Monday, November 29, 2004

Quote from the clueless

The following is from a recent article looking at teens who play poker. While I love the game tremendously, I absolutely agree that the proliferation of the game is having a negative impact on many teenagers, probably leading them to a life of gambling that could cause them financial and emotional harm. You can now find poker games in the toy section of places like Wal-Mart. That's just scary.

Do take a close look at the last part of this guy's quote. Maybe we should ask folks like Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, or even your local or online pro if they agree.

"It's fun. It's exciting. It's glamorized on TV and in the media in a way that other addictions are not," said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. "There's the impression that through skill, you can beat the odds. But randomness is always going to have a bigger factor in determining the outcome than your skill. And unfortunately, that's not the message these kids get."

Some Daniel Negreanu news

Here's a tidbit on Daniel N. Judging from my poll results, he's a pretty popular guy...

Poker Champion Daniel Negreanu Joins Cast of Poker Updates Streaming TV Show

Celebrity poker player Daniel Negreanu has joined the cast of the streaming TV Show "Poker Updates," located at

Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) November 29, 2004 -- Poker Updates, the Internet's first and only magazine style streaming poker TV show, has added poker celebrity Daniel Negreanu to its cast. The announcement was made by Poker Updates executives earlier today.Negreanu, who is estimated to have won over three million dollars at the poker tables this year, will offer his tips to the poker world during Poker Updates broadcasts in a segment called "Daniel's Corner." The show can be seen in its entirety at"What makes Daniel's Corner unique is that Daniel will not be offering the typical how to play better poker information. Instead, he will be offering tips on how to lead a better poker lifestyle," said the show's producer Eric Rosenberg. Some of Negreanu's segments will include his insight on drinking while playing, maintaning a social life, and borrowing money.

About Daniel Negreanu -- Daniel is considered to be one of the top tournament and cash game players in the world. He has won more major tournaments than any other player in the circuit since 1997 with 25 first place finishes.

About Poker Updates -- Poker Updates is the Internet's first and only streaming poker TV show. Each episode takes you into the world of poker by diving into the most newsworthy and entertaining aspects of the game. The show is available online at The current episode has been the subject of several news articles due to the controversial feature story that deals with online poker and the law.Poker Updates can be seen in its entirety at For more information, contact Bob Van Court at (228) 365-7084 or by email at e-mail protected from spam bots.

Online experiment update

My how the time gets away. I just realized it has been two weeks since my last post. Sometimes the holidays and work (and winning wheelbarrows full of money on PokerStars) can prevent a man from putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as it were.

It's been a great month from a poker standpoint. The online game has kept me mostly at home on my Hold'em endeavors, with me preferring to click the mouse in my study instead of pushing chips to the center of the felt in a local cardroom. I don't have to put up with the smoke and I can play in my underwear if I want to. (I don't, by the way.) The one time I've been out this month, I played in a 30-man no limit tournament and won it. I can't argue with that rate of success.

Nor can I argue with my results on PokerStars. You may recall that after playing my first "week", or 40 hours of time, I was averaging a win of $32 an hour. After two "weeks", or 80 hours, my win rate is now $35.35 an hour. That's nearly 6 BB an hour in these $3/$6 shorthanded games. Is a win rate that great really possible over the long haul? Are most of the players on the site that bad that I can do so well? It boggles my mind.

This early success continues to give me great comfort on the possibility of taking the plunge off the cliff (i.e. leaving a guaranteed income, otherwise known as "the job" for a year) and hoping my parachute opens (i.e. getting a book deal). I've pondered other possibilities like going to grad school to get a masters in journalism or maybe marketing. If I could support myself playing poker the possibilities are endless. I do know that I couldn't sit in front of my computer for 40 hours or more a week just playing poker. It would drive my crazy, win or no win. I think ;)

Monday, November 15, 2004

The online experiment

If you surf the poker forums on the Internet, you'll read plenty of postings from so-called professional online players. I have no doubt that some truly make a living this way, while others have a brief good run and think they are suddenly the cream of the crop.

I decided to test my own skills at online live action recently. I've always played mostly tournaments on the 'net, only occasionally venturing into ring games. I would always rather play those types of games at the local cardroom or casino, prefering the company of real, live people rather than avatars on a computer screen. But I was curious how well I could do if I kept track of my time and profit. If I do decide to take a year off from work on a book writing expedition around the country, I figure that being able to win consistently at the online game could finance my trips and would help pass the time when I am not traveling or need a break from writing.

So I loaded up my account on Poker Stars and decided on the $3-$6 shorthanded tables (six players maximum.) I chose this limit because with a shorthanded game, the swings can be great and I want to stay comfortable within the bankroll I set out with. Also, I believe the limit is a happy medium for me because the lower the limit, the worse the play, but also the less one can profit per hour. The higher the limit, the more one can potentially make, but the better the overall play. I also prefer shorthanded play because I've had lots of practice at it whereas I believe many players only know how to accurately play in a full ring game. I used to play lots of heads up tournaments at Ultimate Bet, with a 62 percent win rate.

So far, my experiment has been a resounding success. Every time I play I log the time in, time out, session profit and cumulative profit. So I keep my stats up to the minute. Last week I completed my first 40 hours of play (after about a month at it) and I averaged $32 and change an hour profit. The first "week" of ring game play exceeded my wildest expectations, but I realize these are short-term results. The second week has started out with a bang. After about 45 hours of total play, my win rate is now $38 an hour. We will see where that per hour profit stands after several "weeks" of play.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Words from Jennifer Harman

I was able to chat online with Jennifer Harman briefly Friday night while playing the Bustout Bounty Bonanza (or whatever they call the thing) on Full Tilt.

Myself and others were asking her about the game with Andy Beal. If you are not aware of the story, a group of pros, apparently headed by Doyle Brunson, regularly play a Texas billionaire named Andy Beal at the Bellagio. The game is heads up limit hold-em, with the pros taking turns facing Beal. The stakes are high -- I believe around $25-$50K or $30-$60K, or more in one hand than I would make in several years working in the newspaper biz. The plot thickened when Beal called out the pros in Card Player, bragging that he has done well against them and wanting to up the ante. He also wants to play the next game in Dallas. Brusnon responded in kind in a letter published in Card Player laying out the terms of his group, "The Corporation."

Harman was asked about that game. Her response, "I would like to play him if we can reach an agreement."

You may recall from a World Poker Tour telecast that Harman won what is believed to be the largest poker pot ever -- $1.2 million -- in a game last year. I'm guessing it was against Beal.

I asked her if she thinks Beal will agree to Brunson's terms. Her reply was, "Don't know Tuscaloosa. It's possible."

As for the prospect of playing the game in Dallas, Harman said, "I don't care if we play in Dallas."

Hardly groundbreaking information, but it indicates that the game will likely go on at some point.

I also asked her a quick tournament question. Here's the Q & A:

Q. What would you say is the greatest mistake that novice tournament players make?

A. Not enough patience. Also a novice player may move in when he doesn't need to risk it all.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Foxwoods Day 3

Sorry for the slow post, finally getting something up here on Election Day, two days late. I was in a bit of a bad mood Sunday night because I got reamed at the poker table earlier in the day.

The $500 NL tournament had about 820 players participating, more than 300 more than the limit tournament on Saturday. I immediately got a few good hands, raised pre-flop and took the blinds. The first hand I got action I had to lay down. I raised pre-flop with AK, got three callers and the flop was A-3-5. It was checked to me, I bet the pot of $200 and was check-raised by the BB for $400 more. I pondered this one for awhile. I figured he had to put me on AK and thus must have flopped a set. A year ago I wouldn't have hesitated going all-in, but I folded this hand. Apparently, I was just playing too scared. The player revealed later he also had AK.

Our table broke early and I was moved to Table 8 Seat 5, the same place I sat for the duration of Saturday's tourney. I got QQ and raised it 3x the BB and got only one caller, a kid with a Michigan State cap in the SB who had plenty of chips and a figidity personality. He would play with his chips, pull off his cap and rub his head, etc. The kid could use some prozac.

I knew the kid played pretty lose so I was scared to death when the flop came A-rag-rag. Nonetheless, I bet the pot and he called. We checked the turn and he bet the river. I mucked. I knew he flopped the ace with what was undoubtedly some crap like A-6.

I couldn't catch a break in this tournament, finally raising all-in with 99 for about $500 with the blinds at $75-$150 and having a guy go all-in over the top of me.

"Oops," I said after all folded and we turned over our cards. He had KK and was out about 570th.

It got worse. After putting my name on the lists in the poker room I drove around the area, eventually ending my route at Long Island Sound at Westerly, R.I. Two hours later I come back and a new $20-$40 Hold'em table has opened so I give it a shot. I quickly learned that these guys are better than the $5-$10 players back home. "Tuscaloosa" Johnny indeed. I caught flush draws and no flushes. AK vs. QQ with a K-Q-rag board. Any other hand you can think of got me deeper in trouble. I dropped $700 quicker than you can say "Go, fish."

Overall, my play on the trip was OK. I won 1 of 3 satellites, just missed the money in a big tournament and then got smoked on Sunday in live and tournament play. The next big one for me is on my home turf in Tunica in January. Maybe I will fare better there.