Brought to you by Americas Cardroom

Introducing A Brand New YouTube Poker Series

Posted by Leatherass

I just started a new Youtube series where I will go into great detail about the more interesting hands I played for the week and release videos daily. Each week I am going to go over 5-10 interesting hands that I played that week and go into every little detail of my thought process. The video will then be chopped up into smaller videos with discussion of 1-2 hands per video being released daily. I am super excited about the series, although for now I am going to wait and see what people think. As you will notice if you watch the video, I am just on my web cam and it is not professionally done or anything. But if people are liking it and all goes well, then I will try to really make it nice and get a nice high def camera etc. For now, while it is in beta phase, I am mostly just seeking to learn what you all think of the concept and whether you find it enjoyable or not.

Anwyay, here is the video link:

If you guys dig it and want more instruction, you can watch my table play videos at

Filed under: Uncategorized 7 Comments

Thank you July!

Posted by darkhorse

I´m running good. Winning at 4BB/100 over 14K hands. Granted a third of that was heads up and not a whole lot of hands but still. July rocks!

I´ve made some really nice videos for the site as well. The second episode of Perspectives. Won´t tell you with whom just yet. I´ve also made the first installment of a new "Game Theory" powerpoint presentation series.

It´s the last day of July and tonight I´m gonna go out for some beers. I´ve been couped up in this apartment for too long. Have a great August everyone!

Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments

Keeping Things Fresh

Posted by GiantBuddha

I'm heading up to the Catskills today to play an acoustic show at a pool party on a farm. I'll be roasting some vegan smores on the campfire. When I mentioned this to Hunter, he asked "What's in a vegan smore?" Chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker. Crazy vegans.

Saturday should be a ton of fun, but on Sunday it's back to business. Things are about to get crazy.

After taking a month to write a book and two weeks for the WSOP in Vegas, I've fallen behind rather severely in my Supernova Elite pursuit. It's time to get back to the grind. I'm keeping things fresh by playing some mixed games and tournaments. I'll still be playing hundreds of thousands of hands of Limit Holdem, though. That's where I earn my vegan marshmallows.

Aside from grinding, I'm beginning work on a new book this Monday; I'm recording a single with my band Villain's Lament a couple weeks later; I'll be putting out a host of videos here on DragTheBar; I'm also aiming to step up the forum posting (after Owen hit 1,000 posts so far ahead of me).

It's going to be a busy month. But it won't be boring.

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment

Finding 110%

Posted by Jared Tendler

A couple weeks ago, in my ‘I suck at social networking’ blog I referenced a quote by George Steinbrenner that was my first post on twitter. I’m still enamored by the quote and am devoting this blog to fully explain why I love it so much, and why I think you should too.

The video unfortunately is no longer available on Basically, George was talking about what made him successful and he said, “ I believe there’s 110% in each person, there’s 10% they didn’t know that’s there and that’s what I want to get into. Maybe too much.”

Put any negatives have towards him aside for a minute, when he says, “Maybe too much” he’s referring to HOW he accomplished getting the most out of his players and executives that made him maligned. But his idea of getting more out of players than even they knew was there is absolutely brilliant.

I had always thought that when coaches would motivate their players by saying something like, “Now go out and give me a 110%” I though it was a line of crap. I mean you can't give more than you have. It sounded like just some inspirational line that lacked a lot of substance. It’s been years since I’ve thought about it and it became just another one of those things that’s stuffed away in the recesses of your mind that you don’t give much thought to…until something like this yanks it back out.

The reason this quote blew me away when I first heard it is because it fits perfectly with my ‘inch worm’ theory of development. This theory admittedly has a strange name, and I’m going to soon link you to a video that is laughably odd. There is a point I promise as long as you get past the fact that you’re sitting there watching a video about an inch worm.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, inch worm is a theory that I came up with during the time that I was producing my first video series for Stoxpoker back in March of 2008. Out of all the material that came out of those 4 videos, it’s the video that introduces this theory, that got the poorest ratings, and my guess was that it didn’t really give people the ‘ahha’ moment I thought it would and deserved.

Basically the theory says that improvement happens from two directions, by not only improving on what is already strong, but also by eliminating your greatest weaknesses. The key piece in this is that if you’re like many people who have been following the conventional wisdom that says, “always play to your strengths” what you end up doing is creating wider and wider range in your ability. You create greater variance or variability in your performance because your weaknesses still exist. They don’t automatically go away just because you’re best has gotten better. But too often players believe that it should, and it completely messes with confidence - when you’re expecting the ****ty part of your game to not be there and it shows up, your mind can’t make sense of it and it gives your confidence a punch in the nads.

The reason this theory is called ‘inch worm’ is this. If you were to plot on a graph, quality ratings of your play over a large sample what you see is a bell curve. How that bell curve is distributed varies depending on how good you are at your best compared to how bad you are at your absolute worst. The closer those two points are the narrower your range and the narrower your bell curve, and when the opposite is true you have a flat bell curve.

As the theory goes, the bigger the gap between your best and your worst, the more energy and effort is required to actually increase your best. And the reason is because improvement actually happens in the same way that an inch worm walks. As you watch this video, think of the inch worm as a bell curve, and think about his back leg as being your worst, and his front leg as being your best.

What you end up seeing is that the only way your can actually make your best better, and the only way you can find that extra 10% George is talking about is to eliminate your greatest weaknesses. Otherwise your bell curve gets so flat you get stuck, you plateau and stop improving.

So why I love George’s quote so much is that I now truly believe in the idea finding that extra 10%. You can give 110% and doing so brings you to a level of performance beyond what you previously thought possible. That has already happened for many of you already. If you think back a year, two or more ago, are you able to do more in poker than you though possible before? You may even be 200% or more better by now - I actual math for this could exist. Or if you’re new to poker, than in other aspects of your life your improvement has happened like this already.

If not, this theory can help, and if so, use this theory to take you even further. The key to taking that next step forward after you’ve reached a new peak, is not to try and take another one from the front – to improve your best – it’s to take one from the back, and eliminate your greatest weakness. Only then does finding that extra 10% get FAR easier, and not require the kind of rage and volatility that Steinbrenner probably believed he needed to get it.

What do you think? Does it apply to you? Answer some questions? or create more? (which I’m happy to answer as always).

Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments

Grinding (At Teeth, Poker and a Book)

Posted by Leatherass

Man do I feel rested right now. I went to the Dentist to have a bunch of work done on my teeth and was prescribed halcion to take right before the appointment so I the pain wouldn't bother me. I've taken that stuff before other dental appointments so I knew what I was signing up for. Well, I took the stuff and wow did it knock me out. I was asleep from 5:15PM yesterday and woke up at about 8AM this morning! So now I feel great and am up a couple hours earlier than usual so I'm going to write this blog and head to the gym and watch some TV news station and get a good workout in. Once I get back from the workout I am officially beginning work on my poker strategy book with the same co author as my last book, Treat Your Poker Like A Business, Scott Brown. I feel like since the last book went so well, why mess with a winning formula, so I suspect Scott will be the co author of all the poker books I decide to do. This book will have a quick turnaround too, so even though we are starting on it today, expect it to come out soon. We grind when we do books as hard, if not harder, than I do at the poker tables. Some writers say, "I can only write when I have inspiration" whereas Scott and I say "Inspiration is for pussies." No joke, that is our motto!

This weekend at the tables was as swingy as I have ever had in my entire life. On Saturday I was insta stuck about $10,000 at the tables (mostly 5/10nl online) and grinded it all back by the end of the day to break even on the day. Sunday was so bad at the tables I had my laptop in my hand and it nearly went through the window about 5 different times throughout the day. I mean, of all the poker I have played, I am almost certain I have never run worse. I went on a 27 buy in downswing in one day, without playing one single hand in a regrettable fashion. I was just dished out a cooler damn near every 5 minutes. I would get kings and run into aces. Had some clown shove 74s on me all in preflop, call with aces and watch the guy flop a flush. Set over set, boat over boat, flush over flush, get it in with nut flush draw and a pair vs. worse flush draw no pair, and watch the guy runner runner a gutterball. I mean it was the most incredible thing I have ever seen in my life of playing poker.

So I ended up quitting for the day after a half decent comeback and immediately went to the fridge and cracked some beers. I needed something to stop the shakes. Even though I was stuck a ton of money, it wasn't a big deal really. I don't know why I was so upset, but it was just so surreal and nothing like I had ever seen before that my body just couldn't handle it.

Then a funny thing happened the next day. I woke up and decided that I was still a little fragile after yesterday's session so I made up my mind that if I got stuck more than $3k I was done for the day. I had lost $18,000 the day before (and that is counting the comeback I had at the end) and just felt that health wise my body couldn't endure another bad day. So I started winning right away and it did not stop. I just won stack after stack after stack. I coolered everyone and never even lost a pot in about 4,000 hands over $500. Never got properly stacked once. It was an amazingly good run and guess what, I won $18,000 before I quit. I think at one point on Sunday I was stuck about $25,000 and by Monday evening I had won it all back! That is one of my best comebacks ever, but also what is more amazing is that I had my worst day in terms of money lost of the year directly followed by my best day of the year. What are the odds of that?

Well, I'm off to the gym. Got some "baby fat" to lose. I got in pretty decent shape before we had our child last fall and since then I put on about 20 with all the stress and lack of motivation to go to the gym, lack of sleep etc. All the moms and dads out there know what I'm talking about I'm sure. I went from 175 to 197 and after 2 solid weeks at the gym, I'm inching down to 192, but still a long way to go. Actually that reminds me, I should clear something up. I don't know why, but occasionally I look at poker forums and I swear half of the time someone is comparing me to some sumo wrestler or something. I think about half the poker population thinks I am this enormously fat guy. Well, I am not thrilled with how I look at the moment, but for God's sake this is the fattest I've ever been right now and I am still a 192 pound, 6 foot tall guy! I mean, I want to be 165 or whatever, but I can't imagine meeting a 192 pound, 6 foot tall guy and walk away thinking he was some insanely fat, gross guy. Anyway, ya never know with the LOL internetz crowd what they are going to concoct in their minds and spew onto a message board.

Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments

Golf/Beer/Vacation/Free Poker Instruction

Posted by Leatherass

The last few days have been a lot of fun. Played some golf on Friday at Eugene CC and actually played half decently. I had only hit about 30 range balls since February before playing on Friday, but managed to shoot 72 from the tips on a tough track, thanks mostly to a really sharp short game (weird, I thought after a 5 month lay off your short game was supposed to be bad? Golf is strange.) I played with my buddy Casey Martin and his brother. We had a great time as always.

The day before my wife and I went to Portland's annual Brewfest at Waterfront Park. Brewfest in Portland is AWESOME! In fact, I have seen it on numerous lists as being hands down the best brewfest in the US. I have only been to the brewfest in Portland, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can definitely say I am not sure how you could create a better brewfest. It is right along the water, has some of the best beers in the world, and there are probably ten thousand people on the grounds, so it can get pretty lively. Portlanders love their beer and their passion for it comes through pretty obviously at the brewfest.

Last night I was really struggling at the tables for awhile. I was about to quit playing, but decided to tough it out because I had some pretty sick seats with direct position on some massive fish. I am glad I maintained my composure and stuck it out because I went on a pretty good run and stacked most of the fish before quitting about 8 hours into my session. From there the day kept getting better and better. I decided that I wanted to go on a little trip with my family so I looked into some ocean front rooms along the Oregon coast for next week and found a really nice one. I went to book two rooms online (one for the 3 of us and one for my mother in law who travels with us now that we have a baby) and the room types I wanted were not being listed as an option online. So I called the hotel and spoke with a really nice woman who ultimately got us hooked up with an ocean front multiple room suite that we can all stay in, that was actually much LESS expensive than what I was trying to book online! So here I was calling up thinking we were going to be screwed and I ended up saving $1,000 AND got the better rooms than I was even hoping for. Score!

So with that good fortune I decided to book a 2 day anniversary trip with my wife that I am sure will score me some major points. We ended up getting an awesome room by a winery in the Willamette Valley and got all of the fixins to go along with it (massages, champagne upon arrival, driver to take us to the wineries etc.). What's even better about all of this is that my wife was cool enough to let us "observe" our anniversary on a different day because if we didn't, it would interfere with game day for Oregon football against New Mexico (the weekend after that I am going to fly to Tennessee to watch the Ducks play Tennessee on Sept 11th). What can we say, we love our Ducks!

I will make another blog post about this, but keep your eyes peeled this week for a brand new you tube series I am starting that is essentially me recording myself talking about the most interesting hands I played for the day. Each week I am going to pick out the 7 most interesting hands I played for the week and record myself breaking down the hands. I will chop the recording into 7 videos and we will release 1 each day on Now only 1 hand per day might not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that I am talking for 3-7 minutes per hand about every little detail of the hand. No detail of the hand will go ignored and I will be breaking down why I did everything I did (or wish I had done differently). I am hoping people enjoy this series and if they do, I will keep making them for an indefinite period of time. I think the first video will be ready to go up either Monday or Tuesday. I will make a new blog post about it with links to the video when it goes up. Please check it out. If these videos get a lot of traffic, I will keep making them.

Well, I'm off for another big day on Poker Stars. I am going to play for the next 8-12 hours on Stars in all of the high stakes cash games and tournaments. I can't wait. Hopefully I get some momentum going early and am able to capitalize on the day!

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

I Need A Hand

Posted by GiantBuddha

I'm officially back from my book writing, WSOP playing, recovering at home hiatus. Sauna #9 is up on DragTheBar, and a number of other videos will follow.

I'm currently producing Sixth Star Volume IV. A slew of new Sauna videos are on the way. I'll be working on a dual commentary video with another well know Limit Holdem player, and I'm wrapping up my series Buddha's Dojang. To this end, I need your help. Or rather, your hand(s).

In each volume of Buddha's Dojang, I examine a particular postflop dynamic created by specific preflop action. Every hand submitted should be heads up, i.e. exactly two players to the flop. The scenarios I need hands from are:
[LIST][*]CO open-raise v. BTN 3-bet
[*]BTN 3-bet v. CO open-raise
[*]SB open-raise v. BB call
[*]BB call v. SB open-raise[/LIST]
If you'd like to have a hand reviewed that fits the above criteria, email the unconverted hand history to [email][/email]. Your name will be converted to Hero, so no one need know how expertly you may have butchered the turn.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

Trying to get lucky in Vegas

Posted by ChipSteela

Well it’s been almost 3 weeks since I got to Vegas and miraculously I don’t want to blow my brains out yet. If you have been reading my past pieces you’d know that for some reason Vegas has been like a black hole of frustration for me these past few years, but this year I was determined to make it a better experience. From the beginning of the trip I knew this year was going to be different, as I managed to win my first 3 credit card roulettes against my roommates, proving to be a good omen of things to come.

The next day I woke up just in time for the $1500 WSOP event, but that didn’t last long. I got a pretty easy table draw and was able to win a majority of the pots I played in the early levels, however they were all small pots and didn’t really add up to much since they never got further then the flop. I couldn’t get much going after the first break, and since the structure was so terrible you basically have to double up in the first few levels to have any shot, I was out the door in no time when I shoved the short stack with the K-Q and got called by the J-J. Somehow the online nuts didn’t come through for me, and it was on to the next one.

I decided to play the 1k event the next day since its known for drawing weaker fields, and also for some reason has a better structure then the $1500 though you start off with less chips. I’m really not sure what these people are thinking when they design the structure for a lot of these lower buy-in tourneys at the WSOP. Anyways, I missed a few flops early but then was able to double up with the 5-7o when I flopped two pair and check- raised the flop against an older guy who seemed pretty fishy. The board ran out pretty unfavorably for me putting a 4 card straight on the turn, but when he checked back the turn and a K hit the river I decided that he probably didn’t have the straight and decided to go for max value and shoved in my stack for around a pot sized bet. The man couldn’t call fast enough with his rivered top pair, as he had the K-Q. I can’t make up these hand histories, the players are really that bad out here. I turned up the aggression the rest of the day, and was able to build a pretty decent sized stack. It also didn’t hurt that I picked up A-A in a very opportune spot where a short stack shoved and a deep stacked player shoved over the top to isolate the short stack. I was able to hold and finally make a day 2 appearance with a stack where I had a legitimate shot at going deep.

Day 2 of the 1k started well, as I drew a super weak table, and had no problem chipping up. That was until I decided to make a play on a tighter player right around the money bubble. I 3-bet his open on the button with the 5-7o, and got myself into a pretty bad spot on a Q-5-Q-6-5 board when I rivered a boat against his bigger boat. That was a minor set-back, but I didn’t let it get to me. I had no problem finishing in the money, and was able to double up with A-T against an aggressive online player’s A-6. Since my stack was made up of only black chips at this point I jokingly asked the player to pay me in all blacks and he did just that. My stack was now looking monstrous, unfortunately black chips are only worth 100 so it wasn’t worth anywhere near what it appeared to be. But hey, its all about appearance anyways, right?

A few hands later I was moved to another table with heads up specialist Oliver “Livb112” Bousquet on my direct left. Him having heaps of chips and position on me is the stuff nightmares are made of, as he 3-bet my raises every opportunity that arose. Though I’m nearly certain I didn’t win a single pot against Livb, I did take advantage of one spot where I opened UTG with A-8s , and since the player in the small blind wasn’t paying attention he tried to open for a raise thinking I had already folded. He was forced to put in a minimum raise folding out the player in the big blind, but since I was nearly certain not only that his raise was completely an accident but also that he could have such a wide range since he thought he was only raising blind vs. blind I decided it was a great spot to make a move. Once the action got back to me I thought for a few seconds then announced that I was all-in, some may call this an angle shoot but I think that if the player isn’t paying attention than its fair game to capitalize on his mistake. It would have been hilarious if he had a monster here, but I think he’s nearly always folding in this spot, which he quickly did.

After that hand I couldn’t get much going once we returned from the dinner break of Day 2, and soon found myself hovering around 20bbs at a pretty tough table full of those damn internet wiz kids. I picked up A-Qo in the hijack and decided I was probably going to have to go with this hand after I opened for a raise. I got flatted by the button, and then an aggressive internet player in the big blind announced he was all in pretty quickly in a spot that really seemed like it could be a squeeze play. Online I wouldn’t give much thought about getting it in with this hand in a spot like this, but because I had already committed 2 days of my life to this tournament and wasn’t really trying to bust making a bad call when I feel like I had a legitimate shot of going deep for a nice score, I had to actually consider my options. I came to the conclusion that from what I’d seen so far this player was definitely capable of making a play in this spot, and if I was wrong the 3k event was tomorrow and I wasn’t just trying to coast into day 3 of this 1k event with 20bbs anyways. After some deliberation I called, and was shown the bad news when the player revealed his A-K. I got no help from the deck and busted in 109th.

I have to tell you that getting paid 3k for playing nearly 2 days of poker is just about like kissing your sister and I’m not from West Virginia, but luckily I had the Vegas nightlife to soften the blow. Still, I was happy to have finally broke my Vegas curse and actually cash in a tournament. This score brought some confidence and I had a few more events on my schedule, including the 3k triple chance which remarkably had a decent structure so I was looking forward to it. I felt a deep run coming in my blood, but you guys will have to check back next time to see if I actually pulled through.

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

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment

Baby Steps

Posted by Jared Tendler

My cousin invited me to run a 4 mile race through central park on Saturday. It was my first race since developing tendinitis in my Achilles earlier this year. It wasn’t a long run as races go, but with the heat and having recently gotten back into running, the race was tougher than expected and offered some surprising insight.

I don’t like to run outside with music, because as cheezy as it sounds, I like to hear what’s around me, especially in a race like this with 5000 other people running around. I’m a people person, a people watcher and there was no way I was tuning it out. When I run with other people I also like to talk, but my cousin is the exact opposite. So while she was jamming to her ipod, I had some time to think, and it came in handy as I grinded through some tough spots in the race and came to some insight that might be helpful for you.

Within the first mile barely 5 or 6 minutes into the race was a hill steep enough to get my attention, and steep enough for thoughts of wanting to quit pop in my mind. Naturally surprised even thinking it, I tried to put it out of my mind, but they persisted. Then I noticed my eyes on the ground looking at the ground just 10 feet in front of me. I just needed to make my goal smaller. Focusing to wide – on the remaining 3.5 miles was too much – I needed to get through the next 10 feet. It wasn’t something I stayed consciously aware of, but it seems to me that when things get the toughest, working your way through it is easier when you make your goals smaller than you would normally.

The idea of setting small goals is nothing new…reminds me of baby steps from the movie What About Bob?…but the idea of setting small goals when things gets hard was an important realization for me. Reaffirming the need to adjust my goals to the situation so I can still reach the end goal.

As I finished the hill and settled into the run, the race got easier. I was on a good pace and feeling comfortable, so it was natural for my perspective to widen again and enjoy what was around me. For me, I think too often I want the harder times to be this easy, not realizing that working hard, pushing through times when I’m struggling, is how I find stronger footing. Only then is can I do more, more easily. Otherwise, I’m actually just doing less wishing it were more. There were several other times throughout the race that challenged me mentally and armed with this insight fresh in my mind I plowed through and felt stronger each time.

By the end I was pretty tired. The heat surprised me, and I was most happy my ankle felt good all the way around. And thanks to spotting an on course photographer, got this fun pic of me and my cuz.

Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments

There’s No Place (Quite) Like Home

Posted by GiantBuddha

It's 92 degrees and humid in New York today, but it feels like a ****ing picnic. They call the desert a dry heat, but I'll take this weather over 110 degrees in Vegas any day. That kind of weather makes me feel like my skin is cracking. Like I'll turn to ash like a vampire in the sun. Here, the summer breeze is actually cool.

Aside from the weather, I feel at home in Sin City. The Strip feels like one giant Times Square. It's big, loud, and not the most polite place in the world. And it smells bad, too. Like New York, the city comes to life at night. The familiar energy of people scuttling to and fro, going somewhere they just need to be. But where it has glitz and glamor, it lacks substance. It feels like nothing of consequence happens out there. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but does anyone really care? I don't.

Back to real life. Back to my city.

I've got a laundry list of things to do today (and a lot of laundry, too!):
[ ] Redistribute part of my $21k to my WSOP backers
[ ] Catch up on email and PMs
[ ] Practice guitar in my new rehearsal space
[ ] Record DTB video
[ ] Get back to the grind
[ ] Eat a falafel
[x] Write blog

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

Update – a new dual commentary series!

Posted by darkhorse

I´m way excited to tell you about the new LHE series that has recently premiered. Perspectives! In this me or Paul will be making dual commentary videos with different top Limit Hold´em guest coaches! First up is Nasse, a strong Limit Hold´em expert with a winrate of astonishing 2.5BB/100 over several hundreds of thousand hands. Each video starts off with an interview followed by some Q&A analysis of live played hands. There is some strange echo on this first video though but we will try to fix this as soon as possible.

In other news, life is good (so far). I´ve had a sick start to this month winning 4.5BB/100 over 9000 hands. So can´t complain poker wise. A lot came from one single player with whom I played heads up. He had the uncommon leak at mid stakes LHE of folding way too much pre flop. He only played 60% of his hands and so the money was kind of bound to end up in my account one way or another.

Recently, I went climbing for the first time in my life. It was indoors. A really good workout. I was quite scared of the height though. And letting go of the wall when I´m going down again. It felt pretty counter intuitive to let go like that. :)

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment

8 Million Hands Later, Now What?

Posted by Leatherass

It’s been quite a grind the last 5+ years at the tables. Over 8 million hands of poker and millions of dollars in winnings have left me in a great spot in life, but has also left me with a lot of questions. It has gotten me thinking a lot over the last year or so about what exactly I want out of poker and for that matter, life. Last year I got back into pursuing golf as potential PGA tour pro, which was a dream I was once well on track to accomplish before I had my fluke heart attack. After having my issues with the USGA and also figuring out that the game has evolved into less of a shot maker/short game/putting contest into a game of how far you can hit it, led me to realize that the chances of me making it were better than nil, but slim at best.

So this year I decided to focus on poker 100% and see where that took me. We’re half way through the year now, and I have realized a number of things. 1. I do like the income and lifestyle that poker afford me 2. I REALLY enjoy writing books/articles 3. I enjoy playing online, but I definitely want my 1.5M hands a year days to be behind me. About half of that would be great 4. I like live poker a lot more than I thought I would (tournaments, not so much, but I love live cash games 5. Now that I am comfortable playing live and have TV experience, I BADLY want another invitation to a high stakes TV cash game show 6. I LOVE to commentate on poker. Whether that be making videos for or being an analyst on a TV show like I did for the Big Game over in London, I just love it. In fact if the pay were the same, I would forget poker and be a poker analyst for a TV cash game show. I love it that much.

So armed with this information I am going to try and focus more on what makes me happy in my career rather than simply grinding my face off from now until eternity. I am not burnt out from playing tons of online poker. I just like some other things better and don’t want to deny myself the opportunity to do them, especially when I do still make money at the other things too. I suspect this year I will likely still play a ton of poker because transitioning into the other things will take time. In fact there is no guarantee that anything will pan out for me the way I would like it to, but I am optimistic it will.

I am really glad I took the time out to pursue golf last year. The reason why is that I felt like the “problem” of playing poker when my real passion was golf, and having the means to pursue golf with no financial stress, was going to weigh on me. Like as if I was cheating myself if somehow I never gave it a shot after I had the means to do so. Keep in mind, I was like a little savant when it came to golf haha. I could remember every hole of every course I had ever played. I knew who won every major championship since 1860 and for most of them, I could tell you who came in 2nd and some facts about the event. I felt like when it came to a golf question, I could answer it as well as anyone on earth. So it was a big part of my life. But now I kinda feel like in poker I am approaching that same sort of knowledge base as I had in golf. I have been reading every poker book I can get my hands on and am now well versed in the game, beyond simply how to play it. And when it comes to playing it, at least as far as NL cash games are concerned, I think I am reaching some very high levels of understanding the game, far beyond where my game used to be at. I have made some great strides in my game this year and am really getting some great results in brutal high stakes online poker conditions to prove it.

But back to golf. In golf I may have eat, breathed and slept it, but I just couldn’t play it quite well enough to satisfy me. It ate me up not to be those last 1-2 shots a round better. Those 1-2 shots were the difference between me blogging for instead of here. But what is great about poker is that I CAN actually play the game at a level I am very satisfied with. So I think poker is for me, and the time I spent at the golf course struggling once again, showed me that. So armed with that knowledge, I am now comfortable and happy to be a professional poker player and look forward to a very long career in poker.

So I have decided to do a couple of things immediately. For starters I am going to begin working next week on a pure poker theory/strategy book and I really think it has the potential to be the best book I am capable of writing. My mind is absolutely spinning with all of the things I want to say in the book. The outline is looking awesome already. Secondly, I am going to seek out opportunities to do some broadcasting for poker TV cash game shows. I am going to hold off on this until I get a chance to watch the 10 or so episodes that area going to come out soon on TV (channel 5 in the UK) and see how I did. The producers told me it turned out great, but I want to see for myself how I did, and get a feel for how I can make it better in the event I ever get another chance. In the TV cash game shows, I really think the shows are better off with a professional player who can beat (or is at least good enough to be highly competitive) the game being broadcast because it adds SO much to the show when you have an analyst who can really try and take the audience through EXACTLY what the players are thinking and doing. In golf, they ALWAYS have a former PGA tour player in the booth because it adds to the broadcast so much. In poker I think they should ALWAYS have a professional in there as well. So if I did as good of a job as the producers are telling me, maybe I can get another shot to do it again in the future. I sure hope that is the case.

Well, after all of that poker talk, I am taking a day off tomorrow. I had a great weekend at the tables in winning over $25,000 online. So tomorrow I am taking my wife and daughter to the zoo. My daughter loves playing with a toy called “Let’s play at the zoo” so I decided to take her to the real zoo. She may be a little young for that, but I think she will have fun. I guess the Dad in me is hoping she sees something that looks really cool to her and I can see her face light up. Forget about all of this poker career BS, I don’t think there is anything that makes me truly much happier than watching her light up with a big smile.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

Shaving It All Off

Posted by Leatherass

by Dusty Schmidt | Published: Jul 17, '10

This past week I have played quite a bit of poker online. The week started off horribly with me losing 4 straight days at the tables. I went on about a 20 buy in downer, but then I won small on Thursday and got a little momentum in the right direction. On Friday I decided that I badly needed to get a haircut. It was hot out, my hair was long and the woman who regularly cuts my hair was booked for awhile, so I just went into my bathroom and shaved my head! And what do you know, I ran great on Friday, winning about $12k on the day. So I guess the next time I need to stop a losing streak I just need to shave my head!

Other than poker, I have been watching the British Open at St. Andrews on TV. Tiger is putting SO bad. I have never seen him struggle this much on the greens. It is crazy what has happened to him since his scandal broke out. He just isn’t the same, yet anyway. When he talks about golf he even sounds more like a regular pro now. The other day he said that he can’t put ball striking and putting together in the same round. That is like the #1 complaint of 99% of the PGA Tour. If they are striping it, they can’t buy a put. If they are hitting it all over the place, they make everything. One way or another they end up with their “usual game” which for a good pro is between 67 and 74.

But Tiger has always been the guy who has it all. If he stripes it, he may just make everything too and win by 15 like he did at pebble. Or 12 like he did at Augusta. Or 8 like he did at St. Andrews. But right now he looks like more like Sergio Garcia then he does himself. He seems to have gotten his long game in order, but his putting is just abysmal. I think it will be awhile before Tiger looks like Tiger again, but I suspect once he has his personal life in order (aka he’s either committed to single life, or finds another woman who he can start over with. Man, can you imagine how insecure his future wife is going to be every time he travels?!!) we will see the old Tiger again.

I am also putting together a draft for a purely poker instructional book that I think people are REALLY going to like when I am finished. I had no intention of doing a purely poker instructional book, but I came up with what I am hoping is a really good idea for how to present fun to read, easy to understand high level poker instruction that will be fun to write and hopefully will improve the readers’ games. I had always intended to write a sequel to treat Your Poker Like A Business, which I will at some point probably this year, but this book is what I am most excited about right now. I will keep you all posted on my progress in this blog.

Well, I think I am going to just play a little bit of poker and spend the rest of the day with my wife and daughter. Tomorrow I am going to watch the final round of the British Open and play the Sunday tournaments on Poker Stars and tons of cash game hands. I am definitely pumped to play and hopefully continue to run good.

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

Vegas Vagabond

Posted by GiantBuddha

I'm sick of Vegas. It's time to go home. Unfortunately, I'm checking out at 11 AM this morning, but my flight's not until 6 AM. So I'll be wandering around Vegas for the better part of 18 hours, sweating and sniffling. (I've managed to get genuinely sick for the first time this year.)

I'll be home late on Sunday, and should be fully functional on Monday. I'll be busy right off the bat - grinding, coaching, making videos, posting in the forums, shipping profits to my WSOP investors, and responding to emails and PMs. So if you're waiting on something from me, it'll happen Monday.

Right now I'm going to get the best night of sleep I can to prepare myself for one last long day in the desert.

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment

Treating my poker like a business

Posted by zerosum79

I wanted to blog about my recent experience reading Dusty's (somewhat) new book entitled "Treat Your Poker Like a Business." I am sure that in the great sea of positive reviews mine is just a drop in the bucket, but I am going to give one anyways since it has had a transformative effect on how I view my time spent playing and working on my poker business.

One aspect that the book made me think of is setting profitability targets in $$/hr. As a result I have started to schedule a 20hr "work week" complete with time-card (excel spreadsheet) where I plan my week, and account for my money making endeavors.

Since I envision making money from several different sources, its not realistic to just break my time down into play and study, however, Dusty did make me think of something that hearkens back to my day job. Essentially there are tasks that we have to do at work that we bill as Admin time or Marketing. Each of these things is actually counted against a metric we are judged on called Utilization. Essentially Utilization is the metric that they use to see if we are in pursuit of things that make the firm money or cost it money through having to pay us without us being engaged in money making behavior (billing).

A lot of the things that I see as Admin and Marketing for my poker business are essentially things that take away from my bottom line in the short term. However, there is some upside. If I market myself by writing a blog and get students, or have a business meeting on a new money making endeavor, I am in the long run hopefully increasing my bottom line.

Admin basically allows me to assess my profitability and get some legal requirements (like taxes etc) done so that my business can run but there is not much upside so I am going to try to minimize that aspect of my poker business as possible since its not really adding to my bottom line. I guess I can see why at work they ask us to spend as little time on admin duties as possible.

Anyways I highly recommend Dusty's book since I think it may help you to view your poker playing from a completely new light.

Good luck at the tables

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment

Tweeting to Distraction?

Posted by Jared Tendler

With the rise of poker players using Twitter, and having started posting there myself (can't bring myself to say tweet yet), it makes me wonder - what effect posting on Twitter when playing a tournament has on a players’ performance?

Barry mentioned this to me the other day and I thought it was a brilliant observation. All the major poker news sites, including Pokernews, have Twitter feeds for the popular pros. It doesn't take long looking through the list to see that they are definitely updating followers when sitting at the table. Sure a lot of are updating when on break, but dang if you look through some (I’m not calling anyone out) there’s a whole lot a tweeting going on.

I personally think is awesome for poker. Twitter is made for poker and having players give real time updates on the action is huge for fans. Brings the action you can’t get anywhere else right to you. It’s awesome and I’ve definitely been following the ME through some of them, along with blogger updates from Pokernews. Plus since I had a player I was coaching go pretty deep into the tourney, I spent more time that I probably would have normally checking out the action.

So it’s obvious that Twitter is great for poker, but is it great for the poker player? I actually think and argument can be made strong on both sides. On the one hand, being able to vent to a group of people about the action might keep some from Tilting. One of the things I suggest to a lot of players, in dealing with Tilt, is writing. Usually I mean for them to write about it afterwards, but I can see how even just a few sentences, even words can be enough to take a little of the edge off. Getting things out of your head is one way to release emotional pressure and I can see how posting updates can do that.

On the other hand, it could be a distraction. If updating your twitter feed suddenly takes more of a priority than focusing on the action it a problem. Likely a subtle one for most players where there just loosing small details that may or may not be material enough to make a difference…though I can guarantee that other players, likely players who already have focus issues, Twitter has just become another way to destroy their attention.

Have you actually been in a tournament using Twitter? What effect did it have? I’m really curious. I think it’s an interesting question and one that I haven’t seen asked yet…or does anyone else have any thoughts on it?

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

WSOP Wrap Up

Posted by Leatherass

My family and I had a lot of fun at the WSOP this summer. We rented a home for the entire month of June which made it nice because I had my whole family there for the month. My mother in law, my daughter Lennon and my wife Nicole stayed there the whole month and I was super grateful that everyone was so supportive. My grandma visited as did my sister and law along with her two kids and mother. Each time we had guests we had a great time.

The house had a sick pool and view of the strip. The pool had this cave thingy and a powerful waterfall that was pretty cool. My 9 month old daughter loved getting in the pool and it was a great chance for the two of us to play in the pool and bond together more. My wife is with her all day and I am probably with her 2-3 hours a day only, but I can tell she really loves me. Every time I see her now she gets super excited and gives me a big smile. Believe me, those smiles are huge because she has been a very difficult baby so far and it has been tough, no question. It is all starting to seem worth it now though. Those big smiles alone make it worth it, in fact.

I was a little disappointed that the WSOP tournaments didn't go better. I only played 11, so I guess it is a small sample size, but those things are tough! First of all, either there are not a lot of recreational players that play or I just got really tough table draws because there was not a lot of soft players from what I could tell. The other thing that sucks is that there is no good way to make tournaments a great measure of skill. If you make the stack sizes huge and the blinds go up slowly, it would take a month to play a tournament. So stacks have to be shallow and blinds must go up quickly. But the problem with that is skill becomes such a small part of the outcome of an event. Sure, we all try to play our best, but luck is by far the most critical aspect of how well you do. What sucks is that even when you get a good table with lots of terrible players, if you aren't able to get a lot of chips from them early, the blinds get so big that you only have one move: all in. And really, how much edge do I have on even a terrible player when we are playing 1 move poker? Even a mule knows a decent hand range to shove with and even if they don't, they can easily spike a card on you. Anyway, tournaments are what they are. I guess as a cash game pro, it is tough to see the great importance placed on these things by the poker community when anyone with any decent poker mind understands that they really are just a big lottery. But as I say that, the TV cash games seem to be really popular right now, so I guess us cash game guys are getting our due anyway.

I was talking to my buddy the other day and we were saying it is a shame poker can't have some mechanism to truly determine who the best of the best are. Golf has a world ranking and 4 major championships a year where the courses are laid out with the intent of identifying the best golfer in the world. Poker has a ranking, but it is only for donkaments. But what if they had a true world championship that was something like a $50,000 buy in event where you started with 100,000 chips and the blinds at 25/50. The blinds double once per 8 hour day and we play the event for like 6 days a week for an entire month? Now that is something I would play in for sure. I'd rather do that then play all of these piss ant $1,500 buy in WSOP events that have no skill in them. And the last man standing at month end is the true world champion. I think that would be sick. It would be grueling and luck would definitely not play the biggest role in determining the outcome. Maybe they only do it every 2-3 years or something like the World Cup. Anyway, I would love something like that.

Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments

Superstition, Synchronicity and Serendipity

Posted by GiantBuddha

Yesterday was July 13th, 2010. That's the day I busted out of the World Series of Poker main event. It's also the day I cashed in my very first main event, good for $21,327. Not bad for a guy who hated tournaments and hasn't played No Limit for a living since 2007.

The turning point of my WSOP came midway through Day 4. I had almost 190k chips when a dude dressed in a white cowboy suit covered with green shamrocks came to the rail.

"Rub the clover for luck!" his wife suggested.

"They ain't clovers, they shamrocks," he retorted.

"No thanks, I've got my Buddha right here," I said as I lifted my little Buddha card protector. "Today's backwards St. Patty's Day, anyway." I muttered something about the luck of the Irish, world history, and irony before I looked down to see two black aces. I raised and got one caller, yielding a stack-to-pot ratio of about thirteen.

Thirteen. The number holds special meaning to a lot of people. Triskaidekaphobia in this country is so strong that I haven't seen a Vegas hotel with a thirteenth floor. When we're talking about stack-to-pot ratios in No Limit Holdem, aces can be said to have triskaidekaphobia. I lost about 71k chips on the hand and wound up playing defense for the rest of the tournament. Luck of the Irish.

July 13th was also my aunt's birthday. I say "was" because she died of throat cancer on my friend's 21st birthday in 1999. She may win the award for nicest person I've known in my entire life. Unfortunately, she's not the only family I've lost to cancer, including my father, my uncle, and a bunch of cats.

This year the WSOP has an official charity,, and suggests donating 1% of our winnings to the fight against cancer. I was sporting the green 1% patch all tournament and gave 1% of my winnings, which only amounts to a couple hundred dollars. But if everyone donates 1%, that will amount to over $680k from the main event alone.

Coincidence and synchronicity often exist where you look for them, but yesterday, it felt like they were looking for me.

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

The Truth About Poker Books

Posted by Leatherass

In my last blog I wrote about Imagine Media selling books that were “cheap” at $25-$40 a pop. Lots of people thought I was crazy when I said that most books “written by successful online players” were 10-100x that amount. They said that most books were under $25 and they are correct generally speaking. But the ONLINE PLAYERS books are much more expensive. There is no delicate way to put this, the reason why the books are so cheap that are not written by the online guys is because they are usually written by folks who are NOT successful at poker, generally speaking. The online guys experience a great opportunity cost when they write a book because they could be making substantial sums of money playing online poker. So in order to justify taking time away to not only write a book, but also potentially lower their win rate because they are giving away so much great information, there needs to be a greater value assigned to their work to make it a mutually beneficial transaction between author and reader.

Simply put, you get what you pay for. You want a book written by a guy who crushes poker online, it is going to cost more. But the value of the book to the reader is much greater not only in my opinion, but the tens of thousands of people who have read Imagine Media’s books. If you want a book put out by another publishing company by some author who you may have seen on TV or heard about, the reason that author wrote a book and put it out into the world for $19.99 (and the author’s cut probably being in the range of $1 a book) is because the guy or gal probably can’t make much money playing poker. You don’t see truly successful poker players ever put out books unless there is a big price tag on it. When Doyle Brunson (who we can all agree truly is a GREAT poker player) wrote Super System back in the 70s, it was $100 a book! That was probably at least $500 if not $1,000 in today’s money. But you don’t see Ivey or Antonius or Durrrrr write a book. You don’t see any great players write books without huge price tags. What you see is people who leveraged some of their past successes into a career as a poker media person, which generally includes a book.

Anyway, I’m just trying to give the most truthful and honest representation. Again, I hate to burst people’s bubbles, but the books you are reading by your heroes are probably 90% of the time (some exceptions that come to mind from books that I have read are Dan Harrington and Ed Miller) garbage cash grabs put out by famous poker players who are trying to make money off of their reputation because they sure can’t make much money at the tables. The GREAT poker players who want to write books either carry larger price tags or occasionally, the player may have just wanted a new challenge in life and decided to write a book even though he knew it wouldn’t benefit him monetarily in a way that was worth the loss in poker income.

The best way I can sum it up is with this analogy. What would you pay for an investment book put out by Warren Buffet that exposed, in large part, the investment strategies he uses every single day? I’d imagine a lot of people would pay thousands for this book. There may be some big time Wall Street guys who may pay millions, who knows. But Warren Buffet is probably not going to do that because he is too busy using his skills to make money. Now if some investment “guru” put out a book for $19.99 telling you how to make “millions” (where his cut is $1 a book and he probably will sell 25,000 books max) shouldn’t you be a little worried you are being scammed? I mean, why would a guy who has such great investment strategies that he can make “millions” off of, want to make only a $1 a book AND give away his secrets at the same time. Again, you get what you pay for. This may be a bit of a bold statement, but if you want a cheap book (and therefore “cheap advice” in my opinion) then the $19.99 books are for you. But if you want the goods, it is going to cost more money. It is just simple economics and definitely NOT a rip off like some people may initially think when they see a slightly higher price tag. And the only reason Imagine Media is even able to put books out into the world for as cheap as $40, is two fold. 1. We are not greedy 2. We have a superior business model that allows us to put books out into the world for less than they should cost.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

I Suck at Social Networking

Posted by Jared Tendler

Ironically it took admitting this yesterday for me to finally do something about it. The truth is I just didn't really understand how to use the medium to add value to my coaching, but with the help of some friends, and a little research it's starting to sink in.

I have a bunch of ideas and am now really looking forward to figuring out how to use it in a way that's useful to you. Insights that I have when writing the book, quotes that I find that I like, videos, articles, etc... that I find along the way related to the mental game. Stuff intended to help you be a jedi master.

So I just created a Twitter account and have a couple posts up there now. It's obviously really early, but it'll give you a taste of where I'm heading with this. I've been on Facebook since the beginning of the year, and will be adding more there too. Btw, the quote by Steinbrenner I posted on Twitter, I think is absolutely brilliant. I heard it on ESPN while they were paying tribute to him, showing old clips of an interview from 2002. He took it too far, as he admits, but I think the logic behind the idea is a BIG reason for the Yankee's success.

I'm not going to bombard this space with updates, or reminders to this fact unless it's something really noteworthy...for now I just wanted to keep you all up on what's new.

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

Why People Hate Live Poker

Posted by GiantBuddha

I've survived Day 3 of the WSOP main event with 108,400 chips. I reached precisely zero showdowns, so you could say that my cards didn't matter at all. I ran sort of well. In eight hours of poker, I had aces, kings and queens at least twice each. I flopped kings full, an ace high flush, and a set of deuces. Unfortunately, I got no action on any of those hands. But I didn't get called the times I was squeezing with air, either.

Several times I saw my opponents reach for their chips as they contemplated playing back at my 3-bets, but each time they folded. I'm beginning to think I have an intimidating table image, even without a huge stack. My confidence has increased each day. I think a year from now I could be pretty good at this live tournament business. Maybe I'll play all of the $10k events next year - Limit Holdem, No Limit, Pot Limit Omaha, Deuce to Seven, HORSE, etc. We'll see.

Anyway, today started off in unpleasant fashion. The first guy to my left was a real nice guy with a real short stack. He played tight until he accidentally got it in with KQ after losing track of the action. Bummer. He was replaced by my least pleasant opponent of the tournament. Double bummer.

Despite the fact that we're all fighting for a piece of a rather large pie of money ($68 million), everyone else has been polite, sportsmanlike, and of generally good cheer. Not this guy. From the moment he sat down to the moment he left the table, I could tell he was "one of those guys."

Our table was full and I was correctly positioned at the table, but he asked me to move over to give him some space. He was in the 9-seat next to the dealer, which is an uncomfortable spot. I was in the 8-seat on his right. He had a bag of foul smelling food, so I tried to oblige, but there really wasn't that much room.

With antes of two black chips (200), he kept asking me for change, despite the fact that he had two stacks of them. This is inconsiderate and slows the game down. The chips, the smell, and the cantankerousness were on the slightly irritating side, but it comes with the territory. I just tried to ignore him and engage some of the other players in more pleasant conversation. Then it happened.

I folded my hand under the gun, and our friend folded his hand next. Two players later, a colorblind offensive lineman tried to open limp the cutoff. We want to encourage this behavior. The blinds were 600 and 1200, and he put a 1000 and two 500 chips in the pot. "Oops," he said as he reached for one of the 500 chips. The dealer pushed it back to him, making this a call.

The button folded, then the small blind asked, "Is that a call?" That's when our buddy to my left chimed in.

"It's a raise! It's more than half the bet. It has to be a raise!"

First of all, it's none of this guy's business whether the cutoff limps or raises. He's already folded. Second of all, it was clearly a mistake. The button didn't care. The small blind didn't care. The big blind didn't care. They're the only guys who should get an opinion. But this guy had the dealer call the floor, who declared the play a min-raise.

As we returned from the second break (but before he returned), I asked "Would somebody bust this guy?" This is pretty out of character for me, but I don't have a lot of tolerance for a single person ruining the vibe of a whole table. He busted soon after and was replaced by a pleasant Aussie (who unfortunately played better than the curmudgeon).

There were two other incidents that I was going to mention, but I'm pretty tired, so I'll save them for another time, but they involve a couple of live poker faux pas. One is an "I want to see that hand" abuse, and the other is a "You're good" at showdown miscall.

Enough of that. I'm excited to make it to Day 4. I certainly didn't expect to get this deep. In fact, I'm supposed to be on a plane at 2 PM, so I have to go rebook that now. Best of luck to Jeremy and David. I met both of them at the DragTheBar gathering, and I hope to meet them again down the line in this tournament. Not too soon, though, as they're both tourney pros and I'm just a humble Limit Holdem coach.

Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments

The Ultimate Grinder

Posted by zerosum79

This guy is amazing IMO.


Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

New Friends

Posted by GiantBuddha

I had lunch today with acclaimed poker author and vegas vegan, Ed Miller. He was kind enough to bring me a box of Ronald's (vegan) Donuts and give me a ride to Whole Foods, where I restocked on coconut water and bananas (among a bevy of other items). It's always nice meeting someone that you have a lot in common with, and as a new author, it was great to pick the brain of one of the best poker authors out there. It doesn't hurt that Ed's a super nice guy, either.

After a late afternoon nap, I hailed a cab over to the Palms for the PokerStars party. I'm sure an open bar, Go-Go dancers, and Snoop Dogg appeal to a lot of people, but to be honest, I was pretty bored for the first hour after I entered the club. I had more fun waiting on line chatting with a couple strangers. Both are still in the main event, and one of them turned out to be friends with the next DragTheBar coach. (I can't tell you who it will be, but he sounds like an awesome addition.)

Things picked up once I met up with two of my Limit Holdem buddies, Jesse "Thor" Haabak and Jake Abdalla. Last year they finished 26th and 72nd, respectively, so they gave me a little WSOP pep talk. They're both cool and pretty laid back, and probably had a lot more fun tonight than I did. I wish I could have hung out longer, but I've got a lot of poker to play tomorrow. It's great to have an insider's view into how the main event plays as the bubble approaches, but first I have to make it through Day 3. Today wasn't all that restful, but it was fun and social, and if tomorrow turns out to be the same, it will be a good day.

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

SNE Project Video Series Update

Posted by Jared Tendler

After 5 sessions with Jeff, I’ve started going through the recordings to put together the videos series for all of you. As Jeff has written, he’s made some great strides over the past several months in his mental game and I’m looking forward to piecing together parts of our sessions along with some instruction, so it can have the same impact on your game.

There is one important change to the series that you need to know about. The original intent was to find someone, who with the right information and coaching could make SNE. That went out the window from the start because Jeff was so far behind, but he was such a good candidate in other ways that I went with him. As with any goal, adjustments have to be made when the conditions you started with change and for Jeff, that happened when Stars made changes to their table structures. With the games getting tougher, he decided to devise a new playing strategy and cut back on tables. As a result he asked if it was alright that he abandon getting on pace for SNE status, and after thinking for a few minutes, realized I wasn’t going to let a video series get in the way doing what he thought was best for his game.

He mentioned this about 5 weeks in and I considered going back into the pool of applicants to find someone else, but with the year close to 1/2 over by the time we would have started, it just didn’t make sense. Plus, thinking more about the timing of this whole thing, made me realize my logic from the start was completely off. The time to start it is in September or October of the year prior to going for SNE, so they can hit the ground running on Jan 1st, rather than getting started on Jan 1, let alone mid April! Complete tactical error on my part, that was partially due to the timing of me joining DTB, but hey I’ve learned a few things along the way with this, and now I’ll be putting the series together so all of you can as well.

So the adjustment that I’m making is really just in the content. Since volume is such a huge part of making SN or SNE, I wanted all of you to know that it is not going to be in this series. If there are enough of you out there who want coaching type videos like these specifically for improving volume I’ll strongly consider doing it. Just let me know.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

Way Of The Poker Warrior

Posted by Leatherass

I am going to get a full WSOP trip report up soon. The cliff notes are that the cash games were amazing, I had one deep run where I came in 23rd for $18,612 and was colder than an iceberg in the Main event, busting 7 hours into the event never seeing a hand better than AJs preflop. Oh well, I am a cash game player and am glad I am. Tournaments just don’t do it for me. The skill level needed to be good at those things relative to deep stack cash is not even comparable. Tournaments are like poker on training wheels compared to deep stack cash games and while people like to think that there is a debate on that, there isn’t. I can’t imagine any player who has taken tournaments and deep stack cash games seriously saying that tournaments were a more complex form of poker. Like Phil Laak said, tournaments are just “a +EV lottery.”

So, I rarely try and spam anything in my blogs, but hopefully I have built your trust and you will take me seriously with what I am about to write. I want to tell you briefly about a poker book that the company I own, Imagine Media just put out into the world. The book is called Way Of The Poker Warrior and it was written by Paul Hoppe (aka GiantBuddha on Poker Stars aka Limit holdem phenom). The book is one I have read and enjoyed immensely, despite not being a limit holdem pro. Essentially the book is poker and life instruction through the lens of martial arts. I guess one might loosely say it is like the book Art of War for poker players. Paul’s Grandmaster, Suk Jun Kim, said this about the book, "In this book, Paul will show you how to win and make money. What I think you’ll ultimately find, though, is that these are the least important things Paul has to teach.” This sums it up completely for me. The book, no matter what form of poker you play, will help you make money at the tables. And while you may be making more money after reading the book, down the line that is the one of the last things you will remember the book for. It is the kind of book that has the potential to really elevate your approach to poker and life in a way that you may be grateful for for a very long time.

One thing Imagine Media is proud of is that we are the leaders is driving down the cost of poker books written by online poker pros. When online poker pros first began writing poker books a few years ago, they were all $500 or $1,000 or even as much as $5,000 a book!! Yeah, that isn’t a typo, there were books put out that cost 5 GRAND! Last summer, I made the decision to write Treat Your Poker Like A Business and I was looking at the poker book market and the cheapest book I had seen written by a successful online poker pro was $399 and it was on sale! No joke, it was on sale at $399. I told myself there was no way I would ever put out a book that carried a price tag like that so I released Treat Your Poker Like A Business for $39.99 (only 10% of the cost of the next cheapest book) and blew every other book written by the online guys out of the water. And I am glad that I did it. I have long believed that there are a ton of talented people out there who never get to realize their potential because of lack of opportunity. So to me anyway, putting a book out into the world that only serves the people who are among the “haves,” is clearly not in line with what I believe in.

Anyway, enough with that, Paul’s book is $24.99 and can be be purchased in either ebook or hard copy form at There is a review up on the site that’s Barry Carter was kind enough to provide that will give you an unbiased opinion on the book, as well as some excerpts, if you are interested in purchasing it. All in all I think you guys will be well served picking up a copy and I hope if you do, you are glad you did it after reading the book.

Well, I am going to log onto Poker Stars here in a few minutes and play all of the major Sunday tournaments. I am also going to grind the cash games until my eyes bleed so hopefully I can get a hold of some loot by the end of the day. As always, I will provide updates on my Facebook page when I am done playing for anyone interested.

I hope you guys kick some butt today at the tables!

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

Ready To Rumble

Posted by GiantBuddha

Day 2 of the WSOP began with a colorful introduction from Bruce Buffer, voice of the UFC. I had 42,700 chips when he said "Shuffle up and deal!" I ended the day with 96,100. That's a good day, and leaves me with an average (mean) stack size. I should be well above the median.

My table was very pleasant. There were no absolutely terrible players, but my opponents were straightforward. Many of them were short stacked, so I was able to push them around a bit. I also had the pleasure of flopping a few hands. I had a good feel for the table and played with more confidence than I did on Day 1. The overall mood was very good, too. People were friendly and we had fun. In 8 hours of poker, we only saw two eliminations.

I was well prepared with 4 bottles of water, 2 bottles of coconut water, goji berry trail mix, candied pecans, 3 types of Clif bars, and a banana. Nonetheless, I felt tired and hungry at the dinner break. These days are long.

I spent some time wandering around the Rio, walking into Gaylord's Indian Restaurant, but decided against waiting on line. I came back later when there was no line, and a few folks strolled in behind me.

"Are you Bruce Buffer? I loved your interview," one guy said to another.

"Thanks, bro. I just tell it like it is."

Long story short, I end up having dinner with Bruce Buffer. Very nice guy. We talked about martial arts and poker, and it turns out he's written some articles on the connection between the two. I gave him a copy of Way of the Poker Warrior, which he said he'll mention on his radio show. It turns out he's got his own poker room at Luxor, which I'll have to check out.

I ran good today, and I'm excited to head back to the Rio on Monday for Day 3. If I survive that day, I'll either be in the money or very close to it.

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

Participate in a New Video Series

Posted by Jared Tendler

I hate that this post is the one to knock Paul off the front page...I'm really excited for his book, and wish him well with it!

As the title says, I'm putting together a new video series that all members are open to participating in. [Btw, for those wondering about the SNE Project videos, I'll be posting an update about it tomorrow.] This isn't just a new series, I'm also trying out a new type of video altogether. Basically each video will be a small collection of Q&A conversations between you and I, in a similar way to the 'Ask Jared' thread only we'll be actually talking (over skype). Here’s how it’ll work:

1) Post your question in this thread. Feel free to provide any background on you or context that will help me understand the intent behind your question. Follow-up questions to any posts in the ‘Ask Jared’ thread are welcome.

2) I’ll choose the ones I think are most relevant for the members.

3) We’ll set-up a call and chat for 10-15minutes.

4) I’ll turn them into videos.

Since you’ll have a chance to ask follow-up questions throughout our chat, my hope is that it’ll be much more dynamic that the forum, while still be interesting enough for a video. Plus, I'll probably add some commentary, powerpoint, etc, to make sure its not just running audio

Simple enough…So what would you like to talk with me about?

Filed under: Uncategorized 10 Comments

Dreams Come True

Posted by GiantBuddha

I am proud to announce that my first book, Way of the Poker Warrior, is officially published as of today. You can order it on my brand new website, E-books ship immediately, and hard copies will be on the way in a week or two.

This book draws from two of my favorite past times (and careers), poker and martial arts, with the occasional nod to a third, music. You can read the reviews on my website, or this one on Poker News.

In this first of hopefully many books, I strive to extract the most valuable lessons from the martial arts, and show you how to apply them directly to your poker game. While the lessons can be applied to all aspects of life, I analyze 29 individual hands to help you get immediate value from the ideas. With forewords from Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim and DragTheBar coaches Dusty Schmidt and Hunter Bick, I'm joined by some prestigious company.

Being published is a dream come true. I love being a professional poker player and coach, but I didn't cook up that idea until I was 20. I've known I would be a writer someday since I was 13. I had always put it off because writing holds no age barriers. It's something I could always get to later. But I'm done waiting. Now I'm a published author. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Filed under: Uncategorized 4 Comments

I Had To Leave Las Vegas

Posted by GiantBuddha

"Drive Safe. Come Back Soon," the sign read. As we passed it, I glanced over my shoulder and read "Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas." The strip doesn't look that impressive under the scorching sun, but the view on the way in looks a lot better than the view on the way out.

Here's the thing: I'm from New York. I don't drive. Where I come from, we walk everywhere. Even when it's 104 degrees under the desert sky. Las Vegas wasn't built for walking, but I still trudged several miles northwest from the strip to Chinatown, and then so far south that I literally walked right out of the city.

Here's the other thing: I'm vegan. I don't eat meat. Or fish. Or eggs. Or dairy. I often get asked what I actually do eat. Trust me, there's a wide range of foods that I love to overindulge in, all of them completely devoid of animal products. But Vegas wasn't built for vegans, so I had to leave.

Now, I didn't go far. I just mossied on over to Whole Foods, located in the Town Square themed strip mall. It's only about 3 miles from my hotel. A city boy can walk that in under 45 minutes, but with all of the twists and turns of the strip, it took two hours. I got cereal, soysages, and fauxgurt for breakfast; pasta, burritos and spring rolls for dinner; coconut water, bananas, and two kinds of trail mix for Day 2 on Saturday. Some fresh fruits and veggies now round out my well-stocked kitchen.

The toughest part of main event Day 1 was the dirth of viable food options. I was delighted to see a fresh salad stand in the Poker Kitchen. I was appalled to see the preparer dig her hands into the lettuce, carrots and bacon, then mush them all around with the same hands. As a result, I was relegated to bananas, dried mango and the Clif bars I'd brought with me.

Hopefully I'll survive the full 9 hours of Day 2. If I don't, at least it won't be from starving.

Filed under: Uncategorized 4 Comments

My Callback Is On Saturday

Posted by GiantBuddha

I don't think I got on television yet, but my first audition for the final table of the main event went well enough. I finished the day with 42,700 chips, which is about average at this stage of the game. More importantly, I'm still alive, and I'll be back on Saturday to play Day 2B.

Day 1 spread a few minutes of excitement throughout twelve hours of boredom. There were colorful characters: some dude dressed up as Batman was sitting next to Dan Harrington across from my table. A Full Tilt Pro was wearing a puffy Unlce Sam hat and an all white jump suit as part of their 1% pledge to I was the first to take a patch from Phil Gordon (happy 40th, Phil). I can confirm the reports - he is very, very tall.

I only saw two guys bust at my table in 9 hours of play. I was fortunate enough to bust both of them.

The first was Dan Shak, winner of the $100k buy-in event at the Aussie Millions. I had been trying to figure out where I knew him from until the other players informed me of his exploits. I don't watch much poker on TV, though, so I'm pretty sure I've actually played with him before. He's a hedge fund manager from NYC, so the latter explanation seems likely.

The hand was pretty straightforward. He opened in early position and it folded to my big blind. I held AKs. I just called, and crushed the flop of AK6. I figured I could get a c-bet out of him, so I went for a check/raise. He checked back. A third spade fell on the turn and I led into the 1,300 pot for 1,000. He made it 3,000. I expected him to semi-bluff spades on that flop and there are only 8 combos of sets on that board, so I shoved. He called and flipped up middle pair with the nut flush draw. A red seven on the river maintained the status quo and shrunk our table to 9.

The second guy was an unknown (to me) wearing Stars gear. He had been opening a ton of pots and I had re-raised a couple times already (earning folds from him). With a 12k stack, he opened the cutoff for 875 and I looked down at black tens. I made it 2,500. He did a fair amount of hemming and hawing before shoving. I paused to consider whether this was sincere or an act. It felt genuine enough to me, so I called. He flipped AT and I had him dominated. The flop of KQ9 bought him an extra 4 hours, but the turn and river bricked off and I was back up to 43k chips. There were a couple other interesting hands, but that's it for this blog.

Live Tournament No Limit Holdem has to be the slowest poker game on earth. (Well, Omaha is probably worse.) The majority of my nine hours of poker were spent waiting and watching. I can say that on two occasions my heart was racing, and that's something that cash games have completely ceased to cause. I'll take the good with the bad, and hopefully avoid the ugly.

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments