Friday, November 19, 2010 

Diary of a Professional Patient: Warning…Labels

Not poker related, but certainly a good read:

Diary of a Professional Patient: Warning…Labels

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 

Blog Roll Round-Up

Recent Results
Not much to report in my world bankroll wise. I've been holding steady for about a week now. I've bought in to several SnG's along with at least one MTT every night and still find myself even for the week. Even ain't losing, so I ain't complaining. Had a deep finish two nights ago in the $32k guarantee on Full Tilt. 23rd out of 1527. Hope to keep up the pace. Hit the same tournament last night and was feeling good. Found myself short on chips going into the second break. Was looking to make a move and got caught when I did.

In Other News
I've been working on Part 2 to Tools of the Trade - Online Poker. I think the second installment will be a great read for anyone looking to gain the upper hand against their opponent. Should have that out later this week. Stay tuned.

Blog Roll Round-Up
I've been wanting to do this for a long time. Starting today, I will be highlighting content from various poker blogs across the web. Many will already be listed on my blogroll to the right, some will be new finds. Point is, if a fellow poker blog amuses me, educates me, or get's me thinking, I want to share while encoureging you to check them out. Here we go...

Poker Bullly
A huge congrats to the Poker Bully for qualifying on June 15th. Check out his step by step account of his huge win. Nice.

9-2 Offsuit
Check out RADII's recent post on how things can go horribly wrong with a cat while playing poker. This was a great post. Brings back A LOT of memories...some, not so long ago.

Okay, so it is painfully obvious I need to do some work on my blogroll. A lot of great writers I once followed regularly have closed up shop. I'll be working on updating the roll and adding new content. The mission begins...

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 

Tools of the Trade - Online Poker - Part 1

Most live tournament players along with cash players have a routine. That may involve pregame mind warm ups, meditation, whatever. When the action starts, these players try to be as prepared as possible. When play begins, their various routines continue as they make calculations on their opponents, making reads, making mental notes on every possible thing. Problem here though, the average live player can only retain so much information and apply it properly in various poker situations. The better players are often able to retain far more information and use it to their advantage.

The point I'm making here is that online players have a huge advantage when it comes to the various tools available to them while playing. Sure, you can make text notes on players on every site you play at, but what do you put in that note field? "this guy's a douche and uber donkey"? Sure, in some cases, this would be the perfect note. But there is so much more information and tools out there you can use to add to that note field. I'll be talking about notes and how to get the inside scoop on your opponent in Part 2.

Today, I want to share the following tool I use every day, during every poker session:

Problem I was having is one I'm sure a lot of online players have. I'm a multi-tasking fool when I'm playing online. I might be playing 3 tables, while reading, getting my latest Apple info at, and watching TV. Plus, I might be having a "discussion" with my wife, my dogs may need to go out, etc. Yes, I'm borderline, ADD and strangely enough, this is my "downtime". I find this to be relaxing. A long time ago I wrote an article about limiting your distractions. I've sung this tune before. But even though I preach, "limit your distractions", I'm still horrible at following my own advice. This is where netvibes has helped me out.

What is Netvibes?
Simply put, it's a custom home page. It lets you add widgets, tools, content, blog feeds, etc. You can then organize it in any way you like. You can put your blogs on one tab, while your daily gossip sits on another.

How do I specifically use Netvibes relative to poker?
Admitedly, I have a lot of content that has nothing to do with poker. But what I did here is create a tab and tittled it "Poker Survival Guide". Under this tab, I added a widget called Webnote. Webnote lets me add little boxes wherein I can add whatever content I like. For instance, let's say I have a very specific strategy I want to recall when I find myself deep in a tournmant. I simply cut and paste this material into this little box and it's there for my viewing pleasure any time I open this tab.

Currently, I have 12 content boxes under my survival guide tab which covers everything from an "M Zone Guide" to "Deep Tournament Strategy" to "Useful Poker Links" to "Inspirational Poker Quotes". So, how exactly does this limit my distractions while playing? It keeps me focused. I have everything I need in one place. I don't have to randomly search the internet to keep me engaged. This allows me to remain focused on poker, the tools I have in my arsenal, etc. I can also add new things to it on the fly. I often have great friends on the rail that I speak to during a session. When they drop little nuggets of wisdom, I capture that gem and add it to this page. It's great. How often do you coverse with friends about various hands? You can't remember every good point made during these talks. Use Netvibes and have all of these points in your tool box next time you play.

In a way, this is almost turning into my poker diary. While I still concentrate on making notes on my opponents and studying my table, the information I have on Netvibes just extends my capabilities. I even find myself pulling up my page on my iPhone while playing live. I highly recommend you check it out. Let me know if you find it useful and if you do, how you set it up.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008 

Back in the swing?

So, been forever and a day since my last post. I can chalk that up to dismal play mostly. Hard to write when you're not inspired. Hard to write when you're not winning. Be that as it may, it's time I get back into the swing of things.

The plan is to write when I'm up, write when I'm down. As long as I'm writing. Looking back, I'm a better player when I'm documenting my peaks and valleys. I still play each and every day and I still have a lot to, back in the saddle I go.

What have I been doing?
Well, not winning. Which sucks. But, it is what it is. While my results have been dismal, I still feel I learn so much each and every day. At some point, it's going to pay off, right? Most recently, the pressure to win a seat to this years WSOP has consumed me. I did not win my seat. And in some ways I think this is a good thing. Struggling to get that seat these past few months has really changed my game for whatever reason. Stupid to let that goal sidetrack the main a winning player!

So, no crying over spilled milk. Time to get my game back on track.

Random Thoughts
In an effort to stay engaged with my blog, updates, and what not, I have created a Twitter account. Not sure how I feel about it yet, but I'm going to give it a whirl. You can follow me directly by going here: or just pay attention to the widget I stuck on the right side of this blog --->

I know last year I had a good following on the blog. If you're still out there, let me know how you're doing. I really want to incorporate a lot of what I read on other blogs into my own ramblings. Would love to send some love back and highlight great posts.

Probably time for a blog look and feel overhaul. Any suggestions, let me know.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007 

The Poker Room - Jacksonville, Fl - Review

I've talked about The Poker Room here in Jacksonville, Fl quite a few times now. Admittedly, I have not played there much in the last 2 years for a variety of reasons. Small limits, lack of amenities, location, whatever. The truth of the matter is, I've been so engrossed with online play, I've not had a reason to extend from my comfort zone. You're only going to be so successful at an establishment who's betting limit is $2.

As of July 1st, all bets are off...or on, in this case.

I walked in there yesterday evening just before 6pm. It was a madhouse. With increased tournament buy-ins and No-Limit games spread all over the place, everyone had to check it out.

I'll get into more detail here in a minute, but let me just sum things up like this:

I sat down at a table where the stacks were glorious and the play was idiotic. These people still think they're playing $2 limit, and it's simply AMAZING! I could spend a lot of time elaborating on this point, but it's simple. This is Jacksonville's first introduction to No Limit, live action gaming. The southeast has been watching it on TV for years now and is just chomping at the bit to get in on the action.

In Detail...

It is ripe and just waiting to be plucked. People have wads of cash in their pocket and have no clue how to play no-limit hold-em. Men are bringing their wives and giving them hundreds of dollars just to sit and play with them. This is not a knock against women at all, but the reality is, this Poker Room is predominately male.

People are not afraid to get in a pot. A quick comparison. Just came back from Vegas and played several $2 no limit games. Raise a pot to $12, you either force people to fold, or get mixed up with a true hand. Here in Jacksonville, you raise to $15 and get 7 way action. This is almost every hand. Pure insanity.

If you ride out the donkeys, you're going to make money here if you have some level of skill. Practice patience and trust me, you can do well.

I'm going to predict that the newness factor will be strong over the next 90 days. I'm thinking it will die down some after that new car smell wears off. But as the dust settles, I think the potential for steady, quality games will rise to the top.

I'm also going to predict that once they establish their Jackpot structure later this month, the potential for a constant stream of cash will be knocking at their door from open till close.

And speaking of the Jackpot, I spoke with a few different sources yesterday at The Poker Room. They are stating they will be contributing to the pot from every cash game they offer, NL, Limit, Pineapple, Omaha, etc. They are forecasting jackpots in excess of $150,000. That could be a HUGE marketing factor for this room. Actually, if they spend the advertising dollars, it's going to be HUGE any way you look at it.

The room itself is large. With 40+ tables, they are spread out rather well. The tables have all been re-felted just within the past few weeks. The chairs are somewhat comfortable, but really do not compare to the seating in most Vegas card rooms.

The air conditioning is not working properly. One end of the room is rather cool, while the other side is virtually a sauna and quite uncomfortable. You know it's bad when the dealers brow drips sweat on to the table. Rather disgusting. Fix the air!

The big screen televisions are nice. However, they are only aligned on one wall making it extremely difficult to view when you are not specifically in optimal position. In the future, it would be nice to invest some money in LCD's which are placed strategically throughout the room to benefit all patrons. Set them up for 360 degree viewing.

Also, I realize this room is part of a simulcast dog track. As a result, virtually every TV is set to horses or dogs running in circles. Believe it or not, not all poker players bet the races. If anything, I would say the majority of clientèle to this establishment are there purely for the poker and care far more about sports. Put the damn ball games on! Let the bettors concentrate on 2 or 3 televisions only or send them up the the 4th floor and let them do their thing there. It is EXTREMELY frustrating when your in a pot with a guy that's screaming for his dog to come in ignoring his action.

This is my biggest issue with The Poker Room. Let me just first say that for the most part, the dealers are great. Most are friendly, courteous, and funny. Granted, there are others that literally seem to have a stick up their ass. My gripe here though is management, runners and concessions. Everyone in these roles just has such a piss poor attitude every time I'm in there, it really makes me wonder what's going on.

Let's start with the wait staff. These people must be grossly underpaid and or tipped. They are incredibly rude and make you feel like a huge burden every time you make a request. I also believe it is a staffing issue at a higher level. They are never adequately staffed which puts too much stress on any one wait person. This has been the case now for 3 years. I'm really perplexed how this continues to be an issue here. You're wait staff is your ambassador. If they're not kind and personable, they should not be in that role.

Chip runners are responsible obviously for running chips, but they also act as the brush and run the board for seating. This does not work. When you have a line 20 people deep waiting to put their name on a list and you're sitting there on the phone, we may have an issue. Get the right people at the right stations, and make this smooth. Having that many people waiting in a line just to put a name on a list is a little ridiculous.

As for management, I've never really had any personal issues with anyone. When I worked there, I actually was quite friendly with several members of management. However, as time has worn on at this establishment, it seems the more jaded the management team has become. This does not apply to all, but there are several individuals I'm thinking of that are just unkind, bitter people. Everyone is busy. I get that, but c'mon. You really should have people that are eager to engage their patrons and offer assistance. If you stop to ask a floor person a question, they literally treat you with little respect and poor manners. When you compare to most better class poker rooms in Vegas, California, and even Foxwoods in Ct.; they are severely lacking. Improve your customer service.

To be honest, there really are none. Drinks and food are table side, but not cheap. Alcohol is severely overpriced. Food tastes good, but again, mostly overpriced. I hate to keep comparing to other card rooms, but The Poker Room in Jacksonville has a lot of room for growth on this front. Treat your players right. Comps, player points, freerolls, whatever. Do SOMETHING.

In Summary
At the end of the day, The Poker Room in Jacksonville, Fl is the only game in town. With the increase in limits and better tournament buy-ins, the popularity will gain a lot of momentum in the coming weeks. Without competition, I fear the above issues of concern will never be truly addressed. However, I have heard through various grapevines that a new poker room may be in the works for next year more central to main-stay Jacksonville (current room is on the very outskirts of town and can be a bitch of a ride to get to).

Fix your staff and your amenities and I think you have every chance of being hugely successful for years to come.

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Monday, June 25, 2007 

Quite the weekend...

Didn't have any grand expectations this weekend, but did have a determination to make something happen. And happen they did... (how dramatic)

Here's how it went down.

Didn't play at all Friday night. Used Friday to unwind with my wife, relax, eat a nice dinner, see a movie. No poker on Friday's really seems to help my focus come Saturday. Got a good night sleep and tried to hit the ground running Saturday. Didn't quite work out that way. My total bankroll was all in play by 2pm Saturday afternoon and I came up with nothing. I was playing shitty and had nothing to show for it. Had to clear my head. Stepped away for a few hours.

It can be pretty eye opening to go through an entire budgeted bankroll and see that you have nothing to show for your many, many hours of effort. You can't necessarily pin point bad play. But you know that as you play with the last remaining funds in your roll, you are in essence playing differently. I hate that. I know better. Play the same, no matter what. I chose to reload my account. I put in $500 with the mindset that I just HAD to turn this into something.

With some money back in my account, I decided to hit a few 20 table SnG's. Things were going well as I played these so I decided to get a 3rd table running. Took a chance on the $100 Saturday deep stack at 7pm. My logic was, invest the $100 and know I'll have a chance to play a long tournament which provides me the opportunity to make my own success. Broke out a bottle of wine, got relaxed and played my A game. While I don't encourage anyone to get drunk while playing, a glass or two of wine can really relax the nerves. For what it's worth, I think it helped.

As I was playing the $100, I cashed in a few of my other smaller games which put me in a good place mentally. Took that momentum and applied it to the big one. 9 hours later, made a 3 way deal and walked away with over 4k.

I knew I was getting into a long tournament. But man, 4am was pretty rough. But obviously well worth it.

In hindsight, played a good game. Chipped up and didn't risk my stack unnecessarily. When the right situations presented themselves, I struck with authority. So, in some regards, I did play tight/aggressive. But later on, I did change that around and became far more aggressive as my stack grew. Once I picked up the momentum, I didn't look back.

Went to bed quite satisfied with my turn around.

Sunday comes awfully early. But I got up with a smile on my face. Spent some time in the kitchen baking of all things with my wife. Ran some errands. Was home by 2pm. At this point, knowing that Sunday's big tournament on Stars was a $1000 event, I didn't have any grand aspirations for playing it. However, I did decide to take a shot at a 1 table satellite for it. This table went so quick, I had to really ask myself if it happened. I took it down in less than 30 minutes. Was crazy. Everyone just kept pushing and I woke up with a few good hands that held up. I was now bought in for the $1000 at 4:30.

Things were working out well. Decided to relax and stay away from my computer until game time. Got my head straight and just enjoyed the day.

4:30 comes around and I'm feeling good. Confident. Focused. Things started out slowly but about 1 1/2 hours in, I started picking up decent hands. With these hands, I chipped up on a steady basis. Several hours in, I found myself with a healthy stack. Before I knew it, the money bubble approached. Knowing I was only in for $100, I did not stress. Bubble came and went and I was very happily in the money.

At this point, just became a feeding frenzy. Obviously many were content with the bottom payout. People pushing their stacks left and right. I took advantage of this and continued to build my stack. Quickly found myself 3 tiers into the money.

Things were looking great. Sitting there with the button and look down to see AA. With 100k in chips, this could really be a key hand. All fold to the cutoff who has about 60k in chips. He pushes all in. I re-raise to isolate. Just him and I in the hand. He shows 66. I'm feeling okay when I see this but you know that little feeling in the back of your head you get every damn time you enter this situation. Sure enough, flop comes KK6. No help on the flop or river. Crippling. Brought me down to around 39k in chips. Talk about deflating. Before I had any real time to evaluate the situation, next hand brings AK suited. I'm in the CO. Middle position table chip leader raises for 15k. All fold to me, I push. Just him and I. He shows QJ. I hit an A on the flop and double right back up to 80k. Next hand after that, AQ. I come in for a 15k raise and pick up the blinds. I'm sitting comfortable again at 105k.

Talk about a stressful little point of the game.

Things continued to go well. I soon found myself in the next money tier but was losing chips. Before long, i was short stacked again and needed to create a situation. I was down to 50k and decided in late position to be aggressive with an AQ. A fellow short stack in middle position pushed before I had the chance. He was in for 60k which obviously covered me. I went into my think tank. This guy was being overly aggressive. He had been racking up chips but got called down twice showing him in with mediocre hands. This push at this point looked like a tiltish play. I put him on a range from AJ to A9 with smaller pairs. I specifically remember telling myself here, that "I do not have to call". I should have listened to my inner gut. I called anyway thinking this was a good chance to chip up. He shows AK. And I'm out in 69th with $3200 more in my pocket.

The cashing part was great. But I would be lying if it wasn't bitter sweet. Seeing a 1st place payout of $350k and knowing I had a real shot...well, it can be eye opening. I made a mistake with the AQ but did believe I had the better hand at that point. Not going to beat myself up too much though. Overall, I played a good tournament and had a great weekend.

With that being said, the plan from here will be to do nothing stupid. Going to pick and chose a few decent tournaments this week and try to keep this momentum going.

Anyhoo...back to the real world.

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Friday, June 15, 2007 

New Florida Poker Laws

Being geographically stuck in Jacksonville, Fl; the exposure to "real" poker is extremely limited. Sure, you have home games, boats that take hours going out to sea and returning, and dog tracks that have a $2 limit on betting. Luckily, everything changes July 1st. (insert angelic choir singing here)

As of July 1st the following changes go into effect:

1. It allows no-limit poker with a max. buy-in of $100.00.
2. It allows Jack Pots and other give aways.
3. It raises the buy in amount for tournaments.
4. Here is a link to the law. Read it so you will know fact from rumor.

This law only addresses the pari-mutuels such as the Dog Tracks and Horse Tracks.

We're still a long ways off from true poker, but this is such a huge step in the right direction. I was speaking with some of the dealers at my local poker room/dog track, and as they understand it, they'll be running tournaments with buy-in's up to $800.

Long story short...I'm ecstatic about this. I heard about this a few weeks back but really didn't believe it. Special thanks to Bill-The Poker Guy for helping confirm. Real poker in Jacksonville, Fl? I think i'm still in shock.

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