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Follow Up On The Bizarre WSOP Ruling Aginst My Friend

Posted by Leatherass

I noticed an overwhelming number of people reading my last blog and they had many questions regarding the unbelievably bizarre ruling by the WSOP from my friend who nearly went bust in a hand vs. a player NOT even in the event. So I thought I would post a follow up to expand on my story. My friend John Mcclain (who I am co-backing for the WSOP events) sat down at a $1,500 WSOP Nl holdem event earlier in the series. A man sat next to him and showed his ID and registration ticket to the dealer who then handed him a stack of chips. My friend got involved in a reasonably sized pot that he lost to the man next to him. That man then said, "Isn't this great that we only have 5 people at the table for a shoot out event?" John then said, "This ain't a shoot out." They called the floor and the guy thought the event was on one day when in fact it was on the next day and he sat at the table that was apparently assigned to him for the next day's event. No one caught the error when he sat down at the table and the man played the event thinking he was in the right event.

The floor talked about it and ruled that the man's chips would be removed and he was told that he showed up on the wrong day. So no harm no foul, unless you are John. John then said, "Uh, we've got a problem here. Is it possible that I can lose a chunk of my starting stack to a person NOT EVEN IN THE TOURNAMENT?" The floor talked it over and came back to him saying that he "lost his chips in good faith" to the man. Yeah that is no joke. They really said he lost them "in good faith!" My first reaction when John told me this story was what a crock that was. Don't we all register for WSOP events in "good faith" that we will actually be competing against people who are ACTUALLY REGISTERED FOR THE EVENT! I just have no idea how anyone can actually put thought into that decision and come up with "Sir, you lost your chips on good faith to the man not event registered for the tournament." Seriously?

I guess next time the November 9 come back for the main event final table their fiercest competition may just come from the rail. One of them might jump onto the table and check raise someone out of a big pot! I mean seriously, the jokes are endless on this one. How can this ruling be possible?

EDIT

I just wanted to follow up on a few more questions people had and one more opinion of mine on the situation. John sat with the man not in the event for several hands. John thinks the reason the floor decided to say he lost the chips "in good faith" was because the man had played so many hands at the table that it would be an incredibly big deal to try and rectify the situation on the spot. To truly make it fair, they would have to consider every hand played with the man at the table to be dead and to give people their starting chips back. They would also have to reset the clock. Of course by doing all of that, you would have to completely stop the tournament and let the one table that John was at play poker for as long as the tournament ran with the blind structures back to where they were. Once the table caught up to the rest of the tournament, then everyone could resume.

Doing something like that is obviously not practical, and with no fair way to really handle the situation, they just told my friend he lost the chips "in good faith." So I agree with the WSOP in the sense that they were in a spot where there was no equitable thing for them to do. But where they are obviously screwing up is that they should reimburse the entry fee to John and probably the entire table who played a joke of an event. Certainly just telling my buddy John that he was SOL with the chips he lost to the phantom player is absurd. I think he should get his $1,500 in tournament credit and he should have gotten to free roll the event he was in. That would've been fair in my mind. Anyway, I will post more updates on this as my friend John is going to take his case to the WSOP floor again today and see if they decide to do the right thing before he possibly escalates it further. I sure hope for the sake of John, the WSOP, poker in general (and to a very small extent, myself who lost money in this event backing my friend) that they do the right thing immediately.

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Can You Go Broke To Someone NOT In The Tournament?

Posted by Leatherass

My buddy who I am backing in some WSOP events came to my Vegas home tonight. We got to talking and we were telling stories about our series so far. He said that in one of the events this series he lost chips and almost busted to a guy WHO WASN"T EVEN IN THE TOURNAMENT! That's right, the guy who he lost chips to was sitting at the table and right after he won some chips off of my buddy, the guy said, "Man isn't this great to be only 5 handed in a shoot out?" My buddy said, "Uh, this ain't a shoot out." They called the floor over and sure enough the dealer forgot to check his registration card and the guy walked to a WSOP $1,500 buy in event when he was really registered for some shoot out that was on another day!

The floor came over and the man was told to leave the table and come back for the event he registered in. My buddy, told the floor, "Hey, we've got another problem here. Is it possible that I can lose chips to someone not even in the tournament?" The floor crew got together and ruled that my buddy lost his chips "in good faith" to his opponent. My buddy was stunned.

Now I understand it can work both ways. My buddy could have easily won some chips and it would have stunk to have to give them back. But my God, how on earth can you lose chips to someone not even playing in the event? Can you imagine this happening in any other sport? What if Lebron James just walked onto the basketball court and scored a bunch of points for the team you were playing against? Do the points count? In golf, if I just show up to the Masters and make my way past the guards with my golf clubs, can I go out on the course and try and win the Masters? I mean c'mon! How on earth can they get together and come up with THAT ruling? What if my buddy had gotten busted by someone not even registered for the event? I can say one thing, if I got busted in a $10,000 buy in event by someone not even registered in the tournament, I would at least get a refund come hell or high water.

I am sure the WSOP has a rule book they go by, but given the enormity of the event that they run, they ought to spend more time putting in more thought to potential situations that could arise and come to logical conclusions based at least in part to player input. Respectable players would I'm sure be more than happy to give their input.

In golf they have a rule book and a "decisions on the rules of golf" book. The "decisions" book has an official ruling on every conceivable situation that has ever occurred. I think the WSOP should do the same because arbitrary rulings like losing chips to someone not in the tournament need to be ruled out. And when you make on spot decisions like the floor does at times, rather than referring to a well thought out rule book made prior to the event, you add in the element of poor judgment that could sway what they consider to be the most prestigious poker event in the world.

I'd be interested in hearing if there is precedent for something like this? Has someone else ever come across something like this? If so leave a comment. Coming from a golf background, I just can't even imagine how it is possible that you can lose to someone NOT in the event. I realize that if the error had occurred later in the event after he busted several people who may have driven home, it could get ugly. But in my opinion the WSOP should step up to the plate and give those people a refund or at least let them free roll another event with a similar buy in amount. That would be the least they could do for their mistake. Certainly penalizing someone for your own mistake should not be an option. The WSOP overall does a pretty good job all things considered. I know their job isn't easy. Which is why I'm saying we need a more well thought out rule book that takes into account all of the crazy stuff that can (and likely will at some point) happen.

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Vegas

Posted by Jared Tendler

I’m sitting in the airport a few minutes from heading out to the Vegas for a few days. When I went to the world series a few years ago I was really new to poker and in many ways overwhelmed by how much I was learning. Though my work in poker is very similar to golf, the worlds are completely different. The golf world I knew for 20 years, the poker world I knew peripherally for many years too, but nothing is like being around some of the best in the world for a week.

My first night there I could barely sleep because I had so much crammed into my mind from listening in to conversations with Cottonseed, Dusty, Stosh, Hunter, Bryce, Nick talking poker. There’s a language and culture and I was like a traveling foreigner struggling to keep up. Now being an established member of the community, this trip will take on a whole different life.

As with any trip there’s always the unexpected, and I’ve purposefully left a lot of time open for it…plus it is Vegas. What is planned I’m really looking forward to. Hanging with Dusty, his wife, and getting to meet his beautiful daughter. Meeting clients who I’ve worked with, sometimes for years, for the first time. Other poker related meetings, networking and getting to see some of the friends I made on my London trip.

Those of you who are there, if you see me, stop me and say hi. With so much of my work online, I miss the everyday interactions people have in the offline work world…plus it’s just great to put a face/person with a screen name.

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Mercy Mowings

Posted by QTip

How did we start mowing grass? Why is mowed grass perceived as more beautiful? Why is it a public disgrace not to have yours as "beautiful" as your neighbors?

So many people work on their lawn more than they would a part-time job. America spends tens of billions of dollars a year keeping their yards up to some standard. It just seems like we're fighting a losing battle. Go on vacation for 2 weeks, come back to what was a beautiful yard and now it's back to the grindstone.

I conduct what I call "mercy mowings". My neighbors work so hard on their lawn every season. I feel a little bad that they live next to someone who doesn't care. Sometimes they come over and say "Do you mind if we spray some of this weed killer a bit over the property line?" I say "You can have the yard if you want it." They laugh. I say "No, I'm serious."

I guess to each his own. But this just seems like an area where we could all save time and money. If we spent this on further our brains, donating time or making the world a better place instead of fighting a losing battle against nature...idk. Just rambling I guess.

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Quest for the Top 10

Posted by ChipSteela

I have to admit these past few months have been more than hectic for me. I never really imagined that I would be able to get to the level I have finally achieved in online poker, and now that I’m here it’s just made me more hungry to improve my game. The Sunday Million win on Full Tilt Poker launched a snowball effect for me, giving me the confidence to continue rising in the online tournament rankings and perhaps it also brought with it some needed run-good momentum. Now I’m in striking distance of the coveted top ten as posted on the infamous Pocketfives.com top 100 rankings.

For those who aren’t aware this ranking system is a world renowned system based on both statistics and the opinions of top ranked players. In order to keep these rankings as current as possible, scores progressively go down every few months after the initial score. All of these factors make it the most accurate ranking system possible, and because of this it is viewed as the standard for online poker tournament rankings. Before this year I had been sporadically moving up and down in these rankings never getting higher than the top 50, and for that reason I never really gave too much thought to them. However much like someone who jumps on the bandwagon when their local team finally goes deep in a sport and makes it to the championships (You know who you are), I finally got interested once I actually had a shot at the glory that is the top ten too be placed in a list along with the greats of the game like Gboro780, Moorman1, and DJK123.

Right now I find myself hovering in the top 20 on the rankings, on the strength of a few nice wins after the Million, the biggest being a win in the UB $500 150k guaranteed tournament for right around 40k. I feel pretty blessed to have had the success I’ve had these past few months, and I believe that as long as I continue to dedicate myself to improving my game that I may actually have a snowballs chance in hell at cracking the top ten. The way I see it the only real obstacles in my path are 1. time since my huge score will go down in value very soon here and with that that will come a noticeable decrease in my score 2. the cruel bitch that is MTT variance.

Poker is a very streaky game, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have been on one hell of a hot streak lately.
The problem is that during these streaks we get so used to winning that we hardly even appreciate the success we are having because we just begin to expect it. I’m telling you now that if you find yourself in this spot definitely make the most of each win. Go pop Cristal at the club and make it rain as the kids say these days, because a few weeks later the inevitable downswing will once again rear its ugly head leaving you wondering if all those scores were just a fluke and if you will ever be able to have that kind of run again. This is actually the number one thing that frustrates me the most about poker. It’s not about the bad beats, it’s the fact that a month ago it seemed like I was winning everything and now I can’t even cash in a $30r tournament. After the years I’ve put into poker I’ve realized that this is only part of the game, but some of the best advice I can give to someone who just got into the game and is running like god is to strap yourself in because it’s not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. Variance can mess with your psyche more than the most psycho girlfriend you have ever had, and for this reason I think it will be my biggest obstacle in my quest for the top ten.

Time is also definitely a factor since I know longer have any desire to grind all day sessions 5 days a week. I actually have cut down my volume substantially, and some weeks I only play 2 days. These next few weeks I will be in Vegas trying to break my live curse, so that gives me even less time since I’ll more than likely only be playing online on Sundays out here. I really can’t see myself grinding online with all the distractions of Sin City looming in the background. Really all it takes is one more decently big score though and maybe a little bit more love from the pro poll and I should be able to make it happen. One time for the kid?

It is definitely time for a much deserved and needed vacation from the online felt, so I’ll be in Vegas the next 3 weeks at the WSOP attempting to not suck at live poker. For those interested in keeping up with my status out here you can follow me on Twitter @endlessj. Yea that’s right I’m on Twitter now, feel free to hate all you want. I’ve said it a few times before, but I really think this is going to be my year at the series. I’m so sure of it that I’m even playing the main event this year. Hopefully I’ll see some of you guys out here in Vegas, and if you recognize me come up and say what’s up. I also plan to keep the blog updated while I’m out here so check back soon.

If you would like to check out some of my earlier work go to pokerworks.com where i have been a contributing writer for over a year

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Pay It Forward Update

Posted by Leatherass

I've been meaning to make a post following up on the Pay It Forward project I started last Christmas for a long time now.. For those who haven't been following my blog since then, last Christmas I decided to play poker out in below freezing temperatures alongside homeless people to raise money for them. I wasn't able to play the entire time outdoors because at one point the temperatures were less than 10 degrees and my computer wasn't even working properly in that kind of weather. So I played some outdoors and some indoors, depending on the temperature. I did this for 5 days and raised about $21,000.

While some of the money went into a general fund, most of it went to 3 specific people. That was really my goal for this project. Rather than give it to a lot of people, just like in the movie Pay It Forward (in the movie, the idea was if 1 person did something nice to 3 people on the condition that they did something nice for 3 people, an epidemic of kindness could spread throughout the world and change the course of humanity), I wanted to try and see if I could help facilitate a huge impact on 3 people's lives. So I figured for about $6,000 a person, that kind of money could give 3 homeless people an apartment for 6 months, food, utilities, insurance (or repairs for their car if they had one) and basic living expenses. From there it would be up to them to find a job and take advantage of the opportunity.

I could not possibly be more proud to report that I have gotten a chance to meet the people that my poker profits were able to help out and ALL 3 of them are in jobs that they are loving and their employers are impressed, with a couple of them even getting promotions!! They are all about to be on their own with the prepaid rent expiring and all of them will remain in those homes as self sufficient, valuable members of the community.

Meeting them was quite a powerful experience. To hear their stories and what they have been able to do with the opportunity got me a little choked up. They could not be more spectacular people and while they were super grateful for the opportunity, I really only played a small role in their success. Someone who didn't want to better themselves would've just taken the opportunity to put their feet up and watch TV all day for 6 months and wind up exactly where they started. But they seized the opportunity and seem to be very happy, hard working and loving people. I could not be more happy for them and could not be happier with the outcome of this project.

While most people were very supportive of what I did, there were some who just thought I was lighting money on fire. Some just shook their heads like I was crazy and could not figure out why I was helping people who "clearly do not want to help themselves." Those words are theirs, not mine. But you see, while I get as depressed as anyone with the way human beings behave sometimes, I do believe the overwhelming majority of them are good people who often just make one or two poor decisions OR are just a complete victim of their circumstances. People think because they can't imagine themselves homeless that it only happens to lazy drug addicts. That is definitely not the case. In fact you need to look no further for proof of that than the person writing this blog.

About 6 years ago I had a heart attack and my employer (who also happened to be my father) said he would not pay me for my time away from the job. With only a little money from disability, high living costs and medical bills, I wound up with only $1,000 to my name (apologies to those who have already heard this story) and rent do in a couple of weeks. I put all $1,000 online and hoped for the best and a few weeks later after running pretty good at the tables, I had my rent money plus another $5,000. From there I have never looked back.

The point is that I was lucky. I was a new poker player and my skills were decent, but without a nice run at the tables, I could have been on the streets just as easily. And I can tell you I took no drugs whatsoever and since I am known by many as one of the hardest working people in online poker, I am sure no one will doubt me when I say laziness was not the reason I almost became homeless.

On a seperate, but somewhat related note, I am involved in a book project that Albert Pujols was gracious enough to lend a hand with. For those who don't know who he is, he is one of the best American baseball players to ever play the game. ESPN recently voted him baseball player of the decade. When asked about all of the fame, money, celebrity and opportunity that comes with being Albert Pujols, he didn't seem all too impressed with it. He said he feels grateful to be able to play baseball for a living. When asked about the money, he just told us he didn't really care about it and he tries to just give most of it away to help the poor in the Dominican Republic and to serve his foundation.

A lot of what I took from that conversation is that for the rich and the famous, those who choose to sleep with a ton of women, blow their money on champagne and all of the other random stuff rich people do are a dime a dozen. Anyone with money can just walk around like a rich guy and blow it all, thinking they look cool. But to me, what is cool is a guy like Pujols, Albert keeps his head down, works on his game and what do you know, is the best baseball player in the world right now. When he is done being the best ball player in the world for the season, he then tries to be the best human being he can be off the field. Guys like Albert have my respect. People like the 3 people who were part of the Pay It Forward project have my respect. And while I don't look down on people who want to enjoy their lives to the fullest extent, I would encourage them to take a close look at a guy like Albert Pujols and see that there are other ways to enjoy success.

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Road Trip

Posted by GiantBuddha

Unlike most online poker pros, I love live poker. I love it for all the reasons many hate it. The people. The pace of the game. The sound of the chips clacking together. The feel of dragging a big pot and stacking my winnings into massive pyramids. Well, everyone loves that last part.

The pace is what kills most online players. We see so many fewer hands per hour. Patience, which was once paramount in poker, can almost be sidestepped online by adding more tables, or playing this aberration they call RUSH. I like to do everything fast, unless it's worth doing slow. But the best life advice I can offer is this: don't rush.

So I'm going back to where patience is at a premium. I'm heading down to the Borgata in Atlantic City tonight. I'll be there until the sun comes up. If anyone's in the neighborhood, feel free to drop by and say hi. I'll be getting my live poker reps in, taking my time, warming up for the WSOP.

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What a Complete Joke

Posted by Hunter Bick

I'll start with the obvious: American's don't care about soccer. That's not a surprise to anyone. Its on at weird times for us, and its a little slower than our other sports which doesn't help in the eyes of Americans with short attention spans. But nonetheless, plenty of us do start paying attention every 4 years because the USA national team generally does pretty well at the World Cup. A lot of Americans also recognize the superb athleticism and do appreciate the talent, some of these guys are without question some of the top athletes in the world. There's also a deep level of strategy that once you understand a little of it, is pretty cool and entertaining. I also respect soccer because as my wife pointed out, its the least elitist big time sport in the world. It requires zero equipment to learn how to play, and skills can be developed without even a pair of shoes. Obviously thats a big reason its the world's sport, and deservedly so. Its simple rules, accessibility, and underlying deep strategy and talent base make it a great game, there's no question about that. So please don't confuse this blog to be about soccer, its not, its about FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup and the other top international leagues.

This year especially there are plenty of reasons for Americans to be excited about soccer, Landon Donovon is in his prime, Tim Howard is a phenomenal keeper, and the games are on at reasonable hours on normal channels , so we don't have to get up at 4am to watch our guys play, because lets face it, that just wasn't going to happen. Our tournamnet even started strong with an upset tie against England.

So it was all great until this absolutely ridiculous call that disallowed Maurice Edu's game winning goal today. No commentator saw anything, but it was hard to miss the 2 Americans being bear hugged while Edu was busy winning the game. So naturally, when it was disallowed, I naturally, along with every other American watching, wanted to know what the call was and who it was called on, no one mentions either, and I remain confused. After the game, I find out that these refs don't actually have to specify what the call is or even who its on. Are you kidding me?!?! I'm still blown away by that. I was informed by our friend goretexg in the forum that Sepp Blatter, FIFA's corrupt head, is adamantly opposed to any form of instant replay. But that's not event the main absurdity here, but we'll get to that in a minute.

I did a little googling of "FIFA corruption" and there hundreds of articles detailing various investigations into FIFA regarding payoffs, kickbacks, bribes, and sleazy ticket hocking. These investigations finger people all the way to the top, including Sepp Blatter, FIFA's head. For our non-US friends, I'm sure this is common knowledge for you guys and you're probably very surprised I'm just now outraged about all this. But again, Americans check in on the sport every 4 years for the World Cup, and for the most we don't pay attention because corruption in FIFA, or any soccer news for that matter, never ever hits our sports headlines. So anyway, yeah there's a ton of corruption, most of it appears to be pretty brazen and blatant on the organizational level.

So now this all makes sense. If FIFA has a culture of corruption, then why would they WANT the refs to have to record against who or what the foul is? Because this little rule as it is opens up the entire sport to incredible poisoning, making it so much easier for an official to hide his intent of turning the game one way or the other. A billion people are expected to watch the world cup. I'm sure that comes with incredible action and unparalleled incentive to buy the results of games. Russian and Chinese mobsters that are have hundreds of millions dollars could easily make that happen. And its probably the easiest sport to manipulate with such an archaic rule set. This rule is so outrageous to the spirit of fair competition, that I can't imagine that FIFA doesn't WANT to invite in the corruption, poisoning, and controversy. Because its just too easy and to obvious to fix. "Refs now have to disclose what infraction they are calling, and what player is being penalized." Done.

Next, theres FIFA's adamant refusal to utilize any sort of instant replay. If FIFA had any interest at all in making sure the outcome of these games was fair, then why NOT put in instant replay? Instant replay has made Tennis, American Football, and the NHL much better and fairer. The challenge system works great in Tennis and football, and the NHL has a board of people in the Toronto headquarters standing by to review video for EVERY single game played. Close calls get elevated to the headquarters, they decide after looking at all the angles, and thats the decision. And thats just the little ol' NHL, which is eclipsed in North American in revenue and popularity by baseball, basketball, and football.

But right now we're talking about the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the history of the world, how could you possibly resist rules that ensure fairer outcomes, if you don't have a monetary interest in to the contrary? It's such an asinine stance that again, its just impossible to imagine another reason why they aren't for it except for their culture of corruption and graft, and that someone or everyone is on the take to keep it from happening. After all, it would certainly make it harder to fix games if an independent board of review were reviewing close calls outside the authority of the on field refs.

Even I remember the controversy over the refs in the 2002 world cup where the Italians got jammed. How many upset wins or upset ties have there been in this year's tournament alone? After seeing that goal get disallowed, and how FIFA has handled it so far ("no comment" from anyone), how can I even watch another game under the assumption that the outcome is not predetermined? The more I read and learn about FIFA, the more disgusted I am. I can't help but see my suspicions exemplified every time there's a big upset or a hugely controversial call.

Honestly, I feel cheated not only for the American team, but for myself for having started to care and pay attention in the first place. Its obviously a huge waste of time considering not even the most basic measures are taken to protect the integrity of the game by its governing body. I also feel badly for the fans elsewhere, this tournament means so much to so many people (most of them are outside the US), that its simply a tragedy that its being run by these assholes who clearly have no concern to even an interest in keeping the sport pure.

So you know what FIFA? American's shouldn't care about soccer, because obviously you don't. Wait, thats not quite fair. You don't care about the GAME of soccer or the World Cup and what it means to so many people, but you obviously love the money attached to it. The game, the fans, and the World Cup tournament are simply ways to funnel in some easy, under the table, tax free revenue. Because if you actually cared about the game one iota, these ridiculous rules would not be in place, period.

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The Sunday Million Pt. 2- The Final Table

Posted by ChipSteela

So finally after all the time of put into poker I got my chance to shine going into the final table of this massive tournament with the chip lead. Knowing what I did from the player’s stats, I went to the final table with the game plan of opening as many pots as possible just to see what I would be able to get away with. To my surprise absolutely no one played back at me, and I was able to take down pot after pot uncontested. This allowed me to add some extra padding to my stack in case I did take a few beats. Despite the amount of hands I’d been winning, I hadn’t seen many playable hands at the ft so far, so when I picked up the Aces I was hoping that maybe the other guys had had enough of me bullying them around and would pick this opportunity to make a move on me. Well someone did, however they had a real hand in Q-Q and I was in great shape to have an overwhelming chip lead if only I could hold. I guess the Poker Gods decided they wanted to make me work a little hard for this one, because one of those Qs my opponent needed popped out right on the flop. Normally I would get frustrated after losing such a key pot, but I had so much confidence at this final table that I didn’t even let this beat phase me. I just continued to chip away at the other player’s stacks by stealing the blinds and antes whenever I felt I could get away with it, and also three betting players who had decent sized stacks and I could tell were waiting for the shorter stacked players to bust before they really wanted to get involved in any huge pots. This strategy worked like a charm and I was back to my rightful position as chip leader in just a few orbits.

Slowly my opponents started busting around me, and as we got to four handed play some of the other players brought up the idea of a chop. I gave no thought to the idea considering the edge I felt I had, but the fact that both these players wanted one so bad allowed me to turn up the aggression even more as I let them think I would consider one giving them false hope. I felt that this would cause them to play even tighter thinking that if they stick around a little while longer that a chop might actually happen and they could make a lot more money. This couldn’t have worked out better for me, as over and over I just raped these player’s blinds. You gotta do what you gotta do when there is this much money at stake.

Everything was going even better than I had hoped at the final table so far. That is until the Swedish player (Issalloverbeby) on my left decided he was tired of me stealing his blinds and took a stand by moving all in on my button raise with the glorious Q-T. I had A-9 which is a pretty strong hand 4- handed, but I could also tell that this particular player was getting to the point where they were going to make a move on me soon with how aggressive I was playing so A-9 figured to be ahead of his range of hands that he would move in on me with. I made the call, and though it was a good call we all know that just because you make a good call doesn’t mean that you are going to win the pot. A Q flopped and T came on the turn and I was left drawing dead. After losing that pot I was still in good shape, but my Swedish friend was getting stronger as he busted a player a few hands later getting us down to 3 handed play.

Once we were 3 handed I noticed a huge change, as the Swede really turned up the aggression on me. We were basically even in chips, so I continued to play with the same aggressive style that had been working so well against him all final table, but at this point it seemed he had decided he wasn’t putting up with it anymore… or maybe he sold his account to JJ prodigy, who really knows. It also didn’t help that it looked like the player who was 3rd place in chips (ThugER) with a short stack was sitting out since he was folding each hand very quickly and playing hardly any hands. Because it looked like he was sitting out I’m guessing the Swede thought he could put more pressure on me since the other player was pretty much out of the equation. Well the Swede and I soon ended up clashing in an all in confrontation when I picked up the A-Q, which is a monster in 3 handed play, and given the fact that he was opening every button I had no plans of folding to him. I thought I was going to vomit when he snapped call my shove with A-K and I was completely dominated. I once again cursed the Poker Gods as it looked like my run was over. I was given a little more hope when the flop came down with all clubs since I held the Ac for the nut flush draw. I groaned when the turn was a blank, but when the club appeared on the river I unleashed the world’s hardest fist pump. I then busted ThugER when my A-K held against his J-8s, and we were finally down to heads up play.

In the past I’ve had some pretty absurd things happen while playing heads up, and since there was no chop discussed at this point we were playing for the 80k difference between 1st and 2nd. To be honest, I’m just not enough of a degen to play for this kind of money despite my 2-1 chip lead and the fact that this player’s stats didn’t exactly send the message that I was playing with the protégé of Phil Ivey. Since I did have double my opponent’s chips, if we did negotiate a deal I would still get quite a large sum of money so it made sense to me. At first I tried to ask for a little more from him based on the huge difference between our stats, but really I was fine with taking the ICM amount of 170k that my stack was worth at this point. I just didn’t want to give him any more money, and I think that by first asking for more and then decreasing my demands I was able to pull this off. After going back and forth for a few minutes we were able to agree on the ICM amounts provided, and then play for the remaining 10k that Full Tilt stipulates you have to leave aside for the winner. After the deal was struck it didn’t take long for me to put the nail in the coffin. I was opening nearly every button, as I usually do when playing heads up because of the positional advantage post flop, and this time I woke up with A-Ko. My opponent was starting to defend his blinds much more loosely, and I was able to get him to call off his remaining stack on the river after the board rolled out A-J-5-4-A. After barreling the flop and turn, I over bet the pot on the river because from the way he had called both my bets I figured he would never fold this river since there were no draws on the board and my range was very polarized to either trip As or better, or absolute air. He made the call with T-J for two pair, and it was all over baby.

So that’s how it went down. It feels absolutely incredible to finally pull off the kind of win that may just put me up there with online poker’s most elite. It also doesn’t hurt that I made 5-6 times what most people make in a year in one day’s work. To be honest that seems kind of absurd. I hope this win will be an inspiration to those grinding tournaments for a mild profit that if you put in some serious time and dedication in this game, some day it will all come together for you in grand fashion. I’m off to go live the good life. Peace

If you would like to check out some of my earlier work go to pokerworks.com where i have been a contributing writer for over a yea

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The Sunday Million Pt. 1

Posted by ChipSteela

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in this business for over three years now. When I look back on my poker career so far I can’t really be too upset, I’ve accomplished some incredible things that I never could have imagined including well over a million in winnings collectively, five poker triple crowns, and countless deep finishes in major tournaments. I’ve been pretty blessed to have the results I have, but still I’ve felt like there has always been something missing from my poker resume, that being that one big score that people will always remember you for. You know what I mean, that tournament win that makes you feel like putting in countless hours grinding online and working on your game was all totally worth it. Well after being so close so many times now and always falling short, I was starting to feel like this elusive score was merely a fantasy and I was doomed to envy and curse those who were actually able to run good enough to pull it off. Well believe it or not, that all changed last weekend.

The Sunday grind started off like any other. I built several stacks only to see them disappear in front of my eyes after a few lost races, some kamikaze plays that didn’t pan out, and one painstaking 2-outer on the river deep in the Sunday Brawl. I’ve actually been trying hard to maintain a positive mindset when everything starts to go to all wrong early in the day, after all on Sunday it really only takes one win to make the day a success. I’ve found that if you let yourself get tilted the rest of the day just becomes miserable, with little chance to finish on a positive note. This was a pretty big Sunday to, as it was the one time a month when Full Tilt runs a $500 with a $1 million guarantee and a deep stacked structure that allows for much more play. Armed with a positive attitude and more focus from playing a few less tables then usual I began my assault on the tournament.

I was able to build a stack early by playing aggressively and making some big hands. It also didn’t hurt that I started off at a dream table full of subpar players that probably satellited in and couldn’t help but to pay me off like they were Tiger Woods trying to keep countless women on the side quiet. Unlucky Tiger, we still love you… Anyways, thanks to the slow structure I was able to play my stack pretty solidly, but I can’t deny that I was also getting hit by the deck in pretty absurd fashion as well. I flopped several sets in big multiway pots, and always seemed to have the best of it when the money went in. Once we got into the money I started getting played back at from all angles, and it didn’t help that I was pretty card dead for about an hour causing my stack to slump a little with around 150 left. It seemed like it was as good a time as any to go on a sick run, so that’s exactly what I did.

First, I won a 3 way all in with T-T against T-J and K-Q to put me in much better shape. An orbit later I picked up the A-K when a short stacked player in early position moved in, and with around 35bbs in my stack I also put all my chips in the middle in an attempt to isolate the all in player. I was not happy when another player behind me also moved in without much hesitation leading me to believe that I was in trouble. Well the short stack player showed up with 6-6 but the other player had K-K and I was left thinking fml, not again. Imagine my surprise to see the flop roll out with an A-T-J, and when the rest of the board bricked a monster pot shipped my way.

These are the kinds of hands that can really put you back into the tournament in a major way, and it’s almost a necessity these days to have luck on your side with how aggressive poker has become. I used the chips gained from these hands, and also a monster flip I won against a tough player with J-J against their A-K to propel me to the final table with the chip lead. I was also incredibly fortunate to have some very good players that could have made my life much more difficult bust out on the final table bubble. Some of these players included Cdbr3799, Ryanbluf and Wywrot. With these sickos out of the hunt I was very confident that I could push around the remaining players just looking to move up the pay ladder, especially since after looking up my table using the Bluff Magazine tool I found that most of these guys weren’t even winning players according to their tournament stats.

Check back next time to see if I was actually able to pull off this amazing feat, and finally ship that 6-figure score that I have been chasing after for 3 years now.

If you would like to check out some of my earlier work go to pokerworks.com where i have been a contributing writer for over a year

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No Longer the Victim

Posted by ChipSteela

Hey what’s up guys, I apologize for the lapse in time since my last entry. I have been pretty busy being a “poker superstar“these past few months. It ‘s funny, I have had consistently good results for almost 4 years now in online tournaments and not until my recent big score had I been sought after for articles and interviews by major publications. I guess it really does a take a score like that for people to take notice. Now you can check out my insight on an interesting hand from that Sunday Million victory in this month’s Cardplayer, hear an interview I gave to them over the phone on their website, and even look for a feature on me in an upcoming Cardplayer. I never thought that sitting around the house in my underwear playing poker could ever lead to this kind of celebrity, and to be honest it doesn’t really even seem real. I’ve even found myself being placed in the top 20 in the world in the online poker rankings at Pocketfives.com since that win, an honor that I feel I hardly deserve. All this attention is a bit tough to deal with it, but I am just taking it in stride. In the meantime I’m going to let you guys in on one of the huge secrets to my tournament success this past year.

No I didn’t go out and read the book “The Secret” and just start mowing down tournament fields left and right, however this secret does have little to do with strategy and a lot to do with mindset. I’d say that for the past few years until recently, I’ve really made myself a victim to the game of poker. I know you’re thinking what the hell does he mean by that, well I mean that I had convinced myself the reason that I hadn’t gotten any of the really big scores that I had so often seen my friends accomplish was simply because I didn’t run as good as they did. It is so much easier to blame shortcomings on the cards then to really look deep into your own game, and I had gotten to the point where I was so set on this mindset that I would almost subconsciously hope for bad beats just so I could send them to all my friends on AIM in order to further prove how bad I run. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the mind can come up with all kinds of excuses to explain failure.

To add to that I surrounded myself with a circle of friends that would just send bad beat hand histories back in forth instead of discussing hands to actually help our game. Really when you think about it, when you are surrounded by this much negativity how the hell are you supposed to win. It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, which for those of you who didn’t major in Psych in college is basically the idea that you are so positive things are a certain way that you behave in a way that help cause them to be that way even if that isn’t necessarily the way they really are. I knew that Psych degree would come in handy one day.

At the start of this year I got a reality check when I was at the PCA tournament in January and came to find out that my friends were more than tired of hearing about my poor luck. I didn’t want to be that guy that was better known for whining and complaining then his actual poker game, so it was at this point I realized it was definitely time for a change. I made it my mission to resist complaining about bad beats and sending the hand histories to friends no matter how brutal that they were. It was tough at first, but after awhile I found that I was enjoying my poker grinding sessions more and more and on top of that my results were noticeably improving as well. I was discussing more hands from a strategy stand point with friends whose game I respected, and this was allowing my approach to poker to evolve to a new level . The thing with online poker is that people see so many hands an hour when multitabling so the game really does evolve at a ridiculous pace, and if you get to the point where you have no desire to continue working on your game and learning new things then your results will suffer drastically.

When you couple this drive to always stay on top of the game with a positive mindset you make yourself a dangerous opponent on the felt. The fact of the matter is that there are always going to be bad beats in poker, no matter how hard it is to accept. It’s inevitable. We have no control over what cards come out, however we do have control over how we choose to react when that two-outer does come on the river next time. The more we let these things eat at us, the more bitter we become both on the felt and in our lives away from poker. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m just saying if we do have the power to choose, why not choose to see them as minor road blocks in our path to success? That’s how I’ve decided to see it, and it seems to be working out for me so far. Alright, I’m stepping down from my soap box now.

No matter how corny it sounds, this whole positive mindset thing can really improve your game. There is no point in turning the game we love into a game that is out to get us, because once we do its really all downhill from there. Look for my next entry sooner than later as I’ll be preparing for the WSOP and continuing to grind online in my quest to reach top 10 in the world in online poker before the end of this year.

If you would like to check out some of my earlier work go to pokerworks.com where i have been a contributing writer for over a year

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Way of the Poker Warrior

Posted by GiantBuddha

It turns out that writing a book is both difficult and time consuming. It's also a hell of a lot of fun. I am proud to announce that I have spent the past six weeks writing and revising my first book, titled Way of the Poker Warrior: A black belt's guide to conquering the tables. Better yet, it will be published by Imagine Media and available on my new website and elsewhere within the next few weeks.

This is not the first book I have written, but it is the first book I have finished. They say that writing is rewriting, and that's the difference between a completed book and a finished book. Completed first drafts of a novel and a screenplay sit on my shelves, but I never got around to sanding the edges and making them the best they can be. I only spent six weeks doing that for Way of the Poker Warrior, but I had two huge advantages: an editor and a deadline.

Writing for a deadline is tough. Harnessing creativity on command is not simple. But being on a mission can be inspiring in its own way. Knowing that I had a deadline to make and that this was actually getting published provided the drive to push through to 4 PM on days when I had to. 4 PM may sound like an early quitting time to some, but when you begin work at 8 PM the night before, it has a different feel.

Writing for an editor is easy. Well, writing for a good editor is easy. Criticism can be hard to take, but when it's constructive criticism attached to intelligent suggestions, it makes the process more efficient and productive. While I did all of my own writing for this book, Scott Brown made sure to get the most out of my poker, teaching, and writing abilities.

I'd like to thank Scott for helping me write the best first book I could. I'd also like to thank my teacher, Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim, legendary grinder Dusty Schmidt, and DragTheBar CEO Hunter Bick for contributing awesome forewords and afterwords on my behalf.

So what's this book about? It's about martial arts and poker; learning and teaching; and a way of life. There is blood and sweat; peace and discipline; and sexy river check/raises. I do my best to be honest, introspective, and informative while switching gears from entertaining narrative to broad poker lessons to in-depth hand analysis, with the pride of a samurai and the humility of a monk. Or some crap like that.

You can read it soon enough and let me know if I hit my marks.

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Want to lose weight?

Posted by zerosum79

A while back I was on a running kick because I was trying to lose some excess pounds that I packed on while my wife was pregnant.

10 months after my daughter was born I was still a butterball. Vital stats 5'10" 220lbs at my heaviest.

Background, at one point or another in my life I have tried every fad diet imaginable. More enjoyable ones were atkins and other low car variants. However you are always stuck with the, well I lost weight now what factor? Just going back to your old life packs back on 5lbs of water weight fast.

This time around my wife and I decided to make a different change. More of a lifestyle change if you will... Just write down all the calories we eat on a daily basis. We got a tracker online and started charting out what things we were eating and how many calories were in them.

The site said I should stick to 2000 calories a day when not exercising. Exercise is banked as extra calories I can consume. 2000 cals seemed like a lot but it put me on course for losing 1-1.5lbs a week from what the website said. I also eat whatever I want on Sundays.

Its been 9 weeks now since I began and I recently tipped the scales at 204lbs. So far I have lost 16lbs. However the really positive thing is that I have much better perspective on what calories are in things and I am making healthier choices without feeling like I am sacrificing anything.

There is a little more overhead in the fact that I have to measure new recipes and make sure that I am maxing out my enjoyment for minimal calories. I learned how to make pizza since I crave it and its much healthier when I use my own ingredients. I've also learned where I can grab food out with little impact. For example, did you know an 8 piece Chick Fil A nuggets is only 260 cals and their chargrill sandwich is only 300? Both are very low cal snacks that I can pretty much eat whenever I want. Other go-to's are subway (320 cals for 6 inch with no mayo or cheese) and taco bell fresco style items run about 150 cals.

Anyways, I can see this turning into a continued success story as I am not having any trouble sticking with the program. My wife has also dropped 15 lbs so we are really starting to implement a life change which is very positive. I am curious to see how I look again at 190 which is my high school weight when in pretty good shape and lifting a lot of weights. My goal is 180 since I may not have the same muscle mass I used to have.

I am thinking too about trying P90x as I could use a rigorous workout program to start getting some muscle mass back. With less body fat I am sure that getting cut up would be pretty cool although I don't really have aspirations to look like a bodybuilder type.

So all in all the simplest solution turns out to be the best for me. Simple calorie reduction. Who would have guessed? This is a pretty big branch of the tree of goals that I have so I am really excited to move on to do some more work on another branch which I have been neglecting recently (poker).

zero

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The Unoffical 2010 WSOP Jack Ass Award Goes to…

Posted by Leatherass

n my last blog I wrote how I thought the guys who played in the WSOP ladies’ event were pretty sad. I have thought about it quite a bit more, and well, I think it is even more sad. I just can’t get my head around why on earth someone would do that. I did listen to Shaun Deeb’s you tube BS video and all I can say is that I think it is a crock of ****. I think he made a very poor decision to even make a bet that includes dressing up in drag and playing the ladies event, and I also will not be convinced that he did it to take some kind of stance on this issue.

I think that is what bothers me the most about this. Shaun Deeb not only made a stupid decision to play in the ladies event, he then backed it up with some lame excuse. Give me a break Shaun. There is no way on earth you care this much about the ladies event that you are doing this as some sort of political stance on the issue. If you are, then that is maybe even more sad considering the 10 million other more important issues in this world you could be taking a stance about. If you were really taking a stance I am all for it. Shoot, I played online poker outside in 12 degree temperatures this past Christmas to take a stance on supporting homelessness. I spent the time outdoors playing online next to homeless people in an effort to raise money for them. So I know about doing crazy things to take a stance for something. What Shaun did was just a phony cover up to pretend he actually gave a **** about womens equality when really he was just being a jack ass.

I am glad the WSOP gave him a hard time and I hope they continue to give him a hard time this series. He tried to make a mockery out of an event that while he may not agree with, was designed with all of the best intentions. Whether he agrees with the event or not, thousands of women showed up to play poker on a day many of them have been looking forward to all year. And what do they show up and see? Some jack ass in drag trying to ruin their good time. Not only that, but he wasn’t trying to just prove a point. He was trying to make money! I had originally thought that all of the money was going to charity, but he said in his video that “a portion of the profit would go to charity!” So if he was doing it to take a stance, why wouldn’t he donate the whole thing? It is seriously pathetic and I don’t feel bad if they harass Shaun for the rest of the series.

I happened to be married to a woman who is a fierce advocate of woman’s rights. We have talked about women’s rights quite a bit over our marriage and what we have agreed upon is the notion of separate, but equal. Some women who are feminists want everything to be equal, but in reality, that makes no sense. Women are different than men. First of all, women have different anatomy. They have different hormones and everything. No matter how much we may want it to be equal, when raising a family, my wife is just more naturally inclined to care for our baby. She can breast feed, I can not. I could cite a million examples like that. So my point is, we believe the goal is for everything to be equal where it makes sense to be equal, but when there are situations where it clearly makes no sense to be equal, we strive to be fair within the inequalities, if that makes sense.

I asked my wife about the ladies’ tournament and she said she did not see how it would harm women in the long run to have some sort of separation between the sexes for one event of the year. She argued that in practically every other sporting like endeavor, there has been a men’s, women’s and senior’s (and usually a junior, but we can’t have a junior championship for obvious reasons) championship, so why not poker? Is poker not on ESPN nearly every single day? I’m not saying poker is a sport, but why on earth would it be such a horrible thing to have a few different division’s of champions? It gives the ladies and the seniors their day to shine. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, who has more to lose in a given debate. If we do away with the ladies and the seniors event, who wins? I can’t think of anyone, to be quite honest. But we know through the participation numbers that it is quite clear women (I am not sure what the seniors attendance looks like) enjoy this event. Like DN said, his female asst. looks forward to this event every year. Why are we trying to take that away from her and others like her?

Anyway, to all of the ladies out there, I apologize on behalf of men that so many of them have such extreme view points when it comes to this. I am not sure why anyone takes such an issue with having a woman’s event. I think it is cool and I hope that the WSOP doesn’t chicken out because of this latest fiasco and take away the event I know so many of you look forward to. Same goes to the seniors event. I hope they keep that title alive as well. For the rest of the guys, I think we have like 60 + events here at the WSOP (plus London) so no need to try and sneak in the ladies event in a dress to try and win a bracelet.

This whole thing reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a buddy of mine. We just look at what human beings do to each other and it really is quite sad if you think about it. I mean take BP for example. They are pumping millions and millions of gallons of oil in to the water on a daily basis. They have worker’s who are coming forward saying they ignored safety practices and cut corners in the name of a buck at every turn. Their practices lead to the deaths of I think 11 people in the blast. Many analysts say the damages are in the tens of billions. What does BP do? They try and fix the problem with the cheaper option first and then try and give out a 10 billion dollar dividend!!!!!!! I mean I seriously can’t make this **** up. So my friend and I were talking and he just said, “Go Humans!!” So that has pretty much become my go to phrase whenever I hear about people doing selfish and dumb things. So congrats to Shaun Deeb for becoming the official jack ass of the 2010 WSOP!!

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Stupid Man Tricks

Posted by Leatherass

I’m getting ready to play the cash games and tournaments today on Poker Stars. I decided to skip the weekend WSOP event because tomorrow the $2,500 6 max NL tournament begins and if I made it far in the weekend event, I would have to miss Monday’s event. Instead I decided to just play online and spend some more time with my family. I am enjoying relaxing on this trip and especially enjoying laying on the floor and playing with my baby girl.

So far I am 0 for 6 in tournaments. The worst tournament by far for me was the Venetian deep stack event. I got dealt absolute rags all tournament, yet somehow managed to stay alive until day 2. On day 2 there were 18 people left to bust before the money when I lost an all in flip to go broke. Not only did I play for 16 hours only to get nothing, but I busted right at 5 PM so it took me an hour in traffic to get home. If I could design the worst possible outcome for a tournament, I would say making it to day 2, busting shortly before the money AND having to leave the casino in rush hour would be about right.

I read DN’s blog about men playing in the ladies event and I couldn’t agree more. I can’t believe 6 guys did that. I mean I don’t care if some of them lost a bet or were just trying to be funny or whatever. Just stay the **** away from the ladies event guys. How hard is that? After my good friend Casey Martin begin_of_the_skype_highlighting*****end_of_the_skype_highlighting won the right to a golf cart on the PGA tour through the Supreme court, a few knuckleheads tried to argue that they should have the right to play the LPGA and some even took their case to court. I just think it is downright pathetic that people do stuff like this. If you can’t cut it at what you are ultimately trying to achieve, don’t go looking for some silly loop hole.

The women get one event a year at the WSOP. As DN pointed out, it is good for the game as it brings women out in the 1000’s just to play in this event. I have only sat with 3 women all month, so generally speaking not a lot of women are playing the WSOP. But they do come out for that one. There is nothing unfair about it. Because it is not an open field event, as Barry Shulman pointed out, the event does not earn POY points. Sure, the winner gets a bracelet, but I think it is great that there is a designated ambassador for women’s poker each year. So what is the harm in such an event? Who loses? Even in the most cut throat sense, if some of these men weren’t so stupid they would realize that getting 1,000 women excited about playing poker is a good thing because they might start playing more poker and stimulate the poker economy.

Anyway, enough about that. Friday night I took my wife to NOBU which was absolutely off the charts. I love that place. After NOBU we went to see Richard Vos who was playing at the Harrah’s Improv. He did actually improv it. There were no rehearsed lines from what I could tell. I thought it was because he was drunk. He looked drunk! But then he said later he had been sober for 23 years. So I was like wtf? He just acted like he was totally wasted so I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I guess he was sober and just didn’t feel like putting in much effort on this show. Luckily he is pretty damn funny without even trying so we still had a good time.

Well, poker has been rough so far. I can’t get anything going in the tournaments. I know a lot of pros have had lots of terrible starts to the WSOP and then out of nowhere they bink a bracelet. So I am going to avoid getting too low about the way the WSOP is going until I bust form the main event. I know I am playing some good poker, that much I am sure of. I actually feel like I really worked to peak for the WSOP and I feel I am playing great. I don’t think I have made even one decision at the felt that I hated. Maybe a few I later felt wasn’t optimal, but no real poor decisions. Basically I am just running poorly, plain and simple. But it’s early. I will probably play another 10 events so anything can still happen.

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So this is how blogs work!

Posted by darkhorse

My first blog. Ever. Sweet.

Due to me playing on a lot of non-PTR tracked sites I thought I´d give you a screenshot of all the hands in my current HEM database. I´ve been playing exclusively limit hold´em at a winrate of 1.6BB/100. The first part of the graph includes some low limit hands. But the last 200K hands should be mid limit with a winrate of 1.9BB/100. Just coming off a rough stretch it´s easy to forget how in poker it is all about the long run. I still have tons to work on with my game, need to eradicate misclicks and practice better game selection for sure. But I have high hopes for the future and joining DTB feels fresh and fun. I´d like to thank everyone for making me feel very much welcomed!

I´m 30 years old and I currently live in Sweden. When I´m not working with poker or the arts I like to work out or socialize with friends. Inspired by Paul I´m thinking about taking up martial arts again. I´d like to try out Wing Tsun if I can find a good place for it. I think it looks pretty cool and different and there are no high kicks which I like. Doing high kicks forces you to stretch all day long.

This fall I´ll be visiting New York City. I :heart: NYC. The energy and the vibe there is awsum. I met Paul there and hopefully we can meet up more once I´m back, perhaps making some cool dual (not duel which I first wrote) commentary vids.

That´s all for today. Need to go out and worship the sun. It´s been a long, long winter in Sweden.

http://yfrog.com/2816bb310khandsj (bigger pic)

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115 Hours!!

Posted by Jared Tendler

I'm amazed. Not shocked, but thoroughly impressed by what Phil Laak pulled off this week playing 115 hours straight of poker.

The subject of sleep deprivation is one that's recently been on my mind since heading over to the Big Game with the intent of helping Dusty play 48 hours straight, so I know well the potential problems that can come from attempting something like this.

From a pure performance and achievement side of things, it reminds me that records are set knowing they'll eventually be broken. The more amazing ones last longer, but the odds are more than likely to be broken rather than not. With so much attention on training and pushing people farther, faster, stronger, better, smarter, etc, it only makes sense that we'll be capable of doing more.

The mental side of performance is obviously where my focus is, but I pay close attention to physical feats too because the mind plays by the same rules as the body when it comes to training, improvement, and performance. The only difference is the stuff - mental or physical - that's being trained. They are also close linked of course - Phil's feat is as much a physical accomplishment as it is a mental one. Being able to have enough energy to keep your head up, and to think over 115 hours is pretty incredible. I wonder if he used any performance enhancing drugs or other substances...

I don't know Phil, or know the details of what he had to fight through mentally to do this, but it's easy to imagine the effort that was needed at critical points in the 115 hour marathon. Those critical points, where he has the choice to stop or push forward are the same that we face in our own way everyday. Some times you can push farther, and others you back off. The important thing is that at the end of the day if you push forward just 1 more time than you backed off - you've accomplished something.

Then overtime all those tiny accomplishments grow into big ones and possibly to make BIG one day jumps. My guess is that Phil had a number of monster marathon sessions that were untended trainings. With all that experience, add in a little motivation, some excitement and he was ready to do something incredible.

*The one potential asterisk in all this is that he did get 5 minutes/hour as a break and he could bank the time to use later. Does anyone know if he used any of the time to sleep? He could have easily banked enough time for a few hours of sleep.

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The Big Three

Posted by Leatherass

Let me preface what I am about to write by saying that I am not really a “fan” of any poker professional. I view professional poker players as peers of mine the same way an NBA player might view Lebron James or Kobe Bryant as peers, rather than someone they are a “fan” of. I also am not typically over impressed with any particular poker player. I’m not saying I am necessarily better than the players I am not impressed by, but rather I feel like most of the big winning pros all make pretty good decisions. And while some may be better in some areas of their game, they may not be as strong in others.

Poker is really not a lot different than most sports. In golf, they say “chicks dig the long ball.” In baseball, the home run hitters get all of the attention. In basketball, it is the slam dunk. In poker it is a the bluff. And the players who are the best at bluffing get most of the attention. But just like dunking doesn’t by itself make you great in basketball and hitting 300 yard drives doesn’t make you great at golf, being a good bluffer doesn’t mean you are great at poker. I am not a flashy poker player by any means. If I were to compare my poker game to an athlete, I might be like a Cal Ripken. I don’t do anything particularly flashy, but I give it my best day in and day out. I have had good results for millions and millions of hands and while I may not be hitting 50 dingers a year, I get a few in here and there.

But like in any sport, there are the players who can do it all. Tiger Woods is the obvious example in golf. He hits is long, makes everything, has the best short game on tour and never beats himself. Michael Jordan had these same qualities of course. In fact once upon a time, in golf there was the “Big 3,” which consisted of Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. These were 3 guys who could do it all AND they were all butting heads against each other day in and day out during the same era. Well, if anyone is asking me, I think we have a “Big 3” in poker right now which is pretty special. Durrrr, Phil Ivey and Patrick Antonius.

Having skipped most of the poker TV shows over the past few years, I became inspired to watch some of them again after I received an invitation to play in THE BIG GAME over in London (which will air this summer). I wanted to get a feel for it since I was going to be playing (and as it turns out, commentating) on the show. After watching a ton of episodes of Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker, among other shows, there is no doubt in my mind that Patrick, Durrrr and Ivey are the best 3 no limit holdem players in the world right now. In fact, I don’t think it’s close.

Phil Ivey tends to get a lot of love from everyone, but I see an unbelievable number of people, some even pros like Hellmuth and Matusow, who think Durrrr is just lucky or is on a good run. Let me say this much, the reason why people (Hellmuth and Matusow included) think Durrrr is just lucky is because they don’t even understand the plays he is making. There is no nice way to put this, Durrrr is so far above their heads they don’t even know what they are saying.

Here is a hand I watched last night which illustrates what I am talking about. I can’t remember which season of High Stakes Poker this was, but the hand was something like this:

All Players were at least 200bb deep and most were 400-600bb deep. Barry Greenstein raises AA from UTG. Durrrr calls with QTs and pretty much the entire table calls. They go to the flop 7 ways and the flop comes down T22 rainbow. Barry lead into the entire field with AA for about $10,000 into a $20,0000 pot. Durrrr was next to act and he raised to over $30,000. The rest of the field folded, but Peter Eastgate called the $30,000+ cold from the small blind. Now many people are watching Durrrr and thinking, “Why on earth is he raising top pair here? Barry raised UTG and bet into 6 other players, he obviously has an over pair.” Well, you see, Durrrr looks at poker a little differently than most people. He knows he doesn’t have the best hand, but because he has a ten, unless someone has the other miracle pocket TT, there is no way anyone will be willing to get the money all in for a half a million dollars without the nuts. He used the fact that he had a ten to eliminate anyone possibly having a hand they would actually be willing to go all in with, given how deep stacked everyone was.

So back to the hand. Peter Eastgate flatting the raise and the re raise from the SB basically told Durrrr he had 3 2s. There is just no other hand he could have that would flat from the small blind. Barry called, which I don’t like given he should know he has 2 outs. Anyway, Peter and Barry checked to Durrrr and Durrrr did something that only a very special player would do. He continued with his bluff believing that since it was so unlikely anyone could have TT, he felt no one could actually commit their entire stack to the hand. He made this bluff KNOWING that Eastgate had 3 of a kind! Durrrr bet about $110,000 and Eastgate reluctantly folded as did Barry. Eastgate knew that while he had 3 2s, all he could beat was a bluff by Durrrr. The only hands Durrrr would probably play this way by the turn are bluffs and TT specifically.

Comments were made at the table about Barry throwing away the best hand, which is shocking that people didn’t look to Eastgate as the guy who very obviously had the best hand in that spot. It is obvious that Eastgate had a 2 in his hand and Barry had the overpair, given Barry raised UTG and bet into 6 other people. But this just shows just how far ahead Durrrr is from even some of the best players in the world on High Stakes Poker.

I don’t have specific hands at the moment, plus this blog us running long, to illustrate why I feel Ivey (other than the 52o hand that you can watch Phil Ivey 52o Hand and Antonius are among the top 3 in the world, but it is probably pretty obvious to anyone who has watched poker over the years. Those two guys are beasts and I don’t think anyone is going to argue with me putting either of those two guys among the 3 best no limit holdem players in the world. I think largely I just wanted to voice my opinion on Durrrr after seeing an unbelievable amount of comments from some name players who act as if Durrrr is some crazy bluffer on a good run. For Phil Hellmuth to say things like, “We’ll see if you’re around in 5 years” in insane. The only way Durrrr won’t be around in 5 years is if he dies by a freak accident or if he makes so much money he decides to retire or do something else with his life. Durrrr is an absolute animal at the tables, seems like a really nice guy from what I have heard/read and I think the poker world should be appreciative that such talented poker players such as Antonius, Ivey and Durrrr are willing to regularly showcase their talents on television for the rest of us to learn from and admire.

I also owe Durrrr a ton of thanks because his style is so difficult to emulate that few, if any people should really be playing that way. And because everyone tries to be Durrrr online, despite not having the requisite skills to actually play that style, it has resulted in a pretty tidy profit for me as I sit back and wait for my competitors to dump their chips into my lap with some ill conceived, poorly timed bluff.

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I Almost Threw Up

Posted by Leatherass

I had to wait a few hours to write this blog because I was pretty steamed for quite awhile after today’s event. I played in the $1,500 NL holdem 6 max tournament today which I was VERY excited for, having had so much success over the years playing 6 max nl cash games. The event started off great with me quickly robbing my way from 4,500 to about 7,000 chips. Then I found a nice situation getting all of my money in on the flop with KK and my hand held up, which believe me is no small feat for me in tournament poker. That brought me to over 12,000 chips and in great shape.

Shortly after wards I made a play that I don’t hate, but don’t love either. I opened with JJ in the CO and got 3 bet on the button. I had been extremely aggressive preflop and so I thought my opponent’s range could be pretty wide when he 3 bet me. I thought for awhile and I shoved 5,000 more to set my opponent all in. He snap called with QQ and made quads by the turn! I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean folding with my image 4 handed to a button 3 bet seemed unbelievably weak. But If I call, my hand is going to play face up and I will get outplayed a ton/ probably pay off an over pair anyway if the flop came numbers. If I 4 bet, I am pretty committed at that point. So I decided to just shove all in and cross my fingers. Oh well, that is the way it goes.

I was back down to right around my starting stack when I started scooping some nice pots and worked my way all the way up to about 20,000 chips! With 20,000 chips, more than half of the players already busted, and the blinds are 75-150, I had a very deep stack and was poised to make a deep run in the event. Until the following hand came up…

I raised KdQh on the button making it 400 to go. The BB called and we saw the flop heads up. The flop came AdJd9d. The BB checked and I bet 400. The BB check raised me to 1,200 and I thought for awhile and called. Often I wouldn’t be afraid to just re pop and get the money in on the flop, but the BB and I were deep stacked, I had position and was in no mood to play a large pot in a marginal spot given the huge stack I had. The turn came the 10d. Yahtzee, I made the nut flush! My opponent lead for about 1,500 and I contemplated raising, but for 3 reasons I decided to just call. 1. I look really, really strong here if I re raise and my opponent may easily get away from even a Q high flush. 2. My opponent had been playing aggressively and I didn’t want him to lose his heart in the event he was bluffing. 3. I didn’t fear any river card. If my opponent check raised on the flop with a made flush, he was drawing dead. If he check raised on the flop with 2 pair or a set, I am pretty sure he would’ve check called the turn, not lead. So I was actually planning to raise for value even if the board paired.

The river was a random 8 of clubs and my opponent lead for 3,400 and I thought for awhile before delivering him the bad news by announcing “all in.” About one nanosecond went by before he gave me the worst news I have ever gotten playing poker in my life, “I call. Straight flush.” Inside I was like, “Oh my ****ing God, is this some kind of ****ing joke!” I had barely even noticed that a straight flush could have been possible. I was absolutely stunned and worst of all, crippled in the tournament. I had about 2,000 chips left and needed a miracle. I busted soon after.

If I had won that pot I was going to have nearly 40,000 chips at the 75/150 blind levels and given that I have little doubt I am a favorite in any conceivable lineup from the players left in that tournament in deep stacked NL 6 max, I really felt as if I would’ve had a spectacular chance at making the final table and at least a shot at winning a bracelet. It was truly a disappointment beyond pretty much anything I have felt in poker. I know it wasn’t like I busted on the 2nd to last table or that I had a sick cooler at the final table, but I just felt so confident that if I had 40,000 chips that early playing the 6 max game I am so comfortable and confident in, I just felt like there was nothing stopping me. Oh well, I know it’s not even that last time I will feel bummed out playing in the WSOP. The bottom line is that it is really hard not to run into a cooler and there is a lot of luck involved. I am sure the victories will feel great BECAUSE of how low you feel when you take a sick beat.

Tomorrow I am playing in the $5,000 NL tournament. We start with some deep stacks (15,000 chips) and the blinds only at 25/50. There will be lots of room to play which again, should suit my style well. The deeper we are, the better chance I have. So although I am 0 for 5, the events have all been smaller buy in events so maybe some luck will kick in for the bigger $5,000 event. Here’s to hoping, anyway.

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0 For 4 At The WSOP

Posted by Leatherass

Yesterday’s WSOP event was another major struggle. I had a really great table and was licking my chops. I didn’t get any great spots, but still managed to chip up from 3,000 to 5,100 by the first break. On the very first hand back from the break I got AKs in the BB. I fairly loose player raised in early position to 325 (blinds were 50/100) and got 3 callers. When I looked and saw AKs 4 things came to mind:

1. I have a great hand
2. Wow there is a lot of money in the pot (relatively)
3. Despite having a lot of soft players at the table, I’m not afraid to gamble in an attempt to accumulate chips
4. If I go broke on this hand, at least I will be out early and can play some high stakes WSOP side games

Those 4 things added up to me saying “all in.” The early position raiser thought about it for some time and eventually called with QQ. The first card I saw out of the dealer’s hands was a queen lol. So that sent me to the cash games which turned out to be a good thing anyway.

So I am 0 for 4 so far in the Series. So far I really have not had anything exciting happen whatsoever. I have lost all of the big pots and the biggest pot I won netted me about 2,000 chips on the hand. It’s been pretty sad. I have been trying to make the best out of the rags I have been dealt, but you can only do so much looking down at queen trey and jack deuce all day. But all of that doesn’t mean anything. The whole reason I am here is for the hopefully 1 or 2 deep runs I can make. Frankly, I am happy to go out early so I can either hit up the cash games or go hang with my family. Fingers crossed I can get on a few deep runs before the Series is over.

Today I am going to play online all day. I am going to play all of the major tournaments on Poker Stars, as well as some cash games. I’m looking forward to staying inside today and hopefully making some money online.

Just as a reminder since I know so many people are happy to hear this bit of news. My book, Treat Your Poker Like A Business, is ot available in the Poker Stars store for 1,900 FPP’s. So if you play poker at Poker Stars and have a few points lying around, no need to shell out cash for my book anymore, you can get it for a nominal point cost in the Poker Stars store.

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Major Improvement in My Cash NL Game: "I’ll make you fold!"

Posted by zerosum79

I was rereading Small Stakes No Limit Holdem recently and I ran across a section in the book that had a major impact on my NL Holdem cash games. To many of you who are cash game experts this will seem like a silly revelation but for me it was like getting hit by a ton of bricks.

Being a SNG specialist there are very few deep NL situations where I used to feel comfortable. I recognized a while back that there was a flaw in my game regarding my play but was unable to really address it correctly. My non-showdown winnings were on a downward trajectory and I had no idea why. Let me clarify my strategy...

When I have a good hand I raise and try to make the best hand at showdown. When I think I am ahead I value bet and try to extract value. When I feel beat I fold. With implied odds type hands I would usually lose a lot of value from not making hands and folding.

So when I was reading the section in SSNLHE about equity I realized something very important. Implied odds type hands rely on position and fold equity to be profitable. You must take down the pot a large percentage of the time with speculative hands even when you don't hit big to be profitable. You must ask yourself with hands that are not likely to be best... "Can I make this guy fold?"

Suddenly all the pieces started to fall into place for me. In the last few days I have felt my game undergo a dramatic change. I do not have a large enough sample size to back it up yet but I am convinced I have elevated my game. Where my redline used to go sideways when I was running good and down at about a 45 degree angle when I was running bad, it immediately started to go up!!! I feel the difference too. My VPIP and PFR changed immediately from 17/16 type stats to 26/24. Whats more, I started immediately feeling like instead of having my chip stack slowly bleeding and every so often winning a pot to counter balance it, my chips started to magically just start floating upwards. I am actually winning a ton of chips even though I am running significantly below all in expectation!

One thing that changed with my stats is that I realized that when I want to play a hand, making sure I am the last preflop raiser is pretty crucial to taking the initiative postflop and maxing out my fold equity. However, this is also a great help when my hands hit and I am trying to build a pot.

So if you are reading this ask yourself if you are stuck in the rut that I was. SSNLHE mentions that a lot of beginner/TAG types get stuck there. If so start asking yourself at every step in the hand "Am I ahead or behind, and if behind can I make this guy fold a better hand?"

zero

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How do you want to be remembered?

Posted by zerosum79

LOS ANGELES -- John Wooden, college basketball's gentlemanly Wizard of Westwood who built one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports at UCLA and became one of the most revered coaches ever, has died. He was 99.

The university said Wooden died Friday night of natural causes at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized since May 26.

Jim Wooden and Nancy Muehlhausen issued a statement shortly after their father died, saying, "He has been, and always will be, the guiding light for our family.

"The love, guidance and support he has given us will never be forgotten. Our peace of mind at this time is knowing that he has gone to be with our mother, whom he has continued to love and cherish."

They thanked well-wishers for their thoughts and prayers and asked for privacy.

With his signature rolled-up game program in hand, Wooden led the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships, including an unmatched streak of seven in a row from 1967 to 1973.

Over 27 years, he won 620 games, including 88 straight during one historic stretch, and coached many of the game's greatest players such as Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor -- later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Getty ImagesJohn Wooden, shown in 1994, was a fixture for years at UCLA games.

"It's kind of hard to talk about Coach Wooden simply, because he was a complex man. But he taught in a very simple way. He just used sports as a means to teach us how to apply ourselves to any situation," Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released through UCLA.

"He set quite an example. He was more like a parent than a coach. He really was a very selfless and giving human being, but he was a disciplinarian. We learned all about those aspects of life that most kids want to skip over. He wouldn't let us do that."


Wooden is the only person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

"He was always the boss. He always knew what to say," former UCLA star Jamaal Wilkes told the Associated Press. "Even in the heyday of winning and losing, you could almost discuss anything with him. He always had that composure and wit about him. He could connect with all kind of people and situations and always be in control of himself and seemingly of the situation."

Wooden was a groundbreaking trendsetter who demanded his players be in great condition so they could play an up-tempo style not well-known on the West Coast at the time.

But his legacy extended well beyond that.

He was the master of the simple one- or two-sentence homily, instructive little messages best presented in his famous "Pyramid of Success," which remains must-read material, not only for fellow coaches but for anyone in a leadership position in American business.

He taught the team game and had only three hard-and-fast rules -- no profanity, tardiness or criticizing fellow teammates. Layered beneath that seeming simplicity, though, were a slew of life lessons -- primers on everything from how to put on your socks correctly to how to maintain poise: "Not being thrown off stride in how you behave or what you believe because of outside events."

"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player," was one of Wooden's key messages.

Reprinted from ESPN.com and the AP

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WSOP Update

Posted by Leatherass

So far I haven’t had much to brag about in the WSOP tournaments. I am 0 for 2 and have failed to add more than a a couple thousand chips to my starting stack. I just haven’t had any good situations and the stifling nature of tournament poker makes it difficult to make many sophisticated moves at the pot. Sure, you can make a few moves on pots, but it is obviously not comparable to playing deep stack no limit holdem, my game of choice like I did yesterday after I busted. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the tournaments, but there is nothing that says “let’s play some REAL poker”, like when you plop down 500 or 1000+ big blinds of cold hard cash at the table and play deep stack no limit holdem. I don’t think Doyle Brunson was joking when he called deep stack no limit holdem the “Cadillac of poker.”

Today I am going to play another $1,500 no limit holdem event at the WSOP. I am looking forward to playing because I feel like at some point I can catch a little run and get deep. That is what I am here for of course. Why bother showing up at the WSOP unless your aim is to get deep and get a bracelet? So I will be playing as many tournaments as I possibly can while I am here because I figure playing lots of volume gives me the best shot at something good happening. Here’s to hoping anyway.

Last night after playing some cash games at the Rio, I took the wife out to Fix at the Bellagio. We love that place and always have a great time together there. Last night was no exception. Luckily my wife’s mom (she’s not your typical dreadful mother in law haha) is staying with us in our home so she was able to watch our baby girl so we could actually have somewhat of a night out. I feel so damn old even saying **** like this haha. It’s funny I don’t really feel that old in Portland, Oregon, but man when you are in Vegas and you are trying to find a baby sitter so you can go out, I feel like if people reading this were to look at me why would look at me like the college kids on Old School after Frank the Tank said he wasn’t going to take a hit off the beer bong because, “He has a nice little Saturday planned. My wife and I are going to the Home Depot. Maybe Bet Bath and Beyond. I don’t know, I don’t if we’ll have enough time.”

Anyway, with that, I am going to have some breakfast (mother in law is cooking bacon and eggs. Told ya she was awesome!) and head out to the Rio here in a few minutes. I prepaid my way into today’s event so I don’t have to budget the time to register. Actually, before I go, I have to say that I love the nature of poker tournaments way more than golf. People running golf tournaments are more often than not a bunch of uptight pricks. If you show up 5 minutes late you are DQ’d. If you are late at all you get a penalty. If you talk on a cell phone it may be off with your head! Basically if you do anything different than someone 243 years old might do, you are in danger of some kind of penalty. In poker, the event organizers are pretty chill and the rules are fairly lax. Anyway, poker tournaments are cool.

Oh, I almost forgot. I am giving out very frequent updates on Facebook if anyone is interested in following my progress My facebook page Also, I wanted to give another quick plug and let everyone know that my book, Treat Your Poker Like A Business, is now available in the Poker Stars store (for North American players) for 1,900 FPP’s. So you can now get it for points rather than shelling out the cash which I felt was news that a lot of people might be interested in knowing. Anyway, I’m off to the Rio.

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stream of consciousness style miniblog

Posted by ModusPwnage

...gonna try and keep a stream of consciousness style miniblog here...:D

Lately, I've been learning a ton about poker, but not so much how to play, more like how to apply what I know the right way. Read Dusty's book, joined DTB last month.

...playing poker everyday/mostly online, finally getting 40 hours, building up mental endurance and looking forward to attacking massive grind sessions in the future

Thinking a lot about my setup:

learning what the big pros do and what you can hookup on the cheap, feel like I became an expert. My set up is 2 X 1920X1200res 24s one vertical on the left and one horizontal on the right. Just bought the second 24 yesterday.

longterm plan is to replace the one on the right with some kind of kickass massive high res screen in the future. 30-38 inch or something, but I think I need to make some money first eh cause my net worth is solidly in the minuses, and I'll talk more about my mission to repair my bankroll situation in the future CHEERS!:spade:

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Beta Testing a New Coaching Offering/Outing Myself on 2+2

Posted by zerosum79

I am still staying pretty reclusive these days on the one-on-one coaching scene but a few days ago I had a session with a DTB member that was really cool that I wanted to share. I am excited to say that based on the results of my first Zero to Hero video I have gotten some really good response from people about setting goals with regards to poker.

As a result, one of the DTB members contacted me asking for more help with regards to setting goals and coaching. I agreed on a 1 time per month basis to coach him over a period of 6 months to help him transition to a point where he can play more poker for income and pursue other life goals that have been floundering. I am not going to out him here unless he responds on his own but he may do so.

He is a very interesting fellow who teaches rock climbing, yoga, and has an interest in therapy through physical activity. Our first session was really cool. We discussed a lot of aspects of his life and why he wanted to make changes. One of his interests was in moving a little more toward poker income so that he had the flexibility to teach more yoga. He wants to move away from his main job of teaching climbing. There are some really legitimate reasons for believing that these are realistic changes he can make in his life.

We spent a lot of time talking about his background and flushing out his motivations for wanting to make the switch. We also touched on an idea he had given up on which is getting more schooling so that he can become a therapist. This month he is taking direct action to start to explore whether these changes in his life are a realistic possibility. Based on the results he is going to set a 6 month plan to act to change things for himself.

Also we spent a lot of time relating his definite major purpose to his goals so that he can set short-term and mid-term goals effectively. Its all very exciting and got me thinking that this is a valuable coaching service that I don't know many people who are offering (obviously Jared being an exception). Its a more comprehensive approach than just talking poker all the time since there are many things that influence us away from the game.

Now I would never profess to be any kind of therapist and am very aware that I need to stay away from those kinds of topics. I also in some ways really believe that life coaching services are somewhat BS. If you have not watched the Penn and Teller - Bull$h*T episode on this I would highly recommend it if you want a few laughs and to see a few naked girls. However, taking a look at the broader perspective about why a student is motivated to play poker poker does seem to have a relevant and useful purpose.

Since that first lesson, I have done a similar lesson with a different student. He is at a similar crossroads where he is going through some life changes and thinking about playing more for income. Afterwords I polled him about the importance of the session and he told me that it was maybe one of the most important coaching sessions that we had done together. It made me feel really good that this is something I may start to integrate into my coaching curriculum when I start to ramp back up to taking on more students.

In other news, I have started a new 2+2 account under the name zerosum79. To those who don't know I used to post there as +EV and on another now defunct training site as positiveEV. I am trying hard to reconcile these different online identities to provide transparency between my coaching and playing activities. There is no longer an issue in my mind with people knowing my poker screen names as I outed those when I joined DTB. With all the recent flap over unqualified coaches I think that this extra level of transparency is necessary so that when I give strategy advice in other arenas (2+2 etc) that I am fully accountable for it. Call me crazy...

The climate for coaching is becoming very consumer oriented and I think that this is a positive step. People want to know who they are talking to and what their qualifications are at all times. I think this is reasonable. So in the future any new accounts I generate will be under the zerosum79 screen name. Feel free to ping me now on other sites.

zero

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Performance Enhancing Drugs and Poker

Posted by Jared Tendler

My bull **** detector seems to perk up whenever I read or hear about a new study that’s getting attention in the popular press. Many times the research is solid, but often, really too often, the claims made by the study are headline grabbing, misleading and in some cases down right irresponsible. In my first college statistics class my professor required us read a pocket sized book titled, “How to Lie with Statistics” – since then I don’t take much at face value because it is really easy to manipulate data to prove your point.

The research by Nova Southeastern University – in Florida – put out a press release that makes it sounds like 80% of poker players are using drugs to enhance performance. The exact language they use is “drugs and other substances”, but those other substances include Vitamin B12, caffeine, and energy drinks. They also include amphetamines (Ritalin, adderol, etc), weed, coke, so it’s not all fluff, but when you break down the numbers they aren’t nearly as dramatic as the headline makes it sound like.

Taking a closer look at the slide show they put up about their methods – I couldn’t find the research study itself – the 80% number means that 80% used one of these substances:

56% - Caffeine
41% - Energy Drinks
27% - Weed…..For Performance Enhancement??? Lol.
14% - Vitamin B12
11% - Guarana
6% - Coke

They also found that 17% use some kind of amphetamine (Ritalin, Adderall, etc). 38% of which were prescribed by a doctor.

(In that slide show you’ll see different percentages, but that’s because the percentages they use reduce the total number to only those people who reported ANY use of the substances in that particular category, and not as a percentage of the whole group – a common method of manipulating statistics)

Here’s the key statistic, the number that blew my mind when I saw it: 198. That’s the total number of people sampled! A tiny amount when considering the size of the poker population – Btw many polls that you hear people quoting on the news aren’t much better. The real problem I have with the number is the research team didn’t cite it in the press release. Responsible research in my opinion is one where researchers are open about the limitations of the research not just for the academic community (this limitation is cited in the presentation) but for the general public. It’s a responsibility that is taken too lightly and makes me question the motive of the research team.

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Side note – there was research done in the 90’s that proved that in psychological research when the lead researcher thought their thesis was correct before the study was done, the results confirmed their opinion. Which basically says that the opinions of the research team biases the outcome. Ironically another researcher came along to prove this research wrong, proved it to be false, and of course actually proved the first guys’ point brilliantly.
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So what conclusions can we draw from this? That poker players are using drugs to gain a mental edge. If this is news breaking, how did you find this blog?

You may read dramatic responses to this article, I read one imagining poker superstars being whisked to the bathroom for a urine test, but really what has this research proves is absolutely nothing. The 198 people sample volunteered to take it after being solicited on poker forums like this post. The problem with self selected samples – people volunteering to give information – is that people have inherent motives in wanting to share their information. What is there reason – I won’t even being to speculate, but when you combine their motives along with the motives of the researchers – how can we possibly even get close to any certainty?

All research has its limitations. But just as in poker where you all have been able to create certain where unknowns previously existed – it just takes a lot of experience, knowledge and repetition to create certainty or damn near close enough certainty to make a solid decision.

At this point, the research proves nothing, except that perhaps it's something worth studying more. If it that happens the question I'd like to know is how much, if any, are these drugs actually enhancing the player's performance? My biased theory is not much if any.

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