Brought to you by Americas Cardroom

What An Amazing Week!

Posted by Leatherass

The past week has been like a dream. I couldn't ask for it to go any better. After the birth of my son 8 days ago, our primary hope was that our baby would be chill and our daughter would not become jealous. Our dreams were answered (so far anyway). Our baby literally NEVER cries. He just starts to fuss a little when he is hungry, but he mostly just sleeps and eats. You would hardly even know he is in the house.

Our daughter is not jealous in the least. In fact, her brother is about all she can think about. She asks for him all day long and just gives him about 5 or 10 kisses every time she walks up to him. She has been about the best big sister you can hope for, and as parents, my wife and I are getting a tremendous amount of pride and satisfaction with our family right now. It is so great to see our daughter so happy and our son not having to suffer with colic like our daughter did.

I have also gotten a little bit of an itch to play some poker lately. I have been logging a few hours here and there at the small stakes games on Black Chip poker. I haven't done any good, but that's just how poker goes sometimes. I have been playing well and I have no doubt that the time I have spent coaching has actually done wonders for my game. I have spent a lot of time fiddling with HEM and Flopzilla which is always a good thing. I have done a lot of work with those tools in the past, but often times I am spending so much time playing that I don't get to spend as much time as I would like working on my game. Now that I am doing so much coaching, I have been using HEM a lot with my students and just loving it. What an amazing tool it is, not that that is a new feeling for me.

One bummer lately is that my email address was hacked. It wasn't my primary email address, but rather the one I use for junk mail that I also recently used for prospective students to reach me at. The hacker runs bad because they sent an email to all of my contacts claiming that I was broke and in the UK needing funds sent to me so I could get home. Anyone who knows me well enough to consider sending me money would have a tough time believing that a bankroll nit like me would be broke and I most certainly would not be in the UK at the same time my child was just being born! So whatever scumbag did that (can you imagine how sad your life must be that you resort to stuff like that to make money?), they sure didn't have a whole lot of success which is good.

For anyone that wants to reach me for coaching, please don't use the email address that was hacked. And if you sent me a message on that address and I don't reply, please resend it to For more information on my coaching, you can go to this page:     <a href="">Coaching Page</a>

The coaching has been very exciting for me. I have always loved to coach, but just didn't have the time to do it for so long. So I did coaching for the masses through videos, articles and books. But now that I have some time to do some 1 on 1 coaching, it is really a special thrill for me. When students write me with their success stories, it really makes my day. I am not the type who is just doing to to make money. Granted, the money coming in is nice which is a big reason why I am doing it. But I have coached golf since I was a teenager, and poker as soon as I switched from golf to poker, so I guess you can say it is in my blood. I am not claiming I am great at it, but I do give everything I have during the sessions I have together and take genuine interest in my student's success.

Real briefly, after catching up on the Girah/DIH/Jungleman scandal, I have to say it is really sad to see so much of this stuff going on in poker. For whatever it's worth, for all of the up and comers out there, please play the game right and don't do this type of stuff. Everyone loses when this stuff goes on. And don't forget that life is long and these things don't go away when you are caught. Try googling all of those clowns right now. On the first page is a headline that basically says they are crooks. That stuff will follow them forever no matter what they try and do in their life.

Poker is probably going to be legal here in a matter of months or a few years in the United States. With that will come so many opportunities for so many great things for you if you are currently a great player or are trying to become one. Don't piss it away by trying to make a quick buck. Not only will you get caught a high percentage of the time, but even if you don't, you are heading down a path that will cost you money or your dignity (and when you get older you will realize that is more important than money) in the long run. There is no substitute for good old fashioned hard work.

Take it from someone who has a couple of kids now. Even though I would love to have some more money to be able to take even better care of them than I already do and provide greater security in the long run, most of all I want them to be able to look up to their father as someone they can respect. We are in a new age these days where you can't just do shitty things and sweep it under the rug. Stuff will follow you forever. How do you think Tiger Woods or Brett Favre are going to feel when their kids read their sexts or see picture of their penis? And how will that impact their kids?

Please everyone, think things through. And do things the right way. I know I am probably sounding like a preachy old man here, but I care about the game of poker and human being in general. I hate to see this stuff happen. And even if we are throwing out the moral argument here, it is still -EV to take risks like these folks and many folks before them have taken. Many a great player has pissed away their entire reputation over trying to win some relatively small amount of money. And think how badly that might cost them in the long run? For all we know, poker could be as huge as the NFL someday. What kind of endorsement dollars might be out there for the best players? And do you think Buick or Cadillac, Nike or Microsoft is going to take a gamble on a poker player who when you google them one of the first things you see is that they are a crook? Talk about -EV.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

Mental Game Tips for November Nine

Posted by Jared Tendler

The November Nine successfully played their way past 6854 players, and now to become champion, they need to successfully navigate the next few months. I’ve coached professional golfers to handle the intensity of the spotlight and big tournaments. In the past 4 years I’ve done the same for pro poker players and I know firsthand what the November Nine will experience. The bottom line is this: What each player does between now and the final table, plays a part in determining the eventual winner.

I watched a lot of the action from the rail over the final four days, and witnessed firsthand players crumbling under the pressure. The November Nine, however, not only played great and ran well, they’re among the strongest mentally. I didn’t observe any major mental leaks in their game. That of course, doesn’t mean they’re without weaknesses, or won’t develop any over the next few months. Every player on the planet has tactical and mental leaks, even if slight.

With over two month until they face the biggest test of their poker career and the cost of a poor decision potential a million dollars (or more), here are a few tips to help the November Nine enter the Penn & Teller Theater prepared to become champion:

Corbett Payne Schmidt

Posted by Leatherass

On Tuesday my son, Corbett Payne Schmidt, was born at 13:20. He is 8 pounds, 12, ounces and is 22 inches long. He is a pretty big boy!

My wife picked out the name Corbett, and I picked out Payne as his middle name. I picked out the name Payne after my hero growing up, Payne Stewart, who unfortunately died in a plane crash in the fall of 1999. Payne Stewart was famous for winning 3 major championships including the 1989 PGA, 1991 US Open and most memorably, the 1999 US Open after drilling a 15 foot putt to beat Phil Mickelson by 1 stroke. To go to show what a class act Payne Stewart was, after making the putt which caused him to leap in the air and hug his caddy, he immediately went over to Phil and grabbed his face and said, "You're going to be a father! There is no better feeling than that!" Phil's child was due the following day. Payne did this because he knew Phil was trying to win his first major and he surely had to be incredibly disappointed. But after Payne did that for him, he felt a lot better immediately.

Phil later said Payne was right, there was no better feeling than becoming a father. While I certainly can't claim to know what it would be like to win the US Open, I can say that after twice knowing the feeling of what it is like to become a father, I can't imagine Payne Stewart being wrong about that one. It would be hard to feel better than the feeling of seeing your child's face for the first time and holding him in your arms.

Everything has gone perfectly. My wife is doing great and most memorably, my almost 2 year old daughter has been on cloud 9 since having a brother. We were worried about how she might react since like any 2 year old, she loves all the attention. We weren't sure how she would feel about having to share, but it is almost like she grew up overnight. She seems to sense that she is part of a unit that is greater than just herself, and has been as loving towards her brother as a human being could possibly be. She makes her excited face every time she walks in the room to see him and has probably leaned in to kiss him at least 500 times. Of all the great things I can take away from this experience, that is possibly the best part. I definitely now have a feeling like my family is complete, and now it is just all about enjoying the ride.

The most thought provoking thing about my life so far is that I feel that ever since I was a just 6 or 7 years old, I have always been very forward looking. I didn't much enjoy the concept of being a kid because I was always working towards accomplishing something that I could only achieve as an adult. For example, as a kid, I simply hated the fact that I wasn't strong enough to play the PGA Tour regardless of whether I attained the skills necessary to do so. I just wanted to grow up so badly and not have any obstacles to success. Don't ask me why I was thinking about these things when most kids were probably not even giving that type of thing much, if any thought at all. But that is just the way I have always thought, for better or worse. But now that I have two kids of my own and have accomplished a few things as an adult along the way, one of the most difficult things for me has simply been enjoying the present time. For some reason I do feel like that is something I might be able to do at this point, at least decently anyway, since the birth of Corbett. I feel like I have a better sense that NOW is the time I have been waiting for. Our family is complete, and thanks to a lot of my hard work along with a few good breaks, I am in a pretty good position to really enjoy it.

We should be able to go home from the hospital in a couple of days. We definitely have our work cut out for us right now. Having two kids won't be easy, especially when one is a newborn. But I think it is going to be memorable and that is really what it is all about for me. I LOATHE doing things that aren't memorable. I like to do things that are hard to forget, as often as possible. For example, if I were to play poker day after day for a month, I could never tell you 5 years later how any one of those particular days went at the tables. But if I were to travel somewhere and see new places, or play a golf tournament somewhere, I might just remember every place I saw or every shot I hit 5 years later. So I love doing memorable things for those reasons. So no matter how hard it might be the next few weeks, or probably months, I definitely look forward to an experience I will never forget. And the feeling of watching my daughter play with Corbett and the time I will spend holding him in my arms as he is struggling to go to sleep or eat, is sure to be unforgettable.

Filed under: Uncategorized 5 Comments

Poker Coaching/Club Championship

Posted by Leatherass

The past week or two have been pretty interesting to say the least. My wife is now just days away from having our son. She is due August 23rd, but senses he may be coming early. She is often correct when she has feeling about things so I am definitely preparing myself for that possibility. To say I am excited would be quite an understatement.

The other thing I am really excited about is how well poker coaching is going. My goal for poker coaching was to eventually build up to two full days (Mondays and Tuesdays) a week of coaching. I like coaching and always have. I have made instructional videos, articles and written two books, but have generally only taken on one or two students a year simply because anything more than that would have prevented me from playing poker myself. But now that playing poker isn't a great option for me as an American, I have plenty of time to coach students. In my last post, I mentioned that I thought some of the small to mid stakes Poker Stars regulars should really consider hiring me as a coach. I think I can be of great help with Poker Stars regulars specifically because I can give away all of my reads without any worry that I will face those opponents again anytime soon, and have a good feel for how to handle those games specifically. Many of the Poker Stars regulars have in fact reached out to me and I am really enjoying working with them as well as everyone else I am working with of course.

In less than one month of offering coaching, I am already completely booked on Mondays and Tuesdays for several months now and since I am greatly enjoying working with my clients, I have decided to add an extra day of coaching each week to accommodate the demand. So for anyone still interested, please contact me at If a 3rd day a week proves to not be enough time to meet the demand, I will consider a fourth day, but probably not until the weather starts to turn dramatically south here in Oregon which is usually the first week of November. I am enjoying playing golf far too much to want to give up more than 3 days a week away from golf at this point in the season.

Speaking of golf, I am proud to report that I was able to win the Pumpkin Ridge Club Championship this past weekend. It was a pretty thrilling victory for someone who has been away from competitive golf for so long. It is my first multi day tournament in 2 years and it's been 7 full years since I have played the game with any consistency. It is my first win since my heart attack in 2004, and carries special meaning because I was able to win on a golf course with a lot of good players and at the same site as Tiger Woods won his 3rd US Amateur in 1996. In fact, they used many of the same crazy pins as they did for that historic final round when Tiger beat Steve Scott in extra holes.

I was also proud of the victory because after swinging the golf club pretty well all summer, I just didn't have anywhere near my best stuff tee to green in the club championship. I was battling my swing pretty hard, but was happy with how I was able to manage my game. On the 2nd hole of my first round, I hit an 8 iron to the par 3 and came out of my shot a little bit and it landed on the right fringe 30 feet from the hole. Unfortunately it landed on a sprinkler head and kicked into a hazard 20 yards over the green that is normally out of play and made a triple. Nice start!

I shot 41 on the front on day 1 and fought back with a 33 on the back to salvage a 74. On day 2 I hit the ball just awful. I was somehow 2 under after 8 during that round, but it was all smoke in mirrors. I wound up with a hard fought 72.

Going into the last day, I knew I needed a good round to win, but got off to a horrible start and was 3 over after 4 holes heading into the most difficult stretch of golf on the course. Hole #5 is one of the hardest par 3s you can play with a 3.4 stroke average in the US Amateur. Hole #6 is 460 yards with water and trees everywhere and hole #7 is 630 yards with one of the hardest tee shots to hit the fairway on you can ever play. So I was worried with the way I was hitting the ball that the whole tournament could end for me with a few more bad swings. But I hit a 4 iron on #5 to 10 feet and made par, birdied #6 with two good shots and canned a 20 footer for birdie and then made a scrappy par on #7.

I went to the back nine tied for the lead and decided that I just needed to dig deep and play the golf I know I am capable of. I hit a 5 iron to 10 feet and parred #10. Hooked my tee shot into the bunker on #11, but after a nice recovery from under the lip, hit a sand wedge from 117 yards to a foot and birdied #11 which was when many players from the club came out to watch us all dual it out. Maybe I got inspired, who knows.

I hit a poor wedge to the par 3 #12 which had a very scary pin and didn't get up and down and made 4 on #12. But then on #13 I stuffed another wedge to 3 feet after a big drive and made birdie. On the par 5 #14 I blocked a tee shot, but hit a nice recovery down the fairway and clipped a lob wedge to a nasty pin to a hard green over water to 4 feet for another birdie. On #15 I hit a 7 iron as pure as I could and the ball landed 2 inches from the cup before settling 7 feet away. I hit a good putt but misread it to make a par. On #16 I hit my 2nd shot to 30 feet down a ridge which was a tough 2 putt. I hit a great putt and buried it for another birdie. Knowing I had the lead at this point and also knowing that I still wasn't swinging it well, I played it safe with a 3 iron off the 17th tee. I then hit my 2ns shot 40 feet past the cup because the pin was in an impossible spot to get it up and down from and 2 putted for par.

#18 is one of the hardest driving holes on the course. The hole is a par 5 with a ditch all along the left side that cuts across the fairway short of the green. This is the hole Annika Sorenstam lost the US Open years ago. It is one of the most feared par 5s you can play so given I had a lead, hit 3 wood off the tee to be safe. It must have been the adrenaline, I am not sure, but I hit a 3 wood 295 yards down the middle and then another 3 wood from 260 uphill to the green 20 feet from the cup. I 2 putted from there for a closing birdie and the Club Championship was mine with a nice 32 on the back nine to close it out!

Filed under: Uncategorized 2 Comments

Starting over again

Posted by bhawks19

Well after getting my main event ticket and modest bank roll tied up on tilt, I have been bouncing around post black friday.  As some of you know I lost my job as a loan officer about a year and a half ago and without having my degree it has been pretty tough sledding in the financial industry.  I have kind of landed on my feet again but have taken a major pay cut.  Working only 30 hours a week managing a panera bread, it has been tough to restart a roll.  That all changed with DTB offering a free 50 bucks on certain sites.

I write this blog with the intention of chronicling my progress through the stakes as I rebuild my roll.  I want to go back to school and finish my degree.  As we speak I have gone from 50 bucks to a little over 1110 in 2 weeks thanks in large part to a tournament win and one hell of a heater in a cash game I was playing a few nights ago.  I am hoping to get to a point where I am sustaining myself with poker and am working just to pay for school.  That is all months away but I hope to have enough updates for everyone to follow my progress.



Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments

Paying Attention to Detail

Posted by BlackRain79

In the increasingly competitive online poker environment of 2011 it is more important than ever to pay attention to the little things. In fact these small edges can add up in a very big way over time.

Here are two example hands which illustrate this:

Poker Stars, $0.01/$0.02 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 7 Players

SB: $2.32
Hero (BB): $5.29
UTG: $1.30
UTG+1: $2.19
MP: $0.96
CO: $0.76
BTN: $0.84

Pre-Flop: Q Q dealt to Hero (BB)

UTG calls $0.02, 3 folds, BTN raises to $0.08, SB folds, Hero raises to $0.32, UTG folds, BTN calls $0.24

Flop: ($0.67) 6 4 3 (2 Players)

Hero checks, BTN bets $0.52 and is All-In, Hero calls $0.52

Turn: ($1.71) 4 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($1.71) 4 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $1.71 Pot ($0.08 Rake)

Hero showed Q Q and WON $1.63 (+$0.81 NET)

BTN showed 9 T and LOST (-$0.84 NET)

Poker Stars, $0.01/$0.02 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 7 Players

SB: $2.60
Hero (BB): $5
UTG: $1.52
UTG+1: $0.91
MP: $1
CO: $1.52
BTN: $0.76

Pre-Flop: A A dealt to Hero (BB)

UTG calls $0.02, UTG+1 raises to $0.10, 4 folds, Hero raises to $0.30, UTG folds, UTG+1 calls $0.20

Flop: ($0.63) 7 9 T (2 Players)

Hero checks, UTG+1 bets $0.26, Hero raises to $4.70 and is All-In, UTG+1 calls $0.35 and is All-In

Turn: ($1.85) 6 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($1.85) Q (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

$1.85 Pot ($0.09 Rake)

Hero showed A A and WON $1.76 (+$0.87 NET)

UTG+1 showed Q A and LOST (-$0.91 NET)

My Thoughts

The villains in both of the above hands were extremely aggressive. Even though I didn't have a huge sample on either of them (around 100 hands) they both had an aggression factor of 5 or more. It is important to sometimes have a look at a stat like this before you make an obvious cbet. Because with players like this, we can pretty much depend on a bet from them if we check.

If we cbet, they will obviously always call with their paired and drawing hands in a spot like this. But there is also a no pair, no draw part of their range that will fold if we make a cbet. By checking we give them the opportunity to stick in the rest of their money with those hands as well. A small detail, but one worth considering, since it amounts to a 20bb loss if you auto cbet and make them fold their air.

I just want to be clear that these are rare spots, especially at the micros. Most players are passive and you should just make a standard cbet here. But it is still a good idea to have a look at your opponents tendencies before you act. Because making sure that you pick up that dead money is one small way to boost your winrate in a big way over the long haul.

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.

Filed under: Uncategorized 3 Comments