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Views: 835
Date Posted: Nov. 29, 11:31am, 1 Comment

Fed, Treasury Accept PPA Request to Delay UIGEA


The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today applauded the six month delay of the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) regulations.


The Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury today extended the deadline for UIGEA enforcement until June 1, 2010, which is the result of a petition filed by the PPA, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the American Greyhound Track Operators Association. The groups filed the petition for an extension in order to give lawmakers and financial institutions more time to clarify definitions contained in UIGEA, as well as develop policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the law.


"The PPA is extremely pleased with the decision by the Federal Reserve and Treasury to grant the six month extension. This is a great victory for poker, but an even greater victory for advocates of good and fair public policy," said PPA Chairman and former Senator Alfonse D'Amato. "These additional months are critical to provide legislators time to clarify UIGEA and pass legislation to license and regulate poker early next year. It is our hope that another extension would be granted should the deadline approach before these pieces of legislation can be passed."


Concerns about the vague language contained in UIGEA, and the resulting challenge of enforcing the law, have been raised by the banking and gambling communities since the law was passed in 2006. PPA members have been, and continue to be, contacting their members of Congress via phone, email and visits to urge clarification of the UIGEA regulations. In fact, over 300,000 letters alone have been sent to members of Congress by PPA members.


Given the significant struggles of banks over the past few years, deputizing them to enforce a poorly written and overly vague law would add to their already heavy burden. To this end, several leading banks and financial services groups also expressed their support of a delay with the Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury.


Delaying implementation of the UIGEA regulations, which were pushed through by the previous Administration at the eleventh hour, will give Congress time to clarify the law to give clearer direction to the banks and those impacted by UIGEA.


While pleased with the delay, the PPA remains committed to passing legislation to license and regulate online poker. UIGEA does not provide protections for underage and compulsive gamblers - the licensing and regulation proposed in legislation such as Chairman Barney Frank's H.R. 2267 and Senator Robert Menendez's S. 1597 would protect these vulnerable communities. A hearing will be held December 3rd in the House Financial Services Committee on Chairman Frank's bill.


"PPA is continuing its efforts to urge members of Congress to implement thoughtful and effective regulation of the online poker as opposed to outright prohibitions, which history has shown do not work," said D'Amato. "We are thankful to our co-petitioners the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the American Greyhound Track Operators Association and for the dozens of members of Congress who voiced their support for this petition through letters to Secretary Geithner and Chairman Bernanke.  The PPA looks forward to working with regulators and legislators to pass legislation that protects consumers and the great game of poker."


Wall Street Journal notes that "the Treasury and the Fed said several members of Congress had sought a delay, arguing that there was considerable support for new legislation to clarify current laws".


Cardplayer Magazine calls the recent development "arguably the greatest victory for the poker industry in the past three years".


This is outstanding news and a hopeful sign for online poker.  Get involved, please.  - JDW

Views: 807
Date Posted: Nov. 23, 2:35pm, 0 Comments

Omaha Hi-Lo - also known as Omaha/8 - is commonly believed to be a complex, difficult game. But this is certainly not true for low level MTTs.  For these games, O/8 is remarkably simple.

Play in position.

Play for both high and low.

Keep the pot small until you have the nuttiest hand, typically on the river.

Play tight. Very, very tight.

Don't play a hand without an Ace.  Preferably, you will have an A-2 and, ideally, that Ace will be suited.

The best hand is AA23 double-suited.   Evaluate your starting hand against that standard.


In the earliest stages of a tournament, you are really looking for survival. Play hands which are going to make the nuts, preferably on the low end.

Feel free to limp.  Often. Usually.

In PLO cash games, you want to be aggressive; in low-limit O/8 MTTs, you want to be passive until you make your hand.

Pre-flop hand strengths are typically quite similar in O/8, so no hand is usually far ahead or behind before the flop.


"I try to play timid, timid, timid, especially until I get a big stack," explains O/8 star Scott Clements. "Pretty much, unless I have the whole table covered, I'm going to play much tighter and let the others kind of control the aggression.   I'm just going to be counter-aggressive when I actually do hit."


Asked about mistakes beginners make, Clements had this to say: "Calling off on the wrong type of hands... let's say they have A-A-K-J and the flop comes A-8-5 and someone bets pot into them, they can't just fold the hand right there.

"But they have to fold right there, because their hand is pretty much nothing at that point. So, I think players make that big mistake of putting too much in on a one-way hand that could be the nuts or very close to the nuts.  But if there's a low out there and they don't have a low, their opponents are just going to be freerolling on them and could bust them."


Most of the time, it is a poor decision - post-flop - for a player to draw to a low, unless they already have the best four to a low.  For example, after a flop of A-K-4, you should not draw for the low unless they are holding 23xx.   You will grow your stack often by winning chips from weaker opponents who continually chase non-nut lows.

Drawing to a low that isn't the nut-low is almost a guaranteed way to lose in O/8.  Typically, you will want to fit or fold.   If you are not drawing to the nuts with two cards yet to come, fold and wait for a better opportunity.


Many players look at their starting four cards and if they see an A-2 they act as if the hand is already won. Raising with A2 pre-flop can be wrong for couple of reasons.  Firstly, to qualify for a low, there must be three more cards 8 or lower on the board.  Not always the case.  If three high cards flop, you are in big trouble.  And should probably get away from the hand. Additionally, with just A-2, if an ace or a deuce hits the board your hand will be counterfeited.  You can no longer use your Ace or deuce, unless a fourth low card shows up before the river.

Yet another typical mistake in O/8 is drawing to a running low.  For example, most players holding A2xx enter the pot expecting to make the nut-low.  However, if the flop comes 8KQ, these players are now praying/dreaming/hoping to complete a runner-runner low-draw just to win half of the pot.  These players should fold to any bet.

It is unwise and definitely -EV to draw to two cards for a low.


Of even more importance is the ability to keep the pot small when you realize you may be quartered.   The final reason not to raise with A-2 is the fact that every other player with A-2 will also be in the hand.  If you do make your low, you won't win half of the pot, you will get half of the low pot.  Your quarter pot often won't cover the bets you put in.  Hardly a profitable tactic.


Do not get into a raising war on the river in a multi-way pot with low only as one of the other players may also have the low.  Beware the whipsaw, where another low hand and the high hand are raising For example, there are three players in the hand.  You raise 2000 chips.  And get called by both opponents.  There are now 6000 additional chips in the pot.   The winner of the high gets 3000 and you and the other low each get 1500. You lost money by raising.


Of course, the ultimate goal in O/8 is to scoop the entire pot.  Since you have four cards in your hand, you can use any combination of two - always two, no more, no less - for the high hand and low hand. Which means you really have six hands. As do your opponents.


Something to keep in mind in the big blind or on the button, you can also win the whole pot if you have the highest hand and there is no low.   A broadway wrap, double-suited, if you can get in very cheaply might be worth a small risk.  A small risk.

In low-level O/8 Mtts, let your opponents take the risks.  And unless you have one of the top ten premium hands, you are best advised to fold every single small blind.


Look for reasons to fold. This is not hold'em.


Of course, you are most likely to scoop the pot with some combination of cards with includes Acey-deucy. But that combo ideally will include a third wheel care to protect against counterfeiting. For example, A-2-3 or A-2-4 or....


Finally, learn to read the board. If the board has a low of 8-A-2, and you have A-2, you don't have a low. If the board shows 6-5-2-4, and you have A-2, you are going to lose to A-3. Remember, A-2 is no guarantee of victory.


Cliff notes? Re-read first paragraph. - JDW

Views: 1065
Date Posted: Nov. 18, 1:52pm, 1 Comment

One of the bigger leaks for less sophisticated players is bet sizing. I speak from some experience.  My coach almost quit because I could not follow a few basic rules.  Which follow....


Correctly sized bets will maximize your wins and minimize your losses. Additionally, you will put opponents in situations where they are getting the wrong odds to play back at you. Any bet you make should always relate to the current size of the pot. First question then, how much is in the pot? Remember, your bet determines your opponents' pot odds. Every time your opponent calls with incorrect odds, you have an edge. Therefore, make correctly sized bets to ensure your opponents can make these mistakes.


If you believe you have a hand superior to your opponent, bet 70% to full pot. This size bet will prevent the opposition from correctly calling, if they are on a draw. They will, however, now have the wrong odds to continue with the hand. A bet that size will winnow weaker hands from the field. As you might well imagine, you will reduce the chances of your hand getting outdrawn when the next card comes.


At lower limits, there are few instances where you want to make a bet less than half the size of the pot. Weaker bets will usually cost you value and giving your opponents to correct odds to call and perhaps outdraw you.

Often, you will see a player make a smaller bet. Either he is making an error or he is being tricky. The point being, the smaller bet provides information. A standard-sized bet carries little information.


A properly-sized bet puts your opponents to a tough decision. Their calls should offer info regarding hand strength. For opponents to call, they must feel they have a decent holding or strong drawing hand. (Of course, they could be idiots or floating you to take the hand on a later street.) Therefore, we can use this information to influence our decision on the next betting round.


If we have a decent hand but it is one that is easily beat, we may consider slowing down our betting on future rounds as our opponent may have us beat as they called our strong bet on an earlier round.

However, if we feel we still have the best hand then we should continue our strong betting, to try and extract as much money as possible from our opponents by taking advantage of our pot equity.


The biggest mistake for beginners is making minimum bets (donkbets) and raises. If make a minimum raise before the flop, a number of players will call you, as they are now getting the proper odds to see the flop with any two cards.

As a general rule, beginners should avoid minimum bets and raises. Either make a strong bet or don't bet at all. As we used to say in the playgrounds of my youth, go big or go home. Also, a donkbet elicits little info about your opponent's hand.


As a general rule of thumb, if you raise pre-flop, make your bet 3x the size of the big blind. Never vary that amount. (If you are at the lowest stakes, you might have to make this bet 4x or 5x, as the amount must be large enough to dissuade chasers.)

If there are limpers before you, bet 3xBB +1BB for each limper. again, you are betting in part to put your opponents to a tough decision with incorrect odds.


If you are raising an opponent’s bet, raise them 3 times the size of their original bet; again to offer incorrect odds for a call.

When you decide to make a bet or a raise, look at the size of the pot before deciding on the size of your play.

Look at the size of the stacks of all players remaining in the hand.  

Look at the size of your own stack. If any bet is going to be more than 40% of your stack, just shove.


The goal of bet sizing is a simple one. Or two. You want to reduce the odds your opponents are getting. You want to maximize your winnings.


Bottom line: A shove is often the wrong size bet. Don't ever be afraid to bet correctly.

Views: 635
Date Posted: Nov. 13, 4:00pm, 1 Comment

I have been playing - seriously - Omaha for the last month or so. Oddly enough, ever since I purchased Hold'em Manager. But that's another story.

I played mostly PLO cash games and not very successfully. Then I discovered PLO and O/8 MTTs, which seem to play to my strengths. As all you ladies know, my strengths are patience and discipline.

I am virtually tiltless - when sober - and I can play position. Lord knows...

Anyway, I have probably Final Tabled as many MTTs in the last month as I have FTed in four years of NLH. I just got knocked out by a three-outer, so I don't even think I am running so freakin' red hot. I just think I have found my venue, so to speak. I am old... it's not a moment too soon.


Below is a bunch of savvy knowledge I purloined from the Internet, which, as you all know, was invented by Al Gore. But enough about him... Please note, I am talking to beginners playing PLO at a low limit in an MTT. You don't play PLO like this in a cash game.

In Hold'em, there are 169 distinct hands. In Omaha, there are 16,432 different possible unique starting hands you can be dealt. When you are dealt four cards, you are really looking at six distinct hands. Ideally, all of your four cards work together.

Success in Pot Limit Omaha depends largely on the starting hands you choose to play. If anything, the edge a good player has over a bad player is higher in PLO than in NLH, which is excellent news if you’re the one with the edge.

The edge in a PLO MTT is often simply the cards with which you entered the pot. And as long as the structure of the tournament is good enough, you will have plenty of opportunities to exploit your opposition.


The top 10 Omaha starting hands are as follows:

1. A-A-K-K  

2. A-A-J-T

3. A-A-Q-Q

4. A-A-J-J

5. A-A-T-T

6. A-A-9-9

7. A-A-x-x  

8. J-T-9-8  

9. K-K-Q-Q

10. K-K-J-J 

Note: All hands in the top 10 must be double-suited.


In NLH, the best starting hand (A A) has an 83% preflop equity over the second-best hand (K K). In Omaha the best starting hand (A A K K) is only 33% to win (41% to tie) against the second-best hand (A A T J). There is a 6% edge for the best Omaha hand to win against the second-best Omaha hand, versus a 66% edge in NLH.

The best Omaha starting hand is AA-KK double-suited. The odds of actually being dealt that hand are 50,000-1 against. Even such a powerful hand is just a 3-2 favorite to win against 8765 double-suited.

In addition to the top 30, you will want to play wraps, hands like 8-9-10-J, which can result in nice straights. Ideally, you will have 2 cards of the same suit, as this is the only way you can possibly hit a flush.


In Omaha, players rarely having a strong edge over their opponents. Rarely will you find yourself with over 60% equity HU. Each additional player reduces your equity immensely. The lesson here? Play good hands and nothing else until... Well, you'll know when.

Omaha is considered to be a "nut game". This means your chances for straights and flushes are more important than high cards. Minimize losses. When you lose, lose the minimum amount, and when you win, win the maximum.

In MTTs, especially early, I try to get involved risking the least chips possible before deciding if I plan to move forward post-flop. Check for rocks before you dive in. Let your opponents play trash. Leave weak and marginal hands out of your game. Watch what hands your opponents show down. And there will plenty of showdowns to inspect.


Look for the NLH players who don't yet know - or care - about the 6 possible hands. You don't have to be Stephen Hawking to comprehend you have more of a chance to win with six hands than one or two. A-A-rag-rag rainbow is hardly better than fertilizer. A-A-A-rag is also plant food. Lay it down and wait for an actual Omaha hand.


If an opponent pushes pre-flop, especially out of position, he will typically have A-A. Especially in a low limit MTT. How does your hand play against top pair??

It is difficult to get your opponents to fold, so bluffing is ill advised, especially for those new to Omaha. And don't get worried about being bluffed.

Look for reasons not to complete your small blind. Position is even more important in PLO than NLH, so avoid entering the pot OOP. Even if there are only two players yet to act, that is still a dozen potential hands to defeat.


Essentially, PLO is a post-flop game. With four cards, no hand going to be a huge favorite over any other hand pre-flop, but the pot-limit nature of the game usually prevents all of the money going in before the flop. PLO focuses upon making solid post-flop decisions; this is where your edge lies.

The ultimate overpair is, of course, A-A. A-A in PLO can be more trouble than they are worth; as a new player, you will undoubtedly go broke with them more times than you care to imagine. Try to get in the mindset of only playing your big pairs in PLO for set value, and learn to ditch them immediately if you face any sort of resistance post-flop. Doing so will immediately improve your game 100%.


You’re given four cards, might as well use them all. Sets are so vulnerable you’re not a guaranteed winner, even if you do hit your hand. Boats, flushes, straights...that's where the glory lies.

PLO is all about connecting hard with the flop. PLO is a game of the nuts. Straights, flushes, sets, full houses – they’re commonplace, so don’t be too surprised to see your Queen-high flush or your bottom straight drawing dead when the cards are turned over.

With this in mind, only chase draws if you are confident you are drawing to the best hand. You don’t want to pay to hit a card that may lose you a big pot.

For the same reason, small pocket pairs should only be played as part of a strong combo hand with both straight and flush potential. These lower pairs are unlikely to make top set when they do connect with the flop.

Small sets can be some of the most costly hands in PLO, as the danger of someone having a higher set is far higher than in NLH. If you see the flop with a small pair, proceed with caution. As a general rule, don’t play pairs lower than nines or tens for set value.


Position is more important in PLO as bets, calls, checks and raises give away much more reliable information. There are few hands that can afford to give free cards. With four cards in each of your opponents’ hands, the chances of being outdrawn are high, meaning only the strongest hands or the safest of boards are suitable for slow-playing. The information you receive from betting decisions made by the players who act before you is much more reliable than in NLH.


Patience is not just about card selection. It's easier to come off a shortstack deep in a tournament in PLO and still win the tournament than in NLH.

A disciplined shortstack strategy is important and overlooked by many who become too willing to gamble in bad spots when short.


If there are three to a suit on board, you can almost always assume someone has the flush in Omaha; a paired board yields a very high probability of a full house, whereas that would only be a minor concern in NLH.

Tight-passive players are less likely to be steamrolled in PLO than in NLH. Reduced opportunity for bluffing reduces how effectively you can bully a passive player.

Respect displays of strength. Players making large bets in Omaha are far less likely to be bluffing than the same caliber of players in NLH.

Do not get "married" to an eight-out straight draw: in Omaha, it is possible to flop 13-out, 17-out and 20-out straight draws. Better wait until you hold one of these draws before you heavily involve yourself in the pot.

Do not overplay unsuited aces: when all you hold are a pair of aces and two unsuited, unconnected rags, there is little you can flop to improve your hand. If you do not flop your set, you're not going to hold up often in a multi-way pot. The potential to have upward of 20 outs in Omaha allows for drawing hands to be statistically ahead of made hands.


Common Mistakes in PLO include overplaying "Hold'em strength" hands... calling with weak holdings and low-outs draws when facing a bet...playing too many starting hands..


What hands to play pre-flop?

1. All top 30 hands with at least one suit and most of the time when offsuit.

2. All suited A-K-x-x with at least one x-card, 10 or higher.

3. All double-suited four in a row of hands, five or higher.

4. All double-suited connected hands, five or higher, with a maximum of one gap between the top two and the two low cards or between the low card and the three high cards. An example is K-Q-T-9 double-suited and J-9-8-6 double-suited.

5. All K-K-x-x double-suited.


As with any poker advice, these are just guidelines to give you a place to start from. The hands you raise and limp with will change depending on your table, your image, your skill and the skill of your opponents. A hand should not be considered made until the river. The nuts on the flop means very little after the final two streets fall.

It is seldom wrong to bet out with top set in a short-handed pot, even though the board looks scary.

Remember, anytime you flop a set, you have about a 34% chance of improving to a full house on the turn and river combined.


Cliff Notes. If you start playing PLO now, you will be ahead of the game.

And the crowd. It's that simple.

Views: 585
Date Posted: Nov. 11, 11:45am, 0 Comments

      The following cautionary tale is a possibly accurate historical narrative from the archives of the Wild Dog.


Barker Ajax drank a great deal of coffee that morning.

Ate late a breakfast of granola with banana and yogurt. Cleaned the kitchen, chopped wood, did chores needed doing around the farm, answered mail, worked on the cherry '69 Bronco he's spent six months refurbishing, played with puppy, walked in the woods looking for elk. A typical Tuesday.


After six p.m., but before seven, Barker headed out to return rented videos. At the bottom of the hill, his clutch pedal, which he thought he'd repaired, broke yet again. He nursed the truck to town in second gear, to the shop where his girlfriend's campervan awaited a routine tune-up. Switched vehicles. Drove to the next town where he exchanged already-watched videos for a couple yet unseen. Suddenly, Barker was hungry and in no mood to cook.

His first mistake. Barker Ajax should've gone home. Instead... There are three places to eat, all bars. One cards you at the door to make sure you're armed and have at least one felony conviction. The second joint charges tourists eleven dollars for greasy burgers the same size as your head.

Felt neither dangerous nor wealthy. So Barker went to see what was behind door number three - a working man's tavern boasting reasonable prices, sensible portions and a big screen television.


Shaquille O'Neal, the Big Aristotle, was slamming a basketball. Barker ordered a draft beer and sat down to watch the game. Everything on the menu was deep-fired and batter-coated, so he told the waitress he'd need time to think.

He ordered another beer. No problem, Barker's fine so far. These are small glasses. Engrossed in the game, he found himself involved in the carryings-on of three boisterous burly bearded rednecks. Huey, Dewey and Louie Louie. All clad in plaid flannel shirts and denim coveralls, partying since work ended a few hours earlier.


Suddenly, Huey buys Barker a drink, same thing they're having, an ouzo boilermaker, a shot of the Greek liquor and a glass of beer as a chaser.

Dewey buys the next round. Hadn't even finished the previous round. Barker thought he was pacing himself. He asked the waitress for a glass of ice water. Louie Louie, of course, buys a round. Barker drank that one, too. Judging by the condition of his wallet the next morning, Barker bought a round.

That's four shots of ouzo, four smaller beers, two regular drafts. Couldn't swear he didn't drink more.

About then, Barker forswore ouzo and had another beer. Which was in his hand when he found himself singing a karaoke blues version of Garth Brooks' "Friends In Low Places," backed up by the vocal harmonizing of The Three Rednecks. About this time, whatever time it was, Barker left the tavern. He recalled walking out the door, and hitting the fresh chill air, face first.


The arrest report says the time was 1 a.m. Barker was parked off the road, maybe in somebody's front yard, much too close to a large oak, accompanied by a couple of patrol cars. Two very polite officers asked him to step out of his vehicle.

Didn't know how he got there.

Couldn't sober up fast enough. Nicely, gently, one officer gave him a field sobriety evaluation. Tests like 'count backwards by three from 117.' He remembered thinking. 'if I was sober, I couldn't do half this stuff.' Well, Barker Ajax wasn't sober.

Handcuffs. Becoming more sober. The drive to the jail. More sober still. Jail was in the basement of City Hall. One minute he's at the bar, next minute he's behind them.

A cage really. No bars, but wire mesh - three sides and the top, too - painted a bilious yellow, a yellow somehow drained of all its brightness and warmth. Barker blew 0.16 on the blood/alcohol machine, the same reading the coroner found in Steve Prefontaine's body the night Pre died with his little English sports car atop his chest.


Barker called a poet to bail him out.


He awoke felling like Mickey Mantle's liver. How did that day's activities vary from any other day? They didn't, not until Barker walked into that tavern. He wasn't in the habit of going to bars. Shaquille O'Neal was on TV; he wouldn't have stayed to watch, say, the Knicks.

If he'd had his own truck and/or his normally omnipresent canine companion with him, he doubtlessly wouldn't have hung around so long. Too long.

His girlfriend was away on vacation. He would've gone home for dinner, if she'd been there to cook it.


He blamed her for everything, of course.


At the farm, Oregon Coast Range, 1993.

Views: 452
Date Posted: Nov. 8, 11:03am, 2 Comments

Bet sizing is understood to be perhaps the most informative tell online. Of course, the value of that information varies from stake to stake or cash vs. tournament. In a donkament, if an opponent doesn't know what he is doing, it is difficult to glean actionable intelligence from his performance. Other than he doesn't know what he is doing.

If you have been watching the WSOP on ESPN, you can observe the Main Event leader Darvin Moon continually switch his bet sizes. He claims this tactic is because he doesn't know what he is doing. So, where's the tell? And what is it telling you?


Betting speed, i.e., how fast or slow a player makes his bets, is also thought to be indicative of the strength of an opponent's hand. Of course, everybody knows this. Supposedly.

An instant automatic check might be a weak hand, one likely to fold against any resistance. A long pause, followed by a raise typically suggests a very strong hand. The original thinking was the opponent had to take time to strategize how to extract the most chips from you. On the other hand, many knowledgeable players often do this timing tell when they are weak.


An instantaneous automatic raise usually suggests a very strong hand. An opponent who quickly calls your bet is often holding a reasonably weak hand.


An odd number bet, such as 99 cents when a normal bet might be one dollar, typically means your opponent read an article which suggested such a bet is confusing. Either he's an idiot or he thinks you are an idiot. This is a meaningless tell, although I am thinking he thinks he's tricky and knowledgeable. And thus I think he's exploitable.


Auto-checking, i.e., using the check/call boxes, typically suggests a weakish hand and/or a player who is impatient or not paying attention to the play of the hand. This behavior can also be exploited. And should suggest to you not to use these boxes yourself.


I find CHAT is often a reliable tell. If you see an opponent who likes to criticize another's play, you know he thinks he's good. A actually good player, on the other hand, will not criticize a weaker opponent. A smart good player will not educate an opponent or chase away a fish.

This professor-type is often easy to tilt with your own chat. Simply compliment the fish-who-sucks-out on his good play. This will have the effect of bolstering bad play by the fish while tilting the professor. Win-win for you.


Beware the villain who announces "I have to go" and then shoves. He will invariably have AA and will only leave if you call and he gets all your money.

Any player who complains about a "set-up" or a site being "rigged" is typically a long-term loser.


A gloater, i.e., somebody who insults a losing opponent, is also likely to be a losing player. A winning player is used to winning and acts like he's been there before. A good player knows better than to insult his victims, whom he intends to victimize again.

Never forget you have a mute button to block an opponent's chat.


When a new player joins the table and immediately - out of turn - posts a blind, you can usually assign that player a weak tag. He's immediately forsaking position. All good for you. Either he is an action junkie, impatient or clueless about proper play.


As far as I'm concerned, avatars and screen names (often) constitute tells. And reverse tells. Obviously. Especially at the lowest stakes.

Durr & OMGClayAiken both chose their names to appear "stupid." Or annoying. Or both. Two smarter players it'd be hard to find. I forget durrr's avatar on FTP, [edit. it's a little pug puppy] but Galfond's is an old fat lady. Whitelime has been using a crazy plant his entire, hugely profitable career. While krantz has a clown. In all cases, they are trying to appear weaker than they really are.

Watch your opponents' play vis a vis the avatar and screen name. Invaribly, the "cooler" the name and/or avatar, the weaker the player. On FTP, you have little to fear from the Doberman or Mike Tyson. The ninja is probably nobody to worry about, but keep your eye on the little green gecko. Beware the little white poodle.


In live play, when they appear strong, they are typically weak. Online, when they have a screen name like takeallurmoney or makinucry, they are likely to do neither. AllinAlien may or not be a shove monster; Bluffin'Bob may or may not bet with weak cards. But there are clues there which should make themselves obvious after some minutes of observation.


On Stars, I have a photo of myself in cowboy hat and sun glasses. I am often insulted as a fat hick. I am neither. Obviously, my opponents' read on me is inaccurate. And I am guessing by these insults that I can shove those ignorant dirtbags closer to tilt.

Doyle would also be a fat hick, I guess. The idea is not to ignore the info you are giving off with your screen names and your avatars. And always note the info being given to you by the opponents' screen names & avatars.


Apply a healthy dose of skepticism to any perceived tells. Which may - or may not - mean what you think they mean.


Bottom line? You can learn much by trying to learn much. - JDW

Views: 619
Date Posted: Nov. 4, 4:25pm, 2 Comments

First of all, free multi-table tournaments (aka freerolls) are where you need to start. No news there.    But, here's something most of the online community has yet to discover - PokerCurious freerolls are likely the best in the business.  It's true. The fields are typically smaller and weaker. Variance is diminished and the prize pool is larger than many other freerolls.


Every poker site offers freerolls, which will allow you to get actual cash into your account. Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad is the best example of this method of bankrolling. Without investing a single penny, she amassed an online fortune of $1,000,000, probably more. Meanwhile, gaining the skill which led to a WSOPE championship and a purse of $2+ million. A day before she turned 19 years of age.

Pro Chris "Jesus" Ferguson challenged himself to go from zero to $10,000 on Full Tilt Poker. Took more than a year, but he got it done. Don't sneer at the opportunity presented by freerolls.


Many of today's more successful players got their start playing single table tournaments, aka sit-and-go's or SNGs. Bodog offers single-table SNGs for beginners - as low as $2.20 - which pay half of the field. Sometimes you can make the money without playing more than few checked-around big blinds.


Perhaps you have heard of Chris "Money800" Moneymaker. The 2003 WSOP ME champion kick-started the poker boom by parlaying a $40 satellite into a $2.5 million cash. Satellites are designed for those players who lack the necessary funds to pay the full price of entry. First of all, learn where you have to finish to get the prize.

Not playing is probably the key to success in satellites. When you do enter a hand, raise, don't call. Never risk your entire stack. Play small ball if you are in a pot until you get the nuts on the river, then bet for value. You want to grow your chip stack in concert with the blind increases.

Do NOT - I repeat, DO NOT - try to win. You do not try to win because you do not have to win to win. You simply have to finish in front of the last player to lose. Don't try to get fancy. Let's say the top 20 gain the entry. Get there and do what you need to do - carefully - to stay there.  If you are in 10th place, you are always eyeing the top 30 stacks and players. This is a game of survival and you must be constantly aware of the level of danger. If you are in 30th place, you must looking for opportunities to move up even one notch. The distance from that winning number is either your edge to protect or your goal to attack.


Finally, Frequent Player Points offer the opportunity to qualify for tournaments which pay actual cash. An FPP on FTP is worth $0.06. And you really don't need a ball cap with somebody's logo on it.


My favorite satellite for micro-grinders is the $2.20 into the Sunday Quarter-Million Dollar on PokerStars.  An entry is awarded for every $11 in the prize pool.  So, the payout is close to 20%. These MTTs run approximately two-three times an hour, most of the day, most of the week.   Heck, you can multi-table them.    

I am not the strongest player, but I manage to "win" 40% of these particular satellites.

This from PokerStars: "You finished the tournament in 1st place. ....If you choose to unregister from this tournament your account will be credited with T$11.00. Tournament Dollars can be used to buy into any tournament." So, win one and you can afford to play 5 more. Win four out of ten, as I tend to do, you have doubled your money. I think that's right - I am truly a math bonehead.


NOTE: I have never played the Sunday Quarter-Million. I heart my weekends. What I do is sell my T$ for cash. While there are doubtlessly a number of sites which buy tournament dollars, I have used - more than a few times - Liquid Poker. "You can sell your pokerstars T$ tournament dollars for 97% and your W$ for 91%(WPT, WCOOP, WSOP dollars). These are the best rates publicly available anywhere." Bottom line is this: for every $22.00 invested in satellite entries, a 40% win rate equals $42.68 in cash.


I know, I know. That's no recipe for riches.

But my goal, like Annette_15's, is not to deposit ever.

Well, never again.

Views: 409
Date Posted: Nov. 1, 11:43am, 0 Comments

Nobody could stop Charles Moore.  Couldn't begin to slow him down.  Nobody.   He was the toughest man I ever saw.  My Grandpa Charlie.

The middle finger on his left hand was permanently bent at a ninety-degree angle.   'Never had time to get it fixed,' was all he said, when I asked him about it.  His head was sure on straight.

Not to sound cocky or anything, but I thought nobody could stop me.   Nobody could hurt me.   I'd never been seriously injured in my life.   And when I walked out on the field, I knew I was going to win.  Or die trying.

I remember I got a letter from some rival alum telling me if I went to a big school like Ectotopia State, I'd get lost in the depth chart.   Just be another number.   I called the assistant coach at Ecotopia who'd been recruiting me and told him about the letter.   He said, "Tell you what. If you are scared to compete, we don't want you."   I thought about that for about a minute and said, "You're right."  

I signed with them the next day.

Numbers are important.  

I wore number 88 since pee wee league, all the way through high school.   88 had been very good to me.  Never been injured.  Made some plays.   A lot of plays actually.  My mom's got the clippings.   I wanted to wear the same number in college, but 88 was given to another member of the freshman class.   This guy played the same position I did and he was rated higher than me.   He came from the big city where he'd gotten a lot of ink.   Coming in, he was simply The Man.

He had everything I wanted.   Including 88 and I guess I was jealous.  Coach gave me jersey number 10, which I learned was approximately my position on the depth chart that first summer camp.  

I looked even skinnier in 10.  Slower, too.  

I moped around all night and into the next day.   Until the next practice.   Couldn't get 88 out of my mind.   Stayed there like a toothache.   All I could think of every time I put on my uniform... I am better than that guy wearing my number.   I knew it was stupid, I guess, but I was steamed.

I got the number 88 from my Grandpa Charlie Moore, who - every Sunday - drove a glistening turquoise and white Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight to church.  Where we prayed faithfully.  In the fall for the Steelers, in the summer for the Pirates.

Grandpa was a coal miner.  He had his own mine a few miles outside of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  The Groundhog Capitol of The World.  The mine was nothing more than a hole in the side of a mountain, a small mountain at that.   Railroad tracks disappeared into darkness.   Grandpa would harness a blind-folded donkey - named "Donkey" -  to a large cart, like an old dumpster on wheels.  A few picks and shovels.   I remember dynamite.   He wore a spotlight on his old, dented helmet.  

He'd fade away into the shaft, like a pencil sketch slowly erased.  

And when he came back out, he'd be covered in soot, solid smudge from battered helmet to steel-toed shoes.   Eyes blinking in the sudden sunlight.   He'd lead the old donkey over to a chute and drop a load of coal into the back of his old dumptruck. Grab a bite to eat, a swallow of water and head back inside.  Grandpa and Donkey working together until the big truck was full.  

The doors of the red truck showed some faded gold lettering which read Moore Fuel & Transportation Company.  When the truck's bed was brimming, Grandpa would brush off as much grime as he could and drive into town.  He had a route, regular accounts.  He'd go from house to house with his truck and deliver a load of coal down a chute into somebody's basement.  Enough to hold them for another month.  

The man worked hard.

Grandpa was proud of his Oldsmobile and I was proud of Grandpa.

88.  Not getting that number was the best thing that ever could've happened to me.   Turned my life around.  I was driven to show everybody I was the only guy who should be wearing 88. Wanted to prove it.  

I believe in mind power.  If you think you are going to fail, you are going to fail. I am not going to fail.   I am invincible.

That's what I tell myself.   Over and over again.

You can hear the ligaments and tendons pop when they snap in your knee.   Sounds like somebody's throwing little firecrackers at you.   Pop! Pop!!  There is a moment of clarity between the injury and the arrival of the pain.  Call it a snapshot.   You understand everything, but do not know what any of it means.  

That frozen moment is a brief, incandescent transition between your life as you used to know it, and your life as it has become.  

You are not the same.  

You scream to forget the pain, which arrives entirely new, too.  You go into shock, so you won't have to deal with reality just yet.  

You're in a daze, occasionally awakened by a sudden shot of pain. Which you don't so much feel, as hear with your nerves.   You're not hurt, you're not hurt, you're not hurt.  I keep repeating to myself. Screaming, I think.  Maybe not.

I am not number 88 anymore.  

Numbers have stopped meaning anything to me.  Grandpa Charlie is dead.  A cave-in.  Guess he's done caring about the Oldsmobile.  

Was never about the damn number anyway. It was all about respect.

Wish they'd just give me a number, any damn number.   And put me back in the game.

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