Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What Famous Leader are You

This is kinda neat. Found it on Dutch Boyd's Blog at www.dutchboyd.com

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in Bangkok

Merry Christmas everyone! Doesn't really feel like any kind of holiday to me other than the emails and phone calls back home and such. Its summer type weather here and as the country is Buddhist, Christmas is not a celebrated holiday for them.

Angkor is still on hold, I went to the Cambodian border for a visa renewal but for one reason or another leaving Thailand on an extended stay just isn't materializing. Did about a week on Koh Chang (beautiful and suprisingly underdeveloped) but the hi prices and LOUSY internet got to me, so back at the hub of South-East Asia. Qualified for two big MTT's fairly cheaply, the $500+30 $100k added on Stars and the $350+28 $750k Gauranteed on Party. Both have short fields and great overlay due to christmas...and with first place netting well over $100k in each of them I am hoping for the best.

Two friends just landed for a couple week stay and another is coming down from Chiang Mai so should be an exciting week or so heading up to New Years (a HUGE celebration in Thailand).

I'll be setting up a permanent residence here (or at least something for the next 6-months or so) to have a 'home base'. Living out of a bag for basically the last three months has made me miss a stable residence in sooooo many ways. After that its either to Cambodia and Vietnam or Australia and New Zealand. I'll probably flip a coin at some point and decide.

Wish me luck in these tourneys and if anybody cares to watch I'm playing as GigaFan on PokerStars and DegenFarang on Party.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill

Friday, December 23, 2005

MTT's and Learning

Studying is going very well. For anybody frustrated with variance, results or with just the grind in general...I highly reccomend getting back to studying the game. It is what I tell all students and what I do myself. Play less, study more. I have been studying MTT's, poker theory and to a lesser extent SNG's and am honing in on little leaks I think I have developed. Laziness leaks. I'm also getting my MTT juices flowing. I was given advice early on to find a niche and grind out a living for awhile before playing a lot of MTT's, due to the variance involved. This was great advice, I had nowhere near the confidence in the long term viability of this endeavor as I do now. If it has gone bad, I would have quit. I would have not gotten to live this life. Thanks Steve.

Now I am very comfortable with my long term poker prospects. No bad run is going to break me or shake my resolve. Time to get back to my true love, MTT's. Nothing gives me the thrill or rush like going deep in an MTT gives me. Nothing in life.

So while studying MTT's I came upon one of the most amazing pieces of poker writing I have ever found. It was written by Jason Strasser (Strassa2). I've posted it below, enjoy:

Poker is about being creative. The allowance for creativity increases in poker as stacks get deeper. As biggy used to say, 'Mo' Money Mo' Problems'--that is, for bad players (money = bb). The advantage for creative play and skilled play is much higher as blinds get higher. Since blinds in a tournament are often very big compared to stack sizes, less skill can be used to press edges than in a standard cash game, which may account for the popularity of tournament poker where literally anyone can win.

But there is a certain mindset I believe winning tournament players have. First of all, Barry Greenstein once wrote something that really changed my outlook on poker in general. On his website, he described a player as being 'solid', and it had extreme negative conotations. Is that a good thing? No. Solid means shitty. Its sweet that you can reraise before the flop with premium hands, fold shitty ones, and play right along with your cards. Some people do well (esp online with all the terrible play). But if you want to become a real tournament player, you don't want to be solid.

So in a tournament, when blinds are low in the beginning, I am generally looking for blood. I want to selectively play certain hands where I believe opponents are dishing out good implied odds, and I want to make big hands. I like to take a lot of flops and try to win just enough smallish pots (blind steals, simple bet/call-bet/fold hands) without sticking my neck out there.

As my stack gets smaller proportional to blinds, it does not become as advantageous to bleed off chips to try to bust people. Instead of going for the knockout punch, I make my money by 'standard tournament' methods (like getting it all in PF with a hand). I'm not really scared of coinflips, because I know if I have the chips I can use them well. That said, I don't go out of my way looking for them. But say I have AK and raise and a player goes over the top all in. If his range of hands is AA-66 AK-AJ thats is an obvious insta call for me. If there is a decent shot I have him thoroughly dominated, I wont fold scared of a coinflip. This should be quite obvious.

I also make a lot of money stealing blinds and stealing from others. I love situations where there is a weak raise (not weak in amt, but just a weak raise from a laggy person who I dont believe) and a flat call or two. Especially with a stack 13-25xbb or so, this spot is often ideal to just shove it in there with anything. Typically the only one you have to be worried about is the open raiser.

Once the bubble rolls around, I turn it on if I have any chips. You will never see me sacrificing a legitimate shot to make a run at a tournament for last place money. The bubble is when you need to destroy the middle and even larger stacks. I'm all about attacking stacks on the bubble. Make the medium stacks commit their stack preflop. Rob blinds from the timid small-medium stacks. If the big stack raises, as he should with many hands to steal blinds off scared bubblers, come over the top of him. Pick your spots wisely, but have these moves in your bag of tricks.

But more importantly than anything said in this entire thread, tournament poker is about plans. You have AJ in early MP with 17xbb. There are lots of valid options. UTG raises you have a small pair in mp, again, there are lots of options. Try to sort out what you are going to do, but most importantly, why. Put people on ranges of hands, guess. Find good spots to create fold equity, which is key in tournaments (stop and go). All that involves plans. You need to think things through and have an idea of what you are trying to accomplish with every action. That is what really makes people good.

And if you are fortunate to get deep into a tournament, enjoy it. You play these damn things for the shot at a final table and the thrill of big money at the end of the tunnel. Its the joy of getting deep in a tournament which does not compare to anything else in poker IMO. If you don't enjoy the end of a tournament and dont get adrenaline rushing, its not for you. Trust your instincts, and if/when you bust out, at least go out knowing you think you played correctly.

After tournaments, analyze the big hands (won and lost). Most often some of the big pots you won were played poorly versus the ones you lost.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back to Basics

My slide goes on and poker is not too much fun right now. I'm re-reading Theory of Poker with a few others from 2+2. We're going to go over 4 chapters a week and focus on the fundamentals. I've had some bad luck lately, but the biggest thing I'm noticing is that I have become less a student of the game. Through this blog and coaching and winning I think my ego may have gotten the best of me a little bit and I've stopped seeking out new information on poker, and therefore have stopped being critical of my own play. I've heard it said many times before that the day you stop being a student of the game is the day you begin your downfall. Time to get back to the books!

Until I can put together at least a good few weeks I'm also going to step down (yet again...) to the $50+5 level, and may even go lower than this if I don't do well there. My living expenses are so incredibly low right now it doesn't really matter what level I play at. Ego. Thats the only thing in my way right now. Wish me luck fighting it.

Thanks for reading,

Now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gigabet TV!

This is so amazingly good for online poker. Probably the most recognized name in online poker, Darrell Dicken AKA Gigabet, has just made the final 6 players at the Bellagio 5 Diamond Main Event. The winner of this event will take home just over $2,000,000, and with the second largest stack in the tournament, Mr. Dicken looks to be a near favorite to do so. I say near because the final 6 includes Doyle Brunson, Phil Laak and three other formiddable (if less famous) opponents.

This after Giga was nearly crushed last night on the last hand of play versus J.J. Liu. He got caught trying to run a huge bluff and ran into kings full. Ouch! Though he faught his way back from a decimated stack and now has the chance for revenge as J.J. is the #1 stack!

Should be a lot of fun to follow tomorrow and even more fun to watch on T.V. I wish I was in Vegas, I'd go watch it in person!

Good luck Giga!

Wild Bill

P.S. I've been working on a side poker project for awhile now and it is nearing the testing phase. I can't talk a lot about it right now but you can be sure this blog will be the first place I will give the full details. We could use a few volunteers if anybody would be interested. We need feedback and lots of it! You'll be looking at and testing out our website and graphical user interface. Everything will be quick and painless and can all be done through email and online. If interested email grindblog@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Money Management and Investing

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last couple of months about money management and poker and investing and the like. In July I started dumping all excess funds, including a large portion of my playing bankroll, into Ameritrade and buying stocks. I bought Google and Apple and made over 40% on my money in about 5 months. So naturally I was feeling like I had a bit of stock picking talent and was getting fired up about investing, and then I started doing more research on it. I've read several books on the topic recently and spent quite a bit of time on a couple of trading forums. If there is one thing I have learned from my studies thus far, it is that I don't know squat. I got lucky. I bought into the Google hype and took a tip from a friend who got his tip from yet another friend. Either of these could have easily gone south on me and the fact that I made any money at all was attributable only to luck and my own ignorance.

I have since closed out my positons and have gone to cash. ING Direct is giving 3.75% right now and thats better than the -ROI I probably have if I trade the market, so I'm going with that. And I'm going to feverishly keep studying the markets.

I credit Ed Miller (the 2+2 author) with being the main catalyst for this change in strategy, and for opening my eyes. He went to MIT and worked at Microsoft before becoming a professional poker player. He is an author and one hell of an intelligent person. He told me that he is completely in index funds now because HE doesn't know enough yet to be in the market as a winner. He's right, there are a ton of very intelligent people who devote their entire day picking apart companies and news stories etc etc etc. The average man putting his money in the market without a great deal of study is doing not much more than a guy in Vegas putting it on black.

My main concern here is my long term well being and that of many other poker players who I know that are making an extraordinary income for their age bracket, or for any age bracket. One friend is putting a huge chunk of his funds with a currency trader he has never met. Another is buying a condo (in this market!). I've heard of another keeping 6 figures in cash because he is afraid of paying taxes on it. Another has a blog dedicated to 'Rediculous Expenditures', shedding light on the spending habits of some successful poker players. The list goes on and on and on.

Yes this boom is paying off fantastically well for many people, but we need to collectively get our financial IQ's up and make smart decisions. I'd sure like to make the right moves and retire on passive income at a far too early age. I think many others have the ability to do this as well, but they also have the chance to have nothing more than a cool story to tell and a failed college degree to show for this period.

Reccomended reading:

Rich Dad Poor Dad: Kiyosaki
Teaches how the super rich view money and investments, and the
mistakes the poor and middle class make. Excellent, excellent book.

The Millionaire Next Door
Washes away many of they myths about how 'rich' people behave.

The Intelligent Investor: Graham
Investment classic. Warren Buffet called it the most important
book on investing he ever read. Need I say more?

How to Make Money in Stocks: O'neil
Despite the cheasy cover, its a great book on valuing stocks and companies.

Thanks for reading, now get back to MAKING MONEY!!!

Wild Bill

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Angkor Wat Here I Come!

Just before the hi-season gets here I am going to head to Cambodia to renew my visa and do some sightseeing. This is mainly a call for tips and tricks. Rayek or any others with experience over there please shoot me an email to grindblog@gmail.com. I have about ten days to spare...headed first to Korat then to the Combodian border. I'd sure like to see a casino...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Going Pro: Week 19

The little poker I've played over the last week has not gone too well. AK can't hold up against KQ (and the like...) right now. meh. What a wonderful tilt control traveling is. It usually takes anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes to be in a fine mood after a bad session. I've run the numbers and over the last month (have fun with this one troll) I've had my least winning month as a pro. One horrible stretch and a routine downswing in that span will do that to you. Add to that the fact that I've PLAYED less in this month than any other and I guess it makes sense ;)

I decided to come back to Phuket, the internet in the places I wanted to go near Krabi was poor and wouldn't have allowed me to work. I came to a different side of Patong this time and didn't realize it is actually a pretty cool place. I was in a bad part before and didn't venture too far (NEVER TRUST THE TOUTS AT THE AIRPORT!!!) the hotel I'm in now is fairly cheap ($20 US a night) for the area and very very nice...and there are a ton of clubs and a gorgeous beach within walking distance. Going to see if I can get my buddy currently stationed in Chiang Mai to come down.

I stopped by a business broker today for kicks. There is a little italian restaurant with a 7-room hotel above it for sale, in a prime location on the beach: price: $50,000 and $2,000 a month. :) That sure would be fun.

I'm off to the beach.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Headed to Krabi...

Could I be anymore fickle?

Expensive, unreliable internet is getting to me here. Coupled with no cheap, nice, long term accomodations and I'm going to look around a bit more. Good thing I've decided to live out of a bag :)

+20 Buy-ins at the 55's
-16 Buy-ins at the 55's
Meh, thats poker. At least I'm making nice rakeback ;)

Wild Bill

Friday, December 02, 2005

Koh Phi Phi

Landed a few days ago, don't know exactly when right now...the beauty of it is I don't really care. Don't know when I'll be leaving. Don't know what I'll be doing while I'm here. Awesome.

Paying about $30 a night for my current lodging...a fortune for Thailand but rather cheap for this island. I have a panoramic view of a gorgeous beach out my window and am a couple of minutes walk from a fabulous backpacker enclave filled with bars and cool shops and internet cafe's. I think I may have found it. I'll be more certain as time goes on but I can't see myself needing anything that I do not have here in this little piece of paradise.

I've moved down to the 55's on Party for the time being, I was actually running quite well at the 109's but my taste of variance last month there got me thinking. After talking about the game with several other SNG pro's, I've come to the (most likely temporary) conclusion that taking a slight (hopefully) cut in pay will be worth not having to deal with the massive swings that a small ROI brings. With the Party Beta client I can do 9-tables no overlap on my laptop...continuous thats probably 13 an hour. That'll work out to nearly $20 an hour, just in rakeback. Thats fine with me, for now.

I'm off, back to the beach.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill