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Plan A

Posted by matsyendra

So after a week or so here on DTB I've compiled my goals, schedule, DMP and crunched some numbers. I want to become a profitable online poker player. I've been playing poker now for 5 years and I've always thought I was a winning player. I have nothing to show for it though. I've won some tournaments, live and online, and still, nothing to show for it. I think this comes form a few key points in my approach to poker.
1) I tend to keep my poker playing and goals around poker a secret.
2) Poor record keeping
3) Denial
Last week I shared my plan some people whom I trust and it was a great idea. I am planning on expanding this idea via a weekly blog so other players can give feedback, encouragement and critique.
So without further ado......
GOALS
Longterm:
Be a profitable online poker player.
Support myself via poker and teaching yoga.
Commit to a plan.

Midterm:
Play 100k hands via multitabling.
Learn to play 8 tables.
Stick to BRM of 35BI
Stick to 10nlhe
Practice anapana during tilt.
Keep my therapist up to date with plan.
Keep weekly blog to track progress and promote feedback.
Consider a coaching session after 100k hands.
Evaluate play style (TAG)

Short term:
Play 12 hours of poker per week in 2 hour blocks.
4table.
Spend 2-4 hours per week studying via posting hand analysis, reading and videos that are primarily concerned with the stakes I am playing.
Work on mental game through weekly sessions with my therapist.
During tilt via practice anapana.
Attain Silver status on Stars.
Get a haircut.

My goals start out real vague and become more and more detailed. This is because I have very little control over my profitably as a poker player or a yoga teacher. I do though have more control are my hours spent on the table, how I react to tilt, my BRM and who I share this plan with. Which brings me too....

Schedule:
Thursday I can play 4 two hour sessions with a 1 hour break in between each session.
Sunday I can play 1 two hour session.
Monday I can play 1 two hour session.
Wednesday I can play 1 two hour session if I choose.
This schedule allows me an extra night to make my 12 hour per week goal should something come up.

With this schedule and set of goals I have crunched these numbers.
1 two hour session = 500 hands over 4 tables
12 hours = 6k hands a week
17 weeks = 102k hands
At .04 vpp per and Silver status is attainable after 4 weeks according to FPPPRO

After putting all this down it seems much more attainable than I previously thought. I am looking forward to any feedback.
Thanks all.
Matsy

p.s. I tried posting this under my USER CP as a blog but couldnt find it after I published it. Apologies if this is a double post.

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The March To $100,000

Posted by Leatherass

Starting this past Sunday I put a scoreboard up in my war room and am setting a goal of making $100,000 through poker related activities between April 25th and when I leave for the WSOP at the end of May. My goal is to grind and grind and grind hands on Poker Stars. I am going to play a ton from now until then and take whatever money I make to the WSOP and see if I can turn it into millions. That is the plan anyway, however difficult it may sound.

Right now the scoreboard in my office reads that I am up $8,200. The goal is $100,000 and I don’t care how I make it. If I make it because I had half of a friend who wins a SCOOP event or the Sunday Million, I don’t care. Every form of poker income counts. FPP bonuses for cash, swapping action with people in the SCOOP, whatever. I just want to make at least $100,000 in that time.

I am really excited to play the SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) at Poker Stars. This is perfect preparation for the WSOP. I am going to play every NL holdem event and possibly a PLO event or two as well. I keep waiting for a big tournament score, but I have never had one in my career. For whatever reason I have just never run well in any of the bigger prize pool events. In fairness, I don’t focus on tournaments, being a cash game player. But every time I run like God in a tournament and win or come in 2nd, it is a $55 tourney with $10,000 going to first. I would love to get deep in a tourney with $100,000 for first and get a chance at some big time money. Maybe the SCOOP will be where I get my first big score, who knows.

Well, I’m off to the office to go grind some hands. Hopefully I can add some profit to the scoreboard by day end. I will post updates on my progress towards the $100,000 in my blog and more frequent short updates on my facebook page.

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PartyPoker Guest Blog

Posted by Jared Tendler

It’s actually more an article than a blog and that’s why I though you might be interested in reading it. It’s titled 6 Reasons Why Psychology Matters in Poker, and while each section is brief, I’m happy to expand on anything you'd like to know more about in this thread or in the psychology forum.

My trip to London was amazing, unpredictable and a lot of fun. There's a lot to share and once I'm done catching up, I'll write a trip report.

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GW Parkway Classic: 10 Mile Success!

Posted by zerosum79

Hi guys. I know the blog has been quiet lately but that is all about to take a turn for the better as I am starting to re-shift my focus toward poker. I have taken some slow but significant steps in my move from Zero to Hero. The first one was to start to get back to a more normal existence (+1 baby obviously). I got fat and happy (“fat and weak what a disgrace, guess the champ got to lazy”) enjoying my new daughter. I have now gotten my fitness back on the right track and completed one of my major unfinished life goals to run 10 miles.

On Sunday I set an unofficial goal to run 11:00 minute miles and try to finish in 1h 50min.

The race started at Mt. Vernon and headed up the GW Parkway to end in Old Town, Alexandria. I usually don’t have any trouble sleeping but I was jacked up the night before the race. The website said parking in Old Town would fill fast and to be parked by 5:30 if we expected to get a space anywhere near where the bus pickup. I decided to be in Old Town by 5am to get a space, hit Starbucks for come coffee and get on the bus by 6:15am. This meant getting up by 4am. At 8:30pm I was in bed. By 11pm I was awake and desperate to go to sleep. I knew I was screwed when my wife came upstairs and so I went downstairs, pounded a beer, and went back up to sleep. By midnight I was asleep and by 4am I was in hell. Not a great start.

I got to Old Town and from 5am to 7am I felt great as I was pretty jacked up on adrenalin. My friend Brandon met me at the Starbucks and we grabbed some coffee and talked a bit about the race. We headed to the bus and loaded up just as it started to rain. The weather was shaky as it was supposed to rain on and off throughout the whole day. It poured as the bus drove us to the start line at Mt Vernon and the driver went interminably slow which began to freak me out as we were driving and I was about to run the opposite direction. Just as the bus pulled in the rain was beginning to let up and in about 5 minutes it had stopped completely. Everything was cool and humid but amazingly, it never rained again during the run.

We got warmed up, I dropped my bag off to be taken to the end of the race, and pounded a power gel. People were milling around and lining up so we got in line and waited for about 30 minutes. The race started but it took a few minutes for the crowd in front of us to get moving. It’s a little frustrating to go to the back of the pack planning on running slow and then to have to dodge slow runners left and right when you are trying to get your pace.
By the time I got to the mile one split the time was 14min into the race. I was shocked because an 11min mile for me is pretty easy. It looked like the lack of sleep was already catching up with me. I picked up the pace and by mile 2 I was really hurting but I had caught up to about 24min and I kept pushing to mile 3. Mile three I crossed directly at 33min and I was finally on my 11 minute pace. By mile 4 I crossed at 44 minutes and it was the easiest mile yet. I was perplexed but started thinking about it and realized that there was a simple explanation. We took several minutes to cross the start line as the crowd in front of us was huge. My real start time was several minutes after the time being broadcast. I had run way too fast the first and second mile and at mile 4 was still well ahead of an 11min mile pace!

I throttled back since I was really concerned with my fast start that I would finish the race at all. My longest run to that point had been 9 miles and it was challenging. However as the miles ticked by my confidence grew. Mile 9 was pretty easy as I could see old town in front of me and Mile 10 I jacked up my pace to the end.

http://zerosumpoker.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Greg-race-results.jpg

I crossed at 1h 46min which was about a 10min36sec average mile. My wife and friends were there to cheer me on at the finish. Afterward I went to brunch, drank a bloody mary, ate two breakfasts, and celebrated in old town. It was a big item to cross of my bucket list and I was thrilled to finally get it done.

Here I am very close to crossing the finish line.

http://zerosumpoker.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/GWPO2309.jpeg

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SNE Project Blog #3 Building a Cycle

Posted by JCampbell

This is my 3rd blog since starting the SNE project with Jared Tendler. On Monday this week I had my second session with Jared. We are still working out the kinks in my psychological game before starting to add more volume to what I am currently doing. The session went well and we began to dig deeper and explore the root causes of my tilt. I’ve started to realize that I am an emotional wreck when I play just waiting to happen. Basically my mind set has been all wrong and I need to retrain my brain to react differently to losing hands and sessions. I have been way too focused on trying to win today and not focused enough on just making quality decisions. It is funny too because I would tell you it doesn’t matter to me if I win today or not but when I start playing and things go against me 3 or 4 times in a row I get rather upset. So I do care if I win today regardless of what I tell you. Jared helped me get the core of why I care so much. What it boils down to is that I have a fear of the losing continuing to a point where I am financially ruined and have to quit poker and am embarrassed in my social circle and lose the freedom that comes from having money won at poker. This was an important realization for me that my tilt is caused and driven by an underlying fear of failure and loss of freedom. There is some logic to that fear because there is a chance for all of us that we could fail at poker. But it is that fear that is causing my results to be poorer than they could be.

The first step to overcoming a fear is the realization that the fear is what is driving your decisions in stressful times. So that was a good step to take. So now how do I break the old habit of getting angry when variance runs against me? Well that is a longer process. I want a magic pill to make tilt go away but I realize that doesn’t exist. So I need to put in work building new habits to break the old ones. So Jared has helped me develop a cycle for dealing with tilt before it occurs, while it is occurring and after it has happened.

The Cycle

Here is the Cycle I try to do every day I play. I look at this list and try to do the 20 minute warm up, stay focused while playing the length session I planned and do a 20-30 min review at the end of the session.

Prepare-
Eat a meal-Walk-5 Gratefuls
Review What I'm working on today (20 min)
Mental:
-No Angry out lashes
-Recognize Triggers
-Keep mind Positive
Strategic:
Overall goal is to get hours in staying focused w/ as few mistakes and emotional errors as possible
Avoid Dominated situations
Fold to 3 bets over 60%

Hour and Hand goals: two 3.5 hour sessions for 4k hands (Remember if you get the hands in playing logically the win rate will even out over 400k hands)

During Play: Turn off Distractions (AOL AIM and Cell Phone)
Use manage Emotions 4 steps
Stay Focused
Review: 20 min
Find 5-10 mistakes and do the 5-step protocol review
Also write out about emotional performce.
Did I blow up?
What were triggers?
Did I use 4 steps?
Did I get in my hand/hour goal? Why or why not?
Did I avoid distractions?
How to Manage Emotions
1. Recognize triggers
2. Take deep breaths
3. Inject logic- Overall goal is to get hours in staying focused w/ as few mistakes and emotional errors as possible
4.Refocus on playing well

Focusing of that cycle allows me to keep my new habits in mind and work actively on digging out the old habits by their roots and trying to get rid of them forever. Now this week I have run a little behind EV and had several opportunities to implement my new strategies for dealing with tilt.
I have played 4 sessions since Jared’s lesson and have had mixed results. 2 sessions I did very well working within the cycle and being very aware of what I was trying to accomplish. One session I ran horribly and got sucked back into caring way too much about the short term results and got myself very upset and made several poor plays as a result. And one session I just felt like playing and didn’t bother with going through my pre-game warm up or my post game review because I had dinner plans just after I finished playing.
So I still have a ways to go before I am effectively implementing this new strategy. But Jared pointed out that I won’t get good at this cycle instantly and not to be discouraged because it takes time. It is part of the learning process to make mistakes. So it seems like a bunch of work right now to make these changes and I need to stay disciplined. I can already see how beneficial it can be to instill this cycle so that I give myself the best opportunity to be playing my A game every time I play. I’m not even close to “there” yet but at least I’m starting to understand how to get to where I want to be in poker. It is much easier to get somewhere when you have a map. I think that’s what we have accomplished so far. I have been given the map and now I need to follow it to get to where I want to go. That’s all for now.

Peace,

Jeff Campbell

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Random Thoughts

Posted by Leatherass

— Are you serious Arizona? Who are the people supporting the bill that allows police officers to question people simply because they suspect they might be illegal aliens? Oh I know, the same people who ALSO say we need to keep the government small and that the government is taking over everything. Apparently they don’t mind if the government steps in and gets between you and your life as long as it isn’t affecting them!

— I’ve heard a lot of older people say that they wish things would “go back to the way they used to be” in the USA. The people saying this are inevitably white and they act as if this country was so great back in the 40s and 50s and today it is some kind of heathenistic pile of crap. Ask gay people if they want to go back to the “way things used to be.” How about black people? Asians? Women? Mexicans? In fact I will stop right there. Is there a non white human being who wants things to go back to the way they used to be here in the USA? Back 50 – 60 years ago here in the USA, I have no doubt it was a great place to be if you were white and didn’t give a **** about anyone, but you can’t tell me it used to be a batter place if you are anyone else.

— How can it be lost in this entire health care debate/poo fling that our food supply is one of the main things killing people every day. Our government has allowed a small number of companies to completely take over the food supply, and these companies will do everything in their power to make more and more money. So that means things like genetically modified foods, steroids and a whole host of other dangerous things human beings were never intended to consume. I believe this will some day be officially linked to the proliferation of cancer upon our society that is taking way too many people’s lives way too soon.

— Speaking of which, how are these companies even allowed to label 90% of the **** they sell “food“? Just because it is barely edible in small quantities, DOES NOT mean it is “food.” I’m sorry, a triple cheese, bacon, jumbo fried chili dog is not food. Think I am wrong? Try eating one every meal for the next 6 months and I bet you aren’t alive to tell me about it. These items are not food. In order to be labeled a food product it should have to be something that can sustain life.

— Why do we spend so much money enforcing drunk driving when it can be virtually eliminated for about as much money as it costs to enforce it?. It is a very simple problem to solve. All the government has to do is pay for cabs/drivers to give you rides when you are drunk. The cost of enforcing drunk driving is massive and not having to enforce it as heavily would be a huge savings when you consider the cost of police, jails, courts and loss of economic productivity from those who lose their licensees. If I am wrong and not having to enforce it as strictly won’t save enough to pay for the taxis, then impose a 25 cent a bottle tax on every beer purchase. Imagine what the roads would look like if everyone could call a cab/driver going to and from a bar for free?

— That reminds me, why are crimes that have equal or greater harm punished much less severely simply because one is much less taboo in people’s minds? I will prop bet anyone on earth that I can drive much better on a .10 blood alcohol level than they can drive constantly texting on a traditional phone. Yet if I get pulled over I will get thrown in jail and lose my license and the texter will get a slap on the wrist at most. What sense does this make? Can someone please explain this? I know it is much easier to pick on the drunk guy, but why should that affect the severity of the punishment? The goal is to keep the road safe. Period. Enforce laws in a way that makes sense kthanx.

— Is there a worse way on earth to spend money than flying first class on an international flight? I looked into upgrading at the last minute because I was so dead tired and was told that my first class upgrade would cost $6,000! I did not mistype. That is SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS. First class offers a slightly higher grade of dog food, a slightly bigger version of their pile of **** seats and more frequent visits from flight attendants to get you liquored up so hopefully you forget that you spent $6,000 the worst way possible. For $6,000 you can get health insurance for a year to hopefully keep you from dying from the poison you eat all day. Seriously people, what are you thinking?

— As I’m typing this in the airport waiting for my connecting flight, a pigeon just walked right on by me wtf?

— I am sitting across from the food court in the airport here. The choices are Mcdonalds, Ben and Jerry’s, Dunkin Donuts and a place where you can get reasonably healthy smoothies and sandwiches. Anyone care to take a gander on which store has no line?

— How on earth is pot not legal? If alcohol is legal, is it even possible a coherent argument can be made that pot should be illegal? I mean, if you want to outlaw it all, I think that is stupid, but I can at least see where people are coming from. But how on earth does someone decide that legalizing alcohol is a good idea, but legalizing pot is not? Especially since you can vaporize pot now. It is not even a question that pot is much safer than alcohol given it can now be vaporized. I saw a study that showed that young people overwhelmingly support legalizing pot while old people overwhelmingly supported criminalizing pot. I’m sure the old people will like to point to how we are just a bunch of crazy kids who have no morals when in fact we just know how to use a search button on the computer and as a result are actually educated on the issue. This is something the older generation can not say when it comes to this issue. They have no coherent arguments for their beliefs and I think it sucks that intelligent people have to pay the price for their stupidity with respect to this particular issue.

— All right, I feel much better now

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This and That

Posted by Stosh McConnell

Hey everyone,

I've been trying to keep somewhat of a schedule for my poker play lately with Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday for poker. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday would be my days off. So, I'm writing this on a Thursday night, which is supposed to be a poker day. Unfortunately I got a little side tracked because the NFL Draft was on, which I love. Also the Phillies and Flyers (my home teams) were also on. My head was spinning with so many sports events on television that I just couldn't concentrate on poker. Since I'm not playing tonight, the least I could do is write a blog.

Poker continues to go very well for me (knock on wood). I feel like my game, 6-max NL cash, is at an all-time high. I'm playing with a lot of confidence. The total number of hands played hasn't been staggering, but that is ok with me. I believe as long as the hands I do play are my A-game, the results will take care of themselves. For whatever reason, I play very slowly. It has worked well for a long time, and I'm not going to change a winning formula.

Within the last two weeks PLO has sparked my interest more. PLO is starting to click for me. For the longest time, I tried to get into that game. It was very frustrating, and I just didn't "get it". Developing a secondary game in poker is quite a challenge. NL 6-max cash has treated me so well, for so long. When trying to master a new game I've felt lost. In NL, I always feel my decisions are almost never bad. In PLO, I have no idea. I've devoted more time to studying PLO, so hopefully I can stick with it for good this time. However, that is definitely easier said, than done.

On the life side of things, it looks like I'll be moving from the suburbs to center city, Philadelphia, this summer. Two friends and I have agreed to get a place together. They are great people, and will be a ton of fun to live with. I'll be sure to post pics after we move in.

See you all in the DTB forums.

Stosh

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I Don’t Own Dragthebar.com

Posted by Leatherass

Although since people seem to be rushing to the site to get a peek at the amazing content they have been putting out, I wish I did!

I have been hearing so many people reference me as the owner of Dragthebar.com, I just thought I would clear that up for the record. Dragthebar.com is owned by a few individuals within the poker industry who I am not sure whether they want to be named or not so I will play it safe and not mention who owns it. They are doing an amazing job and there are so many awesome coaches that are a part of the site that I don’t think it is fair to anyone for the site to be perceived as being owned by me, when in fact it is not. The site has been doing amazingly well and I am very glad to be a part of all of the amazing things going on there.

Right now I am sitting in my hotel room after wrapping up a session on Poker Stars. I have been trapped in this hotel room for about 8 days now because of the volcano that has spread ash all throughout the European skies, prohibiting flights all across Europe for the past week and change. I am missing my family very much. To make matters worse, my computer was having troubles and I could not use Skype or play videos on my computer. Randomly a couple of days ago my computer started working again and I have been able to use Skype which has probably saved me from severe depression because now I can do video chat with my wife and my child which has made me feel a heck of a lot better.

My baby girl, Lennon, has been making a lot of progress in using her hands and forming some baby talk, so it was depressing to miss out on that completely. Tonight I got to see her eat solids and actually swallow them for the first time in her life, so that was quite a thrill. It’s amazing to see her progress. It is definitely an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I am starting to make peace with the fact that the high stakes cash games are so much more difficult to beat than they have ever been in the history of online poker. I have been winning at a much slower pace than ever before. A healthy chunk of the reason why is simply because I have run absolutely awful since February. But even without running poorly, my win rate has declined quite a bit over the past 18 months and I just never felt like I was playing that bad. But since I wasn’t getting the results I was looking for, it kind of bummed me out quite a bit as I was wondering what happened.

Well, after doing a lot of research looking at most of the long term win rates of the regulars at the high stakes games, it became crystal clear to me that I wasn’t going crazy or playing poorly, the games are simply brutally difficult to beat and most people at the high stakes games appear to be simply scratching and clawing to maintain any win rate at all. So I am actually doing pretty darn well for myself and clearly my expectations were too high. To put it in golf terms, I used to shoot 68 or better more often than not. Now I am shooting 71, but on a much tougher golf course. I was getting bummed because 71 is much worse than 68, but when I looked around and noticed most everyone else shooting 75 now, I guess I should be happy with my 71. Anyway, that’s the best analogy I’ve got.

I think right now myself and every other high stakes pro needs to realize that the game evolves constantly, as does the landscape of poker. In 07’ (which was still post UIGEA, so we’re not talking about the true glory days of Party Poker in 05’) the world economy was healthy (at least artificially). You usually could log on and often just take an open seat with a weaker player. The regulars made tons of horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE) mistakes. There was no such thing as a short stacker who was leveraging their short buy in against you to take advantage of a flawed buy in allowance by the poker rooms. There were times you could play on the weekend and in the evenings where there might be a dozen 25/50 tables all with a weaker player at the tables. In fact I remember early in 08’, I loathed even having to sit at a 5/10nl game because I was so often able to spread a dozen 10/20nl and above games at once.

Fast forward only 2 years later and if a weaker player sits down it doesn’t take 30 seconds before there is a list 10 deep. Short stackers are everywhere. Most everyone at 5/10nl has no major leaks in their games. There are plenty with some minor ones, but usually not any glaring holes in their games. 25/50 and 10/20nl games run once in awhile, but good luck finding one that is half decent. The landscape of high stakes poker has completely changed. In fact, I am now happy to spread a half dozen 5/10nl games and the rest of my tables are 3/6 and occasionally even 2/4nl. I guess it feels like a huge demotion, but we are in the middle of a global recession and I’m sure poker, like anything, will ebb and flow.

Ignore this blog completely if you are a low stakes player. If you play low stakes, it is a great time to be in poker. The Stars bonus program is amazing, training sites (such as Dragthebar.com) are there for super cheap to teach you how to play winning poker, and poker in general is headed in a great direction overall (in my opinion anyway). Sure there is the UIGEA thing, but more people are playing poker than ever, the perception of poker improves each year, and it is possible the legal landscape will improve with this pending legislation that is in the House. In short, poker is still marching along just fine and overall I couldn’t be happier to be playing poker for a living.

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Online Poker Will Never Be Harder Than It Is Right Now

Posted by Leatherass

And if it is someday, I might go find something else to do with my life.

I think there is a very real chance that we are experiencing what we could look back on and say is the hardest period to make money as an online poker professional. The nosebleed games are pretty much dry save for a bunch of guys in relatively neutral EV situations passing money around to each other. The high stakes action is pretty much dead. The 25/50 and 10/20nl games barely ever run unless a bunch of regs want to bash heads, which again, is not producing any income for anyone other than the poker rooms. Sure, occasionally a spot sits at the table, but it is usuallly a 40BB weaker player which is hardly going to pay the bills for anyone.

The United States continues to try as hard as possible to be complete idiots about poker when it comes to the laws here. I will have to admit, I once again wrote a not insignificant check to the government a few days ago which is starting to tilt me to no end. Let’s forget I live in the United States and say I came across a stranger and he asked me about taxes in the country I lived in. I would probably say something like this:

Me: Well, I live in a country where I risk significant sums of money each day and work very long days. When I am through with my long day of risking incredible amounts of money, my government tells me that I need to give them about half of what I have made.

Stranger: WOW. That country must do many great things if they are demanding from you that kind of money.

Me: No not really. They don’t care if people live or die here. They don’t regulate the food so they let companies serve poison to our citizens. If they get sick from the poison, er I mean food, then they tell them they better have a really good job to get treatment or otherwise they will just have to suffer and eventually die.

Stranger: So where does the money go to?

Me: Mostly to just blow **** up all over the world and wreak havoc wherever possible

Stranger: Surely it must go to other things

Me: Yeah it does. The government likes to try and run things into the ground and it takes a lot of money to do that. You can’t waste money if you don’t take a lot in.

Stranger: At least you can work hard and still have a good life right? They surely must be appreciative of you working hard and giving them so much of your money

Me: Not at all. In fact they work hard to make sure I am not allowed to work. They pass laws in the middle of the night to try and make sure I can’t make a living at what I enjoy most.

Stranger: Man I would be pretty upset if I were you. What would happen if you just told them you’re not going to pay them your money? That seems fair given they are wasting your money and trying to tear down what you do for a living. I mean, surely they can’t simultaneously expect you to give them money to fund their efforts to try and tear you down.

Me: No. Can’t do that. They will send people armed with guns to my house and throw me in a cage for a long time if I don’t pay up.

Stranger: Jesus Christ! What 3rd world country do you live in?

Me: The United States of America.

OK back from that little rant. The legality of poker is not helping the situation either. It is possible poker could be a heck of a lot better right now if it just became legal. But with poker being a gray area sort of activity at the moment (it’s not legal or illegal really), the games suffer. If this changes some day, we could be in for a fun ride as poker players.

I guess what I am most concerned about is the proliferation of so many professional players. I think there are actually far more casual players dropping by the mid to high stakes games these days, but the number of pros has increased at a rate 10 times (or more) as fast. So imagine you have a family of 4 and you have a regular sized pie. This allows everyone to have a nice slice for dessert. But imagine if you had an extra large pie instead, but now it had to feed every family on the block. So the pie has grown, but it is being divided too many ways at the moment.

I think there is going to be a “come the Jesus” moment for a lot of the pros here in the next 12 months. I think there are going to be a lot of pros who play and play and play and realize that they aren’t making any money. You can only sit with a bunch of regs and pass along money for so long (and pay rake for the privilege) before everyone winds up broke. I think we are going to see hundreds of poker players go off and pursue a different career. The market needs to make an adjustment and I think the adjustment is going to come in the form of an enormous number of people who pursue other interests I just don’t see poker being a way for many people to make deep into the 6 figures (and some into the 7 figures) the way many did up until 09’. If I am wrong and it doesn’t adjust, then I suspect we are in for a long time of much leaner paychecks as poker professionals.

Poker is hard right now. It is very hard. At one point I could make a million dollars a year at poker without doing anything more than grinding 5/10nl for about 40 hours a week. In fact I once posted a half a million hand graph of just 5/10nl hands where I made over a $1 a hand playing an insane number of tables at one time. That will NEVER happen again unless maybe if poker is fully legal here in the US. It just isn’t possible any more. I think 50 cents a hand is like the new $1 a hand for multi tabling pros. If you can make 50 cents a hand online over a very large sample playing many tables at 5/10nl, you are a super star these days. No limit win rates are looking a lot more like limit holdem win rates these days.

I will be the first to admit, it is brutal out there right now. Granted, I am running horribly bad this year and am down about 100 buy ins below EV on the year, but I am up around $150,000 including VPP bonuses. If I ran half decently and played a bunch, this was just a nice month for me back in 07’ and 08’. And the sick thing is that Tableratings has me as one of the top 4 winners at my limit. So I know that I am doing better than most still, which is even more depressing. If there were 100 guys in front of me, I would know I just need to work harder and start running better. But I am still one of the bigger winners which is what is really making me worried.

I actually came across an old word document that I made in 07’ where I had detailed notes on all 30, that’s right 30, of the regulars I played against at 5/10 and up. There were some more semi regs of course, but these days I am sure there must be at least 500 or more playing in the games I am at now. It’s totally nuts. In fact I am going to get serious about using a HUD again with tons of stats on the screen because I have a terrible idea about each player’s tendencies now. There are just too many. People used to ask me why I don’t use a HUD and I would say because there is I play so much with the regulars at the tables that there is nothing a HUD can tell me that I don’t already know about them. Those days are long gone and I need to use a HUD for sure now to keep track of them all.

The good news is that I don’t think it is going to get much worse. I just don’t see all of these pros, many of whom are highly intelligent people who could get excellent jobs doing something else, wanting to play poker for little money. I think there will be a re sorting period in the poker economy where you will see only the strongest survive and the rest will go off and do something else with their lives. Then the pie won’t be chopped up so many ways and we can all do a little better.

I hate for an aspiring professional to read this and become disheartened. I suppose if you are aspiring to be a professional and have dreams of making millions and living the baller lifestyle, then yes you should be very disheartened. But if you are someone who simply wants to work hard at their game and replace their presumably somewhat average income through playing poker rather than working for your **** head boss, then there is no better time to be getting into poker. As hard as poker has become to make life changing sums of money, it is a great time to grind a lot of hands and make around 6 figures a year.

Poker Stars has a wonderful program where you can pretty much break even at the tables and get around $100K + a year in cash bonuses through their rewards program. So if you are someone who makes $35,000 a year at a job you hate, if you can work hard at poker and be able to break even at small stakes no limit, you can make about $100,000 a year through multi tabling low stakes games. Additionally, the legal landscape could change for the better and we could experience a new wave of players that add a tremendous amount of money to poker players’ bottom lines.

I know when I was working for a living at the terrible job I had before becoming a poker pro, that was only a dream to me. To think I am in a position now to be worried because my 7 figure years are behind me, is something I have to consistently remind myself is a life for which I should be tremendously grateful for.

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Goals, Game Change and Follow through

Posted by matsyendra

I recently decided to change my game. I have been trying to be a winning player by playing SnGs. Though I feel that I am a slightly above average player, I am simply not good enough yet to consistently profit through SnGs. Variance, tilt and discipline affect me much more than I previously thought. My stats prove this. SnGs are way more fun for me but much less profitable due not only to variance but my reaction to variance and tilt.
I play live ring quite often and have built my live roll to 4200 from 500. I understand that playing live is quite softer than online but I still think I was making a big mistake by avoiding online ring. If I can win ring games why try to learn another game?
So I am going to commit to ring.

Personal Challenge:
Learn to multitable by playing two 4 hour sessions per week. These sessions will entail playing 4 tables of $10nlhe. I am expecting to play 1600 hands during these sessions. I can play other times, but an hour here and there doesn't count towards those 4 hour sessions. I need to learn to focus for a longer period of time.

Play no more than $10 worth of SnGs per week. These are kinda fun for me so I am going to be keeping it at that.

Commit to my yoga practice. I teach yoga and have been putting more time in teaching than practicing. By committing to my personal practice I think my yoga teaching ability and poker playing ability will improve (mental game).

Goals:
Short Term
Attain and maintain Silver Star Status at Stars.

Play 10 tables comfortably.

Watch 2.5 hours of DTB vids per week.

Long Term
Average 4-7 bb/100

At 100k hands have a coaching session

Get to a point where teaching yoga and playing poker are my only jobs.

I understand that the amount of hands per week I am going to play are not a whole lot but that is all I think I can effectively play while working both my jobs. Any feedback is great. I'm mainly using this post to hold myself accountable. If I can figure it out, I'll post weekly graphs of the sessions played.
Thanks everyone.

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SNE Project April 18, 2010

Posted by JCampbell

SNE Project April 18, 2010
New Stars Rules Suck and Poker is hard
Hey guys,
Well I have done one lesson Jared and it went well. He gave me a couple of good structure ideas for my reviews and managing my emotions while playing. We worked on 2 things from his videos. I’ve been using the 5 step protocol for reviewing both mental and strategic mistakes. He also has me using the 4 Step process to manage emotions at the tables. It has helped some but I have run pretty bad this week and have had many opportunities to use it. Sometimes it has helped but others I have had several beats come at once and been too frustrated to really use it. So I have a way to go before I can really just roll with it. But the repetition of the process and really working on defining triggers in the review I think are the key long term. Time will tell.
Stars New Format
Another thing that happened since our first lesson is that Poker Stars changed the format of their NL tables. Those who play there I’m sure are aware but they went from almost all the tables being 20-100bb tables to having 3 different buy-in types. The new options are 20-50bb, 40-100bb, and 100-250bb. Now at first I was excited because I am not a huge fan of short stackers and wanted the buy-in raised. But I have to say 1 week in that I hate the format change!! The 40-100bb have no fish anymore. They are all playing in the 20-50bb tables. Now I try to table select and it is really hard to find 8 good tables at $1-2 6 max. I had no problem before but now all the fish are at the small game. I don’t want to chase the fish to the 20-50bb games because that is where all the ratholers are. And if I play there I can only win 50bb from the fish instead of 100. So it limits you big wins and causes more variance vs the 20bb stacks. Given the high rake to pot size, it makes the games really hard to beat for any decent win rate. So it has made SNE a much harder goal. I’d be really interested in the forums to hear what you guys think of the new limits.
Anyway I’ll let you know later this week how lesson 2 goes and if the games get any better.
Peace,
Jeff Campbell

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SNE Project April 18, 2010

Posted by JCampbell

SNE Project April 18, 2010
New Stars Rules Suck and Poker is hard
Hey guys,
Well I have done one lesson Jared and it went well. He gave me a couple of good structure ideas for my reviews and managing my emotions while playing. We worked on 2 things from his videos. I’ve been using the 5 step protocol for reviewing both mental and strategic mistakes. He also has me using the 4 Step process to manage emotions at the tables. It has helped some but I have run pretty bad this week and have had many opportunities to use it. Sometimes it has helped but others I have had several beats come at once and been too frustrated to really use it. So I have a way to go before I can really just roll with it. But the repetition of the process and really working on defining triggers in the review I think are the key long term. Time will tell.
Stars New Format
Another thing that happened since our first lesson is that Poker Stars changed the format of their NL tables. Those who play there I’m sure are aware but they went from almost all the tables being 20-100bb tables to having 3 different buy-in types. The new options are 20-50bb, 40-100bb, and 100-250bb. Now at first I was excited because I am not a huge fan of short stackers and wanted the buy-in raised. But I have to say 1 week in that I hate the format change!! The 40-100bb have no fish anymore. They are all playing in the 20-50bb tables. Now I try to table select and it is really hard to find 8 good tables at $1-2 6 max. I had no problem before but now all the fish are at the small game. I don’t want to chase the fish to the 20-50bb games because that is where all the ratholers are. And if I play there I can only win 50bb from the fish instead of 100. So it limits you big wins and causes more variance vs the 20bb stacks. Given the high rake to pot size, it makes the games really hard to beat for any decent win rate. So it has made SNE a much harder goal. I’d be really interested in the forums to hear what you guys think of the new limits.
Anyway I’ll let you know later this week how lesson 2 goes and if the games get any better.
Peace,
Jeff Campbell

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Stuck In London/ Barney Boatman Hand

Posted by Leatherass

I have been incredibly tired lately as I have been feeling a little under the weather and have had the most jacked up sleep schedule of all time. I have pulled a couple of double all nighters due to playing on the Party Poker Big Game as well as commentating for the show for 24 hours straight!! It has been a crazy and unforgettable week.

I have badly wanted to get home to see my wife and my baby girl, but am unable to come home because of the massive volcano eruption in Iceland that grounded pretty much all of the flights in Europe. I will have to admit I am pretty sad right now because all I want to do is get home and see my family, but when I get home is completely out of my hands at this point. It looks like I can leave on Saturday and get into Portland, Oregon on Sunday afternoon. That feels like 3 lifetimes from now though. Very frustrating…

I will do a full trip report soon, but for now I just wanted to give some quick updates. Basically I played on the Big Game for about 7 hours and ran into some tough luck. I actually was a card rack preflop in getting TT twice, JJ-AA once each in about 100 hands. Unfortunately I lost about $10,000 pounds on those hands combined which makes it tough to win at poker when that happens, of course. My biggest pot came when a weaker player at my table decided to ship all in after several raises in front of him with AQ off suit. I had KK and the flop brought an ace which is pretty much what I expected after I saw his hand pre flop…lol. Figured there was no way I could dodge that and I was right.

Doing commentary for 24 hours straight in the booth with Jesse May was an unforgettable experience. First off, I think I will improve my game immensely simply by getting to see 24 hours straight of all the hole cards and watching many of the great LAGish players play their hands. I think it was quite an education for me and it was a heck of a lot of fun for me as well. I was only supposed to go into the booth for a couple of hours, but apparently the producers thought highly of my commentary and 2 hours turned in to 24!! So hopefully my commentary enhances the show in that I was able to really go in to great detail of what I thought of the play of each hand and going through the thought process of what I think the players were thinking and what some good strategies might be.

I did commentary for 24 hours which should mean I am co hosting 8 episodes when the show airs. I do know that I was fading at a few points towards the end of the broadcast and my commentary was tragically bad at a few points lol. I actually fell asleep in the booth and was getting woken up by Jesse when critical situations were arising. I remember at one point he woke me up and asked me what I thought of the Unabomber’s turn play and I mumbled something about how I thought he should check raise here and Jesse said, “Well, he has the button in this hand so that might be pretty difficult!” It was actually not bad that I said stuff like that because when we are running a 48 hour cash game, we were all fading big time at points and in some ways that is part of what makes the show so awesome and so unique. Some of the pros made terrible plays late in the session and so did the commentators at times haha.

One play that woke me up and actually gave me a second wind was when I virtually fell out of my chair at the terrible play that Barney Boatman made towards the end of the show. Barney was fresh as could be since he started the game 42 hours into the show, presumable well rested. This hand is already being discussed on the The Hendon Mob forum and I can’t believe Barney is defending it. The play gained some attention because I was fairly critical of it in the booth and my commentary made it onto the Party Poker Blog that was issuing live updates.

Basically just about the whole table limped in to the pot. Barney had 64s and limped the button. The flop came down J44. Phil Laak had AJs and lead into the field. Barney called. The turn brought a 7 which gave Phil a flush draw. Phile bet just under the pot and Barney tanked and tanked. I was in the booth saying Barney is deciding when, if ever, he should raise Phil. Barney tanked it some more and then FOLDED!! That’s right. He folded!! Presumably when you call on the button with a trashy hand like 64s you are hoping for some type of miracle flop like 3 of a kind or a flush or something. Barney hit the flop in a major way and didn’t even make it to the river! It was about the most incredible fold (not in a good way) that I have ever seen in my life and I suppose I had a little trouble not expressing my disbelief in the booth, but I do feel the criticism is warranted.

Anyway, I am pretty surprised that Barney didn’t just admit that he made a bad play or was on scared money. In fact it was pretty obvious that he was on scared money (although he denies this in the Hendon Mob thread) given the moment he sat down he tried to lower the stakes of the game (he cited his contract which said the game would only be $25/50 pounds) and the entire table became upset at him and asked him to leave the table. It even resulted in a delay of play. Barney ultimately decided to stay at the table and agreed to lift his demands to lower the stakes at the table.

Honestly I felt a little bad after the show that I was tremendously critical of his play on air, but after seeing him deny that he wasn’t scared money and that his fold was a good one, I feel glad that I was more critical of his play now. There is simply no excuse for such a play other than to simply say, “You know what, I messed that play up.” I have messed up tons of hands and will freely admit that. I am not perfect, but when I make a clearly tragic play, the last thing I am going to do is publicly defend it with some ridiculous reasons that were obviously untrue.

I look forward to getting home and seeing my family. I absolutely love London, but being away this long is simply not fun anymore as I deeply miss my family. I hope the volcano calms down and the ash is no longer a factor to the planes and I can get home. I miss my girls!

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Live Update On The Big Game

Posted by Leatherass

Well so far the Big Game went about as poorly as it possibly could. I basically lost just about every pot I played and got voted off on the first round of eliminations. I will be able to get back in the game as it will be running for 36 hours more, but man oh man did it go bad. I am down about $17,000 USD on the show so far.

I got it all in with KK against a very loose amateur player only to lose all in pre flop vs. his AQ. I got AA cracked by T6 when a guy made 2 pair against me. I got several good situations that just turned out very poorly in the end….sigh.

So basically what happens is every 6 hours the players themselves vote people off. I got voted off as one of the bigger losers in the game which is pretty frustrating. When you run bad you at least want a chance to get things turned around, but I am confident I will get some more cracks at the game before it is through.

Being on the show was pretty fun. I sat next to Jennifer Tilly and got to chat with her a bit. Isaac Haxton sat to my left and we had a pretty good time. Viffer was playing like a total maniac to start off. He was open shipping like $30,000 into $500 pots which is something you don’t see online too much lol. In fact you can’t see it online in the games I play as the buy in is usually capped at 100bb and games tend to break before players get super deep.

All in all it has been a fun experience no question. Sure it sucks to get crushed, but there is no hand where I am too disappointed in my play. I may not have played each hand perfectly, but I didn’t make any tragic mistakes so I can at least feel good about that. As poorly as it went, had I simply won the KK hand all in I would be ahead for sure. When you get all the lewt in with KK and lose, well, obviously you can’t exactly fault yourself.

I am going to catch a nap and hopefully get back in the game later on. I may get an opportunity to do some commentating in the booth which would be pretty fun. I think that would be right up my alley since I am used to commenting on hands and going in depth as to the logic behind it. We’ll see if they want me to do any of that next time I am away from the tables while the game is running.

I will keep everyone posted soon so expect a lot of updates to follow.

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Big Game Trip Report Day 3

Posted by Leatherass

I just woke up from 11 hours of sleep and man do I feel better. It has been crazy the last few days. First off I only got 4 hours of sleep before I jumped on the plane over here which was Wednesday night, Oregon time. I can barely remember how it all went down, but basically other than a few cat naps, I hadn’t got any real sleep from the time I went to be Wednesday night until 6 in the morning on Saturday here in England!! So as I write this, it is 6 in the evening in England and I have just woken up.

Actually as goofy as it sounds to wake up at 6 in the evening, it is perfect for what I am trying to accomplish. Tomorrow at this time is when the 48 hour Big Game begins, so if I am going to be attempting to play a high percentage of the Big Game, it is best if I wake up shortly before we play. There is no sense in waking up early tomorrow, waiting half a day to play and then crapping out 1/4 the way through the game. I’d rather it feel like morning to me as it is less time I have to stay awake.

Last night’s boxing match turned out to be the European heavyweight championship which sounds like a pretty big deal to me. So basically they were playing for their national championship and I suspect the match will go down as one of the classic endings in European boxing history. I was completely stunned to witness the ending. The match was Audley Harrison vs. Michael Sprott. Audley apparently is not well liked over here. He arrived on stage to a majority of boos which I think comes from their disdain for his style ox boxing. After watching him fight, I can see where they are coming from. The guy is an absolute beast and you expect him to come out and give you a good show, but then he fought like they were playing tiddlywinks which was mildly annoying. Anyhow, Audley was getting crushed the entire fight. Sprott did an excellent job I thought. He got in several good blows and landed a number of combinations that would have knocked a lesser man to the floor. But Audley hung tough which you have to give him credit for. He stayed on two feet and in an insanely aggressive 12th and final round, about 1 minute in, Audley landed a left hook out of seemingly no where that knocked Michael not only to the floor, but had many of us in worried for his life. He did not move for at least a couple of minutes and eventually made it onto a chair where he was given an oxygen mask. Jared and I got to witness it all from only a few rows away as the folks at the Big Game once again were kind enough to get us some pretty sweet tickets.

I think I would fit right in this town. I pretty much don’t give a **** about what I say. I stay pretty true to myself and I sort of am who I am. Here in London, it seems there are two type of people. There are those who are extraordinarily proper and those who absolutely don’t give a **** whatsoever. So far those who don’t give a **** outnumber the proper ones about 10 to 1, but that is far from a scientific study obviously. I really like to be around people who just say what comes to mind. It’s not that I don’t like being around proper people because that certainly isn’t the case, but I guess you could just say that I feel a little more comfortable around those who just say what comes to mind. That is more my style. I guess that should probably make it a lot of fun to play with Tony G tomorrow. I don’t think many accuse him of being proper, but it will be good to get to know him as most people I have met who have met Tony seem to really like him.

I think I am going to grab something to eat. That reminds me, no wonder so many people call me a fat ass. I weight about 190 pounds and am 6 feet tall. In the US that makes you average to skinny. Well, here in the UK, yes I am a complete fat ass. I am stunned at a how fit people are over here. It’s no wonder word is that people are a lot looser here with sex than they are in the US. Sheez, the women here are gorgeous. You rarely see a heavy woman and the guys all seem fit. We complain in the US that the women are often a little harder to get in bed than in some other parts of the world. Maybe we should look at ourselves in a mirror! No wonder no one wants to sleep with us! We’re fat as ****!

Again, this is no scientific study, but I have been in London for 2 days now and have been around town quite a bit. I have not seen one single woman under 35 who had more than 5 pounds to lose. Not a single one. And as for the guys, I suspect that if I lined up 100 random guys around 30 years of age, I would be fatter than 95 of them. In the US, I would easily be skinnier than 50 of them probably. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why this is. It is simple. Restaurants serve food at about half the portions that we do here in the States. Why is that? Honestly. I just think that people here have a lot more business ethics than those in the States. Apologies to any restaurant owners, but they won’t convince me for a second that they have anything in mind other than making the most money possible at their restaurant. And that means butter on everything and serving more so you can justify charging more. Well. over here I don’t know what to attribute it to- maybe it is better morals- but most places serve the amount of food you actually need and d not compromise your health in the name of a buck. Of course, it’s not like they are serving you all veggies and lean meats, but they seem to try and ride the fence pretty well between taste and health. In the US, it is 100% for taste and health be damned. It’s unfortunate really.

Anyway, well I don’t want to come off like I am bashing America because Americans do a ton of things that are great and there is a reason we have been such a successful nation over the years. Like any other American, I want to see our country be the best it can be and to do that, it is important to focus on where we are behind. I do it in poker as well. I never talk about how well I play in certain areas. I focus on where I play less than optimal. And that’s where I think so many people go wrong in the US. We are a proud people and many tend to act like you should just love your country at all costs and if you don’t like it “then you can get the hell outta here.” I think that mentality is flat out ignorant. It makes no sense to just walk around thinking you are the best and when people make valid points towards your flaws, you tell them to take a hike. No successful person thinks that way about their career or anything they do that is successful. And our country should be no different. We should be examining our flaws and commending, not attacking, those who point the flaws out. If we worked tirelessly as a nation to fix our flaws (just as any successful poker player who works tirelessly to work out their flaws) then we could only be better off for it. Of course, people have different opinions on how to fix it, so it isn’t that simple, but the first step is to at least admit you’re not perfect and you have to start somewhere, fatty :)

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Big Game trip Report Day 1

Posted by Leatherass

Day 1 of the trip is a travel day which pretty much sucks no matter who you are. As much as I could theoretically travel in style and pay $10,000 a ticket to fly on some baller plane and have my own bed, I will probably never feel rich enough to actually pull the trigger on doing something like that. Heck, it has only been 5 years since $10,000 would have seemed like enough money to retire on to me. No way, no how am I going to blow big bucks on a plane ticket so I have been going coach all the way and wow does it suck.

I started in Portland, Or with a 5 AM wake up call (after going to bed “early” at 1AM) and a couple hours later after a commute to the airport I was on a Continental flight to Newark, NJ in the middle seat, obviously. Somehow I paid extra when I was booking the tickets over the phone to get an aisle seat, but still ended up in the middle seat next to a woman, ironically enough, who swears by the same naturopathic Dr. that I see. Small world.

After 6 long hours in the middle seat being dead tired yet having to sit perfectly upright crammed in like a ****ing sardine (****, as I write this maybe I am talking myself into buying the $10,000 ticket next time), we deplaned and I was in New Jersey where I quickly made my way to a restaurant to watch Tiger Woods at the Masters and pound a few beers at the bar served by a classic New Jersey type named Ciro. It was there that I met Jared Tendler, who is traveling with me on this trip to make sure I don’t go on uber tilt and donk off my whole roll in the Big Game haha.

Ciro quickly reminded me of the way they do things in Jersey which is often their way or the highway. I was absolutely starving so I ordered a burger and fries (hey, I have to leave America in style) and since the restaurant was also a high end steakhouse, I decided to get the filet mignon skewers as an appetizer.

Well, Ciro apparently decided that I had ordered too much food and about 15 minutes later he brought out my burger and said, “I canceled your filet skewers; you weren’t going to eat all that meat. Enjoy your burger.” I’m thinking, “Wtf? Thanks for making up your mind on my order haha.” I wasn’t upset or anything. I actually find stuff like that pretty amusing. It takes some balls, but he was dead set in his mind that I had ordered too much and guess what? He was right. I barely made it through the burger and the filet skewers would have just added to the bill. So yeah Ciro for having the balls to risk pissing off a customer only to make LESS money.

As I write this I am about an hour from landing in the Heathrow airport. The folks at the Big Game were kind enough to send a driver to pick Jared and I up and take us to the hotel. That is huge because if it were up to me to get us from the hotel to the airport and have to drive in some mini car on the other side of the road, I am pretty sure that wouldn’t work out too well. Not to mention I am pretty much dead tired. I got 4 hours sleep and then when I arrive at my hotel in London, it will be around 8 AM which really sucks since I am going at it 24 hours straight after only 4 hours of sleep the night before only to arrive early in the morning! How is my sleep schedule doing?

One way or the other I am going to make it to the big boxing match later tonight (I have no idea who is fighting except that my friend Matt Amen knew all about the match) which I am pretty pumped about. I have some sweet tickets and I feel like you can pretty much never go wrong with getting to watch a bunch of guys beat the **** out of each other amongst a rowdy English crowd haha. I have gone to a couple of huge boxing matches at MGM in Vegas and had a great time. I am hopeful that it is even more enjoyable in the UK as the culture over there may just be a little more fun to be around than the Vegas crowd. I love the way they all rallied around Ricky Hatton. I guess the crowd just seemed more like a bunch of fun guys who want to drink a lot of beer and watch a fight, although that is only my perception. In Vegas I feel more like the crowd just wants to watch the fight (before and/or after) snort lines of coke and beat their girlfriend. That is definitely the one thing I did not like about Vegas fights. I simply do not feel safe around the people who go to those fights. Maybe if I can get super baller one day I can go there in style like a guy like Denzel Washington would do and get a security team around me haha. Fat chance.

I am going to keep my blog very updated the next week or so fyi. I will get some pictures to put in the blog. Maybe I can get one of Isildur to post, but it may be one of those situations where he only lets me take a picture of him on the condition that he gets to kill me haha. I will see what I can do, but if nothing else I will get some other cool shots up in my blog quite a bit this week, as well as a recap of what is going on.

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SNE Project and My first blog

Posted by JCampbell

Dear Drag the Bar,
Hello, this is my first blog. My name is Jeff Campbell and I have been recently selected to participate in the Super Nova Elite Project. I feel very excited and privileged to be involved in this project. This is going to be a real stretch goal for me. As part of the project I am going to start posting regular blogs to let the members know how it is going and what I am going through to achieve this goal. I expect that it will not be easy and that there will be many ups and downs. But I have faith in Jared and the process and expect this to be an amazing experience for me and to gain so much from it. As with anything, I’m sure I will get out what I put in and I am giving this project #1 priority in my life.

I haven’t done a session with Jared yet so I think I will start today by just telling the membership a little about myself and where I am in my poker career. I am 35 years old and live in the Chicago Area. I have been playing poker semi-professionally since 1997. I can’t believe it has been that long but I guess that is 13 years! I tried going pro playing live limit hold’em one year out of college. I won a little but found my skills were not developed enough to make a living at poker yet. So I went to work in outside sales. I traveled the Midwest and played poker nearly everywhere I went. It turned into a nice side job earning about a third of my income in the card rooms. I started playing a little online back in 2000 on planet poker if anyone remembers that site. Then in 2005 I joined party poker I played 10-20 and 15-30 Limit holdem and quickly turned $600 into $30K. I lost about half of that back over the next year trying different strategies and learning different games. In 2007 after the UIGEA ban, I finally started getting back into online and opened a Full Tilt account. I decided to use online to learn no limit which hadn’t been available in most the Midwest casino’s until about 2006. So I played about 50k hands 2 tabling and broke about even but made some money from rake back. Live I started playing NL too. Mostly $2-$5 and had great success making over 10 big blinds per hour in my first 600 hours of live NL.
In late 2007 I joined Stox Poker and started watching videos which really helped my game. I decided I needed private coaching to really improve my game quickly so early 2008 I hired one of Stox’s newer great coaches Hunter Bick.

Hunter quickly pointed out a couple glaring flaws in my game and over a 6 month period I went from a break even online 100NL player to a 2 ptbb/100 winner at 200NL. Needless to say this was amazing. So I continued to work on my game and had my best year ever in 2008. In 2009 I played poker full time for the first time in 12 years. It went much better. I mostly 6 tabled 200NL and dabbled slightly higher in 2-4 and 3-6. I surpassed my 2008 earning but didn’t crush the previous year even though it was full time. So in 2010 I have been working in sales and playing again. So far it has been a little bit of a bumpy year. I’ve tried 10 tabling for the last 100k hands with mixed results. I am still winning but at a much lower win rate. So the last couple weeks I’ve been 8 tabling with better results.

So I am super excited and nervous to get started on this process with Jared. I feel that to get to SNE I will need to get up to 12 tabling for more hours per day with less breaks due to frustration. Tilt has been one of my biggest weaknesses for a long time and I believe Jared is the perfect person to get me on the right track in correcting that problem. So that is enough for now but I really will try to keep you guys involved in the process and be a true representative of the DTB community. Please feel free to contact me via private message or on the forums at any time to ask questions or hear how it is going. Wish me luck!

Warmest Regards,

Jeff Campbell

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The SNE Project Player is…

Posted by Jared Tendler

While there were a number of players who fit a lot of what I was looking for, there was only one who best fit the player I had in mind for this project…Jeff Campbell – DTB screen name is “JCampbell.”

I was looking for a player that had several common mental game problems, who couldn’t yet grind enough hands and is an established winning player. Jeff has all of these while also being a really enthusiastic and likable guy. He’s really excited to work hard for himself and to share openly his experience. He’ll be posting his first of many blogs soon, and will be in the forums answering questions about his experience and at times also answering questions directed to me…something that I think will be great for all of you, because he’ll be able to talk about aspects of my instruction in ways that I can’t.

So all of you know, my instructions to him about blogging was simply for him to be as honest as he wants to. I have no problem with him expressing difficulty, confusion, problems, etc if that’s what he’s going through. It does no one any good to sugar coat any part of this process. It’s going to be hard, and talking about that is one way for him to blow off some steam, make it real for all of you and inform me on what adjustments I need to make to our work.

He and I actually had our first session today, and I have a strong suspicion this series of videos and his interaction with all of you is going to be really helpful.

There is one other thing that all of you need to know. Since he and I are just getting started, at this point it is not possible for him to make SNE this year. It is in large part a timing issue because 3 months have passed and the issues he and I have to work on have significantly affected both the amount and stakes he’s been playing. I had to think critically about this for a few minutes before realizing that everything that Jeff brings to the table here out FAR outweighs the fact that we have to adjust the goal. Since SNE is out of the question, we’ve changed the finish line to be 800k VPPS in 8 months. A pace that is roughly 17k/month above average, still allows this project to still provide a great challenge resulting in a ton of great content to will help all of you and Jeff being ready to make SNE in 2011.

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The Big Game with Isiludr

Posted by Leatherass

Next week I am going to actually play live poker for the first time since the WSOP Main Event in 2008. And I can't think of a better place to start playing live again than on the BIG GAME in London, England next week. Many have heard the buzz that Isildur will be emerging from behind the curtains to make his first public appearance and I am very excited to get a chance to play with him and all of the other outstanding professionals that will be appearing on the 48 hour high stakes cash game show. I am not sure when the show will actually air, but I am inclined to believe that when it does, it will probably have about the highest ratings imaginable for a poker TV show. Heck, I am just as curious as anyone else to find out more about the young (supposedly) phenom. I am hoping he truly does reveal himself and I don't wind up sitting next to (some have speculated Isildur will wear a Kermit the frog mask to continue to conceal his identity) Kermit the Frog soul owning me for all my chips!

I am not really going there with any expectations one way or the other on how I will do. Poker is one of the only sport like events where you can play your best and get destroyed, so I tend to never really play poker with any expectations other than to simply play my best each and every hand. It has been quite humbling to have such poor results over the past 6-7 weeks. For the first time in my career I have hit a bad run that I simply can't shake off. I have stayed the course and played my best, trying to hang in there with every bad beat, and I still have scratched out a not insignificant profit over the past 6-7 weeks, but relative to my past performance, I have never struggled so mightily in my nearly 8 million hand career. For the first time I have been actually looking forward to things like FPP bonuses. Usually they are just icing on the cake, but lately they have been a way too high percentage of my poker earnings, which is something I am intent to try and figure out if there is anything I can be doing differently to change.

Often times bad runs can lead to even greater performances in the future. Usually I am pretty optimistic that will be the case, but I actually feel like I am playing half decently. It seems like the main problem is that I just am really not getting very many great situations. When I flop a set it I am watching the board runner a flush draw and wind up losing a big pot. Or I am just too frequently the guy with QQ against KK or KK against AA. I have too often been the guy with middle set against top set. Stuff like that. We've all had it happen to us a million times and I am not immune to it of course, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't bothering me. No matter who you are, it is no fun to run poorly. Despite all that, I would be foolish not to spend some time extensively analyzing my game and seeing what I can find. If I can find a way to play better against the opposition and have that translate into an extra .5bb/100, then that can mean an extra several hundred thousand dollars a year in income given the massive volume of poker I play. In fact, even though I am running poorly, it wouldn't be nearly as bad if I was playing better.

Regardless of all that stuff, playing on the big game is going to be a special treat. First off, I have never been to Europe so that alone will make it a lot of fun. It will be great to experience that culture and learn more about what it is all about.

Playing high stakes poker is also something I don't do much of. I play the high stakes games on Poker Stars nearly every day, but the bulk of it is 5/10 and 10/20. The BIG GAME starts at 25/50 pounds and may end up higher. So that will be pretty fun. I am really not worried that it is a much bigger game than I am used to. The bottom line is that I am plenty rolled for that game and I always just make the play I think is best, the money be damned. But either way, I'd be lying if I didn't say that playing some of those large pots will get the adrenaline going much more than playing a pot at 10/20 online.

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Going to PartyPoker’s Big Game IV

Posted by Jared Tendler

I’m not usually one to jump on the hype for a show that’s getting a ton of press, but since I’m going to be there, I have to talk about it.

It started several weeks ago when Dusty was asked by Jesse May, on The Poker Show, to play in the Big Game and try to play for 48hrs straight. A sick thing to go for and of course there’s no one better than him to make a play at something like this. After a few weeks of details being up in the air, Dusty got confirmation that he was on the show sometime last week and I cleared my scheduled and booked a flight to head over to London with him.

There are a number of reason’s that I’m psyched for this trip and when I found out Isildur committed to playing it only jacked it up even more.

For one, I’m psyched to hang with Dusty. He and I became great friends while I was living in Portland, and haven’t hung out since I moved to NY in June. We talk often enough on the phone, but it’s not the same. So his stop-over comes through NY and then we’ll head on over to the other side of the Atlantic. Our 6pm flight from NY gets in at 6am the next morning so Friday is going to be a struggle unless we’re hopped up on adrenaline, which wouldn’t surprise me.

Another exciting part of trip is that I’m going to have a chance to meet in person a guy I’ve been talking to for 8+ months, and basically 4 days a week the past 3 – Barry Carter. Barry and I got to talking back in August when he contacted me out of the blue with an idea to write a series of articles chronicling getting coaching with me. After that I can’t remember really how we kept chatting – probably a combo of me curious about his progress and us continuing to do some work. In any event we struck up a friendship and around the time I realized that my progress with the book was going no where fast, I asked if he could help out.

Having worked on the book heavily since Jan, we finished a major milestone today with the book and are rolling on quite well. I could never have imagined at the start how important his help would be in getting this mass of content out of my head and presented in an orderly way, but he’s been invaluable. Plus since he’s a poker player first and a writer second, he’s helping to make sure that the book written as you would want it. He and I have gotten to be pretty good friends though all this, which is kind of funny to say about someone I’ve never actually met. So it’ll be great to hang with him there.

One of the great things about the trip as a whole and the Big Game is the unpredictability. There’s a bunch of things that I know of up in the air that could all add to the trip, and I’m certain there’s much more that I can’t even think of. The biggest known wild card is 100% Isildur. It was going to be a great event before his announcement now it has the potential to be unf’nbalievable. Not to mention that the cash game is running for 48hours, it’s sure to make for a lot of entertainment. I wrote an article for Pokernews today that gives a few reasons why. The cliff notes is that it has the potential to be a total train wreck and for those playing a ton of hours will be a battle of ‘C’ games.

By some grace of god I somehow thought to check the expiration date on my passport while watch TV this week. Turned out that it would have expired two days into the trip, so I could leave, but couldn’t come back. Fortunately there’s a passport office 30min from where I live and the process was actually pretty straightforward – minus me being nervous that something was/is going to go wrong with it. Happy to help the government out of debt, I paid a few extra bucks to expedite it, so my fingers are crossed it shows up tomorrow and I can breath a little easier.

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