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Crushing Online SNG’s Teams Up with SNG Wizard

Posted by zerosum79

The last few months since completing Crushing Online SNG's have been hectic to say the least. However one fantastic new development is that Dennis, the creator of SNG Wizard caught wind of my book and upon reviewing it contacted me about a partnership.

I have been a big fan of SNG Wizard for years and the Pivot Point strategy developed for Crushing Online SNG's was created completely with SNG Wizard. It is the premier program for SNG players to study ICM and review their play.

So now, we are announcing special pricing on a Deluxe COS/SNG Wizard bundle. For a limited time you can purchase both SNG Wizard and Crushing Online SNG's for the reduced price of only $149. That is over a $50 savings!

Also for those of you who have already purchased SNG Wizard, just as a thank you, we are offering a special reduced price on Crushing Online SNG's of just $59.00. That is an amazing $40 off of the cover price and an extra $10 off of the already discounted initial publishing sale price.

If you have been looking for a time to buy Crushing Online SNG's, SNG Wizard, or both, now is the time! To find more details you can read about the book and packages at

Good Luck at the Tables!

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Crushing Online SNG’s – Finally Done!

Posted by zerosum79

After almost 2 years worth of work, I have finally been able to complete my new Ebook and Training Tool - "Crushing Online Sit and Go's."  First I would like to apologize to fellow DTB coach BlackRain for the similarities in title. I cringed when I saw the announcement for Crushing the Microstakes, but it was too late since I had already paid for my cover design :) .

What is Crushing Online SNGs?

Crushing Online SNG's is a first-of-its-kind training tool designed to simulate the one-on-one coaching experience at a fraction of the cost of private lessons. I first conceived of this project because I was having to turn away a lot of eager students who simply did not have the money for private lessons. A lot of people have trouble learning poker strategy from a book. That's why great sites like Drag the Bar exist.

So what I wanted to do was create an ebook that really flushed out the complete strategy for how a novice SNG player would go about learning SNG's from scratch.  Then I wanted to follow that up with videos that directly reinforce the concepts of the book by giving immediate feedback on mistakes that still existed in their playing strategy, since that is what a coach would do.

So here is a more detailed description of the course:

In Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's, Greg "zerosum79" Jones reveals his comprehensive method for teaching winning strategy at a fraction of the cost of private lessons. Based on his proprietary Pivot Points concept, this system mirrors his private coaching lessons that have turned complete beginners into winning poker players in as little as five weeks.

Contained within this course is an in-depth framework for identifying and executing, in real time, the most important profitable sit-and-go plays, including:

  • Fundamentals of how to play low-, mid-, and high-blind levels.
  • A simple, yet powerful, system for low-blind pre-flop and post-flop play.
  • Simulations for building a profitable Pivot Point strategy to crush mid- and high-blind levels
  • Strategies for making crucial Pivot Point adjustments that will maximize your results and get you thinking like a true expert.

Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's also comes with plenty of tools to help you accelerate your learning and start implementing the strategy contained in the e-book immediately, including:

  • Three interactive sit-and-go walk-through videos, putting you in control of the action and providing in-depth analysis of your decisions for direct real-time feedback. Videos take place at the low ($6.50), low/mid ($24), and mid-stakes ($55) teaching you how to adjust the Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's material as the stakes get higher.
  • Printable Strategy sheets for use while playing.
  • Excel spreadsheets to create your own customized pivot point strategy.

Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's is different from any other book on the market, directly simulating the one-on-one coaching experience necessary to make fast improvements in your game. Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced low-stakes grinder, this book is guaranteed to take your game to a whole new level.

For a look at the table of contents, click here or for more information visit my website: and click on the Crushing Online SNG's tab. Crushing online Sit and Go's is normally priced at $99.99 (The cost of a single private lesson with Greg "zerosum79") but for a limited time (Until April 1) Crushing Online Sit and Go's is on sale for a promotional price of $69.99.

The book, videos, and strategy tools are available for immediate download upon payment and payments are now being processed by PayPal.  There is a two week money back guarantee and I will be starting a thread in the SNG forum to contain strategy questions raised by the book.  It is my hope that with this book, you will gain a deeper insight into some of the videos that have been most popular on the forums like the ABC SNG series.



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Zerosum79 breaks nonpoker related world record?

Posted by zerosum79

Well, I have been pretty silent lately. There have been a lot of things in my personal life which caused a prolonged shift from poker to taking care of my business on other fronts. Its probably still not ok to discuss the details but I am finally getting back to some semblance of order in my life.

One of the things that people probably don't know about me is that I am a Starbucks Fanatic. I worked there for close to 3 years in my teens, and still love almost everything about the company and product. I am guessing I have spent more there than I ever made from my time working at Starbucks. However, the gold card loyalty program is something that is a nice perk of spending a lot on coffee there. Every 15 coffee's I buy (tall bold please, no room for cream) earns me a free drink coupon where I can purchase an exciting concoction of unhealthy caffeine, sugar, and milk. After reading a blog post about someone who spent about $14 on a drink I saw my play. There is a new 31oz cup at Starbucks. Since the upper limit on price is really an upper limit on volume, I realized I had a chance at something great. A world record for the most expensive coffee drink ever produced by starbucks...

My friend Arbi is a great blogger and can tell the story much better than I can so go visit this site for some fun pictures and an accounting of how I now hold the world record for purchasing the most expensive Starbucks drink ever. $26.80??? Anyone know how to contact the Guinness world record people?!/2011/12/citizen-spotlight-most-expensive.html

The link is safe, I promise!


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Announcing “Crushing Online Sit and Go’s” By Zerosum79

Posted by zerosum79

I am proud to announce that after over a year of development, I have finally put the finishing touches on my poker training course "Crushing Online Sit and Go's!"

Crushing online sit and go's is more than just an ebook, it's a comprehensive training course geared toward teaching exactly how to implement correct sit and go strategy. When I set out to develop this course, it was my intention to create something that had never been attempted before in poker literature. Rather than rehash the same sit-and-go information that has already been covered in books, I wanted to create a course that simulated the learning environment that takes place in one-on-one coaching at a price that was much more reasonable for a player of limited means. Not only does this book provide all of the strategy necessary to make correct decisions while playing in a sit-and-go, it also utilizes interactive videos to help demonstrate and reinforce the information contained in the book.

The primary concept my strategy relies on is a revolutionary new method for thinking about common sit-and-go situations. This method, which I call “Pivot Points,” will simplify most of the difficult decisions you will face as you play sit-and-go's. Pivot points will help you to develop a concrete strategy for crushing the online games, and will eliminate your doubts that you are playing proper sit-and-go strategy.

Contained in this course is everything that a beginning player needs to learn to make correct decisions in low- and mid-stakes sit-and-go's. Properly implementing this strategy will allow you to rapidly transform into a winning player. The material in this course has been distilled to key concepts that are easy to understand and also easy to apply over a broad range of situations, leaving very few gray areas to explore. Furthermore, the strategy contained in this course is fundamental and will provide the proper foundation for thinking about sit-and-go's as you are ready to move up in stakes.

The strength of this strategy is that it will grow with you as you gain expertise. Only minor adjustments will be necessary to beat higher stakes games. Regardless of your current level of expertise, this course will offer new insights into how to better solve sit-and-go problems, because it will teach how to use the tools necessary to analyze your own play. The ability to think objectively and solve difficult poker problems without the assistance of a coach is the most important step on the journey to mastering sit-and-go’s.

The book and videos are complete and will be offered initially as an ebook. The initial cover price will be $99.99 but I will soon be announcing a presale where you can purchase an advance copy for $69.99 (this has been updated since the initial post). I think that this represents a huge bargain since the information covered is comparable to my beginner and intermediate coaching packages which combined would cost $1000 for 10 hours of coaching. In the next few weeks I'll be releasing further information and launching the presale site so stay tuned!


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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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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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Merge Network HU Superturbo SNG’s – Insanely Great Customer Service

Posted by zerosum79

I just want to write a blog to commend Merge network on listening to the feedback from their players on the newly released HU SNG formats that they have added in recent days.

Merge recently added HU Hyperturbo SNG's. In and of itself this would be commendable as they listened to what their customers wanted and moved quickly. However, the more relevant and inspiring detail is that after introducing a game that was very close to unbeatable (15BB starting stacks and 5% Rake) they realized through player response that they had erred in the structure and have quickly moved to make the games 30BB and slashing the rake in half. This will make the games much healthier in the long run and is very smart from a business standpoint. Obviously Merge is making a lot of good moves right now and I highly recommend that if you are in the US and looking for a good site to play to check them out.

More on the story in this link


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Moving to Black Chip

Posted by zerosum79

With the recent events of last week obviously a lot of US players are looking for new homes. The threads online at 2+2 are abuzz with players considering moving to merge network. I did my research and the rakeback offer from Drag the Bar at Black Chip poker is unbeatable so I am making Black Chip my new home.

Since my account was only funded this morning I spent last night looking at some of the SNG games available there and the volume on Merge is low. However the influx of new US players should quickly remedy that situation. One intriguing game that I saw was the 18 player SNG's that start 6 handed on 3 tables and payout the top three positions. For a skilled player these games look like they could be juicy because they are top heavy in the payouts. However, they will likely create higher variance since they pay out one less player than the standard 18 man structure I have discussed in videos on FTP and PS. I love the idea of short handed 18 mans though because I can take advantage of some of the short handed NL Cash game skills I have been working on. I suspect that a player with good understanding of the blind battle dynamics and stealing will have a field day with these games. Look for a video on this topic in the coming month.

Anyways, you know you can't go wrong when DTB's own Owen Gaines is one of their online pros and they are partnered with a great site like DTB. I highly recommend checking out Black Chip!


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Legal Online Poker… ONE TIME!

Posted by zerosum79

It’s hard not to get excited when within just a few days not only is Steve Wynn getting behind federally regulated online gambling but then the CEO from Caesars Entertainment piles on as well…

Legal On-Line Poker Would Boost Liquidity: Caesars CEO

In this article the CEO of Caesars mentions that they are working with Nevada state legislators to draft legislation for online state regulated gambling. Obviously intrastate (within one state only) gambling is not really the panacea that most online players are looking for because the player pool will be small for any given state. DC also recently announced that it can start online gambling and these two intrastate measures are really a great start, especially if they can start bundling player pools similar to how PowerBall or MegaMillions does with the lottery.

However, the really great news from this article comes from the CEO’s (Loveman’s) statement that… "We're advocates of this being legalized on a federal level because the state by state process is quite a cumbersome one ... in poker you need liquidity," Loveman explained. "You need a lot of players who want to play a game at a certain level, at a certain time and the best way to do that is to have a federal mandate."

This is huge! Not only is B&M getting on board they are getting on board the right way, after years of blocking our right to play poker online, we are getting a complete 180 degree turnaround.

I am so excited about this turn of events. The PPA narrowly missed getting legislation introduced last year to legalize online poker at the federal level. Getting the B&M folks backing us could easily swing this thing into reality and soon, with much less restrictive measures in place. The one downside to all this is that I would speculate that the poker sites that we play at are likely to have a much harder time getting their foot in the door if the B&M folks want to crowd them out of the market. But it finally looks like we have gotten dealt AA and someone just raised us from early position. Now all we need is for our hand to hold up! I am now officially using my ONE TIME DEALER!


PS. Hopefully John Kyl’s recent fiasco over how much funding of planned parenthood goes to giving abortions has shown the world that he completely lacks credibility and will keep this idiot from imposing his social agenda over our freedoms.

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Standard Play and Sculpting

Posted by zerosum79

Recently I’ve been focusing a lot on what it means to make good poker decisions. When we start out learning poker we are pretty much at the mercy of others telling us what is a “standard” play. We utilize other people’s knowledge to build a database of standard plays and start to try to incorporate them into our game. A lot of times this can be a treacherous path since if you are frequenting the free or pay forums sometimes even with the best of intentions you will receive bad advice. The best part about pay forums is that at least the people participating are a cut above the standard enthusiast and they are trying to work on their own games. Plus you have access to the pay forum’s coaches who usually have much more experience and are rarely incorrect in their advice. Beyond the forums paying for direct coaching is usually a good way to go because presumably a well vetted coach is going to be giving you mainly good advice.

However the question of what is “standard” is constantly changing. Poker is evolving and frequently people will state that the way to get ahead of the pack is to be looking for places to either exploit or go beyond “standard” play. This puts new players in a tough spot. Should they learn standard poker or should they be trying to get ahead of the pack from the beginning?

It is my honest opinion that what is standard is somewhat like a marble sculpture and we are constantly in a state of “almost done.” There are places where you can chip off more to make the sculpture more complete but doing more than slightly reworking what is already there is a mistake because it is likely to do more harm than good. Mostly beginners do not have the foundation to judge whether a non-standard play is profitable which is dangerous. To take the analogy one step further, their sculpture of a beautiful woman might end up lacking a hand or some other vital element if they decide that “doing this is different so it must be better.”

Usually in poker taking a non-standard line is actually giving up value. For example in a SNG, you might find that a certain shove is –EV but you are making it for the sake of creating an image. That image is an intangible thing of uncertain value. The –EV play can be immediately quantified. Its hard to judge whether a non-standard play would be good or bad.

Overall it is my opinion that the best thing a beginning student can do is to learn the basics. It’s not to say that they need to stay there forever but learning a proper foundation gives them the ability to be creative in a controlled way. It allows them to say, “well I know that the standard play would be to do x… but I did y because I felt that I gained some extra advantage for later in the tournament.” Without that proper foundation it is impossible to say whether taking the nonstandard line is a well calculated play or simply a mistake. In my next blog I plan to follow this concept up so stay tuned.

Good Luck at the Tables


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Back to the Dark Side…

Posted by zerosum79

I've been moving back into MTT SNG's lately. The competition is just much weaker at the mid-stakes than in 9 mans. The problem is that getting a decent volume of $24 18-mans is impossible at FT. They rarely load even during peak hours. This has gotten me thinking about moving to the darkside... ie PokerStars.

Although I think PokerStars has a lot going for it, the playerpool is noticibly better at the low stakes and their tournament buyin levels are weird. The real downside though is that you lose out on the steady stream of rakeback that you can get from Full Tilt. Unless you are a very high volume player, PokerStars rakeback is terrible. So I have spent a lot of time emphasizing to my students that when they are building their bankroll FT is a better choice. Now I feel like a turncoat.

However, there are some decent options for cashing out your rakeback at PS that do not involve hitting massive volume levels. As I described in my video on the "Hyperturbo 6max Satellites" on Drag the Bar, you can convert the VPP's to cash relatively easily. Even though you will not be getting the high volume percentage like you would if you were hitting Supernova or Supernova elite its still a viable option for lower stakes players. Just spend your VPPs on tournament buyins and role it into cash or tourney tickets for other events. Although the eventual payoff is less certain than rakeback on FT, its still a great way to go even for someone earning only a few thousand VPPs at a time.

So don't hate me for being a turncoat. Sometimes you just have to go where the games are.

Good luck at the tables!

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Officially Writing for WPT Magazine

Posted by zerosum79

I am excited to announce that I am now officially writing for the Wolrd Poker Tour magazine.

As you may know if you have been following my blog, a few months ago I wrote an article discussing chip utility for WPT magazine in a feature spot for Drag the Bar. It was a concept that I have been working on for a long time that resolves a certain paradox about the value of chips as they change in a poker tournament. The article was well received and landed me a more permanent position writing about Sit and Go strategy.

I am really excited about the opportunity to flush out some lesser known strategy points and do some in depth hand analysis. However, the first few articles will be discussing my signature concept, "Pivot Points." I want to lead off with pivot points because I think it is a crucial part of understanding basic tournament strategy and I also want to lay proper claim to the idea since even writing about it on the internet blogs is probably not enough to keep someone from swooping in and claiming my idea as their own. So I am planting my flag and staking my claim to it.

Anyways, if you have not had a chance to pick up WPT Magazine in the stores, I highly recommend it. There is a regular feature every month from different Drag the Bar coaches and you will also be able to get an update from me so I think its well worth a look, if not a purchase. ;)

Good Luck at the Tables,

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Berated at the FT HU Hypers

Posted by zerosum79

Regardless of whether you think this hand was well played or not it set off a funny firestorm with a HU opponent tonight...

Full Tilt Poker No-Limit Hold'em, 10.25 Tournament, 10/20 Blinds (2 handed) - Full Tilt Poker Hand Converter from

BB (t550)
Hero (SB) (t450)

Hero's M: 15.00

Preflop: Hero is SB with 6, 2
Hero bets t40, BB calls t20

Flop: (t80) 9, A, 6 (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t40, BB calls t40

Turn: (t160) 9 (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t40, BB calls t40

River: (t240) 6 (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t120, BB calls t120

Total pot: t480

Villain: "donk luck box"

Villain: "kp on goin like an idiot"

Villain: "stpid american scm"

Villain: "Donk"

Villain: "Donk"

Villain: "Donk"

Villain: "Donk"

Villain: "donk" Villain: "donk" Villain: "donk" Villain: "donk" Villain: "donk" Villain: "donk" Villain: "donk"

By the end of this tournament he had called me a donk 26 times!

Accept a rematch? Gladly!

And it kept coming.  In fact he hit me with donk so fast and furious that within a few more hands

Chat Monitor (Support): wolffyro has lost their chat privilege for 5 minutes.  Spamming the table is prohibited.

zerosum79: "donk" :) :) :)

Followed briefly by"zerosum79 finished in 1st place"

Don't forget poker is supposed to be fun.


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How Do Your Opponants Play?

Posted by zerosum79

Recently a suggestion was made to me by DTB's own Qtip that I thought was intriguing enough to make a blog post about. We were looking at a cash hand together. The hand in question was against a guy with pretty taggish stats and we were talking about what range he would call a river bet with vs what range he would fold. the question was would he fold AT type hands? I was betting a bluff.

Owen mentioned that one great way to get feedback would be to edit the hand history so that I was now in villain's position with AT and that I hide my cards to see whether the community at large would call or fold to the river bet.

To me this was a very unique way to gain insight into the way that other people play poker. Since poker is a game where much of the play is never revealed due to nonshowdowns its really hard to figure out what your tough competition would do. Posting the hand unedited calls into question too many variables and guesses about what villain would do. However editing the hand so that it is us making the call decision gives people a concrete situation to digest and tell us what they would do. If a bunch of TAGs would all fold then we have actually gained valuable free insight into how other people play that they would never reveal to us if we just ask.

I hope that the new year is treating everyone well and wish everyone good luck at the tables in the new year.


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Zerosum Poker is back online!

Posted by zerosum79

Just wanted to mention that I have revamped my website and Zerosum Poker is back online. I will be starting to update the blog over there in parallel with my DTB blog and I am going to be adding a ton of fun free treats soon. Keep an eye on it at!


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Zerosum 79 Published in WPT Magazine Nov. 2010 Issue

Posted by zerosum79

For most guys this might not be a notable event, but for me its a very big deal that Hunter submitted an article of mine for WPT magazine. (Thanks Hunter!) It was published in the Nov 2010 issue and the subject is Chip Utility.  Once the magazine leaves the news stands, I will scan a copy for download to the membership but for now let me just say, if you like controversy, this article is worth a read.

For a long time the poker literature has had two different opinions on the value of chips in a poker tournament. The orthodox view has been around a long time and is called the reverse chip value model.  Proponents of this view believe that as you acquire chips in a tournament they lose value, and as a result you should play relatively tight in tournaments because the chips you lose are more valuable than the chips you win.

More recently Arnold Snyder in Poker Tournament Formula 1-2 proposed an alternative model called the chip utility model.  He  states that actually chips increase in value when you have more as long as you are a skillful player you can use the extra chips as a weapon.

As a result a paradox seems to exist: Can chips increase and decrease in value simultaneously?

In the article I did some analysis using equity modeling and expose the flaws in reasoning of both camps resolving the apparent paradox.  I think its a good read so check it out!


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Cruise Ship Poker LOLs

Posted by zerosum79

I rarely play poker when I am on vacation because I usually try to make vacations about spending time with my wife and doing things that I don’t consider “job related.”   However, on the recent trip I trip I took there was a tournament on board the Royal Caribbean ship that was too hard to pass up.

The structure of the tournament was the following.  Each player buys in for $100 and gets 1,000 chips.  During the first three blind levels you can rebuy 1000 chips for $25 and at the end of the rebuy period there is an add on for $25 as well.  Seven players start the tournament and the winner of that table plays a final table of 7 where 2nd and 3rd places are cash prizes and 1st place is a cruise (value $3500) plus a buyin to another Royal Caribbean tournament with bigger cash prizes. With the blinds starting at 25/50 and 10 minute blind levels this tournament plays a lot like a 6 max superturbo because you start out 20BB deep and are quickly short stacked.   Since I feel I have a pretty good edge in a tourney like this against a bunch of fun loving but armature cruise goers, I am definitely interested in playing.

Starting the tournament, I immediately got short stacked with a few decent hands that did not pan and I suddenly had about 600 chips.  At 500 chips you are allowed to rebuy so I quickly spewed off another 100 chips and rebought to 1500 chips.  From there I was pretty much off to the races.   I doubled my stack by stacking off with a set of 5’s.  After 30 minutes I added on and had a pretty healthy stack of about 5000 chips.  Play after the rebuy tightened considerably and I got lucky in two hands.  In one I made a standard resteal with AQ and got a call from the original raiser plus another limper.  Resteals that end up with 3 players are bad but I managed to hit top two pair to knock out two players.  A few hands later I shoved 99 from the CO and again got two callers.  Both had over cards but were sharing the J and none of us improved our hand allowing me to bust two more players.  So far so good except I hate tournaments where I am eliminating everyone at the table because I am increasing my risk and giving other people equity for my trouble.  3rd place finisher got very short and was eliminated by me when he limped the SB and I shoved with A2o.  He called with aces but was mortified to see me hit a runner-runner flush with my Ace of clubs.  I got to heads up with a dominant stack and after losing a call with K high against a QT, I managed to eliminate my competition by catching an A-high type hand and getting a caller.  GG zero, eliminating all players in the tourney.  I finished with 22,000 chips which I could take to the final table.

I was checking with the casino throughout the cruise because they told me that if not enough tables ran they would just do the tournament with a cash prize.  Going into the last day only 3 of 6 tables had run and I figured if each table put in as much money as ours did we would have a prize pool of roughly $3000 and possibly only 3 players guaranteeing me a good payday.   The final day a fourth table ran with only six players and the total tournament take was $3800.  Not a great result since that meant that rather than playing for a payday of ~$600 guaranteed and $1500 for first place, the cruise would now be distributed and only $300 remained in cash.  I tried to get the table to make a deal to play for the cash but one guy was no interested.  He said the cruise left on his wife’s birthday and she would kill him for not going for it.   I had the big stack at the table with 22,000 chips and everyone else had about 15,000 to 17,500. Blinds started at 500/1000 and again escalated at 10 minute intervals.  I spewed off some chips early and then started to steal liberally when the I got to about 8BB deep.  Two of the players got very short as me and Mr. Gotta Play for the cruise absorbed the chips.  I started to get inkling that he was not a terrible player and soon we were heads up and I had a large stack (about 40K of 65K chips).  Once we got heads up I again tried to chop with him for the cash telling him he could buy a nice cruise for about $1500 but he said he wanted to play it out.  3 Hands later it was over and I was the loser. I made a 5BB shove from SB with J2s and ran into ATs.  Neither of us improved.  Next he had a very big stack and folded.  I made a 6BB shove from the SB with K6o and he snapped me again showing up with A8o for the win.  Game over.

One observation is to carefully analyze the structure of a tournament.   Professionally run tournaments are not usually this steep in payout and you should make sure you play tournaments where you have a good edge and also know what the outcome will be.  It’s hard to measure the value of a tournament if you don’t know the payout or the payout is not fixed ahead of time.

Overall it was a good experience.  I played 3 of the highest stakes hands of my career for $3500 and lost but those of you who play tournaments know that these kinds of things happen all the time.  If I look through my database I can find dozens of SNGs where I had a good chip lead and 2-3 hands later I took second place rather than first place.  Since my shoves were sound based on my expectation of his calling range and Nash equilibrium there is really nothing to do but throw up my hands and say “that’s poker.”

Good Luck at the Tables,


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Vacation of a Lifetime

Posted by zerosum79

I just got back last week from what can only be described as the vacation of a lifetime.  It’s hard to put your entire life on hold for a few weeks to take a vacation and rarely are people of a normal means able to outlay the money a vacation like this would cost.  However, my wife and I were fortunate to be taking the trip on someone else’s dime.

Last year, my wife Amanda won an award from her work for her outstanding contributions to her company in the area of customer service.  The award was a big deal and only a few are given out each year. As a result the company was willing to pay for an all expense covered “trip of a lifetime.”  Last year we brainstormed for quite a while before deciding on a 12 night cruise that sailed out of Rome and went to major antiquities sites including Rome Italy, Sicily Italy, Athens Greece, Rhodes Greece, Ephesus Turkey, and Alexandria/Cairo Egypt.  Without a reason to do this we would never have made the trip or been able to outlay the cash necessary to go.

I have to say that I am not well traveled, but this was an amazing trip.  We were able to leave my daughter with my wife’s parents so we got to enjoy a lot of alone time which was fantastic because we have not been able to do that much since my daughter was born 16 months ago.

Of all the places we went, my favorite has to have been Egypt since it would be the kind of country that I would be wary of traveling to, but upon visit was really quite nice. We had a great tour guide who took us to all of the major sites in Cairo and helped us to take pictures which in most of our vacations do not usually involve Amanda and me together in the same frame.  This is us standing in front of one of the pyramids.

Anyways, I am finally settling back in and getting back to the grind of work, poker, and family.  It is tough coming back from a world of no responsibilities to one where there is always too much to do.  I am woefully behind on my DTB videos for this month, and apologize for the tardiness in getting them produced as well as my lack of presence on the SNG forum.

I am also continuing work on a poker related project that is likely to become much higher profile than I originally expected.   Also since FTP started the new black card program I realized that it really would benefit me to start grinding again on a daily basis.  Playing at the $24s only means a 25 game/day pace to hit black card which should be easily do able so I think I am going to commit to a 100 day grindathon in the near future.   I also have a new blog series to present that will be coming out soon that relates to some of the previous information I wrote on setting goals.

Good Luck at the Tables!


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Treating my poker like a business II: Taxes

Posted by zerosum79

Every year poker seems to be the reason that I do not get my taxes done by the April deadline. Doing your taxes as a non-professional player is a total pain.

If you do things correctly, you should keep a thorough record of you session wins and losses. However HEM does not output SNG results by session the way it does for cash games so as a result I had to import every tournament into a spreadsheet, then take subtotals of every day to get my session wins and losses.

The grim reality is that even if you only won a few thousand dollars you may have a net win of tens of thousands of dollars and to properly report you have to take the total gains then later on subtract the total losses rather than just use the net figure. If you have $10K in net winnings you may put yourself into a stratospheric tax bracket by having to report $100K in gross winnings as income before you can reduce your income back with the net losses. This can also put you into a serious bind as far as the alternative minimum tax.

Thankfully I didn't play enough this year for it to be a problem and by next year I believe my activities will earn me the right to be able to file as a professional poker player.

However it reminds me that keeping careful notes on playing and coaching income is extremely important. As I was digging back through my old HEM database on a now defunct computer I realized that I need to place a lot more emphasis on doing some of this work periodically so that I don't have to do it all at the end. It takes time but if I work to keep up during the year, I am hoping that by next year I can file at the regular tax deadline and avoid paying interest on the taxes I owe.

It also reminds me that I need to be voluntarily withholding some poker income so that I don't have to cut a big check at the end of the year.

Of course Dusty's book again covers this topic and I found myself thinking about it as I spend almost 10 hours getting this info together. Anyways, another year done. Hopefully my accountant can sort out the rest.


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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

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The Ultimate Grinder

Posted by zerosum79

This guy is amazing IMO.


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Super Turbos

Posted by zerosum79

Well I guess I am a glutton for punishment but I have started playing some super turbo SNG's for fun recently. My last foray into these represents my only significant downswing as a SNG player. I took an 80BI downswing, recovered most of it, then headed back down to 80BI before calling it quits.

Well the allure of the ST SNG is back for me. I am running break even over an insignificant sample size but I am happy to report that my decision making is better than ever at these games. I feel very confidant that I should be winning money and that despite the high variance that I will be winning money before too long.

One reason that I wanted to play them is that I was reviewing some strategies for making loose calls as well as calling while getting attractive odds. Since these situations are much more prevalent in the superturbos I figured it would be fun to give it a shot.

One thing that I am certain of though is that the default ranges I assign for callers in regular turbos are no where near correct for the super turbos. Where a bad player typically will not call under normal circumstances wider than 30% in a turbo, even bad players in ST's get closer to optimum strategy when making loose calls. I am not sure I have derived any new rules of thumb but one thing I am toying with is assigning a wide range to everyone not just good players.

The reason that I think this might be optimal is that there is a factor in making calls with SNG's that in most normal situations, calling wider than about 40% becomes a losing play. Therefore even the good players at super turbos can't call much wider than 40%, it just turns out that even bad players more often approximate a good players loose calling range of 40% or greater.

Anyways, its just a reminder that even when you think you know something, in certain situations it can be wrong. Its always worth re-evaluating the games you are playing to make sure advice you are given is still valid.

Good luck at the tables (especially you guys playing the WSOP this year).


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Want to lose weight?

Posted by zerosum79

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted by zerosum79

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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How do you want to be remembered?

Posted by zerosum79

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But his legacy extended well beyond that.

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

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

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

Reprinted from and the AP

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

Posted by zerosum79

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Junkies Poker Open Recap

Posted by zerosum79

The last week has been a bit manic so I didn't have a chance to blog about this sooner but last week I drove up to the Borgata for the Junkies Poker Open 8. Its a $260+40 MTT run at the Borgata in Atlantic City. With a fairly cheap buyin and big prize pool (I believe that 35-40 tables started) it was looking like a very nice payday.

I got really excited about this because the tourney is sponsored by a local DC sports radio show which I have listened to for over 15 years called The Sports Junkies. They are a bunch of local MD guys who started out on public access and hit the big time. My birthday was on the 16th so a trip up on the 20th seemed justified. To top it all off I have been really meaning to start giving some action back to the Borgata since they are starting to give away poker room rates again for play. However, most times I can get up there I just stay at Harrah's since they have always been good to me and usually hook me up with free rooms. In my mind the main problem with Harrah's is that I love the poker room, but the games there suck, and I love video poker but they only have like 3 9/6 JoB machines in the whole stinking place. Contrast that with the Borg which has great live poker action and an entire bar full of 9/6 JoB machines where you can get instant drink service (plus tons more on the floor) and there is really no comparison. Plus as I remembered the Borgata hotel rooms are unbeatable.

Ive been trying very hard not to take time off work because my wife and I have a few very long trips planned later in the year. I also had major deadlines at work so I worked all Sunday (my actual birthday) and by Wednesday evening I had 40+hours logged for the week already.

Wednesday night I threw everything in a bag including work clothes for Friday and headed up to Atlantic city. I was feeling very positive about the trip. I have not played a ton of live MTT's but I am pretty confidant about my understanding of proper play as these things tend to play pretty similar to a large MTT SNG online. I got a surprise from Hunter in the mail on Monday and inside was a Drag the Bar baseball cap and some large DTB patches. They are pretty sweet looking and if I can later tonight I will post a pic of them. Not surprising since everything Hunter does for this site seems top notch all the way.

So I am driving up to the Borg with my DTB hat on and just really pumped up and positive about the poker open. I get there and get my room. 29th floor with a good view of the water. The rooms all have an amazing shower and bathroom and as always the Borgata bed is extremely comfortable.

I headed down to the poker room and played 2h of NL 1/2 running so/so and ending up about $100 ahead. Not bad, but I want to be up early to watch the Junkies broadcast live and also make sure I am not a zombie for the tournament. I decide to bag it it at midnight.

Day 2: MTT and Cash
The MTT was not a fantastic success. I played pretty well for the majority of the tournament but I did have one or two errors. I overbet when raising a pot with KK based on the previous pot's prf and before I realized it and got no action. I also made a small error (stupid live action) where I forgot to announce raise and threw a big chip into the pot with AQs from early position. Of course I got 5 callers once the dealer announced it was a call.

I dropped a few chips early on and was joking with the guy next to me about how the guy who didn't show up and was getting blinded off was outplaying me with his ultratight strategy. Finally I shove about 5BB from the button with a junk hand and double through the big stack at the table.

I then resteal from him with AQ and double again so that I have about 30K chips with the blinds at BB=1600 antes =300. 9 handed this equates to 1600+6*300 => BB = 3400. With just under 10BB I look down UTG to see TT and I shove. BB who I have been chatting it up with says sorry, I have to call and flips AKo. We race and he wins crippling me. Next hand is the BB where I call all in and after the cards come down I check my cards finding that indeed I do not have the winning hand. 4h to the minute, my MTT is over. GG NH WTF, I thought I was going to win this one.

I headed downstairs for a little sushi then back to my hotel room for a little shuteye but couldn't sleep. I figured if I slept, I could play later when the games were better and still be up early the next morning. Unfortunately with a casino 29 floors below me calling my name I could not sleep and I threw my DTB hat back on and headed to the cash tables.

I played till 6:30pm at a fun table right in front of the cashier. A reg sitting directly to my right tells me that the actions at those tables are always good. Sometimes 2-5 and 5-10 guys who have taken a beating head for the cashier and then decide to slum it at those tables instead. I get the feeling that he is talking about himself. The table is full of terrible players and within a few hours I am up +$300. Tourney loss covered.

I decide to head to Harrah's for a nice dinner and to burn off some comps. I choose the steak house for a nice prime rib dinner. It was pretty much the best prime rib I have ever eaten. They slow roast it for 8h and it was very very tender. My wife who is home dieting is very jealous but eating alone kinda sucks so I ate fast and headed back to Borgata feeling full and ready to play.

I hit another Borgata table and realize that this place is really poker heaven for AC. Every table is good. Maybe its all the busted out tourney donks but the games mid week were fantastic. I am chatting it up with a guy with no front teeth and raking pots. Mostly even the guys at the table I was nervous about are not playing that well and I am really having to open up my river standards based on the garbage people were willing to show down for 2-3 bets post flop. Valuetown.

I witnessed an Asian lady put the worst burn on the guy with no teeth ever. I don't think she realized how rude it was, since she seemed nice overall. On the flop they both get all in for like $60. Asian lady has been know to show down middle and low pair type hands. Toothless flips KJo and Asian lady flips cards showing a 4 for a pair. The turn and river come out and toothless smiles thinking he is going to drag the pot with top pair. Asian lady slides the 4 off to the side revealing a 3rd 4 and just smiles. Toothless is not happy but at least I don't have to look at his crazy teeth. Later on toothless convinced me to drink the most dreadful drink called an orange julius. Its like a orange creamsicle taste but it was so sweet it was nauseating.

Again as we approached midnight I decide that having to get up at 6am to drive back for work means I should probably crash. I end up +$700 in cash games for the trip. I associate my incredible good fortune 100% to the DTB hat which will now become a staple of any live outing in the future. My cash win paid the cost of the tourney as well as my associated expenses etc. Its a wash but I had a great time and racked up a bunch of hours so that next time maybe I can play the Borg rather than Harrah's.


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More on setting goals: Fitness and poker related examples

Posted by zerosum79

Looking back on my video on setting goals I wanted to mention a specific example where by not following my own advice I did not accomplish what I set out to do.

A few months ago I decided that I needed to lose some weight and get healthier. I decided to dust off an old goal of running a 10 mile race. I weighed about 215 and wanted to lose about 10-20 lbs through training.

Fast forward a few months and I have run the 10 mile race but have lost no weight what soever and feel as if the health benefits I was looking for have not materialized. Two weeks before the race I topped the scales at a whopping 220lbs! I had actually gained 5lbs. I set and met my short term training goals and eventually hit my long term goal.

If I had done this the right way I would have looked at my definite major purpose (now defined as "To achieve a healthier weight and fitness level") and because I had not yet defined it, I missed the mark when setting my short term goals. I have started dieting as well as continuing my exercise regime and I am happy to say that in the last few weeks I have dropped almost 10lbs. Last Sunday at my weigh in I was under 210 for the first time in at least a year and the Wii told me I am now no longer obese (just "overweight").

I have been recording everything I eat in a food journal and it has been very helpful in keeping a daily focus on my eating habits. I hope to lose somewhere between 20-30lbs more in the next 6 months so that I am in good shape for the cruise I am going on with my wife in October. That should be realistic as I lose about 1.5lbs a week on average when I am exercising and watching what I eat.

As far as poker goals are concerned I am starting to set some. One is that I would like to start playing at least 100 tourneys a week again and ramp up to something like 800-1000 a month over the next few months. This is going to be tough. I have never before played that kind of volume. But I think is doable especially since I have been pretty easily managing 12 tables and think that now that I am stacking I'll be able to easily max out the 16 table limit at FTP.

One of the major hurdles that I think I will face is the mental endurance so I am going to address it similar to running. I will play two to three short sessions a week and one long one. I am going to play 25 games in my short sessions and 50 in my long session. Then I will start to ramp up my long session lengths from 25-50 and 50-100. That would put me playing roughly 200 tourneys a week.

I am going to schedule it just like I scheduled running on the calendar so that I can make sure to play when games are good. The other night I was table selecting the $24s and the games were horrible so I just dropped to the $12s. I am not going to play tables with 6+ winning players while the level below is infested with fish. My second video in the Zero to Hero series (coming out this month) is going to discuss table selection so stay tuned.


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GW Parkway Classic: 10 Mile Success!

Posted by zerosum79

Hi guys. I know the blog has been quiet lately but that is all about to take a turn for the better as I am starting to re-shift my focus toward poker. I have taken some slow but significant steps in my move from Zero to Hero. The first one was to start to get back to a more normal existence (+1 baby obviously). I got fat and happy (“fat and weak what a disgrace, guess the champ got to lazy”) enjoying my new daughter. I have now gotten my fitness back on the right track and completed one of my major unfinished life goals to run 10 miles.

On Sunday I set an unofficial goal to run 11:00 minute miles and try to finish in 1h 50min.

The race started at Mt. Vernon and headed up the GW Parkway to end in Old Town, Alexandria. I usually don’t have any trouble sleeping but I was jacked up the night before the race. The website said parking in Old Town would fill fast and to be parked by 5:30 if we expected to get a space anywhere near where the bus pickup. I decided to be in Old Town by 5am to get a space, hit Starbucks for come coffee and get on the bus by 6:15am. This meant getting up by 4am. At 8:30pm I was in bed. By 11pm I was awake and desperate to go to sleep. I knew I was screwed when my wife came upstairs and so I went downstairs, pounded a beer, and went back up to sleep. By midnight I was asleep and by 4am I was in hell. Not a great start.

I got to Old Town and from 5am to 7am I felt great as I was pretty jacked up on adrenalin. My friend Brandon met me at the Starbucks and we grabbed some coffee and talked a bit about the race. We headed to the bus and loaded up just as it started to rain. The weather was shaky as it was supposed to rain on and off throughout the whole day. It poured as the bus drove us to the start line at Mt Vernon and the driver went interminably slow which began to freak me out as we were driving and I was about to run the opposite direction. Just as the bus pulled in the rain was beginning to let up and in about 5 minutes it had stopped completely. Everything was cool and humid but amazingly, it never rained again during the run.

We got warmed up, I dropped my bag off to be taken to the end of the race, and pounded a power gel. People were milling around and lining up so we got in line and waited for about 30 minutes. The race started but it took a few minutes for the crowd in front of us to get moving. It’s a little frustrating to go to the back of the pack planning on running slow and then to have to dodge slow runners left and right when you are trying to get your pace.
By the time I got to the mile one split the time was 14min into the race. I was shocked because an 11min mile for me is pretty easy. It looked like the lack of sleep was already catching up with me. I picked up the pace and by mile 2 I was really hurting but I had caught up to about 24min and I kept pushing to mile 3. Mile three I crossed directly at 33min and I was finally on my 11 minute pace. By mile 4 I crossed at 44 minutes and it was the easiest mile yet. I was perplexed but started thinking about it and realized that there was a simple explanation. We took several minutes to cross the start line as the crowd in front of us was huge. My real start time was several minutes after the time being broadcast. I had run way too fast the first and second mile and at mile 4 was still well ahead of an 11min mile pace!

I throttled back since I was really concerned with my fast start that I would finish the race at all. My longest run to that point had been 9 miles and it was challenging. However as the miles ticked by my confidence grew. Mile 9 was pretty easy as I could see old town in front of me and Mile 10 I jacked up my pace to the end.

I crossed at 1h 46min which was about a 10min36sec average mile. My wife and friends were there to cheer me on at the finish. Afterward I went to brunch, drank a bloody mary, ate two breakfasts, and celebrated in old town. It was a big item to cross of my bucket list and I was thrilled to finally get it done.

Here I am very close to crossing the finish line.

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Zero to Hero

Posted by zerosum79

Discuss this blog here. I would be really excited to get any recommendations on content people would like out of this. I have a bunch of ideas but I would like this series to be interactive so the more input the better.


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