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Posted by Leatherass

The last couple of weeks have been pretty exciting on the golf course. I am continuing to make strides in my game. I am getting much better about judging distances on all types of shots and starting to understand my golf swing and its tendencies much better as I become much more comfortable out on the golf course. In fact on Sunday I had one of the more exciting rounds of golf I have ever played. I played my home course of Pumpkin Ridge golf club (Witch Hollow course) with the Sunday morning scratch game and got things off to a great start making a 15 footer for birdie on #1. I played a cautious 8 iron on #2 to 30 feet from the cup putting straight uphill and buried that putt to go 2 under. I played another cautious iron shot to the safe side of the pin and 2 putted for a par on #3.

On hole 4 I bombed a long drive and had 5 iron coming in on the par 5 #4. I hit a poor iron shot to the far left of the green and 3 putted for par. #5 is treacherous long par 3 over water and I hit it to 12 feet and made the birdie putt. On #6 I hit a towering 8 iron to 5 feet and made the tricky down hill putt to go 4 under. On #7 I blocked my tee shot out of bounds and made a double bogey 7 to fall back to 2 under. I hit a great 2nd shot into #8 to a brutally hard pin placement and made the 7 footer to go to 3 under. I made routine pars on #9 and #10 to stay at 3 under.

I bombed a drive on #11 and hit a 3 wood to 30 feet for eagle and after leaving my eagle putt well short, made a good putt to go 4 under. I hung a putt on the lip on #12 from 20 feet and then hit a crafty wedge to 7 feet on #13 and made the putt to go 5 under. On #14 I hit a great drive over the corner of the bunkers and hit my iron shot to the front fringe for an eagle chance. I elected to chip the ball because of a poor lie and chipped it in for eagle to go to 7 under par. I then hit a superb iron shot to 3 feet on the par 3 #15 and made the knee knocker down the hill to go 8 under!

I lipped out a birdie putt on #16 and then after a pulled tee shot on #17, hit a towering hooking 9 iron from 172 yards (I normally only hit a 9 iron 155 yards, but I could feel so much adrenaline my experience has taught me that I hit the ball much further in those circumstances) to 15 feet and narrowly missed the putt because of a misread.

#18 is a really hard but potentially rewarding par 5. There is a hazard left and right. I was pretty nervous on this tee shot because I knew if I hit a good one, I was shotting 62, 63, or 64. But I could really ruin a great round with one bad swing. Back when I was playing competitively I would from time to time make a bad swing in these situations which I knew was due to the pressure. But I was able to apply much of what Jared Tendler (author of The Mental Game of Poker) has taught me in poker to golf, and I decided to enjoy the challenge of hitting the shot and decided I was going to take the mindset of trying to show off rather than fear the shot. I had the mentality of, "Hey, let's show people how you finish off a great round." I pured my tee shot down the middle and hit a solid 3 iron just short and left of the green. My pitch shot was a little more difficult than I had anticipated with a ridge just left of the pin that takes the shot off of the green and down a swale. I had to land it in a very small area and with spin to get it close.

Unfortunately I didn't pull off the shot and landed short of my mark causing me to come up 15 feet short. I missed the putt and made par to shoot and 8 under 64. To shoot 8 under with several lip outs, an OB (2 stroke penalty) and a 3 putt is as mentally captivating of a round that I can play. I was mentally a bit loopy after the round. I just felt like shouting and releasing all of the pent up emotion or something along those lines. Those rounds are much easier to handle when you are playing a ton of competitive golf. But to have a round like that going just 6 weeks after I started playing again after a huge layoff, was pretty trying. But I pulled it off and played as well as I can play, so I was pretty happy about that.

The rest of my time has been mostly spent with my family. I have been taking my daughter to her swim lessons every morning at 10:30 and getting in the pool with her. It is really special to be able to have that time with her. She is just a fantastic and pleasant little kid who has such a fun personality. She smiles a ton and seems very happy in general. She has her little fussy moments like any child does, but overall she seems to really have a lot of passion for life. She really enjoys it and it sure has been great to get to watch it all. One of the greatest gift perhaps that poker has given me is the time that both my wife and I get to spend with her. Without poker, we could very well have each been working a job and would have missed out of so many great moments with her. I always told my wife while I was grinding so much poker before we had kids that while I know it was tough on her for me to be working so much, she would be grateful for it when we had children and didn't have to work so hard. We are both very happy about that decision.

I want to let everyone know that my calendar is filling up for private coaching. You can read <a href="">this</a> post for more information. One thing I want to point out is that since I am an American and will almost assuredly not play on Poker Stars ever again due to the legal situation for us Americans, all of the small to mid stakes grinders on Poker Stars should really think about hiring me as their coach. Because I have played so much at all limits between 1/2nl and 25/50nl over the last 4 years on Poker Stars. I have reads on an incredible amount of opponents across those limits and having been one of the biggest winners on that site over the least 4 years, I think I can be an especially valuable resource for anyone playing in those games. I would never give my reads before Black Friday, but now I really have no reason to protect them anymore.

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Zerosum79′s Superturbo Protege Contest

Posted by zerosum79

I am excited to announce that I will be running a contest to turn one lucky DTB forum member into my Superturbo Protege.

A long time ago I was a struggling SNG player with a dream and that dream was fulfilled through winning a training sites contest to become the Protege of Collin Moshman. It was an exciting time and completely changed my life when it comes to the game of poker. Now it is time to give back more than I have already by taking one player and giving them that same gift.

The contest details are located in a sticky thread in the SNG forum. Click HERE for the thread!

If you might be interested I suggest heading over there to check it out!

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The Number #1 Skill That Every Successful Poker Player Must Have

Posted by BlackRain79

Knowing how to separate a fish from his money with maximum efficiency

I talk a lot about the importance of playing with fish.

I also recently made a youtube video talking about some of my table selection methods.

Sitting at the right tables will do far more for your winrate than any strategy advice you could possibly learn.

However, I don't want to belabour that point here. But this article will assume that you've found Joe Q. Fish, who of course wants to give you his money.

How do we best accept this gracious offer?

A couple of things:

  • Get on Joe Q's left if you can
  • Try to play as many pots as you can with him i.e., raise his limps with a wide range of reasonably playable hands
  • Don't be afraid to keep hammering on him even if you aren't flopping anything and he is winning all the pots

The last point is probably the most important. Build a dynamic with the fish. Make him think that you are just splashing around loosely and bluffing up a storm. And you small pots.


  • BTN is a 55/10/2 fish

Relevant History

  • In the hand just previous to this one I had overbet shoved the turn on a fairly wet board (for about double pot). I had an overpair, QQ I think, and he folded.

Poker Stars, $0.01/$0.02 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 9 Players

BB: $0.80
UTG: $2.04
UTG+1: $1.84
UTG+2: $2.88
MP1: $0.53
MP2: $1.50
Hero (CO): $5.55
BTN: $2.50
SB: $2.01

Pre-Flop: T A dealt to Hero (CO)

2 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.02, MP1 calls $0.02, MP2 calls $0.02, Hero raises to $0.14, BTN calls $0.14, 2 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.12, MP1 calls $0.12, MP2 folds

Flop: ($0.61) A J 5 (4 Players)

UTG+2 checks, MP1 checks, Hero bets $0.36, BTN calls $0.36, 2 folds

Turn: ($1.33) 6 (2 Players)

Hero bets $5.05 and is All-In, BTN calls $2 and is All-In

River: ($5.33) J (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $5.33 Pot ($0.26 Rake)

Hero showed T A and WON $5.07 (+$2.57 NET)

BTN showed Q 4 and LOST (-$2.50 NET)

My Thoughts

The thing to always remember with fish is that if you win a big pot off of them (especially when it doesn't go to showdown) they will never give you any credit ever again. Well at least for a few orbits. So the history from the previous hand (as mentioned above) is the key here.

AT offsuit, a bunch of dead money limpers. Raise it up. Really I just wanted to play a pot with Mr. Q though. I probably should have made it a bit more preflop since I know that he is calling 100% and that encourages the others to come along as well. Nevertheless, I got 3 callers and flopped top pair.

I didn't provide any reads on the other two players in the hand. They seemed reasonable and my plan was to simply play the hand straight forward against them. When the fish calls on the flop and the turn comes a safe offsuit 6, I do the exact same thing that I did in the previous hand, which is overbet shove.

I do this because:

  • He isn't likely to have me beat so it absolutely is for value
  • But more importantly, as I stated above, he is going to call me incredibly wide here due to the dynamic. As wide as hands like no pair draws as the results above indicate

If I had bet a normal amount on the turn, I probably still could have gotten stacks in on the river a decent amount of the time, if it was a blank and if he had a pair. That's a lot of ifs. By shoving, I am guaranteed to get all the money in against his entire range, right now.

What kind of strategies or psychology do you use against fish?

Nathan Williams aka "BlackRain79" is a microstakes grinder, poker coach, DragTheBar instructor and the author of Crushing the Microstakes. Now available in Spanish and Russian as well.

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Having a Plan for the Hand

Posted by BlackRain79

I'm Back!

Hello DragTheBar members. I haven't posted a blog here in quite some time. I was afraid of my wordpress noobness. Either that or I was just lazy. I keep up a blog over at and there really isn't any reason not to post here as well.

I am less focused on my own play these days (I still grind out 100-200k micro stakes hands a month) and am more interested in teaching and blogging. So I am putting out tons of content specifically designed for YOU, the reader. Please keep in mind though that my target audience is the beginner level.

I hope you guys enjoy and please leave me any comments or suggestions below.


Anyone who has seen any of my videos at DragTheBar knows that I continually preach the importance of having a plan for the hand. I learned this concept primarily by watching the videos of world class players like Leatherass9

So what does having a plan for the hand actually mean?

It means that you formulate a course of action, usually on the flop, for the entire hand. And you absolutely stick to that plan, barring ridiculous turn and river cards, that completely change the complexion of the board. The two most important things to consider before determining your plan of action are the villain's stack size and player type.

Here is a hand that I played today which illustrates this point.


  • BTN is a 33/27/5 loose aggressive

My Plan

  • Check/call all 3 streets, again barring a ridiculous run out of turn and river cards.

If I cbet, this LAG villain is likely to either raise me (which puts me in a difficult spot out of position) or fold and I get nothing further from him. However, if I check he is very likely to stab at the pot with any two cards. And he will probably keep up the charade on future streets because that is what loose aggressive players do. I know this and will have to call on some ugly turn and river cards.

Poker Stars, $0.01/$0.02 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players

BB: $1.80
UTG: $2.21
Hero (CO): $5
BTN: $2.35
SB: $0.98

Pre-Flop: J A dealt to Hero (CO)

UTG folds, Hero raises to $0.06, BTN calls $0.06, 2 folds

Flop: ($0.15) J 4 5 (2 Players)

Hero checks, BTN bets $0.10, Hero calls $0.10

Turn: ($0.35) T (2 Players)

Hero checks, BTN checks

River: ($0.35) 5 (2 Players)

Hero bets $0.16, BTN calls $0.16

Results: $0.67 Pot ($0.03 Rake)

Hero showed J A and WON $0.64 (+$0.32 NET)

BTN mucked Q T and LOST (-$0.32 NET)

The hand didn't play out completely according to plan and I should have bet a bit more on the river. But I think I still managed to get the maximum out of him while keeping the pot at a manageable size out of position.

How do you go about planning out a hand?

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Its been a long month… Vegas Trip Report and more

Posted by zerosum79

Its been quite a long month but very productive. I am sorry about my lack of real presence on the DTB Forums but hopefully I will be less distracted and able to come back with a renewed vigor.

By the end of June I was pushing hard to finish up a major project before taking a bunch of time off to spend with family, friends in vegas, and then at the beach. My coaching schedule was put on hold so that I could take a break but it didn't feel like much of a vacation.

Over July 4 weekend, I headed to Richmond VA to spend time with my wife's family. We went down to an area on the waterfront of Richmond and saw some fireworks and got roasted by the heat. It was exhausting.

July 5 I flew to Vegas to spend 5 days at the Aria on my own playing some tourneys and low limit cash games as well as catching up with friends. It was a blast. Ended up slightly up in cash game play nitting it up at the Aria. The poker room there is great and they have a good nightly tournament which I played once. I made the uber-big mistake of trying to bluff a guy off a top pair hand when almost every draw known to man came in on the river but he would not be deterred. I guess I should know better.

One particularly fun night I was sitting at a table at the Aria and I accomplished two feats of poker mediocrity. I outlasted Barry Greenstein and bluffed Johnny Chan off a hand. Let me explain. I have been sitting at a table since about 8am, right next to the high limit room at Aria where a $600/1200 mixed game was running. Just after I sat down I saw Barry Greenstein in the room eating breakfast. Sitting at my lowly $1/3 table I grinded away as the hours passed. I marked time by Barry's meals. Now Barry is eating lunch, now Barry is eating dinner. A guy I had played with the night before showed up at the table and said "Are you still here." He had seen me when I got there in the morning and proceeded to show me pictures of all the fun things he had done since I sat that morning. I said, well I'm trying to outlast Berry Greenstein. He just doesn't know it yet. As the hours ticked on by the joke became funnier to me. I think that Berry might have been able to read my mind (he seems to be able to do it on TV against top poker pros) and around Midnight I realized that the battle was on. A guy said I should just give up but I said "I can't go, Berry is my ride home." Never mind that he probably would never let me sit in his Lambo.

Sometime during all of this an Asian gentlemen sat down directly to my right. He dropped his card on the table and it said Johnny Chan. I remarked to him that the 1 seat has not been lucky (primarily to find out if he was the type to believe in luck at all) and then I said... "You're not THE Johnny Chan are you." He told me he had never heard that one before. :) I told him it was now my mission to bluff him off a hand. He did chuckle at that. However he was not laughing much when about 2h later, I raised the turn with air and he folded. I flipped it over and exclaimed "I bluffed Johnny Chan." Other people at the table chuckled but I think they were mostly pissed that I got the opportunity first. My table image was very tight so I was hoping it would allow me to exploit some big hands later. It never really did.

As the hours wore on it was about 2am and someone mentioned to me that Berry seemed to be gone. Nope, just bathroom break. Jeeze that guy is a total Machine. By 4am he was gone. I commented to the dealer that there seemed to be a back door that players could leave through without being seen. She claimed there is not but I never saw him go. Time to end my 20h session and get some sleep.

Vegas ended with some really fun times. The 2+2 party was great even though I didn't get there in time for the drinks or to pick up my lanyard. We actually played some live superturbo STT's winner takes all. First one I busted with KJs on the first hand. Second one I chopped with a nice girl who seemed totally clueless and was very appreciative not to have to play it out. I also went to dinner at table E at Jaleo which is a 20 course tasting menu. It was totally fantastic other than a little confusion at the end about the meaning of the statement "Tax and gratuity included." I thought it meant they were included. They thought it did not. Jaleo is one of the Staples of the DC area and I go all the time so it was great to do it out in Vegas since it is always a great meal.

After Vegas I was back for two days then headed to some ultra posh beach with my family. We have some friend's who's family own a beach house on a privatized island called Figure 8, near Wilmington NC. It was a beautiful beach and there were great waves during the time we were there. I have never been to a nicer beach in the US, and I have been to a bunch.

Anyways, we got back into town on Sunday night and I spent Monday/Tuesday trying to get back into the swing of things. I am a bit behind on my DTB video production but have a couple really cool topics set up once the "How well do you know your ABC SNG" series concludes this month. I plan to be a few video's ahead relatively soon as the next ones are topics that I have previously only shared with private students but are very well flushed out already.

Hope Everyone's summer is going well and that you are running well at the tables.

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Taking On Some Students

Posted by Leatherass

After giving it significant consideration for the past few months, I have decided to take on a limited number of students for private coaching. While I have immensely enjoyed some time away from poker, I realized that I do miss being involved with the game of poker in some capacity. So I have decided to dedicate 2 days a week to coaching poker.

I have also decided to drop my coaching rates to a level that is more affordable for the small and mid stakes players looking to take their game to the next level. In the past I have charged anywhere from $750-$1,000 an hour. But now that I am not playing online right now due to Black Friday, I no longer have a huge opportunity cost associated with me coaching. As a result, I will offer my coaching services at the following rates:

No Limit Holdem Cash Games Coaching Rates:

One-on-one coaching Hourly rate: $300

Group Coaching (parties of 5 or less) hourly rate: $500

Day Fee: $2,000. My day fee includes 8 hours of one-on-one poker coaching (4 hours of coaching, then a 1 hour break, followed by 4 more hours of coaching).

Packages: 1. One-on-one packages of 10 hours - $2,750
2. Group coaching packages (parties of 5 or less) of 10 hours - $4,500

Create your own coaching package: If you have any ideas on how I can assist you in a way not already mentioned, don't hesitate to write me. In the past I have given live coaching seminars, speaking engagements and even instructed folks who have purchased golf/poker packages because they were looking to get better at both golf and poker. However, please do not contact me about any revenue sharing based coaching as I will not give those types of arrangements any consideration.

My poker resume':

  • Arguably played more hands of mid to high stakes no limit holdem of anyone in the world
  • Profited over $4,000,000 in online cash games in my career which is arguably more than anyone at my stakes in online poker history
  • The highest win rate in mid to high stakes games on Poker Stars in 2007 and 2008
  • Poker Stars Team Online pro from 2010-2011
  • Among the first Supernova elites to earn that status exclusively through no limit holdem cash games (2007)
  • Author of Treat Your Poker Like A Business and Don't Listen To Phil Hellmuth
  • Produced over 100 coaching videos for various online training sites
  • Written over 50 published articles, most of which appear in Card Player magazine
  • One of the first poker professionals to be featured in Sports Illustrated magazine as part of a 6 page spread
  • Competed in and served as a color analyst for the Big Game IV and V
  • Earned over $1,000,000 in online cash games from 2009-2011
  • My story has been written about in Golf Magazine, Fairways and Greens, Golf Week,Golf World and the Portland Oregonian, as well as on ESPN,,,,,, and, among many others

What will a coaching session with me look like?:

If you are interested in just an hour or two of coaching, my main priority will be to make sure you get plenty of value out of our lesson. How I accomplish this is to spend the majority of our time together going over Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker 3 statistics in great detail. I will match your numbers with mine, and go over every important statistic line by line and give you a framework for what you need to adjust and the direction I would like to see you take your game.

If you are able to spend 10 hours or more together, then a typical 10 hour series will look something like this:

- 30 minutes reviewing your Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker 3 results.

- 1 hour watching you play at the tables where I will be spending the bulk of my time answering your questions and taking extensive notes on your play as well as the thought process I perceive that you have.

- 30 minutes to 1 hour reviewing the main things I want to work on in your game based on what I have gathered from the first 90 minutes of working together.

- 7 to 8 hours of a mixture of watching you play, reviewing hands that you have saved from sessions, using various tools to teach important concepts that I would like to see you work on, Q and A time as well as simply spending time "talking poker" in a way that is helpful to the student.

How Important is your Red Line (AKA W$w/oSD) and can you help me with it?

It is HUGE. There are an incredible number of professional poker players who struggle to win money when the pot does not go to showdown and it is probably the number one reason so many players stay at the same limit longer than they would like. For example, if you are losing $200 or $300 a day playing 1/2nl, then your success each day is entirely dependent upon how well you run when the pot does go to showdown. And not only do you become too dependent on how well you run when the pot does go to showdown, but you have to win back the $200 or $300 a day you are getting outplayed, simply to break even.

Another way to look at it is that day after day, I can mostly control how well I do without showdown. If I play 5,000 hands in a day, I can win money when I see a flop between 48 and 52% almost without exception. But what I can never control is how well I do when the pot does go to showdown. Some days I lose $15,000 and some days I win $15,000. There is a huge amount of variance associated with how well I do when the pot goes to showdown since after all, we are playing a card game. So I like to try and focus on what I can control. I can win money nearly every time in non showdown pots which then reduces the impact of how well I run with showdown. The more you play a style of poker that you can have a greater amount of control over your results day after day or week after week, the less variance you will have. And not only will you have less variance, but better results too because the plays you are using to win money in non showdown pots are profitable additions to your arsenal.

All that being said, the non showdown statistic is somewhat complex and can give you misleading results. For example, I would never recommend playing a style that won too much money in non showdown pots. Some of the biggest losers in poker history are ones who have simply tried to run people over and win every single pot. To use an extreme example, if I shoved all in preflop with my entire range, then I would crush non showdown pots, but eventually go broke. So the main objective is balance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Do you consider yourself a full ring expert as well as a 6 max expert?

Yes. I have historically had a slightly higher win rate at full ring than 6 max, but I think that is mostly due to players being generally tougher at 6 max. I consider myself adept at both.

2. My red line (the line in a Holdem Manager graph that reflects how much you win or lose w/o showdown) trends negative. Can you help me fix this?

If there is one thing that I think I can help you the most with, this might be it. I actually struggled with my own red line last year and took a 1 month break from playing poker, instead spending my time away from the tables for hundreds of hours working on a resolution to this issue. I've done extensive work and analysis on this exact situation. After I returned to poker I had a positive red line and had one of the best win rates in mid stakes games on Poker Stars until I stopped playing in mid April.

3. Will you teach me a short stack strategy?

No. I am most proficient in 100BB and deep stack (250BB+) play. I think teaching short stacking is to do my students and the game of poker a disservice.

4. Are your coaching dates flexible?

Somewhat. I would like to do the bulk of my coaching on Mondays and Tuesdays, but can be flexible from time to time if needed. Since I am expecting most of my students to reside outside of the U.S.A., it is likely much of the coaching will be done during evening or night hours (morning for me, evening/nights for the international student) since it will be 8 or more hours earlier for me. However, if the student has a strong desire to learn, I am going to be inclined to find time for that student.

5. What do you look for in a student?

I am looking for students who have a similar passion for the game of poker as myself. I think if the student has a strong desire to learn, they will get a tremendous amount of benefit from my coaching because the more passionate they are, the better and better I will coach them since passion is infectious. I have no desire to work with anyone who isn't going to take their games seriously. I have had a nearly impeccable track record of taking my students games to their desired levels and sometimes beyond. 3 of my students have gone on to make over $1,000,000 playing poker and several more have gone from micro and small stakes players to making over $100,000 a year on average.

6. I don't have very much money, so how much do you think I can benefit from one or two lessons?

It is highly probable that even one session will be +EV for you in the sense that you stand to make more money as a result of the lesson than the cost of the lesson itself. And if that is all you have in your budget, then it will likely be worthwhile. However, I am most anxious to work with people who have a decent enough bankroll that they can participate in a more long term relationship between coach and student. When I was a small stakes grinder in 2005 and 2006, I took a portion of my bankroll and used it for private coaching. I recouped my coaching expenses in short order and it made an unbelievable difference in how I approached the game of poker. Since I have been on the other side of a student/coach relationship and seen how powerful an investment in my game with a top notch professional can be, I am a huge believer in that process.

If my coaching fees are simply too much money for you to afford right now, I would highly recommend watching my training videos as well as reading my books and contacting me at a later date when you feel you are in a better position to work with me.

7. What types of payment methods do you accept?

  • Bank Of America online transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Direct Bank Transfer
  • Mailed cashier's check or money order (must be received before we begin working. I will split all mailing costs)
  • Chase Quick Pay
  • Pay Pal

8. How can I contact you about your coaching services:

The best way to reach me is via email at You can also reach me via Facebook.

9. What does "group coaching" mean?

Group coaching can be done one of two ways. The best way is for a group to come together and pool their money to make the coaching more affordable. Before our sessions, I would ask the group to get together and compile all of the things that they collectively struggle with the most. We would then go over the group's most burning questions. After an hour or two of going over the group's questions, I will then have a much better understanding of where their games are at and can put together materials that I can teach to the group that is custom fit to where their games are at. It is likely that I will be emailing the group from time to time to prepare for our next session together and be sure that I am going over the most pertinent information needed to take the group's game to the next level.

Another way to do it is to email me and let me know you are interested in group coaching. Based on your win rate and stakes you are playing, I will attempt to pair together groups of people who seem to be of similar skill sets and design a course tailored for that group specifically prior to our session. This is not as good of an option in my opinion than coming to me with your own predetermined group, but at the same time, it is significantly cheaper for the student to learn this way. Groups of 5 would bring each student's share at only $100 an hour which is 1/3 of the individual rate.

10. Can lessons be done in person?

Only in special cases. My aim is to conduct all lessons over the computer using Skype and/or If you wish to meet with me in person, you must book at least 1 full day ($2k day fee) and you will be responsible for any potential travel costs. If you live in Portland, OR area, and you want to meet face to face, you must book at least 4 hours at a time.

11. What is the main problem most players have?

The abilities of my students range greatly. I have worked with some students who are simply trying to get started in their poker careers with the goal of transitioning from their current careers into a poker career. I have worked with students who are huge winners in poker who probably play 98% as well as me and are just trying to shave some of the small leaks in their game. Most students that I work with are pros or semi pros who generally struggle with their red lines (aka W$w/oSD) and approach the game from a perspective that is a little tighter than what I would like to see. Having a poor red line is something many pros struggle with and something that I am confident we can fix in 10 hours or less in most cases.

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An Open Letter To Phil Hellmuth

Posted by Leatherass


As you know, I co wrote a book titled <a href="">Don't Listen To Phil Hellmuth.</a>  I have also written a <a href="">few articles</a> about what I would like to see change in poker to clean up our "sport."  In these articles, I did pick on you a little for some of your antics. I feel strongly that the game of poker may have the potential to some day attract major corporate sponsors, and I stated that I didn't think some of your antics (as well as those of many, many others) were doing poker any favors.

Given your recent performance, I have received numerous messages from people asking me if I feel stupid or not given the title of our most recent book. Truthfully, I don't. This is a quote of mine from a recent article I wrote about you: ...there is no question that Phil can return to the top of poker. Anyone who can have the kind of success that he has enjoyed in the past, knows what it takes to get to the top. But if Phil is going to spend his time partying with rappers and not doing the things that made him great in the first place, then he has no chance to return to the top. I think the thing that irks me the most is that Phil acts as if he can have his cake and eat it too. He wants to claim he is "the best no limit holdem player in the world BY FAR" yet isn't putting anywhere near the amount of work into his game to be there. His claim may have been true long ago, but he is nowhere near that level currently. But he has gotten to the top before and he can do it again. It certainly won't be easy for him, but if he can channel the same passion for the game that got him to the top of the poker world years ago, then there is no question he knows what it takes to get back to that point and I believe he can do it.

My understanding is that you have put some tremendous work into yourself and your poker game this year. With that, congratulations on your performance at the WSOP! While I know you would have liked to have added another bracelet (or three) to your outstanding tournament career, getting heads up in three bracelet events is a tremendous accomplishment and you deserve a lot of respect for that performance. I understand that you have put some time and energy into your game as of late and with your recent performance, I don't think anyone will doubt that you are playing some exceptional poker. As I stated previously, with hard work and determination, there is no question that you are a great player and I am happy for you that you showed the poker world that you are still among the game's elite.

What I think is so great about what you have done this year is that not only did you perform exceptionally well at this years WSOP, but you certainly seem to have done a lot of work in terms of how you conduct yourself at the tables. And that is what I think you should be most proud of. It was great to see you perform so well while showing people that you can win and lose with grace. In fact, you remind me of Bobby Jones (13 time major championship winner in golf in the 1920s) when he was a work in progress in the early 1920s.. Bobby Jones was an exceptional talent at golf, but was known more for his awful behavior on the golf course more than for his golf game. Realizing this was a problem, Bobby worked hard to act as well as he played the game, and in no time at all had completely reversed the way people thought of him. In fact, he actually went down as one of the great gentlemen of the game when it was all said and done. Bobby hung a quote in his office (which I also hang in mine since Bobby is somewhat of a hero to me) that said, "For when the one great scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game."

I hope this message makes its way to you. I really and truly want to express that I am very happy for you. I am very happy that you have turned a corner with your poker game and your behavior. I think in time, the game itself will thank you as well. Let's face it, you are a mega star in the game of poker. And in every major sport, the stars have always been rewarded for behaving in a way that ultimately makes themselves and the game look good. Sure, people can line their pockets in the short term by acting in a fashion that generates interest. But over the long haul, it is critical to both the mega star and the game they play, that they behave in a way that ultimately makes themselves and their sport look good to the general public. And when up and comers are seeing you profit off of behaving the way you do, it inspires others to do the same. Ultimately, the very game that has given you so much, suffers. While any sport can handle a few of their pros routinely acting outside of accepted norms, the very foundation of any major sport is built upon a solid group of individuals that kids can look up to and want to emulate. With that in mind, I would encourage you to keep doing what you are doing as of late. The game needs the "new" Phil Hellmuth.


Dusty Schmidt

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Testing out my poker blog

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Wierd looking interface than normal I suspect for most people but this is essentially the best blogging program anyway, WP! Thanks

I made a video!

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