Sunday, April 30, 2006


My last post kind of sucked. I didn't put enough thought into it, and my calculations were all based on estimates. So take it with a grain of salt. Thanks to Dave and Wes for pointing out some of the flaws in my reasoning.

I'm glad I wrote the post anyway. This blog is all about spouting off in hopes that we'll get better at poker.

I've been thinking that perhaps one of the problems with my flawed April was that I didn't come in with a plan. In previous months, I experimented with shorthanded play, then multi-tabled 1/2 no limit and later moved up to the 10/20 and 15/30 limit games. Then in April, I started losing at 15/30, then at 10/20. I wanted to play well at those limits, but I was shot down. No excuses, no reasons.

As much as I hate to admit it, rakeback and bonuses still account for almost all of my profits. I can consistently kill the lower limits, but I'm a break-even player at 10/20 and a losing player at 15/30 (although in a pretty small sample size). I hope someday I will be able to beat these games without having to rely on rakeback to make up for my losses.

What's frustrating is that I don't know what I'm doing wrong at these limits. I feel good about my game and my reads. So I'll just keep studying and improving.

In the meantime, I have come up with a plan for May that will almost definitely result in lots of profits.

That plan is to bonus whore to the fullest. I plan on hitting up many of the B2B sites. See Sound of a Suckout for more information about their bonuses. I'll play the usual blackjack bonuses, although the only good monthly ones left are at Intercasino, Littlewoods and William Hill. Many of the other blackjack bonuses have shrunk to $25 or less.

I also need to sign up at Titan and Noble, where I have never played. I recently cleared the $250 sign-up bonus at BetFred, which runs on the same software as the aforementioned sites. Then I might create an account at Bodog and others. And I never did finish the juicy and easy-to-clear IGM-Pay bonuses at Starluck, Planetluck and Aceclub casinos.

There's still plenty of free money floating around out there, and I plan on grabbing it.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Which is more profitable for the same money investment: limit or no limit hold em?

Winrates for a good limit player are estimated at about 2 big bets/hr. That's the goal that you're supposed to be shooting for.

In a 5/10 game with a standard $250 buy-in, you would hope to average $20/hr. In a 10/20 game, your goal is $40/hr.

Winrates for no limit games are difficult to compare, in large part because there is no standard big bet. The nature of no limit is that you can bet as much as you want at any time.

No limit is such a different game that it's probably not even a fair comparison. But I'm going to try anyway.

Based on my PokerTracker stats and estimates from several Web sites, a good no limit winrate is probably somewhere between 4 and 7 BB/hr. You might be able to do better than that in the microlimit games, but it's unlikely that tougher games are much more winable than that over the long run.


To make $20/hr in a no limit game, you would need to play at least 2/4 with a $400 maximum buy-in. That's more capital needed than in a 5/10 limit game with a $250 standard buy-in. To make $40/hr in a no limit game, you would need to play games between 3/6 and 5/10, with maximum buy-ins ranging from $600 to $1,000, compared to the $500 standard buy-in at 10/20 limit.

This is by no means conclusive, but it seems to me that limit shows more potential to make money than no limit based on a similar investment.

One thing I hear no limit players frequently say is that limit poker is a grind because if you play one hand per hour incorrectly, there goes your winrate.

That's not necessarily true for several reasons, the chief one being that you're losing fractions of a big bet per hour for incorrect play because sometimes you will win. Playing bad poker is detrimental in the long run, but any one poor play is a small percentage of the total number of checks, bets, raises, folds and calls that you make.

Winrates are averages over the long term. Trying to steal with 72o isn't a good play, but it won't ruin your entire game.

In no limit, playing bad hands can be just as harmful. Sure, sometimes you'll hit huge with your 32 suited and double up. But there will be other times when someone has a hidden set, rivers a higher two pair or makes a bigger flush. And then you'll lose a lot and wonder why you even played those crappy cards.

Don't think that fooling around in no limit is any less damaging than in limit.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Why wait till the turn to raise? Why not just pop it on the flop?

More and more, I'm thinking that putting in a raise on the flop in limit hold 'em is correct much more often than on the turn.

The conventional wisdom is that the primary reason to wait until the turn for a raise is if you have a strong hand that needs to be protected in a large pot. And I agree with that.

The problem is that sometimes the turn will bring a scare card, and sometimes you'll lose value by scaring out too many customers with a raise on the turn, whereas a raise on the flop would have committed them to the pot.

More often, I see raises on the turn in heads-up battles. The action goes like this:

I'm in the small blind and raise with A9o, the big blind calls. Flop comes rags, I bet, he calls. Turn brings a rag, I bet, he raises, I fold. Cost to me: 2.5 BB.

But if my opponent had raised on the flop and I had called, then folded the turn, the cost to me would have been 2 BB.

I don't know how to really reconcile the difference in cost in heads-up battles. The only thing I can figure is that a raise on the flop is ideal if your opponent has some sort of hand, because that often commits them to a showdown. A raise on the turn is better as a bluff against a player capable of folding who may have nothing, or when you suspect he might call you down anyway.

Eh. It's hard to make generalities about this kind of thing. It's all so situational. I should probably try to raise on the turn more often as a bluff, especially in heads-up situations.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blogroll Updated

I've updated my blogroll to highlight some of my new favorite blogs. Some of them have been around for a while, some are newer, but they're all good. Here's a list. Check them out.

_Biggestron Writes Poker
_Just A Small Pair
_Missives from a Degenerate Underachiever
_Poker Poison
_Poker with WillWonka
_Up For Poker
_ZAPLAB's Another Poker/Life/Anything Blog

The only poker I played today was the $8K guaranteed $26 buy-in tournament on Full Tilt. I finished in 20th for a payout of about $57, which is OK, I guess, but I really play these things for a shot at the bigger money.

Fortunately, a good player did make the bigger money! Joe Speaker came in fourth place for a $1,000-plus award. He played really well. The biggest hand he had was when his stack was big enough to limp with 88, and he busted two players after flopping a set. It was ugly.

My tournament wasn't very interesting. I had just about an average stack the whole time, but I was surrounded by deep stacks most of the tournament. That made it harder to steal, which put a serious damper on my game. Then I didn't get any calls when I did finally get dealt some premium hands. Eventually, I had to push with QTs from late position, and I got called by KJo. I got no help.

I ordered four poker books today: Harrington Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (I never finished reading these), "Weighing the Odds In Hold'em Poker" by King Yao and "How Good is Your Limit Hold'em" by Byron Jacobs and Jim Brier. I don't plan on reading these books all at once, but I will probably get through them pretty quickly.

I haven't read a good poker book in a while. Now that I think about it, I haven't read a poker book yet this year. Good thing these are on the way.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Play good poker

I just folded Kings preflop.

I don't know if I've ever done that before. I raised preflop to $3 from early position in this .5/1 NL game, and then a MP player reraised to $13. I made it $30, and he pushed for $150. I had him covered.

It felt good to make that laydown. Maybe I was wrong to do so. But it felt very right. And I would only make that move if I felt like I was playing well.

So I saved my stack for another time, while proceeding to kick ass at the other no limit tables. After making some money there, I opened up two very fishy $10/$20 shorthanded limit tables. I know I've railed about shorthanded play before, but these tables looked just about perfect, and I was playing better than I had been in days.

I got sucked out on a few times at those tables, but I lost the minimum and won the maximum each hand. And I even came out ahead, despite the ugly rivers! How often does that happen in a limit game? Usually the terrible beats negate the profit, but not when you're making perfect reads (one of my favorite opponents showed his hand every time).

I don't know what it is, but poker is starting to make me more superstitious after a long period of forcing me to look at everything from a pure expected value standpoint.

Specifically, it seems like attitude and mindset make a difference that I can't measure by going through hand histories. I'm speaking literally -- when I go through hand histories, it's hard for me to pinpoint where exactly I went wrong on many hands. That isn't to say I didn't go wrong. What I'm trying to convey is that I find even my bad moves are somewhat defensible when given the read on my opponent, the table texture, the range of available hands, etc.

And when I feel like I'm on my game, I don't think I'm using math or taking notes any better than I normally do. It isn't that I want to win any more or less than normal.

It's just that I feel like I can make decisions based on all the details, including the ones that I may not directly realize.

Maybe there's something to be said for intuition when you have some evidence that you're on your game. My only fear is that I would start to use intuition as a justification for suspect plays.

I don't think I will do that, though. That's Level 0 thinking.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Full Tilt Tourney

I finished 39th out of 892 entrants in the $17,000 guaranteed tournament yesterday! The payout was only $64 on a $26 buy-in, but I was glad to do well.

I'm trying to donk up my tournament play a little bit so that I can give myself more of a chance to get lucky without having to risk too many chips. The way I've been doing that is by bluffing more against stacks that may be reluctant to commit, and by raising and re-raising more hands preflop if I know that my opponents aren't at a point where they feel like they have to push in on the flop if they miss.

These strategies helped, but they didn't help nearly as much as getting lucky.

I made small steals early and had about an average stack when the seventh blind level (60/120) came up. I made a standard (steal) raise from one off the button with J7o. Yes, it's a very bad hand. But I wanted those blinds. I never intended to see a flop.

The flop came 7 high, and I bet and was called. I caught a Jack on the turn for two pair, I pushed and was called by a pair of 6s. I don't know what he was thinking, but he got really pissed off and rooted against me for the rest of the tourney. He wasn't the first player who I made mad.

The biggest hand of the tournament came not long afterward, at the 200/400/50 blind level when I had 4,005 chips. My M was 4, putting me on the edge of the move-in zone. An early position player raised to 3X the blinds, and I decided to push with QTo. The button called, and the original raiser called.

Pokernerd turned over AKs, and the button turned over TT. So at least I had one live card! It didn't matter though -- I turned an Ace-high straight, and I tripled up to put me at No. 5 on the leaderboard. The button went out shortly afterward and couldn't stop talking about my play.

"Why would you push there? What were you thinking, you idiot?" he said.

"I knew you would lose most of your chips, so I figured I was getting odds to push," I said.

I kept stacking up until the bubble came along. I wanted to make some moves.

Unfortunately, I lost three hands and cut my stack size from 29,400 to about 15,000. On one hand, there was four to a flush on the board, and I couldn't call. Another time, I had top pair Jacks with a Ten kicker, and I didn't want to call a big bet. The final hand, I tried to steal with 76s and followed through on the flop. A calling station stayed with me, and he took down the pot after checking the turn and river with Jack high.

Then I skated on for a while before I got deep into the move-in zone. I pushed with A9 and was called by AA, and it was all over.

Tournaments are a lottery where you can improve your chances by playing well, but you really need to get lucky to have a shot at winning.

I plan on making a final table pretty soon.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A brief guide to 10 tabling

Online poker is rigged. Why would anyone vote for Phil over Bill?


This experiment of playing 10 tables at a time of .10/.25 no limit is a lot of fun. I'm playing all my normal games as well, but these no limit games provide easy money without much effort.

I play a simple, straightforward strategy in these games. Because the action moves quickly, I make decisions quickly. While I may not make the very best decisions that I could make because I have to move quickly, I mostly rely on my opponents to make bad decisions in order for me to make money.

I've played two hours a day of NL25 for the last three days, and I'm still averaging more than $50 an hour. That's not bad, especially considering that it's a nearly no-risk proposition. I'm not going to have many losing days at this level, and when I do, the losses will be minimal. I'm getting in so many hands and playing against so many bad players that it's unlikely any five or 10 bad beats will hurt me much compared to the number of hands that pay off against these fish.

Here's what I do:

_Pot bomb. If I have top pair or better, I will usually bet the pot on the flop. If I get it heads-up to fourth street, I'll usually fire a half-pot bet or pot bet, depending on the strength of my hand. If I'm raised or am cold called by an otherwise aggressive player, sometimes I will simply check-fold. Which brings me to my next point.

_Fold to almost any aggression unless I hold a strong hand. While it's difficult to put bad players on a specific hand, they usually bet in proportion to how good they think their hands are. It's easy and economical to simply fold rather than try to outplay bad players who are trying to send you a message with their big bets. Getting bluffed out simply isn't a big worry.

_Often check-raise top pair hands from early position. If you like your kicker and are up against one or two opponents, bet it out.

_Bet out any hand two pair or better. Bet out big draws.

_Bet in integer amounts. It's much faster than trying to type in cents, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

_Don't worry about how hands turn out. Just move on to the next table.

_Don't bluff except on continuation bets on the flop, or when you have outs and are in position. Bluffing is a terrible idea against calling stations. Don't do it.

_Complete liberally from the small blind.

_Limp with any pocket pair. Only call a normal raise preflop if at least one other player is also in the hand.

As much fun as it is to bang my head against the limit wall, a balanced approach will pad my bankroll.

It's like investing. I want to have a diversified portfolio. Today I played NL 1/2, NL25, 5/10 limit and 10/20 limit. I didn't win in all of those games, but I came out $200 ahead because I won in some of them. Sure, it's not a big score on a one-day basis. But it's a great score if it's consistently repeatable by always playing games that I have an excellent chance of coming out ahead in.

Up tomorrow: back to the blackjack bonuses.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sometimes you just want to win


Kuro was joking with me today, saying I was like a George Costanza of poker. Like a guy who would congratulate himself for winning in the Special Olympics, I feel great about killing the $25 buy-in no limit games. Fine with me!

It would be pretty funny if I found that .10/.25 NL were my most profitable game after playing many other limits. It's just such a beatable game! In no other ring game have I found so many people willing to give away their stacks.

Sure, .5/1 and 1/2 aren't that tough either. But those games aren't like this. These toasters really suck.

It's irrational for me to believe that I can make good money every day, even at low-limit no limit. But it sure would be fun if I could. Instead of Poker Champ, I could be Low Limit Champ.

One thing's for sure -- it's great to have a game to go to when you just want to kick everyone's ass, even if it's not for a lot of money.

Better content to come. Many of you have seen "The Ultimate Showdown," but if not check it out.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Too Many Tables!

I decided to try something new: 11 tabling.

It's a little crazy.

The tables and cards just keep coming -- it's hard to keep up. I decided that if I'm going to 11 table, I should do so at one of the easiest games on the Internet: .10/.25 no limit hold em.

So I have 10 NL tables up at Party Poker, and one 5/10 limit game up at Full Tilt.

These $25 buy-in NL games on Party are just as I remember them. Soft. Like as soft as a large, low buy-in tournament soft.

The whole purpose of this crazy multitabling is to clear a $75 Party Poker bonus they gave me to celebrate their conquest of PokerNow. Others have received similar bonuses if they transfer their balances at Intertops or Multipoker to Party. And of course, Party also ate Empire Poker a little while ago.

It's kind of interesting from an industry perspective. Party Poker succeeded in licensing its software to five other poker sites, and then decided last fall to sever ties with them, effectively snatching away the largest player base on the Internet. The other sites lost value, and Party was there to buy them up. Eurobet was the only former site in the network to escape Party's clutches, instead teaming up with PokerRoom.

So anyways, this $75 bonus is almost cleared. I needed to play 750 hands, and I have about 150 left. All these games makes it really go by fast!

And as always, NL25 has done me right. I've tripled up on three tables in the last hour. I wonder how profitable it would be for me to just play easy NL games all the time? It would be very consistent money, at least, which is more than I can say for the mid limits.

I might seriously consider that. Sure it's unambitious play for small wins. But my winrate must be awesome.

OK, the tables keep beeping at me, so that means I gotta run ...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

White Noise

At first this was going to be a whiny bad beat post, then I wanted to write a poker-is-fun post, but now I've settled on a compromise: the rambling post.

Thanks to Easycure for organizing the Hammer Out Cancer WPBT event, and thanks to everyone else for playing in it. The tourney was a lot of fun, although I busted pretty early on. Congrats to Frankl for taking down first place.

My April results are pretty well screwed. I started the month having dropped down from 15/30 limit hold 'em, but the beats kept coming at 10/20, 5/10 and 1/2 NL.

Thankfully, I've been careful with my bankroll, so the hits haven't been too bad. But it sucks to lose.

Is something wrong with my game? Who knows. I would like to chalk my losses up to variance, but that's kind of the easy way out. What bothers me is that I know what I'm doing, I know the odds, I know how to apply my knowledge, and I do so correctly most of the time. The trouble is that I am having a hard time getting a grasp on what I don't know. I suppose that comes in time.

I should buy a poker book just to keep the synapses firing.

I wish I had something insightful to say, but sometimes there's just nothing. The cards fall as they may, the suckouts happen, and in the end, everything regresses to the mean.

I'll keep trying to make those cards pay off, but doing my best sometimes can't overcome bad luck, tricky plays, hidden sets or tilt.

In the meantime, I'm taking it easy. I plan to spend the rest of the month playing $26 multi-table tourneys on Full Tilt. I kind of suck at tourneys, but this will be good practice at minimal expense with the possibility of a decent payoff. I'll also clear some bonuses and continue playing 5/10 and 10/20 limit games if they look good.

I wonder if maybe I need a new plan. January was all 5/10 shorthanded, February was 1/2 NL, March was 10/20 and 15/30. April is just a mishmash of crap.

Eh. Focus will return soon.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Taxman Cometh

I did my federal and state income taxes last night, and they weren't nearly as bad as I expected.

Because I spent half of last year in Chile, and the other half I was unemployed in Atlanta, poker winnings were my only source of income.

The IRS has some arcane rules about taxes on gambling winnings. You can't simply report your net winnings; you have to add up all your winning sessions and report it as income, then you need to go line-by-line on your losing sessions and list them as itemized deductions.

I put my total winnings on line 21 of the 1040, and then I listed each losing session as a deduction on Schedule A.

This was pretty easy to do because the poker spreadsheet I use has a tab that breaks down poker winnings and losses on a day-by-day basis. I copied that tab and sorted wins from losses. Then I copied the losses to another spreadsheet, ordered them by date and printed out that page as my line-by-line account of my itemized deductions.

A link to the bankroll spreadsheet I use is on the right-hand column of this page.

Here are the totals for 2005:
_Net winnings: $14,752
_Gross winnings: $42,065
_Losses: $27,313
_Winning sessions: 155 (57 percent)
_Losing sessions: 117 (43 percent)
_Federal income tax due: $1,371
_State income tax due: $182
_Total taxes paid: $1,553 (10.5 percent of winnings)

The reason my income taxes weren't higher is because I didn't have any other income, and therefore I fell in the lowest tax bracket.

I recommend that anyone who's reading this report their poker earnings on their taxes, even if you think you won't get caught. I've never been audited, but I've heard it can get pretty ugly.

The feds haven't cracked down on poker tax reporting yet, but it would make sense for them to do so any time now. With millions of people playing poker, that's a lot of income that the government wants to get its hands on.

Like it or not, paying taxes is a requirement. Evade them at your own risk.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I win!

Stop the presses! I had my first winning day of the month!

I finished up $101 on the $40 monthly William Hill bonus, plus I had $286 in rake returned to me from WPEX.

Of course, I haven't played for about four days out of the first 11, so I've really only lost seven days out of April. Whatever. I just want to slow down a little bit. I can't be obsessive about reaching bankroll goals all the time.

Kuro helped me work through a significant psychological difficulty I had to my game with his post above and through talking with him about it.

My problem is that I rely too much on data tracking software, which helps a lot, but it makes me lazy about the rest of my game. In fact, it makes me distrust my own instincts because I find that the data is so much more accurate.

But it doesn't have to be like that. The two can work together.

So I think my new resolution will be to increase my note-taking by a whole lot. The object is to increase the attention I pay to the game that surrounds me when I'm sitting at the table, and not necessarily just the hands that I'm involved in. If I take more notes, I'll be gathering a lot of information that PokerTracker doesn't see, and I'll also help my observational and hand-reading abilities.

That is, when I get back to the poker tables. I might just work off some blackjack bonuses and low-limit poker bonuses for a few days.

Separately, this time next month, my cat, Poncey, will move from my parents' house in Atlanta to my apartment in Honolulu! It will be great to have my kitty poker R2 unit back by my side, although I know he'll just make me play a lot of poker.

That's OK -- I miss him. Although I bet he'll miss my parents more once he realizes he's switching from a full house to a small apartment with a dude who leaves for work every day.

Tough shit, cat.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

WPEX Update

WPEX credited the rakeback to its customers accounts by noon Eastern time on Tueday.

I received about $280, which is a really nice boost.

Despite the temporary problems with the site, I encourage more people to play there. It's good for everyone to save money and pay less to play poker on the Internet.

In this case, you're paying nothing, which is as good as it gets.

WPEX Impressions

While the promise of a rakefree poker site is difficult to refuse, the World Poker Exchange isn't quite there yet.

They started their 100 percent rakeback program last Monday, and said that the first payments would be made yesterday. That didn't happen, as they cited technical difficulties.

Now, I don't think WPEX is ripping poker players off. This site is primarily a sportsbook, and it seems to handle that part of its operation reasonably well. And the whole point of this rakefree promotion is to try to lure poker players to the sportsbook in hopes that they will place additional bets there.

But it seems really slimy for them to make this deal, and then not be able to implement it when they said they would. It's dishonest to tell people they will get their money on Monday, and then later tell them they'll have to wait another week.

Hopefully, this will all be worked out soon.

It's disappointing that poker sites treat their customers so terribly. Customer service is a joke. It isn't just Party Poker; it's the entire industry. From PokerStars to Full Tilt to Ultimate Bet to Pacific Poker. Sure, some are better than others. But they all have serious problems when it comes to responding to customer complaints, managing relationships with affiliates, handling rakeback deals, offering attractive promotions, maintaining their software and investigating cheating accusations.

It's pathetic. The industry is a mess, and there's little or no accountability.

That's why this rakefree deal got me so excited. It has the potential to really shake things up and drive down rakes at other sites as well. It shows that rakes are inflated, and that poker players don't need to take it.

Apparently, these things take time. I hope WPEX gets its act together.

Game play at the site is OK. It seems like the games are tougher than I'm used to, but there are still quite a few players that love to call with gutshot draws or cold call three bets preflop with medium pocket pairs. There aren't as many of those kinds of players as at other sites, but they're still around.

Also, data collection software doesn't work automatically on WPEX, at least not yet.

One guy has put together this kick-ass app that converts WPEX's e-mailed hand histories to a format that PokerTracker can read.

I plan on using it in real-time when I play there again, which won't be until they give me my rakeback as promised. The way I'll use it is to request that they e-mail hand histories to me once every half hour (100 is the max you can request), then convert them into PokerTracker as I'm playing. From there, I'll manually copy the player's playing tendency into their on-screen notes.

I only have a small sample of data so far, but my impression is that the games are not great, but they're probably good enough to play in if I put forth a little effort toward game selection. I would hope that I could at least break even before receiving rakeback even in a tough game.

We'll have to see. I hope the site grows to the point where play there is a little bit easier and it's more reputable.

For what it's worth, I haven't observed any evidence of bots in the limit games I have frequented. All I've seen is a few too many rocks.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bad Beats

I opened up my car door at 1 a.m. to find papers strewn across the seats, my glove compartment ransacked, my change drawer emptied.

I'd been robbed. Again.

And for what? These assholes can't take anything from me. This time, the only thing they got away with was my portable tape recorder, which was a replacement for the original one that I bought with $60 I won playing Acey-Duecy in college almost a decade ago.

They didn't get a CD player, because I didn't have one installed. They didn't steal the car. They didn't get any money. They didn't damage anything. These bitches didn't do anything to me, except piss me off.

That's fine. This robbery is comical at best. They didn't get jack shit from me.

It helps put things in perspective. None of these assholes can get anything from me.

I haven't had a winning day at the poker tables this month. Not one stinking day. But so what? My bankroll is still in good shape, and I stepped way down in limits before this month started. So take that, bitches. You can put me on a losing streak, but you can't really harm me. This money is all winnings anyway.

I played poker with some friends tonight, which is where I was when my car got broken into. I dominated the table in a fun home tourney, but I lost it all on three of the final hands when I failed to hit coin flips.

Big freakin' deal. So I lose out on the $40 pot, which I don't need anyway and will make this girl much happier than it would have made me. So I lose some coin flips. So I decide that I'd rather take some chances than eventually grind out the victory over the next 30 minutes to an hour.

I might be kind of tilty, and I might not be playing my best game in general.

But the point is that these beats can't touch me. Even if I lost all ability to play poker, I would cash out my accounts long before I lost all my money.

Shit happens. I can deal with it just fine.

Friday, April 07, 2006



I didn't hear about this until today, but apparently this offer started Monday.

This is big news. Rakefree is something that poker players have dreamed of since online poker was born.

Do you have any idea how much money you pay every month in rake? I often top $2,000 a month in rake. That's a LOT of money that I could be getting back.

I've downloaded the WSEX software, and I'll begin playing on it tonight. I'll report back on how it goes.

A couple of notes just based on what I've seen so far:

_There aren't many players or games, but I'm sure that will change once word of this deal gets around. Right now, at 5:15 p.m. Eastern, there are 1,160 players.

_WSEX doesn't work with PokerTracker yet, but I know several people are working to fix that issue.

_WSEX still collects rake as you play, but then the site refunds that amount to your account at the end of the week.

A site that offers rakefree poker definitely deserves a good, hard look. We're talking about added profits of 1.5 BB/100 or more.

I think I could just grind and play thoughtless, simple poker, and still make a great earn when I'm getting so much money back.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Good Times

Today was great. The only downside is that I forgot to bring my camera!

I left this morning on a tour of farms around the island for an article I'm working on. I started out at the Dole Plantation, then saw a boutique farm in the mountains. On the way to a fish farm, we picked up a nice (and pretty) hitchhiker who needed a ride for about a mile.

The pineapple plants in the shadow of the towering mossy mountains were beautiful. Even when it started drizzling, it seemed so picturesque.

Later on, I talked to an herb and salad farmer whose entire crop had been wiped out by recent heavy rains. Even so, his rows of spoiled greenery set in front of these huge swaying trees was awesome. The farmer said the rains left waterfalls cascading off the mountains into the valley below. Looking at the ridges, I could believe it.

At the end of the day, I had dinner at a nice restaurant in Ala Moana Mall. I had the roast chicken, which was made with local-grown vegetables and produce. It was so good. It was the best meal I had eaten since getting steak at Happenings, an Argentine steak house in Santiago, almost a year ago.

Last night, I heard some musicians and a singer at a club called Jazz Minds. It was very cool. The performance and atmosphere kept reminding me of other places I'd been: an underground jazz club in Montgomery where the bartender shot a jackass and the coffee shops of Amsterdam.

No poker today. It feels good to take a break.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Time Out

I should probably take a break from poker, at least for a couple of days.

Everything has been going OK, with small losses today and yesterday. But several things make me think that I'm not at my best.

_The testimonial from cc's site and the similar post from Mrs. PSH make me worry that I'm wasting my life on poker. Fortunately, I'm not neglecting relationships (because I don't have many), but I think I should read some more fiction.

_I find myself going on tilt in everyday life for no real reason. A car honks at me. The elevator smells like trash. Someone doesn't answer the phone when I call. This pizza is cold. What's wrong with me? I need to chill out if these stupid things are getting to me.

_The newness of living in Hawaii is starting to wear off. Don't get me wrong; everything kicks ass here, and it's only getting better. But it's not as special as it was when I first got here. I'm getting used to it.

_Baseball season is here, and I think that's more important than poker, at least for now.

_I'm scared of being an addict loser.

_The only thing I could think while watching "High Stakes Poker" is how terrible those players must feel about small wins, when if they had played the hand a little bit different, they could have had a big win. Then I wondered if I'm just recognizing one of my own traits. When small wins aren't good enough, then that's just a recipe for psychological torture.

OK, I'll quit my whining.

Have fun at the tables!

Monday, April 03, 2006


I don't have anything useful to say about poker. The play has been decent, and I'm glad there's a new month of blackjack bonuses to help pad the ol' bankroll. Someone e-mailed me a while ago, and one of the questions he asked was about how much time I spent and how much I wagered. I responded that I like playing multihanded -- the swings aren't much worse by making those extra bets, and it sure does take much less time to clear.

Sunday was Opening Day of another great baseball season. There's always a controversy, but there's a lot of other fun stuff going on as well. I don't dwell on the steroids issue because to me, it's old news. Opening Day is the beginning of a long summer. It means good times have arrived and winter won't come back until the last out of the World Series.

I hung out with some Philadelphia fans this weekend. They're cool people, but I can't stand the way Phillies fans are such assholes to everyone else. It's like talking to a fifth grader. They say, "Well, if you don't like the Phillies, then stay the hell out of Philadelphia." Or, "I love the Phillies, but how about Donovan McNabb?" Or, "Screw the Phils. They suck."

It's just a bad attitude that isn't good sportsmanship for their opponents or themselves. I hope they never win.

But Jimmy Rollins is exciting. He's continuing his 36-game hitting streak from the end of last season in pursuit of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game record. I doubt Rollins will get there because it's a very hard record to break and Rollins has a long way to go, but it would be cool if he could even come close.

The most exciting thing about the beginning of the season is that it seems like more teams than usual have a chance to win. Even the worst teams seem to have a bunch of young players that will be around for a long time.

Barry Bonds chase of the home run record will be interesting. He only needs seven homers to break Babe Ruth's record, and then he would need 40 more to tie Hank Aaron's 755. I don't like Bonds any more than the next guy, but I respect him as one of the best baseball players ever, with or without steroids.

To me, Bonds symbolizes the super-sized, home-run happy 90s. It was a silly but fun era where chicks digged the long ball and baseball fans hoped for a rare pitching duel.

As Bonds ages and approaches the home run records, his generation is quickly retiring. There are more new faces this year than I've seen in a long time, and they'll be a lot of fun.

Palmeiro, Sosa, Boone, Grissom, Leiter, Henderson and others are gone. Felix Hernandez, Liriano, Marte, Francoeur, Howard, Young, Kendrick and Cain are just getting here.