Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Career Change

If all goes well I’ll be starting my new career in a little over a week. What career might that be? Well I’m glad you asked. I’m going to be a professional baseball player. How does that work? Simple.

First off, I’m going to a Cubs Fantasy camp this week. My dad has gone a couple of times with his brothers and he absolutely loved it. He’s been counting down the days until I turn 30 so I can go with him.

The camp is run by Randy Hundley and a bunch of other old time Cubs players. You go down to the Cubs spring training facilities in Arizona, and get to play a couple of baseball games each day with other Cubs fans and with a few of the old timers as coaches. Its just like you are actually on the team, except every one is old, and not quite as coordinated as a professional baseball player.

So, how does this fit into my making the real Cubs team? Apparently you haven’t been paying attention for the past hundred years or so. Seriously, how could I not make the team? Their crazy spending this year may have put a damper on my plans as they have acquired a number of big name free agents. But not to fear, they always have room for a pitcher or two. Have I ever pitched before? No, but I have thrown out my shoulder playing disc golf on more than one occasion, and what good is a Cubs pitcher if his arm isn’t busted? Plus, I’m sure I can learn to pitch left handed. Everyone needs another left handed pitcher. If the pitching thing doesn’t work out, I can always play my usual position, which is second base. I think the Cubs had five second basemen on their roster at the same time last year. You never know when they’ll need another.

So whether or not I make the team, I’m really looking forward to trip. It should be a blast. The only problem is that I don’t get back until Sunday. Superbowl Sunday that is. My plane touches down at about the same time that kickoff is scheduled. My hope is that the game starts late. I’m DVRing it anyway, so I’ll just have to get home without hearing the score and then watch it on tape delay. Figures the first time the Bears make the Superbowl in 20 years and I’m going to miss it.

Not that you would expect me to post more than once a week any more, but just in case you are looking for a midweek post to help get you through the week, its probably not going to happen. Although, might bring a laptop to play some poker at night after all the old people go to bed.

Originally posted at


Super Bowl Predictions

A friend of mine complained that the Bears have made the Superbowl and yet I have not provided the world with my expert analysis. There’s a couple of reasons for that. First, the whole neteller arrests and withdrawal from the us market has basically demoralized me in terms of poker. I’m frustrated with the whole situation, and the mere thought of poker has puts me on tilt. Seeing as this blog is theoretically about poker, I haven’t felt like writing anything, Superbowl or not. Then of coarse there’s my history of post season predictions where last year I predicted and easy playoff win for the Bears against the Carolina Steve Smiths, I mean Panthers.

Now that I’ve gone this far, I might as well give you my thoughts.

My biggest concern going into this game is not Rex Grossman or the Bears offense. It’s the defense. The much talked about, Bears D. In the beginning of the year they were so good it was ridiculous. The only way they would give up points was if the Bears offense or special teams gave their opponent great field position, and even then it was tough. They lost Mike Brown and Tommy Harris and had a few other injuries, and they haven’t been the same since. They play a frustrating bend but don’t break style of D, which has caused more than a few ulcers in Chicago land. In pressure situations they’ll give up large chunks of yards, and way too many first downs, before finally making a stop just outside of field goal range. They can’t seem to get a key three and out in any close games.

The Bears offense I’m not concerned about. Rex has been getting better at throwing the ball away instead of into his opponent’s hands, and I’m pretty sure he can do that against Indy’s less than impressive D. Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson have been running at will on opponents in recent weeks, and if there’s one thing the Colts suck at its stopping the run.

As for the Colts, of the final four AFC teams I think they are the team I would most like the Bears to play. Yes, they have Peyton Manning, and used to be able to score at will, but this year, and as recently as two weeks ago, teams have been able to stop their offence. I don’t know if the Bears can keep Indy out of the endzone like Baltimore did, but I do know that the Bears can score more than three field goals. Too many of the Colts games come down to Manning leading a fourth quarter drive to win. He usually converts, but not this time.

I was scared of the Chargers because the Bears have had problems stopping the run, and the Chargers could just give the ball to LT all day. I think the Bears are better than the Patriots, but that wouldn’t stop them Pats from winning as they tend to just outplay their opponents, not matter what the game looks like on paper. And Baltimore’s defense could have single handedly beaten the Bears, much the same way that the Bears D has been known to win games on its own.

So, my prediction….

Bears 34, Colts 20. Jones, and Benson each get a TD, and Grossman passes for two, one to Berrian, and one to the TE Desmond Clark. Manning passes for two TDs, but gets picked off on a key fourth quarter drive.

Originally posted at


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cashout Options?

Neteller’s withdrawal from the U.S. market has very much killed my motivation to play poker. Even if I do well, is it really worth the time and effort that it’s going to take to find a new payment processor every few months? Its going to be great fun when I have a virtual fortune at various online sites, yet have no way of ever getting to that money. Maybe I’ll just amass my fortune online and then retire to Canada, or Europe so I can cash out. Do any poker sites offer interest on your bankroll? If so I’d switch there as soon as I could find a usable payment processor and consider any poker funds that I can’t currently access as retirement funds. Then I could literally be gambling with my retirement nest egg whenever I played poker.

The other thing that sucks about this is that I still make a few bucks here and there as an affiliate for a few sites. Most of them sent payments to Neteller, or my player account, which I then withdrew to Neteller. Now I have to go figure out which sites support which withdrawal options, and try to find the solution requiring me to set up the fewest new eWallet accounts.

I actually tried signing up for click2pay this morning since I think they are the biggest/most popular remaining option for me, but I got a message saying my IP address indicates that I’m not from the US, UK, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, South Africa, France, Austria or Germany, and those are the only countries they support. Well great, since I’m apparently not in the US maybe I can still use my Neteller account.

Originally posted at


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Sky is Falling (Again)

In case you haven't heard the founders of Neteller were arrested earlier this week on conspiracy to commit money laundering charges. Or something like that.

Here are a few interesting related links and a significant change from Neteller.

2+2 thread

I'm sure you can find more if you half try.

the real important one is this:

Neteller Member News

Basically, Neteller is no longer accepting new accounts from US residents. They are also no longer accepting transfers to or from gambling related sites. You are still free to use your account for non-gambling related sites, and you should still be able to cash out.

So, this could very much kill the online poker/gambling industry. The US is a significant percentage of that market and the most popular methods for them to access it have now been eliminated. Bill Rini has a very good analysis of how this will affect the gaming market even for non-us players.

I wonder if its too late to deposit at Mansion Poker to take advantage of their 100K guaranteed? maybe its a good thing that I haven't deposited ther yet since it seems like cashing out isn't going to be all that easy if I do win.

I really want to go on a rant about how ridiculous our government can be, and how many better uses of our law enforcements time and money there are, but I'm pretty sure its all been said many times before. Maybe I'll have more comments tomorrow after I've had time to filter through all the news reports and other commentary.

Originally posted at

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

SNGs and Guarantees

I’m doing OK in my goal of playing more poker this year than last. My monetary results are a bit behind the pace I need to reach my goal, but it’s still early in the year, and I’m not too worried about that.

For SNGs, so far it’s been either all or nothing. I’ve either won, or finished 6th or worse. I’ve been playing 30+3s and 33+3 turbos on FullTilt and I can’t say that I’ve noticed any significant differences between this level and the one I was playing last year. Hopefully I can move up again soon.

Last night I decided to play in the $25K Guaranteed on FullTilt. It was about a quarter to seven at the time, and the $25K didn’t start until eight, so I thought it would be a good idea to try to win a token for my entrance. Because you know $26 is way over my price range. Even though a normal SNG takes about an hour I thought that I could do a two-table in a little under an hour and fifteen minutes so I could use my shiny new token for the $25K Guaranteed. I figured since the last four win a token and we wouldn’t have to eliminate the last three people it would go quickly. I was wrong. When we were down to six we all had plenty of chips in relation to the blinds, and the short stack kept doubling up. I had already busted out of the $25K by the time I won my token. But at least the next one will be free.

Oh, and for you young players out there, pushing all in pre-flop with AKs in the first 20 minutes of a huge multiplayer tournament, is not really a good plan. Probably the dumbest move I’ve made in quite a while. And I knew it as soon as did it, before they even called. Yes there were two other players in the hand. I told you it was the dumbest move I’ve made in a while. I think I was frustrated by the fact that the token SNG was still going so I was a little more aggressive in the Guaranteed than I needed to be. How much do you have to suck to go out 1200 or so out of 1500ish without suffering a horrible bad beat?


I think the first tournament for the 2007 wpbt is tonight. Hopefully I’ll actually remember to play. I don’t really have an excuse not to.

[edit] And by tonight I mean two weeks from tonight. And I will have an excuse for missing that as I'll be in Mesa Arizona attending the Cubs fantasy camp. [/edit]


I don’t intend to play anywhere other than FullTilt and PokerStars this year. I like both sites, and keeping track of which sites I have money at, and where I’m chasing bonuses, and all that is more pain in the ass than its worth, so I’m going to limit it to those two sites. Or at least I was going to. If you haven’t heard, Mansion Poker is running daily $100,000 Guaranteed tournaments. Word on the street is that they are only getting about $50K worth of registrations. That’s a fairly large overlay and might be big enough to tempt me to try them out. Of course everyone keeps mentioning this, so sooner or later they are going to get enough people playing to cover the guarantee, which I guess is the point for them. The only reason I haven’t tried this tourney out yet is because it costs $100 to enter which is a bit over my comfort zone. Still, that’s a big overlay.


Originally posted at

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2007 WSOP Schedule Released

The schedule for the 2007 WSOP is available here. Unlike last year's World Series of Holdem events this one seems to be rather diverse. There are a number of H.O.R.S.E. events, a S.H.O.E. event, a razz, 2-7 draw and triple draw lowball, a number of stud and omaha events and of course a bunch of hold'em events.

In addition to the usual $10,000 hold'em main event, there is also a $10,000 Omaha event and they brought back the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E.

A number of events have the "World Championship" prefix. I don't know if you get an extra shiny bracelet for winning those or just get to add "WC" after your name when signing autographs for your hundreds of fans.

Personally I'm glad they mixed it up a bit this year. I hope the broadcast more events than just holdem and the one token day of omaha this year. Last year by the time the main event episodes were over, I was so sick of watching 8 guys I've never heard of and one pro battle for another $1000 hold'em bracelet that I don't think I watched any episodes on ESPN other than the main event.

I would bet that part of the reason there are so many non holdem events this year is because many sites are starting to offer other games and people are enjoying them. Holdem has that whole been there done that feel to it and people are lookng for something new. Of course the number of people qualifiying online is likely going to be reduced thanks to a certain change in U.S. laws, and mass exudus from the U.S. market by many online sites. I wonder what the percentage of online qualifiers was for most events last year, and if that percentage will go down or not this year. I guessing it will be down, but apparently Harrah's doesn't think so, since there are seven more events this year and they talk about additional space for side games/tourneys and what not.

Anyways, you have 5-6 months to qualify, so get started.

Originally posted at

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Poker Goals for 2007

Poker Goals for 2007

Two posts in two days! At this rate I’ll have more posts than last year by the end of the month.

I’m not a big fan of New Years Resolutions. It seems to me that more often than not people make them because they think they have to and they don’t really have any expectation of actually keeping the resolution. Besides, if it was something that you really wanted to do, why wait until the new year to start? Just do it. That being said, the beginning of the year does provide a convenient point in time to measure one’s goals, and in that in that vein I present to you my poker related goals for the current year.

  1. Move Up In Stakes – I tried this last year in ring games with mixed results. I moved up, although not quite as far as I had wanted, and my move was not followed with the success I was hoping for. As of now I’m not planning on playing a whole lot of ring games this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t move up.

I currently play almost exclusively $20 Sit-N-Goes. It might be $22 for a turbo, or $24 for token events, or big tournaments, but $20ish is more or less as high as I go. I feel like I’ve been pretty successful at these stakes, and its time to move on. By the end of the year I’d like to be playing (successfully) in at least $50 SNG’s and a few of the higher buy in multi-table tournaments on a regular basis. I don’t necessarily expect my ITM rate to stay as high as it has been, but barring any disastrous results and as long as I am winning more than losing, I should come out further ahead in terms of net profits.

  1. Earn at least $10,000 – This may be a little on the ambitious side, but I think it’s attainable. Last year I finished up almost $1400. As I already mentioned I plan to eliminate my ring game play which accounted for a $600 swing the wrong way. One of my goals this year is to play more, but that’s somewhat vague and difficult to measure so this is kind of a sneaky way to reach that goal as well. To increase my winnings I’m going to have to play more, or else win every tourney I enter. Couple that with my previous goal of increased stakes, and I think I can do it. I’ll probably still need a few final tables in large tourneys to account for large chunks of this total, but even without that, if I can at least play regularly at higher stakes I think I’ll be ok.

  1. Blog More – In case you haven’t noticed I’ve been slacking in the blogging department lately. Part of the problem is that I haven’t been playing much, so I haven’t had anything to write about. On the other hand, I think writing about my play forces me to think about it more which in turn makes me a better player. So, by blogging more, I think I will play better, which will make me want to blog more, which will repeat this cycle until eventually I am the WSOP main event winner. Or something like that. Blogging more isn’t very specific and lately not that tough of a goal, since I think I’ve already matched last month’s post totals. To make this goal quantifiable I need a number, and I think having 100 posts this year is about right. That’s an average of two per week with a few weeks off. That is certainly attainable, but will require some dedication to achieve which is kind of the point. I’ve been slacking lately for no good reason and I need to either pick it up or give it up and I’d prefer the former.

So there are my three goals for the year. Check back this time next year and see how I did.

Originally posted at


Saturday, January 06, 2007

2006 Year in Review

I might be a little late for my year in review, but if there's one thing you should know about me by now, its that I'm a procrastinator. Better late than never right? 2006 was an interesting year to say the least. I had some early big tourney successes, some lengthy periods of non-play, some horrible ring game results, and the revitalization of my SNG game. Oh and then there was that whole UIGEA thing.

Lets first take a look at the goals I made for myself last year and how I did in regards to those, and then maybe I'll post some of my overall numbers.

  1. Move up to $3/$6

    At the beginning of the year I was playing $1/$2 limit and having a good deal of success. I had started playing $2/$4 on occasion just to get a feel for it. My thought was I could move up to $2/$4 permanently by the middle of the year and then $3/$6 by the end. It didn't quite work out like that. I made the move to $2/$4, but my results there were horrible, and I ultimately ended up dropping ring game play all together. There were a few factors in my failures in ring game play. I think some of it had to do with my bonus chasing which lead me to play more tables and for longer periods than I can realistically play and still have a positive expectation. I also think don't think I have the discipline to play limit poker very well. It tends to get tedious after a while and I stop paying attention which certainly doesn't help. Or I'm just not good poker player after all. Who knows.

  2. Play More SNG's

    Its funny. I've read some blogs where the writer has complained about not enough time for poker and he can only play 10 SNGs a night. I had a goal of 10-15 a month or 120-180 for the year. And I came nowhere close. I played 55 SNG's total. My best month in terms of quantity was January where I had 14. I didn't even play any in June or July. As we'll see later, its too bad I didn't play more, because SNG's turned out to be quite profitable for me. Better luck next year.

  3. Win a Tournament with at Least 100 Players

    Tournament poker is my strength. Coming into the year I had a number of cashes and final tables, but I had yet to win a tournament with a large field. This goal I actually met, winning a 20 table SNG at Stars in February. I think that if you have the time this is where the big money can be made. If you can cash often enough to stay even, eventually you can get a big win.

I have a few goals for this year, but I'm going to save those for another post. Hopefully I'll have that out by March.

Some assorted Stats from last Year:


Limit Ring Games:-$558.75
No Limit Ring Games:-$111.73

Lets briefly look at each of these:

  1. Limit Ring Games

    I knew I was doing poorly in limit games, but I didn't realize I was bleeding this much until I just now added it up. Maybe that's part of my problem. Breaking it down a little further, I lost $12 at $1/$2, $335.75 at $3/$4, and $211 at $3/$6. I only played $3/$6 twice and if I remember correctly I was satisfied with my play it was just a couple bad beats that accounted for most of my losses. The $2/$4 was just terrible. It got to the point where I was expecting to lose which only made it worse before I ultimately gave them up to focus on tourneys.

  2. No Limit Ring Games

    I don' t play a lot of no limit ring. Most of this was me wasting money on GamesGrid that I had acquired as an affiliate. It was like free money and I was often playing when doing other things like watching TV, so in addition to it not being my best format, wasn't playing under optimal circumstances and I blew through my GamesGrid bankroll pretty quickly.

  3. SNG

    Towards the end of the year I went on a pretty good run in SNG's. Almost all of these were the $20 variety with a few smaller stakes early in the year and a few $22 turbos later on. (Why are turbo's $22 and regular tourneys $20 at FullTilt?) $418 for 55 SNGs is about $7.60 per tourney. Assuming I'm playing two at a time, which I usually do, that's $15 an hour. That's not too bad for a part time job, right? I plan on moving up in stakes this year, so maybe I can that hourly rate up. No matter what, I definitely need to play more of SNGs this year.

  4. Tournaments

    As I've mentioned repeatedly I'd like to play more large tournaments, but I don't usually have the time required for them. Last year I played in 28 and only cashed in four, but those four included a first and second place finish in 180 player events which accounted for the the majority of my winnings for the year. I'd like to maybe get into some events with higher buy ins this year, but overall I was happy with my tourney play.

  5. Bonuses

    I just can't stop myself from chasing bonuses when they are offered at my favorite sites. So on the one hand, I earned $175 in free bonus money, but I think if I was to add up all of my results when I was trying to earn those bonuses it would be more than $175 in the other direction. I really need to deposit amounts that I can claim through my normal play so that they really are bonuses and not something to make my ridiculous losses not quite so bad.

There's my 2006 year in review. Yay.

Originally posted at