PROP Bet: Free Drinks

August 29, 2008

It’s friday…go out and have a drink.  If you just went busto, try this prop bet on for size:

All I wanna do is…take your money!

August 29, 2008

Check out this song from MIA – Paper Planes…it’s pretty damn funny. The chorus is the best:

WPT Legends of Poker – Final Table

August 28, 2008

Here are the final six:

Seat 1 – Trong Nguyen – 980,000
Seat 2 – Amit Makhija – 3,225,000
Seat 3 – Paul Smith – 1,130,000
Seat 4 – John Phan – 2,415,000
Seat 5 – Zachary Clark – 2,025,000
Seat 6 – Kyle Wilson – 1,425,000

Amit Makhija, qualified for the event in a super satellite – so he’s obv excited. John Phan, the POY points leader, is going to be the player to keep an eye on, as he has the most experience at the table and will be looking to push some people around. Zachary Clark is the nephew (or cousin??) of the late Chip Reese, so there is someone to root for.


Layne Flack busts 8th in Legends

August 28, 2008

Pretty gross hand – read the recap from cardplayer:

In perhaps the biggest suckout of the tournament, John Phan just eliminated Layne Flack in eighth place.

John Phan raised to 110,000 and Layne Flack reraised to 360,000, leaving just 300,000 behind. After the dealer pulled in the bets, Phan counted out 550,000 from his stack, seeing how much he’d be left with if he put Flack all in and lost.

After a few minutes of thought, Phan asked for the dealer’s “all in” button, as he has done all tournament long. Realizing that this could be an angle to see his opponent’s reaction, the tournament director informed Phan that the next time he asks for the button, he will be all in.

Phan, thinking he had accidently committed himself, said, “Oh, Layne, they had me scared. I thought I went all in.” Flack, realizing the situation, replied, “I know what you were doing. You were trying to scare me, so we’re even.” After another minute of deliberation, Phan tossed in the button and both players turned over their cards.

Flack: AA
Phan: 77

The flop came out 764 and the crowd gasped as Phan flopped a set. The turn took all hope away from Flack when the 7 peeled off the deck, giving Phan quads. The inconsequential river card was the Q and Flack was eliminated in eighth place, earning $105,620.

so you want to become a professional poker player….

August 28, 2008

We get this question/statement a lot from aspiring online poker players. The most entertaining emails come from the player who just won $10k in a tourney and is now ready to go pro.

Here’s the deal: poker as a profession is TOUGH.

There is the chance that you play your first 10k event and win a couple mil – but that only happens to like .01% of the professional population. Not a tournament player? Well there is a reason it’s called grinding in cash games.

Traveling, staying in hotels, eating out, and having losing streaks can get incredibly expensive. I know several people with more than $500k in tournament wins who are flat broke. I’ve met people who have won $1 million and lost it all a month later. I know what your thinking….if I won that kind of money it wouldn’t happen to me.

There is a mental process you must go through to become a pro. It can be thought of more as a downward spiral toward being a degenerate. You need to become truly desensitized to the value of money so you can do things like be willing to take coin flips late in tournies with hundreds of thousands on the line. Unfortunately, if you have any personality ‘leaks’ like gambling in the pit, drinking, drugs, women, whatever – you can become reckless with your money.

Not only that, the variance, especially in tournament poker can be brutal. You could be the best player in the world, and start your ‘career’ bricking out the first 20 tournies you play. That is tough thing to deal with emotionally, and financially.

Certainly there are benefits to doing this full time – flexible schedule, traveling, meeting interesting people, etc. But it is by no means an easy way to make a buck. The saying “Poker is the hardest way to make an easy living.” is certainly accurate.

Should you drop out of college? No.

Even if you are making incredible money right now, stay in school – because it is very likely that if you drop out you will never return (regardless of if you say you are just going to take a break….you’ll find yourself struggling to ever go back). Having a college degree is a basic requirement in the professional world. There are lots of jobs that don’t ‘require’ it, but unless you want to be a salesman, it is going to be tough to find an interview for a good salaried job should you decide poker isn’t working out. Not to mention to social benefits of being surrounded by a bunch of people your own age, with unlimited amounts of free time.

Growing a bankroll online is considerably easier when:
a. you are living at home, or in a dorm room.
b. have very little expenses or ‘financial stress’.
c. are single, without a girlfriend, wife, and kids

Playing professionally requires you to grow your bankroll (or at the very least maintain a six figure roll) so that you can withdraw enough money to live your life. Sometimes the stress of the two can break you down, and you begin chasing money, playing worse, mostly because you are starting to see the value of the $$ again. You also need to maintain about 6 months of living expenses in your ‘life’ account – for when you start running bad and have no room to take money from your shrinking online roll.

It is certainly possible to live well off this game. But if playing poker for a living is a direction you choose, make sure to consider all the possible outcomes, not just the one that has you rollin down the street in a bentley as you drive up to your mansion.

Don’t forget there is always the option of playing poker to ‘supplement’ your income. This can be a much more enjoyable lifestyle, especially if you find another profession or career you are really interested in. To do that, you’re most likely going to need a degree.

Brian Townsend – Multi-Accounting

August 27, 2008

In a recent blog confessional, Cardrunners pro Brian Townsend has admitted to playing under two different poker accounts on Stars and Tilt. He had been using the aba30 and sbrugby names, then with the fulltilt deal, he switched to a red pro under his name. His ‘illegal’ aliases were: Stellarnebula on FTP and makersmark66 on Stars.

He offers an open, honest, and sincere apology about his actions. Frankly, while it is against the rules, this is probably the most common example of ‘bending’ the online poker rules. I’ve had multiple accounts on different sites, just because I didn’t like my screen name.

For a recognizable pro, the advantage to playing annonymously is understandably tempting. Also, in Brian’s case he was moving down in limits, and was worried what people would think about that. So to protect his ego, and get action at the lower limits, he played under different names.

He stated that his FT red pro status is being suspended for 6 months (meaning no 100% rakeback) and that he is contributing $25k of his ‘cardrunners distributions’ to a charity tbd.

He is a class act. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal. It speaks to a larger problem, with how easy it is to create accounts – set up different bank accounts, different names, whatever. I don’t know how you can address it outside of using social security numbers or something crazy to identify people.

For the full blog entry go to Cardrunners.

All Strategy – Pokerroad Review

August 27, 2008

Sometimes I get sick of writing about pokerroad. But the fact is, they produce some of the best content in the poker-sphere. If you don’t know by now, check em out.

Their newest show is ‘All Strategy’ with Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, and Scott Huff.

Start at the bottom – Scott Huf – he’s entertaining and keeps things moving along.

Bonomo – he is MUCH better than the ‘calling station’ show he produced on Cardplayer. That show made my ears hurt, and there was a video feed to make it more awkward and boring. I think he’s better on PR because he doesn’t have to carry the entertainment value, he can just get geeky on em. His personality is kind of bland, but he seems to get a little more lively with some other personalities to key in on.

Negreanu – obviously one of the best minds in poker, and also one of the few who can truly verbalize his thoughts.

The show – overall very informative. If you like poker strategy talk then the ‘All Strategy’ show is going to be entertaining for you.

This Episode – a great dialogue on short stacking tournament play. Bonomo said “…often players use being on the short stack as an excuse to play poorly.” They proceed to discuss the benefits of logically thinking about your stack size, along with the other players at your table stack sizes. Even when you are desperate, there can be good and bad opportunities to try and double up or pick up the blinds/antes. I also liked the ‘coin-flipping’ discussion – if you are better than the average player at the table, then you can think twice about getting in those ‘average’ spots, and look for better spots to accumulate chips (with made hands, safe boards, etc.)


Poker makes me…

August 27, 2008


It’s a pretty sick game, considering these are the emotions I think are invoked during the lifetime of my game. At least when I bet on fantasy football I don’t become a manic-depressive-junky. Did I leave any words out?

Make it a good game and make more money

August 26, 2008

I was listening to an interview with Gabe Thaler on Pokerroad’s Cash Plays, he is a long time live pro, running big games in Vegas forever…he was commenting on one of the best poker lessons he ever received. He was playing a limit game, and got sucked out on by a recreational player. At the end of the hand, he started grumbling and getting upset at the recreational player. The wise rec player said “Gabe…you got it all wrong…you are supposed to buy me dinner.”

The point he is making, is that he understands he is the underdog in the long run, but that it is the professionals duty to create an atmosphere in which recreational gamblers can gamble their money any way they want.

I think this is a GREAT lesson. People at every level, are often beraiding other ‘donks’. In most cases it’s in an effort to prove their worth, fulfill their ego, make sure everyone knows how great they are at poker…this is stupid. Say good hand, give the monkey a compliment (and make it believable). Your goal should be to create an environment where they can continue to gamble. If you know they have leaks you can exploit, try and keep them there.

So if you are getting the urge to talk some trash…think twice. Remember, you want the monkey to come back tomorrow. Make the game fun. Don’t be a douche bag.

Thanks for the lesson Gabe.

PROP Bet @ the Bike – Gavin Smith v Sabyl Cohen

August 26, 2008

G Smith just pulled a mississippi shuffle on Ms. Sabyl Cohen (of ESPN WSOP ME 200X whatever coverage fame).

The Wager – How much the 2008 attendance of WPT Legends of Poker at the Bike will decrease from 2007?

The Line – $1,000 on 25% decrease, and $1,000 on 20% decrease – two separate bets

Last Years Attendance – 485, making the 388 – G Smith would scoop both, 387-362 – they’d push, under 362 – G Smith would lose both.

This Years Attendance – 373 – woulda chopped the bet, but….on day 1, attendance was only 161 players, and day 2 energy got Sabyl a little nervous.  She offered to settle…picked a ludicrous number of $1700 buy out.  Gavin said he would have settled for $900.  So Gav got the $1700 winner on what should have been a chop.  Looks like things are turning around for the caveman.

Lesson of the day: Always go with your first instinct kiddies.

Thx pokerroad for the story.

Your downfall: Overconfidence

August 25, 2008

So, you have been reading all the forums, watching all the videos, playing tons of hands, and have this game all figured out.  So why the f@$k aren’t you soul crushing like Raptor or Durrr?  Well, it could rest on the fact that you may be overconfident.

Often, because you have studied the game to the point where you can easily identify a weaker player, or an exploitable playing style, you feel you are ‘the man.’  Since you are ‘the man’ you are ‘supposed’ to win.  There is no way this monkey can or ‘should’ beat you.  I mean…c’mon, you’ve played 30,000 hands this month, and can 18 table, and have 100x the tournament cashes, blah blah blah.  You get the idea.

Being confident is a good skill to have.  It can serves you well in life, and in poker.  The trouble comes when you allow your confidence to create a sense of complacency.  Sure you may be better than this random spew monkey, but he may still win this hand.  And the next one.  It’s important to always have some degree of respect at the table (and in life) for other people.

Sometimes, we can get what I like to call ‘fancy pants’ syndrom – where we are trying too hard to outplay everyone, in every single spot we see that is exploitable.  This leads us to playing like a meglomaniac.  Playing too many hands, playing too aggressively against opponents who aren’t thinking beyond level 1, forcing the action, creating big pots because ‘you can outplay them on later streets’.

Everyone in the poker world is overconfident to some degree.  We all think we have an edge in the games we play.  That’s why we are playing.  We are playing to win money.  Without this confidence factor we’d be relying mainly on luck – and since we know poker is a skill game – we must have an edge.

Short term, edges in 6max, full ring, mtt, sng’s (less so in HU cash) are not always that big.  Ivey has a 5% chance of winning the WSOP ME, whereas my chance is somewhere between .01-2%.  That is not a huge edge for any given tournament.

Also, when we see people making dumb plays, like limp calling big raises oop with marginal hands, we want to pounce.  So sometimes, we can get over excited and make costly mistakes, and ignore the signals the monkey is sending (like ‘I’m never folding’ type signals).

Try and keep your confidence in check, and next time you might just play better against that clown sitting next to you.


PROP Bets Explained

August 25, 2008

Since our company is named “PROP” we sometimes take for granted the definition of the word. PROP is short for proposition – and refers to both players and bets.

PROP players, are ‘professionals’ who are paid by the house to sit and play a game. They play with their own money, but are compensated with an hourly wage to sit in and play.

PROP bets, are all the crazy sidebets and games that can go on in the gambling world.

As a general rule, if you can think of something, you can bet on it. There can be a ‘line’ created for just about any scenario – sports related or not. You can bet on the length of the national anthem, the outcome of the coin toss, or even whether or not Janet Jackson will have another wardrobe malfunction. Bets can be fun, weird, hilarious, embarrassing, challenging, nerve racking, and impossible. They’ll always put a smile on at least one persons face (generally the winner of the ridiculousness).

Often, the highest stakes poker games in the world have a constant running side prop game. The game can get complicated, and it is the players responsibility to call their prop – if they ‘sleep’ a prop – they get whatever was decided as the predetermined penalty. For example, Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu are playing heads up – Phil has ‘red’ and Daniel has ‘black’ for the flop. So if the flop comes out majority black, then Daniel would win the point. The value of the points vary from a few bucks to several thousand. You can also pick sets of numbers (or suits or str8s), and can get multiple bonuses when more than one number hits, or if say you pick ‘5’s’ and three 5’s hit the flop.

Why do people play props? For fun. To make money. And because it creates more action. Sometimes poker can be boring and straightforward – this ensures that every flop has some dollars riding on it.

So next time your feeling a little bored, challenge your buddy to a foot race or a milk chugging contest to spice things up. You’ll have fun, and maybe even win a little money.

Common sports betting terminology:
Tease – lets you move or ‘tease’ the line in your favor – so if the Bears are -4 and the Chiefs are +7 don’t look attractive, combine 2-15 picks and ‘tease’ the lines by as many points as you need. Think of it as diversifying your bet a little.

Pleasers – lets say you have a lock on a game, and the line seems overly generous – well you can give back points against the line, in return for a greater payout – let the buyer beware, but hey if your sitting in the locker room with some inside knowledge, go for it.

Live Betting – allows you to bet on sports action as the game is progressing, the line will constantly change throughout the game, so you can keep the excitement going even during the 20 point blow outs.

Quarters – you can bet on game results for first halves, halftimes, and quarters. You team is a second quarter team? Put your money where your mouth is.

Now that you have all this betting knowledge, you are ready to go take on the lines! Just remember, that people spending a lot more time researching this stuff are making the lines…they’re generally pretty good. But whether you bet to make a living, or bet for fun, there is always money to be made. GL!

The November Nine – Who are they?

August 23, 2008

And should we care?

I’ve been a fan of this new proposed ‘final table’ structure for the WSOP Main Event, mainly because I think it presents an opportunity for casual fans to become more interested in the game.  Which at the end of the day, is the main reason poker is a viable occupation for some people.  New blood feeds this economy and anyone that tells you different is lying.  Not to mention, the ‘rake’ being taken out of the economy by online sites, harrah’s, wsop, wpt, vegas, espn, etc needs to be replaced…you could argue some of these properties bring endorsement money value in as well, but it is such a small percentage of the total community that it is most certainly an overall net loss.  Sorry, I digress…

Originally, I was hoping the final table people would have some interesting stories (and perhaps there still are a few diamonds in the rough) but overall, there are not any super star tv personalities.  I wanted to see some 24/7 style De La Hoya type reality show…but I’m not convinced these guys have enough fire power to fuel that type of show.

So we have this cast of characters about to tee-off for the biggest single table sng of their lives…who are they:

Chip leader: Dennis Phillips – chip count: 27M – seat 1 – he’s an account manager for a trucking company.  Says that regardless of what happens in November, he isn’t going to quit his job.  We’ll see.  This is his first major poker tournament cash, and got into the WSOP ME through a satellite at his local casino.  While his chip count (and bookies) would say he has the best chance of winning…I wouldn’t bet on it.

Ivan Demidov – chip count: 24.4M – seat 7 – A fairly close second to Phillips this will be Demidov’s second cash of the 2008 WSOP as he took 11th place in Event 44 NL w Rebuys for $39,854. Demidov hails from Moscow, Russia.  He started playing poker two years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hard Rock Poker Lounge

August 23, 2008

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino just off the strip in Las Vegas has recently ‘soft’ opened their new poker room.  It’s basically a night club lounge atmosphere.  And from what we can tell, looks pretty cool.  I’ve always like the Hard Rock but have found myself wandering to other properties during debauchery due to the fact there was no place to play poker…

The soft open last thursday (8/21) gave players their first look at the brand-new room, which boasts a full bar, private VIP rooms, and 18 tables spread out over 7,000 square feet.

“I consider the soft-opening a great success, as we set a new standard in the world of poker,” said Mark Gore, casino general manager. “The stakes just got raised.”

The idea of the Poker Lounge is a unique one, mixing a club atmosphere with a professional and efficiently run poker room. Not only does the lounge have music, but it also offers bottle service. Private parties and games can be run in one of the lounge’s VIP rooms. Despite the enormous amount of work put toward providing a party environment, even more attention has been focused on offering poker the way players want it.

“The Hard Rock Poker Lounge philosophy is that we welcome any action,” said Poker Lounge Manager Houston Waldie. “We will spread any game our players want, and we will have knowledgeable staff to be able to do that.”

Three reasons to like Kid Poker

August 22, 2008

Daniel Negreanu – he’s well respected among the poker community.  He’s played in the biggest games in the world, and although not a regular in those games any more he at least takes his shots.  He is a bit of a work horse, and has multiple side projects all taping into the poker world to make a few dollars.  Another smart move, you might as well get the gravy while the gravy is worth gettin.  He’s also the type of tv personality that makes it interesting to watch – you hear his thought processes on hands, you listen to him call out the opponents cards, he laughs and jokes, much more entertaining overall than the standard sunglass/hat wearing couch-pro.  At the end of the day it’s about marketability.  It pays to set yourself apart and define your niche.  He is the ‘nice guy’ in the poker world.

Here’s three reasons why I like him:

1.  We have the same birthday.  July 26th.

2.  He likes the Buffalo Bills.  Wide Right.

3.  He can put together complete sentences and talk intelligently about any poker game.  Stay in school kids.