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Zero to Hero

Posted by zerosum79

Discuss this blog here. I would be really excited to get any recommendations on content people would like out of this. I have a bunch of ideas but I would like this series to be interactive so the more input the better.


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10 Mile Run: A long lost goal finally in reach

Posted by zerosum79

Anyone out there currently trying to push for new goals in their life? Discuss here.


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4 More Days to Apply for FREE Coaching

Posted by Jared Tendler

This is a quick plug to remind anyone who wasn't aware about the Supernova Elite Project, that you have 4 days left to apply for free coaching with me.

For those not aware of this deal, basically as part of the SN and SNE program that I've started here, I'm going to select one player to receive free coaching with me and then slice up the audio, mix it with some PowerPoint and turn them into instructional videos for everyone else.

The deadline of the end of the day next Monday March 29th is final and no applications will be considered afterward. If you want more info or an application you can visit my website or this thread on DTB.

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50k Hands of Rush Poker 200NL Full Ring

Posted by QTip

So, I’ve been playing a fair amount of 200NL FR at Rush Poker. I just reached 50k hands there (The 200NL in HEM that don’t say Rush is before HEM started differentiating Rush and regular). This is all 4-tabling. I feel like I just sat in a beanbag, and I’m wiggling around getting adjusted with the strategy I like there. It turns out the player pool is actually fairly small in that game. I’m familiar with quite a few names there now. I need to take more notes after play because it’s difficult to take notes during play because the names disappear by the time you see the hand. Here are the results:

I’m happy with my results as you can see my all in EV is down about 1000 bbs (550 of which is all-in PF EV). This amounts to another 2 bb/100 on the winrate. Of course, there are other things to be considered with running hot or bad, but, in general I felt like I was running a bit under average. That’s pretty interesting though, because I don’t look at the line-up like I’ll beat it for 9bb/100 as it’s difficult to find someone with a vpip over 17; however, I’m really interested to see the next 150k hands or so. The last 25k I’ve been at 10bb/100, and my all in EV is still down a buyin or 2. But, again, lots of things outside of all-in EV to go into running good or bad. But, I’m starting to feel like I’m developing a really good feel for the game.

Also, I’m really starting to like it. The # of hands is about the same as when I would 30 table…a hair lower. However, it’s a much more relaxing way to get that # of hands. I don’t feel nearly as spent after sessions. Also, getting a session starting is so much faster than 30-tabling, which is really worth a lot over a year of play. I still take my hat off to Full Tilt for innovating this way. I love thinking outside the box.

There are so many things going on in life right now. So many exciting things with DTB, wild things going on in the country, and lots of family fun going on. I’ve got a really great list of videos I have coming up that I’m excited to release. I’ve also started a NL10 FR series that is live commentary. Live commentary is a first try for me. I’m working on getting better articulating my thinking as I’m playing. Anyway, I’ll catch you all in the forums.



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A Great Weekend!

Posted by Leatherass

I have no idea if this means the worst run of my career is over or if it is just an isolated stretch of good cards, but I had some excellent results at the cash game tables this weekend! I am really excited about it because poker really means a lot to me. I pour a lot of energy into this game and when you have subpar results for a 40 day stretch, it feels like you’re never going to win again.

If it was just 40 days and I only played a little here and there it would be one thing. But over the past 40 days I have been glued to the computer screen and it has been difficult to have it go bad for such a long period of time. Such is poker though, none of us are immune to it. No matter who you are or how well you play, sometimes it just goes poorly for a VERY, VERY long time. In fact, I’m sure there are tons of people who would’ve been great poker players but they happened to have a terrible run during their introduction to poker and may have simply felt they had no talent for the game only to became frustrated and walk away from the game. I was fortunate in that I ran pretty well the first few months of my career and had that not happened, I am sure I wouldn’t be posting this blog on right now.

Anyway, enough babbling. For the 3 day grindathon I had for myself Friday-Monday, I played something in the neighborhood of 25,000 hands and won around $35,000. It is the best 3 day stretch I have had in a little while and it really felt good.

The crack up was I used a big chunk of my luck at the wrong time today actually. I played in the Poker Stars Sunday 1/4 Million today which is a great tourney for the small stakes player. It only costs $11 to get in and over 36,000 people turned out making the purse more than 50% greater than the guarantee! I got some chips early in the event and I just got on the run if a lifetime. I mean I ran so good it was insane. I was running so hot in that particular event that if I hadn’t known any better, I probably would have just shoved all in preflop every hand because no one could beat me. No matter what I did I won. No matter how bad or good I got the money in, I would just win. It was amazing.

If you are going to win tournaments, you have to get lucky at the final few tables. Unfortunately with 16 people left I got $6,000,000 chips in the middle with AK vs. my opponent’s 99. The flop was a queen, a ten and a rag, so I had some pretty good equity. Unfortunately the turn and river bricked which left me crippled and I went broke on the next hand. Even so, I got $650 on an $11 entry so how about that for some ROI?

This week I am going to be starting to play some poker in my new office. I’m very excited about that. I will be in Eugene, OR for a few days this week as I will be watching the Oregon Ducks golf team try and take the annual Duck Invitational and then assuming the role of head golf coach (sorta) for a whole 2 days as the head coach has a commitment so I will be with the team for the OSU JV tournament this Friday and Saturday. Hopefully I can win another $35,000 this week and the Ducks can take a few titles home, not to be greedy or anything.

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Costa Rica PHT Tournament and monkey off back…

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

I just got back to Panama last night after 5 enjoyable days in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The resort was fairly nice for being all inclusive and less than $100/day.

In the $1500 Main Event they got a respectable ~100 runners. It was a good mix of around 30 Swedish amateur poker club members and Latinos/Gringos from Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican, etc. The first day I played very carefully and chipped up from $15K to $69K only showing down 3 hands (2 all in calls pre-flop of short stacks and 1 successful triple barrel call down of a crazy swede). So, I felt great about not ever being at risk for much of a % of my stack, not getting much for starting hands, and still ending the day with 1.75x the average. We started the 2nd day with 36 players left and 40K average stack. A few hours into the day, I lost a key pot getting c/r all in by the same crazy swede that tried to triple-barrel me the day before. I was trying to jedi-mind trick him into bluff shoving the flop, so obv. I called with my top pair. He had a gutshot and missed, but hit a runner runner flush:eek: From there i was a bit short stacked and picked my spots, until I got it all in with AJ vs 44 PF and lost the coin flip to go out 17th. A bit disappointing considering the field strength and decent structure. (an up and coming Latin-targeted new site on the cake network) did sponsor me to "wear the donkey" so I suppose it was a freeroll.

There were also some juicilicious cash games. The first night I played in a great 5/10 PLO game. I ended up getting it all in 4x. Once with full wrap vs set and 3x with top pair + flush draw + some type of straight draw vs bare AAxx. I only won 1/4 and lost $1,400 on the night. The funny part was that I was berated for getting it in all 3 times vs AA as a favorite (in situations where i believe most good players would have pitched their AAxx, given the board and action) :D
The 2nd night they got a 25/25 PLO game going (these games are mostly straddled every hand and at least 2-5 buyins deep), but I arrived late and it was full, so I jumped into the 5/10 NLH game. I lost 3 $2,000 pots as a favorite, and still managed to win about $1,800 on the night, so it was a good game. I decided to pass on the 25/25 PLO game when a seat opened as I heard it was playing excruciatingly slow and there was a Colombian "gentleman" in the game that was either berating the dealers or trying to fight the other players every other hand. Sometimes you have to choose +life/happiness ev over +$ev.

Of course my highlight of the trip was playing a $70 drinking SNG and hanging for a little bit with DragTheBar PhilN:) I didn't win the SNG and had to pony up for the $500 2nd chance. I again went out around 17th and didn't make the money.

On Sunday, I decided to forego the live action and play a few sunday tournaments in the room. The internet connection was sketchy and I suck at laptop multi-tabling, so I only played 4 or 5 tournaments. I made a deepish run in the FT $750K but ended up going out 59th.

Although there are a lot of monkeys in Costa Rica, the monkey on my back was a proverbial monkey. It seems like i have been making quite a few final 2 tables but not taking any of them down. *note to self: watch some endlessJ and 7deluxe final table vids to see how the triple crown masters finish*. When I got back to Panama, I decided to play a few Monday night tournaments. Finally I won one last night - the nightly $50 rebuy on Full Tilt for about $11k.

Now, I'm going to heed the other side of the coin of my advice from the last blog. Don't get too down when you make a good showing but don't win it......AND
don't get too complacent when you do win one, because it could easily have gone the other way as well. I'm going to jump right back in it today and watch a video or two and try and put in a LeatherAss-like session.


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Two Great Interviews

Posted by Jared Tendler

Last week I had a couple very cool interviews. Each one was unique in its own right, but the common thread was they were really enjoyable for me and I thought the two interviewers, Jeremiah Smith and Jesse May, did great interviews.

On Monday I was on Jeremiah Smith’s PokerRoad show “Cash Plays.” The interview actually got flipped on its head midway through as Jeremiah put his tilt issues on the table and became a client. Funny enough you’ll notice (and he even says it) there a few longish pauses for radio and a couple times where I hesitate because when I’m in sessions I’m used to asking the questions, but were doing this on radio and it’s his show! The show has gotten good reviews so far, in part because I go into some detail about a plan to deal with tilt. So if tilt is an issue for you, you’ll get some free instruction out of listening. Click here to listen.

Then on Friday, I was on The Poker Show with Jesse May. Admittedly I wasn’t aware of his show beforehand, but after listening to a few archived shows of his was very excited to be on. He’s a tough interviewer by asking really interesting probing questions. It was fun being put to the test and felt like I stepped up pretty well. Click here to listen.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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Pros and Cons of Different Video Formats

Posted by Hunter Bick

Pros and Cons of Different Video Formats

I’ve seen a lot of discussion lately about the effectiveness of different types of poker videos. I think its great that people are starting to think more about the methods that coaches use to teach them, but I also think many of the arguments against certain types of videos are fairly short sighted. There are basically 3 styles of poker videos. There’s “classic” live-play, replay videos (these include live footage made with commentary recorded later and hand replayer videos), and powerpoint based lesson style videos. I think all 3 formats are very valuable, but they each have particular strengths and weaknesses. I’m just going to discuss the pros and cons of each format, and why I think a balanced coaching program includes all 3 types of videos.

Live Play Videos: This was the original format of poker video where the coach simply fires up the tables and talks about what he’s doing. They have some very distinct advantages that will always make these videos valuable in my opinion. First of all, when we play poker, we don’t get five minutes to think through a hand. We have to quickly analyze the variables and make a decision. In a live play video, you get to see the coach going through that process in the short time frame he has. It also allows the coach to explain his thought process while he’s in the moment, without relying on his memory to recap his thoughts later. I don’t really buy that making live videos is lazy or un-instructive, in general I think it’s a great format because no other format captures the coach thinking on his feet. I’m also a big fan of the spontaneity that’s inherent in live videos, and that’s what makes them my favorite videos to make. They also provide an open platform to talk about other poker stuff that’s not 100% related to the action on the table, and side topics can certainly be valuable as well. You don’t get that with the other formats.

There are a couple downsides. The first one that comes to mind is that the coach often does not have as much time as he would like to talk through a hand, because another interesting hand pops up. As a coach I find myself in this situation fairly often in my videos (and I tend to be fairly long winded as it is), I just stick with 2 tables to minimize this problem. Things can get hectic when I need to overlay the tables with a replay of a previous hand, and that’s another drawback. Of course the action can get slow as well, and that’s when its good to have a couple side topics in mind to fill in the space, or to comment on the hand that’s going on, what ranges I’d put the players on, etc.

Hand Replay and Delayed Commentary Videos: These videos have one very important strength. The coach is not inhibited by the action at the table, he’s got all the time he needs to talk through the hand in question. This allows for more in-depth discussion and analysis than is usually possible in a live video. Furthermore, it provides a great platform for stringing hands together with a certain theme. A hand replayer video can have any theme the coach wants, all he has to do is go through HEM and pick out a bunch of hands that show similar situations. Blind battles, overbet bluffs, big pots, whatever that concept is, its easy to show multiple examples of a single concept. You don’t have to catch the hand on film in order to put it in a video. That’s a powerful tool. The disadvantage with these is you don’t get timing tells, chat-box tells, or that kind of thing.

Delayed commentary of the recorded action has some big advantages too. I’ve tried to make live action heads up videos and I wasn’t too happy with the results. Mostly because you play a much higher % of hands and there is much less downtime in heads up, and that makes keeping the commentary up with the action a serious challenge. Recording a match and doing the commentary later solves the problem. As long as you make the commentary a reasonable amount of time after the match, there’s not much of a problem with forgetting anything. These videos also work especially well for MTTs, because MTTs are several hours long and there can be a lot of downtime (especially early on), a delayed commentary video is great because the coach can skip ahead to the relevant situations. Timing tells can matter a lot in MTTs and cash, and that’s where a delayed commentary video has an edge over a hand replayer. Of course, a hand replayer can much more quickly and effectively jump to different points or pivotal hands in the tournament.

Powerpoint Lesson Videos: These obviously have a lot of strengths. The biggest is that they allow a very clear presentation of a specific poker concept or theme. Powerpoint is a powerful piece of software and it can easily be recorded in camtasia, so often this is the best way to break down and discuss a single concept, especially if math is involved. It can also be a great as an intro to a video. I’ve done a few this way, the “Emptying The Clip” videos I made use this format. They start with powerpoint and then go to the hand replayer.

The downside to these videos is quite honestly the production time. Depending on the coach, these just take a lot longer to make than the other types of video. They also are challenging, because a lot of thought has to go into how to best organize and display the information, you‘re not just turning on the mic and speaking, you have to choose how best to display, lay out, and explain the concept visually. It looks like all you have to do is type up a few slides, but a ton of thought (at least for me) has to go into how to organize those slides and how to phrase the text so its clear and instructive. I’ve also seen complaints about powerpoint vids because there’s not any poker being played, so some people get bored just looking at slides while listening to the coach. I’m pretty ADD personally, so I can relate to that.

So basically, I totally get that some players will prefer different types of videos. However I don’t think that anyone should just write off one format or another. Instead I’d encourage everyone to watch a mix of all 3 formats, simply because they each have unique and important strengths. Also, think about where you are with your poker game, what are you trying to work on? Do you feel like you have a specific leak, or are you trying to figure out where you can improve things? Just because you usually get the most out of one type, don’t write off the others, instead check out the other formats occasionally. Its always good to expose yourself to different coaching methods.

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It’s Been A Crazy Week

Posted by Leatherass

It has been a pretty crazy week so far. I have a lot of great news poker wise, most of which I can’t talk about for a few more days, but have continued to struggle at the tables. One bit of good news I can talk about was a friend of mine who won a tournament a few days ago who I rolled for the tournament and I ended up getting nearly $20,000 as my cut. That didn’t suck! He sure played great at the final table as I was sweating him the entire time.

It’s been crazy because ever since I got back from my Pebble Beach tournament mid last month, it’s as if someone flipped my poker career boom switch up and my poker playing boom switch down. I mean literally, not much more can go right as far as my overall career (and staking) goes, and it can’t possibly go worse at the tables. I can see how some may think that there could potentially be a correlation there, but there isn’t. I may not be playing my 100% A game, but I am playing pretty darn well for me and being 60 buy ins below all in EV for the past month is pretty obviously the culprit.

One thing that I have been doing a little over the last month is writing my next book, which will be a follow up to my current book, Treat Your Poker Like A Business. Treat Your Poker Like A Business has been truly one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. When I wrote the book, I had never written a book before and when I put it out there I guess I was just waiting to get flamed haha. I knew I had tried my hardest to write a good book that would be a great investment for poker players, but you never know if what you are putting out there is going to be well received or not. But then a pretty cool thing happened. People bought it in numbers I honestly did not think were possible and reviews came flooding in that were very flattering. So now I have become inspired to write a 2nd poker instructional book. I am not setting any firm dates just yet because I am not writing it in a condensed period of time like I did for my first book, but rather I am going to chip away at this one and when it is ready then it will be ready, is the approach I am taking.

It’s pretty funny how random things can impact your way of thinking. My wife and I have just not been able to hang out anywhere near as much over the past 5 months because the birth of our daughter, Lennon, has been so challenging. She is a very high needs child and we are trying to do our best to be good parents to her. She has had colic most of the time (although it is a lot better now) and will not just go to sleep for any significant period of time unless everything is just right for her. So I would be lying if I said it didn’t make things more difficult for our marriage. We’re not fighting or anything, but we just don’t get to hang out which is obviously something we are not used to. Just watching a TV show together is virtually impossible.

So it is pretty easy to kind of grow apart in cases like these and from time to time I have wondered A. man was I really ready for a child? and B. since I never get to spend any time with my wife, I hope I am still in love with her like I was always have been pre baby. And then the strangest thing happened last night. I fell asleep and I think I must have had an 8 hour dream because it felt like it lasted forever and the entire dream was predicated upon my wife leaving me (with our baby girl) and me begging her to take me back (and mostly getting ignored). The entire dream I had a sense of emptiness that I haven’t had really ever, but the only thing comparable would be when some of my more serious girlfriends and I broke up a long time ago.

It didn’t stop there. Once I woke up, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get that empty feeling to go away, even as I was having breakfast with my wife and we were having a great time and the last thing on earth she would ever do is leave me. So it was a really strange dream. I have never had it carry over for more than a few minutes after waking, no matter how bad the dream was.

I am feeling about 90% better as I write this, but there is still some lingering feelings. Anyone else ever have anything like that? Is there any validity to people interpreting dreams? I wonder what mine meant lol.

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Random Poker Stuff

Posted by Stosh McConnell

OK, folks. Here's some random poker stuff for today...

Since joining Drag The Bar, I've been playing quite well on the balance. I'm pretty enthused about poker lately. I have a major spring in my step. Motivation for poker comes and goes. Sometimes it can feel like a chore. Lately this hasn't been the case. With the occasional hiccup, I'm playing some damn nice poker, and enjoying the ride in the process.

Last week I started a small experiment. I decided not to look at my results or the cashier for a few days. Sometimes the daily ups and downs of poker can get me too down or too high. I was hoping this would keep me on more of an even keel. After three days of playing I wanted to make a withdrawal. Naturally, I had to look at the cashier for that. But I haven't looked since, and don't plan to for the rest of the week. This has definitely been good for my psyche. Hopefully I have the discipline to keep this going.

I'm a little concerned about the current state of the mid/high-stakes NL 6-max games. They are just mediocre (at best) right now. I suspect the global economy, as well as Americans' lack of easy deposit options, have something to do with this. Traditionally when the summer months begin, the games dry up considerably. Then in fall, they will come to life again.

I've toyed with the idea of playing some live poker this summer. The problem is, I generally hate live poker. It seems so boring. Online poker is fast and stimulates the brain. Live poker is a drag, in my experience anyway. I hate listening to all the morons chit-chat about poker at the tables. Most people I've come across in these casino games are clearly terrible at NL poker. I'd have to do my best to keep my mouth shut, bite my lip, and just ignore them.

Well, that was some nice ranting; enough about that. Maybe I'll just take a vacation instead.

Lastly, I wanted to point out a damn cool post by Dog Is Head in the HSNL forum on 2+2. He is much more articulate than I, but his feelings sum up nicely how us pros should think about poker. Poker is awesome.

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Heading to the beach and keeping perspective…

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

Tomorrow morning I'm taking a little flight up to Costa Rica to a nice all inclusive resort in Puntarenas, that is going to become even more beautiful when it inhabits a 30+ scandinavian travel group that apparently wanted to include a poker tournament on their Costa Rica itinerary. So, the good folks at organized a $1,500 event with a good structure to accommodate the vacationing Norsemen, and posted a $135K guarantee to attract the locals. I hope business and pleasure converge. :cool: In any case, I have a lot of friends in CR and it's always good to go back.
Incoming destination:

Last night I decided to play the ultimate donkament for the first time... the $110 Turbo KO on Full Tilt that runs shortly after midnight, where everyone starts with 10 big blinds. The lack of commitment required for this tournament can be very appealing if you have already put in some hours during the day (the tournament gets > 500 runners and takes about 2 hours in total). I was amazed to see how bad some of the folds/shoves/calls were. Despite the structure, or I guess because of it, a person who has a decent understanding of ICM/math/ranges can really have an advantage. Anyways, I must have run gooooot to get to heads up with a 2:1 chip lead. Then I lost a PF All in with AQ vs 33. Then lost the tournament with 99 vs 55 AI PF. I was feeling bitter to have to settle for 2nd place and lose 4K that SHOULD have been mine! (1st ~11K and 2nd ~7K). I got screwed! What can I break!! Hahahahahahaha..... then I came out of my poker battle haze and realized that is absurd to think that I was entitled to 1st prize. How many times in how many ways must I have gotten lucky to get into the endgame of a tournament with this structure. So, I remembered to keep things in perspective... be happy about the way I played and the nice up-tick in profit, and with more volume the wins will come.
Speaking of wins... congrats to my buddy Bolivar "Ramux" Palacios who won the Sunday Warmup. The Panamanians are bringing it :)

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GiantBuddha’s Grab-Bag Giveaway Grindathon

Posted by GiantBuddha

For the 28 days beginning at 1 PM EDT on March 15, 2010, and ending at 1 PM EDT on April 12, 2010, I will not be leaving my apartment complex. For the majority of my waking hours, I will be playing or studying poker. Aside from poker, I will be eating, sleeping, playing a little guitar, running on my building’s plaza, and watching the occasional movie (at home, of course). Each day I will post a daily video blog and a Hand of the Day video here at Drag the Bar.

Who cares? (And why am I doing this?) I have 3 main goals:

1. Play a lot of poker
2. Improve my game
3. Raise money for worthy causes

Goals 1 & 2 are pretty straight-forward. I’m devoting four weeks of my life to playing and studying poker. Goal 3 is where I need a little help. I’m calling this a Grindathon because it’s like a walkathon or a danceathon, except I’ll be seated for most of it. I play a certain number of hours, and you donate a certain amount to a worthy cause based on those hours. I won’t be pushing the limits of human endurance, but I will certainly be pushing the limits of my endurance.

How does it work? I will be playing exclusively mid-stakes Limit Holdem: $5/10, $8/16, $10/20, $15/30, and $30/60. This will primarily be on PokerStars, with a few (thousand) hands on Full Tilt. My screen name is GiantBuddha on both sites. You can pledge based on Hours Played, Hands Played, or VPP Accumulated. I will post daily updates of these three totals.

If I play fewer than 200 hours, 80k hands, or 125k VPP, I will pay you 100 times your hourly pledge. If I leave my building for a reason other than medical emergency (mine, family, or friend’s), I will pay you 100 times your hourly pledge. If I leave my building AND player fewer than the above hours, hands, and VPP, I will pay you 200 times your hourly pledge. If I pay you, then you will not have to donate anything.

Your pledge will be capped at 400 hours, 160k hands, and 250k VPP. Units will be Hours, Thousands of Hands, and Thousands of VPP. Before the Grindathon begins, you decide which one you’d like to use. Once the Grindathon is over, money will be donated to one of the following causes:

1. Cancer research
2. Autism research
3. Poker Player's Alliance
4. Johan, Stephanie, and their children: read their story here

You may pick a foundation for the first two, or I will select one for you. If you have another cause you’d like to donate to, let me know, and we can work something out.

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Posted by GiantBuddha

No, I'm not talking about the most recent Pocahontas remake. I'm not talking about the visually impressive box office juggernaut with wooden performances of cardboard cutout characters. I'm not talking about the film that will likely provide a titanic shafting like the one doled out to L.A. Confidential 13 years ago. I'm talking about my poker avatar: the rolly polly Giant Buddha.

Lately, I've been resembling my avatar a bit too much for my comfort. At 6'1", I can accommodate 190 lbs. without too much trouble. I think that's around Christian Bale's height and weight in The Dark Knight (if you want to talk about Oscar hosings). But I'm not exactly sporting the batman build these days. It's more of a soft 190. While I wouldn't call myself a fat vegan, I have put on 40 or 50 pounds since I was 20, and it's not all muscle.

The answer is of course diet and exercise. I've invented a crazy fad diet for myself: The Samurai Diet. This has nothing to do with what Samurai actually ate. It's simply Sushi, Soup, Salad, and Smoothies. I've used it before to good effect (although adding S'Mores didn't help much). So I'm going back on this diet until I start my Grindathon next Monday.

As for exercise, it's finally nice outside! The slush has cleared away, and I went running by the river for the first time this year. I'll be running every day this week, so by the time I'm ready to shut myself in for 28 days, I should have the physical stamina to go with the mental stamina necessary for extreme poker training. It's easy to forget how much physical energy playing poker all day consumes. I intend to remember.

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The Formula for Success II: Show me the Quan

Posted by zerosum79

I was not planning on turning the formula for success into a series of blogs but a lot of my students have responded to me about this blog post and I wanted to write a little more about it.

I was listening to sports radio last night on the way home from work and I am a big Redskins fan. For those of you who don't know, in a cleaning house type move, the Redskins released a lot of players yesterday. The sports program I was listening to is the Lavar Arrington/Chad Dukes show on 106.7 the fan. Lavar is one of my favorite former skins and he was chatting with another of my favorite skin that just got cut Rock Cartwright.

Rock is a guy who was the epitome of a team player. He did everything that the redskins asked him to do. He was well known for being a hard worker and before the interview ended Lavar said "Don't worry man, there is always a silver lining, and good things come to people who work hard." I thought to myself, "Lavar, thats just not true, you also need positive mental attitude."

This got me thinking about the movie Jerry McGuire. In this movie Rod Tidwell (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a very talented player with no heart. He is driven by the desire for a bigger contract and more money. The organization he plays for knows he is talented but is not using him to his full ability because he is a pain to deal with and all around negative guy. He is missing the positive mental attitude.

In the life altering moment of the movie, Rod is involved in a very tough tackle that looks like it might be a career ending injury. He is knocked unconscious and when he awakens he realizes how happy he is to be alive and how lucky he is to have all the gifts of talent and a fantastic family. The change in his attitude is instantaneous and the affect that it has on his old goals are also instantaneous. He no longer is consumed with the drive for money, but the PMA allows him to have more than he ever dreamed of.

I have no doubt that Rock will do well in the future if he also adds to his hard work a positive mental attitude. But the question is what will he do well at? In the next blog I am going to discuss the real step that you need to take if you want to succeed. Its easy and magical but for some reason everyone I work with that has trouble setting goals has difficulty with this one simple thing.

Good Luck at the tables,

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The Value of Vacation

Posted by Jared Tendler

One of the reasons I’m good at my job is that I go through and have gone through many of the same things my clients do. My area of performance has been and is different than yours, but the details of what makes me successful are the same as what makes you.

Of course that means I fall into the same traps that I help many of you get out. The one I recently fell in was forgetting the value of rest, time away from work and maintaining good balance between my work and personal life. After 4 days in Florida last week, I returned to work refreshed and with a stronger perspective on how I want my life to be. It was simple. It was something I share and advocate with many of you – including in my first video and yet it some really important pieces hadn’t quite sunk in for me.

The gap between doing what we say – and not just saying it for others is pretty damm common – and I’ve been unfair in holding myself to a higher standard expecting that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes other people make. I’ve recently been going to physical therapy to rehab a bum ankle and the PT casually mentioned that he should do more of what he’s telling me to do – but doesn’t. I’m not sure he even realized what he said – but ironically enough he looks like he lost some extra weight over the month+ since he said it.

It isn’t just him though; I hear it a lot from people in conversations about a lot of things – my mom telling me not to speed while driving then doing it herself, buddies sharing relationship advice only to make the same mistakes. I’ve overheard strangers giving advice while at the same time admitting they don’t follow it. Plus often times they don’t even realize it – my mom at least gets she’s not a good role model in this regard.

A big reason why this is – it’s f%$#ing hard to improve. There’s a huge difference between knowing something and integrating into something that you do. That fact is a big reason why I have a job and something that I work hard to figure out better ways all the time. But sometimes I forget that I play by the same rules –that what I teach applies to me and forgetting the value in a vacation is a prime example.

Figuring out a good balance for the amount that I work has been a work in progress ever since I ventured out on my own. Shortly after things started to get settled, I got lax about work and coasted. Perhaps because I had worked hard, and wanted some fun, but more so I just didn’t have the skill yet about how to work for myself. How to find a pace to my work that fit my industry and fit how I wanted to live.

I also completely underestimated what it meant to be 100% responsible for all of my time. Even though it was exactly what I wanted, and thought I knew how to do it, I didn’t. I didn’t realize how my I had relied on the structure provide by 18 years of school and 2 years working for a boss. And now it was all on my shoulders.

The bottom line is that as my life grows, priorities do too. In the last 3 months, I dove myself so deep into working on my book that I lost touch with a lot of close people and spent a lot of my free time with my immediate family. Having a new neice around has motivated me to want to spend a lot of time with her. I love my family a lot, and having them as who I was hanging out with most was putting too much pressure on our relationships. I missed my friends and didn’t even realize it. Sure I hung out with a couple of buddies and cousins who live nearby, but for the most part my life was work.

Of course all work and no play makes Jared a boring dude.

I realized that on my trip back and so far this week have done a great job of getting thing back in order. Plus now that I’m done with physical therapy – which took up 3hrs twice a week, I have even more time to get my life properly in order.

Working for myself, plus having lots of projects going on and ideas for the future gives me the option to literally work 24/7. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 5 years is that the more I work, the more I learn the more options I have for my work and the more that I can do in the future. This reminds me a bit of something my professor in college – “college is designed to leave you with more questions than you came with.” The idea is the same – the more I work, the more I learn, the more options become available.

As I say to my clients often – there is always more if you want it. There isn’t some point where you’ll arrive like you’ve won the lottery and be done, unless that’s what you want. Financial stability is a big key for me, as I’m sure it is for many of you. But money doesn’t mean you know how to use that money to create the life that you want. It sure as hell gives you options, but why wait until then to figure out what’s important to you!?!

That was my thought – once I get the book done – then I’ll take some time off. But during my time off – I wondered what kind of a life I’d have left if I stayed on that path when I was done? It wasn’t what I wanted. So I realize now that there are a lot of small things I can do to sustain the rest of my life in the time that I have, so when I do take time off I have a lot to fill that time with – even when that just means an hour at the end of the day.

I’ve seen this pattern show up before and this time is different for a number of reasons. The biggest one is the consequences I’ve felt the past few months in my overall mood and my productivity with work. The inertia of having practically lost a lot of people in my life wore me down and burned me out. I was more tired, less happy and just wasn’t having a lot of fun. Plus in general I was far more aware of how my actions created these problems. The connections are clear. A+B does = feeling like ****.

I told a friend last night that in a way I learned what a lot of people learn when they do actually lose a friend to death – you realize how important they were to your live. In loss we can learn about value. In the loss of my life, I learned more about its value. In the loss of time away I learned more about the value of it too.
I’m glad I’ve written this down, at least for myself. I am certain that I’ll be tested in the future about how I balance my time between work and the rest of my life, and this will be a helpful reminder. I hope it is for you too.

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Series: The Formula for Success (all parts including power of PMA)

Posted by zerosum79

“A positive mental attitude is the starting point of all riches, whether they be riches of a material nature or intangible riches.“
- Napoleon Hill

I grew up in a fairly negative environment. However, I always noticed that when I really focused on and pictured a positive outcome, things just clicked. Usually they clicked almost effortlessly. I walked around all day with a negative outlook on life and the few times where I really wanted something, I focused and it showed up.

Later in life I read a bunch of stuff which I think is new age garbage. Although most people think of books like the Secret as garbage there is one book that I really love. Its called "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. This guy was the pioneer of self help books and most other books that have become popular since focus on a few of the topics that he discovered.

The story goes that Andrew Carnegie (yes the really, really rich Andrew Carnegie) commissioned Mr. Hill to study what it is that was common to people who were able to achieve massive wealth. After many years of research Mr. Hill published a book that details the common "Laws of success" that people have used to become rich. I am going to give you the short version.

Positive Mental Attitude + Hard work = Success.

Books like the secret totally downplay the Hard Work aspect but this is all that it takes to succeed in anything. For some people the PMA is the hard part. It certainly is for my parents, who are both hard workers but I believe never achieved their true potential. For some people the Hard Work is the hard part since many people who dream of riches are lazy and want everything to be handed to them for just having a positive attitude.

I attribute everything that I am proud of in life to a combination of these two factors and when I look at the things I would like to achieve but have not yet achieved, I can see a deficiency in one of these two areas.

If you are struggling with success in some aspect of your life, take a look at this formula and be honest with yourself. At the top of the page write concisely what you want to achieve. Next write a list of realistic goals that will detail how you will address the deficient area. Committing your goals to paper is an extremely important exercise.

If you read this paper every day day and work on one goal every day you will find that you can do almost anything in a short time.

Try it... you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Good Luck at the tables

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Goals and Purpose

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

I finally set goals for this year. Like a true poker player, I set goals to be accomplished by the time the WSOP starts. Basically, I created them within 5 categories – Finance, Career, Health, Relationships, and Personal Development. From there I created a kind of operational plan to achieve each one, which could be broken into a weekly plan. I have to say it feels really good to be organized and purposeful.

In 2009, I kind of lived without pressures, plans, deadlines, etc (including trips to Costa Rica, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Vegas, Hawaii). I had a great start to the year capped off in Feb. by winning a big tournament for 100K here in Panama. I had a girlfriend at the time and did some traveling with her, and had some friends come down to Panama, and hardly played for about 6 weeks through March. In April I had some big cash game results, and barely played during May. Then in June/July I had some great results at the WSOP and Caesars MegaStack final. By this time I already had my biggest year to date. Guess how hard I worked in August/September/October? Not very. I’d win a little at cash and quit, or donk around in some tournaments without putting in a concerted effort. By the time November and December came around, I was struggling, which led into January. I had a great time in 2009, but I think it’s better to have a balance. In poker, you will always eventually fall off, if you don’t stay focused. The point of this is that it’s time to get back to work, and I’m excited!

This goal setting/planning has really helped to bring the motivation and faith back. I started this process in the middle of February, enjoyed Carnival, and finished it Wednesday the 17th at the end of Carnival, the start of Lent, and just after the start of the Chinese year of the Tiger (my year, btw☺). It’s like a snowball. Working out and eating healthy helps me to feel better, being organized in other areas keeps my mind clear, and this all sets the table for focused success at the poker tables. I put in enough hands at cash to keep my Supernova status and solidify some leaks, and build some bankroll on some other sites. I won a modest ~$5K, but it’s a good momentum builder for the first 20K hands. Also, I’m starting to apply my focus towards online MTTs. After my initial “get my **** together” session on the 13th, I played well in the Sunday Million on the 14th and got put out 102nd, but I started to feel the grind become easier and more automatic to visualize success – and this is how it always starts for me. After Carnival was over, I just missed a final table in the $109 rebuy, getting 10th. Then, on Sunday the 21st, I felt confident, finishing 4th in the 80-Grand $200K for $17K, and going deep’ish in several others (44th in 2nd chance, 66th in $75K, 148th in Sunday Mulligan). Again, it’s modest momentum, but a good start building towards putting in some successful online MTT volume like some of the great grinders (e.g. 8 time triple crown winners ChipSteela and 7DeLuX) . I also got my car fixed, lost 5 or 6 lbs, and spent some time hanging out a couple times with a good friend that I don’t see as much these days.

I left my intense corporate job, because I wanted to relax, have fun, travel, do what I want, and “live the dream”. I’ve done a lot of that, but what I’ve found is that part of living my dream still includes taking journeys towards objectives, accomplishing things, and challenging myself.

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Farewell February: March First!

Posted by GiantBuddha

February 2010 was the worst month of my poker career. Well, sort of. I lost about $5k at the tables, and made about $5k in rakeback and bonuses. So we'll call that about even. I also won several percent fewer showdowns than I usually do, and suffered a 600 BB downswing. This was the first 400 BB downswing of my Limit Holdem career. I did not tilt. But I didn't exactly play my A game the whole month, either. I gave in to a host of distractions and played half as many hands as January, at about half the level of focus. I can take responsibility for my poor effort, while running awful was largely responsible for my poor results.

On the other hand, I put out a solid effort and ran quite well in other areas of life. I produced four videos for Drag the Bar, which was a lot of work. Two of those came out in February, and the others will be released this week and the next. I also played a great show with my band, did some coaching, and wrote a fair bit. But what I feel most fortunate for, was luck that was not mine.

On February 24th, I wrote a blog about finding a purpose. My plan was to play a psychotic number of hours in an effort to raise money for Johan's cancer treatment. This may not have been the wisest plan, but I was looking forward to having a reason to play. You know, besides the money.

Also on February 24th, unbeknownst to me, the Dutch government agreed to pay for Johan's treatment; (he's Dutch). This was of course outstanding news! It was also surprising news. Why? To begin with, the treatment costs about $300k. That's a lot of money. While the Netherlands has national health care, bureaucracies will typically stall until a patient is terminal, then deny treatment because it's "too late." Fortunately, since Johan is only 39, they managed to get this one approved.

Where does this leave me? Very happy, to begin with. It's pretty easy to stomach a losing month when something so unexpected and fortunate happens to someone who really needs it. I'm still going to follow through with my four weeks of poker solitude, but I'm making some modifications. I'm optimizing for performance instead of audacity. For now, I'll take my health and my happiness, and go do some kicking and shredding.

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