Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who Said The Games Were Getting Tougher?

Just seen a guy take $662 out of a $100 buy-in game in a couple of hours.

If he'd won $666 it would have seemed more appropriate.

56%/4%. Didn't fold to a raise all night. Didn't fold a draw all night. Didn't miss a draw all night. Position a trifling irrelevance. Quite incredible.

Sickening in a way as he was so bad people were almost queuing up to pay him off. The rationale presumably being he couldn't *always* have it.

Still, I'm sure he had a fun night. Wish I could say the same.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Missives From A Pretend Professional Poker Player - Part 2. Game Selection

Now I'm playing more regularly again, I decided to take a more critical view of where I play my poker.

Initially I started six-tabling the Full Tilt deep-stack tables. Because, well, that's where I played already so why not keep it going?

This was my leisure game of choice because as well as being potentially lucrative, especially during the happy hours, it's also a lot of fun. I think my A-game is quite unconventional and works best with lots of fairly deep opponents - no swarms of short-stacking Germans and Scandies to contend with.

They also had a bonus offer running which I worked off with ease. A first on Full Tilt!

However my rakeback on Full Tilt is 'only' 27% (the standard it seems), so once the bonus was cleared I started re-appraising my options. I decided to work through a few different sites in turn, and started looking for options that were rakeback friendly, possibly had bonuses running, and had sufficient volume to support multi-tabling.

There are several candidates out there, but the one I settled on initially was my old Eurobet account - which I opened back in the golden days when it was still a Party Poker skin.

This has 30% rakeback, but also allows loyalty points to be converted to cash bonuses. Additionally, the rakeback provider offers a rake-race each month that has relatively few entrants, meaning I could pretty much guarantee myself a small bonus on top.

Effectively then, my money is simultaneously working four ways - poker winnings, rakeback, bonus, and rake-race. That sounded suitably professional to me.

The other habit I've changed is I now pay more attention to my notes and gradings.

I've always been quite good at taking notes on players, and I've always been quite aware of HUD statistics. However when playing for fun I've never really bothered utilising them to choose which tables to play on.

If I found myself seated at a table when several players has notes indicating they were decent I saw it as a challenge rather than a threat. Now I see it as a possible inhibitor to win-rate. Thus it's much more common for me to sit down, scope the table, and exit.

Or, if the table is short-handed and I'm auto seated at a less than optimum location, I'll exit and return at a better position.

This is especially important on the Eurobet tables, as players tend to play with shorter stacks, which means a more conventional approach is needed, as there are very few hands it's profitable to get three-bet with when playing out-of-position.

I learned this lesson the expensive way, as I initially failed to adapt to the switch from Full Tilt deep-stacks. I've now posted a sequence of 11 winning sessions from the last 12 I've played, so it seems to have sunk in now.

The plan at the moment is to see out the month on Eurobet, then look for another site for next month.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blonde Poker/iPoker/Aqua Disagreement

I'm a fairly active member of the forum on Blonde Poker, and when they set up a site on iPoker I played a good few hands there until I got sick of skirmishing with armies of short-stacking mega-multitablers.

The guys who run the forum seem like a decent bunch and they've been very hard done by over some nonsensical rules regarding not only having winning players or their skin, but also credit card charge-backs for transactions they had no control or oversight over.

However the thing that shocked me most about the scenario was the threat to withhold player deposits to cover a possible shortfall in the charge-backs.

My first instinct on reading this was to log into my various iPoker skins and make sure there was no money left in any of them.

For me, any site associated with iPoker can only be seen as a risk not worth taking at present.

When you've got PokerStars, Full Tilt, Party Poker, Everest and various Ongame skins to choose from, why play on iPoker? I don't see the point.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Accenture Dump Tiger Woods

More hilarity in the world of sport sponsorship as Accenture dump Tiger Woods on the grounds they "determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising".

Having worked with Accenture on a couple of projects, and kept in touch with people who still work with them, it's clear to me that Woods may not be the right representative for their advertising, but he is the PERFECT representative for their business practices.

Like Tiger, Accenture are consummate shafters. Unlike Tiger, they still manage to turn a profit from it.

Don't take my word for it, ask the UK Government or British Gas.

Missives From A Pretend Professional Poker Player - Part 1. Volume

With a lot more time to work with, I've been trying to give more thought to how I approach online poker.

I decided to try to adopt more of a professional approach. Not that I want to be a pro, but this seems as good an opportunity as any for some experimentation.

The first thing I gave some thought to was volume. Hands per month, hours to play, etc.

Not having any great knowledge of how online pros operate, I've previously been staggered by some of the numbers people quote for stats such as hands per month.

Yet with just a few weeks experience it seems to me their volumes are not such a hard goal to achieve. Previously I'd thought all these guys had to be sixteen-tabling for twenty hours a day.

My goals started out much more modestly. Whereas a 'normal' job might entail an eight hour working day, I figured that eight hours of online poker five days a week would melt my brain, so instead I targeted two two-hour sessions per day for Monday to Friday, with the weekend left to my whims. Maybe trying a few tournaments, instead of more cash play.

My next task was to decide where to play. As it happens, Full Tilt runs an afternoon (UK time)happy hour, and another evening happy hour when the deep-stack tables are heavily populated, so I made them my first hunting ground.

Initial results were pleasantly surprising. Six tabling seems to be my limit, which I think is a fair compromise between volume and thinking. There are people playing lots more than that but many are short-stackers who are constantly in push or fold mode.

With that set-up two hours seems to fairly whizz past, and I'd been averaging around 440 hands per hour. Which scales up to ~40,000 per month if I were doing it as a part-time job with no weekend play.

Given that a lot of the online pros play six-max rather than full-ring, and don't all get beyond 100k per month, there seems to be some slacking going on!

Of course it's all new to me, so I can imagine that, like most jobs, there's an element of familiarity breeding boredom over time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Berlusconi Battered

Not a good week for high profile philanderers!

Just seen the footage on BBC and Sky News of Silvio Berlusconi being attacked at a rally in Milan.

Obviously it's not right that a pensioner should be assaulted - quite badly judging by the state of his face - but when I heard the assailant was alleged to be a 42 year-old man, I couldn't help wondering if it was the dad of one of Berlusconi's mistresses.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Less Vegas

I should have been boarding a plane in about 12 hours to head for London and henceforth Vegas.

The flights were booked. Strip accommodation reserved. ESTA form completed. I was all set. Only packing remained to be done.

Then my youngest daughter took an awkward tumble as she played at home on Monday.

On the way down she cracked her head off a table hard enough to shunt it sidewards.

There were tears, horror, and concern. Which turned out to be misplaced, as there was no harm done other that some faint bruising on her temple. Just another toddler mishap.

What lasted longer than the concern was the sick feeling I felt in my stomach at the point I saw her stumble but was too far away to stop her falling.

As the afternoon wore on, I realised I couldn't bring myself to leave her and the rest of the family for almost a week. A long weekend in Vegas becomes a week away when the starting point is the UK!

So, I cancelled. Maybe it's the Christmas spirit, maybe I'm just a big sap, but something didn't feel right anymore.

I'm genuinely gutted not to be going but I had to follow my instincts. Anyway, a special trip is already being planned for next year.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Curse Of The Gillette Champion

What next!?

Is this a lineup of sporting greats, or a wanted poster for the paparazzi?

First, Thierry Henry gets caught blatantly cheating to send France to the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Then, Tiger Woods obtusely confesses to not so blatantly cheating in a different context.

Now all that remains is for Roger Federer to be caught up to some unlikely mischief and the triumvirate of doom will be complete.

To be fair, I have a degree of sympathy for both men. Henry did something off-the-cuff that has had huge repercussions. It happens. If the ref had been more observant there would have been virtually no comeback.

Woods case is more complex. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be THAT good at such a huge sport; to be THAT rich; THAT universally popular.

If he suffers from some sort of God Syndrome we could hardly be surprised. Throw in a few lengthy injury layoffs where an element of boredom and frustration is bound to set in, and it's maybe not so surprising that he looked for thrills elsewhere.

I'd imagine both might be phoning David Beckham for words of wisdom, as he has managed to recover from both on and off-the-park transgressions in the past, with his image seemingly intact.

All that said, I'll be deeply disappointed if at least one tabloid doesn't run some sort of variation on 'Lies Of The Tiger', as a headline this week. It's an open goal you wouldn't need to be Thierry Henry to score.


This flight number suddenly takes on tremendous significance.

As does, this album, or this song, or for the kids.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is This Really Genuine?

Never mind 'eating a horse', this guy looks like he could swallow it whole!