Sunday, January 01, 2006

Time's Up, and Empire Sucks

As far as I'm concerned, Empire Poker can just go ahead and go broke. I was looking forward to playing their New Year's bonus. But then when I logged on, I found that they had credited my account with an unwanted $10 bonus that took 300 hands to clear. I would have to finish clearing that $10 bonus before I could start clearing the $100 bonus, which takes 1,000 hands.

What's worse, this $10 bonus was deposited into my account at 6 a.m. this morning! Empire Poker is being desceptive by putting unsolicited bonus money into its customers' accounts. Empire is hoping that some players won't notice the $10 bonus until it's too late, and then they'll decide to play at Empire for longer than they bargained for. Screw Empire! I'm not going to do either of these bonuses now. Besides being shady, the bonuses aren't really worth my time.

Other players also got the same treatment from Empire, according to this 2+2 thread.

Empire has gone to shit. They had some of the worst customer service long before the split with Party Poker (remember the $500 bonus promotion they took back?). Since the split, the games have gotten a tighter as some players who are too lazy to find rakeback deals elsewhere fight for the table scraps left behind. No thank you. I know Daniel wasn't going to be able to do the bonus anyway because Empire wouldn't respond to his e-mails asking for new login information.

Weren't they supposed to be bought out by either Noble Poker or Party? They should get on with it.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year!

2005 was very successful, and I can only hope that I'll continue to improve my game and make more money in 2006. The year started with me playing poker in my Santiago, Chile apartment. I went on a $1,200 downturn to shrink my bankroll to $800. Then I fought back over the next few weeks at safe $25 buy-in no limit games on Full Tilt, which was a test in patience. Fortunately, it didn't take too long for the bankroll to return to and exceed its previous levels.

I played $3/$6 limit for a couple of months and then tried $5/$10 6-max games. I made a couple of hundred at those shorthanded games, but I decided that $100 buy-in no limit and $3/$6 full ring limit were safer bets.

My bankroll continued to climb. A month or two after moving back to Atlanta in July, I made $5/$10 full ring limit my main game. Then I went on the longest sustained run of my poker career, logging win rates of about 3 BB/100 hands for a couple of months. I moved up to $15/$30 full ring to take a shot at bigger wins, and I did record several big winning sessions of as much as $2,000 in a night. My profits passed $20,000 for the first time.

Then I starting losing. I got a cold Thanksgiving week. The bad beats kept coming, and I thought I was going to scream if another 2-outer hit on the river. I stepped down in limits after a few days, and my bankroll was saved from disaster.

The losing streak didn't end though. I ran card dry, and then I got robbed at my weekly home game. In all, the losing streak cost me about $6,000.

December allowed me to recuperate about $2,000 of that amount to bring my total poker profits to $16,300 -- $14,300 in 2005 and $2,000 in 2004. Because I've been living off my bankroll since April, it has shrunk in size to about $4,000.

It's funny to me that my bankroll has stayed pretty much constant since I moved from Atlanta to Chile and back. I left for Santiago with $4,500 in savings. I had about the same amount when I started spending my bankroll in April. I had the same amount when I came home in July. Now I'm pretty close to the same number as I move to Hawaii on Tuesday. I can't wait to start rebuilding my bankroll!

So yeah, it's been a good year. Even though it could have been better if not for that downswing over Thanksgiving, I can't really complain about success I've had despite those difficulties.

The moral of 2005 is bankroll. Build it, keep track of it and move up in limits as quickly as reasonable and as long as you have the cash to back up the limits you're playing at. I wish I could be playing bigger games right now, but I just don't have the bankroll for them. If you can at all avoid spending money out of your bankroll, you should. Just treat the money as an investment that needs to be grown. It takes money to make money.

I'll be playing $3/$6 and $5/$10 shorthanded limit games to start 2006, as well as a healthy dose of $100 buy-in no limit to pass the time and work off the bonuses. I'll be back at $15/$30 in no time!

Good luck in the New Year!

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