February 26, 2009

PROP on the Golden Gate:



Why the upcoming poker bust will be a good thing

February 15, 2009

The news already informed you that the sky is falling, people are losing their jobs, and the economy sucks.  Vegas is on the verge of bankruptcy due to over leveraged billion dollar fantasy lands and the collapse of available consumer credit worldwide. 

Poker has gone through its uptick in the U.S. and it has since flattened – it is still growing elsewhere in the world but for how long?  Many people have been wondering when the poker industry would slow down…2009 could be that year.

In my opinion, the pending downfall of poker has the potential to make poker a stronger and more entertaining industry/’sport’

Here’s why:

-Less people playing the big buyins = More familiar faces making final tables

– More familiar faces making final tables = More interesting stories

– More interesting stories = more interested fans

– More interested fans = …well you get the idea.

Expensive buyin events like the 50k horse yield a tremendous amount of fanfare because the poker fans want to know what the poker ‘stars’ can accomplish, and generally these are the only people degenerate enough to play in these events.  8,000+ tournament fields do not allow enough big names to get there often enough, so it’s harder for fans to root for their favorite players.  

The November 9 experiment was conducted on exactly this premise.  Give the poker community, and the tv production companies, time to produce background stories on the players.  Build interest in a small number of players.

If poker can shrink in size, a lot of the fringe players will go busto, and the ones who survive will be the best and strongest players.  I’d rather follow a tournament with 300 world class players, than watch a lottery of 8,000 players with a wide range of skill levels.  

I started thinking about this as I was watching the recent WSOPE Main Event – this broadcase has way more ‘names’ on TV than the WSOP ME in Vegas had – albeit a smaller prize pool, but more interesting poker to watch imho.  It’s more interesting to watch Negreanu and Juanda play a pot than a few random satellite monkeys who happened to make it to day 4 (which is not to take away anything from that accomplishment – it’s just I don’t want to watch it on TV).

Certainly other variables can impact the entertainment value of poker for true poker fans – like deeper stake final table tournament structures, big buyin high stakes cash game formats, etc…but it’s interesting to think that the less people playing televised poker events could perhaps create a situation where it becomes more interesting to watch.

Win more with…Blue Fire??

February 15, 2009

Since started keeping track of some of the biggest poker games online (since Jan 2007), OMGClayAiken aka JMAN aka Phil Galfond has won the most money (as of 2/14/09).  He’s smarter than you.  And has over $7M in online winnings to prove it.

He’s also got a new poker training site.

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind picking up a tip or twenty from a guy like that  to prevent me from going busto every few months.  Sign up fees start at $99, and the monthly fees are like $25 or so.

Adam Kimmel: Claremont… is crazy

February 15, 2009


February 8, 2009

Arrest that Man (again)

February 8, 2009

Shepard Fairey – of iconic Obey fame – was arrested in connection with some street tagging before his Boston opening of ‘Supply and Demand’ (his new book) and an art exhibit covering his last 20 years…

Two warrants were issued for Fairey on Jan. 24 after police determined he’d tagged property in two locations with graffiti based on the Andre the Giant street art campaign from his early career. He’s been arrested a bunch for similar infractions, so nothing really new here except for the fact that in our post-obama world (due to his ‘hope’ poster) he’s now becoming a larger than life celebrity in the contemporary art world.

The guy has been much criticized as a thief and a plagarist, and maybe on some level he was – but that can be a funny thing about art – it tends to be circular in it’s nature – drawing from inspirations and influences around your own sphere.

Keep on tagging in the free world.

Motivation on the grind

February 1, 2009

After spending about a year playing 20-30 mtt’s a day for 5-6 days a week, I’ve spent a little time reflecting on motivations. Why do we do what we do? And, how do we stay motivated to do it?

It seems poker has lost something for me. I still like playing, but its different. After taking an analytical, studied approach to the game, the ‘mystery’ is no longer there. After seeing ‘most’ situations, it all starts to become expected. Your win rates are relatively consistent, and you know you have a return of X for each type of tournament you play. If I maintain an ROI of 30% for each $10 tourney, then I earn $3 for each tourney played, regardless of actual finish.

This technical approach makes it kind of annoying to enjoy the game, because you have predicted your results in advance. I found, that for me personally, to handle the emotional and financial swings of online poker, it needs to be done with two things: bankroll management, and reasonable statistical expectation.

As far as bankroll management is concerned – playing with such conservative requirements is often – BORING

To make it a little more exciting, allow yourself to take a shot from time to time. Playing in $24+2 tournies regularly? Take a few shots at the $69+6’s. I’ve found that can mix up the monotony of it all….playing other games (NL v PLO etc), different formats (SNGs v MTTs v Cash), and even different sites can help reduce the mind numbing.

Having a reasonable expectation for each game played means not expecting to final table every tourney. We have a very pavlovian reward system in poker. The variance and unexpectedness of each individual event creates an addiction. Most days you have your min cashes with say 1 final table per 20 games. Of the times you reach the final table, you win approx 1 out of 10. So you can reasonably expect to ‘win’ once every 10 days. Obviously these numbers vary with the size and quality of the fields, as well as your skill level and edge against these different types of field, but knowing what your general stats are is never a bad idea.

But we already know that poker is a bitch and it doesn’t always work out so smooth. Maybe you go on a heater and win a few one week, and it takes you three months or more to win again. So you have to balance the highs and lows with reasonable expectations, which in turn creates a reduced sense of excitement for winning.

Now, don’t get me wrong – its ALWAYS fun to win. But what I’m saying is you feel a little less disappointed when you final table and finish 6th…because you know its all apart of the process.

I have a lot of respect for the Jon Turner and Shaun Deebs of the world, there are plenty examples of volume grinders, finding success, working their way up the ladder – and its mainly because of their ability to maintain motivation to continue the insane grind. For most, we are all waiting for that next ‘big win’ – and the definition of big win changes as you move up the stakes. The likes of Turner and Co are waiting for their big ‘wpt or wsop 10k win’ – most of us are waiting for our next four or five figure win. Either way, the waiting game exists…kinda like the lotto. Except the best of us get a few more lotto tickets than the rest.