Monday, November 28, 2005

Going Pro: Week 17 and 18: The Islands

Fantastic news from PartyPoker. They have released a Beta version of their new client available for download. The new client has a great feature, especially for us multi-tablers. It allows you to shrink the size of the tables allowing you to cram more onto your screen. This is great news for me as I was contemplating having my computer and 2001FP's shipped over, and now can sell those on eBay (hopefully netting an extra grand for my travels) and do it all on my laptop! I've played with the software and though there are a couple of drawbacks, it is still nothing short of a miracle. Party may have just won back a big chunk of their market share lost to PokerStars.


I am Back on the beautiful Thai islands once again. Unfortunately the journey has begun at a spot I'm less than enthusiastic about. Though some love Phuket and come back often, I find it very similar to Los Angeles. I lived in LA for a little over a year after college and didn't like it much at all...the sprawling smog-filled concrete jungle was extremely impersonal and slow to navigate. Phuket is much the same way. Even the extremely warm and friendly nature of the Thai people can't overcome the ailments created by the overdevelopment of this once (I read) idyllic island.

I had thought of staying here for quite awhile, as this is their peak season (best weather) though I'm headed off tomorrow morning to Koh Phi Phi (Don) a smaller, less developed neighboring islands. Phi Phi is famous for being the site of the film The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio (great flick about traveling in Thailand). The weather here is fabulous (sunny, 80-90 degrees and over 70 at night) so hopefully the life on Phi Phi is a little more at the pace I'm looking for.

I'd like to head back to Pha-Ngan (site of the Full Moon Party I wrote about) but the islands on the Eastern shore (Samui, Tao etc) are in the middle of their heavy rainy season...so probably head that way in early 2006.


Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!


Wild Bill

Friday, November 25, 2005

Chiang Mai: The Heat Goes On

Chiang Mai is a pretty so-so city. If you are into the outdoors (I rode an elephant, saw a snake show, went rafting) then you'd love it...I like beaches, big clubs and ACTION. Problem is this turbo-charged heater I'm on wont let up and the hotel I've been staying at seems practically designed by an internet pro. 
I have my own back section of the restaurant every morning (peak times in the US correspond to 6am-1pm Thai time) to use my laptop and be served $0.30 coffee and $1 omelettes. It is +EV to say the least. $18 a night US (expensive by Thai standards) but it is a palace...excellent staff (they make service in the US look pathetic) and $0.75 per hour internet (cheapest I've found in Thailand).

I'm wanting to head off somewhere else but it seems to be raining money once again. Sorry to anybody waiting on me for other projects...when poker goes like this, it is important to ride it out (and when it goes south, important to play less, as I described in my last post).

Got a new badass cell not available in the US (Sony Ericsson W550i) so will be putting up more and more pictures, so long as it and my laptop hold up on me. These are both at a beautiful buddhist temple up on a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai, one is of me the other is of the steps up to the temple.

Not sure on the next stop...looking like Eastern Thailand, Laos or Phuket...anybody have any suggestions? grindblog@gmail.com Also, I know I've been poor thus far on links and pictures etc...I really started this blog as more of a personal diary...but I know a lot of people are reading it now so I'll try and do this type of thing more and more:

I highly reccomend everybody checkout Curtains' (2+2) blog at: http://www.livejournal.com/users/curtainspoker/ He is one of (if not THE) best posters in the 2+2 STT forum and a great great hi buy-in STT player.

Also check out a great post by Unarmed (2+2) about him undertaking something very similar to me Here

He's a bit younger than me but he's a great great player, he's been in Hawaii for awhile and now to New Zealand. Send him a bunch of PM's and tell him to start a blog!


Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!


Wild Bill

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I Survived (Finally a Poker Post!)

The worst downswing (yet) of my pro career is officially over. In the end it lasted just short of three weeks and was both the longest and most expensive downswing I have experienced. The good news is I am extremely proud of the way I handled the situation: I never questioned my game or my ability to do this. Yes it sucked, it sucked bad. One of those streaks where you can magically call out bad beats milliseconds before they happen.

In a post for the ages on 2+2, Irieguy said (paraphrased) at some point everybody will run worse than they ever thought possible...the difference between a winner and a loser is the loser thinks he does not deserve it. Well had I not already known this, and experienced a similar horrid stretch roughly a year ago at a lower buy-in...I would have thought this was a stretch worse than was possible.

I knew I had this coming, especially since I moved up to the 109's and have had an utterly unsustainable first thousand tourneys. As my true ROI is inevitably going to be lower at the 109's, BY DEFINITION my variance is going to be higher...but I had experienced none of this...until the three weeks from hell!.

This was the one mental hurdle, the moral victory that I was waiting to have to prove to myself that I can do this, that I have what it takes to be a professional. Well I am glad to announce that I do (at least in my own mind) have the right stuff. As was told to me early on, I will get more and more comfortable with my profession as I grow more confident that it is that, a profession, and not just an experiment. This has got to be some of the truest best advice I have ever been given.


During this stretch I played significantly less than I normally do, I moved down a level for over a week and I reduced my number of tables (I am still cautiously at 4). This is the text-book way to approach a downsing...this is how I coach students to approach them and how they should be handled IMO. Well I actually did it this way, I even switched to cash games for a bit, on another site...to get a change of scenary and not get stuck in a mental rut. I never once questioned my skill or whether this would turn around.

In less than twenty hours of play (a few in cash games, the rest SNG's) over the last few days...I have recovered all losses and am now showing a profit for the last three weeks. I owe a great deal to being properly bankrolled...for you cannot recover from zero, and I went down far enough to decimate an inadequate bankroll, as many players use.

Signing off for now, with a grin.


Wild Bill

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Touched down in Bangkok at 11:15am (BKK time) this morning. Feels like home :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ramblings: Grad School, Travel

My negative variance at the poker table will not let up in my one and two set sessions, so I have been playing very little over the last couple weeks. This has given me a lot of time to read, reflect and ponder my future.

I'll touch on a bit of my background first: I did the six year plan through college, finishing up in 2004. I banked a massive GPA from a semi-prestegious University of California campus. I took a corporate sales job out of college, decided to start my own company and finally quit my job after roughly a year. The company did very well but was no competition to poker when it came to my attention. It is 90% dormant now (not taking on any new business, but still servicing old customers), but ready to be jump-started again at any moment-my safety net if you will. I worked very hard in school so I'd be in line to get into a top graduate program...in something.

After over a month of nearly uninterrupted travel (even the ten days I was home putting things in storage and saying my goodbyes felt like vacation), I have had a great deal of time for reflection and to put a massive dent in an ever growing pile of books I've been intending to read.

My entrepreneurial juices are flowing again. My mind is once again racing with ideas about the world and the nature of things-I've been reading about buddhism, surely thats had an impact as well. I think that now is probably the time for grad school-but why do I need an institution to tell me I am a Master of Business or Science? I'll obtain the Syllabus for all the core classes in Harvards MBA program and work off of that. I don't think I'll soon be looking for a job, so the paper will do me about as much good as the piece I have now-but the knowledge will do great things for me.

No news here, I'm not changing any gears-until further notice...poker is the vehicle with the highest probability to provide financing for this expedition than any other I can see now. Though I will continue to seek ways to supplement this income, to provide passive income for myself so when the tables go bad (as they are now) my way of life is not in jeopardy.

Thats about all for now, a growing line of people waiting to use this computer (a free one provided by my hotel in Munich), and its getting on to 10am, time to go see this (I hear...) beautiful city.


Thanks for reading,



Wild Bill

email: grindblog@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Paris-Amsterdam

Anybody looking for poker information or results on this blog would probably be best advised to check back in a week or two. I'm currently travelling through Europe on my way back to Thailand and will mostly be posting about that, along with any updates for Project Thailand. The original Project Thailand (AKA SNG Team) post can be found here.

That being said, I am shocked at how expensive Europe is now. The last time I was here was about four years ago and it seemed cheap to me. However the prices have gone up a great deal for everything from transportation, to accomodation to food...I guess the weakening dollar along with the strength the currency of these nations received when transferring to the euro has had a big impact on us Americans. I miss Thailand :)

So ya, did the Van Gogh in Amsterdam yesterday, Louvre here today. No riots or burning cars or crazy black youth running around killing American tourists...at least not so far. Paris seems like Paris.

Having second thoughts about the girlfriend situation, she is really pressing me (via email now) about trying the long-distance thing, and she is generally pretty low maintanence, I think this may work...especially with a report from one reader here that he tried something similar with a nice result (eventual marriage). I'm fairly certain she'd make a good life mate, I'm just not in life-mate mode right now...I've been waiting for this trip for a long, long time. And here it is, thank you poker :)

I'm off for now, regarding Project Thailand we now have proper bankroll funding for up to 4 full-time players up to the $50+5 level. Now to find those players. We are putting together somewhat of an aptitude test for interested parties...though this may take a week or two to get in working condition. As always, anybody who would like more information on this concept or tips on rakeback or any other issue can email me at grindblog@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill

Monday, November 07, 2005

Going Pro: Week 16

Amsterdam is not at all what I expected, and it is everything I expected. A city of vast contradictions.

For a city full of drugs, sex shops and prostitutes it is remarkably classy and peaceful. I have yet to see one disturbance of any kind...no drunken kids causing trouble, no thugs, no people looking for trouble. The buildings are gorgeous in that old, classic European way. The city is amazingly clean.

Walking through the red-light district...if you do not look directly into the stores to see what they were selling, you could just as easily be in Manhatten or a nice part of San Francisco. Beautiful canals line all of the streets and good manners and polite greetings are the norm here.


They also have the best poker room I have ever been in. I was lucky enough to come during the Master Classics of Poker at the Holland Casino, so possibly it was made to look especially nice for this tournament, but it was an amazing place to play. It is very clear that poker is the 'in' thing in Europe also, people try very hard to look cool at the table here.

The main poker room looked like a planetarium on the ceiling, with a very nice restaurant and bar along the outer edges, which sits up a couple of feet from the rest of the room. There is a very pleasant red and wood decour through the entire room that gives it a very classy feel. What a place to play poker.

The lowest buy-in No Limit cash game they had was 250 Euro, around $300. As I stink at limit, this was the game I played. As I suspected, the game was based almost entirely on ego, plenty of hollywooding and table coaching (not from me of course), but fishy calling station action. A nice se$$ion.


On a sad note, the first ten days of this trip were supposed to be spent with my girlfriend, though when I broke the news to her that I would be staying away from the USA for an indefinate period of time, she was very unhappy. The trip was starting to be kind of a drag. I thought that maybe she'd be more happy traveling on her own so we've decided to take a few days to travel by ourselves...and see how that works out. I wish her the best as she goes to see Germany. I'm headed off to Paris in the next day or two.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!


Wild Bill

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Project Thailand

Thailand is an amazing country, America is overrated. These two things I know for certain. Tomorrow I am boarding a plane headed for Amsterdam, I will trip around Europe for a week or two before making my way back to paradise.

Me and two friends (both also professional poker players) will be getting a house and bringing all of our computer equipement and poker books with us. They are meeting me there in late November.

Here is the plan:

Two of us are up to speed on how to beat Sit-N-Go's and have proven track records over several thousand tournaments. One of us is a proven cash game player who we will be coaching on how to beat SNG's. The two SNG pro's will be playing out of the same bankroll and the third will join the team when we both decide his game is stong enough.

We will then add players to this team in the same way. We will vote players onto and off of the team. All of our success will depend on the groups success, with individual results declining in importance as the group grows larger.


We would like to have the group backed, and pay players based upon number of tourneys played...not based upon individual results: this will be like a salary or wage. Profits will be divided up monthly and payed out to 'shareholders', these shareholders can be anybody; players, outside investors, players not yet on the team, parents of players...anybody.

The combined bankroll needs to be a minimum of 100 Buy-Ins per player (depending on their level of play). Accounts will be provided for use, and the rakeback earned on them (we have a deal in place for 25% per account minimum, and possibly more) will count toward the groups total profit, and will go to shareholders.

The wage paid to players will be 50% of what is determined to be the 'true' ROI for the game they are playing...for the entire team. So say a player is at the $50+5 SNG's on Party-and the teams true ROI is 15%, this player will be paid 7.5% (~$4.13) plus 50% of the rakeback (~$0.63) for each tourney they play.

Play, results and decisions will be monitored intensely to maximize profitability.

We beleive this collaboration and reduced focus on short-term results will have a significant impact on group and individual productivity and morale.

Players will be strongly encouraged to live in or near the house, and if they do not they will need to have been known for a significant period and be 'vouched' for by a current team member, this is to minimize risk.

We are currently accepting applications from players to be coached/mentored and possibly become team members, as well as investors who may like to purchase shares in the enterprise.


Please direct any inquiries, questions or suggestions to grindblog on AIM or grindblog@gmail.com.



Now get back to the tables!



Wild Bill

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Loungin



This is pretty much what one does in Thailand.

Me on the left. My buddy Will on the right.