Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How NOT to Play the Hammer

With the closure of FTP and PS to American customers I've seen a few new faces on my sometimes stomping grounds of World Poker Exchange, and boy are some of them donkified. To wit:

Donk limps for $2 in the $1-$2 game and I make it $8 on the button with K-Q. He calls and we see a flop of A-J-T. Donk checks and I bet $10. He calls. Turn is the Q, putting two clubs on the board. He checks, I bet $15 and he check raises to $51. I time out a bit for effect and call. The river is a blank 6 and donk shoves his remaining $71 into the pot and I, of course, instacall.

Yes, he turns over the 7-2 of hearts.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Opportunity Knocks

First, the good news. As I was posting yesterday I didn't realize some of my questions had already been answered. In case you are as oblivious as me, read this.

Also, there was a post on 2+2 from FTP Doug saying that points and medals may be converted to dollars for cashouts, but I cannot find that discussion again.

Great article on the current and potential future situation of online poker here.

So already some good news is coming out a week after the darkest day for online poker. I spoke to an old colleague via online chat today and he told me he just lost the chance at a six figure front office job with one of the online poker companies. Yet he added "but onwards and upwards. no sense crying over spilled milk."

His is certainly a refreshing positive attitude.

As we agreed later in the discussion, there will be new and different opportunities coming up. I got the nice email today learning that FTP will continue to sponsor this blog with its advertisements, while Party Poker purchased an ad on this site in its aggressive attempt to take some more of the market share.

Last year I teased about a major project I was working on with some established heavyweights in the casino guide industry. My trip to Vegas last summer was largely a scouting mission for that idea. Unfortunately, our plans fell through, but I'm considering renewing that website idea (or something very similar) especially in light of the events of April 15.

Yes, it's cliche, but when one door closes another one opens. While major live tournament attendance is likely to see a significant drop due to the shuttering of the two biggest online poker sites, I think we will likely witness a boost in attendance for both cash games and smaller tournaments at large gambling destinations like Las Vegas as online players are forced to play their trade in brick and mortar properties. This will open up new opportunities for those creative enough to seek them out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Fallout

I suppose it's time for me to ring in on this online poker blackout. I was late to the game because I had a blackout of my own -- a tornado narrowly missed my house on Friday afternoon and I was without power for a day and a half. My neighborhood got whacked, with trees busting through roofs and power lines downed everywhere. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt and we feel blessed to suffer only very minor damage to our house.

Perhaps we shouldn't be that surprised of the events of April 15th. Deep in our hearts didn't we know the day was eventually coming? Even if online poker was legalized in the U.S. you had to figure the Feds would shut down Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars for being "outlaws" during the existence of the UIGEA. I figured those two and pretty much all of the other online poker sites now serving American customers would never get licenses to offer games in this country.

I figure I am middle of the road in how this affects me. I only have about $1,400 tied up in financial limbo among FTP and PS at the moment, unlike those with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars that have disappeared into the ether. I am hopeful that we will all be compensated one day, but it's better to forget the money exists and be pleasantly surprised if we get that "windfall" in our bank accounts one day. Perhaps we will even be given the money for our tournament tokens and what nots, even if it's unlikely we ever see any value from the frequent player points we earned on the sites (about $300 worth for me.)

Most of all, I feel for my friends and colleagues who may now be out of jobs. I've had the fortune to meet a host of great people who made their living by writing for these sites, or writing for other websites and publications that feed heavily off online poker advertising revenues. Time will tell who survives and who doesn't. I must assume my great gig writing occasional articles for FTP's Poker from the Rail blog is now over. In addition, Battle of the Bloggers Tournament Vol. 6 was impending, with plenty of freebies in store from our good friends at FTP and thanks to the tireless work of Al Can't Hang. Now that's no more.

While this is truly a sad day for online poker and those of us who loved to play it (it was a great break for me during the day to hop on and play some quick HU SNGs on FTP in between writing stretches) this may finally be the stimulus that gets more people fighting for legalization and regulation. When, and not if, that day comes opportunities will abound for those of us who play online poker and write about online poker like never before. And April 15 will turn from a dark day to once that signaled a bright future.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Afternoon Poker

After having only played in underground poker games in Tuscaloosa a handful of times since John Harper's arrival I recently discovered that my old stomping grounds is running two games that start in the afternoon -- a $10-$20 LHE game with a (doubling) rock on Mondays around 4 p.m. and a $2-$5 NLHE game that usually starts before 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. These work out perfectly for me as I can go play for an hour or two and then head home and help Amy with JH and dinner.

So I believe in the last three weeks I've now played more poker in Tuscaloosa than I did the last 15 months combined. Granted we are talking less than 20 hours of poker, but I've won about $500 in these few afternoon sessions.

That doesn't compare to the haul in one hand I witnessed yesterday. I don't remember exactly how the action went initially, but on a flop of 8-T-J a tight nit pushed about $400 all-in over the top of a bet (or raise perhaps) of $100 by good player Rob. Skipper, a loose and unaggressive player flat calls and Rob calls. The turn brings another ten and Skipper calls a $200 all in from Rob. I was unsurprised to see the tight nit turn over Q-9 for the flopper nuts. Skipper did surprise me by revealing A-A. I was not surprised he could not fold the flop, but was surprised how much he slowplayed PF. Rob surprised me even more to show T-8, which I thought was a very loose call on the flop that got lucky on the turn. He nailed a nice four outer for a $1,700ish pot.

Not a bad score before dinner.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

It is Coming...

....what is it?

Here's a four-word clue: Al is the Man!