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Now what?

Posted by Stosh McConnell

Hey guys, I hope everyone is doing well. Obviously "Black Friday" has screwed people in our little poker community pretty bad. I'm sure some of you are in a really bad spot financially, especially short term. That really sucks. I hope you don't give up on your poker dreams.

If you were smart/lucky enough to have all, or most, of your roll on PokerStars, congratulations. The vast majority of mine is on Full Tilt. Fortunately, I did have enough of PokerStars to get me by for a while. Once I get my FTP money, life should return to some assemblance of normalcy. I will be able to start grinding again, most likely at live casinos. I'm positive that I could find a short term backer until the FTP money appears, but have decided to just chill in the meantime. I've never had a backer. Actually, the whole concept feels weird and uncomfortable to me.

I'm not at all worried about getting stiffed by FTP at this point. It seems like some people are panicking. After reading tons of stuff on the subject, I'm confident we'll all see are money in a reasonable amount of time. Certainly, I don't have any insider knowledge and I could very well be incorrect, but that's my opinion. In fact, I've had several offers from prominent people in the poker community to buy the rights to my FTP money for a discount. Hopefully, it doesn't come to that and I can continue to live off the PokerStars money for the time being.

Recently information has come out about AP/UB being bankrupt. Thankfully, I had the foresight to abandon those sinking ships long ago. I still have a very nominal sum in AP, but nothing I'll be upset about losing. I feel terrible for anyone who had a significant amount of money stashed there. If that happened to me, I'd be totally crushed, and most likely quit poker forever. I read on Two Plus Two  that some player accounts were being offered for around twenty cents on the dollar. One high profile player put his account for sale that had $300k in it. Uggh, that is so sick. The whole AP/UB ownership and management are obviously massive thieves (not exactly breaking news). I know some players were probably duped by the hiring of Joe Sebok in a management role. He promised to be a players voice on the inside. What a joke this guy is. In the end, he did nothing but collect a paycheck for being  a public puppet and shill for a fraudulent company. The whole Cereus network looks like it was a big ponzi scheme.

As for my personal life, I honestly am feeling pretty good at the moment. It feels like I'm on vacation. I'm not sure exactly what I should be doing with myself until the FTP money appears. More or less, I've just been relaxing. Some people might misconstrue this as laziness. In my opinion it's just being smart and knowing myself. I could take the somewhat limited cash I have on hand and try to grind. Honestly, I don't think I would operate very well on a short bankroll. The pressure of being in a "must win" situation just doesn't lend itself to playing good poker. You just can't make optimal decisions, and your mind will be clouded with extra pressure. I don't need that, my sanity doesn't either.

If/when FTP comes through with the money, I plan on hitting the new casinos in Pennsylvania. We'll see how that go's. It seems like 5/10 NL runs daily. 10/25 NL runs sometimes as well. I'll definitely be in those games. I really have no idea how much money I can make in those games, but I assume it's a decent amount. If I'm wrong, then I have no idea what I'll do. Relocating is very possible. It's a time of much uncertainty for me.

If the local games don't tickle my fancy, I might head out to the WSOP. I really don't enjoy tournament poker, so I would probably just play the side games. Again, we'll see. Who knows where my life is heading right now. I'm just going to live in the spur of the moment it seems.

In other news, last week I recorded a replayer video with Hunter Bick. We discussed some high stakes 6-max hands that I played  in the last month or two. After recording it,we felt like it came out really, really well. I don't want to oversell it, but I honestly feel like it will be one of the best, and most advanced, NL videos released on any training site in some time. Yup. Seriously.

So... yeah... I guess that's about it for right now. Good luck in your future poker endeavors. Later guys.

Stosh McConnell

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It’s been awhile

Posted by Stosh McConnell

Hello boys and girls of the Drag The Bar world,

It's been awhile. So, I figure a life/poker update was in order. March started out with a nice heater for me. That was proceeded by a strong finish to February. Mid-March, my roommates and I decided to take a weeks vacation to Puerto Rico. We stayed in a small hotel on Isla Verde. The beach was a whole 20 steps from our hotel door. The weather was perfect. We pretty much just chilled on the beach the entire vacation. It was super relaxing. We set aside one day for a little trip into Old San Juan. That was cool. I picked a some 1970's football helmet at a vintage store. I have no idea what team it's from, but it will look cool on the wall of our man-cave basement area.

Since returning, I've had a tough time finding a groove, poker-wise. It's just been up and down. Unfortunately a little more down than up. I've definitely run bad, but other life distractions, out of my control, haven't helped my concentration on poker either. I'm writing this blog hoping it will help get me more focused somehow. I'm telling myself that starting tomorrow, I'm hunkering down and playing focused, energetic, and consistent poker the rest of the month. I usually don't like setting goals relating to poker. I find that a goal like playing x number of hands or hours is not my style. I just want to push myself, and see what happens.

For a little while before the Puerto Rico vacation, I was playing only 5/10NL and above (up to 40/80). I plan on relaxing that stance a bit and playing 2/4 and 3/6, along with 5/10+, until I feel like I'm back in the groove. We'll see what happens. It all depends on how I'm feeling in the moment.

Drag The Bar put out my NL25 6-max video yesterday. I hope the NL25 crowd, who requested it, found it helpful. A friend of mine has started watching Drag The Bar videos. He doesn't know much about poker, but is trying to learn. I may do a series trying to coach him. We shall see if I deem him worthy (jk Eric).

Oh... I almost forgot. Saturday my dad and I caught Cliff Lee return to the mound in Philly for the first time. That was awesome. Philadelphia sports fans are the best. Yes, seriously. The ballpark was super jacked up for everything he did. The ovation Cliff got walking in from the bullpen before the game was amazing. We sat behind home plate in the 19th row. Ruben Amaro Sr sat right next to us. For those that don't know, his son is the Phillies GM. Of course, I could have been a smart ass and told him about all the stupid things he's done, but I kept my mouth shut and just enjoyed the game. And yes, I know he's done some great things, but he's made more terrible moves than most people realize. Ha, I could rant about Philly sports all day.

Anyway, I hope you guys are doing well at the tables. Good luck.


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It’s Poker Season!

Posted by Stosh McConnell

So, I've always had some weird theories about poker. One of which, I'll share today. The first part of my theory is that casual players (fish) have little interest in playing internet poker during the summer months. They'd much rather be outside doing whatever. This is completely understandable, most of the time, so would I.

For this reason, I spent much more time than usual away from the virtual felt this summer. Last year, it felt like I was banging my head up against the proverbial wall during the summer months. Games were infested with good regulars, and it didn't seem worth my time. So far, I'm glad I made that decision. I feel fresh, and ready to take on the 2/4 through 10/20 NL games like usual. Poker-wise, not all was lost this summer. I made myself much more competent at PLO 6-max. It's not a big enough sample to definitely know I can beat the game, but I feel fairly confident sitting in the 1/2 PLO 6-max games now... baby steps my friends, baby steps.

Now it's mid-August. First of all, the NFL is back (American football for all you Europeans). When the NFL season kicks off, it also signals the start of another season, internet poker season. In my opinion, a direct correlation exists. Some of my best monetary days have come during NFL Sundays.

I always imagine the "Average Joe" sitting on his couch watching the NFL and playing internet poker. He's got one eye on the TV, and one eye on his fantasy football team. Unfortunately for him, that leaves little room for concentration on the poker game, in which, I'm robbing him blind. Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of scoreboard watching on, etc. So, I'm not perfect in that regard. In my honest opinion, I rarely let it affect my poker game.

In all, I'm just happy the journey of the "poker season" is starting again. I hope to keep climbing the poker ladder, little-by-little. I'm pretty optimistic about poker, and life in general right now. A summer spent with little stress, and much leisure time will do that. Hopefully I can keep the same outlook when the coolers and doomswitches inevitably are thrust upon me.

By Stosh McConnell

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Summer Living

Posted by Stosh McConnell

Hey Drag The Bar,

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer. The last couple weeks for me have been poker-less. All winter and spring long I planned on taking a small break from poker. It's been a solid five years (or more) of non-stop pokering for me. So, hopefully this will have me coming back refreshed and ready.

When most people take a break from poker, it's usually because of a losing or breakeven stretch. That's not the case with me at all. The virtual NL felt has been treating me damn well. 5/10 and 10/20 NL 6-max have been the bulk of my profit lately. My game and confidence is at an all-time high. This is just a short, well deserved (imo), vacation.

A few months ago Hunter approached the DTB coaches asking if anyone would want to write some articles for Bluff or WPT Magazine. That sounded pretty awesome to me. So, I sent in two articles that should be showing up sometime soon. I caught the most recent WPT magazine. It had a lot of DTB content. David Rowan, MTT coach for Drag The Bar, had a real nice article. Also present was a sweet section on Hunter Bick offering Isildur1 a coaching deal. Well done, DTB.

I caught Dusty's (Leatherass) appearance on the Party Poker TV cash game. In my opinion he did quite well. He threw in a cold 4-bet bluff that was well-timed, but was unfortunately picked off. He also had a 4-bet bluff over Viffer's 3-bet at a good spot. Too bad for him though, because Robert Williamson was trapping with AA in between. The hand against Neil Channing was well played also. If he hadn't been "evicted", I'm sure Dusty would have gone on to do quite excellent. Oh well, in upcoming episodes he will be doing commentary. That should be really cool.

Many of the DTB crew will be getting together in Vegas shortly. I'd love to partake, but I'm leaving for a vacation in an hour to Outer Banks, NC with 15 friends. It sucks, but I'll be missing mbolt1 being a drunk degenerate. Hopefully Dusty or Hunter can take text me some pics. Oh, and to any of the DTB guys I don't know that will be at the Vegas get-together... mbolt1 is a huge prop bet fish when drinking. Please win all his money.

When I get back from vacation, I'll certainly be continuing my "From Micro to Medium Stakes" series of videos. If you haven't already, check out the initial parts at NL25.

Thanks for reading. Happy pokering.

Stosh McConnell

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This and That

Posted by Stosh McConnell

Hey everyone,

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

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

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

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

See you all in the DTB forums.


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Random Poker Stuff

Posted by Stosh McConnell

OK, folks. Here's some random poker stuff for today...

Since joining Drag The Bar, I've been playing quite well on the balance. I'm pretty enthused about poker lately. I have a major spring in my step. Motivation for poker comes and goes. Sometimes it can feel like a chore. Lately this hasn't been the case. With the occasional hiccup, I'm playing some damn nice poker, and enjoying the ride in the process.

Last week I started a small experiment. I decided not to look at my results or the cashier for a few days. Sometimes the daily ups and downs of poker can get me too down or too high. I was hoping this would keep me on more of an even keel. After three days of playing I wanted to make a withdrawal. Naturally, I had to look at the cashier for that. But I haven't looked since, and don't plan to for the rest of the week. This has definitely been good for my psyche. Hopefully I have the discipline to keep this going.

I'm a little concerned about the current state of the mid/high-stakes NL 6-max games. They are just mediocre (at best) right now. I suspect the global economy, as well as Americans' lack of easy deposit options, have something to do with this. Traditionally when the summer months begin, the games dry up considerably. Then in fall, they will come to life again.

I've toyed with the idea of playing some live poker this summer. The problem is, I generally hate live poker. It seems so boring. Online poker is fast and stimulates the brain. Live poker is a drag, in my experience anyway. I hate listening to all the morons chit-chat about poker at the tables. Most people I've come across in these casino games are clearly terrible at NL poker. I'd have to do my best to keep my mouth shut, bite my lip, and just ignore them.

Well, that was some nice ranting; enough about that. Maybe I'll just take a vacation instead.

Lastly, I wanted to point out a damn cool post by Dog Is Head in the HSNL forum on 2+2. He is much more articulate than I, but his feelings sum up nicely how us pros should think about poker. Poker is awesome.

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Quitting can be the most +ev play.

Posted by Stosh McConnell


I'm typing this late Saturday night (early Sunday actually). I was invited down to the city for the night by friends, but decided I would be a good grinder and play some poker instead. Ok, fine. After going through my pre-poker rituals, I sat down at my computer at about 6pm. I wasn't really liking many of the mid/high stakes games, but got did find a few decent tables to get on the waiting list. Meanwhile, I decided to screw around at some microstakes Rush PLO. After awhile it became apparent that good NL games were slim. I have found Saturday nights to be slow, so this wasn't a shock. After playing for a while, I decided to order the UFC PPV and watch that instead of playing. I told myself that afterwards, I'd sit down and put some hands in. Fair enough.

Once the UFC PPV was over it was time to hit the tables. I sat down and quickly found a seat at 6-7 good NL tables. Something felt off. Since I watched all those fights I was a little jazzed. I began bluffing and throwing chips around without thought. My thought process was non-existant. I tried to settle myself by listening to some calm meditation music. That didn't work. Crap.

It was time to call it a night. I wasn't playing my A-game. I'm a tad irritated that I missed a night out in Philadelphia with my friends and didn't even play much poker. Oh well, on the other hand, I'm proud of myself for being that in tune with my body. I quickly realized my head was in the wrong place, tried to work through it, failed, and did the next best thing. The next best thing was to quit for the night.

I don't think most poker players have that sort of self-discipline. You really need to look down deep and ask yourself these sorts of questions all the time if you wish to succeed in poker. Be aware of your mental state at all times. So after telling myself that I'd play all night, my total is 381 hands, for +$230.45. Not exactly the large volume I had hoped for. Oh well. Even though I set a goal for the night and didn't even approach playing a full days worth of hands, I'm still proud of myself for knowing it just wasn't best for me to play.

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My 1st Blog

Posted by Stosh McConnell

Hey everyone!

Thanks for having me as the newest instructor at Drag The Bar. It's a real honor to be joining this staff of coaches. From the looks of it, this is just the beginning. DTB is growing at an incredible pace. I'm really motivated to be here and help you guys move up the poker ladder.

It was only a few years ago that I was a microstakes grinder. Now, with hard work and perseverance, I am beating the online mid/high stakes NL cash games. Hopefully I can help others do the same. I'm confident that DTB can give aspiring players the extra push necessary to succeed in online poker.

Knowing many of the DTB coaches personally, I can attest to what great winrates they have sustained over several years time, and continue to do so today. It is really remarkable. That is why I chose to be here over some other poker training sites. I am proud to be associated with such great players, and teachers, of poker. The future is bright.

-Stosh McConnell

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