in a casino where if our table breaks we might have to wait two hours to get another seat.

And how is this bad for the games? A fish leaves, the table breaks. A new fish shows up elsewhere, the table fills up, the waiting list fills up, the fish busts, everyone clears out, and this process repeats itself. This is how its always been, at least since early 2004 when I started playing. And if this is actually somehow bad for the games, why aren't the games dead when everyone behaves in this exact manner, and has for years?

#3. They don't help start new tables.

This one is just flailing, here's why. Everyone knows one of the easiest ways to get a seat with a fish is to start a new table, this is online 6max poker 101. Fish don't sign up for waiting lists, they grab the first seat they see. As a result, starting a new table gets them to sit with you, this is basic obvious stuff. So wouldn't it stand to reason that any "bumhunter" would be starting lots of new tables? The argument against that is they "hate playing shorthanded or heads up." Maybe they can't handle a HU match against a good player while playing 12 tables? They know that, but they also know they are walking away from a potentially +EV spot if a fish shows up. So how exactly are they bumhunting when they pass up this opportunity?

I might be one of the few people who often welcomes heads up action when the table dies against a regular, simply because I've played so much HU that I think I have a HU edge when we both have 12 6max tables going. But the fact is if I'm in a couple tough spots elsewhere, its often better to just close the HU table so I can focus on the big-pot decisions. But when someone plays 3 HU hands against me and then quits, do I think less of him as a person? Do I lose respect for his 6max game? Do I rush to 2+2 to call him out? Of course not, he's making the best EV decision for his current situation and doesn't want to play heads up or 3 handed while he has a bunch other tables open. How is this not common sense? Why is this such a big deal?

Here's the final reason this take is so ridiculous. Since when were there a shortage of mid-stakes games going on Stars and FTP? Why is everyone all of a sudden so concerned about starting new tables? Why does anyone care about this? Until you get to $10/$20 there are plenty of games going, and new tables fill up quickly. I guess I didn't get the memo that outlined that as a professional poker, one of my obligations is to play with other professionals to start new tables because the 150 already sitting there aren't enough.

#4. They only buy in for enough to cover the fish.

Again, this is standard, smart gambling. Barry Greenstein, in his book "Ace on the River," page 96 said this: "If you are serious about making money, don't put yourself in situations where you can lose a lot and win a little." So if $10/$20 is above your bankroll, but there's a fish with $1k on the table, should you not sit because you aren't comfortable putting $2k on the table or should you sit with $1100 to cover the fish? No one's short-stacking for 20bbs to cover another short-stacking fish, that's just ridiculous and its not the issue here. If the fish has $1k on this table and you buy-in for $2k, the most you can win from the fish is $1k, but you can lose $2k to a good player. That's not a very good option in general, especially if the limit is higher than your normal game. So why not put in enough to cover the fish while also protecting your bankroll? Since when did everyone hate 50bb stacks so much? They don't ruin games like 20bb shortstackers do. What exactly is the problem here.


So for some reason certain people get singled out for being 6max bumhunters. My friend and fellow coach Leatherass is famous for it. Now BoyWonder, another very, very good player, has recently been attacked for the same thing. The Dang brothers also get mentioned in the list.

It is just getting completely out of control, there is a horde of people who are attacking individuals for being "bumhunters" when the term itself and the reasons for the criticisms simply make no logical sense. Maybe it has to do with what these guys have in common. Their work ethic to improving their game, their high win rates over large samples of hands, and the fact that they are all 7-figure winners at poker.

Is this where we are as an online poker society? Anyone who works their ass off to develop a strong game and then makes a million doing it is automatically marginalized, trivialized, and blasted for it? Simply because people have seen them leave the table with the fish, the same way everyone else does? Somehow that makes their results meaningless and their talents irrelevant? Are these not people that we all can learn something from? We shouldn't respect their poker game and their big win rates for absurd reasons like this?

I'm gonna wrap this up with 2 quotes from an aejones post from a recent 2+2 thread:

"It would be impossible to bumhunt 50k hands a month, but table selecting (and especially position selecting) is certainly not a punishable offense." -aejones

I'd like to thank him for clearing this up, since 50k hands in a month for an online pro is a joke. Oh yeah, his favorite "bumhunter" of all time, Leatherass, who aejones attacks and berates at every opportunity in his videos and on 2+2, plays at least twice that many hands every month and has for years.

The rest of his post is pretty good too and directly refutes the common bumhunting "wisdom" discussed above, all of which he's championed over the years.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to everyone not calling every good player online a bumhunter, its especially bad for those doing the attacking because they are throwing away any interest in learning from some of the best players online, and that is burning money.

Hunter Bick,


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zerosum79 Going to AC Friday for some MTT Action

Posted by zerosum79

Anybody going to be up at the end of the week on Friday? I am going to be playing MTTs at either the Borg or Harrahs.

Give me a shout out if you are going to be up.


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Information Overload III: Going with your gut

Posted by zerosum79

Discuss this blog here.

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A Run At The WSOP/Doyle’s Blog

Posted by Leatherass

I have been so busy this year so far I haven’t had much time to think about what I want to get out of 2010. I thought about playing some more competitive golf, but after such a terrible performance at Pebble Beach last week, I am just not sure the inspiration is there right now to play a ton of professional golf. So I started thinking that I have never really taken a shot at the WSOP and I kind of think it might be pretty fun and challenging at the same time.

My bread and butter has been online cash games and I have really only played poker to make money since my career began. With that in mind, I am getting the itch to rent a house for a month, bring my family along and see if I can’t make some noise at the WSOP. I am not going to make any bold predictions or even set any goals other than to simply play my best each day and see where it takes me. It would be way too presumptuous of me to believe that just because I have had a successful high stakes online cash game career that it will instantly translate into immediate success at the WSOP. I just love challenges and I think I can have a great experience at the WSOP. If something good happens, then great, but I am not going to put any pressure on myself more than I just naturally will as an ultra competitive person.

I read Doyle’s blog today and about fell out of my chair that he actually read my blog and responded to what I wrote! I certainly never thought he would read it and thought it was pretty cool that he read it and cared enough to comment on it.

That being said, I want to clarify a couple of things in there just so my thoughts are represented a little better than maybe I had presented them in my original blog.

With respect to Doyle’s quote, “My thanks to Dusty for the nice things he said about me. I didn’t really know everybody thinks these young guys are so much better poker players than me. I do know I’ve survived through several generations of new superstars. Most of them are gone now. Send this new bunch down to Bobby’s Room and let’s find out if they are really so great.” I hope I didn’t imply that all of the young online poker players think Doyle is not a great player anymore. Far from it. First off, Doyle can count me as someone who thinks the world of his game. As far as others go, I think there is a small segment of the real cocky, young (like 19 yr olds) bunch of kids who see him make a questionable play or two (which everyone does from time to time) and use that as ammunition to try and tear down someone who has been in arguably one of (if not the most) successful poker players of all time. So if you happen to be reading this blog too Doyle, this is not prevalent thought in my opinion, but rather I just notice it from time to time from some obnoxious forum tards, not anyone with half a clue.

Actually to point out one specific example, one play I hear about all the time that argues why Doyle isn’t as good as he is made out to be is actually a play that I think argues FOR why Doyle is so great. Doyle vs. Antonius
In this play Doyle has been picked on a lot for calling with a hand that can virtually never have a great amount of equity against Patrick’s shoving range. For that reason, Doyle has been picked on for making what some believe to be a clearly -EV call. But what so many people always fail to understand in poker is that poker problems CAN NOT be approached in a bubble. If you think you can put some information into a computer and it will spit out the correct decision in poker, trust me you will never be that great of a player if you believe that.

Poker is an incredibly dynamic game and every decision you make, at least in some small way, affects the results or decisions you make in the future. For example if you ship in J2o off suit pre flop against someone you play regularly against and get called by aces, it is possible that doing so, even if you knew your opponent had aces and would call every single time, may be a wildly + EV play if you think your opponent will be slow to adjust or will call you with a much wider range in the future. In a bubble, of course, it would be a bad play to put all your money in in a situation like this, but poker is not played in a bubble.

Getting back to the Doyle hand versus Antonius, Patrick had been relentlessly 3 betting Doyle and just running over the table in general. Doyle is not a man who is going to let someone else call the shots for very long, nor should he be. I was watching that tournament as a starry eyed wannabe poker player and I remember that final table very well. In fact it taught me a lot about poker. I learned from Patrick that aggression was a very valuable tool. I also learned that you have to have confidence in yourself and your game as it was apparent that both Doyle and Patrickhad had that self confidence that all of the greats have. But what I also learned is that sometimes you just have to say, “**** you I call” or “**** you I raise.” And I think Doyle was pushed to his limit at that final table with Patrick just running it over. So Doyle took a hand like 33 and simply thought, “**** you I call.”

I mean really how bad was it even if we were to approach it in a bubble? I would bet any poker stove calculations would give Doyle around 50% equity given a pair is the favorite over two overcards and Patrick was probably not much more likely to have a pair larger than 33 than he was to have A2, A3 or 22 specifically. So Doyle simply let him know that he was tired of his **** and he wasn’t going to get run over anymore. Plus Doyle is a smart enough poker player to think beyond simply that final table. I am sure he could recognize that Patrick was a potential force to be reckoned with and he may well be playing with him at Bobby’s room in the near future and he let the up and comer know that, “Look, if you think you are going to just waltz onto the scene and try and run me over on national television expecting me to just lie down and take it, you’ve got another thing coming to ya.” For all we know, Doyle may have thought that even if he lost the hand, he could use that image to take a big slice out of Antonius’ winnings back at Bobby’s room. And the quote at the end by Doyle when Patrick lost the hand was absolute gold!

Lastly, I wanted to clarify one other thing with this quote by me in my original blog post about Doyle, “The greats stand the test of time and Doyle should make no apologies for not pouring over spreadsheets and complex equations like most of the top online players do deep into his 70s when he has already done everything you can do in poker.”
I doubt anyone took this quote and thought I was picking on Doyle as it may imply that I think he has not kept up with some of the younger online players, but in case anyone did, I want to clarify my point. What I meant was as it applies specifically to online cash game poker, I do think it is possible that if Doyle threw himself into all of the 10/20 and 25/50 games at Full Tilt or PokerStars tonight, I think it is certainly possible that he may struggle briefly. I think those games are games that even a great player can stop playing for a few months and since the game evolves so quickly, get his ranges all out of whack and make some bad plays pretty easily.

BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT ONE THING, I firmly believe that if he put even a small amount of energy into it, he’d find a way to be the best player in the game in short order. I think in poker Doyle can do whatever he puts his mind to do. So for everyone out there who starts stupid threads wondering if Doyle could beat 2/4nl online and garbage like that, you know something, right off the bat I am not sure there is anyone who could expect to start tearing up the online games coming from a primarily live background. Poker is a game of adjustments and the online cash game is a pretty unique game relative to live play and anyone would struggle relative to their skill set. But great minds achieve great things in short order. And if Doyle wanted to be the best 10/20 or 25/50nl player online, you can bet I would be ready and willing to take some action from anyone who wants to bet against him.

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There’s a Reason They Call It a Grind

Posted by GiantBuddha

Or: Why I hate February.

For the first 8 years of my life, winter was my favorite season. I loved bundling up in monstrous layers of clothes and tumbling around in the rare snow storms in Manhattan. My building had a private plaza downstairs where the snow would collect and stay relatively pristine, compared to the yellow and grey mess on the streets and sidewalks.

Then on February 24th, 1987, my father died of cancer after being in and out of the hospital for six months. This was a major bummer. It was a bright and sunny day, featuring that cold winter light. 14 years later (to the day), I broke my foot on a sunny Saturday. Is it any wonder I prefer the dark?

This February began with promise, coming off of my best poker month and joining Drag the Bar. But I spent the second day of the month at the hospital, and most of the last two weeks distracted and scattered. I've only played about 13k hands this month, which would have been a decent pace for me last year. During these hands I've felt like I was running uphill, while falling downhill at the same time. I had no idea what my results were until yesterday. My guess was that I was down around $5k, but that was my cautiously pessimistic assumption. These have a tendency to be way off.

Anyway, I accidentally saw my account balance, so I figured I may as well check out my results. I opened up Holdem Manager to see that I was up over $4k! This was a pleasant surprise. I thought I was getting crushed... but wait... I had a weird filter on. Let me take that off... and it turns out I'm down over $5k on the month. Oh joy.

A closer look at my stats revealed that my WTSD was down a tick, and my W$SD had dropped 4 points. That means I'm making it to fewer showdowns and I'm winning less of from those showdowns. That's a recipe for losing. But to be honest with myself, I must admit that I haven't been on my A game very often this month. Things I'm doing wrong:
[*]Not putting in the hours on a consistent basis
[*]Not always properly warming up
[*]Not devoting my entire focus to the tables (e.g. chatting or web browsing while playing)
[*]Not properly reviewing my sessions

It looks more like I'm failing to do the things that contributed to a successful January than that I am actively doing something wrong. It would be easy to focus on the showdowns that I'm not winning, but I need to treat my game with more respect and get back to what was working before. It's time for a little R & R today, then back to the grind tomorrow. February sucks, but I still must make the most of it. After all, we only get 12 months.

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V Day

Posted by Leatherass

My wife and I had a really awesome V day yesterday. We actually got an entire day away from the baby which was absolutely fantastic. To everyone out there who has a girlfriend or is engaged or married, but has yet to have kids, well, you have no idea how good you have it! To be able to take a full day and spend it with your significant other is something I’m sure everyone takes for granted before kids, but just wait and see haha.

We had a pretty cool day. I booked a pretty cool room on the Willamette river for the day and did the whole bouquet of flowers/champagne thing. Across the street from the room was a Morton’s steakhouse so we hit that up for dinner. Some V day’s I have gone all out by booking my wife 4 hour massage packages and the whole day was filled with all the bells and whistles. This V day I just figured we both just needed to spend some quiet time together and reconnect since we have been consumed with simply trying to make life work with our high needs baby. My wife said I nailed it with simply making it a quiet day and not going all out to make it some elaborate day so yay me!!

All in all the day went perfectly and my wife is super happy. It is back to reality soon though I am sure. As I write this I can see my daughter wiggling around and making some noises. It is like watching a ticking time bomb…lol. When will she awake and begin the **** storm that is a day in the life of our high needs baby? So far so good, but I better not push my luck (or the keyboard too hard) so I will wrap it up right here.

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February is sooooooo Rigged

Posted by Hunter Bick


So here's a pretty sick coincidence. This is my 4th February as a poker pro. Each of the first 3 was my worst month ever as a pro. I've had 4 losing months in my career all of them are February. February 2006 was the first where I lost like 2k. In February 2007, I lost about 5k. Feb. of 2008 I dropped around 8k, and last February in 2009 it was close to $17k. But yeah, each February has not only been my worst month yet, but they keep getting worse, lol. Such a bizarre coincidence that it actually makes me wonder if there's seasonal depression or something else at work here. One of my really good friends offered to take a mere $5k to ensure that I didn't play at all this month, which was pretty funny.

Fortunately this month is not going nearly as bad as the others. I'm running badly of course but I'm still up something trivial like $2k over 25k hands. Normally I'd be fairly irritated but considering its February and I'm somehow winning I'm pretty stoked. Had a nasty weekend so far where everyone peeled the flop with middle pair and spiked their kicker on the turn, but whatever. I'm alright with how I played, wasn't my a-game but was ok nonetheless.

Running really well with Drag The Bar though, I'm really excited about all of our new coaches and I think they all add unique perspectives and styles, we can all learn different things from each of them. I'm gonna make some videos tomorrow, anyone who wants to see anything specific from me just pm me or make a forum post and I'll try to make it happen.

Later on guys.

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Information Overload II: Algorithmic Thinking

Posted by zerosum79

Algorithmic thinking can sometimes cut through the noise of what is and is not important when making a decision. Discuss here...


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Why Doyle is the best

Posted by Leatherass

Discuss this blog here:

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My 1st Blog

Posted by Stosh McConnell

Hey everyone!

Thanks for having me as the newest instructor at Drag The Bar. It's a real honor to be joining this staff of coaches. From the looks of it, this is just the beginning. DTB is growing at an incredible pace. I'm really motivated to be here and help you guys move up the poker ladder.

It was only a few years ago that I was a microstakes grinder. Now, with hard work and perseverance, I am beating the online mid/high stakes NL cash games. Hopefully I can help others do the same. I'm confident that DTB can give aspiring players the extra push necessary to succeed in online poker.

Knowing many of the DTB coaches personally, I can attest to what great winrates they have sustained over several years time, and continue to do so today. It is really remarkable. That is why I chose to be here over some other poker training sites. I am proud to be associated with such great players, and teachers, of poker. The future is bright.

-Stosh McConnell

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QTip: Treat Your Poker Like a Business – Wow!

Posted by QTip

I received my copy of Dusty's book, Treat Your Poker Like a Business two days ago. I just got to start it yesterday because my wife got it in the mail and sat on the couch and read a good portion of it before I had a chance to get my hands on it. This was a first in our house :) My bookshelf is no stranger to poker books, but this is the first one my wife has looked at for that long.

So, finally, last night around 1:30 am, I sat down with the book and started reading. Several times in the first 30 minutes I mumbled "Wow." I'm about a third of the way through the book, and it's already climbed to my top four favorite poker book list. This is saying a lot as I've read over 50 poker books over the last 5 years. It definitely filled a void in the poker literature field as is very engaging and well-written. The contents of the book is entirely unique and extremely inspiring. In terms of poker literature, I'd go as far as to say the material is revolutionary. It gets into the mentality of the online grinder, which I've not seen in print anywhere else. I had never heard Dusty's beginnings in poker, and it has given me a lot respect for him. His story, dedication and advice has truly inspired me to treat my poker more like a business than I have. I'm sure my finances will thank him. So, all this, and I've still 2/3 of the book left. :) Hats off, Dusty.

So, I guess from here I talk about poker books. Here are my favorites:

1. Small Stakes Hold'em: Winning Big with Expert Play - This was one of the first books I read when I was just getting serious about poker. The timing was perfect. This is one of the first books in poker literature that, imo, where one of the authors, Ed Miller, was truly a great communicator. It seemed for the first time in poker literature, the strategy was being presented in a way that anyone approaching the game could grasp it and apply it correctly. I don't believe I would have made it in poker without this book, and I've heard quite a few pros say the same thing.

2. Elements of Poker - Another revolutionary book in poker literature. Angelo presents some amazing concepts to help poker players understand the nature and mental challenges of poker. There are concepts in the book I've never seen anywhere else. The book is an absolute treasure of concepts and impacting one-liners. Of course, Tommy is an exceptional writer.

3. Treat Your Poker Like a Business - See above. From now on when someone comes to me wanting to do what I've done in poker, ordering this book will be first on my list of their tasks to complete.

4. The Mathematics of Poker - This one some people may find a bit strange in this list. However, the book is always challenging me. I've always felt it is ground-breaking in poker literature in regards to its commitment to poker being a two-step process of assumptions and quantitative analysis. It also explores range versus range thinking and the idea of balance in play. However, I don't feel the authors were great communicators, and I think improvement could definitely be made to that end. Regardless, the book is always challenging me to learn more about poker theory and someday I'll be able to truly understand more than a third of the content :)

Honorable Mentions:

Professional No-Limit Hold'em: Volume 1 - Perhaps one of the only books worth anything in terms of getting someone started in NLHE.

Inside the Poker Mind - Geared towards limits play, but never seemed to get a lot of traction in the poker world. I really enjoyed the book as a limit player.

Malmouth's Essays - This is a 3 part series. I'm not saying they're all wonderful, but there were a couple amazing concepts in each book that were so valuable to me.

Real Poker 2: The Play of Hands - Again, a limit book. I really enjoyed Cooke's writing style and the way he thought about hands.

I'm probably missing a couple here, but those are the ones that left a lasting impression on me. Of course, this is all opinions. So, I'd be interested in hearing about your favorites, etc. Catch you in the forums.

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Information Overload I

Posted by zerosum79

This is the thread dedicated to discussing my blog series information overload.


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Organizing Knowledge: I Do My Best Work In Hospitals

Posted by GiantBuddha

It's 2 AM, and I've had no more than a brief late afternoon nap in the past two days. I would like to say that this is a function of the manic excitement I'm experiencing due to the fantastic opportunity I've received from Drag the Bar. In addition to joining a top flight group of coaches, as the first Limit Hold'em coach on Drag the Bar, I have the chance to design an entire curriculum. The excitement is real and it is manic. But it is not the reason I haven't slept.

I typically go to sleep around 6 AM. But today (yesterday? last night?), I left my apartment at 6 AM for the hospital. My girlfriend's father was having heart surgery. He speaks almost no English, so she was there as a translator. I was there for moral support.

There's not a whole lot to do in a hospital when you're not sick. I brought the pages for the first section of my poker book. I tried to edit them, but my critical brain does not function well at that hour. However, sleep deprivation brings out my manic creativity. So I spent the better part of eight hours mapping out a 40+ video course while my girlfriend talked to doctors, nurses, administrators, and her father. It was a long stressful day. But his surgery was successful and he's recovering now.

The last time I spent significant hours at a hospital was for a more morbid reason, and I had poker pages with me then as well. Having something discrete to ponder can draw focus away from your concerns. And the best way to get things done is sometimes to find something worse to avoid.

This blog may be a bit of a downer considering that half of it is about excellent news that I'm thrilled about. But the good comes with the bad. That's just life.

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