Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Work and Cars

Hi Dad,

I've been busy from 8 every morning until 1am or later working the club at an even higher level of intensity. The TV commercial, sign spinners and sandwich board campaigns have been exhilarating, I'm really enjoying the marketing aspect. Was able to put together a decent week for this summer, 13.5k, and a solid weekend with some relatively early business. I am also offering some food during happy hour, bags of chips, apples, and crock pot wings, lil smokey's, etc. It doesn't cost much and no one seems to care, or eat it. It's a little hassle, but mostly there because my signage says "FREE Food" which I think is a powerful psychological tag line for a sign to have. I have tweaked the signage some, taken out some of the clutter and reduced it to 1 primary line of text with 2 supporting lines of text. The sandwich boards are for guys to wear downtown from 11pm to 1:30 am. They also hand out $5 discount cards. Saturday was the best day we've had in a while and we were definitely due for it. It's hard to say for sure how much t
he gorilla marketing tactics helped, but I know they had some positive effect ... some of the patrons early and late could be directly connected to the new campaigns.

I have some interesting employees. One of them, Bob, reminds me an awful lot of my cousin Troy in appearance, mannerisms, etc. he even plays the bass guitar. He's a bit of a generation x slacker but his enthusiasm for the sign spinning is something I would have never expected, he tells me it's the coolest job he's ever had! He was also fired from his last job, partly because he like to twirl things all the time! He had no prior experience 3 days ago and is now flipping signs behind his back and doing some pretty impressive chops. A T-mobile (cellular company) promoter approached him in a hummer vehicle that had all sorts of graphic advertising on it, obviously a high budget outfit. He was trying to steal my spinner to come work for him. Bob wouldn't even accept his business card and told him that he wouldn't consider leaving my employ for any amount! Granted this campaign is only a few days old but so far its going well. I've got a couple of others who are good workers too, 2 of them with prior experience.

The guys at Vogue (except the DJ Josh Keller) have worked under Rob for quite some time and to them my ideas represent change, and they aren't always enthusiastically behind my ideas. They do their jobs and follow my instructions well enough but at times I don't feel like they are 110% behind me. This new crew I'm building, albeit quite a bit different from the Vogue crew, I really feel like I have their total support and respect- something I've never felt before when managing people. That in turn builds my confidence and allows me to be an even better leader and manager. Some of that started to carry through last night also when managing the club staff as well and that feels pretty good. Now if I can just keep some traffic coming through the doors, I feel an incredible amount of pressure to get heads in the club and when things are slow a couple of days in a row it's pretty tough on me. Though the staffs morale seems pretty good overall. I have a good crew of girls, the normal drama when you have over 25 girls in one building together, the club is cleaner, the lights show is leagues better than it was 6 weeks ago, and the overall atmosphere of the club is the best it's ever been. Customers are truly having a great time, and their smiles and compliments show it. I have tinkered with and updated the nightly specials a little bit, and also adjusted the pricing to a lower level that doesn't feel like such a rip off as measures to increase the volume of customers through the doors. Last night felt like it had all came together really well, now I hope we can build from it! My weight keeps dropping as this is the 4th day in a row that I have forgotten to eat more than one meal.

Included are a couple of pics: My original sign sketch, the first generation sign that is too cluttered, the 2nd generation sign that has the starbursts on it, the sandwich boards signs that the guys wear downtown, a picture of me in my work uniform, and Sarah at the bar next to the club, The Thirsty Turtle. (I was testing out the sandwich board to see how well it fit and walked over to the Thirsty Turtle. Sarah, the manager/bartender, wanted to try it on. We took this picture of her standing on the bar cleaning the mirrors and texted it to her Boss, the owner! It was pretty hilarious!)
I am hearing some positive feedback on the commercial as well since it started running Thursday evening. Here is a link to our new website's media page where you can view the commercial:
(click on the link and then hit play.)

Here is the message I send out to people who respond to my craigs list ad:

Hi and thank you for your interest in this position! Club Vogue, The Gentlemen's Club, is the business you would be promoting. The shifts are primarily 6:45p - 9:15 p and 11p - 1:30a. The early shift utilizes the human directional arrow signs (sign spinning) and you would be placed at the corner of a busy intersection for example Business Lp. 70 and Providence Rd. The later shifts are downtown and employ a "wearable sandwich board" technique supported by discount cards that are handed directly to individuals. The response the last couple of days has been overwhelmingly positive! If this is something that interests you please reply and I will set up an interview. The rate of pay is $8.25/hr and payroll is processed every other Friday.

My ebay auction for my car ends tomorrow evening. I have 2 serious bidders and the high bid is now 19.5k. I have spoken with both bidders at some length and they both seem serious. I have told them of the rock chip, the hinge problem with the console, and the vaistech iPod integration system. The high bidder has a zero bid history, seems strange, but says he is approved at his credit union and would be over nighting a cashiers check, that sounds ok. He would also be shipping the car up rather than picking it up in person. I will need to have the car somewhat detailed.

I am also pretty excited about the new car Dad is getting and I'll be temporary custodian of. It has all the features of the car I have now plus some pretty outlandish features including power, reclining rear seats with seat massagers, an air ride suspension, rear and side rear window shades, a refrigerator, full sound system and climate controls for rear seat passengers. Here is a link to the new car:

I will feel much more at ease with a car that has 1/2 the miles of the one I have now and I wonder if my car is at a point where it may soon start having some pretty pricey repairs.

Thats what I've been up to. Maybe I'll write Greg Woods a letter today and perhaps play some poker, something I have had time to do much of lately.


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Friday, December 18, 2009

What Now

My poker results have been less than awe inspiring over the last several weeks. My full tilt account's high water mark was 5600, it's now down to 4006.77, a 1600 freefall. I have had some limited success on ultimate bet and am up 800 on that account but I feel like it's time to examine where I'm at in poker and evaluate my options. My ROI on Full Tilt over 240 tournaments is 19%.

Option 1: Switch back to full ring 100NL. I was beating the full ring 100NL game with a respectable win rate, 4PTBB's/100. I think the ring games are also good for one's overall poker growth. The only downside is they feel more like work and I don't enjoy them as much as the tournaments. I spend so much effort on table selection that it sometimes feels like more time is spent setting up the sessions than actually playing in them!

Option 2: Switch to the 6 max ring games. I have wanted to make the move from full ring to 6 max. I could step down to 50NL 6 max and see how that goes. It would still require the same effort in setting up the sessions but it would be something new and would be more exciting than going back to the full ring games.

Option 3: Continue playing the 24+2 tourneys on Full Tilt. My bankroll is still sufficient for this level and I really enjoy the ups and downs of going deep in the large field tournaments.

Option 4: Some combination of the above, perhaps #'s 3 & 4. I could play the 6 max games during the week, and tournaments on the weekends.

Any ideas or suggestions?

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Like the script of a bad horror movie

I am reeling from the worst bad beat/cooler poker has bestowed upon me. Imagine being sucker punched in the gut. That's pretty close to what it feels like both literally and figuratively. There will undoubtedly be more, and worse beats to come and for some strange reason that is comforting. Perhaps I can't get enough abuse!

The villain in this hand was the tournament chip leader, and there were 11 players remaining out of 1,135. First place paid over 6k.

To set up the hand a little, our villain had been playing very aggressively and I flopped the nuts, the best possible hand. Fate had smiled on me at exactly the right moment. With a set of tens my only concern was how to extract the most chips from my opponent! With a safe board (no flush draws and few straight draws), and an aggro villain who was the pre-flop raiser, I had all the ingredients for a slow play. I checked and the trap was set. When he checked back the flop I had mixed emotions. I would have preferred that he bet out and started to build a pot but also felt that he may have been slow playing an over pair and that I might be able to double up. I bet out the turn to start building a pot, but was hoping he would raise. When the river hit, and we got all of our chips in, I was keenly aware that A4 beat me, and that while that hand was in my villains range of possible holdings it was so unlikely as to not be a legitimate threat, like monsters under the bed. I was in great position to coast into the final table with a nice, newly minted chip stack. I was starting to sense that this was going to be the tournament that I had been waiting for, the one that would propel me to the next level. These thoughts were all flickering through my mind as I re-raised all in. He called and his cards showed; my mind instantly recognizing his A4, the one hand that was lurking in the depths of my brian, the one hand that was so dreadful, an ancient horror perhaps, one of such evil that we dare not speak of it lest it come true.

My stomach tightened and I felt like puking all over my computer.

An hour, maybe two has passed and I'm obviously not over it. I've been to subway and back, but my thoughts still drift to this hand, like a mental booger, clinging to my finger in spite of my best efforts to fling it off. Garbage in garbage out. It just wasn't fair. But thats a lie. It was absolutely fair in the cold way that stats, and numbers, and math, and cards can only be. They are incapable of being unfair, at least without dishonest human manipulation- cheating.

The casual observer would have maybe commented on the hand, most likely uttering "wow" but would have chalked it up to just another run of the mill typical bad beat. And a gut shot straight hitting on the river happens all of the time. But this doesn't do it justice, not by a long shot. It's more than just the circumstances and direct affect the outcome of the hand would have on me too. Sure if I win that pot I'll be a shoe in for the final table, the tournament chip leader, and likely finish in the top 3. But none of that accounts for the myriad of complex details that were below the surface, thoughts that were racing through my mind, evaluating the hand, the strategies that were in play and the mental jousting. With the information that I had it was not a mistake to shove all in on the river, even knowing that A4, (and 6,4 but that hand wasn't in his possible range of cards) would beat me. It would have been a mistake not to. The litmus test is are there hands that he would call with that you beat? And the answer is yes. He was a loose aggressive player and all of these hands were in his range, and these are also hands that he would have paid me off with: AA,KK,QQ,JJ,99,88,77,66,55,44,33,22,AT,KT,QT,JT,A9,K9,Q9,J9,98,97s. As the hand played out I intuitively knew that their were dozens of permutations of hands that I beat that he would still call with, and only the tiniest sliver that would beat me. Then of course there were all of the hands that he wouldn't have called with. He had exactly A4, the one and only possible holding that beat me. How sick.

I am now going to let this one go, and instead focus on more constructive things like becoming a better player.

Full Tilt Poker $16,500 Guarantee No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t5000/t10000 Blinds + t1000 - 5 players - View hand 408182

SB: t70667 M = 3.53

Hero (BB): t282891 M = 14.14

UTG: t713009 M = 35.65

CO: t325032 M = 16.25

BTN: t121758 M = 6.09

Pre Flop: (t20000) Hero is BB with T of clubs T of spades

UTG requests TIME, UTG raises to t22999, 3 folds, Hero requests TIME, Hero calls t12999

Flop: (t55998) 2 of spades T of diamonds 3 of hearts (2 players)

Hero checks, UTG checks

Turn: (t55998) 9 of hearts (2 players)

Hero bets t30000, UTG calls t30000

River: (t115998) 5 of spades (2 players)

Hero bets t60000, UTG raises to t130000, Hero raises to t228892 all in, UTG calls t98892

Final Pot: t573782

Hero shows T of clubs T of spades (three of a kind, Tens)

UTG shows 4 of diamonds A of spades (a straight, Five high)

UTG wins t573782

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

An interesting Spot and E.C. practice

In order to continue to improve at poker I am going to need to analyze the game on a deeper level, and one way to do that is to work out equity calculations. Comparing your pot odds, and likelihood of winning the hand against your opponents likely range of holdings and then making the correct decision in tricky spots separates the great players from the average. This hand is particularly interesting in that there are many possibilities that our villain could hold and our equity may not be immediately apparent.

In the early middle stage of a multi-table tourney we open raise with 89s, the button and big blind both call. We flop middle pair and an open ended straight draw. The big blind check raises all in and we have a tough decision to make.

Full Tilt Poker $38,000 Guarantee No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t20/t40 Blinds - 9 players - View hand 383965

The Official Hand History Converter

CO: t3755 M = 62.58

BTN: t2293 M = 38.22

SB: t4653 M = 77.55

BB: t2198 M = 36.63

UTG: t3833 M = 63.88

UTG+1: t2790 M = 46.50

UTG+2: t4355 M = 72.58

Hero (MP1): t2673 M = 44.55

MP2: t3450 M = 57.50

Pre Flop: (t60) Hero is MP1 with 9 of hearts 8 of hearts

3 folds, Hero raises to t120, 2 folds, BTN calls t120, 1 fold, BB calls t80

Flop: (t380) 8 of spades 7 of hearts T of spades (3 players)

BB checks, Hero bets t240, BTN calls t240, BB raises to t2078 all in, Hero requests TIME

Should we call or not? The answer might surprise you. Here are the steps we need to take to make the correct decision:

1) Figure Pot odds
2) Figure our equity vs. villains range of holdings
3) Convert equity percent to a decimal
4) Compare equity to pot odds

Pot odds: 1.6 to 1
This part is straight forward and exact. After our villain shoves, there is 2938 in the pot and it costs 1838 to call. Pots odds are 1.6 to 1 (2938/1838 = 1.59)

Equity vs. villains range:
This is a little trickier to figure and is not an exact science. First you need to determine the possible hands that you are up against then estimate the likelihood of each holding and finally compare the winning chances of your hand against his entire range of possible holdings.

In this particular hand this is the range of hands and % likelihood that I have assigned to our villain. The use of a poker calculator like Poker Stove is the easiest way to determine your equity vs. various villains holdings.

Villains Hand Our equity
Flush Draw ~50%
Top Pair, Top Kicker 47%
2 Pair 30% - 50%, average 40%
Set 28%
Top Pair, open ended 27%
Bluff 85%

Now we need to assign a likelihood to each holding. This is just our best guess.
Villains Hand Likelihood
Flush Draw 25%
Top Pair, Top Kicker 20%
2 Pair 20%
Set 15%
Top Pair, open ended 10%
Bluff 10%

(Equity X Likelihood)
Flush Draw (50 X .25) + TPTK (47 X .20) + 2 pair (40 X .20) + Set (28 X .15) + TP Open Ended (27 X .10) + Bluff (85 X .10) = (12.5 + 9.4 + 8 + 4.2 + 2.7 + 8.5) = 45.3

So we can now say that our equity against his range of holdings is 45%!

Now we need to convert that percentage to a decimal for the purposes of comparing it to the odds the pot is laying us to determine whether or not we should call.

45% = (100 - 45 or rather 55 to 45) = 55/45 = 1.222

Since the pot odds of 1.6 are greater than 1.2 we have a definite call!

As an aside even if our villain had more chips and the call was twice as much, 3676 chips to call instead of 1838, (and assuming that we had enough chips to make the call) it would still be correct to do so as our pot odds would be 1.3 to 1, which is larger than the 1.2 required!

In the actual hand I went into the tank and made the call. Our villain showed 9T for top pair with an open ended straight draw and had us crushed. We lost the hand and busted out of the tournament but we can rest easily knowing that we made the correct decision, and that folding would have been a weak play.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

It hurts. Will work for cookies . . .

My friend David just ran a marathon, finished it respectably, and he's a decade my senior. I prefer to not stray too far from the comfy confines of my Herman Miller Aeron chair. That changed 5 minutes ago. I am still panting as I write these words. Technically, by generally accepted height and weight ratios, my 6'1" frame supporting 207 lbs is just good enough for membership into that not so elite club of obese Americans.

My first couple of strides into my first run in ages and I felt like a new born colt, my legs faltering and I nearly fell. At less than 1/10th of a mile I started cursing myself, berating myself for being so stupid. "This is f#@$ing stupid, what are you thinking" I told myself and then quickly chastened myself, silencing those self defeating thoughts. It was at about this point that my saliva started tasting salty, my head got woozy, and I began to feel like I was going to vomit. I hadn't even made it 1/2 a mile! My goal was to jog to David's house which is less than 1 mile from my own and then limp back. Things actually became a little easier or perhaps I just got used to the pain, for the next bit. A large gradual down hill slope probably helped in this regard and yes I was acutely aware that I would be facing that particular landscape feature again in the not so distant future from a different perspective all together.

I did make it to within site of David's house, and I managed to jog back up the hill, albiet at a slower pace. Back on the main road I walked for one block and then jogged the last stretch. It's a start, we'll see where it goes.

Oh yeah, poker has been running good. Still beating the ring games but switched back to tournaments for a while as a change of pace, the grind was starting to burn me out a bit. Had 2 deep tourney cahses yesterday, finished 280 out of 10,600, and later finished 22nd out of 2,141. Hopefully I'll crack another one of those deep field tournaments soon . . .

Had a nice monopoly score last week too, won $300 in $100 a game monopoly. Managed to steal victory from the mouth of defeat twice as I walked through raindrops. And hit a nice little option lick for 2k profit in 24 hrs, all in all not a bad week.

Off to help a friend with his ongoing computer problems in exchange for his mothers chocolate chip cookies! lol

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Letter to Full Tilt Poker

It is my hope that Full Tilt will approve my request to receive rakeback. Their policy is that current account holder can not sign up through an affiliate and that the rakeback is only available to new players, on new accounts. I have heard of cases where players have written Full Tilt and they have made exceptions to their policy, but have never talked to any of them personally. I decided to wait until I received the highest level in their frequent player program before making my request. I achieved that level today.

On another note it is the end of the month for my ring game experiment. It went well. I will post my results, stats and more for the month soon.

To whom it may concern:

First I would like to say that I enjoy playing at Full Tilt Poker very much. The selection of games, top notch software, customer service and atmosphere truly set Full Tilt Poker apart from other sites. Good Job!

"Dedication. It's when players hit the table every day. They're tough to beat, because they've stared across miles of felt and flipped over thousands of cards.

There's also another type of dedication, which is when you show your appreciation for a special group of people."

As a player who has recently attained the highest level of your rewards program, "Iron", exceeded that level of play with Iron Man Plus points on several days, and having not missed a single day at the tables in the entire month I certainly hope that you carefully consider my request and show some of the "appreciation" that you promise.

I joined Full Tilt Poker several years ago when I was first learning about poker, with no inkling of the concepts of "rake" or "rakeback". I did not sign up through any affiliate. As a frequent player and valued customer my request is that you allow me to align my current account with an affiliate who could offer me rake back.

It strikes me as patently unfair that a player who had never played at your site before would be eligible for those rewards and a loyal player of several years like myself would not be. Additionally I know personally other players who have had existing accounts with Full Tilt Poker, and who later were allowed to receive rakeback.

According to my records I have contributed $1,143.80 in rake during the month of August. I am anticipating increasing the amount that I play and the total rake that I contribute. I would like Full Tilt Poker to be the primary poker site that I play at however if I am unable to receive rake back I will have no other option than to choose another site as my primary site.

With your approval of my request I am looking forward to many years of rewarding poker on your site!

Warm Regards,

James Yeager

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Monday, August 17, 2009

10K+ Hands $100NL Full Ring on Full Tilt. Graph & Stats.

I started this experiment on August 1st. 4 losing days out of 17. At this level of play I have stats on 121 players with over 5K hands in my Poker Tracker database. Only 2 players have a higher BB/100 than I do and neither of them have over 6k hands. 64 of those 121 players have a positive win rate. Here are some average stats from the winners compared with mine:

Winners Stats: VP$IP 13.33 PFR 9.41 3BetPre-Flop 3.63 AF 2.72 AFq 43.62 BB/100 2.69
My Stats: VP$IP 21.00 PFR 14.26 3BetPre-Flop 2.90 AF 2.42 AFq 47.93 BB/100 7.56

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Just finished my best session yet . . .

It's 11:45 on Friday night. I was 6-tabling for about an hour and finished ahead $226, $359 for the day. A nice boost to my winnings and win rate! Total winnings now $1292.10, BB/100 8.24. Of the 14 days I've played I have only had 3 losing days, and am on a 7 day win streak.
-Click on the image to expand it-

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Monthly Winnings Over 1k

45 Sessions
2.61 Tables Concurrently
42.88 Hours
3.06 Ave. Hours/Day
7,386 Hands
23.34 $/hr
1,000.75 $Won

Right now I'm focusing on increasing my re-raise frequency pre-flop with position, adjusting the size of my flop continuation bets based upon the texture of the flop, and taking advantage of opportunities to bluff the river.

I ran some custom reports on Poker Tracker comparing stats of winning vs. losing players. My database has over 400K poker hands, containing info on 16,775 players, 62 of them regulars with over 5000 hands. I broke down those 62 players into winners and losers and compared their stats, things like what % of hands they play, how often they raise, attempt to steal the blinds, fold to re-raises, bet out on the flop when they were the last aggressor, and fold to lead out bets on the flop, etc. There are literally hundreds of stats that can be compared but I have picked out the ones that I think are the most useful. The average of the winning players stats and the losers is surprisingly similar. I think this is because each loser has different "leaks" in their game. One player may not raise pre-flop enough, another may be too aggressive, many fold to continuation bets too often. What was more interesting was how different my stats were than the averages. I'm playing more hands, raising more pre-flop, re-raising a little less (which I am looking to increase), and calling standard continuation bets on the flop a little more. Of the 62 players in my database who I have over 5k hand histories on, only 3 have a higher win rate than I do, and all 3 of them have a smaller total number of hands played than I do.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dual Monitors Rock

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So Far, So Good

My ring game poker experiment started August 1st. With the exception of a couple of small buy in tournaments I have played exclusively $100 buy in NL hold'em on Full Tilt Poker. Click on the image above to expand and see a graph of my winnings. Here are a few stats on my play so far:

Amount Won: $835.05
BB/100: 7.11
$/Hour: $22.63
Hours: 36.9
Total Hands: 5,875
Voluntarily Put Money Into the Pot (VPIP): 23.83%
Pre-Flop Raise: 15.29%

I have been steadily adding to the number of tables that I play concurrently, and while my overall average is 2.42 tables at one time, I have recently been starting each session with 6 tables. 5k hands is not enough to draw any strong conclusions from, 10k would be better, and 25k better yet. I feel like I have been running pretty good; I've taken a few beats, made a couple of costly mistakes, and won my share of coin flips. Overall I feel that these stats might be a pretty good indicator of my win rate. Time will tell.

I use a couple of tools to help me succeed. Poker Tracker 3 keeps all the stats and detailed hand histories for each hand I play. The software also displays a heads up display (HUD) which overlays keys stats on my opponents. I also subscribe to Table Tracker, which scans the available online poker tables and compares the players seated at those tables to the info I have on them in my database and then provides me a list of the tables which may be the most profitable to play at. In order to have enough information in my database to make this useful I have also imported 400K hands that are for the exact table limits that I play at.

In comparing my stats to other players in the database I notice that I am playing more hands, and raising pre-flop more often than most of my opponents. While I am loose and aggressive, I think that I may be leaving too much money on the table, especially on the river. In short I think that increasing the frequency of my bluffs on the river might increase my win rate.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Started Playing Ring Games Again

Just getting my feet wet in the $100 buy-in, 9 handed NL games on Full Tilt. 5 sessions, 5 wins. All while multi-tabling, 2 tables first, then moved up to 3 tables. So far this level plays much softer than the $200, 6 max, NL games I used to play. All short sessions, about 3 hours total but up $200. The multi-tabling keeps the lower limit, 9 handed game more "exciting", and I anticipate that it will also improve my winnings.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

4 tournaments yesterday:

$24+2 Did not cash
$24+2 Finished 30th out of 1,448 for $81.09
$69+6 Did not cash
$69+6 Finished 11th out of 178 for $160.20

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Back

A lot has happened in my life since my last post. Enduring 13 months down time in a federal tax camp, pulling the plug on a very real, and deep relationship with the woman I considered spending my life with, the continued building of my business- I've taken a couple of life's bad beats but feel I am in a place where I am stronger and wiser than before. My interest in poker has waned, but never gone away entirely. I view the game through a different lens. I have seen more of the fraud that poker can be, but still find myself drawn to the game.

After returning from my hiatus it didn't take that long before I started logging on to various poker sites to see if "just by chance" I might have a few dollars in an account somewhere. I checked all of the online poker rooms that I used to frequent and found a dollar or two on Full Tilt, ditto on Pokerstars, and a little over $100 on True Poker, as well as a few bucks on Bodog. I got a 3rd place in a $10 Bodog tourney good for $300 and was back in business! Several bad beats later, and after depositing a few hundred on Full Tilt, I was nearly felted with only the $100 bucks on True Poker left. I played the $25 buy-in no limit games there and built that up to $350, then after jumping through several hoops managed to cash out and move that money over to Full Tilt Poker which is my preferred online site.

At first things seemed to be going well, I had several small cashes and at one point I cashed in 4 out of 5 tourneys. My bankroll was slowly starting to build and hit a highwater mark of just under $500 before I started running bad. Time and time again I would be in position to make a go at the money and would run into a cooler or take a bad beat. This is mostly over the last 2 - 3 weeks. Having pocket Kings cracked at highly inopportune moments seemed to be Full Tilt's favorite trick but she had others too. Idiots calling my raises with hands like 63o, only to flop 2 pair. I could bore you for minutes with my tales of woe but suffice it to say that I was running poorly and it started to affect my play. I began to view poker as a stupid luckfest, and I while not proud of it on a couple of occasions I just gave up in small buy in tournaments and intentionally blew off my chips. I took a day off and before I played again I wrote on paper a little pact with my self, that as long as I had chips I would play my hardest to win and never give up again.

This is starting to read like the build up to some life changing event like winning a world series of poker bracelet, or making my first 6 figure score, unfortunately that is not the case. However yesterday I did have my largest tournament poker cash by outlasting 1,110 other players in $10 buy in tournament on Full Tilt Poker, taking first place and a cool $2110.90 to go along with it. To win a tournament of that size was a complete rush, the best feeling I have had in poker yet, (however it did feel pretty damn good to bust Cyndy Violette out of a WSOP event back in '05). I feel a little vindicated, that I have been playing well, and now I have the knowledge and confidence that I can take down and win a large field tournament. How many people can say that they have won a poker tournament with over 1000 players in it? I also know that I have made some missteps along the way and that I still have a lot to learn. My poker enthusiasm is definitely back, as is my desire to soak up everything I can and continue to learn and progress as a poker player. I feel that now I have a little more of a bankroll that will enable me to play sub $100 buy in events and hammer away until my next "big" score, that this is the first of many and bigger poker achievements to come. But last night, at 1:55 am it sure did feel good! Now it's time to take the lessons and experience from last night and parlay it into more wins.

Time for one poker hand- a quick tutorial on how to play QT off suit.

The set up:

$10 buy-in on Full Tilt
1,111 players, 2 remain
First pays $2110.90, Second place $1299.87
Hero Chip Stack: 1,449,444
Villain Chip STack: 764,556
Blinds: 15,000/30,000 with a 4,000 ante

With a chip stack that is 50 times the size of the big blind and having my opponent out chipped nearly 2 to 1 I am not looking to double up my opponent, but would rather keep the pressure on and chip away at his stack mercilessly. Villain has the button and raises it 75k, I smooth call with QhTd, which is a strong holding heads up, even out of position. The flop: Ks7d3h
The action is on me, I have nothing and want to keep the pot size manageable, I check. He opts not to fire a continuation and checks behind me. The Turn: Qc
I felt that his check on the flop was suspect, and was a little concerned that he could be slow playing a K, however my pair of queens is most likely in the lead and with 158,000 in the pot I lead out with a bet of 100,000 hoping to take down the pot right now. Our villain has other ideas though and shoves all-in for 689,556 putting me in a very difficult spot with my middle pair, so-so kicker. My first thought was that he slow played a hand with a K in it, perhaps KJ, KT, or KXs, and checked the flop so that he could win more after I fired at the pot. Additionally I did not want to double him up! And the pot was laying me 1.6 to 1 to make the call. I tanked, the more I evaluated his bet the stranger it felt to me, if felt like he wanted me to go away. Additionally the temptation to end this thing right here, right now set in and I made the call. He showed ThJc for an open-ended straight draw . . . please Jesus just one time let the best hand hold up! The river was the Kd, giving me 2 pair and the win!

There were other hands I could have written about, one in particular were I felt like I made a misstep when we were 3 handed but this one has a happy ending! I really didn't have too many difficult calls to make in my road to victory, as my style of play favors making lots of small bets and raises to win pots and when I play big pots I usually have a solid hand. Incidentally in some ways I don't like big starting hands, you are married to them and end up playing big pots and hope your hand holds up. People say that you have to get lucky to win a tournament and that is definitely true, but it's also crucial that you NOT get UNLUCKY. As I move up in buy-ins I would anticipate more players, playing back at me more aggressively and forcing me to make more difficult decisions.

And one last note. In support of national poker week, the PPA (Poker player's Alliance, a lobbying group), and HB 2267 to legalize online poker, I phoned Sen. Christopher S. BondSen. , Claire McCaskill, and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer to voice my support of that bill and ask them what their position on poker was. I spoke with staffers at all three and the assured me that they would pass on my thoughts. Just a few moments ago I received this from Claire:

Dear Mr. Yeager:

Thank you for contacting me regarding gambling on the Internet. I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, Congress passed a law in 2006 that prohibited banks from handling transactions between online gambling sites and their customers. The Treasury Department issued the final regulations based on this law in November 2008, and they came into force in January 2009, with a final compliance deadline of December 1, 2009.

I was not in Congress at the time this bill was passed. Some in Congress have advocated amending or repealing the law. For instance, one proposal is to allow banks to process online gambling transactions, but only if they first receive a federal license. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind if any relevant bills come before the Senate.

Thank you again for contacting me. I hope you will continue to reach out in the future with your thoughts and advice.

All best,
Senator Claire McCaskill

P. S. You may sign up for my email newsletter at .

Interesting that the day I voiced my support for poker I won my biggest tournament ever, perhaps there really is a poker god!

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